visits on art, design, architecture and literature

Category: ART

Munich; the elegant “Claire Obscure” at Galerie Andreas Binder

“Claire Obscure”, 5th of February till 16th of April 2016 at Galerie Andreas Binder 
with Philipp Lachenmann, Matthias Meyer, Yigal Ozeri, Stefan Hunstein, Jan Davidoff, Anna Krammig, Rolf Walz, Dieter Rehm, Julio Rondo, Anna Navasardian, Gerhard Richter, and Sigmar Polke. (curated by Veronika Binder)
finissage reception :  Thursday, April 7th
binder_020Installation View, CLAIRE OBSCURE @ Galerie Andreas Binder 2016
Yigal Ozeri
Photo: Kilian Blees

Coming back from small vacation in Toscana, was refreshing to see again this beautiful and elegant exhibition at the Andreas Binder gallery yesterday afternoon.  The gallery bathed in natural brightness and  the elegant and careful arrangement of the works captivated me for few moments;  the recently retouched small rooms in  melancholic grey colour supplemented to a serene engaging dialogue between the works.

binder_022 2Installation View,CLAIRE OBSCURE @ Galerie Andreas Binder 2016
Yigal Ozeri, Gerhard Richter
Photo: Kilian Blees

 Based on the French translation of the style concept Chiaroscuro, the exhibition ‘Claire Obscure’ is devoted to contemporary artworks, which are especially marked by their play with a brightness darkness contrast.  Interpreting the concept as a since the Renaissance prevalent aesthetic technique to dramatize and vitalize the scene by bathing the motif in light against a dark background does, however, not exhaust the possible readings of Claire Obscure. (galerie press)

AM_Yigal_Ozeri_wT_Olya@ Galerie Andreas Binder 2016

…..Interestingly, photography became a reference point for contemporary painting with respect to ways of how to confront a possible reality……

binder_002Installation View, CLAIRE OBSCURE @ Galerie Andreas Binder 2016
Matthias Meyer, Gerhard Richter, Philipp Lachenmann
Photo: Kilian Blees

..the visitor of the exhibition ‘Claire Obscure’ sees himself/herself confronted with works that appear in their superficial, decorative aesthetic immediately accessible. Despite a commonly dark coloring and a romantic and mysterious charm the works still allow to be understood and felt in a from postmodern art discourses and from an autonomous aesthetic removed manner.

binder_009Installation View,CLAIRE OBSCURE @ Galerie Andreas Binder 2016
Julio Rondo, Dieter Rehm, Jan Davidoff
Photo: Kilian Blees

see here an older post on Stefan Hunstein and his book “IM EIS”presented at Kammerspiele Theater 

 Chiaroscuro (English pronunciation: /kiˌɑːrəˈskjʊəroʊ/; Italian: [ˌkjaroˈskuːro]; Italian for light-dark) in art is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. It is also a technical term used by artists and art historians for the use of contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures.[1] Similar effects in cinema and photography also are called chiaroscuro. (see Wiki)


Kochel am See; Franz Marc Museum “Das arme Land Tirol” & Annika Kahrs ‘Playing to the Birds’

Franz Marc Jahr 2016 “Das arme Land Tirol”
06. März – 05. Juni 2016

A visit  last Sunday morning at the Franz Marc museum at Kochel lake to a special exhibition as the centenary of Franz Marc’s death falls on 4 March 2016.  A magical day..  This special exhibition is a Trilogy  ‘Franz Marc – Between Utopia and Apocalypse’

02-marc-in-ried-am-kaffetischFranz Marc am Kaffeetisch in Ried, 1914
Foto: Franz Marc Museum, Kochel a. See, Stiftung Etta und Otto Stangl


The Franz Marc Museum is commemorating the painter, one of the most important German Expressionist artists, with three major exhibitions and a number of different events. Three of his main works will be coming (back) to Kochel, to the museum dedicated to the painter, as loans from prominent collections in Europe and the USA and, as such, to the area Franz Marc loved so deeply and from which he drew inspiration. In dialogue with the museum’s own substantial holdings the special aura of these pictures will once again be felt in the place they were first created.

Franz Marc, Das arme Land Tirol, 1913
Öl auf Leinwand, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
© Salomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

“Das arme Land Tirol” (The Unfortunate Land of Tyrol)  is one of Marc’s major
works. It was painted in early 1913 at a time when the
artist was optimistically making plans for the future.
 Nevertheless this landscape, inspired by a trip Marc 
made through Tyrol, is imbued with an inexplicable
 melancholy and a remote sense of danger – a mood 
that also found expression in the sketches and
 watercolours he created at the same time and which
 seems like a premonition of the impending World War.

