5 Asian contemporary art videos to watch on Art Radar

Art Radar has put together a list of 5 interesting videos and related articles on Asian contemporary art.

Wondering what to do with your free time this summer? Check out some videos on Asian contemporary art summarised on Art Radar.

 

Click here to watch Rashid Rana in conversation with Glenn Lowry at MoMA on YouTube

1. Rashid Rana and Glenn Lowry on the inaugural Lahore Biennale 2017 – video

The inaugural edition of the Lahore Biennale, Pakistan’s first art biennale, will take place in November 2017, and is set to become the country’s largest contemporary art event ever. Renowned artist, academic, curator and Lahore native Rashid Rana (b. 1968) was named Artistic Director in March this year.

Earlier in May 2016, Rana spoke at the Museum of Modern Art in New York with MoMA Director Glenn Lowry about his plans for the inaugural biennale. Rana shed light on his personal art practice, his previous curatorial projects and his ambitions for Lahore’s upcoming flagship biennial event.

 

 Click here to watch Art Basel 2016 Conversations: Samson Young and Tatsuo Miyajima on YouTube

2. Art Basel Hong Kong 2016 Conversations: artists Tatsuo Miyajima and Samson Young – summary

As part of the Conversations programme at Art Basel Hong Kong 2016, Hong Kong sound artist Samson Young and Japanese new media artist Tatsuo Miyajima discussed their visual symbolism, the challenges and opportunities presented by technology and new media, and the links between self-reflection and social engagement in their innovative works.

Samson Young has recently been selected to represent Hong Kong at the 57th Venice Biennale opening in May 2017.

 

Click here to watch Ai Weiwei in conversation with Tim Marlow: Part 1 on Vimeo

3. Duchamp and politics: Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy in London – video

London’s Royal Academy Artistic Director Tim Marlow conducts a revealing interview with Ai Weiwei on the occasion of his exhibition “Ai Weiwei” launched on 19 September until 13 December 2015. The landmark exhibition, which marked the artist’s first major institutional survey in the United Kingdom, was curated by the RA Artistic Director together with Senior Curator Adrian Locke, and featured some of his most significant artworks from 1993 to the present.

Ai, who was elected a Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Arts in May 2011, also presented new, site-specific installations and interventions throughout the RA spaces.

Read the article to view the second part of the video interview between the artist and the curator.

 

Click here to watch Artshare’s Conversation Series with William Lim on Vimeo 

4. William Lim: Collecting Hong Kong – Artshare video

In a 2015 video interview produced by Artshare, Hong Kong architect, artist and collector William Lim talks about his passion for collecting art from his home city, Hong Kong’s place in the global art scene and his recent book The No Colors.

Artshare‘s short video interview with one of the most important figures in the Hong Kong art scene came at a time when the art world was shifting its focus to Hong Kong. March 2015 featured the annual flagship art fair Art Basel Hong Kong and the launch of a new art fair, Art Central.

As an art collector, Lim is one of the most significant figures in Hong Kong contemporary art. Lim was Co-chairman of the non-profit space Para Site, and is still on the Gallery Advisory Committee of the Asia Society, a Board member of Asia Art Archive and serves on the Asia Pacific Acquisition Committee for the Tate in London.

 

Click here to watch the Vastari symposium “The Axis Shifting East” on YouTube

5. On sanctions in the Iranian art market – Vastari video

On 30 October 2014, Vastari hosted a symposium entitled “The Axis Shifting East” to coincide with the opening of Asian Art in London. Of the three panel discussions, “The Effect of Lifting Sanctions on Export of Art from Iran” was the third and last in the symposium hosted by Vastari with Georgina Adam from The Art Newspaper. Speakers gave illuminating perspectives on the legal and practical implications of lifting sanctions on the export of art from Iran and the Gulf Area.

The panelists included Janet Rady, specialist of Middle Eastern contemporary art at The Auction Room; Daniel McClean, lawyer specialising in art law, intellectual property law and media law, curator and writer; and Soheila Sokhavari, Iranian-born contemporary multimedia artist.

1229

Click here to check out more video articles on Art Radar.

Related topics: curatorial practice, biennials, biennales, museum shows, Asian artists, art fairs, art market, collectors, censorship of art

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more interesting picks from the Art Radar archive

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Okayama Art Summit 2016: a new triennial for Japan

The new triennial launches in September 2016.

The Okayama Art Summit is holding its inaugural event in Autumn 2016, and has recently announced its participating artists and curatorial concept.

Philippe Parreno, 'With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life (Green, Rule #1)', 2014, installation view at the 56th Venice Biennale “All the World’s Futures” . © Philippe Parreno. Image courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin.

Philippe Parreno, ‘With a Rhythmic Instinction to be Able to Travel Beyond Existing Forces of Life (Green, Rule #1)’, 2014, installation view at the 56th Venice Biennale “All the World’s Futures” . © Philippe Parreno. Image courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin.

Less than a month and a half prior to its opening on 10 September 2016, the Okayama Art Summit (OAS) announces its list of participating artists and theme. Entitled “Development”, the inaugural edition of the new Japanese triennial includes 31 international established and up-and-coming artists and is curated by New York artist Liam Gillick as Artistic Director. OAS is organised by the Okayama Art Summit Executive Committee, chaired by Okayama’s mayor Masao Omari, and directed by Taro Nasu, owner of well-known art gallery TARO NASU.

