Selections / Almine Rech Viewing Room

Selections / Almine Rech Viewing Room

Almine Rech Gallery
11 May – 22 May 2020

ONLINE EXHIBITION

Almine Rech is pleased to share with you a selection of new artworks by eleven artists the gallery represents. Entitled “Selections”, the presentation takes place in our newly built ‘viewing room.’ It all began with the idea of expanding the experience of seeing art to a digital space where distance, simulation, and digitally constructed environments prevail, temporarily. These works in which body, figure and the identities’ essence are evident in the casting should have been presented for the first time this spring at Art Monaco, Art Brussels, and TEFAF New York, events which have either been postponed or canceled. Thus fostering proximity with an assembly of talents from the gallery, the ‘viewing room’ offers the possibility to encounter each work in a digital environment.

Text by Alexis Vaillant, Independent Curator and Art Critic, Former Chief-curator of CAPC – Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux (France)

With works by: Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Tom Wesselmann, Vaughn Spann, Brent Wadden, Günther Förg, Tursic & Mille, Johan Creten, Chloe Wise, Markus Lüpertz, John McAllister

Ewa Juszkiewicz

Do stereotypes interact with the uncanny? That’s what Ewa Juszkiewicz tackles through her classical yet subversive Portrait of a lady (after Christopher Wilhelm Eckersberg) from 2020. Spiky, witty, and oddly natural, the bouquet that hides her head turns the social apparatus of the picture into still life.

Ewa Juszkiewicz: Portrait of a lady (after Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg), 2020
Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm – Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech

Nathaniel Mary Quinn

Strikingly combining hyperrealistic effects to strategically devastating brush strokes, this fractured portrait of a black male by Nathaniel Mary Quinn from 2019 spectacularly catches one’s eye by implementing a brutal yet fascinating ‘painting surgery’ of a face on canvas.

Nathaniel Mary Quinn: After All These Years, 2019
Oil paint, paint stick, oil pastel, soft pastel, gouache on canvas
40 x 29 x 3.5 cm, Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech

Tom Wesselmann

Tom Wesselmann’s depiction of nudes has the fluid grace of an afternoon landscape in summer: they shine by its sensuous forms and intense colors. Intimately sized, but with larger-than-life presence, these two “Studies for Nude” from 2002 and 2004 are powerful.

Tom Wesselmann: Study for Sunset Nude with Picasso Vase, 2004
Ink and colored pencil on 100% rag tracing paper, 21 x 22 x 4 cm – Courtesy of The Estate of Tom Wesselmann and Almine Rech © 2020 The Estate of Tom Wesselmann / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Vaughn Spann

Abstraction and figuration in Vaughn Spann’s striking works radiate energy. They negotiate an obliqueness mingled with certitude at the intersection where abstract folds and crevices, and otherworldly double-headed characters provide enigmatic panoramas for the viewer’s eye.

Vaughn Spann: Mars on Earth, 2020
Polymer paint, mixed media on wood panels, with wooden frame, 184.2 x 96.5 cm
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech

Brent Wadden

Textile is also an abstract art form. A former abstract painter, Brent Wadden makes painting through textile. His meticulously woven Untitled from 2018 combines the ascetic dimension of abstraction to the crafted and comfortable thickness of the tapestry whose imperfections reveal perfect instants of uncertainty.

Brent Wadden: Untitled, 2018
Hand woven fibers, wool, cotton and acrylic on canvas, 278 x 212 x 4 cm
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech

Günther Förg

Masks have something we don’t. They can simultaneously hide and reveal a face. Günther Förg’s sculptural experimentation helped in forging the complex extent of his vocabulary. Förg’s bronze Untitled (Mask) from 1990 captures the moment when a face is about to emerge from a mass of plasticine.

Günther Förg: Untitled (Mask), 1990 ; Bronze 48 x 30 x 30 cm
Courtesy of Almine Rech © 2020 Estate Günther Förg, Switzerland / VG Bild-Kunst Bonn

Tursic & Mille

Instinctive, subversive, and incontrovertibly sexy, Tursic & Mille’s Untitled painting from 2020 hums with radioactive irreverence. This playful work muffles the space by dissembling it phenomenologically, offering snapshots of a hallucinatory drowned world made toxic with the flick of a brush.

Ida Tursic & Wilfried Mille: To be titled, 2020; Silver silkscreen and oil on canvas
180 x 160 x 5 cm – Courtesy of the Artists and Almine Rech

Johan Creten

Vulva Gold from 2019 is a wall sculpture sized slightly bigger than a head. It has the shape of an internal body part as if seen from the outside, which has the capacity to absorb light as much as it is magnifying it

Chloe Wise

With an interest in the history of portraiture, Chloe Wise examines multiple channels that lead to questioning of the self. Wise’s polysemic images depict groups of young adults in poses at once sobering and comical. A carefully-studied awkwardness prevails, creating scenes of chilled delight.

Chloe Wise: Untitled, 2020; Oil on canvas, 91.4 x 121.9 cm
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech

Markus Lüpertz

Nudes and antique-looking figures demonstrate Lüpertz’s dialectical relationship between painting and sculpture. Amor and Psyche were a passionate couple in Greek Mythology. Psyche embodied beauty. Amor (Cupidon) was a cute little winged god. In 2013, Lüpertz took revenge on too much beauty.

Markus Lüpertz: Amor + Psyche, 2013 – Oil on canvas in artist frame, 51 x 40.8 x 6.7 cm
Courtesy of the Artists and Almine Rech

John McAllister

In John McAllister’s spectral landscape paintings, happiness and decadence converge. The shimmering light depicted in Rays rought crepuscular from 2020 hints an instant where ephemerality is as seductive as magnetic attraction.

John McAllister: Rays rought crepuscular, 2020; Oil on canvas, 119.4 x 96.5 cm
Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech

William Monk: Untitled (zip) II – VII

William Monk: Untitled (zip) II – VII

PACE Gallery

May 5 – May 15, 2020

ONLINE EXHIBITION

Pace Gallery presents William Monk: Untitled (zip) II–VII, a solo exhibition bringing together six new paintings created by the artist over the past month as a response to life in quarantine at his studio in London.

Mark Beasley on William Monk

This series expands upon a single painting Monk made in 2017 depicting a mysterious and hovering vapor trail set against a vibrant, luminescent sky. In these recent paintings, the artist expands the landscape and unfolds it into a visual mantra to capture, in his words, this “silenced and beautiful apocalypse.” Monk’s new body of work will be unveiled on Pace’s online platform on May 5 and will remain on view through May 15, concurrent to the online iteration of Frieze New York. 

William Monk, Untitled (zip) II, 2020. Oil on canvas. 13 3/4 × 23-5/8 in. Courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery, New York / London / Hong Kong / Seoul / Geneva / Palo Alto.

Curated by Mark Beasley, Curatorial Director at Pace Gallery, Untitled (zip) II–VII features six paintings by the artist that, as Beasley notes, “let loose an unidentifiable and cryptic symbol that, rising to meet the sky, variously reminds one of an erupting volcano, cigarette smoke, a sequence from a sci-fi movie, or the vapor trail of a ground-to-air-missile.” For Monk, these paintings reflect his continued preoccupation with creating a space for the mind to travel. As with poetry, Monk’s work seeks to flesh out the abstract and reminds us to slow down. Or, as he says, “Painting is the antithesis of life outside ourselves.” The online exhibition presents a range of source materials, from iconic films to archival imagery, that have influenced the artist, offering an in-depth look into—and context around—the evolutionary process of Monk’s dynamic painting practice.

William Monk, Untitled (zip) III, 2020, Oil on canvas, 35 cm × 60 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery, New York / London / Hong Kong / Seoul / Geneva / Palo Alto.

The cinematic and photographic memory looms large in Monk’s imagination. In particular, he cites Stanley Kubrick’s teen-gang dystopic future vision A Clockwork Orange, Michelangelo Antonioni’s revolutionary Sixties hippie movie Zabriskie Point, and Ridley Scott’s bleak future vision of tech-landscapes and artificial intelligence Blade Runner as some of the films that have shaped his visual language and memory. Source imagery aside, Monk is clear that his paintings ultimately exist without a singular and fixed meaning: “I don’t start from a position of knowing, and I don’t always end up there either.” Instead, viewers of these works are witnesses to a visual mantra, a sign and image that builds painting by painting, one through six, or two through seven.

William Monk, Untitled (zip) IV, 2020, Oil on canvas, 35 cm × 60 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery, New York / London / Hong Kong / Seoul / Geneva / Palo Alto.

Untitled (zip) II–VII marks the first exhibition in the second installment of Pace’s online series, which will feature five monographic shows spotlighting contemporary artists from the gallery’s roster, presented online throughout May and June. Similarly, the exhibitions to follow, by Nigel Cooke and Loie Hollowell, are each comprised of new works created by these artists during this period of isolation and will also be unveiled for the first time as part of Pace’s online program. Additionally, exhibitions by Milan-based artist Nathalie Du Pasquier and Beijing-based Yin Xiuzhen will feature recent works by each of the artists, representing a global perspective at this time of challenges shared across the world.

William Monk’s studio. Courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery, New York / London / Hong Kong / Seoul / Geneva / Palo Alto.

William Monk (b. 1977, Kingston upon Thames, UK) paints enigmatic and vibrant works, using starkly divisional compositions and often working in extensive series that gradually evolve over time. The canvases carry irregular intensities of detail, line, foreground, and background; a sense of repetition breaks down the figuration, creating visual mantras. This rhythm happens throughout Monk’s work, surrendering figurative logic to arrive at something stranger and more powerful. Atmospheric and energetic, these paintings invite a more direct physical connection, drawing in the space between our inner and outer realms of experience.

Thomas Ruff: Space Oddity

Thomas Ruff: Space Oddity

Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich

May 06 through Jun 06, 2020

ONLINE EXHIBITION

Since the late 1970s, Thomas Ruff has been exploring the structures and contiguities of the photographic medium, analyzing the visual significance and power of expression as well as the meaning of contemporary visual phaenomena.

Thomas Ruff – cassini 39, 2011

In this show a selection from the series press++ (2015), ma.r.s (2011), zycles (2008), cassini (2008), stars (1989–1992), is contextualized within a purely virtual exhibition space, offering a new look on Ruff’s concern with the various kinds of image production and most of all on his boyhood and ongoing interest on the universe and celestial bodies, stretching throughout his oeuvre. Indeed, Ruff admits that as a boy, he bought a telescope to look at the stars before acquiring a camera.

Thomas Ruff, cassini 11, 2009

Inspired by drawings found in 19th-century antiquarian books on electromagnetism, the artist used a computer program to visualize and process complex formula of linear algebra to construct zycles’ three-dimensional tangles of lines. The structures represent intrinsically logical curves, such that you can no longer discern their origin in mathematics. Instead, they bring to mind planetary orbits, the lines of magnetic fields, curved strips or loops, line drawings in abstract art, or musical oscillations. In addition, the abstract, wildly colored and vaguely geometric forms of the cassini series were taken from an archive of satellite images of Saturn and its moons, provided by the NASA online. In September 2017, the Cassini probe got in the worldwide news, deliberately disposed of via a controlled fall into Saturn’s atmosphere, ending its nearly two-decade-long mission space probe Furthermore, dedicating himself to work with original copies of the 1212 negatives of the «European Southern Observatory» (ESO) archive lead to the monumental stars series.