02-marc-armes-land-tirolDas arme Land Tirol, 1913, Aquarell und Tusche
Franz Marc Museum, Kochel am See
Dauerleihgabe der Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München
04-marc-liegende-hyaeneFranz Marc, Liegende Hyäne (Liegender Wolf), 1913, Aquarell
Franz Marc Museum, Kochel am See, Stiftung Etta und Otto Stange © Bayer & Mitko, München

the surrounding  landscape; magical place;  Kochel am See.



photos@Venetia Kapernekas


a beautiful video  installation in the ground floor of the museum “Playing to the Birds” by Annika Kahrs  captures the moment and the beauty;  on view  (6 March-5 June 2016); pianist: Lion Hinnricks; camera:Lars-Peter Prigge

09-kahrs-Still_4Annika Kahrs, Playing to the Birds, 2013
HD film, colour, sound (14 mins), courtesy of the artist and Produzentengalerie Hamburg

This  video installation shows a pianist in a bright room playing “Legend No. 1, St. Francis of Assisi’s sermon  to the Birds” by Franz Liszt, surrounded by birds in cages. With this image of birds listening to music (or the sermon) Annika Kahrs references St. Francis directly. “….Since his death on 4 March 1916 in Wold War I the artist has been compared to the saint. The legend of St. Francis who withdrew from the world to live close to nature, attuned only to god and his creatures, is equally  applicable to Franz Marc.  He too withdrew from the ‘blighted’city of Munich to the ‘Blue Land’ of Upper Bavaria to lead a simple, ‘pure’ life in natural surroundings close to the animals he loved so dearly. “(museum press text) 



New York : “Anri Sala : Answer Me” at The New Museum

February 3rd, 2016-April 10th, 2016 at The New Museum, NY. The exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director; Margot Norton, Associate Curator; and Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator.

IMG_1118 (1)

Installation view of Anri Sala, ‘Answer Me’, 2008
Image: Venetia Kapernekas

I love and admire Anri Sala’s work  for years and being fortunate to be in New York for few days to see this amazing, powerful and poetic exhibition “Anri Sala: Answer Me”at the New Museum. This exhibition is brilliantly installed and is as much for music as for art people.  The exhibition features extensive multichannel audio and video installations that unfold across the Second, Third, and Fourth Floor galleries, composing a symphonic experience specific tailored for the New Museum. Needless to say that I visited this exhibition for 3 consecutive days; I was overwhelmed with music, elegance and melancholy but yet, Anri Sala knows so well not to impose or invade your own space.

In his early video works from the late 1990s, Sala used documentary strategies to examine life after communism in his native Albania, observing the role of language and memory in narrating social and political histories. Since the early 2000s, his video works have probed the psychological effects of acoustic experiences, embracing both music and sound as languages capable of conjuring up images, rousing nostalgia, and communicating emotions. In subtle visual narratives, Sala often depicts what appear to be fragments of everyday life, and his intimate observations experiment with fiction to double as enigmatic portraits of society. (The Museum press)

In recent works, Sala has interpreted musical compositions in multichannel video and sound installations that emphasize the perception of sound in relation to architectural spaces. This exhibition features a new spatialization of Sala’s The Present Moment (in B-flat) (2014) and The Present Moment (in D) (2014), in which he rearranges Arnold Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” [Transfigured Night] (1899) to create the sense that individual notes, abstracted from the composition, travel freely throughout the gallery before accumulating and playing in repetition as if trapped in a spatial impasse.

Anri Sala in Conversation with Massimiliano Gioni (Feb 5, 2016) (livestream) at the New Museum

Anri Sala,  as an art student, he shocked the art world with his  work Intervista (Finding the Words) (1998)a video essay on the recent history of Albania, based on a biographical story. Its opening sequence recounts how Sala discovered a reel of television footage in an old cardboard box. The footage turned out to be a document from the time when his mother, as a young woman, was engaged in the youth movement of the Socialist Party and supporter of former  Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha. Mother Country, the video work of Anri Sala, Jan Verwoert at Frieze, May 2002)


Anri Sala, Intervista (Finding the Words), 1998 (still).
Image: © Anri Sala. Courtesy Idéale Audience International, Paris; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Johnen Galerie, Berlin; and Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich.


Ravel Ravel, 2013. Installation view: “Anri Sala: Answer Me,” New Museum. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery; and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio

The exhibition  includes the US premiere of Sala’s striking installation “Ravel Ravel Unravel” (2013), first exhibited at the 55th Venice Biennale, where Sala represented France. In Ravel Ravel (2013), two interpretations of Maurice Ravel’s “Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D-major” (1929–30) are projected simultaneously in a semi-anechoic chamber, a space designed to absorb sound.   (New Museum press). 

