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Bani Abidi: ‘What you see in my films is what I know’ Ocula Conversation Bani Abidi: ‘What you see in my films is what I know’

A group of voices accompanies me in the exhibition. They are singing words I cannot comprehend, yet the warm tunes are familiar: folk songs, love songs, songs of longing. There are letters, too. They speak of the quotidian details of a soldier's life: the hardness of the war, sending money to the family, and longing for familiar landscapes, food,...

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Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future Ocula Report Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future 11 Oct 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

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...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

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...

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Anya Gallaccio

b. 1963, United Kingdom

Unpredictable is just one of the terms that comes to mind when describing Anya Gallaccio's site-specific installations made using organic matter. From chocolate to sugar, fruit, ice, flowers and more, Gallaccio's materials naturally decay throughout the duration of her exhibitions, allowing the work to shift with time. As a result, her work differs amongst the memories of each viewer and is extremely difficult to catalogue.

Among Gallaccio's performances and installations, the most renowned is her chocolate room, Stroke (2014) at Edinburgh's Jupiter Artland. With walls created from nearly 90 pounds of chocolate, the interactive installation was lightly scented and beckoned visitors to interact by picking, licking, stroking or biting its surface, suggesting themes of anticipation and lust. As with most of her installations, the smell was at first inviting and enjoyable, but over time became increasingly unpleasant and overpowering. Another example of this is preserve 'beauty' (1991–2003), an installation comprised of bright red flowers arranged within four adjacent rectangular glass panels. Positioned neatly with stalks facing downward, the work recalls both traditionally feminine hobbies such as flower pressing or arranging, and still life and landscape painting genres. However, the ephemeral installation changes drastically throughout its period of display, beyond the control of the artist, gallery or audience. Soon enough the flowers wither, die and rot, decomposing onto the floor below, thereby reverting the romantic connotations of red flowers typically gifted from man to woman. This is experienced not only visually, but also through smell.

Alongside love and decay, other themes inherent to Gallaccio's work include the role of mass production, disposable commodities and consumerism, particularly in relation to waste normally hidden from view. Viewers of her work are consumers and therefore complicit in its waste and decay cycle. Her surrounding environments also heavily influence her practice; when in 2008 she moved from London to San Diego, Gallaccio started incorporating materials such as limestone and granite from the West Coast into her works, as with I still can't remember when or how I lost my way (2014). Though these open cubes are seemingly perfect, mechanised constructions of geometry, blending into their surroundings, each slab of stone is unique in colour and pattern and contains a geological history of its own.

An instrumental and key player of the generation of Young British Artists, Gallaccio was included in the legendary 1988 exhibition, Freeze, curated by Damien Hirst at the London Docklands. She trained at Kingston Polytechnic College and Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2003 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, and her work has appeared in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2015); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2011); Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2007); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2007); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2004); Tate Britain, London (2003); Serpentine Gallery, London (2000); and Hayward Gallery, London (1997); to name a select few. Presently, Gallaccio splits her time between London and San Diego, where she is a professor at the University of California San Diego.

Biography by Jessica Douglas | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Stoke by Anya Gallaccio contemporary artwork
Anya GallaccioStoke, 1994 Chocolate and cardboard
Blum & Poe
Untitled by Anya Gallaccio contemporary artwork
Anya GallaccioUntitled, 2016–2018 Ceramic
30.5 x 21 x 15 cm
Thomas Dane Gallery
Untitled by Anya Gallaccio contemporary artwork
Anya GallaccioUntitled, 2018 Ceramic, avery slip, shino glaze
19.2 x 23.6 x 25.2 cm
Thomas Dane Gallery
Untitled by Anya Gallaccio contemporary artwork
Anya GallaccioUntitled, 2018 Ceramic
27 x 20 x 16 cm
Thomas Dane Gallery
Untitled by Anya Gallaccio contemporary artwork
Anya GallaccioUntitled, 2018 Ceramic, avery slip, temmuku tips
43 x 31 x 17 cm
Thomas Dane Gallery
Untitled by Anya Gallaccio contemporary artwork
Anya GallaccioUntitled, 2018 Ceramic
14.6 x 24 x 25.8 cm
Thomas Dane Gallery
Untitled by Anya Gallaccio contemporary artwork
Anya GallaccioUntitled, 2016 Dirt, mixed pigment on paper, framed
53.3 x 55.9 cm (incl frame)
Thomas Dane Gallery

Current Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Anya Gallaccio, Stroke at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Open Now
14 September–26 October 2019 Anya Gallaccio Stroke Blum & Poe, Los Angeles

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Anya Gallaccio Ocula Conversation
in partnership with the 21st Biennale of Sydney
Anya Gallaccio Artist

Anya Gallaccio's practice is characterised by the twin notions of control and transition and, in particular, how each can be implemented and represented. Her approach often involves setting in motion a process and then letting go. Her use of materials that innately decay, melt, rot and transform, speak to the mutability of material and place. The...

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In Related Press

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The 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) announces first 21 artists for its 45th anniversary exhibition Related Press The 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) announces first 21 artists for its 45th anniversary exhibition 6 April 2017

The world-renowned Biennale of Sydney is back next year to celebrate its 45th anniversary exhibition. Set to maintain its status as the largest and best-attended contemporary arts event in Australia, the 21st Biennale of Sydney is anticipated to once again bring an impressive and diverse range of contemporary artists and artworks to the...

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Interrogating Architecture Related Press Interrogating Architecture Aesthetica Magazine : 5 February 2017

There has long been a profound and complex relationship between sculpture and architecture, with many artists encountering or breaking down a boundary between the two disciplines. Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, questions what we know and understand about design through [Re]construct, a group exhibition selected from the Arts Council...

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In her own words: Maria Balshaw, new director of Tate Related Press In her own words: Maria Balshaw, new director of Tate The Art Newspaper : 19 January 2017

As 2016 drew to a close, we asked Maria Balshaw, the director of Manchester Art Galleries and the Whitworth at the University of Manchester, to pick her highlights of the year. Last week, the news leaked that she will succeed Nicholas Serota as the next director of the Tate.Balshaw is due to take up the post in June, the first woman to fill the...

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Anya Gallaccio at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Related Press Anya Gallaccio at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Ocula : 20 July 2015

Anya Gallaccio is known for installations that employ organic materials that are subject to change and decay—flowers and fruit, sugar and ice—even as her work is inflected with a minimalist vocabulary suggesting durability and timelessness. Recently she has begun working with stone, exploring the sense of time embedded in this...

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