Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Il Mistero delle Cattedrali

Anselm Kiefer
'Il Mistero delle Cattedrali', South Galleries and 9x9x9, White Cube Bermondsey, London
9 December 2011 - 26 February 2012
© the artist
Photo: Ben Westoby
Courtesy White Cube

Anselm Kiefer
White Cube

When the White Cube opened in Bermondsey last year it felt like a rock concert. At least a thousand people came to line up down the block, and after you finally got into the courtyard it was nearly a stampede to get into the building, I don't even know if everybody made it in. For a Gallery opening that is unheard off, if anyone has beaten that attendance, I would be curious to know. The space is grand comparably to other Galleries it has more of a museum feel to it. The hallway is large and disappointingly unused, we thought it was an installation in the ceiling at first since the lighting is so sharp, the second time I went, it made me get an instant headache (blaming it on the light, which the receptionist said she is getting used to and that it's lesser sharp now...). The artwork at the opening was safe to the extent that it nearly felt a bit monotonous, not what the White Cube is famous for.

The Anselm Kiefer exhibit that is going on right now though, is at another level, it has WOW! Factors written all over it. People either hate it for its dreary depressive messages, or love it for it's extreme grand and thought through masterworks.

Anselm Kiefer
'Il Mistero delle Cattedrali', South Galleries and 9x9x9, White Cube Bermondsey, London
9 December 2011 - 26 February 2012
© the artist
Photo: Ben Westoby
Courtesy White Cube

Anselm Kiefer, is a perfectionist, he can't help but digging deeper into what he already has been developing. Maybe he is now expecting too much from his viewer, can we really catch all his messages? But, why should we? Isn't it the exciting part to keep learning and discovering?

The work is immense, I am thinking it might even have been made specifically for the White Cube Bermondsey space, or it might have already be commissioned for somewhere else after, since all his work is wait listed. The large image above is based on Tempelhof Airport in Berlin that closed down in 2008, a city airport that will be greatly missed (at least by me).

"The title of the exhibition is taken from the esoteric publication by Fulcanelli (published in 1926), which claimed that the Gothic cathedrals of Europe had openly displayed the hidden code of alchemy for over 700 years. As with all Kiefer's work, allusions are never literal but reflect an ongoing interest in systems - mystical and material - which have evolved over centuries. Both title and exhibition reflect Kiefer's longtime fascination with the transformative nature of alchemy: "The ideology of alchemy is the hastening of time, as in the lead-silver-gold-cycle which needed only time in order to transform lead into gold. In the past the alchemist sped up this process with magical means. That was called magic. As an artist I don't do anything differently. I only accelerate the transformation that is already present in things. That is magic, as I understand it." 
        - White Cube

Anselm Kiefer
Lead, steel, rubber, copper piping, plaster, resin, acrylic, salt, pewter and oil paint
49 3/16 x 122 1/16 x 27 15/16 in. (125 x 310 x 71 cm)
© the artist
Photo: Ben Westoby
Courtesy White Cube

"You have to find a golden path between controlling and not controlling, between order and chaos, if there is too much order, it is dead; if there is too much chaos, it doesn't cohere. I'm continually negotiating a path between these two extremes."
      -Anselm Kiefer to White Cube

He is succeeding beyond limits... a contemporary alchemist, best exhibit of the year, so far.

With Love

Friday, January 27, 2012


Schirn Kunsthalle

A quick post before the weekend about the artist ERRO. Earlier this month we had a layover in Frankfurt caused by a storm in London, we therefore had a chance the next morning to cruise into Frankfurt City for an early breakfast and a visit to the Schirn Kunsthalle before our flight took off. All three exhibits they were showing at the time at the Schirn Kunsthalle were quite strong and thought provoking, from Kienholz to the Islandic Gabriela Fridriksdottir, Erro was the lightest one by far. Erro also an Islandic artist is both humoristic and political, with his large and colorful canvases he portrays popular elements in a collagious way. Erro is part of a "Figuration Narrative" group in paris, as their response to pop-art, he says you will only need 3 minutes to view a pop-art painting but a figuraton narrative you will need 17 minutes.
Erro (Gudmundur Gudmundsson) was born in 1932 on the north-western part of Iceland and there is a museum dedicated to him in Reykjavik, but the artist live and work in Paris now.

"I paint because painting is a private Utopia"
     - Erro

The progressive museum, Schirn Kunsthalle, will in February open a Yoko Ono solo exhibit to celebrate her 80th birthday. Whatever you mean about her, you just have to admire her for her groundbreaking ideas, for her work for peace and for staying true to herself! 

