Art of the “VIPs”: Korean artist Haegue Yang at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum

Korean artist Haegue Yang addresses the social importance of “VIPs” and their place within a city’s cultural landscape.

On show until 28 January 2018, “Phase I” of the exhibition invites local “VIPs” to participate through lending furniture of their choice to the display.

Haegue Yang, "VIP's Union”, Exhibition view. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum

Haegue Yang, “VIP’s Union”, 22 June – 28 January 2017, Installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum.

“How is the social importance of VIPs defined, and what is an art institution’s attitude towards this?” These are the questions that inform Haegue Yang’s current exhibition, “VIP’s Union – Phase I”, at the Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. The second phase of the exhibition – “VIP’s Union – Phase II” – will follow in February 2018 and run until April.

Haegue Yang, "VIP's Union”, 22 June - 28 January 2017, Installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum

Haegue Yang, “VIP’s Union”, 22 June – 28 January 2017, installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum.

The concept of the exhibition is simple: the artist has asked selected ‘very important persons’ from the city of Graz and its environs, to lend a chair or table of their choice to display within the gallery space. Those asked include individuals who already have a relationship with the institution – such as the mayor of Graz, the Styrian minister for economy, culture and tourism, or the Board of Trustees – alongside those who have been approached as potential VIP supporters.

Haegue Yang, "VIP's Union”, 22 June - 28 January 2017, Installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum

Haegue Yang, “VIP’s Union”, 22 June – 28 January 2017, installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum.

The amalgamation of mismatched chairs, grouped together around tables, bars or windows, almost resemble a motley crew of living people; in this sense, explains the gallery, the use of different ”voices” within the VIP line up allows a “collective portrait” of the gallery to emerge, blended from different individual elements that together “create an abstract and yet also very concrete picture of the cultural landscape of Graz and Styria”.

Haegue Yang, "VIP's Union”, 22 June - 28 January 2017, Installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum

Haegue Yang, “VIP’s Union”, 22 June – 28 January 2017, installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum.

As the exhibition’s curator Barbara Steiner comments,

Haegue Yang’s exhibition VIP’s Union explores the network of Kunsthaus Graz by asking ‘very important persons’ from the city and region to lend a chair or table of their choice. The final instalment shows not only the relations but says a lot about the lenders and how they want to present themselves through a piece of furniture. Furthermore, it adds a touch of living room atmosphere to the Kunsthaus Graz.

Haegue Yang, "VIP's Union”, 22 June - 28 January 2017, Installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum

Haegue Yang, “VIP’s Union”, 22 June – 28 January 2017, installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum.

Haegue Yang works between Seoul and Berlin, having received her BFA from Seoul National University, South Korea in 1994. Her work has been shown internationally at exhibitions including “Lingering Nous”, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016), “An Opaque Wind Park in Six Folds”, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (2016) and “The Malady of Death: Écrire and Lire” (commissioned by M+), Hong Kong (2015). She has been featured across many biennales, including the 13th Lyon Biennale, the Sharjah Biennial 12 and dOCUMENTA.

Haegue Yang, "VIP's Union”, 22 June - 28 January 2017, Installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum

Haegue Yang, “VIP’s Union”, 22 June – 28 January 2017, installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum.

The first phase of this exhibition displays the furniture throughout the building, transforming the “VIP” room into a space that is open to all visitors. The exhibition is linked to previous presentations from this series, shown in Berlin, Bristol, Antwerp, Bonn and Seoul. The result is a sometimes humorous, sometimes serious exhibition, which questions social mobility and the role of certain individuals within wider society.

Haegue Yang, "VIP's Union”, 22 June - 28 January 2017, Installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum

Haegue Yang, “VIP’s Union”, 22 June – 28 January 2017, installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum.

Haegue Yang’s practice focuses on the power of household objects and materials, questioning their emotional significance and the meaning we place on them. Her early work focused on carefully choreographed installations, which served as performance pieces: using seemingly ordinary objects, such as Venetian blinds or spotlights to prompt a sensory response from the viewer, through bright lights, gusts of air or oscillating shadows.

Haegue Yang, "VIP's Union”, 22 June - 28 January 2017, Installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum

Haegue Yang, “VIP’s Union”, 22 June – 28 January 2017, installation view at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner. Image courtesy Universalmuseum Joanneum.

Yang’s current work still uses ordinary household objects – in this case, commonplace chairs and tables – referring to art history, history, literature and political biographies, whilst

employing hidden social structures that repeatedly evoke forms of different communities, and so refer to recurring themes such as migration, post-colonial diaspora, forced exile and social mobility.

Anna Jamieson

1841

“VIP’s Union – Phase I & II” by Haegue Yang is on view in two stages, “Phase I” from 23 June 2017 to 28 January 2018 and “Phase II” from 14 February to 2 April 2018, at Kunsthaus Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum, Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz, Austria.

Related topics: museum showssculptureinstallationmixed mediaKorean artists

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar to learn more about Korean artists

Preview: art fair as collaboration – ART STAGE Singapore 2018

Singapore’s flagship art fair runs from 26 to 28 January during Singapore Art Week 2018.

ART STAGE Singapore transforms traditional gallery presentations inviting collectors, artists and other creative industries to participate in the ­­internationally renowned event.

I Nyoman Masriadi, 'Great Daddy', 2014, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 300 cm. Image courtesy Tiroche DeLeon Collection.

I Nyoman Masriadi, ‘Great Daddy’, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 300 cm. Image courtesy Tiroche DeLeon Collection.

Art Stage Singapore 2018: Interactions

Founded by Lorenzo Rudolf in 2011, ART STAGE Singapore returns in its eighth year to ignite excitement around contemporary art in Southeast Asia and to bridge gaps in the region’s segmented market. Through its insights on the regional art landscape and fluctuating economic standing, the fair acts as a catalyst for driving international interest in and the understanding of Southeast Asian art within a competitive, global arena.

Rudolf’s mission, alongside launching the careers of budding artists, is to open the stage for artistic conversations and to serve as a platform for collaborative market promotion. In doing so, the president propels ART STAGE into the realm of the world’s most ambitious fairs – in both scale and quality of presented work – and introduces the names of regional galleries into the international arena. The fair is seen not just as a paradise for buyers and collectors, but as a hub of creativity, collaboration and mutual support, recognising the unique, but intertwined function of the artist, gallerist, academic, collector and visitor.

Ahmad Sadali, 'Gunungan', 1980, mixed media on canvas, 200 x 175 cm. Image courtesy Art Agenda, S.E.A.

Ahmad Sadali, ‘Gunungan’, 1980, mixed media on canvas, 200 x 175 cm. Image courtesy Art Agenda, S.E.A.

Despite a slight decline in participating galleries from years past, the annual fair returns with nearly 100 galleries who represent artists from throughout the region – including major players from China, Europe and the Americas.

This year’s fair has adopted the theme ‘Interactions’, showing Rudolf’s and his team’s commitment to turning the commonly exclusive, traditional model of the art fair into an accessible space for all.

Chris Yap, 'Had you for Supper', 2018, fine digital giclee print on pearl cotton paper, 76.2 x 50.4 cm. Image courtesy Art Porters Gallery.

Chris Yap, ‘Had you for Supper’, 2018, fine digital giclee print on pearl cotton paper, 76.2 x 50.4 cm. Image courtesy Art Porters Gallery.

Anselm Kiefer, 'Dien und mein alter und das alter der welt' ['Your age and my age and the age of the world'], 1992, oil, varnish, emulsion, wire, metallic paint, straw and tar on canvas with sunflowers, aluminium and resin, 280 x 381x29 cm. Image courtesy Thomas Holdings, Inc.

