A series of Screening taking place at The White Box Studio, Broadway, Nottingham, tomorrow night (Friday 7th May 2010) at 7, 8 & 9pm.
This month in Artforum: “The Next Act: Issues in Contemporary Performance.” On the occasion of major New York exhibitions of artists Marina Abramovic and Tino Sehgal at the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Artforum asked art historians Carrie Lambert-Beatty and Caroline A. Jones, as well as artist Joe Scanlan, to reflect on this striking pairing of ephemeral actions and established institutions—all while taking stock of performance in the public sphere.
“More interesting than whether reenactments are art-historically correct is what they are asked to do—whether they close down or open up the potentiality of performance.” —Carrie Lambert-Beatty
The question of identity has long been a prevalent issue for many artists’ as artistic expression cannot fail to reveal some sense of the identity behind the work – often an uncomfortable fact for an artist to confront. The current exhibition at London’s Wellcome Collection Identity: 8 Rooms 9 Lives explores the tension between the way we view ourselves and how others see us by examining 9 lives, from a racial minority to the first transsexual as well as a set of twins.
A personal sense of identity is inevitably thrown into deeper question and complexity for a set of identical twins as any clear sense of individuality is clouded and it is no new fascination in the art world. Twins were also recently used in Tate’s Autumn exhibition, Pop Life, sitting in front of a pair of Damien Hirst’s spot paintings featuring as a piece of art.
In her current exhibition at White Cube Hoxton Square, artist Candice Breitz hones in on this intriguing subject ‘Factum’ is a series of in-depth video portraits of twins – and one set of triplets – a body of work that extends upon Breitz’s ongoing interest in doubling, portraiture and identity. Titled after Robert Rauschenberg’s ‘Factum I’ and ‘II’ (1957) near-identical twin paintings, Breitz’s ‘Factum’ explores the modes of internal and external forces that drive individuation.
The gallery space is divided up into a series of darkened cinemas each devoted to one set of identical siblings telling their own story. The ‘Factums’ as Breitz calls them are presented as two screens side by side, one for each twin to tell their own story. They are both dressed identically and placed in the same setting but the artist interviewed each one on their own for up to seven hours. Side by side they offer their own take on life as a twin / triplet from family difficulties, to crisis of identity and sibling bonds. Whilst their stories are presented as monologues, with no interjections from the interviewer, Breitz has managed to get a great deal of emotional and at times heart wrenching content out of her subjects. The stories of each twin are inter-spliced with one another, creating an effect of conversation between the two, complicating the relationship in the finished work by offering two alternative perspectives at once.
This month saw the launch of Love Art London; a brand new art membership club which organises unique experiences in our own capital city – the very hub of art and culture that is London town. For anyone who has a genuine passion for the arts but finds their enjoyment compromised by the busy crowds at the weekend or simply works and plays too hard to find time for culture in their daily routine, this new scheme could be exactly what you’re looking for. Aimed at busy, professional types, Love Art London provides exclusive late night access to galleries and exhibitions and hosts eye-opening experiences including film screenings, talks and tours offering a refreshing alternative to mundane week night activities.
Highlights over the next few months include evening admission to the universally acclaimed, Van Gogh exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts – this is a unique opportunity to bypass the seething hoards of tourists and weekend visitors and enjoy a far more relaxed experience of this remarkable exhibition. April offerings include a member’s only film screening of Andy Goldsworthy’s fascinating Rivers and Tides at The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury. And for anyone who’s ever wanted a sneaky insight into what goes on behind the scenes at London’s most prestigious auction house, membership to the scheme offers access to a private tour of Sotheby’s in May. Previously employed as paintings expert at Sotheby’s, Love Art London founder Chris Pensa should be more than qualified to facilitate an engaging and informative tour.
A self proclaimed ‘brave pioneer’, Chris hopes to “ignite a fire in your belly and give you something interesting to talk about” as he puts it. Last week’s Love Art London launch party at The Estorick Collection in Islington was attended by art world greats such as Tracy Emin, Andy Goldsworthy and Frida Kahlo (or very convincing look-a-likes at least!) and provided an initial taster of the playful spirit at the heart of the enterprise. Along with the fun comes a genuine passion to make art more easily accessible to those who want it and Chris insists, “We’re deadly Serious About Art”.
Membership costs just £25/month so why not make a gesture of Love towards Art today and sign up online at www.loveartlondon.com
The latest exhibition from Idea Generation Gallery unveils a collection of photographs from maverick photographer Gavin Bond. The exhibition is a celebration of music and its excessive celebrity associations. This is the first exhibition of Bond’s music photography and displays extravagant images of this generation’s biggest stars from rock Gods such as Steven Tyler and Ozzy Osborne to pop princesses Girls Aloud and Katy Perry.
Gavin Bond is acclaimed as one of the UK’s most successful contemporary photographers having gained access into the lives of some of the best known celebrities and shooting highly intimate and telling portraits. The works originate from a variety of shoots such as magazine covers for GQ and Q, album artwork and imagery for hit HBO dramas as well as never before seen private moments and behind the scenes reportage.
Idea Generation Gallery Manager, Eloise Rowley commented: “Gavin Bond’s photos evoke many of the greatest popular cultural photographers of our time. His portfolio of work stands alongside world renowned photographers.” Bond’s distinctive style delves deep beneath the skin of his subjects to reveal a sense of personality and emotion usually masked to the public. The array of iconic figures featured side-by-side offers a rich tapestry of celebrated music icons in one indulgent hit of pure celebrity voyeurism.
