Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Art | Lee Bul: Ikonoclast

Friday, September 19th, 2014

After Bruno Taut (Devotion to Drift), 2013
Mixed media

Photo Jeon Byung-cheol


Lee Bul
Ikon Gallery
Birmingham | UK
Until 9th November 2014

+

Lee Bul
Korean Cultural Centre (KCC)
London | UK
Until 1st November 2014


Lee Bul, 2013
Photo Kim Jae-won


As I write, artist Lee Bul’s own website, showing only a detail of her Diluvium, 2012, is, rather aptly as it turns out, under renovation. Diluvium – dictionary definition: geology term for superficial deposits formed by flood-like operations of water – a giant floor installation, is entirely constructed of shaped plywood sheeting, stepped and ramped to create an uneven and disconcerting surface – a landscape over which it might prove difficult to trace a safe path. It could also be suggestive of a carefully-designed ruined building, or ruined building site. However, it has the allure of something more polished; a working model for a civil engineering project by architect Zaha Hadid, perhaps. Contemporary architecture (and architectural history) is just one of a diverse range of sources, including but not limited to, cinema, literary and European history, as well as the political and cultural history of her own country, that Bul draws on for inspiration for pieces that have earned her an international reputation as an artist.

In the late 1980s, when South Korean, Bul, was graduating from Hongik University, where she had attended a course in academic sculpture, the country was emerging from a period of dictatorship and military rule. With an economy yet to be put on track and democratic reforms in their infancy – the future was neither bright, nor bleak, but vague, unformed. Bul, born 1964, and having grown up in a patriarchal society wanted to get things moving, and to stake an uncompromising claim for women to have an equal share in the country’s fate. Flying in the face of the artistic conventions of her native land, for some of her first guerilla-like, performance-based pieces, she paraded in public dressed in provocative full-body soft sculptures, that were alluring and at the same time – sprouting tentacles – grotesque. A commentary on the impermanence of beauty and the powerlessness of women, Majestic Splendor (1997), rotting fish in a sequinned skin, caused a stink and the resulting furore only served to affirm her global reputation as an intrepid emerging artist, when she installed it at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Representing South Korea in the 1999 Venice Biennale, Bul, who lives and works in Seoul, has been at the forefront of the push to elevate Asian contemporary art to critical acclaim.


Maquette for Mon grand récit, 2005
Plaster, steel mesh, wood, silicone,
paint, crystal and synthetic
beads, aluminum rods, stainless steel
wire, foamex
Private collection, Seoul
Photo Rhee Jae-yong*

Via Negativa (interior detail), 2012
Installation view, Lee Bul exhibition,
Mudam Luxembourg, 2013-14
Photo © Remi Villaggi

Diluvium, 2012
View of ‘The Studio’ section,
Lee Bul exhibition, Artsonje Center, Seoul

Plywood on steel frame
Seoul, 2012
Photo Jeon Byung-cheol


More recent works in which utopia and dystopia, totalitarianism and capitalism are central motifs, played off one against another, are executed with dazzling élan. After Bruno Taut (Devotion to Drift), a new commission for Lee Bul at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery, references the German expressionist architect Bruno Taut (1880–1938). Alluding to the exponential growth and unsustainability of the modern world, dripping with a mass of crystalline shapes, this beautifully-executed, suspended sculpture, might easily be mistaken for a somewhat damaged Swarovski chandelier.

Ikon is also showing a selection of early drawings, studies, installations and other sculptural pieces that includes Mon grand récit: Weep into stones… (2005), a highly complex piece constructed from diverse materials, including polyurethane, Foamex board, synthetic clay, stainless- steel and aluminium rods, acrylic panels, wood sheets, acrylic paint, varnish, electrical wiring, and lighting. The piece features what might be a towering white skyscraper, from near the top of which a looping highway, descends to hover over a representation of a slab of mountainous landscape, supported by a spindly scaffolding structure. The piece also incorporates a tower continually flashing out an LED message: ‘weep into stones / fables like snow / our few evil days’, a tiny Tatlin’s Tower (Monument to the Third International), a modernist staircase that featured in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, and an upturned cross-section of the Hagia Sofia.

Exhibited widely since 1987, represented by numerous well-known galleries, her work can be found in many important collections, throughout the world.

