Posts Tagged ‘Berlin’

Photography | Regina Schmeken on Bloody Ground

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Theodoros Boulgarides (41)
15.06.2005 München Trappentreustraße
, 2013



Regina Schmeken
Bloody Ground. Scenes of NSU Crimes
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
29 July > 29 October 2017



Halit Yozgat (21)
06.04.2006 Kassel Holländische Straße
, 2015



Enver Şimşek (38)
09.09.2000 Nürnberg
, 2015



Much of the work of conveying the oppressive atmosphere of a Nazi arena is done for photographers by the overblown architecture that stands as a stark reminder of the misplaced ideals of the sinister powers responsible for their construction. The barbed wire and lookout towers of death camps, such as Buchenwald, prompt vivid recollections of the atrocities perpetrated there. An old man in a flat cap sitting at a bus stop in an ordinary street lined with apartment buildings; a couple on a scooter riding past a forlorn flower stall beside a rainwater puddle; the chequered, tiled floor of a bike shop – were not much for German photographer Regina Schmeken to go on.

The dead bodies and the blood were long gone, however, in 2013 when Schmeken returned to the crime scenes where ten people were executed by right-wing National Socialist Underground extremists in Dortmund, Hamburg, Heilbronn, Kassel, Cologne, Munich, Nuremberg and Rostock between 2000 and 2007. Schmeken worked with what she found. Other than choosing to shoot in contrasty black and white – which she always does, anyway – and using a wide-angle lens, she employed no special tricks to successfully evoke the carnage that had taken place in these very nondescript locations.

Mehmet Turgut (25)
25.02.2004 Rostock Neudierkower Weg
, 2013



Süleyman Taşköprü (31)
27.06.2001 Hamburg Schützenstraße
, 2015




Born in 1955, Schmeken has been an editorial photographer for the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper since 1986 and is well known in Germany for her sport, dance, political reportage, and portrait photography.

Through her photographs – simply captioned with only the names of the dead, their ages, the dates and locations of the crimes – in the exhibition Regina Schmeken: Bloody Ground. Scenes of NSU Crimes at Martin-Gropius-Bau, the photographer seeks only to commemorate the victims of the murders, but the underlying message powerfully conveyed is that these abhorrent events could have happened on any German doorstep.

The dead numbered eight male victims of Turkish origin, another was Greek and one was a German policewoman. The trial of Beate Zschäpe, Ralf Wohlleben and the five others allegedly involved in their murders began in 2013 in Munich; the verdict is yet to be delivered.

All photographs © Regina Schmeken, courtesy Martin-Gropius-Bau


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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 made available 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 | Juergen Teller: a Kind of Self-portrait

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Kanye, Juergen & Kim, No. 51
Chateau d’Ambleville 2015



Juergen Teller.
Enjoy Your Life!
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
Until 3 July 2017



Anne & Elisa, No. 1
Man About Town

Magazine cover,
spring/summer 2016



Kanye, Juergen & Kim, No. 70
Chateau d’Ambleville 2015



‘I hate nothing more than sugary photographs with tricks, poses and effects. So allow me to be honest and tell the truth about our age and its people.’ August Sander (1876 > 1964)

Juergen Teller was born in Germany, in the year that the great German portrait and documentary photographer August Sander died. Like Sander, he doesn’t idealise, and makes no effort to romanticise or prettify his subjects. His sincerity is infectious and the honesty of his approach to his work is inspiring. Nevertheless he likes to have fun, too. ‘What Helmut says goes, what Rei says goes, what Vivienne says goes, what Marc says goes… I take the whole thing seriously, but I couldn’t do a job where I didn’t have any fun, and just to make money,’ he told the Independent newspaper.

Photographing the actress Charlotte Rampling for Marc Jacobs’ 2004 advertising campaign, and including himself in some of the intimate shots – one showed Teller curling up in bed with Rampling, him sucking her toes – was the start of a close working relationship that led to their collaboration on a provocative series of images, involving his own nudity, that would become a book and an exhibition. In 2009, Teller was involved with Vivienne Westwood and Pamela Anderson for an ‘Everything ugly and beautiful at the same time’ campaign that also resulted in a book. Westwood, with whom he continued to work, would also appear, draped over a car on a dirt road, in Teller’s monograph, Keys To The House (2012). ‘In the wider sense, everything is a kind of self-portrait. It’s just the way you see things and how certain things rouse your curiosity and get you all excited,’ he has said. Kanye, Juergen & Kim, a later book published in 2015, contains a series he shot with Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian at Château d’Ambleville in France, but no château. Instead he chose to make the most of this rare opportunity alone with them away from the public gaze by capturing the couple – and himself – in seemingly private, intimate moments, out in the open countryside.

