Archive for January 2012
London Art Fair 2012 was a great success.
David Franchi – Thursday, 26th January 2012
The event attendance was a record for the 24th edition of the UK’s largest and longest running fair for contemporary and Modern British art. At the London Art Fair 2012 Between 18th and 22nd January, at the Business Design Centre of Islington, almost 25,000 visitors attended the event, compared with the previous record of 24,389 in 2011. Many of the 120 galleries exhibiting have reported strong sales as a result of the increased interest, with the busiest day, Saturday 21st January, 1,000 up on visitor numbers for the previous year.
“We are delighted to have had so many visitors to our most successful London Art Fair to-date. The fair is often a barometer for the year ahead, so let’s hope that this positive start will ring true for the rest of 2012.” commented Jonathan Burton, Director of the London Art Fair 2012.
A number of regular galleries were present and reported their busiest fair to date. Quantity and quality went together attracting some important buyers. Visitors were also more serious and better informed. Despite economic concerns, the atmosphere was much more optimistic, resounding the times before the recession.
The ‘Main Fair’ has seen galleries from across the UK and overseas exhibiting the work of over 1,000
artists covering the period from the early 20th Century to the present day. Museum quality Modern British art was presented alongside contemporary work from today’s leading artists.
Recognized as one of the most exciting sections of the London Art Fair, ‘Art Projects’ featured solo shows, curated group displays, large-scale installations, performance events and a programme of experimental film and video, all by contemporary artists from across the world. The 29 galleries taking part in Art Projects, the London Art Fair’s curated showcase of the freshest contemporary art from across the globe, in large-scale installations, solo shows and group displays. Curated by Pryle Behrman, Art Projects depict the current concerns of contemporary artists, providing an insight into the future of the art world. This year, escapism is a dominant theme with artists demonstrating a reaction to the financial crisis and its impact on the art world.
‘Limited Editions’ are another important feature of Art Projects with both public and commercial galleries showing contemporary prints and multiples, offering an affordable way to start a collection of up-and-coming and high-profile artists from as little as £50.
A showcase for contemporary photography established in 2007, ‘Photo50’ features 50 works curated by Sue Steward. The New Alchemists: Contemporary Photographers Transcending the Print, features artists whose practice sees them adorn, transform, subvert or deface the photographic print, including Esther Teichmann, David Birkin, Julie Cockburn and Michael Wolf.
On 18th January a ‘Photography Focus Day’ was organised presenting a series of discussions and tours dedicated to contemporary photography. This event was collocated in the framework of an extensive programme of talks and critical debates in association with key partners including the Contemporary Arts Society, the Whitechapel Gallery and The Arts Desk plus daily tours of the Main Fair and Art Projects.
Showing from 18th until 22nd January 2012.
At the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, N1 0QH.
“David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture” at the Royal Academy of Arts
David Franchi – Wednesday, 25th january 2012
“involved in the use of new technologies”
The return of David Hockney to the Royal Academy of Arts is a great event. “David Hockney RA: A bigger picture” exhibition shows his most celebrated landscape works. The major source of inspiration is the Yorkshire, the English countryside much beloved by the British artist where he is born and returned few years ago to live.
Spanning fifty years of the life of the artist, “David Hockney RA: A bigger picture” has vibrant paintings, many large in scale and created specifically for the exhibition are shown alongside related drawings and films.
“David Hockney RA: A bigger picture” includes three groups of new work made since 2005, when Hockney returned to live in Bridlington, showing an intense observation of his surroundings in a variety of media. The emotional engagement with the landscape David Hockney knew in his youth is underlined, as he examines on a daily basis the changes in the seasons, the cycle of growth and variations in light conditions.
“David Hockney RA: a bigger picture” focus on the various approaches that Hockney has taken
towards the depiction of landscape. Past works from national and international collections includes ‘Rocky Mountains and Tired Indians’ (1965), ‘Garrowby Hill’ (1998) and ‘A Closer Grand Canyon’ (1998) an oil on 60 canvases.
