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Massimo Vitali at the Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery

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Massimo Vitali expresses contemporary society”
by David Franchi – Monday, 16th January 2012
With a solo exhibition, Massimo Vitali comes back to the UK, at the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery, Mayfair.Massimo Vitali last exhibition in the UK was 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

Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk

Direct link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7966

The first actresses at the National Portrait Gallery

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Review of  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 first actresses of the history who played in Britain, and in the meantime it considers their liaison with 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 vivid spectacle 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 and the display of women’s body on stage.

The First Actresses” focuses also on the close relationship between visual art and the dramatic arts cradled by the Royal Academy of Arts, founded in 1768, which was interested in creating new forms of expression. Afterwards this brought to the development of the ‘theatrical portraiture’ 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 century London became 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 a complement to the main show 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. This display is not a comprehensive survey, but instead aims to demonstrate the diversity and breadth of contemporaneous talents.

Drawn from the Gallery’s Collection, “The Actress Now” includes women with long and varied acting careers, alongside younger performers who have recently made an impact. The display of 39 works in a range of media includes an oil painting.

Both the shows are very interesting and much visited.

Showing until 08 January 2012 National Portrait Gallery, 2 St. Martins Place, London, WC2H OHE

Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk

Direct link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7875#reviews

Gerhard Richter at the Tate Modern

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 “Amazing mastering of many techniques”

David Franchi – 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 survey about Gerhard Richter‘s body of work with rooms organised in chronological succession spanning five decades from the beginning of his carrier ending up in recent time.

Gerhard Richter: Panorama” displays a large quantity of works illustrating appropriately his talent to use different medium. His ability in mastering many different kinds of techniques is amazing. Each room focuses on a particular moment of Richter 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”.

Gerhard Richter: Panorama” starts with a room dedicated to ‘Photopainting in the 1960s’ when he began to use readymade 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 could 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 keeps 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 reserves a surprise with monumental works.

Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden in 1932 and moved to Düsseldorf, West Germany in 1961. He was founder with Sigmar Polke and Konrad Lueg, of the group ‘Capitalistic Realism’. In 1999, he installed ‘Black Red Gold’ in the foyer of the Reichstag in Berlin. The window he designed for Cologne Cathedral was completed in 2007. Richter lives and works in Cologne.

Gerhard Richter: Panorama” is curated by Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate Modern, and Mark Godfrey, Curator, Tate Modern with Amy Dickson, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern, with colleagues in Berlin and Paris. The exhibition will also be organised at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, curated by Udo Kittelmann and Dorothee Brill, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, curated by Alfred Pacquement, Camille Morineau and Lucia Pesapane.

Supported by The Eisler Foundation, The Richter Exhibition Supporters Group and the American Patrons of Tate.

Showing until 8th January 2012 Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG

Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk

Direct link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7859

Written by davidfranchi

December 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm

The Other Art Fair – Southbank at the Oxo Tower

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“Unique new Contemporary Art event”
David Franchi –  Wednesday, 30th November 2011
The Other Art Fair” was an unique new Contemporary art event at The Bargehouse, near the Oxo Tower at the 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 the London art 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.

Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk

Direct link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7839

Written by davidfranchi

December 18, 2011 at 3:25 am

Taylor Wessing Prize 2011 – National Portrait Gallery

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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011

“Another successful significant photographic exhibition”

by David Franchi – Tuesday, 15th November 2011

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize return is another success. The small rooms in which the 60 portraits exhibition is hosted are filled up with visitors. Despite the low entrance price the Taylor Wessing Prize 2011 confirms to be one of the most significant photographic exhibitions in the UK.

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 has been won by Jooney Woodward, 32, for her portrait, ‘Harriet and Gentleman Jack’. The portrait of 13-year-old Harriet Power was taken in the guinea pig judging area at the Royal Welsh Show. Woodward says: “I found her image immediately striking with her long, red hair and white stewarding coat. She is holding her own guinea pig called Gentleman Jack, named after the Jack Daniel’s whisky box in which he was given to her. Using natural light from a skylight above, I took just three frames and this image was the first.” The winning portrait has unleashed critical comments. It seems many did not agree with the portrait to be the winner wondering if this was really the best in between the 6,033 portraits submitted by 2,506 photographers from around the world. However, Woodward was awarded with £12,000. She found her sitter whilst scouting subjects at the agricultural show in Builth Wells, Powys. The portrait was shot on film with a Mamiya RZ medium format camera. Born in London in 1979, Woodward studied at Camberwell College of Arts, specialising in photography. She worked in the Vogue Photographic Archive of Conde Nast Publications before pursuing a freelance career from 2009.

