“Bâton Serpent III: Spur Track to the Left”: Chinese artist Huang Yongping at Shanghai’s Power Station of Art

Hou Hanru curates Huang Yongping’s latest exhibition in Shanghai.

Running from 18 March to 19 June 2016, “Bâton Serpent III” addresses encounters with world religions – including references to Islam, Buddhism and Christianity – in grandiose and dramatic installations, markedly carrying Huang Yongping’s distinctive voice.

Huang Yongping, 'Bâton Serpent', 2014, aluminum, 660 x 1189 x 1128 cm. Installation view. Photo: A Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Bâton Serpent’, 2014, aluminum, 660 x 1189 x 1128 cm. Installation view. Photo: A Stooke.

Like London’s Tate Modern and Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof, the overwhelming scale of Shanghai’s Power Station of Art (PSA) needs art with a the confident sense of its own effect. In his latest solo exhibition Huang Yongping achieves this with theatrical spectacle. Lighting and orientation create impact while meticulous details play out like a drama.

PSA is China’s first state-run contemporary art museum inaugurated for “Reactivation”, the Shanghai Biennale of 2012. The Museum overlooking the river is converted from the former Nanshi power station built in 1985. It is huge with almost 41,200 square metres of gallery space. Without a permanent collection, it can effortlessly support multiple shows simultaneously in different sections of the building.

Huang Yongping, 'Head', 2011-16. Installation view. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Head’, 2011-16. Installation view. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Living up to the magnitude of the setting, “Bâton Serpent III: Spur Track To The Left” is keenly global in scope and voice. The works on display address the encounters of the world’s religions with curiosity and composure. Through these encounters, Huang suggests potential for change. Even the most substantial and long lasting structures are fallible, according to Huang. He accommodates intractable issues as if they were dynamic, to be shifted, repositioned and tuned like the arrangement of colours in an abstract painting.

Huang Yongping, 'Ni au siege des railleurs ne s’assied', 2010. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Ni au siege des railleurs ne s’assied’, 2010. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Having enjoyed much visibility on the international art circuit, such as the Venice Biennale, Istanbul Biennale and Gwangju Biennale, many of the works have the familiarity of celebrities but here they create new and original configurations. Vitrines of preparatory notes, maquettes and reference materials suggest further reflections and thought play.

Huang Yongping, 'Abbottabad', 2013, ceramic, soil and plants. Installation view. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Abbottabad’, 2013, ceramic, soil and plants. Installation view. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang has an unerring ability to lead the viewer so that the experience of each work unfolds in a sequence of often-breathtaking impressions. Abbottabad (2013) is first a tranquil vision, a timeless irrigation system sustaining growth, becoming a faintly tasteless planting in faux ethnic terracotta, like the landscaping in a hotel lobby. But, what is this place becoming overgrown, not with plants as assumed at first, but with weeds? The tendency to normalise yields to disquiet. Abbottabad was the location of Osama bin Laden’s compound. Miniaturisation has rendered it accessible while pen jing (bonsai) squeezes growth. In fact we are looking at funerary art, like the entombed copies of domestic environments of the Han dynasty.

Huang Yongping, 'Head', 2011-16. Installation view. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Head’, 2011-16. Installation view. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Head (2011-16) is the overwhelming tableau that is fist encountered at the entrance to PSA. It presents the carriage of a somewhat dated piece of rolling stock sliced cleanly in half and jacked up at 30 degrees. The occupants – a menagerie of headless stuffed animal – pore out and, without a thought for one another, disperse in many directions. Is it a disaster or a liberation? Two animals pause. A lumbering black bear stops to throw the points, sending the carriage off down the spur track to the left and a lioness settles defiantly on the tracks. She turns her decapitated neck back towards the train, evoking the encounter of the bear and the lioness that has lost her young in the French poem of Jean de la Fontaine.

In the text the bear suggests that rather than bemoaning her own misfortune she would do well to look to the woes of others. The work forms a strong axis against the building’s architecture. In itself this diversion from the insistent orientation of the building indicates that even a certain direction can sustain multiple deviations; both in the light step of the animals, their bodies, headless, and so undirected, or in the railways bringing communication and prosperity to places off the beaten track.

Huang Yongping, 'Om Mani Padme Hum', 2000, detail. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, 2000, detail. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Head explores the horizontal axis, while Ehi Ehi Sina Sina (2000-06) affirms the Museum’s lofty verticality. A tower that has the form of a prayer wheel revolves with the measured speed of mechanical rather than body motion. It has attached a gigantic pendulum swinging like a wrecking ball. The parts of this enlarged object are repeated, dismantled as a sculpture on ground level, Om Mani Padme Hum (2000). The mantra of the title suggests freedom from aggression and greed, yet the lid reveals a spike like a spear, the pendulum tethers the object with a substantial chain and the tightly wound interior scroll seems to hold on to its assets.

Huang Yongping, 'Bank of Sand, Sand of Bank', 2000, 6 x 4.3 x 3.5 m. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Bank of Sand, Sand of Bank’, 2000, 6 x 4.3 x 3.5 m. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang’s ability to raise multiple questions with a change of form, such as scale or material, is impressively and directly demonstrated in a model of the Pudong Development Bank on Shanghai’s Bund waterfront. Bank of Sand, Sand of Bank (2000) is cast in a friable mix of sand and cement. The message of the vulnerability of the systems buoyed up by the landmark building is stark. In PSA the model sits on a part of the floor that is cracked and broken, presumably resulting from the removal of the Museum café that formally occupied the spot. It is as if the potential to crumble and fall might spread.

Huang Yongping, 'Bugareach', 2012, detail. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Bugareach’, 2012, detail. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Elsewhere Bugareach (2012), a model of one of the mountains in the French Pyrénées, also cracks open the floor of the museum. The peek provides a plateau of safety from surrounding devastation; a plate preserves the heads of more than a dozen animals. The predicament is intensified by an apocalyptic installation in the same room. Entitled Circus (2012), it includes further headless stuffed animals, a grim reaper marionette and giant wooden hands. A model helicopter hovers cinematically over the mountain. Also above a headless snake coils around some red warning sirens. Stretching the international savoir-faire of the Shanghai audience these are intended to “call to mind the tests that have been carried out in Paris on every first Wednesday of the month since World War II”.

Huang Yongping, 'Circus', 2012, detail. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Circus’, 2012, detail. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Overlooking all of this is the dramatically lit coiling skeleton Bâton Serpent (2014). The multi-ribbed form, more like a centipede, relates to the Christian bible incident in the Old Testament of Aaron and Moses’ flawed demonstration of God’s power before the Pharaoh of Egypt. The miracle of changing a live snake into a stick is perceived as a trick, easily copied by the Pharaoh’s own people.

