In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...
Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...
China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...
For the fourth consecutive year GAGPROJECTS will present at Art Dubai, we have been conscious of taking primarily artist with a connection to the region as well as promoting a fresh face to the international scene. This year for the first time we will have works by one of Australia's leading artist Imants Tillers, and following on from last years succesful presentation of works by Angela Valamanesh we will again present a new body of work by her along with stalwarts Ariel Hassan and Hossein Valamanesh.
Also included in this years iteration of Art Dubai is Nasim Nasr with her work Untitled screening in Art Dubai Cinema.
Dubai, has proven itself invaluable, introducing us to collectors from MENA and parts of Europe.
Hassan is truly an artist of the 21st century. His biography is a picture of globalized nomadism. Growing up in Argentina, he subsequently moved to Spain, where he held his first exhibition in 2003, and then to Australia, where he now lives half the year, living the other half in Berlin, Germany. Hassan works across multiple media: although principally a painter, he produces sculptures, photographs and installations, as well as works that mix all of these. Most significantly, Hassan marks his timeliness by situating himself as an artist, and most particularly as a painter, at the end of a long century of art, and at the beginning of a new century full of possibility. It is importantly from this unstable yet promising point in time that Hassan presents his attempts at meaning.
Ariel Hassan’s art is about ambiguity, and about the task of wresting meaning from its clutches. The most fundamental achievement of Hassan’s works is that they constantly achieve this aim with such elegance and grace, despite the seething complexities that lie just beneath their surface. The other key achievement of his work is to do so with a precise timeliness; an acute awareness of the historical period within which his works’ encounters with ambiguity take place. In considering Hassan’s work, ambiguity must therefore always be taken in its temporal sense, contingency.
The methodical reproduction of fluid forces in a struggle for control of the space show the appearance of something, masses of shifting abstract elements that are not clear or easy to define, but generate a phenomenon of images being virtually recreated in our minds, even tridimensionality, inexistent or illegible in the picture would become concrete as it implicates the viewer in to referencing its own reality or fantasies.
The massive deploy of minuscule brushstrokes alludes to de sovereign power of a meta-space, only grasped by a systematic reading and translating of its structure into the flatness dimension of this ambiguous technical painting, in order to prove that which does not appear visibly to the naked eye. As in Goya’s etching from ‘Los Caprichos’, “el sueño de la razón produce monstruos” , the power of the structure, sovereign from reason and overcharged with meaning, makes of complexity and the open-ended variables of reading, an ambivalent attack to reason, or to the cultural versions the might influence each of our ways of interpreting the world of images. Multiple meanings can be argued through the reading of the intricately fluid labyrinths of paint through its visual surface, but they will always be incomplete, and we must accept not being able to arrive to a closure, unless we are willing to face the monsters of our rational appearing from the shadows produced by the image.
Recalling Oswald de Andrade Manifesto Antropofágico, 1928 Brazil, the concept of cannibalism gives a second parameter for reading the political dimension and relevance of process in the work, becoming an argument to the problem of identity in our time (also of the image itself), as to the subject of proposing a space for heterosis as an outlet of our current social dysfunctions and displacements. “Only Cannibalism unites us. Socially. Economically. Philosophically.” in this first line of the manifesto it is possible to understand the possibility for generating a new identity out of the complete absorption and digestion of the colonising force.
In the painting the reproduced masses are not longer fluid, but the masses have been dismantled into small constituent units that must work together to effectively achieve complexity without bias. The image eats and digests itself absorbing meaning, eliminating cultural referents and making a constellation of its own, to be projected out to the world. No part is better than other.
“These works are a kind of homage to the work of one of Australia’s great artists, Fred Williams. In the 1970’s as a young artist I thought that Fred Williams had painted the definitive, quintessential Australian landscape. At that time, neither I nor any of my artistic peers wanted to engage with the Australian landscape tradition – we found it conservative and stifling and besides, conceptual art offered a compelling alternative. However, since the 1980’s, Aboriginal artists have spectacularly reclaimed and reinterpreted this landscape tradition, inadvertently bestowing a new relevance on Williams’ work. In his distinctive abstractions of the Australian bush, which he typically organises into a somewhat chaotic pattern of hieroglyphs, we recognise some kind of arcane language (an “ur-text”) and we see that nature, indeed, “speaks” but not in a language we can comprehend." - I.T. 2011.
