Friday, May 22, 2009

Exclusive interview with Calvert 22's Curatorial Director Jane Neal

Art is Alive catches up with Jane Neal, Curatorial Director of London's first not-for-profit space to focus on art from Russia and Central and Eastern Europe. Calvert 22 opened last week with an inaugural exhibition entitled "Past Future Perfect" which will last until 16 June 2009. Jane Neals tells us more about it.

Can you tell us more about Calvert 22 ?
Calvert 22 is the first London-based, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting contemporary art from Russia and Eastern Europe. It was founded by the Russian art collector and economist, Nonna Materkova, and it is committed to bringing some of the most exciting established and emerging artists from this region to the London art scene. Calvert 22 is situated in Shoreditch, at the heart of London's vibrant cultural centre.

Can you tell us about the inaugural exhibition, Past Future Perfect?
Calvert 22 opened its doors to the public on 13 May 2009 with its inaugural exhibition, Past Future Perfect. The show is curated by David Thorp and features the work of five leading contemporary Russian artists: Alexander Brodsky, Pavel Pepperstein, Haim Sokol, Leonid Tishkov and Stanislav Volyaslovsky. Although the artists vary greatly in terms of the chosen media of their practice, they connect via their common desire to excavate the past; to explore both collective and personal mythologies; and through the realisation of their imaginings of the future. The majority of works in Past Future Perfect are on show in the UK for the first time.

What is the ethos of the space?
Calvert 22 is a not for profit foundation committed to promoting talented established and emerging artists from Russia and Eastern Europe and showcasing their work in the heart of London’s art scene. Besides establishing a strong programme of exhibitions, Calvert 22 is keen to establish an archive, library, education programme and an events series that will both support its exhibitions and encourage and promote research in contempoary Russian and Eastern European art and foster cultural exchange and debate between London and the UK and Russia and Eastern Europe.

How are the curators chosen?
The process is a free rather than a prescribed one, very much a two-way dialogue, and reflects the enthusiasm, interests and aims of both the curators and the Calvert 22 team. Regarding the first exhibition, David Thorp expressed his keen interest in curating a show of contemporary Russian art for Calvert right at the beginning of the space’s renovation. His ideas for putting together an exhibition were in line with Calvert 22’s belief that contemporary Russian art should reflect something of the quality of the ‘mysterious Russian soul’ and that it would be more interesting for the British public to see something of the sensitive, and poetic side of contemporary Russian art as can be found in Leonid Tishkov’s work, for example, in conjunction with the introduction of artists who are addressing subcultural references such as Stas Volyaslovsky, or dealing with issues of identity and memory, such as Haim Sokol. The second exhibition is to be curated by me and reflects my interest in the developing careers of strong, emerging painters from Russia and Eastern Europe. These past four years I’ve worked extensively with painters from Romania and Hungary in particular and I relish the opportunity to showcase some of these highly talented young individuals in the Calvert 22 space and programme. Our third exhibition, ‘Re imagining October’ is to be curated by Mark Nash and Isaac Julien and will reflect their expertise and passion for contemporary film and video, coupled with their fascination for examining the impact and legacy of revolution and the end of the soviet era, and the research, discovery and presentation of established and emerging artists from Russia working in film and new media. Our fourth exhibition promises to be very exciting, it will open on 9th November and will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Going forwards we hope to not only promote artists from Russia and Easern Europe, but also young and established curators, writers and academics too.

How were the artists selected?
As I mentioned previously, we wanted to select artists that reflect the more poetic, sensitive and unpredictable qualities of Russian contemporary art. We were keen to feature works that would hopefully be exciting and intriguing and unexpected for a British audience, and that would engage with Russia’s past while also projecting forwards to its future.

Are you planning partnerships with other institutions in London or in the world?
We are very eager to establish Calvert 22 as part of London’s rich and varied art scene. At the moment we’re basking in the great reception we’ve enjoyed for our first show and eagerly planning and working towards our up-coming exhibitions. It is early days, and as the year unfolds we will continue to develop our plans for Calvert 22.
If you haven't been yet, run !

