Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The World is still big!

Clearing, 2011
Constructed mixed media on C-type photograph
©Alex Hartley, Victoria Miro Gallery

Alex Hartley
Victoria Miro
22. Nov. - 21 Jan. 2012

The problem about going to an opening at the Victoria Miro is that you don't want to leave. Hanging out at the combined Parasol Unit and Victoria Miro back garden in front of the pond is social, comfortable and fun. We tried to get to the Lisson gallery after, but we barely managed to sneak in for a minute and only catch a glimpse of the great light works of Daniel Buren before they closed their doors. 

In the middle of the gallery stands Victoria Miro herself, orchestrating the event calmly, and talking to Grayson Perry (dressed in casual black this time). Picked as one of ArtReviews 100 most powerful people in the Art industry, she certainly looks like it too. 

I can't possibly give Alex Hartley the credit he deserves by showing the photos from the exhibit, there are just so much more to them that you will need to see in person. When you look at these photos you see a flat image, well it's not. Every single image has been rebuilt to show a place of seclusion, a sanctuary. All of the "Sanctuary" details are architectural models that are put on top of the photos or engraved into the the photos, like small caves. With "Waiting for daylight to End" as an example you have here a small hut built by wood.

Waiting for daylight to End
(Kacynski's cabin), 2011
Constructed mixed media on C-type photograph
©Alex Hartley, Victoria Miro Gallery

""...Alex Hartley's most recent culmination of his on-going investigation into dystopian architecture, secular habitation and the construction of sanctuary as an inherent drive to form refuge from the world. Hartley returns to his previous lines of investigation; community, belonging and isolation, and counter culture versus establishment, however with a clear and decisive shift in presentation and form."
- Victoria Miro Gallery

Uniglory, 2011
Constructed mixed media on C-type photograph
©Alex Hartley, Victoria Miro Gallery

These days can't last forever, 2011
Constructed mixed media on C-type photograph
©Alex Hartley, Victoria Miro Gallery

This image is taken in Joshua Tree, does it seem habitual to you? Alex Hartley shows us a way of inhabiting the un-habitable, or is it the other way around? You are given the opportunity to make up your own interpretation.
What strikes me is that he is giving nature a new level of survival or should I say destitution. Is there a future in using these desolated parts of the world for the people? Deep inside of me I feel great horror at the thought of all land being inhabited.

Dropper, 2011

Alex Hartley will be living in his version of a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome, situated on the terrace by the pond during the exhibit. (the eco - dome was very popular among the hippies in the 60's in Drop City Colorado, therefore probably the fitting name Dropper).
Here Alex Hartley, will have his own little sanctuary in the middle of London.

With Sanctuary Love

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Philosopher's Stone

Tail light by Stuart Haygarth

Gallery Libby Sellers
Grandmateria II

When I first met Libby Sellers we had a spring lunch in the gorgeous courtyard at the V&A with our common friend Helen Evenden. Libby was talking then about opening her own Gallery and in September it became a reality. Located right in-between Art Galleries and Design stores on Berner Street in London she could not find a better location for her stunning functional Art pieces.
Since 2007 she had been doing pop-up galleries, and it was time to stay put in one location.
The first pop-up Gallery was called Grandmateria, so it was only natural to make the Gallery begin with a symbolical Grandameteria II.

The title alludes to the mythologies of the Philosopher’s Stone: a stone said to have alchemist powers to transmute lead into gold. By working with modest materials, using materials out of context, or by layering the materials with rich narrative each of the represented designers elevate the ordinary to extraordinary effect. - Libby Sellers

BrickGlass by Fabien Cappello (2010)
Photography: Gideon Hart
© gallery libby sellers

Christmas tree project by Fabien Cappello
Photography: Gideon Hart
© gallery libby sellers

These Christmas tree tables, were initiated by both Libby and the artist Fabien Cappello, to change discarded Christmas trees into tables and stools and have part of the profit go to the Woodland Trust. An estimated 976, 000 Christmas trees will be discarded this year, so why not make something useful out of them?