Thomas Ruff, ma.r.s.18

With his recent series press++, featuring photographs of archival media clippings from American newspapers and magazines from the 50’s and the60’s, Thomas Ruff underlines his strong interest for space exploration, as being one of the recurrent themes of the series. The early zeitungsfotos series from the 1990s is linked to press++, as Thomas Ruff used the newspaper photographs issued from his personal archive for this purpose, amongst which astronomy and space exploration was already one of the chosen thematics.

Thomas Ruff, 00h 46m / -30°, 1992

Thomas Ruff has regularly used scientific photographs as source material for his work and came across the NASA pictures while doing research into the image-generating potential of photography. He was utterly fascinated with the extremely realistic, naturalistic and yet strange photographs of a universe that exists outside the range of conventional human experience. In working with this material Ruff transformed the images taken straight down at a perpendicular from the orbiter into a slanted view. The resulting pseudo- perspective and the added color to the black-and-white shots emphasize the extraordinary feel of the landscapes but without changing their character. The ma.r.s series once again demonstrates the Ruff’s ability in exploiting state of- the-art technology in striking combinations of matter-of- fact documentation and formal elegance. His approach is a collaboration between a scientific spirit and imagination that spans a few centuries.

David Hockney, Portraits

David Hockney, Portraits

Galerie Lelong&Co.

Online

David Hockney
Matelot Kevin Druez 1, 2009 
Inkjet printed computer drawing on paper, edition of 30
124.5 x 85 cm
© David Hockney / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

David Hockney has been practicing the art of the portrait and the self-portrait for more than 60 years. Under the title, “Drawing from Life,” the National Portrait Gallery in London recently brought together a wide selection of portraits of five of his favourite subjects produced over these six decades: the artist himself, his mother and three of his closest friends, Celia Birtwell who was already a luminous presence in the famous painting entitled Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy; Maurice Payne, his printing assistant with an aquiline profile; and Gregory Evans who was held in high esteem by the artist as each of the portraits drawn of him shows.

Self Portrait III, 20 March 2012
David Hockney
iPad drawing printed on paper ; Edition 19/25, 2012
37 1/16 x 27 4/4 in

In this exhibition, there is a secret figure: time. We can read its sometimes devastating effects on the faces of the models as they age; we also witness the evolution over time of the painter’s sentiments towards each of his friends. This is a novel, the novel of a life that is unfolding before our very eyes. The last room, which includes the most recent portraits of all the models, except for his deceased mother, inevitably brings to mind the In Search of Time Lost of Marcel Proust.

Self Portrait IV, 25 March 2012
David Hockney
iPad drawing printed on paper ; Edition 19/25, 2012
37 1/16 x 27 4/4 in

As an echo to this exhibition, which has unfortunately had to close due to the epidemic, the gallery invites you to an online exhibition of portraits that places special focus on the variety of techniques used by the artist, including drawings on computers, self-portraits on an iPad, photographs, collages of photographs, prints or lithographs.
We find the painter’s favourite models, Celia and Gregory, his parents, but also his great friend, Henry Geldzahler, and the famous self-portrait of the artist as a student, his sketch pad under his arm, approaching the bust of Picasso, the revered master.

Sir Tatton Sykes
David Hockney
Inkjet printed computer drawing on paper Edition 8/12, 2008
60 1/16 x 40 4/4 in
David Hockney
My Parents, Bradford, July 1975, from Twenty Photographic Pictures by David Hockney, 1976 
Chromogenic print, edition of 80
27×20.5cm
© David Hockney / Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co. Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

Rhizome – Images of Thought

Rhizome – Images of Thought

Galerie Kandlhofer, Vienna

6 MARCH – 16 MAY 2020

Open by Appointment

Galerie Kandlhofer presents the multimedia exhibition Rhizome – Images of Thought, with works by five international female artists. The works of Tali Lennox (*1993 London, UK), Jillian Mayer (*1986 Miami, US), Nana Mandl (*1991 Graz, AT), Siggi Sekira (*1987 Odessa, UA) and Katerina Zbortkova (*1986 Tabor, CZ) are exemplary of a generation that has made cutting-edge practices, the interest in collaboration and material transformation its guiding principles. 

Rhizome shows new works from the fields of painting, sculpture and video installation as manifestations of artistic images of thought.  The group exhibition develops a practice of expansion of reality, which leads to a reflection on one’s own experiences and the resulting consequences. The observation of an event influences its reality as well as the result. This phenomenon is just as applicable to the smallest scales, when nature follows the laws of quantum mechanics, as to the observable world with its everyday situations.

The rhizome, a philosophical concept developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, comprises a non-hierarchical leitmotif that counters traditional linear classification systems. The term is used in botany to define a rooted plant structure, and its philosophical-metaphorical meaning stands for a multi-branched, cross-referencing, continuously growing model of knowledge. Rhizomes permanently generate connections and ideas, while rejecting classification and dichotomy.¹  Rhizome – Images of Thought articulates a positioning a well as a repositioning through art and questions internalized knowledge. The implementation of this idea repeatedly incites new stimuli, which generate new interpretations and discussions. As a result, connecting elements are continuously being discovered and alternative ways of action are created. The meaning of one’s own role, as an observing and interpreting subject, manifests itself in the transformation of events by way of their contextualization. 

In her colourful collages, pictures, prints, and sculptures, Nana Mandl(*1991 Graz, AT) develops possible visual transformations and translations of the challenges and the excessive demands of today’s media. Her haptic collages combine elements of painting, embroidery and drawing with forms of the communicative and representative spheres of advertising, fashion and social media. Her multilayered works also reflect the globalized patchwork society in which we are living in today. 

