Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

Exhibition | Jasper Morrison: The Designs of Others

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Portrait, 2014 © Kento Mori



Jasper MorrisonThingness
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Zürich | Switzerland
12 February > 5 June 2016



It’s great that the Museum für Gestaltung is presenting a major retrospective of internationally-acclaimed British designer Jasper Morrison’s work. On the other hand, it’s interesting to be given an insight into what prominent designers like Morrison think of other people’s work. So, in addition, and as part of their My Collection display series, the Museum have asked him to select items from across their permanent collections – not one to do things by half, Morrison picked out eighty-six pieces – and to explain what in particular fascinates him about each. Here are just a few of his choices and comments.

Berthold Akzidenz-Grotesk, 1966 > 1980.
Master font sample sheet.
Designed by Josef Müller-Brockman,
Müller-Brockmann + Co, Zürich, Switzerland
for H Berthold AG, Berlin, Germany

Donated by Shizuko Yoshikawa
Josef Müller-Brockmann Archive /
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich /
Graphic Design Collection



‘I have always felt there to be a mysterious connection between chair design and typography, perhaps typography is the two-dimensional equivalent exercise. Subtle adjustments of shape and width result in extreme differences of expression in a typeface. The quest for a modern looking, ‘normal’ typeface has been long running and brought forth various tangible results, but no font was as successful as the old Berthold Akzidenz-Grotesk. Even major players like Josef Müller-Brockmann used it in his advertisements.’

Steiger-Fauteuil Armchair, early 1930s.
Sprung-chair, designed by Carl Steiger
Bent wood with webbing
Donated by Ruggero Tropeano
Property of Zürcher Hochschule der Künste /
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich /
Design Collection



‘If I could pick one thing from the collection and keep it, it would be this chair. I’ve never heard of Carl Steiger and all I can find out about him is that he seems to have been a talented aviation designer, and that his son was a modern architect. The chair itself seems to be a prototype and some of the connections are hinged, suggesting a certain amount of movement in the structure allowed by the cantilever. The sectional flatness of the structural elements, the sled like shape of the arms, the extended floor rail and the way the back leg lands on it at a reclined angle all add up to suggest great comfort, while the woven webbing is economic, lightweight and decorative and would also have added comfort. It’s one of the Museum’s treasures, a lesser known masterpiece.’

It has long been proven – Traditional
products of modern design, 1970.
Poster designed by Emil Ruder for
Museum für Gestaltung Basel, Switzerland
Property of Zürcher Hochschule der Künste /
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / Poster Collection



‘Could it be that the shape of a spoon communicates such an elemental sense of objectness because it’s the first tool we learn to use in life? Presented here as a silhouette in white on a black background it’s particularly powerful and effective in representing an exhibition of time-tested forms.’

Wooden trolley, c 1954.
Designed and produced by Benedikt Rohner
For Benedikt Rohner
Property of Zürcher Hochschule



‘The lines of this trolley are uncompromisingly modern for its date of birth. This would have been relatively ahead of its time and quite out of tune with most interiors of its day, except in Switzerland perhaps where there seems to be a natural and traditional appreciation for rational form.’

U-Turn LED spotlight range, 2012.
Designed by Michel Charlot

Produced by Belux



‘The U-Turn family of lights represents something new both formally and technically and that’s quite an achievement these days with the frequency of new products launched on the market. The lamp ‘head’ fixes to the stem magnetically and can be detached and then reattached as it was or flipped over to send the light the opposite way. It can also be very easily adjusted to direct the light with nothing more than the push of a finger. The circular crater pattern on the back of the lamp head serve to increase the surface area and improve cooling of the LED light source, while the middle one serves as the magnet fixing point. The formal elements are well balanced and the result is an accomplished design with added function and lots of character.’

Jasper Morrison’s My Collection is included alongside the exhibition Jasper Morrison – Thingness at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich Schaudepot.

All images courtesy and © Museum für Gestaltung Zürich


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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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Architecture | All Hail the Image Resolution!

