10469 - 20170219 - Bundeskunsthalle exhibits the work of Gregor Schneider - Bonn - 02.12.2016-19.02.2017


Gregor Schneider, Essen Life action, Odenkirchener Str. 202, Rheydt 2014 © Gregor Schneider / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016.
Gregor Schneider was born in Rheydt in 1969. At the age of thirteen he already painted pictures that he continues to include in his exhibitions and publications. In 1985, he had his first solo exhibition at Galerie Kontrast in Mönchengladbach, and the same year, he began work on his house on Unterheydener Strasse 12 in Rheydt, which was to become Haus u r. In 2001, he won the Golden Lion for the German contribution to the Venice Biennale. The inner logic of his work led him to embark on a number of highly controversial projects. Misunderstood as provocations, some ran afoul of censorship. The rejection of his plan to erect a black cubic sculpture with the dimensions of Mecca’s Kaaba on Saint Mark’s Square in Venice in 2005 spurred him to engage more deeply with the public and political dimension of his work. 
«Experiences affect all the senses and are based on an unfathomable world.» Gregor Schneider

Over the course of thirty years, Gregor Schneider has created a body of work that touches upon some of society’s most sensitive sore spots. In the beginning of his career, he developed the concept of an artistic practice that devours its own products, thereby questioning the subjection of art to economic necessity.

Later, he saw parallels between the secret, antiseptic high-security detainee cells of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp with the ‘white cube’ of museums and galleries. In 2008, he spoke about creating a room to die in and his desire to show a dying person in a museum. He received death threats as a result. His own personal Dying Room is now constructed for the first time in Germany. Schneider’s thoughts on the subject of death and dying are based on the question whether death is an absolute end or a transition to something else that needs remain unknowable. Schneider has staged cultural crossovers, tried to link an Islamic and a Catholic sacred site and has responded to the return of the spirit of the Nazi era with the pulverisation of the house Goebbels had been born in. The medium of his creative practice is the installation of rooms inside similar preexisting rooms, the doubling of rooms, people and objects, the reconstruction of a building he cannot attain. His best-known work is the installation of twentyfour rooms of his Haus u r in the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of 2001.

«What I do is the thinking, three-dimensional and concrete. It thinks for itself, then extends into matter. Everything else is something totally different. I believe that thought is embedded in things, that they in turn speak and are my memory. That’s why I store those things and am now showing them together. The things will speak for themselves, perhaps different from before in yet another way. I fight against language as much as always, and against the detail. Usually I’m confronted with the power of knowledge and forced into the position of ignorance. My experiences of life are not images or texts. Experiences address all the senses and are based on an intangible world.» ---Gregor Schneider


10468 - 20170128 - Michalis Pichler's first solo exhibition in Italy on view at Kunstverein Milano - Milan - 15.12.2016-28.01.2017


Somewhere in the gallery a player piano rocks away with a composition that somehow resembles aleatoric music.

Kunstverein Milano announces Exposition littéraire autour de Mallarmé, Michalis Pichler’s first solo exhibition in Italy. Its title recalls an exhibition of the same name by Marcel Broodthaers in 1969 at Wide White Space in Antwerp, Belgium. The exhibition is centered around re-readings and re-writings of Un Coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard (A Throw of the Dice will never abolish Chance) across different media, reproducing that icon of the avant-garde. The exhibition also features the film Une Seconde d’Éternité and a reading room of “greatest hits."
Michalis Pichler’s Un Coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard. SCULPTURE is a close copy of the 1914 edition of Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem, but with all the words cut out by laser, in a way that corresponds directly to the typographic layout used by Mallarmé. When turning the pages, numerous shadows are generated by the cutouts. Pichler’s version is juxtaposed with editions by Broodthaers and Mallarmé, who had written "Un Coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard. POÈME" in 1897, and also saw it published in a magazine called Cosmopolis. Mallarmé left copious notes as to how it should be typeset, instructions that were finally carried out 16 years after his death, in 1914. In 1969 this work was appropriated in three renditions as Un Coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard. IMAGE by Marcel Broodthaers, who replaced the words by black stripes.

A glass version of Pichler’s Un Coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard. SCULPTURE is installed in the airspace of gallery as a spatial installation or walk-through-book, allthough there is no text displayed on the plates. Through its “strategic illegibility” (Craig Dworkin) it seems to establish what Jacques Derrida would call “a text, that is, a readability without a signified."

Somewhere in the gallery a player piano rocks away with a composition that somehow resembles aleatoric music. The turn-of-the-century pianola is indeed playing Un Coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard. MUSIQUE, created by running a 288mm tracker roll of Pichler’s cut out windows/verses.

A reading room displays a variety of books produced in the context of his “greatest hits” series. According to Pichler, "if a work paraphrases one explicit historical or contemporary predecessor in title, style and/or content, this technique is what I would call a 'greatest hit.'" Featured predecessors include Charles Baudelaire, Mel Bochner, Marcel Broodthaers, Ulises Carrión, Katsushika Hokusai, Stéphane Mallarmé, Monsanto Company, Gabriel Dante Rossetti, Ed Ruscha, Seth Siegelaub, Gertrude Stein, Max Stirner and The New York Times. The exhibition greatest hits was on show at Printed Matter, Inc. through June 2015.

One of Pichler’s “greatest hits” on display is the 8mm film Une Seconde d’Éternité. In 1970 Marcel Broodthaers had made a film Une Seconde d’Eternité (D’après une idée de Charles Baudelaire). In the 35mm film Broodthaers writes his signature “MB” in 24 frames, which makes one second. The very same frames were transferred by Pichler to 8mm, where 18 frames make a second. The result reads “MP,” which are Pichler’s initials, in Broodthaers’ handwriting though.

In Coup de Dés (collection), Pichler unites a vast number of editions of Mallarmé’s chef d’oeuvre as well as many of its historical and contemporary editions and appropriations by other authors such as Jérémie Bennequin, Bernard Chiavelli, Jim Clinefelter, Mario Diacono, Sammy Engramer, Cerith Wyn Evans, Ernest Fraenkel, Elsworth Kelly, Michael Maranda, Guido Molinari, Aurélie Noury and Eric Zboya. The collection also includes a variety of publications (backgammon tutorials, pulp fiction, and militaria books) that feature the phrase “Coup de Dés” on the cover without explicitly referring to Mallarmé. Coup de Dés (collection) is ongoing and subject to open submission.

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication of the Italian translation of the artist’s Statements on Appropriation and of his flipbook Une Seconde d’Éternité, co-published by Kunstverein Publishing and "greatest hits"; both designed by Zirkumflex, Berlin.

Michalis Pichler was trained as a sculptor on the preservation site of Acropolis Monuments Athens. He holds diplomas in Architecture from Technical University Berlin and in Fine Arts from Art Academy Berlin Weissensee, and co-founded and organizes Miss Read: The Berlin Art Book Fair and the Conceptual Poetics Day. He works as a conceptual artist, poet and publisher on the imaginary border between visual art and literature. More information can be found here.

