10386 - 20170108 - Comprehensive survey of work by Betye Saar at Fondazione Prada - Milan - 15.09.2016-08.01.2017


View of the installation: Betye Saar The Alpha and the Omega , 2013-2016. Photo: Roberto Marossi Courtesy Fondazione Prada.
Fondazione Prada presents the exhibition “Uneasy Dancer”, a comprehensive survey of work by Betye Saar (Los Angeles, 1926). This exhibition, hosted at the Nord Gallery, opens to the public from 15 September 2016 through 8 January 2017. Curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose, “Betye Saar: Uneasy Dancer” is the first exhibition of the American artist in Italy, and brings together over 80 works including installations, assemblages, collages and sculptures produced between 1966 and 2016.

“Uneasy Dancer” is an expression Betye Saar has used to define both herself and her artistic practice. In her own words, “my work moves in a creative spiral with the concepts of passage, crossroads, death and rebirth, along with the underlying elements of race and gender.” This process implies “a stream of consciousness” that explores the ritualized mysticism present in recovering personal stories and iconographies from everyday objects and images. Several key elements lie at the center of her artistic practice: an interest in the metaphysical, the representation of feminine memory, and African-American identity which, in her work, takes on takes on evocative and unusual forms. As Saar has said about her work, “It was really about evolution rather than revolution, about evolving the consciousness in another way and seeing black people as human beings instead of the caricatures or the derogatory images.”

Betye Saar’s earliest artistic memory was stimulated by the Towers of Simon Rodia in Watts, a suburb of Los Angeles she frequented with her Grandmother in the 1930’s. The construction of the Watts Towers, built over a period of 33 years, was decisive in introducing ideas of how found materials embody both the spiritual and technological. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in design, Saar initially worked as a graphic artist before dedicating herself to printmaking, drawing and collage. In the late 1960s, inspired by American Joseph Cornell, Saar’s work in mixed media became increasingly three-dimensional, ultimately taking form as assemblages by the end of the decade.

Through her confident usage of found objects, personal memorabilia and derogatory images that evoke denied or distorted narratives, Saar developed a powerful social critique that challenges racial and sexist stereotypes deeply rooted in American culture. In the 1970s, her assemblages began to grow in scale, ultimately becoming substantial installations and immersive environments that speak to an approach uniting spiritual beliefs and faiths of all kind – from the intimate and the mysterious to the universal - alongside politicized convictions.

Curator Elvira Dyangani Ose notes, “Saar’s works blur boundaries between art and life, between physical and metaphysical. Spirituality in her work, does not only resides in the works with which she addresses her concerns and her knowledge on a myriad of traditions. On the contrary, it is to be found in the artistic exercise of transforming common material in a sort of evocative new imagery, involving the viewer in reminiscent fabulations of the real.”


10385 - 20170108 - Pointillism is now the focus of a high-calibre exhibition at the Albertina in Vienna - 16.09.2016-08.01.2017


Vincent van Gogh, Interior of a Restaurant, 1887. Oil on Canvas. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo.
When Georges Seurat died unexpectedly in 1891 at the age of 31, his older colleague Camille Pissarro already had an inkling that Seurat’s “invention” was to have consequences for painting “that would be highly significant later on”. And indeed, with just a few pictures, Seurat had founded a style that would play a pioneering role in Modern Art: Pointillism.

This fascinating art movement is now the focus of a high-calibre exhibition at the Albertina, a presentation that completes the story of Modern Art with the significant chapter of Pointillism as its midwife: 100 selected masterpieces by the main representatives of this style, Seurat and Signac, as well as impressive paintings, watercolours, and drawings by modernist masters who were fascinated by this pointed technique—figures such as Van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso—illustrate Pointillism’s breath-taking radiance and seminal impact.

Seurat, Signac, Van Gogh, organised in cooperation with the Kröller-Müller Museum, tells the success story of Pointillism from its creation in 1886 to its effects on the early 1930s. Beginning with the ground-breaking early works by Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, and Théo van Rysselberghe, this exhibition draws an arc from Paul Signac’s and Henri-Edmond Cross’s transformation of the points into small squares and mosaics all the way to the masterpieces of Vincent Van Gogh, the vibrant colours of the Fauves, the decoratively placed dots in the cubist works of Pablo Picasso, and the abstract works of Piet Mondrian. This comprehensive presentation sheds light on the unique metamorphosis of the pointillist dot and for the first time makes a theme of those achievements of the pointillists that were subsequently harnessed by modernism.

Between Realism and Abstraction
The painters to whom we now refer to as “pointillists” due to their unusual techniques set out in 1886 to challenge the avant-garde tendencies of the impressionists, which had by then become de rigueur. And the subsequent development of painting in Paris towards the end of the 19th century would show just how right Pissarro’s prescient judgment was: the emphasis on surfaces and stylisation as well as the motionlessness and detachment of the depicted figures in the works by Seurat tell of increasing pictorial autonomy and, accordingly, of an abstraction of both content and form. This would soon move between two poles: the picture’s geometrisation and its ornamentalisation by means of arabesques. In reducing their painterly handwriting to the smallest possible artistic statement—the dot—Seurat, Signac, Pissarro, and Rysselberghe not only distanced themselves from the impressionists’ reproduction of fleeting moments, but also used their approach to question the entire centuries-old norm of painting according to nature in the form of brushstrokes. Points in solid colours, which the pointillists placed close together in keeping with the optical principle of colour mixing, generated a hitherto-unknown radiance and a multitude of chromatic impulses. It was thus that the realistic view of the world gave way to depictions of a synthetic reality—and in one fell swoop, the doors were wide open for Modernism.

Following Seurat’s death, it was above all his colleague Signac who develop the pointillist technique further: together with Henry-Edmond Cross, Signac increased luminosity, intensified colour contrasts, and coined the term “Divisionism”. His small, systematically placed points soon developed into lines meant to appear as a mixture of colours when viewed from an appropriate distance. With this more liberal approach, Signac liberated painters from the obligation to use dots, and it was thus that a younger generation—including Henri Matisse and his circle as well as Piet Mondrian— ultimately broke out of Seurat’s rigid system.

Vincent Van Gogh: An Individual Path
An important intermediary in this development was Vincent van Gogh, an outsider and brief adherent of Pointillism who set off in new directions. Van Gogh at first took up Seurat’s ideas with enthusiasm: his pallet became brighter and more luminous, and an abundant flurry of dots found entry into his landscapes. But the systematically dotted style never played a truly central role in Van Gogh’s output. The artist soon adopted a freer form of expression that better matched his nature: “It is working with points and similar elements that I hold to be the real discoveries; but we must already be at pains to ensure that this technique, just like any other, does not itself become a general dogma.” He said this in 1888, at which point he began countering the cool and rational pointillist style with his own individual expression and emotion.

Matisse, Mondrian, and Picasso
Something similar can be seen in the reception of Divisionism in the oeuvre of Henri Matisse. The founding Fauve had turned to this technique in two steps: 1897 saw him experiment with comma-like, impressionist micro-structures that are not dissimilar to Pissarro’s mode of painting, and in 1898 he intensified colours and contrasts, which subsequently led to a valid implementation of the divisionist method in term of both chromatic division and the use of dots.

Soon, Van Gogh, Matisse, and the Fauves moved Piet Mondrian, as well, to turn away from Pointillism. Under the influence of the luminist Jan Toorop, Mondrian used his paintings to deal above all with light effects, relying on motifs and an expressive power that had already become established in the works of Van Gogh and the anarchic art of the Fauves.