Unravel, 2013. Installation view: “Anri Sala: Answer Me,” New Museum. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery; Hauser & Wirth; and kurimanzutto, Mexico City. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio
Unravel, 2013. Installation view: “Anri Sala: Answer Me,” New Museum. Courtesy Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery; Hauser & Wirth; and kurimanzutto, Mexico City. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio

It features two screens, each with a close up of a hand playing Maurice Ravel’s shimmering masterpiece Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D-major. “..It is an utterly mesmerizing sonic experience. At the same time, vivid images of the streets of Tirana, Berlin, or Mexico City have been replaced with the sterile anechoic chamber as a background. The animating dance between cultural glory and worldly grit from the earlier works has been channeled into the tension between a piece of great music and its dissonant interpretation.” (Ben Davis, Artnet, Feb 3, 2016) 

“The music is Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D (1929-30), which was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, a pianist (and the philosopher’s brother) who lost his right hand in World War I. The hands on the screens belong to the pianists Louis Lortie and Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, who each performed the concerto with an orchestra, using scores with tempos altered by Mr. Sala slowing or accelerating different parts. Their hands play tag up and down the keys, moving in and out of sync, finishing each other’s passages. The music is at once luxuriant and turbulent; if you know the back story, it can be traumatic. It swirls around, filling and then abandoning the crenelated space, whose protrusions add their own suggestion of violence.”(Roberta Smith, ‘Anri Sala: Answer Me’ Offers Symphonic Experience From Floor to Floor at NY Times, feb 4th, 2016) 

Anri Sala feels that language can be used to veil the truth. Thus he is preoccupied with music and rhythm as a form of communication among people: “It produces a choreography instead of producing a verbal discourse.”  The Breathing line , a score by Anri Sala and Ari Benjamin Meyers   (Anri Sala, Music Before Language, interview /vimeo of his work for  the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, 2012 for Answer Me, )



Installation view of Anri Sala, “Answer Me”, 3rd floor
Image: Venetia Kapernekas

The second floor features The Present Moment (in B-flat) (2014) and the Present Moment (in D)(2014). Installed together for the first time, both work reinterpret Arnold Schoenberg’s Late-Romantic composition “Verklärte Nacht”(Transfigured Night) (1899) to  create the sense that individual notes, released from the original composition, travel across the  gallery before accumulating and playing in repetition as if trapped in a spatial impasse. …The Present Moment (in D) debuted in 2014 at the central hall of Munich’s Haus der Kunst.  For his installation in Haus der Kunst’s central Middle Hall, Anri Sala  devotes his attention to the genre of chamber music, an intimate format that – for the artist – stands in dynamic contrast to the public nature of the work presented in the expansive spaces of Haus der Kunst. 

DER ÖFFENTLICHKEIT ― VON DEN FREUNDEN HAUS DER KUNST, Anri Sala, The Present Moment, 2014, (in D), film still, courtesy of Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; and Hauser & Wirth © Anri Sala


“Anri Sala: Answer Me” at The New Museum/New York  is made possible by the lead support of Lonti Ebers and Bruce Flatt and Maja Hoffmann / LUMA Foundation. Major support is provided by Maria de Jesus Rendeiro and João Oliveira Render. (info provided by The New Museum)


New York; Catherine Opie ‘Portraits & Landscapes’ and ‘700 Nimes Road’ at Lehmann Maupin

Catherine Opie : ‘700 Nimes Road’  January 14 – February 20, 2016 , at 201 Chrystie Street & ‘Portraits and Landscapes’ January 14 – March 5, 2016 at 536 W 22nd Street

Few days in my beloved New York City,  and a  long time admirer of Catherine Opie ‘s  work since the beginning of her career, early 90s, I enjoyed her double -venue exhibition, on view  at Lehman Maupin galleries which encompasses abstract landscapes, formal portraits, and the “700 Nimes Road” featuring  the artist’s portfolio of 50 photographs documenting the interiors and belongings of the late Elizabeth Taylor.

50 20x24 prints

CATHERINE OPIE, The Quest for Japanese Beef from the 700 Nimes Road Portfolio, 2010-11, pigment print, 24 x 20 in, 60.9 x 50.8 cm. © Catherine Opie. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

The artist Catherine Opie on conversation with  Juliet Helmke how she relates the  two different ‘bodies of work’ in the galleries, she says,
    “I think of them as two different ways of looking at portraiture. The Chrystie Street space is showing the Elizabeth Taylor portfolio, “700 Nimes Road,” the address of Taylor’s home, in which the series was shot. The Chelsea location has the abstract landscapes taken in national parks, along with new portraits of my friends emerging from this very black background. They have a very strong compositional relationship to history painting, such as Da Vinci’s, shown with the abstract landscapes that act as moments of memory. I feel like this is a body of work where I’m departing from my history of documentary photography, because the portraits in particular are about a very internal space, even though they’re images of real people. They have more to do with the subconscious, and desire, and the question of what a portrait does for us in the age of social media. Can we be held? I’m interested in this question of being held by an image now, in a society in which they are constantly passing in front of us. We flip through our screens. Making these portraits, I was using an idea of history painting, so to speak, to remind people about desire, and to will them to look longer.” (Blouin Artinfo, Modern Painters, “Catherine Opie on her Diverse Body of work, jan 10, 2016) 

50 20x24 prints

CATHERINE OPIE, The Shoe Closet from the 700 Nimes Road Portfolio, 2010-11, pigment print, 24 x 20 in, 60.9 x 50.8 cm. © Catherine Opie. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

50 20x24 prints

CATHERINE OPIE, Bedside Table from the 700 Nimes Road Portfolio, 2010-11, pigment print, 24 x 20 in, 60.9 x 50.8 cm. © Catherine Opie. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.


