Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bill Viola: Hatsu-Yume (First Dream) until 8.1.07 Mori Art Museum, Tokyo

Bill Viola, one of the world’s leading video artists, traveled to Japan in 1980 on a one-year arts fellowship to study and experience first hand its cultural traditions and religions. He extended his stay by six months to work at Sony’s Atsugi Research Center where he gained access to the most advanced video technology of the time. The influence of both experiences transformed his work.
This exhibition, organized by the Mori Art Museum and The Asahi Shimbun, showcases work from Viola’s productive career, beginning with Hatu-Yume (FirstDream) (1981), the 56 minute video he made while staying in Japan, to The Raf, (2004), one of his recent room-size installations. It is his first survey exhibition in Asia, and takes his “first dream” in Japan as a starting point for viewing his subsequent work.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Brice Marden 29.10.06- 15.01.07 MoMA NY

This retrospective of the artist Brice Marden is an unprecedented gathering of his work, with more than fifty paintings and an equal number of drawings, organized chronologically, drawn from all phases of the artist's career. Two new large-scale paintings exhibited for the first time are included. The gradual, deliberate evolution of the artist's work becomes evident, as well as the constant exploration of light, color, and surface at every turn. The work of the first twenty years, characterized by luminous monochrome panels, which first won the artist acclaim, is now seen in balance with the celebrated work of the past twenty years. In the mid-1980s Marden shifted to calligraphic gestures embedded in shimmering grounds before moving to heightened color in the past decade. An installation of drawings is installed in the Paul J. Sachs Drawings Galleries on the third floor. A major publication accompanies the exhibition. Visit the MoMA site.

6th International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Shanghai until 5.11. MUKHA, Antwerp (B)

The 6th Shanghai Biennial, entitled Hyper Design, opens on 5 September 2006. Flanders will be represented there too by two internationally known artists: Luc Deleu and Hans Op de Beeck.

In 1985 a friendship agreement was concluded between the cities of Shanghai and Antwerp. Since then, exchanges in various fields have already taken place. During an official mission in November 2004, a delegation of the Antwerp municipal administration concluded a protocol with the city of Shanghai to set up, among other things, concrete cooperation projects on a cultural level in the course of the coming years.

This protocol explicitly mentions the participation of Antwerp in the Biennial of Contemporary Art, organised by the Shanghai Art Museum.

Every two years, the Biennial for Contemporary Art in Shanghai lavishly presents an international package of artists; their work reflects current developments in contemporary art. The emphasis is mainly on artistic production in the Asiatic region, which is also becoming increasingly important from a global perspective. In the meantime, the Shanghai Biennial has build up a good reputation as an international platform for contemporary art where artists, curators, authors, art critics and art lovers from all over the world meet.

The 6th Biennial of Contemporary Art in Shanghai runs from 5 September to 5 November 2006 and the theme is Hyper Design. Mister Zhang Qing, artistic director of this Biennial, invited Antwerp to submit concrete proposals for participation in the Artistic Selection Committee, which has an international composition.

After consultation with Bart De Baere, director of the Antwerp Museum of Contemporary Art, two internationally renowned Flemish artists were nominated, viz. Luc Deleu and Hans Op De Beeck. Both have strong links with Antwerp.

Finally, the Shanghai Artistic Selection Committee approved the candidature of the two artists with the following works of art. New Version of VIP City, Luc Deleu's vision of a possible division of the world into habitable plots of land (6 m by 6 m), and T-Mart by Hans Op De Beeck, an enormous scale model of a supermarket with a video projection on top.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth SFMOMA until 21.01.2007

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) presents Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth from October 20, 2006, to January 21, 2007. The first North American survey of this influential contemporary German artist’s oeuvre in 20 years, this traveling exhibition brings together more than 50 major works, many of which have never before been seen in the United States. Organized by Michael Auping, chief curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth

Not intended as a retrospective, the exhibition is a thematic survey that focuses on the artist’s ongoing meditation on metaphysical issues and various notions of transcendence and the spiritual—in particular the relationship between heaven and earth—using symbolism and the mythology of ancient religion as a foundation for investigating the broader subjects of human character, collective memory, and mankind’s universal desire to
completes its international tour in San Francisco in a presentation overseen by SFMOMA Curator of Painting and Sculpture Janet Bishop.
understand existence.

