Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
ART FAIRS INTERNATIONAL
A BRIDGE BETWEEN EAST AND WEST
ART FAIRS INTERNATIONAL NEWSPAPER NEW YORK, Issue #17 March 2012
30 Artists to Watch
Chris Baker, Murmur Study, A real-time installation that prints Twitter messages containing onomatopoeic emotional non-words like hmmph, grrr, and argh, 2011. Photo Credit: KMS Team
metaphorical purgatory between terror and enchantment. One notices a bend in feminism; even when incorporating “feminine” craft into their work, these artists twist and distort such practices to create beast-like sculptures and eerie landscapes. Meanwhile, male artists such as Malbaurn and Karsten display an engagement with order and pristine aestheticism. Even when seemingly confined to a canvas, each artist makes the most of the space they have and construct visuals that stretch far beyond the confines of four edges. It takes little effort to see why these creators have made our list of 30 Artists to Watch.
From March 9th to 11th, the 69th Regiment Armory will open its doors to art enthusiasts and patrons alike to present the 2012 Fountain Art Fair. The weekend-long fair, sheltered at 68 Lexington Avenue, the site of the original 1913 Armory Show, promises to be one of spectacular proportions. Broadway Gallery has partnered with Fountain and is excited to support the art fair’s pleasantly different attitude - the founders more laid back, the events unexpected, the exhibits surprising. And on the whole, it’s a respite from the stuffed shirt art shows in New York. We are looking forward to seeing YES Gallery, Uprise Arts, Big Deal Arts, Munch Gallery, Kesting/Ray, Cheap & Plastique, Broadway Gallery NYC, Leslie Lyons and [CONTINUES ON PAGE 17]
VOLTA NY is an invitational showcase of exclusively solo artist projects from notable and emerging international talent. This follows VOLTA’s original mandate for a tightly-focused program that fosters a dynamic gaze into the current art climate and salient contemporary positions‚ regardless of the artist or gallery’s age. A rigorously curated selection of exceptional artists from 80 galleries, representing 25 countries and 45 cit-
ies, form VOLTA NY’s fifth consecutive fair. It complements the exciting program of art presented by its sister fair, The Armory Show, with shared VIP access and the Open Forum Talks Program.
[CONTINUES ON PAGE 12]
1) The Armory Show Piers 92 & 94 12th Ave at W 55th St. March 8-11
2) The Art Show Park Ave. Armory Park Ave. at 67th St. March 7-11
Fountain: From VOLTA’s Solo the Ground Up Projects
By Jason Stopa, Kate Meng Brassel & Leah Schlackman
The artists presented in our “30 Artists to Watch” list are a group of disparates, working in mediums that stretch the entirety of the artist’s spectrum from soundscapes to installations, acrylics to bed sheets. The thirty artists featured, however, all play within the realms of vast space and our contemporary time. Combating notions of exclusive or restrictive dimensionality, these artists’ work all push past what has ever before been considered an impenetrable boundary. There is a noticeable shift in artistic manifestations of sexuality; the women amidst our “30 to Watch” list, such as artists DeVille and Schenkelberg delve into realms of perversion, repulsion, and chaos, pitting their works in a
Great Britain £ 4 Japan ¥ 750 Canada $7.00 USA $10.00
3) Fountain New York Pier 66 Maritime, Hudson River Park 26th Street & 12th Ave. March 9-11
Aihara Misa Page 8 30 Artists to Watch Page 12
4) Independent 548 West 22nd St. March 8-11 5) PooL Art Fair 9 West 26th St. March 9-11 6) Scope New York 57th St & 12th Ave. March 7-11
Davor Vukovic Page 20 Jean-Marc, Sublime Strokes Page 24
7) Volta NY 7 West 34th St. March 8-11
MARCH 8-11, 2012
Fountain Art Fair Page 17 Paul McCarthy Page 7 Artistic Sabotage Page 23
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Erica Fromme: New Paintings By Rose Hobart Thick, hot, and passionate. These are the words that come to mind when viewing Erica Fromme’s new paintings. Painting in an abstract, yet semi-figurative manner, her works are alive with energy and employ spontaneity. They are also, some of the most contemporary painting around. Fromme has been painting full time since the early 90s and has blossomed into an artist who breaks the mold. Her recent works are smeared and squeegeed across the surface much like basting a cake. The effect is photographic and richly nuanced, exposing several under layers beneath. She follows in the footsteps of other major abstract painters before her. Yet, Fromme strives to dismantle the machinery of figurative painting through her abstraction. In contrast to predecessors like Gerhard Richter whose abstract paintings are brooding, monochromatic and dark. Fromme’s, works are full of life, exuberance and sensation. And with wonderful
ner. The paint structures are seemingly applied with brushes, squeegees and palette knifes. Wet, goopy layers of paint appear to be pulled across the surface so that new layers are superimposed on existing ones, or even obliterate them. This process if very fresh; adding and subtracting, concealing and revealing to make a larger whole. And, as we all know, the practice of thinking and rethinking are at the root of everyday life. I respond to these works on a sensory level and they are intimate, yet loud. As a result of her process, the works exude an immense, painterly intensity. They are a visual manifestation of a “highly planned spontaneity.” It is a spontaneity that allows for chance operations to bring creation and destruction into the same conversation. Each painting takes on a new direction and vitality as she intuitively responds to where it is headed. One painting in particular is especially magnificent. Entitled, Hap-
Beau Van Zyl: Under the African Sun By Jill Smith
elegance, a sense of place and time are captured in her works that make them sensually palpable and enliven our sense of tactility. What is most shocking about Fromme’s paintings is her method. Her work is at times very large works and is created in a very complex man-
py Dolphin, this work reminds me the intensity of water without becoming too descriptive. Smooth, sweeping curves rise out of the background. They are not realistically figural or detailed, but they are beautifully representative of the life [CONTINUES ON PAGE 6]
-Issue No. 17, 2012Publisher Abraham Lubelski Executive Editor Rose Hobart Editorial Team Leah Schlackman Caroline Luppescu Sofie Mercier Design Team Julie Chau Chris Santangelo 2
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Under the heat of a gleaming sun animal’s fly, forage and charge in magnificent colors. This is the visual excitement one feels in front of Beau Van Zyl’s figurative paintings. Beau van Zyl is a painter whose work encompasses major themes in an incredible manner. Africa is her inspiration, and the twist she puts on what one normally would think of as African art, is something new to the eye of most audiences. With an extremely wide range of interpretations, she touches on everything aesthetically pleasing to the eye: from its impressive landscapes and wildlife, to Africa’s lifestyle and its people. The way in which she takes on a modern interpretation of the country is something that has rarely been seen before. The landscape of Africa is one that, to foreigners, is intriguing and striking, and almost unbelievable if it has never been experienced. That’s because Africa is one of the most intriguing places there is. There is a musical rhythm, an intense pulse that one can feel in the paintings of Beau Van Zyl. Beau’s work seems to channel the energy and spirit of a land whether it is
a flock of seagulls or a herd of zebras. For years, Egypt been a cultural focus of the Arab world, particularly the fast, upbeat rhythms of sub-Saharan Africa, and in West Africa this was transmitted through the Atlantic slave trade to modern samba, blues, jazz, reggae, hip hop, and rock. The 1950s through the 1970s saw a fusion of these unique styles with the popularization of Afrobeat and Highlife music, all of which have had a profound impact on Western culture and the arts in general. In Beau Van Zyl’s latest works – these rhythms sing. Beau van Zyl’s use of color, or what she calls “the most important ingredient,” is truly the most striking characteristic of her paintings. Some pieces showcase bright blues and oranges, while others are based on tones of grey and brown, each individual work is as vibrant as the next, creating a viewing depth beyond belief. This is most apparent in her painting entitled Surfer, a small, hot-reddish figure skates under an immense wave of bluish-green. The color contrasts are amazing, fresh and contemporary. She paints this scene with such richness that one can almost hear the
rush of rolling water. Similarly, Sunset Pelicans is an incredibly poignant work with stunning color. A half a dozen pelicans gather underfoot a bright redorange sky, beneath their feet a field of black. The background is rich in atmosphere. And the pelicans white coats are beautifully rendered with delicate strokes. Whilst the red sky is painted in grand, quick sweeps which shows Beau’s affinity for gesture painting. What Van Zyl seems to manage, is to fully bring a person into her workoften by painting her frequent subjects, animals, with extremely personable eyes-thus revealing something special about the animals she paints, making the mysterious African geography more approachable for the viewer. She paints the African landscape in an almost innocent way, taking little bits of it at a time, so as not to overwhelm the viewer with too much of the unknown. In this way she upholds the idea of Africa as an extremely colorful and prolific place; this is truly showcased via her paintings. Take for instance her Zebra paintings. Amidst an orangey-yellow expanse three zebra busts appear in creamy [CONTINUES ON PAGE 5]
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
Arnulf Rainer: Unfinished into Death By Karlyn De Jongh & Sarah Gold It has been almost one year that we started an art project with the artist Arnulf Rainer (b. 1929, Austria). Since the 1950s, Rainer’s work has been characterized by over-painting: he uses existing images (paintings, photos, or drawings of his own art or that of others) to work over, in order to make them “better.” Besides his paintings of crosses and his finger-paintings, Rainer became well-known for his Face Farces, self-portraits showing his face contorted in grimaces and his body twisted in uncomfortable poses. Using his own body as a vehicle, these and other self-portraits seem to have been a way for him to explore human expressions. But, after several years
of using his own face and body, he became tired of himself as subject and started using other images instead, other faces to work over. Last year, we became two of these faces. It began with our dream that Rainer would over-work one photo of us. We managed to convince him to consider including us in a series he was working on at that time, called Schleiertanz (Veil Dance), and received his letter with initial instructions: to dance in synchronized poses with a fishnet or other type of “veil.” After meeting Rainer on Tenerife, Spain last January, the veil-dance photos were now too boring for him. The project quickly transformed. From slapstick and belly dancers in Chinese negligees, it turned into SM, bondage, and, later, a series of angels, opera singers, masked gods, and even a series of orgasms. A selection of 100 works has now been published in the special edition book Arnulf Rainer: Unfinished Into Death; a set of twelve erotic photos was published by the Global Art Affairs Foundation as a limited edition. In our numerous meetings, Rainer spoke with us about his work: Karlyn De Jongh: Under the pseudonym “Jaroslav Bukow,” you once stated that “the act of painting determines the work.” When you paint it seems that you need a lot of energy. In this context, you have spoken of rage and anger. You are now 82 years old. What is your act of painting like now? Can you still summon the same fight and controversy? How do you go on working?
Arnulf Rainer: By strategies of slowness, by a row of works done at the same time. The brain recuperates by always forming the works differently. The change in physiognomies then has a refreshing effect. Sarah Gold: In 1949, you discovered the “filling;” in 1950, the “overfilling;” in 1951, the “cutting-down” and reworking of a picture; and in 1954, the “over-painting” of your works. I’ve read that these strategies helped you to overcome the dilemma you found yourself in over and over again while you worked. What did you feel was, or still feel to be, your dilemma? AR: That I become exhausted more quickly, particularly in terms of attentiveness. The convergence between hand, eye, and visual longing does not always match up. Especially when you can’t concentrate enough anymore. KDJ: Your works seem to be in a constant state of development; they continue to grow. Is this something that can go on and on, or will you end it at some point? Does the painting itself also develop? Or is the overpainting itself the development? AR: One flees from one insufficiency to the next. Centrifugal force is how it is referred to in physics. KDJ: In an article from 1970 you wrote that, outside of art, “normal life gives me nothing and does not interest me.” What does art mean to you? AR: Life, as it appears, is a pale reflection of art, of artistic creation.