Image Captions
Leonid TishkovThe Knitling, 2002© - The ArtistPhoto: Franc HerfortCourtesy of the Artist and NCCA, Moscow
Installation Shot CaptionsAll imagesPhoto: Stephen WhiteCourtesy Calvert 22, London

To learn more:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Venice Biennale 2009

The 53rd International Art Exhibition opens on 7th June 2009

Venice, 23rd March 2009
The 53rd International Art Exhibition, entitled Fare Mondi // Making Worlds // Bantin Duniyan // 制造世界 // Weltenmachen // Construire des Mondes // Fazer Mundos…, directed by Daniel Birnbaum, organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta, will open to the public from Sunday June, 7th to Sunday November, 22nd 2009 in the Giardini (50,000 sq.m.) and the Arsenale (38,000 sq.m.) as well as in various other locations around the city. The press preview will take place on June 4th, 5th, and 6th 2009.

The Director of the 53rd Exhibition, Daniel Birnbaum, has been Rector of the Staedelschule Frankfurt/Main and its Kunsthalle Portikus since 2001. Fare Mondi // Making Worlds, presented in the renewed Palazzo delle Esposizioni in the Giardini and in the Arsenale, is a single, large exhibition that articulates different themes woven into one whole. It is not divided into sections. Considering collectives, it comprises works by over 90 artists from all over the world and includes many new works and on-site commissions in all disciplines.

“The title of the exhibition, Fare Mondi // Making Worlds – says Director Daniel Birnbaum – expresses my wish to emphasize the process of creation. A work of art represents a vision of the world and if taken seriously it can be seen as a way of making a world. The strength of the vision is not dependent on the kind or complexity of the tools brought into play. Hence all forms of artistic expression are present: installation art, video and film, sculpture, performance, painting and drawing, and a live parade. Taking 'worldmaking' as a starting point, also allows the exhibition to highlight the fundamental importance of certain key artists for the creativity of successive generations, just as much as exploring new spaces for art to unfold outside the institutional context and beyond the expectations of the art market. Fare Mondi // Making Worlds is an exhibition driven by the aspiration to explore worlds around us as well as worlds ahead. It is about possible new beginnings—this is what I would like to share with the visitors of the Biennale.”

For the direction of the exhibition Daniel Birnbaum is supported by Jochen Volz, artistic organization. Additional advice is provided by an international team of correspondents consisting of Savita Apte, Tom Eccles, Hu Fang, and Maria Finders.

On the occasion of the 53rd International Art Exhibition – the Venice Biennale Foundation inaugurates a number of important structural and organisational developments:

At the Arsenale, the Italian Pavilion has been enlarged from 800 to 1,800 square meters, now opening out to the Giardino delle Vergini and adjacent to a new public entrance. Here a newly constructed bridge links the far side of the Arsenale to the Sestiere di Castello. This renewed Italian Pavilion will be reserved for exhibitions organised by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Affairs. The Italian participation at the 53rd International Art Exhibition is curated by Beatrice Buscaroli and Luca Beatrice. Furthermore, the Arsenale’s exhibition spaces have been extended by developing a larger part of the Giardino delle Vergini (Garden of the Virgins), now measuring 6,000 square meters and offering an enchanting new exhibition space for the main exhibition.

In the Giardini, the historic Italian Pavilion has been renamed Palazzo delle Esposizioni della Biennale and extensively transformed, now providing a permanent exhibition and multi-functional venue opened to the public throughout the year. The transformed Palazzo delle Esposizioni includes a newly refurbished wing housing the library of the Historic Archives of Contemporary Arts (ASAC), made available again to the public after ten years of closure. The Archive comprises documents, books, catalogues and periodicals, freely consultable by researchers and exhibition visitors. Apart from exhibition spaces, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni also comprises a new bookstore, a new café and new spaces for educational activities, respectively designed by three artists participating in the main exhibition. The Palazzo delle Esposizioni will therefore become an important platform for the Foundation’s permanent activities and a point of reference for the other Pavilions in the Giardini.

Ca’ Giustinian, the beautiful 15th century palace on the Canale Grande near San Marco and the traditional site of the Foundation’s headquarters, will reopen in June after several years of renovation. Apart from housing the offices of the Biennale, it will then also become an “open house” for the general public, among others boasting a cafe on the Grand Canal.

The Awards and Opening Ceremony of the 53rd International Art Exhibition will take place on Saturday, June 6th in the Giardini. Following Director’s suggestion, the President and the Board of the Foundation are this year awarding two Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement , one to Yoko Ono and one to John Baldessari.