In the works of Pablo Picasso, as well, Pointillism and its pioneering ideas did not go unnoticed. At altogether three junctures in his career—1901, 1914, and 1917—the Spanish artist dealt playfully with the output of Seurat and integrated points into his own work. The first time he did so, Picasso was motivated by his desire to conform to the times; later on, though, he used loosely arranged points to develop the decorative surfaces of so-called “Rococo Cubism”. His final take on the technique was the masterpiece Return from the Baptism, which amounted to a precise and entirely consummate quotation.


10384 - 20170108 - Retrospective of the Cuban painter Wifredo Lam at Tate Modern - London - 14.09.2016-08.01.2017


Wifredo Lam, Umbral (Seuil), 1950. Photo: Georges Meguerditchian/Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Dist. RMN-GP ©Adagp, Paris.
Tate Modern presents a retrospective of the Cuban modernist painter, Wifredo Lam (1902–1982), the first museum exhibition in London since 1952. Including over 200 paintings, drawings, photographs and prints, the exhibition traces his six decade career from the 1920s to the 1970s, confirming his place at the centre of a cosmopolitan modernism. His work defined new ways of painting for a post-colonial world and was greeted with both consternation and acclaim during his lifetime. As a Latin American artist of Chinese, Spanish and African heritage, Lam lies between East and West, combining traditional practices, surrealist ideas and complete originality. In an increasingly connected world, Lam’s work brings a historical perspective to contemporary issues.

Wifredo Lam travelled extensively, living on both sides of the Atlantic during periods of great political change. The exhibition begins with works produced during Lam’s early years as an artist in Spain following his training in Havana and Madrid. From classically inspired studies such as Self-Portrait 1926, Lam moved towards works engaging with the European avant-garde movements such as surrealism, evident in works such as Composition I 1930. Following the tragic death of his wife and son from tuberculosis, Lam enlisted into the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War. Forced to leave in 1938, Lam departed for Paris wherehe met Pablo Picasso and continued to experiment with avant-garde techniques, particularly inspired by ancient Greek and African art such as in Figure 1939 and Young Woman on a Light Green Background 1938. Forced to flee again to Marseille following Paris’s occupation in 1940, Lam joined André Breton and other surrealists, participating in collaborative artistic projects such as Collective Drawing 1940, designs for a surrealist pack of Tarot cards, and his own sketch series Carnets de Marseille 1941.

The exhibition reappraises Lam’s major works within the cultural and political context after he returned to Cuba in 1941. After 18 years abroad and two forced exiles, Lam was disappointed to find corruption, racism and poverty in his homeland and responded by seeking out ‘Cubanness’, influenced by his friendships with contemporary thinkers and academics. He created works that combined animal, plant and human forms, using symbols borrowed from Cuban Occultism and Afro-Cuban beliefs, exemplified by The Eternal Present (An Homage to Alejandro García Caturla) 1944, The Wedding 1947, and The Threshold 1950.

In 1952, Lam left Cuba once more for Europe where he exhibited frequently alongside the CoBrA artists. He was particularly close to Asger Jorn, who introduced Lam to Albissola, a town on the Italian coast where he would create works until the end of his life. During the 1960s, he worked beside Lucio Fontana and the Situationists, experimenting with new materials such as terracotta. Lam created almost 300 ceramics in 1975 alone, using symbols derived from his painting and drawing. During this final period, he made prints to illustrate many works by poets and writers, such as René Char, Gherasim Luca and Jean-Dominique Rey.

The EY Exhibition: Wifredo Lam is curated by Matthew Gale, Head of Displays, Tate Modern and Catherine David, General Curator, Centre Pompidou / Musée national d’art moderne, Pariswith Katy Wan, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. The exhibition is organised by the Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, in collaboration with the Tate Modern and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.


10383 - 20161207 - Exhibition by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei at Foam in Amsterdam - 16.09.2016-07.12.2016


The walls of Foam have been plastered with thousands of pictures Ai Weiwei took with his mobile Phone.
This autumn, Foam presents #SafePassage, an exhibition by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei (b. 1957, Beijing). Having left a life of constant government surveillance, the artist feels a personal affinity with the growing influx of refugees attempting to enter the EU. Since his first visit to the Greek island of Lesbos in December 2015, he and his team have travelled to refugee camps all around the Mediterranean, including those in Syria, Turkey, Italy, Israel and France.

The exhibition deals with the struggle between the individual and the systemic structures that dominate society. It highlights both the experiences that prompted Ai Weiwei to leave his homeland and the experiences of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants; people who continue to risk their lives to reach Europe, often to find their path barred by arduous asylum procedures and xenophobia.

#SafePassage begins with works reflecting on the artist’s personal experiences of life under surveillance as described in Foam Magazine #43. Ai’s passport was eventually returned to him in July 2015. Shortly afterwards he left for Europe, to settle in Berlin where he now has his studio. He continues to use the strategy of ultimate self-surveillance through the almost endless stream of images he posts on Instagram, enabling anyone with an Internet connection to follow him from day to day. Since his first visit to the Greek island of Lesbos in December 2015, his Instagram feed has functioned as a de facto real-time newswire as he and his team travelled to refugee camps across the Mediterranean.

In the second part of the exhibition, the walls of Foam have been plastered with thousands of pictures he took with his mobile phone, mostly candid shots which provide a sense of the living conditions within the camps. The immense collage reflects on the vast array of personal encounters the artist had with individuals in refugee camps, further underlining the scope of this crisis. Ai Weiwei’ s images are accompanied by a selection of his iconic marble sculptures and a selection of video works amongst which: Chang’an Boulevard (2004), which documents the road that dissects Beijing in half on its east-west axis, and On the Boat (2016), in which we see the artist on an abandoned boat in the middle of the ocean.

Ai Weiwei is best known for his sculptures and large-scale installations, which conceptually bind traditional cultural crafts with contemporary political messages, linking historical roots, materials and paradigms with topical questions in contemporary society. As well as having presented major exhibitions and pavilions all around the world, Ai is also an architect, writer, filmmaker, philosopher and political activist. From collaborating with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics to investigating government corruption, Ai Weiwei’s practice is inextricably linked with the state of contemporary Chinese art and society.



10382 - 20170129 - Maggi Hambling: Touch: works on paper at the British Museum - London - 08.09.2016-29.01.2017

Seated female nude, 1963. Etching. 24.5 x 32.54 cm, Maggi Hambling © The Trustees of the British Museum.
Maggi Hambling is one of Britain’s foremost contemporary figurative artists, working across all media, in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and installation. However, drawing is at the heart of her practice and is of fundamental importance to her. The exhibition takes its title ‘Touch’ from this concept of a deep connection with the subject being drawn, as Hambling says: ‘I believe the subject chooses the artist, not vice versa, and that subject must then be in charge during the act of drawing in order for the truth to be found. Eye and hand attempt to discover and produce those precise marks which will recreate what the heart feels. The challenge is to touch the subject, with all the desire of a lover.’

Born in Suffolk in 1945, Hambling studied with the artists Arthur Lett-Haines and Cedric Morris from the age of fifteen and later at Ipswich Art School, Camberwell and the Slade. Although she is perhaps best known for her controversial public sculpture: Oscar Wilde (1998, facing Charing Cross Station, London) and Scallop, (2003, Aldeburgh Beach, Suffolk), Hambling’s powerful drawings and monotypes are less familiar to the public.

The British Museum was the first national institution to collect extensively Hambling’s works on paper. In 1985 the Museum acquired the drawing of her former teacher Cedric Morris on his deathbed. Hambling’s first series of monotypes, sensuous studies of the nude, were purchased soon after and the Museum has continued to collect her work. This exhibition will examine Hambling’s drawings and prints, many of which have never been exhibited before, from early student drawings and etchings, to portraits of artist and critic John Berger, actor Stephen Fry, and curator Norman Rosenthal.

