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Category: ART

New York: Carey Young “Palais de Justice” and Franz Kafka ‘Before the Law’ 1915 parable at Paula Cooper gallery

SEPTEMBER 7 – OCTOBER 14, 2017 at Paula Cooper gallery, 21st street, Chelsea
published:(VK)  October 8th, 2017, Berlin

Installation view, Carey Young, Palais de Justice,2017,single-channel HD video (from 4K); 16:9, color, quadrophonic sound;17 mins 58 sec,Photo: Steven Probert  © Carey Young. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

 

Carey Young presents a  challenging,  quitely stunning 18 minute video, and  poetic exhibition at Paula Cooper’s space on 21st street.  The piece, a new video  ‘Palais de Justice’ develops Young’s interest in law, gender and performance, and considers the complex relations between lenses, surveillance and ideas of framing or being framed.

Carey Young (London-based British -American visual artist,b.1970, Lusaka, Zambia) takes her inspiration in part  from “Before the Law” by Franz Kafka (1915) parable Focusing on “gateways” to the law, both architectural and human, Young’s work here—a quietly stunning 18-minute video shot in the Brussels court building in which the protagonist is continuously denied access to ‘the law,’ the series depicts these doorways as metaphors for the legal system itself.

Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment.  The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in later on.  “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.” At the moment the gater to the law stands open, as always, and the gatekeeper walks to the side, so the man bends over in order to see through the gater into the inside. When the gatekeeper notices that, he laughs and says: “If it tempts you so much, try it in spite of my prohibition. But take note: I am  powerful.  And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper. But from room to room stand gatekeepers, each  more powerful than the other. I can’t endure even one glimpse of the third.” (exerpt “Before the Law” (1915) by Franz Kafka, transl.by Ian Johnston)

 

Installation view, Carey Young, Palais de Justice, 2017,single-channel HD video (from 4K); 16:9, color, quadrophonic sound;
17 mins 58 secs,Paula Cooper Gallery, New York  © Carey Young. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

 

Palais de Justice was filmed surreptitiously at the Palais de Justice in Brussels, a vast 19th century courthouse designed in an ornate late Neo-Baroque style. Contradicting the familiar patriarchal culture of law, Young’s concealed camera depicts female judges and lawyers at court. Sitting at trial, directing proceedings or delivering judgments, female judges are spied through a series of circular windows in courtroom doors.(gallery’s press release).

Installation view, Carey Young, Palais de Justice, 2017,single-channel HD video (from 4K); 16:9, color, quadrophonic sound;
17 mins 58 secs, Paula Cooper Gallery  © Carey Young. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

 

“…..Examined through the lens of contemporary politics, both within the United States and abroad, the film acts as a critical counterpoint to regressive trends towards autocratic government and limited civil rights, particularly those belonging to women….”

Installation view, Carey Young, Palais de Justice, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (9/7 – 10/14/17) © Carey Young. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

 

The exhibition includes a series of photographs, images  of courthouse doorways….Carey Young in continuous analysis based on Before the Law, after Franz Kafka’s 1915 parable, which the protagonist is continuously denied access to ‘the law,’ depicts these doorways as metaphors for the legal system itself.

As Carey Young  told Elephant in an interview earlier this year, the law “beckoned as an institution that had been little explored by artists, and one which had such a relevant philosophical literature in terms of art—Derrida, Agamben, Deleuze, Foucault, Butler etc. … In so many ways, mainly to do with its lack of visuality and lack of understanding of creativity, law is an “other” to art, and yet when one takes an artistic subject—ideas of site, space or landscape, for example—law offers me a way to reframe it in a playful and unfamiliar way, in which I can also conflate it with ideas of control, rhetoric, power and neoliberalism.”(Jeffrey Kastner, on Vice, sept 28th, 2017) 
“…. Courtrooms are glimpsed in various ways – a red glow emanating from one entices us with its surprising warmth and seductiveness; a red velvet curtain in another calls to mind law’s reliance on aspects of theatre; in a third, a courtroom visible through a frosted glass window glows like an abstract painting, as if law’s abstractions may connect with artistic thinking in ways which have not yet been fully considered…..”

Installation view, Carey Young, Palais de Justice, 2017  single-channel HD video (from 4K); 16:9, color, quadrophonic sound;
17 mins 58 secs,Paula Cooper Gallery, New York  © Carey Young. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

 

Few days after the opening of the exhibition, September 8th, Anthony Allen,  director of Paula Cooper gallery organized a challenging and intellectual  panel discussion with Carey Young, Colby Chamberlain and Joan Kee , where many questions were raised on law, patriarchal society and barriers…

Carey Young (b. 1970) is a British-American artist based in London, England. Her work has been exhibited in prominent national and international exhibitions and has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions including at the Dallas Museum of Art, curated by Gavin Delahunty (2017); the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by Raphael Gygax (2013); Eastside Projects, Birmingham, England (2010), which traveled to Cornerhouse, Manchester and MiMA, Middlesborough; Le Quartier, Quimper, France (2013); The Power Plant, Toronto (2009); and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2009). Young’s work has also been presented at the Taipei Biennial (2010), Tate Britain (2009), Moscow Biennale (2007), Modern Art Oxford (2007), Performa 05 and the Venice Biennale (2003).
Colby Chamberlain is Lecturer in Discipline in Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University and is a founding editor of Triple Canopy. His scholarship and criticism focuses on intersections of art and other fields of professional practice, in particular the law.
Joan Kee is Associate Professor in the History of Art at the University of Michigan. A contributing editor for Artforum, she received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and has recently completed a book on the relationship between contemporary art and law in post-sixties America. In 2016, she guest edited a section of the Brooklyn Rail on art and the law whose contributors included Carey Young.

 

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Thilo Westermann ‘Notes on Willem de Rooij’s ‘flower bouquets’ Or: How to deal with the ‘exotic’

published: August 27, 2017, Berlin

Installationsansicht: How To Live Together, Kunsthalle Wien 2017, Foto: Jorit Aust: Willem de Rooij, Bouquet V, 2010, Courtesy der Künstler und Sammlung Haubrok, Berlin

 

Departing from  Documenta 14 and Venice Biennale I came to a majestic ‘flower bouquet’ by Willem de Rooij at Kunsthalle Wien.  The bouquet seemed exotic not only because of the choice of flowers used but rather by the fact that it has been staged right within an exhibition space.  I was thinking about the term ‘exotic’, which originating from Greek ‘exotikos’, meaning   ‘from the outside’, ‘foreign’ or ‘unusual’ as this was the exact feeling which this amazing “bouquet” left with me.  I have seen flamboyant flower bouquets in hotel lobbies or luxury homes; nevertheless placed within a museum space, the arrangement seemed as if something from the outside (not art) world has entered the sacred exhibition halls.  What a beautiful flower bouquet might contribute to the Kunsthalle’s current socio-political exhibition  ‘How to live together’, I was wondering.

Installation view of Willem de Rooij: Entitled Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, October 15, 2016-January 8, 2017

 

De Rooij began developing the ‘bouquets series’ in 2002 together with Jeroen de Rijke and continued alone after the latter’s untimely death in 2006.  The 16 different bouquets existing to date may vary in size and flower breeds, but they have one thing in common: they come with a certificate, a description and an exact list of the botanical names of the flowers to be used. In general, the bouquets are not arranged by the artist himself, but by different florists, who are chosen by the artist and listed on the final object’s name tag as ‘interpreters’. In this regard the arrangements can be claimed conceptual art pieces: ‘Setting aside the personal touch in the execution of the bouquets indicates a discursive, conceptual stance: the work’s essence lies in the development of an idea, not in its execution.’ (Jan van Adrichem: Willem de Rooij. The Bouquets (2002-2010). In: Marente Bloemheuvel and Toos van Kooten (ed.): Windflower. Perceptions of Nature. Rotterdam 2011, pp. 177-190, here p. 184.)