All images, courtesy Studio Lee Bul, Seoul, and Ikon, except *courtesy PKM Gallery, Bartleby Bickle & Meursault, Seoul


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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Exhibition | Saul ‘The New Yorker’ Steinberg

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Chest of Drawers Cityscape, 1950
Gelatin silver print


Saul Steinberg
100th Anniversary Exhibition
Pace + Pace / MacGill Gallery
New York City | USA
Until 18th October 2014


What is a cartoonist? What is an illustrator? Where does one draw the line between illustration and fine art? What happens when you mix illustration with photography; is the end product an illustration or a still life photograph? If you draw something on a 3D object and photograph it; is the result an illustration, or a photograph? And, what if the person who did the drawing, wasn’t the photographer? Whose work is the final image? Does any of these questions matter? Certainly not to Saul Steinberg whose unique creations, equally at home on the pages of magazines and on gallery walls, can’t be confined to a single category or movement, nor did he allow his palette to be bound by any restrictions. His art, if that is how we choose to refer to it, informed by cubism, surrealism, dadaism and pop – indeed he fraternised with many key figures across all areas of the arts, including Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, Vladimir Nabakov, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul-Satre, to name but a few – is both catholic and democratic, his influences from high art as well as from low, his subject areas from Wall Street to the gutter.


Girl in Tub, 1949
Gelatin silver print


I first came across Steinberg’s View of the World from 9th Avenue, 1976, reproduced as a poster, hung on the kitchen wall of some illustrator friends, at the Royal College of Art halls of residence in London, in 1977. They’d just returned from New York – which I was yet to visit – bringing the poster back as a souvenir. Having up to that point only ever seen the city in photographs or films, its colossal architecture dominating everything else, leaving me daunted at the thought of ever going there, I was struck by the simplistic, friendly Steinberg depiction of New York as a place in which the people at street level just carried on as they might in any European city – going to work, shopping, wandering around the broad pavements of Manhattan, oblivious to events elsewhere in their country, and beyond. And later, when I’d seen a few Woody Allen films, it occurred to me that here were some life-size characters, who might have been the miniature people that populated Steinberg’s illustration.

Even so, I didn’t consciously go looking for Steinberg’s work – as I had done for that of Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast, the Push Pin Studios design and illustration heroes of my early college years. And when I started working for a living, I knew that behind the cover of the The New Yorker – which a few of my journalist colleagues at The Sunday Times Magazine studiously read, toting the latest issue around the office as symbols of their literary status and aspirations – there were great swathes of words, which to me, as a ‘visual journalist’, held little appeal. So, although I was certainly aware of his fame and that he was held in high regard, I never knew, until now, that over six decades, Steinberg’s work featured on the cover of The New Yorker no less than 90 times and appeared 1,200 times on its inside pages, before he ended his collaboration with the magazine in 1987 (recommenced, 1993), or that his View of the World from 9th Avenue is regarded by connoisseurs as one of his most notable creations for the magazine – ripped off, adapted, its text changed to suit many major cities across the country, his lawyers were constantly in pursuit of the perpetrators.

Up until I first visited New York in 1997, some nineteen years after seeing the poster, despite what had become my almost daily contact with photographers and sometimes with illustrators based there and elsewhere in the United States, the city remained for me remote, beyond my horizon. And a few more years would pass before I stumbled across a fascinating little book called Saul Steinberg Masquerade (Viking Press, 2000, a reprint, or perhaps re-design of the original Steinberg: The Mask, 1966). It contained The Mask series, an inspired collaboration by Steinberg and the photographer, Inge Morath, between 1959 and 1963, in which Steinberg’s friends posed anonymously in group and individual photographs, having donned paper bags drawn with plain or fantastic faces. Morath had become fascinated by Steinberg and his ‘Steinbergian universe’, whilst living in Vienna in the 1940s, long before she came into contact with him; it wasn’t until she joined Magnum and moved to Paris, where she met Henri Cartier-Bresson, who had taken a portrait of Steinberg, that she even knew what he looked like. Cartier-Bresson described him as ‘un homme délicieux, d’une si grande intelligence’. Irving Penn, too, would create a studio portrait of Steinberg wearing one of his nose masks, in 1966 – during his long career, he sat for many famous photographers, including Arnold Newman and Lee Miller.