Hambling has spent time over the years in the British Museum Study Room examining the work of Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Van Gogh. As she says, ‘It is an exhilarating sensation to actually handle a Van Gogh drawing because drawing is the most intimate thing an artist does’. The show will mark a major donation by the artist of around fifteen of her works. 2016 is the bicentenary of Francis Towne’s 1816 bequest, which established the tradition of artists donating their works to the British Museum. Maggi Hambling’s gift will be the latest manifestation of that tradition.
‘Touch’ will consist of forty works, around a quarter from British Museum’s own collection, with loans from private collections, the National Portrait Gallery and Tate. The remaining works will be from Hambling’s personal collection,

The exhibition will begin with a life size and striking charcoal portrait of the writer, artist and Soho dandy Sebastian Horsley, who Hambling has described as ‘an exotic wild animal’. He is drawn wearing nothing but a silk scarf and introduces one of the major themes of the show, the human form. The exhibition will continue with a display of some of Hambling’s earliest work from the 1960s and 1970s, including the powerful ink drawing of Rosie, the stuffed Indian rhinoceros in Ipswich Museum, which she considers ‘her first portrait’. Executed when the artist was seventeen, this work already shows the commanding skill that would progress and evolve throughout her celebrated portraits and paintings of the sea. The exhibition will conclude with recent work made in 2015, from a new series entitled Edge which, in this instance, addresses global warming.


I don't have a problem
admitting my age!
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Lucien - FIC123.BE


10381 - 20170115 - Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen to stage a spectacular tribute to Fra Bartolommeo - Rotterdam - 15.10.2016-15.01.2017


Fra Bartolommeo, Noli me tangere, circa 1505-1506. Canvas (originally pannel), 58 x 48 cm. Paris, Musée du Louvre, Departement des Peintures.

In 2017 it will be the 500 years since the Italian painter Fra Bartolommeo died at the age of forty-four. He was famed for his drawings and paintings, characterised by monumental figures, bright colours and a tranquil lyricism. From 15 October 2016, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is staging a spectacular tribute to this great artist with the exhibition Fra Bartolommeo – The Divine Renaissance.

Fra Bartolommeo (1473-1517) was one of the leading artists of the Italian High Renaissance. A Dominican friar, he trained in the workshop of the Florentine painter Cosimo Rosselli and was a highly skilled perfectionist. His use of perspective and geometry was carefully considered and he made numerous preparatory sketches for the depiction of the voluminous drapery of his figures’ clothing. The results are extremely imposing, harmonious paintings that exude a rarefied piety.

Religion played an important role in Fra Bartolommeo’s work. Under the influence of the puritan Dominican preacher Fra Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498), who organised bonfires of songbooks, musical instruments, images of naked bodies and other ‘vanities’, Fra Bartolommeo destroyed his nude study drawings in 1498. Fra Bartolommeo’s famous posthumous portrait of Savonarola became the icon of the Dominican order.

Light, atmosphere and colour
Fra Bartolommeo entered the Dominican order in 1500 and briefly stopped painting. From 1504 he headed the painting studio in the convent of San Marco. In the years 1504-05 Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and the young Raphael – the three other great masters of the High Renaissance ­– were active in Florence and became acquainted with each other’s work. In 1508 Fra Bartolommeo took a short trip to Venice, where his exposure to the Venetian masters increased his appreciation of light, atmosphere and colour. Between 1509 and 1517 Fra Bartolommeo was at the height of his fame, creating a furore with ambitious altarpieces, two of which are four metres high. The museum has succeeded in bringing several of them to Rotterdam and several of them have never even left Tuscany.

From drawing to painting
Fra Bartolommeo – The Divine Renaissance shows how Fra Bartolommeo planned his paintings in great detail with preparatory drawings. No other 16th-century artist’s working process can be reconstructed in such detail: there are no fewer than sixty surviving preparatory drawings for his famous fresco The Last Judgement (1499-1501), half of which are featured in the exhibition. The exhibition brings together 11 paintings, ranging from small, early works to large, late works, each accompanied by their preparatory drawings. 120 of these drawings come from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and twenty have been loaned by prestigious foreign museums.

Gabburri Albums
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has the world’s largest collection of drawings by Fra Bartolommeo. In 1729, the Florentine collector Francesco Maria Niccolò Gabburri (16761742) assembled five hundred drawings on four hundred sheets into two magnificent albums. The albums changed hands several times following Gabburri’s death. In 1940 they were given to the museum by harbour baron D.G. van Beuningen as part of the former Koenigs Collection.

Print Room
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen houses approximately 15,000 drawings and 65,000 prints. The collection is considered to be one of the finest in the world and features masterpieces including Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Bruegel, Rubens, Rembrandt and Goya, and modern and contemporary artists such as Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Yayoi Kusama and Paul Noble.



10380 - 20170129 - David Claerbout opens exhibition at De Pont - Tilburg - 03.09.2016-29.01.2017


Olympia Stadion (impression of rain), 2015. Gewassen inkt en potlood op papier.
Seven years ago David Claerbout (Kortrijk, 1969) exhibited at De Pont for the first time. The Shape of Time, comprising ten video installations, left an indelible mark. A magical twilight world of old black-and-white photographs, brought to life in a subtle manner, and decelerated film sequences showing a woman serving coffee on the veranda of an eighteenth-century French stately home and then waving farewell to the viewer as the sun sets. The visible passing of time evokes a sense of wonder and estrangement. With Claerbout’s new exhibition, FUTURE, the museum’s new wing will be inaugurated.

While FUTURE may seem to be a fitting title on such a festive occasion, its meaning proves to be rather ambiguous on further consideration. One of the most recent video works in the exhibition, Olympia (The real time disintegration into ruins of the Berlin Olympic stadium over the course of a thousand years), shows the deterioration of the structure in which the 1936 Olympics were held, a building fraught with historical significance. The work alludes to a bleak period, when Hitler was in power and was developing megalomaniacal architectural projects with his chief architect Albert Speer. When envisaging their plans, the two men already gave consideration to the ‘ruin value’ that a building would have a thousand years later. The remains of the Third Reich were then to be at least as impressive as Rome’s Colosseum is today. Because of this Speer became known as the ‘ruin builder’, a somewhat dubious nickname for an architect. With the aid of digital game technology, Claerbout shows us the course of this process in ‘real time’, in any case for the next twenty-five years. Just how this art project will continue after that depends on technological developments and on whether anyone is prepared to assume responsibility for it at that point. The idea does appeal to the imagination in a powerful way: what will the stadium look like in a half-collapsed state, overgrown by weeds and bushes? The decay occurs so slowly, however, that a museum visitor cannot possibly observe this. From this point of view, even a human lifetime would be too short. So what does FUTURE actually mean?

Since his exhibition in 2009, Claerbout has made a radical change in his approach. Having studied 3D animation, he no longer works with actors and film sequences. Now everything takes place in the studio, where he and his nine assistants digitally develop each image step by step. This is how they create a reality which does not actually exist: a virtual world in which every detail must be exactly right – otherwise the video images would instantly lose their credibility. When a photograph is taken, the decisions with regard to the location, the season and the time of day are predetermined. But with a digital image the artist himself always needs to play God.

For Olympia the entire architecture of the interior and exterior, the columns, the corridors and the stands – the ‘hardware’ – has been replaced with software. Claerbout: ‘Software, ironically, is the current carrier of ideological time. We perfectly know it needs constant updating, but it does incorporate infinity. That is why Olympia is a realtime computer program.’

