SÉPÀND DANESH / ME, MY EAGLE AND MY SNAKE

SÉPÀND DANESH / ME, MY EAGLE AND MY SNAKE

BACKSLASH Gallery, Paris

12 March – 18 April, 2020

The Persian word konj-kav means “curious” (literally “digging into corners”). Sépànd Danesh has been digging into corners for nearly a decade now, giving them painted form with the vertical junction of two walls meeting, floor-less and ceiling-less. In his new exhibition at Backslash, the motifs that previously adorned his corners have given way to curious characters whose mindsets and moods we feel we recognise and sense. His figures are made up of identical fragments (tiny three-dimensional pixels), bringing to mind a poem by 13th-century Persian poet Saadi:

All human beings are in truth akin.
All in creation share one origin.
When fate allots a member pangs and pains,
No ease for other members then remains.
If, unperturbed, another’s grief canst scan,
Thou are not worthy of the name of man.

This cube-based stylized technique can be compared to the artistic experiments of Pointillist painters in the early 20th century: when a pointillist painting is observed from a certain distance, the coloured dots are impossible to tell apart, creating the optical effect of blending into each other. The same principle was adopted years later to create the digital raster image with the pixel as its base unit, its smallest element. Sépànd Danesh takes us into the world of the infinitely small, with the pixellation of the figures, as well as the infinitely large, with the universalisation of human emotions.

A present, 2020. Acrylic and spray on canvas \ Acrylique et peinture sur toile. 175 x 145 cm

The artist explains his approach: “In my work, I try to tackle the question (…) by using the pixel in its oncological form, as an object for reflection devising ever-new combinations and variations.”

For his third exhibition at Backslash, Sépànd Danesh is turning the corner into an open book, proposing a fresh interpretation of Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Me, my eagle and my snake narrates the adventures of a lone traveller, perched atop the mountains of enchantment, who sees all life as an eternal recurrence and metamorphosis. The love felt by this traveller, half-animal, half-superhuman, for bleak and barren nature makes the eagle and the snake ideal companions. The eagle is proud and the snake is crafty. The eagle is sharp-eyed, defies gravity and dwells among the highest peaks. The snake delivers the kiss of death, changes skin and is acquainted with the entrails of the earth.

Sépànd Danesh thoroughly dissects the figures he presents and, more specifically, the attitudes and emotions of human beings in general. The exhibition is constructed like the genome sequence of individuals along with their quirks and feelings. Sculptures and paintings are populated with strange characters in positions that are easily identifiable, conveying as they do an array of human sentiments.

David B. at Anne Barrault Gallery

David B. at Anne Barrault Gallery

Anne Barrault Gallery, Paris

29 February – 29 March 2020

Anne Barrault Gallery presents the third exhibition of David B.
The exhibition will premiere two new sets of drawings :“the detective dead man” and “Nick Carter and André Breton: a surrealist inquiry”, which are the subjects of two books, respectively published by l’Association and Delcourt-Soleil.

David B.
Nick Carter & André Breton 2, 2019
ink on paper
28,7 x 37 cm

A surrealist investigation

David B says there were initially two characters: the Young Detective and the Detective Dead man,whose creation coincided with the time after l’Ascension du Haut Mal, which threw the author into a state of idleness as destabilizing as morbid. “Something was dead inside me”. The Detective Dead man showed how it was difficult for him at the time (about 2014) to give an appearance to his fictitious characters. “At that point I started to turn to characters as signs, objects, and symbols”. The girl with a thousand daggers corresponds to this disembodied character. On the contrary, with her bewitching head of hair –“what is most dear to women” Eudes de Châteauroux is reported to have said – calling to mind these twelfth century ladies described by Georges Duby, she embodies a vital principle. Together or separately, they give life to playlets full of literary references, in which images and texts combine, like death and life unite the detective and the girl. The “surrealist inquiry”, Nick Carter et André Breton invites us to another interweaving of text and image, but also fiction and reality. Based on the character of a serialized novel created in 1866 by J.R. Corvell, adapted in French from 1907 onwards and praised to the skies by the Surrealists-to-be, the inquiry relates the breathtaking journey of the American detective into the life of André Breton. The chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissection table, according to David B.

