• Girls Heart Brussels 2016 – A dive into Brussel’s vibrating scene

     

    Girls Heart Brussels 2016

    Girls Heart Brussels 2016

     

    Wait is over! A year has already gone by, and the good news are that it’s time for the third edition of Girls Heart Brussels. The three-day event, dedicated to women who love women and anyone who wants to discover the Belgium capital from a queer and feminist angle, is taking place from the 22nd to the 24th of April. The intent, anticipated by the previous, successful editions, is to create a regular appointment that could be more intellectually stimulating than other gay gatherings throughout Europe.

    As usual, Girls Heart Brussels 2016 coincides with Art Brussels, which makes the weekend particularly special and intriguing for anyone interested in the contemporary art scene, especially from a female prospective.  Art lovers have the unique chance to explore both the mainstream and the underground vibes – to visit the art fair as well as a number of appealing collateral events (such us the Independent and Poppositions art fairs) .

    Taking a closer look to Art Brussels, this year’s edition has found a new home, Tour & Taxis, and has been reduced in size, betting on quality over quantity. 141 galleries from 28 countries are distributed in three main sections: PRIME, DISCOVERY, that presents the work of a younger generation of artists and supports emerging galleries and a new section; REDISCOVERY, which aims at counteracting the ‘presentism’ inherent in contemporary art fairs displaying the works by important artists, living and deceased, from the historic avant-garde, who have been under-estimated, overlooked, or unduly forgotten. There will also be 24 galleries participating in SOLO, a section dedicated to the presentation of individual artists’ work.

     

    Edith Dekyndt

    Edith Dekyndt, OMBRE INDIGENE Part.2, Martinique Island, 2014

     

    Moreover, participants to Girls Heart Brussels 2016 will visit the first major retrospective by Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt at WIELS. Under Dirk Snauwaert’s wing, the show, evocatively entitled INDIGENOUS SHADOW, effectively embodies the combination of science and magic, technique and intuition that characterized Dekyndt’s work. Old and ad hoc pieces are called together in order to bring the post-industrial space of the museum to life, and highlight the energies that animate the world. With the attitude of a scientist, she makes underlying and intrinsic processes visible by using techniques such as fermentation, accumulation, extraction, reduction, or excess of energetic fluxes.  She uses  means such us copper, yeast, earth, water from the local river Senne, and the bacteria used to brew the Brussels specialty beer, gueuze, to question the possible result of the domination of man over his environment on the one hand, and the relation of interdependence regulating everything that inhabits this earth on the other.

    Nevertheless, thanks to the selected must-sees, participants can enjoy the best experience of Belgian fashion, food, and dancing. Speaking of which, remember to save your energy for the Catclub party, always a success!

    Girls Heart Brussels 2016, a project by Jessica Gysel with the support of Brussels Board of tourism, is the perfect occasion to visit this fascinating and increasingly gay friendly destination.

    The package-price is 199 euro per person and 249 per couple.

    Girls Heart Brussels: Brussels, various locations, Fri 22 – Sun 24 April 2016

  • The 2016 AIPAD Photography Show in New York

    The AIPAD Photography Show opened today in New York, and it will be open to the public through Sunday, April 17, at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

    A fairly small but well known art fair dedicated to photography, The Photography Show | presented by AIPAD is now at its 36th edition, and once again the show features miscellaneous artwork.

     

    Edwynn Houk Gallery, Abelardo Morell, AIPAD, The Photography Show, New York

    Abelardo Morell:
    Flowers – for Lisa #2 (2015), detail
    Edwynn Houk Gallery

     

    As usual, part of the art fair is devoted to the history of photography, where black and white classic masters alternate with unknown authors of nostalgic allure, coming in a variety of obsolete techniques. A small selection of photo documents, such as vintage NASA photographs, are also part of the group.

    For this photo gallery of installation views and artwork close-ups, we focused on the most contemporary pieces presented by the galleries on show, to find out what AIPAD has to offer when coming to terms with new ways of thinking photography as a mean for producing contemporary artwork.

     

    The Photography Show | presented by AIPAD
    April 14 – 17, 2016
    Park Avenue Armory, New York

     

  • London Agenda: Dissent as an iPhone app @ Arebyte

    Wednesday 13 April, 18:30

    Arebyte Gallery
    Queen’s Yard, White Post Ln,
    London E9 5EN

    How participation can challenge the format of the exhibition on line? On the occasion of the last days of the exhibition ‘Dissent as an iPhone app’, Arebyte and SPACE present an evening of debate on interaction in the virtual space, to discuss the model of the exhibition and methods behind the artists’ work.

    Arebyte, London, Debora Delmar Corp, Saemundur Thor Helgason, Daniel Keller & Ella Plevin

    Dissent as an iPhone App
    Debora Delmar Corp, Saemundur Thor Helgason, Daniel Keller & Ella Plevin
    Arebyte Gallery, London

     

    Dissent is an evening of screenings and dialogue investigating the relationship between dissent as a process and as the intersection between user-generated content, branded space and behavioral psychology. The evening will be split between an initial screening about how artists have used virtual space and media in films along with a talk by the curator about the Dissent app and the possibilities afforded by apps for curatorial purposes. In the second half, Debora Delmar and Saemundur Thor Helgason will join Angels Miralda for a further discussion about the works in the exhibition. The winner of the Dissent iPad air will be announced at the end of the evening, there is still time to contribute to the forum and enter to win!

