10498 - 20170430 - First mid-career retrospective of Italian artist Roberto Cuoghi in Geneva - 22.02.2017-30.04.2017


Roberto Cuoghi, Untitled, 2003. 35 x 50 cm ( 13.77 x 19.68 in). Photo by Studio Blu.
The Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève presents Perla Pollina the first mid-career retrospective of Italian artist Roberto Cuoghi from February 22 to April 30, 2017.

Perla Pollina comprises over 70 works, spanning 1996 to 2016 and covering the different aspects of his rich and intricate production. Through an array of unconventional techniques, Cuoghi’s paintings, drawings, sculptures and animations bear the imperative to always contest the known, the familiar, the accepted, and the understood.

Known for his legendary transformation into an old man for seven years when in his twenties, Roberto Cuoghi is one of today’s most mysterious artists. Concepts of perpetual experimentation, rule breaking, continuous and processual learning are central to his work. As Anthony Huberman, contributor to the catalogue states, “A radical thinker, Roberto Cuoghi constantly chooses the uphill battles. In the face of Western culture’s preference for the beautiful and the flawless, he chooses the mutilated and the deformed; in the face of the art industry’s fascination with the new, he chooses the out-of-date; in the face of our respect for those who have survived, he chooses to celebrate those who have gone extinct.”

This retrospective is part of a wide curatorial project initiated by the Centre d'Art Contemporain, Genève. It will bring together other exhibitions, organized in collaboration with the Madre Museum, Naples, Italy (May 15–September 11, 2017, curated by Andrea Bellini and Andrea Viliani) and the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany (October 14–December 17, 2017, curated by Andrea Bellini and Moritz Wesseler).

The artist’s first comprehensive monograph will accompany the exhibition. This richly illustrated 500 page catalogue, published by Hatje Cantz, will include new essays by Andrea Bellini, curator of the exhibition, as well as Andrea Cortellessa, Anthony Huberman, Charlotte Laubard and Yorgos Tzirtzilakis in addition to a compilation of previous interviews and texts by the artist, a complete chronology and bibliography by Sara De Chiara.

Roberto Cuoghi (b. 1973, Modena, Italy) lives and works in Milan. He has had solo exhibitions at DESTE Foundation, Athens; Le Consortium, Dijon; Aspen Art Museum; New Museum, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Institute of Contemporary Art, London among others. Cuoghi will also represent Italy at the 2017 Venice Biennale.


10497 - 20170417 - The Royal Academy of Arts commemorates the centenary of the Russian Revolution with exhibition - London - 11.02.2017-17.04.2017

Isaak Brodsky, V.I.Lenin and Manifestation, 1919. Oil on canvas, 90 x 135 cm. The State Historical Museum. Photo © Provided with assistance from the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSIZO.
In February 2017, to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, the Royal Academy of Arts presents Revolution: Russian Art 1917 – 1932. This landmark exhibition focuses on a momentous period in Russian history between 1917, the year of the October Revolution, and 1932 when Stalin began his violent suppression of the Avant-Garde. The exhibition features Avant-Garde artists such as Chagall, Kandinsky, Malevich and Tatlin alongside the Socialist Realism of Brodsky, Deineka, Mukhina and Samokhvalov, amongst others. Photography, sculpture, film, posters and porcelain are being featured alongside paintings. It presents this unique period in the history of Russian art, when for fifteen years, barriers were opened and the possibilities for building a new proletarian art for the new Soviet State were extensive.

With over 200 works, the exhibition includes loans from the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow as well as some of the most significant international private collections. Many of the works have never been seen in the UK before.

A century after the 1917 October Revolution, this turning point in Russian history remains a major event in modern consciousness. Although there have been a number of exhibitions of 20th century Russian art, these have focused on either the Avant-Garde or Socialist Realism as separate entities. Revolution: Russian Art 1917 – 1932 takes as its starting point the major exhibition of 1932, which was presented in 33 rooms at the State Russian Museum in Leningrad and orchestrated by prominent art critic and curator Nikolai Punin. The 1932 exhibition presented a wide spectrum of Russian art from those first fifteen years after the revolution. The Royal Academy's exhibition follows that example with a wide sweep of works that, for the first time in the UK, combine and contrast the diverse array of art that flourished during this complex post-Revolutionary period.

The exhibition is arranged around broad thematic sections, each of which explore the complex interaction between art and politics in the turbulent yet dynamic period of modern Russian history. Salute the Leader examines Lenin’s rise to power; his cult status after his death followed by the advent of Stalin. Man and Machine focuses on proletarian worker heroes – both women and men whose physical effort promoted the success of industry and technology, powerfully recorded in painting, photography and film. Brave New World sets the scene for the new cultural world and Fate of the Peasants looks at the impact of collective farming on traditional rural life. Eternal Russia shows how images of old Russia persisted as signs of national identity even in revolutionary times. New City, New Society concentrates on the new city life-styles, the diversity of social types, some wealthy and some poor, under Lenin’s New Economic Policy in the 1920s and Stalin’s Utopia features Stalin’s grandiose public projects and the dark reality of his utopian vision of progress.

Highlights include a gallery dedicated to over 30 paintings and architectons by Malevich. These works are being seen together for the first time since 1932 in an exact reconstruction of the original hang designed by the artist for the Leningrad exhibition. A room also is dedicated to the work of Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. Woven throughout the galleries are original films, photographs and documents, many of which have never been exhibited before.

Among the outstanding paintings are Marc Chagall’s Promenade, 1917 – 18 (State Russian Museum, St Petersburg), Wassily Kandinsky’s Blue Crest, 1917 (State Russian Museum, St Petersburg), Boris Mikailovich Kustodiev’s Bolshevik, 1920 (State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow), Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin’s Fantasy, 1925 (State Russian Museum, St Petersburg), Alexander Deineka’s Textile Workers, 1927 (State Russian Museum, St Petersburg) and Kazimir Malevich’s Peasants, c.1930 (State Russian Museum, St Petersburg). 


10496 - 20170604 - Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde presents the exhibition "Joan Miró: The Poetry of Everyday Life" - Sockholm - 11.02.2017-04.06.2017


                                                 Joan Miró, Dona i ocell davant el sol, Joan Miró, 1976 © Successió Miró.
“Popular art always moves me. There is nothing tricky or phoney about this art. It goes straight to the point. It surprises, and it is so rich in possibilities,” Joan Miró told Yvon Taillandier in the 1950s. The artist's interest in popular culture, but also in elements of the natural, rural environment led him to become an avid collector of objects.

Joan Miró. The Poetry of Everyday Life highlights a new way to perceive art based on Miró's capacity to discover poetic possibilities in the simplest of objects. With 14 paintings, 16 sculptures, 4 drawings, 19 objects, 2 sobreteixims and a film, the exhibition focuses on the artist's work in the 1960s and 1970s, a period in which, in seeking to revise his work, he adamantly challenged painting, while he also worked prolifically with bronze sculpture.

The exhibition reveals the great importance of everyday objects in Miró's output of sculptures, paintings, drawings and textile art, while it also testifies to his social commitment and work inspired by the idea of freedom in times of oppression through the medium of lithographic printing. The posters on show belong to the Nils Tryding collection, one of the most comprehensive in the world. These were donated by the owner to the town of Kristianstad.

The exhibition is divided into five sections based around the artist's relationship with what he perceived as everyday. In the first section, there are a number of objects in their original condition, which Miró found and kept in his studio. He used these as the starting point for his sculptures and paintings. In his quest to go beyond painting, objects served as a stimulus to Miró's creativity as an artist. A towel, a hatbox, a detergent bottle, a stone and a pumpkin are just some of the elements observed by the artist which inspired a poetic interpretation.

The second section presents a selection of paintings and bronze sculptures. Miró explored new processes and materials alien to art, as he continued to challenge traditional painting and reject its illusionistic role. Meanwhile, his conception of sculpture – formed by objects of diverse origin fitted together – was that it should be integrated into nature. On many occasions, sculptures could even become monuments and take their place in the public space, forging a close relationship with society.