Jill Wooster with ‘Of Lili’ has been awarded with the Second Prize of £2,500. Born in1977 in New Haven, Connecticut, Wooster has lived in New York, San Francisco and currently lives in London. She studied as an artist at Bard College, New York. She currently works as a freelance photographer. Her portrait is of her friend, Lili Ledbetter and was taken at Wooster’s flat in Peckham.

The Third Prize of £1,500 has been given to Dona Schwartz for ‘Christina and Mark, 14 months’ from the series ‘On the Nest’. Her shortlisted portrait is of Christina and Mark Bigelow from Minnesota in their son’s vacated bedroom. Born in the US in 1955, Dona Schwartz is an Associate Professor specialising in Visual Communication at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota.

The Fourth Prize of £1,000 was for Jasper Clarke for ‘Wen’. His shortlisted portrait taken in Hackney is of Wen Wu, a Chinese artist and is from a personal project depicting artists, musicians and other creative people who live in their work spaces. Jasper Clarke was also the winner of the ELLE Commission 2011 – in its third year. He will be given the opportunity to shoot a feature story for ELLE magazine. Born in the UK in 1978, Clarke studied at Edinburgh’s Napier University before moving to London to assist many high-profile photographers.

David Knight with ‘Andie’ was awarded with the Fifth Prize of £500. His portrait of 15-year-old Andie Poetschka was commissioned by Loud for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance to raise awareness of the condition throughout Australia. Born in Oxford in 1971, he currently lives and works in Sydney.

This is the fourth year that international law firm Taylor Wessing has sponsored the Prize.

Showing until 12th February 2o12 at the National Portrait Gallery, 2 St. Martins Place, London, WC2H OHE

Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk

direct link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7788

Written by davidfranchi

December 7, 2011 at 1:39 am

The Music of Colour – Art Moor House

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“Enthralling exhibiton at the Art Moor House

“The music of colour” is an enthralling exhibition at the Art Moor House, Moorgate. While just around the corner the sleepers of the Occupy London movement are demonstrating, Maria Ines Aguirre entertained guests at the opening of her lovely solo exhibition. Maria Ines Aguirre, also known as Mia, has had numerous solo shows and her works are held in worldwide collections.

Stepping inside the stunning Moor House building the exhibition is just at the entrance. This unique space in the heart of the City often hosts exhibitions. Designed by Norman Foster, in fact, the Moor House is the setting for a powerful mix between visual art, business and architecture.

The Music of Colour” is a collection of Aguirre works focused on the study of colours. Starting from the silence of her ‘Bianco’ to the melody of the ‘Sound of my voice’, the exhibition is a path through Mia’s studies on the connections between material, colour and sound.

The use of colour is amazing. Maria Ines Aguirre works with very expensive colours. Results are superb. Inspired by Mirò, at least in a couple of pieces, her paintings have often a blue background that blends with other basics particularly yellow. Mia brings the harmony of music together with colours and materials.

The texture of her works perfectly sounds like the one of a musical piece although unspecified. Therefore, when looking at Mia paintings you can connect them with many kinds of music. You could try to imagine which melody should have been used in the making of them – and the emotions behind.

Born in Northern Argentina, Maria Ines Aguirre studied Fine Arts. Mia was born amid the majestic rivers, lush vegetation and red earth of Mesopotamia, Entre Rios, but grew up in the north of Argentina, surrounded by the mountains Juyuy, Salta and Tucuman. She gave her first solo show aged 6 and won several national painting competitions before graduating in Fine Arts from the University of Tucuman.

