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June 24 2009 4 24 /06 /June /2009 16:37

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

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June 15 2009 2 15 /06 /June /2009 11:05

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]

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June 14 2009 1 14 /06 /June /2009 14:56

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).

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June 12 2009 6 12 /06 /June /2009 18:17

Until July 31st, the Gladstone Gallery presents an impressive large-scale installation by Huang Yong Ping: “tower snake”. This piece continues in the same direction line of the artist : through his art, he seeks for opening the dialectic between two worlds, by a strong provocation, sometimes controversial.

Founding member of the Xiamen Dada group in China during the mid-1980s, he has garnered an international reputation in France in particular with the debate after the censorship of his installation “World Theater” which should have been presented in the exhibition “Out of Limit’, at the Pompidou Center. This piece gathered in a large box with the shape of a turtle, different species of insects which were doomed to kill each other: the purpose was to create a microcosm of worldwide conflict.

Ten years later he represented France at the Venice Biennale: beyond the provocative side, his work shows a great complexity and innovation. Besides, his large-scale installations, by mixing oriental and occidental cultural codes, Eastern and Western Art history, create an original look from a transcultural perspective. Coming from China, the artist thinks that the best way to engage a realization from the viewer is to use the sensational part of the event. If not, it would be difficult to give a sense of the spirit of opposition he wants to transmit. Thus, he sometimes burned his work in showing resistance to the realism socialist. The problem is for him to establish a relation with the society without loosing his independency.

The monumental installation ‘the tower-snake’ is comprised of a single temple-like construction. “Taking its form from the spiral of a coiled snake skeleton, a ramp of bamboo gradually rises taking the viewers from the tail toward its head. In transforming the rib cage of the snake into a series of arches, Huang Yong Ping echoes the architecture of a Gothic cathedral, simultaneously reworking this Western style with Eastern materials and subtly transforming the cruciform symbol of Christian salvation into the tangled figure of Edenic temptation. More importantly, this Tower of Babel-like sculpture depends upon the natural material of bamboo reaffirming its link to Eastern construction”. In this piece, the interaction with the viewer is at its best: indeed, the latter enters through the representation of the snake, and follows its long body; through this path, he could thus pervade its deep reality. An experience not to miss…

Born in 1954, Huang Yong Ping participated in the seminal exhibition “Magiciens de la Terre” at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 1989, and represented France at the 1999 Venice Biennale. In 2006, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis organized and premiered his retrospective “House of Oracles,” which traveled to Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts; Vancouver Art Gallery; and Ullens Center, Beijing. Other solo exhibitions include: CCA Kitakyushu, Japan; De Appel, Amsterdam; Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris; Atelier d’Artistes de la Ville de Marseille; Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo; Barbican Art Gallery, London; and New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York

[Visual : Huang Yong Ping : “Tower Snake”, 2009 Aluminum, bamboo, steel; 22 x 39 x 37 feet, courtesy Gladstone Gallery]

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June 11 2009 5 11 /06 /June /2009 16:14

Coinciding with the Venice Biennale, the opening of the second museum of François Pinault was a real blast: In the very well located Dogana del Mare, facing the prestigious Plaza Saint Marco an impressive panel of artists such as Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Murakami, Cy Twombly, the Chapman Brothers, but also rising stars such as Matthew Day Jackson, Adel Abdessemed, Nate Lowman are presented. Today, the French Charles Saatchi succeeded an achievement of his career which was not so easy to make.

Indeed, the path which led to Dogana del Mare wasn’t with no traps: the project of having a place to render public his collection started in 2001: he initially wanted to buy in the outskirts of Paris, nearby the ancient factories of Renault, but he had difficulties with the State and finally renounced. Four years later he found and bought the Palazzo Grassi. But Pinault understood fast that his collection – about the 2,500 works of art - was too important to be only displayed in this place. Indeed, the exhibition couldn’t reflect its diversity, since he doesn’t have a fix taste but look more after the personality of an artist, and follows his development.