Geno Chair by Simon Hasan
Photography: Gideon Hart
© gallery libby sellers

These boiled "Geno" leather stools are quite a fantastic and interesting minimalist concept. 

Sliplamp by Nicolas Le Moigne
Photography: Nicolas Le Moigne
© gallery libby sellers

This limited edition table lamp is made out of eternit, a fibre cement that is commonly used for construction. Remarkably, when you touch it, it feels soft and smooth.

colony - asmara' by formafantasma for gallery libby sellers
photo by luisa zanzani
© gallery libby sellers

Italian born, Eindhoven-based designers Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi is behind the exciting Formafantasma pieces, focusing on current and historical flow of people between North Africa and Italy (especially Sicily). The mohair blankets looks a bit like oversized stamps, showing the marks each cultures have established with each other. Like here the old Fiat factory in Eritrea.

Libby in front of Nina Tolstrup's paletable (2010)

This table and chairs are constructed out of reclaimed wood taken from unused pallets.
(Nina Tolstrup has made off cut animals casted in Crystacal plaster for a limited edition sale at Phillips de Pury's gallery the 1st of December.)

Excited about what Libby comes up with next I am looking forward to checking out her next opening in the middle of December. Find more info about Libby Sellers Gallery here.

With Love 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm a wild animal you can't tame me!

My body is a house of glass

Nathalie Djurberg
A world of Glass
Camden Arts Centre

If you are not familiar with London don't go to the Camden Arts Centre without properly checking out how to get there. I learned my lesson, but after the tube, a few helpful people and a couple of busses, I eventually stood in front of the lovely building that was originally built as a library in 1897. From the 60's the building turned into an arts centre supporting some of the most exciting international artists and also offer residency, education and off-site artists projects.

On my virgin trip to Camden I went eagerly to see in person what Nathalie Djurberg is all about. She creates characters out of plasticine puts them in some sort of horror fairy tale and then films it, her partner Hans Berg composes the music. You can't help but gasp at the daring darkness of it all, portraying a brutal sexual and violent relationship between animals and humans. At the same time we are being pushed to think about how painfully helpless we can be, and our secret desires.

"The beguiling beauty of the installation contrasts with scenes of wounded flesh or emotional distress, drawing out the connection between desire and suffering, a theme explored by Bataille when he discussed the transgression of taboos in relation to the sometimes violent drives of sexuality. The dark and foreboding atmosphere of the installation also links Djurberg’s work to the subversive imagination of Goya."   - Camden Arts Centre

Monster: Didn't you know I'm made of butter

In front of the four films that are showing at the Camden Arts Centre, there are these stunning glass sculptures looking like they are made of ice that just began to melt. The sound of clinking glass will never be quite the same.... - Not suitable for children - for sure!!

With Love

Friday, November 18, 2011

Answer Me

Long sorrow, 2005

Anri Sala
Serpentine Gallery

As the Serpentine duo Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton Jones (curators, writers, museum directors...) achieved their 2nd place again in the Art Review Power list this year, they keep bringing forth great shows. The last one I viewed there this summer was Michelangelo Pistoletto´s cardboard labyrinths, this time it is Anri Sala's video's accompanied by live music.

The Albenian Artist Anri Sala has seen it as his mission to represent the social and political changes that his country is going through, his work is dominated by the importance of sound related to images. Next year Anri Sala is having a solo exhibition at the Pompidou Center in Paris. 
Long Sorrow though is filmed in Berlin where he now lives, the jazz musician Jemeel Moondoc performs while suspended outside the window of an empty apartment on the eighteenth floor, of a public housing estate. At first you only view the contours of the musician's head and the tops of skyscrapers, which looks pretty grim. As the film progresses it turns greener and greener until it seems like a park in the middle of the housing estate. It feels like quite a concert treat since another saxophone player in the gallery is playing live a duet with Jemeel Moondoc in the film...

Long Sorrow, 2005

When Long Sorrow ends the saxophone player leads us into the next room where Tlatelco crash is being shown.

