Friday, July 17, 2009

Forte dei Marmi: Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki – Orsa Maggiore. Tucked away in Tuscany's northwest corner, Forte Dei Marmi is an idyllic retreat for Italy's high society. The Orsa Maggiore restaurant was the venue for the presentation of the new Spring/Summer 2010 Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki Collection to members of the international press. The famous restaurant and beach club is the most beautiful and suggestive to be found in Versilia. It is the only beach-side restaurant in Forte dei Marmi, where you can have dinner looking out at the beautiful sunset or the moon-lit sea with candles on the beach flickering in the wind.
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Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki – Orsa Maggiore. Coccinelle’s collaboration with Barbara Hulanicki, known as the founder of Biba, continues. The cult designer of the sixties and seventies, queen of style that Brigitte Bardot and Twiggy, Mick and Bianca Jagger, David Bowie and Cher all loved was in Forte dei Marmi to present the new Spring/Summer 2010 Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki Collection to thirty members of the International press who flew in especially for the occasion. Here Barbara is chatting to Coccinella’s worldwide communications director, Eleonora Pujia, the person responsible for bringing the fashion icon into the company.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki Presentation - Orsa Maggiore. The new Spring/Summer 2010 Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki Collection was beautifully displayed in the courtyard overlooking the beach of the Orsa Maggiore restaurant and beach club. The limited collection is made in Italy and the exclusive prints, inspired by Art Deco, a characteristic of Biba designs in its golden era are the principal features of the bags and their linear styling.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki – Orsa Maggiore. One of Barbara Hulanicki’s greatest fans and admirer, since the late 1960s, is the legendary, Elio Fiorucci. Fiorucci came down to Forte especially to be at the international press gala dinner hosted by Coccinelle in honor of Barbara Hulanicki.

photograph by Manfredi Bellati
Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki – Orsa Maggiore. Table settings on the beach at the Orsa Maggiore restaurant and very chic bathing establishment. It is the only beach-side restaurant in Forte dei Marmi where you can have dinner looking out at the beautiful sunset and the moon-lit sea with candles on the beach flickering in the wind.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki – Orsa Maggiore.
After dinner we danced until the early hours on the beach.

Photograph by Manfredi Bellati
Pietrasanta: The Animals’ Countdown – Stefano Bombardieri. Not to be missed, Stefano Bombardieri’s installations in the Duomo Square and in the church of Sant’Agostino entitled, The Animals’ Countdown, until August 30th. Whales, rhinoceros, elephants, hippos, portrayed at natural size in a surreal contexts. Thanks to the use of extremely ductile materials as the glass-reinforced plastic, Bombardieri’s sculptures look realistic and stimulate the visitors to reason about subjects that are all but joyful. The animals, monumental and powerful, become testimonial of their extinction. In the Church of Sant’Agostino every animal has a led electronic counter that in real time reports the number of still existing animals. The spectacular entrance of the exhibition in Piazza Duomo, is marked by three tall metal portals, from which hang three upside-down whales with big wounds on their backs.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki. Join the club of the Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki bags. Nico, Silvia, Roberta, Barbara and Likrish go shopping in downtown Forte dei Marmi.
Contessanally tip:
Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki – Bagni Piero. Forte dei Marmi is also famous for it’s Panzanelle, which should be dipped into the Stracchino soft creamy cheese.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki - detail.
As Barbara waits for the press to arrive from all over Europe and Milan, she has fun photographing the photographer.
Note: the wide-angle extension she has added to her tiny compact Sony camera.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki - Bagni Annetta. Forte dei Marmi is famous for it’s foccaccia and at the Bagni Annetta it is to die for. The delicious foccaccia is served as an appetizer.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki - Bagni Annetta. Up and down the coast at Forte dei Marmi welcoming, elegant and glamorous lidos or bathing establishments follow one another. The long beach is spotted by cabanas painted in summer colors, wide beach umbrellas and chaises-longues. Above the cabins at the Bagni Annetta.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki - Bagni Annetta.
After lunch in the legendary Bagni Annetta, the Italian press soaks up the sun on the beach.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki – Treats. Served with coffee these tiny bites of ice cream with a layer of fruit jelly covered in chocolate are the ultimate delicious, Bocconcini Dai Dai, the most tempting hand made treats.

