Monday, October 31, 2011

Lost in Thought

Declination (2004)

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

There has been so many exhibits I would have love to write about, like the Thomas Huseago oudoor exhibit at the Edinburgh Botanical Garden or the fantastic Rauschenberg exhibit at the Inverleith House.
But I find myself in the mood for Tony Cragg's dreamy, smart and wavy sculptures. The volume of his work at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is immense and astonishing, showing about 50 sculptures from the last 15 years.

Tony Cragg was born in Liverpool in 1949. He studied science as well as art, a unique combination that has brought forth his excellent play with materials. He started out with experimenting with rubber, then using found materials like man-made waste, broken toys, plastic bottles and chair seats in the late 70´s. In the 80´s he began casting in Iron and Bronze, then finding a way to attach color to cast bronze in the early 2000. While he also has been working with wood, stone, steel and fiberglas he has also been creating a lot of drawings.

Hollow Head, 2011

Constructur, 2007
Stainless steel

All of Tony Cragg's sculptures are handmade, a team of assistants helps out with the completion. The dynamical precision feels utterly complete.

Outspan, 2008

McCormack, 2007

Elbow, 2010

Lost in thought, (insert) 2011

Tony Cragg studied at, Glouchestershire College of Art, Wimbledon School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. He is now a Professor and The Principal at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf. Perhaps one more reason to consider studying there, for the once that are on the lookout?

With Love

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Super Brand

Laura Keeble
"Down the Aisle"

Super Brand
Andaz Hyatt Hotel (London)

Irina Stark is a curator and an art consultant that I keep meeting at various Art Events. Irina runs Stark Projects where she manages private collections and sets up exhibitions for emerging and mid-career artists. Lately she has been busy curating the exhibition Super Brand at the Andaz Hotel. Super Brand was put up in connection with the Frieze festival, but you still have time to run over for a cocktail and a viewing, it stays up until this Sunday (the 30th of October). 

Another show that deals with our addiction to consumerism and brand names (the last post I wrote was about Josephine Meckseper and her take on it). I particularly enjoy the "Down the Aisle" piece. Is our new church really the mall? Laura Keeble used reclaimed cathedral stained glass on the shopping trolley and the basket.

"..."Buy this you will feel better, be better, live better".
"The final journey up the aisle to the altar, where a donation box validates and blesses this feeling of uplift as a true exchange".  - Superbrand

Simon Monk is represented with a series of five paintings called "Secret Identity" each representing a plastic model of a famous superhero.

Matteo Negri

The enlarged "lego" pieces are made by Matteo Negri. Inspired by the way he played with Lego as a child, he now turns it into and adult expression of his ambition and self-expression. He bends the rules with not only using the straight standard bricks but gives the lego different loops and curves. This brings out the question of what do we do within a society with no clear answers? and with too many choices?

With Love 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Purple Heart

African Spir (2011)

Timothy Taylor Gallery

In the middle of the exclusive Mayfair area The Timothy Taylor Gallery is showing Josephine Meckseper critique of consumerism. The parody of this hits me sometimes but at the same time I am glad this is happening. The posh galleries are still taking a stand with political and interest conflicting themes. Please, must this never end.
Josephine Meckseper was born in Germany but most of her art is directly associated with the American Culture where she lives now (New York). She brings up the hunger for instant gratification and the throw-away culture that we are living in.

African Spir (Above);
"Meckseper references Hitchcock's classic of American Gothic, The Birds, to articulate American cultural imperialism played out through Hollywood's grip on cultural production. Meckseper posits the actress Tippi Hedren as a signature icon of American cold war propaganda in filmmaking. The whole cabinet is suffused with a sense of threat and acts as a modern sarcophagus; a totem decorated with contemporary cultural relics..." Timothy Taylor Gallery

Untitled (Angel), 2010
Chrome paint on acrylic resin, metal stand, acrylic on canvas, and glass dome on pedestal

Lexus Sculpture, 2010
Car headlight, disco ball, owl keychain, flag pin, belt buckle, chains on chrome stand.

Inspired by Rauschenberg and Johns. She uses recognizable objects to illustrates her point. She especially brings to light artifacts that make you reflect on the catastrophic American car industry.

Purple Heart, 2011
Mannequin leg in purple hosiery, and glass dome on pedestal

Emirates Palace, 2011
Acrylic and mixed media on canvas; plastic emblem on metal stand; mannequin leg, stocking; metal stand; rabbit fur; glass crystal; digital ink-jet print mounted on acrylic in steel and glass vitirine with fluorescent lights and acrylic sheeting.

'6' , 2011
Acrylic and mixed media on canvas; chrome arm; metal mesh with plaster, molding paste, acrylic, and paper on metal stand in steel and glass vitrine with fluorescent light and acrylic sheeting.