Joan Miró also made use of craftsmanship techniques in his bid to transcend painting. In the third section of the exhibition, visitors will find two sobreteixims, works made with a base of jute and hemp weave, to which all kinds of objects are attached, making the pieces three-dimensional, in combination with pictorial gesture and, on occasions, the controlled action of fire. With these pieces, the artist set out to highlight the material purity of the work, showing it as an integral part of the reality he sought to represent.

The fourth section of the exhibition Joan Miró. The Poetry of Everyday Life turns to the medium of the poster in order to focus on Miró's participation in aspects of everyday life, in particular, his support of social, cultural and humanitarian causes. The artist confirmed this commitment in the speech he made when he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Barcelona in 1979: “I understand the artist to be someone who, amidst the silence of others, uses his voice to say something, and it is required that this thing should not be useless, but something that offers a service to man.”

The exhibition concludes with an area devoted to Miró's intervention in Barcelona's public space in collaboration with the young architects of Studio PER in 1969. This painting, done in graffiti style above the large windows of the building belonging to the Association of Architects of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, served to draw attention to the exhibition Miró otro, which demonstrated the artist's political commitment and the transgressive nature of his work. This exhibition ended up becoming a counter exhibition to the major retrospective on the artist that had opened at the Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu at the end of 1968. When the exhibition ended, this painting was destroyed, but not before sparking considerable debate over its preservation and the commercialisation of art.

Joan Miró gave the Studio PER architects who had participated in the action the signed, dedicated sketch of the mural. To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Fundació Joan Miró, they formalised the donation of this drawing. In the final section of Joan Miró. The Poetry of Everyday Life, we find the projection of the film Miró, l’altre, by Pere Portabella, with original music by Carles Santos. The film documents this artistic action, showing part of the creative process and the subsequent destruction of the work.

Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde is one of the most popular art museums in Sweden with varied and extensive exhibitions and events. It is located in Stockholm in what used to be the residence of Prince Eugens (1865-1947), an artist and an important art collector. The original furniture and paintings can be viewed on the ground floor in the mansion while the upper floors and an adjacent gallery are home to the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. In 1947, Prince Eugens gave Waldermarsudde and his collection to the Swedish state.

                                                      Website : Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde

                                                                Source : Artdaily


10495 - 20170521 - Marina Abramović's first major retrospective in Europe at Moderna Museet - Stockholm - 18.02.2017-21.05.2017


Marina Abramović, Stromboli III Volcano, 2002 Courtesy of Marina Abramović Archives and Lia Rumma Gallery, Milan. Photo: Paolo Canevari © Marina Abramović / Bildupphovsrätt 2016

For more than four decades, Marina Abramović has worked with presence and her own body as her primary artistic media. This has made her one of the most widely acknowledged artists of our time. Her uncompromising self-exposure has evoked criticism and praise in equal measure. Now, Moderna Museet presents the exhibition The Cleaner – the artist’s first major retrospective in Europe.

The Cleaner was produced in close collaboration with Marina Abramović and features more than 120 works. It presents several of her best-known performances, including the Relation Works with German artist Ulay, her collaborator and partner from 1976-1988. These works take the form of live reperformances, films, installations and photographs from the 1970s to today. Moderna Museet is also delighted to show early paintings and works on paper from the 1960s and onwards, some of which are being exhibited for the first time. Also included are her relatively unknown audio works from the 1970s.

“Even in her earliest works, Marina Abramović expands the given boundaries, in terms of scale, medium, and the relationship to the audience. The responsibility shared by the artist and the participants for what the work can evolve into permeates her entire oeuvre”, says Lena Essling, curator of the exhibition.

Marina Abramović was born in Belgrade, Ex-Yugoslavia in 1946, to partisan parents, who met during WWII and were national heroes under Marshal Tito's regime. Raised in her childhood primarily by her orthodox grandmother, religion and revolution impacted profoundly on her early life and continue to permeate her artistic practice. In Rhythm 5 (1974/2011) she sets fire to a communist star that can also be read as a pentagram when inverted. The video installation The Hero (2001) is a ritualistic elegy for her father.

Abramović’s works seek the core of concepts such as loss, memory, being, pain, endurance and trust. Her work is a matter of life and death – questions about existence and art are brought to a head in ways that may both provoke and move us. Rarely has anyone explored the physical and mental pain thresholds as she does. In The Lovers (1988) Abramović and Ulay undertook a 90-day walk from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China. Their halfway meeting marked the end of their love affair and more than ten-year partnership.

“27 years ago, before her international breakthrough at the Venice Biennale, we had the honour of featuring Marina Abramović in an exhibition at Moderna Museet. We now take great pride in being the first museum in Europe to produce a retrospective exhibition of her work”, says Daniel Birnbaum, director of Moderna Museet.

Reperformances in the exhibition
A selection of Abramović’s performance works will be reperformed in the exhibition by specially-trained performance artists. The featured works are Cleaning the Mirror (1995), where one person carefully scrubs a human skeleton in a confrontation with mortality, Freeing Series (1975), where the voice, memory and body are liberated, and Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful (1975), where the same phrase and action are repeated obsessively, like an incantation.

New performance by Abramović
Just over a week after the opening, a new work by Marina Abramović, in collaboration with Lynsey Peisinger, will be performed at the Eric Ericson Hall (the Skeppsholmen church) for seven days, 27 Feb–5 March.

“Together with the Eric Ericson International Choral Centre, Marina Abramović, 30 performers, 15 singers and a large number of choirs, we are creating an entirely new performance work. This is a work where a common vulnerability arises, and everyone collaborates in a simple, direct and humane way”, says Catrin Lundqvist, curator of programmes.

The exhibition is organised by Moderna Museet in collaboration with Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, and Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn. Curators: Lena Essling, Moderna Museet, Tine Colstrup, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, and Susanne Kleine, Bundeskunsthalle.

The exhibition catalogue Marina Abramović – The Cleaner includes contributions by Lena Essling, Tine Colstrup, Adrian Heathfield, Bojana Pejić och Devin Zuber. The catalogue is published by Moderna Museet in collaboration with Hatje Cantz Verlag.



10494 - 20170501 - Museum Ludwig celebrates Gerhard Richter's eighty-fifth birthday - Cologne - 09.02.2017-01.05.2017


Instaallation view, Gerhard Richter. Neue Bilder Museum Ludwig Köln, 2017. Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln/ Britta Schlier.
On the occasion of Gerhard Richter’s eighty-fifth birthday on February 9, the Museum Ludwig is presenting twenty-six abstract paintings for the first time, all of which were created last year. These new works, most of which were painted on canvases of very different sizes, feature bright colors and detailed, multilayered compositions. The artist used a paintbrush, a palette knife, a squeegee, and a knife to shape these paintings built up in several layers of oil paint; his many years of experience—during which he has often made use of chance in the creation of his works—result in detailed and extremely complex compositions. Richter’s work is based on doubts about the representability of reality and the question of the meaning of the painted picture.

Gerhard Richter has worked on a dazzling renewal of painting for over fifty years. The wide- ranging oeuvre of perhaps the most famous artist of our time presents a fascinating tension between figuration and abstraction, significance and banality. Since the late 1970s, abstract pictures have predominated in the work of the artist, who was born on February 9, 1932, in Dresden and has lived in Cologne since 1983.

Alongside the exhibition, pioneering works by Gerhard Richter from the collection of the Museum Ludwig are being presented, including icons such as Ema (Nude on a Staircase) from 1966, 48 Portraits of German intellectual figures from 1971/72, the abstract painting War from 1981, and the glass work 11 Panes from 2003, among others. This presentation, which was also designed by Richter, also features many editions in which the painter further expands his means and his questions about the picture and the likeness. Some of these editions have long been part of the Museum Ludwig collection, while others are gifts that collectors from the Rhineland and the artist himself presented to the museum on the occasion of his eighty-fifth birthday.

Mayor Henriette Reker offers her congratulations to the artist and honorary citizen of Cologne: “Gerhard Richter’s close connection with the Museum Ludwig and the city of Cologne is extremely fortunate. His internationally significant work is created here in our city. I am all the more delighted that his new paintings are also being shown for the first time here in Cologne.”

Cologne’s City Councilor for Cultural Affairs Susanne Laugwitz-Aulbach adds: “On his birthday, we are ultimately the recipients of this gift, and for this we owe him our gratitude.”

For Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig, Gerhard Richter’s decision to premiere his new paintings at the Museum Ludwig is a sign of recognition as well as an impetus for the future: “The fact that Gerhard Richter has chosen the Museum Ludwig as the location for the first showing of his new paintings once again demonstrates the artist’s enduring and intensive relationship to our institution and encourages us to continue to deepen it.”

Curator: Rita Kersting


10493 - 20170521 - Exhibition focuses on the work of the two top painters of the Dutch De Stijl movement - The Hague - 12.02.2017-21.05.2017


In 2017 it will be exactly 100 years since the launch of the Dutch art and design movement known as ‘De Stijl’. The Netherlands is set to mark the centenary with a year-long programme of events under the title Mondrian to Dutch Design. 100 years of De Stijl. As home both of the world’s greatest Mondrian collection and of one of its major De Stijl collections, the Gemeentemuseum will be at the heart of the celebrations in 2017. No fewer than three separate exhibitions will be held at the museum to pay appropriate tribute to the group’s revolutionary achievements. The event kicked off on 11 February with an exhibition about the genesis of a new kind of art that has forever changed the world we live in.

De Stijl’s iconic red, yellow and blue palette is still in vogue. You see it in today’s fashion and magazine design, on packaging, in advertisement and in video clips. But who actually invented the movement’s distinctive signature style? This spring, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag unravels the history of De Stijl’s radical new art. Key to it was the friendship and reciprocal influence between the movement’s two foremost painters: Piet Mondrian and Bart van der Leck.

Meeting and collaboration
The two artists met during the First World War in the Dutch village of Laren (then an artists’ colony). The resulting friendship was to produce the fundamental philosophy of De Stijl. Van der Leck’s use of primary colours enchanted Mondrian, while Mondrian himself was the great pioneer of radical abstraction.

The two men had very different backgrounds. Van der Leck had worked since the age of 15 in various stained glass workshops in and around Utrecht before enrolling at the State School of Decorative Arts in Amsterdam at the age of 23. Mondrian had started by studying at home for his qualifications to teach drawing and then gone to Amsterdam to attend the State Academy of Fine Arts from the age of 20. He became a landscape painter, but in 1912, while working in Paris, changes direction radically by adopting abstractionism. In the summer of 1914, Mondrian went to the Netherlands to visit his family. A week later, the First World War broke out. After a couple of months in Domburg, he settled in Laren. In April 1916, Van der Leck and his family also moved to Laren and from then on the two artists saw each other regularly. They recognized a common interest in exploring new avenues in art. Both were using geometrical shapes, flat planes of colour and a simplified colour palette. And both saw this new visual idiom as representing an inextinguishable belief in progress.

New kind of art
Van der Leck and Mondrian shared a strong conviction that the modern world needed a new kind of art. Van der Leck’s ideas were based on his experience as a stained glass artist and his admiration of the formal simplification found in Egyptian art. Mondrian had quickly distinguished himself with his landscapes, always looking for an underlying essence that led him ever further in the direction of abstraction.

Mondrian was immediately excited by Van der Leck’s use of colour, while Van der Leck found inspiration in Mondrian’s quest for abstraction. Following Mondrian’s example, Van der Leck began calling his paintings ‘compositions’ and found the courage to abandon his figurative approach.

Abstraction and ‘doorbeelding’
Mondrian discovered the key to abstraction in the Cubism he encountered in Paris. During his first two years there, he concentrated mainly on reworking earlier figurative paintings in a Cubist style. Van der Leck employed a different approach: a method he called ‘doorbeelding’ (an untranslatable term approximating to ‘decomposition’). Starting with a figurative sketch – for example, of a person or an animal – he gradually reduced it to geometrical shapes. But, working independently of each other, both arrived at a method of producing abstract art.

Mondrian and Van der Leck agreed on some things but argued about others. They soon proved to have conflicting ideas about the use of their geometrical idiom. Whereas Van der Leck wanted to keep his geometrical compositions as open as possible, Mondrian quickly began to use lines to link the various shapes together. In the summer of 1919, when Mondrian returned to Paris, communication ceased.

Despite its brevity, the collaboration between Mondrian and Van der Leck was to be of inestimable value to the new art movement launched with Theo van Doesburg’s publication of his new De Stijl magazine in 1917. Their experiments with abstraction and colour prepared the way for De Stijl and the invention of the now world-famous red, yellow and blue colour combination.

2017: 100 years of De Stijl
This will be the first exhibition ever to examine the exact nature and lasting influence of the relationship between Mondrian and Van der Leck. Piet Mondrian and Bart van der Leck. Inventing a new art will include items on loan from institutions like MoMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and will be the first of three major exhibitions to be held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in the course of the Mondrian to Dutch Design event. The De Stijl centenary will be celebrated throughout 2017 all over the Netherlands.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue and a new children’s picture book by Joost Swarte

In 2017, we celebrate 100 years of designing the future. That vision began with the foundation of De Stijl in 1917, featuring characteristics that are still visible in contemporary Dutch Design. To celebrate this milestone, NBTC Holland Marketing and their partners declared 2017 the Year of Mondrian to Dutch Design. This is marked by the introduction of the storyline, Mondrian to Dutch Design, which guides visitors to interesting locations throughout the Netherlands. All these locations are connected to works of art from the era of De Stijl and modern design. Dutch museums, cultural heritage sites, and events focus on the work of leading designers, opening the doors of their studios, and honouring artists such as Mondrian, Rietveld, Van der Leck and Van Doesburg



10492 - 20170430 - Exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary focuses on a pivotal decade for British culture and politics - Nottingham - 04.02.2017-30.04.2017

Lubaina Himid, A Fashionable Marriage, 1986. Exhibition view, The Place Is Here, Nottingham Contemporary, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens. Photo Andy Keate.
The starting-point for this exhibition is a pivotal decade for British culture and politics: the 1980s. Spanning painting, sculpture, photography, film and archives, The Place Is Here brings together a wide range of works by more than 30 artists and collectives. The questions they ask – about identity, representation and what culture is for – remain vital today.

In 1982, a group of artists and thinkers met in Wolverhampton at the First National Black Art Convention, to discuss the ‘form, future and function of Black Art’. Two years later, the second ‘working convention’ took place here in Nottingham. What constitutes ‘black art’, or the ‘Black Arts Movement’ was, and continues to be, heavily contested.

This exhibition traces some of the urgent conversations that were taking place between black artists, writers and thinkers during the 80s. Against a backdrop of civil unrest and divisive national politics, they were exploring their relationship to Britain’s colonial past as well as to art history. Many artists were looking to the Civil Rights movement in America, Black feminism, Pan-Africanism, the struggle over apartheid, and the emergent fields of postcolonial and cultural studies.

The Place Is Here does not present a chronological survey. Instead, it is conceived as a kind of montage. For many of these artists, montage allowed for identities, histories and narratives to be dismantled and reconfigured according to new terms. The exhibition assembles different positions, voices and media to present a shifting portrait of a decade while refusing to pin it down. The presentation is structured around four overlapping groupings, each of which is titled after a work on display: Signs of Empire; We Will Be; The People’s Account; and Convenience Not Love.


10491 - 20170604 - The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Abstract Expressionist exhibition - Bilbao - 03.02.2017-04.06.2017

Willem De Kooning, Untitled (Woman in Forest), ca. 1963–64. Oil on paper, mounted on Masonite, 73.7 x 86.4 cm. Private collection © The Willem de Kooning Foundation, New York /VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Abstract Expressionism , an ambitious selection of works by the artists who spearheaded a major shift and new apogee in painting in New York which began in the 1940’s. Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, David Smith, and Clyfford Still are just some of the artists in the show, which brings together more than 130 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs from public and private collections all over the world. This exhibition sheds new light on Abstract Expressionism, a diverse, complex, and multifaceted phenomenon which is often erroneously viewed as a unified whole.

Back in the years of free jazz and the poetry of the Beat generation, with the Second World War as the backdrop, a group of artists broke with the established conventions and ushered in a movement which was born of a shared artistic and life experience, even though they each had their own style. Unlike the Cubism and Surrealism which predated it, Abstract Expressionism refuses to be bound by any formula and is instead a celebration of individual diversity and freedom of expression.

