58th Venice Biennale: inaugurating countries thinking ahead of the future.

58th Venice Biennale: inaugurating countries thinking ahead of the future.

In the post-truth era of democracies in crisis, fake news and cultural relativism of our neoliberal globalized world, from its opening on May 11, the 58th Biennale di Venezia embarks upon a critical exploration of the sociopolitical function of art as signified by the title “May You Live in Interesting Times,”. For the first time, Ghana, Malaysia, Madagascar, and Pakistan will be inaugurating their countries’ pavilions.

The curator Ralph Rugoff of the London Hayward Gallery develops a contemporary implicit theme through the different national pavilions and 79 transnational living artists exploring installations, performances, films, paintings and more. Among them Laure Prouvost for France, Stanislav Kolíbal for the Czech Republic, Dane Mitchell for New Zealand and others.

90 countries will reveal their own paradigms while being commonly gathered in the exhibition through a common thread in the show’s two venues, the Arsenale and the Giardini.

Mirroring international relations in the political scene, one can expect that the artistic message of the inaugurating countries put in the spotlight by the world art event will act as a milestone. The art world being closely linked with the economic market and geopolitical power-centered system, periphery countries with strong economic disparities are well aware of the international role of contemporary large-scale art institutions such as the Venice Biennale. Coping with somewhat deficient cultural assets like underdeveloped infrastructures or funding sources for art, and struggling with national political instability and tension, they will now proudly herald their pavilion’s flag.

John Akomfrah – Mimesis: African Soldier, 2018

Following this year’s theme, topical political subjects resonate at the core of the exhibition through the artists’ hindsight. At the Ghana pavilion designed by the architect David Adjaye, references to postcolonialism, Ghana’s historical 1957 independence from Britain, and repatriation of art and cultural African artifacts, are at the heart of the exhibition. Titled “Ghana Freedom” it is formed by 6 artists, notably Al Anatsui, but also Felicia Abban, John Akomfrah, Ibrahim Mahama, Selasi Awusi Sosu, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Demonstrating again – if needs be – the ever-increasing importance of contemporary African art as a cradle of creation, Ghana has fully embraced its inventiveness and imposed itself on the global sphere.

The continuous attendances of non-western developed countries from different continents – like India (with a pavilion centered around the figure of Mahatma Gandhi) or Latin American countries – mark indeed the awareness of the heterogeneity of discourses and plurality of legitimacies, while acknowledging their influence on the future of contemporary art. At the first Malaysia pavilion, four Malaysian contemporary artists will sharply reflect on this idea, with the concept of identity echoing the controversial questions of ethnic and religious diversity unsettled in their national political debate.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakie – Any Number of Preoccupations, 2010, Oil on canvas, 1§à x 200 cm. Courtesy of the artist, Corvi-Mora, London, and Jack Shainman, New York.

In addition, it seems to be a way of introducing their national treasures to a perhaps unknowing public – without overly stressing on their thorny political positions or social tense climate. The Dominican Republic and its first pavilion reflects on the fragile ecosystem and wealth of the land in a multiple artists’ exhibition named “Nature and Biodiversity in the Dominican Republic”. In a similar stance, the solo exhibition of female artist Naiza Khan for the Pakistan pavilion delves into a documented immersion of living on Manora island, in the small southern archipelago of the city of Karachi where the artist is based.

Madagascar and his pluridisciplinary artist Joël Andrianomearisoa will take the visitor on a poetic stroll through evocations of the countries’ mythical tales in his black papers installation “I Have Forgotten the Night”.

“I have forgotten the night”, Joël Andrianomearisoa, 2019 © Patrice Sour

Challenging national borders in a time of migration and exiles, A Greater Miracle of Perception: The Berlin Iteration for the Pavilion of Finland, the cinematic work of the artists collective, blending activists, performers, writers, is eminently political. Disobedience and resistance, seeing beyond the visible and national identities is what miracle stands for in their site-specific installation by Outi Pieski.

At the Luxembourg Pavilion, Written by Water” by Marco Godinho examines one of the fourth element, epitome of Venice, as a motif for questioning geographical boundaries crossed by men and women since marine expeditionary conquests. From leisure journeys to forced fleeing from poverty and war we have changed our perception of the “otherness” and ecumene (inhabited surface of the world).

