Art internships and opportunities | Asia Society India Centre, CIMAM Singapore… 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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OPEN CALL | Helsinki | Call for Residency Applications | Helsinki International Artist Programme (HIAP) – 28 June 2017

The HIAP is seeking international artists, curators and all other art professionals to apply for the 2018 residency programme to undertake open-ended research and experimentation without the requirement of finalised outcome. Taking place at HIAP Suomenlinna and HIAP Cable Factory in Helsinki, the programme offers three periods: March to May, June to August and September to November in 2018. Benefits of the residency include free accommodation and studio space, a working grant of EUR1,200 (USD1,345.92) per month, access to all studio facilities, opportunities to participate in local art events and contribute to cultural collaborations. HIAP welcomes applicants of all ages, nationalities, genders and modes of practice. Main criteria include English proficiency and 2 to 3 years of proven professional experiences or relevant higher education qualifications. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Singapore | Call for Grant Applications | International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM) – 30 June 2017

The CIMAM is now calling for grant applications from modern and contemporary art museum or collection directors, researchers and curators in need of financial help to attend CIMAM’s Annual Conference that will be held in Singapore from 10 to 12 November 2017. This iteration of the Conference looks at The Roles and Responsibilities of Museums in Civil Society. There are four grant categories for applicants from different regions around the world, including Latin America, Taipei, the United Arab Emirates, the wider Middle East and North Africa. The support is limited to cover conference registration, travel expenses (round trip economy tickets only) and four-night accommodation in one of the hotels recommended by CIMAM. Applicants should not be involved in any kind of commercial or for-profit activities. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Turin, Italy | Call for Art Publishers | FLAT Art Book Fair – 20 July 2017

FLAT is the new international event dedicated to contemporary art publishing. The inaugural FLAT Art Book Fair will take place from 3 to 5 November 2017 at Palazzo Cisterna, Turin, Italy. FLAT is now calling international art publishers, organisational and independent alike, to apply for the opportunity to showcase their arts publications such as exhibition catalogues, monographs, essays, artists’ books, rare and out-of-print editions and magazines. Accompanying the Fair is an extensive cultural programme including exhibition and conversations, exploring the current issues in the international art publishing industry. An outstanding participant will be selected and awarded the opportunity to publish their project in print in the following year. To apply for the Fair, candidates will need to pay a participation fee of EUR400 (ca. USD448) including a full set of display furniture, designated accommodation facilities and selected restaurants. MORE HERE

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INTERNSHIP | Utrecht, Netherlands | Multiple Unpaid Internships | The Impakt Organization – apply by unspecified

The Impakt Organization is an Utrecht-based internationally-engaged cultural organisation focusing on the triangular relationship between society, media and arts. Impakt organises the annual Impakt Festival featuring exhibitions, screenings, video art, lectures and music. The organisation offers a range of internships all year round. Current positions for the 2017 Impakt Festival include roles in management, production, programming, publicity, marketing and archiving. The Dutch language skill is preferred and starting time varies from position to position. There will not be stipends or grants available for the internships. MORE HERE

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INTERNSHIP | Mumbai | Programme Development Intern | Asia Society India Centre – apply by unspecified

Asia Society India Centre is seeking a Programme Development Intern (Business, Policy & Culture) to assist the Programming team in researching current local and global trends to develop relevant content, topics and speakers for events in Mumbai and across India. The Programme Intern will be involved in all aspects of event execution including marketing communications, social media and logistics. This is a great opportunity to gain a working knowledge of Indian business, policy, art and culture across a variety of perspectives. The Intern will have the opportunity to interact with local and global leaders from across the academic, business and artistic world. As a core member of the Society’s Programming team, the Intern will be guided and supervised to learn the process of programme development from the beginning to the end of a work cycle. Candidates will have proven knowledge of business, policy and culture across Asia, and demonstrate strong English language skills and ability to communicate and work in a multi-cultural environment. 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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OPEN CALL | Austria | Call for Exhibition Applications (funded) | Das weisse haus – 16 June 2017

Now located in Hegelgasse, Austria, das weisse haus is an art association, exhibition space and non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting emerging artists. Das weisse haus is providing a five-month scholarship for young curators and exhibition producers to be involved in the exhibition programme as well as in the studio and residency programme, in addition to a range of other related events. The grant is a scholarship of EUR5,000 (USD5,632) taking place between 4 September 2017 to 31 January 2018. Eligible applicants must be students who have almost finished their studies or have graduated within the past three years, and demonstrate excellent English and German language skills. Part of the programme is a self-initiated curatorial project at das weisse haus. Finalists will be invited to an interview between 21 June and 23 June 2017, followed by a three-day trial between 26 June 2017 and 8 July 2017. MORE HERE

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OPEN CALL | Flexible Location | Art Publishing Residency (paid) | Daily Serving + Art Practical (DSAP) – 17 June 2017

Located in San Francisco, the international art publishing organisation DSAP has launched the inaugural Art Publishing Residency programme and is now inviting emerging writers and editors to apply for a paid residency opportunity taking place over eight weeks from July to August 2017. The residency will provide immersive training to the incumbents to engage with all aspects of online contemporary art publishing, working directly with the Executive Director, the Editors in Chief of Daily Serving and Art Practical, the Communications Manager, and the Operations Manager. The paid part-time opportunity offers a stipend of USD1,000 for a maximum of 10 hours per week for eight weeks. Whilst in-office work is strongly encouraged, residents can work remotely on Skype alternatively. After the successful completion of the residency, there might be a further opportunity to take part in a short-term community-based exchange in Portland, Oregon sponsored by online publishing organisation c3:initiative in late 2017 or late 2018. Qualified applicants must be at least 18 years old, proficient in English, and not currently enrolled as a student at the start of the residency. MORE HERE

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

6 Gallery highlights from VOLTA13 Basel

Art Radar brings you 6 must-see gallery booths at VOLTA art fair in Basel.

Launched on 12 June 2017, VOLTA 13 in Basel presents 70 galleries from 43 cities around the world, with a focus on solo presentations and dual-artist “dialogues”.

Masakazu Fujiwara, 'Capsule Bugs (Creep)', 2017, capsules, iron, magnet, motor, wood, ca. 90 x 90 x 5 cm. Image courtesy the artist and YOD Gallery.

Masakazu Fujiwara, ‘Capsule Bugs (Creep)’, 2017, capsules, iron, magnet, motor, wood, ca. 90 x 90 x 5 cm. Image courtesy the artist and YOD Gallery.

Running until 17 June 2017, concurrent with Art Basel Week, VOLTA13 follows the art fair’s mission of introducing new international positions. This year, 19 of the 70 exhibitors are featuring solo shows of individual artists, while 21 are mounting dual-artist presentations. Art Radar has selected a few highlights to see at Basel’s edition of VOLTA.

Sopheap Pich, 'Expanses Variation #3', 2016, red iron oxide, gum arabic on Arches watercolour paper, 89 x 129.5 cm (35 3/4 x 51 3/4 in) . Image courtesy the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art.

Sopheap Pich, ‘Expanses Variation #3’, 2016, red iron oxide, gum arabic on Arches watercolour paper, 89 x 129.5 cm (35 3/4 x 51 3/4 in). Image courtesy the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art.

1. Tyler Rollins Fine Art — Sopheap Pich (Cambodia)

New York-based gallery Tyler Rollins Fine Art is holding a solo exhibition of Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich (b. 1971), whose new body of works on paper and a floor-standing sculpture are currently on display at the 57th Venice Biennale, “Viva Arte Viva”.

