• 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

    Follow Droste Effect on Instagram

  • 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.

  • Defining the indefinite: Political Populism at Kunsthalle Wien

    Political Populism is a group show curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen for Kunsthalle Wien. The exhibition takes under consideration the concerning rise of political populism in contemporary society, and the increasing spread of populist aesthetics in media and social media. The border between political rhetoric and populism is quite tight. The American Heritage Dictionary defines populism as “a political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against the privileged elite”. In despite of any definition, populism is not a pure political philosophy – it changes over time. It has no precise statement and it acts as a metamorphic political agent. Populism is like a transversal phenomenon, a charismatic modality through which it’s possible to link voters to politicians. It is often a successful strategy, and politicians adopt it in order to receive electoral support. However, we won’t be surprised when we see politicians first use distributive rhetorics and then end up choosing policies in line with the interests of the rich elite.

     

    Christian Falsnaes, Influence (Videostill), 2012, Courtesy PSM, Berlin

    Christian Falsnaes, Influence (Videostill), 2012, Courtesy PSM, Berlin

     

    Political Populism arrives at a particular moment for Europe and for peaceful Austria. Europe is right in the middle of an epochal migration. It is a remarkable democratic event, a logical consequence of new world assets and new forms of internationalism. The globalization of markets brought to a globalization of migrations as a side consequence. The scar of mobility is represented in Flaka Haliti’s installation, where yellow bags filled with blue sand are a reference to uprooting and to the loss of possessions associated with leaving one’s home behind. The choice of moving is addressed in Jun Yang’s narration – the story of the artist’s parents’ migration told through a self-reflexive identity reconstruction. During the last Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, curator Carolyn Christov Bakargiev moved part of the exhibition to Kabul in Afghanistan. On that occasion, Goshka Macuga produced two tapestries: Of what is, that it is; Of what is not, that it is not No. 1 and No. 2. Part 1, originally shown in Kassel and now exhibited in Vienna, depicts a crowd of Afghans and Westerners in front of the Darul Aman Palace outside of Kabul. Part 2, originally exhibited in Kabul, shows an art-world crowd and protesters gathered outside of the Orangerie in Kassel. Both scenes are conceived as complementary halves and will never be exhibited together. These physical and ideal moments push us to conceptually think the entire panorama of migration from a different perspective. This exhibition not only explores the aesthetic potential of the contemporary nomadic condition, but also its media-related effects. Artwork such as the one by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, The Incidental Insurgents, Part 3: When the fall of the dictionary leaves all words lying in the street, are able to stress the boundaries of language and let the connections between facts and fiction emerge. The paratextual order of contemporary art strategies endorses the idea that visual art can “mediate across the borders and speak in immigrant tongues with multiple accents,” as Svetlana Boym pointed out in Immigrant Arts, Diasporic Intimacy, and Alternative Solidarity. On the other hand, it is funny to see how the so-called mass-media culture reacts to these democratic phenomena. The audience in the exhibition can easily compare different populist narrations on the subject of migration: as portrayed by the media on the one hand, and the exhibited artists’ critical views on mass media communication on the other.

     

    Installation view: Political Populism, Kunsthalle Wien 2015, Photo: Stephan Wyckoff: Goshka Macuga, Model for a Sculpture (Family), 2011, Courtesy the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York; Of what is, that it is; Of what is not, that it is not 1, 2012, Courtesy the artist and Prada Collection, Milano

    Installation view: Political Populism, Kunsthalle Wien 2015, Photo: Stephan Wyckoff: Goshka Macuga, Model for a Sculpture (Family), 2011, Courtesy the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York; Of what is, that it is; Of what is not, that it is not 1, 2012, Courtesy the artist and Prada Collection, Milano

    Installation view: Political Populism, Kunsthalle Wien 2015, Photo: Stephan Wyckoff: Jun Yang, Goldenes Zimmer, 2015, Eat Drink Art Business, 2015, Paris Syndrome (Indoor Plants), 2007–ongoing, Wiener Paravent, 2015, Wiener Sitzgruppe, 2015, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna

    Installation view: Political Populism, Kunsthalle Wien 2015, Photo: Stephan Wyckoff: Jun Yang, Goldenes Zimmer, 2015, Eat Drink Art Business, 2015, Paris Syndrome (Indoor Plants), 2007–ongoing, Wiener Paravent, 2015, Wiener Sitzgruppe, 2015, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna

     

    Political Populism doesn’t deal only with migration, for the idea of political portrayal and its connections with populism are also disputed – like in Simon Denny’s installation Secret Power Highlighted, in which the role of technology is diligently emphasized. In Denny’s artistic research the function of symbols is explored in relation to human knowledge and established power. Indeed, the exhibition seeks to destroy common (accepted) sense. The discourse is shifted to nitty-gritty contents, and to a wide-ranging articulation of issues and responses associated with the complex and contested concept of populism in the political – and thereby social – realm.