Shattered world order and climate crisis will be other major matters of the Biennale, notably towards the new generation of artists calling to attention the most pressing issues. “Weather Report: Forecasting Future” at the Nordic Pavilion will investigate through the digital art and performances, the Anthropocene notion and our threatened life on Earth.

Artistic methodological doubt, disclosing the underlying, offering novel narratives are the Biennale’s focus while seeking to challenge norms in the inclusion of a growing number of women artists and gender diversity.  This 58th edition is thus an invitation for a reflexive pause in the current “interesting”, nonetheless overly disrupted and fast-moving times, so as to re-establish trust in our belief and common ground for our values. More than openly symbolically knocking over Trump’s wall, Rugoff hopes to “[Articulate] a counter offer” for the visitor when enjoying the art walks on the urban space of the city.

Aesthetic and art, as a social means of understanding the world, and intricacy thinking, ahead of conformism, are an answer to ward off the “May You Live in Interesting Times” Chinese curse.

 

ArtMadrid ‘19 more international than ever

ArtMadrid ‘19 more international than ever

Art Madrid celebrates its 14th edition from February 27 to March 3, 2019, in the Crystal Gallery of CentroCentro Cibeles (c/ Montalbán,1), with the participation of more than 40 national and international galleries that will show the works of nearly 200 artists, both emerging and consolidated creators.. With an outstanding foreign presence, which this year reaches 40% and reaffirms the confidence placed in the fair by the international context, 26 national and 16 foreign exhibitors from 13 countries, from Spain to Germany, France, Portugal, Lithuania, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, South Africa or Taiwan, and including the participating of 10 first-time participating galleries, have been selected for this edition.

In this edition, as the Selection Committee assures, the proposals are highlighted because of the increasing quality, the more rigorous selection, the growing international character and the ability to reveal the new possibilities in the world of creation. Also, they are articulating wholly contemporary and well-connected discourses, drawing something of the map of our time, in contemporary art.

In the GENERAL PROGRAM, a large number of national galleries participate again, such as Madrid’s Kreisler, Marita Segovia, Alberto Cornejo BAT, Fucking Art Gallery, Hispánica Contemporánea (also based in Mexico City), Jorge Alcolea and Montesquieu. From Asturias the galleries directed by Aurora Vigil-Escalera (Gijón), Bea Villamarín (Gijón) and Arancha Osoro (Oviedo) are returning participants too, while from Galicia, Luisa Pita (Santiago de Compostela) and Moret Art (A Coruña) also return to the fair.

From the northern part of the Peninsula, Galería Espiral (Noja, Cantabria), Rodrigo Juarranz (Aranda de Duero, Burgos) and MH Art Gallery (Bilbao), as well as the newly participating Kur Art Gallery (Guipúzcoa), are joining us this year. From Valencia, the new proposals of Alba Cabrera Gallery and Shiras Gallery are presented, as well as those of the galleries that are coming from Barcelona: 3 Punts, Miquel Alzueta and Zielinsky. Also, the Galería Cornión (Gijón) and Víctor Lope Arte Contemporáneo (Barcelona), which is also present in the One Project programme, are being premiered at the Crystal Gallery.

Among the galleries from abroad participating at the General Program, the Portuguese representation is highlighted with Art Lounge (Lisbon), Paulo Nunes-Arte Contemporânea (Vila Franca de Xira) and the newly incorporation of the São Mamede Gallery (Lisbon/Porto). Also participating for the first time are the French Galerie Barrou Planquart (Paris), the North American Lola & Unicorn (New York), the South African Oda Gallery (Franschhoek) and the Peruvian art collective O-Art Project (Lima). The renewed selections of the German Schmalfuss (Berlin) and Robert Drees (Hannover), the French Norty Mécénat (Carrières-Sur-Seine), the Taiwanese Yiri Arts (Taipei) and the Cuban Collage Habana (Havana) have return this edition as well.

One more year, Art Madrid also features the ONE PROJECT program. The project, designed to support and promote young artists whose careers are in an initial or intermediate state, takes place in a collective exhibition as well as in a solo show format. This year, one of the great updates of the program is the incorporation of Nerea Ubieto, art critic and curator who presents a new proposal led only by female artists. This choice, as stated by Ubieto, is based “on the eagerness to level an unstable balance in which female participation in art fairs is still today unfair”.