At VOLTA13, the gallery is showing new works on paper from the same series exhibited at the Venice Biennale, which were created by dipping sticks of bamboo in a mixture of earth pigments and gum Arabic, then pressed onto watercolour paper. The works display the tension that exists between the precise linearity of the sticks’ impression, the irregularity of the texture of the bamboo, the variations of the work table’s surface and the different pressures applied by the artist.

In the booth, there also are some new works from Pich’s “Wall Reliefs” series, shown for the fist time at Documenta (13) in 2012. Made of rattan and bamboo grids covered with strips of burlap from rice bags, such works are a reflection of the artist’s increasing interest in abstraction and conceptualisation.

Sopheap Pich, 'Red oxide on black No. 1', 2017, bamboo, rattan, burlap, plastics, synthetic resin, beeswax, damar resin, charcoal, red iron oxide, metal wire, 62 x 61 x 10 cm (24 1/2 x 24 x 4 in). Image courtesy the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art.

Sopheap Pich, ‘Red oxide on black No. 1’, 2017, bamboo, rattan, burlap, plastics, synthetic resin, beeswax, damar resin, charcoal, red iron oxide, metal wire, 62 x 61 x 10 cm (24 1/2 x 24 x 4 in). Image courtesy the artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art.

Tomoyasu Murata, 'Okinamai / Forest this flower bloom', 2015, HD Video / Stereo sound, 11min:55sec (edition of 10). Image courtesy the artist and Gallery MoMo.

Tomoyasu Murata, ‘Okinamai / Forest this flower bloom’, 2015, HD video / stereo sound, 11min:55sec (edition of 10). Image courtesy the artist and Gallery MoMo.

2. Gallery MoMo — Tomoyasu Murata (Japan)

Tokyo’s Gallery MoMo presents a solo booth by Tomoyasu Murata (b. 1974), whose work began with the production of puppet animations inspired by Bunraku, traditional Japanese puppet theatre. Through his oeuvre, Murata strives to express the idea of Mujo – or ‘impermanence’ in English – a very important concept in Japanese culture.

Tomoyasu Murata, 'AMETSUCHI', 2016, HD Video / Stereo sound, 10min:23sec (edition of 10). Image courtesy the artist and Gallery MoMo.

Tomoyasu Murata, ‘AMETSUCHI’, 2016, HD video / stereo sound, 10min:23sec (edition of 10). Image courtesy the artist and Gallery MoMo.

The three videos on show at VOLTA13 tackle the subjects of prayer, chronicling and faith, and present the ‘fluctuations’ in Japan’s socio-cultural landscape after the Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011. The prologue features Murata’s Okinanami, a traditional Japanese dance used to pray for agricultural prosperity. The first video entitled Okinanami / Forest this flower bloom depicts the Fukushima nuclear plant accident. The second work entitled AMETSUCHI – meaning ‘heaven and earth’ or ‘the universe’ – depicts the Japanese island using Mount Fuji as a motif.

Tomoyasu Murata, 'A Branch of Pine Tied up', 2017, HD Video / Stereo sound, 16 min (edition of 10). Image courtesy the artist and Gallery MoMo.

Tomoyasu Murata, ‘A Branch of Pine Tied up’, 2017, HD video / stereo sound, 16min (edition of 10). Image courtesy the artist and Gallery MoMo.

The third video on show sees two twin girls as the main characters. Entitled A branch of Pine Tied up, the work depicts the disaster of the earthquake and tsunami, with the story shifting from before and after the incident. Murata makes reference to the aftermath of the disaster, when local people whose livelihood was destroyed by it are reconsidering their identity as Japanese.

Peng Wei, 'Beethoven’s Dedication to the External Lover', 2014, rice paper plane painting, 70.7 x 37.2 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Galerie Ora Ora.

Peng Wei, ‘Beethoven’s Dedication to the External Lover’, 2014, rice paper plane painting, 70.7 x 37.2 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Galerie Ora Ora.

3. Galerie Ora Ora — Peng Wei (China)

Galerie Ora Ora from Hong Kong presents a solo show of work by Beijing-based Peng Wei. The Chinese artist works with the traditional medium of ink. At VOLTA13, her presentation invites the audience to question who they are and what the world expects them to be.

The darkened space of the booth features a “bi-sensory spectacle” that includes art and music. Peng Wei’s illustrations depict in visuals the personal letters from great composers, while their compositions audibly fill the aural space of the booth. The artist thus juxtaposes the private and the public spheres of these individuals, probing into the question of who we are as individuals in our private life and what we are expected to be as public faces.

Peng Wei combines these “diametrical counterpoints”, with a combination of harmony and discord that question the nature of “greatness”, and the dichotomy between perception and reality.

Peng Wei, 'Letters from a Distance', 2012-14, mixed media, dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist and Galerie Ora Ora.

Peng Wei, ‘Letters from a Distance’, 2012-14, mixed media, dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist and Galerie Ora Ora.

Said Baalbaki, 'Mon(t) Liban', 2014, neon object, 18 x 80 cm; w/ bronze 15 x 25 x 30 cm. Image courtesy the artist and C&K Galerie.

Said Baalbaki, ‘Mon(t) Liban’, 2014, neon object, 18 x 80 cm; w/ bronze 15 x 25 x 30 cm. Image courtesy the artist and C&K Galerie.

4. C&K Galerie — Said Baalbaki (Germany/Lebanon)

C&K Galerie from Berlin is a first-time exhibitor at VOLTA, and presents a solo by Said Baalbaki, an internationally acclaimed artist of Lebanese origins who works between Germany and Lebanon. Baalbaki lives between occidental and oriental cultures, and his work displays this polarity. The artist grew up during the Lebanese Civil War, and experienced migration and resettlement, as well as nostalgia for his home.

At VOLTA 13, Baalbaki presents the installation Mon(t) Liban, which juxtaposes painting, drawing, print and sculpture. At the centre of the installation is the neon work that reads “Mon(t) Liban”, a play on words in French: the French words “mon” (my) and “mont” (mount) have different meanings but the same pronunciation. The title thus embodies the ambivalence of Baalbaki’s artistic identity, displaying a dichotomy of destruction and escape, and the beauty of home.

The artist plays with mechanisms of perception, as well as notions of the construction of knowledge, truth and authenticity, which are heavily influenced by different cultures, religions and historical events. With the urgency of the current refugee crisis, Baalbaki’s work gains ever more relevance as it reflects on global realities of historical, social and cultural developments.

Said Baalbaki, 'Mon(t) Liban', installation view. Image courtesy the artist and C&K Galerie.

Said Baalbaki, ‘Mon(t) Liban’, installation view. Image courtesy the artist and C&K Galerie.

Assunta Abdel Azim Mohamed, 'They never taught me any of those things in school', 2016, ballpoint pen on paper, 100 x 100 cm. Image courtesy the artist and HilgerBrotkunsthalle.

Assunta Abdel Azim Mohamed, ‘They never taught me any of those things in school’, 2016, ballpoint pen on paper, 100 x 100 cm. Image courtesy the artist and HilgerBrotkunsthalle.

5. HilgeBrotkunsthalle — Assunta Abdel Azin Mohammed (Egypt/Austria) and Anastasia Khoroshilova (Russia)

Vienna-based HilgerBrotkunsthalle features a dual presentation of Egyptian-Austrian artist Assunta Abdel Azin Mohammed and Russian Anastasia Khoroshilova, with a focus on portraiture.

