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May 29 2009 6 29 /05 /May /2009 15:06

The Vancover Art Gallery is pleased to present the first North American major exhibition of the renowned German artist Andreas Gursky, from May 30 to September 20. More than a simple opportunity to discover the artist whose photographs are among the most expansive in the world -the famous 99cents II was sold at Sotheby’s London in February 2007 for 3 346 456 dollars, the 130 artworks, specially resized, also engage a reconsideration of the individual images and his oeuvre as a whole.

Born in 1995 in Leipzig, Gursky have this singularity to learn photography under a double influence: the Bauhaus creation at the University of Flokwang Hochschule Essen, and the documentary photography through the lessons of Bernd and Hilla Becher. The exhibition, chronologically organized, starts by this period, and concludes with seven new images printed in the monumental size -for which he is best known- specially produced for the occasion. Three decades of work are here presented, and the fact of reprinting in a smaller scale the major part of his artwork allows a unique comprehension of his creation process.

From the documentary photography to the experience of new digital technologies, this overview travels among the subjective dimensions of all representations of the social. Indeed his ongoing project to compile an “encyclopedia of life” has this amazing consequence to make travel all around the contemporary culture: Giants buildings, airports, insides architectures of buildings, events gathering thousands of people, rave dance floor, factory interiors, Rhine landscape, Gursky use the photography as a medium for constructing reality.

The photography’s claims for “truth” is thus undermined: the artist gives us to see impossible places which are more relevant of our subjective perception than of the world itself. Besides, the ambiguity is increased by Gursky’s color photo, which emulates the physicality of oil on canvas. The human-constructed patterns in urban, rural and remote landscapes render an image simultaneously representative and abstract, but where the capitalist society and the systems of exchange that organized are depicted with accuracy. Thus, you can loose yourself in details of the individuals in the crowds, or get a sensation of the whole, in this dialectic of impersonal/personal, Gursky reaches a n admiring level of photography...  A great moment of art.

The exhibition is co-organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Kunstmuseen, Krefeld, and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm and curated by Dr. Martin Hentschel, director, Kunstmuseen Krefeld.

[Visual : Singapore Stock Exchange,  1997. Cibachrome print, laminated to Plexiglas, 66 7/8 x 106 1/4 inches. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Purchased with funds contributed by the Photography Committee, 1998. 98.4627. © 2007 Andreas Gursky / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn]

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May 28 2009 5 28 /05 /May /2009 10:43

“Moving through time and space” is the first museum survey of the works of the filmmaker and video artist Chantal Akerman; it will be on until August 2, at the Contemporary Art Museum of St Louis. Through a panel of videos and multi channel works,  we pervade a unique creation, fluid and fine, where the camera movement connects perfectly to the beauty of the images and the emotions expressed.

Born in Brussels in 1950, Chantal Akerman is the most important feminine director in film history. Discovered by the critics through her first Black and White film “Saute ma ville” (Blow up My Town), she explores personal and professional lifes of women, but also turns towards diverse topics such as romance, art, storytelling, drama, food etc. Since 1995, she melds documentary filmmaking techniques with video installations.
The exhibition features five works including single- channel pieces Sud (South), 1999; and Là-bas (Down There), 2006; as well as multi-channel works, D’est: Au bord de la fiction (From the East: Bordering on Fiction), 1995; De l’autre côté (From the Other Side), 2002; and Femmes d’Anvers en Novembre (Women of Antwerp in November), 2007, a new work created especially for the exhibition.

Let’s turn toward “Sud” and “Femmes d’Anvers en Novembre”. The first was meant to be a “meditation on the American South”, since the artist was always attracted to William Faulkner and James Baldwin’s writings. But when she started shooting in June 1998, the racial murder of James Byrd, Jr. completely transformed the plan : This Afro-American was chained by three whites men to a truck and then dragged three miles through predominantly black parts of the country (Texas) until his arm came off and was decapitated. Therefore, the hole region was completely shattered, and Akerman left her camera be driven by the flow of the emotions : she thus captured the tumultuous aftermath of Byrd’s murder.
“Femmes d’Anvers en Novembre” is a multi channel work, which adapts to the video the comic book ‘s concept of the vignette : It explores the notion of time and space where vignettes alternating  with black and white and colours images feature women smoking at the night with ambiguous settings. In the opposite wall of the wordless social interplay, a four minute loop film in black and white of a young woman lighting, smoking and extinguishing her cigarette is displayed. An uncertain feeling of melancholy comes to the viewer, and leaves him in an ambiguous position. 

