VK

visits on art, design, architecture and literature

Category: ART

New York; Clarice Lispector ‘Selected Crônicas’

‘I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort’,
‘so long as I have questions to which there are no answers, I shall go on writing’,
Clarice Lispector 

 

One of my favourite  visits in New York is the 192 Bookstore in Chelsea.  A lovely afternoon  my eyes came on the  “Selected Crônicas’ (translated by Giovanni Pontiero, published by New Directions Publishing Corporation, New York).  Clarice Lispector (December 10, 1920 – December 9, 1977)  is widely recognised as the most original and innovative Brazilian woman writer of this century.

photo (source;WikiCommons)

The ‘Crônicas’ or Chronicles presents about two-thirds of the chronicles contained in “Descoberta do Mundo); in 1984, seven years after she died of cancer, Lispector’s son edited those chronicles which she published in the Saturday edition of the Journal do Brazil from August 1967 until December 1973. It is arranged in a chronological order, and is a miscellaneous collection of aphorisms, diary entries, reminiscences, travel notes, interviews, serialized stories and essays.

Varied and unpredictable, the chronicles allow us to piece together the life and career of this singular personality.  The chronicles register contrasting moods, one moment whimsical, the next grave and questioning, but whatever the theme, disarmingly frank. (Giovanni Pontiero’s note,  translator & publisher)

photo (source;WikiCommons)

The intimate revelations of the crônicas takes us through the various stages of womanhood from innocence to awakening perceptions of good and evil. The transition from adolescence to maturity is one of solemn rites, at once delicate and vulnerable.  One of the stories I love ‘Miraculous Leaves’ (written Jan 11, 1969)

No miracles never happen to me. I sometimes hear people discuss them and that give me hope. But it also makes me rebel: why do they never happen to me? Why  do I only hear about them? For I have heard conversations about miracles such as the following: ‘He told me that if such and such a word were to be spoken, some valuable object would smash into pieces.’ The objects in my house are broken in much more humdrum fashion, usually by one of the maids. I have even come to the conclusion that I am one of those people who roll stones throughout the centuries. I mean bought stones, not the smooth polished kind. Although I do have fleeting vision before falling asleep – could those be miraculous? But it has already been patiently explained to me that the phenomenon even has a name: cidetismo, which means been able to protect unconscious images into the sphere of hallucination. (Clarice Inspector, Jan 11, 1969, Crônicas, page 56) 

Brazil’s other great writer of this century, João Guimarães Rosa, once told her” ‘ ‘Clarice, I don’t read you just for the literature, but in order to learn about life.’ Her dramatic isights can surprise and shock, amuse and distress. Such is the intensity and vehemence of her prose that it unleashes everything which is gentled violent in this world of ours.  And as herself confided: ‘Everything affects me.. I see too much, heart too much, everything demands too much of me.’

‘The elusive genius who dramatised a fractured interior world in rich synthetic prose’ (Megan O’Grady, Vogue)

At the request of Clarice Inspector,  this interview, which was granted on January 1, 1977, to TV Cultura’s Panorama program, only aired ten months later, at the time of her death. (source: Obviousmagazine)

photo@ Claudia Andujar, 1961
Testimony of the photographer Claudia Andujar, recounting how she portrayed the writer in 1961. The photo illustrated the cover of the biography “Clarice”, by Benjamin Moser, released in 2009 by Editora Cosac Naify. This photo (in detail illustrates as well the Crônicas)

‘I went to the house of Clarice Lispector to photograph it at the request of the magazine Claudia, who wrote a report about the writer in 1961. I do not remember that day lost in time, but there are details that I keep forever. I wanted to make her comfortable for the photo, and I asked her how she would like to stand.  If I’m not mistaken, the idea of sitting before the picture Typewriter and start working on some text was from Clarice.And then she let herself be absorbed by the act of writing, completely delivered, without hardly noticing my presence. “ (Source: Obvious)

Clarice Lispector (December 10, 1920 – December 9, 1977),born to a Jewish  family in Podolia  in Western Ukraine, she was brought to Brazil as an infant, amidst the disasters engulfing her native land following the First World War…She left Brazil in 1944, following her marriage to a Brazilian diplomat, and spent the next decade and a half in Europe and the United States. After returning to Rio de Janeiro in 1959, she began producing her most famous works, including the stories of ‘Family Ties’ (Laços de Família), the great mystic novel ‘The Passion According to G.H’.(A Paixão Segundo G.H.), and what is arguably her masterpiece, Água Viva. Injured in an accident in 1966, she spent the last decade of her life in frequent pain, steadily writing and publishing novels and stories until her premature death in 1977.

