Camilo Restrepo: Pescando Con Dinamita

Camilo Restrepo: Pescando Con Dinamita

Steve Turner Viewing Room

23 Aug – 19 Sep 2020
Online Exhibition

Steve Turner presents Pescando Con Dinamita, a solo online exhibition by Medellín-based Camilo Restrepo that introduces two new series of work–Pescando Con Dinamita and Juegos Finitos / Juegos Infinitos.

Camilo Restrepo - Pescando Con Dinamita 1, 2020. Ink, water-soluble wax pastel, acrylic, tape and saliva on paper, 145.4 x 145.4 cm. - Courtesy of Steve Turner Gallery

In the former, Restrepo continues his practice of creating large scale drawings that bear numerous scars. When he completes the drawing phase, he perforates the paper with a soldering iron before causing all the colors to run by spraying water at high pressure. He then meticulously repairs all the damage. The title refers to the brutal practice of fishing with high explosives, something that is done in Colombia. Restrepo sees this as another aspect of our hyper-masculine culture, one that mostly relies on violence to solve its problems.

Camilo Restrepo - Pescando Con Dinamita 2, 2020. Ink, water-soluble wax pastel, acrylic, tape and saliva on paper, 145.4 x 145.4 cm. - Courtesy of Steve Turner Gallery

In the latter series, the artist first downloaded a photograph from the Internet of someone who was killed in connection with drug trafficking. He then digitally erased the background and printed it in the 1 x 1 inch format of a passport photograph. He then aggressively drew upon the image in red ink, re-photographed it with a macro lens and finally, printed out the image in a larger size.

These steps rendered the subjects largely unrecognizable, as though their faces were obliterated by violence. In so doing, Restrepo aims to draw attention to the Colombian practice of glorifying death while pointing out that the war on drugs has caused deaths on all sides of the issue. Good people are killed by narcos and narcos are killed by the police and each other. In this series, every mutilated face is nearly the same.

Camilo Restrepo - Juegos Finitos / Juegos Infinitos 12/02/1993, 2020. Edition 2 of 2, Digital print, 47 1/4 x 35 3/8 inches (120 x 90 cm) - Courtesy of Steve Turner Gallery.
Camilo Restrepo - Juegos Finitos / Juegos Infinitos 03/01/2008, 2019. Edition 2 of 2, Digital print, 47 1/4 x 35 3/8 inches (120 x 90 cm) - Courtesy of Steve Turner Gallery.
Camilo Restrepo - Juegos Finitos / Juegos Infinitos 04/30/1984, 2019. Edition 1 of 2, Digital print, 47 1/4 x 35 3/8 inches (120 x 90 cm) - Courtesy of Steve Turner Gallery.

Camilo Restrepo (born 1973, Medellín, Colombia), earned an MFA from CalArts (2013) and a masters degree in aesthetics from the National University of Colombia (2008). He has had solo or two-person exhibitions at Sala de Arte Suramericana, Medellín (2019); Steve Turner, Los Angeles (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019) and the Lux Art Institute, San Diego (2016). Restrepo was a recipient of the Fulbright Grant and was nominated for the Premio Luis Caballero, the most important prize in Colombia for artists over 35. A major monograph, Alias, was published in 2019. This is Restrepo’s sixth solo exhibition with Steve Turner.

Sarah Entwistle, Anu Vahtra, Paul Kuimet / Galerie Barbara Thumm

Sarah Entwistle, Anu Vahtra, Paul Kuimet / Galerie Barbara Thumm

Galerie Barbara Thumm Viewing Room
Online Exhibition.

Curated by Alfredo Cramerotti

Sarah Entwistle
Large-scale folded and dyed cardboard screens fabricated from layered sheets of paper in the colours of architectural drawings – cyan, magenta and sepia, are conceived by the artists Sarah Entwistle and Paul Kuimet as a figurative re-scaling of the architectural archive of Clive Entwistle, grandfather of Sarah Entwistle. The screens act as a spatial scenography for a series of works on paper and steel sculptural objects. The surface of the screens is treated with hand drawn grammatical notations such as ticks, crosses, question marks and hashtags, also borrowed from the archive. With this monolithic re-scaling these symbols take-on an expletive directness and urgency.

Sarah Entwistle - Exhibition view - Courtesy of Galerie Barbara Thumm

Shown together with the screens are a series of works on paper by Entwistle. Using original architectural reprographic prints from the archive the artist has partially submerged the original drawing with blooms of marbling ink. The drawings depict details of the roof structure for the ‚Transportation and Travel Pavilion‘, New York World Fair, 1964. The pavilion designed by Clive Entwistle was articulated by its large spherical roof, imagined as a representation of the moon’s surface replete with craters and texture. 

Sarah Entwistle - Exhibition view - Courtesy of Galerie Barbara Thumm

Concurrently to designing this project C.E was drafting a screenplay entitled ‚Harvest Moon‘, which explored, through the narrative guise of a love story, druidic imagery and feminine mythologies of the Harvest Moon. The moon, recognised as an astronomical body aligned with the female cycles and mythological deities is here reclaimed, and as with other aspects of her practice these works of vandalism attempt a spiritual repatriation of the female narratives and energies held both within the archive and more broadly in her ancestral line.

