Italy - Interviews

Mitochondria: Powerhouses, an Interview with Ahmed Mater

2 days ago

“Mitochondria: Powerhouses”, a new show by Ahmed Mater, is currently on view at Galleria Continua in San Gimignano.

A physician turned artist, Ahmed Mater is one of the most significant cultural voices documenting and scrutinizing the realities of contemporary Saudi Arabia and its position and influence in urgent global narratives of faith, environment, socioeconomics and geopolitics.

Elena Scarpa: Your first works such as the Illuminations series and Evolution of Man were strongly influenced by your background as a doctor? Are the new works also still influenced by your previous occupation?

Ahmed Mater: I worked as a community doctor, which meant I had a responsibility for a range of conditions, patients, a need to be observant in many situations. I don’t like to draw too tight a comparison as the professions and their processes are of course vastly different, but I really believe a lot of my outlook was honed through that training and experience. Both of the professions are shaped by the same urge to observe, monitor, analyse and synthesise symptoms and their causes (whether social or physical) – that’s what motivated me then and it’s what motivates me today.

Of course, works like Evolution of Man and Illuminations have medicine folded into them, through the use of x-rays, and their subject matter. But this wasn’t just a case of tentatively experimenting with the materials I had at hand when working as a doctor – I think x-rays are astonishing, for me they’ve always been something more than scientific or medical. Looking at an x-ray of your own chest is a fantastically provocative and unnerving experience. That’s what these works are about in some ways – trying to get at the essence of that feeling. I was trying to resolve tension between different systems of knowledge – between science and religion, the apparently objective and the subjective, between faith and physical realities, or, as in Evolution of Man, the individual and the environment – it’s about a social condition and an individual experience of that. Like so much of my thinking and my work, I am looking at vying systems, the binaries that shape and channel our lives, I think the stark x-ray exposure expresses that visually.

So, I guess it’s a case of preoccupation, not occupation.  Which is to say, instead of viewing my work as being influenced by my time as a doctor, it is probably more accurate to say my way of approaching the world led me first to my profession as a doctor, and then shaped my artistic outlook. My urge is always to gather information and to analyse, to consider the things which shape our current human condition – whether social, physical, faith-based, environmental – it’s a perspective that informs my life and, in turn, the thinking behind all of my work.

ES: The exhibition at Galleria Continua analyses the development of Makkah as a symbol of faith-based economies, why do you think Islam’s Holy City can be a symbol to study new cities around the world?

AM: I’ve spent a lot of time studying, absorbing and documenting Makkah. Relatively, it is experienced by so few, and it buckles under the weight of its own symbolism – it is both a real city and a symbolic city. More than being a symbol to study new cities around the world, Makkah itself exists in the realm of the symbolic, it is a symbol. It is also a prism through which we can consider urban and social concerns of the 21st century.

There is an interesting contrast between what it is to Muslims and how it is perceived by an outsider – there’s a very deep and intense symbolism for both. However, it is a city like any other, with all the same issues of any other urban environment. This intensity makes it a powerful lens through which we can observe the conflation of what I see as systems of power – urbanisation, religion, the commercial – they’re all here, jostling, their clashing is fraught and their vying is literally reshaping the fabric of the place. ‘Desert of Pharan’ in particular maps the tension between public and private space in 21st century urban environments. This is ostensibly motivated by the demands of the hajj, but is also bound with commercial concerns and those of faith economies. I see these as being prevalent the world over. On the one hand, as populations boom, as space becomes a premium, the question of ‘who profits?’ is begged – how can the privitisation of our urban environments be reconciled with sustainable, equitable living? On the other hand, so called ‘faith economies’ wield immense, often unacknowledged, power. A 2016 report found faith to be worth $1.2 trillion annually to the American purse – more than the combined revenues of the 10 biggest tech firms.

In many parts of the world today, I think there’s an assumption made that we are ever-more secularised and that the control religion once exercised has been reduced immeasurably. I think this tide will be reversed in the 21st century – as populations shift, as we become more globalised, the might of ‘religious structures’ (which I view very differently from faith or spirituality) will be felt in our urban environments once more. Makkah is an intensification of these ideas and an important lens through which we can consider what these shifts mean.

ES: Evolution of Man was on display at Standing Rock; do you see any parallelism between the battle to stop the Dakota Pipeline and the impact of the oil industry in Saudi Arabia?