Those who visit the exhibition, however, will hardly notice these technological innovations. Claerbout’s mastery of the medium remains. We discern the same phenomena such as light, shade and wind which gently, without sound, cause the surface of water, trees and architecture to move. The transformations occur in slow motion: ‘I sculpt in duration,’ he says. ‘The definition of duration is different from that of time: duration is not an independent state like time, but an in-between state.’ For the work KING (after Alfred Wertheimer’s 1956 picture of a young man named Elvis Presley), 2015-2016, a scan of an Elvis Presley look-alike was produced in Claerbout’s Antwerp studio. This scan was then ‘covered’ with the skin of the real Elvis, taken from photographs that the artist found on the Internet. Basically the same procedure was used with Oil Workers (from the Shell Company of Nigeria) Returning Home from Work, Caught in Torrential Rain from 2013. Scans of all the figures were made and then covered. Everything about them is artificial; some don’t even have eyes and look like zombies.

Both works, KING and Oil Workers, play without a soundtrack and have no beginning or end. Initially they seem to represent totally different worlds. An old black-and-white photograph of a young Elvis at home with his family: the future King of Rock ’n Roll appears at the left, almost inconspicuously, in dark bathing trunks, shirtless and holding a Pepsi Cola in his right hand. The color photograph of the Nigerian Shell workers has been taken more recently. Beneath a bridge they seek shelter from a tropical downpour with their scooters. The successive images lead the eye of the viewer across the wet, oily-looking surface of the road to, and then around, the waiting figures. With Elvis something similar occurs. As viewers we’re looking at a kind of parallel twilight world, a bygone age between past and future, between actual and imaginary perception. Elvis isn’t quite world-famous yet, and the men’s waiting will go on endlessly.

For the first time in Europe, Claerbout is showing his video installations in combination with the drawings that accompany and support his works’ creative process of many months, sometimes even years. In addition to video works, De Pont also owns a beautiful series of drawings by him. He has a gift for this and is able to set down his ideas on paper quickly. Drawing enables him to get a grip on the complicated process of developing a work, which involves numerous assistants. This function of drawing is basically no different from the sketch or preparatory study that a traditional painter uses to record his ideas. For 3D animation it is necessary to have, along with an understanding of modern computer technology, a command of traditional fields such as drawing, painting, sculpture and cinematography. The result being, to Claerbout’s own astonishment, a ‘conservative’ type of painterly realism.

But in view of his elaborate and sometimes vehement writing that appears in the margins, the drawings are also an outlet for him. The recently published drawing catalogue elicited Claerbout’s remark that it was about time for him to reveal his methods and secret formulas. (David Claerbout Drawings and Studies, 2016, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York)

Scarcely any action takes place in the video installations, and no exciting stories are told. The carefully chosen suggestive images and the slow rhythm are what keep the viewer spellbound. Most of the works are projected onto large transparent screens placed against the walls of the new space. ‘Black boxes’ are now gone, and only a few works, such as Radio Piece (Hong Kong) from 2015, have sound. The viewer determines his or her own route, and pace, through the exhibition.


10379 - 20170108 - The Great Animal Orchestra opens at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain - Paris - 02.07.2016-08.01.2017


Cai Guo-Qiang, White Tone (detail), 2016 Gunpowder on paper Collection of the artist. © Cai Guo-Qiang.
From July 2, 2016 to January 8, 2017, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presents The Great Animal Orchestra, inspired by the work of American musician and bioacoustician, Bernie Krause. The exhibition brings together the work of artists from all over the world and invites the public to enjoy an aesthetic meditation, both aural and visual, on the animal kingdom, which is increasingly under threat in today’s modern world.

For almost 50 years, Bernie Krause has collected almost 5,000 hours of sound recordings of natural habitats, both terrestrial and marine, inhabited by almost 15,000 animal species. His research offers a wonderful immersion into the sound universe of animals, otherwise known as biophony. Before developing a passion for animal recordings, far removed from the world of humans, Bernie Krause worked as a musician and acoustician in the 1960s and 1970s, collaborating with artists like The Doors and Van Morrison. He also contributed to the creation of soundtracks to well-known films like Rosemary’s Baby by Roman Polanski and Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola.

Bernie Krause is unique. He contemplates the natural world as a poet, he listens to animal vocalizations as a musician, and through his recordings he studies these from the perspective of a scientist. Bernie Krause has become a master in the art of revealing the beauty, diversity and complexity of the languages of wild animals, increasingly reduced to silence by the din of human activity. He implores us to listen to these voices from the living, non-human world before they are definitively shrouded in silence.

The exhibition presents both an aural and a visual dimension. In the transparent, light-filled spaces of the Fondation Cartier, Mexican architects Gabriela Carrillo and Mauricio Rocha have chosen to direct the great orchestra of our images of the animal world. Exploring the multiple visual perspectives that this “glass house” offers, they have created a scenography in terracotta brick that surrounds the garden and the interior spaces of the building designed by Jean Nouvel. This architectural arrangement metaphorically reproduces that of a symphonic orchestra.

The exhibition presents a drawing of 18 meters in length specifically created for the exhibition by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. This work displays wild animals of different species gathered around a watering hole in a moment of peace and extreme vulnerability. Cai Guo-Qiang executed this drawing using gunpowder, a material he uses with an unrivalled expertise and dexterity. On large sheets of paper, an outline was first of all drawn using black gunpowder before being set alight. The traces of burn marks and smoke compose the sought-after motif: a landscape populated by animals.

With the image created by Cai Guo-Qiang, evocative of the cave paintings from prehistoric times, the exhibition associates the striking yet rather strange photographs of Japanese artist Manabu Miyazaki. These are taken using a kind of robotic “camera trap,” and done so with great ingenuity and unparalleled sensitivity. Exhibited for the first time outside of Japan, these images allow the viewer to see wild animals sharing the same environment and pathways as their human counterparts. Manabu Miyazaki’s photographs also reveal the mysterious dreamlike beauty of the flight of birds through the forest. The artist describes his approach in the following words: “My camera traps are like trees observing the animals. The watchful eye of the tree becomes my camera.”

The Great Animal Orchestra also gives carte blanche to a more playful, eccentric and colorful approach, wherein the imagination of the artists may be said to echo some of the most fascinating aesthetic creations of nature. Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão creates a ceramic wall, painted with Amazonian birds, which connects the garden to the building and exhibition spaces. Iconic and ostentatious, the paintings of Beninese artist Cyprien Tokoudagba and the animal-musicians created by Congolese painters Pierre Bodo, JP Mika and Moke enter into a dialogue with the extravagant New Guinea birds of paradise filmed by researchers from Cornell Lab of Ornithology (Ithaca, United States). This stunning “aviary video” of multicolored images is under the solemn and contemplative surveillance of the dioramas of animals photographed in black and white by Japanese artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto.

In the second part of the exhibition, the incredible aesthetics of the living, hidden, non-human world is revealed through advanced technologies such as cutting-edge microphones and digital microscopes.

The English collective United Visual Artists (UVA) provides a visual translation of Bernie Krause’s soundscapes. A remarkable three-dimensional electronic installation, especially commissioned for the exhibition, transposes data from Krause’s recordings into light particles, thereby highlighting the beauty of the sound environments presented, as well as the complexity of their animal vocalizations.

Bernie Krause’s research has shown that the sounds of the animal world, often perceived as a confused jumble of background noise, are actually as carefully orchestrated as the most complex musical score. Each species has its own acoustic signature within the unique soundscape of its ecosystem. Bernie Krause describes this phenomenon of the “acoustic niche” as follows: “Each resident species acquires its own preferred sonic bandwidth—to blend or contrast—much in the way that violins, woodwinds, trumpets and percussion instruments stake out acoustic territory in an orchestral arrangement.”

We tend to forget that animals have given us the gift of music. Bernie Krause reminds us of this fact and encourages us to become aware of animal vocalizations through his spectrograms that illustrate the various soundscape recordings. This graphical representation of biophony offers us a chance to better understand and appreciate the acoustic language of the living world which we are in the process of destroying, and which only indigenous peoples are still capable of interpreting.