“David Hockney RA: a Bigger Picture” has strong connection with the classical paintings of the Old Masters from which it is clearly inspired, a sort of return to the past, elaborated by the huge knowledge and study Hockney has made of their techniques.
The conception Hockney has about the representation of space is traced in this exhibition from the 1960s, through his photocollages of the 1980s and the Grand Canyon paintings of the late 1990s, to the recent paintings of East Yorkshire, many of which have been made en plein air.
David Hockney has always been involved in the use of new technologies and lately he has used the iPhone and iPad as tools for making art. A number of iPad drawings and a series of new films produced using eighteen cameras are displayed on multiple screens, providing a hypnotic visual experience.
Highlights of the Royal Academy exhibition works are to be set in the framework of the extensive investigation and attraction with landscape David Hockney has undertaken in his career. The focus of “David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture” is solely on his work on landscape. His body of work, of course, is much larger and it includes many other pieces.
This is the point with this exhibition. The artistic life of David Hockney considered alongside of this exhibition has misplaced some critics. Hockney is considered an enfant terrible. He began to make scandal even in his graduation day when he did it in a shining gold jacket of lamé. Later on with his notorious gay sexuality and his works on young male nude under the California sun. In 2005 he went back to his native Yorkshire and started to depict the Wolds on enormous canvases. It seems to be a jump back in the past. Or maybe the artist is getting older and therefore more nostalgic. However, these paintings are very good but has lost much of its demystifying impact on society.
David Hockney, OM, CH, RA, (born 9th July 1937) is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire and Kensington, London. He attended the Bradford School of Art before studying at the Royal College of Art (1959 – 1962). Hockney’s stellar reputation was established while he was still a student; his work was featured in the exhibition Young Contemporaries, which signed the birth of British Pop Art.
Sometimes, his works make reference to his love for men. In 1963 Hockney visited New York, making contact with Andy Warhol. A subsequent visit to California, where he lived for many years, inspired Hockney to make a series of paintings of swimming pools in Los Angeles, using the comparatively new acrylic medium and rendered in a highly realistic style using vibrant colours.
Hockney was born with synesthesia; he sees synesthetic colours to musical stimuli. However, it is a
common underlying principle in his construction of stage sets for various ballets and operas.
In 1974, Hockney was the subject of Jack Hazan’s film, A Bigger Splash (named after one of Hockney’s swimming pool paintings from 1967). He was elected a Royal Academician in 1991.
In the 2001 television programme and book, Secret Knowledge, Hockney posited that the Old Masters used camera obscura techniques. Hockney argues that this technique migrated gradually to Italy and most of Europe, and is the reason for the photographic style of the Renaissance paintings.
He is a staunch pro-tobacco campaigner. In October 2010 he and 100 other leading artists signed an open letter to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt protesting against cuts in the arts.
“David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture” has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. The exhibition has been curated by the independent curator Marco Livingstone and Edith Devaney, the Royal Academy of Arts.
“David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture” is sponsored by BNP Paribas Group.
Showing from 21st January until 9th April 2012.
Tacita Dean at the Tate Modern.
David Franchi – Thursday, 19th January 2012
“shows giant images”
The Tacita Dean exhibition leaves you staring at the screen in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern. Part of the Unilever Series 2011, “FILM” by Tacita Dean, shows giant images screened at the bottom of the vast space of the Turbine Hall. “FILM” catches the attention of the public that gazes at the film produced by the famous visual artist.
Tacita Dean has created an eleven-minute silent 35mm looped film projected onto a monolith standing 13 meters tall at the end of a darkened Turbine Hall. It is the first work in The Unilever Series dedicated to the moving image.
“FILM” is a portrait of the analogue, photochemical, non-digital medium of film. It was made by turning a Cinemascope lens 90º and upending the usual landscape format of the movie screen so it becomes vertical, scaling itself to the proportions of the Turbine Hall.