Sarah Entwistle - Exhibition view - Courtesy of Galerie Barbara Thumm

Anu Vahtra
Anu Vahtra’s works investigate found spatial situations. Initiated by the architectural characteristics as well as historical and contextual background of a certain site, they often focus on the exhibition format and specifics of an exhibition space but also tackle issues of public space. Vahtra composes both physical and photographic space as if through the camera, bearing in mind distinct vantage points. What’s important is that the focus of attention is not so much on what her work depicts but rather on how it relates to and is displayed in a specific space.

Anu Vahtra - Exhibition view - Courtesy of Galerie Barbara Thumm

Untitled (Double over), a series of four black and white photographs created for Galerie Barbara Thumm’s New Viewings, is a result of printing, folding and scanning the images of the empty gallery space. The attempt to bring back the third dimension in a two-dimensional representation of the space suggests an alternative spatial narrative and contributes to Vahtra’s ongoing exploration into site-specific space-oriented problematics. In the exhibition space, the series is juxtaposed with photographic fragments of the space, plotted life-size, and wallpapered directly on the wall.

Anu Vahtra - Untitled (Double over) III, 2020
Archivial pigment print - 135 x 100 cm.

Anu Vahtra has participated in numerous group exhibitions internationally, and has had solo exhibitions in Amsterdam, Brussels, Budapest, Cologne, New York, Prague and Tallinn. She has been nominated for the Kristjan Raud Prize (2015) and the Sadolin Art Prize (2014); in 2015 she won the Köler Prize 2015 grand prix, and in 2017 received the Annual Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia’s Foundation for Fine and Applied Arts. In 2017 Vahtra was an artist in residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Programme (ISCP) in New York, where she produced a new performance piece for the Performa 17 Biennial. Currently lives and works in Brussels where she is an artist in residence at the WIELS Contemporary Art Centre. She is also one of the founders of Lugemik Publishing (2010) and Bookshop (2013) in Tallinn.

Anu Vahtra - Untitled (Double over) II, 2020
Archivial pigment print - 135 x 100 cm

Paul Kuimet
A Brief History of Scaffolding / SE Screens juxtaposes photographs from Kuimet’s ongoing series of photographs with the yet to be realized screens/space dividers developed in collaboration with Sarah Entwistle. A detailed image of a scaffolding is somewhat like the smallest structural unit of the modern real estate economy, a temporary and modular element that appears and disappears in every modern city as quickly and inconspicuously as the movement of capital that assembles the scaffolding in the first place. As with the physical screens made of steel and paper, the photographs’ materiality is emphasized by them being presented unmounted and unframed.

Paul Kuimet - Exhibition view - Courtesy of Galerie Barbara Thumm
Paul Kuimet - A Brief History of Scaffolding (Brussels, yellow, blue), 2020
c-print - 48 x 48 cm

Paul Kuimet’s works with photographic installations and 16 mm films, the subject matter of which ranges from landscapes and architecture to autobiographical objects and works of art. Obliquely addressing capitalism and its structure and modus operandi in which we are all immersed, Kuimet visually and aurally presents social and cultural values of our days through a-temporal details and fleeting moments.

Paul Kuimet - A Brief History of Scaffolding 1 (Brussels, sun) , 2020
c-print - 48 x 48 cm

Paul Kuimet’s most recent presentations include solo/duo exhibitions at the Tallinn Art Hall (with Mihkel Ilus, 2020); EKA Gallery, Tallinn (2020); Narva Art Residency (2018); WNTRP Berlin (with Nina Schuiki, 2018); Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia – EKKM, Tallinn (2016); Tallinn City Gallery (2016); Espace Photographique Contretype, Brussels (2016). In 2018 he participated in residency programmes at WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels and at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York City.

Peter Atkins: TV Week 1980 – 1985

Peter Atkins: TV Week 1980 – 1985

Tolarno Galleries Viewing Room
Online Exhibition

26 August to 23 September 2020

“TV Week 1980-1985 attempts to locate pure monochromatic colour within the specific era of the early to mid-1980s.

Peter Atkins' 2019 TV Week series of paintings in his Melbourne studio

The pastel blues and pinks along with the quintessentially ’80s fluorescent greens and yellows remind us that colour can transport us into another time and emotional space. Adding to this, each work in the series has two titles which reference the layered headlines seen on the covers of the popular Australian TV gossip magazine – when television series such as Cop Shop, Dallas, Sons and Daughters, A Country Practice and The Love Boat were prime time viewing for most families in Australia.

1980s TV Week magazines, reference material for the project.

The sensational headline ‘Why Jack Thompson Posed Nude’ coupled with the evocative ’Inside Kamahl’s Sydney Mansion’ was the first work in the series which came from the cover of a magazine picked up in a flea market and led into the entire project as more and more magazines were sourced online.

PETER ATKINS 'Why Jack Thompson Posed Nude / Inside Kamahl's Sydney Mansion' 2019
acrylic on board - 28 x 21 cm.

