• The re-mediated book: Toast at Atelier Salzamt Linz

     

    Toast, Atelier Salzamt Linz, Linz

     

    The shape of books changes throughout history, reflecting institutional paradigms. Physical supports interface with institutional archiviation and distribution processes. And right at the center of Toast: Zur Erweiterung des Buchformats [Expanding the Book Format] – an exhibition curated by Josseline Black and Vincenzo Estremo for Atelier Salzamt Linz in Austria – is the permeability of the book concept. We passed from papyrus to pergamon to manuscript to type-set books, and now we’ve entered the digital era. However, the majority of books are still in printed form, and the majority of readers are still buying paper books: we are in a transition period. We are questioning the shape, function, and changing impact of books on our knowledge. We are ascertaining our relationship to information, to ourselves and to the collective sphere as “readers”. The agency of the reader lies in articulating a narrative. In the context of contemporary art and artist books, we are interrogating the function of books and their relationship to an audience. Is the art book an art piece, is it the sum of personal research, or is it an evolving container for external inputs? All these questions deal with the transmediality of books and the performativity of readers. The re-mediation of books can make them accessible and free in some way. Under present and historical societal conditions, the book which is not already owned is the property of another body, and the experience of the reader is subject to the temporality of external forces. If we consider the book as a device, we have to contemplate the possibility of re-mediating it. The intersection of montage and curatorship proposes the idea of a book as an exhibition. In addressing the work of the represented artists, the permeability of the book concept emerges. So, the insight of the artists themselves points toward the idea of an increasingly impermanent readability. The concept of book has been taken not as a medium in itself, but as a process.

     

    Atelier Salzamt, Linz, book

    Exhibition View: Toast. Expanding the Book Format (Atelier Salzamt 2016)

    Atelier Salzamt, Linz, book

    Exhibition View: Toast. Expanding the Book Format (Atelier Salzamt 2016)

    Atelier Salzamt, Linz, book

    Exhibition View: Toast. Expanding the Book Format (Atelier Salzamt 2016)

     

    Sirma Doruk’s piece Social Interface (2015) is a 3-channel video installation, a text-based work. With an audio component that sounds like hasty typing, the three videos together reflect our current state of approval, or how we treat news and facts versus opinions that are Internet-based and use computer-relevant terminology. This piece is about the ways we quickly and thoughtlessly behave online—invisibly and without responsibility.

     

    Sırma Doruk, Atelier Salzamt, Linz, book

    Sırma Doruk, Social Interface, 2015, (3 channel video installation in 1 channel version, Atelier Salzamt 2016)

     

    Gedske Ramløv, as an artist in residence at the Atelierhaus Salzamt, immersed herself within the traces of historical isomorphisms relating Linz to the Danube. The narrative threads she derived reference Ludwig Wittgenstein’s principle philosophical treatises, and the river’s metaphorical writing upon the felt and actual topography of the city.

     

    Gedske Ramløv, Atelier Salzamt, Linz, book

    Gedske Ramløv, La Simmetria annulla le differenze, 2016. Exhibition View (Atelier Salzamt 2016)

     

    In Gulistan, Mehraneh Atashi filmed herself reciting a story by Sa’adi, one of the major Persian poets from the medieval period. He is not only famous in Persian-speaking countries, but has been quoted in Western literature and culture. Sa’adi is widely recognized as one of the greatest poets of the classical literary tradition, for the quality of his writings and for the depth of his social and moral thoughts. Gulistan is mainly in prose, and contains stories and personal anecdotes. The text is interspersed with a variety of short poems, which contain aphorisms, advice, and humorous reflections, demonstrating Sa’adi’s profound awareness of the absurdity of human existence.

     

    Mehraneh Atashi, Gulistan, 2011, Video still.

    Mehraneh Atashi, Gulistan (2011), video still.

     

    The Cool Couple’s Approximation to the West seeks to reveal instances of forgotten pasts through the collection and re-dissemination of historical information, combining photography, drawing, installation, and archiving tactics. These traces of history and memory have been processed through a medium – that of photography – capable of rendering reality and, at the same time, of transforming memorial and archival information into aesthetically pleasing images, with radiant, multi-faceted meanings.

     

    The Cool Couple, Atelier Salzamt, Linz, book

    The Cool Couple, Approximation to the West, 2014. (Cossack crownpiece, Tolmezzo #007, Atelier Salzamt 2016)

     

    Ludovica Gioscia took the responsibility of curating the Pizzemblage project, by trying to turn a collective sculpture into a publishing project. Arising from Droste Effect’s project Pizza Box, Pizzemblage is a proper exhibition space. In an hypothetical comparison between the two outcomes, we could say that the Pizza Box is to the Wunderkammer as the Pizzemblage is to a Renaissance studiolo. The Pizzemblage Box holds six slices, realized by six different artists. Its value derives from the participating artists’ work and ability to embellish a fragile exhibition space.

     

    Pizzemblage artist project for Droste Effect

    Droste Effect | Pizza Box presents: Pizzemblage. Clockwise starting from the “Banana” slice: contributions by Jebila Okongwu, Alessandro Roma, Robert Melee, Ludovica Gioscia, Jesse Darling, Sarah Baker. Photo credit: Alastair Strong

     

    With Toast, we aim not only at re-mediating ‘the book,’ but also at looking at how books can be relocated from the traditional, institutional context of libraries and bookshops to the exhibition space. In addition, we aim to stage the reader as a performative participant in the creation of a living discourse, by acknowledging the discourse around the book in an exhibition space as the creation of a micro-oral history. This deals with the cultural turn in which the representation of the world became itself a historical document for the acknowledgement of the world. The book is not only a database, but an artifact: every book is the result of a full-spectrum process of witnessing experience, becoming evidence, becoming document, becoming artifact. The construction of that process allowed and allows us to engage with traces of ourselves and the collective sphere. The research behind the product, which is an “art book” in this case, is the real content. Expanding the book, showing what is behind the book, and taking from the book an infinitude of references, images, items, human relationships, and locations means considering the art book not just as an art piece, but as something else. The collaboration between the book as performer and the reader as performer becomes a third performance, that inhabits the space in which meaning is creating, a process partially visible from the outside. Knowledge not performed will die.