Love, Bataclan
Memorial

Paris 2016



My mother,
Plates/Teller, No. 174

2016



Having studied photography in Munich, and speaking no English, Teller had moved to London in 1986 and managed to find work shooting record covers. He photographed Sinéad O’Connor in 1990 then went on tour with Nirvana the following year. His image of Kate Moss for a British Vogue cover in 1994 launched his career as a fashion photographer and by 1996 his success earned him a solo exhibition at London’s Photographers’ Gallery, followed by work for Calvin, and later, Céline and Yves Saint Laurent. He had been involved in advertising campaigns for Marc Jacobs since 1998, his work becoming synonymous with the brand, and the subject of another book Marc Jacobs Advertising 1998 – 2009. His photography has featured in an array of influential international publications such including W Magazine and i-D.

Self-portrait
London 2015



Teller is one of a few artists since Robert Mapplethorpe – an exhibition of whose work he was recently invited to curate at Alison Jacques’ gallery in London – who has been able to straddle both the art world and that of commercial fashion photography.​ Woo, a retrospective of work, opened at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2013 and was the most well attended exhibition in the venue’s history. In 2014, his exhibition MACHO was staged at DESTE Foundation in Athens. His previous exhibitions include Man with Banana (2011), at Dallas Contemporary, Texas, and The Girl With the Broken Nose (2012) at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. His work is included in numerous collections around the world, including the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, International Center for Photography, New York, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

There are some tricks, there are some poses, but his photography is never sugary, indeed his more personal work can have a very serious, poignant edge to it. What Teller sees and is interested in is essentially, what you get. His unique vision has led to him becoming regarded by many as one of the world’s great contemporary photographers.

Juergen Teller. Enjoy Your Life! was shown previously at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn and the Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague. It’s now a must see at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin.

All images © Juergen Teller, courtesy Bundeskunsthalle


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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 | Isolating Thomas Struth

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Tokamak Asdex Upgrade Periphery,
Max Planck IPP, Garching 2009
Chromogenic print



Thomas Struth. Nature & Politics
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
11 June > 18 September 2016



Aquarium, Atlanta 2013
Chromogenic print



Surprisingly, German photographer Thomas Struth, who is based in Berlin and is – according to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has an unparalleled collection of his work – ‘one of the most important and influential photographers of the last half-century’ hasn’t had a retrospective in the city since 2004.

Having first studied art under Gerhard Richter, then photography under Bernd and Hilla Becher from 1973 to 1980, Struth (b 1954) won a scholarship to New York, where he would produce Streets of New York City, a series of intense, deserted panoramas, that earned him his first solo exhibition there, at MoMA PS1, in 1978.

Catapulted to success, retrospective exhibitions of his work began early in his career –Kunsthalle Bern (1987), Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (1994), Carré d’Art, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Nîmes (1998), Dallas Museum of Art (2002), Museo de Art de Lima (2005) – and in 2011 London’s Whitechapel Gallery presented Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978 – 2010.

Basilica of the Annunciation,
Nazareth 2014

Inkjet print



Ride, Anaheim 2013
Chromogenic print



Research Vehicle,
Armstrong Flight
Research Center,
Edwards 2014

Inkjet print



But blockbuster retrospectives – as fashionable as they have become – while useful as reminders of the range and chronology of an artist’s development, can be overwhelming affairs that render the viewer, who can at best expect to be left with only an overview, grappling with a surfeit of competing concepts, each vying for their attention, confused and dissatisfied.

Perhaps by not being seen in isolation the work, too, sometimes suffers. Struth’s photographs may appear disarmingly matter-of-fact, but the thought processes behind them is deep and philosophical. Museum Photographs (1989 > 1992) – a large-scale colour series, consisting of voyeuristic observations of crowds of visitors, which reveals how historic paintings exhibited in famous museums are experienced today, requires time and space to be fully appreciated. It can be displayed alongside his earlier black-and-white portraits of individuals and almost unbearably frank depictions of family groups, or with his serene, unpopulated New Pictures from Paradise jungle images of the 1990s, but each of these also deserves proper consideration.