It appeared that each magazine had increasingly more ridiculous headlines, including ‘Rowena: Why I Killed Pat the Rat’, ‘Nose Job for George Negus?’ and ‘Benny Hill – Why I Shun Women’.
Other titles such as ‘Jamie Redfern – Liberace Was Like A Father to Me’ and ‘New Sexy Rolf Harris’ take on a different meaning, adding a somewhat sinister tone, especially when viewed through the lens of history.
These titles are important descriptors as they help guide the viewer back to particular moments in time.

1980s TV Week magazines, reference material for the project.

I have kept the large bold television shaped text of the TV Week logo intact as it’s a firm memory trigger and an important locator of experience for the viewer of the project.
It’s almost impossible to look back at these magazines with their lurid headlines and storylines and not marvel at the apparent innocence of the 1980s, especially when viewed from the world’s current context.”

– Peter Atkins, August 2020

PETER ATKINS 'Go-Go's Pin-Up / Tony Barber's New Toorak Home' 2019
acrylic on board - 28 x 21 cm

TV WEEK 1980-1985

  1. Why Jack Thompson Posed Nude / Inside Kamahl’s Sydney Mansion
  2. Go-Go’s Pin-Up / Tony Barber’s New Toorak Home
  3. All the Logie Winners / Superbitch Joan Goes on Strike 2019
  4. E.T. the Alien Who Took Over the World / Tony Barber’s Sexy Summer Fashions
  5. Benny Hill – Why I Shun Women / The Woman Who Tamed Erik Estrada
  6. Larry Hagman Feud Erupts / My Shocking Sister Joan – By Jackie Collins
  7. Rowena: Why I Killed Pat the Rat / Nose Job for George Negus?
  8. Larry Hagman’s Crash Diet / Cop Shop Shock
  9. TV’s Magnum Calls Off His Marriage / Wandin Valley Bomb Blast… Who Gets Killed?
  10. JR’s Wicked Women / The Secret Side of Mike Walsh
  11. Women and Me – Tom Selleck Tells / Joan Collin’s Nude Scenes
  12. Secret Side of Dolly Parton / For Olivia the Terror Goes On…
  13. Angry Network Dumps Rowena / Robert Wagner – The Love That Soothes His Silent Pain
  14. Jamie Redfern – Liberace Was Like a Father to Me / Dune Photo Special
  15. Pop’s Bitter Feud – Marilyn Vs Boy George/Thrown in a Communist Jail – Neighbours Beauty Tells
  16. New Sexy Rolf Harris / Penelope Keith’s Husband What’s the REAL Story?
  17. Abigail: Sex Siren Turns Arch Bitch / Brian Mannix Security Scare!
  18. Those Crazy Dukes of Hazzard / Neil Diamond’s Torrid Love Scene
  19. Love, Romance and Andy Gibb / Love Boat Captain Heads Religious Sect
  20. Paula Duncan Back in Uniform / Lee Major Woos Farrah Fawcett Look-Alike
PETER ATKINS 'All the Logie Winners / Superbitch Joan Goes on Strike' 2019
acrylic on board - 28 x 21 cm

Peter Atkins is a leading Australian contemporary artist and an important representative of Australian art in the International arena. Over the past thirty-five years he has exhibited in Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Mexico. He has been described as ‘a cultural nomad’ by the former director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Daniel Thomas, ‘an obsessive psychological wanderer’ by curator Simeon Kronenberg, ‘a visual anthropologist’ by the director of Fleisher/Ollman Gallery in Philadelphia, Alex Baker, ‘a visual terrorist’ by Spanish Curator and arts writer Paco Barragan and ‘a hyper-caffeinated bowerbird’ by arts writer Ashley Crawford.

Peter Atkins in the studio, 2018

Atkins’ practice centres around the appropriation and re-interpretation of readymade abstract forms that he documents within the urban environment. This collected material becomes the direct reference source for his work, providing tangible evidence to the viewer of his relationship and experience within the landscape. Particular interest is paid to the cultural associations of forms that have the capacity to trigger within the viewer, memory, nostalgia or a shared history of past experiences. Recent projects including Disney Color Project, Hume Highway Project, Station to Station, Polaroid Project and The Passengers all evoke within the viewer our collective, cultural recall.

Peter Atkins - RAILway 2018
Metro Tunnel Creative Program - City Square, Swanston Street, Melbourne 2018-19

His work is represented in the collections of every major Australian state museum including the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of NSW, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Museum of Contemporary Art as well as prominent institutional, corporate and private collections.

BROADCAST / Alternate Meanings in Film: Chapter Three

BROADCAST / Alternate Meanings in Film: Chapter Three

Gagosian Online

June 30 – July 20, 2020


You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.
—Timothy Leary

Broadcast: Alternate Meanings in Film and Video employs the innate immediacy of time-based art to spark reflection on the here and now. Looking to the late 1960s—a historical moment marked by deep uncertainty, social unrest, and radical transformation—this online exhibition loosely adopts famed psychologist and countercultural icon Timothy Leary’s mantra “turn on, tune in, drop out” as a guide for negotiating our present moment.
The third chapter presents five films and videos by artists who adopt experimental approaches to explore the unique potential of their respective mediums.