From Israel to France, passing by United States and Mexico, the videos chosen to represent Chantal Akerman’s work function very well with the concept of the exhibition “Moving Through Time and Space”, and give us a sense of the richness of the her personality, always renewing topics, and listening to her environment. Fundamentally, she stays on the women side and represent with strongness and intelligence women director of nowadays.

Chantal Akerman: Moving Through Time and Space is a collaborative effort of four institutions: Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston; the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; Miami Art Museum (a MAC@MAM presentation); and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis.

[Visual : Chantal Akerman, De l'autre côté, (From the Other Side) [still], 2002, Video installation, Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York and Paris]

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May 27 2009 4 27 /05 /May /2009 11:20

After Ed Ruscha and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, the renown artist Bruce Nauman has been chosen to represent United States at the 53rd Venice Biennale.

Organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, “Topological gardens” will be on view across three prominent locations in Venice: the U.S. Pavilion at the Giardini della Biennale; Università Iuav di Venezia at Tolentini; and the Exhibition Spaces at Università Ca' Foscari. It showcases the main creation process of Bruce Nauman’s life, with works rarely displayed in Europe, from the late 60’s till nowadays, with videos, installations, performances, sculpture and of course, his famous neon sculptures. Also, we will have the chance to discover two new sound installations.

The topic of “topological gardens”, which refers to the examination of the continuity of space among changing condition, perfectly fits with the environment of the exhibition and the history of Nauman.

Born in 1941 at Fort Wayne, Indiana, Nauman started by studying mathematics and physics, he joined a bit later art studies. In 1968, he met the singer and performer artist Meredith Monk, who will be a major influence for his career: indeed, he first elaborated works surrounding interrogations about his own body, mostly through the medium of performance. Quite violent, the viewer could face the own body of Nauman cut into pieces, limbs dislocated etc. His art was wiling to provoke, and unsettle, through sensations, the viewer. Later on, always it this same provocation, it is language that he started playing with, also by cutting into parts. Texts of the German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein were a one of his source of inspiration for the manipulation of language and an interrogation on the role of art. Sharp neon sculptures with alphabetic letters appeared at that time, its production increased in the 70’s 80’s, combined with provocative sexual situations, also with animals. 
In the 90’s, Nauman came back to the topic of his own body.
It is rare to be in presence of an artist who gathers two art fields, which seems opposites by the manipulation of words and flesh: conceptual minimalism and body art / performance. Thus, we can understand why he is today considered as a major influence for this recent shift in much international artistic practice toward conceptual and performative uses of language and the body.

Does "Toplogical garden" come back the mathematics and physics studies of the artists ? Until June 7th, the question remains open. But what is certain is that this pavilion will be both the occasion to discover Nauman’s artworks never seen in Europe, and understand a new part of history of art.

Carlos Basualdo, the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Contemporary Art, and Michael R. Taylor, the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art, of the Philadelphia Museum of Art are the exhibition's U.S. Commissioners.

[Visual : Bruce NAUMAN  “The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths”1967 neon sign]

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May 17 2009 1 17 /05 /May /2009 17:44

“Rabbit”, one of Jeff Koons’ most emblematic piece, has been brilliantly reinterpreted by the British artist Jonathan Monk, at the Kasey Kaplan Gallery, from May 7th to June 20th.