Abandonned for 30 years, the 17th century place Dogana del Mare appeared has a great opportunity. In 2005, he competed with Peggy Gugenhein to get it, and, with the help of Jean-Jacques Aillagon (ancient minister of culture and communication, and actual president of Versailles’castel), he purchased it.  The project was masterminded by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who had worked with Pinault twice before. The Dogana's unique history was inspiring, he tells me from his Tokyo office, but presented difficulties too. "I was impressed by its simple and rational structure," he explains. "I studied the history of the building and referred to several historical drawings that helped us understand the construction, as well as the different renovations through the centuries."

In order to rediscover the original space, Ando removed all the partitions and interior walls that were added over the last 400 years. What was revealed was a triangle, 105 meters by 75, with a beautiful wooden roof above it. "Some parts of the building could be researched and investigated only after the removing process, so we had to adjust the project step by step and be extremely flexible – and all this on a very tight schedule," he says. "We were only able to proceed with authorization from the Venetian authorities, who had to agree on every step."

The exhibition ‘Mapping the Studio’ curated by Alison Gingeras and Francesco Bonami, develops this intimate subject about the path of a work of art from the artist’s studio till the collector house. Displayed in the two locations, the part in Dogana del Mare totally fits the purpose. The light inside is incredible, and gives a proper shape to all the pieces.

After owning Christies, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, it seems that François Pinault own a good part of Venice, with Dogana del Mare, this taste maker has written his play in the history of the art market, to be continued with his son ?…

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June 10 2009 4 10 /06 /June /2009 11:10

The New Museum of New York presents “The Generational”, the institution’s new signature triennial exhibition, which will display until June 14th fifty artists from twenty-five countries only born after 76.  To examine the visual culture this generation has created, see the differences and the links we could find between young artists living in various countries and cultures and to discover new artists, those are the important points of this new triennial.

Because the most influential and enduring gestures in art are made in the early stages of our lives, the new museum decided to explore this new generation through all media: paintings, drawings, photography, film, animation, performances, installation, dance, even internet based works and video games.

In order to select only 50 artists, who should be representatives of the new generation, the new museum decided to explore an new way of curating, using methods and tools of nowadays : instead of giving the power of choice to one unique person, an initial research for the exhibition was conducted through an international network of correspondents, and an information-sharing group of more than 150 curators, writers, teachers, artists, critics, bloggers worldwide, who were asked to recommend artists.

According to Lauren Cornell, “The exhibition presents glimpses of a generation that is incredibly diverse, with artists moving seamlessly across mediums. Instead of radically breaking from the past, these artists draw from a myriad of influences across historical movements and geographies to highlight the intergenerational dynamics that drive contemporary art.”

“During World War II, both Pablo Picasso and Giorgio Morandi were painting still lifes,” explains Laura Hoptman. “Two artists, belonging to the same generation, were imagining two absolutely different realities emerging from a chaos that encompassed the entire world. We hope that ‘Younger Than Jesus’ will offer a look at our world as reflected through the work of many artists belonging to the same time and yet representing entirely different perspectives on its problems and its beauties.”

The exhibition catalogue, co-published by the New Museum and Steidl, will include reproductions of the work of the fifty artists chosen for the exhibition, as well as original essays by the exhibition curators and an anthology of articles by a diverse group of writers including philosophers, sociologists, journalists, activists, and marketing and technology experts. It is intended to compose a complex picture of the art and preoccupations that animate the work of this emerging generation.

Freshness, impulsiveness, high potency, it is a great pleasure to span this new generation of artists, and we can be proud to belong to this one. The power of expression and the intelligence developed through the works exposed is incredible.