But yet, some earlier pieces are supplemented with texts written by the artist(s). For example, Bouquet II (2003) comes with the text ‘Azra Akin, Agbani Darego, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Amina Lawal’, which has been published in the Austrian art magazine Springerin (Vol. IX, No 1/2003, pp. 42-45) telling the story of the title’s four women. Not interconnected with each other, the women had to face Islamic fundamentalism, nationalistic populism or racist threats, which in the case of Amina Lawal ended up on a north Nigerian court’s sentence of death by stoning, because she became pregnant without being married. Of course, reading about the women’s tragic histories influences the perception of the bouquet next to the text. So I found myself attributing the different flowers of Bouquet II to the text’s female characters.

Willem de Rooij -Jeroen de Rijke -‘Bouquet II’ 2003, courtesy of Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

While this early flower piece may still refer to the four women, later arrangements lack this kind of direct link. For example, the descriptions of Bouquet IV (2005) focus on mere formal issues: ‘The overall impression of the arrangement is dense and compact; all flowers have the same height and thus form quite an even, dome-like shape. The hierarchy between the flowers is designated by their colors and shapes, not by means of their placement within the arrangement. In other words: the different flowers are evenly distributed over the whole, never coming to a concentration of any sort in any area. An exception are the euphorbia and the lisanthia. Although they are also distributed in an even rhythm over the total ensemble, parts of these flowers extend somewhat higher than the other sorts, thus forming protrusions above the entire surface of the piece. […] The essence of Bouquet IV lies within its color palette, which extends to many different varieties and mild shades of pink, peach, orange yellow, light green… and even soft blue… but never arrives at an extreme.  Avoided are whites or light yellows on one side of the spectrum, and reds, purples, or deep blues on the other.  There are no green leaves whatsoever.’ (Willem de Rooij cited in Daniel Birnbaum: Floral Imperative  (Artforum, September 2016)  pp. 289-297, here pp. 292-293.) The two spectra mentioned in this description relate to some flowers’ colors, which would appear super bright or pitch dark in a black and white photograph. Flowers of these colors have to be avoided as – different to all other bouquets – Bouquet IV always becomes exhibited together with a black and white picture of itself.  This two-part installation gains something like a closed circuit quality and can be called the self-referential turn within the flower series: the flower arrangement refers to its photographic image and vice versa. From now on, there are no more clear references at all.

Bouquet IV, 2005, Flower arrangement in white ceramic vase, dimensions variable, courtesy of Friedrich Petzel gallery, New York (exhibited on Jan 19-Feb 18,2006)

Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij Installation view, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, 2006

Bouquet V (2010), which is currently part of the show at Kunsthalle Wien, comes without any further notes and therefore it stays open to all kind of interpretations. It has been developed in the year of Willem de Rooij’s landmark exhibition ‘Intolerance’.  To the

Willem de Rooij, ‘Intolerance’, 2010, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. Painting, Melchior d’Hondecoeter, Pelican and other waterfowl in a park, c. second-half seventeenth century, 132 x 161.5cm. Collection Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Photograph: Jens Ziehe

end of this show at Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin the artist had juxtaposed 18th and 19th century feathered objects from pre-Christian Hawaii and bird paintings by Dutch master Melchior d’Hondecoeter (1636–1695).   Starting from two pieces in the collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, De Rooij concentrated on the rare pieces, which had been brought to Berlin in former times to satisfy the hunger for exotic objects.  Instead of merely appropriating these objects, he initiated fundamental research to put the artifacts in their own right.  Studying the exhibition’s three-part publication not only the hidden power structures implicated in the religious Hawaiian objects and the hierarchical symbolism of the birds depicted become obvious, but also early global trade and intercultural conflicts are discovered as the backdrop of the objects’ and paintings’ provenience.  Therefore, the exhibition’s title can be related to the (post-)colonial aspects of so many First world collections, their institutional practices and the aspects of global market systems, which handle even religious items and animals as mere products without any deeper understanding nor commitment.

What does all this tell us about the flower bouquets?  Well, in reference to this  2010 exhibition De Rooij claimed in an interview, that the ‘very notion of ‘representing’, of ‘imaging’, is what my [his] work is most deeply concerned with’ (artists-at- work-willem-de Rooij).  We may interpret for example the variety of 95 different flower species making up ‘Bouquet V’ that ‘the work deliberately avoids any hierarchy’ and therefore speaks ‘to the diversity and tension between the politics of collectivism and individualism’ (David Trigg on Willem de Rooij, Arnolfini, Bristol). But what do the bouquets really have to do with representing and imaging?  I think that we might   travel  further back in time to the very core of Netherlandish still life painting, which flourished in De Rooij’s native country in the 16th and 17th centuries; as these early masterpieces may contain religious and allegorical symbols as well as dead animals and foodstuff, De Rooij’s pieces concentrate exclusively on the mere beauty of the flowers.  Looking at his ‘bouquets’ we ‘find ourselves face-to-face with beauty in its purest form’ as art critic Daniel Birnbaum wrote in his essay ‘Floral Imperative’ (Artforum, September 2016).  Even death – the vanitas tradition’s main subject – is excluded in Willem de Rooij’s exhibitions as his bouquets’ flowers are replaced as soon as they start wilting.  Therefore, the bouquets’ beauty remains ideal.  Presumably, the flowers stay faultless like their artificial equivalents, which finally become included in Bouquet VII (2010). Indeed, after all the research on De Rooij’s bouquets and despite of knowing about the flowers being replaced, it still feels strange to see one and the same flower bouquet blossoming all year long and touring the different stages of the art world without any symptom of fatigue. It seems like the idea of a certain arrangement has become manifest in an eternal form.

Isn’t this exactly what we expect from ‘pure beauty’ – no aging, no wrinkles, just freshness and perfect shape?  Yet, this has nothing to do with our everyday life.  It is something different than what we are used to.  It is this other – ideal – mode of existence facing us with its opposite by reminding us of our own bodies’ mortality.  This kind of ‘otherness’ revisits the  ‘exotic’ and the core of Willem de

This kind of ‘otherness’ brings us back to the term ‘exotic’ and the core of Willem de Rooijs bouquets.  In the exact moment where we start thinking about the flower arrangements,  we start taking sides by trying to define (more or less consciously) our own position in reference to those bouquets.  Not far from that we can’t call something or someone exotic, foreign or unusual without having a more or less clear understanding of what is non-exotic, local or familiar; we can’t distinguish ourselves from the ‘other’ without having any idea of who/what we are.  Apparently, specifying this very dichotomy and reasoning about its relevance today is the crucial point, where tolerance turns into intolerance and vice versa.  It’s the exact starting point for any responsible socio-political life.  Hence, I am overjoyed to see these pretty flowers within the exhibition ‘How to live together’.

                                                                                                                                               Thilo Westermann                          Berlin, August 2017
Thilo Westermann, is an artist,  art historian and lover of nature and flowers
The exhibition ‘How to live together’ at Kunsthalle Wien closes on Oct. 15th, 2017. Willem de Rooij’s retrospective show ‘Whiteout’ opens at Kunstwerke Berlin on Sept. 13th, 2017 (through Dec. 17th, 2017).

