Thursday, June 30, 2011

Venice Biennale: The Belgian Pavilion – Feuilleton.

Venice Biennale: The Belgian Pavilion – Feuilleton Angel Vergara’s Feuilleton, is the name of the exhibition in the Belgian Pavilion curated by Luc Tuymans.  “This exhibition created by Angel Vergara is principally a reflection based around the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins, such as desire, anger sloth… Using this theme as a leitmotif applied to contemporary society is a way of infecting a sort of virus into the range of trivial images that the media floods us.” Tuymans explains.

Venice Biennale: The Belgian Pavilion – Feuilleton.  “On the seven screens of the large frieze that forms the centerpiece of Angel’s project, the images appropriated by the artist are projected over and over again before finally being attacked by the paintbrush and paint, as if highlighting the powerlessness of this gesture.” Tuymans adds.

Venice Biennale: The Belgian Pavilion – Feuilleton.  The artist Angel Vergara on Feuilleton explains “Applying this theme as a leitmotif to today’s society is like injecting a virus into the gamut of images the current scene produces in all their triviality.”

Venice Biennale: The Belgian Pavilion – Feuilleton.  “In the center of the Pavilion, various paintings on glass are displayed.  Although these are independent works, they can be said to be linked directly to the large frieze in the central display area.” Tuymans concludes.

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Venice Biennale: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion – The Black Arch.

Venice Biennale: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion – The Black Arch.  For it’s first participation to the Venice Biennale The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia present two artist sisters, Raja and Shadia Alem, who have conceived their work as a stage on which to project their reminiscence of Black, a vast absence of color, and the physical representation of Black, which alludes to their past. Curated by Mona Khazindar and Robin Start.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion – The Black Arch.  The installation The Black Arch, the work of sisters Shadia and Raja Alem can be read as a double narrative.  Rajas the writer, and Shadia the visual artist, have a non-traditional artist’s background.  While having had a classical and literary education, the sisters acquired knowledge through their encounters with pilgrims visiting Makkah.  The experience with the physical presence of Black, the first part of the installation is striking for the artists; Raja explains, “I grew up aware of the physical presence of Black all around, the black silhouettes of Saudi women, the black cloth of Al ka’ba3 and the black stone which is said to have enhanced our knowledge.”  As a counter-point, the second part of the installation is a mirror image, reflecting the present.  These are the aesthetic parameters of the work. 
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Venice Biennale: Argentinean Pavilion – Now I Will Be With My Son

Venice Biennale: Argentinean Pavilion – Now I Will Be With My Son.  The young artist Adrian Villar Rojas presents his site-specific monumental installation in the Argentinean Pavilion, called Now I Will Be With My Son, curated by Rodrigo Alonso.  The goal of Man and Art: what will the last men on earth, before extinction, make art with?  The answer to this question is in the exhibition’s very materials: clay among others, for it crumbles without water the way the human body does.

Argentinean Pavilion – Now I Will Be With My Son. ‘I wanted to imagine work done by the last humans who make art before the extinction of the human race.”  the young artist Adrian Villar Rojas explains about his project.
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Venice Biennale: Turkish Pavilion: Plan B

Venice Biennale: Turkish Pavilion – Plan B.   Ayse Erkmen represents Turkey with a sculptural installation entitled “Plan B”.  The Turkish Pavilion was curated by Fulya Erdemic with Danae Mossman.

Turkish Pavilion – Plan B.   Ayse Erkmen’s sculptural site-specific installation “Plan B” draws on the ineluctable and complex relationship Venice has with water.  Her project transforms a room inside the Arsenale into a complex water purification unit where machines perform as sculptures, enveloping the audience inside the filtration process that eventually provides clean, drinkable water back to the canal. 
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Venice Biennale: United Arab Emirates Pavilion - Secon Time Around

Venice Biennale: United Arab Emirates Pavilion - Second Time Around.  His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, the minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates gives and interview during the opening of the pavilion entitled Second Time Around.  As newcomers in 2009, the UAE had to answer demands addressed to their artistic strength.  The ‘second pavilion’ has in turn come of age and is now willing to present the complexities of the country’s artistic scenery. Vasif Kortum, the former director of the Istanbul Biennial, selected three artist who reflect the maturing Emirati art scene, Lateefa Bint Maktoum’s manipulated photographs recall Pre-Raphaelites, Abdulla Al Saadi’s childlike watercolors explore the landscape of the UAE, while Reem Al Ghaith’s installations document the upheaval of hers fast-changing region.

