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Post Tumblr Aesthetic

by Valentina Fois


st0ck1mages.com – Niko Princen

I recently had the pleasure of visiting artist Niko Princen at his Berlin studio space in the heart of Neukölln. We discussed his current shows and previous projects, but most significantly we enjoyed a three-hour chat about art, digital technologies, economics, politics and so much more.

Visiting an artist’s studio is an amazing opportunity to get to know the person behind the medium they use to communicate with the world. A studio visit provides access to information, explanations and anecdotes of their artistic practice; we gain knowledge that cannot be learnt by reading a press release. I love breaking the barrier of privacy by entering their personal space – it is fascinating to see which books they are currently reading or to spot belongings that might alter our perspective.

Niko is a so-called ‘Post-Internet Artist’ – his practice is formed and evolves around digital technologies and, remarkably, the internet. Contemporary artists dealing with new media are often too quickly included in this bracket, which is frequently compared to the Surrealism and Post-Minimalism movements. Although the term only came into circulation around 2007 (along with many other artists, Niko has been making digital art since many years) the description fits him perfectly.

However, in 2014 it seems rather passé to attribute such labels to artists. Contemporary art derives from conditions and influences particular to our contemporary society. In western societies many of these parameters are formed by digital technology, therefore, it is unavoidable that artists are influenced by the internet and digital technology, as members of society and as art practitioners. Consequently I find it unnecessary to label artists all the times. Niko, who doesn’t seem to be a fan of categories, feels the same way and rejects the current debate around Post-Internet Art. The label is weak as it is too generic but simultaneously it is very powerful as it gentrifies our taste in art and what artists are producing to satisfy their audiences. As mentioned, not all artists are influenced directly by new media and so labels are perhaps necessary for the time being. Who knows, perhaps in the future there will be no distinction between a painter and a digital artist?

Labels aside, Niko’s work plays with images of people’s private lives, themes of surveillance, public access and human interaction with technology. Niko stresses that the human interaction aspect is very important in his work. His pieces are as much digital as they are physical – combining the two worlds. The performance piece Time and Images Again (2012), first performed at the Kunsthaus Langenthal, Switzerland, questions the production and dissemination of visual images. During the private view the artist asked the audience to form a circle and use their phone to film the person immediately to their right. Consequently all participants were performing the same act, generating an infinite circle of appropriation and creation.

Another example of appropriation in Niko’s work can be found in Ukraine 2014 (2014), a ‘curated’ album of photographs uploaded by Flickr users (of no relation to the artist). These photographs portray people on holiday prior to the occurrence of a natural disaster or state of political unrest. In the case of Ukraine 2014, the photos were taken in the weeks leading up to the Ukrainian revolution. An easy link can be made here to Duchamp’s appropriation and recontextualisation of the ready-made to create new work.

Digital natives (those born during the age of digital technology) don’t know what it means to live in a non-digital world. Expressing oneself through a device such as a mobile phone or tablet has become the norm. We should expect to see an increasing number of artists using the internet as their medium in the future. This is not a current trend, as some might argue, but a way of life for the younger generation and the ones to follow. They will select from thousands of online sources for the perfect material to re-use for their artwork, they will mix-and-match software, TV-shows, commodities, images and knowledge, like the Futurists used every medium available to them at the time: paintings, sculptures, graphic design, urban design, films, fashion, literature and gastronomy to portray contemporary concepts of the future with an emphasis on speed, transport and youth, the youth of today use technology as a medium, and exhibit in digital spaces.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that ‘Post-Internet Art’ was coined as a term in 2007. This was the year Tumblr was launched and quickly became extremely popular with young people around the world. The visual is chief in a culture that celebrates image over text, with a youth that is constantly searching for new visual stimuli and instant gratification. We transfer the visual language of the digital realm to the physical world in a phenomenon described by James Bridle as the ‘New Aesthetic’.