After working as assistant to the print maker Bruno Janello in Buenos Aires, she won a scholarship to the Accademia di Belle Arti, Venezia, where she studied under Fabrizio Plessi. She then set up her studio at the Certosa di Vigodarzere near Padova, and in 1993 moved to London (where she lives and work) following her life-changing solo show at the Durini Gallery in 1991.

Mia has exhibited in Europe, America and the Far East and her works are held in collections in the USA, South America, Asia and Europe. Recent commissions include paintings for London Design Week and the painting of two life-size elephant sculptures for a public exhibition about environment. In 2010, Mia was artist in residence at Steinway & Sons, London. She displayed at the Royal Botanic Gardens during the Edinburgh Festival. Mia currently has a solo show in Ronda, Spain, until the end of November 2011. She is now preparing 2012 solo shows in Hong Kong and Buenos Aires.

Showing: until 6th January 2012 at Art Moor House, 120 London Wall, London, EC2Y 5ET

Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk

Direct link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7777

Written by davidfranchi

November 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935 at the Royal Academy of Arts

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“Successful Exhibition of Soviet Art”
David Franchi – Monday 7th November 2011

“Building The Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935” is another successful exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, until the 22nd January 2012.

It is the first time that many of the works have been shown in the UK. Entering the Royal Academy courtyard, it is possible to be grabbed immediately into “Building the Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935.” Here stands, in fact, a spiral vibrant and asymmetric tower. It is a 1:40 scale model of the Tatlin Tower. The ‘Monument to the Third International’ was conceived by Vladimir Tatlin in 1919-20 as a 400m high tribute to the Bolshevik Revolution. The Tatlin’s Constructivist tower was to be built on the Neva River in St. Petersburg from industrial materials: iron, glass and steel.

“Building the Revolution” brings together artworks of the Russian avant-garde architecture made from 1922 to 1935. It was supposed to build the new Soviet Socialist language. It was a short-lived period which, however, had a consistent construction and design production.

The debate about the modernisation of Russia in the beginning of the 20th Century was made by progressive artists and architects. Their ideas were to bring on all together cultural, political and social changes.

In 1917-22 during the difficult moments of the Russian Civil War artists focused on speculative research and revolutionary art education creating Modernism. In the meantime the Constructivist group was formed in Moscow. This group opposed to the bourgeois conception of the artist as individual genius but rather they consider themselves as ‘workers’.

Constructivism shadowed Modernism. The drive to create a new Marxist – Socialist society in Russia gave scope to a dynamic synthesis between radical art and architecture. This creative reciprocity was reflected in the engagement in architectural ideas and projects by artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Liubov Popova, El Lizzitsky, Ivan Kluin and Gustav Klucis, and in designs by architects such as Konstantin Melnikov, Moisei Ginsburg, Ilia Golosov and the Vesnin brothers. European architects including Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn were also draught in to shape the new utopia.

The Royal Academy exhibition puts side by side large-scale photographs of existing buildings with relevant drawings and paintings and vintage photographs. It is a good idea that better allows visitors enjoying the exhibition as Russian architecture with its industrial design is slightly monotone and oppressive.

The images of Richard Pare provide an eloquent record of the often degraded condition into which the buildings have fallen. Important contributions are present from the Costakis Collection from the State Museum of Contemporary Art of Thessaloniki, Greece.

The conclusion of the Civil War in 1921 heralded tight Communist Party control over government and communications. The First World War and the Civil War were financially disruptive. During the 1920s USSR was determined to be one of the world leading nations. Trough the New Economic Policy, the collectivisation of agriculture and the push of industrialisation generated an exodus from the rural areas to the cities.

Therefore, the architecture design of the cities changed. The Bolshevik government also was driven to eliminate illiteracy and built worker’s club and schools providing free education.

“Building The Revolution: Soviet Art and Architecture 1915-1935” ends with a room dedicated to Lenin Mausoleum, by architect Aleksei Shchusev in the Red Square, that signed the end of the Revolutionary ideas by almost deifies Lenin figure.

Showing until 22/01/12

Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD

Published for: www.remotegoat.co.uk

Direct link: http://www.remotegoat.co.uk/review_view.php?uid=7751

Written by davidfranchi

November 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm