tag:london-art.net,2013:/posts @londonart blog 2017-03-13T18:24:04Z tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/1132882 2017-02-21T00:35:24Z 2017-03-13T18:24:04Z interview with easle's founders Nick Gubbins and Scott Wooden

written by Trevor To


We visited local creative-tech startup Easle's office in the TEA building in Shoreditch earlier to understand what their plan is for creative talents. 

Q1. Could you tell us what makes Easle different from other creative talent search websites? What's your unique selling point?

A: Our unique selling point is the quality of the creators on the platform. Other creative talent search websites generally go by price point, solely benefitting whoever is looking to have work done. More often than not this results in a race to the lowest fees, which drives away the top talent. Every creator that is on Easle will have been accepted onto the platform by an industry leader for their field, or 'Easle Ambassador’. While we don’t want Easle to be too exclusive, we do want to make sure that it is a community of creative professionals. This guarantees that we can attract the most exciting brands to post their work.

We're building Easle to be an end-to-end platform, meaning creators can handle their whole freelance process in one place. All negotiation takes place on the site, all paperwork is generated through the site. In fact, one of our biggest selling points is that freelancers on Easle never have to chase an invoice again. The client has to pay the balance up front, at which point the freelancer receives their 50% deposit. From there, Easle holds the remaining balance while the work gets carried out and we release the funds on completion of the project. Any disputes that arise are mediated and resolved by us.

Q2. When did you start to have this idea? Throughout the development process, what are the greatest challenges? Are they expected or unexpected? Have you managed to overcome all of them yet?

A: Starting in August 2016, we actually set out to build a completely different website but with a similar core aim. We began with a micro-donation platform that allowed creators to publish their work receive ’tips' from fans. We were immediately faced with the difficulty of building a social platform, and the chicken-vs-egg nature of getting creators to post work, which in turn generates traffic, which in turn encourages creators to post work...

One of the challenges of building an online product is to validate an idea you may have. It's dangerously easy to go off assumptions in your head about what a creator / artist / user might have difficulties with. The only way to have absolute assurance and confidence is to go out and talk to your market. You need to plunge yourself into that world to really get a feel of the current pain points, and where your product can help with this.

We went back to the drawing board and talked to as many of the 250 creators who did sign up as possible. Time and time again, we heard about the challenges of being a freelance artist, or of having an agent who doesn’t provide that much opportunity (but charges healthily when they do). This sounded like a problem we could solve. We stripped back the technology and made a simple one page website with an email and brief overview input. We then worked out a niche of clients per artistic domain, (e.g. video game developers looking for soundtrack music could be matched with our composers, people looking for custom Christmas cards could be matched with our illustrators), and simply attracted them to our site by posting in forums and on websites these people hung out. Before we knew it, we were matching creators and clients and thus Easle was born.


Q3. While Easle's service is mostly focused online at the launch period, do you have plans to have any offline events to promote the service or the talents enrolled?

A: We've got a ton of exciting ideas once we've launched Easle. While the online platform will hugely benefit freelancers, we haven't forgotten the importance of real world connections. We want to take as big a part in the offline world as well as the online. Through our roster we build up on our platform we'll be making steps to create events for various disciplines. From exhibitions for artists & illustrators, to screenings for filmakers & animators, we want to create opportunities for creators and clients to form meaningful relationships.

Otherwise, we are currently providing an offline service to match clients with creative freelancers before the site has launched. If a particular client wants a custom service, we will always be able to provide that using the creators that have signed up to the site.

We want Easle to be a place that reminds both creators and clients that working together does not have to be a chore. Whether its online or offline, the best work comes about from good relationships.

*****

We quite like their idea and wish them great sucess!
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/1122680 2017-01-16T08:25:00Z 2017-03-12T22:41:59Z what will VR art look like?

Virtually Real
12-14.01.2017
Royal Academy of Arts
written by Trevor To

With the mass arrival of VR headsets last year to the consumer world, it is no longer an expensive gadget only for the geeks or professionals. Applications of the technology range from gaming to design, but so far not a lot has been done with fine arts. What will 'VR art' look like? The latest Royal Academy exhibition attempts to give its audience a hint of that in this collaborative project with vendor HTC Vive.

Presented as 'the world's first 3D printed artworks in virtual reality', the exhibition showcases 3 separate pieces of works by 3 artists from RA alumni Adham Faramawy, Ellio Dodd and current third year student Jessy Jetpacks. Apart from the virtual piece inside the headset, there are also 3D printed sculptures on display in the venue, which are featured inside the VR pieces.

Below is a short interview with one of the exhibited artist Jessy Jetpacks - whose piece is probably the least conceptual and most resembling to a traditional video art piece, with the exception that it is a panoramic VR experience instead. The photos are the prototype prints of the 'creatures' featured in the VR film.


Q1: What is different from creating artwork in traditional media and the VR digital format? 

A: What is most different about VR digital format is how it is experienced, not so much how it is created. As a digital artist the process of putting work together is not dissimilar to other projects I have done. Crucially however, you must dip in and out of the immersive environment in order to see how the work is progressing. 

A key difference would be freedom from certain costs, and physical restrictions. For instance you can imagine the cost and labour of attempting a fully immersive installation environment in real life. In virtual reality you can play with light, gravity, landscape and scale unbound, but limited to the producible aesthetics of the tool.

Q2: How do you convey your concept to the audience in this exhibition?

A: Because the environment is immersive it can be very manipulative on a base emotional level, doubly so because mine includes specifically composed music. i wanted to use this manipulation in a kind and generous way, so the viewer is free to experience virtual reality without heavily referencing virtual reality or some already established themes of virtual reality e.g. jump-scares, or even certain aesthetics. I designed the simulation to provide constant but not overwhelming stimulation, with sequences of events that happen throughout. I use my enthusiasm and joy, in the form of the martian landscape and giant trilobite herds, a sense of the absurd and comical, with the hoards of dancing women (who are my avatar), also I use the poetic and symbolic within the music and how the whole experience ties together. 

The fundamental difference between the medium or format of these art pieces and the traditional formats such as paintings, sculptures or even performances is that they can only be completely experienced by those who has been equipped with the required hardware. Although one may argue that there are still limitations to how artists can express themselves within the capacity of these hardwares, they have opened up new possibilities of creating and experiencing art undoubtedly. In the piece by Adham Faramawy (shown in above image the physical print on display in the gallery), the visitor can interact in real time with the art piece by spraying colour-changing virtual paint on the 3D sculpture within the virtual space. It is, however, not very clear that what it symbolises in terms of concept other than demonstrating the functionality of the hardware product. The co-creation component, does not seem to have any significance to the art work itself, or one can argue after the excitement, where does the visitor's temporary contribution go into the art piece?

In Elliot Dodd's piece, the visitor enters a space with some sort of pathway connecting one end of a homogeneous environment to the other end which has a centerpiece scultpure, as shown in the above physical print on display in the gallery. The interesting aspect in this piece is that one can walk around in the created space, but also can beam oneself to a certain spot with the way the control pointer works with the hardware. You can also scale the environment up or down to experience it in a different way.

Some may compare this exhibition with Björk Digital in Somerset House last year. While one going to Björk Digital will probably have a certain expectation of what they will see because of the signature style and artistic direction of the singer, it is relatively uncharted territory to those who attended the Virtually Real show, simply because the 3 artists are lesser known in their catalogue of works. Also because they are exploring different possibilities within the technology and their artist direction, it does not have a so-called 'central theme' throughout the pieces, unlike Björk's show which her voice is the common entity that ties all the exhibits together.

Another potential paradigm shift in this development is that for museums and galleries, how do they showcase, collect and archive these art pieces? The usual white box model does not work any more. If any piece becomes hugely popular, there is no way they can simply sell more tickets to let more people in given the limited amount of time and hardware facilities available. So should the museums or artists consider a remote sales strategy similar to Orchestra selling live cast of their concerts online and in cinemas now? Would this open up new possibilities to exhibit in multiple locations around the world simultaneously because one is not limited by the unique physical presence of an art piece any more provided that the works can be 'replicated' across different platforms in different geographical locations in exactly the same way the artist wants it to be?

When the internet was first born, few people knows what to do with it and we are only realising its real potential in recent years. It is, perhaps still early days for artists to truly realise the potentials virtual reality can bring to artistic creation. And the end products, will definitely not look the same as the art works we have been seeing in the past centuries, just like an instant message with emojis is not the same as a letter written by hand in ink.

Further Readings -
Official page for the exhibition
Interview with Adham Faramawy by alphr.com, 13.01.2017

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/1118672 2016-12-31T13:00:00Z 2016-12-31T16:35:23Z advent calendar 2016 - part 4 (19 - 24 December)
The final entries of our advent calendar series have the following artists and works featured -

Day 19: Now Gallery recommends 'Bullet From A Shooting Star' based at Greenwich Peninsula by artist Alex Chinneck, who time and time again shows that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. @alexchinneck creates inventive pieces of art using the familiar & transforming it into the unique. Don’t miss his melting Christmas Tree on display at Granary Square during this festive period. 

Day 20: Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams brings @barbicancentre Curve gallery to life with his quest into The Gulch. The curious & often subversive internal dialogue @bedwyr_williams plays out along the Curve’s space in this fantastical installation. Physical & metaphorical twists & turns guide you through the gallery and ultimately inspire you to give your own performance, one that will fill the cavernous gorge of the gulch for those following in your footsteps.

Day 21: close up of Anselm Kiefer's nuber pluant ustem (2016) currently on display in @whitecubeofficial bermondsey. Kiefer employs a range of media – oil, acrylic, emulsion and shellac - to emphasise the space of painting as a threshold into a mythic, imaginative realm.

Day 22: @GRAD_London recommends 'Destined To Be Happy', Russian artist Irina Korina's new solo installation which runs until 28 February 2017. Experience the macabre reality of Korina’s greyscale domain, punctuated with characters whose emotional relatability is laid bare for scrutiny.

Day 23: Berlin-based artist @AlicjaKwade ’s commission in @whitechapelgallery "Medium Median" explores our relationship to space and time through technology, culture and senses.

Day 24: Spring (2015) by Tony Cragg shown previously in @lisson_gallery. His axiom “There are many more things that do not exist than things that do exist” points to a deep well of things & forms that are as yet beyond our perception. Sculpture is for Cragg a method to unlock this enormous potential not just for new forms but the new meanings, dreams and language that will become associated to them. For him it is a method for discovering the as yet unseen. 

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/1118417 2016-12-28T11:00:06Z 2016-12-28T11:00:06Z advent calendar 2016 - part 3 (13 - 18 December)
Part 3 of our advent calendar series have the following artists and works featured -

Day 13: 'Lay Down' by London artist Leah Capaldi is a site-specific installation at Matt's gallery's newish south of river space. The work consists of a video sculpture with continual performance, inspired by the artist's time in the deserts of the American West. There, Capaldi met a Utah cowboy & his horse, a film exploring their relationship and the vast, performative landscape that surrounds them forms the core of the installation. 'Lay Down' asks how power is constructed & understood, this question arising throughout the installation, in the iconic figure of the American cowboy, the influence of the sublime landscape and the authority of the screen. The crossover area between the disciplines of sculpture & performance are of particular interest to Capaldi's practice, with echoes of the seminal performance work of the late 1960s & early 70s. 

Day 14: "under the N2 flyover, Woodstock" by South African photographer David Lurie represented by Sulger-Buel Lovell. Lurie's work captures the graffiti in urban environment which reflects the social fabric and local culture of a place.

Day 15: the Music Lesson by Frederic Leighton in Guildhall Art Gallery's Victorians Decoded: Art & Telegraphy exhibition. The show explores the impact of telegraphy on the artistic imagination & wider social consciousness in the 19thC. Art works selected are chosen with the 4 themes around the ground-breaking technology of that era - distance, transmission, coding and resistance. In this piece, a mother teaches her daughter to play a Turkish saz. The rhythmic patterns in the pillars and inlaid marble of the interior give a visual equivalent of the spaced-out sequence of notes. The dangling legs of parent and child also suggest notes on a stave. The transmission of knowledge is achieved by steady pulsing, something like the telegraph key tapping to transmit a message. 

Day 16: The Celestial Teapot by Lukas Duwenhögger, is a proposal for a memorial site for the persecuted homosexuals of National Socialism in Berlin. The work was displayed in his solo show in Raven Row @raven__row earlier this year. Duwenhögger’s figurative paintings conjure his subjects into situations and worlds that are inventively adorned, allusive, anachronistic & compelling. 