    - Words by Angela Miralda, curator

     

    Arebyte and SPACE present: Dissent as an iPhone app
    FREE, Booking available via Eventbrite:
    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/openprocess-5-dissent-tickets-24015473929

     

    SCHEDULE:
    18.30 – 18.40 Introduction
    18:40 – 19:10 Screening
    Thomas Yeomans – A Common Future
    Jon Rafman – You, The World, And I
    Sydney Shen – Master’s Chambers
    Joey Holder & Viktor Timofeev – Lament of Ur
    19:10 – 20:10 Discussion with Angels Miralda / Debora Delmar Corp. / Saemundur Thor Helgason
    20:10 – 20:30 Q&A

     

  • Arianna Carossa: Limoni at Casa Jorn Museum

    Arianna Carossa, Museo Casa Jorn

     

    When you go see a show of Arianna Carossa, you know you’re not going to be bored. The Italian-born, New York-based artist focuses on site-specific, almost environmental installations, that engage in an ever-changing dialogue with the exhibition space. With a process similar to that of Philippe Parreno, Carossa conceives the whole exhibition as a single artwork, each part linked to the other and to the space to create a harmonious whole.

     

    Arianna Carossa, Museo Casa Jorn
    Arianna Carossa, Museo Casa Jorn

     

    On the occasion of her first solo show at Casa Jorn, a museum in Albissola, Italy, founded in the former house of the artist of the Cobra group Asger Jorn, Arianna Carossa lives up to our expectations, approaching the space in her usual, unconventional style. A mannequin is scattered around, its arms and legs hidden in corners or against the walls in the fashion of a fancy and shiny Robert Gober, the rest of his body arranged in big, sculptural installations. The dismembered mannequin shares the rooms with small pieces of gold ceramic, hands, feet, a watermelon. Since Carossa started exploring ceramic in 2014, her relation with the material yielded unexpected, impressive results. Being, as she defines herself, “obsessed with remains,” Carossa started collecting pieces of broken statuettes, vases and ornaments, and melting them together to create new works and give the abandoned objects a new life. Her work has a perceivable complexity, both aesthetic and conceptual, yet being at the same time pleasantly cheerful and ironic. To better understand her practice, and also to have some fun, I decided to let Carossa explain herself in an interview. Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

     

    Arianna Carossa, Museo Casa Jorn

     

    Ludovica Capobianco:  The interaction with the exhibition space is a pivotal element of your practice. What kind of relation did you feel with a strong environment such as Casa Jorn?

    Arianna Carossa: I wasn’t fascinated by the house itself, as I perceived it as an actual house and not as a museum. The place is incredibly beautiful, but that didn’t affect what the house was and is to me, a house, someone else’s house.

    LC: In recent years, you’ve been working with ceramic using a “Duchampian” approach. What inspired you to explore this medium, and why did you decide to direct your research towards a process of reuse and somehow rebirth of the objects, rather than creating something ex novo?

    AC: I’m obsessed with order. I can’t stand the idea of something unused, it bothers me when something doesn’t have its own space. My urgency is that nothing is left behind. The object left unused in favor of something new leaves me full of sorrow.

    LC:  What’s the area of the house you felt more connected with, and why?

    AC: The bathroom, because I felt it was more connected with the pieces I had in mind for the exhibition. Furthermore, it was a space both intimate and recreational at the same time, strongly characterized, and that gave me more inputs to work on.

     

    Arianna Carossa, Museo Casa Jorn

     

    LC:   What’s the biggest challenge you faced during the show?

    AC: I’ve always thought that the biggest challenge of an exhibition is not that of creating and presenting great artwork, but that of connecting and communicating with the audience, that’s the most complex part. Because, at least for me, it’s not easy to verbally explain my practice, especially in situations like this one, where I have to contextualize my work in a place that for many people is so important it’s almost untouchable.

    LC:   The pieces you created for the show have strongly anthropomorphic features, was it due to a subconscious desire to “repopulate” the museum?

    AC: Not really, honestly I think that the Jorn museum is already pretty alive. I had this mannequin hanging around in my studio for a while, probably I would have used it anyway, but I especially liked the contrast between its apathetic, grey skin, and the lively hues of Casa Jorn.

    LC:   You recently published a book about the possibility of creating imaginary exhibitions without actually producing any artwork. Is this a statement that you feel you’re somehow employing in this exhibition, or that it has in any way influenced your artistic process?

    AC: The show at Casa Jorn and the book are surely connected, first of all by me. The empty and the full, pieces and remains. Everything we’re talking about that seems to be my work, it’s not. Germano Cecere, a scientist and a good friend of mine, once told me that the real issue is not that of knowing the human genome, the DNA, but that of understanding what’s around it. When I think about it, what we look at, what we find under our light, sometimes it all seems to me like something more. I’m obsessed with remains.

     

    Arianna Carossa, Museo Casa Jorn

     

    LC:  The pieces exhibited were also made in Albissola, at studio Mazzotti 1903, one of the city’s well-known ceramic factories. What kind of relationship was created between you, the city, the museums and the artwork?

    AC: I became attached to Albissola, to its ceramic and to the area, I felt at home there. I became attached to all the people I worked with, and they taught me a lot – even though I’m still not sure about how I employed their teaching in the exhibition. I met a very special person, Tiziana Casapietra, founder of www.radicarte.eu. We may start collaborating on some projects together, so Albissola brings me luck not only because of the ceramic.

    LC: If you could pick an artist, dead or alive, for an exhibition at Casa Jorn, who would they be, and why?

    AC: I would invite Tino Sehgal, no doubts about it. I think he’s an extraordinary artist and I hope to have the chance to meet him soon. I would be curious to see what he would create in Casa Jorn’s rooms, which are so different from his usual contexts.