Anselm Kiefer, ‘Dien und Mein Alter und Das Alter der Welt’ [‘Your Age
and My Age and the Age of the World’], 1992, oil, varnish, emulsion, wire, metallic paint, straw and tar on canvas with sunflowers, aluminium and resin, 280 x 381×29 cm. Image courtesy Thomas Holdings, Inc.

Focus: Thailand

In conjunction with the open, collaborative structure of ART STAGE 2018, the president has chosen to name Thailand as its country of focus, inviting artists Natee Utarit and Kamin Lertchaiprasert to present special exhibition programmes over the weekend. In long-standing recognition of Asia’s dynamism and artistic excellence, the honorary duo have been selected to represent ART STAGE’s commitment to exhibiting Thai totems of culture and collective histories.

Natee Utarit, 'L'enfer,c'est les autres', 2016, oil on canvas. 250x450 cm triptych. Image courtesy Richard Koh Fine Art and Art Stage Singapore.

Natee Utarit, ‘L’enfer,c’est les autres’, 2016, triptych, oil on canvas, 250 x 450 cm. Image courtesy Richard Koh Fine Art and ART STAGE Singapore.

Natee Utarit’s triptych-style paintings play with fairytale motifs and found objects to comment upon contemporary Buddhism practices and Thailand’s “political contradictions” during economic crisis.

For Kamin Lerchaiprasert, art is a ritualistic practice aimed at the achievement of a greater understanding of oneself, nature and the world as a whole. After travelling to the United States and undergoing a brief stint as a Buddhist monk, Lerchaiprasert co-founded, with Rirkrit Tiravanija, the Land Project (now the Land Foundation), a converted rice plantation used now for site-specific art and installation. Both artists regard their practices as physical processes, their expressive and gestural paintings engaging with matters both earthly and spiritual.

Natee Utarit, 'Theatre of the Absurd', 2015, oil on canvas, 250x540 cm triptych. Image courtesy Richard Koh Fine Art and ART STAGE Singapore.

Natee Utarit, ‘Theatre of the Absurd’, 2015, triptych, oil on canvas, 250 x 540 cm. Image courtesy Richard Koh Fine Art and ART STAGE Singapore.

In conversation about his decision to highlight Thailand at this year’s festivities, Rudolf states:

In the last one and a half years, a lot of new, serious and professional art galleries have opened in Thailand, such as the MAIIAM Museum of Contemporary Art by Jean Michel Beurdeley and his son, Eric Bunnag Booth. There are also many big Thai art collectors such as Petch Osathanugrah and Disaphol Chansiri, who will be opening their own museums in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.” Naturally, we have to pay tribute to this movement at the Fair by featuring many Thai galleries and artists, and planning spectacular museum-like projects with their leading local artists.

Suzann Victor, 'The Seafaring Cloud', 2017, assembled polycarbonate sheets, coloured paper pulp, 137 x 200 x 22 cm. Image courtesy Tiroche DeLeon Collection.

Suzann Victor, ‘The Seafaring Cloud’, 2017, assembled polycarbonate sheets, coloured paper pulp, 137 x 200 x 22 cm. Image courtesy Tiroche DeLeon Collection.

Art collections collaborations

In addition to the special programmes brought by Utarit and Lerchaiprasert, ART STAGE Singapore 2018 will present three special commercial exhibitions: a collaboration with the Tiroche DeLeon Collection; an exclusive showcase by the Honorary Invited Artist, Fernando Botero; and a special exhibition of Alexander Calder’s works on paper.

Botero, a Columbian figurative artist and sculptor and Art Stage’s first Honorary Invited Artist, will exhibit a series of his full-bodied ‘Boterismo’ portraits. Calder’s spirited gouache prints will be sold alongside two mobile sculptures, Stabile (1968) and The Red Crescent (1969).

Fernando Botero, 'Woman With Mask And Trumpet', 2016, oil on canvas, 85 x 68 cm. Image courtesy the artist and ART STAGE Singapore.

Fernando Botero, ‘Woman With Mask And Trumpet’, 2016, oil on canvas, 85 x 68 cm. Image courtesy the artist and ART STAGE Singapore.

Alexander Calder, 'The Red Crescent', 1969, sheet metal, rod, and paint, 60 cm x 225 cm x 66 cm. Image courtesy Omar Tiroche Gallery and ART STAGE Singapore.

Alexander Calder, ‘The Red Crescent’, 1969, sheet metal, rod, and paint,
60 cm x 225 cm x 66 cm. Image courtesy Omar Tiroche Gallery and ART STAGE Singapore.

In collaboration with the Tiroche DeLeon private collection, ART STAGE will present both established and emerging contemporary artists from Southeast Asia and beyond. This highlights the co-operative efforts of the fair and its participating galleries and collectors. Working alongside the internationally-renowned collection, Rudolf and collector Serge Tiroche have conceptualised a programme that will exhibit works acquired between 2011-2016 at earlier renditions of ART STAGE Singapore. The selected works will not only be re-exhibitied, but will be given new life, re-invigorated as part of a cohesive exhibitionary collection.

Drew Tal, 'Porcelain Dynasty', 2014, dye sublimation on aluminum 114x142 cm. Image courtesy Emmanuel Fremin Gallery.

Drew Tal, ‘Porcelain Dynasty’, 2014, dye sublimation on aluminium,
114 x 142 cm. Image courtesy Emmanuel Fremin Gallery.

Artists given the chance to be shown once more include Donna Ong (Singapore), Ruben Pang (Singapore), Agus Suwage (Indonesia), Eko Nugroho (Indonesia), Entang Wiharso (Indonesia), Gatot Pujiarto (Indonesia), Heri Dono (Indonesia), I Nyoman Masriadi (Indonesia), J. Ariadhitya Pramuhendra (Indonesia), Manit Sriwanichpoom (Thailand), Jigger Cruz (the Philippines), Jose Santos III (the Philippines), Ronald Ventura (the Philippines), Winner Jumalon (the Philippines), Fang Lijun (China) and Zeng Fanzhi (China).

Aiman Hakim, 'The cure for time is eternity, but a dose a day is required', 2018, oil on canvas, 150x150 cm. Image courtesy Art Porters Gallery.

Aiman Hakim, ‘The cure for time is eternity, but a dose a day is required’, 2018, oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm. Image courtesy Art Porters Gallery.

Tiroche notes (PDF download) that the innovative market-as-collection model will allow the collection to be re-imagined in Singapore alongside an exhaustive list of other important artists:

We are pleased to have come full circle with Lorenzo Rudolf, to present a collection he helped us build. It is wonderful when two innovative minds meet and are comfortable exploring new collaborative models. I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to being in Singapore.

Manolo Valdes, 'Infanta Margarita', 2009, bronze, 205 x 147 x 202 cm. Image courtesy Opera Gallery.

Manolo Valdes, ‘Infanta Margarita’, 2009, bronze, 205 x 147 x 202 cm. Image courtesy Opera Gallery.

The works of the collection, ART STAGE comments, are frequently lent to prominent museums, exhibitions, public venues, biennales, art fairs and other creative industries, including a 2011 exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum featuring Rodel Tapaya’s most iconic work, Cane of Kabunian, Numbered But Cannot Be Counted, which won the triennial Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize 2011.

Douglas Diaz, 'Remembering yourself', 2018, graphite and oil on canvas, 40 × 40 cm. Image courtesy Art Porters Gallery.