The new generation celebrates what may be called a ‘Post-Tumblr Aesthetic’; this is taking over the way we conceive communication; affecting all creative fields and much more. Youth culture welcomed the launch of social platform Tumblr in February 2007. It’s influence spread rapidly and sparked a re-think of visual culture and aesthetic. Tumblr is a microblogging platform that enables easy sharing of videos, images, texts and GIFs. Users ultimately embrace a new form of communication devoted to visual image. Strong 90s aesthetics and visuals associated with the ‘net.art’ movement are common characteristics of Tumblr blogs. Perhaps Post-Internet Art is confronting what society presents to us: a world of found images and ‘curated’ confusion.

Young people are tired of being spectators; they want to play an active role in visual culture. From this desire arose ‘the curator phenomenon’ – the concept that everyone can be a curator. Many believe that extensive use of the term ‘curator’ is devaluing it’s meaning and ultimately the public’s perception of the role, it assumes negative connotations. In response, The Hermitage Museum published An Open Letter to Everyone Using the Word ‘Curate’ Incorrectly on the Internet.[1]

We have several tools to curate our daily life; we curate our shopping experience using digital platforms such as Pinterest, our food routine with Candy Recipes, our virtual visual diary with Instagram and so much more. Apps such as the The Pocket Art Gallery, launched by Tate in 2012, which lets users curate their own museum collection show us how art institutions use the ‘curator’ trend to their advantage. We curate our public image through social networks. Facebook contributes to the definition of a new online culture; although predominantly used in western countries the network is almost global, with a total of 1,110,000,000 active users per month (according to statisticbrain.com, June 2013). As Marshall McLuhan said in 1967, ‘The medium is the message’.[2] Facebook is both the medium and the message. A direct product of a global community of users, members simultaneously create and consume Facebook content. Facebook is, for me, a heritage site which deserves to be defined as cultural heritage. As stated by Pierre Levy ‘All human activity can be an object of history and archeology and a cultural form of expression is legitimate as soon as it finds a community to preserve it’.[3] Facebook users write their own history and constantly add to it, a history with a present and an everlasting future.

While we were chatting about online exhibitions and platforms for digital art, Niko told me that it feels as though there is a big trend at the moment to address questions about Post-Internet Art and it’s future. He compares certain aspects of art to fashion and finds me in complete agreement with him. Fashion, like art, constantly changes according to the demands of society. It follows a perpetual cycle in which it creates-evolves-kills-and-re-invents itself.

To keep the comparison between fashion and art, digital art first started long time ago, back in the 70s, the scene grew as more artists and art practitioners got involved, more people had access to it and started to appreciate it. Art organisations began to recognise its value and digital artwork entered the sealed doors of museums and institutions. Cory Arcangel, an artist associated with Post-Internet Art, had a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art when he was only 33! Digital art was suddenly appealing to commercial businesses, we now have many platforms making digital art available to purchase.

Drawing again on the parallel to the fashion world – a young person in the street (digital native) wearing something in a new way, nothing original, just a revisited garment (GIF made with found images from the internet) a fashion designer (curator) notices and develops a collection (new online project space/exhibition). Initially only a few people would both understand and be able to afford something from the collection, magazines and blogs feature the collection, eventually high street brands copy it and make it available at an affordable price. Two seasons later everyone is wearing it, is in love with it and then forgets it until the next cycle/re-cycle comes along.

Web 2.0 introduced a radical change in the way we understand and share knowledge. Consequently there has been a great change in the way we conceive art and its purpose. Previously, we used the internet to passively receive information from writers, institutions and publishers. With the democratisation of the internet, the audience can finally respond, joining the conversation and becoming active. Online users can now leave comments on blogs, e-commerce sites and share their opinions and actions in real time using social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. We can connect with our peers, initiate new projects and collaborations, get in contact with artists we admire and, why not, even make art ourselves.

Niko and I agreed that there is nothing wrong with trends and people getting excited about what is going on in the arts at the moment. It is beautiful to see how much interest has been generated around digital art in the last few years. We are both excited to see what will happen next.

Paddle on! (a partnership between Philips auction house and Tumblr) and Sedition are examples of broad audience recognition of digital art. This is no longer a niche scene for a few elite experts, curators and artists. Digital art gained the admiration of the public and most of all – become profitable! Cinemagraphs and Mr Gif are examples of how GIFs become profitable business. But the main question for me, as a curator focused on digital technologies – is this sustainable?