“FILM” has been constructed using in-camera and studio techniques, such as masking, double-exposure and glass matte painting, to recapture the sense of wonderment generated by these skills during the early days of cinema. The images have been deliberately created during the film shoot rather than in post-production and edited by hand by the artist alone, evoking a sense of intimacy and a lightness of touch. Tacita Dean has placed her trust in the blindness and spontaneity of the analogue process in order, she explains, “to show film as film can be – film in its purest form.”
Tacita Dean is a visual and conceptual artist who express herself with images and film. She is best known for her work in 16mm film, although she utilises a variety of media including drawing, photography and sound. Her films often employ long takes and steady camera angles to create a contemplative atmosphere. Her anamorphic films are shot by cinematographers John Adderley and Jamie Cairney. Her sound recordist is Steve Felton. Since the mid-1990s her films have not commentary, but go together with an optical soundtracks.
To balance her visual art work, Tacita Dean has also published several pieces of her own writing, which she refers to as ‘asides.
Tacita Dean was born in Canterbury, in Kent. She is the sister of architect Ptolemy Dean. She was educated at Kent College, Canterbury. In 1988 she graduated at Falmouth School of Art, and in 1990–92, studied at the Slade School of Fine Art.
In 1997, Dean moved to London and in the same year she began to exhibit splices of magnetic tape cut the length required to document the duration of the sound indicated, such as a raven’s cry. In 2001 she was given a solo show at Tate Britain. In 2000 Dean was awarded a one-year German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship to Berlin, where she moved that year. She focused on the architecture and cultural history of Germany, including iconic structure as well as important figures in post-war German.
In 2009, the Nicola Trussardi Foundation has presented ‘Still Life’, the first Tacita Dean major solo exhibition in Italy, on the Piano Nobile – first floor – of Palazzo Dugnani, a historical Milanese venue for exhibition.
Dean has undertaken commissions for London’s defunct Millennium Dome, the Sadler’s Wells Theatre, and for Cork, Ireland, as part of that city’s European City of Culture celebrations. She has also completed residencies at the Sundance Institute, the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, US, and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Berlin.
She currently lives and works in Berlin.
At the Turbine Hall, at the Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG.
Showing from 11th October 2011 until 11th March 2012.
Massimo Vitali at the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery
David Franchi – 14th January 2012
“pays attention at the elements of the nature”
With a solo exhibition, Massimo Vitali comes back to the UK, at the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery, Mayfair, London. Vitali last exhibition in the UK is dated 1997.
Massimo Vitali has become one of the most renowned contemporary photographers worldwide. He is celebrated for his large colour prints depicting the crowded beaches and shorelines of the Mediterranean Sea.
The new series at the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery pays attention at the elements of the nature such as shores, beaches, rocks, cliffs, waterfalls, caves and quarries, but also contains socio-political aspects.
People pictured are always on mass, in crowded places. Nevertheless, they seem to have no personality reduced to simple colour spots. More often persons are similar to coloured points framed in monumental natural landmarks. Human bodies resemble animals undistinguished from those usually seen on the beaches. The environment is a protagonist with the power of the nature jumping out of the images. Our frailty in the face of such power is thrown into focus and we are forced to confront our mortality and our inability to resist the forces of nature.
Massimo Vitali expresses contemporary society as any good artist should. His images are critical expressions of the mass culture worshipping money and holidays but spending those in another mass-crowded-environment not at all different from their everyday life – therefore having no advantages from it. People are reduced to colour spots without a personality, such as it is imposed by modern society, that considers people as numbers instead of human beings. Natural environment relates to the environmentalist issues, the greenhouse effect, the impoverishment of resource, and modern ecologist problems our society is facing nowadays.
In the Vitali’s body of work there are also socio-political aspects. He commenced his series of Italian beach panoramas in 1994, coinciding with a period of dramatic political change in Italy. “It had happened on 2nd August 1994, right after Berlusconi was elected. I found myself in a state of shock. How could have it happened? I then was on holiday on the beach of Marina Pietrasanta in Tuscany. All of sudden I made the decision to have a closer look at my compatriots, and I spent many a day observing people” Vitali said.