Douglas Diaz, ‘Remembering yourself’, 2018, graphite and oil on canvas, 40 × 40 cm. Image courtesy Art Porters Gallery.

Southeast Asia’s flagship art fair

In acknowledgement of the rapid changes and fluctuations in the art economy, ART STAGE Singapore pays tribute to new, often harsh, realities of the art market by innovating the traditional art fair concept and going beyond the classical gallery presentations. By expanding the field to collectors, artists and other creative industries, the fair continues to innovate and augment its position as the principal art fair of Southeast Asia.

The wide array of artists, exhibitors and artworld professionals scheduled to be present throughout Singapore Art Week signal both a flourishing sector of a global market and the organiser’s emphasis on accessible work and communicative collaboration.

Megan Miller

2038

ART STAGE Singapore 2018 is the anchor event of the Singapore Art Week and takes place from 26 to 28 January 2018 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore.

Related Topics: Singaporean artists, art fairs, events in Singapore, Singapore art scene, market watch, art and the community, news

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more art market previews

“Art, Ritual and the Everyday” at M+ REORIENT: Conversations on South and Southeast Asia – Part I – Interview with Doryun Chong

Comprised of one-on-one conversations, short presentations and panel discussions, REORIENT brought together art professionals to explore views across various locales in South and Southeast Asia.

Art Radar learns more on the occasion of M+ Deputy Director and Chief Curator Doryun Chong’s conversation with acclaimed Indian artist Sheela Gowda.

Art, Ritual and the Everyday: Sheela Gowda in conversation with Doryun Chong. M+ Matters – REORIENT: Conversations on South and Southeast Asia, 30 November – 2 December 2017. Image courtesy the WKCDA.

Art, Ritual and the Everyday: Sheela Gowda in conversation with Doryun Chong. M+ Matters – REORIENT: Conversations on South and Southeast Asia, 30 November – 2 December 2017. Image courtesy the WKCDA.

From 30 November to 2 December 2017, M+ organised REORIENT, a public event on the region of South and Southeast Asia. Although the M+ collection has included works by South and Southeast Asian artists, the region has not been widely featured in M+’s public programmes. Hence, REORIENT is designed to gather art professionals from the fields of visual art, design and architecture and moving image, to inform the audience in Hong Kong, as well as to examine the similarities and differences between the cultural practices of Hong Kong and South and Southeast Asia.

The one-on-one conversations and discussions featured art world professionals from Bangalore to Bangladesh, Yogyakarta to Ho Chi Minh City, across disciplines and institutions. Art Radar highlights the conversation between M+ Deputy Director and Chief Curator Doryun Chong with acclaimed Indian artist Sheela Gowda, which took place on the second day of the three-day event, namely “Art, Ritual and the Everyday. In this two-part series, Art Radar first interviews Mr Chong about his views on curatorial practices in the region, followed by a summary of artist Sheela Gowda’s presentation.

Doryun Chong, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, M+. Image courtesy the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

Doryun Chong, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, M+. Image courtesy the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

Mr Doryun Chong was appointed, in September 2013, as the inaugural Chief Curator at M+, Hong Kong. Promoted to Deputy Director and Chief Curator in January 2016, he oversees all curatorial activities and programmes in the three main disciplinary areas of design and architecture, moving image and visual art. They include acquisitions, exhibitions, learning and public programmes and digital initiatives. The Herzog and de Meuron-designed building of the museum of visual culture is slated to be opened in 2019 in the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong.

At REORIENT, Mr Chong spoke to Sheela Gowda (b. 1957, India), a renowned artist based in Bangalore in southern India. She is known for her site-oriented large scale installations, which are comprised of found materials such as cow dung, metal barrels, wood, car bumpers, incense and human hair. In the conversation, she spoke about the cultural context behind her works, as well as the notion of labour, class and gender. Her works have been shown at Tate Modern in London, Kochi-Muziris Biennale and Perez Museum in the United States, among others.

Art Radar speaks to Mr Doryun Chong to find out more about his views about the art scene in the region.

M+ Matters – REORIENT: Conversations on South and Southeast Asia, 30 November – 2 December 2017. Image courtesy the WKCDA.

M+ Matters – REORIENT: Conversations on South and Southeast Asia, 30 November – 2 December 2017. Image courtesy the WKCDA.

What is the curatorial strategy for South and Southeast Asian art at M+? Why is it important to introduce art of this region to the public in Hong Kong?

South and Southeast Asia is a vast and complex region, or regions, defined by numerous coexisting languages, cultures, experiences and conditions — arguably much more so compared to East Asia. For that reason, it would be foolhardy, if not impossible, to claim that an institution can have an overarching singular strategy to address the region. Thanks to the fact that we are now living in an era in which artists from South and Southeast Asia are often travelling to our own region, and we get to visit different parts of that region with relative ease, connections are multiplying and networks are expanding. We are judiciously following these leads to expand our exposure, knowledge, and collection and programming opportunities in accumulative, and slow but sure ways. Part of our curatorial strategy is to accept and be aware of the necessarily highly selective nature of our approach to the artistic practices that have taken place or are transpiring there – and also to remind ourselves continually that this is a long game. We are just starting and we will continue to engage and explore more broadly and deeply in years to come.

Given the mission of M+, that is, a museum of 20th- and 21st-century visual culture with a global outlook from Hong Kong, it makes all the sense that we start by positioning Hong Kong according to historical, cultural and geopolitical facts; specifically, in this particular instance, the fact that Hong Kong is situated at the strategic juncture in the South China Sea between East Asia and Southeast Asia. Within three hours of flight from Hong Kong lie Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Kolkata, for instance, and Singapore is closer than Seoul or Tokyo is. While the population of Hong Kong may be primarily Chinese, the city has always had significant populations from our neighbours to our West and South. At the same time, as we all know, there are significant Chinese populations in many Southeast Asian countries. For all these reasons, it is quite natural that M+ should pay close attention to the dynamic landscape of artmaking unfolding in different parts of Southeast as well as South Asia.

M+ Matters – REORIENT: Conversations on South and Southeast Asia, 30 November – 2 December 2017. Image courtesy the WKCDA.

M+ Matters – REORIENT: Conversations on South and Southeast Asia, 30 November – 2 December 2017. Image courtesy the WKCDA.

What are some major changes you have observed in the art scene in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia since the time you joined M+?

There have always been major practitioners as long as I have been working as a curator, way before I moved to Hong Kong. But in the last few years, Southeast Asia has experienced significant growths as Hong Kong has been in terms of infrastructure buildingin both commercial and public, non-profit sectors. Art Basel Hong Kong of course is the most important contemporary art fair in all of Asia, but smaller fairs in Singapore, Delhi, Manila and Jakarta are contributing to the whole scene. The opening of the National Gallery Singapore is a major achievement, an anchor point for the whole region, and a great counterpart and counterpoint to what M+ is and is planning to do. There are also many other smaller institutions and initiatives, almost too many to name already. Some of them are new, while others have been there for many years already: STPI in Singapore, The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in Ho Chi Minh City, the new Museum MACAN in Jakarta, the Jim Thompson Art Center in Bangkok, etc. The new crop of young galleries emerging in cities like Manila, Kolkata, Mumbai and many others is also a very exciting factor in this whole development.

Aerial shot of Singapore’s Central Business District, featuring the Singapore Conference Hall and Singapore Airlines Building (formerly Malaysia-Singapore Airlines Headquarters) designed by Malayan Architects Co- partnership (succeeded by Architects Team 3), (1967). Photographic print. M+, Hong Kong. Gift of Architects Team 3, 2015. Image courtesy Architects Team 3 Pte Ltd.

Aerial shot of Singapore’s Central Business District, featuring the Singapore Conference Hall and Singapore Airlines Building (formerly Malaysia-Singapore Airlines Headquarters) designed by Malayan Architects Co- partnership (succeeded by Architects Team 3), (1967). Photographic print. M+, Hong Kong. Gift of Architects Team 3, 2015. Image courtesy Architects Team 3 Pte Ltd.

How has the rapid development and the shift from agrarian economy to urbanisation in Southeast Asia shaped the artistic practice of artists in the region?

Perhaps it is true that there has been a “rapid development from agrarian economy to urbanisation in Southeast Asia”, but at the same time, the cities that I have mentioned have been major centres of culture and learning as well as politics for many years – decades and even centuries – and have all had their own distinctive histories of modern arts and culture. Having said that I also have the impression that many serious and committed artists always have a view towards the continuous disruption of long-established ways of life, traditions and craftsmanship, and collisions between the urban and the rural and make works about these phenomena.

Sheela Gowda, 'Either Way', 2015, wool, human hair and wood, dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist and Para Site, Hong Kong.

Sheela Gowda, ‘Either Way’, 2015, wool, human hair and wood, dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist and Para Site, Hong Kong.

What is your first impression of artist Sheela Gowda’s work?

I have been following Sheela’s work for about 15 years, since I first encountered it in the early 2000s. There are many things I can say – or at least many impressions I continue to have about her work. To put it simply, I find her sculptures to be some of the most visceral, poignant, complex and multilayered and elegant works today. They are at the same time sensuous but down-to-earth and at times, acerbic and hardcore. I’m a huge admirer of her work.

Valencia Tong

2014

Related Topics: South Asian, Southeast Asian, Interviews, Museums, Hong Kong

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on South Asian and Southeast Asian art

The Privatization of Art Journalism: Journalist Talk at Art Basel Miami Beach 2017 – video summary

Content writers and art reporters Sarah Douglas, Ossian Ward and Mary Louise Schumacher contemplate the future of art journalism in the uncertain times ahead.

Art Radar puts together a brief summary of the Art Basel Miami Beach Conversation that took place in December 2017.

A visitor at Barbara Mathes Gallery, Art Basel Miami 2017. Image courtesy Art Basel.

A visitor at Barbara Mathes Gallery, Art Basel Miami Beach 2017. Image courtesy Art Basel.

Chaired by the Editor-in-Chief of ARTNews, Sarah Douglas, “The Privatization of Art Journalism” tackled hefty questions about the landscape of art journalism that lay ahead. Speaking to Head of Content at London/New York gallery Lisson Gallery, Ossian Ward, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Art and Architecture critic, Mary Louise Schumacher, Douglas moderated the panel that investigated the major shifts that had taken place in the business of art journalism over recent years. Speaking as part of the Conversations series held at Art Basel Miami Beach 2017, the talk teased out the risks and opportunities involved for writers, galleries and other stakeholders.

Sarah Douglas is the current Editor-in-Chief of ARTNews, the digital and print media outlet that had originally been established in 1902. Douglas took over as ARTNews’ Editor-in-Chief in 2014, succeeding her predecessor Robin Cembalest. Prior to that, she has served as Culture Editor at The New York Observer; her post saw her launching the website GalleristNY.

Well-known as an art critic, Ward was chief art critic and visual arts editor at Time Out London. Ward had also written for Art Review and V&A magazine, amongst others. He is also the author of the book Ways of Looking, which was originally published in 2014. Mary Louise Schumacher had also remained as the dedicated art and architecture critic at the longstanding Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 17 years. She was also recently made a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, before taking on an extended leave of absence to pursue making a documentary about art journalists.

Art Basel Miami 2017, Conversations, Journalist Talk, "The Privatization of Art Journalism". Image courtesy Art Basel.

Art Basel Miami Beach 2017, Conversations, Journalist Talk, “The Privatization of Art Journalism”. Image courtesy Art Basel.

Disruptions in the art industry

All three speakers agreed that there was an uptick in what was termed as “the privatisation of art journalism”: the structure of art journalism, it seems, is going through some changes. Kicking off the conversation, Douglas highlighted a litany of disruptions in the traditional art journalism industry: mega-gallery Gagosian, for example, is one of the first galleries to launch their own magazine (also named Gagosian), which they offer to readers as a quarterly. Other galleries continue to follow suit: Hauser & Wirth is soon to offer their own publication as well. Commercial interests, it seems, are intersecting with the creation and publication of art-focused content.

The entry of commercial, mega-gallery players into the art journalism landscape is accompanied by the outmoding of the traditional model which sustains the industry. As Douglas puts it,

The traditional art magazines, the ones that rely on the advertising model, are struggling – I say this with caution because in some ways art news is thriving like never before – and art coverage in newspapers around the country is shrinking, or, just as importantly, changing. Becoming shorter, punchier, social media friendlier.

Galleries, it seems, have hired their own content creators; aided by social media and other outlets, the advertising model that magazines have long thrived on are less and less reliable. In what is perhaps an alternative to the advertising model, the digital platforms Artsy and Artnet were also singled out, where editorial content is also created, but is, nonetheless, not a key feature of the primarily commercial function of those sites.

All these observations seem to spell doom and gloom for the industry; however, as Douglas is quick to point out, there is also evidence to the contrary: PR agencies are also starting up at a time when media outlets are struggling. Not-for-profit publications are also springing up, such as Four Columns. Terming it a “shift towards a privatized model”, Douglas, Ward and Schumacher sought to bring up the risks and challenges involved, and how to navigate these challenges.

Journalism vs Criticism

One thing that I found even more difficult within my small field was finding critics who wanted to be critical.

Drawing on his experience at Time Out London, Ward noted that “we’re all in the art world […] and we all know the galleries and the galleries pay us to do essays and things like that. So it was actually quite hard to get people to say what they thought.” Coupled with the fear of backlash were the logistical challenges of even creating room for criticism, type got larger, column sizes smaller, and space devoted to criticality became reduced. Under the two-fold assault on criticism, it was easier to revert to reportage.

The way out, however, as Ward noted, was digital publishing: where space and audience size posed no logistical challenges or issues. “I was always a print person, a real old-school print person, so I didn’t see that actually there is an opportunity. We did have huge numbers online and we could reach more people.” Digital was a way forward  as Douglas noted, as page counts went down at The New York Observer, the online platform GalleristNY began.

The pull between journalism and privatised content creation 

Being the Head of Content for Lisson Gallery, Ossian explained, meant that “all of the content in the gallery – meaning all the artworks – should, in some way, have something written about them.” Ward’s position as Head of Content can be read as part of a wider trend, where galleries hire their own content creators to help establish their presence in a media saturated environment. As Douglas pointed out later in the conversation, galleries were beginning to offer better salaries to those in traditional journalism positions as content creators for their brand. Citing her own experience, Schumacher pointed out the growing disparity between these two roles: there was a concern amongst those in traditional media outlets that they could not continue to do good work. Schumacher noted that writing for a journal left her

busier than I used to be, when the space is smaller, when I’m writing to an algorithm. All these pressures that have come down onto us… I think that — to be very candid– one of the reasons why I wanted to take a year away from the position and get some perspective… I was reading work that I had done five years earlier and thinking it was better.

