Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Art | Drawing Revisited

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Julian Opie
Pine forest. 7., 2014

Vinyl on wall
© Julia Opie. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.
Unique, site-specific installation for
Line at Lisson Gallery

Tom Wesselmann
Study for Mouth, 8, 1966

Synthetic polymer paint and pencil on paper
© Estate of Tom Wesselmann/
Licensed by VAGA, New York City, NY
On show in Drawing Then at Dominique Lévy

Lisson Gallery
London | UK
22 January > 12 March 2016


Drawing Then:
Innovation and Influence in
American Drawings of the Sixties

Dominique Lévy
New York City | USA
27 January > 19 March 2016

In 2015, auction house Christie’s broke records by selling $1 billion worth of art in the space of a week. A recent article on US-based contends that ‘the art market is superheated to the point of meltdown’ and that prices for art by the ‘right artists’ are skyrocketing, however, it brings us back down to earth by telling us that ‘…[contemporary] art has no empirically measurable or quantifiable properties. It’s just mushed around paint, metal, wood, plastic, digital files, photosensitive surfaces, audio, video, clay, and whatever else those wacky artists can get their hands on,’ which begged the site’s query, ‘How on earth do galleries wring value out of that?’

Somewhat more elegantly, last December, British Telegraph newspaper art critic, Mark Hudson, informed us that interest in what’s happening now – at least on this side of the pond – seems to have diminished to an alarming extent. ‘As the era of the Young British Artists recedes into history,’ said Hudson, ‘the new generation of contemporary artists has failed not only to strike a chord with the public, but to create any overarching sense of identity.’ He went on to explain that ‘many of those in the know now give Frieze a miss and head straight for the neighbouring fair Frieze Masters [that] is a cornucopia of every kind of art that isn’t strictly contemporary: illuminated manuscripts hang beside tribal masks, classical sculpture and an unbelievable array of 20th-century art.’

Eva Hesse, Untitled, 1966
Ink, gouache and pencil on paper

© The Estate of Eva Hesse
Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
On show in Drawing Then at Dominique Lévy

Ed Ruscha, Trademark [#3], 1962
Oil, ink, gouache, and pencil on paper

© 2015 Ed Ruscha
On show in Drawing Then at Dominique Lévy

Perhaps two new shows, one in New York City, the other in London, both taking drawing as their subject, can be interpreted as a joint signal from the art world itself that a timely reappraisal of contemporary fine art basics might not be a bad idea. Each looks at themes in drawing since the 1960s, when accepted values of all descriptions – perception, time, the environment, identity, and gender – had a great impact on artists, who began to explore new perspectives and techniques and experimented with a limitless array of untried materials. Via a questioning of earlier, narrower approaches to the subject, a fundamental re-evaluation and reinterpretation of drawing was initiated and the notion of the medium radically changed, creating the basis of our understanding of what drawing – and art in the broader sense – constitutes today.

Drawing Then at Dominque Lévy coincides with the 40th anniversary of the 1976 exhibition Drawing Now at MoMA, and is inspired by it. The show features more than seventy works by forty American artists, including Carl Andre, Mel Bochner, Chuck Close, Dan Flavin, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Frank Stella, Richard Tuttle, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann, almost half of whom were not represented in the earlier exhibition.

K Yoland, Red Line through Dump
(Marfa, West Texas, USA), 2013

Archival ink jet print
© K Yoland. Courtesy the artist
On show in Line at Lisson Gallery

Tom Marioni, One Second Sculpture, 1969
Black and white photograph

© Tom Marioni. Courtesy the artist
On show in Line at Lisson Gallery

Monika Grzymala, Raumzeichnung (Vortex), 2015
at Albertina Vienna, Austria

3.6 km black and white masking tape
© Monika Grzymala. Courtesy the artist
Ephemeral site-specific installation
on show in Line at Lisson Gallery

Meanwhile, Line at London’s Lisson Gallery, guest-curated by Drawing Room is a more broad-based survey than the US exhibition. Drawing is interpreted here as both a physical entity and an intellectual proposition. Spanning the late ’60s through to performative and site-specific pieces made to intermingle in the three-dimensional volume of the gallery, and extending via sound into the space, works by fifteen international artists, among them Julian Opie, Monika Grzymala, Tom Marioni and Richard Long, are included.

Appropriately, American artist Sol LeWitt, who taught at the Museum of Modern Art School, New York between 1964-7, and in 1968 devised an innovative technique of creating large-scale wall drawings that allowed others to produce them to his specifications in nearby or distant locations, has work included in both exhibitions.

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

The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Art | Back to Front

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Giulio Paolini
Senza titolo, 1964
Paper, masonite board
Photo Giuseppe Schiavinotto.
Archivio Luciano Pistoi

Recto Verso
Fondazione Prada
Milan | Italy
3 December 2015 > 7 February 2016

Daniel Dezeuze
Chassis avec feuille de plastique tendue, 1967
Wood, plastic
Courtesy Galerie Bernard Ceysson

Question. Take nothing at face value. Nothing is ever quite what it seems, especially in terms of art. Even Kazimir Malevich’s groundbreaking and uncompromising Black Square, 1915 – the first non-objective or abstract painting – was this year, when Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery examined it for the first time with x-rays, discovered to have two earlier paintings hidden beneath it’s surface.

While historical precedents occur in Byzantine art – two-sided icons bearing representations of the virgin and child on one side and the crucifixion on the other – and elsewhere, perhaps the multi-facetted Marcel Duchamp (1887 > 1968) was one of the earliest modern artists to play with the concept of recto/verso, in which the flip-side of a piece of art is given equal and serious consideration, along with the front. By 1915, he had already conceived of and started working on his complex, monumental work, The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even / The Large Glass, (1915 > 23), a free-standing glass construction, almost three metres tall by two wide, which was specifically intended to be viewed from both sides.