The immersive installation by the UVA collective not only showcases the extraordinary wealth of Bernie Krause’s recordings and spectrograms but offers both a unique aesthetic experience and a source of precise knowledge. It presents seven different soundscapes, recorded in Canada, the US, Brazil, the Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, and in the depths of the oceans. A film directed by Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret in which Bernie Krause describes his work is included as part of this installation.

In another room, visitors are invited to explore one of the most overlooked dimensions of the animal kingdom: the infinitesimal beauty of the ocean with the installation Plankton, A Drifting World at the Origin of Life. Made from photographs by Christian Sardet, a director of research at the CNRS and one of the initiators of the Tara Oceans Project, this installation is based upon a device invented by videographer and artist Shiro Takatani, and accompanied by music written by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Invisible to the human eye, the micro-organisms that form plankton are found in all oceans. They represent the majority of the marine biomass on the planet and are the source of life on earth.

In the garden of the Fondation Cartier, an installation created by Agnès Varda, Le Tombeau de Zgougou (Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain) is the recreation of a temple that is dedicated to the spirit of all pets, in memory of the artist’s beloved and much lamented cat, Zgougou.


10378 - 20161113 - Kunstmuseum St. Gallen opens exhibition of works by artist Paul McCarthy - 03.09.2016-13.11.2016


Paul McCarthy, White Snow Dwarf (Grumpy), 2012. Silikon (gelb), 171.5 x 149.9 x 131.4 cm. Ursula Hauser Collection, Switzerland. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen
Paul McCarthy's work has inspired generations of young artists. Born in 1945 in Salt Lake City and now living in Los Angeles, he began his career as an artist staging performances. Early on, he dealt with painting in the form of what he called “painting as action” by using his own body as a paintbrush and bodily fluids as paint. This led to an artistic engagement with social taboos, eroticism, and sexuality.

At the same time, he turned toward stereotypical images from mass culture, such as those manifested in Disneyland, Hollywood films, and cartoons. Based on an animated film Snow White from 1937 produced by Walt Disney, in 2009 McCarthy realized an extensive series of works. The exhibition at the Lokremise St. Gallen features a complete set of his unique silicone White Snow dwarf sculptures to be presented alongside selected works by McCarthy from the extensive collection of Ursula Hauser—in a formally and conceptually virtuoso caricature.

The exhibition will be accompanied by two recent films: WS Mammoth and The Feature, Armory Edit [White Snow Film, WS, Activate the Space] co-directed by Paul and Damon McCarthy.

Curators: Konrad Bitterli, Laura Bechter.


10377 - 20161106 - MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst opens exhibition of works by Laure Prouvost - Frankfurt am Main - 03.09.2016-06.11.2016


Starting in September, the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst will present the Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost (b. 1978) with her first comprehensive solo presentation in Germany. Under the title “all behind, we’ll go deeper, deep down and she will say:”, the artist will create an environment transforming the entire MMK 3 exhibition space into a large-scale installation. In this setting, she will unite several of her filmic works of the past years with sculptural and painterly elements to create an overall narrative. Hybrids oscillating between technical apparatuses and human figures will serve as the installation’s main architectural structure.

The point of departure for the presentation is a story invented by the artist about her fictitious grandparents. The grandfather, a satire on the heroic artist figure, has dug a tunnel within the framework of an art project, disappeared inside it and never turned up again. The actual protagonist, however, is the grandmother, who – with the aid of relics of their shared past – tells of her own fantasies, hopes and dreams.

Prouvost creates a bizarre realm of the imagination that captivates the viewer on various sensory levels. The boundary between reality and fiction grows ever hazier. The artist’s concern is with penetration of unknown worlds, escape from everyday life, and the conscious loss of the self in the hope of ultimately finding one’s way back to it again.

The exhibition at the MMK 3 is the second and central chapter of a three-part survey of the work of Laure Prouvost. It began at the end of June with the installation “Dropped here and then, to live, leave it all behind”, staged in a labyrinthine structure at Le Consortium, Dijon. In Frankfurt the story will glide into a timeless world dominated by parallel narrative threads. At the end of October, at the Kunstmuseum Luzern, it will emerge again from darkness into light in a presentation entitled “and she will say: hi her, ailleurs to higher grounds”. Although the show’s three venues share a common theme, each also stands alone and offers its visitors a self-contained and independent exhibition experience.



10376 - 20170103 - Liam Gillick's first exhibition in Portugal on view at Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art - Porto - 28.01.2016-03.01.2017


Liam Gillick, Factories in the Snow.
This first exhibition in Portugal of influential New York-based British artist Liam Gillick (1964, Aylesbury, UK) results from a series of site visits to the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art made since 2013. The subsequent exhibition takes the form of a year-long presentation that reflects Gillick’s long-standing engagement with questions of process, participation, collectivity and decision-making, and of which his varied approach to language and the language of space are an expression.

Campaign has been conceived as a series of changing sculptural interventions in the large, central gallery of the museum along with other spaces over the course of the year. Gillick presents a progressive overlaying of spatial and performative situations that elaborate previously realized and unrealized sculptural projects dating from the late 1990s to the present. Including sound, sculptural and text-based works that have existed as early prototypes or sketches but never produced on the architectural scale for which they were initially intended, Gillick’s choreography of spaces, objects and ideas poetically addresses themes of time, as history and duration, and the visual and spatial codes of the social.

Factories in the Snow, comprising piano, sound and artificial snow, and conceived by Gillick for ‘Postman’s Time’, curated by Philippe Parreno and Hans Ulrich Obrist for the first Manchester International Festival in 2007, serves as an overture to the exhibition. This is followed by the presentation in the same space of a 1:1 scaled version of AC/DC Joy Division House, a reflection of Gillick’s first public commission for a social centre for teenagers in Milan. Both piano and speculative architecture merge into transparent framework for text and sound while a large-scale sculptural translation of Guy Debord’s A Game of War occupies the Museum’s glass-walled sculpture gallery over the summer. In the autumn, the exhibition culminates in a series of interventions into the Museum’s architectural framework using the language of the discussion platform.

Within the architectural and programming context of Serralves, Gillick’s exhibition as intervention will contribute to the Museum’s aim of articulating new models for exhibition making that respond to the distinctive practices of artists in their sculptural, discursive and temporal dimensions.

A book documenting the project over the course of the year will include texts by Liam Gillick and others.

‘Campaign’ is organized by the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto and curated by Suzanne Cotter, Director, assisted by exhibition curator Filipa Loureiro.

Liam Gillick lives and works in New York. He studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Recent one-person exhibitions include ‘All-Imitate Act’, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015); ‘From 199C to 199D’, Magasin – Centre national d’art contemporain, Grenoble, France (2014); ‘From 199A to 199B: Liam Gillick’, Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, New York (2012); ‘A Game of War Structure’, IMMA – Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2011). Recent group exhibitions include ‘Adventures of the black square: Abstract art and society 1915–2015’, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2015); ‘Une Histoire: Art, Architecture, Design des anées 1980 à nos jours’, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014); ‘The Decade 1984–1999’, Centre Pompidou Metz, Metz, France (2014); ‘9 artists’, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA (2013); ‘One foot in the real world’, IMMA – Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2013); ‘Reading List: Artist’s Selections from the MoMA Library Collection, New York (2013). Gillick participated in the 2015 Istanbul Biennial and Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art. In 2009, he represented Germany in the Venice Biennial. The artist was awarded the Paul Cassirer Kunstpreis, Berlin in 1998, was nominated for the Turner Prize, Tate, London in 2002 and the Vincent Award at the Stedelijk Museum in 2009. He is the author of a number of books including a volume of his selected critical writing. High profile public works include the British Government Home Office (Interior Ministry) building in London and the Lufthansa Headquarters in Frankfurt. Throughout this time Gillick has extended his practice into experimental venues and collaborative projects with artists including Philippe Parreno, Lawrence Weiner and Louise Lawler.


