Water & Ashes for Creative (R)Evolution: Art in the HK Protests

Water & Ashes for Creative (R)Evolution: Art in the HK Protests

Water & Ashes for Creative (R)Evolution: Art in the HK Protests

Kacey Wong, The Shield (performance), 2019

The exhibition in Paris is inspired by the plethora of recent creations by various artists and the Hong Kong public during the recent protests against police violence and authoritarianism. The leaderless movement and its fluid, innovative tactics in Hong Kong have impressed the world. The unwritten guiding principle of this decentralised movement, ‘Be Water’, was inspired by the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee’s philosophy, ‘Be formless, shapeless, like water…Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.’ 

Badiucao, Bruce Lee Lennon Wall (b), 2019

The majority of the artists contributing to the exhibition are from Hong Kong. Witnessing the struggle and suffering of the people in their hometown, they turned to art as their way of expression. In face of Hong Kong’s dwindling liberty, they are determined not to be silenced. Such determination echoes a popular quote among protesters from Jack London, renowned novelist, journalist and social activist, ‘I would rather be ashes than dust! …The function of man is to live, not to exist.’ 

Revolving around the fluidity of the movement and the resolute determination of protesters, Water and Ashes brings Hong Kong’s fight for freedom and democracy to Paris through a variety of mediums. Some artists and their works were directly involved in the protests—either performed live in protest areas, or as protest materials or interactive art, from Victoria Park to Hong Kong International Airport. Others, through poetry, photography, digital paintings and illustrations, present their perspectives and express their emotions as they watch their city burn. The exhibition also features works of a French artist and an American artist, testimony to fact that ideas are not only bulletproof but also go beyond boundaries. 

Harcourt Romanticist, Our Vantage, 2019

What’s the drive for the explosion of creativity among the Hong Kong public and protesters? The relationship between resistance, consciousness, life, and creativity is at the heart of this exhibition’s philosophy. Resistance is something visible in protests while it is the major invisible force underlying the development of contemporary art—which is about resistance of what the traditions or authorities deem normal, matched with an insistence on thinking and expressing freely and out of the box. Therefore, resistance is about questioning the existing order. While the authorities accuse the Hong Kong protesters of instigating chaos in society, the real question is, ‘order is certainly contingent, but in relation to what’? Order is a constructed and fluid concept, which evolves and is criticised, challenged and modified throughout our human history. Questioning as well as a subversion of order, embedded with our creativity, does not imply a necessary antagonism between order and chaos, between norms and anomie; rather, it ensures our society to be free and open, enabling a genuine diversity of cultures and social orders.

Justin Wong, I See You, 2019

Consciousness is indispensable not only in any social changes, but also in creativity. As consciousness corresponds exactly to the living being’s power of choice and is coextensive with the fringe of possible action that surrounds the real action, consciousness is synonymous with invention and with freedom. 

Philosopher Henri Bergson equates life with creation while creativity is central to life for Gilles Deleuze as what he called ‘becoming’. Thus, while political movement may be traumatic, the creativity out of this batter for freedom is leading to transformation of the social and art scenes. The exhibition is an initial attempt to witness such creative evolution, if not revolution.

Tommy Fung, Hungry Ghost Festival, 2019

 

Exhibited artists:

  • Alcohol Salon, Hong Kong
  • Alice Kahei Yu, Hong Kong
  • Badiucao, Australia
  • Chan Sai Lok, Hong Kong
  • Diana Wege, United States
  • Fung Kin Fan, Hong Kong
  • Harcourt Romanticist, Hong Kong
  • Hector Bouhier, France
  • Him Lo, Hong Kong
  • Justin Wong, Hong Kong
  • Kacey Wong, Hong Kong
  • Lumli Lumlong, Hong Kong
  • Nicola Longobardi, Hong Kong
  • RC Team, Hong Kong
  • Tommy Fung, Hong Kong
  • Vivian Ho, Hong Kong
 

Water and Ashes for Creative (R)Evolution
3-7 December 2019
DOC, 26 rue du Dr Potain, 75019 Paris, France
Vernissage | 3 December 2019, 6:30-9:30pm

 

 

“What my I’s have seen”, by Koby Martin in London

“What my I’s have seen”, by Koby Martin in London

“What my I’s have seen”, by Koby Martin in London


Alone With Company

For his solo exhibition show, WHAT MY I’S HAVE SEEN, Koby Martin, Ghanaian-born painter, (b.1988) based in London, is collaborating with both The Who Gallery and Disturbing London for his most personal and intimate exhibition to date.

After revealing to his audience his most innermost thoughts about the tragic death of this Father through his previous show ASIAMAH, Koby will be continuing to divulge the depths of his mind to visually portray, through the medium of painting, a very humanistic outlook on his own life.

Kings

 

He is dealing with darker themes of depression, turmoil, and uncertainty in balancing contrast to the theme of hope and light. He is able to capture and reach out to his audience on a fundamentally primitive level denoting his ability to depict the vulnerable and emotional state of the human mind.