A monograph of Pichler’s practice titled MICHALIS PICHLER: Thirteen years: The materialization of ideas was co-published in 2015 by Printed Matter, Inc. and Spector Books.



10467 - 20170305 - First solo show in Europe by the Hong Kong based artist Samson Young on view at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf - 17.12.2016-05.03.2017


Samson Young, Stanley (detail), 2014. Neon, sand. Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain. Photo: Katja Illner.
Kunsthalle Düsseldorf presents the first institutional solo show in Europe by the Hong Kong based artist Samson Young (*1979). Young is a sound artist and composer. He studied music, philosophy, and gender studies at the University of Sydney and has a doctorate in composition from Princeton University. In 2017 the artist will be featured in the Hong Kong pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
From the perspective of a composer, Young conceives sound works, installations, performances, drawings, sound walks, and films. His works usually make concrete historical and social references and often deal with conflicts. Each of his projects involves a great deal of background and field research. His work is motivated by scientific precision and conceptual rigor. The result is a very powerful and aesthetically expressive language.

The importance of the aesthetic investigation of sound in Young’s work is illustrated above all by his journeys, which follow in the tradition of sound walks and field recordings. For instance, for his work For Whom the Bell Tolls: A Journey into the Sonic History of Conflicts (2015–), he traveled to five continents to visit historically significant bells and record their sound. The result was an archive of bell sounds, which Young will use to compose a new piece.

While he was at the various locations waiting for the bells to ring, he created a series of drawings entitled "Landschaft" (on view here on the first floor). In these “sound drawings” the artist translates the noises of his environment and the ringing of the bells into musical notation. His works represent an unusual contribution within the complex relationship between music and visual art and open up new perspectives for the perception of sounds as well as pictures.

The Kunsthalle Düsseldorf is showing a selection of works from Samson Young’s oeuvre on three floors. Along with the series "Muted Situation" (2014)—directions for listening to sound situations in a new way or perceiving the political qualities of sound itself—and a selection of works from the series "Sound Drawings" (2015–), the exhibition also features large-scale installations in which Young deals with conflicts and wars.

The exhibition is curated by Jasmina Merz.


10466 - 20170417 - mumok offers a new approach to the work of Slovak artist Július Koller - Vienna - 25.11.2016-17.04.2017


Exhibition view, Július Koller. One Man Anti Show, mumok Wien, 25.11.2016 –17.4.2017. Photo: mumok / Stephan Wyckoff.
mumok is presenting Július Koller. One Man Anti Show, a new approach to the work of Slovak artist Július Koller (1939–2007), an iconic figure in the history of the Neo-avant-garde and Post-avant-garde. His work has been a significant source of inspiration for artists and intellectuals worldwide since its rediscovery in the early 1990s and has become a key reference point for a young generation of artists and other protagonists in the world of culture. The full breadth and scale of Koller’s oeuvre is showcased for the first time in the exhibition at mumok, which highlights both his conceptual rigor and the broad spectrum of artistic methods he utilizes. Alongside internationally renowned pieces, the show presents many works, archival documents and ephemera that have never previously been exhibited. Extending across three floors, Július Koller. One Man Anti Show turns the spotlight on the topicality of this unique artistic practice through a new reading and presentation of Koller’s creative anti-universe, in which everything is called into question. The exhibition architecture, created by renowned Viennese architect Hermann Czech, is designed to define the show autonomously to the routine and the conventions of a museum. 
For more than half of his life (1963–2007), Július Koller kept a “self-chronology” in which he recorded his constructive activities. Maintaining a critical distance to the art business and institutional art historiography, Koller sketched out the central motifs and formats of his counter-design in this chronology, set in opposition to the art world’s rules and values. This self-depiction of an artist’s life, which also encompassed the balcony of his flat as an exhibition venue without an audience, guides visitors through the show, whilst its title, One Man Anti Show, references the artist’s critical position vis-à-vis art and its institutions. The exhibition introduces the key themes, work-groups, motifs and methods that Koller deployed and perpetually transformed throughout his artistic development.

His strategy involved using run-of-the-mill quotidian life to undermine aesthetic ideals, aiming ultimately to create a “new cultural situation” intended to lead to a “new life, a new creativity, and a new Cosmohumanist Culture.” Koller saw himself as living in the midst of junk culture. The exhibition sheds light on the way in which he deployed everyday objects—ranging from newspaper cuttings or motifs borrowed from comics to packaging material—in precisely this spirit.

The mumok presentation opens with a restaging of one of Koller’s legendary action environments: the J.K. Ping-Pong Club (1970): both professionals and amateurs can play a round or two of ping-pong in the exhibition in Vienna, lobbing the balls, but also opinions and positions, back and forth in an ambience permeated by the notion of fair play. The J.K. Ping-Pong Club, at the time a statement directed against the oppressive political circumstances in the ČSSR after the Prague Spring, is more topical than ever today.

Július Koller engaged in his first cultural activities in 1963, while he was still studying art, inspired by hopes that artistic freedom could become a reality in Czechoslovakia during those years of political détente thanks to critique of the Stalinist personality cult and of Socialist Realism. In the mid-1960s, adopting a stance much closer to that of non-artists and amateurs than to the predominant academicism of professional modernist artists, Koller drew up his first manifesto: Antihappening (System of Subjective Objectivity). In this text, in a sense a counter-position to the Neo-avant-garde formalism of the day, he pronounced various realms of his private and public life to be art. Culture in the broad sense of the term thus became the field in which he operated, endeavoring to set it in relationship to art and to identify potential alternatives to existing artistic practice. Sport formed an important frame of reference for Koller in this undertaking.

Responding to empty exhibitionism in this period of political instability, Koller distributed telegrams in 1970, two years after the Prague Spring, proclaiming “UmeNie” [No Art]. His dialectic commentaries on art institutions later led to the establishment of the para-institution Galéria Ganku, named after a site popular with mountaineers and inaccessible to common mortals.

From 1970 on Koller increasingly shifted the focus of his interest from sport, engaging instead with language and denotations against a backdrop of utopian ideals. With their encoded “objects”, “orientations” and “organizations,” his performative “Universal-Cultural Futurological Operations (U.F.O.)” represent a system through which the artist creates his own communication medium, with every new contact becoming an impetus to archive the world. Over the next three decades, Koller created a major group of works and was also the subject of a series of annual portraits known as U.F.O.-naut J.K. (1970–2007). Recurring motifs of question marks, plus and minus signs, arrows pointing up or down, nets, sports fields or pitches, ping-pong and tennis balls create a field of simple, interconnected symbols. Through these ciphers, Koller encrypts yet simultaneously opens up a route into the meaning of the world around him.

