Posts Tagged ‘Brussels’

Art | Hessie: Minimalist Feminist Artist

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Hessie in New York, 1960s
Courtesy Domingo Djuric



Hessie
Soft résistance
La Verrière / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Brussels | Belgium
7 October > 10 December 2016



Untitled, 1968/1970
Embroidery in pink thread
on paper, two needles



In 1962, seeking to develop her artistic career, a strong-minded and adventurous, black 26 year-old named Carmen Lydia Djuric left her Cuban birthplace and went to live in New York. Having become involved in the thriving art and feminist scene there, she met Montenegrin artist Miodrag Duric, known as Dado, three years her senior. Dado was a protégé of the French artist Jean Dubuffet, and was on a three-month visit to the city. Carmen and Dado fell in love and married. The couple returned together to France and set up home in a converted mill in a small village outside of Paris.

Les Trous (Holes), 1973
Embroidery in blue thread
on perforations in cotton canvas



Untitled, 1990
Coloured fabric and white thread



Grillage (Grid form), 1976
Embroidery in blue, grey and
turquoise thread on cotton canvas



The minimalist work Hessie had encountered in New York was most often produced by male artists, and struck her as authoritarian, monumental and frankly, too masculine for her tastes. In protest, she opted for a softer and freer sort of minimalism, more in tune with her own anti-authoritarian principles, that nevertheless employed a strict economy of means to maximum effect, and began to produce works with the lightest of touch that drew on the craft tradition. Embroidery constitutes the major part of her seductive, rigorous and repetitive compositions of geometric designs in white or coloured thread on unbleached cotton canvas. Given functional, descriptive titles: Grillages (grid forms), Bâtons pédagogiques (teaching sticks), Végétation or Machines à écrire (typewriters), more rarely, her works feature stitched-on buttons, holes, typewritten letters and printed ephemera.

Coming to prominence with the French feminist movement of the 1970s, Hessie earned herself a solo exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1975, after which she was included in Combative Acts, Profile and Voices – An Exhibition of Women Artists from Paris, at New York’s AIR Gallery in 1976.

Déchets collages grillage
(‘Waste paper collages grid form’),
1978/1979
Wrapping paper/packaging stitched
on to cotton canvas



Untitled, 1970
Metal and plastic elements and
a piece of card mounted



Hessie celebrated her 80th birthday this year. Dado, with whom she had five children died in 2010. As minimalism went out of fashion in the late 1970s, and feminism lost its provocative edge, Hessie’s popularity as an artist gradually diminished. However, a major revival of interest in her work – although salvageable, much of it had been badly-stored for many years at the mill – was triggered in 2009, when she was given a solo show at the Musée National d’Art Moderne (Paris). The same year Hessie was included in elles@centrepompidou, Women artists in the collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne. She is represented by Galerie Arnaud Lefebvre (Paris), which, last year, showed her retrospective Survival Art 1969 > 2015.

Hessie: Soft résistance at La Verrière / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès is the second exhibition in the Ballistic Poetry series, devoted to exploration of the disconnection between intention and intuition in certain forms of radical abstraction.

All works by Hessie
Images courtesy Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
All photos of works by Béatrice Hatala © Galerie Arnaud Lefebvre


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

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


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Interview | Christian Lutz, Photographer

Friday, May 31st, 2013

mouth2mouth interview | sam stourdzé, director, musée de l’elysée
christian lutz | photographer

Born in Geneva in 1973, Christian Lutz studied photography at the Ecole supérieure des Arts et de l’Image, ‘The 75′, in Brussels. Winner of numerous awards, his work has been exhibited worldwide and frequently published. Initially following the tradition of documentary photography, he soon adopted a highly individual, cinematographic style that gave his work a certain distance to reality. Lutz is represented by the agencies VU’ in Paris and Strates in Lausanne.

Protokoll, the first series in the project, started in 2003 when you began photographing the apparatus of federal politics. Ten years later, how would you assess your itinerary?
Actually, I am the kind of person who prefers to look forward rather than backward. And I’ve come to realize that my work on the issue of power is not yet quite finished. It was initiated in 2003 by coincidence, without any real initial intention; I didn’t tell myself ‘Well, how about working on the notion of power!’ It was only over time, as my work asserted itself, that I realized why I was doing it and why I wanted to carry on. Power operates everywhere, in the private sphere, in human relations, between nations, among peoples; it is at the heart of countless processes in society. This is an issue that obsesses me and which is in fact an excuse to talk about our world and the interactions between individuals and systems. I thought I would come to terms with it through this trilogy, but I still have some way to go, as the issue of power opens up new fields of exploration.

All three components of the Trilogy – political, economic, and religious powers, are exhibited for the first time at the Musée de l’Elysée. What tensions or reflections do you intend to create by juxtaposing the series?
My assumption is that power is always staged, as if power needed some form of theatricality to exist: protocol, representational codes, uniforms and role play, decorum, the forms of power that I have observed in the three series presented today all express themselves through external signs. But they are so obvious that they allow for breaches and give a glimpse of details, urging you to take a closer look, to reach beyond appearances. In all three series, there is this permanent tension between what is being observed and the grey areas, the hidden, the unspoken.