'SS22', 2011
Metal fixtures, chains; glass and metal jewelry; fur tail; aluminium can; acrylic sign and mixed media on canvases; glass crystals on acrylic mirrored MDF slatwall.

The Analysis of wealth, 2011
Mixed media and acrylic on canvas; metal fixtures; feather duster; glass crystal on acrylic mirrored MDF slatwall with aluminium edging.

Title from Foucalt's "The Order of Things" (Book about classical systems of knowledge, an archeology of the sciences.) Here applied to an archeology of our time in terms of politics and consumer society.

'Jaguar' 2010
Mixed media and acrylic on canvases; metal fixtures; chain; pipe; hosiery; sunglasses; acrylic fixtures; fur tail; on acrylic mirrored MDF slatwall with aluminum edging.

'Less' , 2010
Inkjet prink on Canvass.

The newspaper writings lately about the doomed 7 billion people we will turn into, makes me think that dealing with the urge for consumption will have to change and that Josephine Meckseper is right on target.

With Love;

Thursday, October 20, 2011

With Circular Force

Maria Nepomuceno

Maria Nepmuceno is the artist from last week that my thoughts are lingering at. After seeing her work at Phillips de Pury for the Bianca Jagger Humanitarian Auction, I also found her at Frieze. At Frieze she was represented by the Brazilian Gallery; A Gentil Carioca, who kindly gave me a disk with images of her work that I now over a good warm cup of coffee, has been gazing at. The more I see her work the more I fall in love with it. It is feminine, it has mystery, it is strong, it has a life of its own.

 Superflux 2
2007, sewed ropes, 190 x 310 cm
© courtesy of the Artist and Galerie Karsten Greve

Untitled, 2011
(from the Bianca Jagger, Human Rights Auction at Phillips de Pury)

"The House Where I was Born"
Photograph, 2008
©Maria Nepomuceno

Force, 2011
©Victoria Miro Gallery

Sara Tremlett (Victoria Miro) descripes her work beautifully;

Nepomuceno has taken the stuff of everyday existence - straw, rope and beads - all
registering subliminally in the viewer's mind with the traditional craft-making of her native
Brazil, dipped them in carnival colours and married their materiality literally with a cosmic
spin. Apparently, the spiral shape she repeatedly returns to occurs naturally throughout the
universe - from DNA to immense galaxies. Without any sense of indulgence these coiled
love letters to a planetary pulse, are shockingly different - they simply exist as works in
themselves - disarming the viewer with an unashamed lack of conceptual dystopia or
problematic subjectivity. The artist has let her imagination and these bounteous
entomological forms run riot - apparently giving only a fleeting acknowledgement of
gravity - spreading and spilling across the walls and floors in hammock- like poses or
constellationary groups.

©Victoria Miro Gallery, 2010

©Victoria Miro Gallery, 2010

As in a cyclonic storm of colors I am pulled into the inviting world of Maria Nepomuceno.
Hope you are enjoying it too!

With Love

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Rider on the White Horse

Der Schimmelreiter, 
2007, oil on canvas

Ruprecht von Kaufmann
Aquator 2
Uzyiel Family Collection

Last week we were invited to a vernissage of Ruprecht Von Kaufmann's work at the home of Freda and Isaac Uziyel.  Freda and Isaac have recently built a subterranean private gallery that leads to a sculpture garden, close to the gorgeous Hampstead Heath. A perfect place to present their immaculate taste in Art. With great enthusiasm Freda introduces us to her collection and leads us to the basement were we meet the man the evening is tributed to, Ruprecht Von Kaufmann. 

It did not take long before we realized we had lived quite close to each other some years ago. I in Pasadena, Ruprecht in Arcadia while studying at the Art and design center in Pasadena, California.
Ruprecht went on living in America after his studies and moved to New York (Williamsburg) for a few years, before moving back to Germany. Ruprecht was born in Munich in 1974, but now he lives and works in Berlin.

After Freda discovered Ruprecht she aquired the top painting called "Der Schimmelreiter" (The Rider on the White Horse). "Der Schimmelreiter" is based on a novella that Ruprecht grew up with, he says. It was written by the German writer Theodor Storm. A story about a man who was in charge of the dykes, very good at what he does, has bright new ideas but does not have the talent to communicate it. When the flood comes it destroys the dykes and he goes down with them. The story represents in Ruprechts view a tale of how one man cannot do it all alone.

Von der unmoglichkeit ein Portrait zu malen

Lately Ruprecht's work has been evolving quite a lot, he has been testing how far he can go with the combination of sculpture and painting. The pieces are sort of emitting out towards you so it leaves the one dimensional to become more interactive. As Ruprecht says:

"There ends up being a struggle between the individuals and the Artwork. You will need to change your position to get a straight view. The opinion you have formed will change depending on where you stand."