The artist Jillian Mayer (*1986 Miami, US) explores the impact of the digital world on our lives, our bodies, and our identities. Her so-called “slumpies” celebrate those invisible networks that are tightly intertwined through Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. and support the use of the telephone in a pleasant way. Mayer’s videos such as “I Am Your Grandma” are autobiographical diary entries, which the artist records for her unborn grandchildren. The work questions notions of mortality, fame, and the universal impetus for creation and legacy. By placing the video into a public forum like Youtube, Mayer investigates phenomenologically why people ultimately share their personal feelings with anonymous strangers. 

The sculptures by the artist Siggi Sekira (*1987 Odessa, UA) reinterpret Slavic mythology and investigate the coexistence of paganism and Christianity in rural, post- Soviet Ukraine. Pottery is exemplary of Ukrainian folk traditions and a form of cultural expression of the working class. With her sculptures, Sekira creates her own worlds alongside our present-day society and shows two works from the series „The Eve of Nymphs”, which are based on the Slavic fertility ritual of Ivan Kupala. 

Katerina Zbortkova’s (*1986 Tabor, CZE) series of paintings star Lil Miquela, a real life mannequin, sculpted by her Silicon Valley puppeteers. She lives in an unsettling fantasy world, engineered by Instagram algorithms and patriarchal beauty standards. In each of these exuberant canvasses Miquela is seen enacting various viral internet phenomena of the 21st century. Seemingly ephemeral online obsessions such as ‘what colour is the dress’ and ‘cats vs cucumbers’ are resurrected here in oil, from URL to IRL. To her fans Miquela is an inspiration. The sincerity of her online confessionals, and the energy of her perky pop music speak to a generation searching for a feeling. 

The paintings of  Tali Lennox (*1993 London, UK) are links and mediators between our real-life sphere and the spiritual one. Her impressive portraits draw parallels between German art of the 1920s and of the current 2020s. Lennox describes in particular the latter as a time of political and ecological decline, which captures the glittering escapism in a time of impending uncertainty. The people portrayed in Lennox’s work are mostly strangers whom she meets on the streets of New York and then photographs in a staged fashion that matches their stories. ¹ Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari: A Thousand Plateaus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, London, 1987.

Images > RHIZOME – IMAGES OF THOUGHT, INSTALLATION VIEW IV (NANA MANDL, JILLIAN MAYER, SIGGI SEKIRA, KATERINA ZBORTKOVA), 2020 Courtesy Galerie Kandlhofer, Vienna

Erwin Wurm, Photographs at MEP – Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris

Erwin Wurm, Photographs at MEP – Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris

MEP, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris

Until 7 Jun 2020

Due to the Covid-19 emergency the exhibition might be closed until further notice.

Erwin Wurm
Outdoor Sculpture (Taipei), 2000 
C-print
159.1 x 126.5 cm
© Erwin Wurm

Erwin Wurm is celebrated for a conceptual body of work incorporating sculpture, performance, video, drawing and photography in which he combines a sense of playfulness and a profound sense of the absurd. His work often questions our relationship to the body with irony and cynicism, frequently placing the viewer in a paradoxical relationship with objects. Although he is principally known as a sculptor, the medium of photography has always played a fundamental role in his work, both as a way of documenting and preserving ephemeral works and performances but also as a means in its own right.

Erwin Wurm
Untitled (Skull) (Pullovers), 1998 
4 C-prints
Each 100 x 100 cm
© Erwin Wurm

Gathering together some 200 prints produced since the 1980s and filling the museum’s two main floors, this extensive exhibition – the first to be seen in Paris in nearly twenty years – presents a number of prints, studies and original contact sheets from the artist’s personal archive, many of them never before seen by the public. Works on display also include completely new works made by the artist expressly for the exhibition based on images from his personal archives. Together they reveal the essential role of the photographic medium in his work, delving into his process and exploring the way he conceives photography as a “sculptural” form of expression; he refers to these artworks as “photographic sculptures.”

Erwin Wurm
Spit in Someone’s Soup (Instructions on How to Be Politically Incorrect), 2003 
C-print
84 x 108 cm
© Erwin Wurm

From his very first photographic works, Wurm reinterprets the classical definition of sculpture as a three-dimensional object on a pedestal by exploring the ideas of volume, weight, structure, gravity, form and mass, starting with The Arrival of the Portuguese in South America, an experimental series from the mid-1980s, shown at the beginning of the exhibition, along with his ephemeral dust sculptures from 1990, in which he would place an object on a surface, sprinkle dust over it, then remove it to reveal the residual imprints.

Erwin Wurm
One Minute Sculpture, 1997 
C-print
45 x 30 cm
© Erwin Wurm

For Erwin Wurm, the human body, with its capacity to fill a sweater, occupy space and gain or lose weight is a sculpture in itself. This first part of the exhibition also presents the video and photographs for Fabio Gets Dressed (1992), in which he asked a friend to put on his entire wardrobe item by item, thus becoming transformed into a bloated human sculpture. In 59 Positions that same year, the artist and his friends pulled sweaters and other clothes over their bodies and pieces of furniture, striking ridiculous poses in 59 ways. The idea of human sculpture is also present in Palmers (1997), a photographic series intended as advertising campaign for a lingerie brand in Austria, and in the never-before-seen Gestures series from the early 2000s.