Arranged roughly chronologically, the exhibition will showcase a selection of Kiefer’s diverse output from 1969 to 2005, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, mixed-media photographic projects, and artist’s books. Given the monumental scale and fragility of Kiefer’s works, the contents of the presentation have varied at each tour venue. SFMOMA’s presentation will include extraordinary works by Kiefer from the Museum’s own collection, such as the monumental painting Isis and Osiris (1985–87), as well as other critically important pieces from a renowned private collection in San Francisco that did not travel to previous tour venues.

“Since the 1980s, contemporary German art has been a particular area of focus within the SFMOMA collection, though this is the first public presentation of Kiefer’s work ever to be mounted in San Francisco,” states Bishop. “As such, this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see the artist’s work in both much greater depth and in the context of the issues that are most central to his practice.”

Widely hailed for his remarkable sense of materiality, Kiefer uses a variety of media to create works ranging from delicate watercolors to enormous multipart paintings to monumental sculptural installations composed of lead and steel. Drawing on the physical characteristics of his media to underscore intellectual concerns, Kiefer embraces a complex array of subjects—medieval alchemy, occult philosophy, astronomy, pagan ritual, religious mysticism—in order to address the dialogue between history and spirituality.

Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945), alongside contemporaries Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke, was one of the first contemporary German artists to achieve international recognition in the early 1980s with his neo-expressionist paintings. Among his peers, however, Joseph Beuys—the most influential figure in the postwar European art world and Kiefer’s mentor at the Dusseldorf Academy—had the greatest and most direct impact on Kiefer’s work.

Using an intricate system of symbols and imagery drawn from myth, legend, and poetry, Kiefer has earned wide acclaim for his ruminations on German history—particularly on the moral weight carried by Germany after World War II—conveyed largely in mammoth-scale paintings layered with his signature materials: tar, straw, iron, lead, glass, pottery, burned wood, and other organic plant matter. Since his major mid-career retrospective in 1987, which traveled nationally, Kiefer’s work has rarely been seen in the United States, however.

From the very beginning of Kiefer’s career, he has explored deep-rooted, principal questions about the history of spirituality and its connection to scientific and political realms. Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth begins with the artist’s earliest surviving work, The Heavens (1969), a small collage book containing pictures of clouds and sky cut from magazines and affixed to white pages labeled with text. The artist’s use of fragmentary, rather than whole, images evokes the notion that heaven cannot be distilled into a single image or place but is better symbolized by fleeting impressions, a theme consistent in much of his art.

This work is followed by a series of early paintings in which Kiefer introduces many symbols and reoccurring motifs—trees, fire, winter, nightfall, the artist’s palette, barren countryside, charred landscape—that would go on to define his visual vocabulary. In one of these early paintings, an oil on canvas titled Man in the Forest (1971), Kiefer depicts himself standing in a small clearing of forest, wearing his nightclothes and surrounded by towering trees. Holding a burning branch, the figure appears at once threatening and fearful. In this dreamscape, the forest is not only an obvious symbol for German nationalism, Romanticism, and legends of the Black Forest, it also refers to pagan traditions of earth worship and ancient myths of heroic struggle between mankind and nature, as well as to the kabalistic Tree of Life and the Old Testament’s Garden of Eden. Tree trunks that extend beyond the picture plane suggest their reach far into the sky, perhaps alluding to a bridge between terrestrial and celestial realms.

The exhibition continues with several works from Kiefer’s Attic series of the early 1970s, in which the exposed wood floor and ceiling of his art studio at the time—the attic of a former German schoolhouse—function as a forestlike architectural stage for his re-imaginings of metaphysical and historical lore. Quaternity (1973), a 15-foot-wide drawing rendered in oil and charcoal on burlap, refers to a theological debate within the early Christian church about the role of evil. In this canvas, three flames, labeled “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Ghost,” are joined by connecting lines to a serpent labeled “Satan,” forming a closed diagram that seems to erupt from an allover background of meticulously rendered wood grain. Mapping the interdependency between God and the devil, the work highlights a favorite theme of Kiefer’s: paradox—the fires of the Holy Trinity that illuminate and redeem can also burn and destroy. Like Man in Forest, this work typifies the artist’s use of his own image—here represented by the serpent—as well as his incorporation of handwriting.