A Beautiful Elsewhere: Mathematics, Paris-Style By Hervé Chandès “Mathematics: A Beautiful Elsewhere” is a unique exhibition created by the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain with the aim of offering visitors “a sudden change of scenery,” to use an expression of mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck. The Fondation Cartier has opened its doors to the community of mathematicians and invited a number of artists to accompany them. They are the artisans and thinkers, the explorers and builders of this exhibition. A large number of eminent mathematicians and scientists contributed to the creation of this exhibition, representing a wide range of geographical backgrounds and mathematical disciplines, from number theory to applied mathematics. Nine artists, with a great sense of curiosity and wonder, joined them: JeanMichel Alberola, Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret, Takeshi Kitano, David Lynch, Beatriz Milhazes, Patti Smith, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Tadanori Yokoo, and Pierre Buffin. This exhibition invites visitors to journey deep into the heart of mathematical thought, from pure to applied mathematics, from the discipline itself
to the women and men who make it. Inspired by the thoughts and ideas of all of the mathematicians involved in the exhibition, Lynch has invented a structure in the shape of a zero to accommodate mathematician Misha Gromov’s Library of Mysteries. From Archimedes to Poincaré, Descartes to Einstein, the Library provides a retrospective of the major events in the history of mathematics and human thought via an audiovisual installation designed by the American filmmaker with the help of Smith. “The symbols you recognize are words and the mirrors are books. You start reading and your conversation with the Universe begins,” says Gromov. Q &A: Why did you decide to become involved in this exhibition? Patti Smith: I have always found mathematical models beautiful. I have always loved the perfection of geometry, although my relationship is an aesthetic one. The diagrams produced by Piero della Francesca, to illustrate his studies of Archimedes are exquisite. This exhibition celebrates such [CONTINUES ON PAGE 9]
Francophilia/Florida By Martine Buissart When he heard that I was about to move to Miami, the French artist Joël Hubaut put me in contact with collectors Ruth and Marvin Sackner, who generously opened their doors to me. The discovery of many French artists in their collection and the collectors’ francophilia was the starting point of the concept of this exhibition, at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami. That’s how the concept “Tour de France / Florida,” formed: a view of French contemporary art through the multiple perspectives offered by collectors in Florida by a French curator. The research, the results of which are featured in the catalog, was fascinating, full of unexpected developments and, finally, extremely rich. The exhibition, which brings together about thirty artistic perspectives, is structured around artists showing groups of works that belong to the same collection, like Christian Boltanski, Joël Hubaut, Hervé Télémaque, and Claude Viallat; but
we also emphasize pieces that were never or rarely shown before. To mention only a few, I would praise the enlightened look of Elizabeth Lyman, whose engagement with Claude Viallat’s work permitted a connection to abstract American painting, and Claude-Auguste Douyon’s attachment to his fellow Haitian Hervé Télémaque. Each collection has a specific tone: more paintings here, more pictures or installations there. There is sometimes a concern to contextualize the collection in contemporary art history, while other times the priority is given to emerging practices. Multiple perspectives reflect the Florida melting pot: it would be risky to conclude that there is a single narrative line through the collections. Some tendencies do emerge: the position of “classical” media, and the relation to writing fostered by theoretical advancements of the twentieth Century (Dada, Fluxus, and others). Step-by-step I met contemporary art professionals from a region that, a decade after the first edition of
Art Basel Miami Beach, shows its international ambitions and its desire to become a crossing-point between the US, Latin America and, to a lesser extent, Europe. While the world of galleries and contemporary art museums is still under construction, more and more private collectors are settling down in South Florida. They represent the center of the system, and today most of the important collections are open to the public. While I was observing these private collections, many of my interlocutors were particularly attached to France. Often relying on deference towards the masters of the twentieth century, this “artistic francophilia” oscillates between a nostalgic approach and the feeling that, despite a modest representation within the international contemporary art market, French artists were still confronting the stakes of the art of their time in their works. Beyond French artists who have lived in Florida, we were uncertain about the actual representation of the French art scene when we started to work on the project.
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ART HONG KONG 2012: Bridging East and West Now in its fifth year, the success of Hong Kong International Art Fair, organized in collaboration with Art Basel, reflects the increasing importance of the Asian art market and Hong Kong’s status as the world’s third most important art hub. Now firmly established as the premier art event in Asia, the Fair prides itself on providing the most cutting-edge environment to view the latest developments in contemporary Asian art juxtaposed against those of Europe and North America. ART HK remains unique as the only world-class art fair to maintain an equal balance of Asian and Western participation. The Fair will experience the return of ASIA ONE, a section dedicated to solo presentations by Asian artists with Asian representation. Following massive interest in its debut last year, ASIA ONE will now be positioned at the heart of the exhibition space alongside some of the most prestigious galleries from the West. The continuation of ASIA ONE affirms ART HK’s commitment to cross-cultural exchange and the Asian
art scene. Through the centralized location of ASIA ONE, ART HK will encourage established galleries to discover emerging Asian artists with whom unexpected collaborations may arise. ART HK PROJECTS also returns this year, presenting largescale sculpture and installation works by leading artists from around the world. The fair will also include ART FUTURES, a showcase of the most promising young artists represented by newly established galleries worldwide. Becoming more popular every year, ART HK is now a go-to event on the global art calendar. Last year, ART HK 11 attracted over 260 galleries from 38 countries to exhibit works by over 1,000 artists, which were seen by 63,000 visitors. Increasingly recognized as the gateway between East and West, Hong Kong’s cultural significance is ever-expanding. With more billionaires in Asia than in Europe, the art world has grown cognizant of the significant market potential in the region and the role ART HK plays in accessing it. *
ART MELBOURNE 2012
See and Collect: ART KARLSRUHE 2012 It’s no surprise that art KARLSRUHE, taking place from March 8 to March 11 2012 for the ninth time, plays an important part in the calendars of the international art world. With over 45,000 visitors, it ranks among the leading art markets – particularly since it offers a broad spectrum of almost all artistic disciplines from classic modern to contemporary art, be it painting or sculpture, drawing or photography. The 222 participating galleries from twelve countries such as Charlot (Paris), Henze & Ketterer (Wichtrach/ Bern), Salis & Vertes (Zürich), Michael Schultz (Berlin/Beijing/Seoul), Dorothea van der Koelen (Mainz/ Venice), Uusitalo (Helsinki), and Michael Werner (Cologne/Märkisch Wilmersdorf), will offer the whole spectrum of art styles and consequently all the different price categories as well – from limited editions for
a few hundred euros to paintings for a million and more, says Ewald Karl Schrade, curator of art KARLSRUHE. “Not for sale”, however, are the works on display from the collections of Marli Hoppe-Ritter (homage to the square) and Gunter Sachs (Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Wesselmann). Both special exhibitions at the ninth art KARLSRUHE are ultimately also designed to inspire the 45,000 or so anticipated visitors to build up their own collection with character. Whilst the founder of Ritter Museum (in Waldenbuch near Stuttgart) dedicates her exhibition in Hall 4 to fine art relating to the square by presenting relevant works by artists such as Josef Albers, Max Bill, Rupprecht Geiger, Richard Paul Lohse, François Morellet, Günther Uecker, Timm Ulrichs, and Victor Vasarely, the special 400 sq.m show-
FOUNTAIN March 9-11
case in Hall 1 surprises visitors with two dozen Pop Art pictures collected by Gunter Sachs, who died in May. 200 one-artist shows are expected alone, and a quick thumb through the exhibitor directory makes it clear that painting will be playing a starring role again. The list of artists features not only prominent German names such as Georg Baselitz, Markus Lüpertz, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, and Günther Uecker but also those of international stars of the likes of Louise Bourgeois, Daniel Buren, Jannis Kounellis, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. Classic modern art is strongly represented as well: Otto Dix, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Henri Matisse, Max Pechstein, Pablo Picasso – the caliber couldn’t be higher. A visit to the art fair in Karlsruhe is well worthwhile, too, just to see the upcoming generation of painters, amongst them Julius Grünfeld, Christopher Lehmpfuhl, Justine Otto, Tal R, and Thomas Zipp. The 20 sculpture zones, too, featuring works by artists such as Abraham David Christian, Michael Croissant, Laura Ford, Wolfgang Mattheuer, A.R. Penck,Vera Röhm, Robert Schad and Daniel Wagenblast, will create a spacious piazza atmosphere within the landscape of booths. “See and collect”, the motto of art KARLSRUHE 2012, then become activities that can be pursued in the most pleasing surroundings. *
Art Melbourne showcases over 80 galleries from Australia, Europe, Asia, and the United States for the sale and purchase of contemporary art at affordable prices. With art starting from as little as $100, the Fair really does offer something for every taste and budget, covering a broad range of mediums including photography, painting, sculpture, limited edition prints, and new media. Dedicated to education without intimidation, Art Melbourne nurtures new collectors throughout the buying process, eliminating the exclusivity normally associated with the art industry. The Fair is moving into new arenas in 2012 and becoming a more selective platform for galleries with a focus on quality artwork at affordable prices. Now more than ever, art enthusiasts want original work of a high standard without the high-end price tag. Art Melbourne delivers just this to buyers with the majority of work priced under $5,000. Perhaps the most exciting addition to the Fair is the exhibition sector “Art Asia.” Comprised of a selective group of galleries from the broader Asia Pacific region and Australian spaces representing Asian artists, Art Asia promises to be a site of discovery for the discerning Melbourne audience. Asian artists, and in particular those
from China, dominate a new wave of the world’s best-selling contemporary artists. This sector examines the art world’s captivation by Asia and aims to make something seemingly unattainable accessible. Supported by the ambitious Ausin Tung Gallery in Melbourne, Art Asia is above all focused on education. Art Melbourne will work with Ausin Tung in the lead up to the Fair to deliver a comprehensive public program that complements the sector, set to take place in gallery and partner locations throughout the city. The aim is to share knowledge and successfully create a dialogue between local collectors and neighboring countries of the Asia Pacific. With initiatives like this, the Fair is set to inspire a new generation of buyers, encouraging them to broaden their interest base and diversify their collections. Another new feature working to support the 2012 direction is New Gen. Exclusively reserved for solo presentations of artists under 35 years of age from Australia’s most exciting galleries, this sector is an innovative display of arts emerging in Australia. New Gen will share the industry’s knowledge and provide art lovers with a selection of Australia’s rising stars. A sneak peek at the Fair’s exhibitor list for 2012 includes; Fehily Contemporary, Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery, Art Equity, Deborah Salter Fine Art, Retrospect Galleries, Bleach Box, and Ausin Tung Gallery. *
ART PARIS 2012 This Spring, Art Paris unites 125 international galleries and editors under the majestic glass dome of the Grand Palais to view a wide range of modern and contemporary works from the 20th and 21st centuries. Providing an informal and relaxed atmosphere, Art Paris is open to all forms of artistic practice and attracts 48,000 visitors, from art market professionals to collectors, dedicated art enthusiasts, and members of the general public. For 2012, Art Paris seeks to diversify its content, reaching out beyond the usual art capitals of Europe and exploring other scenes such as those in Glasgow, Prague, Helsinki, Milan, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Istanbul, Nantes, and Lyon. As part of its commitment to showcase the widest variety of artistic expression, Art Paris 2012
is launching a European Creative Design sector under the title “Limited Series.” This section will bring together a dozen selected design galleries and editors featuring exclusive pieces by contemporary and emerging talents.
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
Beau Van Zyl: Under the African Sun [CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2] shades of white and deep black hues. They subtly emerge in all their refulgent glory. The bright background is a like sweeping wash of paint that is reminiscent of the hot African sun beaming in the sky. The zebras rush out from the left hand side of the canvas charging headlong into the picture plane. Our modern zebras evolved among the Old World horses within the last 4 million years. And their unique and dazzling striping helps them hide in grass. In Van Zyl’s painting they are as dazzling as ever, this work will surely stun visitors. What is so wonderful about her works is that her subjects, colors, and themes are not the only prolific aspect of her paintings. The technique she uses, the textures, even the surfaces, differ greatly from piece to piece. Using both ordinary brush techniques and others such as knife- and flowtechniques, she always seems to choose the fitting and appropriate look for the subject of the piece. She also paints not only on canvases, but on cardboard as well, and with acrylic or oil paint over newspaper articles. This innovation and experimentation is the mark of a real artist. I recently had a chance to interview Beau to find out more about her.
Jill Smith: I love the animal motifs in your paintings. How did you arrive at painting this way? Beau Van Zyl: Not only was I inspired by the vibrant and rich animal life that South Africa is so proud of, but also by the work of a great South African artist, Sakkie Eloff. He has such an interesting and unique way of using color that it is difficult not to be inspired. After seeing his work I could not wait to start painting. I am very fond of animals and nature and therefore I enjoy painting animals. I especially love their eyes and attempt to capture the essence of the animals in all my paintings. Jill Smith: The colors and sensations of Africa really come through in your work. Is there a message that you want to convey to the viewer about your experience in that region? Beau Van Zyl: Africa is comprised of an abundance of beautiful wildlife species, interesting and varying vegetation as well as diverse human population. South Africa strives to embrace all of this, and as a result bustling communities have been established which are bursting with color and a wide range of emotions. I want the viewer to experience the wonderful diversity and ‘full of life’ feeling this
country offers. I try to achieve this by drawing on the moods and emotions I feel around me and make use of the stunning colors I am exposed to. I then create people or animals that complement these colors. Jill Smith: What inspires you to create artwork? Beau Van Zyl: I enjoy taking photographs when spending time with friends and family. I am inspired when I capture that ‘stolen moment’ and try to recreate it in my painting. Nature and animals are very dear to me, I enjoy spending time in the bush or on farms watching animals interact with each other or taking in the beauty of the flowers and trees. South Africa also boasts of wonderful landscapes just waiting to be captured. I am very sensitive to the moods and feelings of others and I like to use this to drive my inspiration. There is so much positivity and beauty in this world that we are blessed with, and I love to create pieces that allow others to be reminded of it daily. Jill Smith: Have you ever painted a large mural of something on the façade of a building, it seems that it could be really be dynamic? Beau Van Zyl: Yes, I have done several murals. The first one that I painted
was a large landscape on the wall of a shop. This created a unique kind of publicity and increased business for the shop as people were drawn by the murals and therefore noticed the shop. I have four children so naturally I began to do many freehand scenes on the walls of children’s rooms. Earlier this year I also had the privilege of being contracted by the South African government to paint a mural on a large building in the region of Ermelo in Mpumulanga. Here I painted the different layers of soil, focusing specifically on the coal layer, which is so important to this part of the country. Jill Smith: Fascinating! What future plans for your work can fans anticipate? Beau Van Zyl: I am so passionate about art that I am continually experimenting in different ways to use and manipulate paint. My fans can therefore always look forward to new and exciting pieces. In the near future, I will be playing with different color combinations in order to create certain moods and feelings. I will also make use of white spaces, which are always interesting as they have the ability to give off the impression of wide-open landscapes. My fans can also expect new work created by us-
ing different pallet knife techniques. The idea is to create a story of a face or figure by painting only a suggestion of it. This leaves some room for the viewer to formulate his or her own opinion of the painting. My fans will not grow tired of my work, as I always look for new innovative ideas and creations. Clearly, Beau Van Zyl is an amazing artist who shares her sense of beauty and wonder with us all. Taking her inspiration directly from nature and using an amazing array of colors, her light-filled paintings express a range of emotion that not only suits the eye but also the mind; her paintings are meant to make people think as much as they are aesthetically pleasing. They are extremely multifaceted in this way, for they also function very well in a strictly decorative, decor setting. Beau van Zyl brings an extremely beautiful view of Africa to the table, in a way that no one before her has done. Showing many aspects of the country, in all colors and several styles, her modern interpretation of the country that feels so foreign and far to many, is what makes Van Zyl successful and keeps audiences waiting for more.