AM: The oil industry is not local. We might like to narrow the environment into localities, into timeframes, but we cannot afford that mentality anymore. The fight of the Sioux Indians in Dakota is both specific and universal; the impact of a crippling addition to oil in the Middle East had and has very specific micro economic and social impacts, but, ultimately the macro effects decimate the whole world. Back in 2010 when I first made Evolution of Man, the chiasmus (the mirroring or criss-crossing seen in the work), was mimicking a destructive cycle that I observed around me – but there was still possibility to read it back and forth, to mutate, to change the narrative. As the Paris accord disintegrates, as lands are scared by pipelines, or as we see the effects play out in the obliteration of people’s homes from India to the Caribbean, my fear is that, very soon, we won’t have the option to shift the narrative, to change the perspective – soon, it may be a one-way road we are all walking down. Whether you’re in North Dakota or in the oil fields of Dhahran, this is not parallelism, this is one story now.

ES: This show, Mitochondria: Powerhouses, was conceived specifically for Galleria Continua’s spaces; how did your collaboration with the gallery start?

AM: The collaboration began with a friendship – Mario has visited Saudi a number of times and we first met there through mutual friends. The relationship with Continua grew when Antony Gormley visited Jeddah in 2014, during 21,39 – we gave a talk together on ‘Sculpture and the Collective Imagination’. It’s a subject that’s really essential to me and my thinking – I believe intensely in the possibilities of art for the public consciousness, the important, productive conversations that can coalesce around works when they are made accessible to a broad audience, when they are able to intervene in an open and clear way for everyone, not just art experts or the “art educated”. Of course, I admire Gormley’s work deeply for its capacity to intensely move a wide audience. It sidesteps the concerning barriers around some art presentation, which can prevent audiences from feeling engaged, as if it isn’t addressed to them. Anyone who encounters his work whether on a beach, on a rooftop in an urban environment, or in a gallery setting is startled and arrested by the encounter, it speaks to them on a level that is pre- or non-academic (though, of course, it is the product of profoundly studied and deep outlook). That talk and meeting really spurred further dialogue between me and Mario; I see the gallery at San Gimignano as a testament to his belief in art presentation beyond the commercial – he is bold, the space itself so unconventional. As soon as he invited me to have an exhibition there, conceptual possibilities opened up for me. I knew I had an opportunity to present work that would not easily exist or be ‘contained’ within a normal white cube space.

Of course, there’s great theatre to the stage in San Gimignano and the work had to play to that, but there are more subtle possibilities too: the multiple levels of the gallery, with the mezzanine and the huge hall, the ability to draw parallels between bodies of work through these unusual sightlines. The procession of the rooms and smaller spaces, how that allows the story of the exhibition to unfurl. It was such a privilege to collaborate with the gallery, and important to me that mutual respect and shared interests lead to a friendship, which in turn helped realised this show.

In terms of its presentation in Italy – faith economies are an important idea in the show, and there are interesting parallels between Italy and Saudi Arabia in that way – to develop my thinking in this area and to present it here, to a public that has something of a shared context in terms of the massive weight of religious history and power, in a gallery as innovative and open to exploration and experimentation as Continua, was amazing.

Elena Scarpa

  • Ahmed Mater, Desert of Pharan - Unofficial Histories behind the Mass Expansion of Makkah, 2011-in progress. Ahmed Mater, Desert of Pharan - Unofficial Histories behind the Mass Expansion of Makkah, 2011-in progress.
  • Ahmed Mater, Desert of Pharan - Unofficial Histories behind the Mass Expansion of Makkah, 2011-in progress. Ahmed Mater, Desert of Pharan - Unofficial Histories behind the Mass Expansion of Makkah, 2011-in progress.
  • Ahmed Mater, Mitochondria: Powerhouses Exhibition view at Galleria Continua / San Gimignano, 2017 Ahmed Mater, Mitochondria: Powerhouses Exhibition view at Galleria Continua / San Gimignano, 2017
  • Ahmed Mater, Magnetism, 2017 Ahmed Mater, Magnetism, 2017
  • Ahmed Mater, Evolution of Man, 2010 Ahmed Mater, Evolution of Man, 2010
Paris - News

My Art Guide Paris Editorial Committee

1 week ago

My Art Guide Paris is a digital issue dedicated to Fiac art fair and the art week in Paris, available online and on iOS app. This edition has been developed thanks to an incredible editorial committee formed by Staffan Ahrenberg (Publisher at Cahiers d’Art), Daria de Beauvais (Curator at Palais de Tokyo) and Guillaume Sultana (Director at Sultana).
The committee has been working to select the best and most interesting art spaces and exhibitions in town.

Staffan Ahrenberg was born in Sweden and grew up in Switzerland. Ahrenberg is the Publisher of Editions Cahiers d’Art, the Paris-based publishing house founded by Christian Zervos in 1926. Cahiers d’Art is one of the world’s most distinguished publishers of the visual arts, working directly with artists and their estates to create a revue, books, limited editions books and prints, and catalogues raisonnés – each of which is a celebration of the artist’s individual character and vision.