Although it’s only a matter of time before a major retrospective of Struth’s work is shown there, perhaps, for the moment, Berlin is getting it right.

Thomas Struth. Nature & Politics – the photographer’s first exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau – is not a retrospective, but a carefully composed survey of just 37 large-format photographs of work from the years 2005 to 2016. It homes in on the photographer’s more recent and ongoing preoccupation with the creation of images of the highly complex apparatus, structures and constructions that humankind is able to imagine and build that shape our everyday, contemporary, existence.

All images by and © Thomas Struth, courtesy Martin-Gropius-Bau


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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 | Totally Crazy, Impossible & Wrong Things

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Nefertiti, 2014
7 plaster busts with glasses, wood,
on wooden pedestals with castors
Variable installation
Courtesy Galerie Buchholz,
Köln / Berlin / New York,
David Zwirner, New York /
London and Hauser & Wirth



Isa Genzken: Make Yourself Pretty!
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
9 April – 26 June 2016



Five Ears (Detail), 1981
Paper
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Collection
Photo Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam



Social Facade, 2002
Metal, plastic, and metal foil
Ringier Collection, Zürich
Photo Galerie Buchholz Köln /
Berlin / New York



X-Ray, 1989 / 2015
Black and white photograph
Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Köln /
Berlin / New York



Actor, 2013
Mannequin, chair, shoes, wig,
wood, fabric, plastic and metal
Dimensions variable
Syz Genf Collection, Courtesy
Galerie Buchholz,
Köln / Berlin / New York



Isa Genzken: Make Yourself Pretty! at Martin Gropius Bau presents a broad spectrum of Genzken’s extraordinary and exceptionally diverse oeuvre, from her early films, drawings, and concrete sculptures to complex collages and everyday items integrated into montages. One of the country’s most important artists – married, incidentally, to Gerhard Richter from 1983 to 1993 – until recently, she was little known outside of Germany.

A short film and biography explain everything you need to know about Isa Genzken and her work.

All works © Isa Genzken, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
All Images courtesy Martin Gropius Bau


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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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Home | Not Living Alone

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Villa van Vijven, Almere,
The Netherlands, 2008,
by NEXT architects
Photo Iwan Baan



Daheim – Bauen und Wohnen in Gemeinschaft /
At Home – Building and Living in Communities
DAM Deutsches Architekturmuseum
Frankfurt am Main | Germany
12 September > 28 February 2016



BIGYard, Berlin, Germany, 2010,
by Zanderroth Architekten
+ Herrburg Landschaftsarchitekten
Photo Michael Feser



For those who are middle-aged and beyond, the new buildings of the world’s 21st century cities closely resemble, and may even exceed, the promise of those portrayed in the futuristic drawings in the science fiction comics of our youth. New housing, however, in many suburban areas of the UK and in towns and villages, more stylistically homogenous than ever before, while aspiring to deliver a reassuring message to the masses that nothing in the lifestyle and tastes of the average Brit has changed, misrepresent reality. Due, not least, to the reconfiguration of our lives as a result of technological advancement, climate change and the need to conserve natural resources, global living patterns are slowly but surely altering.

Since 1980, when Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government passed legislation making implementation of their Right to Buy policy possible – for the first time, allowing council house tenants to purchase their previously rented homes – Englishmen and English women have commonly believed it is their right to own the property in which they live, and very often these are houses, as opposed to apartments.

Studio building,
Yokohama, Japan, 2009,
by
ondesign & partner
Photo Koichi Torimura

The Roof Top, Vienna, Austria,
2012, by
PPAG architects GmbH
Photo Roland Krauss



In 2004, the last time the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s figures were updated, Spain at 83% had the largest number of owner-occupiers in the world, with Ireland at 81% coming in a close second. The UK was 6th on the list following Mexico, Greece and Belgium. Australia, the USA and Canada all scored fairly high. At the other end of the scale, Germany, at only 41% ranked among the lowest in the developed world for homeownership, with only the Swiss buying less. Germans, it would seem, aren’t interested in buying a home, and prefer to rent. There are specific reasons why this should be so – suffice to say that, in fairly quick succession, during the first half of the 20th century, the country went through two ruinous wars, in which hundreds of thousands, if not millions of homes were obliterated, later to be replaced by privately-owned apartment buildings, and that the government does not offer any tax cuts to homebuyers. According to the OECD, more than 93% of German respondents said they were satisfied with their current housing situation, which for the vast majority means apartment living in rented accommodation.