Characteristics of this movement include works on a colossal scale which are sometimes intense, spontaneous, and extraordinarily expressive, while other times they are more contemplative through the use of vast color fields. These creations redefined the nature of painting and aspired not only to be admired from afar but also to be enjoyed in two-way encounters between the artist and the viewer. Just as the artists express their emotions and convey the sense that these emotions are brought into the work, the viewer’s perception is the last step in this interaction. Thus, “Abstract painting is abstract. If confronts you,” as Jackson Pollock stated in 1950. Furthermore, the intensity of this encounter could be further accentuated by the way the works are displayed, as exemplified in the Rothko Chapel in Houston.

Early works
The early years of Abstract Expressionism reflect the ill-fated era in which the movement materialized, a time that was marred by two World Wars and the Great Depression. This can be seen in the sinister skeletons of Jackson Pollock’s series Untitled Panels A – D (1934–38), the architecture depicted by Mark Rothko in Interior (1936), and the Philip Guston work The Porch (1946–47), where the human figure seems to be threatened and takes on a macabre tone clearly influenced by the Holocaust. In the 1940’s, these connotations evolved towards a more universal language which included the creation of myths such as Idolatress I (1944) by Hans Hofmann (1942–43), archetypes such as Pollock’s totemic Male and Female , and primitivistic forms such as the savage biomorphs of Richard Pousette-Dart’s Undulation (ca. 1941–42). Willem de Kooning conferred a subjective sensitivity on abstract motifs in Untitled (1939–40), while in their collaborative piece Untitled (1940–41), William Baziotes, Gerome Kamrowski, and Pollock showcase another popular trend of allowing the paint to flow almost at whim.

Arshile Gorky
Arshile Gorky’s (Armenia, 1904 –Connecticut, 1948) importance stemmed from his in-depth knowledge of art history, which he conveyed to his protégé De Kooning, coupled with his ability to fuse trends like Cubism and Surrealism to create a new syntax. This hybrid language appeared early on in Untitled (Nighttime, Enigma and Nostalgia) (ca. 1931–32), which evokes the proto-Surrealist Giorgio de Chirico.

Gorky later revealed his talent as a master of color and line, and between 1944 and 1945 he reached his peak with paintings like Water of the Flowery Mill (1944) and The Unattainable (1945). Tragic events, like the fire in his studio and a traffic accident which almost cost him his life, made Gorky’s art take on a cold, elegiac tone, as seen in The Limit and The Orators , both from 1947, until his tragic death in 1948.

Willem de Kooning
De Kooning (Rotterdam, 1904 - New York, 1997) was the master of the gesture as a reflection ofraw emotion. His paintings swayed between abstraction and figuration, creating explosive, rebellious effects. After an early obsession with female eroticism, he went on to explore another dimension. His 1949 work Zot (which means “demented” in Dutch) conceals a condensed dramatic quality in which vestiges of the figure and other details clash with and blur into each other.

From the same period, Abstraction (1949–50) revealed the potent religious symbolism that permeated the artist’s iconography, which spans from lust and perdition to salvation, making it a modern take on the reflections on the human condition rendered by the masters of classical painting.

Representations of females were a constant feature in de Kooning’s oeuvre, although by the 1960’s they took a turn towards the grotesque, while he simultaneously made these women more accessible, such as in Woman as Landscape (1965–66). De Kooning contrasted the febrile universe of female sexuality with the chaos of the modern city in what the artist called feelings of “leaving the city or returning to it.” Thus, in Villa Borghese (1960) and Untitled (1961), the strips of pastel hues exude an air of freedom, in line with the enjoyment and serenity that the artist got from nature. And in the 1970’s, his style became more fluid and contemplative, as can be seen in the work ...Whose Name Was Written in Water (1975), in which the use of paint diluted with oil yielded longer and more gestural brushstrokes.

Franz Kline
By the time he held his first solo show in 1950, Franz Kline (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 1910 – New York, 1962) revealed a mature oeuvre in which he explored black and white in contradictory configurations and violent imbalances, creating images that were at once architectural and poetic. The titles of Franz Kline’s works summon a universe made up of people and spaces from the industrial and mining region of Pennsylvania, where he was born, along with romantic reminiscences of Europe, such as Requiem (1958), in which Kline depicts an ominous world. Even though his monochromatic brushstrokes look spontaneous, his technique was among the most deliberate of all the Abstract Expressionists. Kline, who often created his paintings based on drawings, worked at night and used diluted commercial paints and thick brushes, as in Untitled from 1952, one of his most celebrated works. Shortly before his premature death, he managed to achieve extraordinary horizontal dynamism and once again introduced an almost fluorescent glow which stressed the bravado of his large-scale dramas, as seen in Andrus , named after the doctor who treated his heart disease.

Mark Rothko
The paintings that Mark Rothko (Daugavpils, Russia [now Latvia], 1903–New York, 1970) made in the 1950’s and 1960’s perfectly capture his zeal for creating abstract personifications of powerful human feelings such as tragedy, ecstasy, and fatality, as the artist himself explained. Instantly recognizable, Rothko’s floating rectangles have inspired countless interpretations, such as that they replace the human presence, that they abstractly and sublimely symbolize the landscape, and that they express moods.

By eliminating any trace of narrative from his compositions, which are simple in appearance, he clears the path to a more direct emotional response to the image. Rothko called his paintings “façades,” a term that refers to both the frontality with which the works confront the viewer and their enigmatic hypnotism, given that by definition façades both reveal and conceal at the same time. The auras which sometimes surround the color fields give them a luminous halo and a strange mix of stillness and drama, such as in the large “wall of light,” Untitled , from 1952-53, which is part of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Collection.

Even though Rothko created more colorful or darker canvases at different stages in his life, after 1957 his works primarily veered toward darkness. The paintings displayed here span from his early exploration of light to his later relationship with shadows.

Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock (Cody, Wyoming, 1912–Springs, New York, 1956) is regarded as the leading practitioner of Abstract Expressionism. With the giant mural that he painted for the home of the collector and patron Peggy Guggenheim in 1943, he reached a milestone in the history of early Abstract Expressionism, paving the way for both Rothko and Gorky to produce their largest paintings the following year. His
Mural (1943), which combines bold paint application with a colossal size, gave Pollock the confidence to explore the painting process on the huge surfaces in Portrait of HM (1945) and Night Mist (1945), until he reached his characteristic style in 1947–1950.

With the untreated canvas spread over the ground, Pollock poured and splattered his pigments with surprising control, creating labyrinths that followed the rhythm of his body and suggested both a kind of mental script and muscular release. Pollock described these extraordinary tracings as “energy and motion made visible, memories arrested in space.” Perhaps the most striking feature is how Pollock’s extraordinarily personal style was anything but a constraint and instead managed to generate such a wide range of effects.

Traumatized by Pollock’s death in the summer of 1956 it took his wife Lee Krasner until 1960 to wrestle with his formidable ghost. The outcome was the bounding rhythms and arcing vectors of The Eye Is the First Circle . As such, this monumental canvas ranks as perhaps the most memorable single tribute to Pollock’s seismic achievement. A similar sense of inward immensity marks the almost micrographic fields that Krasner and the Ukrainian-American artist Janet Sobel crafted in the late 1940s. In turn, Sobel’s fusion of the micro- and macrocosmic most likely impressed Pollock and influenced his subsequent adoption of the “all-over” painting style. Similarly Robert Motherwell, whose more than 200 Elegies to the Spanish Republic (1965–75) are contemplative; the version in this gallery in particular was inspired by Pollock’s Mural , doubling as a memorial to that artist. Smith’s sculpture Tanktotem III (1953) evokes a prancing bestial presence spun out of Mural into three dimensions.

Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt
Two artists with such different backgrounds and temperaments like Barnet Newman (New York, 1905 – New York, 1970) and Ad Reinhardt (Buffalo, New York, 1913 – New York, 1967) took color to the limit, and their decorative and sensorial associations tended towards the absolute. By the late 1940’s, Newman had established his two main painting motifs: thin vertical lines, also known as zips, which were used to create focal points, and the range of bright colors that these lines organized. In Galaxy (1949), Newman suggests an embryonic cosmos, while in Eve (1950) and Adam (1951–52) , the lines combined with earthy browns and reds take on an organic aura, as if the couple were announcing an act of creation. In Ulysses (1952) and Profile of Light (1967), blue evokes the immensity of the ocean in the former and a transcendental sublimity in the latter.