Several images in the series In Jesus’ Name have been censored. How do you intend to show the void of censorship?
From my point of view, censorship did not create a void, it created a surplus. In other words, I consistently refuse to explain my images or to caption them, in order to avoid imposing a unique interpretation and a manipulation of the imagination. Captions freeze the poetical and suggestive space carried within a photograph; which does not mean that photographs can be made to say anything and everything, especially when we’re talking about a series or a book, as in this case. But an image must breathe, and leave some space to the beholder. Yet, in order to achieve the ban on the book, the lawyer of the plaintiffs wrote out his own interpretation of my images. In doing so, he kills them in a way. So I had two options: either to let go and admit the defeat, or give a new impetus to the series In Jesus’ Name by foiling the situation, exploiting the new power that is being imposed on me, that is, the power of the judiciary.

You discovered the judiciary power though your appearance in court. Could this constitute a fourth component to your project?
Yes, but I would not say that it would be a fourth component. It would rather be an outlet project, stemming from a situation I didn’t chose. This sequel will link together the three previous series and will probably shed a different light on them. It is likely to be a narrative rather than a photographic project. To tell the truth, I still don’t really precisely know; the legal proceedings are pending and I still have some difficulties figuring out what I could do with this. But what is certain is that as an artist, I cannot let things happen without finding an artistic outcome to this restriction on the freedom of speech.

Images from top
From the series In Jesus’ Name, 2012

From the series Protokoll, 2007

From the series Tropical Gift, 2010

All images ©Christian Lutz from the exhibition
Christian Lutz, Trilogy
Musée de l’Elysée
Lausanne, Switzerland
5th June – 1st September, 2013


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, gardens, books, design 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

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Art | Duchamp Stripped Bare

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Des Gestes de la Pensée / Gesture, and Thought
La Verrière Hermès
Brussels, Belgium
20th April – 13th July, 2013

To think, to dream, to conceive fine works is a delightful occupation…’, wrote Honoré de Balzac, in his novel Cousin Bette, in the first half of the 19th century. Another famous Frenchman, Marcel Duchamp, who signed a urinal he’d picked up from a plumber’s yard and proclaimed it a work of art (Fountain) in 1917 , would at first glance, appear to have agreed with him. Renowned father of object art, from which conceptual art emerged, Duchamp said he liked living and breathing better than working, and that his art was that of living. But his words were never to be taken at face value and far from being a remote thinker and pure intellectual, who turned his back on the ‘artist’s enslavement to manual dexterity’, Duchamp, almost in secret, completed many finely crafted works.

This exhibition at La Verrière Hermès, assembled by the space’s new curator, Guillaume Désanges, who co-wrote and co-directed the play ‘Le Cerveau’ Master Duchamp’, presented at the Centre Pompidou in March, highlights one of the Foundation’s core commitments: the transmission of artistic and expert artisan skills. Taking Duchamp as a figurehead, Des Gestes de la Pensée / Gesture, and Thought brings together the work of 10 international contemporary artists: Elias Crespin, Hubert Duprat, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Michel François, Ann Veronica Janssens, Irene Kopelman, Anna Maria Maiolino, Benoît Maire, Corey McCorkle and Francisco Tropa, exploring this same fascination with ‘finish’ and craftsmanship as an extension of thought.

The innovative bookbinder Mary Reynolds (1891-1950) was Duchamp’s partner for thirty years. It was Reynolds who, in the 1930s, executed Duchamp’s binding design for Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi/Ubu the King, with cut-out U-shaped front and back covers that when fully opened, either side of the B on the spine, spell out UBU. It is not included in the exhibition, but his binding for Prière de Toucher / Pray Touch, an exhibition catalogue for Le Surréalisme en 1947 was a breast made from foam rubber, with pigment, velvet, and cardboard, adhered to removable cover, is. Also on display will be La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même [Boîte Verte], The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors Even [The Green Box] published by Duchamp in 1934, which is a collection of 94 documents – works on paper, photographs, lithographs and drawings – to explain some of his thinking and to show some of the preliminary works relating to The Large Glass.

Duchamp also produced Box in a Valise (From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy, 1935-41), which is a leather case containing miniature replicas, photographs and colour reproductions of works by Duchamp, and one ‘original’ drawing. An earlier piece Standard Stoppages (1913-14), which he called ‘a joke about the meter’ – the originally French standard of measurement – is a wooden box 11 that house three threads each 100 cm in length, glued to three painted canvas strips, each mounted on a glass panel, and three wood slats , shaped along one edge to match the curves of the threads.

Images from top
Hans-Peter Feldmann
Handprint from Charlotte Wolff (Marcel Duchamp)
Courtesy Hans-Peter Feldmann et galerie Martine Aboucaya

Marcel Duchamp
La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même [Boîte Verte], 1934
Courtesy Association Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp
Prière de Toucher, 1947
Courtesy Galerie Ronny Van de Velde, Anvers

Elias Crespin
Circunconcentricos Inoxidable, 2012
Acier inoxydable, nylon, moteurs, ordinateur, interface électronique 100 cm Ø
©Elias Crespin. Photo Pascal Maillard

Ann Veronica Janssens
IPE 535, 2009
©P Lemmens. Courtesy Galerie M.Szwajcer


Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, gardens, books, design 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

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin