'A Picture of War is Not War', we read in Hito Steyerl's iconic film November (2004), an essayistic Super 8 film tackling the definition of terrorism constructed around the figure of the artist's best friend Andrea Wolf, who was killed as a terrorist in 1998 in Eastern Anatolia after she joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Mixing documentary...
There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
Njideka Akunyili Crosby, And We Begin To Let Go (2013) (detail). © Njideka Akunyili Crosby. Courtesy the artist; Victoria Miro; and David Zwirner. Photo: Jason Wyche.
There are hundreds of exhibitions in Venice during the Biennale. Alongside the main exhibition in the Giardini and Arsenale, there are 90 national presentations, many in nearby pavilions in the Giardini and in spaces around the Arsenale, but also dotted throughout Venice. Then there are the official collateral exhibitions in museums and galleries, and extra shows across the city. The Art Newspaper team will be on the ground in Venice to report on all aspects of this festival of contemporary art, and here our writers—and those from our sister publications in China, France, Italy and Russia—pick the shows and events they are most looking forward to seeing, most of which take place from 11 May—24 November, unless stated otherwise.
Pierre Huyghe is a multi-disciplinary artist who explores the semiotics of images, and the intersection of fiction and reality through film, sculpture and public interventions. Huyghe graduated from the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in 1985 and is renowned for his innovation of the 'post-production' technique in the 1990s, which involves the reproduction of art forms through pre-existing films and images from mass media.
Among Huyghe's most well-known work is L'Ellipse (1998), in which the artist fills the narrative gap of a jump-cut from Wim Wenders' film The American Friend (1977). Huyghe's revision stars Bruno Ganz, who also starred in the original film. In The Third Memory (2000), Huyghe blurs the line between fact and fiction by re-enacting a hold-up scene in a bank in Sidney Lumet's film Dog Day Afternoon (1975). In Huyghe's film, a protagonist playing bank robber John Wojtowicz expresses how Dog Day Afternoon influenced him instead of recounting the actual heist, thus confounding the viewer as to the actuality of the event.
Huyghe also regularly blurs fact and fiction in his public interventions and 'living systems'—environments in which he often incorporates live creatures such as insects, plants, animals and humans. A Forest of Lines (2008)—Huyghe's commission for the 2008 Biennale of Sydney—consisted of 1000 trees embedded in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. The installation erased the boundaries between the art and its spectators, allowing them to become the performers of the work.
Huyghe regularly collaborates with other artists, namely Philippe Parreno with whom he purchased the rights to a manga character called AnnLee in 1999. AnnLee has appeared in several of his works and those of other artists, including Parreno's 3D film Anywhere Out of the World (2000), which sees AnnLee declare her ambiguous existence as exempt from copyright restrictions, calling attention to the notion of authorship that is regularly explored throughout Huyghe's practice.
Huyghe's work has been presented in numerous solo exhibitions, including Streamside Day at Moderna Museet, Stockholm in 2005; Streamside Day + Streamside Day Follies at Dia Center for the Arts, New York in 2003; and No Ghost Just A Shell at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven in 2005, to name a few. In 2001 he received the Special Jury Prize of the 49th Venice Biennale, followed by the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation's Hugo Boss Prize in 2002. Huyghe lives and works in Paris and New York.
Belgian artist Luc Tuymans is regarded as one of the most influential painters working today. Tuymans' portraits, still lifes and other painted scenes are largely concerned with the inconsistencies between traumatic events and the images that come to represent them. Characterised by their washed-out and muted tones, the nostalgic, melancholy and banal qualities of his paintings often conceal violent themes. Notably, he is credited with contributing to the revival of representational painting in the 1990s at a point where many doubted the relevance of the genre.
