Berend Strik, Deciphering the Artist’s mind

Berend Strik, Deciphering the Artist’s mind

Deciphering The Artist’s Mind: fremdkorper (Studio Koreans)

How is art transcending the artist’s historical and physical creative action? Dutch artist Berend Strik’s ongoing project Deciphering the Artist’s mind is the unfinished travel initiated in 2012 around past and present art memory, taking form in an immense body of photography artworks. 

Since the visit of Manhattan studio of Marcel Duchamp, Strik has been taking for photography subjects these particular private places, where the energies and vibrations of the creative process suddenly reveal their history through the eyes of the Dutch artist. Photographing parts of the studio architectural space, Strik prints his work and adds multi-layered narratives through colored textiles stitched on the surface, composing a completely transformed work. Informative, interpretative, a tribute to influential figures, his three-dimensional photographs are like a mise en abyme, the capture of an exclusive moment of exchange between Strik and the different artists while conveying a personal theoretical reflexion on art. 

Deciphering the Artist Mind – Studio W.D.K.

The international artists of each 68 studios visited by Berend Strik, – be them contemporaries or renowned past art history figures, like the studios of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, John Baldessari, Martha Rosler, and others – are dimly present in the works at a phantasmagoric level. He demonstrates the intemporality of the creator’s soul, absent from the studio but still existing in the dialogue he establishes with the electrifying resonance of the studios’ creation memory.   

 Revolving his problematics around the myths of art creation, he endeavors to converse with the genius consecutively coming into being, artwork after artwork, in an intimate physical setting. The magic of the studio appropriated by the photograph is thus an endless investigation of the artistic mind projected into reality, and the seemingly impossible quest to conjure up the artists’ essence.   

Deciphering Artist Studio's Mind - John Baldessari

Deciphering the Artist Mind – Studio W.D.K.

 In the continuity of the ambitious photography project, Berend Strik is pursuing the project with a book Deciphering the Artist’s mind designed by the internationally famous Dutch graphic designer Queen of Books Irma Boom. Promising to be a “real oeuvre d’art”, the illustrations of the book associated with Berend Strik texts and with Marja Bloem will offer new narratives and a complementary outlook to his artwork. Completed with a conversation of Berend Strik with selected artists, the book will be published in spring 2020. 

 Corinne Timsit and Berend Strik are announcing their collaboration on current and future projects. 

 Berend Strik was born in Nijmegen, The Netherlands in 1960, and lives and works in Amsterdam. He has exhibited in numerous art galleries, solo exhibition shows and major art institutions (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Tilton Gallery: New York, 5th Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon…) and is present in large collections (The Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Museum de Lakenhal, Leiden and Haags Gemeente Museum, S’Gravenhage)

 

 

 

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

A hopeful breath at the MCA with FEDERICO HERRERO

A hopeful breath at the MCA with FEDERICO HERRERO

Currently exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Federico Herrero has taken over the two-story entrance of the MCA space, with his Alphabet project a recurring motif of communicative and playful patches of colours from the wall to the reflection of coloured lights on the ground.

After a 10 months joint collaboration with the museum through an impressive mural installation, the occasion for an immersion into the colours and the vibrations of the room will soon be ending. Until May 5 2019 the international Costa Rican artist invites the visitor to penetrate the new environment created with enticing pastel colour blocks reminiscent of the flora and fauna of Herrero‘s tropical birthplace.


Observable from the painted windows of the atrium, the city’s buildings are covered and transformed with the artist bright blue, yellow, orange filters. The swift change of season in Chicago allows for a continuously mutable exploration of the relationship between nature and public urban culture, between art and social life.

 

 

Born in 1978 in the midst of the natural density of San Jose, Herrero was influenced by graffiti and urban art, media, and everyday city art but also recalls color field painters and Central America muralist tradition. From his first notoriety at the 2001 Venice Biennale as a young artist, his artwork gradually progressed into more abstract and less figurative forms. The artist has developed his oeuvre from canvas paintings to mural and monumental pieces, usually breaking free from the wall space, challenging usual space restrictions like grounds, corners, ceilings, and windows, in his artistic expression of a chaotic and joyful landscape.  