Since then he had major solo exhibitions around the world and his prints are included in various major international collections. Over the last 15 years, the subtle shift in Vitali’s work from crowds to sparsely populated landscapes seems an attempt to understand how we can avoid colonising that which makes our environment meaningful and balanced, and an almost Romantic vision of the sublime power of nature.
Massimo Vitali is born in Como, Italy, in 1944. He studied photography at the London School of Printing. He first worked as a photojournalist in the 1970s and then worked later in the 1980s as a movie camera operator. His more recent work is fine art photography.
For many of his works, Vitali stands on a podium four or five meters high, and uses large-format film cameras to capture high-resolution details over a broad expanse in locations such as beaches.
Showing from 18th November 2011 until 28th January 2012
At the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery, 43-44 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JJ
The first actresses at the National Portrait Gallery
”very interesting and much visited”
David Franchi – Monday 12th December 2011
“The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons” is the first exhibition dedicated to the portraits of the eighteenth century British actresses. This captivating show examines the figures of the very first actresses in the history who played in Britain, and in the meantime it considers their liaison with the art and the theatre.
On display a collection of 53 actress-portraits and satirical prints, including Nell Gwyn, Lavinia Fenton, Sarah Siddons, Mary Robinson and Dorothy Jordan, by such artists as Reynolds, Gainsborough, Hogarth and Gillray which are major loans from museums, together with works from private collections shown for the first time.
The exhibition shows the remarkable popularity of actress-portraits and provides a vibrant vision of eighteenth-century femininity, fashion and theatricality. “The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons” shows large paintings of actresses in their celebrated stage roles, intimate and sensual off-stage portraits and mass-produced caricatures and prints, and explores how they contributed to the growing reputation and professional status of leading female performers.
A first topic of the show is historical. Women were first permitted to perform on the English stage in
the early 1660s, after the restoration of King Charles II. Before there were no professional actresses and female roles were played by men or boys. Respectable women would not usually consider a career in the theatre. However, because the profession demanded the ability to read and memorise lines and to sing and dance, the first actresses came from varied backgrounds.
In the middle of the eighteenth century the profession of actress was linked to the one of prostitute. Covent Garden was the epicentre of the theatre scene, but it was at the same time famous for its bagnios and brothels. This provoked debates about feminine decorum. The display of women’s body on stage was also much criticised and the debate brought to difficult moments for actresses.
“The First Actresses” focuses also on the close relationship between visual and dramatic arts cradled by the Royal Academy of Arts. Founded in 1768, Royal Academy of Arts was interested in creating new forms of expression, therefore improving newborn talent by supporting innovative kind of arts. Afterwards this brought to the development of the ‘theatrical portraiture’, a genre that became popular in the eighteenth century. It consisted in paintings of performers in character or acting in a well-known play.
Last idea the show highlights is that during the eighteenth centuryLondonbecame an important theatre centre in the world and many international recognised actresses were performing in the capital of Britain.
“The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons” is curated by Professor Gill Perry, supported by Dr Lucy Peltz.
As well as focusing on the eighteenth-century actress as a glamorous subject of high art portraits, and the ‘feminine face’ of eighteenth century celebrity culture, the exhibition looks at the resonances with modern celebrity culture and the enduring notion of the actress as fashion icon.
As a complement of the major show, in fact, there is another National Portrait Gallery exhibition, “The actresses now”, that collects photographic portraits of contemporary British female actresses performing in theatre, film and television. It celebrates the lasting legacy of those pioneering women. It is not a comprehensive survey, but instead aims to demonstrate the diversity and breadth of contemporaneous talents. The display of 39 works in a range of media includes an oil painting.