Juliet Helmke: How did the “700 Nimes Road” series come about?Catherine Opie: It happened that Elizabeth Taylor and I shared the same business manager. I had just finished the inauguration portfolio of the 2008 election of Obama. After that, I wanted to work with a subject as iconic as Elizabeth Taylor, but to make a quieter, humbler, more humanistic portrait of her by looking at her through her home and her belongings. It was six months of very carefully figuring out how to do it, and in the middle of it, in March of 2011, sadly, she passed away. It changed the meaning. All of a sudden I became the last person there, the person bearing witness to her home. I tried not to let that dictate it entirely, but it certainly was present in finishing the body of work. (published at Modern Painters, January 10, 2016) 

CO_LMG_2016_Inst_Chrystie_Street_02_hrCATHERINE OPIE 700 Nimes Road Installation view, Lehmann Maupin, 201 Chrystie Street, New York January 14 – February 20, 2016 © Catherine Opie. Courtesy Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong                                     Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein

…Opie’s photographs present Taylor’s domestic sphere as a minutely observed landscape of  fragments, surfaces and textures. The photogra­pher spent six months  in the house, including entire days spent srudying how the  light moved through particular rooms. Again and again, Opie would zoom in rightly on an object  or group of objects (pantsuits hanging in a closer, knickknacks gathered on a tabletop, a diamond tiara on a furniture cushion) as though to isolate particular things without intrusion from the many other things just beyond the frame. Because the images remain so resolutely focused, they rarely offer a sense of the overall logic of a room, much less the layout of the house. (Star Turn, Richard Meyer, Artforum, January 2014)

about her “Portraits and Landscapes”,  Catherine Opie says to Juliet Helmke,

…..I worry about losing how our imagination can lead us to other ways of answering questions in life, because in terms of fulling curiosity, everything is answered by the click of anger. The works at Lehmann Maupin’s Chelsea space are so much about this, especially the abstract landscapes. They’re saying, imagine the place you might be. I’m putting you somewhere literal, in an actual national park, but that you can’t recognize and so you’re slightly displaced—in a way that a portrait won’t displace you.  The portraits just ask you to keep staring. But then the landscapes ask you to keep staring as well, because they harken back to the idea of American genre painting, without the clarity of American genre painting. You imagine a moment of Bierstadt, but at the same time, you’re not looking at Bierstadt because the detail’s not there. You’re left only with the atmosphere.”   (Blouin Modern Painters, Q&A with Juliet Helmke, January 2016)

Final print files

CATHERINE OPIE Cecilia, 2013 pigment print 33 x 25 inches (print)  88.9 x 68.6 x 4.1 cm Edition of 5 (c) Catherine Opie. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.


CATHERINE OPIE Untitled #13, 2015 pigment print 77 x 51.25 inches 195.6 x 130.2 cm Edition of 5  (c) Catherine Opie. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

Final print files

CATHERINE OPIE Hilton, 2013 pigment print 33 x 25 inches (print) 88.9 x 68.6 x 4.1 cmEdition of 5 (c) Catherine Opie. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.



CATHERINE OPIE: Portraits and Landscapes Installation view, Lehmann Maupin, 536 West 22nd Street, New York January 14 – February 20, 2016 © Catherine Opie. Courtesy Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong  Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein

“….I love editorial photography. I like thinking about the platform and how images are put out in the world. I don’t talk a lot when I’m photographing, even in making portraits. I’m posing people and really watching them; looking for more of an internal space that probably mirrors my internal space too. It’s de nitely a portrait of the person, but I think, as with every portrait, there’s an element of self-portrait to it. I don’t want that to be confused, for example, in the football players series, with wanting to be a high school football player; I don’t. It’s more about bearing witness to each other. There’s a moment: I’m looking at you, you’re looking at me. We’re here for this one little, teeny moment together. It’s just such a wonderful short dance. You’ll never see them again, yet you carry them with you your entire life because you’ve had this exchange. I really love that. That goes back to humanism. We’re all in this together. Let’s all be human together, whether our political views or aspirations in life are different. We get to have this shared moment.” (Catherine Opie in conversation with Juliet Helmke of Modern Painters, January 2016) 


Opie would take about three thousand pictures of the house and grounds, from which she would ultimately select the sequence a group of fifty for a limited-edition portfolio. (In additions a selection of 129 pictures, including all fifty  from the portfolio, appears in the  book “”700 Nimes Road” Published by Prestel Verlag (2015) with contributions by Hilton Als,Ingrid Sischy, Tim Mendelson.

Thank you Lehman Maupin gallery for gifting me a copy of  this fabulous publication.

