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‘An Opera for Animals’ at Rockbund Art Museum Ocula Report ‘An Opera for Animals’ at Rockbund Art Museum 19 Jul 2019 : Penny Liu for Ocula

An Opera for Animals was first staged at Para Site in Hong Kong between 23 March and 2 June 2019, with works by over 48 artists and collectives that use opera as a metaphor for modes of contemporary, cross-disciplinary art-making. The exhibition's second iteration takes up a large portion of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai (22 June–25...

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Takashi Murakami and Tobias Berger Talk Murakami Ocula Conversation
In Collaboration with Tai Kwun Contemporary
Takashi Murakami and Tobias Berger Talk Murakami

For three months from 1 June to 1 September 2019, Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong showcases MURAKAMI vs MURAKAMI, a major survey exhibition of the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Curated by Tobias Berger, head of art at Tai Kwun, and Gunnar B Kvaran, director of Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, the exhibition spans the three floors of Tai Kwun's...

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Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House Ocula Report Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House 5 Jul 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House in London (12 June–15 September 2019) surveys more than half a century of black creativity in Britain and beyond across the fields of art, film, photography, music, design, fashion, and literature.Curated by Zak Ové, works by approximately 100 intergenerational black...

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Yesim Akdeniz

b. 1978, Turkey

Yesim Akdeniz paints fictive landscapes and interiors sparsely populated with a considered selection of objects and figures that have been severed from their original or natural settings.  The participants depicted in the  foreground are an esoteric ensemble that span from actors to recognisable elements from the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s, from George Ivanovich Gurdjieff’s esoteric vision of the development of man to much more prosaic household objects. The paintings are not portrayals of reality nor do they tell a story in a linier fashion, instead, with juxtaposed elements arranged in the foreground, they are reminiscent of stills from a film set or theatrical production.

Akdeniz’s use of visually distorted pictorial spaces, decontextualized subjects, a muted palette, and the prevalence of smooth and undetailed surfaces evokes the work of Italian proto-surrealist painter Giorgio De-Chirico.  Her subjects’ become symbols or reference points sown together to create a montage scene of references to contemporary culture. In Mr Jung and Me #1 [2014], a leopard, possibly stuffed possibly alive, balances on a log that is balanced on a table, while a partially concealed female peers at the viewer from behind a curtain. In Latent #1 [2013] two barely clothed women sit at a table in a cramped room, one slouched one upright but both looking directly at the viewer, while a conspicuously stiff and lifeless pair or legs protrude from behind them.  These enigmatic compositions of cryptic visual language are open to be deciphered by attentive viewers who can unpick their points of reference.

Akdeniz’s paintings are visually striking yet she describes herself as a conceptual painter due to the important role of analysis within her work as well as her creation of painting series that are interlinked by an underlying concept. By creating connections and associations through these juxtapositions and tracing connections between elements not normally connected, she creates moments of difficulty for her audience when understanding stops and thinking and knowledge meet a challenge.

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