Münchner Kammerspiele: Daina Ashbee ‘s new dance piece “Unrelated’

“Unrelated”
Artistic Direction, Concept, Choreography and Scenography: Daina Ashbee
Interpreters and Performers: Paige Culley and Areli Moran
Lighting Design:  Timothy Rodrigues
Music: Bashar C#
Length: 70 minutes
Production: Daina Ashbee, supported by the Canada Council for the Arts; the British-Columbia Arts Council; the First Peoples’ Cultural Council; the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels); Circuit-Est; and Studio 303.
photo@Sarah Marie (courtesy  of the Int’s Dance Festival press office

Last Sunday afternoon, entering  the Kammerspiele theater,  a dancer welcomed us lying on her back, naked, arms and legs slightly stretched.  She looks relaxed, breathes quietly, palms up;  her skin is adorned with a her skin is adorned with a variety of tattoos, …..a deep roar creeps out of nowhere into the room, becomes louder and lays down over us.

photo @Venetia Kapernekas

….The white wall in the back of the stage becomes a place of refuge and the object of the aggressive unloading and recharge when the performer throws at her with all her strength. Her body becomes a place of ambivalence between anger, self-assertion and self-hatred – the hair to the curtain behind which she hides her face. The good news: everything that the two dancers suffer during the Munich Kammerspielen during this hour is choreographed and staged. The bad news: the stories behind Daina Ashbee’s production are true. The choreographer, living in Montréal, deals with the disappearance of indigenous women and girls in North America in “Unrelated.”  The gravity and brutality that such a theme brings with it is not a trivial task. Daina Ashbee finds a language which satisfies the seriousness of the matter and is at the same time poetic enough not only to shock us but also to touch us (in translation, Karen Kovacs, dance-muenchen blog)

photo @Daina Ashbee (courtesy of the Int’s Festival press office)

photo @Sarah Marie (courtesy of the Int’s Festival press office)

photo @Venetia Kapernekas

…the audience towards the 2/3 of the performance is involved in small, ritual actions with the two performers, a  piece of fur goes through the ranks, a hand touches me, all  happens very slowly, slow motion, with great caution,  direct and honest…

 

photos @Venetia Kapernekas

“Unrelated” is a dark work that expresses the cruelty and vulnerability confronted by Aboriginal women in Canada, while exploring the self, cultural destruction, violence and self-destruction. With a disconcerting lucidity, “Unrelated” boils with feelings of emptiness and erupts with violence suggesting the loss of culture, identity and community.  (Daina Ashbee  website ) 

In Unrelated, the first decision we needed to make was that the dancers needed to be nude. No question about it. That for me was the first layer of vulnerability the performers need to have in order to represent how vulnerable aboriginal women are. A lot of my stuff is about insistence and duration and repetition. With a time constraint, you can accentuate something that is really insistent. (Daina Ashbee on interview on Cult Montreal,)

Photo: Annik MH de Carufel Le Devoir (published at Le Devoir)

Dans Unrelated (2012), la chorégraphe abordait la violence présente dans son propre corps et la tendance à l’autodestruction tout en dépeignant la vulnérabilité et la cruauté auxquelles les femmes autochtones font largement face. Toujours personnelles et teintées de son expérience de jeune femme d’origine crie et métisse, ses créations troublantes ne manquent pas de faire leur marque dans les esprits. (‘Les séismes intimes’de Daina Ashbee, Le Devoir, Libre de Penser)

Daina Ashbee & the performers Paige Culley and Areli Moran; photo@Venetia Kapernekas