Tennis and table tennis are not only recurring motifs in Koller’s work, but also constitute a political statement. He drew tennis courts on postcards, retraced their lines with chalk, and invited the public to table tennis tournaments rather than to exhibitions. In Koller’s eyes, the clear principles in such games, applied with the utmost clarity, point to a democratic scenario of fair play with precisely defined rules: a perfect expression of his utopias in a world otherwise shaped by arbitrarily determined and openly violated political rules.

The exhibition architecture, created by renowned Viennese architect Hermann Czech, references Koller’s hallmark artistic grammar and addresses its systemic approach. Czech’s architecture underscores the open and transformative aspect of objects and actions, a dimension that has always been crucial for Július Koller’s artistic practice. The presentation of various sections of Koller’s immense work archive was created in cooperation with Viennese artist Johannes Porsch.

Curated by Daniel Grúň, Kathrin Rhomberg and Georg Schöllhammer


10465 - 20170417 - British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor first exhibition in an Italian museum in 10 years - Rome - 17.12.2016-17.04.2017


Anish Kapoor is back at long last for his first exhibition in an Italian museum in 10 years. From 17 December 2016 to 17 April 2017, an extraordinary show is on view in the spaces of the MACRO - Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, promoted by Roma Capitale, Council for Cultural Growth, Capitoline Superintendence for Cultural Assets, with the support of the British Embassy of Rome, and main sponsor BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas. 
Curated by Mario Codognato, the exhibition is a testimony to Kapoor’s unflagging research in the formal and conceptual spheres, which has informed his artistic practice from the start, contrasting the highly engineered and more organic processes of his work.

The show comprises a series of reliefs and paintings made up of jutting layers of red and white silicone and paint, as well as monumental architectural sculptures, including the extraordinary “Sectional Body Preparing for Monadic Singularity”, displayed last year outdoors in the park of the Palace of Versailles, and proposed here at the MACRO in a dialogue with the museum’s architecture.

Archetypal, intimate, imposing and dialectic, Kapoor’s work presents, confronts and explores the conditions of matter, the dynamics of perception and the power of metaphor.

Among the other works on exhibit are "Internal Objects in Three Parts" (2013-15), a painted silicone and wax triptych, which was shown this year in Amsterdam, amid celebrated paintings by Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum. Visceral, brutal and sensual at the same time, Kapoor’s images are a contemporary continuation of the inexhaustible tradition of literal and metaphorical depiction of flesh and blood, found in painting from every era and latitude. Art becomes the mediator between the essence of myth and its representation, between its long-term continuity and interchangeability and the contemporary condition, between one’s individual path through the terra incognita of life and collective experience, between the immanent and the transcendent.

Anish Kapoor’s artistic career has developed around these polarities, engendering and expanding a language in continuous balance between the transposition of grand existential questions and the Promethean impulse to transform the matter around us and, consequently, reality. His poetics implodes, intensifies and probes the binary relationships, opposing energies and antitheses that make up the visible world and abstract thought through a vision which, while never narrative or didactic, coagulates, contrasts or harmonizes the dynamic tension and the subtle interaction between antithetical forces, bodies and appearances. Light and shadow, negative and positive, male and female, material and immaterial, full and empty, concave and convex, glossy and opaque, smooth and rough, natural and artificial, rigid and soft, solid and liquid, active and inert, and ultimately order and disorder: these are just some of the polarities that concretize the perceptible universe and, activated or generated in the synoptic potential and sensual forms of Kapoor’s art, metaphorize and metabolize the mystery of life.

The catalogue of the show is published by Manfredi Edizioni.

Anish Kapoor was born in Mumbai, India in 1954, and now lives and works in London. Considered one of the foremost artists in contemporary art, he has works in the most important private collections and museum throughout the world (Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao and Abu Dhabi). He has had recent solo exhibitions at: the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City (2016); Couvent de la Tourette, Eveux, France (2015); Château de Versailles, France (2015); Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Moscow, Russia (2015); Martin–Gropius–Bau, Berlin (2013); Sakıp Sabancı Müzesi, Istanbul (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2012).

In 1990 Kapoor represented Great Britain at the XLIV Venice Biennale where he was awarded the Premio Duemila, and in 1991 he won the Turner Prize. He has also received important international recognition including the Praemium Imperiale in 2011 and the Padma Bhushan in 2012. He was awarded a CBE in 2003 and a Knighthood in 2013 for services to visual arts.

His major public projects include Cloud Gate (2004) in Chicago’s Millenium Park and Orbit (2012) in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.



10464 - 20170305 - Van Abbemuseum presents works by 4 artists - Eindhoven - 03.12.2016-05.03.2017


The exhibition Positions #3 presents new and existing work by Rossella Biscotti, Duncan Campbell, Maryam Jafri and Natasja Kensmil. Each of the artists draws on extensive research, translating empirical data through different modes of storytelling, image making and historicization. They often deploy a rich selection of archival material and historical analyses evoking different economic, political, and social associations in the process. The resulting manifestations sit at the intersection of cultural anthropology and conceptual practice whilst drawing on a range of visual languages. Positions #3 is the third edition of the exhibition series Positions, which explores different tones of contemporary artistic voices. 
Rossella Biscotti
In her work, Rossella Biscotti (Molfetta, Italy, 1978) focuses on forgotten social and political events. Following meticulous preliminary research she recirculates these stories in her reconstructions, revealing their relevance to the present.

The starting point of her new project The Journey dates back to 2010. During the XIV International Sculpture Biennale of Carrara she received the Premio Michelangelo for the work The Anarchists Do Not Archive. This sculpture work embodies the history of 19th century syndicalism and anarchism of the Carrara quarries. Biscotti was awarded with a handpicked block of Carrara marble from the Cave of Michelangelo, famous since the time of Ancient Rome, popular amongst sculptors and known for its high quality and rare colour. She plans to sink the marble block into the Mediterranean Sea, as a ready-made. In collaboration with various local institutions and inspired by scientific research and oceanography, Biscotti will identify the blocks new location through analysing the environmental complexity of the Sicilian canal in its surface and dept. She will overlap maps that trace the historical commercial routes and migrant routes, artefacts and military deposit, analysing the morphology of the seabed in the international water between Italy, Libya and Tunisia. This ‘simple’ action brings to the surface the complex infrastructure and geopolitical situation in this area.

The second new work in Positions #3 is called Clara, an installation around the rhinoceros, who became famous during 17 years of touring Europe in the mid-18th century as an unknown specimen. Captain Douwe Mout van der Meer of the VOC vessel Knappenhof, returned to the Netherlands with Clara and became her agent and companion until her death. The bricks in this installation serve as a historical witness to the colonial activities of the Dutch.

Duncan Campbell
The films of Duncan Campbell take as their subject a specific historical event and the people and objects that were related to it. His films consist of a collage of archive recordings, new documentary material and fictional film excerpts. In this way he questions the documentary form as a “true” representation of historic reality and plays with the boundaries between reality and fiction, and between recordings and interpretation. In Positions #3 the film Arbeit (2011) will be screened, which tells the story of the German economist Hans Tietmeyer, one of the invisible bureaucrats behind the European monetary union. An anonymous narrator recounts the course of Tietmeyer’s career from his education and upbringing in 1930s Westphalia, through the economic miracle of post-war Germany and the rise of ‘unbridled affordable consumerism’, to its central role on the global economic stage through the 80s and 90s.