    Toast - Zur Erweiterung des Buchformats [Expanding the Book Format], curated by Josseline Black and Vincenzo Estremo, is at Atelier Salzamt Linz from February 17 to March 4, 2016.

     

  • An open window to Ramallah, a few streets away from Kensington, London

     

    Noor Abu Arafeh, The Mosaic Rooms

    Noor Abu Arafeh’s, Observational Desire on a Memory that Remains, video still, Suspended Accounts, The Mosaic Rooms, London

     

    The Mosaic Rooms brings the work of six Palestinian artists to London with the exhibition ‘Suspended Accounts’, hosted on the premises of the A.M. Qattan Foundation in Earls Court, and curated by Viviana Checchia. The exhibition, featuring a selection of the artists participating in the YAYA Prize 2014, can be seen as the next step in the project, which presents a generation of young artists, all under 30 years old, to an international art audience, and at the same time re-affirms the process-based nature intimately connected to the artworks in the show.

     

    Suspended Account, The Mosaic Rooms

    Suspended Accounts, Young Artists of the Year Award 2014, The Mosaic Rooms, London. Photo by Andy Stagg

     

    The Young Artist of the Year Award (YAYA) is one of the few art prizes that encourages and supports the development of emerging artists from Palestine, through a biennial programme organized by the A.M. Qattan Foundation, an independent, not for profit organization, active in the field of culture and education in the territory since 1998. This eighth edition of the prize focuses on the involvement of the selected artists in a long term project rather than in a single show, and has generated a mutual engagement of artists and curator, who developed their work through on-line forums, discussions and group sessions, and the support of various international art practitioners.

    Exploring the potentiality of the archive in the art practice, the exhibition results in an open laboratory, where the artists attempt to put together the pieces of a complex yet incomplete identity, activating a process of Self-Historicisation as a strategy of re-appropriation of their Palestinian heritage against the threat of oblivion. As a starting point each artist establishes a connection with evidence from the past, according to their own individual practice and experience.

     

    Bashar Khalaf, The Mosaic Rooms

    Bashar Khalaf, A Shadow of the Shadow, oil on canvas, Suspended Accounts, The Mosaic Rooms, London. Photo by Andy Stagg

     

    Bashar Khalaf uses a traditional medium to build a dialogue between two generations of Palestinian artists. By placing his re-interpretations alongside the original paintings by Suleiman Mansour – a well known representative of the art of the region between 1970 and 1990 – he creates a continuity with his vision, but also introduces elements of contingency, reflecting the transition to a contemporary condition.

    The attempt of seeking a connection with the artists who have preceded them most often requires a different approach, as a large part of Palestinian art is not documented. Noor Abu Arefeh’s video installation Observational Desire on a Memory that Remains represents an attempt of creating an alternative art history by translating undocumented artwork into the medium of film, shaping their features from storytelling, newspaper clippings and reviews. The outcome of this re-representation is adding another dimension to an uncertain image from the past, filling the gap with the imagination. Similarly, Iman Al Sayed explores her lost identity through the memories of her father, assembling these renewed narratives – both real and imaginary – in Re-Repeat, a mixed media installation featuring personalized evidences addressed to different perceivers.

     

    Noor Abu Arafeh, The Mosaic Rooms

    Noor Abu Arafeh, Observational Desire on a Memory that Remains, video still, Suspended Accounts, The Mosaic Rooms, London

    Iman Al Sayed, The Mosaic Rooms

    Iman Al Sayed, Re-repeat, mixed media installation, Suspended Accounts, The Mosaic Rooms, London. Photo by Andy Stagg

     

    The immateriality of memory is at the base of Noor Abed and Farah Saleh’s work. Abed’s video installation Penelope refers to the myth of the Odyssey, presenting the act of sewing as collective and timeless knowledge, which suggests ideas of displacement, homeland and futility. The evocative power of the gesture is here also analysed by Saleh in her interactive video installation A Fidayee Son in Moscow. Recalling her brother’s told stories, the dancer and choreographer re-stages the routine of a normal day in Interdom – a school created in 1933 with the aim of giving an education to children of democratic representatives and activists from all over the world – and invites the public to participate and share the experience enclosed in the gestures in order to understand and live the process of self-historicisation.

     

    Noor Abed, The Mosaic Rooms

    Noor Abed’s, Penelope2014, video installation, Suspended Accounts, The Mosaic Rooms, London. Photo by Andy Stagg

    Farah Saleh, The Mosaic Rooms

    Farah Saleh, A Fidayee Son in Moscow, interactive video dance installation, Suspended Accounts, The Mosaic Rooms, London. Photo by Andy Stagg

     

    This re-discovered awareness of the past is conceived as an act of resistance by Hamody Gannam in his audio installation Wadi Nisnas, probably the most impressive artwork in the show. The artist has committed himself to preserve the collective memories of his neighbourhood, a small Arab district in what remains of the old city of Haifa, that gives the name to his work. Preserved in archival boxes from the effects of a forced forgetfulness, the voices of the local inhabitants, catalogued in Israeli characters, tell in Arabic stories whispered in the narrow streets of a city shifted between contrasting cultures, showing the subtle boundary between presence and absence, and re-affirming once again the importance of the memory in the construction of individual and collective identity.