Untitled, c 1950
Gelatin silver print


Saul Steinberg (1914 > 1999) was a Jewish Romania-born American. He studied philosophy and literature at the University of Bucharest, and trained as a draughtsman during the 1930s, in Milan. Fleeing Italy’s new anti-semitic laws, in 1941, he arrived in the United States the following year, and had his first one-man show there a year later. He married the only prominent abstract expressionist artist, Hedda Sterne, in 1951, but left her and took up with a German photography and design student in 1960. His work has been the subject of dozens of exhibitions around the globe and produced numerous publications. Saul Steinberg 100th Anniversary Exhibition at Pace + Pace / MacGill Gallery includes work from five decades of Steinberg’s career, exploring the man who himself explored the world and adapted his medium to suit whatever he found in it. Saul Steinberg: A Biography by Deirdre Blair was published by Nan A Talese / Doubleday in 2012. The Musees Strasbourg website has a useful and succinct Steinberg biography in list form.

The Saul Steinberg Foundation is a nonprofit organisation established as a result of the artist’s will. His collection of his own works was divided between the Foundation and Yale University, which also received Steinberg’s archives. The Foundation holds the copyrights to Steinberg’s artworks and writings.

While Steinberg remains for many ‘The man who did that poster’, The New York Times called him ‘a veritable Leonardo of graphic drollery,’ in 2006. On the Magnum Photos site, in the credit for an Inge Morath portrait of him, shot as part of the Mask series, it might have amused him to see himself still quaintly referred to as a ‘draughtsman’, which is perhaps as good a description as any.

All images by Saul Steinberg, © The Saul Steinberg Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, USA. Courtesy Pace and Pace / MacGill Gallery, New York, USA


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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Design | Swiss Design Bank

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Blattmann Metallwarenfabrik AG, MEWA, Kettle TECA, 1949 /
Alfred Roth, Aluminium Chair, 1933 / Wilhelm Kienzle, Cactus Watering Can
Photo FX Jaggy + U Romito


100 Years of Swiss Design
Museum für Gestaltung – Schaudepot
Zürich | Switzerland
27th September 2014 > 8th February 2015


It’s somehow unsurprising to find that, safe in its vaults, Switzerland has the largest collection of Swiss design in the world. While the vast majority of the 800 items in 100 Years of Swiss Design, a new exhibition opening this month at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, are drawn from the bank of 500,000 pieces the museum has built up over its 140-year history, a few items are on loan from elsewhere.

This exhibition will be the first at the Schaudepot (Open Collections) – in the New Toni-Areal, a recently converted former milk processing plant – where the museum’s poster, design, applied arts and graphics archives – previously distributed in separate locations around the Zürich – have come together under one roof. But it’s not only the location which is new. With a total of 26% additional space, the core of the assembled archive is a free-standing, high bay, storage facility – a six-metre-high shelving system – housing chairs, lamps, posters, cupboards and ceramics, which is being opened to the public for daily tours on specific themes, and where they can examine items in the collection at close quarters, for the first time. The museum’s globally-important assets have also been made accessible via the eMuseum site, where the pictures in the database are reproduced as a digital catalogue, exclusively illustrating the collection stock – and the service has been made available free of charge.

While Switzerland is renowned as an expensive country to visit, until the end of September when prices are set to rise, the adult entrance fee at the Museum is only 12 Swiss Francs (CHF) / just under £8, and an annual pass is available for 50 CHF / £33, which is a pretty good deal. There’s no entry fee for children under 12 years.