Mohammed’s works are meticulous large-scale drawings executed in ballpoint pen, which function as “psychograms” of contemporary society. Her subjects all display some particularity, such a turtle pet on a shoulder or a rocker’s style outfit. Her drawings in blue pen on white feature groups or crowds of people depicted as if taking part in some carnival festivity, with skeleton grins or faces, as well as skeletons wearing armours and riding skeletal horses. The artist seems to point at the dark side of contemporary society, and the lunacy within.

Anastasia Khoroshilova, 'Kasaniya No. 3', 2013, C-print, 100 x 80 cm (edition of 3). Image courtesy the artist and HilgerBrotkunsthalle.

Anastasia Khoroshilova, ‘Kasaniya No. 3’, 2013, C-print, 100 x 80 cm (edition of 3). Image courtesy the artist and HilgerBrotkunsthalle.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is Khoroshilova’s work. Her photographic portraits are of a realistic nature, her subjects seemingly posing in their everyday environments, in familiar attire.

The two artists’ works together display the contradictions of today’s society: on the one hand, the craziness and a quasi-surrealistic absurdity, while on the other, a quiet, common reality that we see everywhere, everyday.

Hidehito Matsubara, 'Eternity', 2015, acrylic on paper, 53 x 45.5 cm. Image courtesy the artist and YOD Gallery.

Hidehito Matsubara, ‘Eternity’, 2015, acrylic on paper, 53 x 45.5 cm. Image courtesy the artist and YOD Gallery.

6. YOD Gallery — Hebime, Hidehito Matsubara and Masakazu Fujiwara (Japan)

The idea of ‘motion’ is at the heart of Osaka-based YOD Gallery‘s exhibition of three artists. While Hebime’s and Hidehito Matsubara’s works reference the notion of movement through their artistic process, Masakazu Fujiwara creates kinetic artworks that themselves move.

Hebime uses a chisel to carve the multi-layered acrylic paint surface of his paintings. The artist creates hallucinatory patterns by revealing the various layers of different colours. Matsubara meticulously cuts tiny pieces of painted paper with his fingers and layers them to create abstract images that simulate movement through repetition.

Masakazu Fujiwara, 'Sea Urchin II', 2011, glass, iron sand, magnet, motor, wood, 16x 8 x 8 cm. Image courtesy the artist and YOD Gallery.

Masakazu Fujiwara, ‘Sea Urchin II’, 2011, glass, iron sand, magnet, motor, wood, 16x 8 x 8 cm. Image courtesy the artist and YOD Gallery.

Fujiwara gained knowledge and technique to create kinetic artworks from working as an electrician. His pieces feature simple structures in monochromatic colours, and use the same aesthetic of found, mass-produced objects. Appearing like common everyday things, made of materials such as pharmaceutical capsules, bellow pipes and styrofoam, once in motion, these objects come alive. With movements that imitate living organisms such as insects, these works impact the viewer’s physiological sensibility, and prompt us to reflect on the relationship between humanity and nature.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

1734

Related Topics: Cambodian artists, Chinese artists, Japanese artists, art fairs, lists, events in Basel

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ArtMarketGuru Founder Frédéric de Senarclens on the South East Asian art market – interview

ArtMarketGuru’s founder Frédéric de Senarclens talks about his new research endeavour and the need for more region-specific art data.

ArtMarketGuru launches with South East Asian Market Intelligence Report. Art Radar talks to Frédéric de Senarclen about the report and its key findings.

Frederic de Senarclens. Image courtesy ArtMarketGuru.

Frederic de Senarclens. Image courtesy ArtMarketGuru.

ArtMarketGuru is a website that offers analysis and region specific research on the global art market. Founded in 2017 by Swiss art dealer Frédéric de Senarclens, ArtMarketGuru defines itself as an alternative source of art market research, analysis and statistics.

The first report released by ArtMarketGuru focuses on the Southeast Asian art market, a region the founder knows well (de Senarclens founded and ran Singapore’s Art Plural Gallery between 2011 and 2016, and in 2016 he founded ArtAndOnly, a platform for art collectors). The first release from ArtMarketGuru includes information on the sixty top South East Asian artists in whom to invest, as well as a comprehensive round up of the most important collectors in South East Asia. Art Radar talks to de Frédéric de Senarclens about ArtMarketGuru and the report’s key findings.

What motivated you to set up the ArtMarketGuru Project?

When you look for specific information, it is often difficult to find intelligence and comprehensive knowledge on certain regions. I therefore thought it would be interesting to set up a company that provides art market intelligence, launching ArtMarketGuru with the objective to focus on regional markets; our first reports focus being on Southeast Asia. After spending a number of years immersed in Southeast Asia’s art scene, we wanted to share our expertise and knowledge of the region with interested art lovers and collectors.

Installation view at "Transcontemporary" (solo exhibition by Egyptian artist Armen Agop) at Art Plural Gallery, Singapore, 2015. Image courtesy the artist and Art Plural Gallery.

Armen Agop, “Transcontemporary”, installation view at Art Plural Gallery, Singapore, 2015. Image courtesy the artist and Art Plural Gallery.

This is the first report to be released by ArtMarketGuru and it focuses specifically on the developing Southeast Asian art market. What are the main findings?

Eight years ago, a series of articles were published comparing the art markets in Hong Kong and Singapore. Singapore was taking the lead on many aspects, developing a Freeport, building museums, and inviting art dealers to establish themselves in the “Lion City”. My objective with this first ArtMarketGuru reports was to find out where the market stands now; where Singapore and its neighbouring countries are at the moment, and how has it developed, in order to try to identify where it might go. In the last eight years, the Southeast Asia markets have developed, with Indonesia and the Philippines really coming into their own on the art scene.

What findings particular impact your own field, as a collector and art business entrepreneur?

The report covers the sixty best artists, to collect and monitor as well as hints and tips as to what is likely to develop in future. These predictions are based on extensive knowledge gained through our experience and expertise. This content, more than any other, would likely guide my decisions as a collector.

I Nyoman Masriadi, 'Flag T-Shirt', 2014, Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy the artist.

I Nyoman Masriadi, ‘Flag T-Shirt’, 2014, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy the artist.

Could you tell us about the process of research and how the information is verified?

Jane Peterson is the author of this particular report, and she interviewed artists, art dealers, collectors, auctioneers and other key market players. She verified every bit of information. Being an outsider to the art world, she looked at it all with a very genuine eye; as a journalist she chased after the facts, excluding comments that were irrelevant and cutting to the core. Also, being neutral she could say things that other art critics and consultants would not. The fact that it’s a journalist approaching the research makes it all the more engaging and direct.

The art market report is rising in demand. Since the mid-2000s various institutions have begun to publish market watch reports and they have been published and widely read. How do you explain the increasing need to understand the economics of the art market? Is there an intensifying relationship between finance and art, investment and collecting?

It’s true that there is an increased demand for art market reports as people are more inclined to understand the market they are working within, and in which they are choosing to invest. There are many scandals and complications within the art world that you need guidance to know where you are going and how to navigate through that world.

The sheer amount of information readily available online and in print about the art world means that it can be impossible to know where to begin without drowning in it all. There’s so much that you almost end up with nothing, with no specific information focusing in on an area. The purpose of ArtMarketGuru is to provide reports for people who want a good introduction to a sector or market before they invest.

What does Art Market Guru reporting style offer that your competitors who also offer information on emerging markets, do not?

ArtMarketGuru aims to look beyond the surface, remaining holistic yet with a specific regional focus. Combined with the instinctual knowledge gained as someone internationally immersed in the art world, this report provides expert tips and specific artists to watch. The objective is to produce more reports, always with a regional focus, always having an approach that looks beyond the surface.