Daria de Beauvais is a curator at the Palais de Tokyo. Previously, her experience has included work with institutions (the Biennale and Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice; the Museum of Modern Art and Independent Curators International in New York) and galleries (Zlotowski, Paris; Alessandra Bonomo, Rome; Lili Marleen, New York). She is also a freelance curator. She regularly sits on various juries, and writes for a number of magazines and publications. Amongst her recent exhibitions: Mel O’Callaghan “Dangerous en-the-way”, 2017; Mika Rottenberg, 2016; Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, “acquaalta”, 2015; “Inside”, co-curated with Jean de Loisy and Katell Jaffrès, 2014; Julio Le Parc, 2013. She has worked with the artist Camille Henrot on her Carte Blanche at the Palais de Tokyo opening this October 2017.

Born in South of France, Guillaume Sultana studied in Montpellier and Paris, where he worked for the Collection Lambert en Avignon, but after some time he felt the need to “go up” to Paris. After a quick passage through the old Cosmic gallery (today Bugada & Cargnel), he started and opened a gallery on the rue Saint-Claude bearing the name of the two partners: Baumet-Sultana. But in 2010, Stéphane Baumet retired and Guillaume Sultana founded himself a new gallery in a new space in rue des Arquebusiers, very close to the previous one. This space he occupied until 2014, when he decided to move to Belleville. Belleville has established itself over the years as the area of emerging galleries in Paris. This was done gradually as the Marais was developed around 20 years ago. Sultana was pushed in this decision by the desire to take risk of working closer with young artists and have the satisfaction of seeing them growing along with the gallery.  In 2015 Sultana founded with other three Parisian galleries – Crèvecoeur, High Art, Antoine Levi –, and the Swiss gallery Gregor Staiger, Paris Internationale art fair which this year is celebrating it’s 3rd edition.
Today Sultana Gallery is a member of the Comité Professionnel des Galeries d’Art and Le Grand Belleville.

Carla Ingrasciotta

  • Staffan Ahrenberg, Cahiers d'Art Staffan Ahrenberg, Cahiers d'Art
  • Daria de Beauvais, Palais de Tokyo. Photo by: James Prinz Daria de Beauvais, Palais de Tokyo. Photo by: James Prinz
  • Guillaume Sultana, Paris Internationale Guillaume Sultana, Paris Internationale
  • My Art Guide Paris Editorial Committee My Art Guide Paris Editorial Committee
Paris - Interviews

Camille Henrot Interviewed by Daria de Beauvais

1 week ago

This year, Palais de Tokyo has given “Carte Blanche” to French-born artist Camille Henrot, whose exhibition entitled “Days are Dogs” is opening on October 18, 2017, coinciding with Fiac Art Week. On this occasion, she is guest editor-in-chief of Palais Magazine #26, devoted entirely to her project and including an interview by Daria de Beauvais, curator of the show.

Daria de Beauvais: Can you tell me about the origin of the title you’ve chosen for your carte blanche at the Palais de Tokyo, “Days Are Dogs”?

Camille Henrot: The exhibition deals with problems of everyday life, particularly our relationship to dependency. The title comes from the expression in English for a difficult, tiring day, a “dog day.” I’m interested in the social and political relationships the word “dog connotes in expressions like “a dog’s life,” “dogsbody,”1 “work like a dog,” “underdog” (one of the drawings in the Bad Dad series is directly inspired by this expression). The dog is a familiar sign. It’s a sign of what connects us but also a sign of alienation, difficulty, frustration. Dogs are always hungry… They’re pretty much everywhere. The dog is a banal, repeated index of our own attachment, our own dependency. Dependency gives shape to our lives, like night and day. The dog suffers what comes to him, he gives himself up to fate, a bit like Bloom in Joyce’s Ulysses, who gives himself over to the vagaries of his day with a sort of passivity. The stock character of my exhibition is pretty passive. But this submission is also a kind of freedom. In the end, the submission of the dog is feigned, it’s opportunistic, sometimes affectionate or playful. It can also be a friendly sign of the possibility for adapting to everyday life, to life’s flow. So the title of the exhibition is there underlying an attachment to life, despite its problems or difficulties.

DB: Your project for the carte blanche is divided into seven distinct parts, corresponding to the days of the week. Why this narrative choice?