Imants Tillers was born in Sydney in 1950, and in 1973 graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture (Hons), and the University Medal. Tillers has exhibited widely since the late 1960s, and has represented Australia at important international exhibitions such as the São Paulo Bienal in 1975, Documenta 7 in 1982, and the 42nd Venice Biennale in 1986. Major solo surveys of his work include Imants Tillers: works 1978 – 1988 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1988); Imants Tillers: 19301, at the National Art Gallery, Wellington (1989); Diaspora, National Art Museum, Riga, Latvia (1993); Diaspora in Context at the Pori Art Museum, Pori (1995); Towards Infinity: Works by Imants Tillers, Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO) in Monterrey, Mexico (1999); and in 2006 a major retrospective of his work, Imants Tillers: one world many visions, was held at the National Gallery of Australia.
Tillers has also exhibited in numerous group exhibitions around the world, including An Australian Accent at PS1, NY (1984); Antipodean Currents at the Guggenheim Museum, Soho (1995); Australian Perspecta (1981,1987-89); The Osaka Triennale of Painting, !990 The World Over/Under Capricorn: Art in the Age of Globalisation at the City Gallery, Wellington and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1996); the Biennale of Sydney (1979, 1986, 1988, and 2006); Kunst Nach Kunst (Art After Art), at the Neues Museum Weserburg, Germany (2003); and Prism, at the Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo (2006). Tillers has been the recipient of numerous awards and commissions, such as the Osaka Triennale Prize (Gold in 1993, Bronze in 1996, and Silver in 2001), the inaugural Beijing International Art Biennale Prize for Excellence (2003) and the Wynne Prize (2012 and 2013). He was a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2013. Tillers’ work can be found in every Australian state gallery collection, the National Gallery of Australia and many regional collections. Internationally Tillers’ work is in many significant collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, The National Museum of Art, Riga in Latvia, The Pori Art Museum, Finland, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tmaki, NZ and many others.
Angela Valamanesh is one of Australia’s most intriguing ceramic artists. Her art is aesthetically minimal and cunningly simple, allowing us to interpret universal and ever-perplexing human, animal and organic forms. valamanesh re-immerses us in the primeval rawness of form and function and, in doing so, the artist succeeds in visualising what many of her contemporaries have avoided - the symbiosis between art and science.
Angela graduated from the South Australian School of Art in 1977. In 1996 she was awarded an Anne & Gordon Samstag International visual Art Scholarship with a one year residency at Glasgow School of Art. Since then her practice has broadened to include a wider range of media and a number of collaborative public and studio works with Hossein valamanesh. Angela has exhibited her work widely within Australia and internationally, and her work is held in many public and private collections.
Hossein Valamanesh combines cultural elements from two countries: his native Iran and Australia. The result is sculptural and installation-based work relating to memory, cultural dislocation, loss, and the progression of time. The work, simultaneously strong and subtle, and occasionally playful, has gentle and poetic resonances.
Valamanesh arrived in Australia in 1973 and graduated from the South Australian School of Art in 1977. Since graduating has held over 30 solo exhibitions and is represented in museums throughout Australia and internationally.
“Most works of art have within them the seed of an idea and the opportunity of exhibiting them may make it possible for these seeds to grow in the viewers mind with different interpretations. My original idea is only the beginning and I also follow the development of the work with interest. It is by our looking at the works that they realise their potential”. – Hossein valamanesh, artist statement, 2005.
Architecture of the Sky, 1 & 2, 2014 is based on brick patterns of the vaulted ceiling in a mosque in Isfahan.
Hasti Masti, 2015 plays with two Farsi words that are similar in sound and connected in meaning, Hasti meaning existence and Masti intoxication. The two words have been extensively used in Persian poetry with many different connotations.
Iranian-born artist Nasim Nasr who has lived in Australia since 2008 explores and comments on both specific and universal cultural concerns in contemporary society through performative, photographic and screen based work. Her work deals with notions of self-censorship, female oppression, the transience of identity, and issues that face the global community in the context of civil and social unrest.
“I’ve been frequently asked why I make this art and the answer is because I am in Australia, and this is something I can’t do inside my country. Now I’ve got all my freedom... but there is displacement between my past and present. It naturally comes to my mind always to think about what I was experiencing, my past... the difficulties women are experiencing... I’m really not free from these things, they are always with me, like a shadow.”
Nasr completed a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design at the Art University of Tehran, Iran in 2006, and a Master of visual Arts (Research) at the SA School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia, in 2011.
Nasim has had solo exhibitions in Tehran, Singapore and Australia including the 2014 TarraWarra Biennial: Whisper in My Mask, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Melbourne.
“The repetitive chant of “I believe in love” manifests a non-denominational universalism in belief, both as announcement and affirmation, of a philosophy of compassion, harmony and goodness in a contemporary world of intolerance and indifference.
The words “I believe in love” symbolically and metaphorically fill the cupped hands, which are then passed over the speaker’s face and head, much like in the act of washing or blessing, suggesting the essential nature or soul of the speaker in this universal hope for humanity. Living with and exercising a desire to believe in love can unify all differences.”
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