Nevertheless, there is evidence that the trend is beginning to change in Germany, across the rest of Europe, and elsewhere in the world, toward resident-owned community living in purpose-built, or reconditioned property.

Meanwhile, in the UK, house prices have risen so steeply that young people can no longer afford to buy them, so they rent. But, because the demand for rental properties far outstrips their availability, rents have risen to unprecedented levels, forcing many to search for alternative ways to live. In the past, community living here was seen as something quirky, for those wishing to lead an ‘alternative’ lifestyle, and we have a talent for sneering at our compatriots who choose to depart from the norm. Housing projects like Bowden House Community, near Torquay in Devon, earnestly describing themselves as, ‘A group of families and individuals aspiring to compassionate and eco-mindful living’ were previously dismissed as ‘hippies’. The UK co-housing Network, however, is growing steadily and now lists over fifty such projects, including Coflats Stroud, which, ‘partly inspired by the 1930’s Isokon Building in Hampstead’, albeit sounding rather retro, is at least more in tune with contemporary tastes.

Spreefeld, Berlin, 2014,
by
ArGE Carpaneto + FAT Köhl
+ BAR Architekten + The co-workers

Photo Ute Zscharnt

Hillside Housing Complex,
Kaltern, Italy, 2010,
by
feld72 Architekten
Photo Hertha Hurnaus



To discover what forms of the cooperative housing phenomenon are taking shape, and what role architecture is playing in this context, At Home – Building and Living in Communities, opening next week at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt, examines 26 case studies, taking in co-op and housing association building projects in countries such as Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy and even Japan.

The different concepts for the diverse projects included can be seen as responses to the needs of those who live and work in diverse locations. Through their involvement and contributions made during the genesis of each project, innovative, custom-made solutions are developed that are geared directly to the owner / residents’ requirements and desires. The idea of living in individual apartments, and often under one roof, nurturing neighbourly relations and friendship, as well as sharing space and social responsibility, reflects living concepts that are capable of combining traditional as well as modern living models.

All images courtesy Deutsches Architekturmuseum, © the photographers


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The Blogs 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 | Events Around the Eclipse of Capitalism

Friday, March 20th, 2015

OX, Untitled, 2013
Besançon 2013, Festival Bien Urbain Besançon



OX, Untitled, 2013
Besançon 2013, Festival Bien Urbain Besançon

Acrylic on petrol station



OX Public Posters
Edited by Andreas Ulrich
International Neighborhood Verlag

Text in German + English + French
308 pp, landscape, hardback
Available now

+

Rirkrit Tiravanija.
Berlin Billboards
On view at the following sites:
Messedamm 22, Berlin-Charlottenburg,
Prinzenstrasse 81, Berlin-Kreuzberg,
Wilhelmstrasse 111, Berlin-Tiergarten,
Leipziger Strasse 54, Berlin-Mitte,
Berlin | Germany

Until 18 April 2015

+

Art for All.
Multiples, graphics,
and political campaigns
from the Staeck Collection
Akademie der Künste
Berlin | Germany
Until 7 June 2015

+

Poetry of the Metropolis.
The Affichistes
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany

Until 25 May 2015

+

Peter Liversidge:
Notes on Protesting
Whitechapel Gallery
London | UK

Until 14 June 2014



OX, Untitled, 2004, Paris



OX, Untitled, 2009, Champagne-sur-Seine



OX, Untitled, 2008, Paris



OX, Untitled, 2005, Bagnolet



OX
OX (French, b 1963) finds a lot of graffiti tantamount to visual pollution, ‘plain ugly… badly placed, or just boring.’ He calls himself a painter, but says self-deprecatingly, ‘I am well aware that there is a difference between me and the master painters.

OX doesn’t like to talk much about his work. Nor does he title any of it. He prefers to let it speak for itself. ‘It isn’t interesting to watch me paint, either… I produce, I do colouring… watching me paint is very [tiring].’