Friday, January 29th, 2016

The Leadenhall Building, London, UK
Photograph by Mark Gorton
Architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners



Philharmonic Hall, Szczecin, Poland
Photograph by Laurian Ghinitoiu
Architect Estudio Barozzi & Veiga



Building Images
Sto Werkstatt
London | UK
5 February > 25 March 2016



The winners of the Arcaid Images Architectural Photography Awards 2015, showcasing the world’s most renowned architectural photographers, were announced in early November at The World Architecture Festival 2015, so it’s very likely that regular subscribers to daily newsletters from architecture and design sites such as Designboom or Dezeen, or those who follow the likes of ArchDaily or Architizer on Twitter, have already seen these pictures: or at least some of them, albeit fleetingly, online, as here, at 72 dpi.

Overall Winner 2015
EPFL Quartier Nord, Ecublens, Switzerland
Photograph by Fernando Guerra
Architect Richter Dahl Rocha & Associés



Sede Transforma, Torres Vedras, Portugal
Photograph by Fernando Guerra
Architect Pedro Gadanho + CVDB



But looking at photography only on our computers, on our tablets or on our phones does the images and their respective photographers little justice. We may be able to scan a tremendous volume of architecture images every day in this way, but whereas a few single images – usually of buildings designed by famous architects – might have the power to stick in our minds, the majority tend to blend into one amorphous mass, soon to be replaced by another. And besides, architecture is generally concerned with scale and space, elements that are not easily transported at low resolution from within the confines of a laptop monitor, and tend to appear coarse and lacking in detail on larger screens.

De Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Photograph by Ryan Koopmans
Architect Rem Koolhaas OMA



Long Museum West Bund, Shanghai, China
Photograph by Su Shengliang
Architect Atelier Deshaus



Yick Cheong Building, Hong Kong
Photograph by Lingfei Tan + Song Han
Public housing development



There are a great number of hard copy architecture magazines in which the winning images from this competition and even some of the runners up will also have appeared, where the photographs can be better examined and appreciated, providing they were well laid out. But if this wasn’t the case, the printing was a bit off, or the pictures were overwhelmed by text, their quality may have been compromised, or they could have been denied their potential in terms of scale.

As Lynne Bryant, co-founder of Arcaid Images, reminds us, ‘…the earliest known image [View from the Window at Le Gras, 1826 or 1827 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce] taken with a camera obscura, could be said to be architectural,’ therefore as a genre architectural photography is particularly worthy of our respect and should be treated with due dignity.

It might be stating the obvious, but the advantage of visiting the Building Images exhibition at Sto Werkstatt is that all the Arcaid Images Architectural Photography Awards 2015 winning pictures, and all of the runners up, are each displayed at their best, as large, high resolution prints, all accurately credited and captioned. The experience must knock the socks off  viewing these photographs by any other method.

All images courtesy Sto Wekstatt and Arcaid, © the photographers


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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



Line
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 ArtBusiness.com 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’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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Photography | Man v Nature: An Interface Acted Out

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Joshua Tree (CA), 2002

Taft (CA), 2008

Joshua Tree (CA), 2007

Joshua Tree (CA), 2002

Claremont (CA), 2004

Twentynine Palms (CA), 2002

Sierra Nevada (CA), 2007



Marie-José Jongerius
‘The Magic Tree’
The Ravestijn Gallery
Amsterdam  | Netherlands
16 January > 27 February 2016



Distant, challenging, imbued with obscure meaning: if the British performance artist, model, and fashion icon Tilda Swinton was a landscape, she might resemble the photographs in this exhibition. There’s no denying that Swinton has an enigmatic stage presence that is impossible to ignore, on which her success is based, and these images demand attention for the same reasons. Produced in the hot, dry landscapes spanning the south-western United States, from the Pacific Ocean to the mountaintops of Sierra Nevada and down to the Mojave Desert, despite the golden light – like Swinton’s various personae – each studiously muted  image, resonates with coldness rather than warmth.