Drawn from the Gallery’s Collection, cincludes women with long and varied acting careers, such as Dame Maggie Smith, Fiona Shaw and Dame Harriet Walter, alongside younger performers who have recently made an impact, including Natalie Dormer and Lily Cole. Given the wealth of fine British actresses working today, this display is not a comprehensive survey but instead aims to demonstrate the diversity and breadth of contemporary talent.
Both the shows are very interesting and much visited.
“The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons” runs from 20th October 2011 until 8th January 2012.
“The Actress Now” runs from 20th October 2011 until 2nd January 2012.
At the National Portrait Gallery, 2 St. Martins Place, London, WC2H OHE
“amazing mastering of many techniques”
David Franchi – Wednesday, 7th December 2011
“Gerhard Richter: Panorama” is a well appropriate name for this exhibition, ongoing at the Tate Modern, London. This show, in fact, is a sort of survey about Gerhard Richter with rooms organised in chronological succession from the beginning of the artist carrier to end up in recent time spanning five decades. The quality of the works is amazing and Richter confirms to be one of the most important living artists.
However, what is really significant is the ability of Richter to master many different kinds of techniques. “Gerhard Richter : Panorama” displays a large quantity of works that depict appropriately the artist’s talent to use different medium. Each room focuses on a particular moment of his career showing how he explored a set of ideas. The works exhibited are mostly paintings but also glass constructions, mirrors, drawings, and photographs. About the difference between painting and sculpture Richter himself states in a video –interview on screening in the entrance corridor: “Painting shows what it s not there”.
The exhibition at the Tate Modern starts with a room dedicated to ‘Photopainting in the 1960s’. Shortly after settling in Dusseldorf (1961) Richter began to use ready made photographs as the source for his paintings. The exhibition proceed locating Richter in different environment such as his comeback to ‘The art after Duchamp’, his making of different series of ‘Damaged Landscapes’, or the ‘Grey painting and colour charts’ period. Interesting is the contrast between ‘Figuration and Abstraction’ – room 5 – a period that led to ‘Exploring abstraction’ – room 6 – and to ‘Genre painting and early squeegee abstracts’ – room 7 – a technique Richter will bring to the highest levels.
The evolution of his work can be seen in room 8 ‘Landscapes and portraits’ which proceed in ‘18 October 1977’, room 9, dedicated to phenomenon of the terrorism of the Red Army Fraction, also known as the Baader -Meinhof group.
But his work with non figurative art keep on and room 10 ‘Abstraction in the 1990s’ show some masterpieces. Room 11 ‘Questioning painting’ highlights that Richter has used various media as a part of his ongoing enquiry about conventions, materials, public and private roles of painting.
Room 12 ‘The limits of vision’ which focal point is the question Richter always posed about vision and if perception enables or confuses our understanding of the world.
‘2001 and beyond’, room 13, explains that Richter was en route to New York on 11 September 2011 when is plane was diverted to Canada and he then started later his work of art about the World trade Centre attacks.
There is also a free entrance additional room ‘Cage’ external to the exhibition which reserve a good surprise with its monumental pieces.
Richter is often celebrated for the diversity of his approaches to painting. His work is organised by different oppositions, with paintings after photographs as well as abstract pictures; traditional still-lifes alongside highly charged subjects; monochrome grey works and multicoloured grids.
The German visual artist Gerhard Richter has produced using different media at the same time thus breaking the boundaries of the concept that artist should restrict his work by uphold a single cohesive style. Some of its paintings are planned out and ordered while others are the result of unpredictable accumulations of marks and erasures. Richter sometimes maintains these oppositions, but at other times he undoes them. This exhibition shows how he often brings abstraction and figuration together, and explores related ideas in very different looking works.
Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden, Saxony (9th February 1932) and grew up in Reichenau, Lower Silesia, and in Waltersdorf (Zittauer Gebirge) in the Upper Lusatian countryside. He finally began his study at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts in 1951. His teachers were Karl von Appen, Ulrich Lohmar and Will Grohmann.