Reinhardt, in turn, takes the rectangle as the basic element of painting in order to condense the chroma, or the apparent saturation of the colors, to the utmost. The reds and blues he created in the 1950’s led to a darkness that hinted at the idea of emptiness and the irrevocable. After 1953, Reinhardt only made “black” paintings, sensing that he had managed to strip art down to its purest essence. Yet despite their monochromatic appearance, these works are actually made up of grids painted in saturated tones of red, blue, and green, in a hypnotic interaction that tests the limits of vision.

Blurred Epicenter
Even though Abstract Expressionism has its roots in New York, its sphere of influence spread to artists on the U.S. West coast as well, such as Sam Francis (San Mateo, California, 1923–Santa Monica, California, 1994).

During the 1950s, Francis’s work shifted from almost monochromatic compositions dense with corpuscular motifs to others glowing with rich hues and, finally, an uplifted openness evoking rarefied, empyrean voids. Outpacing neat categories that sometimes pigeonhole the Abstract Expressionists into “colour-field” artists versus “gesturalists”, Guston, Joan Mitchell and the young Helen Frankenthaler evolved their own respective visual palimpsests by the second half of the 1950s.

Mitchell’s Salut Tom is an apotheosis wherein sunlight and shade contend. The quadriptych format probably recalls Monet’s enveloping Nymphéas’ as it aggrandizes the artist’s faith in the “landscape I carry around inside me”. Again, though, the sentiment is valedictory: the title commemorates the critic Thomas B. Hess, who championed Abstract Expressionism. Whether in Guston’s lush yet fragile impasto, Mitchell’s fleet, tactile brushwork or Frankenthaler’s lyrical oil washes that sketch myths and memories as they permeate the canvas, each artist created their own unique fusion of colour and gesture.

More A “Phenomenon” Than A “Movement”
In its late phase, the Abstract Expressionists went in different directions, faithful to their individualism. Some artists embraced darkness, like Motherwell in the work In Plato’s Cave No. 1 (1972). Tworkov’s gravely meditative Idling II (1970) makes a tacit yet eloquent complement to his friend Rothko’s stern visual endgame, the latter works sealed by their distancing white borders. Mark Tobey’s works are imbued with spirituality. In Parnassus (1963), dynamic black lines show the influence of Zen calligraphy on Tobey, whose “white writing” ended up becoming his hallmark. Other artists explored more luminous terrains, such as William Baziotes and his watery world, in which phantasms sporting tentacles roam through phosphorescent depths. Their mythic cast – redolent with deep time and primitivism – recalls Abstract Expressionism’s early interests, now writ large, while the opalescent textures intimate a universe glimpsed distantly in the mind’s eye. Guston, in turn, went back to his origins by painting figurative images in the late 1950’s, which earned him fierce criticism that led him to retire from the art world.

Guston’s figuration, which is present in his early work, is revisited here in Low Tide (1976), where the waters of abstraction ebb to reveal unsettling fragments. Simultaneously hobnail heels and parodies of the letter “omega” – the last in the Greek alphabet – Guston’s quiet apocalypse also doubles as timely pictorial metaphor. Ominous orbs rise / set on the ruddy Abstract Expressionist horizon.

The critic Harold Rosenberg’s definition of Abstract Expressionism as “action painting” in 1952 excluded photography. However, Aaron Siskind had close ties to the Abstract Expressionist painters, as did Minor White, who taught alongside Clyfford Still for many years. The bold marks, graffiti, and textures captured by Siskind and other photographers like Frederick Sommer share the same expressive concern with violence, darkness, and immediacy that we find in the Abstract Expressionists’ paintings. Harry Callahan, Herbert Matter (a close friend of Pollock), the prolific Albanian-born ‘Life’ photographer Gjon Mili, and Barbara Morgan all conjured up abstract ideograms and swift motion that match the painters’ goals. The most influential photographic images include the ones by Hans Namuth portraying Pollock in action, which were used to expand the limited, hierarchical definition of Abstract Expressionism.

Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still (Grandin, North Dakota, 1904–Baltimore, Maryland, 1980) was always a diehard outsider. He remained close to the immensity of the western U.S. and only lived in New York for 12 of his 75 years. This geographic distance from the center of art tinged his originality. He was gifted at drawing, had extensive knowledge of art history, and was a fan of some of the great masters. This paradoxically kindled Still’s radicalism, as heralded in PH - 235 (1944), one of the early milestones in Abstract Expressionism. Beginning in dispersed landscapes, verticality became the main theme in his oeuvre through either extremely thin “lifelines” or imposing monoliths. Still associated verticality with the uprightness of the erect being and spiritual transcendence, whose opposite was the yawning abyss. Thus, his work wages a battle between luminosity and darkness, somehow merging life and death. For the first time, the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, which holds 95% of the artist’s work, will loan nine major paintings to the exhibition, establishing the artist at the very forefront of Abstract Expressionism.

David Smith (in several galleries)
In 1934, David Smith (Decatur, Indiana, 1906 - Vermont, 1965) began to weld metal sculptures using an oxyacetylene torch; these were probably the first welded-metal sculptures made in the United Estates. He soon discovered Terminal Iron Works, a commercial welding operation on the Brooklyn Waterfront. Smith is the leading sculptor from the first generation of Abstract Expressionists, and his ideas and visual universe echo the concerns of the movement as a whole. The sculptures scattered about different galleries represent the oeuvre Smith produced from the late 1940’s until his premature death in 1965, and they evince the constant interaction between the sculptor and the painters. Some of his works explore upright forms that abstractly evoke the human presence, while others are more austere, sometimes mechanistic and other times architectural, such as the dazzling stainless steel surfaces of Cubi XXVII (1965).


10490 - 20170528 - Exhibition in Dresden presents 19th-century paintings of Italy between Claude Lorrain, Turner and Böcklin - Dresden - 10.02.2017-28.05.2017

Jakob Philipp Hackert, Tempel der Sibylle bei Tivoli.
During the 19th century, Italy was a magnetic destination for many travellers from Northern Europe, including artists such as Carl Blechen, Camille Corot and William Turner, Oswald Achenbach and Max Klinger. In Germany, Johnann Wolfgang von Goethe fuelled the compulsion to head South with his "Italienische Reise" ("Italian Journey"), published in 1816/17 for the first time.

"Italian" was the word Heinrich von Kleist used in a letter to describe the blue sky over Dresden, thereby expressing a deeply rooted yearning for the bright light of a country which, in equal measure, cast a spell with its ancient and Christian historical sites, its wealth of Renaissance art and its landscapes. The city of Rome became an artistic focal point in this context. Artists of various nationalities hoped to find impulses that would give direction to their creativity here.

The exhibition "Beneath Italian Skies. 19th-century paintings of Italy between Claude Lorrain, Turner and Böcklin" in the Albertinum in Dresden traces this enthusiasm – which has continued uninterruptedly to this day – for the "land where the lemon trees bloom". With 130 works, the exhibition provides a comprehensive overview and invites its public to take a visually powerful journey through the bel paese. The rich holdings of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden are the focal point here. Numerous paintings have been restored for the exhibition and can now be seen for the first time anywhere.

The presentation takes place in the context of paragons from the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and ancient and 19th-century sculptures from the Skulpturensammlung. At the entrance, visitors are immediately greeted by the painting "Coastal landscape with Acis and Galatea", completed in the mid-17th century by Claude Lorrain, who turned landscape painting into a leading genre and, alongside Nicolas Poussin, set the standard for many artists over several centuries to come. An impressive panorama of varied images of Italy follows, from the epochs of Classicism and Romanticism (Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Ernst Ferdinand Oehme, Ludwig Richter, Carl Blechen), through to the currents of Realism, in which the Arcadian dream gradually gives way to an increasing engagement with reality through a conception of nature based on studies completed in the open air (Oswald Achenbach, Adolph Menzel). The so-called German-Romans, by contrast, drew closely on the art of antiquity and the Renaissance in the second half of the century (Arnold Böcklin, Anselm Feuerbach, Hans von Marées). The sequence of artistic positions thus provides an insight into the changing world as it moved from agrarian culture to industrial landscape, from the early development of tourism by coach or foot to steam ship or train in the late 19th century.