In addition a newly commissioned film - called The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy (2016) - on the remote Irish village of Dun Chaoin in Kerry will also be on view. The film sits at the interface of the activist perspective of the two American anthropologists and their focus on individual subjectivity; and the pragmatic, deferential, and conservatively Catholic perspective of the people they are studying. Implicit in the film is the reality of constant emigration and the precarious existence of places like Dun Chaoin – consistently studied since the 19th century with reverence, or in an attempt to reform it.

Maryam Jafri
Maryam Jafri plays with fact and fiction. She frames her subjects meticulously, composing them afresh, renaming them and placing them in confrontation with each other, resulting in questions about the market orientation of our everyday lives. This can concern our food production and marketing, as in the installations Product Recall: An Index of Innovation (2014-15), Generic Corner (2015) and the video Mouthfeel (2014). The mixed-media installation Product Recall, for example, displays products that were withdrawn from the market. Jafri presents these recalled products (or old advertising shots of them) alongside informative labels. In some cases, products were recalled due to a bad choice of name or an unfortunate coincidence – as with Ayds diet cookies, whose sales plummeted with the advent of AIDS. In this way, Product Recall highlights the kind of ‘spells’ cast on products by marketing strategists and food designers in their attempts to generate demand. Generic Corner consists of packaging plucked from the history of consumer products alongside still-life photographs. During the 1970s and 1980s, generic food products featuring stark, black and white graphics were directed towards low-income and cost-conscious shoppers. These ‘unbranded’ surfaces connoted cheapness and economy, reflected in their lower price points. In Mouthfeel, staged and found footage are combined. The video shows a conversation between a fictitious married couple who both work for a multinational food company. Slippery ethics, bottom-line profiteering, and lies of convenience drive them. Another work, which is presented, is the ongoing project Independence Day 19341975 (2009 - ongoing). It categorises found images on the independence of former colonies in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Analysing these photos shows how quickly these young nations assimilated to the norms of the colonial state.

Natasja Kensmil
Natasja Kensmil uses moments from (art) history in her practice to highlight the relationship between the present and the past. She believes that “in the end, a painting must comprise layers of accumulated images, added together to create a new image … it is a process of re-digesting material and ideas”.

The movement of the Anabaptists has a central place in a number of her portraits and other history paintings. In her new silkscreens Martyrs Mirror (2016), she incorporates fragments of their executions, depicted in numerous prints by the 17th-century graphic artist Jan Luyken and written on in the famous book Martyrs’ Mirror by Thieleman van Braght (1685). Original prints from this book - on loan from the archive of Special Collections University of Amsterdam – will counterbalance the works on display.

By using existing visual material, Kensmil has produced a new configuration. In an historical approach without, however, focusing on precise moments in time as a scientist would, she chose a poetic reality. She structures and interweaves her archive of (art) historical imagery to compose a new, dynamic story. She approaches the material subjectively, and guided by a critical distance. Kensmil does not offer solutions or adopt a specific standpoint: she creates insights by discovering parallels in her extensive pictorial archive. Often she uses barbaric images culled from mysticism and religion because of their lyrical power, not from a methodical or technical perspective. With this, she makes these rituals, metaphors and symbols of the past accessible to us, in the present and repeatedly questions the historical relationship between our identity and the world we live in. In Positions #3 Kensmil also shows a selection of her oil paintings, always composed of multiple layers.



10463 - 20170312 - Kunstmuseum Basel exhibits works by Catharina van Eetvelde - Basel - 26.11.2016-12.03.2017


Catharina van Eetvelde, ilk.egg.erg.volo ut sis subject 0011, 2015. Papier, Tinte, Wasserfarbe, Metall, 28,5 x 41,9 cm © 2016, Pro Litteris, Catharina van Eetvelde. Photo: Charles Duprat, Courtesy die Künstlerin und Galerie Greta Meert, Brüssels.
Since 2004, Catharina van Eetvelde (b. 1967, Ghent) has been developing an exceptional and pathbreaking stance on drawing. For the artist—who now resides in Paris—drawing has always constituted the foundation of her work, but she does not understand drawing as an activity bound exclusively by the medium of paper. Rather, drawing is the way in which she relates to the world, and in particular to the natural sciences. Using an approach that is downright anthropological, the artist analyses and investigates how the natural sciences shape our lives and our conceptions. Against the seemingly unimpeachable authority of science, van Eetvelde sets her art—a chaotic system that cannot be predicted or steered. After she began to engage with the catastrophe at Fukushima as part of an interdisciplinary project in 2011, the concept of material became of central importance. Since that time, she has frequently developed her drawings and collages into entire assemblages out of the most varied material. What lies behind this is the question of the connection between all things and all living beings. She designates this similarity with the Old English term ilk, which provided the title for this exhibition.  
Catharina van Eetvelde draws in full awareness of the fragility of her works. She does not produce works for eternity, even when she handles the material with extreme care. Rather, her drawings on paper and collages are very delicate works. The data comprising her vector-based drawings and animations are equally limited in lifespan, since their readability depends on computer software. The artist creates lines in all their imaginable forms: as traces that she leaves on the paper; as words embroidered with thread on paper or felt; as linear arrangements of material in space; or as ghostly "digital" lines that briefly appear on a screen as animation and disappear again. All these drawings make visible a process of experimentation, which goes hand in hand with the mobility of the artist's standpoint.

Catharina van Eetvelde has been exhibiting her drawings internationally since 2004. Her works may be found in collections such as the Kupferstichkabinett (Department of Prints and Drawings) of the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels, in the Cabinet d’arts graphiques des Centre Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne in Paris, or in the Frac of Normandie Rouen, Picardie, and Lorraine, as well as in numerous private collections. In 2010 she was awarded the prestigious Prix de dessin of the Fondation d’art contemporain Daniel et Florence Guerlain in Paris.

The exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the Museum Folkwang in Essen, where it will be on view from September 29, 2017 to January 14, 2018. The jointly-produced, richly illustrated catalog encompasses 224 pages and is published by Kehrer Verlag.


