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. 

Marina Abramović's twitter interview


Lisson Gallery has chosen the Frieze week to launch a twitter interview with their 'new' artist Marina Abramović. It looks like a successful event, with the artist spending an hour answering questions posted by tweeple (people who uses twitter). We compiled the interview below from tweets under the #marinalissonlive hashtag - there may not be the 100% correct sequence of questions & answers since it is not really that clearly arranged online, but it should give you an idea of what's been asked and how she thinks of those topics nevertheless.

Q: (Nicholas Logsdail, founder of Lisson Gallery) How do you feel about your first Lisson show?
A:  I feel great about my first show at Lisson. It is the right moment. Nicholas asked me last year if I could be his Louise Bourgeois. 

Q: (Nicholas) How do you feel about the future of Performance?
A: Every time there is a economic crisis around you have to start from nothing. I always like to confront my fears. I am staging my fears in my performance. It is also important to explore humor in art.

Q: (@Squirrelala) Hi Marina, have you ever done an impromptu art performance or is it always planned before?
A: I've never done any performance spontaneously. I believe in preparation. I like to see the space before hand.  I don't believe in performance as entertainment.

Q: Do you think the re-performing of historical performance work is necessary for a new generation to experience them?
A: I believe that performance is a living form of art.

Q: Marina, what is the first performance that you remember doing? The last major show you had in the UK was at MoMA Oxford in 1998, why has it been so long since your return to the UK?
A: In many ways there was no time for performance art previously. It was more about putting artists here on an international platform rather than bringing new artists to the UK.

Q: (@londonart - that's ours!) The 2 pieces with onion & potato with Marina - why she uses New York Times as wrap on one & russian paper another?
A: Russia was very present in my culture. Potatoes have so much to do with Russia.

Q: (@CreativeLondon) Marina, how do you get a lamb/donkey to sign a model release form?
A: I love this question. I didn't! I love working with the donkey - they are known for their emotion. They are stubborn like me!

Q: How have you spent your time recovering from your MoMA performance?
A: It means so much to be around nature. It was hard to go back to normality. This performance has affected me more than any.

Q: (@DANIELjonKING) Many participants in "THE ARTIST IS PRESENT" view you as a mother figure. Do you consider them as your children?
A: I see my work as my children. For me it was important to be in the present for my MoMA performance. I gave unconditional love to total strangers.

"Marina Abramović: Live at MoMA" by MoMAVideos

Q: What was the most special moment of your MoMA performance?
A: For me the special moment of my MoMA performance was an old woman who came and gave me a shawl as a sign of friendship. It was a symbolic appreciation of my work. It made me burst in to tears. There was a very spiritual element to the work. Also important for me was that the guard for the performance waited and came to sit in front of me. 

Q: (@OperaCreep) Marina, do you think that performance art can live outside the realm of art galleries? Could flashmobs be its future?
A: What are these flash mobs? This is recent for me but I think its a great way to go. It is something I never use in my life because my is very real. I'm also a fan of second life. Flash mob is a big possibility.

Q: Where did you make most of the work in this show?
A:  I needed to do something which is going back to simplicity, which i would have never been able to do if I had not made these works in the 70's

Q: (@annieh_artist) Does performance art need an audience?
A: Absolutely yes. Any performance without an audience doesn't have the same energy. The work is the audience.

Q: Can you tell us a joke?
A: Oh yes. How many artists do you need to fix a light bulb? I don't know I was only there 6 hours!

Q: (@gtvone) Marina, as a performance artist - how much input do you have into how your art is captured, technically?
A: In the beginning I never knew about control. Now I have complete control which is extremely important. To make such a performance you need to be invited and I have never been invited.

Q: Do you think you will ever repeat the performance in another part of the world.
A:  I would never say no to this but right now I can't imagine it because it was only three months ago. I need time to see if I have the strength to do this. 

Q: (@DANIELjonKING) Valuable friendships developed amongst many queuing for THE ARTIST IS PRESENT. Did you ever imagine this?
A: Why did Johnny Depp not ask anything? A community developed around my work at Guggenheim and this developed with the performance at MoMA. It was really emotional because people involved in the performance really felt it would change their lives. 75 people came 10 times to see me at MoMA.

Q: How do you feel when looking at work you made over 35 years ago in the 1970's?
A: It makes me very tired actually. It is the only time I feel old. I should really move on and I am always trying to move on. Let's say I have a healthy distance.