OX’s medium is, for the most part, collage, albeit using paper he has first painted in his studio. A former member of the Paris-based 1980s art school guerilla collagist group Les Fréres Ripoulin, he and his associates were never certain whether gluing their work on to advertising billboards around Paris was illegal, but got an adrenalin rush from the idea that it might be. They even risked scribbling contact telephone numbers on their finished pieces and, never bothered by the police, were rung up by journalists and invited to exhibit at Paris’s recently-opened Agnes B gallery. However, after an unsuccessful New York show the group disintegrated in 1994.

OX used much of the next 10 years for quiet reflection. The work he began producing in 2004 – based around his cutting away all of the photographs on magazine pages but preserving the remaining fragments – was ‘like the opposite of pop art… Instead of using the most visible symbols of the visual commercial realm, I used only the outlines, the backgrounds, the most visually weak elements.’ For source material, he collected pictures from the discarded magazines he found in rubbish bins. These days he searches the internet for images to add to his archive, and increasingly uses Google Street View to find locations. Either the billboard itself gives rise to the idea, or its location.

OX, Untitled, 2009, Paris



OX, Untitled, 2013, Dammerie-les-lys



OX likes to take his time. After deciding on a site, he will observe it often for long periods and in different weather conditions, waiting sometimes several months, or even years, before choosing a billboard on which to execute the idea he has formulated. He likes the temporary nature of his ’signs’, which he documents by photographing them, and claims he is not attached to the originals that can be gone within a few days. However, he might return at a later date to revise a ’sign’, if it’s still there.

OX is prolific. Except for a few earlier examples, the photographs shown in the new book OX Public Posters, published by International Neighborhood Verlag and distributed by Gestalten, are selected from the three hundred or so paintings he has placed on public billboards around the world from 2004 to 2014. Those shown, together with many other images of his work can be found on OX’s Blog.

+ Rirkrit Tiravanija. Berlin Billboards
Inspired by economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin’s book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: the Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism, Open Source: Art at the Eclipse of Capitalism is a series of connected events occurring at the Max Hetzler galleries in Berlin and Paris, plus a theatre performance at the New Theater in Berlin, as well as a lecture by Jeremy Rifkin at Palais de Tokyo in Paris, which will be followed by an interview with Rifkin by Hans Ulrich Obrist, to appear both online and in a forthcoming book based on the exhibition. The object of the series is to consider artworks made since 1990 to the present which reflect economic transition. Exhibitor Rirkrit Tiravanija (b Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1961) is a contemporary artist living between New York, Berlin, and Chiang Mai. In his video Ghost Reader, 2013, Tiravanija uses the manga character Annlee – who appears on the artist’s Berlin billboards – to explore the complex issues of copyright, identity, status and emotion in our rapidly changing society.

+ Art for All. Multiples, graphics, and political campaigns
Beginning in the 1960s, when artists sought independence from existing institutions, and wanted to create affordable art for as wide an audience as possible, the Art for All movement, which is still active today and has included international figures, such as Joseph Beuys, Christo, Sigmar Polke and Rosemarie Trockel, began producing multiples – original works of art reproduced in large quantities that circumvented the rules of traditional art, making it accessible to everyone. Art for All: Multiples, graphics, and political campaigns exhibition at the Akademie der Künste presents graphics, objects and art books from the Staeck Collection, by numerous artists working in a diverse variety of styles and aesthetic approaches, and offers insights into a non-conformist creative generation. During a period of profound social upheaval, these artists put their trust in the critical, enlightening and utopian powers of art, while permanently contributing to the shape of its formal language.

+ Poetry of the Metropolis. The Affichistes
Pioneers of new realism, early pop artists, street art trailblazers – on their rambles through postwar Paris, the artists who would become known as the Affichistes collected fragments of the weathered and tattered posters, they came across that were often peeling and several layers deep, carried them back to their studios and created original artworks from them, in doing so elevating this ubiquitous aspect of everyday urban life to the status of a fine art. Poetry of the Metropolis: The Affichistes, is an extensive exhibition at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, which shines a light on the special role of the subversive and poetic Affichistes within the avant-garde of the 1950s and1960s.

