The world of contemporary creation now has a specialized actor that can federate all its activities in one place. As our relationship to Art changes and as more and more projects are launched to make Art more accessible, Art and You becomes the contemporary art meeting point.

From 5th June until 30th of July, Nordine Zidoun Gallery present a spectacular exhibition showing the talented Devorah Sperber's body of works : « Clin d'oeil au Louvre »

Tell me about your works. Why did you choose the spools of thread as a material ?

I selected spools of thread because it reminded me of digital pixels. And, as a sculptor, I was thinking about digital pixels : they're nothing to them, they represent the idea of nothingness. The sculpture is about volum, and mass, and material in the real world. Thread spools are very beautiful objects, they also common in range in 3'002 colors. They're square, so they're pixel like, and they're readily available, so if I need to buy thousands of them, the coats and Clark shop can provide me with every color I need.

How did you come to use these optical device ?

My first studio was so small that I couldn't back up far enough to see the image in the thread. Originally my plan was that I would just have the thread spools and  you'ld stand back at a certain distance you would see the image, and as you walk for, the image would slowly disappear into the abstraction of thread. But I had some  binocular in my studio. And so I picked them up and flipped them. And so it shrunk the image so dramatically that it made me think : « What does this mean to my art ? » isn't it more intersting to see a radical change in scale. Standing close to the work, you'lle see the spools of thread, and instead of having to walk away all across the gallery to see the representation image, this offers you the opportunity to see both of the photographic image, and the spools as abstraction, right here right now. It was an accident that I had the binocular but it became the begining of my usual optical devices which most of my works include.

How did you get interested in neuroscience ?

I became very interested in neuroscience when a friend of mine, who was neurologist, came in my studio, and he as looking at my work, and he said : « tThis is neurological priming » and I : « What is that ? » So I looked it up, and basically, this is how the brain learns to make sensitive visual information. Just like a baby  looks up, it sees two dark dots, and eventualy realizes that's is mother. And « Mother provides me everything I need ». As the brain of the baby developps, it's able to see more details and begin to understand : this is a face, not just two black dots, there's a nose ; this face is different from other faces. My work in that sense was a type of neurological priming in that the brains of the viewers were needing to rise up to the occasion to learn to see the new imagery.
And that let me into researching science ; really what's happening in the field of neuroscience is so cutting edge, so fascinating I'm able to capture some of theses informations and to provide direct experiences so that people can see what neurosciences is learning about the brain, and experience from themselves in front of the work. One perfect exemple is how the brain is filling missing information. If you see a dog running behind a white picket fence, you don't have to question : « What is this brown thing behind this fence, keeping appearing ? » You know it's a dog, you fill in the missing dog. So I'm giving very little information, and the brain is filling in data, and making it possible for you to recognize it. That's just one exemple, there's many many more.

How did you choose the different pictures of the exhibition ?

This is the first time I've made works specifically for a city. The original paintings of these works are all in different museums in Paris. The first reason was :  people in Paris likely would recognize most of all these iconic paintings, not all, I didn't want to make it so easy. After looking at maybe 2'000 different images, I picked works that broke apart abstraction into a beautiful way. If you never saw the sphere, I want that thread spools works to be a stand alone art object. It's as important to me what it looks like in that abstraction as the image in the sphere. So after looking at many many images, I selected a variety of different colors and different compositions, but they all appeal to me in their abstraction, as well in the representation. The one common element is that this paintings are iconic in some way so that enough people recognize them. It would'nt be that interesting if I would pick the most obscure abstract painting from the most osbcur artist and made a thread spools of it, you'ld see the abstraction, you'ld look at the sphere and see an other abstraction. And if you don't know the painting, what's the point of the sphere ? Picking things that are iconic, that are in the memory already makes us possible to see the image.

Do you think that artists always redo the same iconic pictures ou paintings ?

I think a lot of artists are influenced by Cezanne, they think « oh I'll start with him and then do my own thing , being very obscur about the reference ». We're so influenced by so many things : there's something I like about being direct about it. I'm not hiding the fact that I'm inspired by Cézanne or Van Eyck.The more you look at different images, the more you think : « is there any new image? » Abstraction have been done, landscape have been done, anything I do is gonna remind somebody of something anyway. So why not just take something and let people see it instead of saying « oh, that's like this or that » people make the references anyway.
But this is just one body of works, I've also done things not based on art historical references.

Interview by Mathilde de Beaune

Wednesday 24 june 3 24 /06 /Jun 16:37
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From June 27th until December 20th, the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College presents an exhibition survey of Rachel Harrison, an original New-York based sculptor.