Malevich (1879 > 1935) had said, ‘It is from zero, in zero, that the true movement of being begins,’ and it was the Zero group of post-World War II, originally European, artists, who would seek to annihilate all forms of representation within art. To celebrate the possibilities inherent in ‘nothingness’, and attempting to penetrate the mysterious concept of the fourth dimension, they began examining the canvas itself and the frame around which it was stretched, with a view toward breaking through its confines. Lucio Fontana would famously slash his canvases, while other Zero artists would turn them to face the wall so as to better appreciate their construction, and to suggest that what happens on the hidden, or reverse side of a work of art is just as worthy of consideration as what happens on the more normally exposed ‘front’.

Thomas Demand
Lightbox, 2004
C-Print / Diasec
© Thomas Demand, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / SIAE, Rome.
Courtesy Sprüth Magers

Giulio Paolini
Decima Musa, 1966
Three triangular canvases.
© Giulio Paolini
Photo Attilio Maranzano.
Private Collection, Bari

Roy Lichtenstein
Stretcher Frame with Vertical Bar, 1968
Oil and magna on canvas
© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein / SIAE 2015

Leading exponent of arte povera in the late 1960s, Italian painter and sculptor, Giulio Paolini (b 1940), who trained as a graphic designer and countered what he considered to be the ‘picturesqueness’ of France’s art informel, abstract art movement of the 1940s and 50s, by concentrating on the basic components of painting – canvas, frame, paint of a single colour – or even the abolition of paint in favour of a completely bare surface. And, in the year that pop artist Roy Lichtenstein produced his own stripped-down recto / verso paintings, the cataclysmic events of May 1968 in Paris implanted the idea in a generation of French youth that it was their task to dismantle every form of received structure, including those in contemporary art. They were to embark on a radical deconstruction of accepted mediums. The support/surfaces group of artists, that emerged in France, that included, among others, founder member Daniel Dezeuze (b 1942), rejecting the often unwieldy, modular constructions of American minimalism – the established avant garde art of the period – sought lightness and physical freedom. They considered the portability of art and the use of basic and cheap materials, such as strips of newspaper, bed-sheets, dish-cloths and scraps of canvas they used to make it, as important, which led some to re-assess the simplicity of the canvas-based painting. However, by 1970, they were insisting that painting could ‘exist only through the systematic elimination of all subjective practice,’ via the rejection of the brush, but, interestingly, not the painting. In some of the resulting works, the picture plane vanished completely, and all that remained was the support material.

Recto Verso, at Fondazione Prada presents artworks by artists from different generations and across a range of genres, all of which consciously push the hidden concealed or forgotten phenomenon of ‘the back’ firmly into the foreground.

All images courtesy Fondazione Prada

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

The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Design | Punchy Image / Sensitive Touch

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Karl Gerstner, Auch Du bist liberal /
You’re liberal too
, 1956.
Political poster
© Karl Gerstner / Muriel Gerstner
(represented by Maria Jurkovic)

Handzeichen / Hand Signs
Museum für Gestaltung – Schaudepot
Zürich | Switzerland
27 November 2015 > 28 February 2016


Bitte berühren! / Please touch!
Museum für Gestaltung – Schaudepot
Zürich | Switzerland
27 November 2015 > 20 March 2016


Poster Collection 27:
Die Hand / The Hand
Edited by the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Lars Müller Publishers, (2015)
98 pp, 120 illustrations,

Armin Hofmann,
Stadttheater Basel 63/64, 1963.
Concert poster
Photo Max Mathys
© Armin Hofmann

Kōichi Saitō
Ongakuza / Soap Bubbles Floated,
They Floated into Outer Space, 1989.
Film poster

As powerful, expressive, beautiful, and versatile as they have the potential to be, left to their own devices hands can get a bit restless, drift around, feel a little lost. But give them a purpose – gripping, punching, pointing, caressing, adding weight to an argument – and they instantly come into their own. Three, more or less, simultaneous design events – two exhibitions, the publication of a new book – all related – invite us to take a closer look at hands.

In Michaelangelo’s ubiquitous painting The Creation of Adam (c 1512), God thrusts out his hand, boldly pushing forward a single finger to touch lonely and anxious-looking Adam’s rather limp one. The entire message behind the picture is in the interplay of those two hands – something any good poster designer instinctively understands. Even these Michaelangelo hands, however, would remain impotent as a poster image until set to work with type, plus perhaps a few additional visual props, to communicate whatever the commission demands. Handzeichen / Hand Signs, the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich’s forthcoming exhibition brings together both diverse and similar examples – political, commercial, arts-related, and social – of international poster design, all incorporating the hand, each utilising the hand’s symbolic strength for maximum impact, to present a brief cultural history of how it has been used as a design element to express a wide variety of meaningful messages. Lars Müller PublishersPoster Collection 27: Die Hand /The Hand, the latest in this well-designed, high quality and apparently limitless series, is published to coincide with this exhibition and features examples from the Museum’s vast archive.

Climbing grips
Photo F X Jaggy + U Romito

Konstantin Datz, Braille Cube,
Rubik’s Cube for the Blind, 2010
© Konstantin Datz

Watchmaker’s tools, 1990s
Photo F X Jaggy + U Romito

Designed by nature to assist early man in building a life for himself, used to scrape, smash, gather and kill, sometimes to draw and paint and carve, over a relatively long period human hands became adept at making tools to work with, at building and farming, and later skilled in the art of writing. Up until quite recently, it must be said, in the developed world, hands led an interesting sort of existence. But then along came 21st century technology…

Albeit playing the role of the hand tool that thousands of man-made objects throughout history have before it, the new Apple wireless keyboard – now reduced to about about two-thirds of the length of the older versions – still has actual keys that you can push down to type letters that instantly appear in your on-screen electronic document, but only very a light touch is required from the user. The myriad of touch-screen devices, including smartphones, hole-in-the-wall cash machines, interactive maps, gallery guides that have become an integral part of our daily lives exemplify same reductive story. Here, the ‘key’ your finger reaches for may resemble the 3D analogue version you’re familiar with, but it’s completely flat, devoid of form and texture, reduced to an electronically-generated image behind a shiny glass screen. The featherlight touch of a fingertip tapped gently upon it is enough to transport you anywhere you want to go on your digital journey. And, afterwards, if your phone isn’t already taking up all the space, you can slip your redundant hands back into your pockets. With a variety of real objects from the area of contemporary product design, to really touch, really feel, and to really do things with, Museum für Gestaltung’s Bitte berühren! / Please touch! exhibition, offers a helping hand to hands that are suffering from their ever-diminishing role in our rapidly-changing, technology-dominated society.

