Hoard Inaugural

Hoard Inaugural

06SEP(SEP 6)0:0011OCT(OCT 11)0:00Hoard InauguralL.A.C.A, 709 N Hill Street Suite 104/8 (upstairs) 90012

Anonymous, Autonomous Oral History Group, Kelman Duran, Arshia Haq, Nick Kochornswasdi, Halldora Miyoko Magnusdottir, Olivia Mole, Misael Oquendo, Rapterotica/Cephalerotica Index, Hande Sever, Alan Tofighi, Adam Wand

Organized by Scott Benzel

Collier Mansion, New York, NY, 1947

Hoard Inaugural is the ‘inauguration’ of a collection of works whose subjects or creators tread the line between the indexical, rationalized modality of the archive, the aestheticized art collection, and the ‘hoard’, a term that has become synonymous with irrationality and psychological dysfunction as manifested in material accumulation.  The title begs the question- can a ‘hoard’ in fact be ‘inaugurated’ or does it necessarily arise spontaneously from repressed, subconscious forces- either in the interior psychological realm, the ‘real’ or objective realm, or in the ossification of the irrational within the otherwise ‘objective’ historical origins of much of the work?

The standard cultural interpretation of hoarding roots it in dysfunction, in OCD and the legacy of Freudian anality as it collides with the material world. Hoarding is often regarded as a malady affecting the lower tiers of the class spectrum, however, when value judgments regarding specific materiality are removed, it bears remarkable similarity to some of culture’s most highly regarded activities. Activities such as the accumulation and preservation of artifacts in museums, libraries, and archives, and the acquisition of wealth or money above levels necessary for survival.

Photographs of the homes of Modernist collectors like the Arensbergs, or Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, or of Andre Breton’s atelier, or of Freud’s office, betray similarities to scenes on the television show Hoarders, with the important difference that the objects piled into the collectors’ spaces are considered ‘culturally significant’. This significance is very much a phenomenon of external cultural agreement; the value of a given collection or ‘hoard’ is based almost entirely on externalist considerations. The hoard differs from the archive perhaps only in the degree of its subjective definition of value.  Erich Fromm defined hoarding as:

…the acquisition of, and failure to discard, possessions which appear to be useless or of limited value. 

The hoard is thus often a source of private meaning or pride and public shame. Hidden, occulted, a family secret, it’s meanings and connections are known to only one or a few, perhaps to an amour fou, perhaps to a ‘nuclear’ family, perhaps to a generation or two of descendants.

Social Psychologists Randy O. Frost And Rachel C. Gross’s landmark 1993 study The Hoarding Of Possessions was a detailed attempt to get beyond Freudian analysis and OCD and to address instead the psychocultural roots of the phenomenon. Frost and Gross cite Furby’s analysis as one sociocultural precursor:

Furby concluded that central to the meaning of possession is control. Possessions are meaningful because people have use of them, or control over the use of them. People need to feel in control of their environment, and possessions allow them to do so. 

Alan Tofighi’s TPLRDR Stereographically Reprocessed I VII incorporates seemingly polar extremes of the ontological axis – hoarding and VR  – opposing the overactualized to the purely virtual. Tofighi’s photographic VR reproduction of an actual hoarder’s home suggests that the two phenomena are linked existentially and epistemically. The hoard which renders a home uninhabitable appears here tied to mounting terror around the crisis of homelessness which removes the body from the home entirely, exposing it to the ‘outside’, the violence of the street, and tying it to virtuality, the disappearance of ‘actual’ objects and enclosed space. Fullness and alienation, the fullness of terror in Freud’s ‘unheimlich’ (unhomely), and the ‘uncanny’ emptiness of VR are linked. The piece also suggests the ongoing critique of materiality in art rooted in twin exhibitions by Arman and Yves Klein, ‘Full’ and ‘The Void’, one filling, the other emptying the space of Iris Clert’s Paris gallery.

Hande Sever’s video works reveal the mechanisms of the index and collecting in the process of ‘othering’ political dissidents and immigrants, a methodology born in the 19th Century with the Hollerith tabulator, a punchcard based protocomputer for sorting populations. Günler Yürüdüğünde (As Days Started Walking) chronicles her mother’s experiences, told through vintage Turkish television footage and objects, following the aftermath of the 1980 Turkish coup d’état.

Olivia Mole’s VR and video work upsets cultural agreements on the values and meanings embodied by mainstays of popular and children’s culture. Across a wider project, Mole reinvents the figures of Bambi and the medieval unicorn as cultural fugitives who have rejected the work of cuteness and availability. Bambi Holes presents a Bambi unmoved by a barrage of casting agent pitches, in a state of emotional inertia brought on by an excess of manipulation. 

Misael Oquendo’s video Ladrón vertiginously accumulates AI and CGI imagery, obscure subcultures, and peculiar narratives, piling a story about a family’s multigenerational oyster addiction onto a narrative about an archive of samizdat maintained by a ‘master’ incel. The result is something like a hallucination of the contemporary through the skewed lenses of Reddit and 4chan, the fog of Youtube and Gab aesthetics, and outrageous but weirdly personal narratives.

Halldora Miyoko Magnusdottir’s ongoing Serendipity Pattern of Geomyths traces the global spread of myth. In collections of artifacts, artist’s books, and videos documenting her online and IRL explorations mapping tangled subterranean connections, she links disparate contemporary sites of myth to ancient global roots.