CH: The week presides over the most personal aspects of a life: the frequency at which you work or rest, at which you meet the needs of social life as well as your own health. The week was a way to approach everything that structures human life: work and sleep, diet, dependencies, religion, e-mails, family, money… As Joyce says in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, it’s a question of “transmuting the daily bread of experience into the radiant body of everliving life.” On top of all this, as an arbitrary narrative structure, the week has taken on a different importance with the spread of social media. Unlike the months, which are based on the lunar cycle, the days of the week are a completely artificial and also colonising structure: first universally applied as the structure of work, then, with the Internet, it gives everyone the feeling of living at the same emotional rhythm… like a horoscope. Most people have forgotten that Monday comes from the moon, Tuesday from Mars, Wednesday from Mercury, Thursday from Jupiter, and Friday from Venus.2 But this mythological content is unconsciously present in the emotions that are attached to these days and it reemerges in the way people label the moments of their life on the internet. What does the hashtag #Monday mean? A state of laziness, a refusal of obligations… Digital culture is creating a relationship to time that, even as it is shared on a much greater scale, is also more subjective. The days of the week no longer evoke the organisation of our duties as much as an introspective diary of our moods. The organisation of the exhibition in this way is also a means to escape the obligations of structure through the apparent submission to an order so arbitrary that it becomes playful. This is how Roland Barthes justified the recourse to alphabetical order for his seminar, Comment vivre ensemble. The more artificial, banal, and well-known the structure, the more freedom can be found in it. It’s a narrative strategy. The narrative of an exhibition shouldn’t be at all imposing on the visitor. It should circulate in a subterranean way, just under the surface, sotto voce. In the work The Pale Fox (2014- 2015), which is placed near the beginning of the exhibition, there is a piling up of principles, creating a sort of hyper-structure. Obeying rules “to the letter” is also a way of disobeying.

DB: You’ve defined the exhibition as a “collection of affects,” but also as a private space. What do you mean by this?

CH: I was interested in making the Palais de Tokyo into a familiar space, creating a space that would be less of a public agora and more of a place where reflexion and intimacy are made possible. My work makes use of emotions, it aims at a quite meditative kind of intro spection or reflection and you need protected environments for that. I rarely make big spectacles, except maybe with my films, but all films are already an interior spectacle, they come at you like in a dream and linger in your memory like an experience, with all the gaps this implies, and the chances you have to remember, to ruminate afterwards on what happened.

Find the all interview on Magazine PALAIS #26.

My Art Guides Editorial Team

  • Camille Henrot, Splendid Isolation, 2015, resin cast with video and telephone components, 14 3/8 x 19 3/8 x 2 1/4 inches (36.5 x 49.2 x 5.7 cm) phone, 35 3/8 x 19 3/8 x 2 1/4 inches (89.9 x 49.2 x 5.7 cm) overall, courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures (New York); kamel mennour (Paris/London); König Galerie (Berlin). © ADAGP, Paris 2017 Camille Henrot, Splendid Isolation, 2015, resin cast with video and telephone components, 14 3/8 x 19 3/8 x 2 1/4 inches (36.5 x 49.2 x 5.7 cm) phone, 35 3/8 x 19 3/8 x 2 1/4 inches (89.9 x 49.2 x 5.7 cm) overall, courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures (New York); kamel mennour (Paris/London); König Galerie (Berlin). © ADAGP, Paris 2017
  • Camille Henrot, Is he cheating, resin cast with video and telephone component, 37 7/8 x 9 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches (96.2 x 24.1 x 8.3 cm), courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures (New York); kamel mennour (Paris/London); König Galerie (Berlin), © ADAGP, Paris 2017. Camille Henrot, Is he cheating, resin cast with video and telephone component, 37 7/8 x 9 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches (96.2 x 24.1 x 8.3 cm), courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures (New York); kamel mennour (Paris/London); König Galerie (Berlin), © ADAGP, Paris 2017.Camille Henrot, Is he cheating, resin cast with video and telephone component, 37 7/8 x 9 1/2 x 3 1/4 inches (96.2 x 24.1 x 8.3 cm), courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures (New York); kamel mennour (Paris/London); König Galerie (Berlin), © ADAGP, Paris 2017.
  • Camille Henrot, vue de l’exposition The Pale Fox, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, 2014-2015, Commandée et produite par Chisenhale Gallery en partenariat avec Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhague; Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche, Paris et Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, photo : Thorsten Arendt, courtesy de l’artiste et de kamel mennour (Paris/Londres) ; König Galerie(Berlin) ; Metro Pictures (New York). © ADAGP, Paris 2017 Camille Henrot, vue de l’exposition The Pale Fox, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, 2014-2015, Commandée et produite par Chisenhale Gallery en partenariat avec Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhague; Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche, Paris et Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, photo : Thorsten Arendt, courtesy de l’artiste et de kamel mennour (Paris/Londres) ; König Galerie(Berlin) ; Metro Pictures (New York). © ADAGP, Paris 2017
Miami - News

