Travelogue - Berlin Paris spring 2011

During the Easter + Royal Wedding double long weekend getaway, we escaped to Berlin & Paris and here are 4 shows which we like, 2 of them are from London artists.


Andy Harper - Truthwall
Morgen Contemporary

Andy Harper's previous show in Danese - 02.11.2009 video by ballenato63

Full photo set


Sterling Ruby - I am not free because I can be exploded in any time
Sprüth Magers Berlin

Overview of the show - video link
Full photo set


James Franco - 
Peres Projects Berlin

Close-up view of one of the Exhibits

Overview of the exhibition set in Peres Projects' Kreuzberg Gallery - video link

Full photo set


Antony Gormley - For the Time Being
Galerie Thaddeus Ropc

State (2011)

the MEME series (2011) - video link

Full photo set


Further Reading -
Page: official page of Andy Harper's show in Morgen Contemporary Berlin
Page: official page of Sterling Ruby's show in Sprueth Magers Berlin
Page: official page of James Franco's show in Peres Projects Belin
Page: official page of Antony Gormley's show in Galerie Thaddeus Ropc Paris
Video: Liftstyle Sterling Ruby, 25.02.2011 by evanlamos

a stroll in kensington gardens

Turning the World Upside Down - Anish Kapoor
Kensington Gardens
28.09.2010 – 13.03.2011
Philippe Parreno
Serpentine Gallery

Non-Object (Spire) by Anish Kapoor (2008)
Last Sunday I headed to Kensington Gardens after brunch to catch the Anish Kapoor sculptures which were not seen a month ago (seen 2 on a sunny day, as you can see in the photo slideshow below) -
Full photo set
Kapoor's mirror-finish sculptures have a subliminal character which goes well with the natural setting of the park. You cannot say they have blended themselves in, as clearly they are all very visible and stand out from the surroundings. However, their existence seems to create an extra dimension to the space they inhibits. The distorted surfaces reflecting the surroundings produce a different version of the world to the audience, something intriguing even you have seen a hundred times. It is poetic sci-fi material, if you agree : )
Afterwards I turned to Serpentine Gallery to get my copy of 032c in their book shop. Since the demise of Borders, it has been a gain in my wallet but a loss in my magazine diet to explore periodical publications in London, with the exception of museum bookshops in Tate, Whitechapel Gallery & Serpentine Gallery.
032c A/W 2010
This is the 20th issue of the magazine. Based in Berlin, 032c has its 10th anniversary this year. Just like the reputation of Berlin being the hippest european capital from the millennium, nobody should judge this magazine from its sketchy graphic layout compared to perfectionist layout like Monocle. The magazine has one of the most lengthy articles I would ever willing to spend $ to buy a copy, and they consistently reach out to people from various disciplines to provide a dazzling spectrum of knowledge to the readers. Having said that, I have to admit the only time I can finish a whole issue is usually on a plane, striped out of any possible distractions so I can focus on reading and digesting the contents due to its "unfriendly" layout to my eyes... (clearly I'm a bit spoilt by conventional layouts!) 
Odd addition to the Gallery facade

Before I stepped into the Gallery, I discovered a few little purple gloves on the window-wall. Are they part of the coming Philippe Parreno show?

Actually, the Gallery has just announced 2 weeks ago a new venue inside Kensington Gardens will be constructed and managed by them. Currently the Magazine Building, Zaha Hadid will transform it into the Serpentine Sackler Gallery with the donation from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation.

Back to the bookshop. Apart from 032c, I also noticed Apollo has Antony Gormley on their cover -

Feature in Apollo (11/2010) on Antony Gormley: Figuring it Out

And then this mysterious new title caught my eyes - 

The Hub's debut issue - Never Neverland

Turned out it's a new launch based in London. The Hub is essentially like what its name said, a collection of art, culture, fashion happenings selected for its readers - a printed concierge for the urban troops. I like its layout and use of hand-drawn illustrations (at least they appear like so), a stark contrast to 032c! But it takes time to see if this experiment is going to have the same level of success like its competitors, all over the shelf in the bookshop. Good luck!

the gormley spectacle

Test Sites by Antony Gormley
White Cube Gallery (Mason's Yard)
till 10.07.2010

Breathing Room III (2010)

Antony Gormley's latest show is impressive, but lacking the lustre of a major artistic breakthrough.

At the ground floor of the gallery, a series of cast iron blockwork figures (like the one showing on the flyer below). Unlike his signature self-cast series, this set is more abstract and does not confine to his body dimensions. Instead they are of random proportions locally yet one can still easily figure out the parts of body at each sculpture. The official press release says these block works show "a tension which is indicative of our urban-bound human condition".