Coming from the artistic movement of the Glasgow Artistic School, Monk’s specialty is to bring back to life icons and other significant works from modern and conceptual art.  He interrogated and appropriated him works as the one of Lawrence Weiner, Sol LeWitt, Chris Burden or Ed Ruscha through his one method in re-contextualizing the pieces to his own present world. Indeed, for him, ideas are for everyone, and in doing this path he also contribute to art :

“Appropriation is something I have used or worked with in my art since starting art school in 1987. At this time (and still now)  I realised that being original was almost impossible, so I tried using what was already available as source material for my own work.  By doing this I think I also created something original and certainly something very different to what I was re- presenting. I always think that art is about ideas, and surely the idea of an original and a copy of an original are two very different things.” (Jonathan Monk)

For this exhibition, which is the sixth at the Kasey Kaplan Gallery, he chose as a starting point this icon of contemporary art, the Rabbit of Jeff Koons. But the stainless steel sculptures he proposes are variations around the singular subject of deflation. Thus, we are in presence of a representation of a declining rabbit, which is – as the Jeff Koons’ work – reflecting as a mirror our own image... Let’s leave free the interpretation of this symbol, considering the crisis context of the actual world…
Around the five sculptures are also showcased five photorealist painting, of a great skillfulness, describing the different fabrication step of the sculpture, from the clay moulds to welding of steel. By rising to an artwork the proper realization of the sculpture, Monk demystifies his own creation process, which is totally in accordance to his principle of democratization of art.

A last room is linked to his passion for conceptual art : it is a group of four light bulbs, taking the basic from of a square, a circle, a rectangle and a triangle that gradually burn out and go dark. Beside the reference to conceptual art, the light bulbs remind us the Hollywood-style mirrors. The fact that they burn down could again be related to the actual difficulties of the cultural world.

This exhibition could thus be an occasion to laugh at the sad destiny of the Jeff Koons’ rabbit, but also to see an other fresh example of the artistic expression of the actual crisis.

The Inflated Deflated will run in parallel with The Deflated Inflated at the Lisson Gallery in London, May 20 – June 13, 2009. Following his opening with the gallery, Monk will present an exhibition of unique t-shirts and posters at Specific Object, New York, May 8 – June 12, 2009. Opening May 14, Monk will present The Rew-Shay Hood Project Part II, at Artpace, San Antonio, Texas. Monk’s work is also currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in an exhibition curated by Christian Rattemeyer, Compass in Hand: Selections from The Judith Rothschild

[Visuals : Jonathan Monk, Exhibition views, courtesy Kasey Kaplan Gallery]

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May 15 2009 6 15 /05 /May /2009 15:40

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents, until June 7th, a large retrospective of a major contemporary figure in the field of sculptural art, the Austrian Franz West.

Franz West was born in 1947 in Vienna and grew up in this uneasy atmosphere of the Post War in Austria. Indeed, since the country was declared as a victim of war, while a part of the Austrian actively collaborated to Nazism, the sociopolitical environment was very conflicted. Thus, very provocative forms of art such as the one of the Viennese Actionist raised during the Postwar. In reaction to them, Franz West elaborated in the mid 60s a radical art which played a critical role. : He decided to explore the possibilities of sculpture as a social and environmental experience, willing to create an interactive art.

In the early 70s, he created a series of small, portable sculptures called ‘Adaptives’. These plaster objects were not final as an artwork, since they were becoming art from the moment the viewer picked them up and carried around. Always white, the Adaptives were thus thought to be touched and manipulated, which his a step that no other artists made before. But during the first exhibition, Franz West explained that nobody, except a child, actually picked it up. To remedy to this, West created couches, tables and chair surrounding the objects. From that moment, the public started to sit, to manipulate the object and even started to have conversation and exchange points of view.

It was a total transformation of the exhibition space, becoming a lounge like, social environment. In the interview made at the occasion of the exhibition, West explained : “The Adaptives would be the dream and the chairs and tables would be the Earth (…)The idea was more to create an environment, and that the Adaptive could be handled and used rather than be looked at. For the romantics like Schlegel and the German philosophers, what makes art and painting special is that neither should be touched. With the Adaptives, the opposite is true. They were also a way to make a Happening. I was very aware of the artist Allan Kaprow, for example, at that time. It was not about seeing but about entering; art that you could really get in touch with.”