In Use By ۸۷ (Use by 87), Arshia Haq memorializes the television and advertising culture of the SWANA region (a region that she reimagines in her ongoing project Discostan) from the period of her youth, to create a catalog of personal and cultural ‘expired’ desires.

Kabbalah scholar and Walter Benjamin associate Gershom Scholem’s speech at the inauguration of the Golem Aleph, the first Israeli supercomputer, linked the retributive folk legend of the Golem and the alphanumerical mysteries of Kabbalah to the birth of technoscience. Adam Wand’s video The Golem of Rehovoth integrates Scholem’s speech, ephemera and publicity related to the unveiling of the supercomputer, and scenes from the early 20th Century Golem film subgenre.

Works by Kelman Duran, the Autonomous Oral History Group, and Nick Kochornswasdi raise questions of presentation, distribution, and facticity. Each incorporates the aesthetic and distributive elements of ‘entertainment’ to deliver information and data most often reserved for the sociological database or the activist meeting. Duran’s underground dance music and videos incorporate documentary sound and footage from the Dakota Water Protectors and other contemporary indigineous protection and liberation movements, bringing these movements into conversation with international youth culture. The Autonomous Oral History Group counterveils diverse individual’s relationships to power in the form of recorded oral histories with danceable music and indexical, gridlike videos. Nick Kochornswasdi’s online game Please come over, featuring a friendly yet disturbing avatar of the artist showing the player around his virtual home, drove Markiplier, a Youtube gamer with 24 million followers, to near insanity and in the process exposed 3.2 million viewers to the artwork.

Several works explore the vast world obscured by Nondisclosure Agreements, other forms of hidden information, and what could be characterized as the archival equivalent of Bataille’s ‘accursed share’. This type of illicit archive is well known to legal scholars and tabloid journalists and the viewing of it, sometimes the mere knowledge of it, can invoke a sense of rapturous disoccultation, of ‘scales falling from the eyes’. Alternatively, it can trigger one’s sense of ‘never being able to unsee’ unethical, specious, or fetishistic information. The Bibliotheque Nationale’s archive of the Marquis de Sade, the Vatican library’s collection of grimoires and other ‘opposition’ literature are but two examples of how the abject and tentacles of irrationality can be indexed, rationalized, and recuperated by the archive.

In their work with smuggled footage, Anonymous explore the subject of their own NDA’s, a Malibu based narcissist intent on turning her life into a reality television show. Another anonymous suppressed film tracks the descent into drug abuse and madness and the eventual demise of a pharmaceutical heiress. The Rapterotica/Cephalerotica Index catalogs the products of several fetish subcultures, in the case of Rapterotica a parodic fetish subculture with roots in the ‘real world’, in the case of Cephalerotica, a subculture with roots in Hosukai’s infamous 18th Century print The Fisherman’s Wife culminating in the ‘accursed’ Overfiend films of 1990’s Japan. 

A collection is a tricky thing. Somewhat akin to the creation of the Winchester house, with its chaos of useless spaces and deadend staircases (following a psychic’s suggestion, the owner, heiress to the Winchester armaments fortune, continuously added to the home as a means of placating the hungry ghosts of victims of gun violence), a rational, organized collection can devolve into chaos much as valuable artifacts can devolve into uselessness. More prosaic than the vaults of unseen artworks that termite the mountains surrounding Zurich are the overstocked vintage record and book stores of the San Fernando Valley, stores like Atomic Records and Ulysses’ Voyage,  with aisles rendered impassable by unexamined cardboard boxes full of unknown pleasures and their abject neighbors, prop houses and FX shops like Dapper Cadaver that overflow with polyfoam severed heads and limbs. Famous cultural institutions are similarly results of this process, the Watts Monument, the chaotic bookshelves of the Warburg Institute, or artistic and literary works, Benjamin’s Arcades project, Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas, Noah Purifoy’s 66 Signs, Harold Szeeman’s Museum of Obsessions…

Hoard Inaugural’s works function on a vector divorced from the model of the standardized, refined index or ‘complete’ artwork. They are works and collections that tarry with the hoard and sometimes succumb. The works suggest the possibility of endless conjugation and the impossibility of final categorization, they contain evidence of digging, of obsession, and in some cases unresolvable moral quandaries. If the index, the archive, and the collection are tools and signs of power, the hoard is itself a form of power, prerational, preconcious; transcending categorization, ‘information’, and knowledge; occasionally eclipsing human understanding itself.

The Fletcher Family: A Lifetime in Surf

The Fletcher Family: A Lifetime in Surf

25JUL(JUL 25)0:0030AUG(AUG 30)0:00The Fletcher Family: A Lifetime in SurfGAGOSIAN NYC, 980 Madison Avenue NY 10075 New York , USA

The practice of the artist . . . is no different than that of the surfer, who inscribes his or her self in the ocean—a bigger canvas could not be engaged, defining their humanity in the most personal way, using themselves to draw their lifelines through the massive fleeting freedom of that power. The power and majesty of the sea—Herbie shared that with me and with my family as well as his own.
—Julian Schnabel

Herbie Fletcher, Wrecktangle #12, 2014. Foam, fiberglass, acrylic paint, and steel 90 x 264 x 24 in 228.6 x 670.6 x 61 cm © Herbie Fletcher. Courtesy Fletcher Family and Gagosian

Gagosian presents an exhibition celebrating the publication of Fletcher: A Lifetime in Surf by Rizzoli in 2019. The legendary Fletcher family has been an institution and guiding presence in surf and skate culture for decades, with an influence that extends to the worlds of fashion, music, streetwear, and art. Now, Fletcher: A Lifetime in Surf, written by Dibi Fletcher—wife of Herbie and matriarch of what Esquire has called “surfing’s first family”—simultaneously traces the evolution of the Fletcher family’s life and offers an oral history of surfing’s counterculture from the 1950s to today.