    LC: What’s the feeling you wish to arise in the exhibition’s audience?

    AC: I’m amused by the variety and complexity of people’s reactions, especially in front of a work with which is not easy to connect and relate. For example, there’re people who laughed, and then told me that my work was touching.

     

    Arianna Carossa, Museo Casa Jorn

     

    LC: If you could bring back to New York a piece of the house or of the exhibition, what would it be?

    AC: I’ll bring back myself, and everything I carry with me, what exceeds but also what I need to create something new. Yet it won’t be bad to bring back the bathroom, given the dimension of those in New York.

    LC: Who would you like to thank, or dedicate this exhibition to?

    AC: I want to thank and dedicate this show to all the people who trust me, and show it everyday, participating actively in my projects and giving me the possibility to realize them.  I dedicate the show to Laura and Antonello. And I want to thank you, Ludovica and Matilde for this interview.

    Arianna Carossa: Limoni, curated by Luca Bochicchio at Casa Museo Asger Jorn, Albissola, Italy through May 29th, 2016

     

    Arianna Carossa, Museo Casa Jorn

  • States of Becoming: Emilie Pugh at The Cob Gallery

    States of Becoming is a solo exhibition of recent work by the British Artist Emilie Pugh. It brings together over 20 works of varying scale and technique, which investigate the micro and macro structures of life and the conflicting and confluent universal forces that govern them. “

     

    img_6335.jpg

     

    For those that have not yet seen this artists work here as a quick introduction:

    Emilie Pugh is a London based visual artist. She studied at Byam Shaw School of Art and at The Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing at Oxford University.

    In her own words:

    What are the main themes within your work?

    I am interested in the interconnectivity of all living things. My work draws on systems of belief from the spiritual to the scientific, the micro to the macro and the forces that govern them. So I look at images of cells, anatomy and space as well as imaging what the invisible energy that runs through them might look like. The pulse, a breath, psychological cartographies; things that are felt rather then seen. 

    What are the materials and process you use?

    I use a wide variety of mediums and processes to make my work , often using quite unconventional methods like burning into paper using a lit incense stick, using gunpowder, chemicals, bleach and light as well as the more conventional pen and ink or pencil. The choice of material and the processes are often bound up with the concepts themselves. The materials carry meaning in their physical properties. 

    What inspires you, other than your main themes?

    I get my inspiration from all sorts of places from listening to podcasts and lectures to sitting in book shops or travelling to new places. I made an incredible trip to Japan a few years ago where I was introduced to Taosim and zen philosophy that is still informing my work today. I love London, it is a really exciting place to work but I grew up in the countryside and I still I find that things become clearest to me when I am closer to nature. 

    The images vary in size from the vast “Anatomy of thought” 420cm high and 270 cm wide, commanding the window and both floors of the gallery space, through to the “Nocturne” series grouping empathetically together in the corridor space.

     

    img_6331.jpg

     

    These works are beautiful and graceful, they make me think of sea creatures, or the fins of fan tailed fish, constellations and the cosmos, to flowers and cells. There is both nature and philosophy in the images.

     

    img_6334.jpg

     

    “86400 voids” is a lesson in mindfulness. The “hybrid series” (both black and white) are an idea of studying anatomy, of understanding something through looking, seeing, and feeling.

     

    img_6333.jpg

     

    This body of work showcases knowledge of materials, of challenging materials, and pushing boundaries of how materials can be both a tool and a subject. It explores where we are within the universe both physically and philisophically, but doesn’t require you to know or understand, you are allowed to just look, see and enjoy.

    Emilie Pugh: States of Becoming is at The Cob Gallery, London on 7th – 10th April, 2016

     

    img_6332.jpg

  • London Agenda: A complaining games night @ The Showroom

    Thursday 7 April, 6.30–8.30pm

    The Showroom
    63 Penfold Street, London, NW8 8PQ

    Have you had a bad day? Join artist Hamish MacPherson’s games night and feel free to rant about it!

     

    Manual Labours, The Showroom, London

    Manual Labours, The Showroom, London

    Manual Labours, The Showroom, London

    Manual Labours, The complaining body

     

    Don’t miss this event which launches Hamish MacPherson’s new complaining game Breastbeating! We invite you to play the game, have a drink and explore the world of complaints! Other games dealing with work and working will be played, offering you the chance to see what we can learn about our work situation from quick, fun and surreal boardgames about jobseeking, careers, workplaces and after-work moaning. Feel free to bring your own favourite game!

    As Hamish MacPherson says, ‘We felt that the ideal situation to play Breastbeating would be after a few drinks to really get those rants going. So why not make a night of it with a selection of other games that deal with work and working.’

    Manual Labours (led by Sophie Hope and Jenny Richards) have been working on a project called the Complaining Body with Hamish MacPherson and a London council call centre, to investigate the emotional impact and work of making and receiving complaints. What became evident was the strict frameworks in place for legitimising complaints and the physical effects of the inability to complain at work on the body. From this Hamish has developed a new commission in the form of a card game called Breastbeating. The game simulates an after work session in the pub where the only thing you have to do is complain!

    – Words by Jenny Richards and Sophie Hope

     

    We believe that workers who dance, play and sing together will also fight together for their rights. A complaining games night
    Curated by Hamish MacPherson
    Free, no booking required

  • Carlo Sampietro. Megalopolis

     

    Street Scraper Figment NYC

    Street Scraper Figment NYC

     

    The continuous unveiling of identity is so often constructed by surroundings.

    However these surroundings are simultaneously undergoing the same process,

    defining and redefining their own spatially determined self, shedding classical brick

    and concrete for utopian glass and steel.

    New York, with its rapidly evolving population has long since been a canvas for

    those seeking to identify the state, offering a multitude of difference to compliment.

    This haste of change has cycled New York through and back adolescent curiosity

    and mature ambiguity, erasing its constructions as soon as they are erected.

    From its attraction of graffiti artists so fantastically glorified in the age defining Beat

    Street, to the mobile museum established by MTA Arts & Design, to the tailored 7-

    Eleven coffee ads insulting your sup, New York’s most receptive public artworks

    reflect the exchange between megalopolis and city dweller, resulting in a unique

    documentation of a sweetly strained relationship.

     

    The Street is in the House

    The Street is in the House

    concrete-muse-dumbo_carlo_sampietro

     

    Carlo Sampietro a native to Italy, living in New York for the past seven years has

    taken up the practice of revisiting New York’s former identities to invoke modern

    day usefulness. Debuting in 2010 Sampietro’s The Street is in the House project

    focuses on revamping objects of the megalopolis, exposing their dual nature by

    transforming taxi headers to radios, underground piping to seating and free

    newspaper bins into incubators of sorts for entertainment and personal devotions.

    A majority of these works emit the same fluorescent lighting consistently following

    us throughout the city, now as home décor.

     

    Aquarium

    Aquarium

    Taxi Radio

    Taxi Radio

    Cloche sofa Sewer Pipe

    Cloche sofa Sewer Pipe

     

    Sampietro’s Taxi Tunnel turns taxi lights to both lamp and radio, recycling

    timepieces from the 60’s and onward, extending beyond past and future in their

    familiarity amongst city viewers.

    The remnants of time that New York holds remains recognizable across generations and cities

    as its traits develop but its innate character remains.

    The metropolis’ tendency towards sociability gets lost between isolation and over

    inclusion, a disparity Sampietro addresses in his works aiming to tie people together

    by what already has, the city itself. His installation in conjunction with Figment,

    Street Scraper, invites viewers to a round of mini golf, employing everyday street

    obstacles as the course’s foundation.

     

    Street Scraper Figment NYC

    Street Scraper Figment NYC

     

    Carlo Sampietro’s invitation to the public through objects of the public performs

    interactive public art, as it should be, an open and slightly familiar interaction with

    space for enlightenment.

    Art’s tendency towards focusing on respectability from the

    art public without regard to The Public is what has resulted in the censure of Serra’s

    “wind breaker,” the white washing of Five Points. However when the two begin to

    meld, when public interplay is considered in combination with art practice the artist

    allows the space and viewer to reconcile.

     

    Amanda Acosta: What is the most important element of public art?

    Carlo Sampietro: This is its delivery as a clear message that can be read by everyone (art expert

    and general public) without falling into a banal declaration.

    AA: We’ve spoken of these different publics, how has creating public art

    allowed you to address either or both? Do you feel pressure to appeal to one

    more than the other?

    CS: Impressively, art is able to reach a wide variety of audiences — from old to

    young, from woman to man, from businessman to student. Art has a very relevant

    impact and influence on our daily life and culture.

    A good piece of public art should speak by itself, should be very well executed, and

    have a strong idea relevant to the society that is being described with a sharp,

    different angle. This allows my work to communicate and be reviewed by both

    sectors.

    AA: What do you hope people will take away from your interactive works?

    CS: ART is a very distinct way of communicating. A sophisticated language, which

    can be explicit or complex… It disturbs and challenges your worldview so that you

    look at the world differently. I hope that people start to see, from a different angle,

    the same daily life we live in.

    AA: How much potential do you believe art has to bring a place as large and

    often socially disjointed as New York City together?

    CS: Art has the power of generating provocative thought and conversation, good

    public art has the potential to bring people together. The problem in New York is

    that most of these events are reserved to an elite class of artist and people. The cost

    to produce these pieces by resident artists closer to the local reality becomes too

    expensive. There are a lot of empty areas that can be dedicated to artists within each

    different burrow, but the process to get the permits is too slow.

    AA: Favorite piece(s) of public art?

    CS: My favorite place for public art is Inhotim Center and Botanical Gardens in

    Brasil. Each artist not only needs to think about their installation, but to greatly

    consider the kind of building that contains it.

    My favorite pieces are Matthew Barney’s De Lama Lâmina and The Gates by Christo

    and Jeanne Claude.

     

    Carlo Sampietro: The Street is in the House at Ca’ D’oro Gallery, New York, March 1-31st

     

  • A Walk Through the Art: Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

     

    Frank Stella, Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

    Frank Stella, Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

     

    As far as art fairs go, you don’t get bigger than Art Basel. And that’s saying something when almost every week in global calendar heralds some kind of major art event. Barely had the dust settled in Maastricht and Art Dubai when Art Basel Hong Kong opened its doors to the international art world. But the sheer mind-boggling number of exhibitions and events by galleries and institutions around the island – not to mention the presence of Art Central, a satellite art fair now in its second year and Asia Contemporary Art Show – made a trip to Hong Kong Art Month (as it’s not ambitiously called) worth every dollar.

    But back to the main event: Art Basel. Notwithstanding recent news that the Chinese art market had shrunk by 23% last year, the incessant rain and gloomy skies that dominated the Hong Kong skyline for pretty much the entire week, the first couple of preview days hinted at a more positive week ahead for the fair. The beautifully dressed international griterati trickled into the gargantuan convention centre at a steady rate, booths were spacious and well-curated, conversations with gallerists flowed, and the mood, despite the weather and the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Belgium, whilst not buoyant was definitely defiant. Later on in the week, for the first time in the fair’s history, tickets on the public days were sold out.