I have been extremely fortunate to collaborate with DAM gallery, which was one of the first galleries to represent and work with digital artists here in Berlin. Wolf Lieser, the gallery director, facilitated the dialogue between artist and audience, showcasing the work of artists such as JODI, Casey Reas and Eelco Brand. Digital art and exhibition are not a new concept to many artists, curators and organisations that have been working on digital projects for many years. Early projects of the 60s and 70s, for example 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering (1966) organised by the Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) are interesting to look up.

There are so many good projects worth mentioning; The Thing – a space funded in 1991; Rhizome which supports art and technology, online since 1996; Whitney Biennial 2002 – curated by multimedia artist Miltos Manetas. The pioneering work of artists such as Julia Scher, Doug Aitken, David Bartels, Lawrence Weiner, Vivian Selbo and Dean Kuipers in the early 90s and most recently projects such as bubblebyte – an online exhibition space created by Attilia Fattori Franchini and Rhys Coren. Domain Gallery – an online gallery focused on digital and Internet-based works curated by artist Manuel Fernández, the Biennale.org, Parallelograms, conceived by artists Leah Beeferman and Matthew Harvey, this is one of my favorite project along with Fach & Asendorf Gallery an online gallery conceived by Ole Fach and Kim Asendorf and #Post a virtual residency curated by me on La Scatola Gallery website, which sideways with a new online project that I am developing with curator Rózsa Zita Farkas gave me the chance to work and meet many brilliant artists working in the field: Sara Ludy, Luke Turner, Tom Moody, Niko Princen, Sabrina Ratté, Sebastian Schmieg, Chris Shier, Raquel Meyers, Faith Holland, Emilie Gervais, Thomas Lock, Lawrence Lek, Aimee Heinemann, Eloise Bonneviot and many more!

So, as you can see, there is really so much to explore and the quality of the projects is often extraordinary, as now to conceive a good project you no longer need a big budget and a shiny central gallery to host it, you need passion and a computer. This new way of networking is something that is possible only through the use of technologies as the majority of the time these artists are collaborating with curators and peers without having even met a single time – isn’t that magical?! For me, this is the power of the web, the opportunity to collaborate with everyone, everywhere. Almost. As inhabitants of western countries, it is easy to assume that everyone has access to the same quality and quantity of digital facilities as we do. Statistics prove this to be wrong – according to the Internet World Stats ‘Africa has 7%, Middle East has 3.75% and Oceania/Australia has the least with 1% of Internet Users in the World, Distribution by World Regions – 2012 Q2′.[4]

Progress is unstoppable and everything is moving very quickly, as reported in eWeek.com, according to Forrester Research, an independent technology and market research company, ‘In 2012, about 2.4 billion people around the world are online, out of a global population of 7 billion. In just five more years, that will rise to about 3.5 billion online users’.[5] And then, what would happen then?

Despite what the prefix ‘Post’ may imply, internet is only in its infancy; the party has just begun!

Interview with artist Niko Princen


re-hands-on-pop-up-office, installation, Triennale d’art du Valais, Switzerland, 2014

VF: You have often been addressed as a post internet artist, how do you feel about it?

NP: ¯\(°_o)/¯

VF: Can you tell me how your practice has changed since you started in the 2000s (if it has)?
I am interested to know whether new digital technologies have influenced your work, perhaps new software and/or social networks?

NP: I actually started working with digital technologies in the mid 2000′s. Since then I went more from only online to a combination of online and offline. Looking at how humans use it in the moment you don’t have to go somewhere anymore to be online, ‘The Constant Moment’. So yeah, smart phones have of course changed the way I have made work (ex. ‘Time and Images Again’) as do social networks. In my latest installation ‘re-hands-on-pop-up-office’ it is kind of reversed though. I have made an office with an online part. I do not share the webpages online, but people do get to see what’s going on through a set of images I receive from the IP Cam in the setup and then share those on Twitter.

Technology enables. Art reflects.

Interview with artist Faith Holland

Waterfall Orgasm

VF: How do you feel if I call you Post-Internet Artist?