Nan Qi, 'Dot', 2011, print edition of 50. Image courtesy the artist and Art Plural Gallery.

Nan Qi, ‘Dot’, 2011, print edition of 50. Image courtesy the artist and Art Plural Gallery.

Unlike the UBS and Art Basel or the TEFAF Art Market Report, the ArtMarketGuru report is accessed via a fee. Could you talk about your decision to make this a fee paying report?

ArtMarketGuru provides a unique point of view and specific knowledge of the art market with our reports, while UBS normally give a more general overview. We’ve already had a great review from someone who read both the most recent Art Basel report and the ArtMarketGuru report saying that ‘this provides a very tangible list of artists and useable data that can be directly utilised’. Rather than just providing an overview and having ambiguous data, ArtMarketGuru can directly impact a collector’s decisions, as well as confirm the validity of a collector’s investments.

Your upcoming reports will focus on areas such as Hong Kong, Africa and the Middle-East. What do you expect to find in comparison with your recent publication?

Having travelled in Africa, the Middle East, India and China, I’ve always been impressed by these regions and the artists that I’ve met there. Its’ very difficult to walk into those countries with little or no prior knowledge of what’s going on and it’s important to have a first hand understanding of the market and what’s happening. These upcoming reports will provide a similar approach to that of the Southeast Asia focus. One thing that I found particularly interesting is that the market is still very shaky in Southeast Asia so I’m looking forward to exploring any similarities in other regions.

Rebecca Close

1710

Related Topics: market watchcollectorsbusiness of art, Southeast Asian artists

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“EMISSARY FORKS featuring THOUSAND ISLANDS”: multimedia artist Ian Cheng – artist profile

United States artist Ian Cheng explores the arbitrariness of human behaviour and power systems.

Multimedia artist Ian Cheng is the recipient of Louis Vuitton’s 2017 Award for the Filmic Oeuvre. Art Radar takes a look at the monographic exhibition entitled “Emissary Forks Featuring Thousand Islands”, on display at Espace Louis Vuitton in München, Germany, until 9 September 2017.

Ian Cheng, 'EMISSARY FORKS AT PERFECTION', 2015-2017, live simulation, infinite duration, sound. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Foundation Louis Vuitton.

Ian Cheng, ‘Emissary Forks at Perfection’, 2015-2017, live simulation, infinite duration, sound. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Video games that play themselves

Like the Louis Vuitton Award for the Filmic Oeuvre’s previous winner, new media go-to artist Cory Arcangel, Ian Cheng’s practice also revolves around the critical and sometimes disobedient appropriation of commercialised technology. Two of the works included in “Emissary Forks feature Thousand Islands” on display at München’s Espace Louis Vuitton are characteristic of this artistic strategy: Emissary Forks at Perfection (2015-2016) and Emissary Forks For you (2016) form part of Cheng’s “Emissary” live animation trilogy, which was created using algorithms from video game engines.

The result of Ian Cheng’s appropriation of gaming algorithms is a “live animation” video in constant fluctuation – glitchy landscapes or urban environments populated by Cheng’s figures. These move around, sometimes smashing into each other or breaking up the overlapping geometric planes of the background environment, as if movement around a space was an interruption in the space-time logic of Cheng’s virtual world.

Ian Cheng, 'Emissary in the Squat of Gods (still)', 2015, live simulation and story. Image courtesy the artist.

Ian Cheng, ‘Emissary in the Squat of Gods (still)’, 2015, live simulation and story. Image courtesy the artist.

Emissary Forks at Perfection (2015-2016) is the middle chapter of the trilogy. Displayed as a panoramic projection in the gallery space, the work could be described as a post-mortem analysis of a recently deceased species: humankind. The animation sketches a fertile Darwinian playground in which new mutant beings interact with older beasts. The scenario is “managed” by an Artificial Intelligence, a robot figure designated with governing powers. The AI proceeds to “resurrect” the remains of a 21st century human, inserting the revived human figure into this dystopian future. Another character, Shiba Emissary, a canine super-pet, is sent to extract information relating to 21st century “stress” as it affects humans.

Ian Cheng, 'EMISSARY FORKS AT PERFECTION', 2015-2017, live simulation, infinite duration, sound. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Foundation Louis Vuitton.

Ian Cheng, ‘Emissary Forks at Perfection’, 2015-2017, live simulation, infinite duration, sound. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Where is the artwork?

While each enunciation of the work is different and governed by the random logic of the video game engine, the structure of the artwork is designed to follow a loose narrative controlled by the artist through the contained set of possible environments (or geometric planes) and defined set of characters, each of whom has been given certain tendencies or behaviours.

The computer-generated simulations used in the work are similar to those used by predictive technologies applied in complex scenarios, such as measuring climate change or polling in elections. By drawing attention to the inherent tensions between narrative design and chance in his own works and the use of such “live simulation” logics across the public sphere, Ian Cheng poses a question about causality, impunity and who is in control of the unfolding of events in a given situation.

With the work hovering between artistic intention and software restrictions, the viewer is left wondering: what is and is not controlled by Cheng? How much control does the game engine have in terms of guiding the final product? In this sense Ian Cheng’s critique of the relations between narrative design and change spill into an art critique of the conditions of production of the artwork: what, or where, exactly is the artwork if it is in constant transformation?

Ian Cheng, 'EMISSARY FORKS FOR YOU', 2016, Google tablets. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Foundation Louis Vuitton.

Ian Cheng, ‘Emissary Forks For You’, 2016, Google tablets. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Site-specific virtual relationality

Emissary Forks For you (2016) is a development of the previous work, this time focusing more closely on the relationship between the human viewer and the Shiba Emissary pet character. The work is an augmented-reality simulation echoing the new Google Tango tablet, a platform recently released that allows any mobile device to identify its exact position in relation to its surroundings without using GPS or other external signals.

Ian Cheng, 'EMISSARY FORKS FOR YOU', 2016, Google tablets. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Foundation Louis Vuitton.

Ian Cheng, ‘Emissary Forks For You’, 2016, Google tablets. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Visitors are invited to use tablets to interact with the Shiba Emissary character, making use of Espace’s wifi and effectively materialising the galleries’ virtual space as a real space to be explored and interacted with. Shiba Emissary invites visitors to “browse” and “wander around” the neighbouring virtual space in the Louis Vuitton hall. As Shiba Emissary gives increasingly direct verbal instructions to the viewer, the viewer assumes a new role: that of Shiba’s pet. Here Ian Cheng confuses the distinction between viewer and character, participant and player, controller and controlled.

Ian Cheng, 'THOUSAND ISLANDS THOUSAND LAWS', 2013, live simulation, infinite duration, sound. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Foundation Louis Vuitton.

Ian Cheng, ‘Thousand Islands Thousand Laws’, 2013, live simulation, infinite duration, sound. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Self-contained ecologies: “they have their own laws”

Also included in the exhibition is Cheng’s earlier simulation Thousand Islands Thousand Laws (2013), presented for the first time as a room-sized LED screen. Like the “Emissary Trilogy”, Thousand Islands Thousand Laws creates a complex and unpredictable self-contained ecology with multiple plotlines that often produce violent and unpredictable situations. The protagonist of the video is an urban soldier carrying a gun – a figure Cheng stole from a real video game – who stands in a blank landscape decorated by birds and plants.

Ian Cheng, 'THOUSAND ISLANDS THOUSAND LAWS', 2013, live simulation, infinite duration, sound. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Foundation Louis Vuitton.