Erwin Wurm
Untitled (Yellow Pullovers), 1998 (2019) 
67 C-prints, mounted on carton
140 x 100 cm
Photograph: Tadzio © Erwin Wurm

The centrepiece of the exhibition, presented on the third floor, is Wurm’s iconic One Minute Sculptures, which he began in the 1990s. In these works, which combining ephemeral sculpture, performance and relational aesthetics, he gives written or drawn instructions to participants (or to himself) to take up often absurd poses that frequently involve everyday objects such as buckets, tennis balls, fruits or sweaters. For the sixty seconds during which the pose is held, the absurdity of the situation opens up onto larger existential concerns.

Erwin Wurm
Idiot II, 2010 
C-print
92 x 74.5 cm
© Erwin Wurm

The entire series is on display, along with numerous studies and experimental new works and interactive works in which visitors can themselves become living sculptures by following the artist’s instructions. Related photographs include images from the Adelphi series (1999), of the artist performing his own One Minute Sculptures alone in a hotel room in Liverpool; indoor and outdoor performances in Appenzel (1998), Cahors (1999), Taipei (2000) or Venice (2001); and the 2005 Design Objects and Items, in which he uses these same ideas to further deconstruct the notion of sculpture by using his instructions to deform pieces of mid-century and baroque furniture and contemporary artworks.

Erwin Wurm
Untitled (One Minute Sculptures), 1997 
Contact sheet
23.7 x 30.5 cm
Photograph: Vincent Fardoux © Erwin Wurm

Other instruction-based series emphasize the sociocritical aspect of Wurm’s work. In Instructions for Idleness (2001), the artist suggests “Stay in your pyjamas all day,” “Express yourself through yawning” or “Fantasize about nihilism”; in How to Be Politically Incorrect (2002-2003) he flouts social conventions (urging us for instance to “Spit in someone’s soup”). His 2012 De Profundis project combines photography and painting in nude portraits of his male colleagues inspired by poses found in Gothic and early Renaissance art, will be presented alongside his Noodle Sculptures (2016), documenting a sculpture-performance using pasta noodles, and recent large-format Polaroids, seen in the last part of the exhibition.

SHOZO SHIMAMOTO

SHOZO SHIMAMOTO

CARDI GALLERY, MILAN

19 FEBRUARY – 10 JULY 2020

Temporary closed

Shozo Shimamoto
Bottle Crash, 2011 
Acrylic and broken glass on canvas
170 x 253 cm 66 7/8 x 99 5/8 in
Signed on the front lower right. Courtesy of Cardi Gallery

Shozo Shimamoto was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1928. Together with Jiro Yoshihara, he was co-founder of the Gutai group, and he is considered one of the most experimental artists in the period after World War II. Gutai, the first radical artistic movement in Japan, developed in the late fifties, more or less contemporary with the informal movement in European and American art. Its main aim was to give new life to the Japanese artistic tradition. A work of art, for them, was no longer a simple support, but became a physical transposition of the artist’s actions, which is what (like in action painting) turns the work of art into an action. Shimamoto, a pivotal figure in the movement, felt the need for new signs of expression that he found both in action and matter.

Shozo Shimamoto
Heiwa No Akashi 2007-18, 2007 
Acrylic on canvas
140 x 125 cm 55 1/8 x 49 1/4 in
Signed on the front lower right. Courtesy of Cardi Gallery

The first artistic experiments, the Ana (holes), which date back to the forties, consist of a series of sheets of paper covered with a layer of white paint. Shimamoto would rub his body against them to make gashes. After a period of assiduous study with Yoshihara, in 1954 he and his teacher jointly decided to found the Gutai group – The Concrete Art Movement. When, in the pine forest in Ashiya, the group officially appeared in public for the first time in 1955, Shimamoto presented a sheet of metal painted white on one side and blue on the other. In the dark, all the perforations created the effect of a starry sky thanks to a lamp shining onto it. These first experiments were followed by Please walk on here (1956), a wooden walkway mounted on a spring system which allowed the user to actively experience the existential precariousness of walking, and Cannon Work, where paint was fired onto a canvas from a small cannon. This was the first of his works dedicated to the liberation of the random expressiveness of matter.

Shozo Shimamoto
Capri – Certosa 3, 2008 
Acrylic and broken glass on light canvas
348 x 197 cm 137 1/8 x 77 1/2 in
Signed on the front lower right. Courtesy of Cardi Gallery

Shortly afterwards, Shimamoto developed the bottle crash technique, a practice consisting in throwing bottles full of paint onto a canvas. The work of art becomes the result of a relational process between action and matter, between action and colour, whose leitmotif is randomness, and the artist is an actor and interpreter of a performative action shared with the audience, a witness and completion of the scenario of colour built up by the artist. In 1957, he took part in his first exhibition, “Gutai Art on the Stage” at the Sankei Center in Osaka, where he exhibited his video and sound works. It was then that he also began to hold exhibitions outside Japan, appearing in important institutions and galleries such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Musée cantonal des Beaux Arts in Lausanne.

Shozo Shimamoto
Capri – Certosa 13, 2008 
Acrylic and broken glass on light canvas
185 x 274 cm 72 7/8 x 107 7/8 in
Signed on the front lower right. Courtesy of Cardi Gallery

In 1972, the Gutai Group broke up after the death of Yoshihara, and Shimamoto began exploring Mail Art, an avant-garde practice consisting in sending letters, postcards, envelopes and the like, raised to the level of art through ad hoc modifications and delivered to one or more recipients by post. Shimamoto formed his own vision of Mail Art: his shaved head became the medium on which to write, paint, or affix objects. In 1987 the Dallas Museum invited him to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Duchamp. His performance consisted in projecting messages of peace and film clips onto his head. In the nineties he took up the Bottle Crash technique once more, endowing it with new meanings. He put on a series of performances in the US and throughout Europe. In 1998 he was selected for an exhibition at MOCA in Los Angeles as one of the four greatest artists of the post-war world, along with Jackson Pollock, John Cage and Lucio Fontana; the following year he took part in the 48th Venice Biennale with David Bowes and Yoko Ono. In 2004, he did a performance from a helicopter in anticipation of the forthcoming 2005 Venice Biennale. In May 2006, the Fondazione Morra in Naples hosted a retrospective, “Shozo Shimamoto. Opere ’50-’90”, that opened with a performance in Naples’ historic Piazza Dante, where, suspended from a crane and accompanied on the piano by Charlemagne Palestine, he dropped a ball full of paint onto a canvas. Among the many collections where his works can be seen, of particular note are the Tate Gallery, the Pompidou Centre, and the Galleria di Arte Moderna in Rome, as well as almost all the Japanese galleries. He died in Osaka in 2013.