Running until 27 November 2016, the triennial takes place in Okayama, from which it is named, a city situated in the southeastern Chugoku region on Honshu Island, facing the Seto Inland Sea. Okayama is home to one of the three most famous gardens in Japan – the Kōrakuen (後楽園) – built in the early 18th century, and the Okayama Castle, around which the exhibition venues and cultural facilities are concentrated.

Venues of the triennial include Korakukan Tenjin School,
 Tenjinyama Cultural Plaza of Okayama Prefecture, Okayama Orient Museum,
 Former Fukuoka Soy Sauce Factory, 
Cinema Clair Marunouchi,
 Hayashibara Museum of Art, 
Okayama Castle,
 Okayama Prefectural Government Offices Area, and other locations.

Peter Fischli + David Weiss, 'How to work better', 1991, mural. Installation view, Zurich-Oerlikon. © Peter Fischli David Weiss

Peter Fischli + David Weiss, ‘How to work better’, 1991, mural. Installation view, Zurich-Oerlikon. © Peter Fischli David Weiss

Art in Development

OAS’ Artistic Director Liam Gillick chose the inaugural curatorial concept of “Development”. Gillick is a New York-based artist whose work has been included in numerous important exhibitions such as dOCUMENTA and the Berlin and Istanbul Biennales. Gillick represented Germany in 2009 at the Venice Biennale and he has held solo museum exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Tate in London.

As expressed in OAS’ event outline,

Development is the process of creating something over time.

Development implies growth and advancement.

Development applies to narrative and cinema.

Development can be a permanent state of future potential.

Ryan Gander, 'Visualization of Because editorial is costly', 2016
, stainless steel, rubble
. Sculpture: 2315(w) x 2008(h) x 2209(d)mm. 
Crater: dimensions variable. 
© Ryan Gander. Image courtesy the artist and TARO NASU.

Ryan Gander, ‘Visualization of Because editorial is costly’, 2016
, stainless steel, rubble
. Sculpture: 2315(w) x 2008(h) x 2209(d)mm. 
Crater: dimensions variable. 
© Ryan Gander. Image courtesy the artist and TARO NASU.

Gillick writes in his curatorial statement for the event:

The word here should be understood in various ways. Okayama is an exemplary city. Its historical relationship to development in an urbanistic sense is very particular. Moving between the various site of the Art Summit the visitor will encounter the layering of change, renovation and rebuilding that is at the heart of the contemporary Japanese city. […]

The word “Development” here also relates to my interest in pre and post production – in cinema, developed capitalism and strategic planning. Ideas in development always retain potential but development strategies are not value-free. Many of the artists here deploy modes of withdrawal and resistance in the face of the dominance of “ideas in development”. They work around pre- production and post-production games. Creating works that are in permanent development or constantly reflect back on the conditions of their production and reception.

Katja Novitskova, 'Approximation Mars I', 2014, digital print on aluminium, cutout display, plant granulat, 140 x 240 x 100 cm | 55 x 94 1/2 x 39 1/3 in, edition of 1 (+ 1AP). Image courtesy Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Photo: Hans-Georg Gaul.

Katja Novitskova, ‘Approximation Mars I’, 2014, digital print on aluminium, cutout display, plant granulat, 140 x 240 x 100 cm | 55 x 94 1/2 x 39 1/3 in, edition of 1 (+ 1AP). Image courtesy Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin. Photo: Hans-Georg Gaul.

The 31 artists in the inaugural triennial all play with structures – be they ideological, formal or political – in very specific and individual ways. As Gillick writes, each artist “layers their work upon what they encounter” and “they offer various levels of distance to the given structure”. Visitors will have different layers of encounter, examination and experience of the works. The artists in the exhibition include, among others:

Pierre Huyghe, Exhibition view at Documenta 13, Karlsaue Park, Kassel, Germany, 2012. ©Pierre Huyghe. Image courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin. Photo: © Andrea Rossetti.

Pierre Huyghe, Exhibition view at Documenta 13, Karlsaue Park, Kassel, Germany, 2012. ©Pierre Huyghe. Image courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin.
Photo: © Andrea Rossetti.

The camera and the subject

To visit the triennial exhibition, there will be two routes. Following the first route, a single visitor can take the role of an individual ”camera” – as Gillick explains, seeing the city and the artworks from specific points of view. By taking the second route, groups of visitors function as “collective subjects”. There will be interaction between visitors and artworks, visitors and visitors, local people and visitors, as cameras and subjects. Gillick explains in his statement:

In Okayama we will experience “Development” as camera and subject. A film in real time that places renewed focus on how artists play, produce and fight for and against “A world viewed without myself.”

Lawrence Weiner, '1/2 BEGUN 1/2 FINISHED WHENSOEVER
', 2008 / 2016, 
Language + The Materials Referred To Dimension variable. © 2016 LAWRENCE WEINER - ARS / JASPAR, Tokyo. Mock-Up Photograph. Image courtesy Moved Pictures Archive, NYC.

Lawrence Weiner, ‘1/2 BEGUN 1/2 FINISHED WHENSOEVER
’, 2008 / 2016, 
language + variable materials, dimensions variable. © 2016 LAWRENCE WEINER – ARS / JASPAR, Tokyo. Mock-Up Photograph. Image courtesy Moved Pictures Archive, NYC.