FH: I’ve never actually really had anyone call me a post internet artist, at least not to my face. I do think there’s a danger of lumping a lot of people under that umbrella term with absolutely no specificity, but I hope that I haven’t been and will not fall into that since, as I’ve said, I’m very much engaged in the Internet as such, not post it. I do think the term, whether or not I agree with its etymological validity, does refer to something specific conceptually and historically.

VF: When I have invited you to address some of my questions, you have shown me one of your tweets where you are stating that: ‘My work is not post-internet, it’s neoclassical internet’. This tweet is from last June, why did you feel the need to clarify that? Is this a way to escape the gentrification of the term Post-Internet Art? And can you tell me more about neoclassical internet?

FH: Yes, as I’ve said, my work has never really been called post-internet in any formal setting (exhibition, article, etc.) that I know of, but it’s a slippery term and I don’t feel it applies to my work. Neoclassical internet is a return to net art as such–for me, browser-based work that is made primarily to live on the Internet. It’s not the only kind of work I want to make, but it is a format I really value and want to embrace despite its continued difficulty (or perhaps because of) to be subsumed into the gallery and market systems. VVVVVV, (http://www.vvvvvv.xxx) which I have shown in galleries–but only by bringing a computer into the space, is really meant to be experienced by a person online, who is perhaps (or maybe ideally) not even looking for art. When I launched the site, I took out ads on porn sites which brought in a huge amount of traffic. I wanted to try to draw out responses from this misdirected traffic, but that didn’t happen as much as I would have liked. (There is some activity in PussyCam chat room and it made me really love attaching chatrooms to websites.)

Now I’m working on a new series tentatively/temporarily called Porn Intervention in which I upload near-porn videos to porn sites, particularly RedTube. The naming conventions, tags, etc. all fall in line with porn conventions but there is no nudity and I try to disrupt the idea of what belongs on the site in some way.

VF: How do you imagine your audience?

FH: I’m very open about my audience. Ideally my work can be understood on multiple levels. VVVVVV in particular is designed to do different things for different audiences, whether they simply want to enjoy their pornographic detour and be bewildered by the 90s-esque spectacle with some feminism thrown in or if they really want to dig into the feminist theory and think about the history of women’s bodies on the web. I’m particularly interested in luring in a non-art audience and challenging the flow of freely available sexualized bodies, but a deeper understanding of the work requires engagement and previous knowledge–that’s where the Cyberpussy Manifesto and the Links section take you in further.


Interview with artist Alexandria McCrosky


Serenade

VF: How do you feel if I call you Post-Internet Artist?

AMc: I would say that I have a bit of a perplexed relationship with being addressed as a post internet artist. If someone were to ask me what I was I wouldn’t immediately identify myself that way, I’d simply say that I am an artist. I like to create things that I find soulful and meaningful, and a lot of the time they take form on the computer but a lot of the time they don’t. I just like to make things. If someone needs to classify me under that umbrella then I guess that’s their prerogative.

VF: You have been recently included in: ‘Paddles ON!, an exhibition and auction that brings together artists who are using digital technologies to establish the next generation of contemporary art’. Your work was sold as digital painting, inkjet on paper. Did you decide to offer this work as a print in order to increase sale opportunities or was this originally conceived to be printed?

AMc: When I was approached for Paddles ON! I was asked to provide a print of my work. I think initially it was thought that I could simply print out something of mine that already exists online on Computersclub, etc. However, like you, I love the way my images look on the computer and I feel like that is the ideal way to display them. I like to play a lot with pixel texture and that doesn’t really translate at all to print. Also, the whole sense of discovery, the scrolling and flickering, something that is very important to me, is also lost. The compositions were created solely for the medium of the computer and I didn’t feel right trying to force them into this new format. It just seemed kind of like letting both myself and the artwork down. Making prints of that work would be like making prints of paintings or taking a photograph of a sculpture… yeah, it looks okay, but some of the life essence just gets lost in translation. So that being said, the work that I submitted to Paddles ON! was an entirely new composition that I made specifically to be printed. It retains some of my usual style because it’s hard for me to turn myself off, but it was never intended to live on the computer.