In this context, works by German-speaking artists are in dialogue with the works of outstanding contemporaries such as Camille Corot, Johan Christian Dahl and William Turner. Their paintings shaped the expectations and attitudes of many generations of travellers to Italy. The paintings take visitors on a journey through a land of lush vegetation and striking wastelands, Mediterranean climate and intense light, capable of inspiring anyone’s wanderlust and imagination.

At the end of the exhibition, the focus shifts to the fascination for Italy in the present and visitors become part of the exhibition themselves. A panorama of highly individual and contemporary holiday impressions is created through a photo campaign aimed at visitors.

The exhibition combines valuable works that are on loan from the Tate in London, Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen, the Berlin State Museums, the Bavarian State Painting Collections in Munich and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, among other places.

A broad-based education and communication programme has been designed for visitors of all ages. Themed guided tours and workshops specifically for kindergartens, schools and families, groups and individual visitors convey the 19th century’s fascination with Italy. There are various formats to choose from, depending on the target audience: a lecture by Florian Illies, for example, a film evening with a showing of the legendary film "Go Trabi Go" in the presence of its star Wolfgang Stumph, a promenade concert with the Vocal Concert Dresden ensemble or a literary voyage of discovery, followed by a writing workshop for school students.


10489 - 20170507 - MSK Ghent exhibits works by Francisco Goya & Farideh Lashai - Ghent, Belgium - 11.02.2017-07.05.2017


In 2016, the MSK welcomed 137,132 visitors. With this record year, the museum continues the positive trend that began in 2015. Catherine de Zegher, director, says: “It’s clear that ‘The Open Museum’ is growing: as a social meeting place for old and young, as a museum with a focus on art from the past and the present, and as a place of reflection on art, beauty and society. In February, we open the Goya / Lashai exhibition, which connects the present with the past in the fight against injustice and pain ... Whoever visits the museum in the weeks leading up to the opening might encounter the Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar making a work in situ.”

During the spring of 2017, the MSK brings together two artists in the newly established Drawings Cabinet. The exhibition Eyewitnesses links the social criticism of the Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746-1828) to the social commitment of the Iranian artist Farideh Lashai (1944-2013), in a shared indictment against violence and oppression.

In 2015, the MSK acquired a copy of Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War) by Francisco Goya. This series of engravings depicting the horrors of war was created between 1810 and 1820, during the Spanish War of Independence against the Napoleonic occupation. It was never shown by Goya during his lifetime.

Working in an era of war and oppression, Goya explicitly broke away from the bombastic rhetoric of classical painting: instead of glorious heroes he depicted ordinary citizens struggling to survive during the war. The cycle is considered a universal indictment against all forms of violence.

The Iranian artist and writer Farideh Lashai also worked in a time of conflict and oppression. In her drawings and prints, she combined the picturesque landscapes of her homeland with the techniques of contemporary art. For her last work, When I Count, There Are Only You ... But When I Look, There Is Only a Shadow (2011-2013), Lashaiunited Goya’s Desastres with her own video projections. In her subtle but subversive video installations, she takes a critical look at the political situation and difficult living conditions in Iran. For this reason, her oeuvre remains of great contemporary relevance.

In Eyewitnesses, the MSK demonstrates how the past and present are intimately intertwined. Born almost exactly 200 years apart, Goya and Lashai were chroniclers of the conflicts in their respective countries.

Both experienced radical social upheavals and were forced to work in periods of repression and censorship. They both used art, and even humour, to take their own unique stands against the injustices that they witnessed.

To do this, they employed a variety of techniques and visual languages. By placing their work in dialogue, the MSK aims to encourage visitors to see the positive change in contemporary society through a better understanding of the past. Two centuries have elapsed since Los Desastres was created but the message remains internationally relevant, especially in the light of the numerous conflict situations that have arisen in recent years…



10488 - 20170423 - Exhibition shows painters and sculptors engaged in their everyday work - Lausanne - 10.02.2017-23.04.2017


Installation view. Photo: Nora Rupp.
This exhibition shows painters and sculptors engaged in their everyday work. Swiss drawings from the 1780s to the 1950s are presented in three sections – Portfolios, The Path to Creation, Innermost Thoughts – and introduce the visitor to some of the stages in the genesis of a work of art. Academic drawings, projects, roughs, composition sketches and figure studies reveal avenues explored and dead ends sometimes arrived at. The exhibition closes with more personal images bridging the gap between the public and private spheres.

On show are works by Albert Anker, René Auberjonois, Alice Bailly, Balthus, Ernest Biéler, François Bocion, Gustave Buchet, Paul Cézanne, Émily Chapalay, Jean Clerc, Louis Ducros, Alberto Giacometti, Giovanni Giacometti, Charles Gleyre, Ferdinand Hodler, Giuseppe Mazzola, Auguste de Niederhäusern (known as Rodo), Léo-Paul Robert, Louis Soutter, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen and Félix Vallotton.

Room 1_Portfolios
Over the years artists build up a stock of works that never leave the studio: drawings from their training years, for example, or unfinished projects. In the first room the visitor finds a portfolio belonging to Émily Chapalay, a young art student in late 19th-century Paris. Big charcoal drawings reveal the classical stages of academic teaching, whose primary aim was the mastery of drawing technique and the inculcation of “taste” through the study of classical models. A second portfolio documents a series of projects prepared by Gustave Buchet for a 1927–1928 advertising campaign for varicose veins stockings. Rising to the challenge, Buchet came up with all sorts of ideas, but none of his big colour pages ever became actual posters and his drawings ended up as minor inserts in the press.

Room 2_The path to creation
The second room offers seven sections dedicated to the genesis of works of art. We see how, in 18th-century Rome, the making of large topographical pictures required a division of labour between landscape painters and figure specialists (Louis Ducros, Giuseppe Mazzola). We are reminded, too, that in the academic tradition of the 19th century, a history painting was preceded by detailed studies from life and squaring-up of the composition (Charles Gleyre, Albert Anker, François Bocion). The quest for the most appropriate images for a big Symbolist painting is retraced through Ernest Biéler’s pencil and watercolour sketches for L’Eau mystérieuse. Paul Robert’s preliminary work for the decoration of the Federal Courthouse in Lausanne, Ferdinand Hodler’s for the big Einmütigkeit fresco in Hanover’s new City Hall, and Rodo’s for the Monument Verlaine in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris all illustrate the sheer effort that went into meet large-scale public art commissions as the 20th century dawned. A comparison of Félix Vallotton’s open-air sketches with the summary handling of his landscapes of the 1910s and 1920s, shows just how radically modernism broke with the scrupulous rendering of reality. And last but not least, the drawings of Giovanni Giacometti reveal the influence of Cézanne: the quest for the original subject is abandoned in favour of exploration of the interplay of light and atmospheric colour; now familiar landscapes and portraits of family and friends are all Giacometti needs as a basis for his formal explorations.

Room 3_Innermost thoughts
The exhibition’s final section takes the visitor into the private sphere. In the studio the artist, in this case Balthus, observes himself via the self-portrait. Or he draws those close to him, like Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen who, surrounded by women and cats, discerns links between femininity and animality and thus gives expression to passion and erotic impulses. In her Chants Alice Bailly speaks in large watercolours and coded poems of her “love at first sight” for art patron Werner Reinhart, whom she met in 1918. In the 1930s Jean Clerc’s erotic fantasies, unleashed by his reading of Baudelaire, find repeated expression in figurines of couples embracing. Meanwhile Louis Soutter, confined to an asylum, vents his emotional solitude and sexual distress in big, baroque drawings of bands of naked women enticing men who vie for their attention. Lastly comes the artist observing the world: with old age looming, René Auberjonois, artistically isolated and obsessed by the disasters of the Second World War, portrays violent struggles between men and animals, corridas in which the bull-victim systematically proves invincible.

The exhibition is on view from February 10 through April 23, 2017 at the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts.