10375 - 20161211 - Artist-curator Gavin Wade creates an intervention at the Frans Hals Museum - The Hague - 27.08.2016-11.12.2016


Gavin Wade, T-Type Display Unit (After Kiesler and Krischanitz), 2015. 8 Powder coated aluminium components in 6 colours, hard wood slatted panel, steel bolts In support of: LEEDS WEIRDO CLUB Derivation Army, 2015 Doug Bowen, Matthew Crawley, Harry Meadley, David Steans Custom-made suit.
From 27 August to 11 December, artist-curator Gavin Wade (1971, GB) will be creating an intervention in the permanent collection presentation of the Frans Hals Museum within the scope of New & Old. Wade's work combines, conflates and fictionalises histories and methods of exhibiting. An artwork only exists when it is in the act of displaying. In storage the artwork is nothing more than an artefact, materials, or stuff waiting to come back ‘to life’ as art again. According to Wade, how you exhibit is just as important as what you exhibit. These are the motivations that form the basis of Wade's intervention in the Frans Hals Museum collection. He creates sculptures that function as display units – systems on which works from the museum's old, modern and contemporary art collections are displayed as a temporary zoological garden.

Wade has no workshop of his own, but instead creates his work in public spaces in collaboration with others – fellow artists or thinkers and other publics. Wade has upcycled the works of a number of 20th Century architects and his work in Z is for Zoo is partly based on Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965) for his 1924 display units and Adolf Krischanitz’s 1986 Mobile Wall System for the Vienna Secession. In the early twentieth century, Kiesler developed radical and innovative ideas on how art could be displayed; not in a domestic salon-like environment or on white walls in so called neutral spaces, but based on dynamic spatial suspension systems which he called L-Type and T-Type Display Units. Wade seized on the Austrian-American Kiesler's ideas in order to create structures that are both ‘independent’ sculptures and functional ‘systems’ onto which art and other objects can be hung. Wade has started to develop an entire alphabet of these kinds of structures, extending the L and T types to be a full A-Z. At the Frans Hals Museum he is using the T-type and Ztype to display works from the collection with a botanical or zoological theme. The T-type is for plants and the Z-type for animals in an ode to the pre-human exhibitions of nature.

These structures – Wade calls them playgrounds for artists and curators – continuously assume a different role in each new environment. The artist-curator has presented a number of versions of L and T-Types since 2001 in major international exhibitions (Guangzhou Triennial, 2005), in art centres (ConTEMPorary, New York, 2003; Temple bar Gallery, Dublin, 2015, and Stroom Den Haag, 2016), in art fairs (ARCO Madrid, 2001 and Art Rotterdam, 2016) and now for the first time they appear in a museum collection presentation with old, modern and contemporary art side by side in all kinds of forms and materials. The structures act as the host for work from other artists from various periods. They function as a mini-exhibition, or zoological gardens, within the presentation of a permanent collection in the Frans Hals Museum.

New perspective
Wade is the second artist at the Frans Hals Museum to investigate how, and which, exhibition structures influence the way in which the visitor experiences old art in the collection presentation. Than Hussein Clark (1981, GB) came before him in early 2016, and designed seating furniture that functioned simultaneously as both ‘props’ in his theatrical performances and an altar for collection pieces and functional furniture for visitors.

New & Old
Since 2008, artists have been invited to enter into dialogue with the Old Art collection and the museum building. Under the title Conversation Piece, painters such as John Currin and Glenn Brown have placed their works opposite canvases by the Masters of the Golden Age. From 2014 onwards, Rineke Dijkstra, Arnoud Holleman and others have been experimenting with new work commissioned by the museum under the title New & Old.

Gavin Wade (1971, GB) graduated as a painter from London's Central Saint Martins in 1994. He curated his first exhibition in 1996 and has operated as an artist-curator ever since. In 2008 he founded Eastside Projects, an experimental art space in his home-town of Birmingham, with five other artists, architects and designers. He calls himself a pragmatic utopian. Wade was Research Fellow in Curating at Wolverhampton University (1999-2002) and Birmingham City University (2004-2008) (2012-present). In 2010, he received the major Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund Award for exceptional cultural entrepreneurs. Besides many various group exhibitions and projects internationally, he has also curated solo exhibitions with, to name but a few, Liam Gillick, Dan Graham, Mike Nelson, Jennifer Tee, Carey Young and Bas Jan Ader. Wade also uses writing and publishing as a key part of his practice as an artist-curator and has authored, edited and published over 40 books and is a prolific tweeter as @eprjcts. His most recent book, UPCYCLE THIS BOOK, is a collection of his writings since 2005 and will be released by Book Works and Stroom Den Haag in the autumn of 2016.


10374 - 20161113 - Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen exhibits the work of Vanessa Billy - St. Gallen - 03.09.2016-13.11.2016

Vanessa Billy, Monument, 2016. Courtesy: the artist; BolteLang, Zurich; Limoncello, London. Photo: Alexander Hana.
Whether popcorn, batteries, water or bronze — no material is too uninteresting for Vanessa Billy (*1978, Geneva, lives in Zurich) not to use for research into sculpture and themes such as transformation and recycling. Her artistic work is poetic but at the same time remains anchored in the concrete physical qualities of the materials. Billy examines the cultural use of natural resources by contra-intuitively working on objects or placing them next to each other. For example, when a silicone lemon is confronted with a car engine. In the process the artist always investigates cycles in which humanity and technology are caught up. She asks what reactions follow actions, now or in the time continuum, and to what extent these influence our thought and behaviour.

Billy pursues these themes further at Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen. She addresses the question of the meaning of human existence, what of being and action remains or fades away: a tyre, breath or the surface of a banana skin. «We Dissolve» is then also the title of Vanessa Billy’s largest solo exhibition so far in which she traces the title theme with confrontational forms. The soft cast of a pregnant woman lies on an engine, the body becomes a factory, produces energy which dissipates or incorporates itself in new channels. In this the artist also sees a peculiarity of the contemporary. People are advancing all the time technologically - but expanding and limiting themselves simultaneously while doing so. Social media spring to mind for example, or an engine that is both an artificial limb as well as a straightjacket. The artist gives us visual indications when fragments of surfaces are caught in a fishing net or a cage or objects are exposed to a balancing act.

In «We Dissolve» Vanessa Billy places people more visibly at the centre than in previous exhibitions and points to the life cycle through sculpture and sound with mainly new works. However, the artist’s aesthetic style also emphasises the nature of space and surface: whether through the inclusion of architecture or her examination of the skin, which paradoxically separates the subject from the world but is nevertheless involved with it in an exchange of materials.

Vanessa Billy (*1978 in Geneva/CH) studied at The Cooper Union School, New York, and at the Chelsea College of Art, London. Today she lives and works in Zurich. Solo exhibitions (selection): BolteLang, Zurich (2016); c-o-m-po-s-i-t-e, Brussels (2015); Limoncello, London (2015); Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (2014); Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz (2011). Group exhibitions (selection): Project 1049 LUMA Foundation, Gstaad (2016); Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne (2015); Kallmann Museum, Ismaning (2015); Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau (2012); SMoCA, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona (2012).