Huang Yongping, Preparatory material for 'Bâton Serpent', 2014. Exhibition view. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, Preparatory material for ‘Bâton Serpent’, 2014. Exhibition view. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

The formidable jaws of this beast, big enough to swallow you whole, direct the route to further sections of the exhibition. As Bâton Serpent springs from the history of the Jews, there is some menace in its juxtaposition to Camel (2012). The stuffed animal is found on a prayer mat facing Mecca. The direction, marked at this point, runs through other works in the exhibition. Possibly kneeling in prayer or simply lowering himself to offer a ride, branded on the far side of the animal’s hide are the words from Matthew’s Gospel, reading

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Confusing the sense of the text an outsized needle pierces the camels nose. Close by a further Biblical quotation is inscribed on the underside of an overturned chair: “Nor in the seat of scoffers sit.” Both works suggest hospitality, or at least a pause, but who lead the camel and whose was this chair before it was cast aside?

Huang Yongping, 'Three Steps, Nine Footprints', 1995. Installation view. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Three Steps, Nine Footprints’, 1995. Installation view. Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Oozing out into the corridor at this point a grimy white material bears the stamp of 71 massive footprints. Three Steps, Nine Footprints (1995) is evidence of the crescendo to the exhibition’s religious disquiet. The three types of imprint, representing the three world religions, trace a dysfunctional route. There is no consensus on the right path. Marking the space sealed trash-cans do not offer an opportunity to jettison rubbish and, where they are not sealed to prevent it, might hide a bomb.

This threat of aggression is reaffirmed by another work in the same gallery, Construction Site (2006). The tip of what appears to be a missile peeks above a temporary hording. Closer inspection does not immediately contradict this impression, although it identifies the weapon as a ‘steam punk’ creation. A further shift in perception shows that the object, supported on scaffolding at a 30 degrees angle is a minaret, keeled over in the process of maintenance in a private space.

Huang Yongping, 'Construction Site', 2006. Installation view (detail). Photo: Andrew Stooke.

Huang Yongping, ‘Construction Site’, 2006. Installation view (detail). Photo: Andrew Stooke.

In every work, Huang is magnanimous in his attention to nuance; to the point of suggesting a faintly chilling detachment, an unyielding attention to detail and effect that finds its equivalent in the shades of religious fanaticism. And yet his is the fundamentalism of art, the creed of Yoko Ono who said:

“Only art and music have the power to bring peace.”

Andrew Stooke

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Related Topics: Chinese artists, museum shows, installation art, Buddhist art, Shanghai

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Elmgreen & Dragset to curate the 15th Istanbul Biennale

Following a recent trend of artist-turned-curators, Scandinavian artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset prepare to take on the 15th Istanbul Biennale.

The artist duo’s curatorial theme will focus on the act of collaboration in the context of global geopolitics. 

Artist duo Ingar Dragset (left) and Michael Elmgreen (right). Photo by Elmar Vestner. Image courtesy Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts.

Artist duo Ingar Dragset (left) and Michael Elmgreen (right). Photo: Elmar Vestner. Image courtesy Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts.

Taking the helm

The acclaimed artist duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset are nothing short of biennale veterans. The pair has taken part as artists in three previous editions of the Istanbul Biennale as well as biennales in Venice, São Paulo and Gwangju, among others. Earlier this month they were tapped as curators of the 15th Istanbul Biennale, becoming the first artists to take the helm of the international mega-exhibition. Past curators include Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (2015), Fulya Erdemci (2013), and the duo of Jens Hoffmann and Adriano Pedrosa (2011).

While Elmgreen and Dragset brand themselves as artists they are in fact “no strangers to curating”. Since the mid-1990s the pair have organised numerous exhibitions and festivals around the world starting from “Update” (1996), a performance-based festival in Copenhagen. Most notably, in 2009 the artists curated “The Collectors”, an exhibition that merged the Danish and Nordic Pavilions at the 53rd Venice Biennale; and in 2013 the duo organised “A Space Called Public”, a public art project in Munich, and “Tomorrow”, an exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The artists state in the press release:

We are honored to be appointed curators of the 15th Istanbul Biennial, having previously taken part as artists in three editions of the biennial.

Elmgreen & Dragset, 'Deutsche Scheune / German Barn', 2011, steel, plywood, concrete, hay, taxidermied goat, tyre, tools, farming tools, antlers and performers with typical German-style farmers costumes, 800 m x 700 m x 1400 m. Image by Art Radar Asia.

Elmgreen & Dragset, ‘Deutsche Scheune / German Barn’, 2011, steel, plywood, concrete, hay, taxidermied goat, tyre, tools, farming tools, antlers and performers with typical German-style farmers costumes, 800 m x 700 m x 1400 m. Image courtesy Art Radar Asia.

Curating geopolitics 

While details of their curatorial concept will only be announced later this year, artnet News states that the duo “plan[s] to respond to the waves of nativism that have risen in response to economic recessions and the Middle Eastern refugee crisis”. Elmgreen and Dragset hint at their politically oriented framework in the press release:

In light of the current global geopolitical situation, in which we’re experiencing a new rise of nationalism, it will be important for us to curate a biennial based on collaborative efforts and processes.

Known for their provocative and playfully subversive oeuvre, Elmgreen and Dragset’s projects have included a mock Prada store in a desert and an installation of a swimming pool in the shape of Vincent van Gogh’s ear in New York. Art Asia Pacific states that the duo’s appointment in Istanbul “offers the possibility of a different kind of biennial than recent editions”. The artists continue in the press release:

A biennial can be a platform for dialogue, and a format in which diverse opinions, perspectives, and communities can coexist.

Pelin Tan & Anton Vidokle, '2084: a science fiction show / Episode 2: The Fall of Artists' Republic', 2014, video, sound. Installatio view at 14th Istanbul Biennale. Photo by Fatih Kucuk. Image courtesy the artists and Istanbul Biennale.

Pelin Tan & Anton Vidokle, ‘2084: a science fiction show / Episode 2: The Fall of Artists’ Republic’, 2014, video, sound. Installatio view at 14th Istanbul Biennale. Photo: Fatih Kucuk. Image courtesy the artists and Istanbul Biennale.

Artists-as-curators trend

As The Art Newspaper observes, the appointment of artists as curators of biennales is a growing trend. Recent such appointments include:

the Delhi-based artist group, Raqs Media Collective, were appointed last month as curators of the 11th Shanghai Biennale at the Power Station of Art (opens 11 November), the New York art collective DIS will organise the forthcoming Berlin Biennale (opens 4 June) while the Indian artist Sudarshan Shetty is the curator of the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, which opens in Kerala, south India, in December.

Art Asia Pacific further notes that the practice is becoming increasingly common among museums and galleries as well. Notably, the rise of the artist-turned-curator was foretold by Elmgreen & Dragset in a 2003 E-Flux project entitled “The Next Documenta Should Be Curated by an Artist”. An excerpt from the notoriously mischievous duo’s contribution reads:

Maybe all the major art events should change locations in the next 10 years. In the name of true globalism, all the venues could undergo a big rotation – just to keep the audiences awake a little longer […]. Documenta would certainly get spiced up a bit if it took place in Venice instead of Kassel […]. Maybe the São Paulo Biennial, with its strangely corrupt internal conflicts, would function perfectly in Kassel, where decisions seem to be made in the German way […]. Maybe the Sydney Biennial should relocate to Berlin so that the lazy European audience would get to see it for once […]

Michele Chan

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Related Topics: biennales, curatorial practice, artists as curators, events in Istanbul

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Art Dubai and Art Jameel announce developments in Senior Leadership

Myrna Ayad is to be new Fair Director, while current Director Antonia Carver will stay as Board-level advisor and become Director of Art Jameel.