Tom Wudl, The Flowerbank World.

Tom Wudl, The Flowerbank World.

L.A. Louver, Los Angeles

11 Mar 2020 – 30 May 2020

Temporary closed

Over the past two decades, Wudl has taken inspiration from the revered Buddhist text, the Avatamsaka Sutra (The Flower Ornament Scripture), to create an ongoing series of painstakingly detailed paintings, drawings and prints made in response to the text’s evocative and profound literary descriptions. Considered “the most colorful and dramatic rehearsals of Buddhist teachings,” the Avatamsaka Sutra is believed to be one of the earliest discourses by the Buddha.

Tom Wudl / Untitled, 1973 / pencil, crayon, liquitex & paper punch / 65 1/4 x 87 1/2 in. (165.7 x 222.3 cm)

“The ground was solid and firm, made of diamond, adorned with exquisite jewel discs and myriad precious flowers, with pure clear crystals. The finest jewels appeared spontaneously, raining inexhaustible quantities of gems and beautiful flowers all over the earth. By the Buddha’s spiritual power, he caused all the adornments of this enlightenment site to be reflected therein.”
(Cleary, Thomas. The Flower Ornament Scripture: A Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra)

Tom Wudl / One Hundred Trillion Concentrations, 2015 / acrylic, 22K gold, gum arabic on rice paper over wood panel / framed: 33 1/4 x 39 1/8 in. (84.5 x 99.4 cm)

Wudl has employed formal conventions to translate the textual descriptions of the sutra into dense compositions in which tightly rendered flowers, jewels, geometric forms and club motifs disperse in manifold arrangements – some of which feature paper engineered geodesic constructions that extend beyond the two-dimensional plane. Painted and drawn with pencil, gouache, acrylic and 22K gold powder, Wudl often uses ultra-fine pencils and brushes in order to achieve infinitesimal minute details. He then transcribes the imagery onto delicate tissue-thin materials and papers that speak to the ephemerality of the sutra’s teachings. For Wudl, the exacting process requires sustained attentiveness and mindful determination, byproducts achieved through his continued mediation practice.

Tom Wudl / Radiance of Sublime Reality Filling the Cosmos without End, 2015 / acrylic, 22K gold, gum arabic, pencil and gouache on rice paper over wood panel / framed: 63 1/4 x 75 1/4 in. (160.7 x 191.1 cm)

Intended to be an instrument for meditation, the Avatamsaka Sutra illustrates the world as it appears to the Buddha at the moment of enlightenment, where all things are interconnected and interdependent within a cosmos of infinite realms. Just as the sutra implicates the interdependency of all things, each work by Wudl is interconnected and may be viewed as fragments that inform the collective whole. Every meticulous intricacy speaks to the wonderment and reverie demonstrated in the writings.

Tom Wudl / Flower Treasury Universe, 2016 / 22K gold powder, gum arabic, pencil, white gold leaf, gouache, polymer medium on Gampi paper / paper: 5 x 5 in. (12.7 x 12.7 cm) / framed: 12 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. (31.7 x 26.7 cm)

In 2018, Wudl began what will be his largest and most complex work made in response to the Avatamsaka Sutra. Its title, “Om Mani Padme Hum,” is an ancient Sanskrit mantra that represents the essence of all Buddhist teachings. For Wudl, this ongoing composition is an amalgamation of the subjects and motifs visualized in his work over the past two decades. Still in progress and without a definitive date for completion, Wudl has fully committed himself towards what could be considered the summation of this career to date.

Tom Wudl / Pure Adornments of the Essential Nature of the Cosmos of Reality, 2016 / 22K gold powder, gum arabic, white gold leaf, pencil, acrylic paint, PVA adhesive, vellum, Tengucho paper / paper: 12 x 14 1/2 in. (30.5 x 36.8 cm) / framed: 17 x 19 1/2 in. (43.2 x 49.5 cm)

Although inspired by Buddhist principles, the works themselves are not intended to be sacred icons. As a devotee of Buddhism, spirituality has remained at the core of his artistic output; and as a life-long student of Art and Art History, Wudl’s admiration for artists that have embraced the sacred in their work, has encouraged his own artistic pursuits. As a part of this exhibition, a selection of works by these formative “spiritually motivated” artists are presented in conversation with works by Wudl, from Wassily Kandinsky and Agnes Martin, to the Australian Aboriginal artist John Mawurndjul and a 19th century Tibetan Mandala painting. “It is my belief that art has a sacred function,” says Wudl. “The necessity for art is so elemental that it preceded the invention of writing. Art was invented to make the sacred visible by giving form to silent invisible processes that facilitate the unfolding of life.”