VF: Could you tell me about the Computersclub and your involvement with it?

AMc: I was asked to join Computersclub in 2010 after being introduced to the ‘scene’ through my friends Daniel L. Williams and Rene Abythe, both of whom were already members. At the time I can honestly say that I had no idea what it even was. I’d been experimenting with making art on my computer for a while but never thought of myself as being any sort of professional digital artist and I didn’t even know that the larger community existed. I owe a lot to the club and will probably always feel a debt of gratitude towards it as its impacted me in only positive ways. My induction meant that immediately people from all over began to consider me a ‘real’ artist. I was doing what I’d always done but all of a sudden I was legitimate and had a public platform where I could get support and feedback. I doubt a lot of the opportunities I’ve had recently including Paddles ON! would’ve come my way were I not a member.

[1] Museumgeek, ‘A throwdown about the term ‘curator’’, museumgeek.com, April 15, 2012 (on line) [Accessed 19 July 2014], p. 1.

[2] ‘The medium is the message’ is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.

[3] Pierre Levy, ‘Building a universal digital memory, report prepared for the Virtual Museum of Canada’ in Museums in a Digital Age, ed. by Ross Parry (London: Routledge, 2010), p. 109.

[4] Internet World Stats, ‘Internet Users in the World Distribution by World Regions – 2012 Q2’, Internetworldstats.com, 30 June 2012 (online) [Accessed 10 July 2014], p. 1.

[5] Todd R. Weiss, ‘Forrester Finds Half of World’s Population Will Be Online by 2017’, eWeek.com, 9 April 2012 (online) < http://www.eweek.com/storage/Forrester-Finds-Half-of-Worlds-Population-Will-Be-Online-by-2017/> [Accessed 9 July 2014], p. 1.

Artists, Digital Art

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The V&A Museum of Childhood, website review.

by Valentina Fois

 

The V&A Museum of Childhood website is user-friendly, the sections are well organised, and all the information is clearly displayed; everything is very easy to find and understand. Overall, this is a good website that serves the purpose of informing the visitors what’s on at the Museum, together with information about its collections, facilities, and activities. Everything looks neat and is tidily arranged, and that is how it should be, considering the quantity of information available on the site. However, it could be given a fresh look, perhaps making use of stronger colours. Would it not be fun, for example, to see an engaging icon (a small star or a little flower) instead of a neutral white glove when moving the mouse pointer around the site?

While navigating the website I found a few things that could definitely be improved. I will suggest how and why below.

Considering that museum visitors are getting more digitally aware and, furthermore, most have a presence on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, the Museum team should really invest time and resources on making the site as interactive as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean having a crazily interactive 3D cartoon or a few apps; sometimes a simple thing like a blog can really help.

The Museum’s website does actually have a blog, but this is not easily discovered. The blog is located under the ‘Collections’ section instead of being part of the main menu at the top of the page. That is probably because the blog is not considered a priority, thus accounting for its location and the poor frequency of its posts. This is a missed opportunity to engage with visitors and share updates with them on the current show, upcoming events, news, and so much more. A well-developed blog could have a positive impact on the Museum as, through their comments, visitors could help in shaping the Museum’s programme and events.

Here, I would suggest creating a sort of diary or journal. Perhaps the blog could tells the adventures of a young child, who every week discovers a new object from the Museum’s collection. This would be easily maintained and would cost little. In return for the effort, the Museum could promote its collections and let people discover a new item every week. This is, of course, only one example; there are many ideas that potentially could be explored.

The ‘Collection’ section is well-structured and easy to navigate; for me, this is the best section of the website. However, there are a few small items that could be developed further. The ‘Share’ button could be more visible in order to encourage people to share the pictures and the information about a selected object; ultimately, the site could be made more visually appealing and playful—after all, this is a museum for children!

In places, the text is a little bit too long and too dense. It would be good to have a zoom function when clicking on the image; however, the image does get larger once you click on it and perhaps the zoom function is not essential at this stage.