At the beginning of this transformation from the one dimensional to the more sculptural was the "Von der unmoglichkeit ein Portrait zu malen". Ruprecht had just been asked to be part of a portrait exhibition, and being a bit intimidated by the fact that he is not a portrait painter, a figurative painter, yes, but rather a representative of the more anti-portraitists. The result he came up with was this piece, where the individidual is looking at himself in the mirror but by only seeing his body posture reflected you are left with having to interpret the rest yourselves. On the felt behind the painting one can see steps as part of a house, which makes you think more about the complexity of the human. If you could see the face would you have understood the person better? perhaps not.

(Insert) Von der unmoglichkeit ein Portrait zu malen

Das also ist...
2010,  Acrylic on felt

In these last three pieces you can view the complete conversion and a signature Ruprecht Von Kaufmann work of today. Here he is accomplishing a great technique with using acrylic on felt.
The result seems well thought through and proficient.

2010, Acrylic on felt

You still cannot see the expressions of the characters illustrated but you do feel that you know them. The passive guy watching TV as in a safe distance to what is going on elsewhere in the world.

Der Tag an dem der Osterhase eschossen wurde
2010, Acrylic on Felt

Ruprecht von Kaufmann

Next month Ruprecht von Kaufmann will be holding a soloshow called "Old House" at Galerie Rupert Pfab in Dusseldorf.

With Love

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Frieze 2011

Elmgreen & Dragset
The Fruit of Knowledge, 2011
Books, metal stand, bronze, silicon, buffalo hair
Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, © The Artist

London 2011

It is London's ART week of the year and it has been packed with events from Philips de Pury's, The Saatchi Gallery & Channel 4's "The Future can wait". To the rather rock concert looking opening of the largest European commercial art space, The White Cube in Bermondsey. 

Yesterday was the private view opening of the Frieze in Regents Park, followed by the happening Vanity Fair party at Christie's.

The word is out that what is being shown at Frieze this year is carefully selected, the quality is high and quite many unfamiliar names are being shown together with the usual money hit makers.
Barnaby Hosking
Thoughts (Butterflies) 10, 2011
brass butterfly sculpture installation; 12 pieces
various dimensions
Max Wigram Gallery

The simple effects of these brass butterfly wings and their shadows, made me once again stop at a Barnaby Hosking piece (another piece by the same artist is being auctioned by Phillips de Pury this week) . A young artist that is quickly turning into a familiar name.

Nothing Disappears Only Our Amnesia Arises, 2004
Mixed media: wood, aluminium and birds
Max Wigram Gallery

Perhaps not the best image of the lively birdcage sculpture, but fascinating it is. Anything caged often has a cringing effect, but at the same time being caged these days could actually mean survival. 

Franz West

Late last night when I was on my way home from the Vanity Fair Party, I was reading a post by Artinfo saying that the sale at the Frieze was sparse... That post might have been written too soon. Yes, there was perhaps no buying frenzy but a lot of the good pieces was taken quite quickly. 
What I did see related to recession was perhaps the use of phallic symbols, and that could possibly be seen as a reaction to men's vulnerability when jobs are sparse? Funny enough bananas was a repeat object as well. This large sculpture by Franz West was sold quite early... 

Paul McCarthy (b.1945)
Steven and the Big Leg, 2008
oil clay, fiberglass, polyurethane foam, resin, wood, steel, bucket.
Hauser & Wirth

Martha Friedman
Cucumber, 2003, 2011
Plexiglass, polyurethane, paint, steel
Wallspace (N.Y.)

The rather long... cucumber piece is quite amusing. Here with the Wallspace gallerists and Art consultant Pier Vegner Tosta. 

A piece that was creating quite a buzz at the fair was the sale of a luxury yacht by the artist Christian Jankowski. It is offered for £60m as a yacht and £75m as an art piece authenticated by the artist. Is this a prank? A gut hitting over the top stunt to show the world how some can throw their money where their appetite lays? I am going to believe that, until I see if it will be sold or not.

Henrik Olesen
Gallery Daniel Bucholz (Berlin, Cologne)

Tacita Dean
Blackboard paint, fibre-based print mounted on paper
Frith Street Gallery

The world is watching Tacita Dean these days, especially with her film addition to the Unilever series at the Tate Modern. She won the Hugo Boss prize in 2006 which is one of my favorite prizes. How I miss the exhibits that the Guggenheim was throwing for the nominated years ago in Soho. Now the space has turned into the infamous Prada store and the Hugo Boss prize is only presenting the winner.

Elmgreen & Dragset
Steel, wood, dummy in latex, shoes, blackboard, jewels
Untitled (unique), 2011

I am turning into a great fan of the Elmgreen & Dragset duo (Norwegian and Danish). They continue to amuse and surprise and at the same time bringing serious issues to the forefront.