Erik Verhagen

David B.
Nick Carter & André Breton 5, 2019
encre sur papier
28,7 x 37 cm

Preface, David B.
Nick Carter & André Breton

Nick Carter, the great American detective, is the character of a serial story created in 1886 by the writer J.R.Coryell and published in the New York Weekly. Until the sixties, successive authors will write his adventures, which will be adapted for the theater, the cinema, comics, and translated into many countries.

In the various instalments, Nick Carter fights criminals such as Dazaar who has a hundred shapes and a thousand faces, a true evil Hydra, Doctor Quartz, the devilish physician assisted by venomous Zanoni, his faithful disciple, Moutoushimi, the Japanese spy master, a secret agent and an expert magician in illusions and apparitions.

When it was adapted in French, from 1907 on, the future members of he surrealist group, André Breton, Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos, and also Philippe Soupault discover Nick Carter who will be, along with Fantômas and Judex, one of their great references in serial literature. Soupault, in 1983, will even write a chapter entitled The death of Nick Carter.

David B.
Nick Carter & André Breton 11, 2019
ink on paper
28,7 x 37 cm

As for Aragon and Breton, they will try, in 1928, to write and produce a four handed play, Le Trésor des Jésuites, inspired from the serial films of the series Les Vampires, directed by Louis Feuillade in 1915, in which the actress Musidora, who embodied Irma Vep, triumphed. They will engage the actress for the part of their play heroine, but time had gone by, and Musidora did no longer fit in the hotel thief costume of long ago. The tribute of the two surrealists, considered too dated, was cancelled, and Le Trésor des Jésuites will be performed only once…in Prague, in 1935.

For his part, Robert Desnos, in 1933,will write the long poem la Complainte de Fantômas, which will be adapted for the radio Ecoutez…Faites silence…La Triste Enumération… and Magritte will paint Fantômas above Paris roofs, a rose in his hand, in the posture of Rodin’s thinker.

David B.
Le mort détective, 2019
a set of 16 drawings
ink on paper
18 x 25 cm

The tributes paid by the surrealists to the serial literature of their youth would be too many to be listed. This literature, quickly written, leaving room to improvisation and most unrestrained imagination, in which commonplaces and the wildest imagination met, had everything to charm the members of the surrealist group. In it they recognized automatic writing, something of the exquisite corpse, daydreams, events looking like poetical images and sparks of the supernatural, all that André Breton cherished. This the idea came to me to associate Nick Carter, a fictitious character with André Breton, a real character in a serial and surrealist investigation, in which their two worlds mingle in the quest of what the master of the surrealist movement called the gold of time.

David B.

Valérie Belin, Reflection

Valérie Belin, Reflection

Nathalie Obadia Gallery, Paris

Until 4 April 2020

After China Girls in 2018 in Brussels, Galerie Nathalie Obadia presents the fourth exhibition of the artist Valérie Belin, acclaimed as one of the most important photographers of her generation who benefits from a strong international visibility.

Fox Chase Antiques (Reflection)
2019
Pigment print back-mounted on Dibond and framed with non reflect glass
175 x 132 cm (68 29/32 x 51 31/32 in)
Edition of 6 + 2 AP


The artist’s new series, entitled Reflection and consisting of eleven black and white images, was produced as part of her solo exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (October 22, 2019 – August 31, 2020). Valérie Belin has worked on superimposing various previously unpublished photographs of shop windows and storefronts in Manhattan and other cities in New York state. She thus revisits a recurring theme in her work since the 1990s. The exceptional photographic collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum has been a resource for the artist, whether it be photographs created by the Worsinger Window Service (or Worsinger Photo) – a New York firm that specialized in documenting shop windows and interiors – or Robert Brownjohn’s Street Level series focused on photographs of signs and typographies. The artist also refers to the work of Eugène Atget and of Walker Evans, the photographer par excellence of vernacular American culture, or even the photographs of Lee Friedlander.

Broadway Luxury Plus (Reflection)
2019
Pigment print back-mounted on Dibond and framed with non reflect glass
175 x 132 cm (68 29/32 x 51 31/32 in)
Edition of 6 + 2 AP


A shop window is presented as a small urban theatre open to the street where goods are displayed and staged against a backdrop of decor. The shop window has always been a source of inspiration for Valérie Belin. In the early 90s, she first made photographs of jewelry and trinkets exposed in different shopping malls. Subsequently there came photographs of crystal vases and silverware (Verres I et Verres II, 1993-1994), photographs of glass objects and mirrors in several showrooms in Venice (Venise I, 1997), photographs of mannequins (Mannequins, 2003), and finally, photographs of storefronts in Luxembourg (Vitrines Luxembourg, 2003).