The artist developed his work by creating large-scale sculptures which could be interpreted to the Adaptives, they are the extension of this furniture environment. In the exhibition, the path of West is very well explained and give us a real sense of his social aim. Surrounding the major installations, you will thus appreciate some collages, drawings who are part of this so unique world.

West has exhibited internationally for more than three decades in galleries and museums, and at major festivals including Documenta IX (1992) and Documenta X (1997), Kassel, Germany; Sculpture Projects in Münster (1997); and the Venice Biennale (1988, 1993, 1997, 2003). In 1997 The Museum of Modern Art presented West with a solo show. More recently West's work has been exhibited at the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía (2001), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2003); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2003); Gagosian Gallery, New York (2003); and the Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich (2006). West most recent will open in September of 2006 at The Gagosian Gallery in London.

[Visual above : Franz West, Sisyphos IX, 2002, Papiermâché, Styrofoam, cardboard, lacquer, acrylic paint, 68.5 x 59.8 x 44.1 in. (174 x 152 x 112 cm), The Rachofsky Collection, Dallas, © Franz West, Below , Franz West, Wegener Rooms 2/6–5/6 (Wegener Räume 2/6–5/6), 1988, Installation of four collages, four papier-mâché sculptures on artist’s pedestals, four metal chairs, and cruciform wall57.5 x 157.5 x 74.8 in. (400 x 400 x 190 cm) overall wall size15.2 x 11.8 in. (38.5 x 30 cm), 13.0 x 10.4 in. (33 x 26.5 cm), 15.2 x 11.8 in. (38.5 x 30 cm), 13.8 x 10.4 in. (35 x 26.5 cm), collagesn approximately 25.5 x 33.4 x 23.6 inches (65 x 85 x 60 cm) per chair, Grässlin Collection, St. Georgen, © Franz West, Photographer Thomas Berger, St. Georgen]

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May 14 2009 5 14 /05 /May /2009 14:08

The exhibition  “Frames of Reality”, displayed at the Ana Tzarev Gallery until June 9th, is the result of one year of cooperation between Israeli and Palestinians Photo-journalists at the initiative of the Peres Center for Peace.

Created ten years ago, the Israeli based Peres Center for Peace has the mission to build an infrastructure of peace and reconciliation by and for the people of the Middle East that promotes socio-economic development, while advancing cooperation and mutual understanding. Education and culture are also a large part of the activities, by for instance organizing theater courses mixing Israeli and Palestinians childrens. In April 2008 with the association of “Local Testimony”, 20 Israeli and Palestinian photojournalists, already hailed from agencies like Reuter, Associated Press, Agence France Presse etc, started an educational program, organized as 10-12 workshops with professional lecturers who talked about photography, social changes, journalism and so on.

The goal was multiple: to show to each journalist the ”other side”, to give them the opportunity to improve their skills, to build a creative work, and to form solid links between Palestinians and Israelis. The last session of this program, was to produce photographs as an observation of the reality of life in their region. The result is impressive: no anger is expressed; we really feel the photographs are the result of an elaborate process of maturity. Furthermore, each one in their singularity, they succeed to make us travel into their intimacy. Some are very politically engaged, like the one of Alaa Badarneh “Life in the Shadow of occupation”,  some other are more poetic, like Inbal Rose’s work “Golan Cowboys”.

This building peace process completely succeeded, artistically, and socially : Indeed, the website created for the occasion created a real network. It serves today as an important medium of communication and as a critical channel for contact (for instance during the hostilities in Gaza in December and January 2009). There is now 750 members and about 4,000 photos uploaded.

As a conclusion, and to give a first taste on the exhibition, here is an example of text that accompany the serie of photographs : Ali Noureldine; ‘From me, in Gaza, to you’

“I wanted to talk about my photographs of the area I work in. All my life, I’ve lived in the Gaza Strip. From a young age, I loved journalistic work very much. When I entered the field and started to work, I was exposed to events and happenings in the area at an especially high frequency. In terms of the photographs presented, I identify through them an act of speech in the full sense of the word, about the region, depicting the suffering of the people who inhabit it and the difficulty of life in the shadow the existing reality.
Every day I try to convey a picture of reality for the benefit of people who live in the outside world. My present work does not curb my love for other areas in the world of photography.
Often, I find myself inside my photographs. Maybe this stems from the high frequency of identical events occurring in the area, but I think that it comes mainly from my presence at these events, a presence that makes me feel as if I lived inside the photograph.
The photographs presented before you deal with a very long period of time in the Gaza Strip. I see myself as someone who goes on with his work while improving and developing my understanding and talent in the area of photography. I relate to the profession of photography as a calling aiming to reflect and convey reality and events occurring in every area in the world, for the benefit of all people in the world.”