Forte dei Marmi – Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki - Bagni Annetta. A Coccinelle/Barbara Hulanicki S/S 2009 travel bag with the famous logo sits on a towel trimmed with matching logo on the sun beds of the Bagni Annetta.
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

TheBiennale: 53rd Golden Lions Awards at the 53rd International Art Exhibiton- Making Worlds

Venice Biennale: Giardini – The 53rd Golden Lion Awards.
“The Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement are honoring two artists whose ground-breaking activities have opened new poetic, conceptual and social possibilities for artists around the globe working in all media,” commented Director, Daniel Birnbaum also stressing that the two artists “Yoko Ono and John Baldessari have shaped our understanding of art and its relationship to the world in which we live. Their work has revolutionized the language of art and will remain a source of inspiration for generations to come”
Lifetime Achievement Award: Yoko Ono surrounded by bodyguards and fans leaves the Biennale with her Golden Lion. A pioneer in performance and conceptual art, she is one of the most influential artists of our time. Long before becoming an icon in popular culture and in peace activism, she developed artistic strategies that have left a lasting mark both I her native Japan as in the West.

Seen in La Biennale Pavilion. One of Yoko Ono’s Poems entitled, Sun Piece, winter, 1962.

Seen at the Golden Lions Award ceremony. Kemp Muhl and Sean Lennon.

Lifetime Achievement Award: John Baldessari talks to fans outside the American pavilion. He is one of today’s most important visual artists. Often named the most important art teacher of our times, he has above all developed a visual language entirely his own. Since the 1960s, he has worked in many disciplines and produced an outstanding body o work that has inspired several generations of artists.

La Biennale Pavilion.
The external façade of the new La Biennale Pavilion was conceived by John Baldessari to represent the sky and sea of his native California.

Seen at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Dinner.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art had a dinner honoring Bruce Nauman whose work in the American Pavilion won the Golden Lion for Best National Participation. Seen here with his wife, artist, Susan Rothenberg and his New York dealer, Angela Westwater of Sperone Westwater.

Golden Lion for the Best Artist of the exhibition Making Worlds. Golden Lion for the Best Artist went to Tobias Rehberger for his cafeteria in La Biennale Pavilion.

Photograph courtesy La Biennale
The New restaurant – Bar. Tobias Rehberger who won a Golden Lion for the site-specific intervention in the restaurant-bar (mixed media, 2009) inside the La Biennale Pavilion.

Seen at the Golden Lions Awards ceremony. Homi K. Bhabha was one of the members of the illustrious jury; he is Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard University.
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Palazzo Querini Stampalia - Mona Hatoum

Palazzo Querini Stampalia - Mona Hatoum. The Mona Hatoum exhibition at the Palazzo Querini Stampalia entitled Interior Landscapes is open until. September 20th and should not be missed. Hatoumi’s Interior Landscapes was conceived as part of an ongoing series of projects titled, Preserving the Future, that focus on the relationship between historic and contemporary art, between the past that needs to be preserved and the future still to be planned. Querini Stampalia is committed to the idea that contemporary artists may offer a different perspective on our past, and the notion that the past requires action and transformation; that it is alive. Mona Hatoum was invited to respond to the memory and the history of Querini Stampalia and created an exhibition that brings a new and vibrant context to the museum. The exhibition includes several new works as well as a number of interventions in the museum collection using the furniture as the container or frame for some new ideas and some existing works which, when placed in the museum’s historic setting, generate different meanings.
Above: Hot Spot III, stainless steel, neon tube, 2009. Hot Spot is a cage-like globe, which tilts at the same angle as the Earth. Using delicate neon to outline the contours of the world on its surface. The work buzzes with an intense energy, bathing its surroundings in a luminescent red glow.

Palazzo Querini Stampalia - Mona Hatoum. Worry Beads, patinated bronze, mild steel, 2009. Worry beads take the form of a Muslin string of prayer beads, but is presented in gigantic and threatening proportions because the beads have been enlarged to the size of cannon balls. No longer used to mark the monotonous rhythm of a prayer or a chant, the hypnotic sound of the beads has now become a series of precise and violent blows that put us on alert.

Palazzo Querini Stampalia - Mona Hatoum. The Hatoum teacups T42 (gold) are incorporated into the museum’s china cabinet.

Palazzo Querini Stampalia - Mona Hatoum
. T42 (gold)
, gold trimmed fine stoneware in two parts, 1999. As the title suggest, it is a set of teacups for two, but one which cannot in fact be used by two people as the cups are joined together.

Palazzo Querini Stampalia - Mona Hatoum.
, human hair, cotton fabric, 1993-1999. An Arab headscarf with its characteristic black pattern embroidered using long strands of human hair creating a strange object full of contradictions.

Palazzo Querini Stampalia - Mona Hatoum.
, black finished steel, fishing wire, 2009. A cube of barbed wire becomes so light that it “levitates” in the room, suspended in the void. Once again Hatoum’s capacity for synthesis allows her to hold different levels together, in this case neutralizing the “dangerous” and “terrible” one through magic and wonder.