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Erica Fromme: New Paintings of the sea. Working in variants of nial Philosophy (1945) Aldous Huxley blue and turquoise give the painting a continuity and seam- states: lessness that is difficult to capture in abstract pieces. Green, blue and white play together as if they were light reflecting “[W]ith the one, divine reality substanoff of water, creating a streaky, blue background that undu- tial to the manifold world of things and lates like the sea. The color, along with the straight line ver- lives and minds. But the nature of this sus winding circle motif, works to enhance the movement of one reality is such that it cannot be the painting. These voluptuous, curvaceous forms are sexy directly or immediately apprehended and sensual against the darker under painting. except by those who have chosen to Erica Fromme seems to go through phases of color; in fulfill certain conditions, making themfact, her colored abstract works greatly outnumber her selves loving, pure in heart, and poor darker ones. Many of her works offer a prolific array of bold in spirit.” and bright colors presented in a number of patterns and Fromme is pure in heart. She pays textures on different surfaces, using various techniques. close attention to this state of mind, There is something primitive about these works, as if Froma state of unknowing which propels me is going back to her roots, investigating various planes the viewer into a limitless dimension of depth, exploring space, shape, color, and light, while venof possibility. In Fromme’s work, we turing further into the abstract world. see a dimension beyond the everyday. Richter said “one has to believe in what one is doing, Mystic, displays an exciting rainbow one has to commit oneself inwardly, in order to do paintof colors. Reds and pinks dominate ing. Once obsessed, one ultimately carries it to the point the upper portion of the painting, of believing that one might change human beings through while the cooler colors are left to the painting. But if one lacks this passionate commitment, there bottom half. Overlapping sinuous is nothing left to do.” It is clear that Erica Fromme does not lines and spirals form ghostly Picassolack this commitment that Richter speaks of, one can tell like faces in the midst of chaos. Spothat she is committed inwardly in the way that her paintradic single body parts and scenes of ings strike the viewer. The intensity in which each and daily life can be identified throughout every one of her works connects with its audience clearly the work. They are hidden however in illustrates Fromme’s appropriate “obsession” with her work, a quasi- camouflaged effect, leaving resulting in a shift, or change within human beings. the viewer to wonder if their inclu The most compelling aspect of her work is the color. The sion is intentional. The bold, saturated richness of their colors fascinates me. A strong, orange pigments are unquestionable and are pressed onto the canvas reminds one of fresh Pop redwell used to create a stimulating and orange ice cream. Glorious intermediate tones, bluish-green confident painting. and delicate rose shimmer through amongst the unbroken I had a chance to interview Erica and, base colors. These colors have a mystical, romantic quality. as a true mystic is, her responses were And interestingly enough one of her works is entitled Mysshort, but profound. tic. Mysticism is rooted in the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. Rose Hobart: How long have you levels of being, beyond normal human perception, includbeen a painter? ing experience and even communion with a supreme being. Erica Fromme: Since 1990 I’ve been a This is an intense experiential plane. In his book The Perenfreelancing painter. [CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2]
RH: Did you always know you would be one? EF: Yes. RH: I love the colors in your paintings - does your location or environment influence the colors you choose? EF: Of course. You can see the influence from water in all my paintings, because Water is my element, if you add sunshine and a good work location near the ocean, then you know why I work with this bright shining colors. RH: I find this aspect of environment very interesting. Tell me, what do you enjoy most about creating art? EF: The liberty to do what you want. RH: What advice would you give to fellow artists? EF: Be yourself, listen to your heart and your feelings when you paint. Fromme does listen to her heart when working and the evidence is all on the canvas. She works intuitively and allows he r inner voice to speak for her. Another work of dazzling intensity is Rhodos. Rhodos or Rhodes,
is the ancient sea nymph, goddess of Rhodes in Greek Mythology. It is also an enchanting island in Greece in the Agean sea. Fromme worked for 3 years in the sunshine state of Miami, Florida. And this time had a big influence on her work. Rhodos definitely conjures up the sensation of majesty near the ocean that Fromme was talking about. The thematic separation between the top and bottom portions of the painting continues in this work. Creamy blues and dark plums are displayed as thin vertical colors in a dripdry fashion. Below, the blues are paired with cooler colors, green and white, which drag horizontally across the picture plane. The directional division is united by accents of ochre and red to fuse the painting into one visual focus. With this single focus, an appreciation for the beauty of simplicity can be established. In the bottom half of the work, I felt as though I was seeing Rhodes from an aerial perspective, adrift on the sea. It is a moving work. Rhodos is warm and bathed in the sun. It’s sister painting, Ice Age, is frigid and cold and a bit melancholy. Ice Age has bits of clear white and crystal blue show through a drippy, decaying wasteland, giving a hopeful glimpse into what once was. This hopeful attitude is quickly replaced with a mournful one as smudgy black stalactites overpower the snowy wonderland. The duality of snow and ice is evident in this painting. On the one hand, winter provides a fresh start, pearly white and dreamy. On the other hand however, it kills. Scarcity of food in a cold and barren environment makes it difficult for creatures to live. This desperation is effectively communicated not only by the black and grey obstructions, but also in the accents of blood red on the canvas. This work exhibit’s the full range of emotion that Fromme can convey—unabashedly expressing happiness and sadness in the same breath. But my favorite painting, and the most moving in her oeuvre, is entitled Pura Vida. Translated, Pure Life. Costa
Ricans use this term to mean “live life to its fullest” and even as a greeting to one another. This seems to be what Fromme is living. A life fully aware of the ups and downs, yet wholly resolute to live it to its fullest. The right edge of the painting begins with a blocky, stack of light and dark greens. Such geometry harkens the manicured plots of land seen from an aerial perspective. This pattern is quickly ousted, instead confronted with rough and earthy brushstrokes that make up the rest of the piece. The painting is technically impressive in the vein of abstract expressionists like De Kooning. A thick application of paint that is assumed because of the visually, virtuous combination of textures, but the remarkable smoothness of the surface is a testament to the meticulously placed and methodical paint. The greens are rich expressing the liveliness of nature. This work will give you the experience of the hot coast and delivers an aura that will awaken your senses. Erica Fromme is an incredibly accomplished painter whose voice captures an intense range. Her abstract paintings are bold, visionary works that grab our focus and do not let go. With expressiveness and rigor, she enlivens our sense of the world around us.
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
In Your Face Grotesquerie: Paul McCarthy in New York & London By Beverley Knowles
Paul McCarthy, Train, Mechanical, 2003-2009. Steel, platinum silicone, fiberglass, rope, electrical and mechanical components, 276.9 x 152.4 x 566.4 cm. Installation view, ‘Paul McCarthy. The King, The Island, The Train, The House, The Ship’, Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row, 2011 © Paul McCarthy. Photo Credit: Alex Delfanne. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
This week I uncovered a number of reasons to count my blessings. Foremost amongst them is the fact that I don’t live in Paul McCarthy’s head. Paul McCarthy is currently the lucky recipient of the first transatlantic show to be presented by Hauser & Wirth, his work simultaneously filling their New York gallery space and two spaces in London, while an outdoor sculpture dominates St James’s Square. In terms of square footage this is a considerable homage to a contemporary artist from one of the most powerful commercial galleries in the world. Now well into his 60s and known for his in-yer-face grotesquerie McCarthy hasn’t let age soften his sensibilities. This is impressive in a way because I imagine it must be quite hard work to remain this repellent. Savile Row, the latest addition to the Hauser & Wirth empire, offers us a larger than life mechanized pink blancmange-like sculpture of George W. Bush sodom-
izing a pig, in duplicate, with a smaller pig in each case humping away at the larger pig’s eye socket. The mechanism is movement-sensitive, allowing Dubya’s double heads to swivel around and stare at the viewer as she enters the room, though he doesn’t allow the intrusion to put him off the task in hand. If anything, the burgeoning audience seems to add to his dense enthusiasm, the head whirring more and more excitedly. The most skin-crawling elements of this work for me are firstly it’s name: Train, and secondly the expressions in the eyes. The Dubyas register a sort of numb, semi-conscious, unsalvable craving, while the pigs show a terrified, silently squealing horror. It occurs to me that what’s driving the two is not dissimilar. Both are lost to themselves and profoundly unhappy. The idea of an abuser and an abused begins to seem like an oversimplification, a false dichotomy, even.
Over at Piccadilly we’re confronted with the apex of the shock-merchants’ double whammy: sex and religion. In front of a row of empty pews—empty, that is, but for the odd gallery visitor who’s plonked herself down in exhaustion—is a monumental altar atop which sits a naked Christ-like hyper-real sculpture of the distended artist himself. His eyes are closed, his limbs semi-severed. He sits amid pots of paint and in front of his own easel. Entitled The King, this is the quintessential self-portrait, the artist surrounded by his insignia and his vast ego. Around the room are enormous canvases: Britney Spears in one of her “accidentally” indiscreet knicker-less, climbing-out-of-a-car moments, a page from a porn magazine, Henry Fonda in a tengallon hat. These are symbols of our time, placed upside down to indicate mockery and rejection as well as Baselitz-style human tragedy on a global scale. As I wander around I become aware of the sound of a chainsaw drifting up
ominously from the basement. And sure enough, downstairs in this exbank’s dark, foreboding vault, a video is playing of the artist attacking the rubber model of himself that is to become King, in what could probably be called a fairly terminal manner. Not content with the sex and religion combo, McCarthy treats us to a slasher movie as well. Only this is a slasher movie with a difference—protagonist and victim are one and the same. We are not the “victims” of this sorry state we find ourselves in, McCarthy tells us. This is not someone else’s fault. We are doing this to ourselves. I can’t deny this stuff has insight. Oddly enough, in a world that smiles fondly at memories of Vito Acconci’s Seedbed and laughs knowingly at the Chapman’s FuckFace series, McCarthy still somehow manages to generate horror. What I can’t quite get my head around is: why? Insight and horror do not necessarily go hand in hand. In the
long run, what’s to be gained by horrifying visitors with your freakery? Does it not ultimately have the same numbing effect under which Dubya and the pigs are acting out? Feeling starts to go, life ceases to be experienced in all its wonderful, rich 3-dimensionality ... Pretty soon, unhealthy, ambient discontentment are all that remain, our own lifelessness floating unacknowledged at the edges of our peripheral vision. So dead have we tbecome to our emotional responses eventually we don’t even realize they’ve gone. Loss without awareness of loss. Waking death. Then where will we go for our kicks? Presumably we’ll all have to start fucking pigs. Perhaps we already are. Perhaps that’s the very point McCarthy’s making. Perhaps in his own alarmingly idiosyncratic way he’s telling us to first take the plank out of our own eyes, and then we will see clearly to remove the speck from our brother’s.
Aihara Misa: Color As Content Aihara Misa, born in Ibaraki-ken, a prefecture of Japan, after exhibiting all over Europe and Japan since the early 1970’s, has made her way into the Broadway Gallery in Soho showing in the “Artists at Home and Abroad” exhibit. Misa inflames her canvases with painterly brush strokes so jostling; they make the canvas which confines them appear to shimmy. One cannot help but be reminded of Kandinsky’s writings on synesthesia or Cezanne’s avant-garde exercises in color theory while gazing at Misa’s canvases. There is a correlation between Misa’s swaths of color and the emotions evoked in their unveiling. Reds are paired with golds, purples, and pinks to illustrate one narrative, blues with browns and violets for another. Though, to use the word “subdued” to describe any of her multi-colored works of art, even those, which are not as brazen as some, would be a grave misnomer. She leaves her abstractions up to the viewer’s eye and relies solely on the buzzing colors to communicate a narrative. Misa explains, concerning the brilliance and vivacity of her color palate: “I want colors to tell what they want to tell on canvas by themselves. I create real stories with them. How far can colors go?” Her pieces are strokes within blotches, blotches within shapes, shapes within hue - and it is that ever-growing relationship of color and shape that establishes her stories. Our eyes are drawn all over the picture plane grasping at tones and juxtaposing bright colors that speak to everyone. Her oeuvre stands somewhere between the unknown
and the defined. In specific works like Parado, she creates a mosaic configuration of hot red and sensuous yellows that dazzle the eye. This work conjures up a rich, warm atmosphere reminiscent of a summery island. The patterns in this work are repeated like a checkerboard with fuzzy edges that fade off into the peripheries. It is a phenomenal work. In other works like En Cxambro, she grapples with blurring the lines between abstraction and figuration, hinting at recognizable shapes and images. Broad sweeps of color give way to layered streaks of a hardpressed brown or mauve. Occasionally, her brushwork breaks from its seemingly haphazard movement and hones in on the formation of a pristine – comparatively speaking, to the rest of the canvas - geometric shape. Faint figures seem to dance in this magnificent work. The vivid greens dazzle the eye in the center of the canvas, while filigree border frames the entire piece. This work is her strongest painting to date as it shows that he has mastered several techniques. Specifically, beautifully illustrated gestures that form equilateral triangles, eye-like circles, and ever-so-slightly-skewed rectangles. I recently had the chance to interview Misa Aihara to find out more about her work. Rose Hobart: There is a certain rhythmic pattern prevalent in many of your paintings, is there any correlation between the notion of musical composition and the performance of colors in your artwork? Aihara Misa: Yes, but not completely. Musical composers work with sounds, which are originally noise. Sound alone, does not express a concrete rhythm. I am interested in that kind of notion of music. So, I am not interested in musical works of Romanticism, where a composer intends to make up a certain story with sounds. I want to make a performance with non-representational parts of colors, textures, brushstrokes and so on - every component on canvas.
