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Archive for August 2011

United Artists of Italy at the Estorick Collection

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United Artists of Italy at the Estorick Collection

“So much more to discover”

David Franchi – Sunday, 22nd August 2011 

United Artists of Italy” is an interesting exhibition of twenty two of the most famous Italian photographers of the twentieth century, ongoing at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, Canonbury Square.

United Artists of Italy” displays around 90 works almost portraying the best Italian artists of the end of the twentieth century. The show at the Estorick Collection tells the story of the Italian contemporary art scene from the 1960s.

United Artists of Italy” catches the vision and the philosophy of Italian contemporary art from the beginning in the 1960s from Arte Povera to Conceptualism and the New Roman School.

Here is the intriguing point of “United Artists of Italy“. These are famous Italian artists depicting other famous Italian artists. And therefore the title does not say all about the exhibition. There is much more to discover: faces and images of the best Italian art scene, a large group of individuals internationally renowned, merged together by the ability of the best Italian photographers. They are artists’ portraits of other artists.

This rich group of photographs has been assembled over many years by Massimo Minini. He is born in Vallecamonica, near Brescia. From 1964 to 1968 he studied law but he was drawn to a career in art. He opened his own contemporary gallery in Brescia in 1973.

The personal interest of Minini about this subject was nurtured by his constant connections with the photographers. The latter, in fact, welcomed and supported the project. It was conceived as an international exhibition created literally digging into archives, boxes, films and files.

The outcome is “United Artists of Italy” a unique anthology of Italian photographer’s portraits. At the beginning the idea was to make use of portraits of artists only. But the project became wider and therefore included also images of writers – Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italo Calvino and Alberto Moravia – important gallery owners – Lucio Amelio and Leo Castelli – together with a number of foreign artists. Some artists like Maurizio Cattelan, Pino Pascali, Lucio Fontana, Mario Merz or Jannis Kounellis are depicted together with their works.

The Estorick Collection exhibition focuses entirely on the portraits of Italians. They are by 22 photographers active since the 1960s: Claudio Abate, Aurelio Amendola, Gabriele Basilico, Sandro Becchetti, Gianni Berengo Gardin, Elisabetta Catalano, Giorgio Colombo, Mario Cresci, Mario Dondero, Federico Garolla, Luigi Ghirri, Mario Giacomelli,Gianfranco Gorgoni, Mimmo Jodice, Nanda Lanfranco, Uliano Lucas, Attilio Maranzano, Nino Migliori, Ugo Mulas, Paolo Mussat Sartor, Paolo Pellion and Ferdinando Scianna.

“Italian photography presents itself here in all of its glory” writes Minini of United Artists of Italy “No other nation has produced such a wide range of great photographers who have not only portrayed but also worked on the same level as the artists of their generation.”

This London showing is the fifth venue in a European tour, the collection having previously been exhibited at the Musee d’Art Moderne, Saint Etienne; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; Fondazione Stelline, Milan, and the Biennial of Photography, Amsterdam.

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, Northampton Lodge 39A, Canonbury Square, London, N1 2AN

Showing until 04 September 2011

Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk

Direct link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7371

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Written by davidfranchi

August 29, 2011 at 1:22 am

Toulouse Lautrec and Jane Avril at the Courtauld Gallery

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Toulouse Lautrec and Jane Avril at the Courtauld Gallery

by David Franchi  –  Saturday, 13th August 2011

“Astonishing exhibition at Courtauld Gallery
 
Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril – Beyond the Moulin Rouge”, an astonishing exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery, unveils the relationship between the famous French painter and his muse.
The dancer Jane Avril (1868-1943), in fact, was a great source of inspiration for Toulouse Lautrec. Born Jeanne Beaudon, she was one of the stars of the Moulin Rouge in the 1890s. Her notoriety was assured by a series of brilliant posters created by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) which enhanced her delightful trend and out of the ordinary charm for which Jane Avrilwas acknowledged.”Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril: Beyond the Moulin Rouge” highlights the strong relationship between the two different artists: the member of one of France’s oldest noble families, Toulouse Lautrec, and the daughter of a courtesan, Jane Avril.The Courtauld Gallery exhibition brings together a variety of paintings, posters and prints from international collections focused on the sparkling bohemian Paris.

Nicknamed ‘La Melinite’ after a powerful form of explosive Jane Avril suffered an abusive childhood. At the age of thirteen she ran away from home. Suffering of the nervous disorder commonly known as St Vitus’ Dance, aged fourteen she went into the terrifying Salpêtrière mental hospital in Paris, spending 18 months there. At one of the bal des folles, the fancy dress balls the hospital organised for its patients, Jane Avril took her first dance steps and found both her cure and her vocation.

For “Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril: Beyond the Moulin Rouge” new researches ad hoc made show the connections between her eccentric movements and contemporary medical theories of female hysteria. Her experiences helped defining her public personality and, as a performer, she was also known as ‘L’Etrange’ (the Strange One) and ‘Jane La Folle’ (Crazy Jane).

Aged twenty she began to work for the Moulin Rouge as a professional dancer, adopting the stage name Jane Avril (suggested to her by an English lover). She was resolute to become a star in the flourishing world of the Montmartre.
Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril: Beyond the Moulin Rouge” explores these different public and private images of Jane Avril. She became an icon of the bohemian Paris pictured by Toulouse – Lautrec as an environment of dancers, cabaret, singers, musicians, painters, writers and prostitutes.

Catalyst of this period and environment was the Moulin Rouge. Opened in 1889, it offered customers a nightly programme of performances by its scheduled stars.

Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril – Beyond the Moulin Rouge” is epitomised by the remarkable ‘At the Moulin Rouge’ (1892-93) an exceptional loan from the Art Institute of Chicago. It is one of the Toulouse-Lautrec’s most celebrated paintings a homage to the venue but also an epic portrait of the artist circle of friends. Jane Avril is pictured from the rear and identifiable by her red hair. There are Édouard Dujardin, dancer La Macarona, photographer Paul Secau and Maurice Guibert. The woman in the right foreground is Mademoiselle Nelly C. Spotted in the background on the right the immoral La Goulue (The Glutton) and left Lautrec himself and Gabriel Tapie de Celeyran. The face of May Milton looms into the canvas.

 
Event Venues & Times:  Showing until 18/09/11 at the Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN
 
Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk
Direct link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7305

Written by davidfranchi

August 18, 2011 at 1:48 am

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World – Tate Britain

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David Franchi – Monday 8th August 2011

“One hundred works: painting, sculpture, print”
 
The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World”, at the Tate Britain, is an interesting exhibition. Vorticism lived for a short period (1914-18), did not flourished, but could propose a new radical avant-garde aesthetic.

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World” brings together over 100 works including paintings, sculptures and printed materials. Additionally, on display the rarely seen photography of Alvin Langdon Coburn, claimed as the first ever abstract photographs, together with the newly revealed works by key Vorticists women. The exhibition also includes associated artists such as David Bomberg and C.R.W. Nevinson.

It is difficult to discern Vorticism from much elaborated Cubism and Futurism. Vorticism was led by Canadian painter Wyndham Lewis and named by American poet Ezra Pound. The main members were expatriates like the American sculptor Jacob Epstein, the French Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, the American photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn. TE Hulme, philosopher, was its theorist. Vorticism included painters William Roberts, Frederick Etchells and Edward Wadsworth and notably several female members such as Jessica Dismorr, Dorothy Shakespear and Helen Saunders.

The opening room of “The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World” deals with the years 1912-14. The Vorticist group began with the Rebel Art Centre, established by Wyndham Lewis and others. Since 1910 London had become an important arena for Marinetti the Futurism creator Therefore, any sort of advanced art was labelled ‘Cubist’ or ‘Futurist’. Wyndham Lewis named the Vorticism as a rebellion against those movements, defining its own distinctive style that combined machine-age forms with energetic geometric imagery.

In June 1914, when Europe was on the brink of war, the first issue of the journal ‘Blast’ – edited by Wyndham Lewis – contained the movement manifesto and demonstrated Vorticism was not only visual art, blending illustrations with poems, stories, dramatic texts and art criticism. In July 1915 Blast was issued for its second and last time, struggling to affirm in the midst of the war.

The “First Vorticists exhibition” was presented at the Dore Galleries in London, in June 1915 though works had been shown earlier in London and Brighton. However, it did not have much critical response being the newspapers busy with the war.

The second exhibition was held at the Penguin Club in New York in January 1917. It was organised by Ezra Pound and the Irish- American lawyer and collector, John Quinn.

The following month at the Camera Club in London, “Vortographs”, a photographic exhibition of Alvin Langdon Coburn was held. He and Pound developed the ‘Vortoscope’, a kaleidoscopic instruments made up of three mirrors, used by Coburn to take the photographs, which were derided by critics though Vortographs has been described as the first presentation of abstract photographs.

The Vorticists: Manifesto for a Modern World” is co-organised by Tate Britain with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. It is conceived by Professor Mark Antliff, Duke University, and Vivien Greene, Solomon Guggenheim Museum. It is curated at Tate Britain by Chris Stephens and Tim Batchelor and supported by Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne and the Tate Patrons.

Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG

Showing until: 04 October 2011

Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk

Direct link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7274

Written by davidfranchi

August 9, 2011 at 1:01 am