Ken Okiishi
Alex Zachary (New York)

Alex Zachary's booth was filled with these swinging Zebra umbrellas.

Grayson Perry
Map of Truths and Beliefs, 2011
Wool and cotton tapestry woven by Flanders Tapestries from files prepared at Factum Arte
Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, © The Artist

Grayson Perry's tapestry was were my heart went at this fair, I could look at this for hours. It is exquisite and thought provoking. The piece made me look forward to viewing his exhibit "The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman" that is currently at the British Museum (it opened the 6th of October and runs until 19th of February (2012).

With Love

Monday, October 10, 2011

Phillips de Pury - Fall Auction 2011

Barnaby Furnas
Flood (Red Sea), 2006
Sold £169,250

Phillips de Pury
October 12th - 13th
Contemporary Art Auction

This weekend has been colored by Phillips de Pury's presentation of what will be auctioned at the evening sale the 12th and the day show the 13th of October. I ended up going to both the preview night on Thursday and the brunch Sunday. It was a rather calm atmosphere at both days, with enjoyable conversations and bubbly drinks.
Bellow are some of the highlights. Later this week I will add what each piece actually sold for, but here are the estimated sale prizes.

Andreas Gursky, 
Copan, 2002
Sold £ 217,500

Tim Noble & Sue Webster
Toxic Schizophrenia, 1997
£180,000 - 250,000

George Condo 
Cave Painting (2008) (Insert)
£300,000 - 500,000

George Condo is represented with 5 works at this Auction, the New Yorker is known for his dark and humorous portraits, dripping with madness...

Liu Xiaocheng
Breath (22), 2007
£5,000 - 7,000

In the middle of all the grand colors and statements I really fell for this understated painting. It portrays a protest in a subtle poetic and captivating way.

John Bock
Der Ultimate Rendite Rezipenten Aufbau bei Gleichzeitiger
futterung der modderMachtMasse, (2002)
£25,000 - 30,000

This piece makes you pause because of it's humoristic appeal. After seeing the work by John Bock we began talking about our expectations of seeing more humor being used in the future. Humor in Art as a counter act to the dreadfulness of decline.

Damien Hirst
Observation - The Crown of Justice (2006)
£700,000 - 1,000,000

No major Contemporary Auction without a Damien Hirst.... this piece is quite stunning, looking closely you will notice one of his trademarks - the butterflies.

Cecily Brown
Park, 2004
£400,000 - 600,000
Sold £421,250

Don't pass on a Cecily Brown painting. They are a lot more intricate than what at first is captured by your eyes. Cecily Brown is perhaps one of the greatest paid female painters today, coming from a great knowledge of the History of paintings. Cecily Brown takes her inspiration from Impressionists to Abstract Expressionists, in-between, before and after... the turn she makes can often be seen as quite erotic, just stop and look for a little while.

Johannes Kahrs
Eifer-sucht (Jealousy), 1995
£120,000 - 180,000

John Korner 
Lolland (2004)
£8,000 - 12,000
Sold £12,500

Desiree Dolron
Xterior (Birgitte) (2001)
£40,000 - 50,000
Sold £49,250

Gilbert & George
Heart (2004)
£100,000 - 150,000

Absolutely genius!! The two collaborators has here created a photo with two of their heads, as turned into three, as turned into a scary ghost. It all depends on how you see the image first. I only saw the three faces at first, but when I came back home and glanced at the photos that I had taken, I reacted by saying out loud "Wow" this is spooky. I was glad I could come back to the Sunday brunch and have a second look before it sells, to what I will say is a fortunate future owner.

Christian Ward
Black Hut, 2005
Sold £688

Susanne Kuhn
Kinderzimmer (2006)
Sold £18,750

Robert Motherwell
Frontier No. 12 (1958)
£150,000 - 200,000

Marc Quinn
Red Lantern Cove (2010)
£85,000 - 120,000

Jake and Dinos Chapman
I wanted to say "I've Missed You" (2008)
£40,000 - 60,000

Paula Rego
The Servant (1993-94)
£500,000 - 700,000

Another of the great selling female painters is Paula Rego. Behind her figurative work there is often a story of repression and violence. Here with the pastel painting "The Servant" she is for sure hitting me in the gut as well.

Yang Shaobin
Untitled No.15 (2000)
£ 313, 250

Gunther Uecker
Horse-Children in crisis (1994)
£30,000 - 40,000

Jeff Koons
Seal Walrus Trashcans (2003-09)
£2,000,000 - 3,000,000

Ugo Rondinone
Everything Gets Lighter Everyone is Light, 2004
£120,000 - 180,000

I will end the "walk through" with this lyrical title that Ugo Rondinone gave his spiritual tree;

"Everything Gets Lighter Everyone is Light"

With Love