 

Aegina c.500 BC_The Temple of Aphaea II, by Francesco Nevola (sketch 09)

 
photo @Francesco Nevola
Francesco Nevola, a dear friend, writer and scholar of Piranesi, is contributing to the VK blog a series of sketches, this is the sketch 02. “The Temple of Aphaea II, Aegina c.500

Situated on the peak of the Saronic island of Aegina commanding a majestic view north across the sea to the Acropolis of Athens, the present 5th century BC remains of the Doric Temple of Aphaea were erected on a site previously occupied by earlier sacred sanctuaries dating back to the 14th century BC. Bronze age material remains suggest a Minoan connection for the shrine’s cult associated with fertility and the seasonal cycles.

The 2nd century chronicler Pausanias recalls that Britomaris – known in Aegina as Aphaea – was the daughter of Zeus and the Cretan Karme, whose grandfather Kharmanor purified Apollo after killing the Python that guarded the omphalos or centre of the earth – a place strongly associated with the sanctuary at Delfi. As a huntress, Britomaris was especially cherished by Artemis, so when she fled king Minos who lusted after her and cast her-self into the sea, Artemis made her a goddess. While her myth is of Cretan origin, the Aeginaetans claimed Britomaris revealed her- self to them, consequently the Goddess Aphaea was worshipped exclusively at this sanctuary in Aegina.

By the early 19th century the Temple of Aphaea had been singled out for its exceptional qualities of beauty and design by neoclassical and romantic artists on the Grand Tour. In 1811 – the same year the poet Byron was in Athens – the young Charles Robert Cockerell, a former pupil of the architect John Soane, and three decades later architect of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford – collaborated with Baron

Otto Magnus von Stackelberg to remove the fallen, fragmentary pediment sculptures, and at the suggestion of the architect Baron Carl Haller von Hallerstein they were shipped abroad and sold to Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria. The magnificent sculptures that originally ornamented the east and west pediments of the Temple of Aphaea were restored at Rome by the Danish neoclassical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldesn, considered the heir to the great Antonio Canova, and are now the masterpiece of the Munich Glyptothek. It was at Rome in 1817, returning from his seven year Grand Tour, that Cockerll met Ingres who took the young architect’s portrait.

The late archaic, early classical sculptures of the temple pediments, which are most unusual for being carved in the round with striking dynamism, celebrate the achievements of two of Aegina’s greatest heroes. The first Trojan war is represented in the east pediment: here Telamon – the second king of Aegina and father of the Homeric hero Ajax – fights alongside Heracles against the Trojan king Laomedon; in the west pediment, the Second Trojan war against king Priam is represented: here the Goddess Athena is positioned centrally, and Ajax features in the carved battle scene as prominently as he does in the Illiad.

Text © Francesco Nevola

Francesco Nevola, a fabulous scholar of Piranesi.

see here older post on life and work of Francesco Nevola https://venetiakapernekasblog.com/2015/06/11/italyteverina-mountains-cortona-deanna-maganias-and-franciso-nevola-house-and-studio/

The Engadin: at Galerie Tschudi; Callum Innes “On Ground” & Julian Charrière “First Light”

During the last cold days of December my brief day visit at Lower Engadin.  I adore Zuoz  with the historic village centre and the proud patrician buildings, such as the Chesa Planta, which are particularly well preserved. Here one finds a perfect environment for contemporary art and as Liam Feeman recently wrote  at ” Art, at High Altitudes”  Despite the tiny population of 16,700 inhabitants and the brevity of the region’s high season, which lasts from December through March, there are at least 30 international art galleries between St. Moritz and the municipality of Sent, providing an enlightening alternative for après-ski.(Freeman, NY Times Style Magazine, Dec 1, 2016). Geographically the charming Zuoz belongs to the upper Engadine but everybody who is familiar with the area knows that this village is far away from upper Engadine with his buzzing St. Moritz in the centre.

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I find my  art tranquility  at Galerie Tschudi; a mighty sixteen metre-high tower, dating back to the year 1305, was uncovered within the fabric of Chesa Madalena. The house, located in the centre of Zuoz, was used as a farmhouse until 1999- sensitively renovated by Ruch & Partners Architects– these fascinating historical rooms in the former farmhouse,  house the Galerie Tschudi  fabulous art exhibitions.

These days there is this fabulous dual exhibition , Callum Innes ” On Ground” and of the younger artist Julian Charrière “First Light”.

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 Callum Innes (installation view)
Untitled, No 19, 20, 21, 2016 Lamp black, Oil on linen  162 x 160 cm                                                                photo@Ralph Feiner  @courtesy Galerie Tschudi

‘In one wall painting yellow shivers through the violet surface, and in the other flecks of orangeade visible through the black surface.  This work brings to mind the blackened ceilings prevalent in the Engadin, where carbon deposits remain as reminders of the stoves that once functional beneath them. Between this surface of absorbent charcoal-black  and the work of Callum Innes, an interesting chemistry takes place. ‘

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                Callum Innes (Installation view)   Untitled, 2016
Pastel on Two Rivers papers79 x 58 cm 99 x 77 cm (framed)                                                                               photo@Ralph Feiner  @courtesyGalerie Tschudi

‘Colour is the most important element in the work of the Scottish artist Callum Innes (Edinburgh 1962) …In the Tschudi gallery the colours applied with oil paint on canvas , pastel on paper, but also directly on the wall -appear and disappear. Sometimes they contrast vividly with the white ground; at other times they have in fact a very light, almost transparent hue with a considerable range of nuance. The paintings, pastel drawings and wall paintings require an active observer who takes control.’ (text by Dan Pieters, courtesy @gallery press)

In his research-based practice, Julian Charrière uses sculptural objects and images—both moving and still—to explore the connections between human activity, ecology, the environment, and time. Working in such far-flung locales as Kazakhstan and the Southern Cone, the Berlin-based artist performs site-specific actions inspired by the social and natural sciences, using biological and earthen substances as materials. “I use some scientific methods, but I would describe it more as an archeologist or geologist,” he has said. “I go into the field and get inspired by what I see, then I bring things back to the studio and do work.” A former student of Olafur Eliasson, Charrière focuses on investigations of the natural world, revealing the profound force exerted by humans and the environment on one another and highlighting how ecological systems can exhibit traces of human energy.

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Julian Charrière “Tropisme”, 2015
frozen plant, refrigerated showcase 208 x 66 x 66 cm    photo@Ralph Feiner  @courtesy Galerie Tschudi

“Tropisme” is  a beautiful, melancholic and yet fascinating  art piece; the artist has deposited plants captured in a sheath of ice -as if time could be stopped…  “ the plants might be preserved and archived for future use. In this frozen landscape, the vitality of matter is protected from the forces of entropy and decay. But the organisms also point backwards in time. The plants (orchids, cactuses, etc.) are testimony to a geological period that saw the extinction of dinosaurs. The artist thus freezes them like remains from a time whose memory forever escapes us, except maybe in some uncertain zone of our reptilian brain.” (Tschudi gallery)

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Julian Charrière “Lost at Sea “- Pikini-Fragment, 2016
High pollished stainless steel, coral sand, mutated bikinian coconut, glass 175 x 32 x 32 cm             photo@Ralph Feiner @courtesy Galerie Tschudi

“Lost at Sea”  Pikini Fragment: This series suggests ‘a post-apocalyptic botanical survey; an “unnatural history”. Standing vertically on a bed of coral sand, inside a glass housing  that caps a mirror-sided plinth, each coconut might be interpreted as a castaway that has been washed up on another identificatory shore. The sand implies a kind of terminal beach, while mirrors have long been symbolic of water — and vanity…The fact that these coconuts stand erect, like totemic phalluses, is a bitter irony: genetically disrupted by nuclear radiation, these coconuts from the Marshall Islands are utterly sterile from a reproductive standpoint. That the Marshallese creation myth involves a paradigmatic mother giving birth to a coconut, which then supplies her people with sustenance, tools and clothing, sets the profound degree of this and other genetic disruptions into relief.’ (Nadim Samman, “Unnatural History”, galerie Tschudi ) 

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Julian Charrière Pacific Fiction – Study for Monument, 2016  Coconut Sarcophagi
128 cm high in a steel frame of 227 x 203 cm overall size: 330 x 440 cm
Unique (Model for Monument for Marshall Island)  photo@Ralph Feiner  @courtesy Galerie Tschudi

Pacific Fiction – Study for Monument – is a sculpture which incorporates a pile of coconuts encased in lead. (The piece symbolises the traumatic embrace of the region of Bikini island in Pacific by the atomic bomb (between 1946 and 1958, at a remote Pacific Atoll, 23 of the most powerful explosions in history occurred. During this period, bombs delivering a combined fission yield of 42.2 megatons were detonated)..