The Bass Opens to the Public on October 29, 2017

1 week ago

The Bass opens to the public on October 29, 2017 after a two year renovation process led by architects David Gauld and Arata Isozaki.
The former Bass Museum of Art founded in 1964 by the City of Miami Beach after a donation by residents John and Johanna Bass, now rebranded as The Bass underwent a $12 millions transformation to enhance its visitors’ experience and increase its programmable space of almost 50%: the new museum includes four additional galleries, a museum shop, a café by Thierry Isambert and education facilities.

The contemporary art museum inaugurates with 2 major solo shows by artists Ugo Rondinone and Pascale Martine Tayou, and an extensive display of recent contemporary acquisitions and gifts to the already present permanent collection.
Pascale Marthine Tayou with his show “Beautiful” creates an organic and collaboratively formed presentation of work made in the last decade. “good evening beautiful blue” by Ugo Rondinone is a part of a major multi-institution retrospective comprising works that span three decades of Rondinone’s practice, from the late 1990s to the present.
The fall programme of the Bass will culminate with Mika Rottemberg’s solo show  on view from December 7 through April 30 presenting a selection of work created within the past two years, occupying all galleries comprising the historic building of the museum.
The new Creativity Center curated by Prem Krishnamurthy of Project Projects in New York will host a selection of interactive artworks from both local and international artists called “Round 1: Chroma”, with works from 5 artists who were commissioned site-specific works that chart the overlap between existing functions and new opportunities for both the artists and museum visitors: Moniker, Emmett Moore, Amanda Season Keeley, Katie Stout, Rafael Domenech.

Quoting the Bass’ Executive Director and Chief Curator Silvia Karman Cubiñá, the exhibition programme reflects the museum’s commitment to presenting international contemporary art by established and mid-career artists.

Claudia Malfitano

  • The Bass 2017 The Bass 2017
  • Ugo Rondinone, vocabulary of solitude. Installation view at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist. Ugo Rondinone, vocabulary of solitude. Installation view at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist.
London - Interviews

When Food Turns to Art: an Interview with Jorge Menna Barreto

2 weeks ago

On the occasion of Frieze Week opening, Fundaçao Bienal de Sao Paulo in collaboration with the Serpentine Gallery presented “Restauro” an environmental installation which discusses art and nutrition by the Brazilian artist and researcher Jorge Menna Barreto. The aim is to raise environmental questions and taking the audience into a sensorial experience.

During the day-event the artist developed a program including the tasting of wild edibles as a site-specific food, provoking the reconnection of the human body to the wilderness and the landscape around us.

Carla Ingrasciotta: How was the idea of Restauro born?

Jorge Menna Barreto: It came up during a the research I was doing as a post-doctoral fellow at the State University of Santa Catarina in 2014, when I investigated possible relations between art and agroecology. The concept that united those two areas was site-specificity, which has been in the center of my practice as an artist for more than 20 years now.

C.I.: “Restauro” encourages awareness about how we use our land and the consequences of our choices globally.
What about the event at the Serpentine gallery. What was the reaction of the public?

J.M.B.: “Restauro” is an ongoing research of around 4 years now and it has had different moments when it becomes public. Two of these moments happened at the Serpentine Galleries: one was the public event on the 30th of September, called “Londelion”, which took place at the pavilion; and the other one was Restauro dinner, which was at Zaha Hadid’s restaurant building by the Serpentine Sackler. Both appearances are deeply interconnected, even though they are quite different in terms of format: one was a workshop and the other was more like a dinner party. The one thing that links them is how they address the public, relating food and environment. The idea in both situations is to connect people to land and territory through their digestive systems. In the first case, by eating a plant that grows spontenously in the place we were, Hyde Park; and in the second, by eating produce that is local to London and region. Both suggest food is one of the most important ways to relate to place and landscape. The public in both events was quite receptive to the ideas and to the plant based recipes we served, which was really nice.

C.I.: In a statement you said “Human civilisation has replaced foraging for supermarketing and, with it, has lost its sense of place and belongingness”. Could you tell us more about this concept and how do you translate your perspective on this theme in your art?

