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Pierre Huyghe: The Artist as Director Ocula Conversation Pierre Huyghe: The Artist as Director

Pierre Huyghe is a producer of spectacular and memorable enigmas, with works that function more like mirages than as objects. Abyssal Plain (2015–ongoing), his contribution to the 2015 Istanbul Biennial, curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, was installed on the seabed of the Marmara Sea, some 20 metres below the surface of the water and close to...

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MoMA Expansion: Once the Modern, Always the Modern Ocula Report MoMA Expansion: Once the Modern, Always the Modern 29 Nov 2019 : Mohammad Salemy for Ocula

In the early decades of its existence, New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), founded in 1929, transformed from a philanthropic project modestly housed in a few rooms of the Heckscher Building on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, to an alleged operating node in the United States' cultural struggle during the cold war, and one of the...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
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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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Tal R

b. 1967, Israel

While working with collage, sculpture, print, installation and even furniture, Tal R is best known for his large-scale paintings laden with geometric patterns and erotic scenes that evoke the works of early-20th-century Western modernist painters.

Having been born to a Danish mother and Jewish-Czechoslovakian father in Tel Aviv, and raised in Denmark, the artist has a sense of not fully belonging to any place. He derives inspiration from eclectic sources that range from the historical to the contemporary, figurative to abstract, and from high to low culture. His early paintings and collages are characterised by their square dimensions and the division of the pictorial space into three horizontal bands, each committed to a different motif. The top band records the range of colours he used to paint each work, while the middle part depicts scenes, such as a gathering of figures, as seen in New Quarter (2003). The bottom band is usually painted in a single colour with specks of paint over it. In collages such as Lords of Kolbojnik (2002-3), in which the myriad of images of animals, masks, patterns and anonymous individuals frame the rays of colours, the uppermost part is left blank.

Around 2014, Tal R began painting with a mixture of pigments and rabbit skin glue to produce the glowing intensity that has come to define his work. Sexuality is a recurring theme in these paintings, as explored in the solo exhibition Altstadt Girl at New York's Cheim & Read in 2015. Tal R's take on the traditional genre of the female nude evoked the works of early modernist painters. Train Driver's Daughter (2014), for example, summons to mind Matisse's idyllic nudes surrounded by decorative and pigmented patterns.

In his paintings of the female figure, Tal R also captures a sense of awkwardness, resulting from his tenuous relationship with his models. Whitewall reported that while giving a press tour of Altstadt Girl, the artist explained that he chose to work with the embarrassment of convincing strangers to sit for him because he felt the disconnection from his subjects best allowed him to process the information he had been given—namely their physical appearances and private environments. ET (2014) was the only painting in Altstadt Girl to portray someone he knew well—his wife—and posed the most difficulty, which he resolved by tightly cropping her profile and blocking the background in solid red, eliminating any clues about her identity.

Tal R continues to maintain the position of the outsider in his oeuvre, withholding information about his subjects from his viewers. In Keyhole—his 2017 solo exhibition at Cheim & Read—he presented a series of drawings and paintings depicting the facades of shops in the red light districts of different cities that he had photographed personally or had received photographs of from his friends. Erotic references pervade these works, such as the oversized keyhole that suggests female genitalia in Keyhole, or the phallic lamppost erected before a sex club in Sex Palace (both works 2016). Unlike his previous paintings of the female nude, however, the sex shop paintings are devoid of figures and offer little or no view beyond the doors, deriving from Tal R's interest in facades, secrets and fantasies.

The concern with the human body also extends to Tal R's sculptures. The glazed ceramic sculptures in his 'Egyptian Boy' series (2010-13), for instance, each depict deconstructed and abstracted body parts as implied in titles such as Hips Penis or Torso and Neck. For his 2015 solo exhibition at London's Victoria Miro, titled Chimney school of sculpture, Tal R employed raku firing—a traditional Japanese technique that removes pieces from the kiln while they are still hot—to create a series of warping ceramics with a suggestion of anthropomorphic features. The same show also included his handmade sofas or 'opium sbeds', made from Scandinavian rugs and intended for gallery visitors to sit on and examine the raku works from different angles.

Tal R graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 2000 and taught as a professor at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf between 2005 and 2014. His work has been exhibited internationally including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2018); Victoria Miro, London (2017, 2015); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (2007); and Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2018, 2015, 2011), and is in the collections of ARoS Aarhus Art Museum; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Magasin III, Stockholm; Saatchi Gallery, London; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among others. In 2017, his first museum retrospective Academy of Tal R was organised by Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

Tal R lives and works in Copenhagen.