Tlatelco clash, 2011

Tlatelco clash, 2011

Tlatelco clash, is filmed in the ruins of the Tlatelcolco site in Mexico City, where different people brings fragments of the same musical score into a barrel organ.

Tlatelco clash, 2011

I interpreted this a bit like we are all given our own personal predetermined musical score and somehow it all links us together in one long song. I was explaining this a little to my husband when I got home saying that I would probably have been given a very dramatic heavy score, but he said no, I think it would be a more happy "Lalalala"... and yes I would hope for that too.  

With the happy and light lalalala I will wish you all a great weekend!!!

With Love

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Tomb of the Unknown craftsmen

Hold Your Beliefs Lightly (2011)

Grayson Perry
The British Museum

It is awkward and fun to see the what Grayson Perry has been allowed to achieve at the British Museum. Inspired by the fact that most of the artefacts of the collection actually comes from tombs and is made by "unknown craftsmen", Grayson Perry has picked pieces that inspires him and then displayed it together with his own contemporary tapestry, sculptures and drawings. With each piece he has picked he gives an explanation of why the particular object is touching to him, and then it is matched with a "Comparable" adaption that he has created. The whole concept together makes it a very enjoyable viewing.

Pilgrimage to the British Museum, 2011

On his pilgrimage to (and through) the British Museum his 50 year old Teddy, Alan Measles is quite prominent. Alan Measles was the dictator of his childhood imaginary world. Notice... he still is as he is represented in most of his work, as some sort of God like creature. 
Grayson Perry has earlier been his bodyguard he says, but now he is a guru and lives in his personal cosmology.

Grayson Perry and Alan Measles aboard AM1on the Nurburgring
motor racing circuit, Germany, 2010

Here Alan Measles travels to meet the world in his personal backseat shrine, like the Pope in his "Popemobile". They went to Germany to make peace!

Grayson Perry is well known for his great costumes;
"One fact that every transvestite has to come to terms with is that a person dressed up in the clothes of the opposite sex is somehow inherently funny. This can be a very difficult aspect of being a cross-dresser and I  feel it has profoundly shaped my own outlook on life. I regard humor as an important and necessary aspect of art." Grayson Perry

Our Mother, 2009

"I am not a historian, I am an artist. That is all you need to know"
- Grayson Perry

Still he brings art history a new perspective. Here is Grayson's version of a pilgrim. How we like to bring back souvenirs from our traveling as tokens of memory. This iron sculpture also has a male (Our Father) counterpart, as Grayson says "They carry the weight of many different cultures and conflicts as well as the domestic and familiar. They are all of us and also from somewhere else."

The Rosetta vase, 2011

Grayson Perry began ceramic lessons in 1983, his pottery now is like a map of our culture today.
Grayson Perry Map Silk scarf (collectible)
(Bought this silk scarf, excited for it to drop in my mailbox)

I wish I could show you the entertaining details of his work... but for that you will have to visit The British Museum. You still have time for the adventure, the exhibit is up until 19th of February 2012, I promise you will see an unrivaled exhibit.

With Love

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vegas Gallery

Vegas Gallery
Suzanne Schurgers

As we sit down to eat octopus and salmon at the Town Hall restaurant in Bethnal Green, I ask Suzanne, "So, how did you get into this?"
"How am I going to get out of this is the question", she answers, and we laugh. Suzanne is funny and quick with her replies. 5 years ago she started Vegas Gallery, it was supposed to be a minor non-commercial project related to her brother's media company MINIVEGAS. Quickly though after three exhibits that started in a basement of an old industrial warehouse in the heart of east London she realized this was going to become a full time project.
Suzanne studied at the prestigious Art Academy: Gerrit Rietveld in Amsterdam, originally with the thought of becoming an artist herself. Instead she represents artists that she admired then. Being inspired by Elke Krystufek's work while being a student and to now have the chance to represent her in a solo exhibit makes the hard work at the Gallery extra rewarding.

Press a key, 2008
Elke Krystufek

Elke Krystufek, was born 1970 in Austria, she works mostly with paper, video and paintings, but also works with Sculptures and performance art.