Another context singularly represented this year is regarding Africa, with authors from different origins of the continent. Although the Norty Mécénat Gallery brings us closer to the French-African scene, the Oda Gallery’s proposal introduces us to the South African tendencies through works by Samson Mnisi or Benon Lutaaya. Some countries especially represented through their artists are Germany, Portugal, France, and the United States. New visions of the French scene can be seen in the Barrou Planquart Gallery’s booth, which highlights the appropriations, both those of the encapsulated objects, the so-called Big Bangs, with which François Bel makes us reflect on materialism and individualism, like those made by the designer Stéphane Gautier, more related to a critical reflection of the propaganda on children’s imagination. The sculptures of the Germans Jörg Bach, Thomas Röthel and Willi Siber, as well as the brilliant pieces in steel by the Swiss Carlo Borer or the paintings of the Brazilian Cristina Canal, stand out in the Schmalfuss Gallery’s booth. Also, the fantasies made in rubber and paper by South Korean artist Sun-Rae Kim, the mysterious paintings by Spanish painter Pepa Salas and the abstractions of German sculptors Jürgen Jansen and Michael Laube can be seen at the Robert Dress Gallery’s booth.

Philippe Gravier presents Parent & Kuma at FIAC

Philippe Gravier presents Parent & Kuma at FIAC

Galerie Philippe Gravier will be exhibiting the sculptural works of French sculptor Claude Parent as well as Japanese architect Kengo Kuma for the very first time on the most iconic of all Parisian squares: the Place de la Concorde. The location is a development of the FIAC Hors les Murs promenade in the Jardin des Tuileries, and the architectural project presents a combination of historic and contemporary architecture and artists’ houses. Around 40 sculptures and installations will be presented in situ, within a number of locations around Paris including the Petit Palais, around the Grand Palais, and on Avenue Winston Churchill.

The fascinating selection of artworks scattered around Paris gives artists and galleries an opportunity to enter into dialogue with historically rich Parisian heritage, at the same time giving passersby an opportunity to engage with art against a beautiful scenic backdrop.

Claude Parent: Blending Form and Function

Philippe Gravier presents Parent & Kuma at FIAC

The French-born Claude Parent (b. 1923 – 2016) is one of France’s most renowned architects on the international art scene, admired by many, particularly that of Jean Novel. Parent was the founding father of the ‘Function of the Oblique’, alongside friend Paul Virilio, which established a new relationship with the ground based on instability and irregularity. He believed that buildings should feature slopes, ramps and angles, be wall-free wherever possible and have a predominance of space over the surface; it is these qualities that embody the piece Les Ilots that will be installed at Place de la Concorde. Irregular, discontinuous forms and sloping lines are remarkably combined. Les Ilots is composed of steel and aluminum, which are at once objects of furniture design as well as sculpture.

Kengo Kuma: An Alternative Experience between Architecture and Landscape

Philippe Gravier presents Parent & Kuma at FIAC

The Japanese born Kengo Kuma (b. 1954 – present) provides a new perspective between bamboo, traditional Japanese wood, paper, and textiles. He lives and works between Paris and Tokyo, and the heritage of Japanese culture and the modernity of contemporary architectural forms inform his discourse in perfect harmony with nature. The artwork that will be presented at Place de la Concorde entitled OWAN introduces rhythm and diversity into spatial experiments. The piece was influenced by a variety of materials including a traditional Japanese tea bowl and fish scales, creating its multifaceted outcome. By fusing the metal with its natural environment, a contour that is never defined, OWAN combines the indoor with the outdoor creating a nomadic, modular, and durable artwork that introduces a sense of rhythm to the landscape in which it is placed.

 

Post-War Italian Art: Tornabuoni at Frieze Master’s

Post-War Italian Art: Tornabuoni at Frieze Master’s

Tornabuoni Gallery was founded in 1981 in Florence (Italy) by Roberto Casamati, specializing in Italian art of the 20th century. Spanning across Europe and the United Kingdom, the gallery has spaces in Florence, Milan, Forte Dei Marmi (Italy), Paris (France), London (UK) and Crans Montana (Switzerland). For its third consecutive year, TornabuoniArt will be returning to Frieze Master’s (4th – 7th October) in London at Regents Park. Aiding the discovery of several thousands of years of art in a unique contemporary context, Frieze Masters will feature more than 130 leading modern and historical galleries from around the world, showcasing art from the ancient era and Old Masters to the late 20th century. Running parallel to the fair at their London space, TornabuoniArt will be exhibiting a selection of works by the artist Afro Basaldella entitled ‘Afro: Gesture, Line and Colour: The Makings of an Abstract Expressionist’.