All images courtesy Museum für Gestaltung Zürich and Lars Müller Publishers.
All image content from the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich collections

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The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Fashion | Iris van Herpen: High-Tech Hero

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Voltage, dress, January 2013
In collaboration with Philip Beesley
Laser cut 3D polyester film lace, micro fibre.
Collection of the designer

Iris van Herpen:
Transforming Fashion
High Museum of Art Atlanta
Atlanta Georgia | USA
7 November 2015 > 15 May 2016

Biopiracy, dress, March 2014
In collaboration with Julia Koerner and Materialise
3D-printed TPU 92A-1, silicon coating

Collection of Phoenix Museum of Art.
Gift of Arizona Costume Institute

It was announced this week that the focus of the Costume Institute Benefit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in May 2016, will be on technology’s impact on fashion. The event will be co-chaired by Jonathan Ive, Taylor Swift, Anna Wintour and Idris Elba – a somewhat mixed bag of nevertheless prominent names – while the eminent Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada and Nicolas Ghesquière will sit as honorary chairs. Oddly, Swift is the only American included and Ive the only one with any in-depth technology-related knowledge. Sounding, perhaps appropriately, like the latest blockbuster video game, Manus x Machina will be the title of the accompanying exhibition, with the subtitle Fashion in an Age of Technology. The image – a dress with a silicon feather structure and mouldings of bird heads on a cotton base – used on the Met website with the announcements for both events is from the autumn/winter 2013 > 14 collection of visionary Dutch designer Iris van Herpen (b 1984).

Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, opening tomorrow at the High Museum of Art Atlanta – a comprehensive survey of her career to date, with 45 outfits from 15 collections, designed between 2008 and 2015, includes some of the world’s first examples of 3-D printed fashion.

Hybrid Holism, dress, July 2012
Metallic coated stripes, tulle, cotton.
Collection of the designer

Magnetic Motion, dress, September 2014
3D printed transparent photopolymer,
SLA (sterolithography) resin.
High Museum of Art, purchased with funds
from the Decorative Arts Acquisition Trust
and through prior acquisitions

Lady Gaga and Beyoncé have worn van Herpen’s futuristic dresses, as has British actress Tilda Swinton. Björk is a big fan, too – donning the designer’s creations for live concerts and for the covers of both her Biophilia album, and the single, Crystalline. In 2014, eminent champagne-maker Dom Pérignon approached van Herpen to be the most recent collaborator in its Power of Creation series, which has seen creative talents such as Marc Newson, Jeff Koons and David Lynch produce innovative special edition packaging for the brand. Earlier this year, van Herpen, who trained as a classical ballerina for fifteen years before working for Alexander McQueen – whose Spring / Summer 2010 show, incidentally, was all digitally-printed – created bespoke garments for visionary dance performance in Spatial Reverse, Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones’ ethereal short film in which the definition of contemporary clothing is pushed to the limit.

Andrew Bolton, Curator of The Costume Institute, is quoted on as saying, ‘Traditionally, the distinction between the haute couture and prêt-à-porter was based on the handmade and the machine-made, but recently this distinction has become increasingly blurred, as both disciplines have embraced the practices and techniques of the other.’ Van Herpen is responsible for some of that blur. Having garnered international acclaim for her couture designs, which interweave traditional handwork with groundbreaking technology, computer modelling and engraving, constructed in collaboration with architects, engineers and digital design specialists, she has cleverly adapted and applied the same ideas for use in her phenomenally-individual and successful prêt-à-porter clothing. A selection of her acclaimed shoes designs (including 3D-printed examples), created in collaboration with United Nude – co-founded by architect Rem Koolhaas – will feature in the High’s show.

Capriole, ensemble, July 2011
In collaboration with Isaie Bloch
and Materialise.
3D printed polyamide.
Groninger Museum, 2012

With a long list of awards including, most recently, the 2015 Marie-Claire Prix de la mode, for best Dutch conceptual designer and the 2014 ANDAM Awards Grand Prix, Iris van Herpen is widely heralded as a pioneering new voice in fashion, known and respected for her willingness to experiment – exploring new fabrics created by blending steel with silk or iron filings with resin. While she may not (yet) have such a big name as those chairing the Costume Institute Benefit, perhaps an additional chair should be pulled up to the table for one whose forthcoming show at the High must be considered as far more than a taster for next year’s Manus x Machina, in which, no doubt, her work will feature prominently.

The designer’s first solo show in the USA, Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, makes it’s debut at the High Museum of Art Atlanta before touring North America.

All images courtesy The High Museum of Art Atlanta.
All photos Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios, except 5, by Ingrid Baars, © Iris van Herpen

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The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Art | Women Artists Kick up a Storm in Frankfurt

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Maria Uhden, Four Nudes,
Woodcut, reproduced in Der Sturm, 1915

Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg,
Frankfurt am Main

Storm Women
Women Artists of the Avant-Garde in Berlin 1910 > 1932
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany
30 October 2015 > 7 February 2016

Lavinia Schulz
Toboggan Woman, original, c 1924
Linen, papier mâché, wire, leather
© Photo Museum für Kunst
und Gewerbe Hamburg

One man, Herwarth Walden, made certain that women’s early 20th century avant-garde art got the exposure it deserved. Despite his efforts, however, many of them and much of their work vanished into obscurity. Most of us are familiar with their work or have at least heard of Sonia Delaunay, Natalja Goncharova and Gabriele Münter, but such names as Alexandra Exter, Else Lasker-Schüler, Marianne von Werefkin, Marthe Donas, Jacoba van Heemskerck, Hilla von Rebay, Lavinia Schulz, and Maria Uhden probably ring few bells. A new exhibition in Frankfurt, for the first time ever, brings together work by 18 of the 30 female artists, representing expressionism, cubism, futurism, constructivism and the new objectivity, which Walden promoted, and aims to set the record straight.