Sigg AG, Hot Water Bottle with Stopper 1925 + 1968
Photo FX Jaggy + U Romito

Willy Guhl, Beach Chair, 1954
Photo FX Jaggy

Oskar Zieta, Plopp, 2007 / Frédéric Dedelley, Melancholic Diamond, 2007
Photo U Romito

Wisa-Gloria AG, Three Wheeler, 1970,
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Design Collection

Photo FX Jaggy + U Romito


In 1949, the multi-talented Swiss architect, artist, painter, typeface designer, industrial designer and graphic designer, who at one time, served on the Zürich City Council, and was later elected to the Swiss National Parliament, Max Bill (1908 > 1994), singled out the Feller company’s light switch, ubiquitous throughout Switzerland, as ‘perhaps the ultimate form for a light switch.’ An image of the switch is being used on the publicity material for the exhibition, overlaid by a photograph of Willy Guhl’s classic Beach chair, for Eternit, 1954. Manufactured by companies like Therma, Embru, Langenthal, Horgen-Glarus, Sigg and Mammut, many more examples of often everyday products, typifying the high quality, functionality and charm of Swiss design, such as Hans Coray’s Landi chair and the USM Haller system are included in the 100 Years of Swiss Design exhibition.

Swiss book design is also one of country’s greatest assets, and later this month, or in early October (German edition. English language edition, probably December) the inimitable Lars Müller Publishers are bringing out 100 Years of Swiss Design, edited by the Müseum für Gestaltung Zürich, Christian Brändle, Renate Menzi and Arthur Rüegg. With 700 pictures and featuring 100 key works from the Museum’s collection, it presents the cream of the country’s design in chronological order – from their regional roots, at the beginning of the 20th century, to those dreamed up and produced for today’s global market. Also from Lars Müller Publishers, 100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design, a companion to the above, is already out in Europe (German and English editions), and will be available in the US and Canada at the end of September, 2014.


Heller drittel, Max Bill,1959 > 69
Auction estimate CHF 25,000 > 30,000 / £16,500 > 20,000


Max Bill, who was a student at the Bauhaus in Dessau between (1927 > 1928) worked closely with masters Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy- Nagy and Oskar Schlemmer, as well as his fellow Swiss, Paul Klee. Eminently bankable, his paintings and sculptures are well-represented in Christie’s 30th Swiss Art Auction in Zürich on September 22nd. It was László Moholy-Nagy, who had introduced Bill to the work of the De Stijl group, especially that of Mondrian, whom Bill visited in Paris, but the work of other De Stijl members, Georges Vantongerloo and Theo Doesburg were to make a greater impression upon him. Similarly based on geometric composition, Fritz Glarner, whose work is also included in the sale, owes much to influences drawn from De Stijl.

All products illustrated, except Will Guhl Beach Chair, from Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Design Collection. All photos © ZHdK.
Painting image courtesy of Christie’s


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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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All Categories | The Blog Will Return Next Week

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Untitled #1, Norfolk, UK

Untitled #2, Norfolk, UK

Untitled #3, Norfolk, UK

Photographs by Pedro Silmon, 2014




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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you.

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier




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Art | Daniel Buren in Situ

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Above and below
20 Diamonds for the Façade: work in situ
,
2014
Transparent vinyl, white opaque (blue, green, red, yellow)



Daniel Buren
Catch as catch can: works in situ
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Gateshead | UK
Until 12th October, 2014




Thirty metres high, and extending to the full height of the glazed section of the Baltic’s west elevation, Daniel Buren’s 20 Diamonds for the Façade: work in situ – a series of giant transparent diamond shapes – transforms the exterior of the one time flour mill building, on the Gateshead side of the river Tyne, into a giant stained glass windowed, modern cathedral. Inside, the lift well, stairs and passageways saturated in richly coloured light, the effect comes close to spiritual; a welcome sanctuary on a typically rainy mid-summer’s day on Tyneside.

Not exactly a strong signal, more a constant peripheral blip, Daniel Buren has been on my radar since wandering around Paris on another rainy day in late 1986, I first stumbled across – Les Deux Plateaux, known colloquially as the Colonnes de Buren – the English translation ‘Buren’s Columns’ sounds unexciting, but they are anything but – at the Palais-Royal. Although I knew then that it was one of François Mitterand’s Grand Projects, I wouldn’t discover the title of the work until I began researching this post.