The ‘Learning’ section is bursting with useful information for schools and the Museum runs a variety of teaching sessions in situ. However, as regards the virtual experience, something more could be on offer for those who cannot actually pay a physical visit to the Museum. It would be worth considering incorporating videos and podcasts about the current exhibition.

There is a brilliant virtual tour of the Museum. This is currently located under both the ‘Visit us’ section and the ‘Corporate and private hire’ section. I would enlarge the area to make it more visible and place it under the ‘Visit us’ section only.

The Museum’s pages on social networks are updated frequently and appear very engaging. I like the fact that you can see the latest Twitter posts on the home page. It would not hurt to have the social networks icons (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flicker) a little bit bolder.

In all, it seems to me that the website is too timid, and does not allow the Museum’s virtues to shine; this is a pity as the Museum has such a dazzling collection. I hope that my tentative suggestions above might help in brightening up the site.

Tips

Venice Biennale 2013

by Valentina Fois

Venice, Venice, you are so beautiful.
Yes, I just got back from Venice and I am still excited about my visit. Now I am sitting at my desk still recovering from a post-holiday sugar coma.
I love Venice, what is not to like? The weather was great, the food was way too good, the coffees were not that expensive (yes I am not lying, I have managed to get few espresso for less than €2) and on top of that I met my lovely mum there for a family gateway.

We went to check the Biennale and few collateral events, the sites were not that busy so we had the opportunity to really enjoy the shows. What I really love about the Biennale is the Giardini, walking around surrounded by pines, discovering works of art from all over the world. I had the chance to see so much art in so little time, this is incredible.

Walking throughout the pavilions you can get a taste of different cultures, traditions and trends in the arts. There were many video installations as well as few interactive works. The best video and sculptural installation I have seen was Ryan Trecartin’s ‘Not Yet Titled’, this takes up a whole room of the Arsenale. There are four videos, all referencing reality tv, a sort of window on pop culture and youth, a very original take on contemporary culture.

I liked Massimiliano Gioni’s curatorial selection for the show in the Arsenale, however some of the rooms were filled with too many works, it made me feel overwhelmed and it was difficult to enjoy some of the works.

Here are my favourite pavilions, I selected them for different reasons, if you have visited them too then share your thoughts!

Jeremy Deller, British pavilion, english heritage and pride. Who does not like a cup of tea?

Vadim Zakharov, Russian Pavilion, curated by Udo Kittelmann (Director of the Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen Berlin). This is the first time that Russian Pavilion is curated by a citizen of another country. An attempt to secure attention? Well, it works. One of the best pavilions.

If you want to experience death while you are alive then you must visit the Korean Pavilion. Kimsooja transformed the venue into a place of transcendental experience, dealing with issues relating to the body, self and others, death and life.

Israel Pavilion, Gilad Ratman’s The Workshop is based on a fictional journey from Israel to Venice taken by a group of people. This epic trip starts in the caves of Israel, before emerging through the floor of the Israeli pavilion. Once inside the pavilion, the group turn the space into a workshop, sculpting themselves in clay they have transported from Israel.

Don’t miss the Venice Biennale.

Things I like, Things to see

Art Everywhere, How to blipp…

by Valentina Fois

Art Everywhere has finally started, the project is really exciting and ambitious. This enables audiences to connect with art works in a new way, bringing them into a closer relationship with the arts and creating new ways for them to engage with British art. I had a look at the website and I have discovered so many interesting works of art. I look forward to seeing the billboards across London.

Also it is worth mentioning the fantastic app Blippar created for the project, all the Art Everywhere poster sites are interactive via your mobile phone. It is really simple and fun to use.

Follow Art Everywhere on twitter @arteverywhereUK

Art Everywhere
Showcasing great British art across the UK, Art Everywhere is the largest exhibition of its kind in the world. From the 12–25 August 2013 some of the nation’s greatest art is on display across 22,000 poster sites and billboards up and down the country. Artists, curators, media owners and entrepreneurs joined by a love of art have fuelled this massive charitable celebration, and the general public crowd-funded over £30,000 to help make it happen

Things I like, Things to see

Alternative Guide to the Universe @Hayward gallery

by Valentina Fois

Last Saturday I went for a walk at Southbank Centre, the weather was lovely and everywhere was full of families and tourists. There is a food market that always have an incredible selections of delicatesse from all over the world, it nearly took me twenty minutes to make my mind up and buy a tomato focaccia, umm delicious. Since I was there I of course went to check the current exhibition at the Hayward gallery, Alternative Guide to the Universe.