My choreography is an investigation of the body in order to address the subconscious. A deepening of my own consciousness. The art of dance brings me closer to my own body and to the awareness of my own thoughts and processes. Articulating this awareness through choreography helps to uncover my connection to the environment, the earth and to my ancestors. (Daina Ashbee statement) 

…In a mixture of contemporary and traditional dance she contrasts the terrible aspects of the history with an inner powerfulness, vulnerability, and sensitivity. In a disturbing and expressive piece two dancers embody how unknown physical strengths in the body can manifest themselves. This is a recurring theme, like a thread, in the work of this artist living in Montreal. She became known internationally following an invitation to Geneva, where she presented her work in 2015 at the Global Alliance Against Female Genital Mutilation at Musée d’ethnographie de Genève (MEG). (press release of the Int’ l Festival Tanz, Munich) 

 

 

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/

Delphi and Ithaka:a spring pilgrimage

photo @VK Feb.24th,2017_ 10 am

 

Departing Munich with my daughter that rainy morning on February 23rd and arriving to Athens on sunny afternoon and  driving directly  to Delphi it was  indeed a pilgrimage to Light.

Delphi was an important ancient Greek religious sanctuary sacred to the god Apollo. It is located on Mt. Parnassus about 178km northwest of Athens

Delphi at a very early stage was a place of worship for Gaia, the mother goddess connected with fertility and also home to the panhellenic Pythian Games.  The sanctuary was home to the famous oracle of Apollo which gave cryptic predictions and guidance to both city-states and individuals.

Architecture: The first temple in the area was built in the 7th century BCE and was itself a replacement for less substantial buildings of worship which had stood before it. The focal point of the sanctuary, the Doric temple of Apollo, was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 548 BCE. A second temple, again Doric in style, was completed in c. 510 BCE with the help of the exiled Athenian family, the Alcmeonids.

The oracle of Apollo at Delphi was famed throughout the Greek world and even beyond. The oracle – the Pythia or priestess – would answer questions put to her by visitors wishing to be guided in their future actions. The whole process was a lengthy one, usually taking up a whole day and only carried out on specific days of the year. First the priestess would perform various actions of purification such as washing in the nearby Castalian Spring, burning laurel leaves, and drinking holy water. Next an animal – usually a goat – was sacrificed. The party seeking advice would then offer a pelanos – a sort of pie – before being allowed into the inner temple where the priestess resided and gave her pronouncements, possibly in a drug or natural gas-induced state of ecstasy.( Mark Cartwright at Ancient History Encyclopedia) 

photo @VK Feb.24th,2017_ 11 am

“…The oracle of Apollo at Delphi was famed throughout the Greek world and even beyond. The oracle – the Pythia or priestess – would answer questions put to her by visitors wishing to be guided in their future actions. The whole process was a lengthy one, usually taking up a whole day and only carried out on specific days of the year. First the priestess would perform various actions of purification such as washing in the nearby Castalian Spring, burning laurel leaves, and drinking holy water. Next an animal – usually a goat – was sacrificed. The party seeking advice would then offer a pelanos – a sort of pie – before being allowed into the inner temple where the priestess resided and gave her pronouncements, possibly in a drug or natural gas-induced state of ecstasy.” (Mark Cartwright at Ancient History Encyclopedia)

The ancient theatre at Delphi was built further up the hill from the Temple of Apollo giving spectators a view of the entire sanctuary and the valley below ; photo@VK

  Archaeological Museum of Delphi, designed by Alexandros Tombazis, photo@VK

The site was ‘re-discovered’ with the first modern excavations being carried out in 1880 CE by a team of French archaeologists…all survive as testimony to the cultural and artistic wealth that Delphi had once enjoyed.

