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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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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Karel Appel

(1921 - 2006), Netherlands

Throughout a nearly six-decade career, Appel pushed his studio practice to extremes, often shifting between abstraction and figuration, never content to settle on one signature style, media, or body of work. His earliest works, created during the time he co-founded the COBRA group with Asger Jorn, Christian Dotremont, and Constant, make evident his interest in the uninhibited artistic experience. As a member of the Dutch Experimental Group and later Art Informel, Appel drew his earliest and possibly greatest inspiration from folk art, children's drawings, and the works of the mentally disturbed. This is perhaps most clear in The Psychopathological Notebook, a collection of free-form drawings on pages of catalogue text from the International Exhibition on Psychopathological Art, 1950 at the Saint-Anne Hospital for the mentally ill in Paris. Visiting this exhibition on multiple occasions proved impactful for Appel and would inform much of his work in the following years.

At the suggestion of French critic Michel Tapié, Appel met gallerist Martha Jackson, who would give the artist his first one-person show in New York City in 1954 and continue to show his work for the next twenty years. During his time in New York in the late 1950s, Appel became friendly with Sam Francis, Jackson Pollock, fellow-Dutchman Willem DeKooning, Franz Kline, and other members of the Abstract Expressionist group, as well as Jazz luminaries Dizzie Gillespie, Miles Davis, Count Basie, and Sarah Vaughan. This circle of cultural producers was sympathetic to Appel's interest in a self-conscious investigation of the psychology of painting and would influence the artist's shift from realism to an emotionally charged, robustly active, and spontaneous abstract painting style. Having already begun with his peers in COBRA to explore an anticlassical stance in favor of what critic Hal Foster has termed the 'creaturely' — a 'pagan vernacular of the North in opposition to the official Christianity of the South' — Appel's time in New York allowed him to propel towards a de-aestheticised, boundless expressivity.

Appel spent much of the following half-century moving between New York and Europe. During his lifetime, the artist would participate in numerous one-person traveling exhibitions around the world and would represent the Netherlands in the 27th International Art Exhibition in the Venice Biennale.

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Featured Artworks

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L'homme dans l'espace by Karel Appel contemporary artwork
Karel AppelL'homme dans l'espace, 1990 Oil and acrylic on canvas
190 x 228.5 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. Paris
Twee Figuren by Karel Appel contemporary artwork
Karel AppelTwee Figuren, 1954 Oil on canvas
130 x 99 cm
rodolphe janssen
Out of Nature by Karel Appel contemporary artwork
Karel AppelOut of Nature, 1996 Oil on canvas
60 x 48 x 1.75 inches
Blum & Poe
Out of Nature by Karel Appel contemporary artwork
Karel AppelOut of Nature, 1996 Oil on canvas
60.25 x 48.25 x 1.75 inches
Blum & Poe
Out of Nature by Karel Appel contemporary artwork
Karel AppelOut of Nature, 1996 Oil on canvas
60.25 x 48.25 x 1.75 inches
Blum & Poe
Out of Nature by Karel Appel contemporary artwork
Karel AppelOut of Nature, 1996 Oil on canvas
60.25 x 48 x 1.75 inches
Blum & Poe
Out of Nature by Karel Appel contemporary artwork
Karel AppelOut of Nature, 1995 Oil on canvas
60.25 x 48 x 1.75 inches
Blum & Poe
Out of Nature by Karel Appel contemporary artwork
Karel AppelOut of Nature, 1995 Oil on canvas
60.25 x 48 x 1.75 inches
Blum & Poe

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Karel Appel, Out of Nature at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Closed
8 September–27 October 2018 Karel Appel Out of Nature Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Contemporary art exhibition, Curated by Alison M. Gingeras, 'The Avant-Garde won't give up.' COBRA and its legacy. at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Closed
5 November–23 December 2015 Curated by Alison M. Gingeras 'The Avant-Garde won't give up.' COBRA and its legacy. Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Contemporary art exhibition, Cobra Group, The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy at Blum & Poe, New York
Closed
10 September–17 October 2015 Cobra Group The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy Blum & Poe, New York

Represented By

In Related Press

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Yayoi Kusama's polka-dotted pumpkin overlooking the ocean, James Turrell's Open Sky installation, and an entire art space by Walter De Maria are just a few of the groundbreaking works on display at Benesse Art Site Naoshima, a cluster of once-polluted islands in Japan's Seto Inland Sea rehabilitated by contemporary art and architecture by Tadao...

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A university with a playground attached: Frances Morris's vision for Tate Modern Related Press A university with a playground attached: Frances Morris's vision for Tate Modern Apollo Magazine : 19 June 2016

How does it feel to be the new director of Tate Modern just as the new building is about to open?It feels good, of course it feels good, as I have been very much part of Tate for a long time. But everything has always been a little bit of a push; it is a complicated organisation, and it’s taken a lot of advocacy internally, to create the...

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The Continuing Triumph of Karel Appel Related Press The Continuing Triumph of Karel Appel Huffington Post : 18 January 2016

The celebration of Karel Appel continues. Having conquered Amsterdam, he is now honored in Paris, with a retrospective of his works on paper at the French national museum of modern art, at the Pompidou Center. It is appropriate to see Appel's art in Paris. With Amsterdam and New York, it was one of the three cities where Appel spent the greater...

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Drawing on Humanity’s Animal Nature Related Press Drawing on Humanity’s Animal Nature Hyperallergic : 7 January 2016

PARIS — Karel Appel would start drawing by shimmering bright muck or line around until it eventually formed into semi-abstract philosophical lava, or monkey shit, or the poetry of release. That shimmering never really ends. His spontaneous drawings haunt his art practice as a sort of lost demon of pure exuberance.

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