Day 17: Mantle Deposits by Hermoine Allsopp @hermioneallsopp in @arthouse1_ldn 's group show 'It's Offal' - From excrement to innards, 'It’s Offal' looks at the work of artists who have chosen to explore what lies within. A guttural festivity that triggers questions about who & what we really are, our fears & desires, and what we value in the end. 

Day 18: the use of vivid colours from 'winter evening in the Black Fens' by english painter Fred Ingrams in Art Bermondsey Project Space @abprojectspace is characteristic this series of works: "The future of ditches in The Fens is for others to decide upon and maybe when all the soil has been blown & eroded away from the land in between them the battle between the “re-wilders” and the property developers can really commence. To me these precious margins are just dividing lines that run at ninety degrees to each other and border the huge fields of crops. The fields they frame are slabs of ever-changing colour. You can look down them or across them. Depending on your viewpoint ditches form either horizontal lines that divide the landscape or converging lines that meet at the vanishing point. Looking down a ditch creates one kind of painting, looking across a ditch another. The result is two types of landscape." - Fred Ingrams @fredingrams 

See the previous entries in Part 1 here, and those in Part 2 here

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/1118415 2016-12-27T10:00:02Z 2016-12-27T10:00:02Z advent calendar 2016 - part 2 (7 - 12 December)
Continuing our part 2 of the advent calendar series featured on our instagram in the run-up to Christmas:

Day 7: Gazelli Art House @gazelliarthouse recommends Philip Colbert's neon artwork. Pop!  a toast for a happy holiday & wonderful 2017! 

Day 8: Calvert 22 @calvert22foundation recommends Associated Nostalgia by Bulgarian-born photographer Eugenia Maximova @emax, one of the artists exhibiting at 2016 New East Photo Prize Exhibition. The series presents colourful trinkets that belonged t Eugenia Maximova o the artist's relatives & friends who displayed them in their homes during Bulgaria's otherwise bleak communist period. These objects are of little monetary value but now represent the priceless memories & family histories which the photos celebrate. 

Day 9: Leyden Gallery @leyden_gallery recommends South African born Vivienne Koorland. Her solo exhibition Soft Heart has at its own nodal core, the intersection of the Artist’s Body and a Body of Art travelling. Koorland is also currently showing together with William Kentridge at The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh. Her​ painting 'Soft Heart' appears​over Christmas & the New Year​ in the Winter Salon at Leyden Gallery from 15.12.2016 to 14.01.2017

Day 10: Maria-Lena Hedberg's work is featured in the group show 'Shifting States' at Espacio Gallery @espaciogallery. The exhibition presents works in various media / formats. The creative processes of the participating artists involve entering a state of flux in which the destination is initially unknown. The overt subject might be a time, a place or a psychological state – or all of the above.

Day 11: Candice Lin's System for a Stain installed in Gasworks gallery @gasworkslondon explores how histories of slavery & colonialism have been shaped by human attraction to particular colours, tastes, textures & drugs. It combines organic processes with DIY mechanics to create a metabolic machine that echoes the unrelenting flow of bodies & matter in colonial trade. Incorporating various handmade trinkets and curios, such as glazed cochineal vases and a tea strainer based on the upturned bust of Scottish botanist Robert Fortune, the installation transforms prized, historically loaded goods into a blood-like stain.

Day 12: Here is Big Bifur by Jean-Luc Moulène currently on display in the group show Thinking Tantra at Drawing Room @drawingroom_ldn . A trans-historical exhibition that begins with anonymous Tantric drawings, the collection dates from the second half of the 19th century, continues with work made in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s by Indian artists & includes work by 10 international contemporary artists. Tantra is a body of beliefs & practices that enables individuals to conjoin with something much larger than themselves - 'nothing short of cosmic forces'.

See the previous entries at part 1 here.

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/1114384 2016-12-10T17:04:08Z 2016-12-10T17:04:11Z advent calendar 2016 - part 1 (1 - 6 December)
We have launched our first ever advent calendar feature on our instagram and here is the summary of the first few entries:

Day 1: Arebyte @arebyte recommends Gretchen Andrew's @nexttopanimatedgifmodel work for her current show HOW TO HOW TO HOW TO, which reflect on the idea of Internet-based learning; a culmination of sharing knowledge through various YouTube videos. The project is self-reflective but also socially reflective where we see an advance in collective learning and cooperative discourse. 

Day 2: Calvert 22 @calvert22foundation recommends Polish photographer Michal Slarek, one of the artists currently exhibiting at the 2016 New East Photo Prize Exhibition. The photo featured is from the series Alexander, which documents Macedonia's pride in its mythic, though often forgotten, history, particularly through it Gretchen Andrew s connection to Alexander the Great. Michał is the winner of the 2016 New East Photo Prize, which celebrates photography from Eastern Europe, Russia & Central Asia; presenting unique perspectives on an under-represented region. 

Day 3: Pi Artworks @piartworks recommends Memory Coils by Maria Berrio @mariaberriostudio. American Histories, curated by New-York based Alexandra Schwartz, brings together 9 US-based artists who explore cultural histories through figurative works on paper. Their work reflects their own diverse heritages & influences while speaking more broadly to the array of international cultures that make up the United States. The exhibition spotlights how artists examine & synthesize such themes through a personal lens. During this time of political discord over issues of tolerance, these artists offer crucial voices in favor of pluralism & acceptance. Image courtesy of the artist and Praxis Gallery, New York.

Day 4: Vitrine @vitrinegallery recommends Basel-based, Manchester-born artist Clare Kenny @clarelkenny. The image featured is an installation view taken from her current solo exhibition, ‘Enough rope to hang ‘emselves’, Clare reflects on the themes of family & memory. Informed by personal viewpoints & experiences, especially her upbringing & family history, Kenny’s work explores the intersection between personal & collective memory. For this exhibition, the artist takes a family story regarding her grandmother, who spent much of her life working in a rope factory, as the catalyst of constructing an installation & a body of work.

Day 5: PM/AM @pm______am recommends British visual artist Mat Chivers @matchivers. His presentation uses a range of media to explore relationships between environmental phenomena, the fundamental materials that constitute the world, and the contemporary production technologies that we use to understand & interact with them. Image shown is Harmonic Distortion, 2016.
Statuario di Altissimo and Nero Marquina marble.

Day 6: IMT @imtgallery recommends Danish artist Lotte Roser Kjær Skau's work. @lotteroser makes a dedicated gif every Christmas for IMT. The one above is a still from last year & is very in keeping with her on going series 'United We/I Stand etc.' More details here.

Follow us on Instagram to receive the latest #adventcalendar entries in the upcoming days.
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/1065482 2016-06-22T10:30:00Z 2016-07-27T18:08:32Z Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today

South London Gallery
10.06-04.09.2016
written by Suzanne Harb

Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today is one of a trio of touring exhibitions from the Guggenheim-UBS’ MAP Global Art Initiative. 

The London leg of the exhibition (which will also visit Sao Paulo and Mexico City) curated by Mexico born Pablo León de la Barra brings nearly 50 pieces from more than 40 artists born after the late 60’s to the South London Gallery. The result: a rich array of works that convey a dialogue of the shared reality of artists internationally. 

Simon Armstrong (Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation), Margot Heller (SLG Director) and Pablo León de la Barra (curator) introducing the show.

 

The works, shown as part of the MAP initiative, will enter into the Guggenheim’s permanent collection. This is an interesting move from the western institution to engage with and collect works from non-western artists. This position of awareness is telling of the current climate in art. Even the private markets have not escaped; Christies have dubbed one of its seven hot trends for 2016 as ‘the rise of non western art’.

Entrance to the main gallery

 

The exhibition itself spans the whole of the gallery space, including the recently donated former Peckham Road Fire Station, ‘the earliest surviving purpose-built fire station in London’ which won’t be fully completed and open to visitors until 2018. Pablo has included in the selection a rich variety of artistic forms including sculpture, installation, painting, video and a performance piece by Amalia Pica (every Saturday at 1pm) and other off-site art works.

Be sure to check out Federico Herrero’s mural on the Pelican housing estate during your visit. The mural, not only an important Latin American artistic tradition, does well to tie in the large Latin American community that resides in the area and subtly reinforces the idea of shared global cultural narrative despite geography.

View of Amalia Pica's AnBnC (2013) and Carlos Amorales' We’ll See How Everything Reverberates (2012)

 

Pablo spoke of his complete submersion in the two-year long project that has seen him travel across his native region and surrounding areas, visiting artists and their workshops. His aim was to collate a group of artists that tackled issues and themes that surround a shared reality and addressing the influences of ‘colonial and modern histories, repressive governments, economic crises [and] social inequality’. To set the stage for this Pablo included the works of two older artists who have greatly influenced the landscape of contemporary South American artistic expression today and so their canonisation will live on with important works like Alfredo Jaar’s A Logo for America (1987) being included in the Guggenheim’s permanent collection. 

Alfredo Jaar’ A Logo for America (1987)

 

Many of the works have a participation element to them. Most notably Carlos Amorales’ We’ll See How Everything Reverberates (2012) invites the viewer to play the mobile (visually indicative of the work of Alexander Calder) of cymbals. It is this interactivity with the work that gives the show a playful element. This participation goes to further the sense of interconnectivity between artist, his message and viewer. Enabling this kind of conversation cements the viewer in the show and in this wider idea of global communication initiative, something I feel that cements MAP’s aim. 

 Pablo interacting with Amorales’ work

 

While some may question the Guggenheim’s motivations to appear culturally engaging in this manner I see this initiative as an important breakthrough no matter the motivations. As Richard Armstrong noted during the launch he found that there were a great number of unexpected similarities between the Guggenheim and SLG as institutions, and the further people go to foster unlikely global relationships the more democratic our view of the contemporary art world can become. 

Further Readings: 

Office page of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Official page of South London Gallery
Official page of Guggenheim Map Global Art Initiative

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/912939 2015-10-05T07:29:00Z 2016-11-22T09:53:06Z our top picks for the frieze week 2015
With Frieze week getting in action and galleries gearing up for the world's attention here in London, we have continued our tradition and hand-picked our favourite 10 listings below for our followers -


1. Frieze 
Apart from the galleries booths, the sculpture park, the cafes and the queues, we recommend our followers not to forget the talks in the fair itself are also intellectually unmissable. We find the topics of these 2 sessions particularly relevant in the current climate globally and locally:  The New Museums: Coming Soon to a City Near You and Off-Centre: Can Artists Still Afford to Live in London?
We are also interested to explore the installations Rachel Rose created inside the Freize tent, which sounds intriguing from the way it was described by FT in her interview in their Weekend Magazine.

(image from Victoria Miro's website)

2. Elmgreen & Dragset at Victoria Miro Mayfair
The Scandinavian maverick duo returns to Victoria Miro featuring a new series of works that are representations of museum wall labels of other artists’ works, including David Hockney, Ross Bleckner, Roni Horn, Martin Kippenberger, and Nicole Eisenmann, among others. They are also having another solo show at Massimo de Carlo gallery called Stigma, which was shown in their Milan gallery earlier this year.


3. Ai Wei-wei at the Royal Academy
The Chinese artist has proved his celebrity artist status with his own show in the Royal Academy. Apart from his works on display, it is also the interviews he did with the press and the instagram posts and tweets he made during his visit which gives you the full wei-wei experience.

Cm_bill viola in mt rainier coffee shop 1979 photo kira perov_photoshopped

(image from Blain|Southern's website, by Kira Perov)

4. Bill Viola at Blain|Southern
Viewers visiting this show can see the predecessor of all Bill Viola's videos - one monumental installation Moving Stillness (Mt. Rainier), 1979, shown for the first time since its inauguration at Media Study/Buffalo New York. In conjunction and presented for the first time ever, recordings of Bill Viola’s early sound compositions form an immersive installation The Talking Drum at The Vinyl Factory Space at Brewer Street Car Park in Soho, London. Two works are featured, The Talking Drum,1979, and Hornpipes, 1979–82, that explore the resonances of an empty swimming pool.

(image from Dominique Levy's website)

5. Gerard Richter at Dominique Levy
Another show which celebrates the earlier works of a monumental artist of our time. Dominique Levy is showing a vital group of paintings selected from the artist’s original nineteen Colour Charts produced in 1966. Presented with the support of the Gerhard Richter Archive, the exhibition is the first to focus on the earliest works of this series since their inaugural appearance at Galerie Friedrich & Dahlem, Munich in 1966.