    The heavily protected Art Basel brand prides itself on being the best of the best and this 4th edition of Art Basel Hong Kong certainly didn’t disappoint. All the usual suspects of the Western blue-chip coterie such as Vik Muniz, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Anish Kapoor – kept company with a number of established and rising Asian names including Zhang Ding, Zhang Xiogang, Luis Chen and Yeh Shih-Chiang. Of the 239 galleries hailing from 35 countries, nearly half of the exhibitors were Asia-based galleries, with an impressive 38 galleries from New York alone.

     

    Wan Lee, 313 Art Project, Art Basel HK

    Wan Lee, Colorful Wig Falls, 313 Art Project, Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

     

    Figurative painting dominated the fair. Aesthetics reigned. Colour was king. Controversy kept to a minimum. Examples were Do Ho Suh’s simple but staggeringly beautiful display of threaded drawings and pastel rubbings of mundane interior objects on paper at STPI and Nevin Aladag’s heavenly-sounding Music Room series, featuring a chair, lamp, hat stand and side table which had been turned into musical instruments at Wentrup Gallery Berlin. Black stood out amongst the riot of colour. At Thomas Dane, Glen Ligon’s velvety-textured black smudged stenciled and coal dust drawings were inspired by the books of the African-American author James Baldwin.

    The Vietnamese American artist Tiffany Chung stood out at Tyler Rollins for the political and social historical content of her project The Vietnam Exodus, examining the plight Vietnamese refugees in Hong Kong in the 1970s. Cool, clinical cartographic drawings documenting refugee flows, statistics and the network of detention centres contrasted with individual memory garnered from inscriptions, images and videos. A refugee herself, Chung provided an unsentimental – and perhaps for this very reason – powerful and authentic insight into refugees’ experiences whilst highlighting the impact of ever shifting asylum policy-making on the already distressed. Potent viewing indeed.

    The Taipei gallery TKG+’s project Mapping an Island Nation investigating the post-war modernisation process in Taiwan with the works of five artists was also something of an eye opener. Kitsch, kooky and kaleidoscopically colourful, there was a lugubriousness about the presentation which was strangely alluring.

     

    Wu Tien-Chang, TKG+, Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

    Wu Tien-Chang, Farewell, Spring and Autumn Pavillions, TKG+, Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

     

    The fair’s various sectors were impressive and well curated. The film sector, which was showing feature-length films for the first time in addition to short films, made news for Micheal Schindhelm’s stunning film about Swiss art collector Uli Sigg in The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg. Sigg, a businessman turned ambassador, was one of the first Westerners to amass a behemoth collection of contemporary Chinese art. The 1,510 works will shortly be housed in a museum being built by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron in M+ Hong Kong.

    Over at the Discoveries sector intended to showcase emerging artists from across the world with solo or two person exhibitions, the Japanese artist Yukihiro Taguchi shone for his thought-provoking, poetic stop-motion animation films, one of which featured a pyrotechnic trail at night. At the Encounters section showing large scale works, Nathalie Djurberg’s and Hans Berg’s colourful birds swallowing pills in A Thief Caught in the Act and Pae White’s Metallics and Modules made for dazzling viewing. Over at the Conversation and Salon sector, everyone flocked to the talk between Tracey Emin, Tim Marlow, director of Artistic programmes at the Royal Academy, and Sir David Tang. The irrepressible Ms Emin also enjoyed her first solo Hong Kong exhibition in not one but two galleries, Lehmann Maupin and White Cube, coinciding with the fair. Emin’s show I Cried Because I Love You deals on the seemingly non-exhaustive subject of her love life. But this time, perhaps to up the ante, the work featured Emin’s marriage to a large rock.

     

    Li Quing, Art Central HK, Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

    Li Quing, New Kitchen, Art Central HK

     

    Tracey Emin’s wasn’t the only popular talk. Elsewhere throughout the city, a multitude of other events were talking place. In Art Asia Archive, an non-profit which documents and archives art in the region, the programme included a fascinating talk by the Indian artist Shilpa Gupta. Entitled The Photo We Never Got, Gupta’s research based project on the friendships, love and associations in the field of art across three decades was refreshing, so too was the discussion with the Singaporean artist Simryn Gill. Gill’s talk on her unfinished photographic series Station Hotel, which has languished in her bottom drawer for years, was inspiring for the quality of her work as much as the artist’s thinking about her practice. In the frenzy of the world of the art fair, Gill’s talk provided an oasis of calm, a reason to remind ourselves why we’re all here.

    Over at the satellite art fair, Art Central, it was a very different story. Now in its second year, the fair hosted about 100 or so galleries, three quarters of which were from Asia (Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong). The work was mixed in quality, although apparently it was a lot better than last year. There were some eye-catchers like Li Hongbo’s concertina paper sculpture Young Man in Dominik Mench Gallery, Li Quing’s almost hyper-real painting New Kitchen at Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Seungmo Park’s stainless steel mesh sculptures at Art + Shanghai Gallery, and Li Xiaofeng’s porcelain sculptures at Red Gate Gallery. The fair’s talks programme boasted an ambitious line-up of speakers such as Alexandra Munroe, senior curator of Asian Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the award-winning choreographer and visual artist Shen Wei, and Melissa Chui, director of the Hirschorn Museum. The public was also able to participate in round table discussions with a selected panel of art professionals.

