Art Basel Miami Beach 2015 opens to the public on 2 December 2015.
Here are Art Radar‘s gallery highlights, catering specifically to African and Asian art lovers.
Art Basel Miami Beach 2015 is bigger and stronger than ever, featuring 267 galleries, 4,000 artists and an exciting itinerary of collateral events, including pop-up exhibitions, fashion launches, music performances, a total of 19 satellite fairs and an extensive party scene. It has become a glitzy “over-the-top” environment; fortunately, the dynamic programmes of participating galleries more than hold their ground. See below for six gallery highlights selected especially for the Art Radar reader.
1. Goodman gallery
A veteran player in the African and global art scene, Goodman Gallery‘s booth provides a real attraction for the African art lover. Showcasing a delightful selection of artists from the continent ranging from internationally established names to intriguing emerging talent, Goodman brings a truly global African perspective to the fair.
On show are young up-and-coming artist Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze‘s (b. 1982, Nigeria) large-scale, otherworldly drawings and mysterious hybrid forms, alongside established art star William Kentridge‘s (b. 1955, Johannesburg) new tapestry Peripheral Thought No.1 (2015), created together with the Marguerite Stephens Tapestry Workshop, in which the artist injects new life to the ancient art of weaving. At once aesthetically mesmerising and conceptually powerful, the work combines both ancient and modern technology to narrate layered stories and messages.
2. Stevenson gallery
Also based in Capetown and Johannesburg, the younger Stevenson gallery is presenting a bold programme, featuring artist and queer activist Zanele Muholi (b. 1972, Umlazi, Durban). With a self-proclaimed mission to “re-write a black queer and trans visual history of South Africa for the world to know of our resistance and existence at the height of hate crimes in SA and beyond”, Muholi’s work combines photography, video and installation with human rights activism.
Also presented by Stevenson gallery is Pieter Hugo (b. 1976, Johannesburg), the current ‘In Focus’ artist at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Hugo is an internationally prominent photographic artist whose arresting works focuses on African communities while utilising both documentary and artistic traditions.
3. Lehmann Maupin
Quality South African art also shines at international gallery Lehmann Maupin, who is presenting multidisciplinary artist Robin Rhode. Embracing a variety of media ranging from drawing to sculpture, photography, animation and performance, Rhode’s works transform simple motifs into imaginative and layered narratives.
The gallery is also presenting Shirazeh Houshiary’s digital animation Dust (2011-13) in the fair’s Film Sector. The video work captures the unseen through a combination of moving images of a single candle burning. The movement of the flame and the accumulation and dissipation of the soot are accompanied by the chanting of soprano Olivia Salvadori. This audio-visualised process of constant transformation conveys the past, present and future simultaneously.
Among other artists featured at the gallery booth are two-dimensional works by Korean sculpture and installation artist Do Ho Suh and Lee Bul and Chinese conceptual artist Liu Wei. Liu’s work is a new piece executed in oil on canvas from a digital image, with fine lines of colour incorporated in multiple layers to create a dense, colour-field-inspired cityscape.
4. ShanghART gallery
One of China’s oldest and most influential galleries, ShanghART is presenting up to 13 artists at this year’s fair. Among them is Shanghai-based Ding Yi (b. 1962), whose paintings are a form of “reflection” and “retrospection”. Most of his works are made up of ‘+’ signs superimposed in various layers and rotations, using different colours and sizes covering up the large canvases. His paintings are reminiscent of the neon-lit metropolitan nightscapes seen around contemporary China and Asia.
Shi Yong’s (b. 1963) series of mixed media works – including Resolve Everything Using Beautiful Form on show at the booth – addresses cultural identity, the power of language and cultural pluralism, as well as his home city in relation to modernism and consumerism.
Another highlight from the ShanghART staple is Yang Fudong, with large prints from his film The Light that I feel (2014), made for the launch of SALT, a new art and music festival on the island of Sandhornøy, located north of the Arctic Circle in Norway. The film, first screened on the beach there during the festival in September 2014, was also filmed over a month on the island using local actors and dancers, and reveals a poetic narrative of the relationship between man and nature.
5. Blum and Poe
Based in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, Blum and Poe‘s international programme features a handful of prominent Japanese and Korean artists. There are several abstract minimalist works by Kishio Suga (b. 1944, Morioka, Iwate Prefecture), a key member of the 1960s-1970s artist group Mono-ha (‘School of Things’), who explored the encounter between natural and industrial materials. Suga approaches materials as an investigation of their interdependence and co-existence, as well as their interaction in space.
At the booth, there is also an iconic Lee Ufan, amongst other works. A painter, sculptor, writer and philosopher, Lee is also another prominent member of the Mono-ha, and one of its main theorists who advocated the rejection of Western notions of representation to focus on the relationships of materials and perceptions at the basis of the movement.
6. Singapore Tyler Print Institute (STPI)
STPI returns to Miami this year with a show of three international artists – Do Ho Suh (South Korea), Jane Lee (Singapore) and Ryan Gander (Britain) – who recently held residencies at its premises in Singapore.
Do Ho Suh is known for his large-scale fabric installations and architectural compositions of past homes. During his second residency at STPI, Do has transformed three-dimensional architectural elements into two-dimensional pieces. His unique thread drawings embedded in paper are a reflection of “the transnational dilemma of home and belonging, malleable spaces and memory, as well as the boundaries of identity”. In another series of works, Do re-invents the techniques of lithography and rubbing, by covering everyday objects – such as electrical sockets, door handles, lift buttons and a fire extinguisher – with paper and then colouring them with pastels.
The boundaries between three- and two-dimensional also appear blurred in Jane Lee’s works. Lee challenges the notion of what a painting is, by going beyond the limitations of techniques and materials, and adding a sculptural dimension to her compositions. Thus her works result in an interaction with and integration of the surrounding architectural space.
Michele Chan (with C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia)
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