14 Rising Cubes Bas-relief (yellow), situated work 2014
paint, plywood and black tape



2 Rising Cubes Bas-relief (paprika), situated work 2014
paint, plywood and black tape



Notwithstanding his longevity as an artist, it comes as a surprise to read in the Baltic’s press release for their exhibition, Daniel Buren, Catch as catch can: works in situ, that he is ‘ widely considered to be France’s greatest living artist, and one of the most influential and important figures in contemporary art for the last 50 years’. Having exhibited work in some of the world’s major galleries and museums – The Solomon R Guggenheim in New York in 2005, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in 2002 – as well as representing France 10 times at the Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the Golden Lion in 1986, having realised public interventions in Tokyo and Berlin, and most recently at Monumenta 2012 at Paris’s Grand Palais, the artist nevertheless lacks the omnipresence of close American contemporaries like James Turrell and the late Dan Flavin. And what about French installation artist, Christian Boltanski, isn’t he just as prominent as Buren in the global art world? That is not to say, as this exhibition amply demonstrates, that Buren isn’t worthy of, and is less deserving of fame than Turrell, or Flavin, or indeed Boltanski. His public profile is just somehow less pronounced, his works less familiar.

Catch as catch can: work in situ, 2014
10 mirrors framed with white opaque vinyl, transparent vinyl
(7 colours) on skylights



Graduating as a painter from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Métiers d’Art in Paris in 1960, Daniel Buren (born 1938) soon became involved in conceptual art, creating works that drew attention to the indoor, or later outdoor, context in which they were installed. At an early stage, 8.7 centimetre wide vertical stripes, colour or black alternated with white, became his obsession and were to become his signature. Appropriately for the era when neo-classicism took hold among architects in the 1980s, the stripes appeared on the simplified, classical columns that made up Les Deux Plateaux, but although time and architecture have moved on, Buren doggedly persists in including them on or in almost everything he produces.

There’s a rare chance to see a selection of Buren’s reliefs, paintings and sculpture from the past seven years in the Baltic’s Level 3 gallery, which includes the striped, luminous fibre-optic works of his Electric Light series, 2011, as well as a number of astonishingly powerful, geometric, bas-relief wall pieces that bring to mind something of Donald Judd’s work with the square and cube. However, due to the persistence of the stripes, (2 x 8.7cm) in this instance, running up the narrow edges of each piece, these fall short of being truly minimal statements.

Que La Lumiére Soit (Let there be light), situated work 2011
Woven fibre optic, LED (white, green), metal box



It’s a brave man who conjures with North East England’s perpetually changing weather and light conditions, but Buren enjoys the challenge of producing site specific pieces, and has worked with the architecture of the Baltic’s huge Level 4 gallery to realise a single, large scale installation, commissioned specially for and after which the exhibition is titled: Catch as catch can: works in situ. Here, a series of large, square and rectangular, framed mirrors set at an angle to the floor, capture the natural light entering through existing windows set into the roof that Buren has covered in a rectangular pattern made up of coloured vinyl that constantly alter how and where the light falls within the gallery, and the way in which it is reflected in the mirrors, creating an animated, immersive space. Stripes extend along each vertical edge of the mirrors and are reduced to squares on the top and bottom edges, in my opinion, an anachronistic affectation, adding unnecessary clutter.

All images are photo-souvenirs of the exhibition event by Daniel Buren
Photos John McKenzie © DB-ADAGP Paris, courtesy Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art



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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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All Categories | The Blog Team is on Holiday

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Kielder Water from below the Kielder Observatory, Northumberland, UK

Kielder Observatory, by Charles Barclay Architects, completed 2008

Photographs by Pedro Silmon, 2014




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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Art | Blue Riders & The Bridge

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Alexej von Jawlensky Helle Erscheinung, 1916
Oil and pencil on paper laid down on the artist’s board.
Estimate £180,000 > 250,000



Impressionist
& Modern Art Day Sale

Sotheby’s
London | UK
Exhibition 18th > 23rd June 2014
Sale 24th June 2014

August Macke & Franz Marc.
An Artistic Freindship

Lehnbachhaus
Munich | Germany
Exhibition 24th June > 21st July 2014



A German expressionist portrait personified, Renate Rosenthal, fiery editor-in-chief of German ELLE , red in the face, emerald green contact lenses flashing: ‘Macke! You don’t know him?’ she asked in heavily-German-accented English, regarding me querulously, evidently asking herself what sort of an uneducated moron her new English art direktor was.

In terms of art, there was a huge amount of activity in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, of which I came to realise I had scant knowledge prior to moving to Munich, where I stayed for over six years, in the second half of the 1990s and into the new millenium. I had never visited the Courtauld Institute of Art, which has an important collection of German expressionist paintings on long term loan I only discovered on my eventual return to London. They are to be found in the remotest corner, on the top floor, as far as it’s possible to be from the lift and stairs. Works by August Macke and Max Pechstein are on show and the gallery has sixteen paintings and works on paper by Wassily Kandinsky, whose fellow emigré Alexej Jawlensky is represented by six works. Kandinky’s lover, Gabriele Münter’s oeuvre was the subject of an exhibition at the Courtauld in 2005, about which the Independent newspaper said at the time ‘…this small jewel-like exhibition is, in its quiet unobtrusive way, one of the best shows in London.’



Wassily Kandinsky, Ohne Titel, Spring 1916
Brush and ink and wash on paper
Estimate £35,000 > 45,000
Property from the estate of Jan Krugier



Franz Marc, Abstraktes Aquarell I, 1913 > 14
Watercolour and pencil on paper
Estimate £7,000 >10,000
Property from the estate of Jan Krugier



Though they lived in a particularly innovative time for German art, it’s not surprising that some of the German and Germany-based painters of the period aren’t as well-known outside of the country as they might have been. August Macke (1887 > 1914) was one of a number of German artists who died while relatively young in World War 1.

In 1905 the artists’ association ‘Die Brücke‘ (The Bridge) was founded in Dresden by four architecture students – Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff; Max Pechstein, Emil Nolde and Otto Mueller would also become members. Die Brücke’s  aim was to find new ways of artistic expression and to free themselves from the entrenched, traditional academic style of the time. Collectively, they created a style which became known as expressionism that would provide a lasting legacy to 20th century art and artists. Marked by the social and political upheaval which would culminate in the First World War, violence and unpredictability characterized the era, and were potent influences on expressionist artists.



Max Pechstein
Kind auf Dorfstrasse, c 1923
Oil on canvas
Estimate £300,000 > 400,000
Property from a private German collection



In 1910, through his friendship with Franz Marc (1880 >1916) – another highly-talented and influential artist, who also died in the Great War – Macke had met Kandinsky and for a while shared the aesthetic and symbolic interests of their Munich-based Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group, which was experimenting with the idea of fusing together fauvist, cubist and expressionist influences.

In 1911, all the members of Die Brücke moved to Berlin, where, the following year Lyonel Feininger, the German/American painter, who was to become a leading exponent of expressionism, was working, and where by then August Macke had also gravitated. The Macke drawing (shown here) in Sotheby’s forthcoming and wide-ranging Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale, however, was executed after a later meeting with Robert Delauney in Paris, after which his work took another direction.

Both Feininger and Emil Nolde exhibited with the Blaue Reiter in 1912, but Nolde, having difficult relationships with any of the groups he became associated with, didn’t linger. In the 1920s, having achieved fame, he was a supporter of the Nazi party. Expressing negative remarks about Jewish artists, he considered expressionist art to be a distinctively Germanic style. However, when Hitler, in 1937, in his infamous radio speech said ‘works of art which cannot be understood in themselves, but need some pretentious instruction book to justify their existence, will never again find their way to the German people’, and rejected all forms of modernist art as ‘degenerate’, 1052 of Nolde’s works were removed from museums throughout Germany. After 1941, he was totally barred from painting. Nolde was only one of many who whose life and work were subjected to the same treatment and worse.



August Macke
Abstrakte Formen XIV, 1913
Coloured wax crayons on paper
Estimate £4,000 > 5,000
Property from the estate of Jan Krugier



Emil Nolde
Weisse Lilien und Dahlien, 1930
Watercolour on paper
Estimate £50,000 > 70,000



Much of the art branded as ‘degenerate’ had been claimed to be the product of Jews and Bolsheviks, but only six of the 112 artists featured in the Nazis’ notorious Entartete Kunst / Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich, later in 1937, were actually Jewish. The show was seen by around 15 million visitors. Afterwards, many of the works and others that had been confiscated were burned or simply disappeared. Last year, however, an enormous cache of early 20th century German modernist art miraculously came to light, when it was discovered that art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, having been given the task of selling them for the Nazis, had acquired a large number of ‘degenerate’ drawings and paintings in the 1930s and 40s. After his father’s death, his son, Cornelius Gurlitt, now 81 years old, had secretly kept around 1,400 works at his apartment in Munich, and a further 60 items were discovered recently in a flat he owned in the Austrian city of Salzburg.