William Forsythe - Alignigung II (still), 2017; Single channel video; 16 min. 30 sec.
Choreographic Concept: William Forsythe, Rauf "Rubberlegz" Yasit Choreographic realization: Riley Watts, Rauf ”RubberLegz” Yasit Music: OP.1 (For 9 Strings) by Ryoji Ikeda © Ryoji Ikeda Cinematographer: Steeven Petitteville

In “Turn On,” William Forsythe and Steven Parrino use unconventional means to generate awareness of their immediate environments. In Alignigung II (2017), Forsythe treats the intertwined bodies of his two performers as tools for exploring the limits of the self and other. In Guitar Grind (1995), Parrino “turns on” to the possibility of using the bass guitar and amplifier atypically, whether as a “bow” for a guitar or an apparatus to generate feedback noise, respectively.

Sterling Ruby - Hiker (still)
2003; Single Channel Video; 2 min. 20 sec. - © Sterling Ruby

The two works included in the “Tune In” section represent divergent approaches to complicating mass-media conventions. In his commercial for fashion brand Jun Ropé in 1973, Richard Avedon presents an exploration of the social performance of gender identity that deviates from the typical content found in the television advertisement genre at the time. In Hiker (2003), Sterling Ruby deploys various horror film techniques—such as a lurking camera perspective and evocative sound design—in a short video of a female trekker ascending a mountain, casting a sinister pall over the otherwise innocuous visual content.

Representing the curatorial category of “Drop Out,” Man Ray’s film Emak Bakia (1926) exemplifies the visionary techniques and oneiric imagery that characterize the early twentieth-century avant-garde movements of Dada and Surrealism, which sought to awaken contemporary society to alternative possible realities no longer beholden to rational thought.

Man Ray - Emak Bakia (still)
1926; 16 millimeter black and white, silent, motion picture; 16 min. - © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP

Each chapter of Broadcast will introduce a new set of films and videos on Tuesdays. The next chapter will debut on July 21.

Ólafur Elíasson / Beyond Human Time

Ólafur Elíasson / Beyond Human Time

i8 Gallery, Reykjavík

Thu 25 Jun 2020 to Sat 15 Aug 2020

Ólafur Elíasson’s newest exhibition at i8, Beyond human time, brings together recent watercolour artworks by the artist. Watercolours have been a sustained interest of Elíasson’s that he has used since 2009 to investigate colour, movement, and time. The works often conjure subtle illusions of space and light through the repeated application of thin, transparent washes onto a single sheet of paper in a meticulous, highly physical production process. i8 is pleased to present two series of related works and a new, large format painting made with melting glacial ice.

ÓLAFUR ELÍASSON - Beyond human time
2020; watercolour, pencil on paper; 153 x 230,2 x 8 cm - Courtesy of i8 Gallery.

The seven works entitled Solar short-term memory are each built around a central glowing, contemplative circle. Spreading out from this central motif, a series of concentric variegated rings reveal that the surrounding greyish colour field is in fact the accumulation of layer after layer of colour. For viewers who stare at the circle intently for a few seconds, these works also conjure an afterimage effect. A spectral circle in the complementary colour of the work remains in the viewers’ eyes once they look away. Because this image is actually inside the eye of the beholder – in your sensory apparatus, that is – you are in a sense the one who makes the artwork; you are the artist.

ÓLAFUR ELÍASSON - Solar short-term memory (14 seconds)
2020; watercolour, pencil on paper; 71,6 x 53,9 x 6 cm; Courtesy of i8 Gallery.

The smaller paintings, called Circular hand dance voids, feature delicate, hand-drawn ellipses that bear the imperfect traces of the drawing process that went into the creation of the works. The overlapping shapes and muted palettes conjure an illusion of transparency and shallow depth. The ellipse is a recurring motif in Elíasson’s oeuvre, important to the artist for its spatial ambiguity and sense of motion.

ÓLAFUR ELÍASSON - Circular hand dance voids (Bhutan book)
2020; watercolour, pencil on paper; 39,8 x 28,8 x 4 cm; Courtesy of i8 Gallery.

Both series explore the relation between what the artist terms ‘voids’ and ‘solids’, between the (almost) blank paper and the areas where paint has been applied. Since lighter hues are achieved in watercolours by diluting the pigments with water rather than by adding white, the areas of the works that seem the most luminous are those that contain the least amount of paint. For Elíasson, the artworks arise in this subtle dialogue between intense layers of paint and patches of almost bare paper, just as cities consist of both their built environments and the atmospheric spaces between buildings.

ÓLAFUR ELÍASSON / Beyond Human Time
Installation view, courtesy of i8 Gallery.

The eponymous work of the exhibition, Beyond human time, was produced using pieces of ancient glacial ice that were fished from the sea off the coast of Greenland during production of the large-scale installation Ice Watch, 2014. For that work, realised by Elíasson and the geologist Minik Rosing on three occasions from 2014 to 2018, the large chunks of Greenlandic ice were allowed to melt in public spaces around Europe to raise awareness of the effects of climate change and to encourage action. Elíasson used small fragments from these blocks for the work presented here. The ice was placed on a sheet of thick paper atop thin washes of colour. As the ice gradually melted, the resulting water displaced the pigment, producing organic swells and fades of colour. Employing chance and natural processes, these watercolours are experiments that attempt to enlist the spontaneous behaviour of natural phenomena as active co-producers of the artwork. The artwork thus bears within it traces of time – the days it took to produce it and the millennia it took the glacier to form.

