Posts Tagged ‘Dada’

Art | Erwin Wurm in Sixty Seconds

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

One Minute Sculpture, 1997
C-print

Courtesy Centre Pompidou, Paris
and FRAC Limousin, Limoges



Erwin Wurm:
One Minute Sculptures

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

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


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


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


One Minute Sculptures, 1997
C-prints

Courtesy Centre Pompidou,
Paris and FRAC Limousin, Limoges


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

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

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

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


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




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Architecture | Collage City in 3D

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Cut ’n’ Paste: From Architectural Assemblage to Collage City
Metropolitan Musem of Art
New York City, USA
Until 1st December, 2013

When Pablo Picasso pasted an actual Italian stamp on to a painting of a letter, he really started something. Earlier artists had made occasional use of the technique and it had appeared in popular art, but La lettre (1912) was probably the first deliberate use of collage in fine art.

Dictionaries define collage as an ‘Art form and technique, incorporating the use of pre-existing materials or objects attached as part of a two-dimensional surface’, which is how most of us think of it. This exhibition at MoMA uncovers how the visual language of collage, springing from its early 20th century roots, has come to dominate contemporary architectural representation, and how it has impacted three-dimensional buildings.

Picasso’s cubist colleagues, Juan Gris and George Braque, also experimented with collage, and the next couple of years, leading up to World War I and the Russian Revolution, would see Kazimir Malevich, the Futurist movement and the Dadaists each adopting the technique and using it to suit their own purposes, with very diverse results. The Berlin Dada group – which included Helmut Herzfeld/John Heartfield – with whom the young Mies van der Rohe interacted, used photographs and newspaper cuttings to make raw political, satirical, and socially critical statements. Van der Rohe adapted the technique to function, not just as a tool for expressing his architectural ideas, but also as an aid to exploring and developing them. He placed colour reproduction prints of paintings as well as photographs in his renderings of the new interior spaces made possible by steel and glass construction, not merely as decorative elements, but to represent non-load-bearing walls or divisions. His early painters of choice were Bauhaus artists Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky: later – the Bauhaus, of which he was the final director, having been closed by the Nazis, his having emigrated to America in 1937 – in Museum for a Small City, Interior Perspective (1942-43) including, perhaps pointedly, Picasso’s Guernica (1937).

From the mid-1950s, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Richard Hamilton, among others associated with pop art, made extensive use of collage. Installation artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who in the 1970s, and later, in their preparatory drawings for projects often involving large architectural structures, such as Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin (1971-95), also sought the immediacy of incorporating collaged elements. Meanwhile, architectural critics Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter’s book Collage City (1978), which proposed a city of fragments from the past, present and future, taking inspiration from working examples in existing cities; some rational, some disordered, juxtaposing and layering smaller designs into a whole – a post-modern composition – allowing the city to create itself, was an urban manifesto for the medium.

Contemporary architects who have used collage methods to communicate their ideas and architectural landscapes include such luminaries as Zaha Hadid and particularly Rem Koolhaas, whose architecture itself, for example, the interior of the distinctive, futuristic, asymmetrical, faceted form of the Casa da Musica, in Porto, Portugal, incorporates gold wood-grained walls and traditional blue and white tiled areas complete with antique furniture.

The intention of the organisers of Cut ‘n’ Paste: From Architectural Assemblage to Collage City is to demonstrate that collage is much more than a continuation of drawing practices and that, via direct evocations of lifestyle or inventive connections to surrounding cultural conditions, as an architectural tool, this wide-ranging medium is capable of mixing high and popular references and offers a dynamic, inventive connection to cultural context, providing the means for architects to draw reality onto their projects from their earliest conception. These days, though, digital technology makes it all so much easier – and, unless you want them, there are no visible joins.

Images from top
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,
Convention Hall project, Chicago,
Interior perspective, 1954
Cut-and-pasted reproductions, photograph,
and paper on composite board
Mies van der Rohe Archive, gift of the architect
©2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Ralph Schraivogel
Archigram 1961–74
Silkscreen
Museum für Gestaltung, 1995,
Exhibition poster
Gift of the designer

Paul Citroen
Metropolis, 1923
Gelatin silver print
Thomas Walther Collection
Gift of Thomas Walther
©2013 Paul Citroën/Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / PICTORIGHT, Amsterdam


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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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Photography | Studio Erwin Blumenfeld

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Blumenfeld Studio: New York, 1941-1960
Somerset House
London, UK
23rd May – 1st September, 2013

Day and night I try, in my studio with its six two-thousand watt suns,
balancing between the extremes of the impossible, to shake loose the real from
the unreal, to give visions body, to penetrate into unknown transparencies.

Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969)

With around 100 colour photographs as well as archive material from fashion magazines, this show at Somerset House focuses on the work Erwin Blumenfeld – one of the most influential, innovative and sought-after fashion photographers of the 1940s and 1950s – produced at his studio in New York.

