Trisha Baga the eye, the eye and the ear

Trisha Baga

the eye, the eye and the ear

Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan

20 February – 19 July 2020

“the eye, the eye and the ear” is Trisha Baga’s first institutional exhibition in Italy and covers fifteen years of the artist production, from her first piece There’s No “I” in Trisha (2005-2007), conceived as a sort of TV sitcom that questions the gender stereotypes of all the various characters whose roles Trisha Baga plays; to the more recent work 1620 (2020) produced on the occasion of this show. Bringing together five video installations investigating the relationship between the body and the constantly evolving image technology, the exhibition also presents a rich selection of ceramic works produced since 2015 and six pieces from the series Seed Paintings (2017), composed of sesame seeds and foam.

Trisha Baga (born in 1985 in Venice, Florida, currently lives and works in New York City), an American of Filipino origin, is one of the most innovative video-makers of her generation, combining different languages and other media, drawing from television and film imagery along with home movies. She grapples with such themes as gender identity, relations between the real and the digital world as well as technological evolution, in order to disclose a different perspective of our contemporary imagination.
The exhibition meanders through the various media, which have characterized Trisha Baga’s career, ranging from VHS cassettes and DVDs to 3D devices, and is deeply rooted in her performative practice. Visitors are invited to experience the entire show wearing 3D glasses, in an immersive environment which expands the physical space through numerous visual and sound layers.

The show’s display hints at the aesthetics commonly found in natural history museums, not only in its style of presentation, but also by using an unusual classification system that intertwines the idea of the fossil with high-tech devices such as today’s virtual personal assistants, thus creating a sort of temporal short-circuit. Through her ironical and witty perspective Trisha Baga focuses on the excessive reliance and hopes we put on technology, staging in her work its most fragile and failing aspects.
A number of international institutions have hosted this artist’s solo shows, including Gallery TPW, Toronto (2018); CCC, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard College, Cambridge (2017); 356 Mission Road, Los Angeles (2015); Zabludowicz Collection, London (2014); Peep-Hole, Milan (2013); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Kunstverein München, Munich (2012). Her works have also been presented in many group exhibitions and other events, such as at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2018); Aïshti Foundation, Beirut (2017); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Biennial of Moving Images, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, Folkwang Museum, Essen, Manifesta 11, Zurich (2016); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (2015); Center for Performance Research, New York (2010).




Massimo De Carlo Gallery, MILAN / BELGIOIOSO

until 28.03.2020

“What is Dangerous here is a turning away from…the turning away from…anything any white American says…but I don’t know, and neither does Martin Luther King- none of us know- how to deal with those other people… who don’t believe anything the white world says, and don’t entirely believe anything I or Martin say.”
– James Baldwin

Tony Lewis’ practice focuses on the convergence of semiotics, abstraction and drawing: graphite pencil and paper are the mediums the artist uses to trace and create linguistic narratives and reflections on gestural expression. For this exhibition, the artist is presenting a new body of work that is composed of a series of drawings, seemingly simple abstractions, which conceal intricate narratives, based on a nine-year examination of William F. Buckley Jr.’s argument from his famous 1965 debate with James Baldwin.

The Debate between the author and literary ambassador for American civil rights Baldwin and one of The Godfather’s of modern American conservatism Buckley, which took place at the Cambridge Union, was a crucial contest in the fight over civil rights: the proposition before the house was “The American Dream at the Expense of the American Negro.” Enshrined on YouTube and in countless documentaries, the battle remains an uncanny exchange.

The Transcript and video documentation of Buckley’s argument is the source material the artist revisits cyclically. The Dangers takes its title directly from Buckley himself:

“…where the negro is concerned, the dangers as far as I can see at this moment, are that they will seek out for some sort of a radical solution on the basis of which the true problem is obscure.”

The large-scale works showcased in The Dangers are the trace of the evolution of Tony Lewis’ investigation on abstraction as well as figuration as a means of communication. Prompted by the words of James Baldwin stated above, Lewis performs the notion of “turning away from” by actively challenging his natural impulse, and listening to Buckley’s language, thesis, and rhetorical strategies.