    Suspended Accounts, curated by Viviana Checchia for The Mosaic Rooms is at A.M. Qattan Foundation, London until 27 February 2016

     

    Hamody Gannam, The Mosaic Rooms

    Hamody Gannam, Wadi Nisnas, sound installation of archive boxes, Suspended Accounts, The Mosaic Rooms. Photo by Andy Stagg

  • Movement Break: Adelita Husni-Bey investigates sport as a metaphor of life’s endless performance

     

    Adelita Husni-Bey, Kadist Art Foundation

    Adelita Husni-Bey, After the Finish Line, Movement Break, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco. Photo by Jeff Warrin courtesy the artist,  Laveronica arte contemporanea and Kadist Art Foundation.

     

    Do Epic Shit. This statement was written on a huge black advertising board in downtown San Francisco last February. At a first sight it made me smile, then it started to make me think about the pressure to actually realize ‘epic’ things. Am I working enough to be remembered? Am I exercising enough to run a half marathon? Am I living an extraordinary life? Am I a hero?

    In a city completely transformed by the recent tech boom, where it costs at least 2400 dollars per month for a decent accommodation, the wild competition invests every field of the human existence from the very basic rights, above all the right to housing. Always performing at their best allows people to live in such an amazing city. Until the pressure leads some of them to a complete burn out of both their body and mind.

     

    Adelita Husni-Bey, Kadist

    Adelita Husni-Bey, After the Finish Line, Movement Break, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco. Photo by Jeff Warrin courtesy the artist, Laveronica arte contemporanea and Kadist Art Foundation.

     

    Adelita Husni-Bey’s solo exhibition Movement Break comprehends three different chapters of the same research. During her residency at Kadist Art Foundation, Adelita investigated the contemporary tendency to always perform in our capitalist society, where pain is de-politicized and people push their body to a literal breaking-point. Central to the exhibition is After the Finish Line, an experimental film, which sees the artist, through a radical pedagogical approach, discussing with a group of teenager athletes who experienced injuries during competitions. The film alternates two styles: one can be associated to some sport brand advertisement and the other one to a more documentaristic approach. Central to the film is the conversation between Adelita and the teenagers where they analyse the effect of pain, their consequent failure as athletes, and what it means for them to compete. Adelita pictures the athletes as perfect machines whose gestures are full of tension for the imminent performance, whose eyes are sharp and focused. Then, she shows how the teenagers, after experiencing a body defeat, go through a psychological breakdown as well. The artist’s choice to use the sport context to explore the idea of success perfectly fits with what happens in big urban contexts such as San Francisco, for instance. Being an athlete is like being the perfect human being, and particularly in the American milieu, the athletic ideal is part of an imagery inevitably linked to success.

     

    Adelita Husni-Bey, Kadist

    Adelita Husni-Bey, installation view, Movement Break, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco. Photo by Jeff Warrin courtesy the artist, Laveronica arte contemporanea and Kadist Art Foundation.

     

    Beside the film, the artist collaborated with a physical therapist to produce a series of sessions dedicated to the identification and acceptance of pain, visually supported by several silhouettes representing the participants’ bodies. In this case, pain is not always connected to a sport injury, but it could be the result of a particular posture, which is held during work, or of an uncomfortable feeling, which causes a physical discomfort. Doing so, the artist identifies a group of bodies linked by a common condition, which de-constructs the individual subjectivity. The workshops perfectly examine the correlation between physical and psychological stress, which affect the state of the human body and mind as well.

     

    Adelita Husni-Bey, Kadist

    Adelita Husni-Bey, installation view, Movement Break, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco. Photo by Jeff Warrin  courtesy the artist, Laveronica arte contemporanea and Kadist Art Foundation.

     

    The exhibition is completed by In the Cloud, an unusual guide to research. The short publication consists of a dialogue between the artist and a cognitive behavioural psychologist, where they discuss Adelita’s relationship with the stress caused by her art career. The text looks very honest and inspiring, it touches several common struggles, which people working in the art world normally experience, in a very sincere and intimate way. Adelita opens herself to the visitor, she is able to create a close relationship with the reader, and again tries to de-construct subjectivity in order to create a shared condition. Her pure honesty is something precious, it is rare in our performative, capitalist and neoliberal society to hear an artist say: “I am too interested in other people’s voices. Maybe I’m too empathic. Does that even exist? I keep being more interested in other people’s voices, and I feel like being an artist is kind of, also a really fascist position. You’re like, listen to me this is what I have to say!”

    Adelita Husni-Bey: Movement Break, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco from November 2nd to January 30th, 2016.

     

    Adelita Husni-Bey, Kadist

    Adelita Husni-Bey, In the Cloud, Movement Break, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco. Photo by Jeff Warrin courtesy the artist, Laveronica arte contemporanea and Kadist Art Foundation.

  • A Walk Through The Art: Arte Fiera 2016

    Arte Fiera 2016 celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. Bologna’s contemporary art fair (January 29 to February 1st, 2016) hosted 222 exhibitors, 30% more than 2 years ago.

    We made a photographic walk-through of Arte Fiera 2016, with exhibition views of selected artwork and galleries on show inside the art fair, and at venues around Bologna.