10487 - 20170430 - Kunsthalle Basel presents a new series of fifty-five panels by Sadie Benning - Basel - 10.02.2017-30.04.2017

Sadie Benning, installation view Shared Eye, Kunsthalle Basel, 2017. Photo: Philipp Hänger.
Videos are what Sadie Benning first became known for; they won the then-teenage artist awards and visi- bility throughout the 1990s on the experimental art and video circuit. Lo-fi and black and white, they explore aspects of memory, identity, and the anxiousness of growing up queer in the Midwestern United States. “I got started partly because I needed different images and I never wanted to wait for someone to do them for me,” the artist once explained in an interview. Improvising with materials at hand and a toy camera, the adolescent Benning constructed fragmented, highly personal moving images, portraying the artist amid everyday objects, drawings, and scraps of handwritten text.

More than two decades later, the homespun poetics, grainy images, and durational logic explored in these earlier video works has expanded and taken on quite a different form as it confronts the political, conceptual, and material concerns of another moment in history. This exhibition, the artist’s first institutional solo show in Europe, is a collaboration between Kunsthalle Basel and The Renaissance Society in Chicago. It is also the first institutional exhibition to focus on the importance of what are often referred to, for lack of a better term, as the artist’s “paintings.”

Entitled Shared Eye, the presentation consists of a new series of fifty-five panels. Each is composed of mounted digital snapshots taken with the artist’s smartphone, embedded with painted aqua-resin elements and found photographs (drawn from a variety of sources, from Internet-found images of strangers to 1960s newspaper telefax images), occasionally punctuated by miniature toys or inexpensive keepsakes nestled upon tiny sculpted shelves. There is a felt intensity to the labor involved in making each piece, and a decided (willfully imperfect) hand detectable in the rough-hewn forms, sanded edges, and incorporated elements. A nervous pic- torial energy is built up through this process, and inexplicable connections emerge among a work’s different elements.

A gathering of protesters, the artist’s own vinyl collection and bedroom, a film still from Citizen Kane, a desolate alleyway, Benjamin Franklin’s visage on a US banknote, a miniature calendar, a toy robot, Ku Klux Klan members marching together: these describe just some of the images, objects, and re- ferences embedded in the works. They juxtapose the intimate and the anonymous, the digital present and an indeterminate analog past, the miniature and the extreme close-up, putting viewers in front of Benning’s highly personal response to the state of the world at a moment of deep political uncertainty. They are also imbued with the charge of what has come before and what is yet to come, since each piece, the artist attests, “serves as a visual represen- tation of the past, the present, and the future, colliding.”

The resultant pieces hover between mediums, defying easy categorization, acting simul- taneously as drawings, sculptures, photo- graphic works, and even paintings. When speaking of them Benning persistently evokes film editing techniques, and it is tempting to read this show as a kind of film loop. The rhythm of the display is inten- tionally cinematic in nature, mimicking the cuts, pans, fades, pauses, and staccato transitions of time-based media. Here, meaning is produced not only from within the composition of each still image-panel and the dialogues between them (notice how in the first room the found photograph of the “person with package” in that eponymous work seems to walk toward the figures in Crosswalk). Meaning is also built through the spacing and the deliberately vacant areas in the exhibition, like leader punctuating a film. Notice how in the first rooms the spacing is wide and blank wall spaces are abundant, like the start of a film in which clues are being left, a scene set, a mood established. By the end, the pace has quickened and the density of arrangements and flicker of images becomes more intense, even willfully aggra- vated. The experience of the ensemble is thus spatial and textural, but also temporal.

Since the first galleries are seen twice—upon entering and exiting the space—Benning conceived the pieces in rooms 1 to 3 as both a prologue and an afterword to the core of the exhibition: an installation that bears the title of the show itself, Shared Eye. The last two galleries, rooms 4 and 5, contain an in- stallation made in response to the 1976 series of paintings To the People of New York City by the late German artist Blinky Palermo. Made shortly before Palermo died and never exhibited in his lifetime, To the People of New York City left an impact on Benning. Palermo’s installation is composed of forty seemingly nonrepresentational paintings, presented in a rhythmic pattern of different scales and proximities, and arranged in fifteen sequences for which he left annotated sketches. Benning’s installation uses the frame ratio of each panel of Palermo’s series as well as the same total number of panels and grouping arrangements, appropriating the late artist’s idio- syncratic specifications. There is no intentionally overt relationship between the content of Benning’s and Palermo’s works, but in their mathematical connection (or “mathematic mania,” as Benning puts it), there is a numerology that quietly binds them. And in so doing, Benning highlights the ways that we insert our own histories and ideas into the frames we encounter.

The title Shared Eye evokes the idea of seeing as an ongoing collaboration between individuals, which cannot be extricated from its many, often conflicting, sources. These works emphasize how rampant capitalism and its adjoining structures of patriarchy, misogyny, racism, and xenophobia inform the subconscious—redirecting the imagination and one’s sense of what is true. The body of presented work was designed to draw attention to how we experience, collectively and alone, and each piece functions individually and as part of the larger group. Cumulatively, the show is meant to generate the fragmented, filmic quality of memory and dreams, inviting a distinctive response in the viewer who encounters them. The body and the mind complete each work.

Sadie Benning was born in 1973 in Madison, USA; the artist lives and works in New York, USA.


10486 - 20170508 - First large-scale solo show in France by Taro Izumi at Palais de Tokyo - Paris - 03.02.2017-08.05.2017


Taro Izumi, Candidate (Can not see the shadow of the rainbow) 2015. Video installation, mixed media. View of the exhibition « In Our Time: Art in Post- industrial Japan » 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa, Japon). Courtesy Galerie GP&N Vallois (Paris) and Take Ninagawa (Tokyo). Photo: Keizo Kioku.
Palais de Tokyo is presenting the first large-scale solo show in France by Taro Izumi.

In Japan, Taro Izumi is a singular artist. He has developed a world which is expressed in installations, sculptures and videos, whose appearance processes are associated with accidents, play or perturbation.

The installations that he constructs from ludic hypotheses are a source of forms, sculptures and murals which, often thanks to their absurdity, become extraordinarily unexpected items that humorously thwart our artistic and social customs. For example, the invention of mounts composed of everyday elements – chairs, tables, stools, cushions – which are rapidly assembled so as to welcome a body imitating the vigour of a sportsman in action, leads to something which is at once astonishing, a parody of the dream bodies of stadium heroes and a fascinating commentary on the history of the plinth in sculpture.

In a context such as Japan, which is quite normative because of its culture and its social organisation, the turbulence of reality, unexpected noises, paradoxical behaviours, and the performed situations that Taro Izumi presents, all create the impression of having been produced by wicked spirits that meddle with our lives and make fun of our customs.

Curator: Jean de Loisy

“In the Shinto religion of Japan, some kamis or venerated natural spirits play this same role as occasionally dangerous tricksters. They slip into familiar spaces and make havoc of our lives and habits, and this is just what Taro Izumi, trickster-artist, “enfant terrible”, conceptual rogue, does while deliciously imagining that everything could be so different.” --Jean de Loisy

Born in 1976 in Nara, Taro Izumi lives in Tokyo. His work has been featured in several solo shows, in particular at Ongoing, Tokyo (2015), The National Museum of Art, Osaka (2014), Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden (2014). The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, are also exhibiting his work in 2017. He has appeared in a large number of group exhibitions, such as “Une forme olympique”, HEC – Espace d’Art Contemporain, Jouy-enJosas, France (2016); “Voice of images”, Palazzo Grassi – Fondation Francois Pinault, Venice, Italia (2012); “Waiting for Video: Works from the 1960s to Today”, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan (2009); “Between Art and Life, Performativity in Japanese Art”, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (2008); “Out of the Ordinary: New Video from Japan”, MOCA, Los Angeles, USA (2007); “After the Reality”, Deith Projects, New York, USA (2006). His artworks are part of several major collections, including those of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, the Fondation François Pinault, the Kansas Spencer Museum of Art, the Conseil Général de Seine-Saint-Denis, the Fonds Municipal d’Art Contemporain de la Ville de Paris and the Fondation Kadist.