(from left to right): “Column of the Dancers “,the three  daughters of Cecropos, about 13 m_”Aghias”, son of Agonios, champion at many Panhellenic games in the 5th century BC _ the twin marble archaic statues – the kouroi of Argos (c. 580 BCE) and the marble Sphinx of the Naxians (c. 560 BCE), (in museum) ;photo@VK by permission
splendid metope sculptures from the treasury of the Athenians (c. 490 BCE) and the Siphnians (c. 525 BCE) depicting scenes from Greek mythology ; in museum , photo@VK by permission

Staying in Delphi for 2 days, we continue driving to Astakos to catch the ferry for Ithaka.. An incredible island this time of the year  as the spring arrived early.  The island has been inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC. It may have been the capital of Cephalonia during the Mycenaean period and the capital-state of the small kingdom ruled by Odysseus. The Romans occupied the island in the 2nd century BC, and later it became part of the Byzantine Empire. The Normans ruled Ithaca in the 13th century, and after a short Turkish rule it fell into Venetian hands (Ionian Islands under Venetian rule). more here… 

I rest for a moment on the  poem “Ithaka” by C.P.Cavafy, 

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard (C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

We stayed for a week at the most beautiful yoga retreat in Greece and beyond. http://itha108.com/gallery/

Ana-Nefeli saving a 3 week baby goat from the sea

Megaro Drakouli at Vathi

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.

 

Athens “In Plain Site, Trisha Brown” at EΜΣΤ ‘dancing Athens’ by Onassis Cultural Centre)

I was fortunate while visiting my beloved Athens to experience ‘In Plain Site’, part of the curatorial “Dancing Athens”  This unique retrospective was  created in collaboration of the OCC/Onassis Cultural Center, (curatorial directorship: Katia Arfara)  at the (still not opened officially)  premises of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMΣΤ)

(under Extracts from earlier, more abstract works like Accumulation from 1971 was combined with more theatrical pieces such as 1990’s Foray Foret in an unexpected encounter with the Athenian public which puts the abundant natural light of the new museum space to good use. A tribute to the ground-breaking work of the choreographer who put dance into the everyday life of the city).

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photos@Venetia Kapernekas

….Dancing Athens invites us to change the way we move and behave in the city, the way we perceive our everyday gestures, our reactions to the unexpected and the random, but also the way we perceive contemporary dance. (Onassis Cultural Center/Dancing Athens press) 

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In Plain Site, Trisha Brown Dance Company’s new performance program, allows Brown’s dances to be freed from the constrictions of the conventional stage and to be once again performed in unexpected locations. But unlike her previous site-specific adventures, Trisha Brown: In Plain Site mines and then recombines material from her vast repertory to accommodate the unique spatial demands of the particular venue. Brown’s long-time dancers—and now hand- chosen associate artistic directors Carolyn Lucas and Diane Madden—visit the venue, collaborate with the presenting organization in the selection of a site and then decide the pieces that would best fit the selected location. They are re-thinking Brown’s work and finding new ways to express and share her genius. Drastically shortening the distance between the dance and its audience, Trisha Brown: In Plain Site engages the audience in a dramatically different way, illuminating Brown’s fifty years of investigation. (press ) 

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 photos @Venetia Kapernekas

….The experimentation that began back then in New York when dancers, composers, poets and visual artists set out together in search of new representational codes has never stopped. Fifty years on, Trisha Brown is still fascinated by and experimenting with the relationship between space, movement and the viewer. In Plain Site is different from her previous site-specific works in so far as it presents a collage of fragments from a half century of emblematic choreography.

It was April 1970 when Trisha Brown tied a dancer to a length of climbing rope and sent him walking down the front of a seven-storey building at 80, Wooster Street, Manhattan. The American choreographer was looking for ways to unsettle the relationship between the human body, gravity and space and the way New Yorkers had learned to think of everyday movements like walking and running. And it was there in the early Seventies that the experiments and unconventional ideas of the Judson Church postmoderns -along with their irresistible desire for change- spilled out into the streets, squares, parks, terraces and museums of New York. (Onassis Cultural Center/Dancing Athens press) 

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photos@Venetia Kapernekas

Katia Arfara ; Artistic Director for Theatre and Dance at the OCC
Conceived and curated by Katia Arfara
Head of Production: Dimitra Dernikou
General Technical Management: Lefteris Karabilas
Production Manager: Vassilis Panagiotakopoulos
Production Assistants: Despoina Sifniadou, Eirilena Tsami

Read here latest news about the EMST opening by Margarita Pournara in Kathimerini (end of October 2016)

The ΕΣΜΤ /the “old FIX brewery” – a signature example of post-WWII modernism, designed by the innovative architect Takis Zenetos (1926-1977), which accentuated the horizontal dimension of the building that runs parallel to Syngrou and Kallirois Avenues

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.