Entitled "Consider the Lobster", after an essay by the late David Foster Wallace, this exhibition scans over ten years of large-scale installations by Harrison, all of which will be reconfigured for the CCS Bard galleries, as well as a number of the autonomous sculptural and photographic works for which she is best known. In addition to the survey of Rachel Harrison’s work in the CCS Bard Galleries, the CCS Bard College also invited six artists (Nayland Blake, Tom Burr, Harry Dodge, Alix Lambert, Allen Ruppersberg, and Andrea Zitte) to collaborate with her to re-install works from the Marieluise Hessel Collection. An interesting experience...

Colored sculptures with organic forms, composed of photographic elements and diverse objects and materials as readymade. They look in the same time finished and still in working process, fragile and ephemeras. Mixing kitsch and formalism with a great virtuosity, she introduces a certain kind of humor in the thematic of the contemporary artistic complexity.

"Rachel Harrison’s work draws from a wide range of influence, wittily combining art historical and pop cultural references through a diverse play of materials. In Nose, Harrison’s figure towers on a cardboard box plinth as an abject gargoyle, adorned with a plastic joke shop nose. Grotesque and funny, Harrison’s humor derives from its carefully structured, yet open-ended suggestion, each element building up to a plausible punch line. Using visual language as a subversive tool, Harrison parodies expected comparison to artists such as Franz West and Paul McCarthy, appropriating styles and motifs with subtle knowingness, wielding artistic process as a mode of investigation."

The plasticity of the work isn’t beautiful, but we get attracted to it because of its singular materiality. Using wood, polystyrene, cement, acrylic and rubber, the execution gives the impression of a melting sculpture, always in movement, like it is falling apart. A tension towards the floor is suggested; we feel the world he is creating is all soft. Besides, the use of bright colors reinforces the idea of a fake world, ‘Play Doh’ like:  the artist plays with our view, our conception and it’s pleasant to play his game.

Consider the Lobster is curated by Tom Eccles, and results from a collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery in London where the exhibition will be on view from April 27 through June 20, 2010.

[Visual : Rachel Harrison, Entitled, mixed media, 2009]

Monday 15 june 1 15 /06 /Jun 11:05
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Through June 20th, Anton Kern Gallery opens its doors for the fifth time, to the delicate Los Angeles-based Dutch artist Lara Schnitger. Instead of only presenting her new textile paintings and textiles sculptures she got famous for, she created a whole installation with stretching fabric over joined sticks of wood representing large volumetric forms, which appears like a spider web. It looks like we penetrate the house of a spider, and pervade its intimacy, full of sensuality and grace.

Three new textiles sculptures are here presented. Continuing the process of fabric construction with clothes, in between sculpture and design, the figures represented are parody caricatures of singular situations. With geometrical forms endowing the human characteristics, they suggest humor and sometimes non-sense. The effect on the viewer is light and pleasant; we enjoy to distinguish the material, to recognize through the geometrical shapes human forms. 

The main black installation creates an organic tension between structure and membrane, The space is thus divided in different areas and removes the possibility of scanning entirely the works. We have to approach each piece, passing trough the web. This close look reinforces the intimate side of the exhibition.

The textile paintings depict figures, mostly women, with very light features and generally straight lines. It reminds Asian drawings, but also Gustav Klimt. Indeed, we feel softness and sensuality all around: by the choice of the colors –mostly light pink, blue, and tones of whites-, the tiny lines of the drawings, the expressions of the figures, full of tenderness and poetry and the liquid pigment which envelops these figures in a hazy atmosphere of subtle erotism. We also think about Klimt in the idea of the feminine celebration, and the use of geometrical motif to define different characters (see for instance the work “Giant”)

After Lothar Hempel in March, we make a poetical trip in a feminine universe, a dreamlike moment  where we flow  between asian culture and romanticism... don't miss the occasion !

Since her last Anton Kern Gallery show in 2005, Lara Schnitger has had solo shows at Magasin 3 in Stockholm, Sweden, The Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem, Holland, and most recently at the Museum Het Domein in Sittard, Holland. She also participated in several group shows including Sonsbeek Sculpture Exhibition, Arnhem (2008), Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st century at the New Museum, New York, Don’t Let the Boys Win, at the Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, Fantastic Politics, at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway (all 2007), as well as USA Today at The Saatchi Gallery, London, and The “F” Word, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (both 2006).

Sunday 14 june 7 14 /06 /Jun 14:56
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