10373 - 20161003 - Akademie der Künste exhibits works by this year's Käthe Kollwitz Prize winner: Edmund Kuppel - Berlin - 02.09.2016-03.10.2016


Le Pont Saint-Louis, 1976-77 (Photo video installation). Photo: Edmund Kuppel © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.
The Akademie der Künste is presenting this year’s Käthe Kollwitz Prize to the photographer, sculptor and media artist Edmund Kuppel. In awarding the prize, the Akademie is honouring this artist’s pioneering work on the relationship between photography and sculpture. His extensive oeuvre explores the processes of creation in photography, the technical conditions, and how photography is perceived. To mark the occasion of this award, the Akademie is presenting a special exhibition dedicated to a selection of Edmund Kuppel’s works produced since the late 1960s. The exhibition showcases sculptural photographic works, film, video and individual media art works and projection installations, as well as the Cabinet of Ferdinand von Blumenfeld, based on a series of remarkable bistro landscapes. The exhibition will also be premièring the film Les marches du héros absurde (2016).

Edmund Kuppel, born in Blumenfeld, Baden-Württemberg in 1947, now lives in Karlsruhe and Paris. He originally studied sculpture and art history in Karlsruhe. His teaching positions have included visiting professor for experimental photography at the Braunschweig University of Art (HBK) from 1987–88, heading a studio entitled Itinéraire at the École des Beaux-Arts in Angers in 1999, and teaching at the Kunstakademie Karlsruhe in 2002. In 2011, the ZKM | Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe hosted a major exhibition of his most important media art works from 1970 to 2010. This was accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König.

Edmund Kuppel’s works can be found in numerous public collections: Kunsthalle, Kiel; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Städtische Galerie, Karlsruhe; Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe; Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Collection of prints, photographs and posters, Paris; ZKM | Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe.


10372 - 20161113 - ZKM exhibits complete reconstruction of Aby Warburg's Bilderatlas in original size - Karlsruhe - 01.09.2016-13.11.2016


All panels will be provided with detailed commentary for the first time.
On the occasion of the 150th birthday of Aby Warburg (1866-1929), the ZKM | Karlsruhe is exhibiting a complete reconstruction of his Bilderatlas in original size. All panels will be provided with detailed commentary for the first time. In addition, two of the total 63 panels can be exhibited for the first time since 1929 as exactly as Warburg himself had in mind: with the original images from the Warburg Institute in London. Furthermore, 13 “artists’ panels” which have been exhibited by contemporary artists for this occasion can be viewed. Among the artists featured are Linda Fregni-Nagler, Andy Hope 1930, Sarah Lehnerer, Jochen Lempert, Jannis Marwitz, Paul McCarthy, Olaf Metzel, Matt Mullican, Albert Oehlen, Tal R, Elfie Semotan, Christian Vind and Peter Weibel. This revision demonstrates that the Bilderatlas found much greater acclaim and recognition in artistic circles than among art history experts. Aby Warburg. Mnemosyne Bilderatlas follows the exhibition ATLAS – How to Carry the World on One’s Back, curated by Georges Didi-Huberman, which was exhibited with great success in 2010 at ZKM.

RECONSTRUCTION: The Mnemosyne Atlas in the original format
The Mnemosyne Atlas, which was compiled between 1924 and 1929 by Warburg and remained unfinished, is named after Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory, and Atlas, who is regarded as the progenitor of astronomers and geographers. At the same time, the term “Atlas” stands for demonstrative forms of knowledge: whether it is the compilation of geographical plans for a self-contained map series or whether it is a constellation of images which systematically and critically link entirely different references and areas. In the meantime, the Mnemosyne Atlas has the status of a legend with international fame and is at least just as wellknown as Warburg’s Library, which has been domiciled in London since 1933. Although the atlas is of extraordinary importance for pictorial science, as experts also concede in the meantime, it found no practical application in art history, neither successors nor emulators. In fact, the atlas is still resting to a great extent unexplored in the archive of sciences, even if the interest in Warburg’s research activities has noticeably increased in recent years – as the international acclaim at the congress for the celebration of the Hamburg cultural scientist’s 150th birthday held in London in June 2016 revealed.

To some extent the surprisingly long ineffectiveness of the atlas probably has to be attributed to the unfinished state in which Warburg left behind his late work when he succumbed to a heart attack in October 1929. In the last years of his life he did his utmost to solidify his comprehensive knowledge of the picture story in this project and to render it in a publishable form. It was an unusual endeavor and the invention of an instrument for which there was no actual precursor. He himself had already come very far on his path, yet after his death the “original” panels “vanished” in the collection of photos in his library. Even the administrator of his scientific legacy had unsuccessfully tried until 1937 to bring the project to a conclusion and to publish the panels as a folio volume. Several decades passed by until Warburg’s late work returned to the consciousness of research.

Since Warburg documented the atlas photographically, it was able to be published over 20 years ago in “diminished form”. After that it remained for the most part unused, since the activation of this memory necessitates an indispensable prerequisite: the visibility of all details. Only the reconstruction in the original format of 170 x 140 cm makes it possible that the individual pictures (around 30 per panel / in total nearly 1,000) can be studied so that the constellations of each panel are legible. The reconstruction in the original format was implemented by the MNEMOSYNE research group at the 8. Salon cultural center (Hamburg) on the basis of data from the Daedalus transmedia society (Vienna). In 2011, the research group (Roberto Ohrt, Christian Rothmaler, Philipp Schwalb, Axel Heil et al.) started to prepare panel after panel in the original format in order to research the 63 panels step by step in detail. By 2016 the research group was able to prepare commentary that decoded every single panel for the first time.

In addition to the reconstruction of these 63 panels of the atlas in the original format, for the first time since 1929 the exhibition at the ZKM is also displaying two panels (Panel 32 on the subject of “Carnival” and Panel 48 regarding Fortuna) with the images which Warburg himself used. These “exhibits” were able to be localized in the “Photographic Collection” of the Warburg Institute in London. Up to now researchers assumed that the original pictures of the atlas were lost.

The commentary on all 63 panels and the structure of the atlas prepared by the MNEMOSYNE research group is being put up for discussion for the first time with Aby Warburg. Mnemosyne Bilderatlas at the ZKM. The exhibition supplements the series of 63 panels with some proposals regarding how the atlas could be completed. The focus is also aimed at the research community, in the midst of which the atlas emerged: the interdisciplinary team that came together in the Kulturwissenschaftlichen Bibliothek Warburg (Warburg Library of Cultural Sciences) in the 1920s: Fritz Saxl, Erwin Panofsky, Ernst Cassirer, Gertrud Bing, Edgar Wind, Raymond Klibansky – just to mention the most well-known members. As a laboratory for modern cultural science, Warburg’s library had a great importance similar to the Bauhaus in the field of art and design.

The Mnemosyne Atlas has been reconstructed since 2011 by the MNEMOSYNE research group (Hamburg, Karlsruhe and St. Gallen) at the “8. Salon” in Hamburg. Individual sequences of four to six panels were precisely analyzed in order to then explain them within the scope of public events. In addition to these events, 13 editions of the magazine series Baustelle [“construction site”] were published, in which the research results can be read. The magazine issues ensure that the decoding of the atlas can also be comprehended and updated beyond the events. The magazine issues were reissued in revised form for the exhibition.

Warburg today! The Mnemosyne picture series is mainly chronologically structured and follows the – as Warburg called them – “Wanderstrassen” [“migrating roads”] of “Bilderfahrzeuge” [“image vehicles”] on which the radical change took place in the Renaissance. They spread the new emotional pictorial language throughout Europe, a story replete with conflicts and confrontations which are restaged on the field of panels like on the stage of a theater. The open exhibition of all panels in Atrium 1 + 2 makes it possible to comprehend the complex links within the atlas. The transfer of artistic notions, which can be described as a kind of unpredictable picture story – fragmentary, but also open at the same time – particularly links the exhibition with the research activities at the ZKM and the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG), which examine the history of art and media under current issues.

