'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...
Art Basel Unlimited
John Baldessari’s tableau vivant Ear Sofa; Nose Sconces with Flowers (in Stage Setting) (2009/2017) is a unique manifestation of the artist’s career-long engagement with a Surrealism-in ected conceptual art. The installation is comprised of an ear-shaped sofa and two wall-mounted upturned noses housing owers in a dramatic stage setting, made absurd by the presence of a model and a poodle.
The work alludes to Hollywood’s period of Art Deco glamour and theatricality with its semicircular arch on a stage-like pedestal. The ear and nose have a strong prop-like quality, like plaster cast models for a life drawing class or the temporary constructions of a film set.
With these sensory organs rescaled and inserted into a new spatial con guration, they are divested of their humanity but re-gifted a new human edge with the presence of the model and poodle in the dramatic mise en scène.
Jenny Holzer’s STATEMENT – redacted oscillates on a telescoping robotic arm, measuring over two-and-a-half meters in length. It features scrolling text from the pages of declassified U.S. government documents regarding military operations and the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq. The work presents a stark abstraction of the U.S. administration’s use of language and the syntax of war.
Since the 1970s, Holzer has created text and light installations that often are displayed
in public spaces. Their poetic and critical content raise questions about the complexities, paradoxes, and ironies of social identity and politics. More recent text-based works incorporate declassified U.S. government documents. Memos, sworn statements, emails, court judgments, and images are used for electronics, light projections, and paintings. LED signs are integral to Holzer’s practice and have become her most visible medium. The dynamism of tickers and the linear movement of words engage viewers while they process information, altering their physical and psycho- logical perception of meaning.
Since the 1970s Barbara Kruger has developed conceptual works that often combine text with found material from mass media. By creating a contrast between the motif and the textual content while simultaneously enhancing the partially violent visuality of the image, Kruger addresses the powerful influence exercised upon human identity by media and politics. In the context of her work, recurring themes are the fetishization of the female body, the promotion of consumption, and the establishment of cultural models. In the interplay between manipulation and imitation of human desires, Kruger develops a critical picture of society.
Likewise, the exhibited wallpaper displays Kruger’s strong political voice and is highly topical in regards to the alt-right European and U.S. American political shift and the crisis of migration at the same time. It was rst shown in 1994 for the World Morality show at Kunsthalle Basel. In 2015, Kruger redid a version for the show Fire and Forget: On Violence at Kunst-Werke Berlin.
Otto Piene’s mammoth inflatable sculpture Blue Star Linz is a tentacled structure nearly as high as it is wide and sprawling. Piene’s inflatables, which are rhythmically filled with air and inflated with the assistance of programmed blowers, are part of his project towards a dematerialization of sculpture. With the main medium being air, Piene looked towards a redefinition of sculpture that accompanied his other experiments with light and fire. Blue Star Linz at once resembles a multi-limbed sea creature and flowering or spiked fauna alike. Late in his career, Piene produced numerous ‘sky art’ inflatables, typically with similar pointed forms, and, in this instance, the blue flower is both a symbol of yearning in German romanticism, and also an echo of the monochrome blue used by his friend Yves Klein.
Blue Star Linz was first shown in 1980 at the International Bruckner Festival, in Linz, Austria, and was accompanied by a recital of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, the ‘Romantic’. It was presented again the following year at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, its long, towering limbs inflated to their full height of 300 feet.
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.