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

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).

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



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

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.

+9 presents site-specific works by 16 contemporary artists at the most unexpected location in Athens

+9 presents site-specific works by 16 contemporary artists at the most unexpected location in Athens

+9 / 20.06 – 12.07.2019

/ curator + concept design: dr Kostas Prapoglou

20 Iera Odos, 104 35, Athens, Greece

The industrial building on 18-20 Iera Odos currently used as a music venue, is situated within the geographical region of the ancient cemetery of Kerameikos (1100 BC – AD 500). Nine metres belowthe surface of the modern city and tons of backfills, excavations since 1863 have brought to light parts of inner Kerameikos (potters’ and residential quarters) and outer Kerameikos (cemetery and the Demósion Sema public graveyard).

The area of the exhibition building lies nine metres above the funerary monuments of prominent Athenians. It is located right above the ancient Hiera Hodos (Sacred Way) linking Athens with Eleusis where the Eleusinian Mysteries took place; on the west bank of the Eridanos river; west of theDromos, a wide road leading the way to the Platonic Academy and the –later– Christian orthodox church of the Holy Trinity. It is all being now overshadowed by today’s Peiraios roadway and the adjacent buildings of the last century.

Installation shot / general view of +9
Photo: Kostas Prapoglou

Adonis Volanakis, Viomen (2019) name giving, white clay, cobalt paint, dimensions variable
photo: Kostas Prapoglou

The exhibition will negotiate notions with clear references to antiquity yet liberated from an obsessive fixation on the ancient world. It will take into consideration every single metre of evolution and will speculate on all of the possible nine metres of history that will follow.

What may lie nine metres below our feet without us being able to discover it, could equate to a future reality nine metres above. The surfacing of a utopian condition brings forth the imaginary, but at the same time it flirts as a connection link with the idea of passage and transition. A dialogue emerges between realities and it is activated through a crack in spacetime, a crevice that [inter]connects the worlds in one breath.

Despina Charitonidi, CrossFit (2019)
marble, 30mm reinforcement steel bars, 3D printed wedge, 1.30 x 0.23 x 2.50m
photo: Kostas Prapoglou
Diohandi, Eleusis 2010, Video still

The transformation of the urban habitat through literal and metaphorical backfills embodies ideas of [dis]semblance, voidance, disdain, corrosion of memory and the empowerment of an [inter]personal mythology and fiction as well as the fabrication of an in-progress identity. The repertoire of an everchanging political, religious and cultural condition is inscribed not only within the historical continuity of this locus but also within a flux of a conscious construction, deconstruction and conflict.
The choreography of the contemporary urban landscape redefines the architecture of life itself. It gives birth to a taxonomy of possibilities with human existence and its hypostasis as the protagonists, undergoing a constant battle with time and their very own selves.

Yannis Kondaratos, Untitled (2006-7), oil on canvas, 2.10 x 2.65m
photo: James M. Lane
Eleni Zouni, Linear Z (2019), chalk, dimensions variable
photo: Kostas Prapoglou

Curator dr Kostas Prapoglou invites 16 contemporary artists from three generations to establish via their cross-disciplinary visual vocabulary (embracing installations, video, sculpture, painting and ceramics) a site and time specific relationship. They will discover in the ground and above the concrete floor themselves as well as the entire world and empower the viewers’ desire to dig with their eyes and build with their dreams.

Participating artists: Lydia Andrioti, Manolis Baboussis, Despina Charitonidi, Evangelos Chatzis, Lydia Dambassina, Diohandi, Kleio Gizeli, Zoe Hatziyannaki, Yannis Kondaratos, James M. Lane, Despina Meimaroglou, Eusevia Michailidou, Evi Savvaidi, Nikos Tranos, Adonis Volanakis, Eleni Zouni.