Ian Cheng, ‘Thousand Islands Thousand Laws’, 2013, live simulation, infinite duration, sound. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Originally designed as mere landscape decoration, the birds and plants unexpectedly began to attack the character, gaining agency in the simulation and thus imbued with narrative force. When asked about his reaction to this surprising innovation to his original storyline, Ian Cheng stated:

The soldier, the birds, the plants, have their own laws […], but in overlaying them, the idea was that some kind of implicit law would emerge in how they organize themselves, how they negotiate being together with conflicting scripts.

In this “video-game” the gunman, a flock of herons and an island of plants endlessly mix and mutate – not only in shape and behaviour but also in status: as protagonists, as extras and props. The camera moves through the simulation like a nature documentarian, uncertain as to what in the frame is of interest. The camera thus becomes synonymous with the viewer – a keen onlooker hedged nervously on every possible emergent story.

Click here to watch Ian Cheng’s Serpentine Galleries’ digital commission “Bad Corgi” on YouTube

Navigating chaos in the neurological gym 

The notion of navigating chaos, embodied in Thousand Islands Thousand Laws as “documentarian”, stands at the heart of the artist’s practice. A recent digital commission from the Serpentine Galleries entitled Bad Corgi (2017) is another interactive simulation, but this time available for download as an app. Players are encouraged to win and loose points as well as experience loss of control over another canine character. Bad Corgi reflects, as the press material states, “on the human mind’s mercurial states of focus, distraction, discipline and, an uncanny ability to become possessed by an inner impulsive autopilot”. About the work, Cheng has stated:

I see my simulations as a kind of neurological gym in which art becomes a means to deliberately exercise the feelings of confusion, anxiety and cognitive dissonance that can accompany life in a world of intense change and uncertainty. In this way Bad Corgi functions as a shadowy mindfulness tool about refusing to eradicate stress and anxiety, and instead learning to deliberately setup and collaborate with those bad-feeling feelings.

Ian Cheng, 'EMISSARY FORKS AT PERFECTION', 2015-2017, live simulation, infinite duration, sound. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Foundation Louis Vuitton.

Ian Cheng, ‘Emissary Forks at Perfection’, 2015-2017, live simulation, infinite duration, sound. Image courtesy the artist, Pilar Corrias Gallery London, Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Bad Corgi and the works on display at Espace Louis Vuitton, reveal the influence of the artist’s education in Cognitive Science, as well as his stints working for George Lucas’s special effects company Industrial Light & Magic. Cheng’s practice is thus characterised by his fascination with the dynamics of unpredictable systems. The algorithmic modelling techniques the artist has encountered in the gaming industry are appropriated and diverted towards creating complex virtual objects and characters.

In our image-saturated world, Ian Cheng warns us away from being the keen documentarian who awaits the emergence of a narrative that makes any sense, advising us to pay more attention to the underlying arbitrary structures of the algorithms that create them.

Rebecca Close

1695

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“Ovid in Exile”: British artist Rachel Kneebone’s first solo show in Asia at White Cube, Hong Kong

The exhibition showcases the artist’s porcelain sculptures and drawings, which explore ideas of metamorphosis, evolution and desire.

British artist Rachel Kneebone references both classicism and surrealism while paying homage to Ovid, a prolific Roman poet who was exiled by Emperor Augustus.

Rachel Kneebone, "Ovid in Exile", 27 May - 19 August 2017, White Cube Hong Kong. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Kitmin Lee).

Rachel Kneebone, “Ovid in Exile”, 27 May – 19 August 2017, White Cube Hong Kong. Image courtesy © Rachel Kneebone. Photo: © White Cube (Kitmin Lee).

The solo exhibition “Ovid in Exile” is British sculptor Rachel Kneebone’s first in Hong Kong and China. Located in the 6000 square feet gallery space designed by London-based architects Maybank & Matthews, the show includes Kneebone’s new porcelain sculptures, as well as pencil drawings on paper. “Ovid in Exile” is on view at White Cube, Hong Kong from 27 May to 19 August 2017.

Portrait of the artist Rachel Kneebone. Courtesy David Bebber.

Portrait of the artist Rachel Kneebone. Image courtesy David Bebber.

Born in 1973 in Oxfordshire, Rachel Kneebone is known for her sculptural works that capture the fluidity of movements and the intensity of emotions. They embody the tension between figurative and abstract. Her works have been exhibited widely, including among others at Brooklyn Museum, New York; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Camden Arts Centre, London; Barbican Centre, London; 1st Kiev Biennale Arsenale, Ukraine; Busan Biennale, South Korea; and the 17th Biennale of Sydney.

Recently, her ongoing exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, features a large-scale five-metre high porcelain tower of entitled 399 Days. Simultaneously, White Cube presents another solo show of the artist as part of a special project at Glyndebourne, East Sussex.

Art Radar takes a look at some of Kneebone’s works in the Hong Kong exhibition.

Rachel Kneebone, 'Daphne', 2015, porcelain. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby).

Rachel Kneebone, ‘Daphne’, 2015, porcelain. Image courtesy © Rachel Kneebone. Photo: © White Cube (Ben Westoby).

Ovid in Exile

The title of the show draws from ancient Roman history, and particularly, that of Ovid (43 BC – 17 AD), whose full name was Publius Ovidius Naso, a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus (31 BC – 14 AD) in the Roman Empire. His witty love poetry won the hearts of many and his well-known influential literary works include Metamorphoses and Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love). During 8 AD, he was exiled by the emperor to Tomis in the Black Sea region for unknown reasons. Augustus had been implementing moral reforms during his rule, leading to the speculation that the cause of Ovid’s punishment was due to Ovid’s alleged immorality. Kneebone’s works take inspiration from Ovid’s writing, and his exploration of love, sensuality, death and the pleasures of the human body, and our connection to life and nature.

Rachel Kneebone, 'Daphne', 2015, porcelain. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby).

Rachel Kneebone, ‘Daphne’, 2015, porcelain. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby).

Exploring human condition and morality

In her sculptural work Daphne, Kneebone depicts intertwined limbs stretching upwards. The work exudes sensuality, drawing attention to the anxiety that exists between physical limitations and morality. Kneebone’s sculptures address the theme of life cycles and explore the notions of emergence, ecstasy, transformation, mourning, loss and renewal.

In a press release, the form and subject of Kneebone’s art are described as

Flowers, tendrils, body parts, spheres and more abstract elements are amassed and built up, appearing to merge and multiply, as if in a state of continuous flux or struggle.

Rachel Kneebone, 'Pupa', 2016, porcelain. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby).

Rachel Kneebone, ‘Pupa’, 2016, porcelain. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby).

Nature, life and death

In Pupa, motifs of flowers and larvae hint at the celebration of life. Fragmented pieces of clay are arranged in a way that resembles flower petals. However, the ambivalence between life and death prevails as these flower-like details are reminiscent of festive garlands and morbid funeral wreaths.

While the material itself is heavy and solid, the sculpted details are delicate and soft. This polarity is a defining characteristic of Kneebone’s oeuvre.

Rachel Kneebone, 'Pupa', 2016, porcelain. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby).

Rachel Kneebone, ‘Pupa’, 2016, porcelain. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Ben Westoby).

Rachel Kneebone, "Ovid in Exile", 27 May - 19 August 2017, White Cube Hong Kong. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Kitmin Lee).

Rachel Kneebone, “Ovid in Exile”, 27 May – 19 August 2017, White Cube Hong Kong. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Kitmin Lee).

Materiality and experimentation

At an artist talk at White Cube, Hong Kong, Kneebone explained her approach towards the medium of porcelain:

I chose to work with porcelain, initially because of its whiteness. Because I felt that if I kept the work white, then it would not lock out meaning the same way colour does. So I feel that the quality to my work from the whiteness…the meaning is very fluid and the work is ambiguous.