Lateefa Bint Maktoum's photographs largly consists of composite, digitally manipulated images based on highlighted, enhanced, and conflated realities from immediate memories as well as the distant past.  Her compositions combine an aestheticism of British paintings with enhanced local fauna and flora that sit in stark opposition to images of urbanization.

Reem Al Ghaith's installation, Dubai: What's Left of Her Land, 2010.  Her work examines changes in the urban and social landscape of the UEA, often with sophisticated all-around installations that relate to tradition and history, yet do not fall into banal representations of the subject.

artist Reem Al Ghaith

Abdulla Al Saadi. Studied Japanese painting at Kyoto Seika University in Japan.  He lives and works in Khor Fakkan, outside the art world and untethered by its demands and daily routines.  His work is a daily practice of recording, inventing normative groupings, and documenting species that are beyond "scientific inquiry."

artist Abdulla Al Saadi

A group of Abdulla Al Saadi's Naked Sweet Potato, 2000-2010, engravings on rock.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Venice Biennale: Collateral Events - Big Bambu

Photograph courtesy Hogan

Casa Artom: Wake Forest University - BIG Bambu. The Big Bambu installation by the Starn twins at Casa Artom on the Grand Canal was hosted by Stefano Tonchi, Alexia Niedzielski, Charlotte Casiraghi, Andrea Della Valle and Elizabeth von Guttman

 Photograph by Manfredi Bellati

Big Bambu.   The first exhibit of the identical twins Mike and Doug Starn’s Big Bambu series was on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last year and was ranked the fourth in the world for total attendance of a contemporary art exhibition.   The Venice location, next door to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, was last used in the Biennale in the 1964 triumph of American Art when Rauschenberg won the Grand Prize.

Mike Starn states, 
'it is a sculpture, but not a static sculpture. It's something that exists through the presence of the people inside it. It’s an organism that we, and the crew of rock climbers, are just a part of-helping to move it along. We are constructing an ongoing tower, growth and change remain invariable, and they are a constant.' 

Doug Starn, adds, 
'We have a philosophy of chaotic interdependence; of how every complex thing grows and evolves (animal, social structures, etc…), 
and 'big bambú' actually physically presents it, it is philosophical engineering. Everything depends upon one another and the loads 
are distributed throughout; the interdependence is natural and fluid. There is not too much weight applied to any one thing.'

Andrea Della Valle and his son Leonardo

Afef Jnifen and Franca Sozzani 


  Gianluca Passi di Preposulo, Stefano Tonchi, JJ Martin and Elizabeth von Guttman

Alexia Niedzielski and Jean Pigozzi

Alain Elkann

Lucilla and Lucrezia Bonaccorsi di Reburdone

Photograph by Manfredi Bellati

Big Bambu.    The central aspect of the ongoing sculpture is a 50’ tall hollow tower of bamboo, with a trail spiraling up and reaching to a 20’ wide roof lounge. The work embodies a contradictory nature: it is always complete, yet remains unfinished, the sculpture is never at rest.  The Starns’ crew of eleven rock climbers continued to lash together bamboo, sustaining the spiral upwards until closing day.

Elizabeth von Guttman and Karla Otto

Fiona Swarovski

Marta Marzotto and Micol Sabbadini

Rula Jebreal

Carla Sozzani and Francois Berthoud

Edsel Williams

Courtney Love and Jefferson Hack arriving by water taxi

Big Bambu.   In addition to the 2,000 fresh cut bamboo stalks harvested from a farm in France, the current installation utilizes several fragments salvaged from last years exhibition at the Metropolitan, poles from both locations will be used again at stem cells in future projects or as 
stand alone sculptures, while others will be stored in Europe or the United States. 

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Venice: Not Only Biennale - Ca Rezzonico: Barry X Ball - Portraits and Masterpieces

Ca Rezzonico: Barry X Ball – Portraits and Masterpieces. The American sculpture Barry X Ball presents twenty portraits of eminent personalities of the art world in this beautiful exhibition at Ca Rezzonico, until September 11th, entitled Portraits and Masterpieces. In the Masterpiece series he reworks and subtly enhances with computer-lathed marble two baroque sculptural busts from the Ca Rezzonico collection.
Above: The installation, which as a whole is titled Pseudogroup of Giuseppe Panza, 1998-2001 in Macedonian marble.