Evangelos Chatzis, Portal (2019), detail
marble, steel, LED lights, digital print on plexiglass, water, mirror, 2.00 x 0.85 x 2.40m
photo: Kostas Prapoglou

Lydia Andrioti, Cyclic Chorus II (2019)
Video still

exhibition duration: 20 June – 12 July 2019

opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 14.00 – 20.00 Saturday, Sunday, Monday: closed

address: 18-20 Iera Odos, 104 35, Athens, Greece
Kerameikos metro station: 5 minutes
Thiseio train station: 10 minutes

Kleio Gizeli, The Crew (2019), detail
glass, clay, plastic, fabric, nylon, silicone, water, colourants, LED lights, dimensions variable
photo: James M. Lane

James English Leary “Small Fishes Swim Around Inside of Large Fishes” at Galerie Kandlhofer, Vienna

James English Leary “Small Fishes Swim Around Inside of Large Fishes” at Galerie Kandlhofer, Vienna

James English Leary
Small Fishes Swim Around Inside of Large Fishes
Galerie Kandlhofer, Vienna
24 MAY – 29 JUNE 2019

Galerie Kandlhofer presents the exhibition “Small Fishes Swim Around Inside of Large Fishes” New paintings by James English Leary. 

It starts with a finger. Permanently hooked in. Pulling back the cheek like a fish, haha. “He drinks too…”, the person says. He eats like a moth but he drinks like a fish. The finger casts itself like a shadow onto the coin of the head. The person spends themself wisely. When they fight with each other they scream straight into the other’s finger. The scream casts a shadow. There’s a finger within the finger. An ideal and true finger. It still fits perfectly into the imperfect and familiar and calm one. The pragmatic hand pragmatically measures the head. It registers its surprise: “There’s a hand in my canned ham!” There’s a yam inside my yam. There’s a face emanating out of its finger in the form of a fingerprint. The head full of thumbs resembles a bowl of cooked yams. A face glides toy-like along the finger like a miniature train. There are many fingers reaching up under the skull’s dress. The fingers raise up weightlessly like seaweed. The face telescopes into what it sees. The body folds up into a tablet. It halves over and over, and when it’s small and hard like a pill, you pop it in your mouth and swallow.


“Small Fishes Swim Around Inside of Large Fishes”, New York-based painter James English Leary’s second solo presentation with Galerie Kandlhofer, brings together a suite of works which continue the artist’s interest in the transposition of painted space into shaped grounds. These works take up the subject of the body at odds and converging with itself – the rhyming motifs of head-on-hand and hand-on-head. To coincide with this exhibition the artist has organized a group exhibition, “The Picture is a Forest” with recent works by Delphine Hennelly, Kathryn Kerr, Leigh Ruple, Nathalie Shepherd and Faye Wei Wei, whose works will be exhibited in Vienna for the first time. The works featured in this exhibition, while sharing strong allegiances to the problem of depiction, exemplify painting’s unique disposition to engage strategies of scale and space in the conjuring of intimacies and immensities.


James English Leary lives in New York City and works as an artist, filmmaker and teacher. He is a founding member of The Bruce High Quality Foundation and the Foundation’s free university, BHQFUIn 2010 his works were included at the Whitney Biennal and the „Greater New York“ Show at MoMA PS1Leary ́s recent solo exhibitions include “Another Family Romance”, Project Room, Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer, Vienna, 2018, “Hoi Polloi”, Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, 2018, “Half a Mississippi Steamboat”, Andersen’s, Copenhagen, 2018, The Bursting Grape, Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer, Vienna, 2017, James English Leary & André Azevedo, SIM galeria, Curitiba, Brazil, 2017, “Family Romance”, Galeria Leyendecker, Tenerife, 2016, “Lady Chatterley ́s Lover ́s Lovers“, Four A.M., New York, 2016 and „Triple Motherfucker“, Vito Schnabel Projects, New York City, 2015. He is the recipient of a 2015 Tiffany Foundation Award and currently an adjunct professor at The Cooper Union School of Art.



FONDAZIONE PRADA, Milan Osservatorio
21 Feb – 22 Jul 2019

Fondazione Prada presents “Surrogati. Un amore ideale” (Surrogate. A Love Ideal), an exhibition curated by Melissa Harris, from 21 February to 22 July 2019 at the Osservatorio venue in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan. Comprising a selection of 42 photographic works by Jamie Diamond (Brooklyn, USA, 1983) and Elena Dorfman (Boston, USA, 1965), the project explores the notions of familial, romantic and sexual love. Both artists focus on a specific and unconventional aspect of this universal theme: the emotional link between a man or a woman and a synthetic representation of a human. As explained by Melissa Harris, “together, Diamond’s and Dorfman’s work presented in ‘Surrogati’ vividly and nonjudgmentally documents the interactions of humans with their lifelike, inanimate companions.”