Throughout the volume, the family’s intimate storyline is augmented with anecdotes from luminaries including surfing legend Gerry Lopez, Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys, artist Julian Schnabel, eleven-time world champion pro surfer Kelly Slater, and Steve Van Doren, of the Vans skate shoe company. Dibi’s recollections begin with her childhood memories of her father, big-wave surfing pioneer Walter Hoffman. She then goes on to narrate her union with Herbie, as well as the lives of their sons Christian and Nathan, both surfers, and their grandson, Greyson, a renowned skateboarder, all of whom have erased the boundaries between surfing and skateboarding.

To commemorate the publication of the book, Gagosian will install artworks from four different series by Herbie Fletcher at 976 Madison Avenue. Fletcher’s Wrecktangles are large sculptures made from once-perfect, custom surfboards that have been ridden and broken by the greatest contemporary tube riders at the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii. For years now, elite surfers, known as “Wave Warriors,” have saved their boards to be made into Wrecktangles. The accumulated boards tell oblique stories about the culture of surfing. The board recurs in the Wall of Disaster series, which features masses of skateboards mounted to the wall in anarchic accumulations. Similar to their surfboard counterparts, they form a cacophony of logos and images.

In his Blood Water paintings, Fletcher uses mineral-rich earth from the Waimea River, Hawaii. After the winter rains on the North Shore of Oahu have subsided, he paddles up the river with large pieces of untreated canvas on the nose of his surfboard, staining them in the iron-oxide-rich red earth washed down from volcanoes. After they are completely saturated, he paddles back to the coral sand beach and lays the canvas out to dry, creating visions reminiscent of ancient petroglyphs. Similarly, in his Connecting to the Earth paintings, Fletcher affixes found objects from the Hawaiian shores such as netting, and burlap used to carry taro, to the canvas, paying homage to native Hawaiian traditions.

Alongside these works will be an installation of ephemera—including photographs, posters, sketches, maps, surf magazines, boards, and memorabilia—accumulated from the family’s life of surfing. Gagosian Shop will also feature magazines, T-shirts, limited-edition skate decks, surfboards, and other items linked to the Fletcher family, including a Gagosian/Fletcher designed T-shirt to commemorate the exhibition.

Gagosian will also screen the film Heavy Water, released in 2019, a documentary about Nathan Fletcher, at 7pm on Monday, July 29, at Guild Hall, East Hampton, with an introduction by Julian Schnabel.

Herbie Fletcher was born in 1948 in Pasadena, California, and lives in San Clemente, California. Exhibitions include Harder. Betterer. Fasterer. Strongerer, Brucennial, New York (2012); Wrecktangles, The Hole New York (2013); Path of a Wave Warrior: Selections from the Fletcher Collection, Museum of Art & History, Lancaster, CA (2014); and Barry McGee: SB Mid Summer Intensive, Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, CA (2018). Fletcher is globally recognized as a surfing legend and a pioneering inventor who helped shape the way surfing is practiced today. He has produced and starred in numerous surfing films, and in 1976 founded Astrodeck, a company that produces equipment for surfers.

Venice Biennale / PAVILION OF UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – INTERVIEW WITH Nujoom AlGhanem

Venice Biennale / PAVILION OF UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – INTERVIEW WITH Nujoom AlGhanem

Nujoom AlGhanem is interviewed by Hania Afifi

While the entire world was preoccupied with the damages of the 2008 financial crisis, the UAE was busy preparing for its debut at the 53rd International Venice Art Exhibition of 2009. It is as if they were determined to tell the world, that culture continues to be produced and deserves to be celebrated despite economic hardships.  Fast forward 10 years later, and we find ourselves in a similar scenario but with different challenges. The 2019 UAE national pavilion presents a solo exhibition for renown Emirati poet and filmmaker, Nujoom AlGhanem.  It is conceived as a single site-specific immersive work.  Composed of a 26-minutes two-channel video and twelve-channel sound installation entitled Passage, it addresses the global pressing issues of migration and displacement.  The immersive nature of this video-narrated poem enables you to experience the psychological, emotional and physical attributes of a journey; whether it be through yourself or a passage onto a different life.  We caught up with AlGhanem and asked her about her own passage through the Venice Biennale.

National Pavilion UAE 2019 artist Nujoom Alghanem.
Image courtesy National Pavilion UAE – La Biennale di Venezia
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Hania Afifi:

When and how did you know that you were selected to represent the UAE at for its national pavilion?

Nujoom AlGhanem:

It was an indescribable moment, full of joy and wonder. I was alone in my studio when Sam and Till, our curators, called me. Sam asked me if I was sitting or standing. I told him “I’m painting”. He said, “ok leave everything and sit down”. I was exactly in the middle of the studio and when he informed me that I would have been the solo artist for the year 2019 so I started screaming saying “oh my God, oh my God”.

HA: Who was the first person you shared the good news with?

NA: The first person I told her was my daughter, Fatima because she is an artist and shares with me the studio space almost every day. And the second one was my husband.

HA: Poetry is an aural art form deeply ingrained in the UAE culture.  Why did you add another sensory dimension with film?