"As in Krystufek's previous work, she brings a combination of insight and subjectivity to the genre of figurative art. Possessing a humorous and sometime ironic eye Krystufek plays with the viewer and the dynamics of looking at a painting. The texts which are employed in some of her works could be seen as poetry lyrics and musical scores as well as key words addressing subjectivity from a musical angle. The harmony that exists in the works is similar to tonal symphonies and the string theories which is then sent tail-spinning into chaotic dissonance by the over-subjectification the masses apply to more contemporary art." - Vegas

"You", 2011
Elke Krystufek

Me-who would listen to me, 2007
Elke Krystufek

Elke Krystufek, Tracey Emin and Suzanne
at the opening of the Krystufek exhibition

After changing locations three times, Vegas Gallery is now located on Poyser Street under the arches of Cambridge Heath near Bethnal Green. The Gallery is actively participating in fairs from Volta Basel, Art Amsterdam to next weeks Crunch Art and Music festival at Hay (Wales).
Suzanne mentions that one of the key show's for the Gallery was the "Peeping Tom" curated by Keith Coventry. Dealing with the subjects scopophilia and Voyerism. 80 works by artists like Tracey Emin, Tim Nobel & Sue Webster, Gillian Wearing, Mat Collishaw, Gavin Turk and Keith Tyson was brought together to great acclaim among press and visitors.

Vegas Gallery

The next Vegas show will be a group exhibition called "I wish you well" opening Thursday 1st of December. It is co-curated by Anny Baranova, the artwork chosen for the show will be identifying the notions of one's experience and one's emotional state during the stage of the last good-bye.

As someone told Suzanne "The way to love, is to realize that it might be lost."

With Love 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Eyeball Massage

Hayward Gallery
28 September - 8 January 2012

When I ventured through the Pipilotti Rist exhibit last week I was filled with this intense happiness and hope. I felt calm and expectant, life has so much to offer me, how lucky I am!
I laid down on the comfortable pillows that was actually stuffed clothes, put out for the audience as an invitation to "Be my friend" and to relax.
While looking at the sheep jumping in the meadow, I was dreaming about painting my baby room yellow. Could I dare wish for a girl this time I wondered... holding my hand gently over my belly, smiling and enjoying the films. 

Pipilotti Rist was not given this enticing name, she was born Elisabeth Charlotte Rist in June 1962, in Switzerland. Pipilotti was her nickname inspired by Pippi (Astrid Lindgren). Her work is often happy and pretty, mentioned as a feministic artist she deals a great deal with sexuality and gender. 
In one video she talks about how she grew up close to the highway and learning about goodness... then she skips to talk about how we would react if a relationship broke up? How would we answer that and to whom?
And that takes me to where I am today, can I talk about what I am going through and with whom? 


The day after I saw the exhibit I had some sort of "The Help" experience in my bathroom. (like the book and the movie). I said out loud "No", which my cleaning lady heard and came running in to find me crying over spilt blood, holding me and telling me that has happened to her many times as well.

So there I am standing with another loss, and the only thing to do is to open a bottle of champagne with my husband when he comes home (we do that when the world goes us a bit wrong, as well as when we celebrate... well, there is always a reason). Then the next step is to go out drinking with another friend who has had five miscarriages before (but happy now with 3 girls) it makes it "easy" to have some gallows humor about the whole thing. Since this is my 4th time, I know the pain doesn't come at once but more likely the next day so I decide to get drunk... and save the pain for later. The next day I am barely walking but getting to the hospital for my scheduled gyno appointment (how convenient) at the Chelsea Westminster Hospital, where I was met with great kindness and support. This time they took lots of tests to see if they can stop it from happening a 5th time... 

When I walk out of there I can't handle the fact of going home empty handed, so I take the bus to Harvey Nichols and carve myself desperately through the myriad of clothes and find a mustard yellow Marc Jacobs sweater that I find could tame my cravings a little bit... (My intention was tight jeans and stilettos but I was bleeding too much to even try some on). Then I ventured to the bus where I leaned my head on the window (with my Mothers words in my head "Who does such things? Others would go home and lie in bed") until I finally reached my house and could lie down on the sofa with my two boys (they seem like a miracle) crawling all over me to give kisses, understanding that something is not quite right with Mamma.