Spotlighting the best of 20th Century Italian Art

 

Tornabuoni presents Italian Post-War at Frieze Master’s

GIUSEPPE-CAPOGROSSI, Superficie 266, 1951-54, oil on canvas 65×50-cm

Amongst the 9 artists that will be presented at the fair perhaps one of the most notable is Lucio Fontana (b. 1899 – 1968), who focussed his artistic principles around the concepts of time and space, contributing to the aesthetic movement Spacialism. Following this Fontana started making holes on the surfaces of his paintings, deepening his spacial research, and imparting a 3 dimension to his paintings by working on them as a sculpture. His works were all different versions invariably entitled Concetto Spaziale.

Enrico Castellani (b. 1930 – present) , also presented at the fair, was closely acquainted with Fontana, along with Vincenzo Agnetto and Piero Manzoni. These key figures of the Italian avant-garde strongly protested against Informal Art and wanted to develop a new pictorial language. Castellani rejected mimetic art and believed that light, shadow, and space had to be included in the painting without being actually represented with descriptive means. He created his first Superficie, now emblematic of his work, as an answer to his ideas. These works consist of monochrome paintings pushed and lifted with hidden nails behind the canvas. Castellani still give relief to plane surfaces and creates striking light and shadow games.

Another iconic artist one gets to awe at amongst the masterpieces at the fair is Piero Dorazio, who, after a break with figurative painting, contributed to the Forma I manifesto in 1947, alongside Pietro Consagra, Achille Perelli, Carla Accardi and Julio Turcato. Markedly inspired by futurism and expressing leftist political views, the manifesto strongly contrasted with socialist realism, as illustrated by Renato Guttuso. It signaled Dorazio’s full embrace of abstract art and served as a guideline for the rest of his work. Dorazio pursued his career with a cubist approach, then futurism, with bright, contrasting colors. Although his work can appear scattered, the guiding principle remains the movement of the hand, which also serves as a basis for color and light.

 

Tornabuoni presents Italian Post-War at Frieze Master’s

PIERO DORAZIO Jeux de distance, 1962 oil on canvas, 81×100 cm

Female Representation

Carla Accardi (b.1924 – 2014), was a key figure in the Italian abstract art of the latter half of the 20th century, she also contributed to the Forma I manifesto in 1947. In the early 1950s, she was the only woman represented in a number of shows and exhibitions featuring Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, and Mattia Moreni. During that period she worked with an incredibly limited palette, almost monochrome and minimalist, in response to Jackson Pollock’s action painting. Her chromatic dynamism had a major influence on the Arte Povera movement, both in Italy and Europe.

The full list of artists at the fair include Giuseppe Capogrossi, Alberto Burri, Libio Basaldella Afro, Lucio Fontana, Salvatore Scarpitta, Enrico Castellani, Piero Dorazio, Carla Accardi and Mario Ceroli.

Tornabuon Art will also be present at FIAC, Paris (18th – 21st October) where they will be exhibiting the art of Giorgio Morandi, Lucio Fontana, Emilio Vedova, Piero Dorazio, Enrico Castellani, Dadamaino, Agostino Bonalumi, Alberto Biasi, Alighiero Boetti, Paolo Scheggi, Pier Paolo Calzolari, and Mikayel Ohanjanyan. Their Paris space will be dedicated to a show exhibiting the works of Alberto Burri, who will also be present at their booth during Frieze Masters.

Special Projects at 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Special Projects at 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Athi-Patra Ruga - Night of the Long Knives I - African Art

Image courtesy Athi-Patra Ruga and WHATIFTHEWORLD, Night of the Long Knives I, 2013

 

Returning to London for its 6th edition, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be held this year at Somerset House. The 42 galleries from across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and North America bring together a diverse set of perspectives from around the world with over 130 participating emerging and established artists, with 10 solo shows from selected galleries

We are so proud of how far we have come since our first London fair in 2013. Following the launch of our inaugural Marrakech fair in February and our fourth New York edition in May, we have gone on to develop new audiences for contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora across three fairs and three different continents. The growth and popularity of the fair is a real testament to the shift away from Euro-centric art-historical narratives.” states Founding Director of 1-54, Touria El Glaoui.