The new pressures of a journalist position today may have left traditional news outlets losing out to galleries, where writers had the freedom to “actually think, and be considered and thoughtful, and have the space to do good work”, Schumacher continues. Douglas also noted that traditional news outlets often carried an unspoken corporate culture where employees were made to feel that “you were lucky to be here”. In some ways, old elitist ideals seemed to have seeped through the structure. With more talent opting to leave the media industry and working for galleries with bigger budgets and more manageable workloads, content production leans more towards private, commercial interests. The shift away from traditional journalism is perceptible, as economic and welfare concerns of journalists themselves are called into question.

Click here to watch the Art Basel Miami Beach 2017 Conversation “The Privatization of Art Journalism” on YouTube

Over the course of the 45-minute talk, Schumacher, Douglas and Ward brought up these points and more, trying to make sense of the the future of art writing within this new model. Asking questions that were fundamental to the operating of the industry itself, the Journalist Talk was a welcome part of the Conversations roster at Art Basel Miami Beach 2017.

Junni Chen

 2025

Related topics: videos, business of art, socialfairsinterviewsevents in Miami

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more video highlights

7 exhibitions to see during Singapore Art Week 2018

Art Radar brings you 7 highlights not to miss during Singapore Art Week 2018.

Singapore Art Week 2018 runs from 17 to 28 January, concurrently with Art Stage Singapore, and presents a rich programme of events across the city.

Light Projection Show at the Merlion as part of Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2018. Image courtesy URA.

Light Projection Show at the Merlion as part of Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2018. Image courtesy URA.

The year is off to a busy start with the advent of Singapore Art Week. Held every year in January, the visual arts festival is now in its sixth edition and will run from 17 to 28 January 2018. The festival is capped by Art Stage, Singapore’s premier art fair, which will take place from 26 to 28 January at Marina Bay Sands. Prior to Art Stage, there is plenty to see and do. Over 60 galleries, museums and independent art spaces are opening their doors to the public and showcasing a mix of local, regional and international art.

Light Projection Show at the ArtScience Museum as part of Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2018. Image courtesy URA.

Light Projection Show at the ArtScience Museum as part of Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2018. Image courtesy URA.

What is excellent about Singapore Art Week is the variety of creative talent on view during this twelve-day celebration. Major institutions will already be showing blockbuster exhibitions, and it is worth noting that the Light to Night Festival: Colour Sensations will be held in the Civic District (an arts cluster that is home to National Gallery Singapore and Asian Civilisations Museum) in conjunction with Singapore Art Week. There are also smaller (and sometimes unconventional) art spaces that will be turning heads this year. See as much as you can, and let yourself be surprised. If you do not know where to begin, here are Art Radar’s picks for the 2018 Singapore Art Week.

'Hang Tuah', 1956, film still. Image courtesy © 1956 Shaw Organisation.

‘Hang Tuah’, 1956, film still. Image courtesy © 1956 Shaw Organisation.

1. “State of Motion: Sejarah-ku”

12 January – 11 February 2018

Titled after the Malay phrase for ‘my history’, “State of Motion: Sejarah-ku” presents an array of Malay-language films that were produced during the 1950s and 1960s – the years leading up to Singapore’s independence. The films present opportunities to re-encounter socio-political narratives that permeated society during the tumultuous post-war years, and reflect upon their implications on contemporary Singapore and Southeast Asia at large. To facilitate the dialogue between past and present, there will be mainland bus tours and offshore tours (via boats) to sites where some of the films were shot. The tours will also feature artworks and performances by several Singapore-based artists in response to the films, prompting an interdisciplinary audience engagement with the issues presented in the screenings.

Kim Lim, ‘Twice’, 1966. Image courtesy the Estate of Kim Lim. ​​​

Kim Lim, ‘Twice’, 1966. Image courtesy the Estate of Kim Lim. ​​​

2. “Kim Lim: Sculpting Light” — STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery

13 January – 3 March 2018

Arguably one of Singapore’s foremost female artists, Kim Lim lived and worked in Britain between the 1960s and 1980s. Her artistic career paralleled the rise of Minimalism in the United States and United Kingdom, and her practice was influenced by her travels in Asia. The late artist is best known for her elegant sculptures and prints, which are showcased in “Sculpting Light”. Drawing connections between Lim’s two-dimensional renderings and three-dimensional forms, the exhibition demonstrates her exploration of rhythm and movement in static materials such as stone and paper. “Sculpting Light” is Lim’s first major solo exhibition in Singapore since 1984. Though she enjoyed success in Britain, Lim has largely fallen through the cracks of art history. The strong presentation of her work at STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery is a chance to celebrate an artist who has crossed boundaries in her field, as a woman and a pioneer of Southeast Asian modern art, all the while remaining singular in her artistic vision.

Sarah Choo Jing, ‘Accelerated Intimacy; Veronica Foo’, 2018, archival inkjet print on Hanemühle paper, framed, 0.55 x 1.1 m. Image courtesy the artist and Yeo Workshop.

Sarah Choo Jing, ‘Accelerated Intimacy; Veronica Foo’, 2018, archival inkjet print on Hanemühle paper, framed, 0.55 x 1.1 m. Image courtesy the artist and Yeo Workshop.

3. “Accelerated Intimacy” by Sarah Choo Jing — Yeo Workshop

19 January – 3 March 2018

Emerging artist Sarah Choo Jing is captivating the imaginations of viewers with her visceral video installations. In “Accelerated Intimacy”, Choo transforms Yeo Workshop’s gallery space into a simulation of a hotel lobby. Combining video channels, photographic prints, objects and a functioning hotel lobby bar, she transports viewers into her realm of the hyperreal. Choo is known for crafting theatrically elusive narratives out of familiar spaces and cultural tropes. In “Accelerated Intimacy”, the characters in her videos exist within moody renditions of iconic hotel rooms in Singapore. Through her use of chiaroscuro and neon overtones, Choo transforms the recognisable spaces into alien territory in her videos. The flatness of the video projections are juxtaposed with the objects and bar in the gallery space, creating a multi-sensory experience.

Melati Suryodarmo, “Transaction of Hollows”. Image courtesy the artist. Photo: Petter Patterson, Lilith Performance Studio, Malmo.

Melati Suryodarmo, “Transaction of Hollows”. Image courtesy the artist. Photo: Petter Patterson, Lilith Performance Studio, Malmo.

4. “Melati Suryodarmo: Timoribus and Transaction of Hollows” — ShanghART

25 January – 20 March 2018

ShanghART will be highlighting the dexterity of Melati Suryodarmo by showcasing her multimedia artworks, “Timoribus”, alongside her performance, “Transaction of Hollows”. “Timoribus” will be on view for close to two months, though “Transaction of Hollows” will only take place on 25 and 26 January 2018. Suryodarmo is one of Indonesia’s most prominent visual artists and is best known for her durational performances. Having studied with Marina Abramović in Germany, where she currently resides, Suryodarmo is interested in themes related to identity, politics and the relationship between the body and its environment. In “Transaction of Hollows”, Suryodarmo will be shooting arrows into the walls of ShanghART’s gallery space in response to the politics of our time. “Timoribus” complements Suryodarmo’s live performance by expanding on her interests in the body and its relationship to fear. It will consist of photography, videography and video recordings of previous performance pieces.

‘Papers, Please’, USA, 2016, computer game. Image courtesy Kult Studio & Gallery.

‘Papers, Please’, USA, 2016, computer game. Image courtesy Kult Studio & Gallery.

5. “Games and Politics” — Kult Studio & Gallery

12 January – 12 February 2018

Contemporary art is continually expanding its reach into media previously unthinkable in the field. “Games and Politics” presents video games developed by artists/game developers who experimented with the gaming format as a means of stimulating political and social discourse. The games in this exhibition tackle topics such as immigration, gender and political ideology. Some of the video games describe political issues overtly through their narrative structures, while other games involve role play and are more experiential. For example, in Papers, Please, players take on the character of a border official and lose points when they allow an illegal immigrant into the country. In approaching gaming from a critical rather than a commercial position, the works in “Games and Politics” reflect upon the structures of mass market game development by exposing stereotypes and conditions of the game itself.