     

    Installation view: Political Populism, Kunsthalle Wien 2015, Photo: Stephan Wyckoff: Simon Denny, Secret Power Highlighted, 2015, Courtesy the artist, Galerie Buchholz Berlin/Cologne and Galerie Petzel, New York

    Installation view: Political Populism, Kunsthalle Wien 2015, Photo: Stephan Wyckoff: Simon Denny, Secret Power Highlighted, 2015, Courtesy the artist, Galerie Buchholz Berlin/Cologne and Galerie Petzel, New York

     

    What emerges from Political Populism is also that populism, as every aspect of life, is elusive to political sciences. It seems that the macrotheme could be forever indefinable. A sort of never-ending contradiction, that finds in the artistic representation not a crystallization, but simply another shape. Thus, all attempts to embody a strategy in a very specific format are simply a failure. On the one hand, indeed, the exhibition seems to claim for itself a critical role in a wider discourse, and on the other it outlines the incomplete perimeter of an increasing phenomenon. As in Hito Steyerl’s Factory of the Sun, the world depicted by Nicolaus Schafhausen is increasingly heterodox. In such populistic climax, we could observe a growing number of people ready to change their minds at any time. Political awareness can suddenly collapse, as pointed out by Anna Jermolaewa’s work. The 2-channel video Political Extras by Anna Jermolaewa is above all an interesting attempt to establish a parallelism between populism and art institutions. During the last Moscow Biennale, Jermolaewa paid around one hundred people to demonstrate both for and against the international art event. By selling their political bodies, the protesters became symbols of purchased media manipulation under the guise of a democratic form of protest. This affinity may not be based on a common belief, but rather on the very contradictory nature of contemporary society. So people – and established artists – can avoid paying attention or being ashamed of being immersed in an empty and hedonistic world. A world in which populism is growing, while we try to define it.

    Political Populism at Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier, Vienna till February 7, 2016.

  • Katja Loher’s Interplanetary Orchestration in New York

    On November 11, New-York based artist Katja Loher‘s latest production was at the center of an exhibition event named “Interplanetary Orchestration on 11.11,” that took place inside the artist’s studio loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The show was hosted by Emerging Collective, an NGO which supports artists working at the intersection of activism and the avant-garde. Fellow artist Arianna Carossa introduced us to Katja, and we were able to attend to her event night and interview her.

     

    Katja Loher, Interplanetary Orchestration, New York

    Katja Loher at her exhibition-event Interplanetary Orchestration in her studio loft in Williamsburg on 11.11.2015
    Photo by Yulia Rock

     

    Arianna Carossa: The severed tree pieces are among the most impressive artwork on show. Water-like bubbles emerge from the wood to englobe video projections of footage taken in natural environments and superimposed to performers in different insect costumes. How do you conceive these bubbles: like a growth from the tree or like something external to it? It made me think of Lacan’s concept of «excrescence», or growth, where organic matter gets created and grows towards the outside. He uses this concept often when he’s writing about art. So in this case the movement is from the inside to the outside, and not the opposite. Am I right?

    Katja Loher: Yes, that’s correct. It is part of the tree. There is anyways an opposition, as in human versus nature, because I use technology and artificial materials like acrylic. But at the same time it’s a symbiosis that’s being built with these tools. The delicate relationship we have with our ecological environment and the imbalance we are creating are some of my biggest concerns. In these most recent productions, I found an organic continuation to that topic. I assigned an element to each of the three trees: air, water and earth, as they nourish and sustain life symbiotically and synergistically. The element fire will follow, and it’s more challenging since it’s a destructive element of the sculpture itself, and it’s going to be translated into a constant deconstruction. When I choose a tree for these sculptures, it is very important that it’s already dead. I’m working on a big project on the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, so I would never cut a tree. It is dead wood, but gets brought back to life by the video. Some of the trees were already hollowed out by nature. They are found objects, that then we cut and modify as little as possible. Maybe we could call it a process of incarnation: dead trees become alive again!

    Arianna Carossa: For Hegel, nature is perfect and it allows one to feel the spirit. Art is another way of doing that. In this case, you use dead nature to create the same circle

    Katja Loher: The idea came to me while I was in the Amazon last year, and I was working and living with indigenous people. In Peru, they believe every plant has a spirit. I was always wondering, what is the spirit of a plant, what do they mean by that? Then I had the pleasure to meet some of them and that’s when that idea was born. One year later, here they are.