[Visuals : above : WIissam Nassar, untitled, Photograph, 2008. Below, Ali Noureldine ‘From me, in Gaza, to you’, Untitled, Photograph. All right reserved]

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May 13 2009 4 13 /05 /May /2009 12:48

For the first time in United States, the Brazilian based artists Mauricio Dias and Walter Riedweg, sharp analysts of the society, are exhibiting at the Americas Society from May 12th until August 1st, an occasion for considering the others.

Walter Riedweg, a Swiss born artist, started in 1993 to work with the Brazilian Maurico Dias; since then, they both live in Sao Paulo and create specific video works,  installations and performances regarding to their sociopolitical environment. Helsinki, Tokyo, Barcelona, Paris, Liverpool, Shanghai, Havana… their creations reknown all over the world.

Their purpose is to explore the relation between different groups, focusing on the one who are always forgotten, disregarded. Through videos, they catch the marginalization of the everyday life and displace our look. Therefore, their works act as a revealing of the otherness, both politically and poetically.

For instance, the video ‘Os Raimundos, os Severinos, os Franciscos”, made at the occasion of the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1998, is a sort of witness of the realization of the exclusion, examining the visible and the invisible. It directs janitors who enter one after the other in a small room of an apartment. Each of them starts to make their own daily task, totally ignoring the others. This video refers to the people coming from the poor region of the Nordeste in Brazil. They are disregarded by the local population of Sao Paulo and are becoming invisible to the rest of the society.  In Paris, they explored the immigration topic, in relation to the high number of immigrants in this city and its suburbs. 

Each time they are invited in a new city, they base their work on an accurate study of the environment. Then they try to understand and catch some kind of uneasiness inside the society and to open up to the people who are never looked at and considered. The video, as a moving and poetic image, should, for the duo, be used as a critical tool for contemporary thinking and promote a fluid dialog with diverse communities.

For the exhibition at the Americas Society, which gathers their works from 1993, some videos will be displayed outdoors, in order to create this communication between, for instance, the quarters of Harlem and the Bronx. The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication that includes essays by John Handhardt and Gabriela Rangel and an interview between the artists and Paulo Herkenhoff.

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May 12 2009 3 12 /05 /May /2009 12:52

At the occasion of the Asian Contemporary Art week, organized by the Asian society, New York, the Bose Pacia Gallery presents the third exhibition of the Indian painter and video artist Ranbir Kaleka, from May 14th to June 27th.

Known for his videos projected on paintings transforming the fixed image in a flowing movement, his latest works go forward on the idea of mixing painting with other media by creating a whole environment surrounding the canvas. Furthermore, the atmosphere suggested trough the images painted is at a crossing point between realism and fantastic, with a touch of kitsch.

“The itinerant Librarian’s Dilemma of Choice and Refusal” is a painting flanked by two wing doors with acrylic mirrors. It represents an old man who is about to cut his maculate white beard. The symbolic is here clear, but what strikes the viewer is the look of the wise man, staring at us… yet his eyes are in the same time shiny and empty : no expression of pain nor regret are painted, only a firm look. Therefore, the mirrors accentuate this impression, the viewer feels trapped in the action of the man, obliged to see the symbolic of an old man cutting his beard, erasing his past. The whole composition is made of powerful colours with a dominant of light blue, mixing abstracts forms and figurative elements like the rails of a train, which reinforces this metaphor of life a past path. The mirror also provokes this sensation of physically entering into the fantastic atmosphere of the painting, as Alice walked trough the mirror.