The other Golden Lion Awards – the Golden Lion for Best National Participation of the 53rd International Art Exhibition; the Golden Lion for the Best Artist of the exhibition Fare Mondi // Making Worlds; and the Silver Lion for a Promising Young Artist of the exhibition Fare Mondi // Making Worlds – will be selected by an International Jury chaired by Angela Vettese (Italy), and comprising Jack Bankowsky (USA), Homi K. Bhabha (India), Sarat Maharaj (South Africa), and Julia Voss (Germany).

The National Participations of the 53rd International Art Exhibition, presented in the historical Pavilions in the Giardini, in selected areas of the Arsenale and in numerous venues throughout the city, are this year amounting to the record number of 77 Nations participating, including first-time participations of Montenegro, Principality of Monaco, Republic of Gabon, Union of Comoros, and United Arab Emirates.

Furthermore there is a record number of 38 Collateral Events, proposed by international organizations and institutions, which will organize their own exhibitions and initiatives in Venice during the occasion.

Inaugurating the renovated headquarters of the Biennale as yet another exhibition venue, The Vision Machine: Futurists in the Biennale will be presented at Ca’ Giustinian from June to November 2009. The exhibition explores the presence of Futurist artists, ideas and works in the Biennale. Curated by IUAV, International Semiotics Laboratory Venice, it is the result of a research undertaken at the Historic Archive of the Contemporary Arts (ASAC).

The two volume catalogue of the 53rd International Art Exhibition will be published by Marsilio.
The official website is

The 53rd International Art Exhibition is made possible thanks to the support of: Aci - Automobile Club d’Italia, Foscarini, Nivea, Artek, Micromegas, Casamania, Matteograssi, Bisazza, Link, and Mediacontech. We wish also to thank the firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada « Un jardin de Corazones », in Museum of Roubaix, Northern France

Representative fashion designer/ stylist of the cultural movement called la movida in Spain, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada introduces us to her very colourful universe in la Piscine, Museum of Roubaix in Northern France.

In the first room of this exhibition, we discover a drawing selection, where she pays tribute to artists she admires such as the American artist Sean Scully, autoportraits "à la" Andy Warhol, and a Paco Rabanne-inspired dress.

She then allows us to penetrate in her garden, a huge green room, where we can admire 80 emblematic dresses : sweathearts, explosive colours, flowers, cage dress, fish dress ; each piece being an artwork.

Her imagination and audacious creations make her one of the most famous Spanish stylists of our times. She started her career in 1981, at the age of 21 and her first fashion show took place at the contemporary museum in Madrid. She wanted to make « strange things that people will not forget » . After nearly 30 years as a fashion designer, she is still exploring forms, materials, styles, flashy colours, in a very generous way.

Until the 21th of June, Musée La Piscine in Roubaix, Nord Pas de Calais, France.

By Emilie Rousseau, fashion correspondent in France.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Campana Brothers: I just love this canapé

This is one the best pieces spotted at the Design fair in Milan. The Campana brothers will celebrate their 20th anniversary this year, and they still have a lot of inspiration.

To learn more:

Art-Athina and the Thessaloniki Biennale

Teta Makri, Untitled, 2008, pencil on paper

The Greek art scene seems to be prolific with vibrant contemporary cutting edge events. Among them in May Art-Athina and the Thessaloniki Biennale.

Art Athina - 21-24 May 2009 in Faliro Bay, in Athens, Greece.This is the 15th edition of the fair and the first under the direction of Alexandros J. Stanas and 56 international galleries, mainly Greek, will be participating.

Paolo Colombo is curating a parallel exhibition entitled "In Praise of Shadows" at the Benaki Museum. The exhibition explores the parallels between the traditions of shadow theatre and the new narrative spirit in contemporary art bringing together works and films by Haluk Akakce (Turkey), Nathalie Djurberg (Sweden), William Kentridge (South Africa) among others.

The second collateral event is a photography exhibition, which was presented for the first time in 2008 at the Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image in Nice, in France. It is curated by Vangelis Ioakimidis (Director of the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography) and Jean-Pierre Giusto (ex-Director of the Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image) and includes 100 works from 10 young Greek photographers.