Lastly, The large graphite on paper sculptures the artist refers to as “floor drawings” have been activated throughout the exhibition to perform the act of listening to Buckley’s argument, as well as embody the discomfort and inevitable distortion of a physical body after years of listening.




29 February – 19 April, 2020 

CHARLES ATLASOMINOUS, GLAMOROUS, MOMENTOUS, RIDICULOUS, the first solo exhibition in an Italian institution dedicated to Charles Atlas (St. Louis, 1949), internationally renowned filmmaker and video-artist. Curated by Alberto Salvadori and developed in close collaboration with Charles Atlas, the exhibition presents new and recent works alongside historical pieces, contextualizing the most significant periods of the artist’s oeuvre in an installation that will transform the foundation into an immersive environment. 

Charles Atlas, Hail the New Puritan, 1986, 16mm film transferred to video, sound; duration: 84’54’’. © Charles Atlas; Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.

Atlas is well known for his innovative and groundbreaking video-based practice. For more than forty years he has explored the dialogue between different disciplines such as video, dance, and performance. His work has stretched the boundaries of film and video, including installations, documentaries, works for television, multimedia projects, and live performances.

Charles Atlas, Hail the New Puritan, 1986, 16mm film transferred to video, sound, Duration: 84:54 minutes © Charles Atlas; Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.

Following the exhibitions by Masbedo and Simone Forti, Fondazione ICA Milano continues the focus on investigations related to the themes of the living and the body. By presenting work which uses performance and video art as an expressive means and research tool, Atlas’ show carries through April 2020 this shared thread which has characterized the exhibition program since the start of the Fondazione. 

Charles Atlas

Atlas was born in St. Louis, MO in 1949; he has lived and worked in New York City since the early 1970s. Recent solo exhibitions include The Kitchen, New York; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; De Hallen, Haarlem; Bloomberg SPACE, London; and Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2017, the Hammer Museum acquired Atlas’ five-channel video installation with sound entitled The Tyranny of Consciousness, which had been recently featured in Viva Arte Viva, the 57th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennial. Atlas’ work is included in the permanent collections of major institutions worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Art; Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich; and De Hallen Haarlem, The Netherlands. In 2017, Atlas and choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener premiered Tesseract, a new two-part work consisting of a stereoscopic 3D film and dance performance with live cinematic mixing. In September 2019 Atlas will unveil a new commission for Art on theMART, the piece will span across the 2.5 acre river-façade of theMART in Chicago.

Giovanni Kronenberg

Giovanni Kronenberg

Renata Fabbri Gallery, Milan

11 February – 28 March 2020 

Renata Fabbri announces Giovanni Kronenberg’s second solo show at the gallery. The exhibition includes a series of new drawings and sculptures, most of which have been conceived specifically for this project.

Giovanni Kronenberg, Conversione empirica di un silenzio in alfabeto, 2017, rosa del deserto, pigmento cobalto, cm 80x30x57

Since the early stage of his career, Kronenberg’s work has been characterized by a tight relation between sculpture – interpreted through a deeply physical approach – and drawing, which anticipates, re-iterates and expands upon its peculiarities as well as its ergonomic, tactile and transcendental features. Throughout the years his drawing practice has become more and more important in the work of the artist: since his use of pure graphite, which used to define the works on paper until few years ago, recently Kronenberg has started to explore colour in compositions of sinuous forms, suspended and free from spatial connotation.

Giovanni Kronenberg, Senza titolo, 2017, uovo di struzzo, cemento, cm 15×12

These mysterious figures and the sculptures share an ungraspable materiality, caught in a dimension that is abstracted from time and space. Hard to identify, some of them recall natural structures in progressive ramification – like crystals, gems, sea sponges or precious granites – all materials that Kronenberg has often used in his sculptures, drawn to their properties of self-germination and extension into space without following any narrative direction or chronological handholds.

Giovanni Kronenberg, La repubblica degli immortali, 2017, manichino ligneo, grasso di foca, cm 78x20x20

In recent years, the artist has started using the 22-carat gold leaf, as a characteristic element of the drawing and the sculptures. This passage seems natural considering Kronenberg’s frequent use of precious materials such as silver, malachite, ivory, agate, rock crystal and porcelain. The gold leaf brings his drawings closer to the immobility of the Byzantine aesthetic and in particular to the icons, sharing with them the isolation and the centrality of the image, as well as iconographic timelessness and transcendental characteristics.



