Thursday, December 28, 2006

"Video Killed the Painting" until 03.02.07 , Yoshiko Matsumoto Gallery , Amsterdam

Yoshiko Matsumoto Gallery is pleased to present ‘Video Killed the Painting’, an exhibited curated by Bart de Koning Gans, which will be on view from December 27, 2006 until February 3, 2007.Our language of immediacy has made us hungry for quick imagery, however video art teaches us to 're'-observe by taking our time to look. True it is very annoying when it is bad but when it is good the reward is worth the wait. Video forces us to view, listen and take time to adjust. Paintings and sculptures can more easily be divided into bad and good with a brief glance, yet with video it demands your time. This exhibit features 4 video artists whom interpret various stages of the human mind and its behavior.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ed Templeton , Tim van Laere Gallery, Antwerp (B)

Templeton’s Time Machine

Ed Templeton (°1972) documents his life, and the lives of the people around him, in a rich stream of images - images of himself and his wife, Deanna, in their day-to-day lives, and images of others (usually youths), at home in Orange County (California), or during the many tours he makes as pro-skateboarder and artist. Photography is a significant constant in his work, but, in recent years, paintings and drawings have started to take an ever more prominent place in the oeuvre.

Templeton likes to present his photos, drawings and paintings in a non-hierarchical manner, large quantities all mixed up together at once. He’ll often hang clusters of works in the shape of “image clouds”, against a coloured background on which are yet more painted clouds. In these installations, the to and fro of the clouds feels like a metaphor for the appearance and disappearance of images, like those of a traveller acquiring countless new impressions every day. In Templeton’s way of seeing we also recognise something of the fascination of the passer-by, the transient, gripped, at some unexpected moment, by the “extraordinary of the ordinary,” the exceptional and surprising existential qualities of daily life.

Raised in the “New World”, his photographic work shows him to be, primarily, a chronicler of both the day-to-day life of urban American youth and the not-so-day-to-day life of the, frequently very young, touring pro-skateboarders. Sexuality and vulnerability are recurring themes and the way in which they are portrayed is a testament to deep empathy: “Nothing human is foreign” seems to be the motto. It is fascinating to realise that, probably, it is precisely this humanist glance that gives these images that not-so-day-to-day quality.

Human vulnerability is also an important theme in Templeton’s paintings and drawings. This particularly applies to the works populated by zombie-like human figures, who seem to have escaped from some medieval tableau of the Last Judgement. Which brings me to another observation, namely that, even though his more realistic portraits undoubtedly display an affinity with the work of David Hockney, many of the qualities of Templeton’s paintings evoke 15th century paintings by figures like Hans Memling, Hieronymus Bosch and Rogier van der Weyden. That this isn’t just an unconscious fascination for Templeton, is apparent in, among other things, his recent experiments with painted tryptich panels and the emergence of photographs of 15th century paintings and sculptures in his work. But, for me, more important than these formal references is the intrinsic relationship between Templeton’s work and the work of his 15th century predecessors in the “Old World”- a relationship I would like to describe as a profound and timeless engagement with the universal parameters of being-human - and that his work is miles away from the cold, aloof intellectualism of much contemporary mainstream art.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

the new baroque until 13.01,07 Nice & Fit Gallery, Berlin

Anton Stoianov, Nate Peter, Jan Bünnig, Fawn Krieger, Simon Rühle,
Ralf Dereich, Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton, Frederic D.
Baroque’s inventions (17th century) include multiple viewpoints, waves coming from the East, from Greece, Rome, Classical (modern), Goth, the Romanesque (11th-12th century). Material excess, individualism, religious ecstasy, big hair, curves, the collapse of the frame, repetition ad infinitum, counterpoint, contraposto are also invoked. Allegory, illusion, theater, mechanics, façade/interior, also. the new baroque? A tail without the cat, Babylon (Iraq), Tiepolo, tape, Grace Jones, wings, forest, Penthouse, unorthodoxy, anarchy, ascension and descension. “The baroque artist knows well that hallucination does not feign presence, but that presence is hallucination”, (Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque”, 1993.)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

South African Art Now until 06.01.07 Michael Stevenson´s Gallery, Cape Town

Michael Stevenson's annual exhibition of South African art is an unrivalled event on the collector's calendar, and this year will run throughout the holiday season. For the first time in 11 years, the exhibition will focus exclusively on the work of contemporary artists, in recognition of the increasingly high profile of the gallery's artists.