    Winners of Arte Fiera Under 40 have been announced: Valerio Rocco Orlando (Bid Project Gallery, Milano), José Angelino (Alessandra Bonomo, Roma), Guglielmo Castelli (Francesca Antonini Arte Contemporanea), Valentina Miorandi (Boccanera). Their artwork will be on show at Bologna’s Pinacoteca until March 28.
    The jury comprised Lorenzo Sassoli de Bianchi (head of jury), Francesco Bonami (curator and critic), Luca Lo Pinto (curator at Kunsthalle Vienna), Laura Carlini Fanfogna (director at Istituzione Bologna Musei), Giacinto Di Pietrantonio (director at GAMEC Bergamo), Hou Hanru (director at MAXXI di Roma) and Alberto Salvadori (director at Museo Marino Marini).

     

    Lindsay Kemp, David Bowie, Arte Fiera 2016

    Lindsay Kemp before speaking about David Bowie for the opening of Arte Fiera 2016. Photo by Antonella Gasparato

     

    As usual, during Arte Fiera 2016 ART CITY Bologna features a broad program of exhibitions and events developed by the City of Bologna and BolognaFiere.
    Among these, the ones we feature in our photographic galleries are:
    Officina Pasolini at MAMbo – Modern Art Museum Bologna, that marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Pier Paolo Pasolini.
    Alberto Tadiello’s site-specific installation for the International Music Museum and Library.
    FLUX US at CUBO Unipol, where Mary Bauermeister’s artwork interacts with a site-specific installation by Bologna-based artist Francesca Pasquali.
    The double exhibition on the lifework of photographer Jakob Tuggener at MAST.
    FRUIT Self-Publishing Exhibition, Bologna’s independent publishers’ and artist books art fair.
    Selected galleries from ArtCityWhiteNight on Saturday, January 30.

     

    ARTE FIERA 2016:

     

     

    ART CITY BOLOGNA 2016:

     

     

    Arte Fiera 2016, Officina Pasolini, Spazio Labo: photos by Martha Baggetta/Droste Effect
    Other photos by Antonella Gasparato

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  • Tricia Middleton at Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran in Montréal

     

    Tricia Middleton, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran

    Tricia Middleton
    Justine’s woods, searching for a place that you can never return to again (at your peril!!), 2015
    Sheets, beeswax, paint, organic materials

     

    For her solo show at Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montreal-based artist (born in Vancouver) Tricia Middleton built her site specific installation as a landscape doused of personal altars and mysterious clusters.

    Many of the sculptures combine organic with synthetic materials and objects (sheets, beeswax, paint). Painting, sculpture and architecture are fundamental elements used by the artist to create her environments, suggesting a process of collecting, adding and assembling materials in multiple, fossilized layers.

    The amassing of multicolored materials gets shaped into a «mountain», thus generating a specific aesthetics and practice. Time is crystallized and reveals a state of disorder, as well as an impossibility to let go of objects – the process of keeping things in stratified accumulation.

    Marquis de Sade’s philosophy is evoked: Justine is the result of a long process of decomposition, where destruction is a dominant mode of expression, nature dominates the human being and might be considered as the very spirit of negation.

    The exhibition opened with artist in attendance at Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran in Montréal on January 13 and will run until February 13, 2016.

     

    Tricia Middleton, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran

    Tricia Middleton, After Rigaud, a somewhat personal, if not a little abstract, chronicle of contemporary fashion (with judgement), 2015
    paint, clay, plants, objects

     

    Tricia Middleton, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran

    Tricia Middleton
    After Rigaud, a somewhat personal, if not a little abstract, chronicle of contemporary fashion (with judgement), 2015
    paint, clay, plants, objects

     

    Tricia Middleton, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran

    Tricia Middleton
    Table, slightly less stuffed, but day drinking in bed anyway, 2015
    Cardboard, beeswax, clay, wood, paint, objects
    Thérèse #1, Thérèse #2, Thérèse #3, 2015
    ribbons, beeswax, paint, organic materials

     

    Tricia Middleton, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran

    Tricia Middleton
    Thérèse #1, 2015
    ribbons, beeswax, paint, organic materials

     

    Tricia Middleton, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran

    Tricia Middleton
    Smoking transference, Paris, 2015
    photographs, clay, objects

     

    Tricia Middleton, Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran

    Tricia Middleton, Moon, 2013-2014
    Sheets, beeswax, paint, organic materials
    Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montréal

  • Hugo Scibetta at Clima Gallery, Milan

     

    Hugo Scibetta, Clima Gallery, Milano

    Untitled (2015), mixed media (oil on canvas / blue black billboard paper), variable dimensions
    Photo: Marco Davolio

     

    For his first Italian solo show at Clima Gallery, artist Hugo Scibetta created a new body of work dealing with the concept of apartment gallery.
    In the first and second room, the artworks draw inspiration from the famous contemporary art reviews website Contemporary Art Daily. The artist started from the assumption that, as a digital native, he is incessantly overwhelmed by different artistic inputs, many more than those a person who’s networking and visiting exhibitions could possibly take.
    So in this continuous scrolling, his interest goes to what remains on the retina. Scibetta selected random images from other art shows and slowly enlarged them to the point where they become blurred, and the viewer can’t figure out the original subject anymore. Then, he brings them back onto the canvas by using an inkjet printer or, for bigger sizes and wallpaintings, onto blue back paper.

     

    Hugo Scibetta, Clima Gallery, Milano

    Untitled (2015), mixed media (oil on canvas / blue black billboard paper), variable dimensions
    Photo: Marco Davolio

    Hugo Scibetta, Clima Gallery, Milano

    87.88.188.129 (2015), UV print on Dibond, steel, 70×149 cm
    11 87.88.188.129 (2015), UV print on Dibond, steel, 70×149 cm
    Photo: Marco Davolio

     

    In the back room, two “fake” watercolors can be considered the vanishing point of the apartment show perspective.
    In these artworks, what emerges is the artist’s will to confront himself with the old masters’ technique of en plain air. But again the author, as a digital native, draws his inspiration from the Internet.
    He picks out of random internet archives inspiring images shot by other people – in this specific case, a view of Miami’s harbor – and then watercolors them, reproducing the painter’s gesture. When he eventually prints the image, it’s hard to recognize the original from Scibetta’s intervention.