Independent arts writer, editor and consultant Myrna Ayad takes the role of Antonia Carver as Fair Director, leading a new senior management team at Art Dubai. Antonia Carver, while still functioning as a Board-level advisor to the art fair, will become Director of Art Jameel in August 2016.

From left to right: Art Dubai International Director Pablo Del Val, Art Dubai Fair Director Myrna Ayad, Art Dubai Board-level advisory memberand Art Jameel Director Antonia Carver, and VIP Relations Director Lela Csaky. Image courtesy Art Dubai.

From left to right: Art Dubai International Director Pablo Del Val, Art Dubai Fair Director Myrna Ayad, Art Dubai Board-level advisory memberand Art Jameel Director Antonia Carver, and VIP Relations Director Lela Csaky. Image courtesy Art Dubai.

On 25 April 2016, two important announcements signalled significant developments for two of the most important institutions in the Middle East.

The premiere Middle Eastern art fair, Art Dubai, announced the appointment of a new Fair Director (PDF download) from 1 May 2016 – Lebanese independent arts writer, editor and consultant Myrna Ayad. Ayad will be leading a new senior management team composed of VIP Relations Director Lela Csaky and International Director Pablo Del Val. Current Fair Director Antonia Carver will step down to take up a Board-level advisory role.

At the same time, Art Jameel announced Antonia Carver as its first Director from August 2016, ushering in a new chapter of development and growth for the organisation.

Art Dubai’s new management

Myrna Ayad (b. 1977, Beirut) has been based in the UAE for more than 30 years, working as an independent arts writer, editor and consultant. She has written for The New York Times, The Art Newspaper, Artsy, Art Forum, Artnet and The National, among others, and has published books on major collections and art movements in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Prior to become Art Dubai’s Fair Director, Ayad was Editor of Canvas, the premier magazine for art and culture from the Middle East and Arab world (2007-2015). Her new appointment will bring to fruition her particular leverage in the local/regional arts scenes.

Ayad commented on her new role, as quoted in the press release:

I’m overjoyed to be joining Art Dubai which – thanks to the ambitions of Antonia and the team – has become the world’s foremost platform for the art communities of the Middle East and South Asia. Having attended and worked with the fair since 2007, I’m excited by the opportunity to work with the team to build on this success.

Working closely alongside Ayad will be two new important figures, VIP Relations Director Lela Csaky and International Director Pablo Del Val.

Lela Csaky joined the Art Dubai team in 2007, first managing the Global Art Forum and then playing an essential role in the building of Art Dubai’s Outreach & VIP departments, overseeing the annual Gulf-wide VIP Programme and strategic relationships with collectors, curators and international museum groups.

Pablo Del Val comes with decades of experience as a cultural manager, curator and director of contemporary art galleries around the world. He was a pivotal figure for the growth of Mexico’s art fair ZONA MACO, which has become known as one of the most important meeting points in Latin America. He will be based between London and Dubai, to maximize the global reach of the fair to the international community of galleries, curators and collectors.

Myrna Ayad, Director, Art Dubai. Photo: Abbi Kemp. Image courtesy Art Dubai.

Myrna Ayad, Director, Art Dubai. Photo: Abbi Kemp. Image courtesy Art Dubai.

Art Jameel’s first Director

Antonia Carver steps down from her current role as Art Dubai’s Fair Director after six years, remaining as Board-level advisor, while becoming Art Jameel’s first Director from August 2016. In Art Dubai’s press release, Carver was quoted as saying:

While I leave with a heavy heart, it’s been an honour to lead the fair for the past six years […]. The development of Art Dubai and the strength of its programming has gone hand-in-hand with the growth of the local and regional arts scene, and the increased international recognition for its artists, galleries and institutions. There has never been such a palpable engagement from the global arts community in the work being produced by artists emerging and established in the Middle East and South Asia – and we’re really proud of the role played by Art Dubai in this process.

Art Jameel aims to foster and promote a thriving arts and culture scene within the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region and beyond, as well as to bridge the gap between cultures through art. Carver will be leading all of Art Jameel’s initiatives, furthering and strengthening existing partnerships with leading institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In addition to her strong experience developing at Art Dubai, Carver also brings invaluable knowledge and skills built during her time as writer, editor and publisher, as well as curator in the Middle Eastern art scene, where she played a role in establishing and curating the Dubai International Film Festival as a member of its programming committee (2004-2014). She has been based in the UAE since 2001, moving there from London.

Carver was quoted in the press release as saying about her new role with Art Jameel:

I feel Art Jameel’s mandate, and its focus on enriching, connecting and further educating regional talent, is crucial and has such huge potential. This, complimented by the wider Community Jameel efforts in promoting positive social and economic sustainability, through job creation initiatives and fostering entrepreneurship, is inspirational. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Art Jameel to build new institutions, devise publishing projects and educational initiatives, and work with renowned international partners to deliver programs that directly benefit and impact on artists, writers, curators and arts communities in the region.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

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Related Topics: Fairs, Directors, Antonia Carver, Business of Art, Professionals, events in Dubai

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“But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face”: exploring history, conflict and identity at Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai

A group exhibition revisits the disappearance and loss of cultural and other types of heritage in the Middle East.

Eight artists from Europe, the United States, North Africa and the Middle East engage with notions of collecting, power, history, conflict and identity, while exploring the ongoing disappearance and erasure of cultural as well as other types of heritage, especially taking place now in the conflictual territories of the Middle East.

Taus Makhacheva, 'Tightrope', 2015, 4K video, duration: 73m:03s. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Taus Makhacheva, ‘Tightrope’, 2015, 4K video, duration: 73:03 min. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

“But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face” runs until 19 May 2016 at Lawrie Shabibi in Dubai. The exhibition is curated by independent critic and curator Nat Muller and includes the work of eight artists hailing from different parts of the world, and united in one purpose: exploring the “timely topic” of the disappearance and loss of cultural and other types of heritage. As the press release writes,

The works explore the relationship between collecting, power, history, conflict and identity. By snatching away subjects from the jaws of time and permanent loss, and by fixing them in memory, the works become poetic and political acts of preservation.

"But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face", 2016, installation view. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi.

“But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face”, 2016, installation view. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi.

Talking to Art Radar, Nat Muller explains about the significance of holding an exhibition on such a topic now, located in the Middle East, where in recent years especially, there has been an ongoing destruction of cultural and historical heritage:

Much of the world, but especially the Middle East, seems to find itself at a crossroad. What the show does in a forceful way is query who controls history and the artifacts of time. History is an incredible geo-political resource of power: who controls time, controls history and the future. It is very much an exhibition about identity too: by what and how will we be remembered?

"But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face", 2016, installation view. From left to right: 'The Pages of Day and Night' by Pia Ronicke and 'Stranded Present' by Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artists.

“But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face”, 2016, installation view. From left to right: Pia Rönicke, ‘The Pages of Day and Night’ and Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, ‘Stranded Present’. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artists.