10462 - 20170305 - "Floris Neusüss, Renate Heyne: Leibniz' Storehouse" on view at ZKM - Karlsruhe - 11.12.2016-05.03.2017


Ceropitherus mona denti. Dent-Meerkatz Musée d’histoire naturelle, Fribourg. Fotogramm, ca. 80 x 150 cm, 2003 © Floris Neusüss; Renate Heyne.
What if when Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), the bustling polymath of the Early Enlightenment, had set himself the goal of imparting his knowledge to the general public in the clearest and most practical way possible, using natural produce and artefacts? What would the storehouse, in which he stored such items for subsequent teaching, look like? Floris Neusüss and Renate Heyne answer these questions – in the Leibniz Year of 2016 – in their photogram exhibition which is designed as an intellectual game. Leibniz’ Storehouse is an imaginary walk through the fictitious warehouse of the scholar, where the items are not always carefully sorted, but often have been simply put down. However, the exhibits are not actually artefacts. Instead, they are photograms of the objects, produced by the two artists in various museums since 2000. As part of the Leibniz’ Stockroom exhibition, the extensive photogram archive of Floris Neusüss and Renate Heyne is being presented for the first time. 
The Leibniz’ Storehouse exhibition resembles a walk through the fictitious short-staffed, short-on-space warehouse of the universal scholar Leibniz. The collection’s objects, which are stored here, are not always carefully sorted, but are often seemingly indiscriminately put down. Now and then, there are wonderful adjacencies: Next to the portrait of a pope, there is an African tribal figure, while the preparation of a sturgeon is found next to a crucifix. But there are also combinations in Leibniz’ Stockroom, which are clearly created deliberately rather than coincidentally: In one room, Leibniz collects steam engines, perfect order appears to reign here. However – and this is the special feature of the presentation at the ZKM – the exhibits are not actually artefacts. Instead, they are photograms of them, produced by the two artists in various museums since 2000.

As part of the Leibniz’ Storehouse exhibition, the extensive – and indeed unique – photogram archive of Floris Neusüss and Renate Heyne is being exhibited for the first time, which highlights the medial and historic dimension of the photogram.

Photograms – between display and concealment
The invention of photography in 1835 by Englishman William Henry Fox Talbot is to thank for the creation of photograms. In the 19th century, it was used as a procedure, with which the finest details could be shown – meaning it was initially superior to lens photography –, primarily in the natural sciences, for example in botany. X-ray images are ultimately nothing more than photograms either. Artists didn’t discover the photogram for their work until the 20th century: In the context of Dada by Christian Schad in 1919 in Geneva, in Paris by surrealist Man Ray in 1922 and in Berlin by constructivist László Moholy-Nagy, also in 1922. They felt that the photogram created an idealising abstraction of objects in comparison to photography, because it transcends their materiality to a certain extent by concealing the surfaces and because it does not follow the usual visual perspectives. The artists recognised that the photogram only creates a new pictorial reality through light, which is equivalent to the classic disciplines of sculpture, painting and drawing.

Despite the enormous appeal, which the photogram has and which found its most influential representatives in the form of protagonists such as Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy, the artistic following in this medium has remained negligible since that time. This is primarily because the photogram does not reproduce anything previously seen, and does not give the comfort of recognisability as is provided by photography. In a culture of the ever quickening glance, this skims over photogram images that have not sought to attract it through surface attraction. More than ever today, the pictorial reality of the photogram touches on highly topical cultural and social issues in the context of existence and appearance as well as philosophical discourses of Plato by Friedrich Nietzsche, Theodor W. Adorno, Vilém Flusser and Jean Baudrillard.

Project manager of the exhibition: Erec Gellautz


10461 - 20170305 - Exceptional landscape photography touches on questions regarding our experience of nature - Amsterdam - 10.12.2016-05.03.2017

Chrystel Lebas, Re-visiting - Pinus silvestris [illeg.] – Plate n°1245. Aviemore, Rothiemurchus, August 2012. 57°8.691’N 3°50.304’ W.
With the exhibition Regarding Nature, this is the first time that the unique, monumental landscape photographs of French landscape photographer Chrystel Lebas are shown in the Netherlands. Lebas garnered international acclaim through her panoramic photographs, created at twilight. This project shows her most recent – and what is perhaps her most ambitious – project to date. In 2011 the Natural History Museum in London asked Chrystel Lebas to create new works based on an intriguing collection of anonymous glass negatives of the British landscape at the beginning of the twentieth century. The project, which was completed this year, did not only produce a number of new works, but also the name of the photographer: the glass plates had apparently been made by the famous British botanist and ecologist Edward James Salisbury (1886–1978). In the exhibition, Lebas’ photographs and films are combined with original glass plates, unique herbarium pages and personal documents from the collections of the Natural History Museum and the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, of which Salisbury had been the director. The combination provides a complex image of an apparently unspoilt landscape that is strongly impacted by ecological change.  
Different layers of meaning
Chrystel Lebas (Salon de Provence, 1966) obtained an MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art in London in 1997. Her series Between Dog and Wolf (2004– 2005), Blue Hour (2005–2006) and Études, Bel-Val (2008–2009) were greeted with tremendous acclaim and were exhibited last year at such venues as the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Photographers’ Gallery in London and the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in Paris. Chrystel Lebas grew up in the remote forests of Southern France. Her youth spent mainly outdoors and surrounded by the scent of pine trees, the power of the mistral winds and the memory of slowly invading dusk are determining factors of her métier as an artist. Since establishing herself in London 20 years ago she has frequently returned to nature, hiking through Europe’s remotest nature reserves to explore the landscape and the way in which it is captured in images. In this process, Lebas looks beyond the pictorial qualities of seemingly unspoilt nature; she aims above all to expose the impact of the complex meeting between man and animal on the landscape. This is why she chooses places where nature manifests itself in a highly specific manner through a convergence of circumstances – the presence of human beings, ecological processes, climate change. She records the various layers of meaning over a longer period of time, by returning to these places during different seasons. Twilight, when nature undergoes a very slow transformation in terms of colours and atmosphere, is her absolute favourite moment of the day, which she captures through long exposures in her panoramic camera.

Wandering dunes
This winter, Chrystel Lebas invites you to join her at Huis Marseille on one of her most spectacular and recent hiking tours: in the footsteps of Edward James Salisbury, Lebas spent the past four years travelling through Scotland and Norfolk, with a short stay in Devon. At the beginning of the 20th century, Salisbury travelled through Great Britain armed with a notebook, a vasculum and a camera, recording the landscape and its flora with utmost precision on fragile glass plates that, until recently, led a hidden and anonymous existence in the Natural History Museum. On these photographs, as well as those made by Chrystel Lebas 90 years later, the infinite pine forests and ‘wandering dunes’ of Scotland and Norfolk appear rugged and empty: precisely as they would be imagined by the unknowing, romantic soul. In reality, these places are nature reserves strictly protected by public and private nature and environmental organisations. Scouring the landscape, guided by her GPS, Lebas has tried to locate the exact spots where Salisbury stood when he made his photographs. To her, the literal comparison of the landscape as it was then and is as it is today was not as important as the opportunity to re-examine her own role and vision as an artist in light of Salisbury’s role as a scientist.

Chrystel Lebas has also created a series of photographs on Ameland especially for this exhibition, which, like the dune and coastal landscapes she photographed in Scotland (Arrochar and Culbin Sands) and Norfolk (Blakeney Point), have been undergoing – or are threatened with – continuous transformation for centuries with regard to shape, location and vegetation through natural, climatological and human intervention.