UNTIL 13 APR 2020

This exhibition will bring together over two hundred original drawings, Kodak Instamatics, photographic grids, collages, diaries and films, that develop distinct thematic sections and document Antonio’s creative process, his visionary attitude, and the historical period in which he lived. “Fashion served him as a pretext to express beauty, sensuality, sexuality, life and time. His own time.” writes Anne Morin. An unbelievable talent of the 70s and 80s, he was an extraordinary illustrator whose life revealed an irreverent world made of moments, people, clothes, music, art, kitsch and visual culture.

Antonio Lopez – Sportmax, mantelli a ruota in colori fluorescenti, 1983

Lopez’s work represented a cultural crossroads. At a nexus of high and low culture between New York, Milan and Paris, he created a deep aesthetic shift in the way the physical representation of the body was presented in the fashion world. With a complete ethnic and racial awareness, Lopez searched for a beauty that was generous and full of energy. Considered one of the 20th century’s greatest fashion illustrators, the multifaceted talent of Antonio Lopez, along with creative collaborator Juan Ramos, contributed throughout the 80s to the Italian magazine Vanity (January 1982 – October 1989),directed by Anna Piaggi, Alberto Nodolini and Luca Stoppini.In Vanity the image of fashion entered unknown, new, and daring territories that were never seen before. This, along with his watercolors for Missoni, drawingsof male bodies created for Versace,powerful portraits of Grace Jones, Patti LaBelle, Pat Cleveland, Maria Callas, Josephine Baker, Carmen Miranda, photographyand videos, each testify to an era of extraordinary creative fertility.

Antonio Lopez – Paris, 1974, Phooto Booth Series

Adored by stylists, models and photographers from all over the world, Antonio occupies a place of honor in the history of fashion illustration and left a vital mark in his thirty years career. “I am interested in getting to know the figure better by taking it apart,”said Lopez, referring to his often- fragmented bodies. “The more I break it, the more I can examine it, the more I can understand what I have to do. For me it is a method. I don’t know where it will bring me, but I’m curious and I want to go until the end.” Lopez put glamor, creativity and fun at the center of everything. His days began late, and ended later, often listening to the best disco music of that time.

Antonio Lopez Pat Cleveland and Grace Jones, Paris, 1975, Blue water Series

Andrew Norman Wilson, Lavender Town Syndrome

Andrew Norman Wilson, Lavender Town Syndrome

ORDET, Milan

4 December – 1 February, 2020

Ordet presents “Lavender Town Syndrome”, a solo show by Andrew Norman Wilson. The exhibition is centered around Z = |Z/Z•Z-1 mod 2|-1, a multichannel video work commissioned by Ordet. In this new work Wilson uses three different imaging technologies—a photographic lens, photorealistic ray tracing animations, and fractal ray-marching animations—to zoom through three constructed environments.
The first section employs a 75mm to 1500mm Canon telephoto lens developed for wildlife cinematography. This uncannily prolonged zoom moves from a cityscape view to details on a single balcony of Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, a lotus-shaped oddity of “organic architecture” amidst Chicago’s thoroughly rectangular built environment that has been featured in movies such as I, RobotSource CodeThe Dark Knight, and Transformers 3

The second section employs 8K photorealistic computer generated materials commonly used in architectural renders, video games, and the motion picture industry. These “physically based rendering” (PBR) materials are sold through the online database Substance Source, in which the surfaces of metals, plastics, rocks, and more are previewed as spherical forms. The third section was procedurally generated using fractal software developed by the computer engineer Code Parade. Fractal algorithms are also commonly used in the fields of architecture, video games, and motion pictures, from computer-generated fractal surfaces in architectural renders to visual effects in science fiction films such as InceptionDoctor Strange, and Annihilation. Wilson worked with Code Parade to customize his program towards heightened cinematic realism and render what look like infinite synthetic 3d landscapes constructed for something other than the human body. Also included in the show is an exact replica of a papier-mâché Pikachu found in a photograph posted to Reddit in 2013 by a user who claimed it was made by their little sister. The image has since become a meme with captions like “Expectations/Reality” and “Kill me.” Another replica is also featured in the commissioned video, along with other translations of memes.