Cy Twombly -

Bacchus, 2006–08,  © Cy Twombly Foundation (image from Gagosian's website)

6. Cy Twombly at the Gagosian new space in Mayfair
The exhibition will include as yet unseen large Bacchus paintings, with loans from the Cy Twombly Foundation and other collections. it is a tradition to open a new Gagosian gallery in Europe with Cy Twombly, apparently.

(image from a previous site-specific installation in 2014)

7. Neil Ayling at "Berloni off-site" 49 Greek Street
Ayling will present a site-specific projection across the dilapidated townhouse floor, alongside a space specific three-dimensional piece using images of the walls, ceiling and floorboards themselves. Through deconstructing an enlarged camera obscura, Ayling's studio creation here becomes fragmented to give way to a further sculpture.

(image from Gasworks' website)

8. Kemang wa Lehulere at Gasworks
Unravelling the relationships between personal and collective histories, amnesia and the archive, Wa Lehulere’s practice explores how South Africa’s past continues to haunt the present. Inspired by theatre and set design, his drawings, performances and sculptures are often conceived as ‘rehearsals’, framed by longer-term research projects about motifs such as the act of falling or the unfaithfulness of language.

(image by Ravi)

9. Architecture by Caruso St John
This year art lovers can also experience two much anticipated new spaces both built by architect Caruso St John - the Gagosian Mayfair mentioned above and Damien Hirst's Newport Street gallery at Vauxhall. You can find an article with interview of the architects by the Evening Standard here.

10. Outside London
If you haven't seen this yet, you have roughly 2 more weeks to go before it closes - Lightscape by James Turrell at Houghton Hall. It is definitely not easy to get over, given the state of railway transport in this country, and a drive from London and return will cause you half a day. But we are very sure the lights can add some beautiful memories to your Frieze week 2015, and lots of likes on your instagram as well.
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/911940 2015-10-01T22:58:24Z 2016-11-22T09:53:51Z stories from start-ups in the arts organised by UP Global and Culturate
Google Campus london
01.10.2015

Founders of start-ups in the visual arts industry share their experiences, give tips and explore the latest trends in this panel discussion on art + tech earlier this evening. The speakers include Jonas Almgren - CEO Artfinder, Bernadine Bröcker - CEO Vastari, Marcos Steverlynck - Co-founder Riseart and David Zokhrabyan - CEO and Co-Founder at ArtHome.London and Gitoon.

Below are some of the highlighted points we heard -

  • Efficiency and transparency hasn't happened in the art world much - it is now time to apply established technology to disrupt the market
  • Create 'experience' to engage and reach out to more people - e.g. art rental for "real" experience to consumers so that they can buy after rental if they like it
  • Make art accessible and affordable - create new market for art purchase and appreciation in mass public, make the market bigger
  • Follow the model of the Fashion industry to make art purchase popular online - provide good returns policy to encourage worry-free e-shopping
  • Pop up stores offline to increase accessibility
  • Social media helps the exchange of cultures, both among artists and among buyers
  • The technology to support the transactions online is a totally different platform from that to handle transactions in auction houses
  • Find out whether the buyers have affinity to the artist, or the artwork, or both?
  • Big brands in the art market is not big brands compared to the brand recognition and power in other industries
  • Museums start using new e-platforms to move inventory in archive, providing conusmers with affordable luxury through established art brands
  • Pricing is more transparent and democratic online
  • Is art an investment or just a personal decoration? Most people only buy art they truly like, and tend to not compare price as much as other commodity
  • Investors are not familiar with the new online market because it is not the usual traditional art market
  • Museums are not investing in art tech startups yet
  • Universities maybe the place to look for collaboration - students with ideas to collaborate & grow (e.g. UAL + arthome.london)
  • Digital art is shaping the future of art and the younger generation are more open to that and also help to shape what is defined as art in their generation
  • Most of the UK public money that 'support arts' only go to the venues, not the artists
  • Artists need to learn to sell their works, how to do business, what regulations are relevant - tax, insurance, etc for example
  • Artists never stop making art whether they sell the works or not
  • Artists can't afford the studio in big cities with high rent - how can artists be supported to have affordable production spaces? Big challenge but also big opportunity. If handled properly it can potentially bring the studio experience back to the customers
  • No one has a clear idea of what an art market is, someone has to define it so investors can get in
  • Artists need to build their brand & reach out to the Audience
  • Artists can see what is selling through big data, and how they can sell more maybe by making more similar or inspired works to the best-selling items, and audience can also see the growth of artists to buy those with more potentials
  • Electronic art is still way too avant-grade for common amateur buyers in the mass market
  • Authentication is a big challenge to tackle
  • 50% of sale on artfinder through mobile platform including tablets
  • Cyber security is not a big concern as art business is not big enough to attract hackers, reasonable level of security is enough
  • Different pricing models for artists online - some allows artist to make an offer of price to buy, some encourage artists to make works of different sizes which will be sold in different prices to broaden their reach to consumers with different budgets
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/754556 2014-10-13T02:48:02Z 2016-11-22T09:54:28Z our top picks for the frieze week 2014
​It is the week of the year here in London. Everybody suddenly becomes very cultural and talks about art. Yes, everybody.

So you want to catch up with the chat and impress people on how cultural you are? Here is our annual cheatsheet, free of charge. We would appreciate if you mention @londonart to others if they praise your insight. Thank you.

If you are visiting for the occasion, we suggest you try to take into all of the below (in no particular order) in your stay in London -


1. Sculpture Park at Frieze Art Fair
This is where everything starts, so it deserves to be mentioned year after year. A stroll in Regent's Park is an essential stop of your art week. No matter it is raining or sunny, you would be able to enjoy the wonderful marriage of horticulture, nature and art. No admission fee.


Anselm Kiefer, Ages of the World, 2014; Private collection; Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Arts. Photography: Howard Sooley / © Anselm Kiefer


2. Anselm Kiefer at Royal Academy
We attended the blogger's event from the Academy and curator Kathleen Soriano explained that site-specific works are commissioned in the show, "Yes, it’s a retrospective – 60 percent of the show is a retrospective – but the 40 percent remaining we really hand over to the artist. We want them to work with these fantastic galleries and create something that’s specific for those spaces." The very nature of Anselm's works strike one's mind because it asks fundamental questions about life. Read his interview with the Telegraph if you still have second thoughts.


3. Aiko Miyanaga at White Rainbow



4. Matthew Barney at Sadie Close



5. Tom Dale at Copperfield



6. Pierre Huyghe at Hauser & Wirth
The gallery has brought both installations as well as video works of Huyghe. The centre-piece is a disturbing piece of a masked monkey left behind after the Fukushima disaster. Huyghe's use of materials with life in his works adds another layer to the meaning of 'creation' in the hands of nature as well as the artist. 


7. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at Carroll / Fletcher
First solo exhibition by the Mexican-Canadian artist, which displays 4 sound installations


8. Jan Kempenaers at  Breese Little


9. Performances Evening in DRAF on 16/10
DRAF is transformed into a stage for their annual evening of performances. Quinn Latimer & Megan Rooney, Joe Moran, planningtorock, Sarah Lucas and Eloise Hawser present new live works for a unmissable event. The gallery space is showing works by Nina Beier


10. Krijin de Kroning's Dwelling at Turner Contemporary & Folkestone Triennial
This is the first time we recommend something outside central London on our list. When it takes over 2 hours from Heathrow to the galleries in East and South London, we think it is fair to include something outstanding as de Kroning's work which is only about an hour away from St Pancras or Stratfor Intetnational stations on high speed train. And if you really take the courage to ride the train there, your would be rewarded with other amazing works of the Triennial in Folkestone or Edmund de Waal and Jeremy Deller in Margate. Here's an interview with the artist himself by Icon magazine.



More photos here on our flickr album for de Kroning's Dwelling.

*****

And one last thing. As usual, we list the official websites of all the other art fairs in town we know here for your easy reference -



1:54 Art Fair - The African art fair in Somerset House has firmly established itself to be the place where people could go see contemporary art from the continent.


Sunday Fair - This is the satellite fair in Ambika P3 focussing in North American and Northern European galleries and artists. We love its no-frills approach, the website has only gallery listings, nothing else. You need to REALLY go to the fair to see what it's about. Now that's confidence.


Kinetica Art Fair - Kinetica moves its date from February to the frieze week this year, and change venue to Truman Brewery (probably because Sunday art fair is occupying its past base). We expect a lot of cool performances in the fair as usual, which differentiates itself from the other satellite fairs.

The Other Art Fair - Director Ryan Stainer has Polly Morgan on this year's committee to pick who should show in this fair

The Independent Artist Fair - Now tell me what's the difference between this one and the one above? Less commercial? What does that actually mean?

Art Apart - A boutique art fair from Singapore in Town Hall Hotel

Moniker - The focus is on street and graffiti art, which it labels as 'urban art'
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/703803 2014-06-15T10:57:16Z 2016-11-22T09:55:06Z the annual summer exhibition

by Suzanne Harb

Summer Exhibition
Royal Academy
09.06-17.08.2014

Joshua Reynolds, the first president of the Royal Academy, once said; ‘a room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts’. This year over 1,200 thoughts from artists like Martin Creed and Michael Landy to unknown artists grace the walls of the main galleries of the Royal Academy. Having had to whittle down the 12,000 digital submissions would have been a Goliath task. However what remains is a look into the various disciplines that represent contemporary art today. 

Now, the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition often get’s some stick from esteemed critics from the larger publications and across the board reviews are varied. What is interesting is how much discourse this annual exhibition (now in it’s 245th year) can encourage. With all those who attended making their own personal assessments as to which deserve to be labeled the good, the bad and the ugly. It is for this reason along that I love it! Due to the nature of the exhibition, it attracts such a varied audience thus opening up channels of communication between people and uniting them through their discussion of art. 

Providing a dissection of what is happening in contemporary art right now the Royal Academy is by the artists and for the artists. This is an incredibly powerful approach as it means no boundaries are put up in relation to prestige, style and approach. A plethora of current topics are tackled, it is almost like thumbing through the pages of a world new paper. Interestingly a piece titled FGM by Angela Braven is an example of how art continuously shines its light on contemporary issues. Depicting the horrors of Female Gentile Mutilation, and highlighting the ever widening divide in opinion regarding the matter, the inclusion of works such as this is vital as it highlights art fearlessness to tackle such issues head on.

What was in 1769, an exhibition open to the public was a pioneering and exciting, a notion that we take for granted in 2014. However the rooms curated in that traditional salon style are a means of acknowledging the exhibitions 18th century roots (and a technique very much needed to showcase the sheer volume of works). Gus Cummins RA was responsible for the curation of the Small Weston Room as well as room VII. Hung densely from floor to ceiling in a complex grid, works are clustered together as to produce some unexpected dialog among themselves, interesting juxtapositions and placements revealing more of a narrative.

Cornelia Parker RA has curated the Lecture Room. She has invited many high profile artists and Royal Academicians to contribute works in keeping with her black and white theme. With many artists creating new works especially for this space, she has created an exciting and dynamic cohesion of works. This room is playful yet sleek and provides a break from the busy rooms that preceded it.

While there is a great deal to take in, one drawback of the exhibition is that it is lacking in its representation of the more unusual artistic mediums. With a large percentage of the 1,262 pieces being taken up by paintings, and while sculpture does indeed stand out against the painted sea of works, we have yet to see the inclusion of performance art. In addition to this there is very little video and not near enough sculpture to be representative of the vast and varied approached to art today. While this is an important observation, I do not want it do detract form the wonderful experience it is walking through a room engulfed by art. Wondering and meandering through peoples thoughts is something very special. While you may not love everything on display the chances are you will find something that moves or amuses you. 

*****

Further Readings -
Review: "The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: The anarchy and ecstasy returns" by Zoe Pilger for the Independent, 02.06.2014
Review: "Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, review: 'not so much old or new as exhausting" by Mark Hudson for the Telegraph, 06.06.2014
Review: "RA's Summer Exhibition: A sprawling exhibition of varying quality" by Will Gompertz for BBC Arts, 04.06.2014
Review: "First Look: the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition" by Ben Luke for the Evening Standard, 02.06.2014

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/696440 2014-05-27T05:43:00Z 2016-11-22T09:56:16Z degree show 2014 - Central Saint Martin . part 1

The annual degree show season has started, it's time to go spot the next super star graduates before they get affiliated with the noble house galleries.