10460 - 20170226 - Retrospective of the work of Bernard Buffet on view at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris - 14.10.2016-26.02.2017

L'Atelier, 1947. 149 x 200 cm, huile sur toile. Musée Bernard Buffet, Surugadaira (Japon). © Musée Bernard Buffet © ADAGP, Paris 2016.
The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris is organising a retrospective of the work of Bernard Buffet (1928–1999), one of the most famous French painters of the 20th century, but also one of the most contentious. In a choice of a hundred paintings this exhibition takes a fresh look at an oeuvre which in fact remains little known to the public at large.  
The Musée d’Art Moderne being the only public museum with a large Buffet collection – thanks to the substantial Girardin bequest in 1953 and the Ida and Maurice Garnier donation in 2012 – it seemed appropriate to proceed with a project dating back to a contact initiated with the artist's long-time dealer Maurice Garnier (1920–2014) some ten years ago, but delayed by the ongoing controversy surrounding the oeuvre.

The passing of time brings greater objectivity, however, and many artists, art professionals and collectors are beginning to reconsider a body of work that has become slightly less perplexing. Given Buffet's prolific output, this overview is necessarily highly selective; nonetheless the exhibition reveals the unsuspected quality and variety of what will perhaps live on as one of the most fascinating and most influential painterly oeuvres of the last century.

The chronologically structured retrospective opens with Buffet's beginnings, when his work was triggering a new awareness of a wide range of artistic forms and objects. Thus it covers the postwar years and their debate about realism, figuration and abstraction; and overall it highlights the paradox of an artist who was drawing on history painting in the context of the disappearance of the subject, and whose life was a blend of artistic austerity and financial ease, of public success and a rejection of the art world.

Alongside his favourite subjects – self-portraits, still lifes – the exhibition presents the other themes he worked through in his annual exhibitions at Galerie Garnier: religion (The Passion of Christ), literature (Dante's Inferno, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea) and allegory (The Birds, The Mad Women). The emphasis is on his enduring concern with history painting (the Horror of War series) and the history of painting (The Sleepers, after Courbet), and on his last, spectacular series, Death, with its references to the memento mori of medieval times.

Generously backed up with documentary material, the retrospective also offers an insight into the mechanisms behind Buffet's fame.

The catalogue provides new studies of the artist by French and international historians, as well as articles by writers and critics of the time and interviews with Buffet's artist contemporaries.


10459 - 20170131 - Scottish National Gallery welcomes in the New Year with Turner exhibition - Edinburgh - 01.01.2017-31.01.2017

The Scottish National Gallery will again welcome in the New Year with the opening of Turner in January: The Vaughan Bequest, the long-standing annual tradition which sees an outstanding collection of works by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) displayed for the duration of the month.
For over a century the Gallery has followed the stipulations set out by the art collector Henry Vaughan; that 38 fantastic works encapsulating the entire career of one of the great masters of British painting were to be exhibited to the public “all at one time, free of charge, during the month of January”.

The watercolours range from Turner’s early topographical wash drawings right through to his atmospheric sketches of continental Europe’s expansive vistas from the 1830s and ’40s. Thanks to their limited exposure to daylight, they have retained their luminous colours and pristine condition.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome in the New Year along with the National Galleries of Scotland with Turner in January at the Scottish National Gallery. This is the fifth year that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have supported the tradition of showing Turner each January and it really is wonderful to see players’ support helping to provide thousands of visitors with the opportunity to play a part in this wonderful legacy”.

Born in London in 1775, Turner’s talent was evident from a remarkably young age – the gifted draughtsman was exhibiting works at the Royal Academy by the age of 15. He was a prolific, innovative and peripatetic artist who went on to exploit every possibility of the watercolour medium, travelling widely to capture creating stunning land- and seascapes. At first, Turner began his travels with sketching tours in England, Wales and Scotland, then later across Europe, where he gathered material for masterful watercolours and oil paintings.

The son of a wealthy industrialist, Henry Vaughan devoted a lifetime to collecting art and developed a connoisseur’s eye for quality. The distinguished collector probably first met Turner in the 1840s, at the peak of the artist’s career, and continued to amass his drawings and paintings after the artist died in 1851. The Scottish National Gallery would receive Vaughan’s bequest almost half a century later in 1900.

In addition to the Vaughan Turners, the highly atmospheric exhibition watercolour Mount Snowdon, Afterglow, painted around 1800, has been drawn from the Gallery’s permanent collection and will also be on display.

Mountains were a distinctive and especially dramatic strand in Turner’s work and he painted them throughout his career, from early watercolours of the mountains of north Wales, to the Highlands and islands of Scotland to the Swiss Alps. He regarded them as sources of awe and wonderment, but his interest extended beyond the visual and emotional; working at a time geologists were beginning to reveal new truths about the earth, Turner was aware that mountains potentially offered news ways of understanding the world around him.

Always an indefatigable traveller, Turner loved walking and hiking in search of spectacular and hard-to-access viewpoints. To paint the dramatic Brenva Glacier from the slopes of Le Chetif above Courmayeur, Val D’ Aosta (1836), shown under rosy early morning light, Turner would have had to climb a considerable distance from his lodgings at Courmayeur.

Turner toured Wales four times in the 1790s, visiting Snowdonia in 1798 and 1799, and his experiences there inspired a lifelong passion for mountain scenery. He made numerous sketches, which he worked up into exhibition watercolours such as Mount Snowdon, Afterglow and also used as the basis for engravings, such as Llanberis Lake and Snowdon, Caernarvon, Wales (about 1832) which he painted more than 30 years later as part of his most ambitious print series Picturesque Views in England and Wales.

The mountains of Scotland were also an extremely rich source of inspiration; Turner first visited the Highlands in 1801 and was to return several times, travelling to Skye and the Cuillins in 1831 to make sketches that he might work up as illustrations to Sir Walter Scott’s Poetical Works. The extraordinarily powerful Loch Coruisk, Skye (about 1831-4) was made to be engraved as the frontispiece to Scott’s The Lord of the Isles. Both Scott and Turner knew the Scottish geologist John MacCulloch (1773-1835), whose description of Loch Coruisk in his book Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland (1824) may have inspired Turner’s treatment of the scenery in this watercolour, “I felt like an insect amidst the gigantic scenery, and the whole magnitude of the place became at once sensible”.

Turner’s first encounter with the Swiss Alps came in 1802 and he was to return repeatedly, visiting Switzerland five times between 1836 and 1844. With majestic mountain peaks and rough, massive forms, the Swiss Alps encapsulated the concept of sublime landscape for Turner, whereby the onlooker experiences a profound emotional response – both of fear and astonishment – when confronted with the overwhelming power and grandeur of nature.