With Weekend Love

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Andre Butzer
Untitled, 2007

New Art From Germany
Saatchi Gallery

As long as you can manage to rush through the first room of the Saatchi Exhibit "Gesamtkunstverk" which I found quite dreary, you will be good. Each artist's work has been given great open space to breathe its own life. Although I think the title of the exhibit sounds a bit "dated" the work is all from the the last 10 years. We bought the Saatchi book "Germania" a few years ago (my husband is German after all), and most of the artists in the book are represented here, but it is always a lot more amusing to see the pieces in real.
Unfortunately, though I am only able to do what the book did for me, to show images. But here at least you can be given a little glimpse of what the German Artists (or artists living in Germany) are up to these days:

Andre Butzer
Ahnenbild 2411, 2006

Andre Butzer with Street Art meets murals, meets Abstract Expressionism.

Andre Butzer
Untitled, 2007

Isa Genzken
Mutter mit kind, 2004
Kinder filtern I, 2005

"There is nothing worse in art than, "You see it and you know it"... That's a certainty I don't like."
             -Isa Genzken (Saatchi)

Isa Genzken
Bouquet, 2004

Gert & Uwe Tobias
Untitled, 2009

Gert & Uwe are twin brothers and was born in Brasov, Romania, but live now in Cologne.
Their flimsical, metric, folkloric, and fun canvases definitely helps bringing joy into your life (even though there are dashes of morbidity).

Gert & Uwe Tobias
Untitled, 2007

Ida Ekblad
Loop, 2010
Dusty Dry On The Tongue Swallowed Some, 2010

Ida Ekblad was born in Oslo (Norway), but she live and work both in Berlin and Oslo.

"Painting to me combines expressions of rhythm, poetry, scent, emotion... It offers ways to articulate the spaces between words, and I cannot be concerned with its death, when working at it makes me feel so alive. - Ida Ekblad (Saatchi)

Ida Ekblad
Organ Invention, 2010

Alexandra Bircken
Drape, 2007

Julia Koether 
Leibhaftige Malerei, 2007

Insert - Leibhaftige Malerei

Alexandra Bircken
Unit 1, 2008

Georg Herold
Untitled, 2010

These sculptures are quite breathtaking but are they reclining or are they being pulled?

Georg Herold
Untitled, 2011

Thomas Zipp
Schwarze Ballons, 2005

Thomas Zipp
World Kantzler Office, 2004

Max Frisinger
Noah's Ark (CocoRoasie), 2010
(Front) Thomas Kiesewetter

I have a little bit of news today as well, I put an offer in for a lease on a Gallery space. Nearly holding my breath while I am waiting for an answer:) Wish me luck!!!

With Love

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Power of the Medium

Gabriel Dawe
Plexus no. 11, 2011, Thread installation
Sponsored by Guttermann

Material Matters:
The Power of the Medium
Courtauld Institute

The Courtauld institute of Art's tent biannual contemporary art exhibition opened on Friday and I am bobbling over with superlatives. The exhibit was fresh, fun, magnetic and diverse.
The happening was at the East wing x of the Courtauld Institute of art (Somerset House) that after what I understand usually contain offices. Here rooms, corridors, stairs, and ceilings had been used well, which reminded me a bit of PS1 in New York and my love for that museum's use of space.
Everywhere you turned something new appeared, artists, curators and gallerist's were mingling around with the viewers, the atmosphere relaxed, happy and felt quite a bit like a home party.

Emi Miyashita
Welcome into my home

What more suitable then than Emi Miyashita's fantastic corridor "Welcome into my home".
It created a great buzz and a full stop, because you had to use some time to discover her delightful sexual "fairyland" surprises. The tiny drawings were accompanied with magnifying glasses, so you would not miss the micro details.

Emi Miyashita

Georgia Russell
Physiology, 2011, cut book
Courtesy of England & Co.

In the library the subject was "Creation of identity". I especially adored the Julie Cockburn's intricate and historical photography cutouts.

Julie Cockburn
Every Man, 2010, 3D collage
Courtesy of the artist and Stark Projects.

Simon Monk
Leisure Bag 2011
oil and alkyd on wood panel
Courtesy of the artist and Stark Projects

In the Cafe the subject was "The viewer as the Medium". You really did have to be part of these works to understand the aspect of it. Like the Erik Sanner painting with the video installation, I didn't "get it" before the artist himself showed me by blocking the projector that it was a painting behind it... and that of course made it a lot more "attractive" to me. I am obsessed with revelations.

Patrick Hughes
A couple of Canals, 2011
paper and paint on board
Courtesy of the Artist

Side view of "A Couple of Canals)

Erik Sanner
Videoing and painting a landscape containing an inverted orange traffic cone which is impaling
an asphalt pedestrian/bike path, 
2011, oil on canvas with original software and video projection
Courtesy of the artist

The painting behind the Erik Sanner Video.

Meekyoung Shin
Ghost Series, 2011, soap
Courtesy of the artist

 This soap sculpture series I wrote about last year when The Haunch of Venison had a Meekyoung Shin solo exhibit.

Laura Keeble
2012, Ovservane, reclaimed stained glass and mixed media.
Courtesy of the artist and Stark projects

Another great piece by Laura Keeble that last year was part of the group show "Superbrand".
The piece was in Room I:"Immaterial made Material", together with Mat Chivers and Damien Hirst.