In a moment of calm, Renate kindly suggested I pay a visit to the best place in the world to see Blaue Reiter work, Munich’s jewel-like Lehnbachhaus museum, a late 19th century villa built for Franz von Lenbach (1836 – 1904), a central protagonist in the establishment of Munich as a the major centre of the arts – despite, and maybe because of its turbulent past – it remains today. On her eightieth birthday in 1957, Gabrielle Münter gave over a thousand works by Blaue Reiter artists to the Lenbachhaus, including ninety oil paintings by Kandinsky, as well as around 330 of his watercolors and drawings, his sketchbooks, reverse glass paintings, and his printed work. The gift also included more than twenty-five paintings and numerous works on paper by Münter herself, and works by other prominent artists: Alexej Jawlensky, Paul Klee, August Macke and Franz Marc. In 2013, the Lenbachhaus underwent a general renovation and acquired a new extension based on designs by British architects, Foster + Partners.



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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Sculpture | A Glimpse of Michel Deverne

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Etoile éclatée, 1968
Lacquered stainless steel panel
€8,000 > 12,000


Michel Deverne
Wood, Metal, Paper
PIASA Rive Gauche
Paris | France
Exhibition 19th June > 25th June 2014
Sale 25th June 2014



French artist, Michel Deverne’s giant-size sculpture Les Miroirs (1981) at La Défense – also known as La Grande Mosaïque – formed by ten giant cylinders, at 2.3 m², is considered the largest work, ever produced using the mosaic technique.

Information on Deverne, however, is elusive. An initial trawl of the internet brings little reward – a few images of him in his later years, a couple of pictures of his bass-relief works and some rather dull shots of the aforementioned mosaic sculpture. Wallpaper* ran an obituary just after his death, aged 84 in February 2012, that refers to an interview they did with him in 2011. Unwilling to simply plagiarise the magazine’s articles, or repeat the scant text of the auction house’s press release, I resolved to continue my search elsewhere.

On their site, Paris’s Centre Pomidou, where Deverne’s works have been exhibited, gives only the dates of his birth and death. The city’s Grande Palais, where the artist has also been exhibited, on my having entered his name and clicked the search button on their site, rewarded me with the following advice: ‘Check if your spelling is correct. Remove quotes around phrases to search for each word individually: bike shed will often show more results than “bike shed”. Consider loosening your query with OR. bike OR shed will often show more results than bike shed.’ So I tried Michel OR Deverne and predictably, got nowhere.



Nuage
Draft of sculpture for a stretch of water, 1982

Cardboard
€2,000 > 3,000



Obelisque no 6
Study for Togo’s Monument of Independence, 1976

Cardboard
€2,000 > 3,000



Table, 1970
Pine wood and stainless steel
€3,000 > 4,000



Deverne’s sculptures have been installed in many public places in France and also around the world – in cities like Rotterdam and Tel Aviv, as well as in Saudi Arabia, Japan, Canada, Senegal, Belgium, Cameroon and the United States – but a search via New York’s MoMA site brought zero results, as did another at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tate Modern’s site has nothing on him.

Aware that Deverne drew much of his artistic inspiration from architecture and the city, I thought London’s Design Museum might have something. Nothing. The Vitra Museum perhaps? – No. Deverne was French, but I thought the Royal Institute of British Architecture, could be worth trying, but again, zero results.

Michel Deverne became a Professor at the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1977 – I drew a blank on their website, too – and was awarded a silver medal in Arts Plastiques by France’s Académie d’Architecture in 1983. Here I struck lucky – 20 articles in which he is mentioned – Wow! – but they were only available in French, and sadly, I don’t speak French. Should you be equally handicapped but want to learn more about Deverne go to the Wallpaper* link. There, amongst a lot of very interesting detail about his life and his remarkable creations you’ll find a link to the Paris gallery, RCM, which, when the feature was created, apparently represented him. However, Deverne’s name, if it ever did, doesn’t appear on their list of artists.