Among the different media Kiefer has worked with over the years, artist’s books have been a consistent and central part of his practice. “The book—the idea of a book or the image of a book—is a symbol of learning, of transmitting knowledge,” he has said. “I make my own books to find my own way through the old stories.” To create one of his early book projects, a seven-volume series called Cauterization of the Rural District of Buchen (1975), Kiefer burned a selection of his paintings, cut the scorched canvas into pages, and interspersed them with photographs representing staged explosions in landscapes around Buchen, the district where he was then living. The term cauterization—the medical procedure by which tissue is burned to facilitate healing—alludes to the restorative properties of fire, invoking the metaphorical rehabilitation of a wounded landscape and, by extension, the renewal of German national mythology. The burnt, carbonized pages of the book suggest both the material of destruction and the basic constituent of all life forms on earth, again illustrating Kiefer’s longstanding interest in alchemy, dualism, and paradoxical states.

Many of Kiefer’s books take the form of freestanding sculptures, monumental symbols of his quest for spiritual knowledge through art and image. Book with Wings(1992–94), a massive tome made of lead, lies open on a high lectern and has majestic wings sprouting from each side as if poised for flight. Secret Life of Plants (2001), a more than 6-foot-high book made of lead, stands upright on its spine, its pages fanned open. The work’s title refers to a book published in 1973 that investigates the proposed consciousness of plants and the idea that they may hold answers to the mysteries of life—a concept pioneered by the 16th-century mystic philosopher Robert Fludd, who proposed that each plant on earth has a corresponding star in the universe. Containing an intricate numerical mapping of the stars based on NASA information, Kiefer’s book continues an age-old rumination on the unfathomable correspondence between the microcosmic and the macrocosmic.

Kiefer’s current Barjac studio complex in the south of France comprises a network of above- and underground installations created for the artist’s ongoing investigation of the ancient kabbalistic system of thought known as merkaba. A reoccurring motif in his work, the term alludes to a chariot that journeys through the Hechaloth, the seven heavenly palaces that eventually lead to the throne of God. The Barjac installation involves a series of concrete rooms stacked hundreds of feet into the air as well as subterranean spaces containing various books and sculptures. Recent works such as the large-scale mixed-media canvas Sefer Hechaloth (2002) and Die Himmelspaläste (2004) feature seven shelves or metal cages that act as containers for symbolic objects. A number of gouaches from 2003 also are based on photographs of both found and formed objects that are part of the artist’s immense studio installation project.

The exhibition also includes a number of works created since 1990, many of which have not been seen in the United States. This last decade and a half of Kiefer’s output reveals a new chapter in the artist’s development: Fields of lilting sunflowers, immense desert landscapes, colossal pyramids, and panoramas of stars are now a part of Kiefer’s cosmological vocabulary.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Between the lines Kim Donaldson, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

Books radiate imagination. Studied and worn, they carry the imprints of time, gathering associations and furnishing our intimate lives. The book-lined walls of the Heide I library contain a wealth of ideas and associations that inspired Kim Donaldson’s most recent exhibition project, Between the lines. Adopting the roles of researcher, editor, artist and historian, the exhibition is the result of Donaldson’s three-year enquiry into the contents of the library, and the lives and histories inscribed on the pages of its volumes.

The present Heide I library is an accumulation of books that belonged to John and Sunday Reed (who occupied the house from 1934–1967, returning in 1980–1981), and to their family and friends who have lived there periodically, or who have later gifted books to the Museum. In Between the lines, Donaldson offers a distilled view of this collection, choosing details from a selection of books to re-create as paintings. During her visits to the library, Donaldson’s methods of research combined careful perusal with opportune findings; selecting books not only for their notable authors or subjects but also for the affinities she felt with the colours and textures of certain covers, or the handwritten notes she discovered inside. The painted covers, illustrations and inscriptions give form to her experience, providing an index of the books she has accessed and evidence of those who have turned the pages before her; revealing personal interests, scholarly exchanges, and dedications of love and friendship.