Natee Utarit, ‘Nescientia’, 2014, oil on canvas, 290 x 387 cm. Image courtesy The Private Museum.

Natee Utarit, ‘Nescientia’, 2014, oil on canvas, 290 x 387 cm. Image courtesy Richard Koh Fine Art and the artist Natee Utarit.

6. “Optimism is Ridiculous: The Altarpieces” by Natee Utarit — The Private Museum

24 January – 11 March 2018

A painter’s painter who is well-established in the Thai contemporary art scene, Natee Utarit continues to probe western art historical conventions in his body of work “Optimism is Ridiculous: The Altarpieces”. His work take the format of diptychs, triptychs and polyptychs: paintings that are divided into panels. Polyptychs were popular among early Renaissance painters, particularly in the creation of Catholic altarpieces. Marrying this religious tradition with imagery of what Utarit perceives as western culture and society, his paintings are satirical representations of modernism and capitalism. Utarit’s paintings evoke the absurd fascination with western culture, particularly in art history. They also highlight the reception of western art by a Southeast Asian artist who is disconnected from that history, yet impacted by the prominent role of the Renaissance in visual arts.

Jacqueline Sim, ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens - a time to search and a time to give up.’, 2018, wood, motor, steel rod, batteries and LED light. Image courtesy Daniel Chong.

Jacqueline Sim, ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens – a time to search and a time to give up.’, 2018, wood, motor, steel rod, batteries and LED light. Image courtesy Daniel Chong.

7. “RAID” — Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter

13 January – 3 February 2018

Organised by artists Daniel Chong and Zulkhairi Zulkiflee, the exhibition “RAID” features artworks by the two artist-organisers and fellow emerging artists Ivan Ng, Tay Ining, Vanessa Lim, Jacqueline Sim, Pooja Kanade and Nhawfal Juma’at. Transforming the Tiong Bahru Air Raid Shelter into an exhibition space, these artists drew upon the history and architectural elements of the shelter to create their site-specific installations. Left untouched since its construction in 1939, the air raid shelter is dark, musty and dilapidated – a stark contrast to much of Singapore’s urban landscape, let alone the conventional gallery space. The relationship between the site and the artworks is symbiotic; they feed off each other to expand viewers’ perceptions of urban spaces in Singapore and the local art scene. Working outside the traditional model of an exhibition space, these eight young artists have re-energised a historical site and, in the process, brought attention to possible art spaces hidden in all corners of Singapore. “RAID” is one of several independent art projects that are springing up around the island, rivalling galleries and museum exhibitions with their daring willingness to create and exhibit art in unconventional ways in a country that values convention.

Jean Wong

2034

Related Topics: Southeast Asian, installation, film, painting, performance, Singapore

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more news on Southeast Asian contemporary art

3 Indian Abstractionists to see: “Troika” at Art Musings, Mumbai

Art Musings brings together the works of Ram Kumar, Prabhakar Kolte and Laxman Shreshtha in a compact group exhibition.

The juxtaposition of works on display in “Troika” until 25 January 2018, enables art lovers to see how the three artists continue to renew their chosen idiom.

Prabhakar Kolte, Untitled - 5, 2017, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches, Image courtesy the artist and Art Musings.

Prabhakar Kolte, ‘Untitled – 5’, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 in. Image courtesy the artist and Art Musings.

Expression through abstraction

“Troika” features the works of three of India’s most accomplished abstractionists at Art Musings – Ram Kumar (b. 1924), Laxman Shreshtha (b. 1939) and Prabhakar Kolte (b. 1946) – who trod different paths in their journey towards using the non-representational medium as their chosen mode of expression. Kumar first studied economics in Delhi before turning to art, primarily figuration in his early years, while Nepal-born Shreshtha has always been preoccupied with landscape painting as a genre with Kolte, the youngest of the three, having taught art for over two decades at the prestigious J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. As stated in the Art Musings release accompanying “Troika”,

Each artist has devoted several decades to the activation of the non-representational painted surface. Each, in his own distinctive way, has pursued the half-glimpsed image and the half-heard resonance; each has labored to commit an elusive reality of the spirit to the materiality of pigment. Kumar, Kolte and Shreshtha continue to renew their chosen idiom with an admirable energy of inventiveness that is matched by a magical richness of emotion.

It was with the founding of the Progressive Artists’ Group, which included members like Francis Newton Souza, Sayed Haider Raza and Maqbool Fida Husain, in Mumbai in the late 1940s, that 20th century modernism entered the art world of a newly independent India. The group was keen to push Indian art forward and they wanted to function in a broader, international context so as to make their work more relevant on the global stage.

Ram Kumar, Untitled - 3, 2014, Acrylic On Canvas, 36 x 36 inches, Image courtesy the artist and Art Musings.

Ram Kumar, ‘Untitled – 3’, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 in. Image courtesy the artist and Art Musings.

It was in this era of experimentation and a quest for identity that Ram Kumar entered the world of Indian art. After studying Economics at Delhi’s St Stephen’s College, he went to Paris to study painting under Andre Lhote and Fernard Leger in 1949-52, where he was exposed to different philosophies and ideologies – both in art as well as in social structure. He became a member of the French Communist Party and upon his return to India, he painted mainly figurations, often focusing on class restrictions and the negative influences of industrialisation and urban growth on Indian society.

“Troika”, 18 December 2017 -25 January 2018, Installation view at Art Musings, Image courtesy the artists and Art Musings.

“Troika”, 18 December 2017 – 25 January 2018, installation view at Art Musings. Image courtesy the artists and Art Musings.

Kumar slowly moved towards cityscapes and was deeply inspired by the sacred city of Varanasi in his “Benaras” series of the 1950s – monochromatic representations of the city with architectural elements and motifs that showcase his seamless move from figuration into abstraction. The city and the landscape continued to remain at the core of Kumar’s paintings, and while his earlier works had a bleak colour palette of greys and browns, his more recent experimentation with colour has introduced a vibrancy and freshness to his canvas. This is evident in “Troika”, particularly in the brightness of the yellows, blues and greens; and the warmth of the browns and reds of his 2014-15 works. “When I paint, I don’t think about any specific elements – be they spiritual or supernatural elements of nature,” he has said. “They are paintings – pure, simple, plain, painted colour propositions, emerging from one’s past experiences.” (A. Jhaveri, A Guide to 101 Modern and Contemporary Indian Artists, p. 49).

Ram Kumar, Untitled - 5, 2015, Acrylic on Canvas, 36 x 24 inches, Image courtesy the artist and Art Musings.

Ram Kumar, ‘Untitled – 5’, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24 in. Image courtesy the artist and Art Musings.

Kumar has received a number of awards during his long and illustrious career, including the John D. Rockefeller III Fellowship in New York (1970), the Padma Shri (1972) and the Padma Bhushan (2010) from the Government of India, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the Government of France (2003) and a Fellowship of the LalitKala Akademi (2011). His works have been exhibited around the world with several solo exhibitions over the past 65 years in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, New York, San Francisco and London. As a commercially successful artist, Kumar’s paintings have been auctioned by leading houses and have commanded high prices with The Vagabond (1956) fetching USD1.16 million at Christie’s South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art Auction in 2008 . Even more interesting is the fact that Kumar is also a talented author and has written several short stories in Hindi often accompanied by his own illustrations, such as in The Face and Other Short Stories published in 2009. As renowned art critic Meera Menezes aptly wrote in her essay introducing the retrospective “Traverse the Landscapes of Ram Kumar’s Artistic Mind” at Saffron Art, Mumbai in 2017:

After six decades, Ram Kumar still keeps us guessing at how the landscapes of his mind will unfold.