NA: For this project the film was the first choice. However, poetry is a major part of my practice and introducing it side by side with the moving picture was an artistic decision because poetry is a unique form of expression. 

HA: Do you feel that film will limit the listener’s imagination of the poem?

NA: The project depends on both languages, visual and auditory. The visual image is also powerful and can convey the meaning profoundly. It can expand the significance of meanings. The curators and I felt that poetry will add another important layer to the narrative. As for the central poem used in the film “The Passerby Collects the Moonlight”, it was written in 2009, almost 10 years earlier. 

Nujoom Alghanem, Passage (production still), 2019.
Courtesy National Pavilion UAE – La Biennale di Venezia.
Photo credit Augustine Paredes of Seeing Things
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Nujoom Alghanem, Passage production still 2019.
Courtesy National Pavilion UAE – La Biennale di Venezia.
Photo credit Augustine Paredes of Seeing Things
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HA: Passage Is an amalgamation of two art forms: film-making and poetry writing.  Tell me about the challenges you faced in realizing this piece?

NA: Each stage has its own beauty and challenges. Yet, choosing the theme and writing was the longest which is logical in any film project. Shooting with around 100 extras in the desert was the most difficult part technically and logistically. Then shooting in the sea was another challenging part because we were watching the weather forecast to shoot the misty morning. 

HA: There is no doubt that the theme of displacement and migration is a global hot topic, however, the UAE is not at the centre of it.  Why did you choose to explore this theme for the UAE pavilion?

NA: The Committee of the National Pavilion United Arab Emirates, La Biennale di Venezia, Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, the Commissioner, and the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development which accepted me as the Emirati artist to present the country in the 2019 Biennial, were very liberal and supportive of my concept. They respected my choice and helped me and the curators make it happen.

HA: From your point of view, what is the role of the artist in global discourse?

NA: The artist is responsible for his/her concept, style, genera, language, approach, etc. It is important to give him/her the space and freedom to practice their art. If someone doesn’t like the outcome of his/her work that doesn’t mean he can prevent him/her from exhibiting or publishing. 

HA: Some artists say “we make art for art’s sake”.  What are your views on this?

NA: That’s the artist’s choice and we have to respect it.

HA: In recent years, the UAE government has actively encouraged creativity and the arts through numerous programs to nurture and develop young talents. From your viewpoint, is it important that the government takes an active role in the Arts? And Why?

NA: Sometimes societies cannot understand the importance of art because of different levels of education, understanding, awareness or lack of knowledge. However, the institutions can because they are found to support and educate individuals as well as public. They can give the artists the chance to show their creativity in a healthy environment. They can create these healthy environments and provide protection so different art forms can survive and progress.

HA: Impressionism was born in France, Futurism in Italy and Abstract Expressionism in the US, what genre do you hope the UAE will be recognized for?

NA: In our time in the 80s we wanted to create an art movement that stands for its own. With Hassan Sharif we were fascinated by the new forms. After more than two decades Hassan’s work got to be described as conceptual, he even was called the Father of Conceptual Art in the UAE.  Hassan himself didn’t want to be labeled but he got that tag next to his name. I cannot think of something in particular, but I believe that today it is very easy to think of anything and make it yours. I would like to create a movement with my friends and call it the Deformative Movement.

Sam Bardaouil, Till Fellrath, Nujoom AlGhanem

HA: As an Emirati artist, what would you like to say to:

  • Ralph Rugoff, the chief curator of this year’s biennale;
  • HE. Noura Al-Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture & Knowledge Development;
  • Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, curators of the UAE pavilion; The visitors of the pavilion.
  • The visitors of the pavilion.

NA:

  • To Ralph Rugoff: Thank you for making our Times with art memorable;
  • To HE. Noura Al-Kaabi: Thank you for always being there;
  • To Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath:  You are everywhere in my thoughts;
  • To the Visitors of the pavilion: The shadows scare no one here, the water does not kill. These are only our thoughts, imagine the reality.

Elizabeth Murray: Flying Bye at Camden Arts Centre, London

Elizabeth Murray: Flying Bye at Camden Arts Centre, London

Elizabeth Murray: Flying Bye

5 July – 15 September 2019

Camden Arts Centre, London

This is the first UK exhibition of celebrated American painter Elizabeth Murray (1940-2007). The exhibition highlights a dramatic decade that saw Murray’s work dominate the art scene of 1980s New York. Her innovative paintings paved the way for a revival of the medium that included Julian Schnabel, David Salle and Anselm Kiefer. This landmark exhibition will focus on her vibrant, monumental, multi-panel and three-dimensional paintings and innovative works on paper from the 1980s and early 1990s. Absorbing influences from Arp to late Kandinsky, as well as her contemporaries — including Warhol and the Chicago Minimalists—Murray was part of a group of like-minded artists who rejected the hard-edged painting style of the previous generation in late 1960s New York.  On view are signature paintings including Wake Up, from 1981, featuring a shattering coffee cup across three canvases that plays between illusion and the literal. This use of domestic imagery—the focus in so many of her most celebrated works—led critics to brand her a “woman painter.” In response Murray said: “Cézanne painted cups and saucers and apples, and no one assumed he spent a lot of time in the kitchen.”

Elizabeth Murray, Wake Up, 1981, Oil on canvas (three parts), 111 1/8 x 105 5/8 x 3 3/4 in. (281.94 x 267.97 x 9.5 cm), Collection of the Murray-Holman Family Trust, courtesy Pace Gallery, New York. © The Murray-Holman Family Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS 2019
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The exhibition also includes Sandpaper Fate, from 1993, a wild, towering, and expressive work that combines figuration and abstraction. Neither works have been exhibited in Europe.