Marie-José Jongerius at work



At first sight, the seemingly empty, innocuous snatches of landscape might be an amateur’s snapshots from a road-trip to nowhere, but seasoned Dutch photographer Marie-José Jongerius’s photographs are carefully choreographed scenes in which she employs trees to act out the uneasy relationship between man and nature in this arid region, where the artificial interfaces awkwardly with the organic world.

While Marie-José Jongerius ‘The Magic Tree’ at The Ravestijn Gallery is restricted to only the seven large format images shown here, sixty of her landscape works can be found in the two volume book set Edges of the Experiment – The Making of the American Landscape (2015), which we blogged about in April 2015.

Main images courtesy The Ravestijn Gallery, © Marie-José Jongerius.
Portrait by Marcello Scopelliti


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Photography | A Paper that Dared to Tell the Truth

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Helen Levitt
‘Third Avenue, Upper East Side, Offers no Trees or Cliffs for Kids to Climb,
but Porch of Abandoned Building is Excellent Substitute’
July-August 1940



PM New York Daily: 1940 > 48
Steven Kasher Gallery
14 January 20 February 2015



Weegee
‘The Critic, Opening Night at the Metropolitan Opera’
November 22, 1943



PM is against people who push other people around. PM accepts no advertising. PM belongs to no political party. PM is absolutely free and uncensored. PM’s sole source of income is its readers – to whom it alone is responsible. PM is one newspaper that can and dares to tell the truth.’ Making itself loud and clear in its first issue of June 18, 1940 New York’s progressive PM Daily – together with the Sunday version, PM Weekly – whose territory was politics, crime, war, labour, and celebrating the everyday lives of ordinary people, would become a platform for cutting edge photojournalism and an instrument for socially progressive thought.

Unknown photographer
‘Adam Clayton Powell at the Negro Freedom Rally, Madison Square Garden’
June 26, 1944



Max Peter Haas
‘Heroic Taxi Driver, Leonard Weisberg, Lying Dead at
Deadly ‘Mad Dog’ Shoot-Out in Manhattan’

April
1941



Gene Badger
‘On May 13 The Day, Yiddish Newspaper, Where 42 Employees Are On Strike’
May 1941



At a time when most New York publications were staunchly conservative, PM was ‘a fighting liberal crusader’, whose bold mission attracted important writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, and Dorothy Parker, as well as future Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill. The editorial staff ardently supported US intervention against Hitler, took stands against racial and religious discrimination, and fought for the rights of labour unions.

Margaret Bourke-White
‘Men Searched the Job Boards on Sixth Avenue, as Unemployment is Rising Again’
June 1940



Closing on June 22, 1948, the legendary publication, whose roster of staff and freelance photographers included, among others, Weegee, Helen Levitt and Margaret Bourke-White, had a lifespan of almost exactly eight years.

PM New York Daily: 1940 > 48 forthcoming exhibition at Steven Kasher Gallery features over 75 black and white vintage photographs. Seeking to emulate the visual punch of Life magazine, PM had the most expensive printing and paper ever used for a daily tabloid – vintage copies of the newspaper will also be displayed.

All photographs and captions courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York City, USA


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Design | Sitting on top of the 20th Century

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld (1888 > 1964)
Steltman chairs, pair, designed 1963
(T
he second is a mirror image of the above)
Stained oak.
Estimate $80,000 > 120,000



Design Masterworks
Christie’s
Rockefeller Plaza
New York City | USA
Exhibition 12 > 16 December 2015
Auction 17 December 2015



Marc Newson (1963 >)
Lockheed Lounge, designed 1990
Fibreglass-reinforced polyester resin core,
blind-riveted sheet aluminium,
rubber-coated polyester resin.
Estimate $1,500,000 – 2,000,000



Looks can be deceiving. Amongst the rare and much sought-after items in Christie’s forthcoming Design Masterworks sale, a pair of Steltman chairs, for instance, designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1963 – placing their production firmly in the mid-century period – are rooted in the far more remote early modernist years, while hints of the 1960s’ brutalist architectural style are also easily detected in the form.