In her series “Forever Mothers” (2012-2018) and “Nine Months of Reborning” (2014), Jamie Diamond documented the life of an outsider art making community called the Reborners, a group of self-taught female artists who hand-make, collect and interact with hyper-realistic dolls that fulfill a desire for motherhood. In her other exhibited project titled “I Promise to be a Good Mother” (2007-2012), Diamond played the role of a perfect mother, dressing up in her own mother’s clothes and interacting with Annabelle, a reborn doll. Inspired by and named after a diary she kept as a girl, the project evolved into an exploration of the complexity of social stereotypes and cultural conventions that surround and shape the relationship between mother and child.

“Still Lovers” (2001-04), a series of photographs that brought Elena Dorfman international acclaim, focuses on the domestic lives of men and women who devote themselves to lifesize, anatomically realistic sex dolls. Her photographs explore the emotional ties between humans and perfectly formed synthetic women, forcing us to evaluate our own notions of love and the value of an object that has the power to replace a human being. The artist’s interest was not to exploit the deviancy of these sexual surrogates, but rather to reveal the fascinating world of intimacy between flesh and silicone. Both photographers portrayed these lifelike surrogates as desired, fetishized, and idealized beings, “living” as such with their flesh and blood mothers and partners, and sometimes with their immediate families as well. As stated by Melissa Harris, “by showing these vignettes of traditional domesticity, love, and/or eroticism, Dorfman’s and Diamond’s representations take on an unexpected poignancy.”

All images > “Surrogati. Un amore ideale” Osservatorio Fondazione Prada. Photo: Mattia Balsamini

AGAINST COLOUR STROKE VECTORS at Massimo De Carlo gallery, Milan

AGAINST COLOUR STROKE VECTORS at Massimo De Carlo gallery, Milan

Massimo De Carlo, Milan, Belgioioso
From May 29 to July 12, 2019

Massimo De Carlo presents Against Colour Stroke Vectors presenting works by Günther Förg, Mario Merz, Emilio Vedova and Mary Weatherford. The exhibition brings together seminal works by each artist, with the aim to investigate the variations of the relationship between the dynamism of the medium, the spatial degrees of object-hood in the context of the canvas, and qualities of colour. All artists on display have, consciously or unconsciously, explored ideational, interpersonal or textual functions of the canvas and the work of art: from Förg’s daunting and materic bronze to Merz’s 1980’s investigations of nature, to Vedova’s propulsive energy and Mary Weatherford’s echoing glass light tubes – the discourse can always be drawn back to the complex yet unstructured space between thought and action. Absolute and infinite, void and darkness, gesture and logic, light and dimensionality are tangible in each work in the exhibition.

The two works on display by German artist Günther Förg, belonging to two different bodies of work, embody the artist’s reflections on spatiality and materials. In the bronze painting in the first room, a material that the artist started using in the late 1980’s, the artist challenges and evolves from the stereotypical notion of canvas by using bronze: the result is that these dimensional pieces have an immersive character, where the painterly gesture combined with the physicality of bronze draws the viewer to a reflection on the sublime and sobriety. The grey painting in the second room is part of a larger group of works that Förg first executed in 1973 continuing through to his death in 2013: these elegant, dense works showcase not only the artist’s evolving relationship with the monochrome, but also embody the multiple material and conceptual concerns found elsewhere across his broad practice.

In the second room, the viewer is confronted with a large-scale canvas by the Italian painter Emilio Vedova, that through Per la Spagna Nr. 14 (1962) expresses his radical stances on both paint and politics – combining his avant-garde techniques of exploring the dynamism of the painterly action between light and space to the desire to convey a message. The work is part of a cycle that the artist created for the 1962 exhibition organized at Ca ’Giustinian, in Venice, during the Biennale d’Arte. The canvas is aggressively covered in black and white oil marks and abstract symbols, a physical and creative answer to the spectacle of violence offered by the twentieth century, in this case in particular dedicated to Spain that at the time was living in dark times – under the helm of the dictator Francisco Franco. Mary Weatherford offers a contemporary reading of artists that use light and materials. In the second room, there is one of Weatherford’s signature works: a large abstract canvas is almost cut in half by a neon glass tube. The paintings are made using vinyl-based Flashe paint on linen canvasses made especially for the artist at a Belgian mill, and the neon tube is always made to order. The paintings are essentially invisible to the artist as she is working; only emerging after the canvas has dried. “Because the water reflects, I can’t really see what’s going to happen. It’s a quite a mystery,” Weatherford explained. “As the water dries overnight and the pigment sinks into the painting, it’s like watching a photograph develop. I come in the next morning and the image is there.” The combination of chance and manipulation is key in Mary Weatherford’s oeuvre that documents the orchestrated flow of organic material, where the artist alternates meticulous research to the creations of chance.