Today I have been wearing my new mustard yellow sweater to tame my self-indulgence and sadness, lying on the sofa while my body is tearing apart, to get rid of whatever is left. Will I manage to do this to myself again and again? Or should I give up now, be happy for what I already have? I am thinking of the Women that goes through this over and over again without a baby to hold in their arms in the end, what physical and psychological pain to endure. 

A camera showing lips inside a shell

Watching these flowery films that turns into body studies, makes me think how well they describe the female body. It's beauty but also its pain.
Pipilotti experiments a lot with the use of the human body;

"She use small surveillance cameras to roam over the surface of the skin and sends surgical cameras on journeys through the intestines. Extreme close-up shots reveal the ambiguity of wrinkles and folds of flesh. Music reflects the melody of heartbeats and the sounds of fluids moving within our bodies."
Hayward Gallery

Ever is over all

After feeling sorry for myself at first I decided the only thing I can do is to write about it, focus on my guys and a future with Art as a main ingredient. My life is really good after all and the pain will eventually disappear, although when I see a pregnant woman I look at her with a slight tinge of envy.
A devil inside of me wishes that I could run around laughing right now, while I happily smash car windows down a whole block, just like Pipilotti does in the film "Ever is over all".
But, since my world is a bit more controlled I am better off getting myself a calm glass of wine, take a deep breath, look at my guys and give some thanks.

With Love

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Man with a Blue Scarf

Lucian Freud
(8. December 1922 - 20 July 2011)

I wish that I had had a chance to meet Lucian Freud and been able to see his dancing steps while he added paint to the canvas or did his etchings. I am not completely sure if I would have liked to be the one painted...
The process was a long one and then I am not talking about hours, but more like months and perhaps years, and even then he could suddenly find that the painting was not worth completing... After you have sat for Lucian you might then discover the least flattering things about you have been thrown out for the world to discover.

But, still I wonder, how would it have been? Since, I am deeply curious and also in awe of Lucian Freud,  I think I would have rather felt it would have been a tremendous honor to be found interesting enough to be painted by him, and yes, I would have thanked yes!

Martin Gayford describes in this book wonderfully how the process of sitting for Lucian Freud was, and how he turned out to become the "Man with a blue scarf".

Bellow are some extracts from the book:

"... he keeps up a constant dance-like movement, stepping sideways, peering at me intently, measuring with the charcoal. He holds it upright, and with a characteristic motion moves it through an arc, then back to the canvas to put in another stroke."

"LF's taste in plants and landscape are very much like his preferences in human models. He likes them unadorned, as they actually are."

"What I'm most passionate about, much much more than all the rest in my profession - is the portrait, the modern portrait.... I WOULD LIKE, you see I'm far from saying that I can do all this, but anyway I'm aiming at it, I would like to do portraits which would look like apparitions to people a century later. So I don't try to do us by photographic resemblance, but by our passionate expressions." LF

Kate Moss 2002

"...with bad painters all their pictures look like self portraits, except the actual self portraits, because they have given themselves such special regard." LF

"I would wish my portraits to be of the people, not like them. Not having a look of the sitter, being them. I didn't want to get just a likeness like a mimic, but to portray them, like an actor... As far as I am concerned the paint is the person. I want it to work for me just as flesh does." LF

" A painter must see all that has been produced up to now as merely an aid to his own work." LF

"... having arrived her at the age of ten, I still feel like a visitor in the most exciting, romantic place I can imagine. Whenever I think of going somewhere else, I think it's mad when there are parts of London I haven't ever visited." LF

After his painting sessions Lucian Freud would often take his "models" to one of his favorite places to eat. One of these places was the Wolseley. At the day of his death, a single candle and a black table cloth was on his regular table honoring the legendary man!

"When one is doing something to do with quality, even a lifetime doesn't seem enough." LF

If you are a Lucian Freud admirer, this book is a must read.
I tell you, like my friend told me:)

With Love