In the next room, a video loop based on the first eight seconds of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special from 1965 is installed on a 2002 iMac G4. In contrast to the repetitive zooming of the new commission, this video pans back and forth over a hand drawn animation sequence based on the narrative world of Charles M. Schulz’s newspaper comic strip Peanuts. The scene is accompanied by the original source sound of Vince Guaraldi’s jazz score—here reduced to the first two bars. These works all form the backstory of an ongoing project: a metafictional documentary about a group of artists who eventually drop out of the contemporary art world to pursue more socially productive design projects. In making these works, Wilson is interested in the role that technology plays in amplifying the impact of “truthiness” over truth. As sound, images, objects, computation, and bodies interrelate, they offer possibilities for intermedial imprints that provoke surprising new effects and complicated meanings.
In titling the show “Lavender Town Syndrome,” Wilson summons a conspiracy theory in which more than 200 Japanese children were driven to suicide by a particular board in the game Pokémon Red and Green for Game Boy. Many others suffered serious migraines or nosebleeds, or turned violent when their parents tried to take the game away. Some cried until they started vomiting. These incidents were later determined to have been caused by the unsettling background music in Lavender Town, which, aside from containing a high tone undetectable to adult ears, was also an early experiment in binaural beats which are said to affect human behavior by syncing with listeners’ brainwaves.

STEFANO SCHEDA Nudo, mani in alto! Naked, hands up!

STEFANO SCHEDA Nudo, mani in alto! Naked, hands up!

Fumagalli Gallery, Milan

17 January – 18 April, 2020

“Nudo, mani in alto! Naked, hands up!” is an invitation to reflect on concept of nudity, from art history to social networks. New works along with historical pieces are presented in an exhibition layout purposely left in half-light.

Stefano Scheda, Meteo, 2004 (still) 1’47”, video

«Why is nobody shocked by the Riace bronzes, why is nobody horrified in front of Michelangelo’s David or of the male nudes of neoclassic art whereas Same same but different, the work by Stefano Scheda with two naked men coming out of water and greeting each other, creates such a concern in those who see it? Why do social media ban it? Why does it raise public complain?». These are the questions that prompted the invite to Stefano Scheda to conceive an exhibition project for Galleria Fumagalli spaces and which introduce the text written by Angela Madesani – collected together with other critical contributions in a book in course of publication.

Stefano Scheda’s work is often characterized by the use of the nude, meant not in an erotic or voyeuristic turn but in its social outcomes. The title of the exhibition “Nudo, mani in alto! Naked, hands up!” deliberately refers to a body exposed to weaknesses and life complications, a body that is not protected even by clothes. «We are all bare in physical and spiritual vulnerability, but not certain of a brotherhood» – explains Stefano Scheda. Nudity, which is observed in the first encounter with the work, does not end with the exposition of a naked body and constitutes only the first grade of staging of the human condition. The observers are invited to question and test their own threshold of tolerance in front of a nude physique that, caught by the artist’s ironic eye, shows a sublimated and archetypical image of the body.

On display the video Meteo (2004), presented for the first time at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe in 2006: naked bodies of men and women, not completely in focus, appear still on a shoreline with round mirrors at their stomachs height. Two disturbing elements, the sunlight reflected from the glasses and the sound of machine guns coming from a space capsule, act on the scene by creating an annoying and alienating effect. In this work nudity is evocative of the human limit in front of the greatness of historical and natural events, and in the photographic diptych Same same but different (2018) is captured in its innocence and purity portraying the bodies where the sea meets the earth. In and out of this confine, water is for the artist symbolic of the hope for a rebirth, as the title of the sculpture Terramare (2015), made with a tire and an air chamber, also evokes. The precariousness of being is expressed equally by the image photographed in Figura I (1996), a naked body that seems to surrender to life: “hands up”.