Alternative Guide to the Universe surveys an artistic landscape that stretches to the far horizons of our imagination. Featuring contributions from self-taught artists and unlicensed architects, fringe physicists and visionary inventors, it serves up bracingly fresh perspectives on the world we live in.”

I enjoyed the show, it was nice to walk around and discover many interesting drawings and projects. I particularly liked Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s work, I would love to show you some images but at the Hayward gallery they obstinately not allow you to take pictures of the works. I went on their website with the hope to find some images of some of the works I like but I am afraid they are only featuring 5 images which I don’t think well represent the exhibited works and certainly they don’t do justice to the whole show.

I was also really intrigued by the work of Paul Laffoley.


Eugene Von Bruenchenhein


Paul Laffoley

I recommend this show to anyone who likes unusual works on paper and architecture projects and drawings. The show is definitely a good treat for family and children.

Exhibition Reviews, Things I like, Things to see

The House of PERONI

by Valentina Fois

We are extremely excited for the opening of The House of PERONI tonight. For the month of July, The House of Peroni opens its doors at 41 Portland Place in central London. The House of Peroni celebrates the new wave of contemporary Italian culture.

You can see the contribution of our friend Carlo Bernardini – The celebrated artist creating dimension shattering, futuristic light installations The celebrated artist creating dimension shattering, futuristic light installations that bring interior spaces to life.

Here is our friend and artist Ludovica Gioscia inside TimeOut. She has exhibited with us in PREPOSTEROUS

Artists, Things I like, Things to see

Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume @ Tate Britain

by Valentina Fois

Last Sunday I went to the Tate Britain to see its new two blockbuster shows, Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hum.

I love them both so I must say I was quite excited about it. I started with Hume’s show. This was nicely curated, I did not feel overwhelmed by the quantity of the works, these were nicely selected and ordered across the exhibition space. I wish I could show you some of my favorite paintings but visitors are not allowed to take pictures. However you can click here and visit their website or even better go and check the exhibition yourself.

Gary Hume, The Moon 2009

Here I just want to say, as previously mentioned in some of my writings, that Tate is really missing an opportunity to engage with their audience, people want to share with friends and family and often with strangers what they are up too. We live in a digital world and a decision not to allow visitors to take picture is really ancient especially for such a striving institution such as Tate Britain, her sister, Tate Modern lunched Magic Tate Ball app last year, this was an incredible success and a perfect example on how to engage the public. I have often heard curators say that the reason why pictures are not allowed is because some works are on loan from private collectors whom do not wish these works to be photographed. Well, perhaps is the time to think about a creative way to let the public takes pictures of their favorite pieces while respecting the will of these collectors. An invigilator could kindly explain to visitors not to take a picture of a particular work, or in the leaflet it could be explained that some works cannot be photographed while encouraging the audience to interact with the show through sharing their thoughts and pictures on Tate’s social networks.

Ok let’s get back to Hume, as Tate Britain says: “this exhibition highlights Hume’s innovative use of colour, line and surface in his distinctive compositions” and I couldn’t agree more with this.

The large scale works literally hypnotizing you and make you feel calm, they have however a bitter aftertaste as they carry with them a feeling of melancholy. I find Hume work really hard to read as well as irresistible. Gary Hume is for me one of the most interesting contemporary artists we have.

Then I went to see Caulfied’ s exhibition and I felt in love with him, once again! Patrick Caulfield’s use of color is something hard to be described, the way the artists played with different color combinations is extraordinary, he created a perfect equilibrium of cold and hot tints, all his compositions are perfectly balanced in a triumph of harmony and proportion. Yeah, I’m excited about it! I totally recommend this show to everyone, especially to folks working or interested in fashion. I found it to be very inspiring, a joy for textile designers!