J.M.B.: For millions of years we have eaten what grows around us. In that sense, food has also played and important role on how we relate to environment and landscape. The plants we ate responded to the same weather, microbes, soil and conditions in which we lived, thus creating an immediate link between food, land and our bodies. Our intestines may be one of the main interfaces in our relationship to space. If you were to flatten out our guts and all its folds, we would have a surface that is the size of a football field. That is much more than our skin or our lungs together, in terms of area. That attests that our intestines, event though engaged in a relationship which is not visible to our eyes, might “very well be our primary interface with the outside world” (Dr. Michael Greger). Now imagine living in London and eating kiwi that comes from New Zealand. How do our bodies relate to that? What are they able to read? Food is deeply ingrained with information from the soil. It is almost as if that food that travelled so far spoke a different language, or a completelly different alphabet. The feeling of being a foreigner, or displaced, could very well be a result of eating food that was grown elsewhere. On top of that, we can also add the environmental damage of transporting food from so far away. The funny thing is that food that grows sponteneously around us, such as wild edibles, have become invisible and is not even considered food, like dandelions. I don’t consider what I do art, in terms of having an artistic DNA per se. I understand I approach certain issues or aspects of society through art, using concepts and theories that are from the art field. That enables you to approach my work through different areas, such as ecology, nutrition, economy or geography. The plasticity in my work is in the way you look at it. Its artistic catch is in how you read it. I like, for example, to think of Restauro as an environmental sculpture, referencing Beuys social sculpture and Helio Oiticica’s environmental program, artists I feed from when thinking about art in the expanded fiel.

C.I.: Which were the main challenges or difficulties you found in presenting the same project in two different realties like Sao Paulo and London?

J.M.B.: There were some production challenges, but in general we found more similarities than differences in those contexts. First, the food industry is international nowadays, so the problems we have in Brazil concerning the complexity of food and environmental impact is something the English have also been concerned about. One thing that was really nice to look into was British artists who have a strong relationship to landscape: Constable, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Richard Long, Anthony Gormley…these examples show how British art has a strong connection to place, so that also created a fertile ground for me to plant my project. Another interesting thing was how similar we found organic farmers to be in Brazil and in England. The ethical relationship to land is something they share, and from that comes abundance and generosity. It is quite interesting how that made me feel at home when visiting those farms.

C.I.:  Are you working on any upcoming project we could look forward to see?

J.M.B.: My challenge at the moment is to think of how “Restauro” can be translated into a book. There is vast discursive material to be shared, but the formats which we have been using up to now are more experiential, addressed to the body. As “Restauro” sprouted from an academic research, there is also a lot to say in terms of texts and images that have not yet been shown, and I think the format of a book would be ideal to do that. The challenge, though, is to think of a book that not only is a support for our thoughts, but that is an extension of the project, almost like a non-site of Restauro, to quote Robert Smithson.

Carla Ingrasciotta

  • Nash Nursery – Indian Corn, Photo credits: Joelson Bugila Nash Nursery – Indian Corn, Photo credits: Joelson Bugila
  • Dagenham Farm – Bug Hotel. Photo credits: Joelson Bugila Dagenham Farm – Bug Hotel. Photo credits: Joelson Bugila
  • Nash Nursery – Candy Stripe Beetroot. Photo credits: Joelson Bugila Nash Nursery – Candy Stripe Beetroot. Photo credits: Joelson Bugila
  • Dagenham Farm – Schools Greenhouse. Photo credits: Joelson Bugila Dagenham Farm – Schools Greenhouse. Photo credits: Joelson Bugila
  • Home Farm, Nacton – Lentils. Photo credits: Joelson Bugila Home Farm, Nacton – Lentils. Photo credits: Joelson Bugila
News

The Abraaj Group Announces 2018 Winner

2 weeks ago

Lawrence Abu Hamdan (1985 Amman, Jordan/Lebanon) is the recipient of the 2018 Abraaj Group Art Prize, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary at Art Dubai. Lawrence’s winning work, alongside that of shortlisted artists Basma Alsharif, Neil Beloufa and Ali Cherri, will be unveiled at the fair in March.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist working in, quoting his official bio in his website, “audiovisual installations, performances, graphic works, photography, Islamic sermons, cassette tape compositions, potato chip packets, essays, and lectures“. His work “Rubber Coated Steel 2016” won the short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival 2017 and his exhibition “Earshot” at Portikus Frankfurt (2016) was the recipient of the 2016 Nam June Paik Award. Other solo exhibitions include “تقيه (taqiyya)” at Kunsthalle St Gallen (2015), “Tape Echo” (2013) at Beirut in Cairo and Van AbbeMuseum, Eindhoven, “The F2reedom Of Speech Itself” (2012) at Showroom, London, “The Whole Truth (2012) at Casco, Utrecht.