Superficially, with its Sputnik aesthetic, Marc Newson’s three-legged Lockheed Lounge, with a blind-riveted sheet aluminium finish, also reminiscent of post-war airliners, produced as a limited edition of ten, in 1990, toward the end of the twentieth century, might well have been designed when Arne Jacobsen was sketching out his Drop chair for his SAS Radisson Blue Hotel in the late 1950s. (Incidentally, recently relaunched by Fritz Hansen, the Drop is now available with a plastic shell in a selection of colours with matching powder-coated legs.)

Arne Jacobsen (1902 > 1971)
Drop chair, designed c 1958
Copper-plated steel, leather
Estimate $20,000 > 30,000


Hans Wenger (1914 > 2007)
Easy chair, designed 1953
Oak, leather, fabric upholstery
$30,000 > 50,000



The spindly legs, of course, are always a dead giveaway, but, paradoxically, the upholstered full, rounded back and chunky armrests of Hans Wenger’s Easy chair, 1953, are strongly suggestive of the art deco period that spawned Jean Prouve’s Sanatorium armchair, whose tapered seat shape and slimmer armrests in turn foreshadow the lightness of form that would appear in late 1940s and 1950s furniture design, made possible through the use of new materials and improved production techniques brought about by advances in technology.

Jean Prouvé (1901 > 1984)
Sanatorium armchair, c 1932
Painted metal, leather, stretched canvas
Estimate $140,000 > 180,000



Although more chair designs, notably by Gio Ponti and Finn Juhl are included, Design Masterworks at Christie’s isn’t confined to seating. The tightly-edited series of lots, each with impeccable provenance and stand-alone individuality, flying in the face of chronological categorisation, features a striking c 1930 wall light from the palace of the Maharaje of Indore made by Max Krüger, Flavio Poli’s Valva siderale internally-decorated glass vase, 1954, and Carlo Mollino’s anthropomorphic maple, tempered glass and brass An Occasional Table made around 1950.

All images courtesy and © 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 | 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’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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Photography | War & Peace in B/W & Colour

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Robert Capa, West of Namdinh, Indochina (Vietnam), May 1954
International Center of Photography, New York
© Robert Capa / ICP /Magnum Photos



Capa in Color
Jeu de Paume-Château de Tours
Tours | France
21 November 2015 > 29 May 2016

+

Don McCullin ‘War and Peace’
Christie’s Lecture in aid
of
the Tusk Trust
Christie’s London
London | UK
9 December 2015



Robert Capa, Party, Rome, Italy, August 1951
International Center of Photography, New York
© Robert Capa / ICP /Magnum Photos



The gritty and graphic black and white photography that Robert Capa (b Budapest 1913, d Indochina 1954) is famous for – the Spanish Civil War, World War II, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the First Indochina War – tell the dramatic and poignant story of armed conflict and political strife in uncompromising terms by a fearless photographer who made no bones about being right there amongst the action. To equal effect, Capa applied the same treatment to documenting European cities in the immediate aftermath of WWII. Amongst the many posthumous retrospective exhibitions of his work, however, virtually none of the colour images that he produced on another camera, which he used alongside that loaded with black and white film, have ever appeared in print.

Capa began experimenting in colour as early as 1938, using Kodachrome to document the Sino-Japanese War and was disappointed when only four of his colour pictures (the more hard-hitting of which were not available to accompany this post, but some of which can be seen here) that he regarded as lacking nothing in comparison to his monochrome images, were selected for use in Life magazine. Despite his best efforts, none of his 1941 World War II colour photographs ever reached publication. Capa in Color at the Jeu de Paume’s outpost in the Château de Tours – organised in conjunction with the International Center of Photography (ICP), New York, which showed the exhibition for the first time this summer – provides Europe with the rare opportunity to see this unseen and revealing body of work.