Federico Herrero at James Cohan Gallery

Federico Herrero at James Cohan Gallery

James Cohan Viewing Room

22 JUNE – 31 JULY 2020


Federico Herrero sees paintings everywhere, from street curbs and traffic signs to the painted trees and stones which proliferate in his native San José, Costa Rica. It is this examination of how color, shapes and signs define the urban environment that is vital to his practice as a painter.

Federico Herrero - MONSTERA Y JARRA
2020; Oil and acrylic on canvas; 80 x 100 cm. Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.

Herrero is best known for working on an operatic scale, regularly exhibiting immersive, site-specific wall paintings, monumental canvases, and cast concrete sculptures. In striking contrast, these intimately scaled canvases and monotypes create a rich, distilled vocabulary that explores the sensory and pictorial properties of Herrero’s painting and image making.

“The bold flamboyance and delicate luminosity of Federico Herrero’s paintings are about both the process and the pleasure of seeing. His artistic language is grounded not in theory but rather in the immanence of the medium, in the basic act of painting contained in the application of coloured pigment over surfaces. The internal logic of Herrero’s work is governed by formal decisions that are never autonomous but that filter moments and glimpses of his immediate environment. In this way his paintings speak both of the world and of themselves.”

Federico Herrero - MONTAÑA, 
2020; Oil and acrylic on canvas; 37 x 45 cm - Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.
Federico Herrero - UNTITLED
2020; Oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas; 37 x 45 cm - Coutesy of James Cohan Gallery

“The photographs I take in the street, personally I relate to them as found paintings. They originate in the notion of the found object. You start to be very interested in certain things. Very specific. I think that creates the type of connection to how you navigate cities.”

“My palette is informed by a wide range of influences. One very important aspect is the urban landscape of cities and how pigment and color exist in a continuous flow. There’s a kind of notion of the canvas, treating it as a space almost like architecture. So I think it’s this same kind of idea I’m applying in the works on paper: the lack of pigment in the paper is the same as the lack of pigment in the canvas.”

Federico Herrero - UNTITLED
2018; Suite of 4 monotypes on paper; Each: 50.0 x 40.0 cm - Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery

“When I was in my formative years, which was the late 90s—there was a lot of discussion about this idea of the blurring of life and art. It was about having a more direct approach to art making—keeping the notion of working in the studio and not denying that space—but at the same time questioning where it ends and how your practice can continue once you’re out in the street or in daily life. This became for me a way to navigate my context.”

Federico Herrero - UNTITLED
2020; Monotype on paper; 50.0 x 40.0 cm - Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery

Federico Herrero (b. 1978, San José, Costa Rica) has presented solo exhibitions and public installations in São Paulo; San Francisco; Dusseldorf, Germany; Kanazawa, Japan; Tokyo; Mexico City; and London. Recent major institutional projects include Tempo aberto, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, São Paulo (2019); Open Envelope, Witte de With, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2018); and Alphabet, a site-specific installation for the atrium of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2018). This summer, he will be the subject of an important mid-career retrospective at the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica in his native San Jose. Herrero received the Young Artist’s Prize at the 49th Venice Biennale (2001) and his work is in the permanent collection of numerous institutions including the Tate Modern, London, UK;  Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Palm Springs Museum of Art, Palm Springs, CA; MUDAM, Luxembourg; MUSAC, Castilla y León, Spain;  Museo de de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Santander y Cantabria, Santander, Spain; MUAC Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan; and the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. Herrero is also the founder of Despacio, a contemporary art space in his native San José, which is an important force in the continued development of Central America’s artistic voice. He lives and works in San José, Costa Rica.

XU ZHEN® at James Cohan Gallery

XU ZHEN® at James Cohan Gallery

James Cohan Gallery, New York

29 of April – 30 June 2020

Xu Zhen is an artist who is keenly interested in hybridizing East with West, forging bonds through visual culture while also questioning the easy commodification of icons.

Xu Zhen, Madein company – European Thousand-armes classical sculpture
2014, Glass fiber reinforced concrete, marble, metal, 304 x 1470 x 473 cm
Credit: Madein Company/Xu Zhen – Photo by Thomas Fuesser

When viewed from the front, this procession of classical European sculptures creates the illusion of a many-armed Buddhist image of the Thousand-Armed Guanyin, the bodhisattva of compassion. This visual hybrid fuses together the great artistic and cultural traditions of east and west, exploring the way in which these cultures collide and how new forms can be created through exchange.

2019; Bronze, paint; 207 x 69.8 x 59.7 cm – Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery

“I’m interested in the misunderstandings that can be created between East and West. How sometimes, when they confront one another, one cannot convince the other of its position and vice versa. It’s all about the viewer’s experience and background, and all the misunderstandings that can create.”
-Xu Zhen

Xu Zhen – “HELLO”
2018 – 2019; Robotic mechanisms, styrofoam, polyurethane foam, silicone paint, sensors, electronic controls; 350 x 600 x 600 cm – Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.

The Corinthian column first created in ancient Greece has become a symbol of power, prestige and western civilisation. In “Hello,” a kinetic column has come alive, taking the form of a snake, as it ominously watches and follows visitors move through the gallery. Meeting the sculpture’s gaze, the visitor is confronted with a dark void.

2014; Glass fiber-reinforced concrete, marble grains, sandstone grains, mineral pigments, steel; 355.0 x 91.0 x 91.0 cm – Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.

Born after Mao’s Cultural Revolution and amidst the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, Xu scrutinizes China’s role in an increasingly globalized economy. Unlike artists of an older generation, he is less focused on the overtly political and instead examines the relentless capitalistic urge which pervades so much of Chinese society.

As Xu Zhen remarked, “Nowadays, people believe in things by buying them.”

Xu Zhen – UNDER HEAVEN – 20180927, 2018
Oil on canvas, aluminum; 60 x 80 x 13 cm – Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery

Xu Zhen achieves the sumptuous surfaces of the Under Heaven series by applying oil paint to the canvas with pastry-decorating bags. Exploring the idea of desire, consumption and cultural production, these paintings tempt the viewer with their luxurious surfaces and color palette. These works are an ironic take on the large-scale, abstract paintings popular in the contemporary art market.

Xu Zhen – UNDER HEAVEN — 2808TR1601, 2016
Oil on canvas, aluminum; 180.0 x 14.0 cm – Courtesy of James Cohan.

As an observer of many cultures, Xu Zhen combs the internet for rich source material. The internet, a place where everyone is talking and no one is listening, provides opportunities for collision and unexpected inspiration. In the Metal Language works, Xu Zhen pulls phrases from the internet and political cartoons and places them in direct dialogue with one another.

2019; Mirror finished stainless steel, metal chains; 120 x 220 cm
Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.

“It is hard to define an artist as someone who just produces artworks. They are perhaps someone who changes the way people think.”
-Xu Zhen

The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, has organized XU ZHEN ®: Eternity vs Evolution, the artist’s first major solo exhibition in Australia with the support of the White Rabbit Collection, Sydney. James Cohan would like to thank the National Gallery of Australia for organizing the exhibition.

The online viewing room is a selection of available works based on the museum’s exhibition.

Writing Beyond at Axel Vervoordt Gallery

Writing Beyond at Axel Vervoordt Gallery

Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp

Sat 16 May 2020 to Sat 29 Aug 2020

Axel Vervoordt presents a new exhibition at Kanaal, titled “Writing Beyond”. On view are works by seventeen artists selected for how their work examines materiality and the exploration of intuition, energy, and consciousness. “The exhibition analyzes how artists give form to something that cannot be expressed by words alone,” says Axel. “Art is born when, at the moment of creation, the energy is stronger than the voluntary act of the artist and created in a moment of total freedom.”

Exhibition view – © Axel Vervoordt Gallery – Jan Liégeois

The exhibition is particularly prescient given today’s current global pandemic as lockdowns have resulted in moments of isolation, introspection, and questioning. These works express how art may propose solutions through self-actualisation and energetic expression.

The exhibition is installed in the spaces at Kanaal known as Henro and Ma-ka, which were designed by architect Tatsuro Miki and Axel Vervoordt according to principles of sacred geometry.

Exhibition view – © Axel Vervoordt Gallery – Jan Liégeois

The exhibition includes work by Ida Barbarigo, Raimund Girke, Sadaharu Horio, Tsuyoshi Maekawa, Masatoshi Masanobu, Henri Michaux, Yuko Nasaka, Hermann Nitsch, Roman Opalka, Niki de Saint Phalle, Park Seo-Bo, Dominique Stroobant, Kazuo Shiraga, Bosco Sodi, Antoni Tàpies, Günther Uecker, and Jef Verheyen. The exhibition also features a selection of objects, including a 19th-century Gongshi or ‘Dream Stone’, a 12th-century seated wooden Lohan, and a South-Australian Tjuringa.

Exhibition view – © Axel Vervoordt Gallery – Jan Liégeois

Exhibition Origins

It’s generally accepted that we refer to ‘history’, as the Greek ‘historia’, from the moment that written documentation is available. All events occurring before written records are considered ‘prehistory’, although it’s sometimes difficult to make strict distinctions between proto-writings and true writings. Sumerian cuneiform tablets and Egyptian hieroglyphs are considered to be the earliest forms of true writing systems in which linguistic expression is encoded so that readers may understand the content.

Exhibition view – © Axel Vervoordt Gallery – Jan Liégeois

Throughout history, every civilisation has developed its respective language and writing, which evolved from a pictorial writing system to a phonetical system with letters, words, or symbols, and the use of a large variety of complicated grammatical rules. Writing allows societies to transmit information and share knowledge. The greatest benefit of writing is that it provides the tool by which society can record information consistently and in greater detail, something that could not be achieved as well previously by spoken word.

Exhibition view – © Axel Vervoordt Gallery – Jan Liégeois

This exhibition explores how an artist’s specific visual language reflects their internal writing system—a sense of ‘automatic writing’—while at the same time going beyond writing. While curating the works selected for installation, Axel stated, “Artists have the unique ability to follow their intuitive feelings to express cosmic energy. They materialise what cannot be written. It goes beyond our understanding of writing.”