Crosby Display, Manhattan (Reflection)
2019
Pigment print back-mounted on Dibond and framed with non reflect glass
175 x 132 cm (68 29/32 x 51 31/32 in)
Edition of 6 + 2 AP


“ The window is also a transparent surface – and paradoxically, a mirror. It’s the place where the urban landscape briefly appears as a reflection, in a variable manner according to the time of day, the lighting, and the position of the spectator. A photograph of a window in fact contains two images that are superimposed in an arbitrary or erratic manner: the image of what is behind the window and the the image of the urban landscape that is reflected in the glass. The window is thus the place of overlay or an accumulation of two images: that of the interior and that of the exterior. Like all photographers, I take pictures on a daily basis and build up an archive for future use. I had initially made these photographs with the intention of using them as backgrounds for a series of portraits. After having consulted the Victoria & Albert’s collection of photographs, I realized that these images could acquire, through the manipulation of signs conveyed by the images, their proper autonomy and raison d’être as works of art. Metaphorically, I would like that the captured images appear as if they were ‘projected’ on the photosensitive surface of a screen, but that instead of disappearing to be immediately replaced by other images (as in cinema), they will accumulate persistently. The photographic paper’s role in keeping the trace of the image will allow for there to be an apparition of the photographed landscape in the windows. I am also inspired by the aesthetic of experimental cinema from the 1960s. In particular, I am thinking of Jonas Mekas’ film Notes on the Circus (1966), which was created through a direct montage ‘in the camera’ by superimposing shots realized at different speeds. What also comes to mind is Robert Franck’s Super 8 film in black and white that was for promoting the Rolling Stones’ 1971 album Exile on Main Street; it reveals a similar aesthetic to that of the Mekas’ aforementioned work. This spatial and temporal accumulation of images on the sensible surface should contribute to the formation of a sort of ‘mental’ or ‘interior’ landscape, a landscape ‘of spirit’, imagined in a dream but consciously constructed by the filter of perception and culture – opposing the ‘archaic’, ‘trivial’, or ‘primitive’ landscape of public urban space which is reflected in the windows. ”


Valérie Belin

Downtown Dresses, Manhattan (Reflection) 
2019
Pigment print back-mounted on Dibond and framed with non reflect glass
175 x 132 cm (68 29/32 x 51 31/32 in)
Edition of 6 + 2 AP


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Born in Boulogne-Billancourt (France) in 1964, Valérie Belin lives and works in Paris (France). She graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux Arts de Bourges (1983–88) and gained a DEA (the equivalent of a Master of Advanced Studies) in Philosophy of Art at the Université Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris (1989). Valérie Belin also participated in numerous significant solo exhibitions (selection 2007-2019) : Painted Ladies at the 50th edition of les Rencontres d’Arles (France, 2019), China Girls at the Multimedia Art Museum of Moscow (Russia, 2019), Valérie Belin : Méta-Clichés (traveling exhibition in China) at Three Shadows Photography Art Center (Beijing) and at SCôP (Shanghai Center of Photography) in Shanghai and at the au Chengdu Museum, (China, 2017); Valérie Belin at the Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez in Bordeaux (France, 2017); Surface Tension at the DHC/Art Foundation, Phi Center, in Montréal (Canada, 2015), Les Images intranquilles at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (France, 2015), Illusions of Life at the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow (Russia, 2014), O ser e o aparecer at the Casa Franca-Brasil in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil, 2011), Hungry Eyes at the FotoMuseum Provincie in Antwerp (Belgium, 2011), Valérie Belin: Made-up at the Peabody Essex Museum in Essex (USA, 2009), and Correspondances at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris (France, 2008), the Musée de l’Élysée in Lausanne (Switzerland, 2008), the Maison Européenne de Photographie in Paris (France, 2008), and the Huis Marseille – Museeum voor fotografie in Amsterdam (The Netherlands, 2007).