     

    Shi Xinning, M+ Sigg Collection, Artistree, Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

    Shi Xinning, Duchamp Retrospective Exhibition in China, M+ Sigg Collection, Artistree, Art Basel Hong Kong 2016

     

    If one had to pick a must see show after Art Basel, the clear winner was M+ Sigg Collection, Four Decades of Contemporary Chinese Art at ArtisTree. The exhibition comprises a selection from the new M+ Museum and is – surprisingly – the first-ever chronological exhibition about the emergence of Chinese contemporary art. Featuring 80 works by 50 artists including Fang Lijun, Geng Jianyi, Huang Yong Ping, Ai Weiwei and Zhang Xiogang, the exhibition spanned from the cultural revolution to the post-Olympic era, and illustrated the enormous cultural change brought about by economic growth and urbanisation – from propaganda to political, from subtle commentary to open critique, from the communal to the individual. The question that one cannot help asking now is: Where is all going to go next?

    Art Basel Hong Kong 2016 was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 22 – 26 March 2016.

     

    ART BASEL HONG KONG 2016

     

    ART CENTRAL HK 2016

     

    ARTISTREE

  • Andrea Salvatori’s Sculptures in Bologna

     

    Andrea Salvatori, Museo Davia Bagellini

    La Vispa Teresa (2007), ceramic and porcelain. Image courtesy of MuseiBologna.

     

    ‘Mirrors should think longer before they reflect’. Jean Cocteau’s quote is a sceptical reflection on the appearance of reality as we perceive it. Are things really what they look like? Are there hidden meanings which are often overlooked? Rejoicing in these ideas, Salvatori places his works of art in the context of an ancient art museum in order to, at a first glance, bring about feelings of displacement and forge a rupture between the old and the new. However, this initial consideration is rather misleading. Salvatori does indeed delight in the provocative displacement of his art work, but his intention is not so much to break away from the past, but rather the opposite.

    Salvatori not only visited the museum several times before carefully selecting what artworks he would use for the exhibition, but he also produced over 30 new pieces inspired by the venue itself. Thus, it seems that the deeper intention behind his work is to create a dialogue between old and new art forms. In fact, a great deal of the pieces exhibited are ancient artefacts which have been reinvented by Salvatori. Intricate ceramic and porcelain constructions intertwine with classical ceramic figurines commonly used to decorate household vitrines. Salvatori wraps and hides the original pieces inside his geometrical sculptures, creating new meanings and transporting the originals from the ancient into the contemporary art world.

     

    Andrea Salvatori, Museo Davia Bargellini

    Detail, Senza Titolo (Invasate), 2015, porcelain

     

    Salvatori’s approach is extremely playful, as often his work is masterfully camouflaged amongst the museum’s permanent collection. Salvatori’s ceramic dolls displayed in glass cabinets do not immediately stand out amongst the other ceramic and porcelain dolls. It is only after a closer look that the visitor realizes Salvatori’s humorous and ironic touch by spotting the dolls whose faces have been hidden by cups or small vases. His figurines are surreal, comical and mysterious. Curiosity is aroused by the dolls’ enigmatic identity.

    In Salvatori’s work, the old and the new seem indissoluble. The source of contemporary art is ancient art. There is a remarkable contrast between the dark, brown atmosphere of the museum and the sparkling, bright colours of Salvatori’s work. A staircase showcases 40 porcelain and ceramic vases covered by stunning lids whereby the artist delves deeper into geometry. Spheres, polyhedrons, rocks and everyday objects are presented in unexpected ways.

     

    Andrea Slavatori,Museo Davia Bargellini

    TuttiTappi (2013), ceramic and porcelain. Image courtesy of www.museibologna.it

     

    His artwork Testone, a sculpture imitating Michelangelo’s David’s head, is placed on a wooden table, which further highlights the piece’s impeccable white finish. Salvatori’s piece is not situated in that particular room by chance. Testone is in dialogue with the museum’s collection, as in that same room one can find an 18th century sculpture of the biblical figure King David as well as Lavinia Fontana’s painting Judith Beheading Holofernes, which depicts a decapitation. In the same manner, Headache, a figurine of Mozart with a massive stone on his head representing the weight of his musical genius, is carefully placed on top of a harpsichord. Salvatori’s art is in constant communication with the surrounding ancient art. Old and new intermingle to construct and rethink the meaning of art and its sources of inspiration.

     

    Andrea Salvatori, Museo Davia Baginelli

    Il caso di Pandora (2016), ceramic

     

    Finally, Salvatori’s Il Caso di Pandora sheds a more optimistic view on the myth of Pandora’s Box. When opening the box, Pandora is greeted with a fabulous column of geometrical stars shooting upwards. Once again, Salvatori has used a previously existing artefact to build his work around it, bringing it to life again with overflowing new connotations.

    Gli specchi dovrebbero pensare più a lungo prima di riflettere (Mirrors Should Think Longer Before They Reflect), curated by Sabrina Samorì and Silvia Battistini, is on at Museo Davia Bargellini until the 10 April 2016.

     

    Andrea Salvatori, Museo Davia Bargellini

    Testone (2016), ceramic. Image courtesy of Iperbole Bologna

    Andrea Salvatori, Museo Davia Berginelli

    Headache (2013),ceramic and porcelain

  • Naïve Set Theory at Galleria P420, Bologna

    Galleria P420 is currently showcasing the exhibition Naïve Set Theory by Paolo Icaro. The name references the mathematical theory developed by Georg Cantor whereby a set is made up of different elements. This choice of name discloses that every piece of art showcased is related to the rest, in other words, it is an element that is part of a whole. Icaro has constructed a dialogue between the different artworks in which concepts such as gravity, levity and the capacity to convey gesture through art are studied. This exhibit brings to life an artistic ensemble in which every piece is central but is also a part of a greater whole. Paolo Icaro has chosen to share the space with young artists Bettina Buck, Marie Lund and David Schutter, unveiling the conceptual complexities behind their work.