+ Peter Liversidge: Notes on Protesting
Inspired by demonstration and protest, British artist Peter Liversidge (b1973) worked closely with sixty London schoolchildren, to produce a performance staged at the Whitechapel Gallery, on May Day (01 May 2014). Creating songs, choreography, banners and placards, they expressed their views on everything from ‘No More Homework’ to ‘Less trucks and cars. More chocolate bars!’ Peter Liversidge: Notes on Protesting at the Whitechapel Gallery includes a film of the performance, alongside documentation of the workshops and rehearsals.

All images from OX Public Posters / Affichage Libre / Public Posters
All images courtesy Gestalten
All images © OX and Wildsmile Studios, Dresden





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

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



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Architecture | Merry VKhUTEMAS

Friday, December 5th, 2014

I Leonidov
Lenin Institute, Vorobyovy Gory, Moscow, 1928
Thesis project, a
rchitectural model
Metal, plastic, plywood, thread
Reconstruction, 1981, I Kuzmin




VKhUTEMAS – A Russian Laboratory of Modernity
Architecture designs 1920 > 1930
Martin-Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
5th December 2014 > 6th April 2015




VKhUTEMAS, often referred to as the ‘Russian Bauhaus’, was a legendary modernist art school established in post-revolution Moskow. It was a hot-house for the creation of designs for the new world that the revolution had opened up for its students to explore and help to build. Their many architectural schemes would not look out of place in 21st century cities.

VKhUTEMAS, or Вхутемас, isn’t an actual Russian word, but is apparently an acronym for Высшие художественно-технические мастерские / Vysshiye Khudozhestvenno-Tekhnicheskiye Masterskiye, which roughly translated, means Higher Art and Technical Studios. Alexander Kudryavtsev, head of the Moskow Architecture Institute – a direct descendant of VKhUTEMAS – has described the school as the ‘boiler where the new art was smelted.’

Having deposed the Tsar and Russia’s wealthy overlords and landowners, and taken over power in 1917, the new Bolshevik government had expressed a desire to divert art training away from the classically-based fine arts toward applied art in industry and manufacturing, with the intention of transforming it into a far more valuable and productive asset to the new communist state. Set up as the result of a decree from Lenin himself, VKhUTEMAS’s brief was ‘to prepare master artists of the highest qualifications for industry, and builders and managers for professional-technical education.’ To this end, the faculties of architecture, painting, and sculpture became art workshops, and were united with the wood- and metalworking, printing, textiles, and ceramics production workshops, as a single autonomous university department.

V Krinsky
Skyscraper VSNKh. Moscow, Lubyanskaya square, 1922 > 1923
Tracing paper, pencil and coloured pencil
Remade, 1966




VKhUTEMAS class, school year 1927 > 1928
Exhibition of student‘s work on ‘Evidence and expression of mass and weight’




V Krinsky
Composition in space, 1921
Experimental-methodic study work in colour and spatial composition
Paper, pencil and gouache




A new curriculum was drawn up, based upon teaching the disciplines: colour, volume, space, and graphic design. The student body, by all accounts, numbered ’several thousands,’ and the 100- strong staff included many who were already revered as leading figures of the Russian avant-garde, as well as others whose names would, on an international level, become synonymous with it. They included El Lissitzky, Naum Gabo, Konstantin Melnikov, Lyubov Popova, Alexander Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, Vladimir Tatlin and Wassily Kandinsky, who would later become a Bauhaus master. Under their tutelage the school quickly developed into a centre for experiments in constructivism, rationalism, and suprematism.

A major achievement of VKhUTEMAS was the three-tiered basic course, in which all students, after first developing their art techniques, went on to incorporate them into vocational, specialised industrial or professional education. Augmenting this basic course were chemistry, physics, mathematics, geometry, scientific colour theory, foreign language studies, art history, as well as classes in the Theory of shadows,’ and military training.

A Rodchenko
Spatial construction No 5, 1918
Reconstruction, 1982, A Lavrentiev
Producers: I Terenin, Y Orlov, L Alekseeva,
N Kapustin




M Korzhev
Abstractive exercise to detect the mass and weight, 1921
Paper, ink, watercolour




In 1925 VKhUTEMAS students, alongside their teachers, Melnikov and Rodchenko, exhibited at the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris. However, in 1927, as a result of a desire amongst the authorities to steer the school away from the fine art direction it was veering off in, and back towards industrial design and manufacturing, it was renamed VKhUTEIN (Higher Artistic-Technical Institute). That same year a group of students was despatched on a visit to the Bauhaus – founded in 1919 in Dessau, and by now relocated to Weimar – and in 1928 Bauhaus students made a return visit to Moskow.