Palazzo Querini Stampalia - Mona Hatoum.
A detail of Impenetrable.
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Venice Biennale: Giardini

Venice Biennale: Giardini.
The 53rd International Art Exhibition, titled Making Worlds, directed by Daniel Birnbaum and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta, it is open to the public until November 22nd, 2009 in the Giardini and in the Arsenale, as well as, in various other locations around Venice. “The title of the exhibition, Making Worlds,” says Director Daniel Birnbaum “expresses my wish to emphasize the process of creation. A work of art represents a vision of the world and if taken seriously it can be seen as a way of making a world.”
Above: Chen Zhen’s Back to Fullness, Face the Emptiness, Aluminum, steel, neon, 1997. Chen Zhen’s work is based on the encounter between different economic, social and political realities. This “transexperience” enriched him and became his source of inspiration. Zhen also embraced an open and tolerant philosophical vision: indeed, his works reveal a profound understanding of the problems of the world and of society, but at the same time are full of energy and hope for the future. This can be seen in the work exhibited here, where human rights are placed at the center of the world (fullness), and good conscience (emptiness) can serve as a guide towards a future of peace.

Seen inside La Biennale Pavilion.
Tomas Saraceno’s Galaxies Forming along Filaments, like Droplets along the Strands of a Spider’s Web,
elastic ropes, 2009. Saraceno’s interest in innovative architectural projects is part of the artist’s ongoing fascination with utopian theories and astronomical constellations. His conception of what constitutes an architectural structure is admirably broad, and his new installation examines how the Black Widow’s gossamer filaments are able to suspend extreme weights through the use of complex geometry.

Seen in the Giardini.
Art critic, Gillo Dorfles.

Venice Biennale: Giardini – The Illy Collection Cup.
The latest Illy Art Collection coffee cup is designed by Tobias Rehberger. Rehberger, was chosen by the director of this year’s Biennale, Daniel Birnbaum, to be the designer who signed the artistic project of the new restaurant-bar inside the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, and also won a Golden Lion for Best Artist for it. The Leitmotif of his project is mimesis: in fact, his cup seems to fade away within the bar, to hide from view in a fascinating and unusual optic effect.

Venice Biennale: Giardini – American Pavilion. The American Pavilion won the Golden Lion award for best National Participation. Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens was organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and presents a thematic survey comprising four decades of Bruce Nauman’s innovative and provocative work over three exhibition sites: The U.S.A. Pavilion in the Giardini della Biennale, Univerista Iuav di Venezia at Tolentini, and the Exhibition Spaces at Univerista Ca Foscari. Commissioners: Carlos Basualdo and Michael R. Taylor.

Venice Biennale: Giardini – American Pavilion.
Bruce Nauman’s Washing Hands Normal, Dual Channel video (color, sound), 1996.

Venice Biennale: Giardini – American Pavilion. Bruce Nauman’s Three Head Fountain,
Epoxy resin and fiberglass, wire, clear hoses, immersible pump, rubber –lined basin, water, 2005.

Seen in the Giardini.
Designers, Idarica Gazzoni and Marie Brandolini d'Adda.

Venice Biennale: Giardini – German Pavilion. A detail of the cat in the installation titled, How Are You Going to Behave? A Kitchen Cat Speaks, 2009 by Liam Gillick and curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen in the German Pavilion. Gillick has transferred his own daily working environment – his kitchen used as an improvised studio – to the German pavilion. Sitting for months in his kitchen with his son’s cat he considered the question “Who speaks? To whom and with what authority?” While the cat tried to disrupt his work.

Seen inside the German pavilion – a detail. Inside, a kitchen-like structure has been constructed from simple pinewood. Lacking in appliances the ‘Kitchen” exists as a diagram of aspiration, function and an echo of applied modernism that resonates in opposition to the corrupted grandeur of the pavilion.

Seen outside the German Pavilion. Liam Gillick lectures to a group.

Seen outside the German Pavilion. The curator of the German Pavilion, Nicolaus Schafhausen.

Seen outside the Japanese Pavilion. Artist, Miwa Yanagi, whose installation titled, Windswept Women is shown in the Japanese Pavilion. Yanagi took the pavilion, built as a symbol of Japan’s prestige, and covered it with black, membrane-like tent, representing the fluidity and mobility of “death.” Transformed overnight into a temporary playhouse, “authority,” “convention,” “prejudice,” and various other “strong winds” that collect inside, the old girls that appear like visitors from another world. Their huge, life-sized forms, are enclosed in huge frames, the photographs that the women inhabit are nothing less than life-sized images of “death” as it truly is.