“Inside the World of Elizabeth Taylor”; Artist Catherine Opie on photographing the late actress and activist’s home for a new book, ‘700 Nimes Road’ at Harper’s Bazaar (sept 2015)

In 2016,  the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles is showing work from Opie’s new portrait series inspired by Old Masters paintings (Portraits, 30 January-22 May 2016)  and the Museum of Contemporary Art’s branch at the Pacific Design Center is showing the “700 Nimes Road” 23 January-8 May 2016).

@all images generously supported by  Lehman Maupin gallery press office

Munich; Sebastiáo Salgado “Genesis” at Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung

Sebastiáo Salgado “Genesis”curated by Lélia Wanick Salgado  (october 9, 2015-January 24, 2015).

Last week, during a cold icy afternoon walk,  I came to Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung for this extraordinary  exhibition  ‘Genesis’.


Archaic volcanic landscapes, arctic ice masses, meandering river canyons, moun­tain chains enveloped in mist, primordial rainforests and endless sand dunes – Genesis is a visual homage to the blue planet. In opulent black-and-white photo­graphs, the photographer Sebastião Salgado documents the stunning beauty and rich diversity of intact flora and fauna, as well as indigene peoples. His aesthetically impressive, large format photographic series is the result of an expedition lasting several years, with the goal of heightening people’s awareness for the preciousness of the last untouched corners of the earth….(Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung press ) 


…Thousands of penguins tramping away into the distance do look like people in mass migration or biblical exodus, plagued by exhaustion, hunger and storm. Icebergs really are shaped like castles, rainforests really are so dense it seems as if one could walk on top of them. Salgado doesn’t always resist the obvious…. (Laura Cumming on Genesis at the Guardian)


“Genesis has been divided into five chapters: Planet South shows the Galapagos Islands with sea lions, cormorants and penguins, as well as wales in the Antarctic and the South Atlantic. In Sanctuaries, Sebastião Salgado travelled through isolated zones with a rich diversity of species, such as Madagascar, Sumatra and West-Papua, portraiting the inhabitants of the Mentawai Islands, as well as the Korowai tribe. In Africa he moved between big game, undu­lating dunes, lava and the Okavango River, as well as amidst the Dinka nomads in Sudan. Northern Spaces shows Sebastião Salgado’s fascination with herds of reindeer at the Arctic Circle, the Kamchatka Peninsula and also the lacerated mountain masses of Alaska and the people encrusted in ice, with their sledges, dogs and tents. Amazônia presents alligators and jaguars, the courses of the Amazon, Negro and Juruá Rivers, as well as the Zo’é People in the jungle of Brazil.” (Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung press )



“…The difficulties start when people begin to appear. A Yali man of West Papua is photographed so that he becomes one with the tree he is climbing, an excrutiatingly tricky shot, given the angle, but which turns him into a human branch. Another is concealed in a thicket of ferns but lost all over again in the picture. Man and nature: Salgado doesn’t always draw a distinction. Along with the apes, they are all one continuous habitat.”(Laura Cumming on Genesis at the Guardian)

Wanick Salgado is Sebastião’s wife and creative partner. She is also the curator of the current series of Salgado’s work, “Genesis,” which is described by the Salgados as their “attempt to portray the beauty and the majesty of regions that are still in a pristine condition, areas where landscapes and wildlife are still unspoiled, places where human communities continue to live according to their ancient culture and traditions.” (Latin Correspondent, published Sept. 23, 2014)

“Genesis,” which has been making its way around the museums of the world since 2013. It opened at The Natural History Museum of London in 2013 and has traveled to Canada, Italy, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Spain, Sweden and Singapore.  A catalog has been published by Taschen Verlag.

A question to Ms Lélia Wanick Salgado “How has photography influenced your own life? She answers…”I don’t know, really, but the fact that photography is our life, is our profession, it has certainly made us see certain realities of the world: violence, hunger, migration, the flight of rural people to cities… so many things” at Latin Correspondent interview with Wanick Salgado 

more here on Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung

Galerie Stephen Hoffman in Munich  had a lovely exhibition  Sebastião Salgado 14. Oktober – 24. Dezember 2015


When the weather is particularly hostile, the Nenets and their reindeer may spend several days in the same place. North of the Ob river, inside the Arctic Circle, Yamal Peninsula, Siberia, 2011. Photograph: © Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas



Munich; Studio visit _ Thilo Westermann and ‘Vanitas’

An afternoon of incredible beauty and inspiration visiting  Thilo Westermann‘s studio last week.

Flowers of almost supernatural perfection, arranged in exquisite crystal vases, captured in classical black and white – timeless elegance….he has entitled the series Vanitas, and he uses this term with a very careful precision.


‘Lilies and card with putto, 2013. Reverse plexi painting, 11.7 x 8.3 ins (29,7 x 21 cm)


‘Vanitas (Paeonia lactiflora) 2, 2014. Reverse plexi painting, 8.3 x 5.8 ins (21 x 14,8 cm)

Westermann uses the old technique of reverse glass painting – a craft that in contrast to other ways of painting works in a negative process (as it were from back to front)…

He builds each image from tiny dots he scratches from his blackened surfaces. He makes a minute mark, he repeats the gesture again and again. He continues to do so in lengthy way… this is a weeks-long, detailed process.