Plagued by bitter internal disputes and disagreements with the authorities, VKhUTEMAS never achieved the prominence of the Bauhaus and in 1930, the Russian avant-garde side-lined in favour of social realism and empire-style architecture, it was closed down. Nevertheless, as the 250 works on show in VKhUTEMAS – A Russian Laboratory of Modernity, Architecture designs 1920 – 1930 at Martin-Gropius-Bau, the school played an important role in the early development of European modernism.

The exhibition was organised by Moscow’s Shchusev State Museum of Architecture

All images © The Shchusev State Museum of Architecture Moscow




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Photography | History in Black & White and Colour

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Paul Outerbridge (1896 > 1958), Egg on Block, 1923
Platinum print © Paul Outerbridge, Jr.
© 2014 G Ray Hawkins Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA.
Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein eV





Lichtbilder.
Photography at the Städel Museum
From the Beginnings to 1960
Städel Museum
Frankfurt am Main | Germany
Until 5th October 2014

The World c 1914
– Colour Photography Before the Great War
Martin Gropius-Bau
Berlin | Germany
1st August > 2nd November 2014





In just a few minutes but for the first time in history, earlier this week, a 3D scanner / printer was used to generate a model of an important piece of sculpture at Germany’s Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung / Sculpture Collection, in Frankfurt. The event can perhaps be seen as a reminder of just how far photographic techniques have advanced in the 175 years since the announcement of the invention of the medium, in 1839.

In 1845, Frankfürt’s Städel Museum became the first major art institution in the world to exhibit photographic works. Until 5th October, to celebrate the birth of photography, the museum is devoting a comprehensive special exhibition, Lichtbilder. Photography at the Städel Museum from the Beginnings to 1960, to European photographic art. The work of early pioneers, Roger Fenton, Nadar, Gustave Le Gray, and Julia Margaret Cameron will feature, alongside that of twentieth century innovators such as August Sander, Dora Maar, and Man Ray.





Otto Steinert (1915 > 1978), Luminogram, 1952
Gelatin silver print on baryta paper mounted on cardboard
© Nachlass Otto Steinert, Museum Folkwang, Essen.
Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein eV, and Städel Museum

Dora Maar (1907 > 1997), Mannequin With Perm, 1935
Gelatin silver print on baryta paper mounted on cardboard
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014. Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein eV

Lewis Carroll (1832 > 1898), Alexandra ‘Xie’ Kitchin as Chinese ‘
Tea-Merchant’ (on duty)
, 1873

Albumen print. Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein eV.
All photos above, plus top: Städel Museum – Artothek, courtesy Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main





Of course, 2014 also marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, which, because our visual record of that momentous event, and the many other wars that would follow, would have remained obscure without the reality of the images produced by photojournalists, renders the earlier invention of photography even more significant.





Stéphane Passet, Portrait of a Senegalese sniper, January 1913, Fes, Morocco

Stéphane Passet, Group of Armenian women and girls, Istanbul, Türkei, September 1912

Stéphane Passet, Le Moulin Rouge, 18th arrondissement, Boulevard de Clichy, Paris, France, June / July 1914

Stéphane Passet, A buddist lama in ceremonial dress, Palace of Heavenly Peace, fourth court, eastern annexe, China, Peking, 26th May 1913

Four photos above from Albert Kahn, Les Archives de la planete.
© Musée Albert-Kahn, Département des Hauts-de-Seine





And, even as the nations of Europe had prepared for war, French banker Albert Kahn (1860-1940), excited by the Lumière Brothers’ colour photography process (patented 1903) and intending to perform an anti-xenophobic mission of peace – bringing the outside world closer to home – sent photographers around France and across the globe, among them Stéphane Passet, a selection of whose work we show above, to develop a unique ethnographic photo archive. 70,000 images have survived, all of them in colour, of which 160 will be on show in Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau in The World c 1914 – Colour Photography Before the Great War.