The notion of “Bilderfahrzeuge” corresponds to an idea which is again popular today with keywords such as iconic turn or pictorial turn. Warburg’s notion of image carriers and pictorial media as “vehicles” on which messages, forms and figures can be carried through the different contexts is the focus of practical research by contemporary artists and art scholars. His research activities are not only of interest today as a precursor for the processes examined in the sphere of pictorial science, but also because with the Mnemosyne Atlas he established a system that portrays the path of images in different historical eras and cultures in an exemplary, interdisciplinary manner in its entire complexity.

Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas – in terms of its complexity a kind of pictorially historic ‘multipurpose weapon’ – is an instrument that can not only be decoded but also applied. Events with lectures, comments and “Bilderfahrten” [“image journeys”] in front of the individual panels are the first step for this purpose. The goal of the exhibition at the ZKM is to make this instrument available to the international research community, to confront their level of knowledge with the atlas and to put its diverse opportunities to the test.


10371 - 20170108 - Exhibiton of ground-breaking prints from British Museum in Liverpool - 24.06.2016-08.01.2017


Still Life under the Lamp © Succession Picasso / DACS, London 2016.
Picasso Linocuts from the British Museum goes on display at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight from 24 June 2016 to 8 January 2017

The Still Life under the Lamp and the Jacqueline Reading series from the British Museum collection (acquired with the support of the Art Fund) are displayed for the first time outside the Museum in this wonderfully bold and colourful exhibition.

The exhibition, which also features prints from the Nude Woman at the Spring set, reveals the progressive stages of linocutting that Picasso developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Picasso Linocuts from the British Museum highlights a particularly prodigious period in the artist’s life. Picasso had made prints throughout his long career – more than 2,500 principally in etching, lithography and linocut. His earliest linocut is from 1939, but his major period of working in this medium was from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s.

Producing linocut posters for local ceramic exhibitions and bullfighting events in Vallauris with the talented local printer Hidalgo Arnéra, Picasso began to experiment with new ways of producing colour linocuts which rejected the established method of cutting a separate block of linoleum for each colour. Instead Picasso, impatient to see the results, progressively cut and printed from a single block that required him to foresee the final result, as once he had gouged away the linoleum surface he could not go back. This reductive technique also meant it was impossible to reproduce the previously created image afterwards.

Picasso’s astonishing technical innovation and creativity is divulged over the three sets:

Still Life under the Lamp comprisesnine colour prints, each showing a subsequent stage in the linocut's progression. At each stage the viewer sees an image that would appear finished but Picasso goes further, pursuing it to its final form. Each print is vivid in the retro colours of the 1960s: citron yellow, acid green and bright red. The proofs are extraordinarily rare, and the complete set is unique.

The second set is four progressive proofs for a monochrome subject, Jacqueline Reading, (1962). The sitter is Picasso’s second wife Jacqueline Roque with whom he lived in the last years of his life. She is posed reading, one hand held to her face and eyes cast down. For this print Picasso used two blocks. In the first block he scratched the surface with a stiff comb to create the tones of Jacqueline’s head and bust. A second block was cut with deeper gouges to leave just her outline. The print from the second block was superimposed over the first to achieve the final image.

The Nude Woman at the Spring (1962) series consists of four prints inspired by a figure from Manet’s nineteenth-century masterpiece Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Lunch on the Grass). Built in layers of brown and black and white the sinuous figure leans over a waterfall. The figure continued to appear in his later sculptural objects.

Xanthe Brooke, Curator of European Fine Art said: “Picasso Linocuts from the British Museum reveals how, even towards the end of his career, when he was in his eighties, Picasso was an exceptionally innovative artist.

“Displaying the series of prints in the progressive stages is a superb opportunity to appreciate the complexity of working in this manner and the genius of Picasso’s creativity.”

Picasso Linocuts from the British Museum is the next event in an exciting year for the Lady Lever Art Gallery, which recently opened its newly refurbished South End galleries, following a £2.8m major development project, part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries said: “We are delighted to continue the celebrations for this important year at the Lady Lever Art Gallery with an exhibition of work by Picasso, arguably the most influential European artist of the 20th Century.

“Lord Lever’s vision, that art should be an inspiration to all, endures almost 100 years later, with this fascinating exploration of an important body of work for this iconic artist.”


10370 - 20161127 - Highlights from the Merzbacher Collection on view at the Van Gogh Museum - Amsterdam - 24.08.2016-27.11.2016


Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Girl with Cat, Fränzi, 1910 (detail), oil on canvas, 89 x 119 cm, Merzbacher Kunststiftung.
From 24 August to 27 November, the Van Gogh Museum is presenting highlights from the Merzbacher Collection. The paintings in the exhibition Van Gogh Inspires: Matisse, Kirchner, Kandinsky: Highlights from the Merzbacher Collection show the impact Vincent van Gogh had on the most important artists of the early twentieth century. Masterpieces by the likes of Henri Matisse, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Wassily Kandinsky are being shown in the Netherlands for the first time. The private art collection assembled by Werner and Gabrielle Merzbacher is considered one of the finest in the world. The works are presented on the third floor of the Van Gogh Museum.

Fourteen masterpieces in the Netherlands for the first time
The focus of the exhibition Van Gogh Inspires: Matisse, Kirchner, Kandinsky: Highlights from the Merzbacher Collection is on the way Van Gogh influenced the French Fauvists and German Expressionists. Fourteen works from the Merzbacher Collection are being shown at the Van Gogh Museum, representing the most important Fauvists (including Matisse, Derain, De Vlaminck and Braque) and German Expressionists (such as Kirchner, Kandinsky, Jawlensky and Pechstein). The selection includes Interior at Collioure (Afternoon Rest) by the Fauvist Henri Matisse, Autumn Landscape with Boats by the Blaue Reiter artist Wassily Kandinsky, and the expressive Girl with Cat, Fränzi by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner of the group Die Brücke. Each is an iconic example of the respective artist’s oeuvre. The private art collection assembled by Werner and Gabrielle Merzbacher is considered one of the finest in the world. All the loans are being shown in the Netherlands for the first time.

Van Gogh: ‘the father of us all!’
Vincent van Gogh wrote in a letter to his brother Theo that ‘painters being dead and buried, speak to several following generations through their works’. Van Gogh did indeed become a shining example for generations of artists after him. Beginning in 1905, the Fauvists in France and the German Expressionists of Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter looked for ways to heighten the evocative power of their works. Van Gogh’s colourful, animated and emotionally charged paintings offered them a source of inspiration. The vitality of his work encouraged both the Fauvists and the Expressionists in their need to express their emotions through their art. These innovative artists took Van Gogh’s pursuit of freedom in form and colour to a new level. Or, as the Brücke artist Max Pechstein later declared: ‘Van Gogh was the father of us all!’

Special loan
Since the new presentation of its permanent collection in November 2014, the Van Gogh Museum has set out to place Vincent van Gogh’s works and the story of his life and art in the wider context of his time. This includes a focus on past artists he admired, contemporaries and the artists who were inspired by him. The Van Gogh Museum regularly updates the permanent display through acquisitions and temporary presentations. Loans from museum and private collections are used to extend Van Gogh’s story into the twentieth and even the twenty-first century. The loans from the Merzbacher Collection offer an insight into the ongoing influence exerted by Van Gogh’s work.

Publication and tour
The exhibition Van Gogh Inspires: Matisse, Kirchner, Kandinsky: Highlights from the Merzbacher Collection is accompanied by a short publication exploring the relationship between the artists from the Merzbacher Collection and Vincent van Gogh. During the presentation, guides will offer a Gallery Talk at fixed times, in which they emphasise the connections between the paintings and the work of Van Gogh. Painting workshops inspired by Fauvism are also being held in September and October, and there will be a lecture on Sunday 4 September.