Michel Deverne: Wood, Metal, Paper, PIASA’s final sale of the season at the Espace Rive Gauche will be held on June 25, when sixty works will be sold. The company’s design department will be staging a dialogue between the works of Michel Deverne and Paul Kingma – another French artist inspired by architecture – in a setting created by Dorothée Meilichzon.

All object images © PIASA
Portrait by Christophe Rouffio



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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Art | Erwin Wurm in Sixty Seconds

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

One Minute Sculpture, 1997
C-print

Courtesy Centre Pompidou, Paris
and FRAC Limousin, Limoges



Erwin Wurm:
One Minute Sculptures

Städel Museum
Frankfurt am Mein | Germany
7th May > 13 July 2014

How many minutes have passed since the instant in 1997 when Austrian artist Erwin Wurm (1954 >) began producing the works in this series? The mind boggles… Seven years ago he was probably wondering himself how long the idea of inviting gallery / museum visitors to become sculptures themselves, albeit for only 60 seconds – that’s 840 seconds (14 minutes) less than Andy Warhol allegedly promised us all that we could be famous for – would endure. But, like Christian Marclay’s audiovisual work, The Clock, lasting 24 hours – on view at Paris’s Centre Pompidou from 17th May > 2nd July, where it was first shown in 2011 – Wurm’s concept has remained fresh and stood the test of time.


Fat Car (Convertible), 2005
Polystyrene / styrofoam and polyester


Of course, audience partition in art isn’t new. It was an integral part of Futurism (key dates 1909 > 1944) which both celebrated and derided the crowd as a force for the future and as representative of the primitive past. In 1920, at the reading of the Dadaist manifestos by, among others, Francis Picabia, André Breton and Tristan Tzara, which ended in uproar – exactly as they intended – the audience pelted the stage with rubbish. Yves Klein in France and Yoko Ono in New York City were pioneers of performance based art, and part of a broad movement originating in the 1950s and 60s, when artists began pushing the boundaries of contemporary art, sometimes combining elements of music, dance and sculpture in their attempts to create new forms of artistic expression, for which audience participation was often integral. While Wurm’s creations are nowhere near as epic as the cast of thousands, human nude art installations that New York based photographer Spencer Tunick has been creating all over the world for the past 20 years. As an artist he is no less serious, questioning the role of galleries / museums in contemporary society, his work no less sophisticated for appearing – at least superficially – fun and sometimes funny.


One Minute Sculptures, 1997
C-prints

Courtesy Centre Pompidou,
Paris and FRAC Limousin, Limoges


From his early minimalist clothing sculptures that he began producing in the 1980s, throughout his many exhibitions at a range of international venues that include the Vitra Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, Dallas Contemporary, USA, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France, and the Albertina in Vienna, Austria, through the ephemeral One Minute Sculptures to the grotesquely bloated objects such as Fat Car (2000 / 2001) and Fat House (2003), Wurm has concentrated consistently on expanding the concept of what a sculpture, when it is no longer cast in bronze or chiselled from marble, could be.

The main thrust of Erwin Wurm: One Minute Sculptures at the Städel Museum is built on the dynamic between the artist and the audience. Visitors to previous One Minute Sculpture events have been invited, by means of the artist’s sketches suggesting nothing more than a hint or starting point, among other things, to balance their bodies on oranges, to insert a range of desktop items into every orifice in their heads, and to create a sculpture using only their own bodies and a folding sunbed, but always only for one minute.

In addition to the living sculptures with which the visitors can interact and temporarily become part of the Städel collection, some twenty selected photographs and films from the series will also be on show.

All images except* © Studio Wurm / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014


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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier




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Art | Sigmar Polke in or at Another Place

Friday, April 18th, 2014
Modern Art (Moderne Kunst), 1968
Acrylic and lacquer on canvas
Froehlich Collection, Stuttgart





Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963 > 2010
Museum of Modern Art
New York | USA
19th April > 3rd August 2014

The Blog is on holiday this week. If we were in New York, we’d be going to this retrospective exhibition at MoMA, covering the five decade career of German experimental artist, Sigmar Polke (1941-2010). As it is, we’re in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and will be going to see Eduardo Paolozzi’s Bunk! at the city’s Hatton Gallery.


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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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