Timely and revealing this exhibition is a unique opportunity to see and reassess the exhilarating three-dimensional paintings from this influential but previously undervalued, artist.

Elizabeth Murray (b. 1940, Chicago; d. 2007, Washington County, New York) earned a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago (1962) and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland (1964). Her work is held in over sixty public collections in the United States and has been the subject of over eighty solo exhibitions worldwide. Her retrospective, Elizabeth Murray: Paintings and Drawings, jointly organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, the Albert and Vera List Visual Arts Center, MIT, Cambridge, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opened in 1987, and travelled to The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Des Moines Art Center; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, closing at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 1988. In 2005, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, organized a retrospective that travelled to Institut Valencià d’Art Modern in Spain. Her work was featured at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007.

Murray was the recipient of numerous academic and institutional honours, including an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (1984), to which she was elected as a member in 1992. She was awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Painting, New York (1986), and was named a MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1999).

Roy DeCarava Light Break at David Zwirner, NYC

Roy DeCarava Light Break at David Zwirner, NYC

Roy DeCarava: the sound i saw

September 5—October 26, 2019

David Zwirner, NYC

David Zwirner present concurrent exhibitions of photographs by Roy DeCarava at two of its New York gallery locations: 533 West 19th Street and 34 East 69th Street. Curated by art historian Sherry Turner DeCarava, this will be the gallery’s first presentation since announcing exclusive representation of the Estate of Roy DeCarava in 2018, and the first opportunity to view a major grouping of the artist’s work in New York since his 1996 retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art. 

Roy DeCarava, Curved branch, 1994 (detail)
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Over the course of six decades, DeCarava produced a singular collection of black-and-white photographs that combines formal acuity with an intimate and deeply human treatment of his subjects. His pioneering work privileged the aesthetic qualities of the medium, providing a counterpoint to the prevailing view of photography as mere chronicle or document and helping it to gain acceptance as an art form in its own right.

Having trained as a painter and draftsman, DeCarava began working with the camera in the mid-1940s, seeking an inclusive artistic statement for the culturally diverse uptown Manhattan neighborhood of his Harlem youth. Working without assistants and rejecting standard techniques of photographic manipulation, DeCarava honed his printing technique to produce rich tonal gradations, enabling him to explore a full spectrum of light and dark gray values more akin to a painterly mode of expression. Relying on ambient light and a point of view that neither monumentalizes nor sentimentalizes his subjects, he was able to produce a highly original oeuvre that carries significant visual and emotional meaning.

 On view at the gallery uptown will be a selection of photographs from the sound i saw, DeCarava’s unwavering exploration of the relationship between the visual and the aural. Created between the mid-1940s and 1960 and first assembled as an artist book, it has never before been exhibited in its original form. This work delivers musicians, those known and unknown, including Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and others in their milieu, into a sound and a sense rarely seen in visual arts. These figures are glimpsed both mid-set and off-stage in moments of repose, emphasizing their status not as musical icons, but as people deeply engaged in the everyday process of living.

Presented in Chelsea, Light Break features a dynamic survey and range of images that underscores DeCarava’s subtle mastery of tonal and spatial elements across a wide array of subject matter. Spanning the years 1948 to 2006, the photographs in the exhibition—including a number of images that have never been seen before—provide an introduction to the artist’s singular vision, particularly his ability to see with great sensitivity into people and to find a complexity of relationships that coincide with our lives. 

Wang Yan Cheng at Acquavella, NYC

Wang Yan Cheng at Acquavella, NYC

Wang Yan Cheng

SEPTEMBER 11 – OCTOBER 18, 2019

Acquavella Galleries, NYC

Acquavella Galleries presents the first exhibition of works by Wang Yan Cheng, from September 11 – October 18, 2019. This exhibition of new work, featuring 20 paintings from this year, is the artist’s first solo presentation in the United States.

Since his early training as a representational artist, Wang Yan Cheng has developed a deep understanding of painting in terms of structure, color and technique. In recent years he has frequently gone beyond the “abstract.” He hopes to merge Eastern and Western aesthetic development, to guide people away from traditional concepts, and to feel the artist’s love for creation. Wang Yan Cheng’s foundation is never a pure canvas in the metaphoric sense. He has reached beyond the canvas with various methods to make the works “immersed and cultivated.” Using his ideas, he is able to exercise artistic control over his medium; his paintings thus inhabit a wonderful place between inevitability and chance and achieve “imperfect perfection.”  

Wang Yan Cheng Untitled (Triptych), 2019 Oil on canvas in three panels 82 5/8 x 307 inches (210 x 780 cm)
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Born in 1960, after graduating from Shandong University of Arts, Wang Yan Cheng went to Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing to complete his academic art education in China. Later in 1989 he traveled to France and studied at Jean Monnet University (Saint-Étienne), where he was able to broaden and expand his creative vision of art. In the past 30 years, Wang Yan Cheng has traveled from the East to the West and has returned from the West to the East. Over time, he has found a profound affinity between Oriental philosophy and Western science and pushed his paintings to engage micro and macro themes. 

