Archive for June 2011
The word Taranta comes from the spider tarantula, a common and dangerous insect living in the area. It was believed that playing these songs women affected by the spider poison could be saved. However, in recent times it is more understood that the tradition was connected with freedom of expression: in a rural and strict society it was the only moment women could speak freely and reveal their inner thoughts, perhaps without being poisoned at all. Recently the Taranta was rediscovered and, with an accurate work on popular traditions, brought to success by Melpignano Festival. The director of the 2010 Festival – bringing 100,000 visitors each year to the small village of Melpignano – was Ludovico Einaudi himself.
At the Barbican the concert was so appreciated that some women started dancing in the back of the room. Because this is, of course, music for women, developed nowadays in a liberation movement with roots that lasts more than a century. And it was an explosion of joy at the end of the concert. Einaudi blended many Mediterranean traditions inviting guest stars, with whom he already collaborated, such as the Greek singer Savina Yannatou, the Turkish multi-instrumentalist and DJ, Mercan Dede, and the Malian kora player, Ballake Sissoko.
Einaudi has refreshed the tradition by writing new music. Though mixed with other traditions – including an Australian didgeridoo – the main music was the Taranta, with Einaudi directing the orchestra and playing parts of his usual minimalistic tunes. Alongside original interpretation of the untamed La Notte della Taranta, Ludovico Einaudi performed a few of his own pieces in thrilling new arrangements. Dancing is also a notable aspect of the Taranta, that imitates the effects of the spider poison, and therefore there were two female dancers. But also a Sufi dancer with traditional clothes, reminding the unique geographical position of the Salento, facing Greece and Albania, haven for Crusaders, invaded by Normans and Moors, part of the Bourbons reign and ‘absorbed’ by the Italian unification in the 19th century. The music perfectly condensed the thousand years past of the Salento. If your imagination was strong enough, you would be almost able to physically be there, watching the seashore under the hot summer sun, even smell the perfumes of olives and vineyards. The contrast between Ludovico Einaudi, from the northern region of the Piedmont were man are famous to be stiff, and the wild music from the hot southern Apulia, could be merged creating an extraordinary concert.
Strictly, for Italians only then? Not really, as the songs are in the various dialects of the area ‘Salentino’, or maybe ‘Grico’ or ‘Arberesche’ of Greek and Albanian origins.
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Falling Up: The Gravity of Art
“paintings, sculpture, photographs and engravings”
David Franchi – Thursday 23 June 2011
“Falling Up: The Gravity of Art” is an interesting initiative. This exhibition, in fact, is curated by a group of students as a practical part of their MA Curating the Art Museum, a study programme organised by The Courtauld Institute.
What happens when you put together nine young students, hungry of life, quite eager of the future and willing to demonstrate to the world their value? The result is a lovely cosy one room exhibition with curators available to answer and happy to spend time with visitors. Their passion overwhelmed all the rest. And this passion is also visible in the exhibition itself. And it is nice to have curators who really like it, not ‘doing it for work only’ but with real enthusiasm.
Besides, the idea of the exhibition is tickling, a study about the theme of the gravity in art through a selection of historical and contemporary works from The Courtauld Gallery and The Arts Council Collection. The artworks are in a series of conspicuous and unusual juxtapositions that disclose the fascination of the artists with notions of gravity, from the 16th century to the present days. The exhibition considers the subtle connections between weight and weightlessness, flying and falling, earth and sky, and rising and razing.
“Falling Up: The Gravity of Art” displays paintings, sculpture, photographs and engravings. The room is dominated by the installation of Cornelia Parker ‘Neither from nor towards’ (1992) which consists in numerous bricks collected from the White Cliff of Dover and suspended using wires. Other notably artworks are ‘The descent from the cross’ (1611) a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, ‘Sisyphus’ (1636) a piece by Guercino, ‘Dan’ (2008) a photograph by Wolfgang Tillmans and a bronze study ‘Nijinsky’ (about 1912) by Auguste Rodin.
The works reveal both visual and conceptual correlations. “Falling Up: The Gravity of Art” explores the artist ceaseless search on the idea of gravity within religion and myth, or as mere perception of the body rather then a fantasy. However, also the viewer is involved in reconsider his idea of gravity whether of defiance or submission, fear or fascination.
The curators are a group of nine students, eight women and one man, coming from the UK, Europe and the United States. They are: Svetlana Bountakidou, Aryn Conway, Amy-Rose Enskat, Sarah Fletcher, Christopher Huynh, Stephanie Lugon, Charlotte Proctor Smith, Alissa Schapiro and Rachel Walker.
Wishing good luck to them, we hope they will organise other pleasant exhibitions.
Venue & Times: Until 04/09/11 at Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN
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“Going from strength to strength”
by David Franchi – 17th June 2011
The BP Portrait Award 2011 winner is ‘Distracted’ by the Dutch artist Wim Heldens who portrayed a student. He wins £25,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion, worth £4,000.