His unique styles have brought him to the attention of the British art scene as well as numerous commercial audiences through his collaboration with notable brands such as Mercedes- Benz.

Dancing with fear

WHAT MY I’S HAVE SEEN
November 28- December 1, 2019
The Who Gallery, London, UK

 

Miguel Chevalier Digital Supernova at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez

Miguel Chevalier Digital Supernova at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez

Miguel Chevalier <i>Digital Supernova</i> at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez

Chevalier will be exhibiting a new  generative virtual reality installation. Thirty different colored networks of light, combine with beautiful pictures explosions of massive stars and supernova remnant, develop one after the other. For this monumental creation between art and science, Miguel Chevalier worked with astrophysicist Fabio Acero, a specialist in supernova remnant to create a virtual reality projection that brings viewers outside of their reality and transcend the walls of the church to the projected astral heavens above. 

In part with the Siècle Soulages, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez will present the large-scale art installation of renowned digital artist— Miguel Chevalier. The exhibition titled Digital Supernova, will be on view from August 8-18 on the vaults, ogives, and transepts of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez in Rodez, France— an exhibition from a larger program of events celebrating 100 years of the artist Pierre Soulages. Chevalier previously showed another installation Pixels Noir in April at the Soulages Museum as another event of this program.

The installation combines not only Chevalier’s recognizable generative realities and light networks but also brings viewers into this virtual world through the music of Jacopo Baboni Schilingi, Adam Bernadac, and for the opening — Frédéric Deschamps. A long collaborator, Schilingi has worked hand in hand on  numerous installs by Chevalier. Combining visual visions and fantasies with music audiences are brought into the seemingly endless astral realms of Chevalier’ universe in the gothic structures of the cathedral.

Installation View of Digital Supernova at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez.

Enthusiasts of Chevalier may find Digital Supernova reminiscent of his 2015 installations  Complex Meshes and Dear World… Yours, Cambridge installation in Durham Cathedral and King’s College Chapel in England. It seems Chevalier, following his theme of expansion and generation developed the original idea further in this upcoming presentation. Viewers be in awe of the astral projections and then find themselves noticing the intricacies of Chevalier’s displays with the light networks they are projected through— adding complexity and depth.

Chevalier has long been influenced by patterns, networks, and systems that reveal themselves through nature. This is evident through installations such as Extra-Natural and Trans-Nature. Arguably most representative of this theme could be Fractal Flowers a giant virtual garden that evolves to ad infinitum. Chevalier refers to this work as a garden which show his constant reflection and reference back to nature. This balance between nature and computer generation are what give Chevalier his distinct aspect of  surrealism. Showing us the realities and systems of nature through computer generation, Chevalier acts as a figurative translator. His works are able to serve as evidence of reality explaining these systems and fundamentally meta. Digital Supernova shows us the extents to Chevaliers interests in nature and generative worlds on a new,  astronomic level . 

Digital Supernova
August 8-18, 2019
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez, Rodez, France

Carlos W. Desrosiers:  The Experience, an immersive exhibition in Paris

Carlos W. Desrosiers:  The Experience, an immersive exhibition in Paris

Carlos W. Desrosiers:  The Experience, an immersive exhibition in Paris

“When a piece is done, it always feels like a complete song to me.
There is no more instruments, notes, or tones needed.“

 

Carlos W. Desrosiers’ upcoming exhibition from June 23 to July 31 at VOS Paris challenges the status quo of exhibiting art on limited formulated canvas. The American self-taught artist from New York presents The Experience, revealing his original 9 paintings from his “What you see” The collection splashing out from their core basis and becoming materially alive in the entire space.  

 

 

Liberated from its frame, the vitality of the painting invades the room on various supports, which results in an augmented viewing experience. Like independent phenomenons emerging from the original work of his paintings, his ‘Figures’ take up space on the windows or walls. Fragments are hanged to the ceiling, while three-dimensional sculptural unities become autonomous living organisms. The jumping off point art piece multiplies itself through an explosion into other lives in the exhibition.

Through an organic body of work of installations, photographs, signed multiples, or prints, the artist cultivates his aesthetic of vibrant colors surge. He incorporates writings and natural elements as energies that assist the work in the creative process.

The exhibition is accompanied by music as a means to awaken awareness for the vibrations of the art. The artist becomes aware of the completion of the work when it resonates wholly, as both music and art can touch a higher frequency. The colors tones he applies frenetically, like music notes dancing on the drawings, interact with what is true to the soul, and trigger all the senses.  

On the main original canvas, the thick layers of paint are the essence of his “panning technique”, a process usually associated with audio recording. Infinitely adjustable and rotative, his works exceed the fixed gaze and suggest an expansive view and endless possibilities of interpretations.