Besides the effect of the colour of porcelain on the meaning of her work, she commented on her experience with experimenting with the material:

But then the actual physical experience of working with porcelain pushes my work to become how it is. […] It’s a somewhat difficult material to work with because it is very definite. […] When I started working with porcelain, I didn’t do a lot of research as to what you can do with porcelain and what you can’t do with porcelain […] because I just got on with making it. I think in a way that has enabled me to push the material to do things that people generally think are not possible. But impossible just means it hasn’t been done yet.

Rachel Kneebone, "Ovid in Exile", 27 May - 19 August 2017, White Cube Hong Kong. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Kitmin Lee).

Rachel Kneebone, “Ovid in Exile”, 27 May – 19 August 2017, White Cube Hong Kong. © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (Kitmin Lee).

Unpredictablility, chance and metamorphosis

The reaction of porcelain when fired in a kiln is unpredictable, and the artist chooses to allow this to be part of her creative process. The first notable transformation is the shrinking of the work during the process. During the biscuit stage, when the work is fired but has not been glazed yet, shavings of clay plus traces of sculpting are left on the work to give it texture. Furthermore, the application of the white glaze may join or push apart the fissures and cracks created in the firing process. The factor of chance contributes to the final outcome of the work, which differs radically from the initial stage.

Rachel Kneebone, 'Ovid in Exile' I, 2016, pencil on paper, 23 3/8 x 16 9/16 in (59.4 x 42 cm), 25 1/16 x 18 1/4 x 1 1/2 in (63.7 x 46.3 x 3.8 cm) (framed). © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (George Darrell).

Rachel Kneebone, ‘Ovid in Exile I’, 2016, pencil on paper, 23 3/8 x 16 9/16 in (59.4 x 42 cm), 25 1/16 x 18 1/4 x 1 1/2 in (63.7 x 46.3 x 3.8 cm) (framed). © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (George Darrell).

In the same artist talk, Kneebone spoke about letting go of the idea of control or manipulation of the material:

I’m not interested in controlling it…because the unpredictability of it and the fact that it changes and responds on its own terms is much more interesting to me. If it’s just me making, then I am the restriction on my work, because I can only make what I know how to make. […] So the minute I step back from having [control] as my intent, and allow the material to respond and do what it does, that’s the minute I start to making something interesting with my work, because it is more than I am.

Rachel Kneebone, 'Ovid in Exile' VIII, 2016, pencil on paper, 16 9/16 x 23 3/8 in (42 x 59.4 cm), 18 1/4 x 25 1/16 x 1 1/2 in (46.3 x 63.7 x 3.8 cm) (framed). © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (George Darrell).

Rachel Kneebone, ‘Ovid in Exile VIII’, 2016, pencil on paper, 16 9/16 x 23 3/8 in (42 x 59.4 cm), 18 1/4 x 25 1/16 x 1 1/2 in (46.3 x 63.7 x 3.8 cm) (framed). © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (George Darrell).

Rachel Kneebone, 'Ovid in Exile IX', 2016, pencil on paper, 16 9/16 x 23 3/8 in (42 x 59.4 cm), 18 1/4 x 25 1/16 x 1 1/2 in (46.3 x 63.7 x 3.8 cm) (framed). © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (George Darrell).

Rachel Kneebone, ‘Ovid in Exile IX’, 2016, pencil on paper, 16 9/16 x 23 3/8 in (42 x 59.4 cm), 18 1/4 x 25 1/16 x 1 1/2 in (46.3 x 63.7 x 3.8 cm) (framed). © Rachel Kneebone. Photo © White Cube (George Darrell).

In the exhibition, a series of two-dimentional pencil on paper drawings portray intertwined and overlapping limbs. The gently outlined forms capture the suspended motion of connecting and disconnecting, as if the limbs are weightless in mid-air. The drawings provide insight into Kneebone’s process of artistic creation.

Valencia Tong

1722

Related Topics: British artists, drawing, sculpture, gallery shows, events in Hong Kong

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Working magic into materials: the sculpted forms of Ranjani Shettar at Talwar Gallery, New Delhi

The sculpted forms of Ranjani Shettar animate inside the gallery space.

In her latest solo exhibition running until 12 August 2017 at Talwar Gallery in New Delhi, Indian artist Ranjani Shettar presents a series of sculpted works that derive from her observations of the natural world and our relationship with it.

Ranjani Shettar, 'Honeysuckle and mercury in a thick midnight plot', 2016, rosewood, teak wood and stainless steel, 90 x 112 x 21 in. Image courtesy the artist and Talwar Gallery, New York / New Delhi.

Ranjani Shettar, ‘Honeysuckle and Mercury in a Thick Midnight Plot’, 2016, rosewood, teak wood and stainless steel, 90 x 112 x 21 in. Image courtesy the artist and Talwar Gallery, New York / New Delhi.

Indian artist Ranjani Shettar’s ongoing solo at Talwar Gallery, New Delhi is a wonderland of sculpted forms that appear in suspended animation. Drawn from her observations of the natural world, Shettar’s skill in punctuating the sensual and tactile elements of nature elevates dense materials into objects that float and pulsate with latent energy. Her forms respond to the ebb and flow of growth and decay, largely unseen by the human eye.

The exhibition “Bubble trap and a double bow” hosts a body of work made between 2011 and 2016 that continues the artist’s interest in materials and its recalibration into pliant forms, either as a whole or as repetitive multiples, assembled in rhythmic suspension. The title of her exhibition is drawn from a work of bent walnut wood that belies its inherent hardness. Like the bubble that is shaped as a sphere owing to the surface tension of the material within which it occurs, the piece Bubble trap and a double bow (2016) is a masterpiece of resistance packaged within a lithe form.

Ranjani Shettar, 'Bubble trap and a double bow;, 2016, bent walnut and automotive paint, 38 x 111 x 1.75 in. Image courtesy the artist and Talwar Gallery, New York / New Delhi.

Ranjani Shettar, ‘Bubble Trap and a Double Bow’, 2016, bent walnut and automotive paint, 38 x 111 x 1.75 in. Image courtesy the artist and Talwar Gallery, New York / New Delhi.

Shettar’s committed employment of traditional craft techniques in the meticulous making of her sculptures speaks of her deep engagement with her environment, reflected also in her choice to live in the countryside on the outskirts of Bangalore, India. Where home, studio and laboratory merge, mundane phenomena become her specimens, translating into art experiments that underscore the charm and mystery of nature. This is well articulated in the wispy Open wings of a precious secret (2016) installed diagonally in a corner of the gallery, which creates whisker-like shadows that mitigate the severity of its stainless steel frame, swathed in dyed muslin fabric and tamarind kernel flour paste.

Ranjani Shettar, (backgroun) 'Open wings of a precious secret', 2016, stainless steel, dyed muslin fabric and tamarind kernel flour paste, 131 x 154 x 128 in, and (foreground) 'Lattice' 2016, stainless steel, dyed muslin and tamarind kernel flour paste, 39 x 40 x 1 in. Image courtesy the artist and Talwar Gallery, New York / New Delhi.

Ranjani Shettar, (background) ‘Open Wings of a Precious Secret’, 2016, stainless steel, dyed muslin fabric and tamarind kernel flour paste, 131 x 154 x 128 in; (foreground) ‘Lattice’, 2016, stainless steel, dyed muslin and tamarind kernel flour paste, 39 x 40 x 1 in. Image courtesy the artist and Talwar Gallery, New York / New Delhi.