RHobart: I like the relationship to sound. I also notice that in your abstractions, synesthesia seems to rule supreme. Do you feel that you rely on the cognitive effects and involuntary reactions which specific colors evoke to communicate a narrative? Aihara Misa: Yes. That’s it. Rose Hobart: You’ve spent the majority of your life in Japan, is there a Japanese sensibility that informs your work? Do you draw inspiration from colors innature? Or from the technological enchantments of metropolitan Tokyo? Aihara Misa: I think I am very much influenced by Japanese aesthetics. I often draw inspirations from colors in nature. But that is not so important to me. I am a person living in the modern world. I am interested in how an individual in the present-day perceives the world and how they feel. Rose Hobart: In addition to the communicative nature of colors, do you find that the movement of the artist’s hand is all that is necessary to establish a narrative? Aihara Misa: The movement of the artist’s hand is very important. The artist’s hand corresponds to nonrepresentational parts of colors and other pictorial elements like brushstrokes to create and establish a narrative. The hand is the tool that configures my concepts. The concept must be embodied with the hand. It could be said that the hand is the artist’s concept. Aihara Misa is an incredibly accomplished painter whose work is on the cutting edge of painting. Though her canvases seem to have been comprised by an abstract-expressionist’s agenda, on second look it is obvious that the artist’s hand, here, is calculated. It’s hard to develop an extremely lucid explanation, or even a definitive emotion when staring at Misa’s artworks. Which is why they are so compelling. It is within the calculated chaos of her canvases that one finds intrigue, a spark that keeps you looking to discover more.
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
A Beautiful Elsewhere: Mathematics, Paris-Style inherent beauty, and reminds us why E. T. Bell called mathematics ‘the queen of science.’ It also offers everyone a humanistic and accessible entrance into this wonderful realm. Beatriz Milhazes: When Hervé Chandès explained to me the project I immediately found it a very unusual, intelligent, and quite unique idea. Math has been connected to art works forever, as artists have used it as a reference and an element to help them develop their artistic research. I’m very interested in geometry, which is a math subject. However what I think that the key answer or question for this project is that from an artistic point to discover how math is everywhere in the world, how math is part of our lives! Hiroshi Sugimoto: I think art and mathematics and even religion all serve the same purpose, to explain things we do not understand. The pairing of art and mathematics made perfect sense for an exhibition. For Misha Gromov, scientific feeling is “Round us, near us, in depth and height, soft as darkness and keen as light” (Algernon Charles Swinburne, Loch Torridon). What does this thought inspire in you? Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret: How immense the thinking of scientists is and how small we are in relation to it. Patti Smith: I think these lines of Swinburne intimate that we are not alone. That something both measurable and immeasurable surrounds us. However that translates to one it is comforting, both in its infinite expanse and containment. Takeshi Kitano: I agree with Mr. Gromov. In particular, science is great, as it can be all around us, including you and me, without us noticing it. Misha Gromov distinguishes four mysteries in the world: the nature of physical laws, the mystery of life, the function of the brain, and the mystery of mathematical structure related to the first three. What would be the fifth mystery for you? Jean-Michel Alberola: The fifth mystery is thus the mystery that cannot be named, the mystery that embraces the other four, that is to say, the stuff of the waking dreams of magicians, storytellers, shamans, sorcerers, healers, saints, artists, ghosts, and the dead that roam around the Earth ... spirits of the forest, rocks, rivers, animals and stars. All of this warm density that continues to keep us, even today, from getting lost. David Lynch: What it is like living in ‘Totality’. Takeshi Kitano: The fifth mystery would be your comprehension of my ability—that I would be able to answer your question! [CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3]
Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret, Au Bonheur des Maths, 2011 (filmed portrait of Michael Atiyah) Mathematics for exhibition, a sudden change of scenery, Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, 21 October 2011 - March 18, 2012 © Raymond Depardon Magnum Photos-
“An amazing little project room in Chelsea, the size of a coat closet but with a program with the energy of an art barn.” -- David Cohen, artcritical.com
Alex Doolan, Call 911!, 2011, Acrylic, oil and graphite on canvas, 72 x 96
This exhibit is on view until 18 March 2012 at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris.
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John O’Connor Interviews Ken Weathersby John O’Connor: Tell us about the new piece you’re working on. Ken Weathersby: Right now there’s something I’m calling ZTE—zombie tableau ensemble. It’s from an image that appeared in my head a couple of months ago: a group of paintings, a specific tableau. I saw this arrangement of paintings hanging on the wall and some that were freestanding. They seemed to come toward me across the room. Individually, they resembled paintings I’d already been making: structural, stacked wooden grids overlaid with bits of linen, patches of grid-patterned paint films—the parts of painting all present, but also dismantled, separated. My first association after drawing this image was the shot that’s in every zombie movie, like in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, where there’s a crowd of zombies slowly staggering toward you, facing you with glazed eyes, decayed bodies with rags of clothing hanging off...
Ken Weathersby, 191 (csk), 2011. Acrylic & graphite on linen, wood, nails , 33 x 26 in. Courtesy of the artist.
JO: So, some are going to be free-standing. Do you still call them paintings? KW: Yeah, they’re paintings. Sometimes people want to know whether it’s becoming sculpture: the answer is no. It’s important to me that they remain paintings. Responding to the conditions of painting gives me a context, something to mess with. JO: What are those conditions, for you? KW: I mean the given, physical terms of painting, like paint, linen, wood, but in my own way of understanding what they could be. For example, simple patterns fulfill my requirements for painted image. In my paintings those various given terms tend to get outside their usual roles, to do different things. Sometimes the linen support and the painted front switch places. Sometimes the wood gets itself in between the paint and the linen. Paintings seem to be undoing something about how they would normally work. The undoing can be a blunt confrontation or an almost invisible cut or substitution. JO: But back to the patterns you’re using to stand in for an image: they do more than just that. They shimmer; they change when you look at them from different distances… KW: Well, the optical effects suggest spatial illusion or movement, but without depicting anything. And because the scale of the patterns is tiny, there’s a sense of compression. The strongly 10
contrasting colors that you see from close to the surface cancel each other out from a distance and can begin to turn gray from across the room. JO: What’s been the effect of making miniatures for your shows? Do you see them now as works on their own? I’m thinking of the ones you recently showed in California. KW: I started making very small pieces a few years ago, as a way of thinking through paintings and to see what they might look like before making them on a larger scale. I also made a tiny scale model of the gallery at Pierogi before my show there in 2010. So it started as just a pragmatic process. But the feeling of seeing things reduced very small or, when next to full-sized pieces, seeing the huge leap in scale, became interesting, trippy, like Alice in Wonderland—it becomes uncanny and gets the imagination going. I showed 22 very small works, most just two or three inches tall, at Some Walls, a curatorial project in Oakland, in 2011. So that moved the small paintings into the realm of “works in their own right.” I’m now creating new groups of small paintings around the ZTE idea. The miniature version has additional interest for me in this case, since to establish the “tableau” feel, I’m positioning them inside little room-like boxes that I also make. The box itself is something I think of as a kind of folded-up painting. This lets me think about more physical conditions of painting that join the list of given elements (like linen, wood, paint) that I’m already using. The tableau allows me to bring in these other terms: the walls, the floor, the actual space between and around the paintings. In these newer works, I’m bringing those things inside of painting in a way. JO: I find your paintings very human: they do things we do. They show a particular side or face, hide things, reveal their personalities over time. Do you think about these relationships? KW: There is an anthropomorphic element that I can’t deny. One thing that started me on doing this kind of work was another dream or daydream I had about ten years ago. I saw, in my mind, a painting come out from the wall and then slowly turn away, turning its face to the wall, refusing to be seen. It was a gesture on the part of the painting, suggesting that the thing had a life and a will. Yet I don’t look for that kind of life in the work too much. If it’s there it emerges on its own. What I feel I’m after, when I’m making the work, is playing out certain situations. Ideas about situations come to me: a painting with two backs and no front, or one with a cut-out area in the paint surface, through which we see another layer identical to what has
Responding to the conditions of painting gives me a context, something to mess with. been removed, or a painting overtaken by a wooden lattice, to the point that it’s almost obscured. I’m inundated with these kinds of thoughts. I’m not thinking about these things in psychological terms. But somehow the paintings themselves do these things that might have human parallels.
Joe Fyfe Interviews Beverly Fishman Joe Fyfe: There is a historical consciousness present in your paintings that is also veiled. I am referring primarily to Color Field via Pollock, Noland, etc. I don’t bring this up so much to underline any intention, particularly, on your part, but more to reflect on how the large abstract horizontal pictures that make up a considerable portion of your current exhibition cannot but help address their relationship to the post-war history of painting, which is pretty much what we have when dealing with larger-than-easel-sized abstractions, you know? Beverly Fishman: I don’t believe that you can paint without thinking about painting’s history, and your relationship as an artist to other artists who came before you. At the same time, when I paint, I am thinking more about Pop and Minimalism than Abstract Expressionism and Color Field. From Minimalism and Post-Minimalism I get the tension between the handmade and the mechanical and an interest in using industrial materials – metal and enamel paints – to make art. From Pop, I take a love of the screened image and an interest in the mass-reproduced icon: in my case, capsule forms and pill forms as well as drug logos. But you are correct in pointing out that Post-1945 American painting still looms large over any attempt at abstract – or in my case, mostly abstract – painting. When I think about Pollock, I like Rosenberg’s idea of action painting, the painting as a record of events through which the artist heroically expresses a struggle to create a new form of postwar identity. The question of identity with which my work engages, however, is identity in a much more medicated and media-saturated society.
two decades. Through painting I attempt to fuse my human touch and sensibilities with mechanical processes and the cold sterile forms of scientific and medical data. JF: Though I realize that the paintings depict, as it were, the overlapping of digital readouts of EKG, neuron spikes and bar codes (the latter actually exist in tangible two-dimensionality) I was struck by--again in the large horizontals—how they reminded me of the intricate patterns one finds when looking closely at paper money. BF: I love the money reference! I hadn’t thought of it until now, but printed bills contain hidden patterns to prevent counterfeiting. I try to get the same complexity into my own work. I want the image to look “perfect” and virtual from afar but then on closer inspection, complex, intricate,
I don’t believe that you can paint without thinking about painting’s history.
JF: Someone like James Siena gets around references to Abstract Expressionism and Color Field by working on a diminutive scale, but then a catalog essay comes along comparing his enamel-on-metal paintings to Pollock, then the jig is up. Which brings me to other Pollock references in your work - the fact that you are working with enamel on a mirrored surface, something very much like Pollock’s use of enamel and silver paint. BF: Pollock is one of the figures who started to push painting toward the machined and the industrial, but so have a lot of other artists. For example, I love Michelangelo Pistoletto’s mirror paintings of the early 1960s, with their figures turned away from the viewer. I use a mirrored surface to make the viewer’s bodily experience and movements more a part of my paintings. I want you to experience the painting while gradually becoming aware that my gestures are very mediated and that the overlaid lines and patterns are actually representations of physical and mental processes. My interest in making my paintings environmental can perhaps be traced back to the postwar American painters. But I don’t think my paintings express the same attitude. I think of Pollock or Newman presenting a heroic struggle to make meaning. I try to do the same thing, but I think the consciousness I portray is much more fragmented, pulled in different directions through drugs, medical imaging and the mass media.
JF: In a sense, you use traditional late-modernist formats, field-size horizontals, semi-detached panels, etc., but they represent a different space, even a different speed… BF: I attempt to represent a fragmented space of multiple speeds. I think of my everyday life where I’m constantly looking at three screens at once. In my paintings, I imagine multiple screens changing at different rates, images passing through a sequence of monitors, and data displays registering multiple, possibly contradictory streams of information. I am trying to capture my experience of space as mediated and multilayered. And when I think about computer screens, I also think about Pop art and silkscreens. That’s perhaps why I have an interest in moiré patterns. Moiré patterns are interference patterns produced in both analog printing and digital imaging. They exist in my paintings to suggest the constant cycling of images through different forms of mass reproduction.
JF: I find it fascinating how the painterly element does very much exist but it is subsumed: appearing in the occasional off-register jumps that take place when the waving black lines overlay some of the color under painting. BF: Integrating the handmade with the mechanical has been central to my work for more than
JF: I must mention how beautiful the smaller format verticals were, they seemed reminiscent of various examples of Japanese art, like the sixties posters of Tandanori Yokoo, the proportions are exquisite. I want one. BF: I love the sixties prints of Eduardo Paolozzi. They are just fantastic! Thanks so much Joe!
and “flawed” – something that can’t be reproduced. The horizontal format for me connotes an endless landscape as well as computer and video screens. As information displays, the paintings represent the constant movement of data as it flickers, scrolls, loops and passes across monitors. My paintings are made of multiple panels, like screens on top of screens.