Biography by Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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punta de chroores by Tal R contemporary artwork
Tal Rpunta de chroores, 2006 Oil and pins on cardboard, wood, artist made frame
103.5 x 103.5 x 5 cm
Victoria Miro
Face by Tal R contemporary artwork
Tal RFace, 2010–2013 Glazed ceramic
42 x 22 x 18 cm
Victoria Miro
HOLUNDER by Tal R contemporary artwork
Tal RHOLUNDER, 2011 Woodcut
112 x 66 cm
Cheim & Read
MAN ON ANIMAL by Tal R contemporary artwork
Tal RMAN ON ANIMAL, 2011 Woodcut
75 x 57 cm
Cheim & Read
STUE by Tal R contemporary artwork
Tal RSTUE, 2011 Woodcut and etching
56.5 x 714.2 cm
Cheim & Read
MARCH TO GOOD by Tal R contemporary artwork
Tal RMARCH TO GOOD, 2011 Woodcut and etching
78 x 101 cm
Cheim & Read
THE DUTCH by Tal R contemporary artwork
Tal RTHE DUTCH, 2014 Oil on canvas
55 x 45 cm
Cheim & Read
The Lolly by Tal R contemporary artwork
Tal RThe Lolly, 2012 Oil on canvas
88 x 73 cm
Cheim & Read

Recent Exhibitions

View All (8)
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Christian Holstad, Grayson Perry, Tal R, Betty Woodman at Victoria Miro, Venice
Closed
26 January–18 April 2019 Group Exhibition Christian Holstad, Grayson Perry, Tal R, Betty Woodman Victoria Miro, Venice
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Asger Jorn, Per Kirkeby, Tal R at Victoria Miro, London
Closed
23 January–23 March 2019 Group Exhibition Asger Jorn, Per Kirkeby, Tal R Victoria Miro, Mayfair, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Tal R, Sexshops at Victoria Miro, London
Closed
20 September–20 December 2017 Tal R Sexshops Victoria Miro, Wharf Road, London

Represented By

In Related Press

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The Shows to See in Copenhagen During Chart Related Press The Shows to See in Copenhagen During Chart Frieze : 29 August 2019

Danish collective SUPERFLEX follow Jeppe Hein in the creation of an installation in the moist, dark recesses of Copenhagen's fascinating former cisterns. 'It is not the end of the world', invites the viewer to enter a dystopian future set in a climate-ravaged city. Waterproof footwear is obligatory to enter the space and can be borrowed on site....

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‘Over the years you get closer to those things you call impossible’ – an interview with Tal R Related Press ‘Over the years you get closer to those things you call impossible’ – an interview with Tal R Apollo : 1 July 2019

As the Danish artist Tal R heads to the British coast for the summer, with an exhibition at Hastings Contemporary, he talks to Apollo about the impulse that drives his paintings – and how he has always been drawn to the seaWith the more recent works in this show, you've turned to a domestic setting, and to nudes and still lifes. How did this...

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Tal R Guilty Pleasures Related Press Tal R Guilty Pleasures ArtReview : 20 December 2018

It's not often that you hear 'pleasure' mentioned in the context of contemporary art these days. Somehow, in these times of refugee crises, the rise of various forms of radical nationalism, the discourse of politics degenerating into an exchange of insults, the natural environment becoming less and less natural, if not gradually destroyed, and the...

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Tal R’s Playfully Skewed Art History Related Press Tal R’s Playfully Skewed Art History Hyperallergic : 3 November 2018

PHILADELPHIA — Tal R's current exhibition, The Minute, at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery gave me a headache. Throughout the show there are works that hang vertically, when it seems they should hang horizontally. It felt like strings were being pulled taut upwardly from my brow.Promenade (2014), the first painting one sees when entering the...

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In Video & Audio

TAL R : Related Video & Audio TAL R : Louisiana Channel : 17 December 2017

Shortly before he turned fifty, we had the unique pleasure of spending six months with Danish artist Tal R, while he was in the process of making his grand series of nine enormous railcar-paintings, 'Habakuk'. Watch the intimate and biographical film.A film by: Kasper Bech Dyg and Marc-Christoph WagnerCamera: Klaus ElmerAdditional footage:...

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INTERVIEW Academy of Tal R Related Video & Audio INTERVIEW Academy of Tal R Elephant : 14 November 2017

Academy of Tal R is the Israeli-born artist's largest exhibition to date, recently moving from Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. Tal R is also currently showing Sexshops at Victoria Miro in London. Here, the decidedly anti-academic artist discusses moving sculptures, keyholes and broken...

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Tal R: Painting is like Free Falling Related Video & Audio Tal R: Painting is like Free Falling Louisiana Channel : 27 March 2017

'Art is the only place I can bear disappointment,' says Danish artist Tal R, who paints sex shops and dreams of making a clay pigeon fly. Meet one of Denmark's leading painters in this engaging and humorous interview on the nature of art.Tal R was interviewed by Martin Krasnik at the Art Alive festival at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark,...

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Tal R on Daniel Richter, Daniel Richter on Tal R Related Video & Audio Tal R on Daniel Richter, Daniel Richter on Tal R Louisiana Channel : 21 January 2013

'We don't get inspired by each other, we steal from each other'. See what happens when you put two artists, who are also friends, together and get them to comment on each other's paintings.Music by: Mulatu Astatke.Produced by: Martin Kogi and Christian LundCopyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

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