The Killers © Gavin Bond courtesy of Idea Generation Gallery
Meeting Katie Paterson last weekend for an impromptu cup of tea and a chat in the caf at the end of Deal pier, she spoke confidently and unassumingly about her out of this world art works. To hear her describe the inspiration behind her most recent work, Streetlight Storm, it all made perfect sense – of course it’s logical to record every flash of lightening from North Africa to the North Pole and turn it into an art work in a sleepy seaside town in Kent. Perhaps not? Paterson’s limitless imagination and determination to realise her far-fetched inspirations has in the past, brought us such works as Earth-Moon-Earth (Moonlight sonata Reflected from the Surface of the Moon), which involved the transmission of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to the moon and back and Vatnajökull (the sound of), a live phone line to an Icelandic glacier. Streetlight Storm continues this tradition of epic works, proving that space, time and technicalities are mere trifles to be swept aside for this ambitious artist.
At any one time there are around 6,000 lightening storms happening across the world amounting to some 16 million storms each year. Inspired by such dizzying statistics Paterson set about translating this natural phenomena into a poetic and beautiful artwork on Deal Pier in Kent. Harnessing everyday technology, lightening signals from as far away as the North Pole or North Africa are received by an antenna on the pier and projected as short bursts of light. As the pattern of lightening strikes changes, so the pier lights oscillate correspondingly, with a subtlety that contrasts with the power and drama of the storms they reflect.
To watch the pier by night is a genuinely magical experience with each flash anticipated with mounting tension. Every sporadic burst is accompanied by an appreciative emotional thrill and a sense of awe at the fact that somewhere out there the ominous rumbles of thunder and lightening are mounting. The work connects spectators to the vastness of the world beyond, collapsing the distance between the individual and remote meteorological events. Streetlight Storm was originally scheduled to run for one month throughout January but it is looking likely that the instalment will be extended.
Katie Paterson graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2007 and has recently exhibited at Modern Art Oxford, Altermodern: Tate triennial 2009, Tate Britain, Universal Code, The Power Plant, Toronto and PERFORMA 09, New York.
The Royal Academy’s hotly anticipated Van Gogh exhibition has been deemed one of the “most important exhibitions ever held at RA” by director of exhibitions Kathleen Soriano and is expected to be one of the gallery’s most successful shows to date. It is the first major show devoted to Van Gogh to be staged in London for 40 years and includes several works which have never before been displayed in the UK. The show has been ten years in the making but will finally be open to the public from 22nd January who will undoubtedly relish this unique opportunity to gain an insight into the complex mind of Vincent van Gogh.
At the heart of the exhibition lies a collection of over 800 letters by the artist and his friends and family, painstakingly collected and prepared over the years by a team at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Over 35 of these original letters are displayed throughout the RA exhibition having rarely before been exhibited due to their intense fragility. Each letter is displayed in correspondence with specific paintings or drawings offering a fascinating insight into the artist’s vision, inspiration and motivation.
Curator Ann Dumas explained that her intention was to create the effect that Van Gogh is taking you around his own exhibition. The desired effect certainly achieved. In his enthralling correspondences Van Gogh describes his methods in acutely intricate detail from colour choice and subject matter to areas in which he struggled such as, “that down right witch-craft or coincidence” – perspective, as Van Gogh apparently put it. Dumas explained, “No artist has ever before left such a complete correspondence of how he went about his writing career”.
Upon entering the exhibition, the first room displays only one work, a still life of the artist’s drawing table painted shortly after his break down in December 1888 when he famously mutilated his ear. The most notorious fact associated with Van Gogh is very deliberately confronted from the start of the show in order to be turned o it’s head throughout the remainder of the show. Whilst the Van Gogh of popular myth is a mad and erratic genius, by following his works alongside his letters, a new image emerges of a sensitive, determined, hard working and exceptionally intelligent man. Through his writings the artist’s incredible gift for language is portrayed in a way that has previously never been credited to him.
Between the seven galleries the exhibition explores Van Gogh’s short 10 year career as an artist, predominantly in chronological order. Beginning with his early sketches of Dutch landscapes and moving on to his dazzlingly bold depictions of the Mediterranean countryside of Arles, the artist’s spiritual love affair with nature becomes evident. His vividly expressive descriptions of the beauty he saw around him convey his struggle to achieve artistic perfection in his depictions of the beauty he saw all around him. In one letter to his brother Theo he exudes, “In all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and soul”. The colour notations alongside his sketches and clear descriptions of his plans for future works go further to dispel the myth that Van Gogh worked sporadically or spontaneously. In fact, it becomes evident that the majority of his works were intricately choreographed pieces.
In the final galleries are housed the most recognisable of Van Gogh’s works with the notably dynamic, energetic, swirling brush strokes for which he is famed. The sad fact that several of these paintings are slices of landscape viewed from the restricted view of his asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence are a stark reminder of the artist’s troubled mental state. At the age of only 37, Van Gogh shot himself, “perhaps”, speculates Dumas “due to a sense of failure as an artist or a fear of the reoccurring attacks on his mental health”.
The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters was curated by Ann Dumas of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Niewn Bakker of the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. The Exhibition runs from 23rd Jan – 18th April 2010.