Nat Muller goes on to explain that, although the issue of cultural loss and destruction of heritage is a timely topic, the exhibition is not meant to be a tool for creating awareness:

I am in general not really interested in the “functionality” of art. Art, and the perception of it, operates on many levels, so reducing it to a mere tool that is instrumentalised is reductive. In other words, this is not an awareness-raising campaign. It is true that the show addresses a timely topic, but that is only part of the story. It makes a much more layered and universal argument about loss, memory and history, but does so through beautifully poetic works. This confusion of the political with the poetic is intentional. In addition, the show is very much about the challenging position of art and the artist in the face of adversity and how they can offer resistance and resilience, but also how this position is very much at risk. As such, many of the works incorporate something ephemerality.

"But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face", 2016, installation view. From left to right: 'Archive of Tunis Banalities' by Nadia Kaabi-Linke and 'The Pages of Day and Night' by Pia Rönicke. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artists.

“But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face”, 2016, installation view. From left to right: Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘Archive of Tunis Banalities’ and Pia Rönicke, ‘The Pages of Day and Night’. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artists.

The violence and the poetics of loss

The title of the exhibition was inspired by the poem The Pages of Day and Night by Syrian poet Adonis:

Before the time of day – I am

Before the wonder of the sun – I burn.

Trees run behind me.

Blossoms walk in my shadow.

But still tomorrow

Builds into my face

Pia Rönicke, 'The Pages of Day and Night', 2015. set of 14 black and white prints on paper, Photogravures, 36.5 x 51.1 cm (each). Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Pia Rönicke, ‘The Pages of Day and Night’, 2015, set of 14 black and white prints on paper, photogravures, 36.5 x 51.1 cm (each). Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Adonis describes the cycle of time, which continues to pass and flow, as he still clings to the past. Muller explains to Art Radar about the connection between the title of the exhibition and the poem:

One of the artists, Pia Rönicke, used the title of Adonis’ poem “The Pages of Day and Night” for her work. When I read the poem I was struck by how beautifully Adonis describes the cycle of time passing and how tomorrow always comes even as we forcefully cling to the past. “But still tomorrow builds into my face’ is a line taken from the poem. This poem is very much about growing old and our inability to fight time. I found that to be a powerful metaphor for the show.

Pia Rönicke, ;The Pages of Day and Night', 2015, set of 14 black and white prints on paper, photogravures, Each print 41 x 27.5 cm. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Pia Rönicke, ‘The Pages of Day and Night’, 2015, set of 14 black and white prints on paper, photogravures, print 41 x 27.5 cm (each). Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Danish artist Pia Rönicke (b. 1974) engages with collections of different kinds, such as archives of letters, notes, images, newspapers, microfilm and online databases, among others. Her series The Pages of Day and Night consists of photogravures of plant material taken from Copenhagen’s herbarium. Lawrie Shabibi explains in the press release:

Her selection is based on a cross-reference between plant samples collected during the 1760s Danish Arabia Expedition to Egypt, Arabia and Syria, and the species that were recently sent for safekeeping to the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway from the gene bank in Aleppo, Syria. The herbarium samples divulge data on plant matter as well as on the geo-political contexts they were collected in. They are what Rönicke calls, a growing “collection of anticipation”.

Broersen & Lukács, 'Stranded Present', 2015, HDTV film loop, duration: 16 minutes. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi, Akinci and the artists.

Broersen & Lukács, ‘Stranded Present’, 2015, HDTV film loop, 16 min. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi, Akinci and the artists.

Dutch artist duo Persijn Broersen (b. Amsterdam, 1973) & Margit Lukács (b. Delft, 1974) work in a wide variety of media, including video, animation and graphics, to reflect on the depiction of nature in our increasingly virtual society. Their works demonstrate how reality, mass media and fiction are strongly intertwined in contemporary culture, through intricate layers of filmed footage, digital animation and images appropriated from the media. In the exhibition, their “ghostly, yet ornamental” video Stranded Present (2015) animates the flattened motif of 19th century illustrations of the ruins of Palmyra. The archaeological vision is brought to life as if liquid. The work was created before ISIS destroyed the historical location.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, 'Archive of Tunis Banalities', 2009, installation of 28 works, imprints with ink and wax on papers on canvas, pigments, dimensions variable. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke, ‘Archive of Tunis Banalities’, 2009, installation of 28 works, imprints with ink and wax on papers on canvas, pigments, dimensions variable. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Algerian artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke (b.Tunis, 1978) creates installations, objects and pictorial works that are embedded in urban contexts, intertwined with memory as well as with geographically and politically constructed identities. In the show, her 2009 work Archive of Tunis Banalities is a series of wall rubbings that bring images from the streets of Tunis prior to the 2011 uprisings into the gallery space.

Shahpour Pouyan, 'Monday Recollections of Muqarnas Dome', 2016, high fired glazed ceramic, 20 x 20 x 50 cm. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Shahpour Pouyan, ‘Monday Recollections of Muqarnas Dome’, 2016, high fired glazed ceramic, 20 x 20 x 50 cm. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Iranian artist Shahpour Pouyan (b. 1979, Isfahan) brings another ISIS destroyed site to the gallery with his sculpture of the tomb of the 11th century Muqarnas dome of Sharaf ad-Dawla, a Shi’ite mausoleum near Mosul, Iraq. The artist had been fascinated by the site for a very long time and planned to visit it someday. The sculpture sitting in the white cube now functions as the preservation of an image or a memorial – a monument to a lost monument.

Yazan Khalili, 'The Day We Saw Nothing in Front of Us', 2015, scratching on photography, 66 x 100 cm. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Yazan Khalili, ‘The Day We Saw Nothing in Front of Us’, 2015, scratching on photography, 66 x 100 cm. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

The exhibition unfolds following a contradictory path, which sees both the violence and the poetics of loss and absence being addressed through the artists’ works. This dynamic is particularly well illustrated by Palestinian artist Yazan Khalili and Lebanese-American artist Daniele Genadry.

Yazan Khalili (b. 1981) presents The Day We Saw Nothing In Front of Us, a series of photographs showing the landscape in the Palestinian occupied territories. The artist has scratched out the Israeli settlements on the horizon in the images, “revealing an image in which violence can be enacted upon the violence depicted”.

Daniele Genadry, 'Afterglow.15.33.', 2013, screenprint on mylar. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Daniele Genadry, ‘Afterglow.15.33.’, 2013, screenprint on mylar. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Daniele Genadry (b. 1980, Baltimore) constructs visual experience through memory and movement. She uses multiple viewpoints, decentralised images and shifting frames to “address the distance necessary to merge a documented moment with the narrative passing geographies”. In her screenprints on mylar in the exhibition, she captures landscapes from photographs taken over the span of ten years in the same town in Mount Lebanon. The prints appear ephemeral, the landscapes fleeting and faint, transforming through time. The images, according to Lawrie Shabibi, question “what seeing and not seeing might actually mean”.

Taus Makhacheva, 'Tightrope', 2015, 4K video, duration: 73m:03s. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Taus Makhacheva, ‘Tightrope’, 2015, 4K video, duration: 73:03 min. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

The last artist in the exhibition, Dagestan’s Taus Makhacheva (b. 1983, Moscow), creates performance-based works that question traditional forms of history-making as well as cultural and gender norms. She works primarily in video and photography, producing narratives that humorously criticise everyday life, while trying to reconcile the contemporary with the nostalgic, the local with the global and tradition with progress.