Q: (@yacabo) Do you believe that there is a star system in contemporary arts as well like Hollywood?
A: Oh definitely and I am against that. Artists should not be an idol. The work of art is important not the artist.  I have just been asked by a film maker in Russia if I can play the lead role a film. I refused. That was my big chance to get to Hollywood.

Q: Can I come meet you?
Who are you?

Q: (@rowanhull) How important is time in your work?
A: Time is everything. I really believe long duration is important in a work of art. It can change you emotionally and physically.

Q: Will your show from MoMA tour to anywhere else?
What is this 'back-up' question? I just got information yesterday that it is going to be in the Garage Moscow in September 2011

Q: Why and how do you think people relate to your work?
 My concern is to give everything I have to the audience and it is up to them how they want to deal with that. There are so many different reactions to my work. The ones who participate see something happen because we have shared the same experience. The audience are free to take what they want from the work. The public are an important part of the performance. 

Q: (@DANIELjonKING) if you could choose anyone (living or dead) to play you in a film, who would it be?
A: That is a good question. I need some time to think. I would like to be played by Maria Callas because she would understand me the best. Or I think it would be Anna Magnani. She's italian and she understands drama and emotions. 

Q: (@IsabellaBurley) When will you stop producing work?
A: For an artist is is very important to know when to stop, when not to repeat oneself and when to die. I should not stop producing work now. 

Q: (@delfinafdnThe Abramavic Studio at Location One is a powerhouse for development. Do you think residencies are still important in this mobile age?
A: I think artists today are modern nomads and residencies give them the chance to go from place to place. With residencies you are exposed to a new environment which is very important for artists making new work. 

Q: (@annieh_artist) Is performance art the only unmediated art form?
A: Before there was a bit of photography but not any more. Performance now has a chance to become mainstream art.
Q: How are you finding this interview process
A: It is very fancy. I've never done Twitter in my life. I'm not good with technology. I had a washing machine for one year which I couldn't use and it was only pressing one button! This is like science fiction for me. 

Q: How does your early work relate to what you are doing now?
I could never do what I do now if I didn't do early work. I investigated my body limits now I investigate my mental limits. So what do you do in this office? Is this only a Twitter room? And are these your Twitter girls? Is the final question 'Where do you want to die?' It is really important to start from the beginning to see where everything comes from. My biography would be great to understand my childhood. Everything comes in to place after that. You have to take something personal and make it universal. 

Q: (@dhmonroy) Dear Marina, who artist influenced you, when you begining as an artist?
A:  I really don't think I was influenced by an artist. Being influenced by another artist is like being second hand. Artists that I admire are Yves Klein, Rothko, Duchamp and John Cage among others. So now I've done Twitter for the first time in my life!

Marina Abramović private view 12.10.2010 by Lisson Gallery

See our review on her show at Lisson Gallery here


We will be covering the official Frieze Art Fair in the upcoming posts - stay tuned.

a sedimentation of life - dirk stewen / ai wei wei / marina abramović

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 -


Dirk Stewen
Maureen Paley

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.

Full photo set

Finally, a special thank you to Maureen Paley & Wolfgang Tillmans for the complimentary autograph - it's a pleasure to meet 'the' photographer of our time!

Further Readings - 
Page: Official website of the artist
Page: Official page for the show at Maureen Paley Gallery
Publication: listings from
Show: Droplets (2009), Atle Gerhardsen
Show: Paper Eye Collection (2009), Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Show: The Exhibition Formerly Known as Passengers (2008), CCA Wattis Institute of Contemporary Arts
Blog: Tribute by, 02.06.2009
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.

panorama video

aerial view

Ai embraces social-media technology. So there is an interactive element within the installation which the visitors can record and upload their views to the installation and questions to the artist.

Making-of video from Tate Modern online

Full photo set

We suggest a read of the current (A/W2010) issue of Fantastic Man or issue #22 of Mono Kultur if you would enjoy finding out what Ai Wei Wei's life is about through interviews.