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
Beverly Fishman, Untitled, 2011. Enamel on polished stainless steel, 26 x 18 in. Courtesy of Galerie Richard, NY
Artists to Watch in 2012 By Jason Stopa, Kate Meng Brassel & Leah Schlackman
Abigail DeVille, New York at Dawn, 2010. Tyvek, enamel and latex paint, dirt, American flags, graphite,lamp shade, synthetic hair, polyurethane varnish, chicken wire, plastic sheeting, plaster, garbage bags, pâpier-maché, fake eyelashes, duct tape, wood chips, wire, canvas, cigarette butt, acrylic yarn, metal, salt dough,and hardware, 102 x 114 x 96” Courtesy of the artist. Photo credit: LaToya Ruby Frazier
Bryan Rogers, Water Table Falls I, 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 15 x 23 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Abigail DeVille - Through bricolage, painting, and
sculpture, Abigail DeVille cobbles together a visual mass that speaks to the material culture of the present moment. She experiments using found and inherited domestic objects in order to make a connection to the universe. W.E.B. Du Bois’ concept of double-consciousness is the conceptual frame DeVille uses to deconstruct two spatial relationships: the claustrophobic space of the urban environment violently clashing with the infinite expanse of the universe. Black holes are an integral metaphor. Her objects speak to the physical infinite expanse of universal time and societal ills of the present moment. DeVille is making a visible representation of the invisible.
What a never-ending corridor that was, to be sure. It made one giddy to look either backwards or forwards. Here stood an ignominious crew waiting for the door of mercy to be opened, but long might they wait. -Hans Christian Andersen, The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf Bryan has been painting what look like huge, underground tunnels—paintings of cross-sections of unpeopled caverns roiling with their toxic liquid cargoes. Hydrofracking nightmares? A pictorial cliché of the collective unconscious? Formally-similar esoteric abstractions? Another oubliette in this networked abyss, an infinite waiting room, a fairytale purgatory? IDK. -Jesse Patrick Martin
Chris Baker, Hello World! or: How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise, Thousands of first-time video bloggers introducing themselves to the world, 2008. Photo Credit: Chris Houltberg
Christopher Baker’s work examines the complex relationship between society and its technologies. Originally trained as a scientist, Baker’s artistic practice represents an uneasy balance of eager technological optimism, analytical processes, deep-rooted skepticism and intuitive engagement. As technologists make daily promises to improve our lives by uniting our physical and digital worlds, Baker attempts to make work that reflects upon the practical implications of our increasingly networked lifestyles. With these interests at heart,his large-scale video projections, participatory practices and multi-media installations often fuse existing physical spaces with our disembodied yet poetic digital ephemera, resulting in revelatory and sometimes disorienting forms.
Carsten Nicolai, Pionier I, 2011. Wind machine, panels, parachute, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist, photo credit: Uwe Walter, Berlin
Carsten Nicolai (born 1965 in Karl Marx Stadt, now Chemnitz) has been working in the intersection between nature and art since the middle of the 1990s. His fascination for natural phenomena, mathematics and physics developed into an integral part of his artistic production. Using different media, such as sound, image, installation, sculpture, and computers, Nicolai examines the sphere in which explicit borders seem to disappear. He transfers natural phenomena into an artistic language and uses mistakes as creative material, thereby making sense of the perception and understanding of our environment.
Emily Auchincloss, Untitled (Jellyfish), 2011. Oil on canvas, 66 x 56”. Courtesy of the artist.
Emily Auchincloss (b 1978) is a New York native who’s work is informed by both the small glimpses of nature a city dweller is lucky to catch and the vastness that things such as sea and sky symbolize in our digitally aestheticized world. Auchincloss examines not only the totality of the large bodies of air and water that surround us but the ecosystems that exist within those expanses. In viewing her paintings, one is reminded of the great expanses that exist in our technology-driven world and how we inhabit them.
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
Heike Baranowsky, Barometer 1, 2011. 1-Channel video, 54 minutes, HDCAM, stereo sound. Camera: Volker Gläser, sound: Titus Maderlechner. Courtesy of the artists and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin.
Heike Baranowsky is known as a video artist with a unique visual language, a language that emphasizes stillness and tranquility and that is able to open up new, confusing aspects of how we perceive a moving image with the most minimal of measures. With characteristic precision and with an intense concentration on the image’s atmosphere, the artist explores themes, such as the power of suggestion of moving images, the manipulation of meaning by media, or technology’s influence on our understanding of reality. She is an artist who mainly works with moving images yet, always returns to examining phenomena of action and stagnancy, and in-betweenmoments.—Galerie Barbara Weiss
Hiroshi Tachibana, Kiki and Pokemon, 2011. Gel medium transfer, acrylic, maker, and trading card on canvas, 20 x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Hiroshi Tachibana - To distract and seduce: the paintings of Hiroshi Tachibana evoke a sense of play in alchemical and aesthetic wonder. Incorporating attributes of printmaking, Tachibana builds layers of his visual language using a monotype technique onto canvas. Gestures, drips, lines, and brushstrokes allude to a bigger space, yet are physically flat when viewed. Tachibana further complicates his process by incorporating outside variables such as children’s drawings and candy wrappers. Negating his own touch and leaving some responsibilities to chance, Tachibana’s trust and quizzical nature as an artist yield a great tension within his paintings without denying viewers the pleasure of discovery along the way. - Patrick Berran
Lauren Luloff, Dark Foliage, 2011. Oil on bleached bed sheets and fabric 80 x 61 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Lauren Luloff - Whenever I visit Lauren’s studio there are literally twenty, thirty or more paintings on the floor and on the walls in various stages of completion. Lauren’s large paintings are sculptural, made from an assortment of materials including bed sheets and bleached fabric in addition to paint, but not necessarily canvas. These paintings are rugged and abstract. They seem like time capsules, which encase the scene of a crime or the drama of an intense quarrel. Lauren’s smaller paintings, which are often studies for larger works, are landscapes that Milton Avery would’ve made had he gone the way of Van Gogh.
Jenny Vogel, Alles Muss in Flammen Stehen (Everything Must be in Flames), 2011. 3D animation, 1.5 min. loop. Courtesy of the artist.
Ilse Murdock, Ours, 2011. Oil on canvas, 14 x 18 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Ilse Murdock’s paintings are concise visual statements that arise out of necessity and practical parameters, resulting in unconventional painting methods. In her process-oriented landscape painting the lower edge serves as the palette, causing image and materials to press forcibly upon one another. Equally important in her works is a devotion to gestural conceits, probing decision, and ultimately retinal and sensory pleasure – to seeing – moments of beauty – whether in daily refuse, The Great Outdoors, unconscious private movements of hand and brush, or anachronistic paintings styles.
Jenny Vogel’s work explores subjective themes as they are experienced in the age of information. She examines the anxiety of alienation, the desires of communication and a sense of be-longing in a virtual world. These traits, attributed to Romanticism, are dealt with in her work through the lenses of contemporary communication technology, the media and historical preconceptions. Through the juxtaposition of technology and Romanticism, Vogel attempts to challenge the image of the Internet as the “global village,” objectivism in the news and the ideology of science.
Julie Schenkelberg, In the Supper Rooms, 2010. Buffet, chairs, plaster, soil, cement, dishwater, 81” x 93” x 42”. Courtesy of Asya Geisberg Gallery. Photo Credit: Etienne Frossard
Kris Scheifele, Acid Fade, 2012. Acrylic paint and acetate, 21” x 12.5” x 2.5”. Courtesy of the artist.
Julie Schenkelberg’s sculpture is poetry combined with industrial grit.
Kris Scheifele’s recent work is rooted in process and began with an in-
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she translates the visual imagery of her family narratives and an antiquated aesthetics of the mid-west, into her massive sculptural installations, with the contemporary vigor of post-industrial deconstruction and ruin. Her materials ooze and twist in their newly found positions, looking as if they had been there for a century. Schenkelberg displays an unexpected sensitivity with her materials from years of painting in theater shops across the country. Her work follows in the tradition of the heavy hitting feminist sculptors of the 70’s.
vestigation of paint’s physicality. After thirty to fifty layers of acrylic paint are applied to a support, these slabs are pulled up, sliced, carved, and/ or peeled. Free of a support and hung directly on the wall, the paint then performs by bending, sagging, and stretching. This elasticity suggests the body and skin while the aestheticised decay alludes to the moth-eaten, rot, or fire damage. Meant to reflect on cycles in life as well as cycles in art, Scheifele’s work rides the line between painting an sculpture.
Pep Karsten, Come Slowly To Me, 2009. Image courtesy of the artist.
Pep Karsten - In his new series entitled “Emy & Ana”, French photographer Pep Karsten presents a cinematic narrative; after an accident, two best friends have to face the terrible situation of being separated. Karsten explores the theme of death in an optimistic perspective; What can the loved ones bring us after their demise? Can they help us transform our suffering into strength, into wisdom? Can we somehow extend their lives? He is working more like a filmmaker than like a photographer; writing stories, scripts and meticulously building scenes before the shootings, where he is attended by a crew.
Kris Chatterson is represented by Jeff Bailey Gallery in New York and Western Project in Los Angeles where he had a solo show at each in 2011.
Kris Chatterson’s paintings evoke vast and ever-changing spaces, presenting the natural calligraphic gesture as synthetic, abstract elements. These elements transform the physical objectness of the mark into nonlinear spatial compositions. Images from his earlier paintings are digitally manipulated, distorted, and transferred in layers onto a painted surface. Working between the “touch” of painting and synthetic output of digital manipulation, enables Chatterson to create formal inventions that evidence the short distinctions between the physical and the abstract world of phenomena.
Michelle Heinz, For Peet’s Sake, 2011. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Michelle Heinz’s small, dense paintings are a symbiotic synthesis of color, surface, form, and text coming together to present iconic slogans with a formal rigor yet personal touch that posses a hypnotic pictorial and poetic resonance. Her compact paintings speak for themselves.
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
Matt Jones, Space painting installation, 2011-2012. Adam Reich Photography, courtesy the artist and The Hole NYC Lisa Kirk, Time Suspended, 2007. Mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and PS1 MoMa.
Matt Jones lives in a sonic boom. His work as an artist manifests the cultivation of traditional knowledge and doctrine, while being embodied with the principles of adolescent masculinity and ideas of wasted youth. There is an orchestrated spontaneity in his art that makes him a master of mischief, yet well aware that his playfulness is consequential. There’s a mathematical language developing in his work that is grounded by concepts of the universal expansion of energy and its regenerative potential. He sees space and time as something that can be recognized and represented figuratively, as a body that is active and transformable.
Lisa Kirk’s practice deals with the contemporary American cultural infrastructure, the political history it must contend with, and an investigation into our deep and undeniable need to engage with these social phenomena. Her work seeks to expose contemporary human nature as that of consumers and combatants of objects and ideas. Kirk has culled a vocabulary of references from war, popular entertainment, middle-class America, and the sentiment of nostalgia for revolt. Site specificity seems undeniably important; bringing the audience together, not just as spectator but as co-author in the experience.
Russell Tyler, Fortune Teller, 2011. Oil, acrylic and spray paint on caves, 30 x 30 in. Image courtesy of the artist
Russell Tyler’s paintings read as basically processNarcissister, Narcissister photographed in her hometown of La Jolla, California, 2011; boobs: kat + duck. Brooklyn, NY, 2011 Matthew Hassell, Untitled, 2011. Hot glue, paper, adhesive, and dust on 1/4” plexiglass. 12” x 12” each.
Matthew Hassell engages a process art inspired approach to break open the aesthetic value of atypical art mediums. Taking somewhat of a backdoor route to reductive abstraction, he strives to distil visual experience into formally concentrated compositions. The work is built on the framework of spatial geometrical tropes yet takes on a varying interpretation based on the viewer’s physical positioning to the painting. The key to understanding the work is in being present. The artist is interested in allowing the impermanence of one’s own memory and visual history to dictate the substance of the viewing experience within each subsequent encounter with the work.
Narcissister - With masked face and merkin’d pussy, Narcissister’s work rests at the intersection of performance art, burlesque, dance, and public provocateur. Performing reverse striptease by dressing in stockings and sequined dresses pulled from orifices, then layering and removing hijabs, wigs, and plastic bangles, she reminds us that the body is never bare. In creating an excess of artifice, on the one hand, and revealing the “natural” yet trained body, on the other, Narcissister implicitly questions the relationship between feminist craft, commodity fetishism, and bodily technique, uncannily reframing assumptions of blackness and feminism in contemporary performance. Narcissister is multiplicity; Narcissister is ambiguity, Narcissister is You.
based. The paintings themselves are seemingly a manifestation of a horribly frenzied state. There seems to be little control over the paint itself as it is allowed to do as paint does – drip, drop, and have a viscous surface. However, it is clear that Tyler is intentionally combining the inseparable, yet opposing languages of both “high” and “low” art in an investigation of the dystopia of his surroundings. The paintings, as settings which look at the relationship between reality and the performative or sensational aspect of art, provoke comedy as much as they express criticism.