The second prize of £8,000 went to Louis Smith for ‘Holly’ and the third prize of £6,000 to Ian Cumberland for ‘Just to Feel Normal’. Sertan Saltan for ‘Mrs Cerna’ won £5,000 for the BP Young Artist Award.
Great excitement created ‘Epic Mirtiotissa’ by Paul Beel, the BP Travel Award 2010 winner, for the usage of nudity. Beel records his journey to Corfu painting a large polyptych of a nudist beach, portraying a wide range of locals and tourists he encountered during his stay on the island.
The BP Travel Award 2011 went to Jo Fraser, who won £5,000 for her proposal to travel to the Cuzco region of Peru to observe the indigenous production of textiles.
Wim Heldens (b. 1954) is a self-taught, professional artist from Amsterdam. He participated to numerous groups and solo exhibitions in Europe and the US. ‘Distracted’ is a portray of Jeroen, 25, philosophy student to whom the artist has been a father-figure since he was four. Jeroen sat for him over 20 times, starting when he was seven years old. Heldens says: “I have been
fascinated with painting Jeroen in all stages of life through growing up.”
The second winner, Louis Smith (b. 1969) lives in Manchester. He has exhibited in Britain and Italy. His eight-foot portrait, ‘Holly’, shows a naked model called Holly hand-cuffed to a rock in a wild cave-like landscape, a revisited female version of the allegory of Prometheus. “It’s a message of composure in the face of adversity, something we can all draw strength from in our struggle to make a daily living” says Smith, who was helped by Carmel Said.
Ian Cumberland (b. 1983) lives and works in County Down, Northern Ireland. He has had a solo exhibition at the Albermarle Gallery in London and has won several awards. His third prize winner portrait is a mysterious half-smiling study: “This is a painting of a friend whose story is like many others from my generation that have fallen victim to themselves and their preferred habits”, says Cumberland.
Born in 1982 in Eskisehir, Turkey, Sertan Saltan won the fifth edition of BP Young Artist Award. He moved to the US
in 2006 to continue his studies and now lives and works in Avon, Connecticut.
His sitter Mrs Cerna is caught warningly glancing at the artist, in her hair rollers and latex gloves sharpening a large knife. “The contrast of knife, gloves and rollers brought both humour and horror to mind”, says Sertan.
The BP Portrait Award 2011 is at its 32nd edition and it has been sponsored by BP for 22 years.
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It is an astonishing Summer Exhibition 2011 at the Royal Academy opening the 7th June until the 15th August 2011. This event is at its 243rd edition. It is also the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show. The Summer Exhibition always raises a sort of traditional debate, probably ongoing since the show itself.The Summer Exhibition 2011 carries on the tradition of displaying works by both emerging and established artists in all media including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film. One of the founding principles of the Royal Academy was to ‘mount an annual exhibition open to all artists of distinguished merit’ to finance the Royal Academy Schools. This has been held every year without interruption since 1769 and continues to play a significant part in raising funds to finance the students. The Royal Academy receives no public funding. By submitting works, visiting and through purchases at the Summer Exhibition people can contribute to support artists of the future.
The Summer Exhibition 2011 faced a great number of applications with over 12,000 entries, arrived from 27 countries all over the world of which the selection on display is of 1,031 pieces. The majority of works are for sale.
This year’s co-ordinator is RA Christopher Le Brun. This edition is organised in fifteen rooms, each one in an open contrast, or completely disconnected, from the followings. Each room has a dedicated curator or more. ‘Coloring Book’ (2011) by Jeff Koons opens the show, occupying the Annenberg Courtyard. The Wohl Central Hall, arranged by Michael Craig -Martin, welcomes visitors with notably photography. Room I and II celebrate stylistic diversity according to Chris Orr who arranged them. The Small Weston Room and the Room VII are arranged by Olwyn Bowey and are prevailed by landscapes, still- life and unpopulated interiors. The Large Weston Room displays the pain of the war, hung by Stephen Farthing. Painted in warm dark grey Room III is hung by Christopher Le Brun and Tony Bevan. Sadness is the subject of Room IV, arranged by John Wragg. Room V is “only for people who are sensitive, intelligent and thoughtful” organiser Tess Jaray said. Architecture is in Room VI, coordinated by Piers Gough and Alan Stanton. Room VIII is arranged by Michael Sandle who is keen to ‘war’ its main interest. Room IX is hung by Christopher Le Brun, Tony Bevan and Stephen Farthing. Arranged by Maurice Cockrill, Room X explores abstraction and social commentary. The Lecture Room, the last one arranged by Michael Craig -Martin, is a space dedicated to major Royal Academicians. The exhibition is sponsored by Insight Investment.
A Memorial of Ben Levene (1938 – 2010), a small selection of his works, is on display.The Royal Academy of Arts Charles Wollaston awards each year artists for a total of £70,000 prize money.
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