Wang Yan Cheng Untitled, 2019 Oil on canvas 45 5/8 x 35 inches (116 x 89 cm)
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In the 20th century, Chu Teh-Chun and Zao Wou-Ki introduced Eastern aesthetic concepts into Western abstract painting working in the form of lyrical abstraction. Following in the tradition of established lyrical abstractionists Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh-Chun, both of whom are recognized internationally, Wang Yan Cheng approaches painting with a different texture, language and visual energy than his two predecessors. In his paintings, Wang Yan Cheng elevates the image to the level of microcosmic vision, using energy, detailed texture and traditional culture to create his unique artistic language. Continuing in the traditional of lyrical abstraction, Wang Yan Cheng builds a majestic momentum from the shapes and colors, drawing on an atmospheric flow that comes from his soul. Each composition follows traditional Chinese cosmology to explore the mysterious driving force of the origin of the universe. The artist departs from the restraints of techniques and concepts, embracing instead the power of spirit and the experience of love. Thus, Wang Yan Cheng’s paintings form “a cosmic rhythm that embodies the spirit of the Oriental and Taoist philosophy, that open a universe, in bigger and bigger collisions.” (quote by art critic Jia Fangzhou). 

Wang Yan Cheng Untitled, 2019 Oil on canvas 102 x 82 5/8 inches (260 x 210 cm)
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Today, Wang Yan Cheng maintains studios in Paris and Beijing. Major solo museum exhibitions have been held at the Guangdong Museum of Art (2000) and Musée de Montparnasse, Paris (2010). In 2014, the National Museum of History in Taipei mounted an extensive retrospective of the artist. Wang Yan Cheng was also selected to participate in the Shanghai Museum of Art Biennial (2002), the French Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo (2010), and the Chinese Pavilion at the Milan International Expo (2015).  Over the past 20 years, he has won the honor of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the Legion of Honour and the Commander Medal of French Arts and Literature. He is the first Chinese artist to have won three medals of honor from the French government.  

Constructing Her Universe: Loló Soldevilla at Sean Kelly Gallery, NYC

Constructing Her Universe: Loló Soldevilla at Sean Kelly Gallery, NYC

Constructing Her Universe: Loló Soldevilla 

SEPTEMBER 6 – OCTOBER 19, 2019

Sean Kelly, NYC

Sean Kelly presents Constructing Her Universe: Loló Soldevilla, the first comprehensive exhibition ever mounted in the United States devoted to the work of this pioneering Cuban artist. Dolores “Loló” Soldevilla (1901- 1971) was one of the only women to be prominently associated with the development of geometric abstraction in Cuba, and one of the key figures responsible for promoting its development from the 1950s onward. Featuring over 60 artworks, including painting, sculpture, works on paper and constructions, as well as rare historical documents, photographs and personal ephemera, this wide-ranging survey will examine the breadth of Loló’s entire career. Concurrent to the exhibition, a fully-illustrated monograph featuring essays by Rafael DiazCasas and Olga Viso will be published, the first book devoted solely to Loló’s life and work. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, September 5, 6-8pm.w

Loló Soldevilla Paisaje Estelar, 1959

Loló Soldevilla was a passionate, largely self-taught artist whose career blossomed in the 1950s. A self-styled impresario and autodidact, she was a formidable artistic talent and an astute cultural promoter. Following earlier professional turns as a musician, political activist and party politician in Cuba, Loló was appointed the country’s cultural attaché to Europe in 1949. Residing in Paris, she began studying in the ateliers of prominent European artists. Although she did not take up painting and sculpture until her late-forties, she quickly gained command of her métier and was soon exhibiting her work in Parisian galleries and Salons transitioning from figuration to abstraction. By 1950, Loló was producing abstract paintings and sculptures inspired by geometric forms. In the ensuing years, Soldevilla developed her groundbreaking Color Luz theory that opened pathways to her Reliefs Lumineux, unique constructions that incorporated light as a working element in abstract designs, which premiered in Paris at the 1955 Salon des Réalités Nouvelles. Her paintings, collages and panel constructions explored the dynamics of light, shadow and relief, suggesting movement and rhythm through the use of geometric pattern and color.   

After returning to Havana in 1956, Loló played an active role as an artist, curator, and gallery owner. A fierce advocate for social justice, women’s rights and the working class in the 1930-40s, she began championing abstraction through ambitious international projects, gaining attention for her voice within the island’s abstractionist landscape and serving as a vital link between Cuba, Europe and Latin America. She organized the important exhibition Pintura de hoy: Vanguardia de la Escuela de Paris (Painting Today: The Avant-Garde of the School of Paris) at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Havana, which featured the work of forty-six leading Hard-Edge, Op and Kinetic artists, including Jean Arp, Sonia Delaunay and Jesús Rafael Soto, amongst others. This pivotal exhibition introduced Cuban audiences to international abstract art for the first time.

In October 1957, Soldevilla along with fellow artist Pedro de Oraá founded the Galería de Arte Color Luz, a venue instrumental in fostering the development of abstract art in Cuba and solidifying the presence of the concrete art movement on the island. The gallery served as the incubator for a group of artists who would name themselves “10 Pintores Concretos,” of which Loló was the sole female member, its most public face, and strongest force. As Castro’s revolution began to transform Cuban culture, abstraction, though never explicitly censored, was deemed “obsolete” and “out of touch with the new society.” Although Loló’s activities around the visual arts diminished, she stayed active establishing a new association, Grupo Espacio, and continued to paint and exhibit her work until her death in 1971. Sean Kelly states, “we are delighted to have organized Loló Soldevilla’s first retrospective survey in the U.S. and the first outside of Cuba. This exhibition and the major monograph we have published position her as one of the strongest Latin American artistic voices in the years after World War II, as well as one of the first women to bring postwar abstraction to Latin America, firmly establishing her as a key figure in the development of abstraction in Cuba, Latin America and, indeed, the world.”