Born into a Jewish family in Berlin, Blumenfeld began taking photographs when he was just ten years old. His first job was as an apprentice dressmaker, but between 1916 and 1933 he produced dadist montages in Germany, where he was closely associated with George Grosz, before moving first to Holland, then to Paris in 1936, where he met Cecil Beaton, who got him an introduction to Vogue. However, as a result of his publishing bitingly mocking collages of Adolf Hitler, Blumenfeld spent the occupation years in a concentration camp, eventually fleeing Europe with his family for the United States in 1941. In New York he worked in the studio of Martin Munkacsi until his own career started to flourish. Taken up by Russian emigré art director Alexey Brodovitch, who was fostering  the development of an expressionistic, almost primal style of picture-making at Harper’s Bazaar, Blumenfeld continued to work for Vogue, gaining him a reputation as the highest paid freelance photographer in New York. He went on to produce advertising campaigns for top cosmetics clients such as Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden and L’Oreal.

Blumenfeld had a passion for the female form, which he expressed through headily erotic images in which mirrors, gauzy fabrics, screens, wet silk and elaborately contrived shadows and angles were used to enhance or discreetly mask the body. He became a master of complex studio photography and developed sophisticated techniques of solarisation and superimposition that, even today, continue to influence photographers. The renowned fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø recently commented: ‘Blumenfeld was shooting 60 years ago what the rest of us will be shooting in 10 years time’.

Images from top
City Lights

Support for the Red Cross
American Vogue cover, March, 1945

Grace Kelly
Cosmopolitan, 1955

Spring Fashion
American Vogue, 1953

All images ©The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld


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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

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Dada’s Cubist Garden

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Hyères 2011. 26th International Festival of Fashion & Photography
Festival ends today. Exhibitions continue to 29th May,
(NB Villa Noailles closed from Tuesday 3rd to Thursday May 5th included)
Villa Noailles, Hyères, Var, France.


Erwin Blumenfeld, Powder box,
study for an advertisement, circa 1944
© The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld

Daniel Sannwald, 032c, 2010

The journey had taken almost two hours. I had driven there on a whim from Nice, where I was staying, but the Villa Noailles was closed to visitors that day. Despite all my best efforts, I was unable to blag my way in. I would have liked to have seen the shows. It was totally my fault and, let’s be honest, unprofessional of me not to have contacted the Villa’s press people beforehand. I should at least have checked the opening times. I had gone there, however – it was outside the area of my itenerary – not specifically to see the exhibitions. Having arrived I had wanted to look around the early modernist house, built by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens for art patrons Arthur Anne Marie Charles, Vicomte de Noailles and his wife, Marie-Laure Bischoffsheim, between 1923 and 1925. But the real reason behind my visit was to see the triangular cubist garden designed by Turkish-born Gabriel Guevrekian, its Turkish designer who had worked with Joseph Hoffman in Vienna and was later to work with Le Corbusier

A selection of images by pioneer of creative photography between the wars, Erwin Blumenfeld’s work forms part of the this year’s festival exhibitions at the villa. Born in Berlin, Blumenfeld was a participator in the Dadaist movement and was to become an ardent denouncer of the Nazis. After having begun working for French Vogue in 1940, he was imprisoned in several concentration camps before escaping to the US in 1941, where his collaboration with Harper’s Bazaar – where Alexei Brodovitch was art director – which had started in 1939, continued until 1944. He subsequently worked for US Vogue and was, at the time, reputed to be the most highly-paid photographer in the world. Fashion Photography: Erwin Blumenfeld was published in January 2011 by Phaidon.

A more contemporary contributer, also born in Germany – in 1979 – and producing experimental fashion and beauty photography, Daniel Sannwald’s work is sometimes hauntingly surrealistic and at other times, vividly expressionistic. Sannwald works with numerous numerous magazines, amongst them: Dazed & Confused, i-D, L’Officiel Paris,Vogue Hommes Japan, and V magazine. He has photographed projects for Louis Vuitton, Nike, Loewe, Adidas, Replay, and Shiseido. His book, Pluto and Charon was published in February 2011 by LuDIoN Editions.

… I had struggled to get the car to climb the steep hill to the villa, perched high above medieval Hyères, and was pleased that my journey had not been wasted. Neither the garden – though a little scruffy – nor the exterior of the villa – rather unsympathetically extended – disappoint. My pictures, below, appeared in Germany’s prestigious architecture and living magazine Architektur & Wohnen; some of these also formed part of a major feature, illustrated exclusively with my photographs of the gardens of the Cote d’Azure, which appeared in the UK edition of Condé Nast Traveller.

Have you visited the Villa Noailles?
What did you think of it?

Please leave a comment

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