Walden wasn’t exclusively concerned with female artists, indeed he began by publishing woodcuts by, mostly by male, expressionist, Die Brucke (The Bridge) and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) artists, Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, and Max Pechstein amongst them, via the mass-produced and inexpensive Der Sturm / The Storm periodical, which he established in Berlin in 1910. It ran as a weekly up until in 1914 then changed to monthly publication, becoming a quarterly in 1924, before ceasing publication in 1932, when Walden, fleeing the Nazis emigrated to the USSR.

Composed of friends with similar interests, the international network Walden was eventually to develop served as a forum for intense discussion on the buzzing ideas, theories, and concepts of the avant-garde. In Berlin, the Sturm evening events, the Sturm academy he founded, the Sturm theatre and bookshop, as well as the occasional balls and a cabaret, offered those who were interested a broad variety of opportunities to gain access to the diverse artistic currents and trends from 1910 to until the early thirties.

To celebrate Der Sturm’s 100th issue in 1912, Walden opened Galerie der Sturm, with an exhibition of fauvist and Der Blaue Reiter work, soon followed by the Italian futurists. Particularly during in the years preceding the outbreak of World War I, Sturm played a crucial role in the development of a special relationship between Berlin and Paris, exhibiting work by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, as well as the Franco-German artist, Jean (aka Hans) Arp and Robert Delaunay. Walden showed Edvard Munch, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky and Marc Chagall: Kurt Schwitters’ would have his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie Der Sturm, in 1920.

Gabriele Münter
Apples on Blue, 1908
Oil on cardboard
Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz
- Museum Gunzenhauser
Property of Stiftung Gunzenhauser,
Chemnitz VG Bild-Kunst,
Bonn 2015

Jacoba van Heemskerck
Houses in Suiderland, Drawing No 13, 1914
Ink on paper
Kunstmuseum Bern, Donation Nell Walden

Sigrid Hjertén
Woman with Fur and Red Hat, 1915
Oil on canvas
Private collection
Photo ©

In the early decades of the 20th century, women artists were barely recognised by society and had no access to the academic training their male colleagues enjoyed. The subject of women in visual art was openly discussed in many publications during those years, but their claims to originality and creativity were generally brushed aside. The more broad-minded Herwarth Walden, however, claimed it was the individual work of art that was most important to him, regardless of whether the maker was a man or a woman. Sharp and always on the lookout for the new and the cutting edge, he disregarded the typical prejudices of the time and gave women artists their first big chance. Roughly one fifth of the Sturm gallery artists were female. A disparate group, their life stories, personal circumstances, and critical reception varied enormously, as did their styles and approach to creating art.

The expressionist painter Gabrielle Münter (1877 > 1962), who would gain only moderate success throughout her life, was honoured with a posthumous major retrospective exhibition, celebrating the artistic achievements of her early career, at London’s prestigious Courtauld Gallery in 2005, and has since become more widely appreciated. During the pre-World War I years, she lived with Wassily Kandinsky in Mürnau (Bavaria), where their home became an important meeting place for the highly-influential Der Blaue Reiter group. In 1913, Münther had an exhibition of eighty-four paintings at the Sturm, Walden arranging for some of the work to be shown later at galleries in Munich, Copenhagen, Dresden, and Stuttgart.

Along with Münther, Maria Uhden and Nell Walden (Herwarth’s second wife, her predecessor, Else Lasker-Schüler was an artist and poet), Marianne von Werefkin (1860−1938) was one of the most frequently exhibited female artists at the Sturm. Walden, who was impressed by her passion for the concepts and forms of expression in modern art, shared many of her views and was responsible for introducing her work to a broader public throughout Germany and Europe. Dutch artist Jacoba van Heemskerck (1876−1923) was featured in ten solo shows at the gallery, and, with a total of twenty woodcuts, was represented more often than any other artist on the cover of Der Sturm.

Sonia Delaunay, Design B53, 1924
Gouache and pencil on paper
Private collection
Foto © Privatarchiv

Maria Uhden (1892−1918), some of whose woodcuts anticipate the 1980s work of the American graffiti artist Keith Haring, drew inspiration from historical prints and book illustrations that had been revived in the Almanach Der Blaue Reiter. Walden continued to show her works at his gallery and in touring exhibitions well after her premature death.

‘Sonia Delaunay is now rightly seen as a stronger and more complex artist than her husband, who died in 1941,’ wrote The Guardian in April this year, in a review of The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay, her retrospective at Tate Modern, that had started life in 2014 at Paris’s Musée d’Art Moderne, for which over 400 works: paintings, wall decorations, gouaches, prints, fashion items and textiles, tracing her career from the early 20th century to the 1970s were assembled. Born Sonia Terk (1885 > 1979) into a well-to-do family in the Ukraine, she studied painting in Germany but travelled to Paris before settling there in 1905. Already under the influence of Gaugin and German expressionism, she encountered Picasso and by 1908 was exhibiting alongside him, Braque, Derain, and Dufy. By about 1912, in conjunction with her second husband, Robert, she was producing pioneering abstract work in a style that the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire was to christen Orphism. Coming to Paris in search of new work Herwarth Walden and Nell stayed with the Delaunays, returning to Berlin with many of their pieces of which twenty-one of Robert’s and twenty-five of Sonia’s were included in the Erster Deutscher Herbst Salon / First German Autumn Salon exhibition at the Sturm Gallery in 1913. In 1920, Walden presented a selection of Sonia’s works in a solo exhibition.