The Interaction of Colour at ALAN CRISTEA GALLERY, London

The Interaction of Colour at ALAN CRISTEA GALLERY, London

from 7 september to 26 october 2019

ALAN CRISTEA GALLERY,

London

Anni Albers | Josef Albers | Polly Apfelbaum | Rana Begum | Michael Craig-Martin | Carlos Cruz-Diez | Ian Davenport | Patrick Heron | Ellsworth Kelly | Sol LeWitt | Bridget Riley

In 1963 Josef Albers (1888 – 1976) published one of the most influential art and design books of the twentieth century, Interaction of Color, as a handbook and teaching aid for his experimental way of observing, studying and teaching colour. It was the culmination of his groundbreaking courses first begun at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, and later at Yale, Connecticut, and was to have a marked effect on subsequent generations of artists. In his teaching and writing, Albers eschewed the historical approach to colour theory as a logical, formal scientific analysis, instead focusing on the unique behavioral properties of colour based on observation and practical application. For Albers, the nature of colour was an ever shifting paradigm, whose properties were relative and fluid.

Rana Begum No. 861, 2018
A set of 15 etchings withchine collé on Somerset and Canson Mi-Teintes paper
Paper 32.4 x 27.3 cm / Image 24.8 x 19.6 cm (each)
Edition of 20
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Albers radical teaching was to have a direct influence on the numerous artists who studied on his courses, but also came at a time when there was a wider discourse underway about the nature of representation. Geometric abstraction as a vehicle for exploring the relationship of colours was being practiced internationally by artists aligned to a diverse array of movements including Pop, Op, and Minimalism, and still is today by many contemporary artists. This exhibition traces a period of over 50 years and includes prints and drawings by artists from Josef Albers to Bridget Riley, which will be exhibited together with a new site-specific installation by Rana Begum.

Elemental Abstractions / Hyun Sook Jeong and Gregory Hayes at Blank Space in NYC

Elemental Abstractions / Hyun Sook Jeong and Gregory Hayes at Blank Space in NYC

Elemental Abstractions

Blank Space, NYC

Jul 24th – Sep 15th 2019

This exhibition presents two artists, Hyun Sook Jeong and Gregory Hayes, who create works that investigate the interaction between their chosen materials and the natural and physical world. While both artists have developed distinct and unique visual styles, their processes and subjects demonstrate a desire to play into things about the world which cannot be fully controlled and the beauty of the work stems in part from the medium itself. To do so, both artists refute the brushstrokes of traditional abstract painting and turn instead to carefully orchestrated and detailed processes that harness the capability of the mediums to create and speak for themselves.

Hyun Sook Jeong works with minute pieces of mother of pearl with which she builds intricate webs of iridescent material punctuated by small glimmers of crystal. By using organic materials, Jeong ensures that the work can never be viewed the same way twice as with every slight movement of the viewer the piece captures light in different way and is changed. The result is an incredibly deep and dynamic form of abstract art wherein the viewer is drawn in from a distance by the shimmer of the surface and deeper yet through the complexity and visual effect of the process. In addition to the intense draw of the materials themselves, the webs of mother of pearl undulate in thickness subtly forcing the illusion of three-dimensionality on the canvas. 

Conceptually, Jeong’s work harkens back to traditional Korean form of Najeon-Chilgi lacquerware from the Joseon Era. Through this art historical link, she contemporizes a traditional form thereby creating a meditative space within which to contemplate this human desire to decorate and accessorize the ordinary with brilliant natural materials. For Jeong the human desire to covet reflective and iridescent materials stems from a desire for light as a nurturing and necessary component of human civilization, both in myth and in practice. The re-contextualization of this form, coupled with the stunning visual effect of her work, places the viewer in the position between old and new, Eastern and Western aesthetics, and light and darkness.

Gregory Hayes has created a technique of brushless painting in which he loads a dropper with multiple colors of paint at a time and applies it to a flat canvas. As he does so, the convex drops of paint on the canvas swirl and coalesce creating rich and detailed tapestries of color that are formed by the relative unpredictability of the liquid paint itself. In some of his work, such as the series’ Color Array and Primary Array, Hayes begins the process by carefully constructing a ¼ inch grid across the canvas while, in Amalgamation, shown in Elemental Abstractions, he forgoes the grid and opts for a far more gestural form of painting, approaching the canvas with mainly his intuition to guide him. What results in Amalgamation are complex compositions of densely layered paint that pull the viewer into the work through a dynamic interplay between the chosen colors. 

Through a careful consideration of not only of the layering of paint in the dropper, but also of the drying time of the medium and absorption rate of the canvas, Hayes is able to partially control how the paint is layered and how two drops might interact. However, through this carefully devised method, much of beauty and character of the work is derived from how the paint acts on its own. In the end, it is the activity of each drop (the marbling, swirling, and bleeding of multiple colors) that comes together to form a larger color field over the entire canvas. Even with his more exact grid based works, Hayes says the parts where he sees the paint do something spontaneous and out of his control are where he sees the best results of his technique, “In my work I strive for exactness, but perhaps it is paradoxical that in striving for perfection – and never reaching it – it is there that you actually find it…It is the imperfect that becomes unique, the flaws that become interesting, the randomness that leads to new ideas.” In this sense, the Amalgamation series perfectly showcases two ends of his practice. On the one hand, from a distance, the viewer is confronted with an impressive and impactful color field that is orchestrated by the artist by his individual choices of palette and strokes. While, on the other, the work opens up when approached and viewed closely as it is here where the tactility, depth, and chance of the works shine brightest.