     

    Galleria P420

    Paolo Icaro, Bettina Buck, David Schutter, and Marie Lund: Naïve Set Theory
    Installation view at Galleria P420, Bologna. Photo courtesy of Artribune.

     

    Paolo Icaro’s piece Gesto, made in terracotta, is the result of the artist’s physical force upon the block of clay. By aggressively attacking the clay with a wooden board Icaro symbolizes the artist’s rebellion against authority and its restrictions. In the case of the artist, matter itself is the authority, as it is both the origin of art and also what establishes its limitations. Gesto condenses Icaro’s bold impulse to destroy matter; it freezes the artist’s gesture through time. Levity is suggested by the delicacy of clay which is juxtaposed with the gravity of Icaro’s strikes. Lunatici is yet another example of Icaro’s direct gesture on art. The plaster has been manipulated by the artist’s hands which have torn off part of the container’s filling. Icaro’s Lunatici are a candid reference to the moon’s reflection in a bucket and the feelings of elevation and mysticism that are intrinsic to the sky. However, once again the sublimity of the moon’s poetic image is in opposition to the weight of the plaster and lead which compose the artwork.

     

    Paolo Icaro, Galleria P420

    Paolo Icaro, Gesto, 1963, fired clay. Photo courtesy of Galleria P420.

     

    Paolo Icaro also explores how the body is a limitation for the artist. Lassù: per un Blu K is exemplary of how the body limits Icaro’s artistic expression as the piece’s height is determined by Icaro’s own height. The blue Klein sponge placed at the peak of the plaster tower is also an allusion to levity and evokes the infinite sky above. Quota too, by presenting two chairs placed not facing one another, suggests not only contemporary non-communication, but also the absence of a body. Cardo e Decumano further confronts the idea of limitation. The piece connects both rooms and is the central element around which the other works are organized. Although apparently confined by the walls of the gallery, the piece seems to have a continuation beyond these limits and beyond human bodily measure. The artwork references an extension which is yonder and out of reach.

     

    Paolo Icaro,  Galleria P420

    Paolo Icaro,Lassù: per un blu K, 1990, plaster and synthetic sponge, 206cm. Photo courtesy of Galleria P420.

    Paolo Icaro, Galleria P420

    Paolo Icaro, Lunatico gouged, 1989, lead and plaster. Photo courtesy of Galleria P420.

    Paolo Icaro, Galleria P420

    Paolo Icaro, Cardo e Decumano, 2010, steel, environment. Photo courtesy of Galleria P420.

     

    David Shutter explores the numerous possibilities offered by paint. Layers and layers of brush strokes capture the artist’s gesture and movements on the canvas. The viewer is prompted to dedicate some time deciphering the paintings, as variations in light and different viewpoints reveal many subtle and surprising variations of the same colour. In his work, Shutter attempts to engrave the gestures performed by the masters of European art in their renowned masterpieces. From memory, Shutter mirrors these gestures in his drawings and canvases thus alluding to earlier works of art and bringing into question the concept of authorship. Marie Lund’s The Very White Marble likewise looks into authorship and gesture. Lund’s piece consists of a wooden sculpture which the artist herself has disfigured by erasing its previous features with a chisel. The outcome is a wooden sculpture that somewhat recalls a tribal African sculpture and which bears the marks of the artist’s direct action/gesture on the wood.

     

    Marie Lund, Galleria P420

    Marie Lund, The Very White Marbles, 2015, carved found sculpture, wood. Photo courtesy of Galleria P420.

    David Shutter, Galleria P420.

    David Scutter, GSMB W 21, 2015, oil on canvas. Photo courtesy of Artribune.

     

    Bettina Buck’s art often revolves around the body and its adaptability. Two Girls Looking is made up of two strips of foam rubber placed against the wall, one at a 90 º angle and the other folded down on itself. Both rigidity and flexibility are manifested and the notion of the body is expressed by the piece’s title. Her diptych of photographs further studies the ambiguities of the human body and form. It seems impossible to tell whether the artist in the photograph is facing forwards or the wall and the body is held tight to the wall by a set of ropes. The body is reshaped by gravity and forced to remain still like a sculpture. In like manner, Numericals is a series of photographs by Icaro in which a friend of his was asked to interpret the numbers 1-10 with his body. The stills represent the suspension of time and movement, hence turning an animated being into a sculpture. The body’s slightest gestures are captured through stasis and converted into sculptural art forms.

    Naïve Set Theory, curated by Cecilia Canziani and Davide Ferri at Galleria 420 until 26 March 2016.

     

    Bettina Buck,  Galleria P420

    Bettina Buck, Untitled (Dyotich), 2013, performance photograph. Photo courtesy of Galleria P420.

    Paolo Icaro, 'Naive Set Theory'. Galleria P420, Bologna.

    Paolo Icaro, Numericals, 1978, vintage b/w photographs. Photo courtesy of Galleria P420.

  • The environment as a stage: Anna and Lawrence Halprin’s experiments

    I usually go running at Stern Grove, a park very popular among San Francisco’s music lovers because of its yearly free music festival. Every time I pass by the natural amphitheater, I don’t feel I am misusing it. On the contrary, this place is welcoming; it is very enjoyable, and it feels good to run through it.

    As Lawrence Halprin, the landscape architect who designed it, said, «when I designed Stern Grove, the intention was to create a mystical place, where one would be inspired to reach into oneself. I wanted to design a living theatre for everyone to use, a place where people can walk their dogs, picnic, meditate. I wanted a place where lovers could meet and children could play.»