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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

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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!

London; Christiana Soulou “The Book of Imaginary Beings After Jorge Luis Borges” with an essay by Donatien Grau

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Few days ago this  amazing gift/book arrived at my door step.  An extraordinary book with 50 drawing by the  artist that I admired for years, Christiana Soulou.   The drawings greatly inspired by Soulou’s love and admiration of Jorge Luis Borges and Margarita Guerrero’s book “The Imaginary Beings (1957) – a fantastic anthology of “strange creatures conceived down through history by the human imagination.”  The project has evolved and expanded over more than two years, originating in a presentation at the 2013 Venice Biennale, where Soulou’s drawings were presented as part of ‘The Encyclopedic Palace’. Published on occasion of the exhibition “The Book of the Imaginary Beings After Jorge Luis Borges, Sadie Coles HQ, London, 26 January -20 February 2016.

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Christiana Soulou ‘Lion cerf’, 2015, colour pencil on paper
site size: 21 x 29.6 cm / 8 ¼ x 11 ⅝ in, unique
Exhibited: The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges, Sadie Coles HQ, London, 26 January – 20 February 2016
Illustrated: The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges, (Colour Illus. (p.65))
Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

 

In the 1967 foreword to ‘The Book of Imaginary Beings’, Jorge Luis Borges and Margarita Guerrero, his co-author, presented the change of title from Handbook of Fantastic Zoology to its current denomination: “the title of this book would justify the inclusion of Prince Hamlet, of the point, of the line, of the surface, of n-dimensional hyperplanes and hyper volumes, of all generic  terms, and perhaps of each of one of us and of the godhead. In brief, the sum of all things-the universe.  We have limited ourselves, however, to what is immediately suggested by the word ‘ imaginary beings’; we have compiled a handbook of the strange creatures conceived through time and space of the human inspiration.” (Donatien  Grau, ‘Credo Quia..’)

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Christiana Soulou ‘Thorny Devil and Dragons’, 2013, colour pencil on paper
site size: 21 x 30 cm / 8 ¼ x 11 ¾ in, unique
Exhibited: The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges, Sadie Coles HQ, London, 26 January –20 February 2016
Illustrated: The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges,  (Colour Illus. (p.44))
Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

 

Executed in coloured pencil, Solou’s drawings are at once evanescent and insistent, elusive and precise. They appear to be timeless – emerging out of subtlety of tone and exacting line – and in their precision, they invoke the works of Renaissance draughtsmen such as Pisanello and Dürer. As writer and critic Donatien Grau has observed, “..the precision of the artist’s line is fundamental; every line she draws is a careful decision, seemingly light and perfect, but in fact burdened with responsibility. The existential weight of drawing an imaginary being in a particular fashion is enormous; these beings will never see the light if she does not draw them. As she draws them, she conceives them, and when they are set on the sheet of paper, she has given them to the world; she has added new figures to the population of beings that exist on this earth.”

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Christiana Soulou,’Dragon gracilis’, 2013, colour pencil on paper, unique
site size: 21 x 30 cm / 8 ¼ x 11 ¾ in
Exhibited: The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges, Sadie Coles HQ, London, 26 January – 20 February 2016
Illustrated: The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges, (Colour Illus. (p.43))
Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

 

Borges invites us to explore that zone of indecision where the material goes into the feeling. The same is not the same anymore and the other is not the other anymore as in the half-crocodile half-lion eats up the integrity and the other way round.  Here is it not about the imitation or resemblance; “is required on the opposite the power of ground basis, able to dissolve forms”, to destroy identities and impose the existence of such a zone where we do not know anymore what is crocodile and what is lion – because something rises up as the triumph of their in distinctiveness. My drawings occupy that space. They are the paintings of that zone. Neither their resemblance not their difference. In the drawings of those animals it is not that the one is transformed into the other. It is the extreme contiguity in the dissimilar, the confluence of dissimilar elements under the same light, and the fact that something goes from one to the other. ( Christiana Soulou, 2014, translated from the french by Donatien Grau).

