Art Radar profiles 8 artists from Asia, the Middle East and Africa at Art Paris Art Fair 2015.
Just over a week after Art Basel Hong Kong’s closing, Art Paris Art Fair launches at the end of March, with a focus on Southeast Asian art and Singapore as a guest of honour. Art Radar brings you 8 artists who are having solo presentations at this year’s edition of the fair.
Art Paris Art Fair 2015 runs from 26 to 29 March and showcases modern and contemporary art, with 145 participating galleries from twenty countries worldwide. Having previously focused on Russia and China, the 2015 edition sees Singapore and Southeast Asia as the guests of honour.
The regional platform is directed by curator, researcher and Southeast Asia specialist Iola Lenzi. Featured galleries from Singapore include:
- Art Plural Gallery
- Element Art Space
- STPI Gallery
- Sundaram Tagore Gallery
- Yeo Workshop
- Chan Hampe Galleries
The last two galleries skipped Art Basel Hong Kong to be able to attend the fair in France. The Southeast Asian artists on show at the booths represent the art scenes of Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.
Additionally, a number of galleries in the main Galleries sector will display the work of Southeast Asian artists, such as Myanmar’s Aung Ko at Primo Marella, Vietnam’s Dinh Q. Le and Bui Cong Khanh at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, and from the Philippines, Manuel Ocampo at Nathalie Obadia and Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan at Hélène Bailly.
Another novelty of this year’s fair is the record number of solo shows: 35 galleries are presenting the work of artists from around the world. Art Radar profiles eight artists from Asia, the Middle East and Africa who are having solo presentations.
1. Niloufar Banisadr (Iran) | 55Bellechasse
Born in Tehran in 1973, Paris-based Niloufar Banisadr works primarily with photography to create works that she defines as “abstract, narrative, contrasted, harmonious, and aesthetic”. Banisadr believes that art “should and may breed elevation, not controversy”. Her oeuvre reflects the duality of her cultural experience and is inspired by Western and Eastern aesthetics, as well as cultural constructs.
The artist explores the complexities of being an Iranian woman educated by a traditional family, living in a country where female emancipation has come a long way. In her work, she reflects on the conflict between freedom and censorship, centred around issues of gender, and on her own quotidian process of emancipation.
2. Fouad Bellamine (Morocco) | Galerie Frédéric Moisan
Fouad Bellamine was born in Fez in 1950 and has been exhibiting his paintings since 1972. As a result of his interest in the debate on the problems of identity in Morocco and its repercussion on art and culture in the 1970s, the artist believes that “there is no Moroccan painting, only Moroccan painters”.
Bellamine’s painting has evolved throughout his career, and yet has retained a minimalist abstract style that expresses a unique relationship with light, its manifestation and manipulation on canvas. Architectural forms are a recurrent subject in his work, inspired by the medina of Fez, such as dome ceilings, whitewashed walls and skylines, re-interpreted through abstract techniques like smears, drips and movement.
3. Ren Hang (China) | Galerie Nicholas Hugo
Beijing-based poet and photographer Ren Hang (b. 1978, Chang Chun, Jilin Province) is a rising star of Chinese photography, who uses provocative and explicit imagery that has often been censored in his native country. Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped the artist from garnering international attention and showing his work worldwide.
In 2013, he was part of “FUCK OFF 2” (2013), an exhibition curated by Ai Weiwei in the Netherlands. Ren’s work is at times erotic and sexually ambiguous, boldly exposing the nude in strange poses and with unlikely accessories, such as an iguana. His oeuvre is characterised by hints of violence, a ubiquitous sense of weirdness and sexual innuendos.
4. Jane Lee (Singapore) | Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Singaporean Jane Lee’s (b. 1963) use of inventive techniques and innovative materials explores the very nature of the medium of painting. By manipulating stretcher, canvas and paint in unconventional ways, she “re-examines the significance of painting and the relevance of contemporary art practice.” The sculptural quality of Lee’s work gives it a tactile and sensuous texture.
At times, Lee avoids the canvas to paint directly with acrylic onto wooden stretchers, creating hollow, three-dimensional objects. Movement is an inextricable characteristic of her work, which lends it the appearance of the everyday and familiar, such as a hose, a carpet or a door. The display is also unusual, spanning from wall hangings to floor and room corners, thereby using the space as a medium.
5. Hur Kyung-Ae (South Korea) | Kálmán Makláry Fine Arts
Born in 1977 in Gwang-Ju, Paris-based Hur Kuyng-Ae creates works that explore the boundaries between painting and sculpture. Surface and materials are of extreme importance in her practice, which makes use of bright colours and a subdued tone to express the joy of life. The meditative atmosphere she creates gives space to a diverse range of chromatics that merge with each other, emerge from one another and fade into space.
Hur collects the fragments, dust, layers and strips of dried paint that fall off her work during her painting process and re-pastes them onto the surface, thus giving it a relief texture. Her work preserves traces of “abolishment and transformation”, akin to the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
6. Mohamed Melehi (Morocco) | Loft Art Gallery
Born in 1936 in Asilah, Mohamed Melehi is known as Morocco’s “master of modern painting”. Hovering between reality and the spirituality of abstraction, his work is characterised by a unique approach to lines and colour. Melehi has been, since the 1960s, creating a body of work that revolves around the motif of waves, which at times become vertical flames or diagonal movements across the canvas.
His research into colour and form has yielded consistently hard-edged and optical abstractions, with clean lines, clearly delineated colours and invisible brushstrokes. Melehi’s meditative art has been connected to transcendence and prayer, as well as to the waves on the beaches of Asilah, his hometown, and the gesture of writing Arabic calligraphy.
7. Dawn Ng (Singapore) | Chan Hampe Galleries
Singaporean multimedia artist Dawn Ng (b. 1982) works with collage, photography, illustration, light and installations. Her oeuvre is informed by her nomadic life and engages with notions of home, identity and nostalgia. Ng’s work resonates with pop culture, an element that is a remnant of her previous background in advertising.
The photographic series A Thing of Beauty captures installations of small, locally sourced objects, collected from a range of stores in residential Singapore – from bakeries to convenience stores. The installations function as an “anthropological documentary of things we collectively own in this day and age.”
8. Lyndi Sales (South Africa) | Galerie Maria Lund
Lyndi Sales (b. 1973, Johannesburg) works primarily with paper cut-outs and is interested in exploiting the possibilities of perception beyond our senses, and exploring the concept of time. More specifically, she seeks to slow time down in order to better observe and understand it. Central to her search is the instant that precedes a transformation – times of tension and of intersection.
Engaging with what she refers to as “the real-imaginary”, Sales believes that by surpassing the limits of perception, new paths become accessible. She strives to create a vision where everything is interconnected, as a whole rather than the fragmented reality we usually experience. Sales draws inspiration from the structures and shapes of nature – from the microcosm as well as the macrocosm.
C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia
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- Art Radar’s top 10 booths to visit at Art Basel Hong Kong 2015 – March 2015 – As Art Basel Hong Kong has finally opened its doors, Art Radar picks top 10 booths to visit at this year’s edition
- Art Stage Singapore 2015: The signature art fair of Southeast Asia – round-up – January 2015 – Art Stage Singapore 2015 strengthens its status as “the” art fair of Southeast Asia
- Six highlights from India Art Fair’s ‘Art Projects’ – January 2015 – a specially curated section at India Art Fair 2015 showcases seminal artists’ works
- Chen Zhen retrospective in Paris: Journey into Transexperience – in pictures – May 2014 – 3 sites of the Galerie Perrotin in Paris hold a retrospective of Chinese artist Chen Zhen’s work
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