Iconic Italian artist Mario Merz, one of the key exponents of the Arte Povera movement, in his career explored the transmission of energy from the organic to the inorganic, using uncanny irony and the Shade of conceptualism to transform each thought into a vocabulary of sculptures and paintings. The small canvas in the reading room and the sculpture in the first symbolize Merz’s research of the late seventies- early eighties around the relationship between nature, logic and the varieties of gestures that can be encapsulated into art. Accumulation, reconfiguration and dynamism are some of the subjects that the eclectic artist conveyed into paintings and installations that capture force and delicacy and the wilderness of thought with the rigour of logic.

All images > Courtesy ©Massimo De Carlo gallery 

Ritratto d’un capello inquietante at Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

Ritratto d’un capello inquietante at Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

Julien Ceccaldi, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Mathieu Malouf, Heji Shin
Ritratto d’un capello inquietante
Galerie Buchholz, Berlin
7 June – 24 August 2019

Galerie Buchholz presents the group show Ritratto d’un capello inquietante at the gallery’s original location at Neven-DuMont-Straße. It will be the first time the work of Heji Shin, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Julien Ceccaldi and Mathieu Malouf is featured in the same group show in Cologne. The title makes reference to a work by de Chirico, La Musa Inquietante (The Disquieting Muse), a 1975-1980 drawing in which a pile of objects assumes the uncanny likeness of a woman. Ritratto d’un capello inquietante literally means Portrait of a Disquieting Hair. For the artists, it serves as a vehicle through which various anxieties related to bodily and mental decay are funneled. All three works by Julien Ceccaldi feature Stéphane, a character conceived as self-sufficient without any love interest. He was created to appear optimistic about being alone, and set upon achieving his dream of becoming a pop-punk star. In the painting Crack the World’s Shell (2019), he is depicted naked, breaking out of an egg, reaching for something high above. The composition is inspired by a Chester Brown drawing dedicated to his crush in his autobiographical graphic novel I Never Liked You (1994). It is a picture of a skeleton, symbolizing himself, floating in the cosmos and stretching his arm towards a bird that represents the girl he likes. Here, however, the hero is the bird, and his hand reaches for something out of frame.

Like the characters in the anime Utena (1996, dir. Kunihiko Ikuhara), Stéphane destroys the shell of the world, to avoid dying without ever being born. This recurrent image in the anime paraphrases a quote from Hermann Hesse’s bildungsroman Demian. “The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God’s name is Abraxas”. Stéphane’s purpose is also to represent positive experiences of anonymous casual encounters. In the painting The Little Bird in the Pants (2019), he fishes out a small wrinkly pink bird out of a stranger’s boxers briefs. He is startled but nonetheless happy to engage with it. It is a reference to Catherine Breillat’s Romance (1999), in which Marie (Caroline Ducey) is so deeply enamoured with her boyfriend that she thinks of his flaccid penis as a weak bird that she lovingly nurses to life. The shadow of a disturbing figure appears at the door. It sports a single pubic-like hair on top of its bald head. It could be a husband walking in on an affair, or Stéphane’s future self, revisiting this memory. The photographs by Heji Shin are based on the long history of “portrait of the artist’s mother”. Shin’s mother suffers from a psychosis that compells her to cook large quantities of food from the early morning hours until exhaustion every day, which she then packs into unmarked plastic bags to dump them as anonymous offerings in various locations across the city of Berlin – near hospitals, in front of police stations, fire stations, etc. The mother poses next to professional models and performs her habitual duties as a fictional version of herself, putting contrasting representations of the Feminine in relation to each other: the mother and the model, the artist and the child, and on a deeper level, the origins of art and the origins of life.