     

    Katja Loher, Interplanetary Orchestration, New York

    Installation view at artist’s studio loft. Photo: Andew Frost
    Tree#1 (back): What will replace the green when it’s all disappeared?
    Tree#2 (right): How is the shade of 3D printed trees?
    Tree#3 (front): Why do clouds cry so much when the forest becomes a void?
    Gray Elm Tree stumps with video-bubbles and sound

     

    Arianna Carossa: By looking at some of the playful displays that you have here – for instance, Endangered Species, Pollinators – I was asking myself if humor is an important part of your work.

    Katja Loher: I’m trying to translate important messages with poetic resonance, humor and playfulness. I’m not trying to make these things look real. For instance, in my videos I make a particular use of the green screen. I am passionate of 1970s sci-fi productions, where they would use the green screen but without trying to achieve perfectly credible special effects. I think that already has a certain irony to it. My choreographies are often amusing, employing patterns and movements that mimic the wiggle of bees for example. The point of observation changes when the bird’s-eye view is alternated with actions of zooming-in on the performers, to the point of capturing the expressions on their faces. But much of my work indeed addresses ecological issues and the future of humanity, dependent on overlooked details such as the plight of bees. The themes I address are complex – the more you look, the more you have to think about. You come to realize it’s very serious: all the bees are dying. The series you mentioned, Endangered Species, Pollinators, is dedicated to the four most important pollinators, that are disappearing due to pesticides, climate change, habitant lost, genetically modified crops, deforestation – leading to an environmental catastrophe. Having performance videos of humans in bee costumes is a way of pushing the viewer to identify with these creatures, that are often forgotten. Moreover, bees communicate through body language, so staging these dances was particularly appropriate. But all these works use a very easy approach – one aspect of which is beauty, and another is trying not to be too serious about it. That relates to my personality, since I had to stop taking things very seriously. There is a lightness in the depth.

    Arianna Carossa: As an artist you can be both ironic and serious, you don’t have to be rigid. I discovered, for instance, that my past artwork was much more rigid: I felt I had to be perfect and fulfill all the “requirements”.

    Katja Loher: I’m from Switzerland, and I noticed this tendency there, too. For example, there’s a bias against beauty. You can formulate a strong message only if it’s not “beautiful”, and the aesthetics of emptiness are far more appreciated. I adopt a bird’s eye view for each video to simulate the effect of looking through a microscope or a telescope to inspire my audience to find answers from another viewpoint.

     

    Katja Loher, Interplanetary Orchestration, New York

    Installation view at artist’s studio loft. Photo: Andrew Frost
    Front: Last supper? (2012), acrylic table with embedded video screen.
    Right: Endangered Species, Pollinators (2014), acrylic pills, video screens embedded in colored acrylic cases.
    Back: PORTALS (2014), acrylic hemispheres, video screens embedded in wooden white finished cases.

     

    Arianna Carossa: Video installations such as Earthplanet and Waterplanet, that you projected onto suspended spheres, cast very interesting shadows.

    Katja Loher: The shadows are a very important part of the installation. I project my videos bigger than the spheres themselves for the purpose of creating an eclipse effect on the wall behind, that adds another dimension to the artwork. In general in the installations located upstairs in this exhibition, part of the video footage of the video composition is recorded in the Amazon in Peru, then is combined with choreographies performed on chroma key backgrounds. In this series, each video contains questions that are related to the element they represent. It is in a way a text-based work, realized through performance. We can discover questions like: “How does transparency taste?”, or “How does honey taste like when it’s made by robot-bees?,” and “Can Co2 be eaten by invisible hummingbirds?”. These questions are created in collaboration with Gian Maria Annovi. I incorporate the written word in my “Video-sculptures” by choreographing dancers in a bird’s eye view onto a green screen as they perform my “Video-alphabet.” During the post-production phase, I assemble these dancing letters into a series of poetic questions. Other parts of the backgrounds in the videos are created in my video lab, where I experiment with cymatics, the study of visible sound based on vibration. I’m working more and more with video, traveling to places to record footage. I’m planning trips to paradise nature and I’m starting to choreograph outdoor on site. My next big project is in Miami, where I’ll learn how to use a camera drone, so I can record bird’s-eye views outside in nature. All my work has also a sound layer, especially composed by long-term collaborator and audio designer Asako Fujimoto.

     

    Katja Loher, Interplanetary Orchestration, New York

    Left: Earthplanet (2014)
    Right: Waterplanet (2014)
    Video projections onto floating spheres
    Photo: Andrew Frost

     

    Matilde Soligno: Your video sculpture Time bubble contains a video featuring Philip Glass. How did this collaboration happen?