“While video images cannot be transformed, I can always shake them up. I try to made pieces you can touch. When I press on the ‘play’ button, images then appear like ‘zombies’.” --Taro Izumi

1 Interview with Paloma Blanchet Hidalgo, Slash/Magazine , February 2013


10485 - 20170528 - Exhibition reveals a fresh and sometimes unexpected facet of Claude Monet - Riehen/Bsel - 22.01.2017-28.05.2017


In the year of its 20th birthday, the Fondation Beyeler is devoting an exhibition to Claude Monet, one of the most important artists in its collection. Selected aspects of Monet’s oeuvre will be presented in a distilled overview. By concentrating on his work between 1880 and the beginning of the 20th century, with a forward gaze to his late paintings, the show will reveal a fresh and sometimes unexpected facet of the pictorial magician, who still influences our visual experiencing of nature and landscape today. The leitmotif of the “Monet” exhibition will be light, shadow, and reflection as well as the constantly evolving way in which Monet treated them. It will be a celebration of light and colors. Monet’s famed pictorial worlds - his Mediterranean landscapes, wild Atlantic coastal scenes, various locations places along the course of the River Seine, his flower meadows, haystacks, cathedrals and fog-shrouded bridges - are the exhibition’s focal points.  
In his paintings, Monet experimented with the changing play of light and colors in the course of the day and the seasons. He conjured up magical moods through reflections and shade. Claude Monet was a great pioneer in the field of art, finding the key to the secret garden of modern painting and opening everyone’s eyes to a new way of seeing the world.

The exhibition will show 62 paintings from leading museums in Europe, the USA and Japan, including the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Art, Boston and the Tate, London. 15 paintings from various private collections that are seen extremely rarely and that have not been shown in the context of a Monet exhibition for many years will be special highlights of the show.

Light, shadow, and reflection
Following the death of his wife in 1879, Monet embarked on a phase of reorientation. His time as a pioneer of Impressionism was over; while by no means generally acknowledged as an artist, he was beginning to become more independent financially thanks to the help of his dealer, as is documented by his frequent journeys. Through them, he was, for example, first able to concern himself with Mediterranean light, which provided new impulses for his paintings. His art became more personal, moving away from a strictly Impressionist style.

Above all, however, Monet seems to have increasingly turned painting itself into the theme of his paintings. His comment, as passed down by his stepson Jean Hoschedé, that, for him, the motif was of secondary importance to what happened between him and the motif, should be seen in this light. Monet’s reflections on paintings should be interpreted in two ways. The repetition of his motifs through reflections, which reach their zenith and conclusion in his paintings of the reflections in his water-lily ponds, can also be seen as a continuous reflecting on the potential of painting, which is conveyed through the representation and repetition of a motif on a canvas.

Monet’s representations of shade are another way in which he represented the potential of painting. They are both the imitation and the reverse side of the motif, and their abstract form gives the painting a structure that seems to question the mere copying of the motif. This led to the situation in which Wassily Kandinsky, on the occasion of his famous encounter with Monet’s painting of a haystack seen against the light (Kunsthaus Zurich and in the exhibition), did not recognize the subject for what it was: the painting itself had taken on far greater meaning that the representation of a traditional motif.

Monet’s Pictorial Worlds
The exhibition is a journey through Monet’s pictorial worlds. It is arranged according to different themes. The large first room in the exhibition is devoted to Monet’s numerous and diverse representations of the River Seine. One of the most notable exhibits is his rarely shown portrait of his partner and subsequent wife Alice Hoschedé, sitting in the garden in Vetheuil directly on the Seine.

The next room celebrates Monet’s representation of trees: a subtle tribute to Ernst Beyeler, who devoted an entire exhibition to the theme of trees in 1998. Inspired by colored Japanese woodcuts, Monet repeatedly returned to the motif of trees in different lights, their form, and the shade they cast. Trees often give his paintings a geometric structure, as is particularly obvious in his series.

The luminous colors of the Mediterranean are conveyed by a group of canvases Monet painted in the 1880s. In a letter written at that time, he spoke of the “fairytale light” he had discovered in the South.

In 1886 Monet wrote to Alice Hoschedé that he was “crazy about the sea”. A large section of the exhibition is devoted to the coasts of Normandy and the island Belle-Île as well as to the ever-changing light by the sea. It includes a fascinating sequence of different views of a customs official’s cottage on a cliff that lies in brilliant sunlight at times and in the shade at others. On closer examination, the shade seems to have been created out of myriad colors.

Monet’s paintings of early-morning views of the Seine radiate contemplative peace: the painted motif is repeated as a painted reflection in such a way that the distinction between painted reality and its painted reflection seems to disappear in the rising mist. The entire motif is repeated as a reflection. There is no longer any clear-cut differentiation between the top and bottom parts of the painting, which could equally well be hung upside down. In other words, the convention about how paintings ought to be viewed is abandoned and viewers are left to make their own decision. It is as if Monet sought to convey the constant flux (panta rhei) that is such a fundamental characteristic of nature, capturing not only the way light changes from night to day but also the constant merging of two water courses.

Monet loved London. He sought refuge in the city during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71. As a successful and already well known painter, he went back there at the turn of the century, painting famous views of Waterloo and Charing Cross Bridge as well as of the Houses of Parliament in different lights, particularly in the fog, which turns all forms into mysterious silhouettes. A tribute not only Monet’s famous hero/forerunner William Turner, but also to the world power of Great Britain with its Parliament and the bridges it built through trade.

Monet’s late work consists almost exclusively of paintings of his garden and the reflections in his waterlily ponds, of which the Beyeler Collection owns some outstanding examples. The exhibition’s last room contains a selection of paintings of Monet’s garden in Giverny.



10484 - 20170507 - Serralves Museum presents "Philippe Parreno: A Time Coloured Space" - Porto - 04.02.2017-07.05.2017

Philippe Parreno, Quasi Objects: Marquee (cluster). Disklavier. Piano. My Room is a Fish Bowl, 2014. 56 neon, 20 transformers, 32 light bulbs, 8 sound transducers, sound amplifiers, microphones, computer, disklavier piano, set of fish balloons. Col. Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte Contemporânea, Porto. Acquisition in 2015. Photo: © Andrea Rossetti. Installation views in Esther Schipper Gallery, Berlin.
The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art presents A Time Coloured Space, a major exhibition by French artist Philippe Parreno, his first in Portugal. Curated by the Director of the museum, Suzanne Cotter, the exhibition spans thirteen rooms, across two floors, occupying the museum's entire building.

The exhibition is structured on the mathematical model of the fugue, and conceived around the idea of the counterpoint, or ritournelle, a principle, whereby a particular passage is repeated at regular interludes within a musical arrangement to create compositional meaning. Governed by a similar method, A Time Coloured Space is determined not by its ‘objects’, but by the regularity and rhythm of their appearance, featuring some of Parreno’s most emblematic work dating back to the 1990s.

Throughout his practice, Parreno has redefined the exhibition experience by exploring its possibilities as a coherent ‘object’ and a medium in its own right, rather than as a collection of individual works. To this end, he conceives his exhibitions as a scripted space in which a series of events unfold. Placed within the philosophical framework of Giles Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition (1968), each of the exhibition’s thirteen rooms is a recurrence of the last, differentiated only by variations in color and arrangement. By introducing these recurring variables, Parreno takes the Ritournelle principle beyond its musical understanding to what Deleuze described as ‘a repetition of the different’. As the past and the future are inscribed into the present, the exhibition becomes an automaton, a factory in which to engineer these variables, and a form of imitation becomes a new invention.

Among the works included are Parreno’s Speech Bubbles (1997 and ongoing), helium-filled balloons in the shape of cartoon speech bubbles. Empty of words, they congregate and hover on the ceiling of the space they inhabit. Also returning is Fraught Times: For Eleven Months of the Year it’s an Artwork and then December it’s Christmas (2008-2016), an ongoing series of aluminium sculptures cast as snow-covered Christmas trees.

More than 180 of Parreno’s ink drawings, created between 2012 and 2015, will also be on display. The drawings form the basis of the filmic animation: With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life (2016), a perpetual Danse Macabre controlled by an organic cellular system that will be projected in the Serralves Auditorium as a Cinéma en Permanence.

A series of light objects: AC/DC snakes and Happy Ending Lamps will also punctuate the space.

A recent addition to the Serralves Museum’s permanent collection, Quasi Objects: Marquee (cluster). Disklavier Piano. My Room is a Fish Bowl (2014), serves as the exhibition’s master of ceremonies.