 

 

Although his paintings first appear as patterns of geometrical drawings or as the mental forms of a mapping process, his idea of linguistic chromatic shapes in the Alphabet exhibition comes across as the perception of living, “jumping from place to place” pigments, crossing boundaries and giving new life and vividness to the environment. He uses a conventional painting technique to produce a multicolored and visual sign language in order to engagingly interact with the architecture and the city of Chicago- directly through formal colours.

One of the world’s largest museum, the MCA was founded in 1967 and offers inventive displays for new contemporary artists, with a permanent collection including more than 2,000 works. The current installation is organized by MCA Associate Curator José Esparza and Pamela Alper Associate Curator.

 

Today, Herrero’s wide range of artworks can be seen worldwide from numerous exhibitions in museums or galleries to public installations and he has become one of the major figures in the Latin America contemporary art scene. This October he will be exhibiting at the James Cohan Gallery while his future solo shows will take place in Brazil at the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro in August 2019 and in São Paulo at the Pivô art center in 2020. In his native San José, Herrero will also show his projects at the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica in 2020.

 

The endless wave spectrum

The endless wave spectrum

 

Language is extremely interconnected with politics and the ways of the world, in this respect it is valid to say that it is a living system at the mercy of outer influences. It evolves as civilization does, however can technology be detrimental to communication? James Clar, an American artist using different mediums such as video, light sculpture and installation examines, through his oeuvre, technology’s influence in language and in our lives.

During his sojourn at Dubai, Clar became acquainted with cultural and political systems diametrically opposed. Despite the city’s rapport with muslim customs, Dubai is considered as a child of the global era where the majority of its inhabitants come from foreign countries and where English is the second language spoken. The metropol significantly influenced Clar’s narratives, his piece Global English evidences English’s hegemony, “it’s use as the standard communication language”. The British writer George Orwell recognized too language’s relevance, in his book 1989 he imagined a society ruled by a totalitarian regime in which a new language was implemented – newspeak- to better control the population. Although we haven’t yet attained that point, the loss of dialects and (other) languages symbolizes the United States power over the rest of the world. At the same time English’s implementation narrows the logic spectrum homogenizing concepts, wiping off entire ways of thinking.

Though technology is not demonized by the artist, he’s not eager about it either as he emphasizes the collateral impact of it in our daily basis. After Walter Benjamin’s opposition to the mechanical era, technology has largely surpassed any forecast made by philosophers or thinkers alike. Nevertheless, if someone predicted the ascend of media and its preponderance was the Canadian communicologist Marshall McLuhan. Even before internet’s explosion and the arrival of Facebook or other sharing platforms, he stated that from the moment man put a satellite into orbit, nature ceased to exist. This conception of the world where nature is man made is largely considered by Clar in his work. His installation River of Time reproduces an historical Ford model mimicking a waterfall, mechanical components blend together creating an artificial environment, natural and manufactured meet hence questioning innate rules. But if nature hasn’t ceased to exist, McLuhan’s poignant assertion insinuates in every possible way. As an example to this Clar pointed out artificial light’s effect in our day to day; natural light no longer dictates the dream cycle nor our activities. The information era is defined by a relentless stream of data discharging before our eyes all types of information. As we wrestle to cope with the incessant pile of available information, the latter becomes an aesthetic form. The Fire won’t stop, an artwork composed by a LED screen, a computer and a non conductive liquid streams a video on loop of a man on fire. The never ending action and its disposition makes it conflicted and absurd, we can’t help to question the real impact of technology in our lives.