     

    Hugo Scibetta, Clima Gallery, Milano

    Exhibition view: Hugo Scibetta, All good things must come to an end at Clima Gallery, Milano
    Photo: Marco Davolio

     

    As an imaginary sum of the show, in both rooms there are works from the Sculpture attempt series.
    Each of them is composed of a chair – like the typical museum or exhibition venue contemplation chair – and a 3D-printed crate, that is a copy of a French Medieval vase.
    The jars originally come from a work by Oliver Laric, who 3D-scanned the entire Lincoln Center Archive in New York, and put the files in free streaming, so that everybody could 3D-reproduce any artwork in the archive.
    The surrealistic fake balance in which the crates stand in between the wall and the chair tries to question what makes an artwork nowadays, at the same time dealing with contemplation and reproducibility of art and the idea of artwork itself.

    Hugo Scibetta: All good things must come to an end at Clima Gallery in Milan until January 23, 2016

     

    Hugo Scibetta, Clima Gallery, Milano

    Sculpture Attempt (2015), 3D print, steel, plastic, variable dimensions
    Photo: Marco Davolio

  • Jong Oh’s shapes of perturbation at MARC STRAUS Gallery

     

    Jong Oh, Marc Straus Gallery, New York

    Jong Oh, Surface Water 4, 2016

     

    We talked with Korean artist Jong Oh at the preview of his third solo exhibition with MARC STRAUS Gallery in New York’s Lower East Side.

    Matilde Soligno: Have you always worked with site-specific, minimalistic sculpture?

    Jong Oh: I started pursuing this kind of work 4 years ago, which in time became more and more minimal. Lately, I’ve been adding photographs to my installations, which is a more material component.

    MS: Your installation “Surface Water 4″ includes two different photographs of ocean water installed side by side. The photos are very similar but the amount of perturbation in the water is slightly different. This creates a subtle tension within the artwork. Why did you choose to include them?

    JO: It was my intention to use photography as objects in my installations. I took these images from ferry boats around New York. I like water because it is a surface, but also has a deepness to it. You can sink deep beyond that surface, but at the same time there is something coming out of it, like a reflection. In my work, I use a lot of different planes, to which these photographs are an appropriate response. In Surface Water 4 I liked the idea of putting two images together. It is the same water photographed on different days, one’s surface slightly calmer than the other. I wanted to contain that difference, and that’s where the piece started from. In this other piece, Surface Water 3, the thread frame is responding to the photograph, to the sound coming out of it. The photographic piece emanates this second plane, that at the same time contains the sound, which is therefore trapped in between. The result is a silence contained.

     

    Jong Oh, Marc Straus Gallery, New York

    Jong Oh, Surface Water 3, 2016

     

    MS: It’s interesting how you put these little discriminations in place, and let these differences create a tension that then gets contained by the piece itself. What about the part you made with glossy paint in “Compo-site 13″?

    JO: I use glossy paint sometimes to create a shadow, to make the viewer wonder if it’s the reflection of something.

     

    Jong Oh, Marc Straus Gallery, New York

    Jong Oh, Compo-site 13, 2016

     

    MS: Like most of your artwork on show at Marc Straus Gallery, “Compo-site 13″ displaces the viewer’s perception of space, because it messes with our optical reference points and our orientation. Are you referencing architecture? For instance, the glossy paint element reminds me of a light plane created by a window.

    JO: I respond to the architecture of the place where I’m building my sculptures, but also to the various components in my pieces. For instance, in Compo-site 13, I also use a plexiglass panel, thus setting an internal reference between it and the glossy-painted rectangle. The whole piece, in turn, relates to the window on the ceiling. When you visit the exhibition during the day there’s actual light coming from the windows, that creates a very different environment from the one we see now at night.

     

    Jong Oh, Marc Straus Gallery, New York

    Jong Oh, Column (Brass), 2016

     

    MS: What are the historical and contemporary references that inspire you?

    JO: I was influenced by American minimalism, that I studied during my Master’s degree at SVA in New York. Definitely Fred Sandback – and Richard Tuttle, who I consider my master and was of great inspiration when I was in school.

     

    Jong Oh, Marc Straus Gallery, New York

    Jong Oh, First Echo, 2016

     

    MS: Where do you live now?

    JO: I live in New York, but I recently spent time in Vienna on an artist residency. It was there I started taking the photographs that then became part of my most recent production. While walking around the city and crossing the river Danube, I took pictures of the water and I immediately knew I needed to use them for my sculptures. That’s how the series began.

    MS: Is this a steady direction for you – are you going to keep inserting images into your artwork?

    JO: Yes, I’m going to continue in this direction. But I’m always very careful in picking materials of this sort, I don’t want my images to contain too much information and overwhelm the composite energy of my work.

    Jong Oh, upstairs gallery at MARC STRAUS Gallery, New York until February 26, 2016

     

    Jong Oh, Marc Straus Gallery, New York

    Jong Oh, Compo-site 13, 2016 (detail)

    Jong Oh, Marc Straus Gallery, New York

    Jong Oh, Surface Water 4, 2016 (detail). Photo © Matilde Soligno

  • Theo Jansen’s Amazing Creatures in Madrid

    Espacio Fundación Telefónica is currently showcasing Theo Jansen’s incredible Strandbeest (Beach Beasts) until the 17 January. Jansen is a Dutch artist who has devoted his life to the creation of unbelievable sculptural constructions which resemble creatures from a fairy-tale world that move and interact with their environment as if they were truly living beings. The beasts are made from plastic tubes and bottles and are powered by the wind. Jansen’s beasts live independently on the Netherlands’ beaches until they die; only to return to the artist’s workshop as fossils.