Detail of the yet unfinished painting „Homage to Redouté“

He creates trompe-l’oeils, not just of photographic images, but of the entire technical process connected to them, and he correspondingly builds each image from tiny black dots in front of a white background….  (Martin Thierer)


Detail of the yet unfinished painting „Vanda Miss Joaquim 3“

 Martin Thierer has described, Westermann’s still lives persist in a tradition that reached its apogee hundreds of years ago in the Baroque period. It may not be entirely abandoned today, but when artists return to the still life it is always with a nod to its earlier heyday….Vanitas – the term was coined in Classical Antiquity and from early Christianity onwards characterized and defined man’s relation to his worldly existence in the philosophical-religious context. It was said that all man-made things by intrinsically being perishable, were doomed to failure, and first and foremost this meant art. The influence of the Vanitas idea was so far-reaching that in Renaissance Florence, thousands of art works suspected of being blasphemous in thrust were consumed by the flames of Savonarola’s infamous Bonfire of the Vanities. (Martin Thierer, published in: Thilo Westermann Vanitas. Nürnberg, Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2014


Bouquet with Prada card, Munich 2014. Print on paper, Diasec, 39.4 x 59 ins (100 x 150 cm)
IMG_8156Working tools


Detail of the painting „Chinese orchid (Homage to Ma Lin)




IMG_8155                                                                                                                               Detailed color pencil drawings on paper done in 2002

Thilo is  influenced by history and the „stories“ behind things.  “For example I am most intrigued by the fact that there are certain breeds of peony having been named after European celebrities. Peonies origin in Asian countries but Western explorers took the plant to their homecountries as a souvenir or as precious exotica hundreds of years ago. From here on the original peony has been transformed and redesigned according to Western aesthetics. Moreover the flower became even more westernized by being named the name of a (Western) movie star etc. It’s a way of dealing with colonial heritage and identity.” (Thilo Westerman, studio visit)


a beautiful book has been published by Verlag für moderne Kunst
Edited by Institut für moderne Kunst Nürnberg and Oechsner Galerie
Concept and layout by Thilo Westermann
Texts by Christin Müller, Aoife Rosenmeyer and Martin Thierer
Language: English/German
Edition: 1,500 copies
168 pages (you can buy the book here)


Kathja Fast,   a lovely & promising young filmmaker preparing for shooting a documentary on Thilos’s work


Kathja Fast and Thilo Westermann
….Thilo Westermann is attuned to the languages of attraction but resists the imperative to make evanescent images. And thus he is thoroughly contemporary, working in but at a remove from his time. If the great still lives of the Baroque period celebrated the perfection and the fleeting duration of all that is worldly, Westermann reconsiders that period as a means to hold fast to something lasting while all around him is fleeting.(Aoife Rosemeyer, published in: Thilo Westermann Vanitas. Nürnberg, Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2014, p. 136-143.)

Thilo Westermann is represented by Oechsner galerie in Nürnberg

In his collaboration with Daniel Wingate for the international luxury brand ESCADA Thilo transferred his concept of the self reflecting image from painting to the world of fashion. Transcience clashes with the approach to create something lasting. Excellent workmanship and the masterly depiction of all details form a new language oscillating between picture pane and three-dimensionality.


Installation view of „Vanda Miss Joaquim 2“ and visitor with the ESCADA meets THILO WESTERMANN blazer at Thilo’s solo show „Stilblüten“ at Institut für moderne Kunst Nürnberg



Window display at Saks Fifth Avenue New York: the cocktail dress of the ESCADA meets THILO WESTERMANN collection

Giorgio Agamben’s essay What Is the Contemporary was published in English in 2009.  For Agamben, the two kinds of seeing are inseparable; brightness harbours its own ‘intimate obscurity’. Darkness is also key in the tradition of still life; often flowers, fruits or foodstuffs seemed to emerge from the darkness of an interior, as if to emphasize their fleeting existence and their fate to return to dust like all mortal things. (Aoife Rosenmeyer on  The Contemporary Artist,Vanitas. Nürnberg, Verlag für moderne Kunst)


‘Vanitas (Vanda Miss Joaquim)’, 2013. Reverse plexi painting, 8.3 x 5.8 ins (21 x 14,8 cm)


reading today… ‘the art of Kintsukuroi’ repair with gold

A beautiful sunny morning in Munich and finding a beautiful image waiting in my iPhone (sent by my lovely daughter);  a teacup with golden lines and a text .. ‘understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken’

Kintsukuroi (Japanese: golden repair)or kintsugi (golden joinery) is the Japanese art repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum; treating breakage and repair as part of the history of an object.


(left) SAKE SAUCER (sakazuki), “Bamboo grove crane” (poetic name), 16th century, Shino ware, H.: 1 1/8 in. (2.8 cm), D.: 4 1/2 in. (11.3 cm). From the colle ion of the calligrapher Hisada Kakunan (b.1921)
(right) TEABOWL (chawan), 16th century, Karatsu ware, H.: 2 5/8 in. (6.8 cm), D.: 4 in. (10.2 cm). From the colle ion of Kokubun-ji temple in (former) Owari Province

As a philosophy kintsugi can be seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese æsthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.

Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of “no mind” (mushin) which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life.


TEABOWL (chawan), 16th century, Karatsu ware, H.: 2 3/8 in. (6.0 cm), D.: 7 1/4 in. (18.5 cm)

“Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated… a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin….Mushin is often literally translated as “no mind,” but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. …The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself…the notion of rupture returns but with regard to immaterial qualities, the passage of time with relation to states of being. A mirage of “before” suffuses the beauty of mended objects. ” (Christy Bartlett, A Tearoom of Mended Ceramics, in the Aesthetics of Mended Ceramics, FlickWerk)

…..From aesthetic, technical and artistic viewpoints, the restoration of ceramics with lacquer, which has been practiced in Japan for many centuries and which has been particularly cultivated since the sixteenth century, is a highly distinctive  and extremely fascinating field of Japanese art……As collective terms for all kinds of objects  that have been restored with lacquer, the Japanese language contains the two words urushitsugi (“to patch with lacquer”) and ursuhitsukuroi (“to repair with lacquer ”), both of which have been in the language since the sixteenth century, as well as the word urushinaoshi, which denotes “lacquer repair”. (Charlie Iten, Ceramics Mended with Laquer)

David Pike, an American kintsugi expert living in Japan, claims that the theory of the “[kintsugi] process is deceptively simple: mix lacquer with a binding medium–rice or flour–and use it to stick the (ceramic) pieces back together. Then finish the break line with a metal highlight.”


An example of kintsugi repair by David Pike. (Photo courtesy of David Pike)

The fable of Kintsukuroi,………

Once upon a time, in the far, far east, east even of Eden, lived a great emperor, in a great palace, gorgeously stocked with the richest of goods. It was early spring, and the season of royal visits, when kings and princes called on one another and admired each others’ choicest possessions, gave wonderful gifts and enjoyed bountiful banquets. And this year was special, because the visitors would see the investiture of his beloved son Kintsukuroi as Crown Prince of the empire.

The emperor was excited this year because he had a new and beautiful bowl to show to his friends, specially made for him by the finest of craftsmen from the finest of materials. Imagine then his horror when on going to his cabinet he discovered that it was broken apart, into a hundred pieces. How could it have happened? No-one knew. What could be done about it before the first visitors arrived? No-one could offer any idea, for the time was too short to start again and make another one..read more…


TEA CONTAINER (chaire), 18th century, Karatsu ware, H.: 2 3/4 in. (6.8 cm), D.: 2 3/8 in. (6.1 cm), Museum für Lackkunst, Münster, Germany



Athens; “BLESS” at Radio Athenes

A short visit in Athens few days ago, caught me by surprise of the amazing installation by BLESS at Radio Athenes, where its  dynamic founder Helena Papadopoulos full force completed an amazing installation on the ground floor of the space and continue ‘aggressively’ but yet so beautifully on first floor at her  living space; indeed, an installation with no limits!

The Paris and Berlin based duo BLESS (Désirée Heiss and Ines Kaag) refuse to capitalize on any one milieu, and instead explore the differences between, and the mixing of, the systems of art, fashion, and design. They glide over the conventions of production, distribution and display to create things (to wear, to use, to look at, to smile at) for now and forever. Their collections are titled to reflect a current mood that may ostensibly last for many seasons to come, questioning consumerist behavioral patterns and proposing instead a ‘Present Perfect Continuous’.


They came  to Athens to inhabit the Radio Athènes headquarters at 15 Petraki Street and the  private apartment on the first floor of the same building.  They transformed these interior spaces into a BLESSHome and  presented their ideal and artistic values to the greek public for the first time.



What they do is not so easily summed up. “Many of our clothes are not spectacular catwalk items, but aim to be all time favorites for everyday life,” says BLESS. The collections they create (which is classified by a number rather than a season) feature reinvented garments like the N°10 pleatskirtscarf, a combination of a pleated skirt and scarf. Their projects remain somewhat simple, inspired by the ins and outs of daily life. (somethingabloutMagazine)


The work of BLESS has been exhibited internationally including the 1st Berlin Biennial, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Manifesta 4, the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam, the Goethe-Institut, Tokyo, the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam and the Istanbul Design Biennial.





Is BLESS more successful in Berlin or Paris? Where do you more commonly see your garments worn?