In the layout of the exhibition, Donaldson makes playful reference to Heide I as a former home and its current incarnation as a museum. Paintings are placed throughout the rooms of the house, their demarcation and groupings based on her systems of categorisation. The informative ‘How to…’ and ‘The complete guide to…’ books form certain groupings, while other works are given a ‘practical’ placing within the house: Chez Reed Menu (2006) rests on the mantelpiece in the former dining room, and Algerian Apperitive [aperitif] (2006) is placed in the library, evoking memories of the Reeds’ pre-dinner gatherings. Portraits of John and Sunday and their cats, selected from Heide’s Collection, hang in the bedroom and canvases are stacked against the walls of the house, mimicking the Reeds’ unusual methods of art storage. Alongside Donaldson’s recollections of times past, Between the lines is also a commentary on her explorative journey and recent presence in the house. A painted floor plan, a re-creation of the cover of the current Heide I Guide Book, and a painting created especially for reproduction on the cover of the exhibition catalogue are interleaved with paintings of the books and ephemera she uncovered on the site. The history of Heide is enfolded with the present in Donaldson’s work. She reminds us of the meanings books have and the use we make of them, not only in reading, but in the inspiring presence they timelessly provide.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Tropicália: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture until 07.01.07 Bronx Museum NY

Tropicália is the first comprehensive exhibition to explore one of the most significant chapters in modern cultural history, a period beginning in the late 1960s when daring experiments in Brazilian art, music, film, architecture and theater converged—and ignited. Although suppressed by an increasingly oppressive military dictatorship, the moment produced a counterculture that has influenced successive generations of artists, even up to the present day.

The exhibition revisits this seminal time in Brazil through more than 250 objects. Highlighting major historical works from the 1967 New Brazilian ObjectivityTropicália features artists Lygia Clark, Antônio Dias, Nelson Leirner, Hélio Oiticica, and Lygia Pape, among others. Searching for their own identity, these artists were inspired by one of the founders of Brazilian modernism, Oswald de Andrade, and his concept of “cultural cannibalism.” They sought to liberate their art from traditional European forms and cultural hierarchies and a narrow cultural elite. As a result, they often embraced an aesthetic of informality, interactivity, and cultural hybridity. exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro,

The title of the exhibition is drawn from an installation created by the influential artist Hélio Oiticica in 1967, as well as from the 1968 pop record, featuring Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, Caetano Veloso, and others, which became one of the most celebrated albums in Brazilian music.

The impact of this period in current Brazilian culture and contemporary art internationally is revealed through the inclusion of a younger generation of artists and musicians including Matthew Antezzo, assume vivid astro focus, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Arto Lindsay, Marepe, Ernesto Neto, Rivane Neuenschwander, and Karin Schneider, many of whom have created new works for the exhibition.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

'Test site' Carsten Höller until 09.04.07, Tate, London

For Carsten Höller, the experience of sliding is best summed up in a phrase by the French writer Roger Caillois as a ‘voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind’. The slides are impressive sculptures in their own right, and you don’t have to hurtle down them to appreciate this artwork. What interests Höller, however, is both the visual spectacle of watching people sliding and the ‘inner spectacle’ experienced by the sliders themselves, the state of simultaneous delight and anxiety that you enter as you descend.

To date Höller has installed six smaller slides in other galleries and museums, but the cavernous space of the Turbine Hall offers a unique setting in which to extend his vision. Yet, as the title implies, he sees it as a prototype for an even larger enterprise, in which slides could be introduced across London, or indeed, in any city. How might a daily dose of sliding affect the way we perceive the world? Can slides become part of our experiential and architectural life?

Höller has undertaken many projects that invite visitor interaction, such as Flying Machine (1996) that hoists the user through the air, Upside-Down GogglesFrisbee House (2000) - a room full of Frisbees.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Photography, Video, Mixed Media III until 08.01.07 DaimlerChrysler Contemporary , Berlin

In the early 1990s, the DaimlerChrysler Collection, initially focused on painting, began expanding by acquiring works from the realm of new media: photography, video, object art, light boxes and installations.

This exhibition with new acquisitions for the collection - in Berlin the third of its kind already since 2001 - shows how this approach has been continued. Sylvie Fleury is represented with six new films which were produced for the Mercedes-Benz Brand Center in Paris in 2005.

Young Indian artist Shilpa Gupta presents an interactive video installation, an interactive video installation which merges the ideological codices of fashion and military formation.

Guy Tillim, the 2004 winner of the DaimlerChrysler Award South Africa, displays impressive shots from a new series of photographs which he took in Petros Village, Malawi/SA.