He writes:

At the heart of “Development” is a play with time as a component of artistic practice not reduced to time based media alone. This is where the visitor’s role becomes central to the project. Thinking about “Development” in its cinematic sense, the exhibition will offer two ways to encounter the various works.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

1230

Related Topics: triennials, events in Japan, cinema, time based media

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for triennial coverage and more

Save

Save

Save

Save

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority celebrates completion of M+ Pavilion in Hong Kong

WKCDA held ceremony for first permanent structure of Hong Kong’s future museum M+.

Hong Kong’s WKCDA celebrated the completion of M+’s first permanent building, the M+ Pavilion, on 22 July 2016. Designed by 3 Hong Kong-born architects, the Pavilion will host temporary exhibitions up until M+’s opening in 2019.

M+ Pavilion. Image courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and M+, Hong Kong.

M+ Pavilion. Image courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and M+, Hong Kong.

On 22 July 2016, the construction of the M+ Pavilion, part of the development of M+ Museum of Visual Culture in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong, was completed. The WKCDA held a Dedication Ceremony to mark this important milestone in the development of the museum and art district.

The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest cultural projects in the world, and is located on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. It will be a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong, including a complex of theatres, performance spaces and the M+ Museum, slated to open in 2019 as one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world, encompassing 20th and 21st century art, design and architecture, and moving image from Hong Kong, China, Asia and beyond.

M+ Pavilion. Image courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and M+, Hong Kong.

M+ Pavilion. Image courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and M+, Hong Kong.

The team of WKCDA and museum executives and the architects who worked on the project for the M+ Pavilion were present at the Dedication Ceremony on 22 July, including Mrs Carrie Lam, Chairman of the WKCDA Board, Mr Duncan Pescod, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WKCDA, Ms Suhanya Raffel, new Executive Director of M+, Mr Doryun Chong, Deputy Director, Chief Curator and Acting Director of M+, and Mr Vincent Pang, Managing Director of VPANG Architects Ltd.

The M+ Pavilion boasts a 310-square-metre exhibition space, and is located in the north-east segment of the Art Park, near the future main building of M+ and the Artist Square. The three Hong Kong-born architects Vincent Pang from VPANG architects ltd, Tynnon Chow from JET Architecture Inc and Lisa Cheung, met in New York in 1999 and have since developed their individual practices. They were appointed to design the M+ Pavilion after achieving first prize in the international design competition in January 2014.

Alongside the WKCDA, they developed the design of the Pavilion, which, according to the press release,

is designed to offer a respite from hectic city life with a smart simplistic approach that allows it to blend into its environment. Mirrored external walls reflect the surrounding expanses of greenery and immerse the building in the Art Park setting. To further this experience, the Pavilion’s main exhibition space is elevated, allowing it to float above the foliage, creating the opportunity for artwork to be appreciated against a backdrop of the unparalleled Hong Kong Island skyline with spectacular views of Victoria Harbour. Inside, the gallery space feature polished concrete floors and white walls – a flexible backdrop for multidisciplinary art exhibitions and performances.

M+ Pavilion.Aerial view. Image courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and M+, Hong Kong.

M+ Pavilion. Aerial view. Image courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and M+, Hong Kong.

In the run-up to the opening of M+ in 2019, the M+ Pavilion will be hosting a series of temporary, thematic exhibitions drawing selected artworks from the M+ Collection, encompassing the three main areas of visual art, design and architecture, and moving image.

The inaugural exhibition will take place in September 2016, entitled “Tsang Kin-Wah: Nothing”, a new commission by the Hong Kong artist following his critically acclaimed exhibition “The Infinite Nothing”, which represented Hong Kong at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Other thematic exhibitions following the first will highlight M+’s growing design collection and present a project on Hong Kong popular culture. M+ has so far already organised several exhibitions and public programmes held at external venues, including “Mobile M+: Moving Image”, “Mobile M+: Live Art”, “M+ Sigg Collection Exhibition” and “M+ Rover”, among others.

Display panels at the ground floor lobby of M+ Pavilion depicting the evolution of M+ over the past five years. Image courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and M+, Hong Kong.

Display panels at the ground floor lobby of M+ Pavilion depicting the evolution of M+ over the past five years. Image courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and M+, Hong Kong.

After the opening of the main M+ building in 2019, where the museum will be housed, the Pavilion will be available for Hong Kong’s vibrant creative communities – artists, designers, architects, and other organisations – to stage exhibitions and events.

As Ms Lam reveals at the Dedication Ceremony, the opening of the M+ Pavillion will soon be followed by the opening of the Xiqu Centre in 2018, the Art Park including the Freespace with a black box theatre and an outdoor stage from 2018 in stages, as well as the M+ Building in 2019. The Lyric Theatre Complex has also entered detailed design stage and is expected to complete in 2020 and open in 2021.

M+ Pavilion. Image courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and M+, Hong Kong.

M+ Pavilion. Image courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and M+, Hong Kong.