Neither nor. BLESS supporters are spread all over the world. In Berlin or Paris, (there) is a concentration of friends and family. The ambitious aim in the beginning was that we wanted to feel like ‘Europeans’ are still relevant; we still don’t care if we get labeled in articles as French or German designers. With time it became more important to concentrate the energy we need for production more in a local context, but the outcome of our work is really without destination. With our perspective as a niche-designer, we appreciate that modern media spreads the information round the globe and connects us with like-minded people from far destinations.(Interview at somethingablout Magazine) 


all photos@VK by permission
Radio Athènes institute for the advancement of contemporary visual culture is a non profit organization  in Athens. Radio Athènes was conceived and founded by Helena Papadopoulos in December 2014 with founding member Andreas Melas. The centre of operations that doubles as a bookstore is on 15 Petraki Street in Athens, Greece, zip code 10563, near Mitropoleos Square. The nearest metro stops are Syntagma and Monastiraki.

Munich; Thomas Struth at Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle

12.11.2015 – 30.01.2016

Last week, a quite impressive exhibition opened by Thomas Struth at Rüdiger Schöttle gallery, with new cycle of work.

The work “Research Vehicle, Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, 2014” shows a simulator that the Apollo astronauts used from 1964 onwards to practice the moon landing.

On his trip  to South Korea in 2007, Thomas Struth photographed tankers under repair in one of the world’s largest shipyards and a semi-submersible drilling rig.  Since this trip, industrial innovation and scientific achievements have been the center of the artist’s attention.

Struth - Research Vehicle_72dpi
Thomas Struth
Research Vehicle, Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards 2014
Inkjet print, 145,8 x 196,7 cm
© Thomas Struth, courtesy Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle

Struth said: It is clear that the contemporary human imagination is more easily fired by the pyrotechnics of science and technology rather than by the difficult, and perhaps now historically discredited, negotiation of political ideals. I wanted to open the doors to some of these unseen places in order to scrutinize what our contemporary world–what we–create, depicting plasmaphysics and chemistry, ship- and oil rig-building, space shuttle repair, architecture, etc., as what our minds have materialized and transformed into sculpture.”

While you walk the 2 floors of the gallery,  visitors view the inner workings of these facilities, their machines and contraptions, and the frequently inaccessible spaces of scientific research, as the artist places his focus on medical institutions and test laboratories with their instruments and equipment.(gallery press) 

The large format images are mesmerizing. They convey the fascination we have for instruments that embody scientific and material innovation but distract us from the calls for social and political progress.

71 Kopie

Installation view of the exhibition by Thomas Struth at Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, photo: Wilfried Petzi
Struth_11431_Z-Pinch Plasma Lab_72dpi
Thomas Struth
Z-Pinch Plasma Lab, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot 2011
Inkjet print, 131,8 x 158 cm
© Thomas Struth, courtesy Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle

Without any human presence as witness and indication of space and time, a categorization of the content in terms of past, present and future is not instantly possible. (gallery press)

“….My interest, or hope, or intent is to address something which has a larger scale, a larger value, than the specific details or locations shown. The photographs must ultimately be driven by interests on a more general level.” (Thomas Struth, retrieved from This Place) 

Quotes taken from Thomas Struth in conversation with Charlotte Cotton, 2014. This Place. Retrieved from This place

Zurich; Daniel Gustav Cramer ‘Sixteen Works’ at Bolte Lang gallery

24th of October – 28th of November 2015

A beautiful outing in Zurich last weekend, to enjoy the exhibition by Daniel Gustav Cramer at Bolte Lang gallery. I am a truly admirer of the poetics of Gustav Kramer’s work since 2012 (dOCUMENTA(13), curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Kassel, Germany.

Daniel Gustav Cramer’s exhibition is in its essence a portrait of a landscape, of a man on a road, lost in his thoughts; it’s a portrait of the experience of a single moment. If you take this image as a starting point, the exhibition unfolds and reveals the different faces a journey can have. There is for one the strange sense of time, which feels rather in points of time, personified, present, than a continuous flow – every curve offers a new encounter of it. (gallery press)



                                                                                  installation view of the  exhibition,  photos@VK

Daniel Gustav Cramer’s works are the amalgam of an ongoing research, like a traveler’s journal that describe the human conditions they draw its images from a collective experience and our commonly shared memories. Our urge to explore, to collect and to archive, to eventually connect our journey to a relevant memory is something Cramer is trying to capture through a variety of formal and linguistic strategies, through live experiences and the appropriation of existing memories. (gallery press) 


                                                         during evening opening, Chaja Lang (left), Martina Tauber (right), photos@VK

A beautiful dinner followed at the  lovely near by restaurant, Zumfink, on Josefstrasse in the buzzing Kreis 5 quarter.   A lovely evening, warm atmosphere.  Than you beautiful ladies,  Chaja Land and Anna Bolte.

lovely Anna Bolte at Greulich dinner, photo@VK


Daniel Gustav Kramer (left), photo@VK


                                                       Installation view Sant’Ilario Pavilion at THEVIEW Studio, October 2015, photo@BolteLang gallery

(1) Unpolished and rough, displaced and on display, the pieces have been inhabiting as a temporary storage the small architecture of the “Sant’Ilario Pavilion” (2015), an exhibition project by THEVIEW Studio conceived and directed by Vittorio Dapelo, curated by Francesco Garutti and set along the ligurian Riviera. www.theviewstudio.com



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