"But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face", 2016, installation view. 'Tightrope' by Taus Makhacheva. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

“But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face”, 2016, installation view. Taus Makhacheva, ‘Tightrope’. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

In the video Tightrope engages with the production of history in the post-Soviet era. A tightrope walker, transporting artworks by various Dagestani artists, crosses a canyon in the highlands of the Caucasus’ mountains. As Lawrie Shabibi explains in the press release,

This balancing act highlights how art history is threatened by amnesia and how an equilibrium can be found between the fragile balance of post-Soviet subjectivity and a traditional, national and contemporary narrative. Moreover, as with all the works in the exhibition But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face, it asks what the role and the position of the artist is in these tumultuous times.

Shahpour Pouyan, 'Monday Recollections of Muqarnas Dome', 2016, high fired glazed ceramic, 20 x 20 x 50 cm. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Shahpour Pouyan, ‘Monday Recollections of Muqarnas Dome’, 2016, high fired glazed ceramic, 20 x 20 x 50 cm. Image courtesy Lawrie Shabibi and the artist.

Nat Muller shares her perspective on how the issue of the loss of cultural and historical heritage can be addressed in various ways and how artists can contribute to it:

One of the main issues now is inadequate international legislation to counter the black market of looted cultural heritage. There has to be a strong ethical code for trade when it comes down to the provenance of artifacts. What is dramatic, and specialist have called it the largest cultural emergency of our times, is that some sites of antiquity are forever lost. The artists of today are producing the cultural heritage of tomorrow. It reminds us that our historical scope needs to be larger than just the present.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

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Related Topics: West Asian artistsTunisian artists, American artistspolitical, historical art, identity art, sculpture, installation, video, printmakinggallery shows, events in Dubai

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“Asian Art Show 2016”: NON Berlin as a hub for contemporary Asian art in Europe – interview

Berlin gallery features contemporary artists from 7 countries over 14 weeks.

Art Radar interviews Ido Shin and Nayeon Kim from NON Berlin to learn more about their marathon-like series “Asian Art Show 2016”.

“Asian Art Show 2016” installation view of Ce Jian, ‘Elephant’, Grand opening of AASHOW 2016. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

“Asian Art Show 2016” installation view of Ce Jian, ‘Elephant’, Grand opening of AASHOW 2016. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

Asian Art Show 2016” brings together contemporary Asian artists from 7 countries over 14 weeks from 17 March to 20 June 2016 at gallery NON Berlin. Emerging and established artists from Asia show works ranging from paintings to photography and from installations to drawings.

The participating artists are:

"Asian Art Show 2016” installation view of Satoshi Fujiwara, ‘#R’. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

“Asian Art Show 2016” installation view of Satoshi Fujiwara, ‘#R’. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

NON Berlin is a project space that opened in 2014 with the aim to become a hub for Asian-European culture and arts exchange. They cooperate with various artists, curators and art organisations in both continents to generate discourse, organise projects and to promote arts exchange.

Art Radar caught up with NON Berlin Director Ido Shin and NON Berlin Project Director Nayeon Kim about the “Asian Art Show 2016”.

Portrait of Director Ido Shin. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

Portrait of Director Ido Shin. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

“Asian Art Show 2016” is a fantastic and ambitious idea. Can you tell our 
readers how this series of exhibitions came about?

The idea of “Asian Art Show” first came out last year from Ido Shin, our director and founder of NON Berlin. Since the opening of NON Berlin, we have carried out various projects-exhibitions, talks, symposia and performances encouraging collaboration between contemporary Asian and European artists. The response was great and we definitely will continue organising such projects. However, since last year, we started to talk about organising projects that can give exclusive spotlight to Asian contemporary artists. That is how “Asian Art Show” started. We all agreed that having a marathon-like project with different contemporary Asian art would be a great way to draw attention towards our platform and the artists.

Could you explain a bit about the aims of the project? The programme explains that it wants to “raise attention towards contemporary Asian artists”. Why is this particularly important at this moment?

In the end, it goes down to NON Berlin’s mission to generate discourse about contemporary Asian art in Europe. We seek harmony between the “Western” and “Eastern” philosophy and culture. We live in the time where people, ideas or culture in different countries/continents move fast and (almost) borderless but yet it is dominated by the “Western” point of view. NON Berlin aims to be an art platform where there is no one-sided but harmonious existence and perspectives of the West and East. The European culture and art scene has a strong and profound structure of its own and so little is known about contemporary Asia. As we are an art platform, we speak through art and for us it was natural to start with introducing contemporary Asian artists and their works through projects. The more people here get exposed, the more information will spread and that would be one of the beginning steps to generate discourse.

“Asian Art Show” is one of our attempts to become an art platform and a hub between Asia and Europe. The bigger picture we have is that through “Asian Art Show”, we structure a strong network with the participating artists and further develop talks, fora and exhibitions with deeper context in the future. Further expected effects through this project are to engage not only artists but independent curators, other art spaces and organisations in and out of Berlin. Not just for the “Asian Art Show”, but to look further and see possibilities to collaborate in other potential projects. Through this project we also want to establish connections with people who are engaged in the art business such as gallerists, art dealers or collectors as this can give opportunities to enter the art market.

In a nutshell, “Asian Art Show” is important because it is our first attempt to focus on promoting contemporary Asian artists in such long duration. Through this marathon-like exhibition format, we are already being talked about in and out of Berlin, which is great that we are creating a buzz. Using this opportunity, we aim to introduce more of NON Berlin’s vision and future projects. We also expect more partnerships or support from external organisations and individuals who relate to our mission. As a non-commercial project space, these supports mean a lot and are critical to develop into a sustainable platform.

Lastly we hope the participating artists use this chance at NON Berlin to network with fellow artists and also show their work to more people as possible. Providing opportunities to introduce their works is one of the many things NON Berlin think is important.

“Asian Art Show 2016” installation view of Satoshi Fujiwara, ‘#R’. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

“Asian Art Show 2016” installation view of Satoshi Fujiwara, ‘#R’. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

I am interested in the structure of the series, could you explain the reason why each exhibition is only one week long?

Normally the duration of an exhibition at NON Berlin is at least two to four weeks long. We wanted “Asian Art Show” to be a fast-tempo exhibition without any breaks in between. We went for a simple concept, thus decided to use only the front space of NON Berlin where the big glass window is. After completing the concept, a moving wall to divide the front space for “Asian Art Show” from the whole room was built which we now use to display more information of the artists and their work. The space seems too limited but it is wonderful to see creative ideas coming up from the artists and from our team about how to maximise the use of space. It is also great because the rest of the space behind the moving wall can be used for different purposes such as talks, lectures or workshops.

How did you select the artists? What was the curatorial drive behind the selection?