     

    Lawrence and Anna Halprin, California Historical Society

    Participants in Halprin’s “City Dance” at Lawrence Halprin’s Fountain in San Francisco. Buck O’Kelly, photographer. 1979. Reproduced from a 35 mm color mounted slide, Courtesy of the Museum of Performance + Design

     

    Interdisciplinarity; the relations between bodies and space; architecture, city and community. These are the key aspects analyzed in Experiments in Environment: the Halprin Workshops 1966-1971, presented by the California Historical Society in San Francisco, CA. The first part of the exhibition shows the massive impact that both Lawrence and Anna had in architecture and dance, respectively. During the late 1960s their professional relationship intensified so profoundly that they decided to officialize their collaboration using the workshops as a platform for radical experimentation.

     

    Lawrence and Anna Halprin, California Historical Society

    Anna and Lawrence Halprin. Photographer unknown, circa 1940. Reproduced from a gelatin silver print, Courtesy of Anna Halprin

     

    Through an intimate installation of archive materials, photos, short films, drawings, but also personal letters addressed to the couple by the workshops’ participants, we have an overview of their fruitful collaboration, which inaugurated an innovative approach to collaborative practices. In an atmosphere of radical change, which was affecting the whole Bay Area at that time, the Halprin initiated a series of cross-disciplinary workshops open to architects, dancers, artists, writers and designers trying to define a new method toward environmental awareness. Combining two disciplines apparently so distant such as architecture and dance, and using collective activities as a creative process, allowed them to go deep into their practices and to incorporate one into the other. The result of the experiments was a mutual influence and exchange on Lawrence’s landscapes, which always incorporated movement, and Anna’s choreographies, which are often focused on how the body relates to the space of the performance.

     

    Lawrence and Anna Halprin, California Historical Society

    The Ecology of Form, from The Sketchbooks of Lawrence Halprin. Lawrence Halprin, 1981. Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania

     

    Besides thier physical experimentations on movement, they integrated their reflections with theoretical elements, introducing a new lexicon, to emphasize on the design process rather than on a possible final outcome. They elaborated new definitions such as Scores, which were graphic instructions given to the participants to develop their actions in space, and Motation, which was a method for movement annotation. In 1969, these concepts were included in the book The RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment, where they stated their new system for design process, in which participation and the unexpected were pivotal.

    The exhibition is completed by a selection of posters, fanzines, flyers and publications documenting the explosion of countercultural movements in the 60s and the 70s in the Bay Area, such as the Black Panther Party, the Diggers, and the Trip Festival, among others. Choosing to display countercultural movements in connection with the Halprin’s methodology gives an idea of how vibrant, prolific and subversive those years were. Sure enough, the majority of these movements, and the workshops as well, were enacting the same strategies: collaborative approach, communal life, cultural activism in public spaces, and dissolution of the boundaries between participant and spectator. I believe that the legacy of those radical experimentations is still present today.

     

    Lawrence and Anna Halprin, San Francisco

    “Driftwood Village—Community,” Sea Ranch, CA. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 6, 1968. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania

     

    Finally, a reach program of talks and presentations about the Halprin’s influence in San Francisco as well as in the Bay Area accompanies the course of the exhibition until July.

    Lawrence and Anna Halprin, Experiments in Environment: the Halprin Workshops 1966-1971, California Historical Society, San Francisco, through July 3rd, 2016.

     

    Lawrence and Anna Halprin, California Historical Society

    “Driftwood City,” Sea Ranch, CA. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 4, 1966. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania

  • London Agenda: Lupercalia Live @ Bosse&Baum

    Friday 18th March, 19.00-22.00

    Bosse & Baum
    133 Copeland Road, SE15 3SN London
    (entrance also through 133 Peckham Rye Lane)

    An evening of readings, performance and screening on the occasion of Miriam Austin’s solo show at the gallery in Peckham.

     

    Miriam Austin, Proaestetics for Hostile Contexs, 2015. Courtesy Bosse&Baum, Lupercalia

    Miriam Austin, Proaestetics for Hostile Contexs, 2015. Courtesy Bosse&Baum

     

    ‘Through its combination of installation and performance, the exhibition Lupercalia institutes a narrative matrix, which in sculptural objects become sacred instruments, tools and vestments. The resulting works push towards imaginative slippages in which objects and bodies melt, generating hybrid forms that are simultaneously alarming and seductive.

    Lupercalia Live came about because of the very live and active nature, inherent in Miriam Austin’s work; unassumingly provocative, her work tends to feel very much alive even with no-one in the space. What we wanted to do was to activate the space even further inviting writers, poets, artists to work in a way that interacts and sets off the work even further. The exhibition deals with ritual and ceremony, and poetry, readings, performance have really come about very naturally and organically.

    Austin’s work for Lupercalia emerges in part from her participation in the artist collective UA, which since its inception in 2013 has created contexts for producing and viewing artworks and texts that disrupt the secular default. UA insists on taking religion, myth and mysticism seriously as way of understanding and engaging with aesthetic production.’

    –– Words by Alexandra Warder / Director / Bosse&Baum

     

    PROGRAMME:

    Poetry reading with Sam Riviere |
    Performance by Candida Powell-Williams| Readings by Holly Slingsby, Louisa Elderton, Matthew Drage, Boris Jardine |
    Film screening of  Rachel Maclean’s , ‘Over the Rainbow’, 2013, courtesy the artist and Rowing

     

    More info at www.bosseandbaum.com

     

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