     

    Theo Jansen, Espacio Fundación Telefónica

    Animaris Ordis A, Cerebrum Period, from 2006. This creature is a unit with twelve legs

     

    Jansen’s original plan was to develop these animals in order to preserve the ecosystem and protect Dutch beaches, as they are slowly disappearing by the ever-rising level of the sea. However, throughout the years Jansen has abandoned his environmental project, letting his imagination run free to awaken generations and generations of beasts.

     

    Theo Jansen, Espacio Fundación Telefónica

    Animaris Currens Ventosa, Calidum Period, 1993-1994. The first creture able to walk using wind power. It has fins on its back which when activated by the wind should set the legs in motion. Image courtesy of Espacio Fundación Telefónica.

     

    As a matter of fact, the theory of evolution plays a key role in Theo Jansen’s art. Jansen divides his creatures into different species and several evolutionary stages depending on their degree of autonomy and capacity to move and adapt. Some of his creatures have a heart, a stomach and something similar to a brain, which allows them to evolve throughout time and avoid obstacles (such as the sea itself) by changing direction. They are self-sufficient and can adjust to the environment in order to survive. Every year the artist works on evolutionary improvements, striving to create a stronger and more efficient creature by experimenting with new mechanisms. Those which turn out to be useful to the beasts’ survival are passed on to the following generation, and those which prove to be useless are abandoned and eradicated. With the power of imagination and deep knowledge of art, physics, engineering and pneumatics, Jansen has brought to life the most marvellous creatures which, like all beings, live and die. Once their life is over, Jansen removes them from the beach and does not attempt to restore the damage caused by the weather; they become fossils.

     

    Theo Jansen, Espacio Fundación Telefónica

    Animaris Percipere Primus, Cepebrum Period, from 2006. the forward part of the beast has a stomach of plastic bottles capable of storing compressed air. If there is no wind, the creature can use this backup air supply to propel itself. Image courtsey of ssaft.com

     

    Built from simple materials, the creatures’ actual functioning is incredibly complex.  In Jansen’s own words “the walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.” His works of art break away from the traditional understanding of sculpture, creating a new aesthetic experience by combining structure and movement and blurring the lines between reality and fiction. When looking at the creatures move one would think them alive; the artist himself refers to his creations as beings that think, breathe and take decisions, living their own, unique lives. In Espacio Fundación Telefónica two of the beasts are aroused at specific times so that everyone can admire the beauty and intricacy of Jansen’s achievement in action. Click here to see the Beach Beasts moving.

     

    Theo Jansen, Espacio Funadación Telefónica

    Image courtesy of strandbeest.com

     

    Theo Jansen’s sculptures are the result of a brilliant mind. Although he did not complete his university degree, the artist’s perseverance and passionate creativity have resulted in some of the most remarkable and wonderfully mind-boggling forms of art. This is definitely an exhibition worth visiting; you’ll be bewildered and charmed by the magic of Jansen’s Beach Beasts.

     Theo Jansen, Amazing Creatures, Espacio Fundación Telefónica, Madrid, until 17 January 2016.

     

  • Devotion at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery

    Excrescence: a projection or outgrowth.
    [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

    Now this vast principal bulk, of which the things you have named resemble excrescences and ornaments: Of what do you believe this to be made?
    Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Ptolemaic and Copernican [translation by Stillman Drake, Modern Library, 1953]

    According to Hegel, the Universal can only be found in corrupted and impure forms. When we try to remove the flaws in an attempt to reach a purer Universal, what we obtain is its exact opposite.
    What is the sacred, then? Isn’t it a surplus – an excess, an organic and shapeless mass – not even capable of enjoying its own wholeness without having to continuously seek a counterbalance?
    That’s what this exhibition reminds me of: an excess of matter overflowing its own boundaries; the collapse of pureness.
    The show curated by Will Corwin at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery pursues the sacred, and not the ideal of sacred.
    Surprisingly, we realize that, in order to reach the sacred, what we really need is to draw from our own visceral and vile human condition.

     

    Escrescenza: quanto cresce e sporge sopra una superficie piana.
    [Vocabolario Treccani]

    E questa principale e vasta mole, della quale le nominate cose son quasi escrescenze ed ornamenti, di che materia credete che sia composta?
    Galileo Galilei, Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo tolemaico e copernicano [Booklassic, 2015]

    L’Universale secondo Hegel si trova solo in forme corrotte e impure. Nel momento in cui cerchiamo di eliminare da esso i difetti per arrivare a un Universale più puro, ciò che otteniamo è l’esatto opposto.
    Cosa è quindi il sacro? Non è forse un avanzo, qualcosa di troppo, un ammasso organico e informe che non riesce neanche a godere della propria pienezza e cerca continuamente un proprio contraltare?
    Ecco. La mostra che ho visto mi ricorda questo. L’eccesso della materia che deborda dal proprio confine, un collasso della purezza. La mostra curata da Will Corwin alla Catinca Tabacaru Gallery insegue il sacro e non l’idea di sacro, ed è sorprendente come, per arrivare a esso, ci si debba appropriare della viscerale e nauseabonda condizione umana.