    Katja Loher: I made a series of bubbles containing different video installations, as part of an ongoing concept where I imagine to conserve artifacts from planet Earth – like a DNA to rebuild Earth when it’s gone. I was working on the Time bubble, and the idea was to see time as an artifact. This piece consists of a two-channel video composition, featuring the Master of Time on one side. In the other bubble we discover a group of dancers who imitate the mechanized movements of a clock’s various components, following the composer’s directions like sections of an orchestra. I was producing this piece and I was just looking for the Master of Time when I met Philip Glass. I asked him if he was willing to be the Master for my Time bubble, and he said yes. And that’s how that happened.

     

    Katja Loher, Philip Glass, New York

    Katja Loeher, Timebubble (2011)
    With Philip Glass
    Two-channel video composition, 3:10 min each, looped
    Hand-blown glass bubbles, video screen embedded in an acrylic pedestal
    36 x 36 x 25cm (14 x 14 x 10 in.)
    Photo: F. X. Brun

     

    Arianna Carossa: In your artwork, you use video projections, a two-dimensional medium. At your exhibition event, you had performers dressed as different animals engaging the audience. How did you decide to go from one to the other?

    Katja Loher: I started with live performance as a student, then for some time I took part in many group performances, Video Orchestra: we traveled throughout Europe doing multimedia live performances. The live show aspect is something I find fascinating. Choreography and dance are my tools to create my videos. At my opening, I brought characters in as part of the installation. The idea is that these creatures are visiting us for a moment of time. It’s a way to connect the viewer more directly with the artwork.

     

    Katja Loher, Interplanetary Orchestration, New York

    Katja Loher, Interplanetary Orchestration, New York

    A performer in a bat costume interacts with the audience at Katja Loher’s exhibition-event Interplanetary Orchestration on 11.11.2015. Photo: Yulia Rock.

     

    Matilde Soligno: What are your next projects?

    Katja Loher: I’m working on a few bigger commissions: a museum commission based on a big tree trunk, and an Art on Architecture intervention in Miami, that will inaugurate in May 2016. The Miami installation will be in a passageway of a new building, where we will embed a number of 8ft-diameter video circles into the ceiling. I’m also working at an art architecture project for the new constructed building for the headquarter in Switzerland, that will open in 2 years: for SwissGrid we will work with artists and architects on part of the building’s structure. In December, some of my artwork will be in Miami for Art Basel. I’m also getting ready for my next solo shows: one in December in Bogotà, one in January in Zurich, and one in April in São Paulo. Lastly, a book will be published next year about my last 10 years of career.

     

    Katja Loher, Interplanetary Orchestration, New York

    Katja Loher’s exhibition-event Interplanetary Orchestration on 11.11.2015. Photo by Yulia Rock

    Katja Loher, Interplanetary Orchestration, New York

    Installation view at artist’s studio loft- Photo: Andrew Frost
    Top: Videoplanet (2014), video projection onto floating sphere.
    Right: PORTALS (2014), acrylic hemispheres, video screens embedded in wooden white finished cases.

  • SPRINT is back / The independent publishers’ salon in Milan

     

    SPRINT, independent publishers, salon, Milano

     

    Milan is buzzing this weekend. The third edition of SPRINT will be held in town on November 27-29th. This publishers’ and artists’ books salon, successful outcome of the collaboration between Spazio O’ and Dafne Boggeri, aims at showcasing the most interesting experiences in the international independent publishing scene.

    Special guest of this year’s edition is the charming artist Nathalie Du Pasquier, who needs no introduction. Her exhibition TOMORROW I COULD SAY SOMETHING ELSE at Agalma opening on Friday 27 at 6.30 p.m. will mark the beginning of this three-day event. Various talks and video screenings are other highlights of the event. Thanks to the workshop RISOGRRRAPH, participants are given the possibility to test an eco-friendly printing system that enables everyone to print small editions in a cheap and professional way. The tradition of BLADE BANNER continues, a correlated event in which various artists are invited to produce an image and print it on a silk fabric module. The result will be shown during the salon, with the idea of building a traveling exhibition.

    From its first edition in 2013, SPRINT has made a special effort to extend collaborations and experiences, involving new publishing and artistic realities. Last but not least, you cannot miss the SPRINT PARTY, Saturday 28, from 11.00 PM to 03.00 AM, with DJ sets by Alieni and Isamit Morales, at Giorgio Di Salvo Bar Vintage, Piazzale Lagosta 6, Milan.

    SPRINT independent publishers and artists’ books salon is in Milan on 27-29 November, 2015.

     

    SPRINT, independent publishers, salon, Milano

    Nathalie Du Pasquier, Burundy, Memphis textile, 1983

Wed Development by THX88.net Digital Art Factory