We walked through CSM's show last weekend and found the works this year are as controversial as usual, although one would wonder how the visitors could understand the student's intention without their presence or any explanatory note most of the times. Or do they believe only the VIPs in private view evenings are worth their dedication and the general public should only appreciate their works by second guesses? It is puzzling that some artists still behave like this, and complain about nobody paying attention to their works when people give up their valuable weekend time to go see their works. We can perhaps only wish this 'tradition' would gradually change.

Here we are going to showcase a few highlights we found in the show, in no particular order and of no particular reason, since we are simply applying the same tactics as the students that do not present their works with their concepts -

2five8's installation '48 sheets' is a billboard controlled by motion sensors. The message is revealed when you walk across in front of the board.


'four letter words' by Claudia Klaus Rowland. Claudia left a comment on the vimeo page to explain her concept - please spend a minute to go read her words.

Isabella Cammareri's oriental-cross-romanticism 3D collages

Christina-Shelagh Mongelli's Gulf Prokupkin. There is a blue soldier that is en-gulfed by the black and white sea, suggesting a movement thats prone to fail as he is stuck on a rock. A rock that used to be close to the sea, a closeness suggested by its wavy shape. Yet their closeness is a reactionary one, as there is a 'gulf' between them.  An unbridgeable disparity, due to the lack of understanding.

Gwennaelle Cook's red-white-blue simple geometric exercise

Octave Marsal - Theo de Gueltzl's amazing etching on perspex

Kristian Kragelund's 220 pieces of steel forming some 70 leaning figures under the sun - he told us that the heat in a certain time of the day from the direct sunlight would make the sheets expand and adjust their balanced positions. Very interesting fact and hope there would be a time-lapsed video to reveal this happening

Ellen Rose turns kitchen towel roll into this wonderful chiffon or silk-liked fashion masterpiece with all the colourful strokes

Jack O'Brien's sound installation

Another visually stunning piece made by simple daily objects. by Majella Dowdican

Emma Vidal's intriguing sculptures are both sold

Dynamic sculpture by Matthieu Romet-Lemarchand

Poetic ceiling intervention by Valentin Dommanget

Last, we also like Sarah Jacqueline Hamilton's Mount Me which you would see a person climbing up a pile of foam when you put your eyes into the viewfinder - it's a pity that cannot be captured and reproduced here.

Full photo album here

Further Readings -

Page - Central Saint Martins degree show 2014 – in pictures on the Guardian, 21.05.2014

Page - official page for the Part 1 show

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/669629 2014-04-06T13:52:00Z 2016-11-22T09:56:44Z travelogue - a gallery village in singapore

09.03.2014

Earlier this month, we have the opportunity to visit Gillman Barracks, an ex-british army  barracks tranformed into a home for many galleries, local and international.

The barracks is located in the fringe of the city centre, with an interesting mix around - business parks, starchitect residential development, academy of teachers as well as golf course. It is an initiative the Singaporean government create in the hope of competing with Hong Kong, Dubai and the likes to be the art hub of Asia.

Map showing the surroundings of Gillman Barracks - link

Directory at the Entrance of the Barracks showing the locations of various galleries and amenities in the venue

At the time of visit, a few galleries were showing works by Indonesian artists, which could be seen as a dominant emerging force in the whole South East Asian art scene given the rise of the country with 250-million population.

Michael Janssen was showing Indonesian artist Eddy Susanto's "Albrecht Dürer and the Old Testament of Java" in the gallery. Originally a graphic manifestation of Old Testament texts that were written in Hebrew, Dürer's images are recreated in Susanto's paintings with their outlines in Javanese script. This script, which the artist painstakingly wrote by hand with black ink pen, consists of the entire Old Testament, translated into the Javanese language.



In Equator Art Projects, we saw another Indonesian artist Yuli Prayitno's first solo show in the city - "Unity in Diversity: Archaeologic Excavation of the Peranakan Tionghua". The artist recovers examples of Pernanakan cultural artifacts, which he 'excavates' from dilapidated Peranankan houses. The objects, primarily pieces of furniture, porcelain and Chinese texts, are re-interpreted by the artist. In doing so, the artist makes visible the lost knowledge and wisdom of the Peranakan Chinese as a community, who form a part of Indonesia’s cultural diversity. It reminds us of Simon Fujiwara although Yuli's works are not autobiographical to himself. The fact that a native Indonesian artist dedicates his artist creation to embrace the existence of chinese culture in a country which citizens have not been always friendly with the Chinese community means perhaps the new generation has come out of the shadows of their parents. Or it could perhaps also be the fact that most artists' patrons afterall are the wealthy Chinese descendents in the region?

A unconventional show was up in Mizuma gallery with Indonesian artist Angki Purbandono showcasing 25 artworks made out of 78 scanographies featuring his 10-month stay in the Yogyakarta Narcotics Penitentiary, with the help of 20 other inmates who took part in the set up of the Prison Art Programs (PAPs) in May 2013. Although the works on the wall are shot by Angki, the contents are actually artistic creations of the prisoners.

Next door at Arndt gallery, there is a solo show "Triology" of Entang Wiharso, one of the most significant and internationally acknowledged Indonesian artists working in SE Asia today for his large scale paintings, wall sculptures and installations. His works have been exhibited extensively in various contexts: gallery shows, public and private collections displays as well as biennales and group shows in Indonesia and abroad. 

Other galleries were showing works by local artists and across the world but mainly in the region.

Fost Gallery was hosting Singaporean artist Heman Chong's solo show 'Of Indefinite Time or Occurence'. In his works, Heman investigates the relationships between image and text, examining how one is intrinsically linked to the other in his idiosyncratic manner of generating fictional narratives. 

Pearl Lam, one of the most influential buyers in contemporary abstract art, has a debut group show in her singapore gallery curated by Philip Dodd. In his own words about the exhibition, "First, this exhibition seems to me to follow on from the groundbreaking exhibition that inaugurated Pearl Lam’s Hong Kong gallery, Chinese Contemporary Abstract, 1980s until Present: MINDMAP. If that exhibition revealed just how various and strong abstract art in China has been since the 1970s, this much more modest exhibition explores what abstract artists from around the world have in common and what is it about their cultural location that makes them distinctive. In itself, this exhibition reflects a decentred art world."

In Space Cottonseed, we found Singapore-based Korean artist Lee Young Rim's site-specific "sculpture-paintings" challenging the audience's perception of "pictorial vs physical realms". Her show "Cutting into space" literally insert works into the gallery space, and together with the gallery's house-within-a-house interiors (which reminds us of Dover Street Market), create the most fulfilling spatial experience in our visit of the Barracks on that day.


Filipino artist Diokno Pasilan has a fascinating show in The Drawing Room. In 1998, after a four-year stint as the residency coordinator for the Australian Centre in Manila, Diokno moved to Perth. Living in Australia and finding objects made in local wood redefined his art practice. From there he rebuilt his personal history, autopiloting creations that take the image of boats.  This exercise in memory and association comes into play in the exhibition "S/V Locomote". As an international maritime prefix, “S/V” stands for “sailing vessel” while “locomote” adds to the essence of all boats – that they are made to proceed and eventually, to return. Also in the show is a series of paintings “Kinalawang na Larawan” (translated as corroded images) where he forms portraits out of iron dust.

Future Perfect was showing Turner Prize nominee Nathan Coley. The Scottish artist's first solo show in SE Asia brings together photographic and sculptural work from the past five years, the exhibition complements Coley’s representation in the current Biennale of Sydney.

We found London-grown artist Christopher Kulendran Thomas' works were shown in Yeo Workshop. The show was his first show in Asia, collaborating with Annika Kuhlmann, manipulated the processes through which art is distributed in order to set in motion the mechanisms of social change. 

In many of these shows, we see a common theme - to seek artistic inspirations from one's cultural roots. While the more prominent market places are trading big labels with global appeal, Gillman Barracks has a feel of a little enclave with interesting treasures awaiting your discovery. We hope there would be more joint efforts from the galleries to promote the place and attract more art lovers from the city and afar to visit.

*****

Further Readings:

Page - Gillman Barracks: Singapore's new contemporary art centre by Ellen Himelfarb for *wallpaper, 16.10.2012

Facebook - official facebook page

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/656248 2014-02-22T01:00:00Z 2014-03-01T01:15:04Z we are 5 today!

22.02.2009 - first tweet of @londonart

26.06.2009 - first post on london-art.net

11.01.2010 - launched facebook page

07.03.2010 - first post on weibo

08.11.2011 - launched google+ page

19.12.2011 - 10000th follower on twitter

01.05.2012 - first post on pinterest

02.03.2013 - 20000th follower on twitter

12.01.2014 - first post on instagram

22.02.2014 - approaching 30000 followers, with 27200+ on twitter & 2500+ followers on the other social networks 

Today we celebrate our 5th anniversary - thank you for all your support over the years!

The official celebration event is arranged on 01.03.2014. We would be gathering in a selected brunch venue to charge ourselves up before heading over to the Breese Little gallery, the Arcade gallery & the Victoria Miro gallery for a tour.


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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/654366 2014-02-13T22:38:26Z 2015-01-17T20:36:07Z Interview with Ibi Ibrahim
La vie m'est insupportable lll (2013)

Ibi Ibrahim is an artist from Yemen who would be represented by the JAMM gallery from Dubai in the upcoming ART14 fair. The gallery would be showing Ibrahim's photographs from the past four years, highlighting the artist's affiliation to monochromatic compositions and featuring self-portraits alongside portrayals of young women and men, which contest a traditional Muslim space. Here's an interview with the artist -

Q1: Your photographic works would be represented in the upcoming ART14 in London. Could you tell us a little about how you discovered your interest in photography and when you decided to become an artist for this pursuit?

A: I have been interested in photography from a very young age. I have memories of escaping to our basement to look at black and white portraits. Photographs of my parents when they lived in Europe, the way they dressed and the places they went to. The portraits showed much happiness in the life they once lived. I began taking photographs at 22 and showed in a group exhibition in Yemen in 2009, my family pressured and harassed me to quit art. To them, it was considered shameful to become a photographer so I left and moved to New York. I wanted to show the struggles I and my generation encounter growing up in Muslim conservative societies and spent the next three years working on black and white photographs that aimed to touch on youth, individuality, sexuality and other sensitive topics often considered taboos in the Middle East. During ART14, and thanks to my gallery JAMM Art gallery, I will have the opportunity to display some of those pieces along with my recent self-portrait work. 

Untitled, Black Tears Series (2012)

Q2: To many people not from the region, Islamic culture does not encourage the exploration of human bodies beyond the boundaries defined by traditions. Your works are very different from some of these common beliefs. How do you see your artistic practice within the broader Islamic culture?

A: I am passionate about black and white films, in particular Arabic films from the 40s and 50s. I also enjoy Arabic colored films from 60s and 70s. In those films, you see everything. Nothing is considered taboo, nothing is to be censored. Something changed about the Arab/Muslim world. You can sense that in the cinema. Those films that were once playing in cinemas and TV stations across the Arab world are now censored. Many scenes are cut out because they're considered sinful. How can it be sinful so suddenly? The society is gradually becoming more and more conservative. If I were to produce my work in the 70s, it would have not caused such controversy like it does now – because the society would be more liberal, more cultured and more respectful of the freedom of speech, and the freedom of art. Today, I am receiving death threats on social media because of the work I am producing. It is quite depressing to see how my country and society, a society once known to be the treasure of the world when it came to art, medicine, and religions has turned. However, those threats can't stop me from doing my work - if I don't remind the Yemeni society of what we once were, then who would? 

 Yemeni Orgasm, Trypitch (2012)

Q3: You have grown up in several different countries in the Middle East. Could you share with us a few moments in life in some of these places which becomes your artistic inspirations?