A friend of the Delaunays and also from the Ukraine, Alexandra Exter (1882−1949) served as a mediator between the East European and Western avant-garde circles in Paris, producing her own cubo-futurist style work in several different media. The Schirn is presenting her Female costume design for Aelita (a silent film that premiered in Berlin in 1924). In 1927, her unique cubist and constructivist marionettes, were given a solo show at the Sturm.

Storm Women: Women Artists of the Avant-Garde in Berlin 1910 > 1932, at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt honours each of the artists included with a separate room and features some 250 works.

All images courtesy Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

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

The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Culture | Hippie Modernism Comes of Age

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Environment Transformer / Flyhead Helmet, 1968
Archive Zamp Kelp
Photo © Haus-Rucker-Co, Gerald Zugmann

Hippie Modernism:
The Struggle for Utopia
Walker Art Center
Minneapolis | Minnesota | USA
24 October 2015 > 28 February 2016

Archizoom Associati
Superonda Sofa, 1966
Archive Centro Studi Poltronova
Courtesy Dario Bartolini
(Archizoom Associati)

In the year 1967 – incidentally that in which contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson was born, but more of that later – the total number of American troops serving in Vietnam was increased to 475,000. Peace rallies multiplied as the numbers of anti-war protesters swelled. In the Middle East the Six Day War saw Israel attacking Syria, Egypt and Jordan, resulting in Israel’s occupation of massive areas of land outside their previously-designated borders.

That summer cities throughout America exploded with rioting and looting, Detroit being the worst-effected, where, to restore order 7000 National Guardsmen were drafted in.

In stark contrast, 1967 also played host to the ’summer of love’. For three days in June, 200,000 young Americans gathered at the Monterey International Pop Festival in California where they smoked a lot of dope, danced and were entertained by some of the biggest names in music including Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel and the Mamas and the Papas, and where Scott McKenzie would sing the words of his anthem that came to symbolise the era, ‘If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…’ While it is claimed that the counterculture movement began in the USA before it became established in Europe, the peace symbol, designed and first used in the UK during the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, later became synonymous with opposition to the Vietnam War, and was much in evidence at events such as Monterey. Elsewhere the ‘flower children’, or ‘hippies’, as they became known, stuck flowers in the barrels of guns held by US National Guardsmen in demonstrations against the masculine culture that gave rise to wars and supported racial discrimination.

Was the hippie culture naive and deserving of the scorn that was poured over it over the next few decades? Once dismissed as both a social and aesthetic failure, the counterculture of the period embraced themes and ideas – ecological awareness, audience participation, the resurgent interest in yoga and spirituality, organic foods, local agriculture, marijuana legalisation, climate change, alternative energy, and social protest movements – that persist and are growing in popularity today. Step into one of fashionable contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama’s immersive visions of endless dots and nets or infinitely mirrored space – currently on show at Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art – and you’re sampling experiences that began life in the ‘hippie’ era. Indeed, regarding them as fundamentally important to her life and work, 86-year old Kusama, who talks of seeking a cosmic vision, longs for love and peace.

Corita Kent
yellow submarine, 1967

Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, LA
Photo Joshua White

Sheila Levrant de Bretteville
Women in Design: The Next Decade, 1975

Poster, cut blue-line process print
Courtesy Sheila Levrant de Bretteville

The conceptual work of the Viennese group Haus-Rucker-Co, founded in 1967, explored the performative potential of architecture through installations and happenings in which, using pneumatic structures or prosthetic devices that altered perceptions of space, viewers became participants with the possibility of influencing their own environments. The radical ideas promoted by seminal British group Archigram include Walking City, a peripatetic giant reptilian structure, Living Pod a miniature capsule home and Instant City, an airship containing all the cultural and education resources of a metropolis which could land in remote areas giving inhabitants a taste of city life, ideas that were not lost on Richard Rodgers and Renzo Piano when they came to design the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and later on Future Systems, founded by experimental non-conformist architect Jan Kaplický, said by fellow Czech and also British-based Eva Jiřičná to be ‘considered one of the visionaries of modern architecture’.

As radical as they come, Ant Farm, though rooted in architecture, was devoted to cultural critique in different forms, especially video with Cadillac Ranch Show (1974), Media Burn and The Eternal Frame (both 1975) ranking among the most poignant early examples of the genre: the collective is infamous for having briefly ‘kidnapped’ their hero Buckminster Fuller, whose ideas and work continue to influence new generations of designers, architects, scientists and artists working to create a sustainable planet.

Fuller’s former protégé, Icelander Einar Thorsteinn (1942 > 2015), sometimes referred to as architecture’s mad scientist, worked with Frei Otto from 1969-1972 helping to design the futuristic Munich Olympiapark for the 1972 Summer Olympics and later designed mobile lunar research laboratories for NASA. In 1996, he would team up with Danish-Icelandic Olafur Eliasson, 25 years his junior, and become the mad scientist collaborator behind some of Eliasson’s more renegade works. It would be Eliasson, who would pick up the torch of countercultural experimentation and carry it into the third millennium, in so doing making himself into one of the most successful artists of our era. In 2003 he installed The weather project at the London’s Tate Modern, converting the massive open space of the gallery’s Turbine Hall into an awe-inspiring sun-worshipper’s paradise. His design for the annual London’s Serpentine Pavilion in 2007 was produced in collaboration with Kjetil Thorsen of Oslo and New York’s Snøhetta architectural practice. The timber-clad structure, resembling a spinning top, acted as a ‘laboratory’ where, every Friday night, artists, architects, academics and scientists lead a series of public experiments. The programme culminated in an extraordinary, two-part, 48-hour marathon event exploring the architecture of the senses. In November 2013, at the Falling Walls Conference in Berlin, Olafur presented with Ai Weiwei, connected via an internet link from Beijing, their collaboration Moon, an open digital platform that allows users to draw on an enormous replica of the moon via their web browser, is a statement in support of freedom of speech and creative collaboration. For Contact, which ran from December 2014 to February 2015 at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, and reflected Olafur’s on-going investigations into the mechanisms of perception and the construction of space, artworks appeared as a sequence of events along a journey. Moving through passageways and expansive installations, visitors become part of choreography of darkness, light, geometry, and reflections. Rooted in the late 1960s and 1970s, Eliasson’s ideas lead us on into the future.