The Vaughan Bequest includes 11 superb views of Swiss mountain scenery and towns, of which a number probably date from his 1836 tour of the Alps with the Scottish landowner and collector Hugh Munro of Novar (1707-1864). Works such as From Chambave looking down the Valley D’Aosta towards Ussel (about 1836) superbly evoke the drama of changing light and weather set in the natural theatre of the mountain valley.

The Vaughan bequest also includes three watercolours of the spectacular Rhine waterfalls at Schaffhausen, Europe’s largest waterfall, taken from different viewpoints and at different times of day in 1841. In these Turner adopted a radical technique to evoke the blurring effect of flying spray – he would prepare his paper with grey wash, over which he depicted the subject, before rubbing and scraping the surface to suggest mist and spray.

Turner in January will run throughout the month, providing a welcome injection of light and colour during the darkest month of the year.


10458 - 20170219 - CaixaForum Barcelona presents "Ming. The Golden Empire" - Barcelona - 01.01.2017-19.02.2017


Enamelled and gilded copper ding-shaped censer. Jingtai reign, 1449–57. © Nanjing Museum.
CaixaForum Barcelona is presenting Ming. The Golden Empire, an exhibition devoted to art and culture from one of the most iconic periods in Chinese history, renowned for its artistic, social and economic advances. 
The purpose behind the exhibitions that ”la Caixa” Foundation has dedicated over the years to the great cultures of the past is to enable audiences to discover ways in which men and women from different places and times have attempted to resolve the great universal questions, and to broaden our understanding of the world through studies of the most recent historical and archaeological research.

In this line of activity, the organisation has presented several shows devoted to the Chinese Empire and its culture, such as China, Heaven and Earth in 2001 and Confucius in 2004, the latter examining the influence of the great philosopher on universal culture. Now, at a time when China is opening up to the world, ”la Caixa” Foundation and the Nanjing Museum have formed a partnership to present a new exhibition, devoted to the customs and traditions of this ancient society through the history of one of its best-known dynasties.

Visitors to this latest show are invited to discover the great artistic, social and economic advances which led the period of rule under the Ming dynasty to become known as “The Golden Empire” in Chinese history. The show is structured around four sections, four journeys around the art, culture and society of that glorious period.

Ming. The Golden Empire features a total of 126 artefacts from the impressive collections of the Nanjing Museum, including superb Ming ceramics, paintings and works by some of the most outstanding artists of the time, as well as exquisite jewels, fabrics and enamel, gilt and porcelain works never before seen in Spain.

The Nanjing Museum, China’s first great national museum, conserves more than 400,000 pieces, spanning the period from the Palaeolithic to the present. These holdings include one of the finest collections of works from one of the most important dynasties in China, which has exercised the greatest influence in arousing admiration for the country’s culture around the world.

A dynasty that changed the country forever
The Ming dynasty ruled over China for 276 years. From 1368 to 1644, sixteen emperors from the Zhu family governed a population that rose from 65 million to 175 million people.

Over that period, China accumulated enormous wealth and became known in Europe as a source of luxury goods and a place full of extraordinary mysteries. The combination of opulence and foreign influence generated tensions within Ming society that changed the country forever.

The Chinese name for the dynasty, Da Ming, means “great brilliance”. Moreover, each emperor’s reign was given a special name, chosen to describe his personality. The reign of the first emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang (1368-1398), was known as Hongwu, that is to say, “Vastly Martial”, alluding to the military origins of the Ming dynasty, which had defeated the Yuan dynasty, installed in power by the Mongols in 1279.

The need to defend China against the return of foreign domination, particularly by its northern neighbours, the Mongols, determined the way in which the Ming dynasty went about ruling the country. The ruling dynasty considered that it was essential to ensure strong central government, good communications and large armies. There was also a concern for reviving the traditional Chinese values of the family, education and culture, on which the social hierarchy and stability were based.

However, other factors also entered into play. The growth of trade, encouraged by the arrival of foreign silver from Japan and South America, presented a challenge to the established order. The population increased, the cities grew, and a new “consumer culture” began to spread among the burgeoning merchant class. The old certainties were beginning to collapse.


10457 - 20170507 - Tate Modern exhibits Modernist photography - London - 10.11.2016 - 07.05.2017

Man Ray (1890-1976), Glass Tears (Les Larmes) 1932. Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper, 229 x 298 mm. Collection Elton John. © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016.
Tate Modern presents a major new exhibition, The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection, drawn from one of the world’s greatest private collections of photography. This unrivalled selection of classic modernist images from the 1920s to the 1950s features almost 200 works from more than 60 artists, including seminal figures such as Berenice Abbott, André Kertész, Man Ray, Alexandr Rodchenko and Edward Steichen among many others. The exhibition consists entirely of rare vintage prints, all created by the artists themselves, offering a unique opportunity to see remarkable works up close. The quality and depth of the collection allows the exhibition to tell the story of modernist photography in this way for the first time in the UK. It also marks the beginning of a long term relationship between Tate and The Sir Elton John Collection, as part of which Sir Elton and David Furnish have agreed to give important works to the nation.
The Radical Eye introduces a crucial moment in the history of photography – an exciting rupture often referred to as the ‘coming of age’ of the medium, when artists used photography as a tool through which they could redefine and transform visions of the modern world. Technological advancements gave artists the freedom to experiment and test the limits of the medium and present the world through a new, distinctly modern visual language. This exhibition reveals how the timeless genres of the portrait, nude and still life were reimagined through the camera during this period, also exploring photography’s unique ability to capture street life and architecture from a new perspective.

Featuring portraits of great cultural figures of the 20th century, including Georgia O’Keeffe by Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston by Tina Modotti, Jean Cocteau by Berenice Abbott and Igor Stravinsky by Edward Weston, the exhibition gives insight into the relationships and inner circles of the avant-garde. An incredible group of Man Ray portraits are exhibited together for the first time, having been brought together by Sir Elton John over the past twenty-five years, depicting key surrealist figures such as Andre Breton and Max Ernst alongside artists including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar. Ground-breaking experimentation both in the darkroom and on the surface of the print, such as Herbert Bayer’s photomontage and Maurice Tabard’s solarisation, examine how artists pushed the accepted conventions of portraiture.

As life underwent rapid changes in the 20th century, photography offered a new means to communicate and represent the world. Alexandr Rodchenko, László Moholy-Nagy and Margaret Bourke-White employed the ‘worm’s eye’ and ‘bird’s eye’ views to create new perspectives of the modern metropolis - techniques associated with constructivism and the Bauhaus. The move towards abstraction is also explored, from isolated architectural elements to camera-less photography such as Man Ray’s rayographs and Harry Callahan’s light abstractions.

A dedicated section of the exhibition looks at the new approaches that emerged in capturing the human form, highlighted in rare masterpieces such as André Kertész’s Underwater Swimmer, Hungary 1917, while Imogen Cunningham’s Magnolia Blossom, Tower of Jewels 1925 and Tina Modotti’s Bandelier, Corn and Sickle 1927 feature in a large presentation dedicated to the Still Life. The important role of documentary photography as a tool of mass communication is demonstrated in Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother 1936 and Walker Evans’ Floyde Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama 1936, from the Farm Security Administration project.