[Continues online at nyartsmagazine.com]
Fiamma Morelli Otherworldly Abstractions By Abraham Lubelski Fiamma Morelli’s artwork has a spiritual connotation. In her most recent work at Broadway Gallery, NYC. Flaming morning red is rushing ruthlessly through pristine scenery. With softly curved brushstrokes the artist constructs a sloping quasi-abstract landscape. A few lucid lines, rippling along the ridges, illuminate perilous red and gloomy crimson. Bright rays of white light rise from a soft, pink pond in the valley, cutting a hole in the scarlet sky. They vanish into a giant void. A divine
lightning catches the eye of the spectator. This is the central area of the painting: the suggestion of something beyond the visible. Nevertheless, Morelli does not reveal the true meaning. It remains a suggestion of something that each one should behold for themselves. The translation is strictly personal. It is a personal quest for the not yet discovered. A dark, orange glow in the air covers the mountains in shadow, like a curtain. The landscape is peaceful, quiet. One immediately realizes that red is color of profound significance. We sense heat, passion, intensity, and blood. The connotations are endless and provoke us to entertain ideas surrounding beauty, the sublime and ecstasy. One of the foremost philosophers of the 19th century was Edmund Burke. Edmund Burke referred to the sublime as a terror of unimaginable proportions. He considered “terror as producing an unnatural tension and certain violent emotions of the nerves; it easily follows, from what we have just said, that whatever is fitted to produce such a ten-
sion must be productive of a passion similar to terror, and consequently must be a source of the sublime, though it should have no idea of danger connected with it.” Morelli creates work that is has an otherworldly beauty, conjuring the majestic, and unearthly. This is an individual journey; the spectator is entering the world of the sublime. Other western counterparts for Morelli are Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler. At just 23 years old, Helen Frankenthaler painted Mountains and Sea (1952), an abstraction that freed up the stalemate in postwar American art following the first exciting spark of creative activity by the Abstract Expressionists. It looks, in reproduction, like a peaceful evocative painting with a series of blue, green and red stains fading into pink – all of which hint at the landscape that the title suggests. These color field painters illuminated our sense of light and nature and changed the face of painting. Morelli keeps this torch alight. She creates paintings where the space, location and environment look quiet and empty. Her work is elemental. It conveys a rich passion, a described earthy-ness that is palpable. It is a strength distributed by the earth and its elements and awarded to those who are willing to receive it. There is a strong energy that arises from the sharp colors. The artist creates light and significance through the idea of a realistic landscape that is in fact an abstract story of emotion and spiritual guidance.
Sirpa Miettinen: A Call to Action By Abraham Lubelski Sirpa Miettinen is an artist who feels very connected to nature; she believes in a responsibility for its future, and you can sense that in her art work. Using recycled materials, Miettinen composes paintings that burst at their seams: she brings volume to the canvas and expands the limitations of the surface. Her most recent paintings are dark and eerie, with inauspicious drippings and compositions that remind you of abandoned caves, and it sends a shiver running down your spine. She describes her environmental artworks as ‘a reaction to the electronic global image flood.’ We are living in the midst of a hyper digital age, and this means major shifts in thinking and feeling. For Miettinen, we must go back to the essence and the uniqueness of life; there we are more abstract and primal, and so these new works bear a similar relationship. Leaving behind the obvious, she takes an experimental track where black and bronze colors characterize most of the paintings. Some of them, however, have intense petroleum blue, red or pink in the leading role, supported by a hint of yellow, almost gold. Miettinen says that she wants her paintings to work like a disease, and that is exactly what they do: like a virus, the image crawls into your eye. In an age of global information, her works acts like a reminder that visceral mark making can have a significant affect on the viewer. The interaction between the artist, her work and the spectator, seems like a firecracker, going in every direction. Based on Africa’s flora and fauna, Miettinen shows what is still left of the beauty that mother earth has created; trying to evoke a common consciousness. Even today, there are many people who are not aware, or who try to ignore, that pollution of any kind is working towards the destruc16
tion of humanity. Miettinen’s work is a prelude a preview of what may come in the future, yet they also offer hope. In a sense there is an aspect to Sirpa’s works, which is eastern in thought. The Dali Lama has stated “Since I deeply believe that basically human beings are of a gentle nature so I think the human attitude towards our environment should be gentle. Therefore I believe that not only should we keep our relationship with our other fellow human beings very gentle and nonviolent, but it is also very important to extend that kind of attitude to the natural environment.” So in way, Sirpa’s works attempt to re-align our connection to nature, so that we cohabit in a more peaceful manner. This is a bold message. One will notice that there is a unique, profound elemental quality to these works, which draw the spectator in and do not let up. But, what is most compelling is the scale and dynamism of these works, which capture our imagination with stunning results.
All images courtesy of the artist.
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
Fountain Art: From the Ground Up
Abraham Lubelski 250,000 works on paper.
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Mark Demos all of whom will be on view this March. In addition to housing a comprehensive roster of emerging artists and galleries, Fountain Art Fair is partnering with Art For Progress, a non-profit organization working to provide creative arts education programming for under-served youth. They will be exhibiting an array of work from their talented visual artists and a special exhibit featuring student work from various high school programs in New York City. Of the many galleries and artists presenting work this year, there are a few booths that are definitely worth taking a second or third look. Photographer Leslie Lyons’ portraits are dark and enigmatically enchanting, haunting in their provocation of introspective research. Uprise Arts’ Nick Meyer’s snapshots are naturally -- and occasionally sparsely -- lit glimpses of nostalgia for youth not wasted, and Kest-
The Armory Show 2012: Nordic Focus, March 8-11 The Armory Show, a leading international contemporary and modern art fair and one of the most important annual art events in New York, takes place every March on Piers 92 & 94 in Manhattan. Now celebrating its fourteenth year, the Armory Show is re-establishing itself as the most adventurous and dynamic contemporary art fair in New York City. The 2012 edition will
ing/Ray’s Brian Leo creates illustrative artwork which presents a perspective of our world imbued with childlike pleasures and imagination. Video installation artist Tiffany Carbonneau works to re-contextualize architectural subtleties and highlight basic structures that shape our relationship with space on a quotidian basis. Through her oftenmonumental projections, Carbonneau notes the very structures that shape our metropolitan, post-industrial culture’s topography. This kind of radical reorientation to space will prove to be unsettling - in a good way. Also on view will be Abraham Lubelski, showing his 250,000 Works on Paper which was exhibited this past Fall at No Comment, a show held in what used to be the offices of JP Morgan, on Wall St. His piece sparked something of a controversy and was subsequently featured in the Huffington Post. The work is made of stacked boxes and bundles of works on paper, and creates a sinewy snake-like path in the center of the fair. Upon closer inspection, the individual images on each sheet of paper take center stage. Each one is spontaneous, impulsive and resonates with automatism and immediacy. Peeking our interest, audiences will notice that each one is free. Yes, we said free. Sometimes a small gesture can also be a big one. And this is no exception. Utilizing direct action, free choice, and participation; this work offers us a sense of communally shared experience. By taking a work, we engage in Lubelski’s sentiment, each one offering sense of renewal and hope. The Fountain Art Fair will begin with a bang. Hip-hop pioneer and New York legend, Fab 5 Freddy is scheduled to perform opening night, March 9th. With installations, live performances, and a multitude of New York art galleries showing off their best artists, the Fountain Art Fair is one you won’t want to miss.
March 8 -11th 2012 koreanartshow.com
feature an international roster of exciting, leading galleries, the acclaimed Armory Show VIP program, a lively opening night party at MoMA, the eclectic and engaging Open Forum program with major art- world figures, Armory Film, a series featuring an international selection of leading contemporary video and experimental films curated by Moving Image, and Armory Arts Week in partnership with New York’s top cultural institutions. This year’s Armory Show will feature the work of the 2012 Commissioned Artist Theaster Gates and the vibrant art of the Nordic Countries in Armory Focus. The Armory Show has engaged award-winning, New Yorkbased architectural firm Bade Stageberg Cox to redesign The Armory Show, creating a more comfortable, luxurious experience, including a new “farm-to-table” restaurant and cafe by Great Performances.
This Show Brought To You By The Squatting Movement By Alan W. Moore In the center of Madrid, facing the famous statue of Cibeles, the vast over-built wedding cake of a town hall has been renovated as an exhibition space and cultural center. The spacious courtyard has been glassed in, and is now a year-round stone lounge and event space. For such a heavy looking building, the interior of the redundantly named Centro Centro is surprisingly bright. Spanish architects do beautiful renovations of their historic structures. The country’s finances may be on the ropes, but they did not waste public money when they had it. The problem for Centro Centro, as for other grand fixer-uppers in Madrid, is what to do there, since the money for cultural programs is drying up fast. For now there is a grand café and reading rooms, a show about the building itself (yawn) for renovation geeks, and on the top floor, sparsely attended, a sprawling exhibition of the “Post-It City” archive of temporary urbanities. Here are the wild ways poor people use their use their cities: in inventories, texts, and photos laid out in transportable metal vitrines. The variety is dazzling—tent cities, car condos, markets, and festivals, immigrants’ bundles in trees, cemetery squats among others make up the Post-It mix. This is the Ur-project on temporary urban uses, and it has spawned many offspring investigations among artists and architects. These often ignore political intention, treating their subjects like ants moving busily about doing strange things. In this iteration, though, some additions to the archive deal directly with politics, i.e., the tradition of big-building occupation in global cities. Political squatting has chalked up many accomplishments since it began in the 1970s. Most people know the “free city” of Christiania in Copenhagen, the former royal military base that be-
came the prototypical hippie haven. But not many know the variety of other occupations that have marked the cultural scene there, like the Ungdomshuset, the “youth house,” and the “Candy Factory” complex of self-organized artists’ ateliers. Without these autonomous “free spaces” (Freiraum), life in the Danish capital would be pretty boring for unestablished artists. The Candy Factory is more of an idea than a place. Musicians, bike-makers, sewing clinics, hacklabs, cinemas, bars and nightclubs, magazines, art studios, silkscreeners, and god-knows-who is doing something obscure in some corner or other. It is cold in the winter, most toilets do not work, and despite that fact that it is illegal, many folks live in sleeping bags behind the bar. For young creative people in Europe, this kind of place is exciting, entrancing, the place to be. Governments in Holland and Germany have tried to replicate this feeling by restoring abandoned factories as “breeding places” for start-up businesses. It is all part of the creative city shuffle, the post-industrial panacea for urban development promoted by urban sociologist Richard Florida. But when governments try to pen up forprofit creative enterprises like veal calves, the results can be mediocre at best. This is clearest in the smaller towns. In Lübeck, the last Western city on the Baltic coast, the oldtime rollicking punk club and artists’ squat, Alternative, sits on the edge of town. Across the road there is a new public fairground, and nearby, long rows of warehouses repurposed as ‘breeding places’. The facilities stand largely empty, incompetent attempts to emulate freedom. Because the European social centers emerged from oppositional politics—black-clad anarchists and anti-fascist brigades, Autonomist Marxists
and urban apaches—their cultural functions are not so well understood. Most people probably remember the (legalized) Copenhagen squat Ungdomshuset (“Youth House”) more for the wellpublicized week of convulsive rioting that drew street-fighting punks from all over Europe for a molotov cocktail holiday than for the decades of packed-out concerts of start-up bands from throughout Scandinavia. The Youth House was the must-do gig for generations of musicians, until a right-wing city government sold the building to a Christian sect. That pissed people off! Finally, the police begged the city council to give the punks another building so they could go back to catching crooks instead of cobblestones. The clearest association between art and squats is surely the extravagant murals that spring up like mushrooms whenever a building is occupied. The walls of the massive squat Forte Prenestino in Rome—another former military base—are encrusted with aerosol murals by artists from around the world. They come, make a big colorful stink, and move on to the next freed wall. The squatting movement in Amsterdam is most famous for mobilizing resistance to the clear-cut urban renewal policies of the 1960s and ‘70s. When big highways everywhere were seen as modern, squatters took over the buildings emptied for the bulldozers. They insisted on participatory planning, saved many lovely old canal houses from destruction, and earned the trust of Amsterdam voters. In the 1980s, a group of artists squatted a building blocks from the train station in the tourist district. The place persists today: W139 (for “Warmoesstraat 139”) opened with a giant table filling up the main space, upon which artists presented their work while spectators shuffled around. The excitement they generated led to confidence, then to institutionalization, and a state-funded renovation. Today, W139 is mainstream, but it’s still predictably weird. In July, oddball English artist Jonathan Monk lowered the ceiling—to exactly his height in high heel shoes. Meanwhile, an artists’ collective had asphalted the entire floor of the gallery. Before the opening, a punk on a custom motorcycle roared
through the place, endangering the entire staff who shrieked in delight. Artist Vincent Boschma was among them. He was working on an installation in a derelict shopping center nearby. That place was managed by an “anti-squat” agency which protects vacant properties from being squatted by letting them out on short-term contracts. For Vincent, it was an opportunity, if a limited one. (Lots of oversight, restrictions, etc.) The real action, he assured me, was with the art-squatters of Schijnheilig (pronounced: shine-high-lig), who had taken over an old school building and filled it with activities. At a party that night, I listened to poets read and bands play on a stage beneath a banner that read “This cultural activity brought to you courtesy of the squatting movement.” The banner was a residue of the “White Book of Squatting” campaign against the right-wing effort to make squatting in Holland illegal. That effort failed; the law was passed last year. The same initiative succeeded in England. Schijnheilig was evicted violently in May 2011. Over a hundred were arrested, and foreigners were sent to the notorious immigrant detention camps. The Schijnheilig group was not ready for this kind of heavy-handed police action. They had filled some of the rooms with foam in anticipation of a carnivalesque street party eviction. But as squat researcher Miguel Martinez has observed in the case of Spain, police repression does not always do the job. In fact, in many cases it simply spreads the virus, resulting in many more squats and occupations. Artists do not have much choice if they want to work. Only a few of the many who want to live a creative life can even begin the long march through the institutions of art school, graduate program, invited residency, teaching, museum and gallery shows that lead to career success today. Most artists just have to manage somehow. As always, to make the road you have to walk it. To get something going on you have to make it happen. To get some space you need to borrow it from those who are not using it. Artists are used to putting their work up for a little while, then moving on. As nomads and squatters, they are naturals.