Photograph by Josh Raymond
Venice Biennale: Giardini - Australian Pavilion. Shaun Gladwell’s Maddestmaximvs, in the Australian Pavilion, brings together the artist’s trademark slowed-footage video installations of figures undertaking acts of physical virtuosity, with sculptural works and interventions into the fabric of the Pavilion itself. The result is a project rich in visual experience and conceptual interplay between elements.
Above: Shaun Gladwell’s Interceptor Surf: Daydream Mine Road, 2009.

Seen outside the Australian Pavilion.
An especially constructed, functioning 1:1 sculptural’ replica of the famous V8 ‘interceptor’ car driven by Mel Gibson's "Max" character in Mad Max 1 and 2.

Seen in La Biennale Pavilion.
British artist, Antony Gormley.

Venice Biennale: Giardini - The Nordic Pavilions. The Danish and Nordic Pavilions hosted The Collectors, a single exhibition curated and staged by artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. With contributions from twenty-four international artists and artist groups. Elmgreen & Dragset transformed the pavilions into domestic environments where the audience is invited as guests. Dining rooms, bedrooms, furniture, fireplaces, a stained glass skylight and the artworks nestled within the households, reveal the uncanny stories of fictional inhabitants, with their obsessive characters and diverse lifestyles.
Above: Elmgreen & Dragset’s, Death of a Collector, 2009

Venice Biennale: Giardini - The Danish Pavilion. As part of The Collectors project, the public gets a guided tour by a real-estate agent through a “For Sale” and are be told the story of the family dramas that used to haunt the house.
Above: The exterior view of A family’s Home. For Sale sign designed by Elmgreen & Dragset and Jani Leinonen.

Seen in the Giardini. Vittorio and Ya Ya Coin.

Seen in La Biennale Pavilion. What or who is Angela Missoni photographing? See below… She is flanked by Io Donna’s New York correspondent, Analisa Milella and by her daughter, Teresa.
Note: John Baldessari with the white beard in the left-hand corner.

Seen in La Biennale Pavilion.
Art critic, Mariuccia Casadio playfully follows the choo choo train with the school children visiting La Biennale.

Venice Biennale: Giardini – French Pavilion. Claude Leveque represents France with an installation entitled, Le Grand Soir. The title, Le Grand Soir is a leitmotiv of revolutionary discourse: the Grand Evening of the “old world,” of the “anciens regimes.” Most of Leveque’s work consists of installations that articulate objects, sounds and lights that powerfully take control of places and spectators. The existential discomfort or disquiet that wells up out of his stagings, the ambiguity of the feelings aroused by his devices are emblematic of contemporary forms of social control and oppression – a servitude that is or is not voluntary. “The concave façade of the French Pavilion is painted black it looks like a catafalque. (…) Your movements limited, your feelings restrained, your gaze has to flow between the bars. Here the light is intense; the pearly walls chill and diffract it. It’s the half-light, the darkness where reflections simmer. Day, night……” from the text by Christian Bernard curator of the French Pavilion.

Seen in the Giardini. Fabio Belloti, who was mistaken for Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Seen in the Giardini. Journalist, Daniela Morera.

Seen in the Giardini.
Art dealer, Antonia Jannone.

Venice Biennale: Giardini – La Biennale Pavilion. A detail of Nathalie Djurberg’s Experimentet, installation, Claymation, digital video, mixed media, 2009. Natalie Djurberg was awarded the Silver Lion for a Promising Young Artist. Djurberg’s intricately constructed Claymation films are both terrifyingly disturbing and artlessly sweet. The new works created for the Venice Biennale explore a surrealistic Garden of Eden in which all that is natural goes awry. She exposes the innate fear of what is not understood and confronts viewers with the complexity of emotions.

Seen in the Giardini. Designer, Xavier Lust.

Seen in the Giardini. Young photographer, Francesco Carrozzini.

Venice Biennale: Giardini – Venezia Pavilion. The Mille Fiori glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly, 2008 stand outside the new enlarged Venezia Pavilion. Inside the exhibition …fa come natura face in foco is dedicated to contemporary artists working in glass and is curated by Ferruccio Franzoia. For forty years, the Venezia Pavilion provided the most qualified showcase for the research and experimentation of the major glass artists and the current exhibition takes up where this great tradition left off, highlighting a capacity for renovation that is far from dying out. Their initiation into a world of ancient skills continues to shape the work of many authors from Italy and abroad, and their experimentation is what the display at the Padiglione Venezia documents.

Seen inside the Venezia Pavilion. A sculpture by Laura de Santillana entitled Teca, 2007.

Seen inside the Venezia Pavilion.
Toni Zuccheri's glass birds, in the foreground L'Esibizionista (Lui) and L'Esibizionista (Lei).
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