The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection is at Tate Modern from 10 November 2016 until 7 May 2017. It is curated by Shoair Mavlian with Simon Baker and Newell Harbin, Director of The Sir Elton John Photography Collection. The exhibition is accompanied by an exclusive audio tour of the exhibition featuring commentary from Sir Elton John, and a major new catalogue from Tate Publishing including an interview with Sir Elton John by Jane Jackson.


10456 - 20170319 - The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Fiona Tan's work Disorient (2009) for the first time in Spain - 22.12.2016-19.03.2017


Fiona Tan, Disorient (2009). Two-channel digital color video installation, with sound, 17 min. and 19 min. 30 sec. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Purchased with funds contributed by the International Director’s Council, 2014. 2014.120 © Fiona Tan, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is presenting Fiona Tan’s work Disorient (2009) for the first time in Spain. This is the ninth piece programmed in the Film & Video gallery since it opened in 2014 as a space dedicated to video art, video installation and the moving image.  
Fiona Tan (Sumatra, 1966) produced Disorient in 2009 for the Dutch Pavilion of the 53rd Venice Biennale, where it was also partially staged and shot. In fact, the film reflects the history of Venice as a strategic center for the trade of goods from newly charted Asian territories in the 13th to 16th centuries. Tan’s film evokes the dream of a “great Orient”, as described by Marco Polo in his famous Book of the Marvels of the World. This collection of tales, now seven centuries old, inspired in Europe the image of a fairytale and fantastic Orient, rich in millenary cultures open for the first time to European knowledge; a cliché manipulated, also for centuries, to mask the exploitation of peoples and resources. This paradox impregnates the different elements in Fiona Tan’s installation.

Disorient is composed of two facing screens, which communicate with one another by means of the objects appearing on them and the speaker placed between them, from which a man’s voice can be heard whispering fragments of Marco Polo’s travel chronicles. On the largest screen, a slow travelling shot depicts an anachronistic collection of souvenirs and trophies from the Far East: taxidermied exotic animals, gold statues, luscious fabrics, fine porcelain, spices and amulets; but also, surprisingly, modern bibelots, cash in various currencies, TV sets, and even a model of the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. All of these objects are stored in a lonely warehouse kept by a mysterious, pensive man—a Westerner—dressed in a golden robe.

On the opposite screen, a montage of images describes contemporary life in the Asian lands allegedly visited by the celebrated Venetian explorer, where its inhabitants scrape a living among pollution, poverty and labor exploitation, in an environment of violence and chaos. These images, shot in Afghanistan, Iraq and China, obliquely document the creation, collection, shipping and installation of the luxurious objects represented in the rich warehouse on the first screen. As the title of the piece suggests, the juxtaposition of these two narratives, apparently disparate, but deeply connected, generates a sense of disorientation in the spectator.

Fiona Tan transforms the warehouse into a stage and archive for cultural memory and modern myth, reconstructing Marco Polo’s legendary Asia, a reconstruction which is at once the recovery of an unwritten memory of the Asian continent and an invention of what this recollection could have been.

Fiona Tan, born in 1966 in Pekanbaru, a city in the center of Sumatra (Indonesia), has been based in the Netherlands since 1988. With a Chinese father and an Australian mother, Tan calls herself a “professional foreigner,” a migrant by birth whose background inspires many of her works. Her productions, combining film, video and photography, examine the formation of identities in the postcolonial, globalized culture, particularly in relation to the myths and legends of the colonial East.

Fiona Tan is one of the most acclaimed contemporary film and video artists. The artist earned recognition for a series of works based on archive footage where she questions the role of the observer and the observed, challenging the myths of the colonial past. Reflection on identity, time and memory is a constant in Tan’s work. Her portraits combine analysis of the sociological and historic-artistic context with a reflection on how time influences our perception of those portrayed.

Fiona Tan has participated in numerous exhibitions, both collective and solo, among which are the Documenta in Kassel and the Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Sydney and Yokohama Biennales. In 2009, Tan represented the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale. Among her most important solo exhibitions are the MCA in Chicago, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Sackler Galleries in Washington, the Aargauer Kunsthaus in Switzerland and the MMK in Frankfurt, where an extensive retrospective of her work will run until January 16, 2017. She won the J.C. van Lanschot Prize for Sculpture in 1998 and the Infinity Award for Art in 2004, and her work can be found in famous public and private collections, including the Tate Modern in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the New Museum in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.


10455 - 20170219 - Collection de l'Art Brut marks its fortieth anniversary with exhibition of works by Eugen Gabritschevsky - Lausanne - 11.11.2016-19.02.2017


                                                    Untitled, ca. 1938. Gouache on paper, 26 x 33 cm. Photo: Caroline Smyrliadis, AN Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne. Marking its fortieth anniversary, the Collection de l’Art Brut is showing the little known oeuvre of Eugen Gabritschevsky (1893-1979). This Russian creator's works first met the public eye thanks to their integration by Jean Dubuffet into his personal Art Brut collection, as of 1950.  The Eugen Gabritschevsky show is being set up jointly with the La maison rouge (Paris, July 8 - Sept. 18, 2016) and the American Folk Art Museum (New York, March 13 - Aug. 13, 2017). It comprises 75 works from the Collection de l'Art Brut holdings, together with a good number of works on loan from abroad, i.e. from both the creator's family and the Galerie Chave in Vence (Fr). Featuring 145 of Gabritschevsky's pieces, the show also includes photographs, texts by his pen and archival documents.

The son of a renowned bacteriologist, this creator was born in Moscow. After studies in biology and then specialization in genetics, he went on to publish several articles that were well-received in scientific circles. Thereupon, Columbia University (NY) invited Eugen to pursue his research with them; and, in 1926, he set off to pursue his work at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. While thusly on the threshold of a brilliant scientific career, health problems put an end to his plans. He was committed to the Eglfing-Haar Psychiatric Hospital near Munich in 1931; here he would remain some fifty years, until his death.

Eugen Gabritschevsky devoted himself to artistic creation for over forty years, producing a total of some five thousand paintings and drawings. These he carried out on scrap paper and the backs of calendar pages and official circulars, resorting randomly to watercolor and gouache which he applied by brush or finger and then—using a rag or a sponge— shaped into suggestive forms. He would heighten the resulting outlines by brush to spawn monstrous hominoid figures, fantasy world stage scenes and bizarre animals in enigmatic landscapes. He also was wont to experiment other work methods, including scraping, plant element imprints, Tachism and pliage, inviting surprising elements to spring forth. This show treats viewers to the multiple facets of this creator's major and complex production.

Exhibition curator : Sarah Lombardi, Director, Collection de l’Art Brut
Research assistant : Pascale Jeanneret, Curator, Collection de l’Art Brut