Artists presented : Aids-3D, Nik Kosma, Ziad Antar, Cory Arcangel , Tauba Auerbach,  Wojciech Bakowsky, Dineo Seshee bopape, Mohamed bourouissa, Kerstin Brätsch, Cao Fei, Carolina Caycedo, Chu Yun, Keren Cytter, Mariechen Danz, Faye Driscoli, Ida Ekblad, Haris Epaminonda, Patricia Esquivias, Mark Essen, Ruth Ewan, Brendan Fowler, Luke Fowler, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Cypien Gaillard, Ryan Gander, Liz Glynn, Loris Gréaud, Shilipa Gupta, Emre Hüner, Matt Keagan, Tigran Khachatryan, Kitty Kraus, Adrians Lara, Elas Lasery, Lui Chang, Guthrue Lonergan, Taia Madani, Anna Molska, Ciprian Muresan, Ahmet Ogut, Adam Pendieton, Stephen G. Rodhes, James Richards, Emily Roysdon, Katerina Seda, Josh Smith, Ryan Trecartin, Alexander Ugay, Tris Vonna-Michell, Jakub Julian Ziolkowski, Icaro Zorbar,

[Visuals : Shilpa Gupta, Untitled, 2006. Photograph printed on Flex]

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June 5 2009 6 05 /06 /June /2009 17:30

To celebrate Yayoi Kusama's eightieth year, Gagosian Gallery is presenting until June 27 two major interrelated exhibitions of her recent work in New York and Los Angeles. The exhibitions will overlap to provide a bi-coastal overview of the renowned doyenne of the international art world.

Prepared for several years, Yayoi Kusama conceived some astonishing new works, such as “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (2009), a mesmerizing "infinity room" that operates on a system of simple yet ingenious optical devices. In a dark void, a delicate, shimmering mirage unfolds around the viewer, a myriad of gleaming lights that reproduce and reflect endlessly upon each other in golden silence. Titles of recent figurative paintings, in which worms, eyes, and other more indeterminate biomorphic forms abound, reflect a preoccupation with mortality, as well as with enlightenment, solitude, nothingness, and the mysteries of the physical and metaphysical universe. And, among all these spirited emanations, the sublime Infinity Net paintings -- from austere achromes to vibrant psychedelic contrasts -- continue to depict the undepictable in a steady, insistent pulse.”

In New York, we will also have the pleasure to see an application of her famous polka dots in a spectacular and vibrating yellow and black installation, also playing with our view. These polka dots are a recurrent motif issued from her childhood's hallucination, which she explored since the fifties. In her Manifest of Obliteration, she said “ My life is a polka dots lost among a million of others polka dots”. She thus developed this idea all her life, but always renewing the forms of expressions. Besides, Yayoi Kusama can be considered as a complete artist, since she also made films, fashion design and wrote novels and poetry. Today, she lives and work in Japan. From her own decision, she  now lives in a mental hospital in Tokyo, nearby her studio.

The exhibitions will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Louise Neri, Robert Nickas, a New York-based critic and curator, and Midori Yamamura, a Fellow at CUNY Graduate Center who is completing her PhD on Kusama.

Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto City, Japan in 1929. Her work is in the collections of leading museums throughout the world including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; LACMA, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate Modern, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Major exhibitions of her work include Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Fukuoka, Japan (1987); Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York (1989); "Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama,1958-1969", LACMA, 1998 (traveling to Museum of Modern Art, New York, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo), 1998-99; Le Consortium, Dijon, 2000 (traveling to selected venues in Europe and Korea), 2001-2003; "KUSAMATRIX", Mori Museum of Art, Tokyo, 2004 (traveling to Art Park Museum of Contemporary Art, Sapporo Art Park, Hokkaido); "Eternity – Modernity", National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (touring Japan), 2004-2005; and "The Mirrored Years", Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 2008, currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and traveling to the City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand later in 2009.

[Visual : YAYOI KUSAMA, Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009, Mixed media installation, 163 1/2 x 163 1/2 x 113 1/4 inches. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery]

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June 4 2009 5 04 /06 /June /2009 15:50

The prestigious Yvon Lambert Gallery welcomes, until July 31, the young and colorful American artist, Shinique Smith; playing with clothes, literature and common objects, “Ten Times Myself” plays within the limits of art and creates delicate forms speaking to nostalgia through an autobiographical narrative.

Shinique Smith (b.72) crosses the boundaries of sculptures, painting, site installation and literature. Picking phrases from songs or novels, she rewrites them with in a graceful yet potent calligraphy, which leads toward abstraction. The wrapping and rewrapping of text and lines, lines around textiles or old clothes, appears ritualistic. As a “frenetic meditation”, the act of bundling and tying is also a way towards spirituality, which has many connections to other cultures, like tying things together to create fetish objects.