Claudia Malfitano

  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Photo: Courtesy Nam June Paik Foundation Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Photo: Courtesy Nam June Paik Foundation
Turin - Interviews

Drawings Come to Artissima 2017: an Interview with Curators Luís Silva e João Mourão

2 weeks ago

This year Artissima announced the first edition of “Disegni, a brand new section of the fair entirely dedicated to drawings. On this occasion, Carla Ingrasciotta has interviewed Luís Silva and João Mourão, Co-Directors of Kunsthalle Lissabon in Lisbon and Curators of “Disegni”, to discover more about this new part of the fair, the challenges, news and expectations.

Carla Ingrasciotta: You have been appointed to curate “Disegni” a brand new section of Artissima. Which challenges are you facing and what is your aim?

Luís Silva and João Mourão: We think there are two main challenges in curating the first edition of Disegni. The first one is the fact that it is a new section of Artissima. There is no previous understanding of what works and what doesn’t work in terms of a very specific section. Also, there are no terms of comparison, we can’t expand on what was done by previous curators the same way we can’t react against or change the direction of the section. We got a blank slate and we are the ones actually defining the tone of what Disegni is and can be. That, in itself, is very challenging. A second challenge lies at the heart of the section, its theme, if you will: drawing as a medium. As curators we have always been very interested in thinking critically about established categories, and this is a perfect opportunity to do so. We are interested in going beyond the established notion of drawing as a medium and expanding it towards a more discursive or narrative field. What if drawing is a metaphor? What if drawing is a specific way of engaging with the world? That is a huge challenge, thinking how drawing still is a relevant tool for contemporary artistic speculation.

C.I.: Could you tell us about the selection criteria for the international galleries and artists?

L.S. & J. M.: The process of selection was very straightforward. We wanted solo projects, rather than group presentations, so that the section remains sharp and focused. That was our biggest concern, a clear curatorial vision that is self-evident. We wish that what we are trying to do becomes visible without a lot of complicated explanation. There were direct invitations to galleries that represented a specific artist whose practice we thought resonated with what we wanted to do with the section. And there was also a more traditional application procedure, to which galleries could apply with a specific proposal, and from which we also chose those who fit into our concept for the first edition of Disegni.

C.I.: How important is drawing as a practice in contemporary art?

L.S. & J. M.: In our view, drawing is just as important as any other medium in contemporary art. It has its own specificities, its own idiosyncrasies if you will, and that is where it gets interesting. It has always been perceived as a preparatory medium for other, more noble media, such as painting and sculpture, for instance, but it has gone through a tremendous process of self critique and self exploration, expanding it to a medium in its own right, and that’s what we are trying to show: how diverse it can be, how expanded it can be, how much more complex, nuanced, critical and committed to the world it can be, despite its apparent formal simplicity.

C.I.:  How much of Kunsthalle Lissabon are you bringing to curate the drawing section?

L.S. & J. M.:  Kunstalle Lissabon is an institutional project from which we have been thinking about our relation to institutions, both as individuals and a community. It is fundamentally critical, self-reflexive and speculative. It is a non-for profit endeavor in which the artist and the relationship we establish with them takes center stage. A curated section in an international contemporary art fair functions in a very different way and we need to be aware of the context in which we are working if we want to present something meaningful. Despite these two contexts being very different one informs the other, and they are both part of a complex ecosystem. They need each other in order to survive. We think we bring this understanding to the section.

C.I.: How much do you think collectors are attracted by works on paper?

L.S. & J. M.:  We think it depends on the collectors. Longtime, more experienced collectors are probably as attracted to drawing as to other media. The interesting thing, though, and this is why we think Artissima was brilliant in creating this new section, is that drawing is a great way to bring new people into collecting. If an art fair can produce a new generation of collectors (and that is achieved through a drawing section), then it is a successful art fair. We’re happy to be part of that.

C.I.: Finally, how are you spending your free time in Turin? How do you perceive the city art scene?

L.S. & J. M.: At Artissima, of course! We need to set up, make sure galleries and artists are well taken care of and are happy with what they are presenting and how the fair is going. Once that is achieved we want to experience as much as possible of the cultural landscape of the city, which at the distance seems very impressive, with galleries, museums, collections, etc. We’re sure it is going to be packed! And it is truffle season, on top of everything, so that is also on our to do list!

Save the date: Artissima 2017
3 – 5 November 2017
Oval Lingotto Fiere
Giacomo Mattè Trucco 70, Turin

Carla Ingrasciotta

  • Luís Silva and João Mourão Luís Silva and João Mourão
  • Mark Dion, The Misanthropes, 2013. Courtesy In Situ - fabienne leclerc Photo: Raphael Fanelli Mark Dion, The Misanthropes, 2013. Courtesy In Situ - fabienne leclerc Photo: Raphael Fanelli
  • Seb Patane, Jack , 2017. Courtesy Galleria Fonti Napoli Seb Patane, Jack , 2017. Courtesy Galleria Fonti Napoli
Posts

Snapchat is About to Launch an Augmented Reality Art Platform

2 weeks ago

On October 3rd Snapchat announced that it will lauch an augmented reality art platform that will feature artists including Jeff Koons.