eXistenZ is paused furthers and interrogates the way our contemporaneous ecosystem is constructed. This particular artwork takes inspiration on the film Existenz by David Cronenberg in which a “virtual reality” game called eXistenZ replaces reality. The sequence chosen by Clar shows the two main characters in between two worlds, the game and reality. After Ted Pikul (the main character) decides to pause Existenz he experiences an odd feeling, reality feels less authentic and thrilling than the game. While the video is on a loop, an EEG sensor analyzes the computer’s own brain waves. Absurdity is prompted by a nihilist mechanism, over analyzation of waves and the infinite loop makes us question on technology’s real role. Machines have become “extensions of our beings and are metaphors – they are literal, not figurative”, nowadays technology isn’t a mere tool but a necessity. In between the fictitious world generated by technology, how can we differentiate reality from fiction? Our cellphones, televisions, ipads and every technologic product aids us in a world where the body isn’t the sole phenomenological indicative, machines are thus sensible extensions of our senses. Nevertheless, are they assisting or originating gaps? The French writer Albert Camus defined absurdity in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus as the “divorce between man and his life, the actor and the setting…”. When a man detaches himself from his habitat and ceases to establish a relation with his surrounding, he’s alienated and loses the purpose of his life. Once again Clar doesn’t preach for a return to a “natural” idealistic Arcadia but highlights the void generated by technology. Nodody’s Home produces an illusion of presence, behind the door we see what seems to be the shadows of people walking, but we soon discover the piece is playing upon our perception.

In Clar’s oeuvre there is not arbitrariness or judgment, in the manner of scientists he restrains himself to study the collected information and present it to his audience. Clar’s design is not political nor moral as his objective is to build an aesthetic based on light systems. If Artists like James Turrell and Dan Flavin have already developed their own study on light what Clar has to offer is a new perspective on the matter. While Turrell’s approach is attached to a cosmogonic vision, Clar tries to give shape to the way computers understand light and life itself. His austere arrangements evoke the binary codes and the simplified language of machines.

Cold and artificial forms populate Clar’s universe but does this means we’re witnessing a sensible revolution? Even though humanness prevails robotic faculties and mechanics are concocting new dialects and communication means. How is this affecting our topography’s memory? How is the human mind and eye transforming? Clar knows how to formulate questions without giving exact answers.

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Where life and dreams are as one

Where life and dreams are as one

 

Nostalgia to some is a feeling leading to sadness, a yearning for the past accompanied with regrets. American writer Michael Chabon defines it rather as a straight connection with the past: “is the emotional experience – always momentary, always fragile of having what you lost or never had. (…) It’s the feeling that overcomes you when some minor vanished beauty of the world is restored.” Evgenia Arbugaeva, a Russian photographer, born in the small town of Tiksi has undertake the task of, if not restoring, at least rendering visible the almost vanished beauty of the world. Her projects, Amani, Tiksi, Weather Man and Mammoth Hunters explore the relation between man and nature accentuating the latter’s force.

 

 

Whether it is an abandoned laboratory in the forest of Amani in Tanzania or the splendorous Russian Arctic, Evgenia’s photographs position isolated or abandoned geographical regions in our radar: “I realize that my work (…) contributes to a certain preservation of, or allows to have some information about the place because most of the places where I go, there is no much information about them.” What we thought lost, what we ignored becomes existent and while she unravels the marvels of magical places frozen in time, the spectator learns that present and future are in reality commingled temporalities. In her most recent series Amani, Arbugaeva portrays an abandoned laboratory in the jungle of Amani, in Tanzania. Although abandoned by the scientific community after the country’s independence during the 60’s, the last keeper of the building, John Mganga preserves it zealously. Isolated by the forest and the neighboring natural reserve, the laboratory is struck in a limbo working as a memento from the golden years.

Chabon’s definition of nostalgia reverberates in the photographer’s images as they don’t relinquish the past but construct bridges interconnecting as well as questioning what we consider to be modernity. Old furniture and the laboratory’s shabby equipment contributes to the picture’s atmosphere soliciting the spectator’s imagination to recreate the rest of the photographic decor: “I ask myself this question, why I keep going to places struck in the limbo, struck between two worlds? I think this space of memory is very interesting for the artist because it’s so open for interpretation, that’s what really excites me”.

Her series Weather Man offers a similar stylistic device, Arbugaeva photographed the character’s measuring apparatuses underlining with this simple gesture the cleavage between today’s technology and that used by Weather Man. Objects metamorphose through the artist’s lens into taciturn accomplices conferring to the vernacular the ability to speak.