 

 

The Experience is thus incredibly immersive and takes the individual into the heart of the latter’s self universe. Moving forms devoid of a figurative depiction, his collection of paintings morphs depending on what resonates to the viewer’s subconscious. Carlos W. Desrosiers is adamant about knowing what people perceive in his abstract landscapes, unfolding what is beyond our past and life experiences. He always seeks to manifest a different reality with innovative perspectives, and to truly engage with the everyday curious onlooker, stating that his work is “a clear mirror of self for the observer.”

Carlos W. Desrosiers’ artistic expression hinges indeed upon this notion of movement and collective subconscious. His genius resides in his creative power and spiritual overview, his belief that every object of the world possesses innate wisdom. Before considering himself as an artist 6 years ago, he had an inner desire to transfer his knowledge of the mind and “the esoteric and healing power of men” into a tangible way to awaken humanity.

 

 

Very passionate about all healing techniques including Taoism, self-development, and kinesiology, he was impacted from a young age by the “healing world” as his father is a naturopathic doctor. His thirst for knowledge, the consciousness of his self-awakening paved the way for the discovery of his real duty as an artist, and each crafted piece revealed him new techniques.

When first meditating on art history, he felt an immediate connection with Jackson Pollock’s artistic splattering as an intuitively free and uncontrollable process. What Carlos W. Desrosiers calls his “subconscious reprogramming” techniques takes on form in the painting act through losing control of his hands, leaving the physical element and unlocking his hidden potential.

 

“Beautiful images emerge out of the erratic and out of the chaos”

 

 

 

With parents coming from Haiti to America, Carlos W. Desrosiers was born in New York City in 1988. While not having an economically privileged background, Desrosiers worked at a golf course for 12 years only to later be emerged into the world of Rap music as an A&R manager at the age of 17. Developing a strong rapport with artist and working on different projects and albums, Desrosiers quickly became a key component to artists and their recording process. He has been evolving in the highest spheres of the Rap/Trap music industry, being very close to top renowned artists like Rihanna, Travis Scott, and Migos.

He created in 2012 his first body of art still in progress named “What You See Collection Private Experience”  including over 20 artworks exhibited at Art Basel Miami and at The Fearless Artist Art Basel Pop Up Gallery in December 2015. His “Living abstract” body of artworks and murals were shown in Lower East Side Manhattan, New York City in February 2016.

 

The Experience by Carlos W. Desrosiers
From 23 June to 31 July 2019
VOS Paris
21 avenue Kleber 75016 Paris

Kehinde Wiley : “A history of complicated gazing“

Kehinde Wiley : “A history of complicated gazing“

Kehinde Wiley : “A history of complicated gazing“

In the continuity of the history’s invisible, repressed figures or colonial controversial episodes, Kehinde Wiley’s upcoming exhibition at Galerie Templon in Paris, from 18 May to 20 July 2019 comes from his observations and works created in Tahiti this past year.

The exhibition will be showing a series of paintings and a video installation on Tahiti’s Māhū (‘‘in the middle’ of male and female) community, who had a spiritual and high social role until they were persecuted and banned by missionaries who implemented transphobic laws. Wiley will be reflecting on both the notion of identity and gender – as it refers to the traditional Polynesian classification of people of a third gender – but also echoing France’s art and tackling renowned and hailed Paul Gauguin’s works, nonetheless tinged with sexual objectification and a particular vision of the transgender Māhū figures portraits.

Kehinde Wiley on location filming in TahitiCourtesy Templon, Paris & Brussels, © 2018 Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley had exhibited in Paris for the first time at the Petit Palais with “Lamentation”, exploring religious iconography and revisiting church stain glasses through his own idiosyncrasy, with black Americans and hip hop culture.

His world is one of the interconnections and questioning the present. He composes his aesthetic by incorporating black figures in art history masterpieces, challenging, therefore, the academic portraiture canon, and politically exploring colonialism history through his vibrant and colourful works.  

After graduating from Yale University in 2OO1, Kehinde Wiley completed a residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2002. He is mostly renowned for becoming in 2018 the first African-American artist to paint an official U.S. Presidential portrait, for the former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Portrait of Jazon Ralph, 2018 Oil on canvas182,9 x 152,4 cm / 72 x 60 in.
Photo B. Huet/ Tutti Courtesy Templon, Paris & Brussels, © 2018 Kehinde Wiley

Regarding Kehinde Wiley’s other projects, Black Rock Artists Residency is something not to miss. Launching it in Dakar, Senegal, the new multi-disciplinary artist-in-residency program comes from Wiley’s personal desire to create a workplace for West Africa and particularly Senegal where he instantly felt an intimate proximity when he first encountered Dakar in 1997. Black Rock aims to support the creation of a blend of international and multigenerational artists from hybrid fields (visual artists, writers, filmmakers etc). He intends to set a creative hotbed of talents in Africa, living immersively for a few months in the cultural richness of the city.

Image on the top:
Three Girls in a Wood, 2018, Oil on canvas, 274,3 x 366 cm / 108 x 144 in.
Courtesy Roberts Projects, © 2018 Kehinde Wiley

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

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.