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Julian Charrière,Polygon XVIII, 2014,
black and white double exposure medium format film on baryta paper, steel frame, lead, glass, thermonuclear strata, negative, 150 x 180 cm, Unique  @courtesy Galerie Tschudi

“Polygon” is a series of photographs shot at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan. The photographs are made on analogue medium format film, and submitted to radiation before their development. Thus they both depict the site of nuclear radiation and bear the actual trace of radioactivity’s effects. Charrière’s journey to the Polygon was inspired by J.G. Ballard’s short story “The Terminal Beach”. The work oscillates between art, science and fiction and brings us to one of the most remote and inaccessible of places — to the beginning of the nuclear age. It is a mystic place, showing the dystopic aesthetics of a future archaeology.

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Julian Charrière “The Blue Fossil Entropic Stories” (3), 2013
Fine Art Print on Hahnemühle Photo Paper 100 x 150 cm 3 +1AP @courtesy Galerie Tschudi

“The Blue Fossil Entropic Stories” is the photographic trace of an expedition the artist undertook in 2013, travelling to Iceland to climb an iceberg in the Arctic Ocean and melt the frozen water beneath his feet with a gas torch during 8 hours. Like an absurd, quixotic hero, Julian Charrière confronts the elements in a seemingly hopeless battle – human time against geological time. And yet, a battle of which global warming is only the starting point. What remains of this perilous endeavour are three photographs of arresting beauty, a kind of contemporary version of Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Overlooking the Sea of Fog (1817–18), and a questioning of our relation to nature as inherited from the Romantics via ecological thought.

There are two fantastic video works projected  in the  gallery.  On the lower level  is the ” Iroojrilik“; In this work, Charrierè captures the decay of the Bikini Attol’s atomic-industrial architecture. On the upper level floor , the “Somewhere” shot in Kazakhstan, where Joseph Stalin conducted the first atomic tests, “Somewhere” is an excursion into human-environmental interrelations and the topographic modifications in which they result. Julian Charrière pursues an archaeology and geology of deserted human landscapes, exploring their past and future

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Julian Charrière “Eninman III” – Terminal Beach, 2016   Archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, mounted on aluminium Dibond, red Palmira veneered frame, Mirogard anti-reflective glass, 122.8 x 152.8 cm (with frame), Edition of 3 (+1AP) @courtesy Galerie Tschudi

Terminal BeachA survey of mid-20th century atomic-industrial architecture, these black and white works reference the objective style of the Dusseldorf school. With their rusting iron and crumbling concrete, some of these structures recall the Egyptian pyramids: imposing leftovers of a questionable ideal.

all images courtesy of Tschudi gallery

Julian Charrière is participating this weekend (28-29 January 2017) in Zuoz, at Engadin Art Talks.  The topic of this year’s event is: “Snow and Desert”.The aim of the E.A.T./Engadin Art Talks is to facilitate unique interaction and exchange between artists, architects, curators and art enthusiasts in an intimate and informal setting and, in this way, perpetuate the history of the Engadin as a place of intensive creative activity and discourse.

 

Munich Haus der Kunst: Capsule 05: João Maria Gusmão &Pedro Paiva; Capsule 06: Sara MacKillop

Haus der Kunst 2 years ago inaugurated a new program of focused one gallery exhibitions that explore recent developments amongst a generation emerging international artists. The goal of the Capsule Exhibition series is to engage audiences in the production of new work by artists at critical points of artistic breakthrough in their careers.

I have been one of the biggest fans of those great exhibitions ….  sadly to see Capsule 05 and Capsule 06  departing today.  The curators  Anna Schneider  (Capsule 05) and Julienne Lorz (Capsule 06)  in spite of their respective diverse different media of their  artists have done amazingly a powerful presentation;   you may leave the dark realm of Capsule 05 but yet poetic ambience that the duo João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva have created, you enter into the light of  the “Window Display” by  Sara Mackillop at Capsule 06.

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João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva
Installationsansicht / Installation view Haus der Kunst, 2016
Photo: Maximilian Geuter

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Sara MacKillop
Installationsansicht / Installation view Haus der Kunst, 2016
Photo: Maximilian Geuter

The focus of their presentation in Haus der Kunst, “Peacock/Pfau”, is their latest cinematic work complex, which was developed in Japan. The 16mm films are silent and shown in a loop. The only sound in the room is that of the projectors, which further emphasizes the materiality of the film. The first film, “Mating Dance”, introduces the theme: the construction of a self-image. Using his striking plumage, which he can fan out into a semi- circle, the peacock tries to woo the peahen.

Three other films, unified by the element of water, run on a second projector. They combine key aspects of the artists’ practice: the construction of a theory for their own work and the examination of this through visually-poetic experiments. The film “Ventriloquism” from 2009, for example, explores the origins of ventriloquism as a religious practice, in which it was used to communicate with spirits and the dead. The film contains a water clock, whose time interval equals the length of the film. (curator, Anna Schneider) 

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Mating season, 2016
© João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva
Courtesy of the artists and Galeria Fortes Vilaça,
São Paulo; Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisboa; Sies + Höke,
Düsseldorf; ZERO …, Milano

Gusmão & Paiva’s artistic approach draws on diverse literary sources, including René Daumal (“The Defining Memory”); pataphysics, the study of what lies beyond the realm of metaphysics; and abyssology, the doctrine of the abyss. The core belief of all these philosophies is the constant mutability of all that exists. It turns away from classical reasoning, combines putative analysis with humor and focuses on the imperceptible. The world of things thus reveals itself as a wealth of wonders. Man retains his susceptibility to the supernatural and divine manifestations. (curator, Anna Schneider) 

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João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva
The horse of the prophet (detail), 2011. Produced by Frac Île-de-France/Le Plateau, Paris in collaboration with Lamu Palm Oil Factory, Kenya. Courtesy of the artists and Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo; Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon; Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf; ZERO …, Milan. © João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva

In “Wave” from 2011, a black rock is slowly swallowed by an ocean wave – an archetype for cyclical creation. The film uses the stylistic device of extremely drawn-out slow-motion recording, thus lending the movements a special importance. The artists shot the film using a high-speed camera capable of capturing as many as 500 frames per second; they then run the footage in slow-motion, displaying fewer than the usual 24 frames per second. (curator, Anna Schneider) 

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Wave, 2011
© João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva
Courtesy of the artists and Galeria Fortes Vilaça,
São Paulo; Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisboa; Sies + Höke,
Düsseldorf; ZERO …, Milano