Tom Wudl / Wondrous Qualities of Natural Origination, 2016 / 22K gold powder, gum arabic, polymer medium, gouache, pencil on Tengucho paper / paper: 8 1/4 x 8 5/8 in. (21 x 21.9 cm) / framed: 13 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. (34.3 x 31.8 cm)

Tom Wudl immigrated to the United States from Cochabamba, Bolivia in 1958. Beginning life in a new country at age ten, Wudl already knew he wanted to become a painter. He earned a BFA from the Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, but gained most of his skills and insight through his independent study of late Medieval and early Renaissance paintings, and travels to the art centers of Europe. Wudl has balanced his painting with a long career teaching art. He has held positions at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena; UCLA; UC Irvine; UC Santa Barbara; Claremont College; and Otis College of Art and Design, in addition to an extensive private teaching practice. Wudl has exhibited widely in museums and galleries throughout the United States and abroad, including Documenta V, Kassel (1972); Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo, and Nagoya City Museum in Japan; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Art; Pasadena Art Museum; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. L.A. Louver has represented Tom Wudl since 1980.

Life Captured Still: Harun Farocki, Hito Steyerl

Life Captured Still: Harun Farocki, Hito Steyerl

Thaddaeus Ropac, London

Ongoing

In response to the evolving circumstances of COVID-19 this exhibition is closed to the public until further notice. 

The first major posthumous exhibition of Harun Farocki’s work in the UK will show his seminal video and new media art installations alongside the work of Hito Steyerl.

Harun Farocki and Hito Steyerl are bound by a special form of collaboration, beyond any space-time framework. Though they belong to quite different generations they share a stubborn critical attitude that dismantles the pervasive biopolitical regimes of late capitalism. When there is no hope for a better world their images open up a crack in the system of art, no matter how discredited it might be. Call it the pragmatism of the hopeless. 

Their production unfolds in a world that accepts war and inequalities as basic conditions for a life style heavily dependent on asymmetrical realities. By bringing them together we get a unique opportunity to transcend their thematic obsessions and look into the details of a sounding critique. – 
Carles Guerra, 2020

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac’s upcoming London exhibition will bring together formative video installations by the artists Harun Farocki and Hito Steyerl, curated by Antje Ehmann and Carles Guerra, with exhibition architecture by Luis Feduchi. 

We invite the audience to immerse themselves in the works of Harun Farocki and Hito Steyerl … To spend time with and to explore the artists’ questions and doubts, their curiosities and anxieties; their investigations into the worlds between the analogue and the digital, between human labour and the labour of machines, between the worlds of capitalist exploitation and financial accumulation. – Antje Ehmann, 2020

The first major UK exhibition of Harun Farocki’s work in over a decade, Life Captured Still will explore the natural and multidimensional convergences his practice shares with the illuminating and provocative work of Hito Steyerl, who has been described by ArtReview as ‘the world’s most powerful voice of conscience’. Presented together for the first time, the exhibition will highlight the thematic similarities and contextual differences that resonate across both artists’ oeuvres. 

Revered as pioneers in the fields of documentary video and new media art across two generations, the artists’ expansive films interrogate organisational power structures, divisions of labour and the inescapable and shifting roles of the images that permeate contemporary society.

Harun Farocki and Hito Steyerl share an art practice that is characterised by both writing and media work. They both deal obsessively with image regimes and politics … And while addressing gravely serious topics, there remains an underlying humour to their games … Considering the natural affinity between the two artists, a show of this nature is long overdue. – Antje Ehmann, 2020

The exhibition will present Steyerl’s renowned films, November (2004) and Lovely Andrea (2007), examining the ways in which images circulate beyond their original purposes, accumulating fictional meanings and becoming lost to their original subjects. Amassing an eclectic array of sources, Steyerl’s films combine unlikely findings from her ongoing research practice with fragments of found footage to highlight and build upon the central themes and narratives. Both November and Lovely Andrea are linked to the artist’s teenage friend, Andrea Wolf. Having joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), Wolf was killed by Turkish police following her arrest in northern Iraq in 1998, and her body disappeared without a trace. Wolf’s image has since become an icon of martyrdom, displayed on posters at Kurdish protests, posters which Steyerl draws upon in her film to consider the ongoing transformation(s) of both Wolf the person, and Wolf the image: the fictional image of a character that circulates and transforms amongst the masses. 

Elsewhere in the exhibition, Farocki’s early video work, Two Paths (1966) also uses the camera as a tool for the dissection of an image: roaming close-up shots of a drawing deconstruct the scene it presents – a religious allegory for ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ – alluding to the subjective, perspective-reliant nature of meaning and the instructional power of the image. Underscored by rhymes, Farocki’s methodological approach to the camera in this short video functions as a precursor to his later essay films and highlights the enduring themes at the heart of the artist’s practice.

Life Captured Still will also include the installation and ongoing workshop, Labour in a Single Shot (2011– ), a collaboration between the late Farocki and his partner, curator Antje Ehmann. Working as a team of like-minded producers, Farocki and Ehmann have collaborated on a number of artistic and curatorial projects since the late 1990s. For this last collaboration, the pair returned to the beginning of film history. Adopting the straightforward objectivity of early cinema, with reference to the Lumière brothers’, La Sortie de l’usine Lumière à Lyon (1895), a single-take film that features workers leaving a factory in Lyon, the extensive project uses the methodology of the single camera shot to explore the subject of labour. Over the course of four years, they travelled to fifteen major cities where they produced over four hundred short films with local video artists and filmmakers. The project recently resumed, producing more than one hundred additional films over the past three years. These films show forms of work that are paid and unpaid, material and immaterial, traditional and brand-new, industrial and pre-industrial. They visualise work in the 21st century from a double perspective: as an individual act, but set in the midst of collective constraints. Conceived as a symbolic editing table, the project invites the spectator to contribute their own personal film, creating a surprising montage of social histories, a highly organised, global encyclopaedia, and a condensed reading of reality. 

Further delving into the notion of labour, and in direct homage to the Lumière brothers, Farocki’s 2006 installation, Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades will be presented as an immersive and totalising experience alongside Comparison via a Third (2007), The Silver and the Cross (2010) and the large installation Re-Pouring (2010). In cinematography, perception and concept diverge; Farocki plays on this by offering multiple beginnings, ranging from a single screen to a twelve-monitor work that simultaneously presents scenes of workers leaving a factory drawn from different periods of twentieth-century film history. Farocki multiplies the exits and, in turn, the worlds of labour, transforming the workers into actors who play themselves. Utilising the tools and methodologies of cinema to explore the limits and possibilities of the medium itself, Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades highlights and exemplifies the concerns shared by both artists with the potential to simultaneously identify, examine and resist the frameworks of the modern political terrain and structural organisation that governs everyday life. 

The work structure synchronizes the workers, the factory gates group them, and this process of compression produces the image of a work force. As may be realized or brought to mind by the portrayal, the people passing through the gates evidently have something fundamental in common. Images are closely related to concepts, thus this film has become a rhetorical figure. – Harun Farocki, 2002

A perfect grammar of cinema’s spatial turn … the staging of labour precedes commodity infatuation. – Hito Steyerl, 2014

Steyerl’s immersive three-channel installation, The Tower (2015/2016) extends Farocki’s concerns with the portrayal of labour-as-image to explore the role of digital technologies in the dissemination of information itself. Taking over and transforming one of the upstairs exhibition spaces, the work plunges visitors into a sea of red walls and carpet, confronting them with works in which the movement of digital information forms an intrinsic part of the subject matter and making of the videos themselves. Loosely centered on a Ukrainian video company – whose studio is based on a border rife with conflict and who once designed a shooting game set in the Tower of Babel – the work considers the company’s physical and technological position amidst a worldwide network of similar organisations. Oscillating between region and subject-matter (both real and virtual), Steyerl’s work exists at the intersection between the digitally-constructed image and the image of lived experience and considers the apparent accessibility of immaterial concepts in contemporary society. 

In a future, better life, we will sit together at some beach and will observe the irregularity of the seas’ swell. – Antje Ehmann, 2020

Images > Installation view, Harun Farocki & Hito Steyerl, Life Captured Still, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London, © the artists, courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London. Photo: Ben Westoby

BARBARA BLOOM Works on Paper, On Paper

BARBARA BLOOM Works on Paper, On Paper

Capitain Petzel, Berlin

Until 1 August, 2020

The gallery is temporarily closed but the exhibition can be viewed by appointment.

Barbara Bloom, Works on Paper, on Paper Photo: Jens Ziehe

Bloom’s Stand-Ins constitute an ongoing series from the 1980s. For Works on Paper, on Paper she presents two of her historical Stand-Ins – Marriage on the Rocks, 1986 and Homage to Jean Seberg, 1981 – alongside four new works. Each Stand-Inconsists of an unfurled roll of seamless backdrop paper on which is placed a piece of furniture, accompanied by object-props: books, open magazines, newspapers, pieces of clothing, and occasionally a framed image. The works hover somewhere between sculpture, mise en scène, and the clues left for a detective’s perusal.

Barbara Bloom, Works on Paper, on Paper Photo: Jens Ziehe
Barbara Bloom, Works on Paper, on Paper Photo: Jens Ziehe

A photographer rolls down a swath of seamless backdrop paper in order to frame what is placed in front of it, so as to photograph the model and props in seamless, isolated color. The point of this color-field framing is to divorce the objects from the real world, rendering them contextless, spaceless. In Bloom’s works, the backdrop papers function similarly as a framing device, but there is no photographer and no photographs taken. The viewer observes only the set-up, a scene that implies an event just happened or will soon take place. Though the objects physically stand before the viewer, they do not exist in the present tense; placed in the seamless color-field they become atemporal, timeless.

Barbara Bloom, Works on Paper, on Paper Photo: Jens Ziehe

Bloom has spent years making works that explore what it means to pay tribute or honor a person or place, and she has given much thought to conjuring up the presence of an absent person or lapsed event. She has pondered extensively the many forms of memorial, tribute, commemoration, and homage. With her Stand-Ins, she approaches the subject of portraiture, but these works are not portraits. Instead, the stand-in furniture and props act as metonymic devices: the thing used or regarded as a substitute for someone.

Barbara Bloom, Works on Paper, on Paper Photo: Jens Ziehe

On the backside of the partition wall, Bloom presents her new series titled Objects of Desire. For this she takes as starting point the idea of the coveted object and contemplates what grants it the allure and capacity to act as a carrier of meaning. What if we were to consider these objects not for their aesthetic, symbolic or metaphoric qualities, but as intermediaries (messengers) between people? Perhaps we should consider them, as described by the anthropologist Alfred Gell, as ambassadors. Here, Bloom presents a number of items that have over the years, as she says, “gotten their hold on me”. These are not the originals and thus do not possess the aura of the item once touched by the hand of the famous person. They are facsimiles of particular objects that have called out to Bloom throughout her life. Each facsimile is housed and displayed in a custom-built case that infers the original owner’s habits, actions, and interaction with it.

Barbara Bloom, Works on Paper, on Paper Photo: Jens Ziehe

Bloom was born in Los Angeles, California in 1951 and graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 1972. In 2020, she will have a solo show at the Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark and in 2022 a large scale commission from The Shed, New York. Her work can be found in public collections worldwide including the Dutch National Collection, The Hague; International Center of Photography, New York; MAK Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna; Musée Cantini, Marseille; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; The Art Institute of Chicago; The New School, New York and Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama.


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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