In The Art News Magazine media, he said : “I like inventing metaphorical ‘events’, which are not culturally specific; I have also looked at art from other cultures and acquired a larger visual repertoire. My way of using colours has changed over the years. Emerging from a range of greys, I began pushing colours to the threshold of garishness. I felt that it was possible to produce kind of sophisticated kitsch, which was complex and nuanced.”

The central piece, is the “ Reading Man”, a, installation mixing a triptych with other sculptural elements such as a clock, a jacket and aluminum sculptures. It thus blurs the space of the representation, originally the painting, with the real space, the one we are walking on in the gallery.  This group shows a great freedom in the use of colours, switching from a warm yellow to a very dark palette, expressing different stages of mind. It represents a man who is running, but it seems that he is almost flying, a sensation of elevation and happiness is thus conveyed. The more our eyes go to the left, the more we enter into an atmosphere of darkness, conflict and uneasiness. The forms of the sculptures, one representing a man who is reading and an other a man walking looking on the floor, are also contradicting the light spirit of the man running. It feels like the artist is telling us a fantastic story, a one, like in the cinema, but this story is half here half there, half in our imagination half in the reality.

The rest of the exhibition purchase this fairytale atmosphere with fanciful landscapes. These absorptive mise-en-scène, in between the real and the fantastic, mixing painting and sculptures, is relevant of the way Indian contemporary art took these last years. Great artists such as Ranbir Kaleka are not yet known enough regarding their talent. We hope the Asian Contemporary Art week will help to promote it to the New Yorkers.

Ranbir Kaleka was born in 1953, raised in the Punjabi city of Patiala and studied at the College of Art in Chandigarh (1970-75) and received a Masters Degree in Painting from the Royal College of Art in London in 1987. Reading Man is Kaleka's third solo exhibition with Bose Pacia (2005, 2007). The preview of this exhibition marks his second exhibition with Nature Morte in New Delhi (1995). The artist's works have been included in most of the major museum exhibitions of Indian contemporary art taking places over the past decade, including: Chalo! India at the Mori Museum in Tokyo (2008); India Moderna at the Institute of Modern Art in Valencia, Spain (2008); New Narratives at the Chicago Cultural Center (2007); HORN PLEASE! at the Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland (2007); Urban Manners at Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2007); Hungry God: Indian Contemporary Art at Busan Museum of Modern Art, South Korea (2006); Art Video Lounge at Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami (2006); Edge of Desire at Asia Society in New York (2005); iCon: India Contemporary at the Venice Biennale (2005); Culturgest-Lison, Lison (2004); Zoom! Art in Contemporary India, Lisbon (2004); and subTerrain: Indian Contemporary Art at House of World Cultures, Berlin (2003). In 2007 Kaleka was commissioned to create a permanent video installation for the new Spertus Museum in Chicago and in 2008 his work was included in the Sydney Biennale. Ranbir Kaleka lives and works in New Delhi.

[Visuals : Above Ranbir Kaleka, The Itinerant Librarian's Dilemma of Choice and Refusal, 2009, acrylic and oil on canvas with two wood wing-doors with acrylic mirrors, 36 x 24 inches, courtsey Bose Pacia Gallery. Below : Ranbir Kaleka, Reading Man, 2009, acrylic and oil on canvas with aluminum sculptures and armature and wall clock, 99 x 197 x 96 inches, courstey Bose Pacia Gallery]

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May 8 2009 6 08 /05 /May /2009 11:44

After four years of work, the renowned Danish artist Olafur Eliasson has accomplished his first major permanent public commission in the United States with the “Parliament of reality” at the CCS Bard College; it will be officially inaugurated on Saturday May 16.

Known for projects that have the ability to merge the viewer into singular physical experiences by playing with basic phenomenon or elements of nature such as temperature, water, mist or light. Eliasson purchases this will of connecting people with its environment with “The Parliament of reality”. But, as a monument created for the Center for Curatorial Studies, which is a place for knowledge, reflection and exchange about art, this space has also the will to apply for communication and education.