Ca Rezzonico: Barry X Ball – Portraits and Masterpieces.  The artist Barry X Ball with Purity in white Iranian onyx, 2008-2009, the onyx was the last onyx to leave the quarry, the rest was used for the Allatoya Kohemini’s grave. Purity is one of the two Masterpieces in the series and was enhanced from Antonio Corradini’s bust The Veiled Lady (Purity) 1720-1725 in Italian marble.

Ca Rezzonico: Barry X Ball – Portraits and Masterpieces.  A dual-portrait realized at 100% scale, in the rare, uniquely un-figured black marble known as Belge Noir, 2007-2010, exhibiting a layered sfumato suffused with miniscule opposed-diagonal fluting overlaying a coincident enveloping foliate relief.

Seen at Ca Rezzonico: Barry X Ball – Portraits and Masterpieces.  Milanese collector, critic and art historian Laura Mattioli Rossi, whose portrait is below and Marina Prada. 

Ca Rezzonico: Barry X Ball – Portraits and Masterpieces.  A portrait of Milanese collector, critic and art historian Laura Mattioli Rossi, as she appeared in 2000 (except with somewhat-attenuated head and neck details, and no hair), at 65% scale, with miniscule vertical/radial fluting throughout (except for the smooth mirror polish on the one open eye and the stylized neck viscera), in an aggregate of lapis lazuli and other indeterminate stone types (commonly called Sodalite) which the artist procured in Carrara.

 Seen at Ca Rezzonico: Barry X Ball – Portraits and Masterpieces.  Milanese hoteliers Daniela Bertazzoni and Sara Mancino. 

Seen at Ca Rezzonico: Barry X Ball – Portraits and Masterpieces.  Envy 2008-2010 in golden honeycomb Calcite enhanced after Giusto Le Court’s Envy circa 1670 in Italian marble from the collection in Ca Rezzonico, and Purity 2008-2009 in golden honeycomb Calcite.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Venice: Not Only Biennale - Caffe Florian - Pietro Ruffo: Negative Liberty

Caffe Florian - Pietro Ruffo: Negative Liberty.  Until July 31st the young yet affirmed artist, Pietro Ruffo, based in Rome, transforms the Chinese Room in the Caffe Florian in the Piazza San Marco into a graphite wood populated by 3D dragonflies.

Pietro Ruffo: Negative Liberty. Dragonflies swarm out of this forest, their four wings propelling them horizontally in frenzied flight. These slender-bodied yet fearsome predators feed on other insects, and their short lifespan and frenetic movement causes us to ponder the concept of freedom:  “positive liberty”, which is potentially totalitarian, and “negative liberty” which, according to philosopher Isaiah Berlin, stems from the absence of external constraints.  A quotation from the Lebanese poet Gibran Kalhil Gibran on one of the walls of the Room offers further food for thought: “…if it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.”

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Venice Biennale: Para-Pavilions

Photograph by Francesco Galli – courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Venice Biennale: Para-Pavilions.  The curator of the 54th International Venice Biennale, until Novermber 27th, entitled ILLUMInations was directed by Bice Curiger.  The exhibition itself offered an opportunity to foster a process of mutual interaction among the artists, four of which where asked to create large sculptural structures, the Para-Pavilions. Song Dong, Monika Sosnowska, Oscar Tuaron and Franz West designed the Para-Pavilions that could also host works by other artists.

Para-Pavilion: Song Dong’s Para-Pavilion, entitled Intelligence From Poor People was created by rebuilding his hundred years-old Chinese parental home, a meeting place for works by the French artist Yto Barrada and the British artist Ryan Gander.

A detail: Song Dong - Intelligence From Poor People 

Photo by Heiri Haefliger/Atelier Franz West - Courtesy of the artist

Para-Pavilion: Franz West’s Para-Pavilion entitled Tea Kitchen at Franz West Studio presents the reproduction of the kitchen from his home in Vienna.  The works by artist friends usually found hanging there are now presented on the exterior of the structure, while on the inside wall Dayanita Singh is showing her photographic projection Dream Villa

Photo by Markus Rössle, 2009 - Courtesy of the artist

Golden Lion Award.  One of the Golden Lion Award’s for Lifetime Achievement went to Franz West and the other to Sturtevant.  
Para-Pavilion.  Monika Sosnowska’s Para-Pavilion entitled, Antechamber is used to exhibit the photographs by David Goldblatt’s of apartheid in South Africa.  
Photo by Monika Sosnowska -  Courtesy the artist, Foksal Gallery Foundation, The Modern Institute, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Kurimanzutto, Hauser and Wirth
Para-Pavilion:   The model for Monika Sosnowska’s Para-Pavilion Antechamber.
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