Neville D’Almeida and Hélio Oiticica
CC5 Hendrixwar / Cosmococa Programa-in-Progress, 1973

Coloured hammocks, 35mm slideshow, audio disc
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
T B Walker Acquisition Fund, 2007

Explorations into domestic living during and after the hippie period led to innovative designs such as Ken Isaac’s Superchair – a frame structured structure with inbuilt shelving, suitable for books, and supporting a platform that doubles as an easy chair or bed. In 1973, Switzerland’s Ubald Klug combined diverse elements into ‘lounge landscapes’, comparable to layered topographical models, on which Mick Jagger posed for an advertising shot illustrating the extent to which the concept captured the contemporary zeitgeist. Also in Switzerland, Danish architect and designer Verner Panton, who idiosyncratically fused pop art with design, created a domestic utopia in his own home, which he used as a showroom and laboratory for his experiments. Echoes of this pioneering spirit could be seen at London’s V&A Museum in 20111, when French designers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec laid a striped field of fabric loungers inside the Raphael Court as part of the London Design Festival. The Textile Field installation covered 240 square metres of the gallery floor and encouraged gallery visitors to sit or even lie down, to contemplate the renaissance artworks exhibited rather than merely to view them.

Works on show in a new exhibition at the Walker in Minneapolis include Ken Isaac’s pioneering The Knowledge Box (1962 > 2009), a room-size chamber where one is immersed in a montage of projected images culled from the popular press. According to the Time Life website ‘built in 1962, [it] predated the internet by three decades — but also hinted at information-gathering techniques that we all use today, everyday, online.’ An integral part of the Black Panther Party, Emory Douglas designed potent, hard-hitting artwork for newspaper illustrations, posters and pamphlets that became symbolic of the movement and which inspired many to act are also included. Meanwhile, work by Corita Kent, aka Sister Mary Corita, who gained international fame for her vibrant typographic silk screen prints during the 1960s and 1970s, who was a sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, running the Art Department at a convent until 1968 when she left the order to pursue her commitment to social justice and hope for peace, is featured.

Loosely assembled around the American psychologist, writer and advocate for psychedelic drugs, Timothy Leary’s famous mantra, ‘Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out’, Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia, at The Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis examines the intersections of art, architecture, and design of the era.

All images courtesy The Walker Art Museum

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The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Auction | I Buy & Sell Therefore I Am

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Roberto Capucci
The Butterfly Dress, Haute Couture, 1985
Full-length gown in pleated and
stiffened silk taffeta.
Estimate £3,000 > 5,000

A Visual Odyssey
Selections from LAC
(Lambert Art Collection)
Staged by Jacques Grange
Christie’s, King Street
London | UK

Gordon Coster
Fashion for Marshall Field, c 1934
Gelatin silver print
Estimate £600 > 800

Of collectors, Baroness Marion Lambert once said: ‘[They're] hoarders, and probably fodder for shrinks. I’m no exception, although with the years I have learned to control myself, while weeding out the mediocre and superfluous from the essential and best…’. Doyenne of the art, and particularly photography collecting world, she has also learned exactly when to buy and how best to sell. On Friday 14 October, around 300 items from the Lambert Art Collection, which she amassed with encouragement from her late husband Baron Philippe Lambert of the Belgian banking family, will be sold in London via a groundbreaking sale by Christie’s in association with Simon de Pury.

The baroness achieved certain notoriety in 2004, when, having pioneered the collecting of photography as an art form since the early 1980s, she named her collection Veronica’s Revenge, after the patron saint of photographers (and, incidentally, laundry-workers). Roman Catholics, apparently, believe that a woman called Veronica, later canonised, wiped the face of Jesus when he fell under the weight of the cross on the way to Calvary, leaving an image of his face on the cloth, thus creating the first example of image transfer. Lambert’s intention had been to hang her collection in the new headquarters of the Bank Brussels Lambert Suisse in Geneva. However it contained, among other works deemed perhaps understandably by the bank’s senior executives as too shocking for their clients, Larry Clark’s Tulsa, (1971), a portfolio of ten prints of naked teenagers playing with guns and injecting amphetamine.

Giving up on that idea, shortly afterwards, with the help of Swiss auctioneer de Pury – once described for his flamboyant auctioning style and jet-set lifestyle as ‘the Mick Jagger of art auctions’, then chairman of Phillips de Pury & Company – the 300 works were sold for a total of $9.2m in a record-breaking 100% sell-out, single-owner New York sale that far exceeded the $6.3m estimate. When the last item, Barbara Kruger’s iconic 1983 image, I Shop Therefore I Am, fetched $601,600, spontaneous applause erupted in the saleroom.

Marilyn Minter
Twins, 2005
Chromogenic print
Estimate £20,000 > 30,000

Erwin Blumenfeld
La Pudeur, 1937
Gelatin silver print
Estimate £8,000 > 12,000

It was Baroness Lambert, always keen to try out new ideas, who again and more recently approached de Pury – his having left Phillips in 1997, set up his own company which later merged with Phillips, which he once more had left, now running an art consultancy de Pury & de Pury with his wife – asking him if he would be prepared to embark on an internet-only auction of the collection she had built up in the intervening years. He accepted the challenge, but in the end a hybrid solution was agreed upon, which involved his teaming up with Christie’s.