“Troika”, 18 December 2017 -25 January 2018, Installation view at Art Musings, Image courtesy the artists and Art Musings.

“Troika”, 18 December 2017 – 25 January 2018, installation view at Art Musings. Image courtesy the artists and Art Musings.

Abstract layering: where space meets form

In the works of Shreshtha and Kolte we see a vastness and monumentality that comes from the paring down of their compositions to bare geometrical essentials. Their abstractions feature an interesting use of space on the canvas, and while Kolte focuses on rendering architectural forms deeply buried under several layers of paint, Shreshtha’s preoccupation with the vast, meditative landscapes of his birth country Nepal are evident in his work.

Prabhakar Kolte, Untitled - 6, 2017, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches, Image courtesy the artist and Art Musings.

Prabhakar Kolte, ‘Untitled – 6’, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 in. Image courtesy the artist and Art Musings.

Kolte’s canvases such as Untitled-6 (2017) are characterised by a single, dominant colour in the background, on which lighter and more complex forms, both geometric and organic, are placed. There is a three-dimensionality to his paintings, which also comes from his interest in multiple media and his use of paper, fabric and staples at the back of the canvas, giving the final artwork a textural definition unique to his practice. Shreshtha’s works on the other hand are both, sensuous and meditative in their shifts and balances of colour – reminiscent of the mountains, valleys and rivers of his childhood. The dazzling light and brilliant colours that appear with an almost marbled effect on the canvases on display at “Troika” are mesmerising and have an almost spiritual intensity in their rendering. In Shreshtha’s work process as in Kolte’s, there is a uniqueness to the application of colours and media – with the mixing of pigments with wax and oil paints with water to achieve the layered, translucent, marbled effect we see in his paintings.  

“Troika”, 18 December 2017 -25 January 2018, Installation view at Art Musings, Image courtesy the artists and Art Musings.

“Troika”, 18 December 2017 – 25 January 2018, installation view at Art Musings. Image courtesy the artists and Art Musings.

Shreshtha was born in Nepal and currently lives and works in Mumbai. He studied art at various schools, including the J. J. School of Art in Mumbai, L’Ecole National Superieure des Beaux Arts des Paris and Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, Atelier 17 of Willain Hayter and The Central School of Art and Craft, London. His journey from the land of his birth and as a member of an aristocratic family in Nepal to his days as a struggling student and artist led him to embark on a spiritual quest, turning to Western philosophy, the Upanishads and Buddhism for answers. It is this soul searching that is evident in most of Shreshtha’s art.

Laxman Shreshtha, Untitled - 3, 2006, Oil On Canvas, 50 x 50 inches, Image courtesy the artist and Art Musings.

Laxman Shreshtha, ‘Untitled – 3’, 2006, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 in. Image courtesy the artist and Art Musings.

Kolte was also a student of the J. J. School of Art in Mumbai and stayed back to teach at the school for 22 years. He worked closely with Shankar Palsikar, his teacher and later Dean of the school, a formidable art educator of the 1950s-60s who experimented with the idea of an indigenous abstraction. Kolte was also inspired by the highly individual style of Paul Klee and like the German artist, he sought to represent the spirit of nature, architecture and landscapes rather than simply imitate it. A common thread that seems to run through the works of both Shreshtha and Kolte is the semblance of a mystical experience for the onlooker – an almost transcendental quality to the canvas that slowly reveals hidden secrets to us. And as our gaze lingers longer, we find that we are looking directly into the essence, heart and soul of the beauty of nature.

 Amita Kini-Singh

2032

“Troika” is on view from 18 December 2017 to 25 January 2018 at Art Musings, Admirality Building, 1 Colaba Cross Lane, Colaba, Mumbai 400005.

Related Topics: Indian artists, painting, oil, abstract art, gallery shows, events in Mumbai

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more exhibitions on Indian Abstractionists

A flourishing Iranian art market: Tehran Auction of Contemporary Art 2018 – round-up

The 8th edition of the Tehran Auction of Contemporary Iranian Art took place on 12 January 2018, breaking auction records.

The auction sold out 120 lots of emerging and established artists’ work, signalling a flourishing market in the country’s capital.

Auctioneer Hossein Pakdel takes bid for Amin Montazeri’s ‘Carnival’s Battle’, 2016, mixed media on canvas, 150x250 cm. Image courtesy Tehran Auction.

Auctioneer Hossein Pakdel takes bid for Amin Montazeri’s ‘Carnival’s Battle’, 2016, mixed media on canvas, 150 x 250 cm. Image courtesy Tehran Auction.

Of the 120 lots presented, the 2018 instalment of the Tehran Auction of Contemporary Art saw 24 first-time participants, creating a buzz around their recent work and massive first success. While the event’s “A-listers” including Mohammad Ehsai, Sohrab Sepehri and Abbas Kiarostami, whose proceeds exceeded 12 billion rial last year. While these artist sought wide-spread recognition once again this year, the true stars of the proceedings in 2018 were those with incipient careers. And for an auction of its stature, the biddings were astonishing, considering Iran’s ongoing struggle with international sanctions.

Aydin Aghdashloo, from 'Memories of Destruction' series, 2013, gouache on cardboard, 77x116 cm. Image courtesy Tehran Auction.

Aydin Aghdashloo, from “Memories of Destruction” series, 2013, gouache on cardboard, 77 x 116 cm. Image courtesy Tehran Auction.

Hosted at the Parsian Hotel and chaired by Alireza Sami Azar, the former head of Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the January sale built heavily upon its success of last Spring totalling IRR14.952 billion, or USD3.4 million, in sales. Some 35 works hammered in well above 100 million rial, the highest of which was executed by female artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian.

Monir (Shahroudy) Farmanfarmaian, 'Untitled', c. 1970s, mirror mosaic and reverse-glass painting on plaster base, diameter 20 cm. Image courtesy Tehran Auction.

Monir (Shahroudy) Farmanfarmaian, ‘Untitled’, c. 1970s, mirror mosaic and reverse-glass painting on plaster base, diameter 20 cm. Image courtesy Tehran Auction.

Known to many as the “nonagenarian doyenne of Iranian Art”, Farmanfarmaian has received widespread international attention during decades of exile, many of her works being confiscated or destroyed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. An untitled triptych made of mirrored mosaic and plaster brought in this year’s largest Iranian auction sum of IRR1.3 billion. The 95-year-old artist has a rich collection of works that reference both the “patterns seen in the Iranian traditional architecture”, and her formative years working in New York alongside Milton Avery, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, Barnett Newman, Andy Warhol and others.

Monir (Shahroudy) Farmanfarmaian, 'Untitled', 1976, mirror mosaic and plaster on wood, 100x225 cm. Image courtesy Tehran Auction.

Monir (Shahroudy) Farmanfarmaian, ‘Untitled’, 1976, mirror mosaic and plaster on wood, 100×225 cm. Image courtesy Tehran Auction.

The second highest bid at the auction was shared by two works: White Dome III by Kamran Yousefzadeh also known as Y.Z. Kami, and Only You, a painting by Farhad Moshiri at IRR10 billion (USD230,000). Only You by Moshiri is a diptych-style oil painting from his “Jars” collection in which he toys with the aesthetics of ancient Persian ceramics and contemporary Pop art. In doing so, Moshiri comments on cultural appropriation and maps the progression of visual culture and the infiltration of Western influences in Iran.