In his 1986 painting Gas Chamber—based off a watercolour sketch he made on-site in the Dachau concentration camp in Germany—sparse brushstrokes roughly depict the interior of an empty gas chamber. The airless, pale yellow-pink tones used to render the space suggest the image is an aged relic of a brutal episode that has been relegated to history books, while the somewhat distorted perspective and understated palette imply the artist's cool detachment and aversion to emotional spectacle. Similarly, for his series of paintings titled 'Mwana Kitoko—Beautiful White Man'—presented at the Belgium Pavilion of the 2001 Venice Biennale—Tuymans took Belgium's colonial presence in Africa as a point of departure. One painting in the series, Mwana Kitoko (2000), depicts the then-24-year-old Belgian King arriving in the Congo for a procession in 1955; his jacket is covered in medals, but his awkward posture belies discomfort and unease. Tsjombe (2000), on the other hand, shows a group of African men talking at a table, rendered in muted colours. While retaining Tuymans' characteristic aesthetic restraint, the paintings in the series quietly point at systemic imbalances of power.
Tuymans is acutely aware of the insufficiency of images to convey trauma. Created for documenta11 (2002), the painting Still Life (2002) was Tuymans' defiant counter to the expectation that his work for the exhibition would respond to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. To counter the saturation of horrific images in the media, Tuymans turned towards the idyllic and painted a pale still life of fruit, magnified to a monumental scale. To him, images and language were inadequate to represent the recent horrors. In the enormous, banal painting that resisted interpretation, Tuymans provided quiet space for contemplation.
Tuymans' interest in lens-based images is long-standing. After he studied art in the 1970s, he worked for a time as a filmmaker before returning to painting in the 1980s. Cinematic elements—remnants of that brief interlude—are still evident in his works, which use camera-imitative techniques such as cropping and enlargement. His 2005 painting The Secretary of State is a tight close-up image of Condoleezza Rice, who had that year become the United States secretary of state; her brow is furrowed as if focused or concerned. Tuymans was inspired to paint the image after hearing a politician make a sexist comment about Rice; he selected the reference image from a fan website, having been drawn to that particular photograph due to the determination in her expression.
Themes of impending decay also make their way into Tuymans' works. In his 2016 exhibition Le Mépris at David Zwirner in New York, the artist presented several paintings based on photographs of floats, murky water and the interior of a famous Capri villa. Depicting festivities and their aftermath, devoid of human presence, Tuymans hints at an imminent premonition that he shows contempt for—a sentiment that he holds for 'everything' in general, as relayed in his 2016 conversation with Ocula Magazine. 'In paintings,' he said, 'painted time is something different than real time. You could say there is an element of melancholy, of nostalgia, but it's kind of twisted in a way. There's an element of aggression. So, it's torture.'
Tuymans was awarded three honorary doctorates between 2006 and 2015. Since 1985, he has exhibited in over 100 solo and more than 500 group exhibitions, and his work has been collected by over 40 museums and public institutions worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York, Tate Modern in London and Centre Pompidou in Paris. Since 1999, he has been curating exhibitions and participating in special projects, and in 2001 he represented Belgium at the 49th Venice Biennale.
Tuymans lives and works in Antwerp.
Donna Huanca says her deep and enduring artistic interest in the female body stems from a simple fact: She has one. She also says she's tired of seeing female bodies brutalized, tired of viewing them via the male gaze.'In art history, women have been depicted in such a vulnerable way. This is a new way of looking at the feminine form, and in that...
According to a photo posted on Facebook by Christina Li, guest curator of artist Shirley Tse's exhibition at the pavilion, a notice in English and Italian at the entrance reads: 'Due to unforeseen circumstances, the exhibition Shirley Tse: Stakeholders, Hong Kong in Venice will be closed on June 12, 2019. Please excuse us for the...
Arin Dwihartanto Sunaryo has always been an experimental painter. Having set aside the paintbrush in favor of his hands early on in his near-two-decade-long career, and later moving to more industrial methods using tools and resins, he rejected paint altogether in 2008.
Es ist bemerkenswert, wie viele warmherzige Umschreibungen Museumsdirektor Sam Keller für eine Kunst findet, die zunächst so kühl wirkt. Ihm gehe es mit Rudolf Stingel wie bei einer Wanderung in den Bergen, wenn man denkt, die Sonne sei jetzt aber wirklich untergegangen, man dann einen neuen Gipfel erreicht und sie wieder scheinen sieht. Der...
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