Analogous to furniture or gadgets, landscape communicates an unspoken message disclosing yet other components of her character’s personality. Quietness and reverie are conveyed in her series Tiksi, where a young girl from the region joyously plays in the Russian tundra, unfolding before our gaze her inner universe. Moreover, the artist’s approach mimics the methodology adopted by filmmakers associated with the “cinéma vérité” where the camera is acknowledged by the person filmed or photographed. Unlike other documentary sous genres, cinéma vérité envisions and permits the director to participate in the field experience, he is not there to purely contemplate, he’s a catalyst triggering action and emotional responses.

Arbugaeva follows this same precepts for she establishes a relationship with the people she photographs, her lyrical images externalize an internal feeling and are palpable imprints of the connection she shares with her protagonists. Her series Mammoth Hunters is probably the most “objective” one, as it illustrates an article for National Geographic. Yet, even within her journalistic production her aesthetics prevail with dreams and fantasy permeating her images. An example to this is a photograph of a mammoth hunter asleep in his tent, an image of a mammoth decorates the ceiling evoking what might be part of his sleeping universe. In the end “it’s not about photography”, as Arbugaeva stated in a recent conversation we held over the phone, it’s more about life and human relations. Beyond solely documenting what she sees, the photographer’s essence fill her clichés thereby unraveling her own doubts and psyche: “every time I photograph I try to figure out who I am, as many photographers do”. The power of Arbugaeva’s images lies in her ability to express in the blink of an eye what she and her character feel, the intangible and inexplicable become visible as affection materializes in her photographs.  

 

 

But what is real and what belongs to the realm of dreams? The problem of truth is indirectly posed in each photograph taken by the artist; nonetheless her intention isn’t the pursuit of ultimate objectivity rather the opposite: Arbugaeva’s captivating images question the structure of the world. In a society colonized by reason and practical thinking, her images propound an alternative existence in which dreams hold a leading role. Life’s futilities have no room in Arbugaeva’s work, she focuses on philosophical questions urging her spectators to interrogate themselves. In this respect, light can be considered as a metaphor of the mental activity occurring in her protagonists mind, such as in the series Weather Man where we see a portrait of this character looking blissfully into the void. When looking at the subtle lightning in this photographs, it is impossible not to think of Vermeer’s paintings, both artistic practices favouring contrast over harmony.

“What is life? a tale that is told; what is life? a frenzy extreme”, such were the words of the Spanish author Calderon de la Barca to poetically analyze the difference between dreams and life. In the writer’s universe, such as in Evgenia’s, the two are interwoven together and merge as one.

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Tucked in the far right corner of the image, dressed in motley, specked with black dots is the artist duo Anthony Aziz and Samuel Cucher in clowning disguise as the silent observers in the woven chaos of Aporia. This iconography is a recurring motif to Aziz + Cucher’s work ever since its first appearance in their self-reflective work By Aporia, Pure and Simple in 2012 rather as an answer as artists to the question “how proceed?”. A significant culmination of their 26-year career and their aesthetic, Aziz + Cucher fully assumes their role as fools and as the vehicle to the viewer’s understanding of the truth to the realities of living.

Unassuming and ethereal, a peacock is captured in its full virility, in a moment of majestic sexual dominance surrounded at the same time by ritualistic ruins and modern urbanisation. Within a barren field, a bed of dandelions sprouted in the midst of figures screaming in silent, excruciating pain as if writhed by some other-worldly, imposing force. Five sheep look on as people hurry on with their nylon bags in search for a better settlement. The beasts’ docile innocence starkly contrasts with the ignorance of the selfie-takers. This is the aesthetic of violence prevalent in Anthony Aziz’s and Samuel Cucher’s tapestries – hypocrisy in our modern way of living, corruption of our natural habitat.

In Aziz + Cucher (A+C)’s Some People Tapestry Cycle (2014-2016), digital images taken from the duo’s travels to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, and countries within the Balkans are electronically woven by their collaborators Magnolia Editions into Jacquard tapestries. The symbolic meanings to be studied in the featured animals, the Renaissance composition, and its employment to depict battlefields remain faithful to the historical functions of tapestry. Yet, in a stroke of genius, A+C’s artistic report on the current belligerent sentiments gives the medium a contemporary revitalisation, moving a topic so blatantly political onto the stage of an Absurdist theatre.