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Christiana Soulou ‘Monstre’,  2015, colour pencil on paper
site size: 15 x 20.5 cm / 5 ⅞ x 8 in, unique
Exhibited: The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges, Sadie Coles HQ, London, 26 January – 20 February 2016
Illustrated: The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges,(Colour Illus. (p.45))
Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

 

Classical art gets away from arbitrary reality by applying a system that is based entirely on the natural (and is mysterious logic), on the contrary to Northern art which has not been refined by the knowledge of the natural, abstract language and the reproduction of reality, where classical art proceeds without any constraint with the direct representation of the real. Borges’ images seem to relate more to Villard de Honnecourt’s drawings, where the real is absolutely not identical to the natural. As  a consequence, the subtraction of an order happens on a space there this order does not exist. (‘Resemblance as an order’,  Christiana Soulou)

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Christiana Soulou, ‘Sky Blue Licorne Horses’,  2014, colour pencil on paper
site size: 21 x 29.6 cm / 8 ¼ x 11 ⅝ in, unique
Exhibited: The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges, Sadie Coles HQ, London, 26 January – 20 February 2016
Illustrated: The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Luis Borges, (Colour Illus. (p.75))
Copyright the artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

 

Christiana Soul’s drawings are the exemplification of the situation  contemporary subjectivity is left in, after the destruction symbolised by Nietzsche; if we believe, we are absurd; but if we do not believe, then we are left with the absurd. What are we, existentially, to do, in order to navigate the world we were born into, and in which we will die? .….To credo quia absurdum, or credo via impossible, Christiana Soulou replies with credo quit line eat, ‘I believe because there is the line’. The fact that there would be such a thing as a line, drawn by human hand, signifies that perfection, however, tenuous, can be reached; that the miracle of representation can be realised by a human being, by a human hand.  (Donatien Grau, ‘The reasons of belief’)

……..As much as resemblance deforms, the in distinctiveness becomes the best definition of resemblance. It is exactly the point Borges introduces the zone of indistictiveness that holds as the only space where those beings can get closer to what they are (to themselves).  Foucault’s unthinkable space then becomes the only true space and the actual work of art; a space where the same and the other, the familiar and the foreign converge in an extreme contiguity without any resemblance, and produces resemblance.  To admit the misled character of phenomena is not fatality; it i on the contrary the certainty that, beyond every evolution, every progress and every knowledge, there is a feeling of a world that places itself not before, but above knowledge. (Christiana Soulou, ‘Indecision and Space,  on her book, athens, october 2014, translated from he french by Donatien Grau)

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A remarkable notice is made in the book by  Donatien Grau about Margarita Guerrero, co-author on “The Absent Author”… Most often, Borges is cited as the only author of  “The Book of Imaginary Beings”, but in fact there were two: Jorge Luis Borges, whose eminence as one of the very few late encyclopaedic minds of the twentieth century is unparalleled, and Margarita Guerrero, his co-author, with whom he wrote the book. In the english edition. Guerrero never appears as Borge’s co-author, even though the prefaces of the two editions in Spanish are co-singed by him and her; even though the French edition lists her as a co-author; even though the édition de la Pléiade, which was prepared under Borge’s own guidance, doe not include Le Livre des être imaginaries as a work fully by Borges.  Guerrero was an important figure in Borge’s life; … she was there for him when Borges, already suffering from the ocular illness that would end up leaving him blind, had to dictate The Book of Imaginary Beings. 

Published on occasion of the exhibition “The Book of Imaginary Beings after Jorge Louis Borges, Sadie Coles, HQ, London, 26 January-20 February 2016, ©2015 Christiana Soulou, Sadie Coles HQ, Donatien Grau, published in a limited edition of 300. Designed by Frase Muggeridge Studio, Printed by Albe De Coker, Belgium
all images ©Christiana  Soulou, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London
Thank you Sadie Coles gallery with your  generous permission to publish images of the amazing drawings in my blog and use some of the extraordinary texts by Christiana Soulou and Donatien Grau..  (V.Kapernekas)

 

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