2nd THESSALONIKI BIENNALE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, "Praxis: Art in Times of Uncertainty"
May 24 – September 27, 2009
12 exhibitions and activities / more than 150 artists / 39 countries / 12 entities from this city/ 28 venues

"Praxis: Art in Times of Uncertainty" is this year's theme of the Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, which runs from May 24 to September 27, 2009. The Biennale is organized by the State Museum of Contemporary Art with the support of the Greek Ministry of Culture, and is co-curated by Bisi Silva (Nigeria), Director of the The Centre of Contemporary Art in Lagos; Gabriela Salgado (Argentina), Curator of Public Programmes in Tate Modern and Independent Curator; and Syrago Tsiara, Director of the Thessaloniki Center for Contemporary Art.

To learn more:

Friday, May 8, 2009

Adriana Varejão at Lehmann Maupin, New York

Adriana Varejão at Lehmann Maupin, New York

7 May - 10 July 2009

For Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão's third exhibition at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, she will present a new large-scale painting and works on paper at the gallery's 540 West 26th Street location. This will be Varejão's first gallery exhibition in four years and the first to include works on paper.

Using precise geometry and a serene monochrome palette, Varejão elaborates on her sauna series, which portrays the cold, tranquil interiors of these spaces. Previous works in the series have been notable for their emptiness, and while the new works maintain the minimalism and distance of previous works, the paintings and drawings in this exhibition are brought to life by rippling water and rays of sunlight.

Varejão's diversity of disciplines includes painting, sculpture, installation and photography through which she mines the cultural histories of colonial Brazil in conjunction with the histories of painting. Past bodies of work have included large Portuguese tiles that utilize fabrication methods barred from export outside of the country, and her Ruína de Charque series presents modern day architectural ruins comprised of tiles and visceral exposed flesh. Referencing the history of painting, her sauna series utilizes the refined grid structure of Modernism and hints of Cubism.

Born in 1964 in Rio de Janeiro, where she lives and works, Adriana Varejão is one of Brazil's leading contemporary artists. Her work is included in the collections of The Tate Modern in London; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Hara Museum in Tokyo; and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, among others. She also has a permanent pavilion devoted to her work at the Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim in Brazil that opened in 2008. Varejão has exhibited extensively internationally-including at the Biennale of Sydney, the Venice Biennale, and the São Paulo Biennial-and has had solo exhibitions at Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden and the Instituto de Arte Contemporanea, Lisbon. Recently, the Hara Museum in Tokyo and Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris featured solo exhibitions of her work. She was included in the Brazil: Body and Soul exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2001, as well as in the MoMA QNS exhibition Tempo, where she filled an entire room with the wall-based installation Azulejões (Big Blue Tiles).

Image:ADRIANA VAREJAOO Iluminado (The Shining), 2009oil on linen90.55 x 220.47 inches, 230 x 560 cmCourtesy of Lehmann Maupin, New York

Lehmann Maupin540 West 26th StreetNew York, NY 10001New York+1 212.255.2923

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Art historians claim Van Gogh's ear 'cut off by Gauguin'

Art historians claim Van Gogh's ear 'cut off by Gauguin'
From the Guardian.
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris, Monday 4 May 2009 21.55 BST
Article history

'Self-portrait with cut ear' by Vincent Van Gogh. Photograph: Roger-Viollet/Rex Features

Vincent van Gogh's fame may owe as much to a legendary act of self-harm, as it does to his self-portraits. But, 119 years after his death, the tortured post-Impressionist's bloody ear is at the centre of a new controversy, after two historians suggested that the painter did not hack off his own lobe but was attacked by his friend, the French artist Paul Gauguin.

According to official versions, the disturbed Dutch painter cut off his ear with a razor after a row with Gauguin in 1888. Bleeding heavily, Van Gogh then walked to a brothel and presented the severed ear to an astonished prostitute called Rachel before going home to sleep in a blood-drenched bed.

But two German art historians, who have spent 10 years reviewing the police investigations, witness accounts and the artists' letters, argue that Gauguin, a fencing ace, most likely sliced off the ear with his sword during a fight, and the two artists agreed to hush up the truth.
In Van Gogh's Ear: Paul Gauguin and the Pact of Silence, published in Germany, Hamburg-based academics Hans Kaufmann and Rita Wildegans argue that the official version of events, based largely on Gauguin's accounts, contain inconsistencies and that both artists hinted that the truth was more complex.

Van Gogh and Gauguin's troubled friendship was legendary. In 1888, Van Gogh persuaded him to come to Arles in the south of France to live with him in the Yellow House he had set up as a "studio of the south". They spent the autumn painting together before things soured. Just before Christmas, they fell out. Van Gogh, seized by an attack of a metabolic disease became aggressive and was apparently crushed when Gauguin said he was leaving for good.