     

    DEVOTION: Mike Ballou, Joe Brittain, William Corwin, Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels, Elizabeth Ferry, Rico Gatson, Elisabeth Kley, Rachel Monosov, Roxy Paine, Joyce Pensato, Katie Bond Pretti, Carin Riley, Paul Anthony Smith, Justin Orvis Steimer, Gail Stoicheff, and Sophia Wallace. Co-Curated by William Corwin at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, New York. Through January 17, 2016.

     

    Roxy Paine, Rachel Monosov, William Corwin, Catinca Tabacaru Gallery

    Exhibition view of “Devotion” at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery
    Upper shelf: Rachel Monosov; William Corwin
    Lower shelf: Roxy Paine; 18th century icon from Romania; Rachel Monosov

    Sophia Wallace, Catinca Tabacaru Gallery

    Exhibition view of “Devotion” at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery
    Sophia Wallace, Untitled (She Who Is), 2015

    Elizabeth Ferry, Carin Riley, Gail Stoicheff, Justin Orvis Steimer, Paul Anthony Smith, Katie Bond Pretti, Catinca Tabacaru Gallery

    Exhibition view of “Devotion” at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery
    On the wall (left to right): Carin Riley; Gail Stoicheff; Justin Orvis Steimer; Paul Anthony Smith; Katie Bond Pretti
    Sculptures (left to right): Rico Gatson; Elizabeth Ferry; Roxy Paine

    Mike Ballou, Rico Gatson, Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels, Catinca Tabacaru Gallery

    Exhibition view of “Devotion” at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery
    Throne by Rico Gatson; rug by Mike Ballou; wood site-specific installation by Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels

  • Grand Magasin Deux at French Riviera 1988, London

     

    Grand Magasin Deux, French Riviera 1988

     

    If you are still panicking about your Christmas shopping, it might be worth planning a visit to the Grand Magasin Deux, a special festive project organized by French Riviera 1988 in East London.

    After the success of the first edition, artists Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski invited about forty creative makers to contribute with affordable artwork to the ‘shopping show’ – which will be on view until 20th December in the artist-run venue, a former shop then artist’s studio.

    The Grand Magasin Deux exhibition features a wide range of diverse practices, from sculptures, prints and ceramics to jewels and textiles, exploring the multiple aspects of the shopping experience; among them, the artwork by Ludovica Gioscia, who curated and co-realized the Pizzemblage sculpture project for Droste Effect.

    Grand Magasin Deux is at French Riviera 1988, London through Sunday 20 December 2015.

    With Daisy Addison, Fay Ballard, Owen Bullett, Harry Burden, Stuart Carey, Radio Cascabel, Pippa Choy, Dan Coopey, Will Cruickshank, Denise de Cordova, Marie D’Elbee, Ellen Mara De Wachter, Thomas Dozol, Tom Ellis, Kris Emmerson, Jessie Flood-Paddock, Seana Gavin, Ludovica Gioscia, The Grantchester Pottery, Vivienne Griffin, Lynn Hatzius, Holly Hayward, Fabienne Hess, Joey Holder, Siân Hislop, Rebecca Johnson, Beatrice Larkin, Melanie Levack, Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski, Cian McConn, Bryan Mills, Nicholas
    Pankhurst, Sonya Patel Ellis, Berry Patten, Lyle Perkins, Giles Round, Marianne Spurr, Nicola Tassie, Jennifer Taylor, Cicely Travers, Rocco Turino, Bea Turner, Jeremy Willett, Lucy Woodhouse.

     

     

  • A Walk Through The Art: Art Basel Miami 2015 – Miami Art Week

     

    Didem Civginoglu, Art Basel Miami 2015

    Miami, December 2015 © Didem Civginoglu

    The week commonly known as Miami Art Week or Art Basel Week now brings in the city more than 20 distinct art fairs located in both Miami and Miami Beach.

    If you missed this year’s edition on December 1 – 6, 2015, the following photo gallery is a walk-through of some of Miami Art Week’s main art fairs and a selection of collateral events and exhibitions.

    All photographs © Didem Civginoglu
    ART BASEL MIAMI 2015

    Art Basel Miami Beach is the most important art show in the United States, and the largest with over 500,000 square feet of exhibition space. Over 250 of the world’s leading galleries – from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa – show modern and contemporary art, drawing over 70,000 visitors each year.

    UNTITLED, MIAMI BEACH 2015

    Untitled is an international curated art fair founded in 2012. Untitled, Miami Beach selects a curatorial team to identify, and curate a selection of galleries, artist-run exhibition spaces, and non-profit institutions and organizations, in discussion with an architecturally designed venue.

     

    Toilet Paper Magazine, , Art Basel Miami 2015, Untitled art fair

    Toilet Paper Mag Lounge
    Untitled, Miami Beach 2015

    SCOPE MIAMI 2015

    SCOPE celebrates its 15th anniversary edition with 120 international exhibitors from 22 countries and 57 cities. Scope Miami Beach debuts a more spacious pavilion to showcase a robust VIP program featuring three curated sections: Juxtapoz Presents, the Breeder Program, and FEATURE.

     

    X CONTEMPORARY 2015

    The new art fair named X Contemporary made its debut during Art Basel Miami 2015. The X Contemporary art fair opened in the Wynwood district, across from Wynwood Walls, with a 28,000 square foot exhibition space.

     

    TWINS @ The Satellite

    TWINS by Mattia Casalegno is a site-specific, multimedia installation of flat screens displaying bondaged bodies, enslaved subjects, objects of both desire and cruelty. The project TWINS has been curated and produced by sarahcrown and Standard Practice on the occasion of The Satellite Project in Miami, December 1-6, 2015 and is the first public exposure of an ongoing research that will develop into a larger exhibition in NYC in 2016.