Sara MacKillop (born 1973 in Bromley, UK) created the works on view especially for the Capsule exhibition. Her works belong to the tradition of conceptual art and minimalism. The new work “Window Display”are minimalistic, airy and individual assemblages. Similar in design to earlier works, such as “Pens” (2006), in which the artist combined the same type of pens to form a kind of post, these assemblages are rooted in the everyday. They initially appear to consist of ordinary office materials, such as envelopes. However, the selected motifs – pens, cartridges and paper – are gradually disappearing from general use as they become outdated. (curator, Julienne Lorz)

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Sara MacKillop
Installationsansicht / Installation view Haus der Kunst, 2016
Photo: Maximilian Geuter

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Sara MacKillop
Installationsansicht /Installation view Haus der Kunst, 2016
Photo: Maximilian Geuter

Sarah MacKillop organizes the objects into three islands that are linked through repeated motifs and objects. There is an informal quality: The wrapping paper is unrolled and can potentially be re- rolled, and the book covers hang from the space’s architecture or from other objects – many of the objects also overlap physically. The arrangements do not have a final form, but with their flexible, short-term, or temporary quality link to a window display.

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Sara MacKillop
Installationsansicht / Installation view Haus der Kunst, 2016
Photo: Maximilian Geuter
Sara MacKillop (b. 1973 in Bromley, UK) lives and works in London. She studied painting at the Royal College of Art, London. She has exhibited extensively: group shows include “Books and Prints”, Serralves Museum, Porto; “Concrete Poetry”, Hayward Gallery, London; “Kultur und Freizeit”, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster; solo shows include Kunsthalle Charlottenburg, Copenhagen; Spike Island, Bristol; White Columns, New York; Whitechapel Project Space, London.
The Portuguese artist duo João Maria Gusmão (born 1979) and Pedro Paiva (born 1977) has developed a magical and mysterious oeuvre over the past 15 years, which includes films, photographs, sculptures, and camera-obscura-installations.
 Anna Schneider since 2012  is assistant curator at Haus der Kunst in Munich. In 2009 she received her M.A. in Exhibition and Museum Studies as a Fulbright Fellow from the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2007, she received a degree in Cultural Work from the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam. Her research interests are in interdisciplinary relationships of contemporary art and in cultural phenomena with regards to historical, economic and political contexts.
Julienne Lorz -curator at the Haus der kunst in Munich. Having started out as a dancer and choreographer in the early 90s, Julienne completed her MA Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London in 2004. Since 2010 she is a curator at the Haus der Kunst, where she co-curated a number of exhibitions including thematic shows such as ‘Golden Times'(2010), ‘Sculptural Acts'(2011), as well as “Image-Counter-Image'(2012), Her latest exhibitions ‘Louise Burgeois. Structures Existence: The Cells’ opened in Haus der Kunst in february 2015.
Okwui Enwezor  – director of Kaus der Kunst-extends his contract as director of Haus der Kunst” ; I am looking forward to continuing with my colleagues in Haus der Kunst the successful programmatic orientation of the institution”, annotates Okwui Enwezor the decision…

 

The Kunstrevein München (k.m) presents ( 13 September 2016 until 8 January 2017) “Unfinished Mandarin” — a rotating exhibition of drawings by Gonçalo Pena in the Schaufenster am Hofgarten, co-organized with João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva.
The Gusmão and Paiva will display a sporadically changing procession of presentations of Pena’s pictures every two weeks over the course of the fall. Along with many others, these drawings will also be published in a book of the same name, a follow up to their 2014 book Monkey Trip (published by Mousse), ) — accompanied by written contributions from Gusmão, Paiva, Post Brothers, and Kunstverein Director Chris Fitzpatrick. While the publications present a linear, almost cinematic, sequence of Pena’s drawings, the Schaufenster exhibition conversely displays the images in a procession of variable layouts and groupings that allows for more complex and multiple associations to be made from their juxtaposition.

 

 

Munich; “Murano. Milano. Venezia. Glass” at The Design Museum

Curators: Dr. Xenia Riemann, Dr. Josef Straßer ; Assistant curator: Nadine Engel; July 1, 2016 – Oct. 16, 2016 (Die Neue Sammlung, Pinakothek der Moderne,Rotunde, 2nd floor)

While I am enjoying some days in Maremma/Toscana,  I reflect back to Munich with a beautiful exhibition that opened few weeks ago in Munich “Murano. Milano. Venezia, Glass” with around 200 object and accompanying drawings from the Holz Collection (Berlin) which is deemed one of the most important collections of glass from Murano world wide.

Murano. Milano. Venezia. Glas - die Ausstellung der Neuen Sammlung
Vases “A Piume” (Installation view), Archimede Seguso,
c. 1956, XXVIII. Biennale di Venezia, 1956, Sammlung Holz, Berlin, Photo: Anna Seibel

The international exhibitions held at the Triennale di Milano and the Biennale di Venezia are barometers of the most significant developments in twentieth century contemporary design and art. It is therefore no coincidence that Murano glass regularly attracts awards at both Milan and Venice. Having resurrected a range of centuries-old techniques, glassmakers such as A.V.E.M, Archimede Seguso, Barovier & Toso, and Venini learned to apply this knowledge in new and ingenious ways. Their work is a synthesis of the master glassmakers’ craftsmanship and the designers’ artistry. The objects they create attest to a successful renaissance of glass design that continues to the present day. (edited text/press/ Die Neue Sammlung) 

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Vase “Cinese”, Carlo Scarpa for Venini, c. 1940, XXII. Biennale di Venezia, 1940,  Sammlung Holz, Berlin, Foto: Atelier  Martin Adam, Berlin

“…Murano is the embodiment of Italian glass design. Venice had advanced to being a centre for Middle European glass art as early as the 13th century and when the entire glass production was moved to the neighbouring islands, glass from Murano gained world-wide importance from the 14th century onwards. As the Republic of Venice’s power dwindled, glass production on Murano also declined. Yet it was revived during the 19th century and enjoyed another peak in the 1950s and early 1960s.“(Angelika Nollert,director of Die Neue Sammlung  at preface of published book/catalogue of the exhibition )

Calice a spirale”, an object from the Artisti Barovier factory, is one of the oldest pieces. The cup on a spiral-shaped base went on display during the very first Venice Biennale in 1895. While the glass objects realized prior to the First World War were typically designed by the factories themselves, from the 1920s on designers and artists were brought in to decide the shape and appearance of objects. Collaborating closely with the glass-makers enabled them to explore the creative and technical scope glass afforded. Indeed, opaque vessels by architect Carlo Scarpa inspired by Chinese vases stand for a new design idiom as championed by the Venini glass factory……. (Die Neue Sammlung press)

Murano. Milano. Venezia. Glas - die Ausstellung der Neuen Sammlung

Objects “Vetro Pesante”(installation view), Alfredo Barbini, c. 1962, XXXI. Biennale 1962, photo:Anna Seibel

“…Workshops such as A.Ve.M., Archimede Seguso, Barovier & Toso or Venini managed to develop a contemporary formal language by employing new shapes and decors and in this way assumed a leading role alongside countries such as the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries, France or the former Czechoslovakia. In the 1950s and 1960s in particular, peak performances were achieved in Murano glass in terms of an autonomous design that certainly possessed analogies to abstract art. “(Angelika Nollert,director of Die Neue Sammlung; preface in the  book/catalogue of the exhibition )

“Barovier is one of the oldest Italian glassmakers and family businesses, founded in 1291 on the island of Murano. Murano was where the glaziers had to do their work to prevent the risk of fires in the cities as well as to preserve the secrets of the trade. The first member of the family on record is Jacobello in 1295. Two centuries later, Angelo Barovier became a great name creating precious pieces, one of which; the ‘Barovier wedding cup’ is now in the Murano museum and said to date from 1450.” (Barovier & Toso,biography at Rose Uniacke

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Vase, c. 1935/36, Ercole Barovier for Barovier & Toso, XX. Biennale di Venezia, 1936 Sammlung Holz, Berlin, Foto: Atelier Martin Adam, Berlin

The unusual designs by Ercole Barovier or the polychrome “Oriente” vases by painter Dino Martens attest to a great delight in experimentation during the 1950s.  The popular “Pezzati”, masterminded by the versatile Fulvio Bianconi, or the sophisticated “Merletti” by Archimede Seguso, stand for excellent artistry and a complete mastery of technical challenges. Fratelli Toso were especially renowned for black glass designs.