Pier Paolo Calzolari: Muitos estudos para uma casa de limao

Pier Paolo Calzolari: Muitos estudos para uma casa de limao

Repetto Gallery Viewing Room


Into the yellow of the rose
Perennial, which, in bright expansiveness,
Lays forth its gradual blooming, redolent
Of praises to the never-wintering sun…

Divine Comedy, Paradise, XXX, 122-125

Pier Paolo Calzolari – Untitled, from “Muitos estudos para uma casa de limão” series
2018; Salt, tempera, pastels “à l’écu” and oil pastels on Arches watercolor “Torchon” paper laid on board; 58.5 x 38.5 x 1.5 cm – Courtesy of Repetto Gallery

In his elegant writing, David Anfam cites the yellow of Goethe’s lemons; thus in this brief note, we could not forgo mention of our great Dante. Yellow as a colour, but yellow most of all as a symbol of light, of warmth and of grace: at the same time lightness and potency, energy and candour. Towards the end of the ’60s, at the start of his brilliant career, Pier Paolo Calzolari (Bologna, 1943) emerged as one of the most original and intransigent artists of the second half of the 20th century.

Pier Paolo Calzolari – Untitled, from “Muitos estudos para uma casa de limão” series
2018; Salt, tempera, pastels “à l’écu” and oil pastels on Arches watercolor “Torchon” paper laid on board; 77 x 57.5 x 2 cm – Courtesy of Repetto Gallery

A profound and refined interpreter of the poetics of the sublime – more in its Baroque than its Romantic acceptation, in terms of theatricality, experimentation and marvel – he has always toyed and created with the force of the elements. Suspended between the two extremes of its possible etymology – sub-limen, beneath the architrave of the gateway, way up high; and sub-limo, beneath the mud, way down low – like a new Ulysses, he drew back the stiff bow of creativity, each time shooting the arrow of inspiration right up to his decisive encounter with the pure star of Form. But just what kind of Form? Not that based on the poetics of beauty – at least not beauty viewed as order, measure, equilibrium and symmetry – but on the contrary, each time espousing the risks of the sublime: the sentiment of the boundless, the vibrations of the unknown, the doubts of experimentation, the asymmetries of the void and the matter that feeds on its uninterrupted transformations. Hence the flame, vegetable matter, salt, water, tobacco, frost and ice became his forms and symbols. Like that of Ulysses, his is a colourful mind, and one which with endless skill adapts to the will of destiny, to the order of the elements, transforming itself and much else around him. In the identification of his extraordinary creativity, both archaic and unprecedented, remote and futuristic, in which the two sacred memories of Georges de La Tour and Caspar David Friedrich – fire and ice, heat and freezing, black and white – meet up once more in an embrace which is both intimate and impossible, real and infinite.

Pier Paolo Calzolari – Untitled, from “Muitos estudos para uma casa de limão” series
2018; Salt, tempera, pastels “à l’écu” and oil pastels on Arches watercolor “Torchon” paper laid on board; 77 x 57.5 x 2 cm – Courtesy of Repetto Gallery

However, with these new works, his recent creations which we are happy and honoured to present – paper applied to the board, on which salt (presented as a large and dominant surface) dialogues with the milk tempera and various kinds of crayon – his creativity manages to regain a greater degree of decoration, an unprecedented pleasantness, like an extreme and lyrical song. In these new works, Calzolari seems to counterbalance a degree of calm, of tenderness, a fortuitous gracefulness made up of joyful and lively colours to his traditional stormy, restless and experimental waters; woven to form a candid fabric of kindly, refined gestures, in a chromatic approach which is both energetic and humble, brilliant and delicate. An unprecedented ‘pictorial’ universe, in which his previous ‘brazen cry’, having acquired a new air of wisdom, has been transformed into a multicolour zen chant.

Carlo and Paolo Repetto

Pier Paolo Calzolari – Untitled, from “Muitos estudos para uma casa de limão” series
2018; Salt, tempera, pastels “à l’écu” and oil pastels on Arches watercolor “Torchon” paper laid on board; 77 x 57.5 x 2 cm – Courtesy of Repetto Gallery
Pier Paolo Calzolari – Untitled, from “Muitos estudos para uma casa de limão” series
2018; Salt, tempera, pastels “à l’écu” and oil pastels on Arches watercolor “Torchon” paper laid on board; 77 x 57.5 x 2 cm – Courtesy of Repetto Gallery

Here is the third Calzolari, an intimate philosopher. Muitos estudos para uma casa de limão stems from this sensibility.

Never before exhibited, the project comprising twenty-two studies for a “lemon house” is sui generis, a one-of-a-kind suite complete in itself. Nevertheless, its matrix belongs to Calzolari’s wider practice – specifically the aforementioned painting-as-lyric mode. Executed on Torchon Arches paper mounted on board, the support’s roughness not only has a grain that helps texture the milk tempera medium, it also chimes with another of Calzolari’s signature substances, layered salt. In turn, the granular pigmented surface deftly embellished by marks made with ultra-soft, friable pastels (pastel à l’écu) establishes a concrete metaphor for the look and feel of a lemon’s skin. But before considering the fruit, Calzolari’s touch in this pictorial style merits mention. He has described painting as “a butterfly”. The butterfly and Calzolari’s facture have one common quality (beside their beauty): they quiver light as a feather (which, by no coincidence, belongs among the artist’s leitmotifs). Lightness is to materiality as transience is to time. After all, fruits form a late stage in a plant’s development, a prelude to its dormancy or death.