Not a company to stint on its sale pitch, no less than eleven videos, each an introduction to artists or other aspects of what became the Visual Odyssey event appear on the Christie’s website, the first being an introduction by Simon de Pury and Christie’s Chairman and Head of Postwar and Contemporary, Francis Outred, who talks about this sale as being an evolution of the legendary 2004 auction. Describing the main difference between that and next week’s sale, Outred, who praises Lambert’s ever-restless eye, is that although it contains a good deal of photography, A Visual Odyssey, spanning three centuries, and which includes objects that are as diverse as a wonderfully minimal Donald Judd desk and two chairs from 1989, to a 1953 Fiat 500 C Topolino, is about how to acquire a variety of great things and how you can successfully put them together. To that end, and as if the idea of Simon de Pury teaming up with Christie’s wasn’t going to turn a enough heads, exalted French interior designer Jacques Grange – his customers included Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, Isabelle Adjani, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Alain Ducasse, Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld and Paloma Picasso – he owns and lives in Colette’s former Palais Royal home – was invited to stage the exhibition, assembling all of the items together for twelve preview days at Ely House in London’s Dover Street.

A Visual Odyssey: Selections from LAC (Lambert Art Collection), the sale, takes place on 14 October at Christie’s, King Street, London, the first day of Frieze Week 2015. It will be presented on both the de Pury and Christie’s websites.

All images courtesy Christie’s

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The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Art | Paris Goes Out of This World

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Robert Longo
Untitled (Astronaut Tereshkova,
First Woman in Space), 2015

Charcoal on mounted paper.
2 panels, each 238.8 x 121.9 cm

Space Age
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Paris Pantin
Paris | France
27 September > 23 December 2015

Stephan Balkenhol
Mann auf Rakete /
Man on a Rocket
, 2015

Wawa wood.
Photo Philippe Servent

It looked slick, cool and clever. Everyone was very excited when Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong stepped off the Lunar Module’s ladder and onto the Moon’s surface, on July 20, 1969. What had hitherto been the stuff of dreams, comic books, science fiction novels and film, was suddenly happening for the first time, live on our TV screens. Armstrong’s iconic ‘…one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind,’ footprint image made a deep impression on the art world. The years of preparation had already had a huge influence on artists such as Korean-American Nam Juin Pak (1932 > 2006), and the moon landing itself, lent credence to influential Argentine-Italian artist Lucio Fontana’s 1949 claim, ‘I assure you that on the moon no-one will make paintings, but they will make spatial art.’ He would go on to prophesy, ominously ‘… Art, as it is thought of today, will end.’ Sadly, Fontana, who died in 1968, just missed the big show.

Lee Bul
Aubade IV, 2015
Stainless-steel structure,
acrylic, polycarbonate sheet,
glass paint, LED lights,
electrical wiring, fog machine

Cory Arcangel
MIG 29 Soviet Fighter Plane

and Clouds, 2005
2 handmade hacked Nintendo
cartridges & games systems
multi-channel projections

Anselm Kiefer
Das Grab in den Lüften /
The Grave in the Air,

Mixed media installation
comprised of glass, stone,
earth, lead, wood and iron.
Photo Philippe Servent

What might Fontana have made of this new show in the four vast halls of Paris Pantin for which 20 artists of different generations contribute works, in a variety of media, inspired by the notion of outer space – its diverse connotations, from science to utopia? In an era where news of space flights and happenings on space stations is so commonplace that they barely rate a like, never mind a retweet, have conventional art works become redundant?

Robert Rauschenberg (1925 > 2008) is represented by a large dynamic wall sculpture, constructed from, among other elements, an aeroplane part and a bicycle frame, the whole redolent of undefined wreckage, but clearly referencing early attempts at manned flight. There’s also a layered acrylic print on a sheet of mirrored aluminium by Rauschenberg that plays with the notion of surface, depth and even volume – Fontana experimented in similar areas – but is in a disarming and fairly conventional, framed format.

Robert Rauschenberg
Roads (Shiner), 1992
Acrylic on mirrored aluminium.
© Robert Rauschenberg
Foundation / VAGA,
New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Photo John Berens

Harun Farocki
Eye / Machine I > III, 2001 > 2003

Double-channel installation,
sound, colour, 25 / 17 /15 minutes.
Courtesy Estate Harun Farocki

Never predictable, ever ambiguous, the new piece, Aubade IV (2015), included from Korean artist Lee Bul (1964 >), made up of four elements, might represent a battle in space. It incorporates LED lights and a fog machine, and is elusively yet aptly described as ‘of variable dimensions’, which has become common practice for installation work, but is particularly appropriate in this instance, because there’s a sense that the viewer is looking at a snatch from a scene that might shift and change at any moment .

Untitled (Astronaut Tereshkova, First Woman in Space), 2015, from American painter/sculptor Robert Longo, aged 52, who first came to the fore in the 1980s with a series depicting sharply-dressed men and women writhing in contorted emotion, has contributed a piece made up of two huge monochrome panels (each 238.8 x 121.9 cm), executed in the age-old medium of charcoal. Set at right angles to one another, each picks up a reflection of the other, imbuing it with an immersive, weightless quality.

What might have shocked Fontana is that, in amongst the aeroplane parts and the double-channel video installations, Space Age at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, includes a few oil paintings and even some figurative sculpture.

All items and images courtesy Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris / Salzburg

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The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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All Categories | Here, There + Everywhere

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944),
Komposition in Oval mit Farbflächen 2, 1914

© Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Netherlands.
On show at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, see below

The Blog’s regular posts won’t appear on
Friday 11 and Friday 18 September.

We’ll be back on Friday 25 September.
Until then, here are a few events around
the globe you might like to know about

London | UK
Don McCullin: Eighty
Hamiliton’s Gallery
9 September > 3 October
Exhibition honouring McCullin’s 80th birthday: each print in the exhibition is in an oversized format – the scale enhancing their monumentality and power.

The London Art Book Fair
Whitechapel Gallery
10 > 13 September 2015
Highlights include Michael Craig-Martin in discussion with his former student Fiona Rae.

Berlin | Germany
Piet Mondrian. The Line
4 September > 6 December 2015
Exhibition illustrating the development of Mondrian’s work from before lines and the organisation of image areas dominated his abstract creations.