Farhad Moshiri, 'Only You', 2004, oil on canvas, 132x200 cm. Image courtesy Tehran Auction.

Farhad Moshiri, ‘Only You’, 2004, oil on canvas, 132 x 200 cm. Image courtesy Tehran Auction.

White Dome III is from Kami’s painting series of the same name. Telling the story of the landscape in which he grew up, the artist portrays religion and its effects on what he calls the “catharsis of the human soul”.

Y.Z. Kami (Kamran Youssefzadeh), 'White Dome III', 2014, acrylic and block ink on linen, 251x288 cm. Photo: Rob McKeever. Image courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York and Tehran Auction.

Y.Z. Kami (Kamran Youssefzadeh), ‘White Dome III’, 2014, acrylic and block ink on linen, 251 x 288 cm. Photo: Rob McKeever. Image courtesy Gagosian Gallery, New York and Tehran Auction.

The first of its kind in Iran, the Tehran Auction was founded in 2012 as “an independent and private initiative to support the domestic art market as a key basis for the international market”. What makes it truly unique, both aesthetically and operationally, are the participants and its spectators, the auction not only allowing but encouraging the work and involvement of emerging artists and collectors. This is highlighted by the 700+ attendants at the 2018 auction, which brought together artists, collectors, journalists and art-lovers alike.

Megan Miller

2033

Related Topics: market watch, auctions, business of art, Iranian artists

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more news on the art market

Art jobs and opportunities | Palestinian Museum, Setouchi Art Triennale, Oslo National Academy of the Arts… 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!

______________________________

JOB | Birzeit, Palestine | Deputy Director of Content | The Palestinian Museum – 30 January 2018

The Palestinian Museum is a cultural institution, dedicated to promoting an open and dynamic Palestinian culture at the national and international levels. It is now seeking a full-time Deputy Director of Content. It is expected that the Deputy Director of Content will be an inspiring team leader and will define and build the intellectual core of the Museum. He/She will support the Museum Director to establish a strategic direction and oversee its implementation to achieve the vision and mission of the Museum and direct the Content Department including collections, exhibitions, library, archives and conservation, etc. The successful candidate must hold an MA or PhD in the arts or humanities, with a five to ten years experience in a curatorial management role. He/she are also required to have deep knowledge of the visual arts, heritage and the cultural sectors locally, regionally and internationally. MORE HERE

______________________________

OPEN CALL | London | Call for Applications | Chaiya Art Awards – 31 January 2018

Chaiya Art Awards is the UK’s newest theme-based art awards with a Top prize of GBP10,000. The first awards and exhibition are being held at London’s gallery@oxo and will celebrate inspiring art on the first intriguing theme: Where is God in our 21st-century world? It will be judged by a panel of key figures from the art world on Theme Interpretation, Creativity & Technique and Emotional Impact. The submitted piece could be abstract, inspired by world news stories, in the fine and personal detail or shrouded in mystery, in any artistic medium that can be displayed in the gallery. Participants can be a professional, student, amateur, individual or a group. The winners’ exhibition will run over Easter next year. MORE HERE

______________________________

OPEN CALL | Setouchi, Japan | Call for Applications | Setouchi Art Triennale – 31 January 2018

Setouchi Art Triennale has an international call for site-specific art projects utilising the local resources of each venue of the Setouchi Triennale 2019. Site visits (most of the potential sites are on small islands in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan) will be organised in November. A number of different categories are proposed: site-specific work, site-specific performance and event, project facilitating interaction and exchange, food project, project that promotes local culture through “craft”, and others. The selected applicants will be paid for production costs amounting from JPY500,000 to JPY2,500,000. MORE HERE

______________________________

JOB | Virginia | Curator | 1708 Gallery – 31 January 2018

1708 Gallery is seeking an engaging and visionary individual to fill this new position. The curator will develop and implement exhibitions and programmes that present the leading edge of Contemporary Art practices. The Curator will hold a three-year, full-time appointment and will report to the Executive Director. She/he/they will work directly with artists to develop new projects and artworks, identify ways to expand artists’ exhibitions and projects, connect exhibiting artists with resources like writers, collectors and cultivate relationships with artists, arts professionals and more outside the Central Virginia region. The ideal candidate will have a graduate degree in Art History, Curatorial Studies or Studio Art. She/he/they will exhibit a wide knowledge of Contemporary Art, including of artists, and artistic and curatorial practices. Qualified candidates should send a letter of interest, CV or resume, and three references to esmith@1708gallery.org. MORE HERE

______________________________

JOB | Oslo, Norway | Associate Professor | Oslo National Academy of the Arts – 1 March 2018

The Oslo National Academy of the Arts is now accepting applicants for Associate Professor of Exhibition Studies. This is a part-time, 70% fixed term position of six years with a possibility of an extension for a further period after the public announcement. They are looking for a candidate who is well informed within curating and exhibition history, and its place and role in the field of art. Applicants are required to describe and document their entire range of qualifications and criteria set out in the job application with concrete examples. This position will be vacant from 1 August 2018. For questions related to submission of application material, contact HR advisor Svetlana Trofimova via svettrof@khio.no. MORE HERE

______________________________

OPEN CALL | Southeast Asia | Call for Applications | Emerging Writers Fellowship – 15 April 2018

Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia is committed to supporting the development of new writing in the region, and to providing an opportunity for emerging writers to develop their research and writing skills, and to engage with a broad readership in a new special section of the journal. It now announces a new donor-funded mentorship programme, to commence with Volume 2 (2018). Emerging writers (with no more than three years of publishing experience), who are citizens or permanent residents of any country in Southeast Asia, are invited to apply for the Emerging Writers Fellowship. Applications should be sent to southeastofnow@gmail.com no later than 15 April 2018. 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!

______________________________

OPEN CALL | Berlin/China | Call for participants | The CHINA LAB – 20 January 2018

The CHINA LAB is a programme by CONSTELLATIONS International funded by Stiftung Mercator In Cooperation with MERICS, TU Berlin’s China Center and TechCode Berlin. It will invite maximum 10 China-interested organisations and their teams/executives across public, private and society sectors for lab sessions in Berlin, project coaching and mentoring in 2018. The CHINA LAB is a unique guided learning programme providing a trust space for professionals engaged with China or intending to do so. It offers knowledge in 3 areas: context knowledge (society, economy, politics), cooperation management and project tools, and the ‘Who is Who’ in the stakeholder landscape along with new networks. The participants will be asked to identify and bring a case/a challenge to the lab. This can be either a running China-project or a clear intention for China cooperation. The participants are also expected to prepare a brief outline of why your organisation wants to participate, and what you hope to gain from it. MORE HERE

______________________________

OPEN CALL | Taiwan | Call for Submissions | International Biennial Print Exhibit 2018 – 20 January 2018

The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts is pleased to announce the open call of “The 18th International Biennial Print Exhibition 2018, R.O.C.” Established in 1983, the International Biennial Print Exhibit ROC is one of the longest running international print exhibitions in the world today. The aim of this juried biennial exhibition is to promote the art of printmaking and to foster international cultural exchange with the participation of talented artists around the world. All works submitted must be original pieces of art that meet the “indirect” and “multiple” characteristics of print, either based on transfer printing or printmaking. All selected and awarded works are scheduled to be displayed at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts from June to September 2018. 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 a regular digest of calls, jobs, internships and career strategies.