A: I am more inspired by the travels I've done on my own rather than when I was living with my family. I would like to say that I was encouraged by my parents to explore art at a young age, but the reality is I wasn't. I have the Yemeni government to blame for that. After all, there are no museums or galleries in my country. If I were to show my work in Yemen, it would be done through a foreign entity such as the French, Spanish or German embassy and due to the security situation in Yemen, even those embassies began hosting less and less art events. I try not to focus on all those negative aspects, and traveling has been quite therapeutic. I am happiest when I am in Europe visiting galleries and museums. I very much dislike censorship in particular when it comes to art. In the Middle East, and as you know it is not easy to show "provocative art". It often brings me down that I can't show most of my work in the Middle East, but it is a path I choose and I don't regret it. I am happy to have a gallery that's given me the opportunity to show my work in London. This is my first time showing work in London and I am beyond excited. I hope it inspires Yemeni artists to be more courageous and daring in their work – we are in desperate need for that. 

Girl Moment, Sitara series (2012)

Q4: With the rising wealth in the Middle East, events such as Art Dubai and Sharjah Biennale are attracting worldwide attention and coverage. Do you think these events help in bringing authentic Islamic and Middle Eastern art to buyers and the general public? Apart from these commercial events, how is the general art development in the region over the last decade or so?

A: I don't think I am eligible to answer this question; after all I am not from the gulf. I sometimes envy artists from the gulf countries because they have so many resources and 
finding available. The gulf is going through a huge art thrive, and artists in all media are so much encouraged by the government to move forward and enhance their work. In Yemen, the case is different. The ministry of culture is full of corruption, and I stand with my words. Opportunities are only given to established artists who hold personal relationships with the ministry. The national museum, a governmental entity that holds historical and ancient art with over 100 years old of value is running without an archive system or electricity. It's painful that those neighboring countries enjoy this art thrive while here in Yemen the struggle continues, and it gets only worse. But then again, one cannot focus on the negative side. I am a 2.5 hour trip from Doha where I can visit MATHAF museum to see the biggest exhibition ever held for Mona Hatoum in the region. I am also 2.5 hour trip from Dubai where I can visit some of my favorite galleries and enjoy the work of great contemporary artists. I accept the reality of being in Yemen but that doesn't mean I will stay in the dark and not keep up with my surroundings. 

 Jalsat Banat, Sitara series (2013)

Q5: We know you have made a film called Sounds of Oud and it was screened in public earlier this year in New York. Could you tell us a little about it? What does its name mean? What made you consider making the film and would it be shown in London?

A: 'Oud' is a Middle Eastern musical instrument. The name of the film refers to the sound of that instrument; something you often hear when you listen to old Arabic music or belly dancing music. The film discusses issues barely spoken about in the Middle East. It's about a love triangle between an Arab couple and a friend – Do you follow your devotion or your desires? I don't want to give much away about the film, but watching the trailer should give the viewer a little idea. I obviously enjoy discussing sensitive topics in my work, and I think it's because I find no one else in my country is doing so. If no one does it, then it's my obligation to do so. It's quite challenging because I dream to create all this imaginary and fictional art work and escape reality but I find myself obligated to create art work that comments on the status of the Yemeni society today. It's something that can't be postponed – this is the time to get your message across, before people forget the recently occurred Yemeni revolution where young men and women gave their life away so the society can live with full freedom and full rights. My friend Sara Ishaq's film is nominated for an Oscar. This is the first time Yemen's name is part of such a huge event. I feel excited and inspired. If our government won't give us the opportunity we deserve, we will do it ourselves. 

The film will be screening in London this year. I will announce the dates on Facebook once confirmed.


*****
All photos by Ibi Ibrahim
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/646236 2014-01-26T17:39:12Z 2016-11-22T09:57:31Z the future of photography as art
Photo 50 in London Art Fair 2014
15-19.01.2014

With smartphones everywhere and instagram (we have started ours this year, by the way) becoming the de facto photo-app in every smart phone, every one is his/her own photographer telling famly, friends and strangers around the world what they want to share through the tiny micro-lenses on their phones.

Some people would wonder what would be the future of photography - would people really treat it as an art form? Or simply an aspect of everyday life no different than food and transport because it has become 'superficial'? Our visit to the London Art Fair last week provided some insight.

As usual, there is a section of the fair dedicated to photography called 'Photo 50'. This year, it is curated by Charlie Fellowes and Jeremy Epstein, Directors of Edel Assanti. With the title ‘Immaterial Matter’, the artists they have selected are linked by their use of a variety of photographic images to examine the increasingly indiscernible distinction between the digital and the material. Below we look at three of the selected artists -

Andrew Norman Wilson's works reveal the intensive, reptitive human labour behind Google's endeavour to digitize printed books. The series document errors in the conversion process, when accidental distortions of scanned images or the presences of employee's hands. It is precisely the existence of these errors showing human remains the force behind these efforts.


Nicholai Howalt applies a step on astronomical images made available to the public by NASA, making them from colour to grayscale. The process to create these images, is on the contrary to the Google book-scanning, highly automated under the sophisticated technology employed by NASA. Striping part of their attributes away, is regarded as an act of artistic creation.


Aram Bartholl's 'Greetings From the Internet' explores the crucial accucracy of WiFi codes vs the classic notion of human error. Displayed on a postcard stand, each post-it appears unique, despite the reginmented accuracy required by the Internet. It highlights the importance of physical actions in the digital world - without asking for the WiFi Code and receiving it from the other person, one would not be able to connect online and would remain shut off from the prospect of communication to others outside the immediate proximity.


It is worth noting that in many of the works selected, photography is no longer the ultimate medium of the artist creation, but an intermediate source which forms the final piece. In some cases, the photographs used in the works are not actually taken by the artists themselves. In a way, this could be what distinguishes photographic art from daily snapshots taken by all instagram users - that these works are created by artists, not photographers. True to many other art forms, people would probably judge an art piece based on the message it brings out, rather than the format, the fame of the creator or the medium it is on.

Full album set here

More on London Art Fair 2014 in future post.

*****

Further Readings:
Page - Joe Hamilton in London Art Fair’s Photo50 Project by Nicholas Forrest for Blouin Art Info; 16.01.2014
Page - Photo50: "Most of the artists did not actually use a camera." by Tim Clark for a-n; 13.01.2014
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/640166 2014-01-12T11:56:00Z 2014-01-14T00:56:54Z see the world and the universe

If you are staying in town after the holiday season, and tired with all the parties, food and travel/commute, you would be glad to know that the world is coming to you here in London.

Sculpture by Yutaka Sone
David Zwirner Gallery
27.11.2013-25.01.2014

David Zwirner has brought three furniture size marble urban islands created by japanese artist Yutaka Sone to Mayfair.

Little Manhattan (2007–2009) - video link

Venezia (2013) - video link

Yutaka crafted these pieces from white marble, but their base treatment are not all identical. Little Manhattan and Venezia are resembling some sort of classical western sculpture base, which is smooth and round-ish. When looked from afar, they seems to be islands bursting out of the sea bed, only there isn't any water in reality inside the gallery. It would actually be quite interesting to imagine what they may be like being put inside an aquarium tank big enough to accommodate real marine life which would haunt the miniature cities in their "larger-than-life" size.


Hong Kong Island (Chinese) (1998) - video link

The Hong Kong Island piece, on the contrary, has a narrower base than the part that is "above water". Together with the shape of the island itself, it makes the piece looks very organic and from certain angles more like a treated specimen in a zoo lab or science museum. It is unclear whether the artist deliberately applies different artistic directions to distinguish the Asian city with the Western cities.


It is worth noting the official exhibition page on David Zwirner's website states that Yutaka has relied more on technology and internet than physical visits over the production period of these 3 works - "While each sculpture has developed gradually over several years, the technology used has changed significantly. For Hong Kong Island (Chinese), the artist relied on maps, aerial photographs, and frequent trips to the island. To create Little Manhattan, he added helicopter rides and an early version of Google Earth. For Venezia, completed earlier this year, Sone made almost exclusive use of the internet application and undertook only a handful of site visits."


full photo set here

*****

Place: St Petersburg by Valery Valran
Erarta Gallery
21.11.2013-14.01.2014


One street away from David Zwirner, Erarta gallery which specialises in Russian art, is holding a show exhibiting paintings by Valery Valran. There are townscape paintings as well as still life portraits in the gallery.

The intimate details in Valery's urban paintings could rival that in Yutaka's island models. And there is a sense of serenity in his paintings because they look like art students practising with colour pencils to me. Of course Valery's drawing skills are no ordinary art students: just look at the shadows of his still life works in the album below. Although simple, his works could reveal the life of Russians in the USSR era - only basics like water (or vodka?) and eggs are present on the dining table. Everything is reduced to the bare necessity.

full photo set here


There are also 3 paintings on display in the gallery by Rinat Minnebaev, depicting Beijing, New York and Paris. While it is not a free-standing sculpture like Sone's, Rinat's versions of a relief map has a melancholic touch. Sone's use of white marble has a glowing effect on the cities the artist chooses to depict. While Rinat's use of gloomy earthy medium and texture, together with the choice of putting his works in a rectangular picture format, frames the cities in a reminiscent manner.

Rinat has made an interesting touch on the Beijing map - the Tiananmen Square is painted red.


*****

Yes or Let's Say No by David Ostrowski
Simon Lee Gallery
28.11.2013-31.01.2014


Last, if you are bored with the material world, David Ostrowski's show in Simon Lee would lead you to a spiritual tour of the universe on the same street as Erarta. 

Walking through the gallery exploring the various canvases which are seemingly abstract and empty feels like navigating in the universe - there are little surprises in each canvas for discovery but only when you are examining them closely you would be able to appreciate them in their full effect.

In one of the paintings David has left a foot mark - some kind of humour to an artist's signature I suppose.

full photo set here

*****
Further Readings -

Page: White City: Manhattan in a Marble Dress by Rachel Wolff on NYMag.com, 25.09.2011
Video: Yutaka Sone: Island at David Zwirner Gallery New York by Vernissage TV, 23.09.2011
Page: Valery Valran’s Mysterious St. Petersburg at Erarta Gallery London by Ellen Von Wiegand on theculturetrip.com
Interview: David Ostrowski: Yes or Let's Say No on hungertv.com, 02.12.2013

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/624417 2013-11-29T08:48:00Z 2013-12-01T23:14:31Z 2 forms of art in 2 new locations
The london art scene is always in transition. Galleries move around all the time, with new comers gathering in crowd where the affordable rent or new vibe is. Victoria Miro, the gallery which opens its Angel space in 2006 has recently returned to Mayfair, springing up a new venue with a Yayoi Kusama show in time for Frieze Art Fair. On the otherside of the river Hannah Barry is opening a new space right next to the Peckham Rye station, with performance by Tom Barnett for his solo show.

White Infinity Nets by Yayoi Kusama
Victoria Miro Mayfair
18.10-16.11.2013

The first Infinity Nets Kusama produced in the 1950s and 60s were white although she subsequently also made coloured net paintings.  In her autobiography, which is published in paperback by Tate Publishing this September, Kusama describes her first exhibition:

"I debuted in New York with just five works - monochromatic and simple, yet complex, subconscious accumulations of microcosmic lights, in which the spatial universe unfolds as far as the eye can see. Yet at first glance the canvases, which were up to 14ft in length, looked like nothing at all - just plain white surfaces". 

The paintings immediately gained critical recognition and were instrumental in making the artist's name in New York in the 1960s.
When we entered the gallery, 5 paintings were in front of us in the first room. In the corridor leading to the second room, there were 2 other paintings. In the second room, there was an installation together with the paintings. It is a nice surprise when you were expecting to see paintings in the show but found something 3D shows up.
To a certain extent, Kusama's white dots paintings are like a perfect symbiosis of oriental minimalism and western impressionism. While the full canvas is painted with numerous strokes, it remains almost a single entity when viewed as a whole. And when examined in close-up, these strokes come alive with their individuality and interactions with adjacent neighbours. The dynamics of the inter-connected strokes take your eyes through the motion across the whole canvas, and you are free to decide which stream of strokes to follow and explore the infinity landscape.
The white net covering the household installation in the second room has a similar effect or, at least the artist's intention, could be attempting to do so. It works partly, but there is an inevitable comparison to another contemporary here - Martin Margiela. One cannot imagine this gallery is not actually a pop-up store of Maison Martin Margiela, which usually features white on white design palette. And Martin Margiela's signature white paint over commodities instantly jumped into mind when we saw this installation in the second room. This unfortunate association has made Kusama's transformation of white infinity nets from 2D to 3D a little less sucessful compared to Julien Opie's facial illustrations.