Akin to musical notes that are orchestrated into a melodic composition, works like Morning Song (2016) made of hand turned lacquered wood and pigments, as well as How long before another turn (2016) made of beeswax, pigments, wooden beads and polyester threads, waft like a gentle breeze in the spaces they inhabit. Immersive in their manner of presentation, the works articulate a purposeful equilibrium that successfully echoes the natural order of things.

There is a large measure of playful candor within the calculated arrangements of materials that keeps the viewer’s eye spellbound. For instance, Sama, a form of active Sufi meditation of which whirling is most common, finds spirit in the pair of teak wood sculptures that share the same title. Protruding from the wall, the work seems to be momentarily frozen mid-whirl, arrested in motion.

Ranjani Shettar, 'Sama', 2016, teak, 33 x 44 x 29 in. Image courtesy the artist and Talwar Gallery, New York / New Delhi.

Ranjani Shettar, ‘Sama’, 2016, teak, 33 x 44 x 29 in. Image courtesy the artist and Talwar Gallery, New York / New Delhi.

Ranjani Shettar, 'Morning Song' (detail), 2016, hand turned lacquered wood and pigments, 132 x 336 x 5 in.

Ranjani Shettar, ‘Morning Song’ (detail), 2016, hand turned lacquered wood and pigments, 132 x 336 x 5 in.

Shettar also presents a series of Song Books (I-IV) (2015), monotypes in ivory and blue along with a block printed scroll of henna-dyed muslin entitled Liana’s lullaby (2015). Better known as a sculptor, she has over the years produced both small and large scale prints, mostly woodblocks that enable narration in finer textures and more acute delicacy.

Her use of material – organic or industrial – and their application, whether woven, carved, moulded or printed, speak of a multi-layered, and often, fraught relationship humans share with both nature and technology. The exhibition culminates in an outdoor sculpture, Where in time is now (2016), a three-part steel structure affixed with wooden wheels at its ends that aptly questions the dynamic between the past and the present through the materials themselves.

Kanika Anand

1727

Related Topics: Indian artists, nature, installation, sculpture, gallery shows, events in New Delhi

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Iranian artist Mohammad Bozorgi exhibits “Dance in the Dark” at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai during Ramadan – in pictures

Combining a fierce command of the traditional art form with new techniques, Mohammad Bozorgi is transforming calligraphy practice.

“Dance in the Dark” features many new works, including never before seen silkscreen prints.

Mohammad Bozorgi at the exhibition "Dance in the Dark" at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Mohammad Bozorgi at the exhibition “Dance in the Dark” (2017) at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

From 23 May to 30 August 2017, Ayyam Gallery Dubai (DIFC) exhibits “Dance in the Dark”, a solo exhibition by Tehran-based artist Mohammad Bozorgi (b. 1978). The exhibition coincides with Ramadan, and features new paintings and silkscreen prints in Bozorgi’s trademark style.

Installation of Mohammad Bozorgi's "Dance in the Dark" at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Installation of Mohammad Bozorgi’s “Dance in the Dark” (2017) at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

An accomplished calligrapher, Bozorgi originally studied biomedical engineering before turning to visual arts at the Society of Iranian Calligraphers. Refining his creative practice, Bozorgi became well known as a part of a new generation of calligraphers. He developed stylised characters based on his knowledge of ten distinct Arabic and Persian scripts, extending the calligraphy tradition through experimental formalism.

Mohammad Bozorgi, 'Eternity', 2017, 146 x 144.5 cm, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Mohammad Bozorgi, ‘Eternity’, 2017, 146 x 144.5 cm, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Bozorgi creates precise mathematical structures and symmetry in his work, innovating the form of the script while maintaining its meaning. In an interview, he explained his practice and what led him to experiment with the traditional form:

After all these classical practices, I started to work with canvases, colours and other materials, I studied graphic and was really keen to try new things, just like now. I have no fear to deform the letters, similar to a child playing with kid’s clay! Unlike many other calligraphers, I prefer to suffuse my canvas from letters, as Jackson Pollock did by colours. I am living with words and letters, they are dynamic in my works and frames cannot restrict their motion.

Installation of Mohammad Bozorgi's "Dance in the Dark" at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Installation view of Mohammad Bozorgi’s “Dance in the Dark” (2017) at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Mohammad Bozorgi, 'Heart with No Reason', 2017, 155 x 155 cm, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Mohammad Bozorgi, ‘Heart with No Reason’, 2017, 155 x 155 cm, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Bozorgi draws from many influences in his creative practice, including Jackson Pollock, Escher, Andy Warhol, Victor Vazarely and Iranian calligrapher Mr. Movahhed. He pushes his work in new directions with the belief that calligraphers now need to develop their own way of communicating because “over centuries and decades, our leading calligraphers have said what we should say. So we must try to bring new forms to grab the attention of viewers.”

Mohammad Bozorgi, 'Mania and Sanity', 2017, 150 x 215 cm, mixed media on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Mohammad Bozorgi, ‘Mania and Sanity’, 2017, 150 x 215 cm, mixed media on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Mohammad Bozorgi, 'Inner Enthusiasm', 2017, 150 x 217 cm, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Mohammad Bozorgi, ‘Inner Enthusiasm’, 2017, 150 x 217 cm, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

The exhibition “Dance in the Dark” features many new works from Bozorgi, including silkscreen prints, which are a new direction for his practice and are displayed for the first time. The prints are another example of how he pushes the boundaries of the traditional form. Bozorgi developed his own printmaking tools that could accommodate the centuries-old tradition of calligraphy, as well as allowing printmaking techniques to influence him in new directions.

Installation of Mohammad Bozorgi's "Dance in the Dark" at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Installation view of Mohammad Bozorgi’s “Dance in the Dark” (2017) at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

The theme of this exhibition takes off from the 2016 show “Against the Darkness”, also held at Ayyam Gallery Dubai. Both exhibitions seek to throw light on beauty and hope, rather than the wars that are ravaging the Middle East. Filled with colour, the works contemplate the splendour of the universe, with particular focus on the tranquillity and magnificence of the natural world.

Mohammad Bozorgi, 'Theosophy', 2017, 160 x 160 cm, mixed media on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Mohammad Bozorgi, ‘Theosophy’, 2017, 160 x 160 cm, mixed media on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

In an interview, Bozorgi describes how he attempts to convey emotion and experiences in his work:

It is difficult to show some sense of emotion with pure calligraphy. Calligraphy (compared to painting, photography or video art) has no potential to show subject matter such as war, peace, poverty, or hunger. I have tried to convey meaning with colour, meaningful words, composition, and in the titles of works. For example, in Martyred Child (Damascus) I have written the following words in Arabic: history, martyred child, freedom, war, regret, tears, and blood, in order to show our responsibility to history.

Mohammad Bozorgi, 'Blossoms Rain', 2017, 150 x 157 cm, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

Mohammad Bozorgi, ‘Blossoms Rain’, 2017, 150 x 157 cm, acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy Ayyam Gallery.

In another of the works in the exhibition, Blossoms Rain (2017), Bozorgi uses greens, blues and purples to evoke organic forms resting on a grey bedrock, alluding to a sense of infinite space through his trademark use of colour and pattern.

Claire Wilson

1723

Related topics: Iranian artists, calligraphy, Islamic art, spiritual art, events in Dubai

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Exploring abstraction in art: “That Was Then, This is Now” at Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore

Five artists in the exhibition “That Was Then, This is Now” explore notions of abstractions.