Mat Chivers
Illuminati, 2011, chemical etched and pigmented stainless steel, 
with aluminium frame
Courtesy of the artist 

Rupert Shrive
The Sleep of Reason, 2011 
acrylic on brown paper, resin and bamboo.
Courtesy of the artist and Agent Morton

At the corridor II, Rupert Shrive's exciting work was hanging from the ceiling and along the wall by a staircase corridor, with the title "The Sleep of Reason" referring to the work of Goya with the same title.

Insert of "The sleep of reason"

Rebecca Stevenson
LuxeVert, 2008, polyester resin anq wax
Courtesy of the artist

I had earlier that day been taking photos of Swans at the Richmond Park and that sort of became a fun subject, that then led me to the sweet artist Rebecca, who is standing next to her beautiful flowery swan.

Emma Bennett
Always is Always Now, 2010
oil and french enamel on canvas,
Courtesy of Charlie Smith, London

Emma Bennett is here doing a twist on the traditional paintings in Room III: "Reinterpretation".

Rachel Whiteread
Yellow Edge, 2008
Private Collection, Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery

In Corridor V: Anniversary, is a piece by the acclaimed Rachel Whiteread, representing some sort of timelessness. 

Marco Querin
7 Seconds, 2010
wool, nails, mixed media on canvas
Courtesy of the artist and Stark Projects

Heringa/Van Kalsbeek
untitled 2010-11, ceramics, resin, steel, cloth, porcelain
Courtesy of the artist and Vegas Gallery
(The Artist together with Pier Vegner Tosta)

Heringa/Van Kalsbeek
untitled 2010-11, ceramics, resin, steel, cloth, porcelain
Courtesy of the artist and Vegas Gallery

Ending it with abstract sculpture work by Heringa/Van Kasbeek, but I could have gone on for a long time... there were more rooms and an exciting foyer that also should have been documented.
But for now I hope this will give you a great taste of what "Material Matters" had to offer.

With Love

Thursday, January 19, 2012

London Art Fair 2012

Susan MacMurray
Animus, 2011
agnew's Gallery

Preview evening 2012

One could feel the excitement when one walked into the London Art Fair preview on Tuesday night.
But, as soon as the champagne was gone, the drop of enthusiasm lowered quite dramatically and I could hear desperate moans "Where is the booze?" or see people eyeing longingly at the ones who still had a glass with bobbles in it.
But, the London Art Fair shouldn't be about getting a glass of wine or not, a pity then that there was nothing one could buy either. More signs of a dooming recession?

The Business design Center is a great building for the Art Fair, first of all it's London's first Carbon Neutral venue. But, originally it was built in 1861 as The Agricultural Hall with an amazing barrel vaulted roof. There were about 100 galleries exhibiting in this fair, that is on its 24th year.

Some of the highlights are bellow:

Susan MacMurry
After Flock, 2011
agnew's Gallery

Damien Hirst
Death or Glory Hazy Gold/ Europen Gold Glorious Skull 2011

Biggs + Collings
The Toil of our Hands, 2011
Vigo Gallery

Chris Offili
Untitled, Yellow 1997
Crane Kalman Gallery

Jonathan Huxley
Flight, 2010
Crane Kalman Gallery

Me and Jonathan Huxley

Talking to Jonathan about his art work we discovered something funny, earlier this month I got stranded in Frankfurt overnight since the flight back to London got cancelled. Having to stay at the Sheraton I could not overlook the immense painting at their entrance looking very similar to Huxley's work. I therefore asked Jonathan if by any chance he had been commissioned to do a painting at the Sheraton in Frankfurt, and bingo it was him:)

Veronica Bailey
Dementer (Goddess of agriculture, nature and the seasons)

Helen Sear
Sightlines, 2011

Jeffrey Blondes
Real time high definition film 52 hour loops, edition of & 7

Lars Elling
Vigo Gallery

Karen Nicol
Thread Bear
Rebecca Hossack Gallery

Mike Speller
Buy 1 get 10 free, Aug 2011
Woolf Gallery

Ackroyd & Harvey
Shoal, 2011
Sea bream skeleton, alum crystals, perspex case

The exciting part of this piece is how after the fish bone has been placed in a hot chemical solution and it cools down the crystals form and attach themselves to the bone.

Juz Kitson
Sacred Milk or Mother
Comodaa Gallery

"I have an interest in ever so slightly repulsing the viewer at first experience. They are unsettled. This uneasiness then turns into wonder and in a later stage, fascination."
       - Juz Kitson

Fertility I
Ink, resin and oil on paper

Tamzin Plummer
Proprioception (series)

Tamzin Plummer is one of the 40 Artists that has been picked for the Caitlin Guide this year.
A guide that profiles the most talented recent graduates from UK art Schools.

Nancy Fouts
The other wall Gallery

This last piece was not shown at the fair, but a Galerist from the Other Wall Gallery introduced me to it and it gave me a kick. What a timely piece, humorous and horrifying at the same time.

With Love