Patrick Caulfield, After Lunch 1975

Go, go, really go and check these two shows.

V

Things I like, Things to see

Walking on Water – Mohammed Kazem – UAE Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2013

by Jeff Ko

Representing the UAE at this years Venice Biennale, Mohammed Kazem, presents an immersive work comprised of a 360-degree projection of the sea and illuminated interchangeable GPS coordinates within an enclosed circular space.

This work is one within a binary position, that of the actual and the poetic. Allowing us to be submerged within the moving landscape of the sea. Slightly disorientating the viewer, Kazem sets up an environment that could easily have become theatrical but steadily stays fixed in its place and seriousness. Balancing the panorama of the ocean and all of its romantic connotations, Kazem stabilizes us in reality, perhaps in an uber sense, stating our projected position with absolute accuracy through the means of a Geographical Positioning System (GPS). The execution of his concept existing within a convexed amphitheatre and echoing this circularity in the viewing platform and GPS display Kazem suggests larger notions, both mathematical and romantic, at times harmonising and conflicting both concepts.


 

Artists, Things I like

U from Uruguay, Martin Sastre – Venice Biennale 2013

by Jeff Ko

At this years Venice Biennale Uruguay is housed under the Latin American Pavillion and represented by Martin Sastre. Here Sastre presents us with ‘U from Uruguay’, a perfume bottle and an advertisement for the said product. The advertisement is portrayed as a regular luxury item but the work also informs of us of the president of Uruguay, how he donates 90% of his wage to charity and how the flower extracts for the perfume have been cultivated in the Presidents garden, not in the presidential home expected from him but from his humble farm house outside of the capital.
Borrowing the aesthetic of commercial advertising Sastre contrasts his intention with the work, to raise awareness of Uruguay and its leaders exemplary lifestyle with that of luxury and capitalism. Echoing the presidents gesture, 90% of the monetary gain from the perfuming will be given to charity.
This work plays a successful role in the conversation between politics and art. Here Sastre shows us that it is possible to merge both in a way that doesn’t degrade either. Sastre provides a work that is both accessible and worthy of acclaim.
Subasta en Venecia • \”U from Uruguay\” El Perfume del Pepe

Artists, Things I like, Things to see

Mark Manders – Dutch Pavilion – Venice Biennale 2012

by Jeff Ko

The Dutch pavilion at this years Venice Biennale is not one of the most welcoming, with all of the windows covered in fake newspapers, intending to separate the outside world from the inner workings of Mark Manders.
At a first glance Manders work seems to slot right into an established art context, referencing art history whilst maintaining a relevant and progressive approach. The relationship with art history and the history of sculpture seems to be an integral part of Manders work, the materials, the explicit executions and the use of the figure.
The press release provided informs us that instead of the materiality suggested Manders work is mostly constructed with epoxy or bronze rather that clay, throwing all of our initial presumptions into the wind.
Manders work is in a dialogue with the history of sculpture, appropriating notions of a somewhat classicist aesthetic in portrait works such as ‘Composition with Blue’ and his varies ‘Studies’ juxtaposed with more contemporary aesthetics such as the readymade.
There is a large sense of curiosity in Manders work. As the title of the show suggests ‘ Room with broken sentence’ Mander seems to be in a conversation with the world, questioning and trying to process it. In Fox/Mouse/Belt a fox lies on the ground with a mouse tied to its belly with a belt. The materiality is of wet clay but in actual fact is painted Bronze. Here Manders is freezing time, reducing movement to a single image that manages to evoke an alternate time ‘without a before or after’.  The only moment that the sculpture seems to capture is that of the future,  ‘the possibility that you could press your fingers into it at any time’, which is of course illusionistic.
There are three version simultaneously on show, most interestingly in a nearby supermarket in Via Garibaldi;
“I always test a work that I’ve just finished in a supermarket. I just imagine a new work there and I check if it can survive where it doesn’t have the label of an artwork. It is just a thing that someone placed in a supermarket. Now I am sure that all of my works can stand in that environment”.
Manders work has grown organically from art history and manages to provide a new direction for its evolution, one that is both curious and exciting.

Artists, sculpture