As our previous post suggests, here are 3 of our 10 picks in town during the Frieze Art Fair week which shows a sedimentation of the lives in the three artists featured -
German artist Dirk Stewen is reknown for creating art pieces from his wide collection of materials, be it photographic paper, pages taken from antiquated art catalogues, posters, confetti of all sizes and colours, streamers, book covers, and sometimes with industrial prefab wood or metal.
Dirk's series of black-ink-soaked paper collage art evokes a sense of cosmic creations of the spanish surrealism master Joan Miró. And his use of 'aged' raw materials bring various dimensions of time in one piece - which is something quite poetically supernatural even though no new-age technology seems to be involved in producing each piece of work.
The intimate scale of individual elements within the overall scale of each piece of work; and the delicate nature of these pieces are key to his success (you can read the links below to find out more how he makes these pieces). It strikes a chord of 'vulnerable beauty' to us.
Review (for Tanya Bonakdar show): by Fionn Meade for ARTFORUM
Ai Wei Wei - Sunflower's seeds
Tate Modern Turbine Hall
The long-awaited Turbine Hall blockbuster by the hottest Chinese artist on earth is finally open. Ai wei wei's flower seeds is an installation full of his individual character and the communist character of collective production as well as uniformity. Each seed is hand-painted and thus should be unique on its own, yet when combining 100 million of them together you can no longer see the individuality but just one sheer mass of a uniform texture - it is exactly this conflicting dual characters that is so resembling to what contemporary China is to the West.
And whatever Ai does, people would assume/regard himself to be a representation of a group of Chinese fighting for human rights and social justice. To some extent, this is true. But irony sometimes do put a joke on him. In his interview with Fantastic Man magazine before the show unveils, he told the interviewer to 'ask me anything you like'. But then when he was asked about the Turbine Hall installation, he said "I really can't talk about it, they even asked me no to talk to you in particular about this." The interviewer concludes that Ai is 'partially censored' by Tate - C'est la vie.
Visitors are allowed to do whatever they like on the field - the sound of the porcelain sands make one feel like walking in a pebble beach. And because the seeds would get worn with constant rubbing, there is clearly a layer of dust suspending inside the hall, which creates a sense of anxiety despite the relaxed mood of the installation.
Twitter: of the artist (translated english version - fewer updates)
Known as one of the most important performing artist of our time, Marina Abramović challenges the limits of performance constantly in terms of the body of the actors as well as the mind of the audience. Here in this show, a complete collection of her early work series Rhythm is shown as well as some recent works in the 2 gallery spaces of Lisson across the street respectively.
Seeing her works from different times put together is an excellent manifestation of her achievement because of her endurance in the art pursuit. She has clearly lived her artistic life fruitfully, yet she hasn't been thinking of retiring and retreating. In her interview with the Monocle magazine, she said she is still raising funds for building a Performance Arts Academy under her name. Her whole life has been very much dedicated to this single art form. She hopes to keep her legacy in a permanent form to inspire the future generations.
Below are 2 videos produced earlier this year on her MoMA show -
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)
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.
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?
Despite the looming presence of the long nights and credit crunch in January London, the art scene is trying its best to lift people's spirits up. Museums and galleries are still offering a shelter for the people in the city to escape from the bloodbath in the job market and continuous media bombing of economic news (which becomes basically the same piece of news everyday replacing just the name of the company that went bankrupt or the figure of loss the company made). Tierney Gearon, an american former-model-turned-photographer, had her solo show Explosure at Phillips de Pury Gallery in Victoria. Her photos capture the magic of double exposure, and one would wonder how she made these overlapping images so perfectly without any post-production. But even if these double exposure are arranged at post-production, the persistent appearance of her children featured in many of her works displayed juxtaposing with everyday scenes provide a distorted sense/scale of time and space, as well as a level of surrealism over the exhibition even the medium used and locations shot are no other than ordinary. exhibition photo set hereAt Tate Modern, Dominique Gonzalez-foerster is the artist responsible for the turbine hall now. Unlike previous artists that create a centre-piece of their own in the mega-space, she performs like a curator to present a selection of other people's works in an environment she creates to deliver her message/concept (refer to the video interview in the Futher Reading link below). This is what makes it interesting or at least makes the point for this installation, called TH.2058. Personally I prefer the previous approach as given the scale of the space reserved for only one artist, visitors are expected to see a single piece of work inside. However, such '3D-collage' approach is nothing fundmentally different from a 2D collage picture created by many other famous artists in the past generations. Perhaps we could all learn to appreciate art in a fresh perspective. In this aspect I think Tate Modern has really stood up to its vision and curatorship to be a frontier in contemporary art. Let's see what the next Turbine Hall work would be... insallation photo set hereFurther reading - Tierney Gearon in wikipedia Telegraph magazine covers Tierney Gearon's Explosure Official page for TH.2058 at Tate Modern Reviews of TH.2058 at www.culturecritic.co.uk Interview clipof Dominique Gonzalez-foerster on TH.2058 by the Guardian UK