 

African Art Fair : Spotlight on Ibrahim El-Salahi and Athi Patra Ruga

This year the fair celebrates one of the most significant figures in African and Arab Modernism, Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi, with his piece Meditation Tree that will be exhibited in the Somerset House courtyard as an extension of one of his first public sculptures. Represented by Vigo Gallery, El-Salahi’s artistic practice has been influenced by the Haraz tree which grows along the banks of the Nile and is indigenous to Sudan. This specific tree drops its leaves during the rainy season and flourishes throughout the dry season. In its idiosyncrasies, is said to be very near the Sudanese character, underscoring his ongoing investigation into the tree / body metaphor.

 

El Salahi - Meditation Tree- african art

Ibrahim El-Salahi
, Meditation Tree, 2018
Polished aluminum 68 x 54 x 46 cm


 

Internationally renowned South African artist Athi Patra Ruga will also be exhibiting a free exhibition in collaboration with Somerset House as part of the Special Projects program, Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions (4 October 2018 – 7 January 2019). Marking his first major solo UK exhibition, he brings together three seminal bodies of work – The Future White Women of Azania (2012-15), Queens in Exile (2015-17), and The Beatification of Feral Benga (2017- present). Ruga reveals a mythical world which challenges ones perception of cultural identity and parodies the construction of the South African nation-state in the post-apartheid era. Through his work, he explores a possible humanist vision for the future, immersing visitors in his vibrant world filled with powerful and striking characters.

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair – Hours

Somerset House, London, 4 – 7 October 2018
Thursday 4 October 11:00 – 19:00
Friday 5 October 11:00 – 19:00
Saturday 6 October 11:00 – 19:00
Sunday 7 October 11:00 – 18:00

VIP & Press previews
Press preview: Wednesday 3 October, 9:00 – 18:00
VIP preview: Wednesday 3 October, 9:00 – 18:00
Vernissage: Wednesday 3 October, 18:00 – 21:00 

Inspiring Actions, Martin Schoeller at Paris Photo with Pernod Ricard

Inspiring Actions, Martin Schoeller at Paris Photo with Pernod Ricard

Elna Nordstrom - Pernod RicardAry_Ganeshalingam - Pernod RicardIlargi_Leturia_Ugarte - Pernod Ricard
Ary Ganeshalingam – Global Marketing Manager
Chivas Brothers Ltd – London, United Kingdom
© Martin Schoeller pour / for Pernod Ricard

 

Elna Nordström – Product Development Manager Operations.
The Absolut Company – Ahus, Sweden
© Martin Schoeller pour / for Pernod Ricard
Ilargi Leturia Ugarte – Global Brand Manager
Pernod Ricard Winemakers – San Sebastian, Spain
© Martin Schoeller pour / for Pernod Ricard

German photographer, Martin Schoeller worked conjointly with the French company Pernod Ricard to photograph some of the faces that constitute the company’s spectrum of employees.

The idea behind this project was to take 18 portraits of Pernod Ricard’s employees all over the world in order to show to the public the people who construct and expand the brand’s name. With the texture and light characterising Schoeller’s portraits, the photographer highlighted the brand’s work ethic and aimed at bearing witness of the importance of each employee. Every portrait is different and captures the detail of the person photographed, Schoeller thus highlights the uniqueness and beauty of the members of the company.

Pernod Ricard Group often calls upon contemporary artists to campaign with them to put under the spot their employees and their importance within the company. Among other artists who have participated we can cite Omar Victor Diop, Li Wei, Olaf Breuning, Vee Speers, Marco Lopez and more. Martin Schoeller  (b. 1968, Munich, works and live in New York City)  is the 42th artist invited to participate in this kind of project, perpetuating the tradition and bearing witness of Pernod Ricard’s commitment to contemporary art.

At the end of 2017, the campaign will be exhibited at Paris Photo 2017 international fair from 9  to 12 of November at the Grand Palais.. “This people are our ambassadors for our values and become a source of inspiration,” stated Olivier Cavil, director of communication for Pernod Ricard.