Gregory Hayes works and lives in Brooklyn. He has received his BFA in painting at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and his MFA at Brooklyn College in 2011. His work has been exhibited in many exhibitions in the United States and art fairs internationally including Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Colorado, SCOPE Basel, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and was included in both the Millay Colony and Fire Island Pines Arts Project residencies.

Jeong Hyun Sook is well renowned in the Korean art market and is gradually gaining reputable acclaim in the United States art scene. Her works have been exhibited in the Sungkok Art Museum, Lee Gallery, Gallery Sejong, and Insa Art Center, to name a few, and have been featured in various international art fairs in Cologne, Miami, New York, London, Geneva, Beijing and Shanghai. Her paintings are held in major Korean art collections such as the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul Museum of Art, and the Sammlungen Collection.

All images > installation views, courtesy Blank Space NYC and the Artists

Pieter Schoolwerth and the relief of the soul

Pieter Schoolwerth and the relief of the soul

by Elda Oreto

Pieter Schoolwerth twistes the medium of painting, leading it beyond its limit, and into new narrative possibilities, through the virtual world, towards reality.
In his latest artworks, made for Virtual Relief, exhibited from April 26th to July 13th 2019 at the Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler gallery in Berlin, the artist, who lives and works in New York, presented a series of bas-reliefs.

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief – Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery
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The theatrical scenario of the relief presents a broken up scene: some figures, faceless puppets, stand out on the surface, which melt into the background.
In Personality Settings Retractions (2019) there is an interior of a living room where some shadows, tangled up in one another, to the point that it is difficult to discern, become a unique creature. A formless torso with a thousand ends. A leg and a shoulder emerge from it, three or four heads of different sizes are side by side. It is a unique body that assimilates many others. Everything is very colorful. Blinding.

The technique developed by Schoolwerth to create bas-reliefs follows a complicated process. First of all, the artist takes an image and makes one or more shadows. He often uses himself as a model or his friends. Then he takes a wallpaper from the internet. Synthesizes and superimposes the images like a digital collage that he prints on a foam core (a type of material used to make posters). At this point he executes the painting in oil and acrylic and in this case shapes the bas-relief.

The basic idea of ​​his research is that our body is slowly fading away. Even if our times are dominated by commodification and consumism, the body is getting alienated from its most impure but authentic nature. Loses weight, little by little it thins and slowly evaporates leaving a two-dimensional copy as a trace.
The virtual reality and Internet are just perfect tools for this concept. Above all, Social Networks that sink people into an abyss of isolation instead of connecting them with the world and bringing people together. But let’s be careful, Schoolwerth is not a moralist, he doesn’t hate the Internet, but he translates an ambivalent, deeper feeling. Perhaps it is the body’s resistance to evaporation.

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief – Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery
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Two of the bas-reliefs on display: Model for Personality Inventory (2018) and Model for Behavioral Surplus Capture (2019) go beyond the relief and in a vortex of shades and colors claim their own independent presence in fact they can be seen on both sides. Like magic doors, these artworks invite us to cross a dimension that leads to a parallel universe where time, memories and emotions merge with images, leaving subtle traces that have more of the mystery of shadows than of the purity of the soul.

In Compromised Personality Inventory (2019) we enter a domestic interior with the jagged but clear outlines, underlined by bright colors. There are two female silhouettes, one sitting on a chair and another is standing in front of her. They are discussing animatedly. Between them, some arms emerge and they mix with other shapes in a monochromatic hint that seems to swallow the first two.
A Hydra hidden in its den.

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief – Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery
.

The tangle of shadows that lives inside the apartment in Privacy Settings 8 (2019) is the ghost that inhabits a haunted house; the anguish of a world that feeds on images. These are projections, echoes of our multiple virtual personalities. These images that define our personality are contradictory. It’s a schizophrenic monster that camouflages with the environment that surrounds it.

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief – Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery
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Schoolwerth received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts and exhibited at the Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson (2018), the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016), the Center Georges Pompidou, Paris ( 2002) and his works are in the collections of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver Art Museum; the Orange County Museum of Art, Santa Ana; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. In May 2019, his first monograph “Model as Painting” was published by Sequence Press, New York. From 2003 to 2013, Schoolwerth organized and produced concerts and music with Wierd Records and Wierd Party at Home Sweet Home on the Lower East Side of New York.

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief – Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery
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The artist has the ability to show how anxiety and loss are constantly hiding in our daily life. He does it using the media of painting and the structure of the Internet and Social Networks like Instagram and Facebook. And he does it turning these tools upside down and then turning them around, to reveal the power they have striking our Fantasies.

Every shadow at the end is a self-portrait. In Schoolwerth’s practice, colored ectoplasms are the matrix that generates the painting and the bas-relief. Cast by shadows, as for revenge, the artwork gains a physical presence, becoming a real body of a thousand souls, a body that inhabits space of the gallery, haunting it.

Elda Oreto


PUBLICATION LISTED IN THE ITALIAN PRESS REGISTER BY THE SASSARI COURT OF LAW WITH REGISTRATION NUMBER 447/2017.
EDITOR IN CHIEF: ALICE ZUCCA

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