I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
Lucia Koch, Clube Internacional do Recife (2006). Museu de Arte Moderno Aloíso Magalhães, Recife. Courtesy the artist.
There was a point where Lucia Koch was disturbed by the fact that most approaches to her works took them only as expressions of atmospheric changes on spaces and the alterations that light, modulated by filters, produced on human perception.
Describing her artworks as 'architectural interventions', Brazilian artist Lúcia Koch uses sculpture, photography, video, and colour filters to alter the viewer's sense of space and scale. She began creating these interventions within domestic spaces in the early 1990s, and later moved to installations within art institutions that often epmhasise existing architectural features.
Koch is perhaps best known for her use of transparent acrylic coloured sheets or Plexiglas colour correction filters to play with light and colour. For the Sharjah Biennial 11 in 2013, Koch constructed a roof-like structure from 68 filter panels in the empty courtyard of a house in Sharjah's Heritage Area. Titled Conversion, the panels were in a range of colours such as muted yellows, oranges, reds, blues, and pinks, with adjustable steel frames placed at various angles. The work played with the abundance of natural light in the courtyard, fragmenting the space into squares of varying hues. The shapes that the colours made as light fell on the floor at certain times of day also recalled the unfurling of prayer mats next to each other during Muslim prayers. Koch placed similar filters inside the alcoves of the house itself, creating naturally powered 'lightboxes' of colour in the room.
In addition to investigating architectural boundaries in Plexiglas for Conversion, she has made similar explorations in silk. For La Temperatura del Aire, exhibited at Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Caja de Burgos in Spain in 2015, Koch installed six silk curtains of various colour gradients in the gallery. These semi-walls swayed with the gentle breeze stirred by visitors who were invited to walk directly through the translucent layers. In this simple gesture, the artist made architectural boundaries fluid, delineating and re-defining the exhibition space.
Koch also uses photography to explore the boundaries of architecture. In her playful 'Fundos' series (2001–ongoing), the artist photographs the insides of empty boxes, creating disorienting and uncanny images that resemble life-size rooms. In Vinho Duplo (Double Wine) (2003), for example, the two holes in the box's 'ceiling'—originally intended to provide a view of the wine the container used to hold—now read as skylights in a small room. For the exhibition Schaurausch at OK Centrum, Linz Austri, Koch printed the photographs Lâmpada aberta (2004) and Lâmpada fechada (2001) from the 'Fundos' series at four metres tall. She then attached the reproductions to a building façade so that the box-spaces became life-size and appeared as though they were inhabitable rooms. Unlike other artists who photograph architectural models, such as Anna Carey's Californian motels or James Casebere's re-enactments of the iconic designs of Mexican architect Luis Barragán, Koch does not challenge the materiality of her miniature worlds. Instead of turning the box into a house, she explores how the box is already a house.
Koch lives and works in São Paulo.
Hélio Oiticica (1937 – 1980) is a now integral part of the New York art scene, in large measure thanks to his 2017 retrospective at the Whitney, To Organize Delirium, which provided New Yorkers with an opportunity to experience him in full.
On 1 August, Brazilian artist Antonio Dias lost a long battle to cancer at the age of 74. Beginning in the 1960s, the artist produced a vast body of work that, in formal and conceptual terms, stood in stark contrast to the sunny output of the previous decade.
THE MORNING AFTER the opening of Antonio Dias's 2009 retrospective at Daros, Zurich, the news broke that a fire in Rio had consumed the vast majority of Hélio Oiticica's work.
Antonio Dias, a Brazilian artist whose early, hot-coloured paintings needled his country’s military dictatorship, and who later turned to subtly political conceptual art while in self-imposed European exile, died on Aug. 1 in Rio de Janeiro. He was 74.
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