Robert Capa, Woman on the beach, Biarritz, France, August 1951
International Center of Photography, New York
© Robert Capa / ICP /Magnum Photos



Robert Capa — Capucine, French model and actress, on a balcony, Rome, Italy, August 1951
International Center of Photography, New York
© Robert Capa / ICP /Magnum Photos



Well-known for his pursuit of beautiful women, lover of actress Ingrid Bergman, who he met when she was entertaining American soldiers in Europe, in 1945, Capa followed her to Hollywood, where, in an attempt to reinvent himself as a photographer, he worked for American International Pictures for a short time. Suggestive of uncertainty and wandering, the glamorous colour images of his postwar career are devoid of the gravity of his war stories. Having revealed that his great wish was to become an ‘unemployed’ war photographer, but unsure of his role in the more playful and prosperous colourful world that magazines were keen to promulgate, in 1954, Capa accepted a Life magazine assignment in Southeast Asia where French forces had been fighting for eight years. Under fire in a dangerous area, he left his jeep and stepped on a landmine, later dying of his injuries.

Don McCullin (b 1935), who is to present his War and Peace fundraising lecture for the Tusk Trust, in aid of conservation, community development and environmental education programmes across Africa, at Christie’s London in December, has been quoted as saying that he doesn’t like to be termed a war photographer. ‘It’s like saying I work in an abattoir; it’s like being called a criminal,’ he said.

Only a few years after Capa perished, McCullin, having just finished national service in the RAF, took his first published photo of The Guvners, a local Finsbury Park gang posing amongst the remains of a bombed-out house, which appeared in The Observer in 1958. Three years later, having secured a contract with the newspaper, he took his first war photographs for it, covering the Cyprus war. McCullin worked for The Sunday Times Magazine between 1966 and 1984, a period in which he considers he produced his finest work. Most famous for his photos of Vietnam and Cambodia, his Sunday Times assignments took him to Biafra, the Belgian Congo, Northern Ireland, Bangladesh, the Lebanese Civil War, El Salvador, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. In a recent interview published on the Christie’s website he explained, ‘I found wars exciting when I first went to photograph them. I thought this is fun, the bullets are flying – it’s a bit Hollywood. Then I started going to wars where the civilian population was suffering the most, and that brought about a change in me.’

Don McCullin, The Guvnors in their Sunday Suits, Finsbury Park, London, 1958
© Don McCullin, courtesy Hamiltons Gallery



Don McCullin, Palestinian Woman returning to ruins of her house, Beirut
© Don McCullin, courtesy Hamiltons Gallery



McCullin took huge risks in order to take his photographs. Threatened with a knife at a Muslim checkpoint in Beirut, blinded by CS gas during a riot in Derry, he was wounded by mortar shell fragments in Cambodia. He was most frightened when, having been arrested by Idi Amin’s thugs in Uganda he was taken to a notorious prison where they were murdering hundreds of people every day with sledgehammers. He survived; but admits to being damaged. His relentless bravery undimmed, his urge to go wherever the action is unassuaged – aged 77, he covered the war in Aleppo, Syria, for The Times – sharing a home with his third wife, he now has a firm base in Somerset, where his friend, David Bailey, is a neighbour.

Although his own work is sought after and sells for thousands of pounds via his gallerist, Hamiltons, McCullin deplores the pretentiousness of photographers who call themselves artists. Having dabbled in colour, he remains a master of black and white photography. Now 80 years old, he turned his attention to landscape in the late 1980s. ‘After all, a landscape cannot cry or bleed,’ he has said. In 2010 he went in search of the Roman ruins spread across the Middle East and North Africa, photographing them for his book, Southern Frontiers: A Journey Across The Roman Empire. His newer images include British landscapes, notably of Somerset. Hauser & Wirth Somerset, in Bruton, is currently hosting the exhibition Don McCullin: Conflict – People – Landscape.

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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,
paperback



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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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 Vogue.com 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 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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