East Town Tarot (Reflection)
2019
Pigment print back-mounted on Dibond and framed with non reflect glass (non treated UV)
175 x 132 cm (68 29/32 x 51 31/32 in)
Edition of 6 + 2 AP


Works by Valérie Belin can be seen in leading private and public collections, such as in France those of the Centre Pompidou – Musée National d’Art Moderne, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Fond National d’Art Contemporain, Bibliothèque nationale de France, FRAC Limousin, Franche-Comté and Ile-de-France, MAC/VAL, Maison rouge, Fondation Antoine-de-Galbert, Musée Galliera ; in the United States, at the MoMA – Museum of Modern Art (New York), LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), Norton Museum of Art (West Palm Beach), International Center for Photography; in the United-Kingdom, the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), in Switzerland, the Kunsthaus Zurich (Zurich) and Musée de l’Élysée (Lausanne); in Luxembourg, le MUDAM – Musée d’art moderne Grand-Duc Jean ; in the Netherlands, at the Huis Marseille (Amsterdam); in Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, (Melbourne) Parkes ACT (Canberra); and in South Korea, at the National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea (Seoul).

Fresh Cuts, Atlanta (Reflection) 
2019
Pigment print back-mounted on Dibond and framed with non reflect glass
175 x 132 cm (68 29/32 x 51 31/32 in)
Edition of 6 + 2 AP

Valérie Belin won the Prix Pictet in 2015 for her project Disorder. The travelling exhibition of which it is a part is being presented between 2015 and 2017 at Somerset House (UK), the MAXXI in Rome (Italy), the CAB Art Center in Brussels (Belgium), the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva (Switzerland). Valérie Belin is represented by Galerie Nathalie Obadia since 2013.

DANIEL ARSHAM at Perrotin Gallery / Paris

DANIEL ARSHAM at Perrotin Gallery / Paris

PERROTIN PARIS
UNTIL 21 MAR 2020

For this exhibition, Daniel Arsham presents a new suite of large-scale sculptures based on iconic busts, friezes and sculptures in the round from classical antiquity.

Rose Quartz Eroded Hamadryade, 2019 Pink selenite, quartz, hydrostone. 117 x 82 x 80 cm | 46 1/16 x 32 5/16 x 31 1/2 inch 187.00 kg. Photo: Claire Dorn © Courtesy the artist & Perrotin

Ranging from Michelangelo’s Moses to the Vénus de Milo, each item was cast in hydrostone to produce a perfect to scale replica of the original sculpture, a process that shares formal qualities with historic wax casting. Arsham utilizes natural pigments thatare similar to those used by classicalsculptors, such as volcanic ash, blue calcite, selenite, quartz, and rose quartz. From that, individual erosions are chiseled into the surface of thehydrostone, a nod to the sculptingtechniques of the Renaissance sculptors. Finally, Arsham applies his signature tactic of crystallization. Arsham is best known for visually transforming ready-made objects of the last half century into subtly eroding artifacts. Historically, he has focused on items that act as containers of memory: an original Apple computer, a Mickey Mouse phone, or Leica cameras. Arsham’s exploration into fictionalarchaeology dates back to nearly adecade ago when he took a research trip to Easter Island in the South Pacific. There, he observed an archeological expedition of a Moai statue. Around thebase of the sculpture, archeologistsuncovered tools left behind by a previ- ous archeological expedition from almost a century prior. Inspired by the dissolution of time between these distinct landscapes, Arsham began to explore the idea of archeology asa fictionalized account of the past, aswell as a tool with which to collapse the past and the present. This concept has become a common thread throughout this practice. Making use of classical and ancient objects, this new body of work experiments with the timelessness of certain symbols, furthering Arsham’s previous investigations into objecthood.

For Paris, 3020, Arsham borrows display strategies from the modern museum, including elevated plinths, dimmed lights, and a series of nested exhibition spaces. By appropriating the visual language of the encyclopedic museum, Arsham makes deliberate reference to how museums have showcased and shaped object history, specifically as a vehicle that canonizes objects within a greater narrative of progress. In the first room of the exhibition, visitors encounter two large-scale iconic works of classical antiquity that depict women, specifically the goddess Aphrodite and Lucilla, the daughter of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, which are respectively titled Vénus d’Arles and Tête de Lucille. Moving into the next room, Arsham continues his ongoing reference to the great works of Western Art, with an eroded version of Michelangelo’s Moses on one end of the wall and the Vénus de Milo on the other. Both are flanked by a series of busts and life-size sculptures, including the bust of Caracalla wearing a breastplate and the Athéna Casquée, with both pairings highlighting how the ancient world conflated royalty and deity. Flanking the sculptural works are a series of graphite process drawings by Arsham depicting eroded icons of classical antiquity.