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





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Fashion | Supermodel Portraits

Friday, July 4th, 2014

© Dominique Issermann, Kate Moss, Paris, 2004





Supermodels – Then and Now
CWC Gallery
Berlin | Germany
Until 6th September





On the Storm modelling agency’s website, British model Kate Moss’s simple description, height: 5ft 8in / 173cm, bust: 34B, waist: 26 in / 66.04 cm, hips: 35.5in / 90.17 cm, shoes: UK 6.5 / EUR 39.5, hair: blonde light, length: mid-length, eyes: hazel, belies the fact that this week a David Bailey portrait of the supermodel sold for £80,000 at a charity auction in London. Although, aged 16, she had begun modelling for The Face four years before, Moss was barely known when the cult of the supermodel was established in 1990, when Linda Evangelista infamously told US Vogue, ‘We have this expression, Christy (Turlington) and I, ‘We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.’ When Evangelista later quipped to People magazine ‘We don’t vogue, we are Vogue,’ it was pretty much the truth.





© Albert Watson, Christy Turlington, Egypt

© Bruno Bisang, Claudia Schiffer, Paris, 1997





One of the most accomplished models of all time, Evangelista remains the most featured model on the covers of Italian Vogue, was the muse of photographer Steven Meisel and of fashion designers Gianni Versace and Karl Lagerfeld. Strange then that among the generous selection of 24 press images available for Supermodels – Then and Now at Berlin’s CWC Gallery, there is not a single picture of her, an oversight which explains her absence here. Evangelista, however – who, as well as her work with Meisel, has been photographed by Richard Avedon, Gilles Bensimon, Gian Paolo Barbieri, Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort, Nick Knight, Sante D’Orazio, Norman Parkinson, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, Paolo Roversi, Francesco Scavullo, Bruce Weber, and Ellen von Unwerth, to name but a few, many of whose images appear in this exhibition – is certainly present in the show itself.





© Brian Duffy, Jean Shrimpton





In the 1980s and early 1990s, Canadian Evangelista, together with Brit Naomi Campbell and American Christy Turlington comprised a triumvirate that was dubbed The Trinity. The trio, augumented by another American Cindy Crawford, with German model Tatjana Patitz, were photographed together by Peter Lindbergh for the cover of the January 1990 issue of British Vogue, and thereafter became known as The Supermodels. There had been big name models before, of course, pictures of whom contribute to the story behind the exhibition – Jean Shrimpton, Penelope Tree, Veruschka, Marie Helvin, Jerry Hall – but while their names may have added a certain cachet to the designers’ clothes they were photographed in, often by great photographers, only Hall crossed over successfully into runway modelling.  Nor did they – aside from perhaps, some years later, Twiggy, and again Hall, both via acting – become world famous personalities in their own right. The names of The Supermodels became as big as those of the biggest movie stars and they were just as big a target for the paparazzi and the gossip columns. Other would-be supermodels followed hot on the heels of the originals, but only Elle Macpherson and Claudia Schiffer achieved a similar level of fame and success.





© Albert Watson, Naomi Campbell, Palm Springs, 1989

© Herb Ritts, Laetitia Casta 2 (for Pirelli Calendar), Malibu, 1998





Paradoxically, Kate Moss, if anything an anti-supermodel at the start of her career, rose metiorically, reaching undreamed of heights in supermodeldom. Gracing 17 W covers, she was named as the magazine’s muse in 2003. She has been the model of choice for more than 30 covers (and counting) of British Vogue, and has modelled major advertising campaigns for almost every high end fashion house in the world. During the past 25 years she has been photographed by every great fashion photographer worth his salt. She has designed clothes for high street brand Topshop – her 2014 collection for the brand, inspired by her own wardrobe will be sold in 40 countries – and handbags for Longchamp, has fragrances named after her, and been the subject of sculpture by Marc Quinn. A model for the mutability of the supermodel, through portraits and nudes by Patrick Demarchelier, Dominique Issermann, Paolo Roversi, Ellen von Unwerth, and Albert Watson, Moss is given a special focus in the CWC exhibition.

Photographs courtesy the photographers and CWC Gallery



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Art | Blue Riders & The Bridge

Friday, June 20th, 2014

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



Impressionist
& Modern Art Day Sale

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

August Macke & Franz Marc.
An Artistic Freindship

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



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

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



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



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



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

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



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



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

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

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



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



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



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

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



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

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



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