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Vase “Diamantato“ (Installation view), c. 1968, Ercole Barovier for Barovier & Toso, XXXIV. Biennale di Venezia, 1968,
Sammlung Holz, Berlin, Photo: Anna Seibel

Murano. Milano. Venezia. Glas - die Ausstellung der Neuen Sammlung

Vase “Siderale”(installation view) c. 1952, Flavio Poli for Seguso Vetri d’Arte, XXVI. Biennale di Venezia, 1952, photo: Anna Seibel

Influenced by Abstract Expressionism, the works by artist Luigi Scarpa Croce are rarely exhibited. The “Rotellato” pieces by Barovier & Toso demonstrate that in the 1960s glass objects were more colorful and decorative, while the shapes became more classical and plain. Finally, in the early 1970s large vessels and simple interlayer techniques produced spectacular results. (Die Neue Sammlung, press)

Among the few international designers represented in shows in Milan and Venice were the Swedish artist Tyra Lundgren, American sculptor Thomas Stearns or the two Swedish designers Birgitta Karlsson and Ove Thorssen.  They all worked with Venini, one of the world’s most famous makers of Murano glass.

A beautiful book/catalogue is published for the exhibition:curatorial team: Dr Xenia Reimann and Dr Josef Strasser  who developed the exhibition concept with Steffen John (who maintains the Holz collection).

Murano. Milano. Venezia. Glas - die Ausstellung der Neuen Sammlung

Vases “Pesce“ and “Tulipano“ (Installation view), c. 1960,
Alfredo Barbini, XXX. Biennale di Venezia, 1960,
Sammlung Holz, Berlin, Photo: Anna Seibel

Munich; Johann Andreas Wolff (1652-1716) Draughtmanship in Munich around 1700

05.05-17.07.2016 Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München at Pinakothek der Moderne

Johann Andreas Wolff (1652-1716)  electoral court painter in Munich and in Freising,  was a leading participant since  about 1680 numerous sacred and profane new and renovated buildings in southern Germany and Austria, such as in the modernization of state rooms of the Munich Residenz by Elector Max Emanuel.  The Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München secures more than half of his surviving drawings that are shown on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of his  death at the Pinakothek der Moderne.

41641 ZJohann Andreas Wolff, VENUS UND AMOR AUF EINEM VON SCHWÄNEN GEZOGENEN HIMMELSWAGEN  “Venus and Cupid on a heavenly chariot drawn by swans, design for the ceiling mural in the Munich Residence, around 1692; pen and red-brown ink, grey and light brown wash, over graphite  161 x 250 mm © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

 

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Johann Andreas Wolff   DIE MYSTISCHE VERMÄHLUNG DER HL. KATHARINA, “The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine, around  1692; Pen and brown ink, coloured wash, 309 x 215 mm
© Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

 

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Johann Andreas Wolff, ALEXANDER ZIEHT PERSISCHE KLEIDUNG AN “Alexander wears Persian attire”, design for the ceiling painting (now lost) of the Electoral dressing room in the Munich Residence, around 1680,  341 x 561 mm © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

 

 Other patrons were Prince Bishop Johann Eckher of Freising and the abbots of major Austrian pins (St. Florian, Kremsmünster, Göttweig)….In the baroque interior beings throughout the north of the Alps Wolff exercised decisive influence. Its high extraordinary altarpieces dominate today in many South German and Austrian churches and monasteries.

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Johann Andreas Wolff  HL. SIPPE “The Holy Kinship”, design for the central panel of the altarpiece in the Church of St. Martin and Castles in Landshut, around 1684, pen and red-brown ink, red-brown wash, 304 x 235 mm,  © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

 

Since the last monograph on Wolff was drawn up in 1988 (Kuno Schlichtenmaier), the image of work and importance of the painter is to revise. In addition to new discoveries and partially modified ups and a re-reading of the numerous surviving sources new questions are asked to Wolff’s biography and oeuvre: What is his position in the “Organization” of the Munich court to understand?  …How did the artist whose ceiling paintings, sculptures and ephemeral Triumphalbauten was designed alongside monumental altarpieces, contributed to the representation of court and church? ,,, Is the role of Munich as an art center in 1700 to re-evaluate? (Johann Andreas Wolff (1652 – 1716) – a court painter and art director Edited by Sibylle Appuhn-Radtke, Josef H. Biller, Dagmar Dietrich and Maria-Luise Hopp-Gantner) 

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Johann Andreas Wolff DIE VERKÜNDIGUNG AN MARIA “The Annunciation”design for a painting that now hangs in the Diözesanmuseum, Freising, around 1678; pen and black ink, grey wash, heightened with white, on light brow paper,  263 x 179 mm © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

 

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Johann Andreas Wolff  DIE ANBETUNG DER HIRTEN “The Adoration of the Magi”, design for the Nativity Altarpiece in St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Passau, around 1697, 253 x 199 mm © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

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Johann Andreas Wolff  DAS MAHL DER KLEOPATRA UND DES MARCUS ANTONIUS “The Feast of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony”, probable design for the Alexander Room in the Munich Residence, around 1680; pen and brown ink, inked-in over graphite sketch, grey and light-brown wash, 377 x 292 mm   © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

The research results of a working group to appear to Wolff’s 300th anniversary 2016 Apelles Publishing.  The exhibition of the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München allows  a new look at Wolff as a draftsman.

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Johann Andreas Wolff ALEXANDER VERANLASST EPHESTIONIS ZUR VERSCHWIEGENHEIT   ‘Alexander makes Ephestionis swear an oath  of silence’, design for the ceiling painting (now lost) in the ‘Rittestube’of the Munich Residence, around 1680; pen and black and brown ink, grey and brown wash. 179×180 mm ©Staatlische Graphische Sammlung München

 

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a beautiful publication “Johann Andreas Wolff: Zeichenkunst in München um 1700″ Achim Riether (author); Joseff Strasser (contributor)

all images provided by the Press Department of Pinakothek der Moderne for this editorial reporting. Thank you!

Munich; Jessica Warboys “Neap Tide” at Kunstverein’s Schaufenster am Hofgarten

Berlin and Suffolk-based artist Jessica Warboys elaborates that ‘painting is a wet medium’ with her ongoing series of Sea Paintings.  Last night preview opening  at kunstverein Munich (k.m) for the ‘Schaufenster’ at  Hofgarten she  created  a new piece “Neap Tide” where she developed a new display apparatus for her Sea Paintings, which alludes to photo-cinematic moving panoramas and the loops of film stock.

