The coldness of fairy tales

Edward Burne-Jones
24 October 2018 – 24 February 2019
Tate Britain, London, UK

The art berries visited recently the current art exhibition of Edward Burne-Jones, now at Tate Britain gallery in London.

Ned Jones, later Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet (1833-98), was one of the last Pre-Raphaelites, who were always looking back to the past as their name indicates. He rejected the industrial world of the Victorians and made spectacular works depicting classical heroes, Arthurian knights, fairy tale heroines and angels in different mediums. He studied theology at Oxford, where he met his lifelong collaborator William Morris, with whom he was a pioneer of the arts and crafts movement, which aimed to bring beautiful design to everyone through the Aesthetic movement. After embracing the style of Dante Gabriel Rosetti when he was in his 20s, he carried on producing the same sort of works until his death in 1898. 

I enjoyed seeing a series of his drawings at the beginning of the exhibition, which showcase his draughtsmanship skills, and his big scale paintings are well-composed and rather evocative. However, with his paintings I kept on encountering very similar faces of classical, cold and expressionless beauty. Even when he depicted real people such as his daughter or the daughter of prime minister William Gladstone on one of his most famous paintings “The Golden Stairs” on show here, all faces seem to have the same features. Almost as if he had recycled a likeness and he couldn’t bother distinguishing much between one woman or another.

This is the perfect art show to visit if you are interested in medieval art, religion, greek mythology and legends and want to travel back in time for inspiration. You can see across the exhibition the various forms in which he developed his art, from drawing to painting, passing by tapestry, embroidery, jewellery and stained glass windows.

I must say, I didn’t find much of an evolution in his work along this solo show, presented as a retrospective. He was very famous and very prolific with his art, but he didn’t seem to have developed his technique nor his style very much throughout his life. It may be the price you pay when you become so famous and have so many commissions coming in.

This is his first solo show at Tate since 1933 comprising over 150 artworks from across his career including his most famous paintings, such as the “The Golden Stairs”, “The Beguiling of Merlin” and the Sleeping Beauty series, some of them on show below. The curators of Tate Britain wanted to do a good homage to Burne-Jones as one the most influential artist of the 19th century, during the Victorian period. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that he was a Pre-Raphaelite visionary. And for sensuous beauty, I’d rather look at the work of other Pre-Raphaelite painters, such as Dante Gabriel Rosetti.

Having said that, I won’t deny his value as a decorative artists, his attention to detail and his input with regards to Art Nouveau in Britain. Therefore, if you have an appeal for classical heroes and fairy tales, and you like a Gothic style, you will almost certainly like this art show.

Below you can see The art blackberry performing next to Burne-Jones’ “Perseus and the Graiae”, a painting representing Perseus encountering the Graiae, three sisters of the Gorgons, who have between them only one tooth and one eye. As the eye is passed between them, Perseus steals it forcing them to tell him the way to find the nymphs he’s looking for.


La frialdad de los cuentos de hadas

Edward Burne-Jones
24 de octubre de 2018 – 24 de febrero de 2019
Tate Britain, Londres, Reino Unido

The art berries visitaron recientemente la exposición de arte de Edward Burne-Jones que hay ahora en la galería Tate Britain en Londres.

Ned Jones, después Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1er Baronet (1833-98), fue uno de los últimos prerrafaelistas, a los que les gustaba tomar como inspiración el arte del pasado, como su propio nombre indica. Rechazó el mundo industrial de los victorianos e hizo obras espectaculares que representan a héroes clásicos, caballeros de la época del rey Arturo, heroínas de cuento de hadas y ángeles en diferentes medios. Estudió teología en Oxford, donde conoció a William Morris, su colaborador de toda la vida, con quien fue pionero en el “arts and crafts movement,” cuyo objetivo era brindar un diseño hermoso a todo el mundo a través del movimiento Estético. Después de abrazar el estilo de Dante Gabriel Rosetti cuando tenía 20 años, continuó produciendo el mismo tipo de obras hasta su muerte en 1898.

Me gustaron la serie de dibujos expuestos al comienzo de la exposición, que muestran sus habilidades con el dibujo y sus pinturas a gran escala están bien compuestas y son bastante evocadoras. Sin embargo, con sus pinturas seguí encontrando caras muy similares de belleza clásica, fría e inexpresiva. Incluso cuando representaba a personas reales como su hija o la hija del primer ministro William Gladstone en uno de sus cuadros más famosos, “The Golden Stairs” que se muestra aquí debajo, todas las caras parecen tener las mismas características. Casi como si hubiera reciclado una fisonomía y no pudiera molestarse en distinguir mucho entre una mujer u otra.

Esta es la muestra de arte perfecta para visitar si estás interesado en el arte medieval, la religión, la mitología griega y las leyendas, y quieres viajar al pasado en busca de inspiración. Puedes ver a través de la exposición las diversas formas en las que desarrolló su arte, desde el dibujo hasta la pintura, pasando por el tapiz, el bordado, la joyería y las vidrieras.

 

Debo decir, que no encontré mucha evolución en su trabajo a lo largo de esta exposición que se presenta como una retrospectiva. Fue muy famoso y muy prolífico con su arte, pero no parece haber desarrollado mucho su técnica ni su estilo durante toda su vida. Puede ser el precio que pagas cuando te vuelves tan famoso y recibes tantas comisiones.