Full photo set here

*****

Hannah Barry Gallery
20.11-20.12.2013

Tom Barnett's exhibition is a completely different experience from Yayoi Kusama's. It is more performance-based. In three acts he brings together his works in the worlds of sculpture, painting, live performance, music, choreography, installation and film.
The gallery perhaps was a little under prepared for the crowd showing up for the performance. Staff were asking people to step back to clear the space for the performance to take place, and it has taken well over 15 minutes for the audience to react and re-position themselves around various installation inside the gallery.
After a bold shot of arrow from a bow to the wall on the projector screen, the performance began. Tom brought along a person wearing an astronaut outfit from the back of the crowd to the front, carrying out several acts involving soil-ploughing, word-painting on the wall, playing drum and piano, singing and reciting text. A footballer and a group of boxers-alike were also present, and performed some impressive football tricks and impromptu sandbag punching.
There were quite a few photographers, possibly commissioned by the gallery or the artist's group, taking pictures throughout the show. Perhaps they were also part of the performance group (unlikely). The projector also showed several clips from Youtube during the performance, but it is unclear whether those clips were from the artist or else. The whole performance evoked an autobiographical sense, with the astronaut seemingly exploring the artist's topics of interests. It maybe unfair to say that the whole performance felt like a physical representation of one's facebook wall, as that is what everybody does in reality on facebook. But it did look like a collage of personal experiences. 

Overall the performance is an ambitious attempt for both the artist and the gallery to kick off a new venue in a way as such. The atmosphere was good and there were many interesting moments. Time would tell what Tom Barnett brings to the audience in the subsequent acts in this show, and his future career.

Full photo set here
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/618105 2013-11-12T00:55:21Z 2015-02-04T15:18:42Z woven art in a red brick building
Tomorrow There is no Recording by Nick Relph
20.09-10.11.2013
Chisenhale Gallery

Chisenhale Gallery - more photos of the historic building here

London-born, New York-based Nick Relph has his solo show in Chisenhale Gallery recently. The gallery is situated between Mile End Park and Victoria Park along the canal, and the building used to be a Veneer Factory during WWII. There is a red external staircase along Chisenhale Road, making it looks a little like a remote relative of the Pompidou Centre.

The works he showed are photographic or woven in nature this time, different from his early video works. The photographic works look a little random even after reading through the introduction provided by the gallery.

The woven pieces, on the contrary, are intriguing. Nick used a four-harness floor loom and synthetics such as monofilament and Lycra alongside silk and cotton; and created minimal weaves, mounted onto stretchers. The irregularities in the woven process reflect themselves in the outcome, and he said they are the manifestation of the process of these woven works. And the way he put two different materials in some pieces form a juxtaposition almost utilitarian in traditional handicraft.

Full photo set of the show here

*****

Further Reading -

Review: by Ben Luke on London Evening Standard, 30.09.2013


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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/609733 2013-10-18T19:00:00Z 2013-10-20T00:46:35Z a dark film and two wrapped structures - Frieze week 2013

We continue to explore the amazing works in town during frieze week.

Erebus
15-20.10.2013
Londonewcastle Project Space

Working in collaboration with renowned choreographer Russell Maliphant in response to his full-length work of contemporary dance “The Rodin Project”, Du Preez & Thornton Jones have created a new body of work entitled Erebus.

In the gallery, there are photographic works related to the 13-minute film on display, as well as the film itself being looped in the screening room. One can immediately pick up all the following pop culture references in the film - matrix-style slo-mo moves, batman-style soundtrack, classical greek goddesses and dark masculine Rodin figures.
If you are not in London, you could watch it here thanks to Simona Harrison, the colourist for the film who has put it on vimeo.

*****

Oliver Michaels
11.10-09.11.2013
Cole Gallery

Oliver Michaels is showing a series of photographic works as well as 2 installations in Cole's space. The two installations are collaborations with fabric designer Kim Coiffier and baker Lily Vanilli respectively.

The idea of bright yellow sugar icing on a maintenance-platform-looking structure is very memorable. The artist applies a similar idea of wrapping to also the less striking orthogonal structure covered with different patterned fabric.


*****

Further Readings -
Page: official page for Erebus
Page: official page for Oliver Michaels' show in Cole
Page: official page for Oliver Michaels

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/609076 2013-10-14T22:00:00Z 2013-10-15T02:17:39Z Photography Monday - Frieze week 2013

Last weekend we sampled the Strarta Art Fair in Saatchi Gallery and the Moving Museum in 180 Strand, which are both unexpected in their venues. Who would have expected Saatchi Gallery to host an art fair rather than showing its own collection the week before the prime Frieze period? In case you missed it, we have shared the highlights on our facebook page here. As for the Moving Museum, it successfully highjacks the abandoned office space in West End and turns it into an urban zoo of art lovers. Visit it in person before it closes in 13.12.2013, or view our coverage online here.

Starting the week we decided to focus in Photogrpahy and visited two fascinating shows which symbolises contemporary photography.

Central Nervous System by Wolfgang Tillmans
14.10-24.11.2013
Maureen Paley London

Tillmans' latest show is "both a departure from his recent project Neue Welt as well as an extension of that vision" according to Maureen Paley's press release. In the two floors of the gallery, we see the 'single subject' of portraiture being displayed in various ways, full body or parts.

Tillmans is famous for creating miniature models of his exhibition space and studies how to display his works within it. In this show, he justaposes pieces of extreme body close-ups with photos of half-body or full-body portraits. And with his expertise in advance printing technology, the level of details in each piece is fascinatingly, or scarily, high. 

In viewing a piece of art, the audience usually would step back and forth to obtain different levels of details of the whole piece. However, with Tillmans' extreme close-up large prints, you do not really need to get closer any more because the subject has already been magnified for you. This convenience is brought to all of us by technology. To a certain extent, such convenience from technology is becoming more and more integral and indispensible in the daily life. It is a phenomenon Tillmans presented to us in his show, be it intentional or sub-conscious. And the philosophical meaning of this is probably more intriguing than all the "subjects" of his works people conceive on the prints.

*****

Bracket (London) by Liz Deschenes
4.10-14.12.2013
Campoli Presti London

A block away we found another exhibition opened also in this evening. New York artist Liz Deschenes' show, "Bracket (London)",  Time Out London describes her works as 'Photography is pushed far into abstraction, creating hazy, stark, minimal pieces that are hung in unusual positions, creating a photography-based environment.'

The monochromatic black-and-white space is a perfect backdrop for Liz's works. These works on metal sheets are inspired by the english and french photography pioneers Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot. The way the works are mounted on the wall, together with the monochormatic palette of the interiors has given the whole environment a sterile laboratory feel. And the natural landscapes captured on the surfaces of the metal sheets look so surreal as if they actually grow organically from the metal sheet they are on - like developing a series of oversize Polariods in a top secret facility. This forced combination of nature and man-made are exemplified in Liz's works yet captured and reduced to the very essence of it perfectly.

*****

Further Readings -
Page: Official page for Liz Deschenes' show on Campoli Presti's website
Page: Official page for Wolfgang Tillmans' show on Maureen Paley's website
Video: 2012 Whitney Biennial artist Liz Deschenes discusses her work with photograms, a type of photographic image made without a camera; 2012, Whitney Museum of American Art
Interview: Wolfgang Tillmans' Wandering Eye; Sept 2013, Dazed Digital

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/607782 2013-10-11T09:11:00Z 2013-10-14T23:37:36Z Frieze Art Week 2013

It's the time of the year in London when everybody suddenly talks about art. Yes, it's Frieze week (or weeks) coming up. Following our tradition, we have handpicked our favourites from the endless offers in town so you don't have to be frustrated scanning through the listings.

Our top 10 of the week are as follows (in no particular order!) -

1. Catch L’Expédition Scintillante, Act 2 (light show) by Pierre Huyghe in Raven Row's current show “Reflections from Damaged Life” - A great retrospective show spanning decades of works, make sure you stay in the gallery until you see this performance, it runs every half hour.

2. "Tomorrow" by Elmgreen & Dragset in V&A - The Norwegian duo's greatest site specific commission yet in Britain inside the V&A museum's former Textile Galleries.

3. "Beyond the Black" by Idris Khan int Victoria Miro - an important departure from Khan's photographic based works, this show comprises a suite of large black paintings, a monumental site specific wall drawing and a series of works on paper.

4. Tatsuo Miyajima's "I-Model" in Lisson Gallery - the Japanese artist is famous for his zen minimal pieces incoporating LED digit displays. There is a clay chamber room for meditation in the show, only one person to enter at time.

5. Wolfgang Tillmans' solo show Central Nervous System in Maureen Paley - once again Tillmans returns to Frieze week and we couldn't wait to see his latest creations.

6. "A series from Within" by Larissa Nowicki in Man & Eve - intriguing pieces formed from the printed pages of books, sliced and intricately woven to form new works that cannot be read in the traditional sense

7. "Sandra Blow Paintings & Prints" in Kings Place - Sandra Blow is a pioneer of the British post-war abstract movement. Seeing her works in the multi-storey atrium in Kings Place is a joyful experience

8. "Erebus" (film) by Du Preez & Thornton Jones in Londonewcastle Project Space - Du Preez & Thornton Jones have created a new body of work in collaboration with choreographer Russell Maliphant, inspired in part by the work of Auguste Rodin

9. "The Seymour & Milton Posters Show" in Kemistry Gallery - a great retrospective show about one of the most influential designer duos in the 20th century who signature push-pin style has become iconic.

10. Frieze Sculpture Park in Regent's Park - this year's sculpture park is the largest in the history of Frieze, and it's free so how can you miss it?

And apart from the Original Frieze and Frieze Masters, you have the choice of numerous satellite fairs around town. Here are a few we believe most of our followers could find something they like and go have a look -

Sunday & Touch Art Fair in Marylebone
Sluice in Bermondsey
The Other Art Fair in Brick Lane
Multiplied at Christie's
Moniker in Brick Lane

Visit our facebook page over the week to see what we have found in town apart from the above. Enjoy the best London offers in the Autumn!

*****

Further Readings -

Page - Top 10 Photograph Exhibitions in town on TimeOut London
Page - Top 10 Art Exhibitions in town on TimeOut London
Interview - of the Director of Sluice Art Fair Ben Street by Tabius Khan for Londonist
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/604024 2013-09-24T15:28:43Z 2013-10-08T17:30:32Z Interview with Dimitri Launder - co-founder of Arbonauts

Cast & Team of Biped's Monitor at the Nunhead Cemetery

We went to see the performance Biped's Monitor 2013 by Arbonauts last month, a unique site-based theatrical experience merging highly-visual, surreal environments with an ethereal operatic score. The audience are invited to wander in the Nunhead Cemetery, and performers and installations are scattered around the venue.

It was an enjoyable evening and offer a freer experience than the traditional theatre performances, though the show depends heavily on the weather in an open venue, and fortunately most of the time it wasn't raining. Without much prior knowledge to The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino, it is a little difficult to comprehend the whole story line. However for a contemporary production, one could argue sometimes it is left for the audience's imagination.

In an environment which allows the audience to freely roam, it is always a challenge to the producer of the show to choreograph scenes which could direct the audience in sequence of thoughts, and the same for the performers to interact with the audience to deliver the message in the manner they wish.

The following is an interview with Dimitri Launder, co-founder of Arbonauts, to share with us a few thoughts for the show and beyond.

Q1: What are the motivations for you & Helen to found Arbonauts? What does the name mean? 

DL: Helen and I created Arbonauts out of a mutual passion for creating live performance and installation. We are inspired by site and text - language and location ~ the initial spark for a performance often starts in reading a surreal text and then as velocity builds around a specific idea we look for a  suitable location. The name Arbonauts came about in a similar way, we enjoy its relationship to cultural explorers, sailors in a surreal sea.



Q2: How did Biped's Monitor start? (or whose idea was that?) And why the Nunhead Cemetery was picked as the performance venue?

DL: Biped's Monitor began by reading Italo Calvino's 'Il Barone Rampante'  - we both fell in love with the structure of the text: the tension between society and nature. Taking inspiration from Calvino's text Helen realized that the title of the Baron's Diary/Manifesto of Arboria 'Biped's Monitor' would be the perfect title for our performance. We wanted to form our abstracted characters from the perspective of the Baron, his surreal narrative memories of his family and lovers. We were drawn towards the romance of the location ~ the stunning Nunhead Cemetery that was left disused for several decades allowing nature to establish itself in the middle of our urban sprawl. Additionally the collaborative space between physical theatre, installation, opera and dance are essential to the transformative process we hope to raise in our audience. 