The pieces titled Eaux Saines (2019) by Nicolas Ceccaldi are at once ready-made floor sculptures and room dividers. Consisting of pillows arranged in a row that extends into the middle of each room, these pieces were originally conceived in an attempt to establish boundaries between two people sharing the same bed. While these sculptures formulate a concrete, modernist solution to body contact, three paintings, A Rose for a Rogue (2018), Only a Duke Would Dare (2018) and Le Temps Retrouvé (2019), treat human embrace through the embellishment of stock images: two impasto oil paintings of youthful couples and the puzzle-piece reconstruction of a serene fishing scene between an elderly man and his grandson. Bracketing the exhibition are Mathieu Malouf’s paintings The Enigma of the Milky Way 1 (2019) and The Enigma of the Milky Way 2 (2019). Both are based on nude photos of the artist taken by Nicolas Ceccaldi, cut up and reconstructed, suggesting multiple simultaneous perspectives and the illusion of limbs breaking through the 4th wall – a process the artist refers to as “body cubism”. The figures are depicted in a state of deep focus characteristic of the virtuoso, with eyes fixated on the viewer wherever they stand. Contrasting with the emotionally neutral faces, bodies are dramatically contorted and unload a powerful blast of raw emotion. Out of their enlarged nipples, breast milk squirts out expressively, recalling tropes of abstract expressionism and action painting, historical art forms long associated with the myth of male self-expression. Casting himself as a nude performer on canvas and allegorically positing the body as a universe in constant expansion, the artist engages in a seductive dance for a gallery audience.

H.S., J.C., N.C., M.M

Bani Abidi, They Died Laughing / Gropius Bau, Berlin

Bani Abidi, They Died Laughing / Gropius Bau, Berlin

Bani Abidi, They Died Laughing
Gropius Bau, Berlin
6 June to 22 September 2019

Bani Abidi is known for her distinctive approach to filmmaking, which derives from the dark absurdities of everyday life. They Died Laughing is an extensive presentation of Abidi’s works, bringing together moving image and print-based works that span two decades. Abidi often uses video as her tool for mnemonic recall while embedding the medium with a poetic function and layers of fiction. Currently based in Berlin and Karachi, she assumes the role of a storyteller and urban archaeologist in telling the stories of cities she has lived in. Fictional narratives traverse individual experiences and ask complex questions on patriotism, framed by the historic power struggles and geopolitical relations between neighbouring nation-states India and Pakistan. Her works spin tales of ambition and failure, while thematising the relationship between state power, patriotism and megalomania.

Bani Abidi. Karachi Series I, 2009 Courtesy: the artist & Experimenter, Kolkata © Bani Abidi

For the exhibition at the Gropius Bau, Bani Abidi developed a new project, The Lost Procession, based on the experiences of the persecuted Hazara community from Quetta, capital of the Pakistani province of Balochistan, who have fled to Germany in recent years. While Abidi sketches encounters between these inhabited landscapes, she focuses on themes including expropriation, refuge and captivity. This project is commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, where Bani Abidi will have a solo exhibition in October 2019, curated by Hoor Al-Qasimi and Natasha Ginwala.

Miltos Manetas, 1998 / Hussenot Gallery

Miltos Manetas, 1998 / Hussenot Gallery

Miltos Manetas ‘1998’

6 JUN – 20 JUL 2019

Hussenot Gallery, Paris

It started in Milan -for me- in 1994. Then in New York in 1998.
In 94 I got married- sooner or later we all did- to laptops and in 98 with the internet.
Married? If that’s the case, a divorce would be possible. Indeed recently, most of us left the 94 laptop- wife for a smart-phone lover. But internet is here to stay. More than our spouse, the internet is our kid, the child we have with… hardware. We try hard to forget this unappealing fact. The Gospel of the “network” speaks to us about wireless, data clouds, connected magic.