Kaufmann told the Guardian: "Near the brothel, about 300 metres from the Yellow House, there was a final encounter between them: Vincent might have attacked him, Gauguin wanted to defend himself and to get rid of this 'madman'. He drew his weapon, made some movement in the direction of Vincent and by that cut off his left ear." Kaufmann said it was not clear if it was an accident or an aimed hit.

While curators at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam stand by the theory of self-mutilation, Kaufmann argues that Van Gogh dropped hints in letters to his brother, Theo, once commenting : "Luckily Gauguin ... is not yet armed with machine guns and other dangerous war weapons."

I find it so interesting especially because I lived in Arles. The eternal fight, between artists is also fascinating.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Beautiful video: Marilyn Manson, The Dope Show

To learn more:

Major Kandinsky exhibition at Le Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris

Wassily Kandinsky at Le Centre Georges Pompidou until 10 August

This major retrospective of the work of one of the 20th century's key figures, Vassili Kandinsky, was assembled jointly by Centre Pompidou, the Städtische Galerie in Lenbachhaus in Munich and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of New York, which hold the largest collections of the artist's works.
It brings together around one hundred of Kandinsky's finished paintings, particularly the Impressions and the Improvisations. It offers a unique chance to look through the eyes of the painter born in 1866 in Moscow under the Czar, and who died in 1944 in Neuilly-sur Seine, as a French citizen.
In the interval, he experienced two of the high spots of creation in the 20th century: the Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) in Munich before the First World War and the Bauhaus at Weimar and Dessau in the inter-war period. The completion of the catalogue raisonné of his work, and recent discoveries in Russia give us an overview of his painting which goes beyond the narrow posthumous conception of him as "inventor of abstraction". The Paris exhibit also provides an update on the constant additions to the Kandinsky collection – exceptional watercolours and manuscripts for the "Russian" period 1914-1917, a portfolio from the Bauhaus for his 60th birthday in 1926.
If you're in Paris, don't miss it.

Vogue May 2009: Annie Leibovitz strikes again

These beautiful images by Annie Leibovitz illustrate the American Vogue May 2009. The only mistake is... Justin Timberlake.

The winners of the Hyères festival were announced Sunday evening by Kriss Van Assche, president of the jury mode. This year, the couple Latvia Marite Mastin & Rolands Peterkops won the "Grand Prix du Jury L'Oréal Professionnel".

For 24 years, the Festival International de la Mode et de la Photographie d'Hyères brings together ten designers and ten photographers to celebrate these two medium. Marked by catwalks shows and exhibitions, it is held each year at the Villa Noailles by a prestigious jury. The festival was chaired by Kris Van Asche, partly supported by Zoe Cassavetes, Jefferson Hack and Nan Goldin. Photographer Steven Meisel (collaborated with Lanvin, LV, Madonna etc.) will be honored with a retrospective exhibition from 2 May to 7 June.

Roni Horn at Tate Modern, London, UK

Roni Horn a.k.a Roni Horn at Tate Modern
Until 25 May 2009

Roni Horn is an American artist who has been making work since the 1970s. Horn worked through the legacy of minimalism yet developed her own concerns with memory and identity, and this is her first major museum show in the UK. Using a variety of materials including rubber, glass and gold, Horn’s work has an immense beauty and sensuality to it.

The exhibition explores ideas that interest the artist about mutability and place. Her round, colourful cast-glass sculptures seem to have a liquid surface to them, and many of her photographs analyse the nature of water. Though based in New York, Horn is engaged with the landscape of Iceland, as a place which is constantly in a process of formation. In You are the Weather 1994–5, a set of 100 close-up photographs show a beautiful woman’s wet face with changing expressions emerging from hot pools around Iceland. She also photographs the landscape and animals, the geysers and lava fields. Horn is interested in the idea of pairing and doubling. Many of her intricately constructed drawings feature paired clusters of cut-up lines. She often uses two identical photographs in a single work, breaking up the images to give the viewer a sense of déjà vu, such as in Dead Owl 1998, a pair of photographs of a stuffed snowy owl.

I really liked the exhibition especially the room with water-related images, although sometimes the space was a bit too large for the artworks. I also regretted that no litterature in the exhibition expressed the fact that she's lesbian. Sexuality is explored through this exhibition but no mention of her attraction to women which could have been interesting if clearly expressed. What do you think ?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...