Q3: How long did it take to produce the show (from concept to realisation)? Could you share with us what are the main challenges in this production?
DL: We spent over 6 months independently negotiating the permissions to use one of London's Magnificent Seven Cemeteries at dusk. Rehearsals with our amazingly committed core cast of 11 began 2 months before. With the additional 20+ cast and crew, including our choir drawn from the local community, we began work a few weeks in advance of being live on site. Helen and I also work closely with composers Louise Drewett and Alex Nikipoenko and soloist Daisy Chute to create specially commissioned works such as Aria Arboria based on a text by William Blake 'Love and Harmony'. We are so grateful to the Mayors Fund for believing in us ~ without their support we would not have been able create this event.



Q4: What is the most memorable moment in the show to you?
DL:  One night as the performance concluded and the cast revealed their skeletal beaks, Daisy Chute's mezzo soprano voice rose into the darkening sky (the disused chapel has no roof) and a light summer rain started. Sublime... That and selling out all our available tickets the weekend before we went live!

video link

Q5: The show was pretty much free from digital components despite the interactive nature with the audience. Is that a deliberate decision or just unnecessary? Would you consider in future to use digital components for similar performances?
DL: We aimed to make this piece with as light a footprint as possible, for instance we took advice on sustainable practice from Julie's Bicycle. We felt that there are threads in the narrative that we wanted to explore with the audience like dwelling in and with natural phenomena and physical experiences/memories. We have no issues with using technology in the future... without giving too much away we are developing a new piece called The Desire Machine.



Q6: Any plans for re-run? And what would be next for Arbonauts?
DL: We are looking for new opportunities at the moment for Biped's Monitor -  new sites / commission are on the horizon. Over the next year we are keen to develop a new project The Desire Machine - a darker and more visceral performance exploring voyeurism, illusion and desire. We are hoping to R&D it this winter - please do check out our website www.arbonauts.org or follow us on twitter @ARBONAUTS for any developments on the piece. Additionally, for 2014 we are hoping to work alongside both The National Trust and The William Blake Society on new, outdoor performances.We are always keen to hear from potential partners and producers, or people with unique and exciting spaces.

*****

Further Readings -

Page: Official page for Biped's Monitor 2013
Page: Surreal World by Emma de Angelis, 25.08.2013
Review: by Hannah Elsy for A Younger Theatre, 29.08.2013
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/596631 2013-08-23T00:34:52Z 2013-10-08T17:28:54Z Interview with Laura Facey
by Vanessa Champion



Q1: You were born in Jamaica and you are obviously inspired by your heritage. You are also known for exploring issues surrounding suffering, recovery as well as the natural environment. For you, what makes Jamaica and where you live, such an important part of your ‘voice’?

LF: The consequences of colonialism and the draconian brutality of slavery will play out for centuries to come.  The work of artists, such as myself, is pivotal in creating a dialog that commences a process of healing the psychological trauma that we have  inherited.


Laura Facey with Radiant Comb

Q2: “Redemption Song” is a stunning monument - the figures seem to ‘weigh heavy’ and like two mythological figures, they rise ‘proud’ out of the water. Can you tell us a little about the background and inspiration to this piece?  

LF:  For a society to not only endure but survive the horrors of slavery requires supreme inner strength and psychic fortitude.  I wanted my figures to not only portray the quality of endurance that is part of our culture, but more importantly a pride in the conquering of adversity.   The placement of the figures in water symbolises a psychic cleansing and emergence into a new era.


Redemption Song

Q3: What is your biggest challenge as an artist?

LF: Creating a space within which I can develop a subliminal connection with the forces that surround me.  Maintaining a studio, within the context of a working farm, is a constant challenge, there are many demands that pull my attention away from the thread of knowledge that runs into and through every work that I create.


THEIR SPIRITS GONE BEFORE THEM

Q4: Can you tell us a bit more about ROKTOWA and why you are involved? 

LF: ROKTOWA’s genesis began when Melinda Brown moved her studio from downtown Manhattan to downtown Kingston in 2005.  For decades people had talked about the need to place artists downtown, then out of nowhere, this Australian artist appeared and became embedded in the downtown community. From her experiences and observations of the dire economic conditions experienced by downtown residents, the concept for ROKTOWA emerged.  ROKTOWA is predicated around an Artists Residency program that allows both foreign and local artists to engage with the downtown community; by placing artists with tradesmen we have been able to create export quality products. ROKTOWA’s Mission is to: Plant Artists to Create Growth. We create both Fine and Applied Art, by expanding the visual and design vocabulary of the skilled workers downtown.

Laura Facey at the MAD museum, New York - video link

Q5: You are having a solo exhibition in the UK, “Radiant Earth” at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts. Did you choose this title? Why in particular? What will be the nature and feeling of the work on show?

LF: Yes, RADIANT EARTH, is my first solo show in the UK, it’s a retrospective of the last decade of my work and shows my departure from a more literal and figurative style to the metaphors that have appeared to me and emerged in such forms as liquid needles, hovering plumb bobs and yes, combs.  My last show was titled Radiant Combs and I was lucky enough to have a Trinidadian filmmaker, Mariel Brown, approach me to film the sculptures, the footage recorded was compiled under the working title “Radiant Earth”.  The farm where I live is truly Radiant and each day I am compelled to translate and reflect that radiance.

Radiant Combs 2012 - video link

6. What do you hope to achieve with this solo retrospective?

LF: I am excited about the possibility of commencing a dialogue with the Art World in the UK.  Jamaica has allowed me the freedom to explore and create my own
language.  However, given our small population, we do not have Gallery Directors or a commercial gallery system.  I am looking forwards to cementing a relationship
with a Gallery and in the process connect with Artists and Dealers with whom I can engage and commence an on going relationship.
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/595835 2013-08-19T11:34:36Z 2013-10-08T17:28:44Z hackney wicked art festival 2013

This year's festival has finished just last weekend and we are thrilled to see so many people turn up and all the activities around.

Bar at the Glass Factory by the Yard

the Cabin Gallery pop-up in Vittoria Wharf Studios

Yörük at Foreman's Yard

Music at the Yard

The crowd at Stour Space

View of the Yard and around from the Overground Station

Group Show in Elevator Gallery

A walking Octopus in the crowd

Check out our facebook page album for highlights of the open studios & else.
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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/594846 2013-08-14T00:25:25Z 2013-10-08T17:28:32Z 20 creations of red

by Vanessa Champion

Red Never Follows

Saatchi Gallery

31.07-01.09.2013

Blood red light seeps across the ash white canvas that is the second floor of the Saatchi Gallery; on entering the exhibition space you are immediately transported to somewhere that feels at once safe and dangerous, the warmth of the colour is almost womb-like and yet the movement on the walls around you disturbs the equilibrium. There’s a symphony of technology, design and conceptualisation that is playing out around you, and you are aware that innovation and creativity are at the root of each installation.

20 years ago in 1993, Hugo Boss was launched, and this exhibition is a collaboration by the brand with 20 urban creatives. I spoke to Christoph Frank of Platoon, the curators based in Germany, who said that in selecting the work and the creators, the importance was “innovation and creativity.” They actively sought those who were taking a “different approach which is in keeping with the ideology of Hugo Boss.” This originality of imagination truly resonates loud and clear through the exhibition. Also it is clear that there is an inventive resourcefulness of those from different disciplines. Again, like Hugo Boss is wont to do, pushing boundaries of expectation and preconception, the art on show here might not necessarily fall into the usual “fine art” disciplines. We don’t recognise the traditional arts of painting, photography, drawing, no we have visuals and installations by designers, film directors, engineers, architects from all over the world, from Germany to Japan, Portugal to LA and that I think makes the richness of the collection unique and pioneering.

This leads to the question, what makes art ‘art’? Not that long ago, photography was criticised for being an almost mechanistic form of representation, not real “art” and then in walks Ansell Adams who one could argue, might blow away even the most cynical sceptic as he used knowledge, analysis and technology to achieve and manifest his own artistic and creative aims. So too, we have here in this exhibition, individuals who “know” what their respective technology can do and are adopting it to originate representative forms. It’s a really interesting concept for a show, and one which I feel the curators have really pulled off.

Güvenç Özel & his work

Güvenç Özel now residing in LA, but originally from Turkey, an architect and artist has created a ‘cave’ of paper, constructed out of folded triangles forming pentagrams which breathe in response to the signals emitted from a headset worn by the listener. Red light bathes the interior. Güvenç told me that it is a wireless device that maps mind waves. Disturbing maybe, but incredibly thought provoking, as he said, the cave breathes in response to our mind, thus we can make manifest thought patterns and control the space around us.

Luke Taylor and Chris Barrett with their vinyls

Have you ever sat and been mesmerised by the sound “heart-beat” patterns on SoundCloud? No? I suggest you take a look, find a track and listen. That’s just what inspired US (Luke Taylor and Chris Barrett based in Kingston, London) as film directors to create a 3D stop motion of a track by hip-hop musician Wiley. A great dumb-bell like row of old vinyl each cut accurately to size to represent the beats and course of the track. They had to film it in “reverse” they told me. Creating the whole track first with the vinyl then cutting it off in reverse time. The piece here they painstakingly have recreated. I love it that the old vinyl which would have likely ended up in landfill has found a new voice in these guys’ hands.

Julian Adenauer & his work

A flat black robot seems to float effortlessly and somewhat determinedly across one expanse of wall, painting red over and over again, like some gothic medical cat’s cradle. I chatted to Julian Adenauer (one half of Sonice Development, the other half is Michael Haas) who explained the science behind the weird anomaly suctioned to the wall of the gallery. The lightweight plastic of “Big Ben” (their nickname for it) gradually will create a dense colour space as it will move for 200 hours, the longest they have run it. Different colours are used including complementary ones to make, enrich and deepen the tones.

Marco Barotti & his work

A big red plastic dome sits in the centre of the second room, it is see through and has a big circular rubber slit you step through (somewhat ungainly in my case with heeled boots and camera slung over my shoulder) and you clip a little black devise to your ear-lobe. You relax and then the technology which is strapped into the big red dome above you, interprets your heartbeat to create vibrations and sounds around you. It’s weird, after stepping through the ‘slit’ it feels as though you have entered into yourself (no, I’ve not taken anything, ed.). “It’s all about human interaction” said Marco Barotti, of ‘Plastique Fantastique’. He’s Italian living in Berlin. I really enjoyed talking with him, his ideas and vision you can almost feel bouncing off of him. He is fascinated by music and architecture, and it is no wonder as he studied percussion at the Siena Jazz Foundation also. He is interested in different forms of architecture and how you can bring human interplay to change and create the space.

Other installations worthy of note were the wall of videos, Armin Keplinger 1:1000 where what looks like a piece of internal flesh is suspended, spikes poke out slowly and then morph into vertical droplets which slip and gloop audibly down the screen. Bart Hess ‘Mutants’ video was mesmerising as a man trapped inside a rubber suit, pushes and stretches his shiny prison which reflects fluorescent lights that cloak him with a dismembered exo-skeleton.

Eliza Strozyk & her work

Not many women featured, in fact one in her own right, Eliza Strozyk from Germany, triangular wood pieces on fabric, which creates a structural blanket of crimson and red fading to almost peach and natural wood.

Jun Fujiwara's work

The exhibition is clearly a celebration of the Hugo Boss brand, the famous ‘red’ sailing through the whole concept, you can’t help but feel, it is an amazing positive idea for creatives to express themselves on an international platform here at the Saatchi Gallery that is renowned for exploring and freeing the wings of the new and original, and after all isn’t that what design, art and creativity is all about? Collaboration and expression? The arts need patronage and I’m all for wherever that spark comes from. It’s opened up a whole new box of ideas for me, and I’m looking forward to exploring these artists’ works some more.

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/590344 2013-07-23T22:37:32Z 2013-10-08T17:27:38Z Interview with Davide Mengoli, co-founder of FloatArt London

Davide Mengoli (left) with co-founder of FloatArt Anand Saggar

The co-founder of FloatArt, Davide Mengoli has agreed to give us an interview to talk about his new creation. As an inaugural event in this year's Thames Festival, the show would take place on a replica of a 19th Century Missisippi paddleboat steamer, Dixie Queen, owned by Thames Luxury Charters. Davide is also the founder of GX Gallery.