Ms Lam is quoted as saying:

We will continue to develop the WKCD into a world-class art and cultural hub where everyone may relax, be inspired and enjoy an extraordinary cultural experience. […] WKCD is a long-term strategic investment by the Hong Kong SAR Government to promote the development of art and creative industries, meet the growing cultural needs of the public, attract and nurture artistic talents, and strengthen Hong Kong’s position as an international art and cultural metropolis. Such a vision and commitment is something that should make us proud.

CEO of WKCDA Mr Pescod said, as quoted in the press release,

The dedication of M+ Pavilion is a small yet important step. This is a clear statement that we are going to deliver this ambitious project for the people of Hong Kong.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

1227

Related Topics: News, museums, events in Hong Kong

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more news on museums around Asia

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Apply now and study art writing with Art Radar for less!

The price for the Art Radar Certificate in Art Journalism & Writing 101 will rise soon. Get your application in today to secure the current course fee.

The increasingly international art world is becoming more difficult to navigate by the minute. In our online art writing course, we’ll help you to identify art world trends, analyse the art market and discover great art, and then teach you how to write about your findings in a clear, concise and compelling way.

Art Radar tutor Kate Nicholson interviews artist Marisa González at ARCOmadrid 2012.

Former Art Radar tutor Kate Nicholson interviews artist Marisa González at ARCOmadrid.

In a few weeks, enrollment costs for Art Radar‘s flagship writing course, the Certificate in Art Journalism & Writing 101, will be increasing. But don’t worry, there’s still time to take advantage of this unique opportunity to pump up your writing and research skills and deepen your understanding of contemporary art at a lower price!

What is Art Radar‘s Certificate in Art Journalism & Writing 101? 

The Certificate in Art Journalism & Writing 101 is the first of four certificates in our art journalism diploma programme. The 101 course puts you behind the writer’s desk. Through one-on-one mentoring with an experienced editor you will learn all you need to know about art writing, from conducting interviews to publishing online. You will also start to build a portfolio by publishing an article here on Art Radar.

Sign up for information

Sign up for further information by filling out the form below. You will be added to our mailing list and receive a sequence of emails over the next few days that will tell you everything you need to know about the Art Radar Certificate in Art Journalism & Writing 101.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.

What’s in it for you?

Benefits of the 101 art writing certificate course include:

  • up to two published articles (researched and written entirely by you!) that you can show prospective employers or graduate school admissions staff
  • a certificate to include in your resume
  • increased job options within the art world; our writers have gone on to work in top auction houses, physical and online galleries and other art organisations
  • access to important art world professionals. As you progress through the course, you may have the opportunity to create useful longer-term relationships with leading art world figures

Support

You’ll receive hands-on direct personal support including:

  • support through email, Skype and/or Google Chat for immediate issues
  • video meetings with your editor via Skype or Google Chat
  • one-on-one written feedback from an experienced art editor on course assignments and on the article that you write

Along with this unprecedented level of personal support, you’ll receive a six-module training course delivered by email. And all for a fantastic price!

How to apply

To apply for Art Radar‘s Certificate in Art Journalism & Writing 101, you’ll need to send us a copy of your resume/CV and a cover letter explaining why you’d like to be a part of this certificate programme and of Art Radar.

This should be accompanied by two writing samples. A writing sample can be on any subject and could include:

  • a one-page extract of a thesis or university essay
  • a previously published article
  • a blog post
  • an email
  • a letter
  • a speech
  • creative fiction (excluding poetry)

 

Don’t forget, apply soon to take advantage of our low course fees!

Application fee

All applicants to our course must pay an application fee of USD77, which will be deducted off the cost of the course when you make payment. This fee must be paid via PayPal using your credit card or PayPal account before we will accept your application to the course. You’ll be provided with the link to the application processing fee payment page in the online application form.

Apply online now!

Got your materials together? You’re ready to apply online.

Click here to fill out an online application form.

 

 

The big picture: Iranian-American painter Nicky Nodjoumi – artist profile

Nicky Nodjoumi’s large-scale works take an intimate look at the politics of today.

Prominent Iranian-American artist melds patterns with politics through the freedom of substantial creations. 

Nicky Nodjoumi, 'Moon Light and the Fish', 2016, oil on canvas, 72 x 60 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi, ‘Moon Light and the Fish’, 2016, oil on canvas, 72 x 60 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

With a longstanding career spanning decades and countries, Brooklyn-based artist Nicky Nodjoumi brings together heroes, horses and harlequins, alongside epic Persian tales that bleed into contemporary conflicts.  In an article for Al Jazeera written by professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature Hamid Dabashi at Columbia University, Nodjoumi’s signature style brings a particular “worldiness” to his work that has been honed over a significant period of time, making the visual artist one of the most prominent Iranian contemporary artists in the West:

After decades of unwavering, principled, and quiet work, Nodjoumi has finally arrived as a major aesthetic visionary of his contemporary time, having carved a commanding angle on our lived experiences from the assured perspective of a global worldliness that has patiently and consistently crossed all artificial borders of identity and politics.

Nicky Nodjoumi. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Born in the Western Iranian city of Kermanshah, Nodjoumi earned his Bachelor’s degree in art from the Tehran University of Fine Arts in 1967. After successfully completing his MFA in the United States from City College of New York in 1974, the artist returned to Tehran to teach at his alma mater, where he participated alongside university students in demonstrations against Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, also known as the Shah of Iran. Upon the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty, Nodjoumi was forced to seek exile in the United States, where he lives to this day.