We researched both internationally recognised and rising artists and visited their studios to introduce more details of the concept and purpose of “Asian Art Show”. Since the concept was more focused to the artists themselves, the works did not have to be a newly produced kind. It was more to show the character of the artists through their works. Of course, during each meeting with the artists, we made suggestions of how to use the space and which type of work could be suitable for the exhibitions. Since we had a limited space to display the works, it was more important to use the space to show the artists’ statements and to be creative with the space itself. Many artists agreed to the purpose of “Asian Art Show” and willingly decided to join. “Asian Art Show” (and all other projects we organise) is a collaboration between NON Berlin and each artist who is participating. The concept or medium of each exhibition was open for the artist to decide or to discuss with NON Berlin.

“Asian Art Show 2016” installation view of Yukihiro Ikutani, ‘Pregnant Man (2 months.)’. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

“Asian Art Show 2016” installation view of Yukihiro Ikutani, ‘Pregnant Man (2 months.)’. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

What has been the response so far to the exhibitions?

The grand opening, which took place on 17 March 2016, gathered around 140 people at NON Berlin. We are now preparing for the sixth week’s show and on every Vernissage evening, which happen on Thursdays until 20 June, we welcome 50 people in average. One of the rewarding scenes we witness during “Asian Art Show” is the vibrant networking between the artists who come to the openings every Thursday.

Overall, the responses we receive are very positive and encouraging. It seems many people, especially who have their backgrounds in Asia, are happy to witness a platform like NON Berlin and that our projects sort of scratches their itchy spots. We also see many people who come from different countries in Europe visiting NON Berlin and showing great interest in collaboration.

Also, other galleries or art spaces in Berlin have reached out to us and picked up some of the participating artists for their exhibitions to take place outside NON Berlin. For example, artists Satoshi Fujiwara and Daecheon Lee have been picked up by Egbert Baque Contemporary. Now the two artists are showing their works in a group exhibition “Facing the Future” until 21 May. In addition, the Korean Cultural Centre in Berlin has partly supported the “Asian Art Show”. Organisations from outside Berlin started to reach us too.

“Asian Art Show 2016” installation view of Yukihiro Ikutani, ‘Pregnant Man (2 months.)’ performance view. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

“Asian Art Show 2016” installation view of Yukihiro Ikutani, ‘Pregnant Man (2 months.)’ performance view. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

You are also holding NON 論 DA 多{PLAY} lectures alongside the exhibitions. What types of themes or topics will these events address?

NON 論 DA 多{PLAY} is an inter-media lecture programme and can be presented in many different formats. It has a stronger focus on performance art and collaboration between inter-media artists. It is organised for one day and it is a day artists have the freedom to share their work with the audience in a much more playful way. Until now we have had five NON 論 DA 多{PLAY} projects, each with different artists, topics and themes. It is a playground for the artists who wish to interact with the audience, experiment with their works and most importantly enjoy the whole process. ‘NON DA’ in Korean pronunciation means ‘to play’. However, at the end of the programme, we always encourage a talk, mostly moderated by NON Berlin. It gives the audience the opportunity to understand the artists’ intention, their stories behind the work and such.

“Asian Art Show” includes two NON 論 DA 多{PLAY} projects alongside with the 14 exhibitions. Electro Kagura was introduced in March on the grand opening. The team that consist of a Japanese dancer, painter and a French composer showed an amazing improvisation project with their works. The next NON 論 DA 多{PLAY} will happen on 20 June. This time, a performance group named RedMonky formed by seven female artists will present their work mixed with sound, objects, movements and instruments.

What do you think the perceptions of Asian art in Berlin or Germany are? Is there much awareness of contemporary Asian art?

Berlin has now become the centre of the contemporary art scene in Europe. Those who have been in Berlin say the city is different from others in Germany and we agree. You will find artists coming from all over the world with English being the common language of communication. However, even here, perceptions of Asian art are quite narrow and most of the focus is on China or Japan. We find Germany generally more conservative than the UK or the USA when it comes to perceiving contemporary Asian Art. NON Berlin aims to broaden these perspectives by introducing contemporary Asian Art with a wider range.

What we think is also very important to do is to stimulate exchange between the European and Asian art scenes. Which is why in addition to introducing contemporary Asian art and artists, we have been organising collaborative projects curated professionally with diverse artists and partners. Exchange programmes can be the start of a long-term communication or cooperation, which can lead to breaking the stereotypes of Asia’s contemporary art. With Berlin being an international city with people showing great interest and passion towards art, we see the potential for change in people’s awareness of contemporary Asian Art.

What are some of the challenges facing Asian artists who want to break into European creative networks?

I am not sure if the phrase ‘break through’ is appropriate. For NON Berlin, our intention is to make people understand how the international world is now: glocalised. The territorial borders between countries cannot block the flow of ideologies, social, political ideas people have, and every event that occurs somewhere can affect somewhere totally opposite located in this world. One can say that we are trying to break through the Western-centred point of view but in the end we strive for harmony where there is no superior idea or philosophy but co-existence.

To answer the question though, the biggest challenge Asian artists face when they come to Europe or plan to, is that there are not many opportunities for artists to show their work. To make things harder, it is rare to find organised networks where the artists can turn to gain information or support. Most artists have to struggle on their own to find ways to get to know people or spaces, which takes much time and energy.

NON Berlin is a project space that was established to support these artists and furthermore, to become a hub for Asian-European art exchange. Rather than waiting for Europe to show more interest towards contemporary Asia, we chose to be the ones to provide information through art. However, we strongly think more support is definitely needed from various levels such as the governments or larger foundations.

Electro Kagura at NON DA {PLAY}, 17 March 2016 at NON Berlin. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

Electro Kagura at NON DA {PLAY}, 17 March 2016 at NON Berlin. Image courtesy NON Berlin.

What projects can we look out for in the future from NON Berlin?

“Asian Art Show” will end on 20 June 2016, the last day of the 14-week relay exhibition. On 24 June we start a new exhibition with rising artist Hyelim Cha from Korea until 15 July.

In early August, we host a collaborative event with a Paris-based young Chinese artist group. After a short summer break we come back in September with an exhibition entitled “Translateral Landscapes” with artists Hong Soun and Anne Quirynen. Our last project for this year will take place in November with one of our partner spaces Meinblau projektraum. Every November we realise a project with an ongoing theme: borders. This November we continue with a project entitled “Global Gaps”. Projects for 2017 are still being discussed and NON Berlin is open to project proposals.

Claire Wilson

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Related topics: Japanese artists, Korean artists, Hong Kong artists, Filipino artists, Indonesian artists, Taiwanese artists, gallery show, painting, photography, mixed media, drawing, interview

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Tyres, twists and turns: Wim Delvoye at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art

Belgium’s famed neo-conceptualist takes over entire museum for solo exhibition in Tehran.

Wim Delvoye brings collection of “interplaying contradictions” to the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, as relationships between Iran and the West continue to thaw. 

Wim Delvoye, 'Maserati 450s', 2015, embossed aluminium, 450 x 180 x 80 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Wim Delvoye, ‘Maserati 450s’, 2015, embossed aluminium, 450 x 180 x 80 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Wim Delvoye‘s solo show opened on 7 March 2016 at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA) and was curated by Vida Zaim and Leila Varasteh, in collaboration with Museum Director Majid Mollanoroozi and Deputy Director Ehsan Aghaei. Closing on 13 May 2016, the “mesmerizing monographic exhibition” is unusual, as it represents the first time that the museum has facilitated arrangements for a non-Iranian artist’s work to populate both its interior and exterior spaces.