Q1: When did you first start to have this idea of Float Art in the city?

DM: 4 or 5 years ago, as a result of holding a yearly exhibition called flock, going round to different colleges, namely Camberwell and Chelsea and choosing artists and organising exhibitions.


Q2: What are the most challenging aspects of setting up Float Art? Any unexpected issues in particular?

DM: Climate disaster? I expect it to be a full on energy event, I don’t have too many worries.


Q3: What are the criteria of choosing the artists to be shortlisted for the showcase?

DM: Based on criteria I’ve used for the gallery. Person who has substance, longevity, importance in meeting the artist not just looking at the work. It’s really a combination of elements, a magic recipe if you like, that requires a magic ingredient that we don’t quite know what it is.
There is no specific list, more of instinctive criteria, thought processes, the work, meeting the artist and listening and getting that feel and passion.

Dixie Queen, where FloatArt would be hosted


Q4: Could you share some highlights of your involvement in art over the years?

DM: Establishing one of the most important gallery in south east London in 2000, the challenge of opening a public space in a place where no one had ventured in setting up a commercial gallery.

Taking the gallery all the way through to where it is now; discovering artist’s like Ed Gray on the journey, artists like Alice Wisden spotted in 2008, artists who have gained a lot of recognition, I don’t know of many other galleries doing the same thing, allowing artists to follow their dream.

Also having the opportunity to find art collectors, to help first time buyers, to create an appetite for any buyers who have never bought a piece of art; now I have collectors who are going to exhibitions all around the world, where 13 years ago they never thought art was in there reach - we have filled a big gap in the market.


Q5: Thames is an indispensible part of the city and yet it is mostly underused by the public except for festive times. Would you consider organising a permanent regular Float Art exhibitions or a Float Art commuter ferry to get more art on the river? For example, a mobile gallery travelling between Excel, O2 Arena, Southbank, Battersea Park could be quite exciting.

DM: I’d like to do anything with partners that really see the beauty of getting involved in creative art.

I’m happy to peruse anything that gives as many outlooks as possible to artists. Due to expensive rent,  technology etc , exhibition spaces have been reduced due to galleries closing down. I’d like to be involved in anywhere that allows artists to exhibit and if the river is one of those places than I’m more than happy to utilise it.

*****
Further Reading:

Page - Interview with Ed Gray, ambassador of FloatArt 2013

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/588851 2013-07-14T23:35:37Z 2013-10-08T17:27:19Z Artists & Product Customisation

by Vanessa Champion

Vans shoe customisation launch event, shoe customisation by artist Tin Robot (photo by Vanessa Champion)

So Friday night, Camden… something usually gives, and last night was no exception, bang opposite Camden Tube an awesome crowd rocked up into the Vans’ store to chill to some vibing grooves from the decks of a rather handsome DJ, drink champagne, mixers, wine and mingle with journalists and creatives.  The reason for this cool shindig was to launch the "VANS CUSTOM MADE + YOU" tour which is another brilliant move on the part of Vans to excite contemporary customisation of their footwear.

Not a lot of people know this, but Vans kick started shoe customisation way back in 1966, this unique project aims to celebrate and support their long standing connection with the art scene.

Art by Tin Robot, on display in the Vans Camden store at the launch event 12 July 2013 (photo by Vanessa Champion)

The tour opens in Camden, with customers cramming into the store on Saturday to get their shoes customised by the five artists, the artists then pick up their inks and creativity and head to three more stores located in key trend cities: Glasgow, Bordeaux and Paris where they will produce live art.

Artists Psykey and Kevin Grey (photo by Vanessa Champion)

I chatted to the artists Ben Bobzien, Kevin Grey, Seth Shelman and Tim Wolff. Each of them have really interesting backgrounds in graphic designs, tattoo art, graffiti and fine art, working across media and with a variety of outlets from publishing to licensed clothing. Vans have been exceptionally impressive in selecting these artists whose work exudes urban vogue will now travel along with the artist ‘French’ on to Vans’ store locations in Glasgow, Bordeaux and Paris where they will produce live art.

It’s a great concept, as the live art show combines a bespoke customisation service & exhibition plus a live in-store paint session, creating a permanent fixture on the Vans Store front.

Follow the artists on twitter @zien_art @frenchcraft @timrobot @sethcs (photo by Vanessa Champion)

artist Psykey (@sethcs) with his art and Vans’ customisation (photo by Vanessa Champion)

Artist Tim Wolff (@timrobot) by his quirky creations, which is calling out for a graphic novel! (photo by Vanessa Champion)

Ben Bobzien with his customised Vans (photo by Vanessa Champion)


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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/588080 2013-07-10T17:49:49Z 2013-10-08T17:27:11Z Manifold crosses the river to Siobhan Davies

by Suzanne Harb

‘Under the Influence’ by Manifold

04.07-11.08.2013

Siobhan Davies Studios

The Siobhan Davies Studios and 60|40 have teamed up for the fifth year running to allow the chance for artists to respond to this unique space while re-examining their own crafts. This final installment in the crafts collective’s Starting Point series sees Manifold, a group of 9 artists and designers, utilise this unique space over a 3-month residency. 

Manifold is a diverse group who set up their studio in 2010 after graduation from The Royal College of Arts. Their individual activities include sculpture, drawing, digital art, textiles and hand modeling to name a few. Although diverse in their approach they are united in their need to portray processes, to their surroundings and progressive approaches to age-old ways of making.

As I approached the façade of the Siobhan Davies Studios I walked faster in anticipation of discovering the full charm of this converted school building from the late 1800’s. I had read about it but I was eager to see for myself the finished product of the work of Davies and architect Sarah Wigglesworth and the structure that would provide inspiration for the 9 artists in question. I was met with a clean, modern interior. The stairs placed outside the building, suspended from steel cords leading you up to the main studio on the top floor. A vast magnificent space tucked into London’s skyline with its warm wooden walls and sprung floors unique ceiling. However it is not this abundant space that these objects of in inspiration inhabit, but the meandering staircase and the short corridors filled with natural light. It is an intimate way of displaying the intimate objects that that make up the first part of this residency, moving in and out of the main body of the building as we view inside the artist’s mind. It is during this primary stage that the artists have taken to approaching this residency in a unique way and have decided to display the things that have influenced them and their artistic careers. 

The displays are diverse and unique to each artist.  The displays encompass personal photo albums and patchwork quilts to works from notable artists such as Gary Hume and illustrations by Quentin Blake. They wanted to utilise the residency to facilitate a truer response and to share something very personal.

When talking to Bethan Lloyd Worthington, she stated that as a group they decided quite early on that they wanted their time here to display a process. She said ‘we simply wanted to start at the beginning’, this meant the beginnings of their careers, even though they may not have known it at the time. A look into those people or objects that have gone on to inform their work and the work that they will produce here at The Siobhan Davies Studios. 

Worthington's personal offerings

Among Lloyd Worthington’s offerings is Maisie Broadhead’s ‘Made in Britton’ (2011) is as Lloyd Worthington states ‘I think it encapsulates much of what we want to say with the show as a whole.’ A photograph of a member of Broadhead’s family, holding an earthenware jug from Bernard Leach’s course collection and surrounded by some of her own works. It is this layered meaning and influenced from a number of sources that is indicative of what Manifold is striving to convey.  Another of Bethan’s contributions is a personal photograph of her Grandfather, a lay preacher, historian and teacher. It was taken at home once owned by the family highlighting her interest in sense of place and location.

Kim's taster of what is to come

Sue Ae Kim, a member of Manifold who has worked with ceramics has, on this occasion decided to explore the use of porcelain as a mode to respond to the context of the gallery. Her display at Under the Influence comprises of postcards depicting decorative porcelain figurines by Joseph Willems from the V&A.  Ae Kim said that she had been looking a lot at the work of Willems as the detailed figurines and the use of porcelain itself would be an appropriate way to relate to the strong background of dance that the gallery is famous for. She also displays books relating to Willems influence, Meissen porcelain. Ae Kim also mentioned that she was also taking dance classes at the studios, taking this time to draw and dance, I can’t wait to see what the culmination of this processes will be later on in the year. It is this overt reference to influence, context and process (that in this case is cross cultural and cross generational) that really sums up what the group’s ethos and what they are trying to do here.

This interesting and fresh take on a residency and the portrayal of process in a highly personal manner is what makes Under the Influence so special. I loved this introduction to the group and the way in which it can lead the viewer to assess their own influences, sentimentality and achievements. The group didn’t want to simply create a site specific art work they have instead created a respective insight into the their crafts. I look forward to what Unfold (6 – 22 September) will have to offer.

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tag:london-art.net,2013:Post/587474 2013-07-07T01:08:25Z 2013-10-08T17:27:04Z Interview with Perrier-Jouet prize winner Hitomi Hosono

photo by Anja Schaffner

Q1: Congratulations on winning the Inaugural Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Prize. Could you share with us the nomination/selection process and your feeling of receiving the award?

A: I was so thrilled to learn that I had won the Perrier-Jouet prize.  Even being nominated for such a prestigious new award was an honour.  The prize is wonderful in that consists not only of a generous cash award, but also travel to both France and Design Miami, which will broaden my horizons; I have never been to either France or America.  And preparing for my first solo exhibition in such a wonderful setting as the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is a dream come true.   

Large Leaves Bowl

Q2: Your education and career spans between East & West. What made you decide to pursue your study and career in Europe?

A: I was enjoying making ceramics in Japan but I became interested in Scandinavian design. That is the first reason to come to Europe. Also, I simply wanted to try to see what life and work was like outside of Japan.

Black Camellia Box

Q3: Your works are very different in Japan & in the UK, there seems to be a shift from the abstract yet colourful style to a more figurative but minimal style. What are the creative inspirations behind them respectively?

A: I use a technique initially inspired by Josiah Wedgwood’s Jasperware, in which thin ceramic reliefs or ‘sprigs’ are applied as surface decoration to a piece. I wanted to make innovative pieces featuring the sprigging technique, but to move away from the traditional use of sprigs solely as ornament, and to attempt to work with ceramic sprigs in a new and sculptural way. Extensive experimentation with different methods and clay bodies enabled me to create two new ways to use the sprigging technique.  One was to cover the entire surface of a shape with sprigs; the other was to construct asculptural object solely out of many layers of sprigs.

The subjects of my current work are shapes inspired by leaves and flowers.  I study botanical forms in the garden. I find myself drawn to the intricacy of plants, examining the veins of a leaf, how its edges are shaped, the layering of a flower’s petals.  I look, I touch, I draw.

Shirakawa Bowl

Q4: You have been living in London for some time. How do you feel about the city - what are the things you love most here and you don't miss at all when you are away?

A: I like many kinds of cultures in London. In a one-minute walkfrom my studio, I can have very good Moroccan food, pastries from Portugal, pizza, Indian food. The thing I would miss least about London is being packed like sushi in the Tube at rush hour.  

Black Dancing Leaves Box

Q5: What are your future plans after the St Pancras Chambers Club exhibition?

A: I will engage with new and inspiring experiences, and pursue creative challenges within my craft.

The more I look at the natural world, the more I have begun to feel the importance of the concept of flow in nature. I believe this is the heart of nature. From small, minute elements such as leaves to grand magnificent views, they are all in flow.   Flow is what makes nature alive.

In this sense, the flow seems to me to be confined to that small scale in my current work. What I would like to do is to make a whole form itself also become an element to express the active movement in nature.  I would like to challenge it at a larger scale I have ever done. I believe the result will show the dynamic energy of nature and make my work more exciting and more true to the natural world.    

This aim will bring both technical and artistic challenges to my current working methods.  Conveying flow on both a small and a large scale means that I will need to develop my techniques further to enable complex constructions in porcelain by experiments and research.  For the new work, I would also like to expand and widen my inspiration from nature beyond the familiar plants in my immediate environment. I intend to visit the collections, archives and libraries of botanical institutions like the Royal Horticultural Society and Kew Gardens to research extinct plants, or plants in countries I have never visited to see which of these will be most suitable to adapt into porcelain. I would like to concentrate deeply on this research and experiments taking enough time, possibly 3 -4 months.

(all photos of works above are provided by the artist)

*****

Further Reading -

Page: Ceramicist Hitomi Hosono wins inaugural Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Prize by Jessica Klingelfuss on *Wallpaper.com, 08.04.2013


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