Nicky Nodjoumi, 'Going Back Home', 2014, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi, ‘Going Back Home’, 2014, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

The artist’s work has been shown throughout the world and is a part of important international collections, including the British Museum, the National Museum of Cuba, the DePaul Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the soon to be opened Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi.

Nicky Nodjoumi, 'Nothing to Worry About', 2015, oil on canvas, 72 x 50 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi, ‘Nothing to Worry About’, 2015, oil on canvas, 72 x 50 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

At first blush, Nodjoumi’s works are unmistakably his. His large-scale creations are distinctive, yet subtle, pregnant with political undertones. According to the artist’s biography on the Taymour Grahne Gallery’s website, his personal experiences protesting against the Vietnam War and the Iranian Revolution have provided the artist with a boots-on-the-ground perspective regarding power, corruption and “political discourse” across cultures:

This political engagement has continued to the present day. His nuanced figurative paintings engage in political discourse with a light, satirical touch, layering his personal heritage and lived experiences in Iran and the United States into scenes that resonate beyond specific historical contexts or geographical boundaries.

Nicky Nodjoumi, 'Everything Was/Is Wide Open', 2015, oil on canvas, 85 x 130 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi, ‘Everything Was/Is Wide Open’, 2015, oil on canvas, 85 x 130 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Seeing inside, being outside

Despite Nodjoumi living abroad for a considerable time, he remains intensely aware and connected with what’s going on in his homeland. As the artist told Art Radar, this allows Nodjoumi the opportunity to see his country through a slightly different lens than those who remain:

In one’s country, you have a clear sense of what is happening around you. When you are out of your country or homeland, however, you have a broader sense of clarity. A different sense, probably. You can read a lot, see a lot. If gives you a different perspective to the same reality. I have friends in Iran, who are really in touch with the current situation there. When I compare their view with what I see and read here, I see that we are seeing the same reality from two different angles.

Nicky Nodjoumi, 'A Rooster in Prospect Park in Brooklyn', 2016, oil on canvas, 72 x 52 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi, ‘A Rooster in Prospect Park in Brooklyn’, 2016, oil on canvas, 72 x 52 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

This ability to transcend cultures is deftly honed in Nodjoumi’s work, with characters stripped free of their identity or nationality. As the artist relayed to Alma Vescovi in an interview on The American Reader, he intentionally “applies a kind of universal situation” to his work, where the actions of Iran and the United States are both scrutinised:

Yes, it’s a conscious intention to not pigeonhole, so that you see only Iranians or Americans in the paintings. There is a kind of universal situation, that you can apply it to any place. In one painting, the two men are actually Afghan, and I put them in a situation where you can read it any way you want. I took the photo and deformed it, to get the identity out of them, that way it becomes something else. It’s not real anymore, they don’t exist anymore in that situation. I don’t think any Iranian would identify with them, or any American, in fact, it’s just a kind of human being, but they have a recognizable suit. Most of these paintings are critical of both societies, Iranian and Western.

Nicky Nodjoumi, 'Inspector's Scrutiny', 2012, oil on canvas (diptych), 85 x 130 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi, ‘Inspector’s Scrutiny’, 2012, oil on canvas (diptych), 85 x 130 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Colours and contrasts 

As an artist who has consistently produced paintings and drawings throughout his life, Nodjoumi’s works have seen several transitions. One of the most noticeable changes is the artist’s move from monochromatic imagery to the addition of colour to his work. Of particular interest are the bold mash-ups of traditional Persian imagery in black and white, alongside colourful images that examine contemporary events and themes. This combination, as Nodjoumi told Art Radar, brings modern day events to the fore, with traditional images remaining as dreams or mere echoes of the past:

I used to do black and white, painting and drawing — especially painting charcoal on canvas. I liked that blackness in the painting. Eventually, I started adding a touch of colour in order to make a statement and add something more hopeful that is coming out of the canvases.

I worked with mostly black and white for a while, then I worked with minimal colour (but still mostly monochromatic work) until probably the middle of 1990’s, when I started a series of work that is more colourful. At the same time, I was working with Iranian motifs which I did not show; I painted them in a black colour but in a wash – meaning, there was different grays tones, with black on top of it.

Starting in 2000’s, I was working on landscape paintings, with characters in it. The figures are done mostly in black and white with occasional single colour. The figures are in black and gray costumes to represent men in power. Most of this kind of work is in black ink. I have a washed black ink in the background and black ink on top – some of them are figures from traditional 19th century Iranian lithographs, depicted in Shahnameh the epic of old Persia. I am using this juxtaposition to contrast the tradition with contemporary political life and wondering why violence has been continuing through history.

Nicky Nodjoumi, 'The Protocol Must Be Taken Into Account', 2015, Ink and wash on paper, 85 x 126 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi, ‘The Protocol Must Be Taken Into Account’, 2015, Ink and wash on paper, 85 x 126 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

With the introduction of colour on canvas, patterns and plaids began to figure more prominently in Nodjoumi’s creations. In a masterful twist, the artist drew inspiration from the harlequin, a Renaissance figure, and as Nodjoumi imparted to Art Radar, contemporary master Pablo Picasso:

The harlequin and checkered patterns have multiple meanings for me. The harlequin is a costumed character from commedia dell’arte from the time of the Renaissance. They served to please the master. I, however, use them as a combination of master and harlequin. I usually have people wearing gray suits in my work. They represent powerful people. Some of them are heads of state. Part of the body is dressed as a harlequin — saying at the same time these people are both master and clown.