According to Buzzfeed, twitter employee Jonah Grant set his computer’s clock to anticipate the date and time of the launch and the site went live on his device.

The site Grant found appeared to display locations where Snapchat users could view what appears to be Jeff Koons artworks in augmented reality, using their phones; there’s also a sign up form for artists interested in working with Snapchat on this feature.

Asked to comment by BuzzFeed News, Snapchat declined.

 

Elena Scarpa

  • The countdown on art.snapchat.com The countdown on art.snapchat.com
  • From Jonah Grant's Twitter From Jonah Grant's Twitter
United Kingdom - News

Anish Kapoor, Zaha Hadid Architects and Sophie Walker Studio Are the Finalists of UK Holocaust Memorial Competition

2 weeks ago

Anish Kapoor, Zaha Hadid Architects and Sophie Walker Studio are named as finalists for the UK Holocaust Memorial Competition.

The competition was launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2016, to honour the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution. The winner will be decided this autumn, 2017.

The artist, architecture firm and landscape designer note:
“The concept of our proposal is based on the understanding that a strong simple gesture has a strong visual and cognitive impact. Our proposal for the Holocaust Memorial sits as a strong singularity – an identifiable image – that allows people to focus on the immensity of the message being conveyed. The Grove of Cypress appropriately stands as a sombre witness to these moments within the park symbolising life, growth and hope in the face of adversity. The Learning Centre sits wholly below ground – a simple and humble receptacle to a rich content. The moral purpose of this project raises it beyond that of an established architectural style. The combination of the singular statement of the memorial and the humility of the Learning Centre creates a strong partnership and defines the architectural quality of the proposal.
Meteorites, mountains and stones are often at the centre of places of reflection, especially in the Jewish tradition. They call on the vastness of nature to be a witness to our humanity. A memorial to the Holocaust must be contemplative and silent, such that it evokes our empathy. It must be a promise to future generations that this terrible chapter in human history can never occur again”.

Carla Ingrasciotta

  • Courtesy of Galleria Continua Courtesy of Galleria Continua
London - News

My Art Guide London Editorial Committee

3 weeks ago

My Art Guide London is a digital issue dedicated to Frieze art fair and the art Week in London, available online and on iOS app. This edition has been developed thanks to an incredible editorial committee formed by Emily Butler (Curator at Whitechapel Gallery), Aaron Cezar (Director of Delfina Foundation) and Patrick Kelly, (Managing Director of Cultureshock Media).
The committee has been working to select the best and most interesting art spaces and exhibitions in town while Rebecca Ackroyd (London-based artist) has developed an art-oriented itinerary around town.

Emily Butler is Mahera and Mohammad Abu Ghazaleh Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, projects include the ongoing Artists’ Film International programme, survey exhibitions such as Electronic Superhighway (2016), major solo shows by Hannah Höch (2014), John Stezaker, Wilhelm Sasnal (2011), collection displays such as the ISelf Collection, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington (2017), commissions by artists such as Benedict Drew (2016), Kader Attia (2013) and Rachel Whiteread (2012), as well as festivals such as Art Night 2017. She previously worked in the Visual Arts Department of the British Council, and contributes to international publications and independent projects.

Aaron Cezar is the founding Director of Delfina Foundation, where he curates and develops its interrelated programme of residencies, exhibitions and public platforms. Over the last nine years, he has positioned Delfina Foundation as a leading centre for the development of creative practice from the UK, the Middle East, South Asia and beyond. In 2014, he oversaw the expansion of Delfina Foundation into London’s largest host of international residencies. Aaron has first degrees in Economics and Dance from Princeton University and a postgraduate degree in the Creative Industries from King’s College London.

Patrick Kelly is the Managing Director of Cultureshock, a London based creative media agency that works with cultural institutions and their partners, including global brands, hotels and luxury lifestyle clients.  Previously he has been Publisher of ArtReview and ArtReview Asia and prior to that Associate Publisher of The Art Newspaper.

My Art Guides Editorial Team

  • Emily Butler, Whitechapel Gallery Emily Butler, Whitechapel Gallery
  • Aaron Cezar, Delfina Foundation Aaron Cezar, Delfina Foundation
  • Patrick Kelly, Cultureshock Media Patrick Kelly, Cultureshock Media