Further Readings -
Page: Official website of the artist
Page: Ai Wei Wei on Fantastic Man
Page: Official page of the show in Tate Modern
Review & Photos: "Tate Modern's Sunflower Seeds - Globalisation in the palm of your hand" by Adrian Searle for the Guardian, 11.10.2010
Review:"Reflections on Ai Weiwei’s Dialogue with Katie Hill at the Tate Modern" by Jennifer Ng, 13.10.2010
Interview: by John Sunyer for New Statesman, 12.10.2010
Video: VernissageTV, 12.10.2010
Twitter: of the artist (chinese version)
Twitter: of the artist (translated english version - fewer updates)


Marine Abramović
Lisson Gallery

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 -
"Marina Abramović: Live at MoMA" by MoMAVideos

T Magazine: T Exclusive | Marina Abramovic by TheNewYorkTimes

Lisson Gallery would hold a twitter interview with the artist on 14.10 - send your questions to @lisson_gallery!

Full photo set

Further Readings -
Page: Official page for the 2010 show in Lisson Gallery
Page: "Marina Abramović in London" by Cherie Federico for Aesthetica 05.10.2010
Page: "Marina Abramović - Make Me Cry" for her MoMA show 2010
Page: "Marina Abramović - Hotties" for her MoMA show 2010
Page: "Living the Art" by Luke Crisell for Monocle 10.2010
Interview: Matthew Stone meets Marina Abramović by Matthew Stone for DazedDigital
Wikipedia: entry for the artist

the man who makes amazing sculptures like twisters frozen in time

Tony Cragg

Lisson Gallery
till 17.04.2010

Tony Cragg's first solo show was held by the same gallery where his latest solo show is opened, but that was over 30 years ago back in 1979.
Turning 61 this year, his sculptures clearly show no sign of slowing down with their dynamic forms. Born in Liverpool, he may have inherit some sort of Beatles vibe in his blood that makes all these swinging form so alive even they are made by the most solid materials you could use for art: Timber, Steel, Marble, Bronze... and reading from the list provided by the gallery, each of them weighs from 100kg (the lightest one is made by Fiberglass) to 3200 kg(!)
As the title of this review said, these sculptures are so dynamic they are like twisters captured in a snap shot. You can sense the movement and momentum of the components when you walk around each piece -
Works displayed in the Ground Floor Main Gallery (video link)
Works displayed in the Courtyard (video link)
Interview of Tony Cragg by ArtLyst1
Signature & Factory stamp on WT (Inverted Columns stainless), 2009

Full photo set here

The pieces all look so unstable, uncertain - yet poetic, beautiful. Tony captures the Zeitgeist of our times in preserved it in eternity in his wonderful works. Catch the show before it closes in the coming weekend. 

Further readings -
Tony Cragg's personal page at Lisson Gallery
Tony Cragg's personal page at the Royal Academy of Arts
Review by Richard Cork for Financial Times, 23.03.2010
Sculptor Tony Cragg at the Lisson Gallery - video by the Telegraph's Culture Video

art october in london - part 1

Anish Kapoor
until 11.12.2009
Royal Academy of Arts

anish kapoor 2009 at RAA by you.
Shooting into the Corner (2008-9)

The powerful red splash is one of the two moving works featured in this show (the other is the Svayambh). Anish Kapoor has again presented simple geometric elements in a magnificient scale. The moving works, using blood-red wax brought into motion by the installation, have an element of "slowness" literally shown to the audience. This "slowness", contrast sharply with the ever-accelerating society we are living in.

anish kapoor 2009 at RAA by you.

Even you are not paying to see the indoor exhibition, there is still a masterpiece at the front yard of the academy which is free for the passers-by to get amazed. The spectacle of reflections actually work really well in this outdoor location, I am pretty sure it would be less impressive if placed indoor. It changes with the colour of the sky, as well as the movement of the people and the clouds. There are so much to be discovered in-between the different spheres...

Tall tree and the eye (2009) - video link

full photo set here

Anish Kapoor
until 14.11.2009
Lisson Gallery

this is london || 13.10.2009 by you.
Kapoor is here, could you find him?

At the same time, Lisson Gallery, which represents the artist, hosts a show of his new works to maximise their media exposure during the Frieze Art Fair. These colourful curvy "mirrors" are, probably, a delightful distractor for an economically hard time to many people.

anish kapoor at lisson gallery by you.
The visual black hole that "draws" you in...

anish kapoor at lisson gallery by you.
Train your eyes

The concave untitled (2009) "eye" made with fibre glass and paint with sparkle coating - video link

Further readings -
Official page of the RAA show
Official page of the Lisson Gallery show
Review of the RAA show by Richard Dorment for the Telegraph
Review of the RAA show by Adrian Searle the Guardian
Review of the RAA show by Tom Lubbock for the Independent
Video tour of the RAA show from Time Out