In 1998 – the year that GOOGLE was founded- our Odyssey of fingers begun. We used to touch computers through their mouse, then through their little pussy (touchpad), now we are shamelessly touching the screens of our tablets. Our eyes are hooked but our mind escapes through our fingers. All that would NOT be possible if some kind of “skin-of-reality” was not involved. That’s exactly where oil on canvas meets the eye: on the depiction of that skin… Interesting isn’t it? Because to be sure that something exists, a Painter needs to represent it. In some way, the World was already wireless when in 1998, I decided to start painting its cables! 1998 was the year the “theatre of reality” was hiring new actors and I tried to introduce them all: videogame gear, external hard drives, joysticks and digital cameras. All that was already around but it was in 1998 that everybody acknowledge living among them. But something else- very important – start happening in 1998.”Real” space start multiplying… We began register dotcom/dotnet/dotorg… Words never felt so fascinating! Even our own name became a better name (on May 25th, 1998 I registered Manetas.com). Art.com and Love.com were also registered that year while War and Sex were already a dotcom from 1995. It was from 1998 we all started becoming Citizens of the Internet and if today there’s an Internet Pavilion to represent our art at the Venice Biennial, it is because of the spirit of 1998.

Miltos Manetas

All images > 1998, Miltos Manetas, installation view, Galerie Hussenot, Paris

Leelee Kimmel / Nuwar / Almine Rech, Paris

Leelee Kimmel / Nuwar / Almine Rech, Paris

Leelee Kimmel, Nuwar

Almine Rech, Paris

‘Stirring up a mass of dull grey plankton, again there came the shock of sheer color — like a blow to the body, or a crashing chord to the ear. I know of no other sensation which quite equals the effect on the eye — or the brain behind the eye — as that of a great, glowing, living, rich-scarlet-red shrimp, cold as ice, just raised through a half mile of water. No flower I have ever seen in any setting could vie with it for a moment. It is worth recalling that for countless ages this shrimp and its ancestors had been merely the blackest of beings in a jet-black world, and only for the past few minutes had its blazing color existed. This may partly explain its exciting quality, like the unused rods and cones inour own retina, when we stand on our heads and look out at the world.’ [1]

“I am nature”, Jackson Pollock famously said, and from at least the beginnings of Abstraction artists have sought deep nature, a primal language of shapes and colors presumed to lurk deep in the mind, unpolished and unmediated by conscious rationalization.  Michael Fried, equally famously, believed that the greatest Modern art was work with the condition “of existing in, indeed of secreting or constituting, a continuous and perpetual present”. But when you look at the unconscious mind – that is, literally look, with your eyes – what do you see?  After sitting for a while in a dark room, or when you’re about to doze off at night, what you see is phosphenes: those patterns, dots, grains, and swirls of (initially) weak color on a dark background caused by the more or less random firing of neurons in the retina itself.  These usually start off more abstract but, as the brain’s automatic visual system begins to interpret them, they take on more figurative features, until the stage where they’re called hypnagogic hallucinations – not any of the types of stronger hallucinations that arise in the brain, but something so unmediated that even less conscious animals than ourselves – insects?  planaria? – might often see something very similar.  These images don’t at all live in that ideal garden of Modernism, the Unconscious:  instead, they flash in an out of their half-existence in the Hadean-eon wilderness of our dimmest pre-unconscious.

Leelee Kimmel’s paintings are investigations of inner and outer space, collisions between ur-ancient, chthonic nature and the hyper-sophisticated realm of Modernist and postmodernist art histories, between the preverbal and the phantasmagoria of the library, terse and voluble, suddenly laughing then stonily silent. Kimmel’s abstract biomorphs skitter through pitch black abyssal depths, like those of Beebe’s Arcturus Adventure, at once terrifying and comic. The shapes harken back to nature, while Kimmel’s palette is neon and acid, resoundingly anti-naturalistic. There’s a sense of potential catastrophe crowding the margins, as forms coil and ricochet through darkness: is that a turtle or a hand grenade revolving on the periphery, is that polyp a gun? Transformation is the guiding formal but also psychological and dare I say spiritual governing force in Kimmel’s dark glittering universe, fearsome and newborn, cunning monsters, mutants, aliens, explorers, invaders, these phantoms of Nuwar.

David Rimanelli

[1] William Beebe, The ‘Arcturus’ Adventure, 1926

All images > Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech – Photo: Maris Hutchinson


Instagram reports: Please check the settings


Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from Youtube
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google