The same thing about plaid. They go back to Iranian patterns. If you look at Picasso’s harlequin, he also used that kind of checkered pattern. I took it from Picasso and have been incorporating it into my work for decades now.

Nicky Nodjoumi, 'Invasive Personality', 2015, oil on canvas, 65 x 85 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi, ‘Invasive Personality’, 2015, oil on canvas, 65 x 85 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

In addition to the colours and the patterning, Nodjoumi’s works are known for their substantial size. This larger scale, as the artist told Art Radar, provides a space in which he can confidently and freely “dance on”:

A larger scale and canvas provides me with a surface that I can dance on. It gives me much more freedom to work around, provides me with space for the image that I want to create. I feel much more at ease with larger scale canvases. Also, I think the impact of a larger work, if you are able to manage it, is much more powerful than a smaller work — not to say that a smaller work does not have power. If you do it the right way, a small scale work can also be quite powerful.

Lisa Pollman

1228

Related Topics: Iranian artists, artist profiles, art and the community, painting, political

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for exclusive articles about Iranian contemporary artists

Save

Save

Draped in nature: German-Ghanaian artist Zohra Opoku at Gallery 1957 – in pictures

Zohra Opoku explores the somatic culture of textiles in her solo exhibition in Ghana.

German-Ghanaian artist Zohra Opoku’s solo show entitled “Sassa” is an eclectic blend of distinctive African fashion, native customs and an earthy natural essence. The exhibition opened on 10 June 2016 and is ongoing until 10 August at Gallery 1957 in Ghana.

NOT FOR REUSE

Zohra Opoku, ‘Dicksonia Antarctica’, 2015, Screen-print on textile, 79 x 105 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957. Zohra Opoku, “Sassa”, Gallery 1957, Accra, 10 June – 10 August 2016, www.gallery1957.com

This article was written by a participant in our art writing diploma programme. Do you want to write for Art Radar too? Click here to find out more about our Diploma in Art Journalism & Writing.

 

Zohra Opoku (b. 1976) is an Accra-based artist whose practice is rooted in mixed media and conceptual art. Her work includes installations, videography, photography and fashion. Opoku tends to draw from her interior experiences to create works of art that have secured her several solo and group shows across the globe, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Guggenheim, Bilbao.

In “Sassa”, Opoku takes inspiration from her recent month-long residency at the cultural research platform ANO in the Ashanti region of Ghana. It is here that she explored the aesthetic, social and cultural value of daily living, creating a positive and unique connection between Ghanaian culture and art.

Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Founder of the ANO platform, expounds:

Through the exploration of the Ashanti concept of ‘sassa’ – described by art historian Ladislas Segy as “the soul that can also lie outside of the body and that flows through all things” – Opoku’s work is in constant interplay with this notion of the unseen and the immanent.

In her exhibition, Opoku connects the soul outside the body to its natural co-existing world, the earth. She does this by examining and honouring nature’s relationship to fabric as in her textile series, history as in her family role series, or identity as in her self-portraits, where she uses nature to reveal a part of herself to the world.

NOT FOR REUSE

Zohra Opoku, ‘Pyracantha’, 2015, C-Print, 147 x 110 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957. Zohra Opoku, “Sassa”, Gallery 1957, Accra, 10 June – 10 August 2016, www.gallery1957.com

NOT FOR REUSE

Zohra Opoku, ‘Cyperus Papyrus’, 2015, Screen-print on textile, 79 x 105 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957. Zohra Opoku, “Sassa”, Gallery 1957, Accra, 10 June – 10 August 2016, www.gallery1957.com

The role of textile

In this exhibition, Opoku emphasises the importance of textiles. As a key motif in her artwork, she examines the use of clothing for its psychological role and individualistic and societal value, while acknowledging her African history. In West Africa, the depiction of civil status, identity, personal style and family background on clothing is common. In a recent interview with Art Africa, the artist mentions that

The traditions of African culture can be read through clothing; the designs of the fabric have meaning containing wisdom, philosophies, and a myriad of histories. At any point in time, clothes can tell us who a person is, where they are from, their social status, and even what their spiritual beliefs are.

Following this line of inquiry, Opoku revitalised ordinary ready-made fabrics, particularly Ghanaian bed sheets, into vibrant displays that signify old socio-cultural traditions through the lens of her artistic sensibility.

NOT FOR REUSE

Zohra Opoku, ‘Rhododendron’, 2016, Screen-print on textile, 79 x 105 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957. Zohra Opoku, “Sassa”, Gallery 1957, Accra, 10 June – 10 August 2016,
www.gallery1957.com

NOT FOR REUSE

Zohra Opoku, ‘Nana Afia Abrefi, Bomsu Kumasi’, 2016, Cyanotype on bedsheet, 208 x 126 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957. Zohra Opoku, Sassa, Gallery 1957, Accra, 10 June – 10 August 2016, www.gallery1957.com

The queen mother

Opoku’s time spent in the Ashanti region allowed her to reflect on her multiracial heritage and identity. In the interview with Art Africa, she said:

In being identified as German, Afro-German, African, Ghanaian, Obroni and Asante all at once, I’ve learnt to live like a Chameleon, and that has influenced my work a lot.