Blue Calcite Eroded Moses, (details) 2019. Blue calcite, hydrostone. 60 x 119 x 125 cm | 102 3/8 x 46 7/8 x 49 3/16 in. Photo: Claire Dorn © Courtesy the artist & Perrotin

These drawings both reference Arsham’s background in fine art as well as the art historical tradition of sketching, providing a fictionalized creation myth for works that seemingly were never meant to exist. Displayed together, these new works are transformed to compress time, at once referencing the past, informing the present, and reaching towards a crystallized future.

Ève Chabanon : The Surplus

Ève Chabanon : The Surplus

BÉTONSALON – CENTRE D’ART ET DE RECHERCHE, Paris

29 January 2020 – 25 April 2020

Eating Each Other, Ève Chabanon, The Engine Room, Te Whare Hēra – Wellington International Artist Residency, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand (2019). Image: Harry Culy.

Curated by Mélanie Bouteloup

In January 2020, Bétonsalon – Center for Art and Research pre­sents The Surplus, Ève Chabanon’s first solo exhi­bi­tion in France. It is orga­nized around the eco­nomic notion of « sur­plus », a term that refers to the dif­fer­ence between the amount a person would be willing to accept for a good, com­pared to what they can receive by selling it at the market price. The exhi­bi­tion comes at a time when Ève Chabanon’s artistic prac­tice is being rede­fined, as she has so far been involved in long-term pro­jects involving marginal­ized ter­ri­to­ries and com­mu­ni­ties to create spaces for dia­logue and cre­ation. It con­sti­tutes both an inven­tory, a con­clu­sion and a step aisde from the arbores­cent pro­ject The Surplus of the non-pro­ducer, started by Ève Chabanon in 2016, which chal­lenges the notion of « sur­plus » to attribute it to those whom the artist calls «non-pro­ducers»: artists, crafts­people or pro­fes­sionals in exile and set­tled in the Paris region who, for eco­nomic, legal and admin­is­tra­tive rea­sons, struggle to accom­plish their prac­tices.

Starting from the con­tra­dic­tions inherent in col­lab­o­ra­tive logics, the artist imag­ines an instal­la­tion based on a series of func­tional and sculp­tural ceramic objects that blend dif­ferent shapes, texts and images. Made avail­able for sale during the exhi­bi­tion, these objects ques­tion notions of value, economy and arti­sanal pro­duc­tion in rela­tion to which all visual artists nec­es­sarily define them­selves. This spec­u­la­tion around objects and words, at the same time fic­tional, emo­tional and poetic, allows the artist to define her own sur­plus.

Ève Chabanon (1989, France) lives and works in Brussels. She grad­u­ated from the Haute École des Arts du Rhin (HEAR) in Strasbourg in 2013, before com­pleting a Master’s Degree in Curating at the Sorbonne Université, Paris in 2014 and taking part in the Open School East in London and Margate in 2016. She has under­taken res­i­den­cies at the White House in Dagenham in 2017, at the FRAC Grand Large in Dunkirk in 2018 and at Te Whare Hēra, Wellington, New Zealand in 2019, fol­lowing which her first solo exhi­bi­tion, Eating Each Other, was held. She was awarded the Sciences Po prize for con­tem­po­rary art in 2018 for her pro­ject The Anti-Social Social Club: Episode One, The Chamber of the Dispossessed. Her work has been exhib­ited in La Manutention, a per­for­mance pro­gram at the Palais de Tokyo in 2018, and in group shows such as The Stratagems of the Intellect at Parc Saint Léger in 2016, The center cannot holdat Lafayette Anticipations in 2018 and take (a)back the economy at the CAC Chanot, Clamart in 2019.