LAPIN KULT is radio program run out of the La Generale squat in Paris: It is, in the words of its founders Erik Minkkinen & P.E.S. « A strictly vinyl & tapes playing Flashbackroom Radiosoundclash System. A raw and dusty radio show with one cassette player and a still functional record player. Soundtracks from b to z movies - occasional rants and grunts c’est la - pin -kult. Photo credit: Iddhis Bing
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
Davor Vukovic’s Captivating Color By Abraham Lubelski
Davor Vukovic’s paintings, like his personality are provocative, full of vigor and a zest for life. Most noticeable is his use of vibrant colors, freely dashed about the canvas. Yet, his paintings are far less abstract upon analyzation. They are at first, intense and uninhibited, full of playful innocence. Yet, they are also hallucinatory and psychedelic. Behind swaths of paint resembling a rich atmosphere, there is a sense of mystery. He is a master of formal innovation and his work sets off sparks like fireworks. Davor Vukovic’s work is incredibly connected to his sense of environment and home, close to the sea. He describes his paintings as a recurrent image of islands and coasts. In a way, this description of his surroundings goes deeper than representation. They are not objective, but emotional. They are reflections, memories and dreams combined with his reality. Like in his poems, he is seeking for the essence of life. Over time, one notices that his paintings are existential: he finds the essence in life itself. And his varied experiences become elaborate motifs. Stylistically, Vukovic finds his way between abstraction and action painting. His use of color is parallel to the way that French impressionists such as Monet tried to evidence the shades, the hues in the air and water. And in some of his paintings he even dabbles in a neo-cubism. As far as influences are concerned, one can also notice similarities with the work of the Serbian painter and Vukovic’s friend, Milan Konjovic. And once the artist de Kooning was quoted as saying that “I don’t paint to live, I live to paint.” It is a sentiment that seems aptly suited to Vukovic’s personality. But influences aside, Vukovic has remained loyal to original approach, a self-educated technique. And few artists compare to his signature style. I recently had the chance to interview him to learn more about his work and life.
back to, artists or writers or musicians? Are you planning any major exhibits this year that we should look out for? DV: My inspiration is inexhaustible, because I am completely open to nature and life’s current of life flows effortlessly through me. And I am always surprised by the final outcome. I can only paint one image once, because it is unique, so you can never make two identical paintings. Right now, all of my efforts are in the planning of my future exhibition in October at Broadway Gallery, NYC. I also have an offer for a solo exhibition at a London gallery and plan to exhibit there in September of 2013. I have achieved my domestic and international success thanks to my talent, hard work, and the continued support of my community. Particularly important is the support of Zapresic, Zagreb, Zageb County, the Croatian Ministry of Culture, Zagreb and many other sponsors. As we anticipate Vukovic’s future works, readers can glimpse some of his most significant works to date as a preview, right here. A moving work, Archipelago in the Night, translates as a deep blue sea, ferociously waving during the night. A touch of deep blue induces that required ray of hope. But behind the untamed waves, there is more agitation: explosions of color under a surface that is almost impermeable. This work captures the romantic impulse with stunning results. Its nature is that of appearance and concealment. It helps us identify our place in the universe as well. This work ultimately has a transforming agent in it, as we come to understand ourselves viewing this piece, and realize that nature is a dynamic presence. From an artistic point
of view Romanticism dominated the last decade of the 18th century and moved well into the first decades of the 20th century. Originating first in Europe with the “Sturm und Drang” Movement of the 1770’s to its vibrant first flowering in England in the 1790’s to its importation to American soil from the 1820’s onward, Romanticism has exerted a powerful hold on Western thought and culture. And it makes perfect sense that an artist as cosmopolitan, well traveled, and talented as Vukovic has picked up on its resurgence. As Western culture has entered into a post-industrial and increasingly virtual channels of communication, Romanticism posits a return to basics. Those basics being preoccupied with articulating the personal experience that becomes, in turn, a representative one. With all abstract art, the interpretation of the audience becomes a part of the artwork. And in Vukovic’s painting, the spectator really gets sucked into the vortex of color and emotion. Especially, the pristine white, green, orange, yellow, maroon and turquoise contrasted by the subtle pink, which brings balance to this piece. This work is intense, brooding and sweetly melancholic like a Whistler or Van Gogh. In Wind, we notice a more abrupt division in the landscape. There is an assertive, transcendental power, an ethereal field that is conjured up by this piece. This comes thought via the colors. Therein, a consoling blue haze brings peace to the canvas. The lower part of the canvas is akin to a reflection of evening light on a pond. Deep blues and bright oranges are remarkably present. Underneath the light blue brush strokes, purple and olive green dominate. But, most striking about
this work, is that the whole piece seems like it is soaring. Composed of gestural hatch marks that resemble birds, it creates an effervescent, rich atmosphere that conjures up the majesty of flight. Most unique is his work, Gentle Archipelago. It is spontaneous, more freely painted and the color palette, mature. This works captures the sensation of early morning dew or the first frost. Its cooler palette mixed with darker forms creates incredibly marked divisions. But it is his work entitled Africa, which is full of wonderful experimentation and endless imagination. Albert Einstein once wrote that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” This work encircles the viewer in a refulgent, gleaming sensation that highlights the immense creative capacity within Vukovic. This work is all about play. It is obvious that this landscape wasn’t based on the artist’s surroundings, at least not entirely. There are no signs of islands or the Croatian coastline. The artist is less familiar with this environment. There are fewer details. The heavy layer of white paint has different nuances. The mélange is still white, but less banal. It feels like part of the earth is falling, collapsing onto the sediment below. This powerful tension is present in all of Vukovic’s paintings. Vukovic’s work is visceral, challenging and full of endless wonder. The tangled webbed lines and spatters ruthlessly slice through thick ones in a show of bravado and excitement. His work captures the human drama with his masterful use of light and dark, chaos and anxiety. And his story continues to inspire.
Abraham Lubelski: Tell us a little bit about how you became an artist. Did you always know you would be one? Davor Vukovic: My art and my life are the same. I live my poetry and painting. That is my life style. Thus I adore Nature for its free gifts. My gratitude for life and creativity is unspeakable. With my paintings and poetry I celebrate Nature. Nature is a major artist. And it is so beautifully natural that the painter in me is compelled into an ancient game of representing it again and again. So I’ve come to realize that art and life is nothing but amazing game. Hence I try to share my joy with everybody in my exhibits. So, thank you for receive my overflow. Giving and receiving are the way to breath. At one time, I had to run to painting as much as I could, and I was lucky to catch up with it. In fact, I never wanted to become a painter, I wanted to play football. From eleven to eighteen years of age I was the junior star in the football club from Split. I always knew I was a talented painter, but I feared the fate of painting, as I have already experienced some tragic. AL: Your colors are incredibly vivid. Are they rooted in nature or in imagination? DV: My colors have their roots in nature, but I don’t mimic the colors of nature. My color is a reflection of my appreciation for the splendor and glory I see in nature of which I am an indispensable and vital part. My colors reflect the state of joy of my being. AL: Where do you find inspiration for your work? Do you have particular influences that you go 20
All images courtesy of the artist.
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
Fedor Alexeev: Abstracting St. Petersburg’s Landscape By Jill Smith
All images courtesy of the artist.
Fedor Alexeev is an artist whose craft derives strongly from the place he inhabits. His oil-covered canvases, which consist of colorfully delineated geometric forms, bring to life the cityscapes of St. Petersburg, the artist’s home base. Yet aside from this urban aesthetic, Alexeev’s work is equally indebted to innovators of the Russian canon: namely, Suprematist master Kazimir Malevich. Malevich’s flatness, basic geometry, and the idea of color as form, play major roles in Alexeev’s work, becoming the result of his rigorous process. Before even turning to canvas, Alexeev renders his subject in a multitude of studies and sketches. Taking into account spatial and figural relationships, the artist then elects a color palette suited to his uniquely chosen vista. Only after this aesthetic decision-making is complete can Alexeev embark on the culmination of his process: a finished composition filled with space and color, its geometric tendencies subtly corresponding to those of St. Petersburg. For example, #7 depicts a quiet moment of contemplation in a small corner of the city—and for the first time, Alexeev’s colorful canvas is juxtaposed against a more literal translation of the site. The right side of the work consists of black and white cross-hatching, shading different layers of the crowded urban setting. The shadow of a figure stands atop a curved bridge; behind him lingers a large, columned edifice. Rooftops and apartment buildings peek out in the distance, leaving only a small portion of untouched sky. To the left of this depiction is the end result: a rationalized portrayal of the city space. In this work, depth is the determining factor in selecting hues; the nearest objects appear in magenta rectangles, while the arc of the bridge is allotted a muted teal. Near the top of the canvas, a field of rust links harmoniously to the other tones. Not all of Alexeev’s works translate so meticulously to the canvas. #1, for example, demonstrates a less precise approach to representing the environment of St. Petersburg. The right-hand sketch focuses less on architecture and more on
monumental art department, and at the Repin institute. I studied the main academic disciplines – drawing, painting, composition. I was most interested in exploring the field of color (the combination and development of shade and color relations and interactions of the natural world). I was expelled from all three of these schools for cosmopolitanism, in being too attached to the international artistic heritage, for not understanding the compositional tasks that determined the ideas of that time. After this I only worked on what I found interesting in the sphere of art, and did not call these endeavors painting. During the thaw of the 1990s, museums began displaying artists of the Russian avant-garde – Puni, Malevich and Kandinsky. And I realized that I was not alone on this path, but was making it together with them. This type of art is determined by the basis of form; that interests me in the sphere of representation. Form is Color. Color includes all possible categories of representation: space, light, volume, air. I’m not interested in thinking of a special name for what I do on canvas.
inhabitants, as a back-turned woman is the focus of the work’s foreground. Another figure in the distance walks freely toward a building, while the shadow of a figure turning the corner is also visible. To the left of the work, an unadorned façade frames the scene, linking with no other forms than a perpendicular wall and the sky. The painted portion of this work reflects the simplicity of the moment, illustrating three rectangles filled in by slightly dulled renderings of the primary colors. Surprisingly, without the black and white drawing, there would be no identifiable link to St. Petersburg as the subject of this work.
JS: What is the inspiration for your work? FA: I am inspired by my city, where I was born and where I live, which I have never left for more than two weeks – I feel lonely without it. The artists who faithfully and patiently create works from the archaic to the modern; the people whom I love and who love me.
I recently interviewed Fedor to hear more about his exciting work. Jill Smith: The colorful palette of your is playful and serious all at once. How did you arrive at painting this way? Fedor Alexeev: I studied at the private studio of Georgy Mudryonov, the Mukhina academy, the
JS: What role does geometry and nature have in your works? FA: I start working on a subject with a large number of drawings, studies and sketches.The motivation passed through a graphic, color selection and moved on to theCanvas. Anything accidental and vain is gradually suppressed by several layers of paint, which cover each other thickly and translucently. (To illustrate this to yourself, you could lift one of my early works that you have). The finished composition is the determination of my plein-air vision, expressed by way of my creative and artistic language. For me, my paintings are not geometric plains covered in paint, they are three-dimensional, spacious in the direct or reverse perspective, filled with air, and correspond to the natural (motivational) state. They are made up of large patches of color. The circle and sphere in the world of linear drawing is depicted identically. They are only distinguished by what fills them.
JS: What new projects are you working on that viewers can anticipate? FA: I want to paint the Sun, which illuminates, warms, fills and determines the entire figural world. It will be exciting to see what Alexeev paints next, if indeed it is the sun. Whether the viewer recognizes geometric forms or St. Petersburg landmarks, the end result of looking at one of Alexeev’s works is always calming, yet enlightening. He reminds us that there is no singular way of seeing, and that the shapes of space can be colored infinitely.
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
Artistic Sabotage In The Baloney Republic By Anna Balint Absurd, is a good description of Hungary over the last two years. Hungary, is the same small country where communism collapsed in 1989, and where a transition to a new post-communist era began. But something failed along the way. Since FIDESZ, Viktor Orban’s hard right party came to power in 2010, the mainstream discourse has been dominated by nationalism, populism, and demagogy, while political and economic life has become centralized. Censorship is now normal and civil society is under threat. Hungarian visual arts have hardly been a roaring international success over the last twenty years, especially when we consider the truly remarkable theater, music, and cinema produced here. Still, Hungarian visual artists such as the Little Warsaw group, Róza ElHassan, and Hajnal Németh participated in major European and international exhibitions; some artists attained a modicum of visibility and the scene slowly reformed; galleries, museums, and educational institutions began to meet international standards. Over the last two years a nightmare scenario has taken great strides toward the realization of total political control over media content and public life. It started with the harassment of critical intellectuals like Ágnes Heller, Mihály Vajda, Gábor György, György Geréby, and Sándor Radnóti and spread to the cancellation of art projects by artists as diverse as András Gál, Zsófia Farkas, Tamás Jovánovincs because they were regarded as “too abstract” to fulfill their public function. Instead of debate and discussion, the government launched a propaganda campaign and started investigations, accusing those involved of irregularities in the use of public funds. Criminalization of intellectuals is still going on, accompanied by counter suits filed by the accused, charging the media with defamation. Meanwhile, directors, curators and artistic mediators continue to lose their positions in unfair competitions, or the government simply nominates new directors to obscure positions, such as happened recently at the Trafó Gallery and Theater. At the Gödör Klub the whole organizing team was replaced. Both places were known for organizing the international exhibitions and events crucial to alternative culture. The government even went so far as to nominate a new director for the Kunsthalle, one of most important contemporary cultural institutions in Hungary. And so it goes in the theaters and at the opera house as well. The biggest scandal so far was perhaps the appointment of a far-right director to the New Theater in Budapest. That action has sparked international outcry. (See the response at: www.aznemlehet.net) Petitions, court cases, protest campaigns, demonstrations, hunger strikes are all being used as a way to oppose our diminishing cultural life. In Hungary, demonstrations for cultural and political causes have become quotidian phenomena. These gatherings boast upwards of 50,000 participants. And, going further, artists employ oppositional strategies to engage people, influence public opinion, pressure the baloney government and make an impact. A major problem with the artistic scene in Hungary is the heavy dependence on state funds and the general lack of independent structures. At first, people try to defend the public spaces and institutions when the government steps in and a new cultural program or content is installed. And in some cases, an institution simply closes its doors. Defense means, in this case, to share information through alternative channels such as Facebook, or atlatszo.hu, a webpage dedicated to transparency in the ongoing social, economic, and cultural phenomena that has become the Hungarian equivalent of Wikileaks. Together with the spread of information, people organize protests through petitions, in an artistic program, flashmob or demonstration. September 2010’s flashmob was organized when the general public was barred from a private opening event at the Kunsthalle, an institution financed with public money. A two-day long artistic program in solidarity with the departing Gödör Klub team was organized at the end of January, 2012. The event that likely received the most coverage took place in November of last year. Artists protested for three days against the redesign of Kossuth Square, where Parliament is located. The president of Parliament’s Cultural Committee had announced the reconstruction of the square along its 1944 dimensions. That attempted erasure of the cultural memory of the last sixty years caused people to revolt, to take control of one, highly symbolic section of the
The Hungarian actor Balázs Galkó in Kossuth Square during the November protest against the Viktor Orban regime. Photo credit: József Tóta.