Among the major works on exhibition will be a huge shark-shaped drum by Samson Mudzunga, a performance piece and new mixed media works by Nicholas Hlobo, recent sculptures by Wim Botha, a large-scale wall painting with glass roundels by Conrad Botes, and Anton Kannemeyer's Alphabet of Democracy shown in its entirety for the first time. Photographic works include previously unseen photographs of the Congo's Mai Mai militia by Guy Tillim; Pieter Hugo's portraits of boy scouts in Monrovia, Liberia; recent colour South African landscapes by David Goldblatt and new portraits by Zanele Muholi. Mustafa Maluka, Deborah Poynton and Tracy Payne will all show new paintings.

Parallel to this is an exhibition of recent ceramics by Hylton Nel, whose idiosyncratic works are sought after by collectors across the world. This year he will be showing a series of plates which are wall-hung in particular patterns, inscribed with his characteristic quirky and polemical images and phrases. Also on exhibition will be new vases and small sculptures.

These exhibitions take place at the end of an extremely successful year for the gallery's artists. Among their achievements, David Goldblatt won the Hasselblad Prize for 2006; Guy Tillim was awarded the first Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography by Harvard University; Pieter Hugo was named the Standard Bank Young Artist for 2007; Churchill Madikida's 2006 Standard Bank Young Artist exhibition embarked on its national tour; Nicholas Hlobo won the Tollman Award for 2006 and Zanele Muholi was awarded the first BHP Billiton/Wits University Visual Arts Fellowship. Berni Searle has survey exhibitions at the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Contemporary Art Museum at the University of South Florida in Tampa, USA. Tillim, Goldblatt and Wim Botha are included on the international touring exhibition Africa Remix which was seen in Tokyo and Stockholm this year. Conrad Botes showed on the Havana Biennale and Hugo, Tillim and Mustafa Maluka were selected for the São Paulo Bienal.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

LIU JIANHUA - Anomalous thoughts, Galleria Continua, Beijing

This exhibition features Liu Jian Hua, who commenced the evolving process of nurturing his aesthetic development and métier as a sculptor early on in his career. Subsequently he succeeds in refining several of his signature motifs that are embedded in his entire body of works. The purity of line created by the use of white porcelain ceramics and his alertness to his mercurial environment render artworks that are artistically and socially relevant.

Liu Jian Hua’s artworks present an unflinching illumination of the all too intimate relationship between materialism and humanity. These questions and issues that are raised in his artworks are for instance evident in works like “Do You have an answer?” This artwork is a mixed-media piece wherein Liu Jian Hua uses both stainless steel sculpture and technology to create a singularly unique work. A projection of text comprised of rhetorical questions is tantamount to the stainless steel books themselves. This work has the goal of stimulating the viewer’s own insights on the current state of contemporary Chinese Society. These are questions that penetrate the fabric of day-to-day modern Chinese life. They also suspend our former assumptions on contemporary Chinese society for the more important issues it raises, such as how Modernity and rapid urbanization are defined within the specific context of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, or any other major Chinese Cosmopolis?

The artwork “Floating Object” is likewise a piece that evokes a myriad of interpretations pertaining specifically to the forum of Chinese political life. A floating glass sculpture of an island is set against the projected backdrop of Eastern Asia; the island being a clear representation of Taiwan. When viewers venture in for a closer look at the glass Taiwan, mini ceramic sculptures of pandas are seen inhabiting its terrain. This artwork in fact has significant correlations to actual events. Pandas, one of the most prominent symbols for China were given to Taiwan as a political gesture to promote more friendly ties. Like his other works, the interpretative dialogue remains open for viewers to arbitrate a meaning on their own.

“Reflection-Mirror Illusion”, made from white porcelain celadon, is a 12 metre long sculpture depicting the hyper-cosmopolitan skylines of Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. This piece is hung on a white wall, with site-specific spotlights to render a silhouette effect. The sculpted buildings, upon closer examination, are in fact crooked, to symbolize the fact that they are a mere reflection of the west. Like a true reflection, the silhouette is temporary and transient, giving the overall piece an ominous veneer. This piece exudes again highly relevant issues such as massive rapid urbanization and its effects on traditional Chinese architecture and modernization.

“Beijing Olympic Commemoration” is a painting by Liu Jian Hua that satirizes a photograph taken during the Olympic games in Greece, with the intention of dedicating a pastiche to the German painter Gerhard Richter.

Time and again, Liu Jian Hua’s artworks delve into subjects that are at the heart of current Chinese culture. The visual and cognitive experience of viewing a Liu Jian Hua work is immediate, and often evocative of the animated and multi-valent relationships between people and their surroundings. Through his sensitivity and powers of observation that are evident in his works, Liu Jian Hua comments lucidly on the changing world.

Liu Jian Hua is exhibiting for the first time with Galleria Continua in Beijing. His presence confirms the continuation of Galleria Continua’s mandate of preserving and nurturing the dialogue between the east and the west.