Jessica Warboys ‘Neap Tide’ 10 May -June 26, 2016

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The mechanism will be turned incrementally, without advanced notice, generating a new rhythm distinct from the temporality of her initial process. The effect is a wave of painterly information that proceeds over time, a picture that is always imperceptibly changing like the crystal flow of tides.

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Jessica Warboys  journeyed to the seashore to produce this work during ‘neap tide’a semi-monthly interval where the difference between high and low tide is at its least.  Relinquishing her aesthetic control to the movements of the sea, the Sea Paintings also register the specific place and time of their manufacture. They function a sort of implicit cinema. 

‘She lays large sheets of canvas on the beach, applies pigment to their sea soaked surfaces, and then casts the canvases  back out to sea. While seemingly  abstract, the images that result record the intimate and transitory interaction of her own movements with the confluence of the canvas surface, the pigment, and the tendencies and flows of the waves, wind, salt, and sand.'(k.m press) 

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Jessica Warboys created a set of beautiful edition prints for her guests

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Fabulous  flower arrangements celebrated the event by the flower curators  “Buketai”; an amazing creative project initiated by the k.m director Chris Fitzpatrick.

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Buketai is the name for the work of sisters Aurime and Igne Aleksandraviciute. As ’flower curators’, they  design a series of arrangements of plants in response to the exhibitions at Kunstverein München.

Following the opening, Warboys and artist and musician Morten Norbye Halvorsen presented  a sound performance and DJ set in the foyer of k.m  that further accentuates the looped logic of Warboys’ exhibition.

Athens; “Wols & Eileen Quinlan”at Museum of Cycladic art; curated by Helena Papadopoulos

During my short visit in Athens 2 weeks ago,  I had the pleasure and honour to see a beautiful, vibrant and poetic exhibition at the Museum of Cycladic Art, “Always starts as an encounter; Wols /Eileen Quinlan”curated by Helena Papadopoulos &  produced by radio athènes.  (March 17-May 8, 2016) . Walking thru the exhibition with my long time friend lovely Helena whom I fully admired for her curatorial practice for years. Helena so accurately  had been preparing  this exhibition from the last 2 years.  An artist talk and lecture with Quinlan and art historian Olivier Berggruen took place on March 18, 7PM

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The Stathatos mansion : A marble staircase leads up to the elevated ground floor of the mansion, to the dining room and the main drawing room, as well as a cast-iron rotunda axial to the entrance. No alterations have been made to these rooms, which have retained their original gilded stucco mural decorations, chandeliers, and fireplaces (during exhibitions parts of these are covered by wooden revetments).

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“Always starts as an encounter” Wols/Eileen Quinlan,
curated by Helena Papadopoulos, produced by Radio Athènes
Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens; photos: Yiannis Hadjisaslanis
courtesy of Radio Athènes

Quinlan and Wols are separated by time, historical circumstances and distinct photographic processes. And yet, their works embody the ambiguity of time, and yet both appear to delegate a part of their process to matter itself, as they travel across several genres: ‘por- traits’, ‘abstractions’, ‘fashion photographs’ and ‘still lives’. (curator’s notes)

[…] why is there a shadow in a kitchen, there is a shadow in a kitchen because every little thing is bigger” writes Gertrude Stein under the entry “Roastbeef” in the section Food of her 1914 volume “Tender Buttons” in which she looks at everyday, familiar, unexceptional ob- jets. (curator’s notes) 

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“Always starts as an encounter” Wols/Eileen Quinlan,
curated by Helena Papadopoulos, produced by Radio Athènes
Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens; photos: Yiannis Hadjisaslanis
courtesy of Radio Athènes

Unpacking the photographic images of German born Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze (1913-1951), known as Wols, and American artist Eileen Quinlan (*1972) a similar encounter with familiar objects, -cheese, beans, mud, esh, liquids, cloths, a hand or a face- pro- duces indelible imprints, representations of temporal operations and elemental materiality.

Wols, cited by art historians as one of the three pioneering art informel artists, together with Jean Fautrier and Jean Dubuffet, became known post-humously for his watercolours, drawings, writings and his heavily worked paintings with scratched layers of oil of the mid 1940s. His photographic work of the 1930’s had been largely ignored until photography historian Volker Kahmen and photographer Georg Heusch produced modern prints in 1976 from negatives made available by Wols’s sister, Dr. Elfriede Schulze-Battmann. Wols made numerous portraits, close-ups of pavements and dilapidated walls, rocks and beaches and was commissioned to photograph the ‘Pavillion de l’ Élégance’ in the 1937 Paris World Fair. Often working with borrowed cameras and more often than not unable to procure materials to print his negatives, he used his kitchen as makeshift studio and darkroom. It is in the kitchen that Wols produced some of his most outstanding images: “He went shopping and cooked Spanish or Chinese…..but first everything was photographed [raw]-the rabbit, the onions”, writes his wife Gréty, in a 1966 letter. Defamiliarizing the ordinary through the devolution of objects, Wols still lifes echo Georges Bataille’s writings on the ‘informe’ and ‘base materialism’. They are symptomatic of a feeling of insecurity permeating Paris in the 1930s, an atmosphere mirrored, one can claim, in today’s uncertain developments and imminent changes in Europe. (curator’s notes and exhibition press release).

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Born in Berlin in 1913, Wols left Germany in 1932 to live in France except for a two-year residence in Spain. After the outbreak of the Second World War, he was interned for over a year in various camps. After his death in 1951, Wols was represented in the rst three Documenta exhibitions (1955, 1959, 1964) and at the Venice Biennale in 1958. Major exhibitions of his photographic oeuvre include: Wols, der gerettete Blick, curated by Michael Hering, Kupferstich Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden (2013) and Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2014); Wols Photographs, curated by Christina Mehring, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge, MA (1999) and Wols, Photographe, curated by Laszlo Glozer, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1980).

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the exhibition continuer in the cast-iron rotunda axial to the entrance

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“Always starts as an encounter” Wols/Eileen Quinlan,
curated by Helena Papadopoulos, produced by Radio Athènes
Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens; photos: Yiannis Hadjisaslanis
courtesy of Radio Athènes

Born in Boston in 1972, Eileen Quinlan lives and works in New York. She has been explor- ing the layers that constitute the photographic apparatus, the materiality of both image and lm, often turning the transformative processes that take place, into her very subject. She has produced ‘still lifes’, ‘abstractions’ and ‘portraits’ oscillating between colour and black and white in order to ‘posit neither chromatic register as truer than the other’, as she notes. She sometimes shoots with outdated polaroid lm, or adds tequila in the water in which the lm may be bathed for weeks. Quinlan’s manipulations of the surface of her negatives include abrasions with steel wool and ballpoint pens, ngerprints and liquids, her active interventions resulting in textured prints. Matter (the body or the photographic materials) and memory (as after image) are inscribed within a medium which is treated ‘not as uncon- ditional reception of the perceived world, but as a position within a scopic regime mediated and in ected by barriers, screens, curtains’. (curator’notes and exhibition’s press release)

Eileen Quinlan teaches at Bard College’s Milton Avery School of the Arts. Her work has been featured in solo and thematic exhibitions internationally including Image Support, Ber- gen Kunsthall, Bergen (2016); Lens Work, LACMA, Los Angeles, CA (2015); What is a Photograph?, ICP, New York (2014) and Momentum 13: Eileen Quinlan, ICA, Boston, MA (2009). She is represented by Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York and Campoli Presti, London/ Paris. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Museum of Modern Art, New York among others. Eileen Quinlan is represented by Miguel Abreu Gallery/New York.