At the basement a single piece of installation has occupied the whole exhibition space. As some critics say it has a very "Tron" feel to it. From the gallery people we spoke to the installation consists of 15 hollow rectangular blocks which has a total volume equivalent to that of the exhibition space it is placed. The block frame is coated with fluorescent paint that can absorb ambient light and re-emit them when the surroundings go dark. Like a giant tanning booth, visitors are allowed to walk freely in and out of the blocks. And every 15 minutes of so the spotlights hung right below the ceiling are switched on temporarily to 'charge' the frames.

Official flyer

While one can foresee the popularity of Gormley would bring queues to the gallery in every weekend running up to the end of the show, it seems the works shown this time could not produce a powerful impact on the viewers compared to the artist's works in the public realm instead.

The abstracted bodies are of various different forms which makes it hard to relate them to the viewers compared to those casted by Gormley's own body.The blocks themselves are all covered with rust, similar to the style of Richard Serra. Previous cast bodies Gormley created are very personal but the randomly formed figures in this show are trying something new which is yet to have the same visual impact.

The glowing matrix at the basement looks like the previous site-specific piece by Cerith Wyn Evans showing at the same space. Both works has the element of changing illumination. And the spotlights fueling the glow in Gormley's work is ironic - people go to indoor tanning booths to get tanned rather than going to the parks or beaches; while Gormley's work situated in a commercial gallery have to rely on artificial simulation to create a physical environment (compared to his public art which are directly situated in an activated environment not controlled by any individual).  

For those preparing to visit the gallery for the show, it is likely that you would have to queue for entry to the basement as the gallery has limited the number of people getting into the space for the experience. And once you are in, remember to stay until you experience the moment which the spotlights charge the fluorescent paint of the matrix - it is worth the wait!

Further Reading - 
Review by Laura McLean-Ferris for the Independent, 04.06.2010
Official page of the exhibition at White Cube Gallery's website

art april in london

Tate Britain's triennial 2009 - Altermodern

This year's Triennial was curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, who co-founded the influential contemporary gallery Palais de Tokyo in Paris. The manifesto is "Post-modernism is daed" - a new universalism is emerging with the development of globalisation, and artists are reflecting changes around them, "traverse a cultural landscape saturated with signs and create new pathways between multiple formats of expression and communication". 

tate triennial - altermodern . 02 by you.
Altermodern showed a vareity of works from installations, photographs to videos...

tate triennial - altermodern . 09 by you.
Transparency series and fedex series 2007-8 by Walead Beshty
guess how these works are made - see notes in the original photo link for answer

tate triennial - altermodern . 08 by you.
Liquid Crystal Environment 
1. Landscape
2. Breathing
3. Torsion
4. Kaos
2005 by Gustav Metzger

full photo set here

Tremors where forever (frequency of an image, white edit) 2008 by Loris Greaud


Neue gallerie's grand opening show - keep it secret (23.04.2009)

Neue Gallerie from Switzerland has opened their London gallery with a show bringing works of 7 swiss contemporary artists with a theme of "a very volatile issue". 

keep it secret | neue gallerie london . 01 by you.

keep it secret | neue gallerie london . 04 by you.

keep it secret | neue gallerie london . 10 by you.

I think the works have a sense of dark humour, and the use of materials have a similarity of those in the Altermodern show - a detournement of the original purpose of a material type, into some unexpected territory, generating a sense of strangeness within the familiars...

full photo set 


Dialogue between Ron Arad & Anthony Gormley at Timothy Taylor Gallery (24.04.2009)

ron arad at timonthy taylor . 07 by you.
They made an enjoyable and enlightening dialogue in the night

ron arad at timonthy taylor . 01 by you.
'oh, the farmer & the cowman should be friends' - the proper name of the america shelf by ron arad

ron arad at timonthy taylor . 03 by you.
The two playing around the 'rod gomli' chair - Ron asked Tim (the gallery owner) if he allows people to sit on the chairs as one of the audience said he is always forbidden by gallery staff on interacting with works even if it was the intentions of the artists, Tim replied, "Yes, under proper supervision." Ron invited the guy to come out and try sitting on it : )

ron arad at timonthy taylor . 16 by you.
Bodyguards - by ron arad

full photo set here

Further Reading -
Official website for Tate Triennial 2009 (the website is very informative and contains lots of references on all the works shown)
Official website for Keep it Secret
Installation images of Ron Arad's new works at Timothy Taylor - under 'Exhibitions' -> 'Previous'