As TMoCA Deputy Director told Art Radar, this collection of work is vastly diverse and exemplifies Delvoye’s oeuvre – one that is often described as bringing together disparate components and techniques to form what is termed an “emulsion”:

In this show, Wim’s work is very diverse, showing the continuous challenge between tradition and modernity. The works initially appear to be rooted in tradition, and they change their forms to become a part of the modern world.

Wim Delvoye, 'Marble Floor N° 9', 2000, Cibachrome on aluminium, 110 x 205 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Wim Delvoye, ‘Marble Floor N° 9’, 2000, Cibachrome on aluminium, 110 x 205 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Born in Wervik, Belgium in 1965, Delvoye works across disciplines and casts an irreverent look at contemporary society. His works have often been considered shocking. Be it tattooed pigskins (“Art Farm”), intricate floors made of cold cuts (“Marble Floors”) or a digestive machine that both consumes and eliminates (“Cloaca”), Delvoye’s tongue-in-cheek narrative, as curator Michel Dewilde notes in the exhibition’s catalogue, creates an “internal clash” that leaves the viewer with more questions than answers:

Wim Delvoye’s oeuvre has been characterised by several simultaneous and sometimes intertwining developments. From the eighties to the end of the nineties, the artist mainly focused on combining various representations within an artwork, giving the impression of an internal clash. From this initial phase the virtuoso interpreter charmed, surprised or shocked with his mischievous, sometimes scabrous and poetic representations of the global consumer society and its excessive hunger for mass communication and production.

Click here to watch a video interview with Wim Delvoye at Galerie Perrotin, Paris, on YouTube

Dewilde continues on in the same publication, to examine’s Delvoye’s narrative about the global art scene:

However, this image of the distant commentator shows fractures and fissures: his oeuvre rises above the cool, sometimes sarcastic postmodern translations that were symptomatic of a large part of the art world since the eighties. Indeed, several of his works display the typical superficiality of mass-produced objects, but alongside a truly genuine admiration for technical craftsmanship; the latter which is so maligned within the safe havens of the contemporary art world.

Wim Delvoye, Untitled (Car Tyre) installation shot from the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, 2010, hand-carved car tyre, 14 x 71 cm (each). Image courtesy the artist.

Wim Delvoye, Untitled (Car Tyre) installation shot from the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, 2010, hand-carved car tyre, 14 x 71 cm (each). Image courtesy the artist.

To create his work, Delvoye seeks the “off the beaten path” and travels the world to work with local artists. In an interview with the artist, Delvoye told Art Radar that working with Iranian artisans was a natural progression for him and one that provided him with much needed vitality:

I was already doing all kinds of things with metals like founding, laser cutting, welding, even printing, so I was looking forward to embossing and Isfahan is the place with the best artisans for that kind of craft.

I like doing things in Iran. There is good energy. The population is well-educated and young and in the last elections this population clearly voted for a more open society. My work needs that energy. There is no energy in Europe.

Wim Delvoye, 'Dump Truck', 2012', laser-cut stainless steel, 118 x 38 x 56 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Wim Delvoye, ‘Dump Truck’, 2012′, laser-cut stainless steel, 118 x 38 x 56 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

In addition to providing energy to the artist, Persian art is famed for using hypnotic repetitions of pattern in its lush work. As someone who has a “full library of symbols and ornaments”, this aspect of Persian culture is of particular interest to Delvoye. Dr. Hamid Keshmirshekan, art historian and Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of London, discussed Delvoye’s use of patterning and motifs in his multilayered works in the exhibition catalogue:

The artist in fact ironically re-interprets and appropriates Gothic cathedrals, Persian miniature patterns, decorative motifs and plant ornament associated with glory of sanctity into a contemporary work of art. His reversal approach to the main functional or spiritual connotation of objects or historical entities reorients our understanding of how beauty can be constructed.

Wim Delvoye, 'Rimowa Classic Flight Multiwheel 971.52.00.4', 2014, embossed aluminium, 41 x 27 x 55 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Wim Delvoye, ‘Rimowa Classic Flight Multiwheel 971.52.00.4’, 2014, embossed aluminium, 41 x 27 x 55 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Delvoye is not the only one who has been interested in Iran’s rich traditional and contemporary offerings with Iran’s art scene becoming more visible in the West. Delvoye was actually approached several years ago to exhibit his work but declined, choosing to wait. In an article with The Art Newspaper, Delvoye told Tim Cornwall that Iran is “not what people think it is” and the artist is contemplating opening a gallery there:

Delvoye has bought a former palace and school in the city of Kashan, which he has been carefully restoring for possible use as a gallery. He has also collected works by Iranian artists, and compares the country and its culture to “a beautiful fairytale that has been asleep for 35 years. Now it has woken up.”

Lisa Pollman

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Related Topics: Islamic artmetalmixed mediamuseum showsnewsreligious artTehran

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New Zealand’s National Art Award appoints Misal Adnan Yildiz as judge

Turkish artist and curator Misal Adnan Yildiz to select winners for the 2016 National Contemporary Art Award of New Zealand. 

This year’s first prize winner will receive NZD20,000 and the award exhibition will be on show at Waikato Museum from 3 September to 4 December 2016.

Portrait of Misal Adnan Yildiz. Photo by Fabian Schewe. Image from Artspace New Zealand.

Portrait of Misal Adnan Yildiz. Photo: Fabian Schewe. Image from Artspace New Zealand.

National Contemporary Art Award

Since 2000, New Zealand’s National Contemporary Art Award has promoted and celebrated New Zealand’s contemporary artists. Hosted by the Waikato Museum, the Award invites a new judge each year who in turn curates the final awards exhibition by choosing the winners. Past winners and judges have included:

  • Artist: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith; Judge: Aaron Kreisler, Head of School at Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury
  • Artist: Deanna Dowling; Judge: Simon Rees, Director, Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand
  • Artist: Locust Jones; Judge: Rachel Kent, Senior Curator of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Sydney, Australia

As Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham states in the press release, the Award “has documented New Zealand contemporary art for 17 years […] and provides a platform for artists to show their work”. While the Museum only took over administration of the Award in 2006, the final exhibition has always been held at their premises since the Award’s inception in 2000.

2016 Judge: Misal Adnan Yildiz

Turkish artist and curator Misal Adnan Yildiz, current Director of Artspace New Zealand and former Artistic Director of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart Germany, will judge the 2016 edition of the Award. During his time in Germany from 2011 to 2015, Yildiz’s organised solo exhibitions with Slavs and Tatars, Hito Steyerl, Cevdet Erek, Annika Eriksson and the group exhibition “Skeptical Thoughts On Love” and “Future Scenarios With An Open End” (PDF download).

2016 National Contemporary Art Award judge Misal Adnan Yildiz. Image from Waikato Museum.

2016 National Contemporary Art Award judge Misal Adnan Yildiz. Image from Waikato Museum.

Yildiz was a graduate of Boğaziçi University (Istanbul) in Psychology and later the Sabancı University (Istanbul) where he completed his Master of Arts. The artist-curator aims to examine how public imagination, social criticism and collective creativity are perceived in diverse cultural, political and social contexts. Endeavouring to merge his education in psychology with his passion for literature, Yildiz worked at various prestigious international curatorial and research programmes and was a nominee for the ICI Independent Curatorial Vision Award in 2012.