In addition, the exhibition comprises videos by Bernie Searle, Bernhard Kahrmann and Heimo Zobernig, photos and pictorial objects by the Indian artists Pamela Singh and Justin Ponmany as well as a group of sculptures by Ina Weber.

Participating Artists

Sylvie Fleury (*1961 Genf/CH),
Shilpa Gupta (*1976 Mumbai/Indien),
Bernhard Kahrmann (*1973 Geislingen/Ger),
Justin Ponmany (*1974 Kerala/India),
Berni Searle (*1964 Capetown/SA),
(Pamela Singh (*1961 Rajasthan/Indien),
Guy Tillim (*1962 Johannesburg/SA),
Ina Weber (*1964 Dietz/Ger),
Heimo Zobernig (*1958 Mauthen/A)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Projection" until 26.11. Kunstmuseum Luzern (CH)

The exhibition "Projection" investigates an exciting art topic that has emerged since the 1960s: taking precinematic projection art such as the magic lantern and scientific and educational slide shows as its point of departure, an independent, experimental, and conceptual medium has developed. By means of projections and slide projections, photographs and videos the exhibition provides a bold historical survey through to the present day. Basic parameters such as space, light, mechanics, media and projectors are examined. In addition the exhibition explores the significance of projection as a metaphor for imagination.

With works by Paul Chan (USA, *1973), VALIE EXPORT (A, *1940), Peter
Fischli (CH, *1952)/ David Weiss (CH, *1946 ), Ryan Gander (GB, *1976),
Liam Gillick (GB, *1964), Dan Graham (USA, *1942 ), Imi Knoebel (D,
*1940), Cornelia Parker (GB, *1956), Beat Streuli (CH, *1957).

Friday, October 06, 2006

MoCA Envisagel -- Entry Gate:Chinese Aesthetics of Heterogeneity, Shanghai

In this age of wide-ranging information exchange and of universal access to knowledge, people have succeeded in multiplying and democratizing the channels of information dissemination. As peoples' material conditions have improved, their increasingly sophisticated artistic mood is reflected not only in their sense of the beauty of forms but also in their demands for spiritual beauty, which increase daily. The literati of ancient China have become both the refined intellectuals of today who work in a variety of fields and those industrialists who maintain a spirit of intellectualism. Traditional Chinese literati art was not merely a visual art form used as a means of communication among the literati, but also held a resonance with their commonly-held practice of living on an aesthetic plane. Ancient literati applied their spiritual aesthetic values to their food、 clothing、 habitation、 and conduct in daily life. Through music, chess, calligraphy, painting, and other forms of quotidian aesthetic expression, they inspired and learned from each other. Thus, Chinese literati art is not merely a formal art in and of itself. Instead, it is an embodiment of one's connoisseurship of life. It is a form of communication through a spiritual language,as well as a shared search for lofty aesthetic values.

Visit the site MoCA Shanghai

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Five Billion Years Palais de Tokyo, Paris

Five billion years ago, the universe began an accelerated expansion. Astronomers hypothesize that a force called "dark energy" dominated the gravity of matter and caused the universe to stop slowing down and to begin a never-ending growth spurt. With this dramatic shift, the universe launched into a state of perpetual movement. Always in flux, reality loses its ability to appear as a series of fixed reference points or as a web of consistent and reliable connections. Instead, the elusive nature of speed and time penetrates our awareness of the world and compromises the comfort of stability. In a similar way, art eludes fixed positions or places and instead glides over the visible and reveals the many layers that serve in its construction. Art can make reality denser, and can make it accelerate.

FIVE BILLION YEARS is the first chapter of a year-long program at the Palais de Tokyo. It begins a reflection not on the exhibition as a singular event – a fixed point that is isolated in time and space – but on the very notion of a program, an experience with a temporal cursor that is constantly in motion, in permanent fluctuation. As the beginning and first segment of a new program that will feature exhibitions and events over the next 12 months, FIVE BILLION YEARS builds on the Palais de Tokyo’s commitment to artists working today by embodying the uncontainable and elastic nature of contemporary art.

The rapidly expanding artistic field that is FIVE BILLION YEARS spreads throughout the Palais de Tokyo’s exhibition spaces. Incorporating both solo and group shows, FIVE BILLION YEARS also includes a multitude of events, including an international competition of chainsaw sculpture, a lecture by an astrophysicist and a music therapist, and a ballet for mini-motorcycles.