Gerold Miller, The Monoform Show

Gerold Miller, The Monoform Show

Cassina Projects, Milan

September 12 – December 21, 2019

Cassina Projects presents The Monoform Show, a solo show by Gerold Miller, one of the most internationally recognized German artists of his generation whose work blurs the line between Minimalist and Conceptual art. The exhibition itinerary develops through a retrospective that presents a selection of works from the Monoform series for the first time: from the first one dated 2014 to more recent works.

The Monoforms are a series of works which came into being in 2014 with Monoform 1: conceptually and formally, they reveal the maximum material reduction of Gerold Miller’s artistic process which draws inspiration from one of his earliest works; Anlage from 1994, a work that established the parameters of his art and challenged the common and preconceived notion of a traditional pictorial plane representing an open space, shaped and confined by a square or rectangular frame on the wall.

It was precisely during the 1990s that Miller began experimenting, often lacquering the steel frames with paint, dividing the middle space with an additional element, or doubling the width of the frame on one side. In fact, the progressive rejection of spatial boundaries in search of infinity arose in those years: a new concept of image that transcended conventional definitions and conceptually approached the use of space by Italian avant-garde artists of the 1960s. In particular, Miller had been struck by Enrico Castellani’s “Black Angular Surface ” for the innovative relationship between image, wall and space, whom Miller met in 1995 at Villa Merkel in Esslingen during an exhibition on the Zero Movement curated by Renate Wiehager. From the beginning of his artistic career, Gerold Miller has indeed pursued a radical and elegant strategy with the objective of getting outside the image without leaving it. Miller, himself, on the occasion of the inauguration of his solo show Gerold Miller. get ready at the Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, in 2002 declared – “in my artistic work I try to formulate a new concept of image, which approaches the painting from the maximum possible distance .”

In recent years, Miller has pushed his minimalist approach more and more towards the conceptual through the Monoforms: the space confined by a frame disappears, giving way to works composed of two equally proportioned aluminium bars, hanging horizontally one above the other in which the void and the intermediate space in turn become the central motif of the work. Indicating the wall as the fundamental terrain of creation and dispensing colour and form as the only medium, Miller eliminates the boundaries of abstract painting and minimalist sculpture, taking these categories into the realm of the conceptual.

All Images > courtesy of Cassina Projects, Milan. Photos by Roberto Marossi.

Jay Heikes, Before Common Era

Jay Heikes, Before Common Era

Federica Schiavo, Milan

September 26 – January 18, 2020

Through his use of unexpected pairings of materials, Jay Heikes’ artistic practice reveals the precarious relationships found amongst the infinite matter of the universe. The only son of a chemist and educator, he is particularly fascinated by the alchemy inherent in the never-ending transformation of one substance into another, revealing the histories and processes sometimes hidden below the surface of our natural and unnatural worlds.

Recent political, social and environmental changes that have upset our way of life and, at times, overtaken the content of his recent work, have diverted Heikes’ attention toward the sky in a desperate attempt to escape a sort of post-contemporary society in which there is no solid ground, revealing a futility in dealing with hypocrisy of our times. His words act as a fatalistic warning: “If we heed the lessons in pursuing the sublime, where the beauty stands as the sole reason against fully disappearing into the void, I often wonder if the concept of beauty is becoming a thing of the past where the different set of conditions made such an embrace possible”. With this thought the artist confronts an era that he considers distracted, obsessively self-referential and hypocritical.

In a new series of canvases titled Mother Sky, Heikes approaches his work with the sensibility of a sculptor, employing the chemical processes that have long informed his three-dimensional work. Before screen printing forms resembling smoke and clouds, Heikes stains his surface using a combination of vinegar, salt and powdered pigment. During the chemical reaction, these substances generate vibrant and unpredictable tones that transform his skies into turbulent grounds that predict acidic and inscrutable climatic and social situations.

And as if to raise the spectre of an impossible, elemental presence, Heikes includes a series of sculptures known as Minor Planets, small orbs made of materials as diverse as Bismuth, Copper, Niobium and Lignum Vitae that seem as if they are as ancient as our common era. The metals and complementary materials, which over time oxidize and mutate are yet another testimony to the unpredictability of material and form in a way that for the artist “is not practiced, concise or refined”.

All Images > courtesy of Federica Schiavo, Milan



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





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