In the summer of 2013 Yildiz realised the exhibition “A History of Inspiration” organised within the scope of Nouvelles Vagues at the Palais de Tokyo. During this time he also worked as a curatorial collaborator of the 13th İstanbul Biennial and was awarded the Curate Award 2014 together with Michael Wang and Evelyn Simonds.

2016 Award: Increased prize pool

The 2016 Award enjoys an increased prize pool of NZD20,000 courtesy of sponsors Chow:Hill and Tompkins Wake. Meanwhile, this year’s three merit award prizes of NZD1,000 each are sponsored by the Friends of Waikato Museum, Random Art Group and David’s Emporium. Meecham states, quoted by Scoop:

We’re very pleased to announce an increased prize pool this year but this award represents more than winning; the opportunity for our finalists to exhibit their work in a high-profile gallery for three months is not to be underestimated.

The winner and merit award winners will be announced at a ceremony on 2 September 2016 at Waikato Museum, and the award exhibition will be on show at Waikato Museum from 3 September until 4 December 2016.

Michele Chan

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Related Topics: New Zealand artists, awards ceremonies, museums, fundingartists as curators, curators, curatorial practice, events in New Zealand

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Art jobs and opportunities | The Studio Museum, Fowler Museum at UCLA… 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!

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JOB | Norway | Multiple Curatorial Positions | National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design – 2 May 2016

The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design is Norway’s largest museum, receiving around 650,000 visitors each year. They collect, preserve, exhibit, disseminate and research the nation’s largest collections of art, architecture and design. The two positions, Curator for Old Masters–1850 and Curator for Prints and Drawings, 1900–contemporary art, involve the responsibility for planning and realisation of exhibitions, collection work, research, and the development of the department’s expertise and activities. The successful candidates will also actively participate in projects and the processes relating to preparations for the relocation to, and the opening of, the new National Museum. MORE HERE

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JOB | Los Angeles | Curator of Southeast Asian and Pacific Arts | Fowler Museum at UCLA – 14 May 2016

The Fowler Museum at UCLA seeks an experienced, creative, and team-oriented Curator of Southeast Asian and Pacific Arts who has extensive knowledge of the arts of the region, including traditional genres (sculpture, textiles, and basketry, among others) and popular and contemporary expressions, and who will have direct responsibility over museum programming and collections in these areas. This position reports to the Chief Curator and participates directly in the Fowler’s exhibition development team. The incumbent will also oversee exhibition projects proposed by guest curators and borrowed from other institutions that are related broadly to the arts of Asia and the Pacific. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Dublin | Research and Teaching Residency | National College of Art & Design, Ireland – 30 May 2016

MA/MFA Art in the Contemporary World, National College of Art & Design, Dublin in collaboration with The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), is now inviting applications for its autumn (2016) research and teaching residency. This residency is open to writers, artists, curators, educators and other practitioners who have published writings in the field of contemporary art. It will begin around October 2016, and have a duration of up to five weeks. The resident is provided with a residential space at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and a stipend. During this time they will be expected to deliver presentations on their own research interests in the context of the Art in the Contemporary World Master’s programme, as well as lead a number of seminars and conversations relating to the research residency’s theme, “Medium/Platform/System.” MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Argentina | Call for Artists | Faena Art – 10 August 2016

Faena Art, the international nonprofit organisation led by Artistic Director and Chair Ximena Caminos, recently launched the open call for the 2016–2017 Faena Prize for the Arts. A biennial international juried prize, the Faena Prize for the Arts recognises artistic experimentation, encourages post-disciplinary and temporal exploration, and promotes inquiry of the infinite links among art, technology and design. The 2016 edition calls on artists or groups of artists from all over the world to develop proposals for original projects that engage with the concept of time and duration while also interacting with the monumental architecture of the Faena Art Center in a significant way. Considered one of the most prestigious art prizes in the Americas, Faena Prize winners are awarded a total of USD75,000, USD25,000 of which is allocated to the artist in unrestricted funds with a USD50,000 budget for production to realise their proposal. MORE HERE

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JOB | New York | Associate Director of Development | The Studio Museum – apply as unspecified

The Studio Museum in Harlem has earned an international reputation as a leader in the contemporary arts arena with its groundbreaking role in promoting the work of artists of African descent. The Museum seeks a dynamic, articulate and well-organised manager and fundraiser to join its nine-member team, developing and implementing a broad-based strategy for identifying, cultivating, and soliciting major gifts through a variety of channels as well as providing a leadership role to the growing department. The Associate Director of Development will work closely with the Director of Institutional Advancement (DIA) to manage a comprehensive and integrated fundraising programme. This individual will supervise and provide work direction to the Coordinator of Membership/Annual Fund/Direct Mail and the Development Assistant. MORE HERE

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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!

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JOB | Dallas | Museum Project Coordinator | Shraman South Asian Museum & Foundation – 29 April 2016

The Shraman South Asian Museum and Learning Center Foundation is a nonprofit organisation whose mission is to inspire people to learn about South Asia’s rich culture and heritage and to encourage exploration of diversity. The museum will be located on McKinney Avenue in downtown Dallas and will be the first in the United States to focus exclusively on South Asia. Because the physical museum will be under development for the next few years, the institution is looking to hire a full time museum coordinator who will be responsible for assisting in the overall coordination of the educational and programming objectives. This role will involve reporting directly to the Foundation’s Director and Operations Manager and assisting them in the day to day responsibilities as needed. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Melbourne | Call for Artists | Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab – 29 April 2016

The City of Melbourne announces the curatorial concept, open call and dates for the inaugural Biennial Lab. Structured around two nodes, the Public Art Melbourne Biennial Lab comprises a lab summit for artists in June 2016, co-convened by Claire Doherty (Director, Situations UK) and David Cross (One Day Sculpture, Iteration: Again), followed by the realisation of a suite of temporary commissions in October 2016 as part of the Melbourne Festival. A curatorium, led by Chief Curator Natalie King, will select Australian artists for Melbourne Biennial Lab, which will include an amplification programme inviting the wider community to share in the social, public and communal conversations ignited by the commissions. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Chicago | Mellon Post Doctorate Curatorial Fellowship | The Art Institute of Chicago – 30 April 2016

The Art Institute of Chicago invites applications for two postdoctoral fellowships, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, for outstanding scholars who have recently earned PhDs (or equivalent degrees from foreign universities) and wish to pursue curatorial careers in art museums. These three-year Fellowships will provide curatorial training and will support scholarly research related to the collections and projects of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Asian Art and the Department of Photography. Fellows will be fully integrated into either the Asian Art or Photography Department. They will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of activities and with colleagues across the museum, including curatorial, conservation, education, registration, imaging and administrative staff. They will have access to the collections, to the museum’s research libraries and local university libraries, and other professional privileges accorded the museum’s curatorial staff. Mellon Fellows will deliver at least one public lecture each year and will receive a stipend, plus benefits, research funds and a travel allowance. MORE HERE

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