Helena Papadopoulos carefully chose the pieces by Wols and Eileen Quinlan and placed them in this environment of Cycladic Museum.  I loved the exhibition! Walking from the Athens streets in the  Stathatos Megaro was  a  poetic wave. Thank you Helena!  Couple of years ago in Berlin I had the chance to see the “Wols Photograph – Der gerettete Blick: Ausstellung des Informel-Künstlers im Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin .  Moreover, I believe the “Always starts as an encounter ; Wols/Eileen Quinlan” exhibition  is a truly  gem.

Organized by Radio Athènes with the collaborationof the Goethe-Institut, with additional support from Outset. Greece; the Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden; Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York; Aegean; New Hotel, member of Yes! Hotels and Design Hotels and the generous participation of Olivier Berggruen. Ms Papadopoulos and the Cycladic museum want to acknowledge with warmest thanks to :  Eileen Quinlan, Miguel Abreu, Olivier Berggruen, Stephanie Buck, Aphrodite Gonou, Michael Hering, Maria Joannou, Elina Kountouri (NEON) , Samuel Merians, the Eileen Quinlan Studio and Juliane Stegner.

The Museum of Cycladic Art is dedicated to the study and promotion of ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus, with special emphasis on Cycladic Art of the 3rd millennium BC.It was founded in 1986, to house the collection of Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris. Since then it has grown in size to accommodate new acquisitions, obtained either through direct purchases or through donations by important collectors and institutions. Read more here on the history of Cycladic Museum in Athens 

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The Stathatos Mansion gracefully combines elements of Greek and Roman architecture with the canons of Romantic Classicism, prevailing in nineteenth-century Europe. The building is articulated with two virtually identical fronts, which meet at a monumental porch of Renaissance form. The entrance is emphasized by an arched façade supporting a balcony on the first floor, as well as by two statues crowning the roof; work of the Bavarian architect Ernst Ziller, is one of the most important extant examples of Neoclassical architecture in nineteenth-century Athens. It was built in 1895 as the residence of the family of Othon and Athina Stathatos, to whom it belonged until 1938. It subsequently housed diplomatic representations of various states. In 1982 it was purchased by the Greek State and was restored and refurbished by the architect P. Kalligas, with a view to its use as accommodation for VIP guests of the State.For various reasons this plan was abandoned and in 1991 the building was leased to the MCA, in order to cover its increased needs for exhibition space. In 2001 the Greek State decided to concede its use for another 50 years to the N.P. Goulandris Foundation, to facilitate the operation of the museum.

one of the best -designed spaces in Greece, the Cycladic Art Cafe, concept and designed by the wonderful KOIS Associated Architects.

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“Always starts as an encounter” Wols/Eileen Quinlan,
curated by Helena Papadopoulos, produced by Radio Athènes
Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens; photos: Yiannis Hadjisaslanis
courtesy of Radio Athènes

New York; guest writer;Wayne Northcross on “The Most Incredible Thing’ at New York City Ballet

Premiere
February 2, 2016, David H. Koch Theater
Original Cast: Taylor Stanley, Sterling Hyltin, Amar Ramasar Ask la Cour, Russell Janzen, Tiler Peck  ;  Length: 45 Min
Costumes by : Marcel Dzama, supervised by Marc Happel
Set by: Marcel Dzama
Lighting by: Brandon Stirling Baker

Justin Peck’s  “The Most Incredible Thing “premiered on February 2, 2016, at NYCB’s annual New Combinations Evening.  Peck and composer Bryce Dessner (The National) had invited visual artist Marcel Dzama to collaborate with them on a new work for New York City Ballet; Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Most Incredible Thing”is  a lesser-known fairytale by the Danish author published in 1870.

I had the honour to be invited by my dear friend and wonderful writer Wayne Northcross to enjoy  this fabulous performance.  Wayne Northcross had been commissioned to write for the New York Observer, but few days ago  he  delivered to me a splendid text to be  hosted at VKblog.

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“I have been following visual artist Marcel Drama and ballet choreographer Justin Peck for months leading up to premiere of the New York City Ballet’s The Most Incredible Thing, their collaborative ballet based on the 1870 story by Hans Christian Andersen. I hadn’t been hanging outside the David Koch Theater trying to sneak a peek backstage at the dancers, sets and costumes I’ve heard so much about. No. I have been following Peck and Dzama on Instagram, marveling at how much I could preview of Dzama’s highly detailed and beautiful sketches for the costumes and sets as well as at Peck’s posts of dancers en pointe, executing jetes or arabesques. My favorite image is one Peck posted a few weeks ago of him and Dzama, smiling and sitting cross-legged on stage in front of Dzama’s painted backdrop of a double-headed firebird. This image got me thinking about how collaboration among artists from various disciplines can either ignite or spark a mutually creative enterprise or how competing and highly unique abilities can make partnering go up in flames. Then I attended a dress rehearsal after which I stopped looking so much at Instagram. Seeing the ballet in person or gleaning aspects of it on my phone, two things became quite clear: the production is stunningly beautiful and fully realized, full of visual and technical complexities; Drama and Peck have arrived at a seamless, mutually beneficial collaborative style.

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Sterling Hyltin and Taylor Stanley in Justin Peck’s “The Most Incredible Thing” Photo credit @ Barbara Anastacio resource: NYC Ballet Photo blog

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Tiler Peck in Justin Peck’s “The Most Incredible Thing” Photo credit @Barbara Anastacio,                                               resource: NYCBalletPhotoblog

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale of a king who declares that whoever in his kingdom creates the most incredible thing in the world will be awarded the hand of the princess and half the kingdom could be seen as story ballet primer. All the dramatic elements are here. Fantastically costumed characters, a battle between the forces of good and evil, magic, and frustrated romance. In Peck’s adaptation the main characters have been tweaked a little but still include The Creator of the most incredible thing, a large magical clock, The Princess, The King, and The Destroyer of said clock. The cast grows to accommodate 45 dancers and 11 children who make up the allegorical and symbolic figures and who emerge from the clock: Three Kings, Adam & Eve, The Cuckoo Bird, Four Seasons, Five Senses, Nine Muses. A lot of bodies for Peck to choreograph—at one point all the dancers are on stage at the same time. For Dzama this requires a lot of patterned tights, feathers, headdresses, masks, swords, and spears. 37 costumes in all. Not as easy as it looks, but a seamless collaboration between the two makes it seem so.

New York City Ballet The Most Incredible Thing, costumes Photographer: Erin Baiano 646.228.5917

“The Most Incredible Thing”; costumes, photo@ Erian Baiano

 

Gonzalo Garcia, Jared Angle, and Daniel Applebaum The Most Incredible Thing, costumes New York City Ballet Photographer: Erin Baiano 646.228.5917Three O’Clock: The Three Kings, dancers Gonzalo Garcia, Jared Angle, Daniel Applebaum. Photo @Erin Baiano

You are meant to see the creation and destruction of this most wonderful thing by the Destroyer in the ballet as an allusion to the artist’s struggle to create and express his or her artistic genius in a fickle and easily distracted world. You could also push the story’s symbolism further to include the push-pull dynamic of collaboration that Peck and Dzama had to go through to create and destroy a little piece of their own unique vision, sublimating autonomy in service of the In a collaboration consensus and integrity are key goals. Dzama developed the costumes over time, downscaling his initial ideas to fit Peck’s choreography. For his part Peck had to give more room to accommodate Dzama’s version, which for him was a new way of working. (Wayne Northcross) 

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Indiana Woodward backstage wearing a costume from Justin Peck’s “The Most Incredible Thing”,photo credit@Barbara Anastacio; resource: NYCBalletPhotoblog

Marcel Drama, is represented by David Zwirner Gallery, New York/London

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