The violence in A+C’s work stems from the uncanny; it is the sight of familiar objects put in extraordinary circumstances. Considering A+C’s audience, they are the people who frequent the contemporary art milieu. Therefore, when we see building cranes in the background and ceremonial carvings on the wall in The Visitor, the peculiar positions that the figures are in with bags on their heads in The Road or limp bodies lying on the ground in Some People, our associative brains recall the horrific imageries perpetuated in the news. The effect of anxiety or even agoraphobia that plagues every single person in our globalised society does not require the artists to be specific like their predecessors, Paolo Uccello’s The Battle of San Romano (1440) comes to mind, but rather this question of land, home and humanity is mythicised and becomes universal in their tapestry.

Retrospectively, the evolution of A+C’s previous photographic and video oeuvre constructs a condition unique to their way of shaping the uncanny. Fairly early on in their first collaboration, Faith, Honor and Beauty (1992) evokes a strong sense of malevolence in how society views the human body. We see the subjects as the canon of beauty, yet there is a chilling impression to the photographs because the figures are without their sexual organs. The confrontation towards censorship in art, which was extremely polemical during the 90s culture wars in the United States, using literal self-censorship in their work was the first step A+C took to question the origins of our fears. From the dissolution of the body to the eeriness of the mechanical flesh in Plasmorphica (1997) and in Chimera (1998), to the architectural abstraction in Interiors (1999-2000), and again to the ecstasy, hallucinatory imagery in Synaptic Bliss (2003-05) and Scenapse (2007-2013), we see a trajectory against figuration or even anthropocentrism.

Aporia

However, a turning point came in 2006 in the form of the Israeli-Hezbollah War. With family ties in both Israel and Lebanon, the sense of ridicule and helplessness in the present complicated political realities gave impetus to A+C’s donning of the garb of jesters. While the duo confesses the self-deprecating image of the costumes, the interpretation runs deeper. The quintessential Shakespearean fool is a device, a motor that goes beyond giving comic relief to tragedies, but instead rendering deeply complex and traumatic scenes more understandable in their metaphorical resemblance to reality. The physical intervention of the A+C clowns, the artists’ departure from abstraction, and their subsequent change in the support of expression to tapestry in 2014 mark the duo’s questioning of the nature of power and the value of humanity sitting on this house of cards.

The unique tactility and the almost relief sensation in A+C’s design metamorphoses the moment captured in their digital images into sequences of movements.

This effective medium defines itself between the closeness and the distance with the viewer. The unique tactility and the almost relief sensation in A+C’s design metamorphoses the moment captured in their digital images into sequences of movements. The solemnity yet mystic fleeting fragility of the textile adds to the fear of contact dictated by the unspoken decorum in exhibitions and the romance of art. It is in itself essentially a symbol of the empty shell of power woven centuries after centuries.

Look closely at the tapestry Aporia, there is a severe expression of anxiety in the work’s narration: jet fighters across the tinged blue sky, scenes of struggle in the foreground, and undescriptive flags and gibberish signs waving in mid air. The centralised triangle with the male figure in a worker’s jumpsuit and a surgical mask as the apex of the tension and in the composition is unceremoniously skewed by the two odd figures on the right. The artists, as clowns, have the function of exposition in this storyline. They are not a physical demonstration of the silliness of the conflict, but rather a statement of truth, of the existence of such a conflict, the essence of which comes from us, the viewers looking at our reality in the third person perspective, from us looking at these figures as aliens and that we are aliens to them as well. While fools are a most unostentatious character in a play with a most pitiful ambition, it is through this pretense that A+C achieve catharsis in their personal tragedies and through which we, the viewers, recognise the cynicism of our phenomenal world.

FHB_Man-Woman

In our post-reality consciousness, all acts are political. Such is a great point of contention in the realm of the arts. In a moment of consideration, contemporary art can oscillate between propaganda and a reflection over calm waters. Ever since their first project together, Aziz + Cucher never cease to position their art in the current cultural and collective psyche, yet the relentless sensation of sterility muffles all conspicuous or personal commentary. Their ongoing tapestry series presents an even more eloquent demonstration of an abject anxiety under our warring times. The tapestry medium, from its historical to contemporary usages and manifestations, transmutes the inherent stirrings of the human soul into lasting forms.