Sol Lewitt – Wall Drawings, Grids on Black and White
Konrad Fischer Galerie
3 September > 31 October


Düsseldorf | Germany
Sol Lewitt – Wall Drawings, Grids on Color
Konrad Fischer Galerie
4 September > 31 October
Two solo exhibitions of LeWitt’s wall drawings running almost concurrently at both the gallery’s venues.

New York City | USA
Mike Kelley
Hauser & Wirth
10 September 10 > 24 October 2015
Exhibition on the late Los Angeles artist who reworked the imagery and mythology of the popular American comic book hero, Superman.

Gego: Autobiography of a Line
Dominique Lévy
10 September 10 > 24 October 2015
Exhibition of German-born Venezuelan artist Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt, 1912 > 1994), in whose intricate wire sculpture, line becomes a dimensional language with which to describe architectural space and engage the human body.

Paris | France
Toshio Shibata: Night Photographs
Polka Gallery
12 September > 31 October 2015
Japanese photographer of the postwar generation is particularly known for his monumental infrastructure photographs. The Night Photographs, taken exclusively at night in the 80s, but only now put on to the public display are black and white pictures when his current work is in colour.

Hong Kong | China
Nam June Paik – The Late Style
Gagosian Gallery
17 September > 7 November 2015
Video sculptures, paintings, and drawings produced during the last decade of Paik’s life, many of which have never been exhibited, will be presented together with key works from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Milan | Italy
Atlante del gesto
Fondazione Prada
18 September > 3 October 2015
A series of choreographic actions conceived by Virgilio Sieni for Fondazione Prada’s new Milan venue.

Lausanne | Switzerland
The memory of images:
The iconographic collection of the Canton de Vaud
Musée de l’Elysée
18 September 2015 > 3 January 2016
Founded in 1896 by the pastor Paul-Louis Vionnet (1830-1914), the collection contains hundreds of thousands of images covering the history of the medium. This presentation chronicles the beginnings of documentary photography applied to the inventory of local heritage and the history of the Canton of Vaud.

Amsterdam | The Netherlands
ZeroNow: on the Topicality of Zero
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
24 September > 25 September 2015
A symposium about Zero one of the mid-20th century’s most interesting and influential art groups, with Rem Koolhaas (OMA, Rotterdam), among other prominent international speakers.

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

The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Sculpture | On the Other Side of Richard Deacon

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Siamese Metal #1, 2008
Steel. Private collection.
Photo Mathias Schormann

Richard Deacon
On The Other Side
Kunstmuseum Winterthur
Winterthur | Switzerland
Until 15 November 2015

North – Fruit, 2007
Glazed ceramic. Private collection.
Photo Hans Ole Madsen

Alphabet C, 2009
Powder-coated steel.
Courtesy Galerie Ropac, Paris.
Photo Charles Duprat

Visitor figures for Richard Deacon’s 2014 retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain in London – the UK’s teeming metropolis – were massive. The previous year the sculptor’s large, permanent outdoor work ‘Footfall’ had been installed at Kunstmuseum Winterthur in the relatively small city of Winterthur – population 108,000 – located in the northern canton of Zürich, Switzerland. A selection of 40 works produced during the past 10 years, augmented by others already in the Kunstmuseum’s collection, form the body of On The Other Side, the artist’s current and first solo exhibition there.

Sturdy and complete – Deacon’s sculptures have no loose ends – they nevertheless convey sensitivity through their carefully-selected materials and the fine finishes each individual piece is given. Much of his ability to achieve the high standard of workmanship he requires, derives from his close working relationship with his collaborator of thirty years, Matthew Perry. On the Tate blog, Perry explained: ‘Richard has an idea; he wants to put things together in a certain way, and I go away and make a vocabulary for him to work with. The reality of this work is that it’s always eccentric and it’s very hand-made, it’s not a process of mass production. You have very complex shapes that have to be joined, and they are routed together so that they are strong, but elegant.’

Footfall, 2013, installed at Kunstmuseum Winterthur
Stainless steel.
Photo Serge Hasenböhler

Infinity #34, 2008
Steel. Private collection.
Photo Ken Adlard

Undergrowth, 2006
Glazed ceramic. Private collection.
Photo Ken Adlard

Born in 1949 in Bangor, Wales, winner of the 1987 Turner Prize and one of the UK’s most successful artists, the dome-headed and bespectacled 66 year-old – two years older than his close contemporary sculptor of similar standing, Antony Gormley – is based in London where he is represented by the highly-respected Lisson Gallery, on whose site Deacon’s impressive list of achievements is listed. However, he is also represented by galleries in Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, one on America’s east coast and another on its west. He has exhibited with increasing regularity since 1975 in galleries and museums throughout the world, from London to Caracas, from Maastricht to Tokyo, picking up public and private commissions along the way, including the design of stage sets for the Ballet Rambert.

At one time referring to himself as fabricator, as opposed to sculptor, he later qualified his statement by explaining that he liked the double sense of the word fabrication in English, which can mean a construction as well as an imagined event. However, rather than taking the more conventional sculptor approach of having an idea then choosing a material to execute it in, Deacon uses the material itself as a starting point and has taken inspiration from, among others, rocks, minerals and chains. He has drawn inspiration from such diverse sources as mathematics, caves, carved Buddhas, Donald Judd’s work and, famously, even a toy model of Marge Simpson’s head.

Copper, 2012
Wood, epoxy resin and copper pigment.
Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
Photo Cathy Carver

Deacon’s method of organising work for his shows is also unusual. Although at first he made work especially for exhibitions, he later changed things around so that he now continuously builds up a stock, constructing exhibitions based on that stock, with the object of achieving better continuity. On The Other Side at Kunstmuseum Winterthur – a compact gallery with big ideas, which in recent years has hosted exhibitions of work by such major names as Édouard Vuillard, Gerhard Richter and Richard Hamilton – is restricted to works in wood, metal and ceramics used in organic and constructed shapes

All photos courtesy Kunstmuseum Winterthur. © The photographers

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

The Blog’s publishers 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 that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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