DAN GRAHAM New Work

DAN GRAHAM New Work

Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris

7 November 2019 – 11 January 2020

Interested in the socio-political function of art, Dan Graham has been creating a series of works, architectural models and sculptures for public use since the late ‘70s. The physical and visual experience of the audience is an inherent part of the works. “Neo-Baroque Walkway,” Dan Graham’s latest pavilion, will be on view on the Marian Goodman gallery groundfloor.

Dan Graham, Glass Office Building/Window Highway Restaurant, 1978/1969

“Experiencing “Neo-Baroque Walkway, ” the spectators walk through a narrow passage between two convoluted sine wave-like opposing two-way mirror coated glass walls. The two sides of convoluted forms slightly vary. The experience for the viewer involves a somewhat psychedelic, optical distortion of the spectator’s body which might be superimposed on images of other spectators’ bodies.”

Dan Graham, 2019

Dan Graham, Neo-Baroque Walkway, 2019

Whereas Dan Graham, in the same Marian Goodman Gallery space, presented four years ago, “Passage Intime,” which may have suggested the perils of romantic love, “Neo-Baroque Walkway” is more of a “fun-house” for children. Every pavilion designed by Graham, although consisting invariably of two-way mirror glass and stainless steel, owns his unique structure and his unique concept deriving from multiple, yet precise references. For the “Neo- Baroque Walkway,” the artist refers to the baroque movement as the main source of inspiration, as well as John Chamberlain, an artist whose work has largely influenced him (in particular for his earlier pieces, “Design for Showing Videos” and “Homes for America”). Surprisingly, the connection between Chamberlain’s art and baroque sculpture dates back from 1964, when Donald Judd wrote in a review: “Chamberlain’s sculpture is simultaneously turbulent, passionate, cool and hard. The structure is the passionate part. The obvious comparison is to the structure of Baroque art (….)” 1 A few decades later, in a 2011 article about John Chamberlain, Graham continued further somehow Judd’s comparison, this time associating Chamberlain’s work to Larry Bell’s: “Chamberlain began using Larry Bell’s coating machine to realize a series of convoluted near-transparent and semi-reflective forms, which resembled topologically distorted Klein bottles.”

Rebecca Horn, Etienne-Martin, Bernd Lohaus

Rebecca Horn, Etienne-Martin, Bernd Lohaus

Galerie Bernard Bouche, Paris

Nov 2019 to 20 Dec 2019

The Gallery presents an exhibition on sculpture, with a selection of works by Rebecca Horn, Etienne-Martin and Bernd Lohaus. Certainly, three artists with different style and vocabulary but whose hanging and showing for this exhibition reveals unexpected poetic proximities.

Rebecca Horn & Etienne-Martin

With powerful and dense materials such as azobed wood, Bernd Lohaus (1940-2010) comes to a combination of sober, massive, sculptural forms. Sometimes we see inscriptions written mainly with chalk which refers to the primary meaning of language vocabulary. The material thus acquires a contradictory meaning; this one, full of heaviness, is endowed by the enigmatic and personal inscription (in German) of a kind of abstract fragility. The most recent works of Bernd Lohaus however deprive themselves more and more of the presence of the language, the intuitive layout of the wood becomes on its own, a language.

Bernd Lohaus Sans titre 1991. Bois. 40 x 34 x 247 cm

Etienne-Martin (1913-1995) is one of the major French artists of the second half of the twentieth century. Young, he was marked by Gurjieff’s teaching and esoteric philosophies. He was also close to the writer Henri-Pierre Roché and attended the architects of the group Oppède led by Bernard Zerfuss. Then, Harald Szeemann – a passionate advocate, will make him one of the key artists of the section “Individual Mythologies” at Documenta V in Kassel in 1972. Etienne-Martin remains an artist to be discovered and rediscovered, who continues to resist the hasty attempts to lock him into an established aesthetic stream, who never ceases to amaze and enchant us with the inventiveness and vastness of his universe . While being of his time, but fundamentally free and independent, this unwanted dreamer of matter and form, practiced an art which was, in the end, Other and more than just sculpture.

Rebecca Horn, Belle du vent, 2003. Pierre volcanique, cristal de roche, moteur, socle : 43 x 27 x 16 cm.

Rebellious temperament, Rebecca Horn (1940) turns very early to art and philosophy. By molding her first figures in polyester, she contracted in 1967, a serious lung disease that became a founding experience. Locked up for more than a year in a sanatorium, she imagines sculptures related to the body. Through them, Rebecca Horn transforms into a fascinating creature, both male and female, human and animal, suprasensible. Then the bodies disappear in favor of animated or motorized sculptures, and for this exhibition we will present three important pieces including Stone Cloud of 1995 and Belle du vent of 2003.

Etienne Martin, Nuage, 1982. Bois peint. 27 x 21,5 x 74,5 cm

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

Henry Wessel / A Dark Thread at MEP, Paris

Henry Wessel / A Dark Thread at MEP, Paris

Henry Wessel: A Dark Thread 
5 Jun 2019 to 25 Aug 2019
Paris

“A Dark Thread” is the first major exhibition in France devoted to Henry Wessel, a key member of the generation associated with the landmark exhibition “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape” (1975).

A celebrated photographer for five decades, Henry Wessel was never tired of returning to his archive of contact sheets, revisiting his work, and giving new perspectives to photographs taken decades apart. For Wessel, an avid fan of film noir and detective fiction, the real or imagined visual associations that he saw in his work suggested endless starting points for potential narratives, intensifying elements of the uncanny often already present in his scenes of everyday life. In recent years Henry Wessel made this practice his own creating a unique, mysterious vision of the places he lived in and visited, a ‘dark thread’ connecting his photographs to one another that is the focus of the MEP exhibition. It is also an opportunity to reevaluate an artist who, having been included in the major 1975 show “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape”, alongside photographers such as Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher and Stephen Shore, has subsequently enjoyed less prominence in France.

Henry Wessel
Incidents No.2
De la série Incidents, 2012
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

In 1969, after travelling extensively across the United States, Henry Wessel discovered, and was enchanted by, the light of California, so he moved to San Francisco, eager to photograph everything, all the time. A prolific photographer, he worked principally in black and white, making his own prints with a characteristic soft silver tone. In addition to exhibiting and publishing critically acclaimed works including California and the West, Real Estate Photographs and Night Walks he also produced hundreds of contact sheets that he filed away in his studio. Years later, he returned to this same material, looking for any images that caught his eye and assembled them under the titles Incidents and A Dark Thread, creating correspondences between certain images and arranging them in sequences like the story boards for films. In this way he left his viewers to make connections between pictures that may have been taken years apart, and to imagine the stories they might tell.

Henry Wessel
Incidents No.5
De la série Incidents, 2012
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

The MEP exhibition presents three major series by Wessel. The first, Incidents, comprises 27 photographs in a precise order, like a sequence of pictures or a storyboard, using his process of free association. The second, entitled Sunset Park, is a selection of 50 images taken at night that usher the viewer into the mysterious atmosphere of Henry Wessel’s world of the Californian night. And finally, in the months before his death Henry Wessel began to put together 50 photographs for the third series in the show: A Dark Thread, which is being presented for the first time.

Henry Wessel
Incident No.6
De la série Incidents, 2012
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

Henry Wessel died on 20 September 2018, leaving his last story unfinished. “It can happen anytime, anywhere. I mean, you don’t have to be in front of stuff that’s going to make a good photograph. It’s possible anywhere,” Henry Wessel said of his work although he himself seemed, nevertheless always to be in the right place at the right time. In addition to his working process that consisted of seeing stories everywhere; for A Dark Thread Wessel also “challenged” writers to imagine short stories based on one of his strangely suggestive images of everyday life. The three stories are presented for the first time as part of the exhibition and published in a new book produced as a collaboration between Michael Mack and the Artworkers Retirement Society.

Henry Wessel
Incident No.21
De la série Incidents, 2012
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

Henry Wessel
Nevada, 1975
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

Henry Wessel
San Francisco, 1974
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

Henry Wessel
Pasadena, California, 1974
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

Henry Wessel
Santa Monica, California, 1989
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

Night Walk No.21, 1998
De la série Sunset Park
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

Night Walk No. 5, 1998
De la série Sunset Park
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

Henry Wessel
California, 1977
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

Henry Wessel
Waikiki No.12, 1983
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York

Henry Wessel
Incidents No.27
De la série Incidents, 2012
© Henry Wessel ; courtesy Pace/ MacGill Gallery, New York


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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