square—where the poet Attila József’s statue is located—and to recite his poems non-stop for three days. Protests like that are funneled directly to cyberspace through documentation on Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, and Facebook, all of which have links on oppositional web pages. Another means of opposition is the appropriation of visual or conceptual elements of official propaganda, the production of a counter-content or even over-identification with it. Several artists and groups are already well-known for their activist attitude. Unlike the critical attitude involving physical presence that resembles traditional protests in Hungary, these activities follow another informational model: they are generated by a single person or small group and go straight on-line. At the same time these art works are low budget, independent productions and cannot be co-opted financially. One of the most popular agents working on informational conflicts is the Hungarian Party of the Dog with Two Tails, with a blog and a Facebook page, who also transgresses the physical, public space with posters, graffiti and sometimes performances as well. The Hungarian Party of the Dog has counterfeit official websites, such as a site which parodies the news program on Hungarian Public Television, where images and words from mainstream media are parodied and manipulated. Another important incident was the Back-hand! group exhibition in November, 2011 that opposed the government’s manipulation of mythology and national identity by artistic means. The government defined 15 themes and ordered paintings for exhibition in the National Gallery, later to be included as illustrations in the recently enacted Hungarian counterfeit constitution. The Back-hand! elaborated the same themes, but used them to criticize the regime’s attempt to create a phony national identity. Exaggeration is an informational tactic in public space as well: 4K! is a political group that makes Camp by overreacting to govern-
ment directives. One morning recently by-passers found Moscow Square had been renamed Beijing Square, in line with the government’s policy of changing the names of streets and squares, with an eye on strengthening its ties to China, both economically and culturally. And then posters appeared, supposedly supplied by remorseful voting booth operators, explaining to the people that they disagree with the revolution—an allusion to official rhetoric suggesting that a revolution took place at polling places. Anonymity is characteristic of most current confrontational, artistic activity. That is the strategy of the Anonymous Operation Hungary group as well, a collective activity following a circular communication scheme, from one anonymous person to another, later spreading to the public. The most common and traditional way of the artistic opposition is the abstraction and contextualization of social phenomena through artistic means. In Hungary this means the revelation of different aspects of the social, economic and political crisis, the disclosure of its dimensions and causes, ways of resolution, all within an artistic framework. It is an individual activity which hopes to induce a chain reaction. One of the most outstanding projects is László Rajk’s Missing... series: the Missing Paragraph and the Missing Hero. Rajk, an architect, graphic artist and wellknown member of the dissident movement in Hungary before 1989, points to something invisible, a content subverted into absence by the frottage technique: the missing paragraphs from the new Hungarian constitution that should guarantee freedom, and the portraits of dissident thinkers, artists, and politicians that are missing from contemporary society. Quotations from the “Missing Paragraph” exhibition were used in street demonstrations in Budapest. With these strategies, the artistic opposition hopes to shift contemporary Hungarian society from the absurd to a more reasonable course. Can they help subvert a system of control? At this point no one knows.
Jean-Marc, Sublime Strokes By Jill Smith Jean-Marc’s work is bold and vivacious. He employs a gestural mark against saturated color fields, creating a luminous intensity that pulsates in front of the viewer. Using thin, seamless glazes contrasted with thick impastoed marks, his work stands out among his contemporaries. His work is sublime and emotionally contemplative. But most of all, they are some of the most moving paintings I’ve seen in a long time. Moving, aptly describes the sensuous surfaces that seem to emanate light from within and project light as well. This quality is most noticeable in his process. His process allows for addition and subtraction, erasure and palimpsest, uniquely curtailing the crevices that arise. This feverish attention to the overall affect of the work is a direct result of an existential yearning for communion with the natural world. His work, Sans Titre, is a refulgent, lyrical abstraction that is deeply melancholic and grand. It reminds me of a hollowed out cave, deep, ancient and mysterious. I recently interviewed Jean-Marc to find out more about his work. Jill Smith: You started your artistic career as a student of drawing, what was it that propelled you into the world of paint? Jean-Marc Schwaller: As you can see in the catalog Magnol Jacques, I completed my studies at the University of Bern to teach Visual Arts. Along with my teaching (which I practiced for 10 years), I had a workshop and I was working with paint. Soon, I realized that to become a professional painter, I had to devote myself entirely to painting, especially since my work was quickly recognized. So I decided to quit teaching to devote myself entirely to painting. Which is what I still do even today. JS: Your recent pieces have large swaths of white or negative space that is equally significant and attention grabbing as the patches of color on your canvases, what is it about the idea of the negative that appeals to you as an artist? JMS: What I seek in painting is color and light. The light of a table will be more intense if it is contrasted with darker tones. JS: Do you find that being Swiss informs the art you create in a certain way? JMS: I live near a tiny town (Freiburg) of 40,000 inhabitants. It is a place where artistic activity is very dense. We can take the example of Basel, which is not a very big city but is, in the plastic range, a leading global pole, by museums and fairs. Art Basel is one of the most significant fairs worldwide, and that is just Switzerland. Through exposure and education we’ve welcomed, many people interested in culture, including visual art. JS: Your canvases’ are imbued with a luminescent quality, do you find that it is the interplay of color or the gestural nature of your painting style that contributes to this iridescence? JMS: Of course, it’s both! I start off with a concrete idea, for example “water gardens”, where I find the idea of reflection, of vegetation. I then paint the essence of the image in a grand gesture on the body of the canvas, all of which is connected like a web, combining color, light and energy. I work on the ground and paint with my whole body. The iridescence that emanates from my paintings depends on the color and gesture.
JS: Would you say that you depend more on color or the stroke of your brush to evoke emotion and communicate a narrative? JMS: I don’t want the viewer to feel the “effort” or “difficulty” of the painting technique, rather I want it all to blend giving the impression that it all came together in one motion. The color and movement are inseparable elements in the structure of the piece. Currently, I’ve been working like crazy for an exhibition at Abu Dhabi and Dubai which will be presented after Easter. Jean-Marc’s work finds its predecessors in the work of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. Much like these modern masters, his motifs explore the compositional potential of color and form on the human psyche. His color combines with sweeping gestures to create daring works of awesome power and intellect To stand in front of a Jean-Marc is to be in the presence of the pulsing vibrancy of his large canvases; and it is to feel, the fleeting nature of sublime spirituality.
Art Fairs International Newspaper 2012
Debbi Chan: An Inner World By Abraham Lubelski
Whether it’s colors or lively outlines, Debbi Chan’s paintings in watercolor on traditional rice paper show a sense of serenity that is hard to find if her paintings were on regular canvas. She allows the paper’s natural textures to come through and integrate seamlessly with the works she creates of peaceful animals in their own community.
The loose painting style flows in and out of the traditionally woven paper, making the paper’s natural colors a vital part of Chan’s works. Using mostly brown and yellow hues with occasional pops of nature’s colors, Chan’s paintings describe peace at its prime with nature on its side. Her works use nature as a prime element with the branches; stripped of leaves from the winter (shown by a powerful and everlasting presence of the snow), dance around on the paper to engage the creatures in these works. And she uses playful creatures, ranging from monkeys, elks, foxes, walruses, and horses, all of which wonderfully engage with each other and the environment they are painted in. Debbi Chan creates an inner world for us that is unique and calming. The monkeys, for example, although they seem to be staring at the viewers (“Nose Problem Painting” and “Monkey Staring at Me”), they look as if they’re paused for just a brief moment to pay us attention and then they’re off, onto their next des-
tination. The furs and textures give off a nostalgic and calm sensation while the eyes are piercingly attentive and sharp. Much like the monkeys, the elk in “The Hunter and the Hunted Painting,” are also painted in a light texture where even the snow and general atmosphere consume them. The elk acknowledge with each other in an antler-contact interaction. Whether they are gently playing or angrily fighting, one can easily agree that they are, like the monkeys, also in their own world. In many of these works, Chan actively plays with the paper she paints on; because they are brown, she works well with the wintry settings she paints these creatures in with splatters, splotches, and marks of white fluff. But how she uses snow is fascinating: it falls everywhere from the trees to the outer seams of the naked paper and even on top of the animals. Chan dares to cover these animals as if they aren’t there and the snow really is a natural blizzard happening upon them. If anything, there may even be
more spackles of the snow on the creatures as if they were being attacked and yet they are still unaffected. The results of her evocative motifs are a sensation of deeply felt emotion. Here works draw us in because they are heartfelt and unique. Spectators will feel moved to join her inner world as they gaze upon her compelling works.
Global Projects: Artists At Home and Abroad Exhibition Broadway Gallery broadwaygallerynyc.com
Airco Caravan Amy Cohen Banker Anna Maria Grill Borislav Varadinov Boris Torres Davyd Whaley Davor Vukovic Dimitri DrJuchin Donna Butnik Ed Morris Enzo Fabbiano Fabricio Suarez Félix Biblos Jasnica Klara Matic Jenni Lombardi Jean S. Godfrin (Argadol) Loretta Hirsch Mae Jeon Maria Eugene Z. Aniar Martin R. Wohlwend Mary Lee Lombard 26
Nacera Guerin Pari Ravan Elizabeth Colomba Elizabeth Uyehara Emily Leatherman Gerry Mayer Gina Lucia Horacio Cardozo Hans Tyrrestrup Inger Dillian Antonsen Juan Vallet Jamie Sunwoo Johnathan Lux Kamer Batioglu Ken Bonner Karen Brailovsky Keita Yasukawa Kim Davison Kimberly Becoat Marianna Venczák Mark Mawson Mary Segerfalk Maryam Javanbkht, Max Fujishima Mayuko Fujino Melody Owens Mirit Furstenberg Natalie Gutesell Neil Wyatt Nina Dreyer Henjum Rabecca Signoriello Robert Piersanti Sukhi Barber Sylvia Tupper Tom Henderson Smith Timo Vuorikoski Seppo Väänänen Zhang Zhang Eduardo Rosado Frederico Domondon German Rodriguez Ramirez Hasan Thaqi Jean-Marc Schwaller Jacqueline Real Jipe Fronton Jochen Schambeck Ju-Chul Kim Masa-Aki Nora Garcia Noris Maria Dias Jacqueline Politis-Jobin Arnold Wechsler Jorgen Jolo Lovgret Chris Veeneman Kristine Harper Lucio Diodati Sam Foley Sirpa Miettinen Zofia Turlik Julia Hacker Katarina Ogard Asatilla Teshebaev Brigitta Westphal Bruno Moretti Sanlorano Claudia Ongaro Monica Dixon Vincenzo Busa Inge Stornig Heather Crowther Kristin Linde Lilleanne Landstedt Therese Sjoedin Yvonne Svensson Andrey Aranyshev Clarice Goncalves Elena Sirtori Fiamma Morelli Malgorzata Korenkiewicz Nora Garcia Renée Breig
Christine Seghers Inga-Lill Olsson Manuel Lozano Mona Ida Havorstad Frøysnes Martina Reinhart Anna Kassel Anselm Cester Barb Bowlsby Carlos Giena Seeber Chloe X Danielle Bustello Delia Solari Elena Clement Fedor Alexeev Ivan de Monbrison Ivy Coradini Jacqueline Politis Lucia Timis Marianne Kyllikki Blomqvist Marja Duin Blomster Michael Clyde Johnson Natalie Wood Rafael Megall Sara Hohloch SevgiCagal Tatjana Tiziana Valerie Girone Giovanni Lucien Dulfan Andrea Kuritko Barbara Dabbagh Christopher Leach Debbie Chan Erica Fromme Eva Maria Korsche Eve D’Angeville Goran Gorfelnik Igor Bogojevic Jean Hall Jewel Lynam Marc Pietri Mehves DEMIREN Miguel Angel Godoy Nikolina Simunovic Peter Binz Petra Smolenakova Phara Zoëv Rafat Mey-Elahy Sheilah Banikin Sibel Tetik Simon Hofer Tage Lundin Teksin Ozguz Tiziano Tornatore Wendy Waugh Arnold Weschler Beau Van Zyl Christine Seghers Dragan Markovic Giovanni Baldasseroni Gisela Krause Jane Walker Kathy Clavette Lasse Kempas Manuel Munoz Marcia Shelly Marga Duin Melissa Egan Nana Dankwa Quarish Ravi Paranjape Rien Olijslagers Sarah Godthart Shikyba Azizi Sophie Schubakoff Steve Zaugg Ute Michel Vasant Sonavani