     

    Art Basel Miami 2015, Mattia Casalegno, The Satellite Project, Sarah Corona

    Mattia Casalegno, TWINS at The Satellite Project in Miami, December 1-6, 2015

    WALLS OF CHANGE

    Curated by Goldman Properties’ CEO Jessica Goldman Srebnick since 2012, Wynwood Walls’ program for Miami Art Week 2015, Walls of Change, included 14 new large scale murals and installations by globally acclaimed street artists, as well as a program of events within the art park that will be free and open to the public.

     

    Didem Civginoglu, Art Basel Miami Beach 2015

    Miami, December 2015 © Didem Civginoglu

    Didem Civginoglu, Art Basel Miami Beach 2015

    Miami, December 2015 © Didem Civginoglu

  • Alessandro Di Pietro and Jacopo Miliani at CAB Grenoble

    Until the New Year, the two upper floors of the Centre d’Art Bastille in Grenoble, France will be hosting artwork by artists Alessandro Di Pietro and Jacopo Miliani, who were selected for the Double Cross project.

    Developed within PIANO, the Franco-Italian curatorial platform directed by Simone Frangi and Vincent Verlé, the Double Cross project was created through a draft exchange, by following the specifics of the two organizations of which Verlé and Frangi are the main curators: CAB (Centre d’Art Bastille in Grenoble) and Viafarini DOCVA (Milano).

    The two curators respectively chose two Italian artists and two French artists who spent a residency of one month in Grenoble and a residency of one month in Milan (both in the Fall of 2015).

     

    Jacopo Miliani, CAB, Grenoble

    Jacopo Miliani, Not with a Bang, 2015
    Courtesy the artist, CAB, Grenoble, FRUTTA, Rome and Studio Dabbeni, Lugano.

     

    The name Double Cross was chosen because, in the current scientific language, the expression refers to a genetic process that produces a hybrid entity of two existing hybrid entities. The month of workshop and residency for the four artists led them to explore and hybridize their artistic directions.

    “I would say that our cooperation has had, from the outset, a predisposition not to be explicit. The placement on two different floors of the CAB made it impossible for a direct visual relationship between the various elements of our installations, but intensified the dialogue between two different methods of semantic re-elaboration in space.”*

     

    Alessandro Di Pietro, CAB, Grenoble

    Alessandro Di Pietro, AZATN – Props, 2015
    Courtesy the artist, CAB – Grenoble

     

    At the very first floor we can observe the modular installation proposed by Alessandro Di Pietro. The display is formed by six iron and concrete elements presenting the accessories to an ongoing project, based on the reinterpretation of a movie by Peter Greenaway, A Zed and Two Noughts. The artist decided to focus his attention on the last scene of the movie: Di Pietro creates a cluster of scientific, naturalistic and artistic images which analyze the real nature of the human being and its limits.

    The works of art presented at CAB show the symbolical elements of this scene and, at the same time, propose a rework onto them to create, de facto, a new script.

    The installation by Alessandro Di Pietro at CAB represents the third step of an ongoing project that will lead to the eventual realization of a film. The artist considers the production of a movie like a longterm research program, that starts with an installation, evolves into a performative act, and ends through a speculative phase (post-production). Due to that, the film won’t be a remake, but a new production. The works presented at CAB show elements of a cinematographic “grammar system,” that here are used as components for a plastic research. Here cinema is considered to be as a field of real actions that allows the artist to engender the raw material for his artistic research.

     

    Alessandro Di Pietro, CAB, Grenoble

    Alessandro Di Pietro, AZATN – Props, 2015
    Courtesy the artist, CAB – Grenoble

    Alessandro Di Pietro, CAB, Grenoble

    Alessandro Di Pietro, AZATN – Props, 2015
    Courtesy the artist, CAB – Grenoble

    Alessandro Di Pietro, CAB, Grenoble

    Alessandro Di Pietro, AZATN – Props, 2015
    Courtesy the artist, CAB – Grenoble

     

    Stepping down to the second floor (the building has three floors but the entrance is at the top) we find a space completely dedicated to an installation by Jacopo Miliani. The second Italian artist chosen to take part in the Double Cross project dedicated his work to the novel Not With a Bang by Howard Fast. The story is about a strange phenomenon that happens one evening in front of the hero’s eyes: a hand appears from the horizon, takes the sun and makes it completely disappear.

    Miliani gives a conceptualized interpretation to this story, in which two fundamental elements (the hand and the sun) are represented in different aspects. The magnificent sculptural quality of these elements is underlined by the presence of three carpets that become like flat pedestals, and the peculiar displays both show and cover their captions: the story is shown just as a fragment that suggests but doesn’t reveal itself.

     

    Jacopo Miliani, CAB, Grenoble

    Jacopo Miliani, Not with a Bang, 2015
    Courtesy the artist, CAB, Grenoble, FRUTTA, Rome and Studio Dabbeni, Lugano.

     

    “As regards the constant fruition within the imaginative process, we could say that this was also the central theme of two workshops, which we conducted in parallel, with a few young Grenoble artists. With their imagination, we worked starting from two strong images from the stories we had taken as a reference: the hand that turns the sun off in Fast’s story and the figures of the twins in Greenaway’s film.”*

    * Quotes from an interview on PIANO

    Alessandro Di Pietro and Jacopo Miliani, Double Cross, curated by Vincent Verlé at CAB – Centre d’Art Bastille in Grenoble through January 3, 2016

     

    Jacopo Miliani, CAB, Grenoble

    Jacopo Miliani, Not with a Bang, 2015
    Courtesy the artist, CAB, Grenoble, FRUTTA, Rome and Studio Dabbeni, Lugano.

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