This first solo exhibition showcases her newest works. There won’t be in situ creation on the walls like she did before, and it will more focus on canvases and sculptures of cloths. The canvases have the ardent style owing from Abstract expressionism and Japanese Calligraphy and express a great spontaneity yet controlled, movement. She uses various media, mixing ink, oil, enamel, fabric and collage. No overweight, the dynamic and the balance are just perfect.

A pile of clothes symbolizes a compression of memories while blurring the context of life and art, the real and the perceived. Untitled (whistler’s Mother) gathers in the shape of a human sitting some tied clothes. Facing this sculpture, we travel through time, giving significance to this insignificant pile of clothes, left there, neglected, but yet taking by magic the shape of a person.  About this use of the clothes, Smith said : “I wanted to allow them to not be just a surface but have their own identity […] There are some ideals attached to the clothing we wear. One thing I’m interested in is how we see ourselves in the world and how that’s expressed by how we dress ourselves.” 

In the inheritance of Annette Messager and Yinka Shonibare, Smith seems to have a great future announced: this potent and controlled spontaneity, the abundance of colors and intelligent use of the media are all the ingredients for a good development. And the fact that this exhibition takes to Yvon Lambert Gallery is also a good omen for it… to be continued…

Smith’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally at venues including The National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; The New Museum, New York; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; PS 1 Contemporary Arts Center, New York; and The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Colorado. She is included in public collections such as The Denver Art Museum, Colorado; The Studio Museum, New York; The Margulies Collection, Miami; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami; and the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore.

[Visual : Top : Shinique Smith,, Bottom : Shinique Smith, Untitled (whistler's Mother), 2009, clothing, fabric, ribbon, rope, twine, chair, wall and collage, 52 x 44 x 34 in. courtesy Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York, 2009]

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June 3 2009 4 03 /06 /June /2009 12:46

We reviewed many of them for the past three months, and here they are, all together with the best art pieces and artists they have: during four days (from the 10 to the 14th of June), the 300 best galleries of the world gather at Basel, for his 40th edition and make also come all about 60 000 visitors, including the most important collectors of the art world.

Yes, it seems that despite the crisis, all our favorite galleries answered ‘present’ to this unique meeting. The ones we follow because of their singularity: The David Zwirner Gallery, who warmly opened his three spaces for Adel Abdessemed last month; Kasey Kaplan, who presented the unique delflated Jeff Koons’ rabbits by Jonathan Monk; Cheim & Read, who made us dream with the paintings and sculptures of Paul Morrison, Dvir Gallery, with whom we discovered Israelien contemporary art. We will surely see some political opinions with Pace Wildenstein Gallery and Deitch Project. And of course there will be the one we can’t not have heard of because they discovered the artists of today and have now the most expansive artists of the moment: Daniel Templon, Marianne Goodman, Gagosian, Sonnabend, Thaddaeus Ropac, Acquavella galleries, Alexander and Bonin, Emmanuel Perrotin,.. Modern Art will also be largely displayed with for instance the prestigious Moeller Fine Arts etc.

Thus, with about 2.500 artists, there is for all tastes, all genders, all times, but there will be no room for a word about the crisis. Seven days before the opening, this word is banished from the vocabulary: After the crash of Art Basel Miami fair, the Armory Show and the qualified FIAC, it the last opportunity to sell... and the journalists will run quickly to see the results and build theories about the art market future. Therefore, everything is made to make us forget about this keyword: an abundance of events, shows, and innovative ways of presentations were greatly thought : As the last five years Art Unlimited, curated by Simon Lamunière will showcase large scale sculptures and installations, lives shows and performances by for instance Yoshimoto Nara, the Indian Bharti Kher, Nan Goldin and Chen Zhen… Added to that, Art Premier will explore new curatorial aspects by engaging either a dialogue between two artists from two different generations, or the presentation of an exceptional art historical material by a single artist. In this section we will see quiet a few French galleries like the GB agency, Nathalie Obadia and Aline Vidal, and very special New Yorker galleries like Tracy Williams, Jack Shainman, Liguel Abreu. Art Statement will be the section dedicated to discover emerging artists and rising galleries. Also, public art project will be displayed for the passerby at Isteinerstrasse. An interesting program of conversations and films are also planned.

