An Opera for Animals was first staged at Para Site in Hong Kong between 23 March and 2 June 2019, with works by over 48 artists and collectives that use opera as a metaphor for modes of contemporary, cross-disciplinary art-making. The exhibition's second iteration takes up a large portion of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai (22 June–25...
For three months from 1 June to 1 September 2019, Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong showcases MURAKAMI vs MURAKAMI, a major survey exhibition of the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Curated by Tobias Berger, head of art at Tai Kwun, and Gunnar B Kvaran, director of Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, the exhibition spans the three floors of Tai Kwun's...
Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House in London (12 June–15 September 2019) surveys more than half a century of black creativity in Britain and beyond across the fields of art, film, photography, music, design, fashion, and literature.Curated by Zak Ové, works by approximately 100 intergenerational black...
Maria Cruz, Matthys Gerber, Brendan Van Hek,Jonny Niesche, John Nixon, Andreas Reiter Raabe + Franz West, Oliver Wagner,Jonathan Zawada
CHROMA is an exhibition that revels in high-saturation, no-holds-barred, colour, with pure pigment and chromatic intensity a central player in all works. The exhibition draws together important historical works from the mid-eighties (Nixon and Gerber), 2018 works fresh from the studio (Niesche and Zawada), a guest appearance by a recent graduate (Wagner), light works (Reite- Raabe + West and Van Hek), and an eye-dazzling sea of red from Maria Cruz's million dollars project.
Matthys Gerber's classic Your Wish is My Command 1989 announces its sexy promise at the end of gallery1. This work was originally exhibited alongside a series of text paintings at Mori Gallery in 1989. These technicolour paintings were emblazoned with pithy texts, some of which were taken from song lyrics (Let it Be Me, Don' t Crush My Velvet), all of which could be read as painting imperatives. John Nixon's early blue monochrome on hessian, painted in Melbourne in 1984, makes its own declarative statement on the adjacent wall in the language of concrete abstraction. This is Nixon's work at its most reductive, with even the support of a stretcher dispensed with. Alongside Nixon's intense blue sits a painting that pulses with coin-sized red circles: Maria Cruz's Fourteen thousand, eight hundred & fifty-two. In 2006, Maria Cruz began painting money. It was a project with strict parameters; one million dollars was her goal. As of 2017 she had reached the half-way point (Five hundred thousand, two hundred & eleven was the title of her most recent exhibition). In an amusing conceit, each painting in the series is priced after the amount of one dollar coins depicted: literally the sum of the each work's constituent parts. Continuing the red and blue face-offis Brendan Van Hek's energetic neon sculpture field works (cobalt blue/ orange) 2017. First exhibited in Artspace's pivotal 2017 exhibition Superposition of three types, this architectural neon is not shy in its juxtaposition of vivid complementary colours. Oliver Wagner, a recent graduate of the National Art School Sydney, explores the chromatic values of pigment in a most direct and unique way. Paintings are constructed by sanding acrylic house paint and in this instance gently fixing the fallen dust to the raw linen base. Jonathan Zawada has produced a series of new prints for CHROMA that resemble techno camouflage—a 21st century version of William Morris patternation. Using his knowledge of fractal theory and serious coding skills, Zawada has ostensibly built nature, producing densely complex fields of intertwining foliage in impossible colours; one that represents a maze of native Australian plants, another of invasive weeds, and the third a complex combination of the two (the state of Zawada's own patch of land in the north of NSW). Zawada's fantastical, digital imagery will be gracing the sails of the Sydney Opera House for this year's Vivid Festival (May 25–June 16) in a 15 minute loop titled Metamathemagical which weaves a surreal narrative where Euclidian geometry mutates into forms as diverse as the architecture of fungi, the human figure and native flora.
In gallery 2, new sculptural works by Jonny Niesche and Brendan Van Hek occupy centre stage. Jonny Niesche has created a series of sculptures that are in fact large works in miniature. What were originally envisioned as monoliths have been scaled down and are now titled miniliths, while Niesche's signature brass strap sculptures have been shrunk to table-top size. Placed upon a Brendan Van Hek furniture sculpture; a gleaming, reflective pool of immaculate mirror, the mirror-acrylic backed miniliths exchange reflections endlessly with their support in the most generous and literal of collaborations between artists. From May 25 Jonny Niesche will be transforming the facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art for Vivid Sydney. The large scale light projec- tion, titled Virtual Vibration, will present an evolving image that brings together the cheerful dissonance of psychedelia with the formal concerns of high modernism.
Finally, flickering above the Brendan van Hek mirror composition is a rare collaborative work between the legendary artist Franz West and regular Sarah Cottier Gallery exhibitor Andreas Reiter Raabe. The two Austrians shared an intense friendship and used to met weekly in a Viennese techno bar, where they discussed art and life under the flashing lights of the club. It was in this venue that Franz suggested a new collaborative furniture work; a piece that would complement his furniture series, utilising the noise activated LED lights of the disco. He imagined it to have the form of a flower/udder. The resulting collaboration is a series of 45 lights called Fleur Mal formed by West and painted by Andreas (completed before West's death in 2012). MMK in Frankfurt have 12 of these lamps as part of their permanent collection.
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