Therefore, Eliasson drew from his Icelandic culture, where he grew up, and inspired himself from the Althingi, or Icelandic parliament, which is the oldest national democratic institution in the world. “Icelandic parliament is called the Althing, meaning: a space for all things.” Said Eliasson, and added : “The parliament of reality emphasizes that negotiation should be the core of any educational scheme. It is only by questioning, that real knowledge is produced and a critical attitude can be sustained." Indeed, this place embodies this educational ideal where students and teachers can sit down, cease the landscape, listen to the water flowing, and in the same time exchange but in a other context than the classroom, which is sometimes to formal for natural dialog.

Before going further, here is the accurate description given by the CCS Bard College : “The Parliament of Reality consists of a circular pond approximately 135 feet in diameter surrounded by a ring of 24 planted trees. Nestled in the center of the pond is a circular island, paved with individual stones that inscribe a twelve-point pattern derived from the meridian lines of nautical charts and the compass. The island is accessed via a stone bridge covered by a steel latticework tunnel. Based on the island’s floor, the tunnel’s design is composed of a series of ellipses, which gradually intensify toward the point where the bridge and island meet. As visitors cross the bridge, the tunnel’s design appears to gradually shift, providing a symbolic temporal experience evocative of the work’s overall conceptual goals. Large, smooth boulders situated in two rows around the outer rim of the island provide seating.”

Thus, the place provides a singular and beautiful location for creation and the viewers are a key element for ‘The Parliament of reality’ to be active. For this inauguration and to initiate the ideology of the Parliament of reality as a place for exchanging ideas, two days of conferences and debates are organized around the topics of art, design and architecture. On Friday 15, The Human Rights Project (HRP) at Bard will lead a conference about the music used as a torture. On Saturday 16, such people as Peter Galison, Lars Lerup, Molly Nesbit, Felicity Scott, Peter Sloterdijk, Andrea Zittel, will debate and dialog with Olafur Eliason.

A major retrospective of the artist, ‘Take you Time’ is currently traveling in United States, it is now displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

[Visual : Olafur Eliasson, view of "The Parliament of Reality", CCS Bard College, © Studio Olafur Eliasson]

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May 6 2009 4 06 /05 /May /2009 14:14

At the Workspace of the Blanton Museum, Lisi Raskin investigates these parallel and contradictory movements of the accomplishment of the American dream and the growing fear of an atomic war through an immersive environment, “Armada”.

This exhibition, curated by Risa Puleo, is a group of sculpture whose forms are based on military airplanes and aerospace crafts, surrounded by a landscape of abstracted painting with bright colors and simple geometrical shapes. Materials and forms are studied in order to embody both fears and dreams of the American society.

Indeed, for the past ten years, the heart of Lisi Raskin art is based on the complex emotion that went through the Americans during the Cold War. From 1947 to 1991, technologies and innovation were developing very fast, as the economy, which created this very idea of the American dream. At the same time, people were afraid of the possibility of an atomic attack, and the scientific researches were all turned into this direction.

Thus, many sites were created all around United States for military defense system, and her work focuses on these zones of power. During her investigation for the project “Mobile Observation (Transmitting and Receiving)”, Lisi Raskin visited an Air Force base at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration group (AMARG). It is a storage facility which has about 4000 decommissioned military airplanes and aerospace crafts. This huge amount of materials became for the artist an image of this mix of anxiety and aspiration.

“Armada” tends to recreate this cultural, psychological and political landscape of the United States. The universe she builds, by the use of simple materials and colors, appear like a childhood dream; they come to contrast with the warrior forms of the sculptures. We pervade a world both historical and actual. Indeed, despite of the end of the Cold War, anxiety is still very present in American minds; September 9.11 trauma shifted from the fear of U.S.S.R. to Islam… a interesting  parallel to put in perspective.

Lisi Raskin will speak about her WorkSpace installation on Thursday, May 21 at 7 PM at the Blanton Museum of Art. The exhibition will be displayed until June 21.

Born in Miami, Florida in 1974, Raskin received her M.F.A. from Columbia University in 2003. She has since exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Glasgow, Milan and Stockholm.

[Visual : Lisi Raskin, Installation view of Armada, Blanton Museum, 2009, Photo by Rick Hall]

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