The best for the end, an historical moment not to miss, is the experimental show Il Tempo del Postino, directed by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parenno, Anri Sala, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, will showcase, rather through time and space, works of art by the greatest artists of the moment, for instance Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney & Jonathan Bepler, Tacita Dean, Trisha Donnelly, Olafur Eliasson, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon… Lets hope the most important Art fair of the world will continue to shine, despite the crisis.

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May 31 2009 1 31 /05 /May /2009 15:23

This spring, the curious Deitch Gallery decided to present monumental and contemplative works of two artists : Jonathan  Borofsky with "Five large paintings" (until June 20th) and Francesco Clemente  with "A History of the Heart of the Rainbow" (until May 30th).

Jonathan Borofsky is considered as one of the most influential artist of his generation: In the 70’s and 80’s he contributed to redefine the way art was installed and experienced through the creation of large scales works for public settings. The 100 foot tall "Walking to the Sky" that was installed at the Rockefeller Center made him widely known.  Today, with these five monumental paintings and the installation of sculptures, the artist continues to express what characterizes him the most : the fact that everything is connected, and that All is One. Issued from his "Human Structures" series, these works are elaborated under the concept of humanity building itself.

 “Covering the walls of the main gallery are five 12 x 12 paintings on stretched linen. These brightly colored paintings depict male and female forms organically arranged in solid white shapes created by their absence –“the light that connects us all together”, as Borofsky refers to it. This symbolic union is mirrored in the front gallery, where Borofsky installed the freestanding sculpture Human structures with the Light of Consciousness. Composed of many males and females figures, each cast in an array of semi-transparent polycarbonate colors, the figures lock together (hand-to-hand and head-to foot) to form a structure, which spans the length of the room”
Thus, a great sensation of humanity as mutual aid and fundamental link between people is here expressed, and puts a frank smile on our face.

With  "A history of the Heart in three Rainbows", Francesco Clemente  offers us a moment of contemplation and reflection. Wrapped around the perimeter of the gallery, the monumental suite of large scale watercolor paintings creates an exotic and thoughtful atmosphere. Hearts in cages hanged at a tree, harlequins clothes, characters praying of doing some rituals, the elements represented follow the color scale of the rainbow.

For Clemente, the rainbow is a bridge, a structure to bring things together, like religion in its original sense. The rainbow represents the necessity to connect different worlds. The translucence of the rainbow connects with the translucence of watercolor. The rainbow unmasks the nature of light and watercolor brings the light out of paper. In watercolor, the artist does not build the highlights – they are the parts the artist does not touch. The light is behind the paint.

The artist considers his paintings to be ritual implements. They function as mnemonics, keys to remembering the practice of daily ritual. The vocabulary developed in his paintings is issued from various traditions : the tantric from India, the alchemic from Europe, and candomblé from the Americas. The harlequin that appears in the narrative is an icon of the fragmentation of self, a surrogate for the artist and a link to man’s primeval nature. The artist notes that the earliest image of a harlequin is a man covered in leaves. The webs, cages and fences in the paintings may mean confinement, but they also connote the interrelationship of all things, and ultimately, freedom.
Since the medium is the watercolors, a feeling of lightness and traveling overwhelms us.

Finally, with the spring,  a sense of peace seems to be coming... after this too harsh winter that the gallery expressed through a series of very potent exhibitions in relation with the criticism of the socioeconomic background, Deitch Gallery brings finally to the viewer some respiration and spiritual elevation.

[Visuals : Top : Jonathan Borofsky, Five Large Paintings, Installation view, Deitch Projects, 76 Grand Street, May 8 - June 20, 2009, Photo by Adam Reich. Bottom : Francesco Clemente, A History of the Heart in Three Rainbows, Installation view, May 2 - 30, 2009, Deitch Projects 18 Wooster Street, Photo by Adam Reich]

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