Céleste Boursier-Mougenot: New commission for The Curve
the Curve at Barbican Centre
When I first saw the youtube clip below posted by Barbican Centre on its twitter, I have already foreseen this act by human-and-nature would be a huge success. Judging from the long queue I witnessed every time I visited the Barbican Centre in the past few weeks, I can only take the courage to visit on a weekday afternoon when the crowd after office hours and the family over the weekend are largely absent.
Once you are inside the gallery, you would understand why the queue is so long outside. Since there are only some 20-30 birds inside, the gallery has limited visitor figure to 25 at any time only. And nobody would want to just have a glimpse and walk away, as the birds are too cute and have endless variety on their movements you would keep on staring at them once you get there.
The birds are not afraid of men. They would jump onto your shoes, your handbags, and even somebody's head (that boy's hair is a bit fluffy like a bird's nest LOL). They also have a very eye-catching yet harmonious colour palette on their bodies, while the musical instruments selected by the artists are mostly black and white in colour to make a sharp contrast (except the golden metallic cymbals). They fool around freely in the venue as if kids having fun in the school playground.
Judging from the enthusiastic response of the public, I do hope that a zoo would invite the artist to collaborate and transplant this wonderful idea to a permanent display.
Further Readings -Official page in Barbican website
Artist of the week #78: Céleste Boursier-Mougenot by Skye Sherwin at the Guardian (with audio clips)
Introduction of the artist from Frenchculture.org
11.02 - 01.04.2010
The Future by Lory Greaud
Gagosian usually hosts shows with a few mega-pieces, such as Cy Twombly's roses or Richard Serra's hefty sheet metals. This time they decided to throw a buffet - about 80 pieces by various artists including many big names are shown with the theme of J G Ballard's writing.
Untitled (2007) by Roger Hiorns, some 235 contact lenses scattered at the floor
Honda Teen Facial (2010) by Adam McEwen
Untitled (Freeway Crash) (2002) by Florian Maier-Aichen
Proton, Unity, Energy, Blizzard (2000) by Jane & Louise Wilson (video link)
Full photo set link
How It Is by Miroslaw Balka
Tate Modern Turbine Hall
13.10.2009 - 05.04.2010
Polish artist Miroslaw Balka's How It Is is the latest turbine hall centrepiece in Tate Modern. It is part of the Polska Year program which showcases polish culture to the british audience. Another Polish artist, Robert Kusmirowski, has transformed the Curve Gallery in the Barbican Centre into a World War II replica bunker last year in his solo show there.
The overwhelming structure occupy almost the entire Turbine Hall
The other end of the installation
The reason I mentioned Kusmirowski is that both artists seem to be using a dark and psychologically heavy palette in their choice of materials and settings on their installations to bring the audience to an isolated pocket in space & time.
In Balka's giant box, the sense of emptyness engulfs the audience once you stepped into the structure and walk gradually inside. The complete darkness revokes fear and uncertainy. Yet its very presence inside one of the world most-visited museums made its existence surreal and the experience less-confrontational than the artist probably expected. On the contrary, Kusmirowski's installation in the Curve attracts much fewer foot-traffic than Tate Modern, and thus can provide a closer-to-intent experience of the horrifying silence and desertion of a WWII bunker to the visitors.
Full photo set link
Full photo set of Robert Kusmirowski at Barbican Curve link
Dirty Pretty Things - Russell Young
04.02 - 13.03.2010
Pop idols are very often borrowed without thanks in postmodern art. Russell Young has lived up to this celebrity culture with his series called Dirty Pretty Things currently exhibiting in the Scream Gallery.
Featuring Kurt Cobain
Featuring Elizabeth Taylor
Close-up of the sparkling 'diamond dust' applied on every painting
The sparkles and larger-than-life size portrait may satisfy the avid fans. But could you see what the artist want to tell you through the spectacle? Are there something truly inspirational coming from the people in the paintings?
Further Readings -
Review on Crash by art-pie
Official page for Crash at Gagosian online
Entry for J G Ballard in wikipedia
Official page for How It Is at Tate Modern online (with video clip)
Artist's statement for Dirty Pretty Things at Russell Young's website