By using natural materials of “mother earth”, Opoku expresses the spiritual presence of sassa, her own identity and the connection of her family members as an eternal intertwined, substantial force. Through this revelation, her three sculptures – Batakari Chair, which represents her home, My Father, which represents her grandfather, and My Mother, which represents her mother – were created. She explains the role of women in her history:  

My father was a chief in his town and he had a role which can normally only be elected by a Queen mother. Whilst growing up, the roles of the women raising me (my mother and grandmother for instance) have always been very fixed, and strong.

NOT FOR REUSE

Zohra Opoku, ‘Batakari Chair’, 2014, Teak, Abachi wood, cord, nail, 120 x 40 x 100 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957, Accra. Zohra Opoku, Sassa, Gallery 1957, Accra, 10 June – 10 August 2016, www.gallery1957.com

Opoku intriguingly refers to her sculptures as “body masks”, as she represents each of her family members as an assortment of everyday objects, abstract imagery and matriarchal interpretation. Although not portrayed in her famous textiles, the artist still reiterates the presence of sassa in these installations.

NOT FOR REUSE

Zohra Opoku, ‘My Father’, 2015, Found wood, cord, net, nails, 58 x 69 x 19 in. Image courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957, Accra. Zohra Opoku, Sassa, Gallery 1957, Accra, 10 June – 10 August 2016, www.gallery1957.com

NOT FOR REUSE

Zohra Opoku, ‘My Mother’, 2015, Found object, 32 x 28 x 6 in. Image courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957, Accra. Zohra Opoku, Sassa, Gallery 1957, Accra, 10 June – 10 August 2016, www.gallery1957.com

The fabric of nature

For her self-portrait series, Opoku uses the natural essence of the environment to present her allegorical interpretation of clothing and fabric as it drapes fashionably in her pieces.

In an interview with Nataal Gallery, she mentions that she often experiments with the surrounding nature as the focal point for her art pieces. Through delicate arrangement and precision, Opoku positions everything into one frame, morphing earthy backdrops and her own portrait to complete the camouflage.

NOT FOR REUSE

Zohra Opoku, ‘Rhododendron’, 2015, C-Prints, 147 x 110 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957, Accra. Zohra Opoku, Sassa, Gallery 1957, Accra, 10 June – 10 August 2016, www.gallery1957.com

NOT FOR REUSE

Zohra Opoku, ‘Cyperus Papyrus’, 2015, C-Print, 147 x 110 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Gallery 1957, Accra. Zohra Opoku, Sassa, Gallery 1957, Accra, 10 June – 10 August 2016, www.gallery1957.com

In a 2015 interview with OURS-Conscious Critical Curious Magazine, the artist further elaborates on the topic of nature:

I am raised to respect and appreciate my natural environment. It is the source to bring peace into my life, but also into my work.

Ultimately, Zohra Opoku’s “Sassa” exhibition combines African history and spirituality with her fiercely individual approach. Her work is a conduit for society and culture, family ties, the natural environment and her own identity.

This article was written by a participant in our art writing diploma programme. Do you want to write for Art Radar too? Click here to find out more about our Diploma in Art Journalism & Writing.

Kenesha Julius

1226

Related topics: photography, sculpture, identity, African artists, events in Ghana, gallery shows

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for West African art and more

Save

Save

Save

Art internships and opportunities | Swiss Institute / Contemporary Art, WMA Masters… and more

Looking for new career options in the arts? Art Radar Opportunities is an archive of openings in the visual art world. 

Whether you are an artist or an aspiring curator, a market analyst or a scholar, Art Radar Opportunities has listings that will pique your interest. Every week we add new positions suitable for a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience. 

Reader offer! We’re offering free job listings to all of our readers. If you would like to advertise your opportunity to 25,000 visitors a month, fill out our Internships or Opportunities submission form.

New this week!

______________________________

INTERNSHIP | New York | Fall Internship | Swiss Institute / Contemporary Art – 10 August 2016

Swiss Institute / Contemporary Art is seeking reliable and motivated individuals with a passion for contemporary art in both its development and curatorial departments. Swiss Institute is an independent non-profit contemporary art institution dedicated to promoting forward-thinking and experimental art making through innovative exhibitions and programmes. Applicants must be fluent in the Microsoft office suite and comfortable using Mac computers. Experience with Adobe suite preferred, language skills in French, German or Italian are a plus but not necessary. Interns receive a daily stipend of USD15 for lunch and travel expenses. They should commit 3 days a week between the hours of 10am-6pm, in addition to occasional evening hours for special events and openings. This position will be available beginning in September. To apply to be an SI intern, please send a cover letter, resume and dates of availability to daniel@swissinstitute.net. MORE HERE
______________________________

INTERNSHIP | New York | Fall Internship | ArtBinder – 1 September 2016

ArtBinder is the leading digital platform for the art world. Sitting at the intersection of art and technology, ArtBinder enables clients to run their galleries with ease and elegance. The company is currently looking for detail-oriented candidates with strong writing skills who are interested in the art world, tech, marketing and social media fields. This is a chance to create meaningful ideas and make an impact at a growing startup. The internship runs from September 2016 to December 2016 and responsibilities include: assist the Client Relations and New Accounts teams with their daily tasks; daily maintenance of all company social media platforms; write both long-form and short-form social media posts across all company channels; learn digital media strategy with the company’s marketing team. MORE HERE