Extract of David Anfam’s text “Ripeness”, written in occasion of the exhibition of Muitos estudos para uma casa de limao, September 2019.

Takesada Matsutani / Stream

Takesada Matsutani / Stream

Hauser & Wirth

14 May – 14 Jun 2020


‘Time is for me, most important. I was born, I must die. But my conscious is streaming for infinity.

My infinity, my purpose, my desire is there.

That’s my imagination.’

—Takesada Matsutani

The artist’s unique visual language forms one of the most pioneering oeuvres to emerge from post-war Japan and is continually celebrated globally. With the online exhibition, ‘Stream’, Ōsaka-born and Paris-based artist Takesada Matsutani presents a series of previously unseen works, alongside a significant body of preparatory drawings, multi-media paintings and lithographs, dating from the 1970s to present day.

Stream 78-1 – Takesada Matsutani,1978
Graphite pencil and turpentine on paper; 81 x 119.5 cm
© Takesada Matsutani. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Buddhist teachings were a central element in Matsutani’s childhood education, with our existence seen as a constantly changing current. Although he doesn’t consider himself a Zen practitioner in his art, he has felt a profound affinity with the philosophy’s call for a ‘return to the simplicity of everyday experience,’ its rejection of ‘system-based thinking,’ and its emphasis on ‘a constant moment-to-moment praxis.’ In his multifaceted works, Matsutani attempts to stop time, to materialize a suspended moment and acknowledge the repetition and fluidity of everyday life.

Puffed up-2 (膨らみ-2) – Takesada Matsutani, 2020.
Vinyl adhesive, graphite pencil, acrylic, on canvas and plywood, 91.5 x 63 x 10.5 cm
© Takesada Matsutani. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Matsutani began creating vast expanses of metallic black graphite on mural-size sheets of paper built up with painstaking individual strokes, commonly known as his Stream series. The successive layers produce a sense of volume through the interplay of shadows and the direction of the pencil strokes, developing a tactility and inner luminosity as seen in the earliest work in the online presentation, ‘Stream 78-1’ (1978) and ‘Stream 99-5’ (1999). This ritualized manner of mark-making has a performative gesture that presents a time-based record reminiscent of Matsutani’s artistic beginnings in Japan.

Three Circles-19 – Takesada Matsutani, 2019.
Vinyl adhesive, acrylic, graphite pencil on canvas, 55 x 38 x 3.5 cm 
© Takesada Matsutani. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

About the artist
Takesada Matsutani was born in Ōsaka in 1937. He began exhibiting with the Gutai Group in 1960, along with Shūji Mukai and Tsuyoshi Maekawa, and officially joined the group in 1963. In 1966, he received a grant from the French government after winning first prize in the 1st Mainichi Art Competition, and subsequently moved to Paris where he continues to live and work today.

Propagation 15-2-5 – Takesada Matsutani, 2015.
Vinyl adhesive, graphite pencil on canvas, 162 x 130 cm
© Takesada Matsutani. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Organized with Olivier Renaud-Clément, this intimate presentation embodies Matsutani’s intuitive and enduring connection with his materials over the past six decades, including a new work created in the artist’s studio and home during this period of isolation.

In keeping with his Gutai roots, Matsutani strove to identify and convey the essential character and expressive possibilities between vinyl adhesive and graphite. It is this confluence of materials, as seen in recent works ‘Propagation 15-2-5’ (2015) and ‘EVOLUTION-99’ (1999), that epitomizes the distinctive visual language the artist has made his own over the last 40 years.

Kao – Takesada Matsutani, 2011.
Vinyl adhesive, graphite powder, gouache and paper on wood, 19 x 12.8 x 1.7 cm
© Takesada Matsutani. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Alongside Matsutani’s rediscovery of the power of black and white, he also started to adopt bright colour planes and shaped canvases with a very personal palette, this is highlighted in ‘Three Circles-19’ (2019), photographed in the artist’s studio in the past month during isolation. Talking about whether the current global pandemic has changed his practice Matsutani says: ‘a little bit at first, but I find my routine is the same and focus on the work is the same. In the end, the beauty is still there and continues to exist.’

Takesada Matsutani. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

This online exhibition follows Matsutani’s retrospective survey at the Centre Pompidou, Paris in Summer 2019 and coincides with the re-opening of ‘Takesada Matsutani: Prints, 1967-1977’ at les Abattoirs, Toulouse, in partnership with the National Institute of Art History, France (INHA). The artist’s work is also featured in our current group presentation at Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong, open until 30 May.

Under the umbrella of Hauser & Wirth’s new global philanthropic and charitable initiative #artforbetter, the gallery is donating 10% of gross profits from sales of all works in their online exhibitions to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.




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