Running until 25 June 2017, the group show at Sullivan+Strumpf in Singapore looks at the progression of abstraction in the modern art context through the work of contemporary artists Jeremy Sharma, Irfan Hendrian, Faisal Habibi, Matthew Allen and Young Rim Lee.

"That Was Then, This Is Now", 13 May - 25 June 2016, Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf.

“That Was Then, This Is Now”, 13 May – 25 June 2016, installation view at Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf.

Sullivan+Strumpf Singapore’s latest exhibition “That was Then, This is Now” is billed as exploring notions of abstraction. It is a description which calls to mind two-dimensional artworks on canvas, an impression which a quick glance at the exhibition seemingly confirms – planes of various colours and textures coolly suspended within a white cube.

Going beyond this cursory inspection suggests instead a focus on foregrounding the materials used by each artist. The assemblages of Faisal Habibi are of particular note in this regard, standing out both through the use of industrial materials and in supplying the exhibition’s sole freestanding work, This Thing #11 (2016). Faisal’s materials seem drawn from the commonplace, mundane experience of urban life, bringing together fragments which suggest homes, offices, shopping malls and so on: woodgrain (and solid-hued) laminate panels, sheets of translucent plexiglas, and bent steel tubes reminiscent of clothes-hangers and door-handles.

Faisal Habibi, 'This Thing #11', 2016, painted steel and plywood, 180 x 76 x 70 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Faisal Habibi, ‘This Thing #11’, 2016, painted steel and plywood, 180 x 76 x 70 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Faisal Habibi, 'This Thing #16', 2017, wood, steel and plexiglass, 140 x 100 cm. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

Faisal Habibi, ‘This Thing #16’, 2017, wood, steel and plexiglass, 140 x 100 cm. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

The frankness of the materials is further underlined by the unconcealed fasteners which unite these disparate materials, and the precise angles at which these parts are joined – leaning towards manufacture and assembly, rather than some rarefied art.

More organic in character are the works of Young Rim Lee: while ‘acrylic on wood’ satisfies a literal definition of the materials used in her artworks, two of them are further distinguished in being somewhat irregular in form, suggesting rectilinearity and the flat picture plane without wholly conforming to the same. Blue Rectangle (2016) has its titular shape occupied mostly by a void, with the overall form of the work suggesting the serendipitous assembly of several pieces of driftwood. As if a counterpoint to Faisal’s artificial woodgrain, the grain of Young’s wood remains clear through the matte acrylic, which in this instance appears to be significantly weathered, as if exposed to the elements.

Young Rim Lee, 'Blue Rectangle', 2016, acrylic on wood, 126 x 130 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Young Rim Lee, ‘Blue Rectangle’, 2016, acrylic on wood, 126 x 130 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

There is a pleasant surprise to the second piece that is, however, rather neutralised by knowing the title in advance, for which the label-free walls of the gallery’s interior are wholly appropriate. At a distance, there is little to no sign of the titular colour of Turquoise Strip (2014), which presents at first glance a wash of ochre-tinged warmth. The strip itself protrudes from the artwork’s surface, visible only at a particular range of angles, an abrupt emergence of complementary colour which might amount to a mild perceptual shock.

Young Rim Lee, 'Turquoise Strip', 2014, acrylic on wood, 110 x 122 cm (side view). Image courtesy the artist.

Young Rim Lee, ‘Turquoise Strip’, 2014, acrylic on wood, 110 x 122 cm (side view). Image courtesy the artist.

"That Was Then, This Is Now", 13 May - 25 June 2016, Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf.

“That Was Then, This Is Now”, 13 May – 25 June 2016, installation view at Sullivan+Strumpf, Singapore. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf.

Tucked in a corner of the gallery is one of the exhibition’s more unusual works, a multimedia installation by Jeremy Sharma, a recent addition to the list of artists represented by Sullivan+Strumpf. Entitled Annunciation (2017), the enigmatic work’s relationship with its title is first suggested by the presence of a public address system, complete with the sort of horn speaker that one might expect to find belting out recorded fire drill alerts and the like. The audio setup remains silent, for the most part, a visual supplement to the work’s other main component, but sound pours forth every thirty minutes – perhaps once within the average span of a gallery visit, in other words.

Jeremy Sharma, 'The Anunciation', 2017, custom programme, 4 channel LED with acrylic lens system, metal rack, power data supply and horn speaker with amplifier, dimensions variable (installation view). Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

Jeremy Sharma, ‘The Annunciation’, 2017, custom programme, 4 channel LED with acrylic lens system, metal rack, power data supply and horn speaker with amplifier, dimensions variable. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

Among the sound snippets is a snatch of maudlin song, apparently excerpted from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s critically acclaimed The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964). Similarly, the work’s main visual component, a rack of three milky-white panels displaying seemingly random patterns of light, derives its visuals from the same film. With no explicit mention of this source made in the gallery, the overall experience of the work verges on the mystical – while at the same time counterbalanced by the LED panels leaning offhandedly on the wall, as if indefinitely awaiting some permanent mount.

Matthew Allen, 'Cycle 1', 2017, polished graphite on linen, 40 x 30 cm each (4 panels). Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

Matthew Allen, ‘Cycle 1’, 2017, polished graphite on linen, 40 x 30 cm each, 4 panels. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

Similarly enigmatic, at least in material terms, are a series of four strangely reflective works by Matthew Allen, entitled Cycle 1 (2017). Their uneven, silvery reflectiveness, dappled with shades of grey, resembles the weathered, tarnished appearance of old Daguerrotypes, evoking a careworn sense of age in regarding oneself (and the gallery) reflected therein. At first, this suggests the application of some metallic film to the works’ linen supports, with the texture of the cloth being evident in these reflective surfaces, but Allen has instead contrived these ethereal surfaces with polished graphite: a material more familiar in its role of mark-making in black and shades of grey.

Matthew Allen, 'Two for Winston', 2013, acrylic and oil on canvas, 91 x 91 cm (diptych). Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

Matthew Allen, ‘Two for Winston’, 2013, acrylic and oil on canvas, 91 x 91 cm, diptych. Image courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and the artist.

His other works on display are rather more materially conventional, while sharing also a sense of distance from painterly gesture, or other traces of the artist’s hand. Two for Winston (2013) appears, at a distance, to be a pair of computer-generated gradient swatches, fields of red and purple on black. Similarly, the thin washes of Flow Painting (2015), in being thin enough to reveal the paper’s underlying grain while vibrant enough to seemingly pop right off the wall, suggest some mechanical, abstract process of work.

Irfan Hendrian, 'Abrasion Contrast #8', 2015, carved paper on board, 96 x 96 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Irfan Hendrian, ‘Abrasion Contrast #8’, 2015, carved paper on board, 96 x 96 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Irfan Hendrian, 'Untitled', 2017, layers of paper on board, 42 x 70 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Irfan Hendrian, ‘Untitled’, 2017, layers of paper on board, 42 x 70 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

This sense of mechanical, iterative process – as well as a perceptual shift occasioned by inspecting the work in detail – is found also in the work of Irfan Hendrian, particularly in his “Abrasion Contrast” (2015) series. What appear to be all-over paintings resembling white noise turn out instead to be sculptural paper works of frank rawness: as the title suggests, the contrast patterns are achieved by layering white and black paper and repeatedly subjecting it, like a prospecting miner, to some abrasive, rotary tool. The sense of relief transforms these initially flat visual planes into something more like terrain, not unlike the terraced paddy fields of Southeast Asia, or perhaps the densely cratered surface of some far-flung planet.

Bruce Quek

1711

Related Topics: Abstract art, installation, painting, sculpture, gallery shows, events in Singapore

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