______________________________

OPEN CALL | Washington | Phillips Collection Book Prize 2016 | University of Maryland and Phillips Collection – 15 September 2016

The University of Maryland and Phillips Collection Book Prize supports publication of a first book by an emerging scholar. The manuscript selected for this award represents new and innovative research in modern and contemporary art from 1780 to the present. The biennial Phillips Book Prize is awarded by an editorial committee, which meets every other year at The University of Maryland Center for Art and Knowledge at The Phillips Collection. The winning author receives USD5,000, and his or her manuscript will be published jointly by the University of California Press, The University of Maryland, and The Phillips Collection. The author will present at least one public lecture and book signing after the completion of the book. Scholars who received their PhDs within the past five years are encouraged to apply. MORE HERE

______________________________

OPEN CALL | Hong Kong | Call for Submissions | WMA Masters – 30 September 2016

The WMA Masters (formerly WYNG Masters Award) invites both international and Hong Kong artists and image-makers to submit photographic-based work. The visual content must be related to Hong Kong and to the chosen theme MOBILITY. Finalists will be selected by a panel of international judges and their works will be exhibited in Hong Kong in spring 2017. A full-colour catalogue will be published to coincide with the exhibition. The WMA Masters will also host a series of talks, panels and seminars during the exhibition period. The winner of WMA Masters will receive a cash prize of HKD250,000. Each of the six additional finalists will receive HKD15,000. This year, applicants to WMA Masters who are Hong Kong residents will have a chance to be invited to submit an expression of interest for a professional practice residency at FORMAT International Photography Festival 2017. MORE HERE

______________________________

OPEN CALL | Chicago | Curatorial Fellowship | Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago – apply as unspecified

The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP) offers one paid 24-month Curatorial Fellowship for Diversity in the Arts, which begins in September 2016. This position will help the MoCP expand and diversify its holdings by researching and planning for the collection and exhibitions; helping to develop associated publications, and supporting the curricular use of the museum’s collection in areas that are currently underrepresented on the museum staff, such as African, Asian, Latin American, Islamic and Native American art. The Curatorial Fellowship provides recent graduates in the field with important professional experience. This is a grant funded position. The position is 19 hours per week. MORE HERE

______________________________

Did you know that Art Radar runs its very own online art writing course? Click here to find out more about Art Radar‘s Diploma in Art Journalism & Writing.

Looking for more opportunities in the contemporary art world? For Art Radar’s complete list of jobs, internships, residencies, courses and open calls, click here.

Closing this week!

______________________________

INTERNSHIP | New York | South Asian Art Curatorial Internship | Rubin Museum of Art – 31 July 2016

The Rubin Museum of Art offers semester-long internships to qualified undergraduate students, graduate students and recent graduates interested in the following areas: education, programming, communications, publications and human resources. In addition to assigned projects, interns have the opportunity to learn more about the museum field through group activities that include trips to cultural institutions, brown-bag lunch discussions with staff members and career development workshops. The South Asian Art Curatorial Intern performs research and provides support for curatorial work for upcoming exhibitions that focus specifically on South Asian art. MORE HERE

______________________________

This is just a sample of art world opportunities we gather each week. If you’d like to see more, click here to sign up for more information on how to get full access and feeds of opportunities.

Why Art Radar’s art journalism and writing course is unique

Art Radar‘s Certificate in Art Journalism & Writing is completely unique.

It’s a big claim we know, but it’s true. This course has three features which together make it a total one-off. Read on to find out what they are.

Flyers_PromoImage_ARCourse

Unique how?

Build a published portfolio

We guarantee that the articles you write will actually be published. Not only will they be published, they’ll also be seen by our large readership of art dealers, auctioneers, writers, collectors and art enthusiasts. Did you know that we now have almost 30,000 subscribers and followers? Art Radar alumni use their portfolios to land auction and publishing house internships, journalism and research positions, gallery roles and much more.

Live anywhere, learn anytime

Because each of the four certificates in our new two-year-long art writing diploma course is taught entirely online, students can work from any city in the world. All that’s needed is a reliable computer, a speedy Internet connection and a passion for contemporary art.

Supported learning

To ensure your work meets the high editorial standards we set for our students and our staff here at Art Radar, your work will be workshopped by not one but two experienced art editors. This one-on-one editorial support is accompanied by a six-module course delivered to you by email fortnightly for the duration of your certificate.

Sign up

Sign up for further information by filling out the form below. You will be added to our mailing list and receive a sequence of emails over the next few days that will tell you everything you need to know about the Art Radar Certificate in Art Journalism & Writing 101.

Ready to apply?

Smart! We have limited places and we’ll increase our rates for the next intake, so get your application in to us quick.

Click here for more information on the course content and faculty.

Have questions?

If you would prefer to speak to someone in person to see if the course is right for you, contact Kate Cary Evans at kateevans88@yahoo.com or artradarinstitute@gmail.com.

– The Art Radar Institute team

P.S. Why not forward this article to a friend? It’s more fun to study together!