He started his career with paintings over ideological reasons and he had to escape from East to West Germany – two months before the building of the Berlin Wall.
When he arrived in West Germany, 1961, Richter began to study at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Karl Otto Götz together with Sigmar Polke, Konrad Lueg and Gotthard Graubner. With Polke and Lueg he introduced the term Kapitalistischer Realismus (Capitalistic Realism) as an anti-style of art. This title also referred to the realist style of art known as Socialist Realism, then the official art doctrine of the Soviet Union, but it also commented upon the consumer-driven art doctrine of western capitalism.
Richter married Marianne Eufinger in 1957; she gave birth to his first daughter. He married his second wife, the sculptor Isa Genzken, in 1982. Richter had a son and daughter with his third wife, Sabine Moritz after they were married in 1995.
Major solo exhibitions include the 36th Venice Biennale in 1972, his first large-scale retrospective at Städtische Kunsthalle und Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf in 1986 and Forty Years of Painting, a large-scale retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2002. He installed Black Red Gold in the foyer of the Reichstag building in Berlin in 1999 and the window that he designed for Cologne Cathedral was completed in 2007.
In 1983, Richter resettled from Düsseldorf to Cologne, where he still lives and works today.
“Gerhard Richter: Panorama” is curated by Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate, and Mark Godfrey, Curator, Tate Modern with Amy Dickson, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern, with colleagues in Berlin and Paris. The exhibition has been organised in association with Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, where it will be curated by Udo Kittelmann and Dorothee Brill, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, where it will be curated by Alfred Pacquement, Camille Morineau and Lucia Pesapane.
Showing from 6th October 2011 until 8 January 2012.
At the Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
The Other Art Fair shows new contemporary ideas.
“Unique new Contemporary Art event”
David Franchi – Wednesday, 30th November 2011
“The Other Art Fair” was a unique new Contemporary art event at The Bargehouse, Southbank. At its first edition, it provided a special platform that allowed 100 specially chosen artists to showcase their work to collectors, curators and gallerists on their own terms.
“The Other Art Fair” was an opportunity to see and buy work directly from the brightest talents in the UK, thus allowing them to keep 100% of the profits, as they did not have to pay gallery commission. Artists on show were chosen between hundreds of applicants.
It seems that there is an emerging generation of young artists who at “The Other Art Fair” exhibited together with more established independent ones. The chosen artists are short of gallery representation. In these days of economic crisis are galleries important when art market is dominated by profit? It is a huge need to promote emerging artist or else in few years we will not be able to have a significant art environment. This blend of new and recognised artists gives clues for a new era in the British art market.
The fair comprises numerous artworks costing under £100. An interesting idea was the ‘Joffe and Pye’s
99p Shop’ where original paintings and handmade small objects could be bought for under £1, a sort of betting on the new top artist.
A range of further activities were offered at “The Other Art Fair”. The ‘Robin Collective’s Secret Garden’, was an installation that recreated a full-scale secret garden, site for Cafe Du Pique-Nique, selling picnic basket lunches to visitors. At the ‘Tom’s Shoes – One for One Competition’, instead, visitors had the chance to win a pair of shoes, personalised with their own design in association with Tom’s. They were invited to draw on an origami paper shoe before the winning design is transferred onto the real article.
As artist Charming Baker commented: “The Other Art Fair is a wonderful door-opener for some major new talent.’’ His example of operating as an unknown but highly successful artist is a sign of the changes going on within theLondonart scene with artists and collectors looking to forge new connections for them.
The Committee of “The Other Art Fair” was composed of the celebrated contemporary British artist Charming Baker; Dr. Anthony Downey, Programme Director of the M.A. course in Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art; the well-known art journalist and opinion former Sophie Hastings; Godfrey Worsdale, Director of BALTIC and curator; and Graham Fink, President of the Design & Art Directors Association, Executive Creative Director at M&C Saatchi and most recently Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather.
At the Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, London, SE1 9QS
Showing from 25th, 26th and 27th November 2011