visits on art, design, architecture and literature

Tag: olivier Berggruen

New York: Karin Waisman’s new piece “Stem 3” silence speaks

“Space is not merely given, it too  is produced; by analogy, we can evoke the space created by a musical chord, its wave-like expansion producing a tapestry of sound.”
                                                         (Olivier Berggruen on Karen Waisman’s work)


A short ride with the subway from Manhattan to Queens last week,  before the temperatures dropped dramatically in New York City on my way to visit my dear friend’s studio, Karin Waisman to see her new piece,  “Stem 3#”  a jewelry piece.  While reading a great book, Pascal Mercier ‘ s ‘Night Train to Lisboa” I was traveling through time since I met Karin and arrived early a sunny afternoon at Karin’s lovely small studio; our conversation unfolded slowly with green tea revealing the essential nature of her work.

Karin Waisman  studied architecture as an undergraduate in her native Buenos Aires and later earned an MFA in sculpture from Cornell.  She lives in New York with her family and goes uninterrupted to her studio every day. She is an accomplished artist with many exhibitions and site- specific installations to her credit.   Despite being trained as an architect, she prefers to work on her art full time.  A great writer, my dear friend, Olivier Berggruen, notes on  Karin’s work:

El Dorado, 2008-2014. Installation view;photo ©Karin Waisman

Karin Waisman creates haunting, ethereal works in which ornamentation acts as a founding principle.  Formal elements alternate between refined vegetal motifs and a proliferation of geometric patterns. These unfold effortlessly across a flat surface that is primarily dynamic rather than static. The expansion of geometric forms occurs in a spontaneous, organic fashion that undermines the Pythagorean ideal on which they seem to be based.

        Karin Waisman  Stem #3, 2017    Carved in wax and cast in  gold 1”D x 7/8”W x1-1/8”H; photo ©Karin Waisman


Karin Waisman, El Dorado, installation view, 2008-14. Wall 2, dimension variable;photo ©Karin Waisman


….the interlacing of lines is the foundation of the structure of the arabesque and its geometric complexity (much cultivated in late Antiquity) reveals repeated patterns, thus allowing the beholder to imagine the design extending beyond its actual limits. It also introduces the idea of infinite connection of correspondence. In one-way or another, everything is deduced and linked together.  The arabesque was not just exclusive to Islamic art. Rococo ornament, for example, introduced a fluid and whimsical style that has applied to a variety of media, from boiseries and mirrors to porcelain and silver. 

Karin Waisman’ work refers to 17th Century needlepoint, the craft involving lace making by embracing potentially infinite growth forms, ornamentation generated through a painstaking process.  (Olivier Berggruen essay  ‘Efflorescence & Evanescence’ at the book/ cataloge ‘Karin Waisman – The Garden of Eden’, New York, 2004)

( boiserie: finely-sculptured wood paneling or wainscoating, particularly  in 18th-century French architecture, source; Collins dictionary)

Karin Waisman, Evanescence I, 1998-1999. Pencil on velum, 68″h x 96″w;photo ©Karin Waisman


Karin Waisman, Tondo II, 2006. Cast Resin, 84″ diameter; photo ©Karin Waisman  

Karin Waisman -Puzzled, 1998-1999. Cast Aluminum 432″h X 24″w x 2″d. Permanent Collection Plattsburgh Sculpture Park. Myers Fine Arts Building;photo ©Karin Waisman

Karin Waisman -Puzzled, 1998-1999 (detail) Cast Aluminum 432″h X 24″w x 2″d. Permanent Collection Plattsburgh Sculpture Park. Myers Fine Arts Building;photo ©Karin Waisman

    Karin Waisman  Stem #3, 2017    Carved in wax and cast in  gold 1”D x 7/8”W x1-1/8”H;
photo ©Karin Waisman

Stem #3 is part of a new series of pieces that are to be worn on the hand. This new tactile element of the work explores how one perceives weight, temperature and different surfaces on our own body. My previous pieces for public places, explored the relationship of our body moving in front of the work or in an enclosed space, perceiving it as a field of vision. In these sculptures the relationship is changed; we hold, move and transport the piece with our own body. (Karin Waisman, 2017) 

In her work, ‘Evanescence I‘, Olivier Berggruen continues, ‘… The vegetal-inspired motifs that appear in this inner sanctum evoke growth and movement without falling into representation. In other words, the motif that pervades this work is inspired by vegetal forms but nowhere is there a fully formed, self-contained plant to be seen. The principle of vegetal, organic growth is used as a formal and metaphorical device to structure the work. Plants have the infinite potential for growth. Vegetal forms here are an evocation of life, of that very form that appears in movement.’ 

Karin Waisman, Evanescence I, 1998-1999. Pencil on velum, 68″h x 96″w, detail;photo ©Karin Waisman

see Karin Waisman   and more about her work  see here 

  Karin Waisman,  Stem #3, 2017  Carved in wax and cast in recycled silver  1”D x 7/8”W x1-1/8”H;photo ©Karin Waisman

Karin loves to be surrounded by nature; her second studio is two hours away from the city in Eastern Long Island where she escapes to work, a sanctuary, a place to work on her large pieces and preparation sketches on site-specific site-specific work that often incorporates architectural elements.  One of them is at Chihuahua Desert at the foothill of the 18th century silver mining town Real Catorce, the ‘Blue Oasis’, finalized in 2013.

Blue Oasis is a partially buried concrete structure, fifteen feet square and twelve feet high on the inside. We enter by descending a narrow and dark stair, a transitional space that leads to a large tiled cubic room. All the walls, floor, and ceiling are covered with a square encaustic tile that is patterned with concentric circles in blues and greens. A stainless steel tube penetrates some of these circles to the outside, allowing for natural light and ventilation as well as serving as a small oculus that allows the viewer to see the desert landscape beyond. Working within this extreme site, Blue Oasis exists for the viewer to establish a temporary dialog with Nature through the lens of the vibrant blue light that pulsates within. It transforms the landscape from within. On the outside it blends with the desert landscape, half- buried in the land. (Karin Waisman, April 2013)

‘Blue Oasis’, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 2011. Permanent collection Sculpture Park San Luis Potosi.  Exterior view, reinforce concrete;photo ©Karin Waisman

‘Blue Oasis’, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 2011. Permanent collection Sculpture Park San Luis Potosi. (Detail tiled main space with wall and ceiling perforations);photo ©Karin Waisman

‘Blue Oasis’, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, 2011. Permanent collection Sculpture Park San Luis Potosi. (Detail wall perforation looking to the desert from inside main space;photo ©Karin Waisman

This optic effect reinforces the idea of movement and transformation. The sound of our own bodies reflects on the tiled walls, floor and ceiling creating a continuous echo. Outside is the desert, harsh and sublime, tamed by this new oasis, a shelter, a second skin. The possibility of perceiving the walls as a limit that separates the inside space from the outside world and as an element that grants that space its symbolic quality is only possible because I, myself, inhabit my body within the limits of my own skin. (Karin Waisman, April 2013) 



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

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



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



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

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

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



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

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

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


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


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




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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 09.02.09

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 09.02.28


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


Keith York City

History made interesting


visits on art, design, architecture and literature

Eclectic Trends

Interior Design and Lifestyle Trends

Venetia Atelier

A notebook on art, architecture, film, theatre and nature.

maria sarri Art projects

#art_projects, #public_art, #site_specific, #post_colonial, #urban_art

Η καλύβα ψηλά στο βουνό

Σε κοίταζα μ' όλο το φως και το σκοτάδι που έχω


A personal perspective on human interest stories from an American journalist living abroad

An Englishman in Berlin

Blog about life and culture in Berlin, Germany


bits and pieces that interest me


An Alternative Cultural Daybook

Venetian Red Art Blog

Art, the resplendent light that illuminates the world

visits on art, design, architecture and literature


visits on art, design, architecture and literature


visits on art, design, architecture and literature


visits on art, design, architecture and literature


This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees


gaze at Greece


the new T.A.M.A platform