Esta es su primera exposición individual en Tate desde 1933, con más de 150 obras de arte de toda su carrera, incluidas sus pinturas más famosas, como “The Golden Stairs”, “The Beguiling of Merlin” y la serie Sleeping Beauty, algunas de las cuales se muestran debajo. abajo. Los curadores de Tate Britain querían hacer un buen homenaje a Burne-Jones como uno de los artistas más influyentes del siglo XIX durante el período victoriano. Sin embargo, no me atrevería a decir que Burne-Jones fué un visionario pre-rrafaelista. Y en cuanto a belleza sensual, prefiero el trabajo de otros pintores pre-rrafaelitas, como Dante Gabriel Rosetti.

Dicho esto, no negaré su valor como artistas decorativo, su atención a los detalles y su aporte con respecto al Art Nouveau en Gran Bretaña. Por lo tanto, si te atraen los héroes clásicos y los cuentos de hadas, y le gusta el estilo gótico, es casi seguro que le gustará esta muestra de arte.

Debajo puedes ver a The art blackberry junto a “Perseus and the Graiae” de Burne-Jones, una pintura que representa a Perseus encontrándose con Graiae, tres hermanas de las Gorgonas, que tienen entre ellas solo un diente y un ojo. Cuando el ojo pasa entre ellas, Perseo lo roba y los obliga a decirle cómo encontrar a las ninfas que está buscando.

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The art blueberry next to “The wheel of fortune” by Edward Burne-Jones.
The art blueberry junto a “The wheel of fortune” por Edward Burne-Jones.

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“The Golden Stairs” by Edward Burne-Jones.

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“The Garden Court” (1874-84) by Edward Burne-Jones.

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Various paintings above from the series part of “The sleeping beauty” by Edward Burne-Jones.
Varias pinturas arriba parte de la serie de “La bella durmiente” de Edward Burne-Jones.

Breaking moulds in art and in life

Russian Dada 1914–1924
Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
6 June – 22 October 2018

I was pleased to visit this art show a month ago in Madrid, Spain, at the Reina Sofia Museum; the first one I cover out of the UK.

Although the art exhibition felt a bit long because of the number of works on show, about 250, it was really comprehensive and I found it interesting to gain a good perspective of the art created by Russian avant-garde artists during this period, from 1914 to 1924. The show includes paintings, collages, illustrations, sculptures, film projections and publications, and it’s divided in three parts.

Dada or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde that developed in the early 20th century in reaction to World War I and had an early centre in Zurich. The Dada movement rejected the logic, reason and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, expressing irrationality and nonsense protest in their works.

When it comes to Russian Dada, the artworks on show here were produced at the height of Dada’s flourishing, between World War I and the death of Vladimir Lenin, who happened to be a frequent visitor to Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, where this art movement originated. The Russian avant-gardists on show, as well as the rest of Dadaists, supported internationalism and engaged in eccentric practices and pacifist demonstrations.

The first part of the show, and also my favourite, focuses on ‘alogical’ abstraction. As I came into the show I saw photos of some of the Russian Dadaists, in a rather irreverent and playful pose. They were followed by some film projections in black and white, of which I took a snapshot and it’s on show below. One of the sculptures created in this period includes Vladimir Tatlin’s “Complex Corner-Relief” (1915), next to which you can see myself performing for the photo.

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The Art Blueberry performing next to Vladimir Tatlin’s, “Complex Corner-Relief”/”Relieve de esquina complejo” (1915).

One of the hits of this exhibition for me was to see the designs for a stage curtain of the futurist opera “Victory over the Sun” produced by Malevich in 1913 which led him to create his well know “Black Square” in 1915. We cannot see the “Black Square” here, but we can see a design for the curtain for the opera Victory over the Sun and some other variants of it including white squares that are brilliant too.

Kasimir Malevich, “Design for the curtain of the opera Victory over the Sun”/ “Diseño para el telón de la ópera Victoria sobre el Sol” – left/izq.
The Art Blueberry performing next to Malevich’s work.

Aleksei Morgunov was quoted within the show saying: “In 1914-15 Malevich and I decided that practically all forms of development of the painterly principles that had gone along the trajectory of negation of the created forms, logically brought us to a blank canvas. Our task then to create new forms that have a character of elementary geometric forms. One of such forms was a square.”

Olga Rozanova, “In the Street”/ “En la calle” (1915) – left/izquierda
Aleksei Morgunov, “Composition no. 1″/ “Composición n. 1” – right/derecha.

In collaboration with the musician Mikhail Matyushin and the poet Aleksei Kruchenykh, Malevich did a manifesto calling for the rejection of rational thought. They wanted to change the established systems of Western society. In the opera Victory over the Sun, the characters aimed to abolish reason by capturing the sun and destroying time. Malevich called this Suprematism, and this new movement is all about the supremacy of colour and shape in painting. 

The second section spans the period from 1917 to 1924, from the victory of the Russian Revolution to the death of Vladímir Lenin, touching notions like Internationalism. Malevich’s Suprematism had a strong influence in his contemporaries.  

As such, Sofia Dymshits-Tolstaia said on a testimony: “I came to Vitebsk after the October celebrations, but the city still glowed from Malevich’s decorations- of circles, squares, dots, lines of different colours…I felt like I was in a bewitched city, at the time everything was powerful and wonderful.”

We can see Malevich’s influence on Morgunov’s design for the cover of the journal ‘The International of Art’, and on “The New Man” from Litsitzki on show below.

Aleksei Morgunov, Unpublished cover of the journal The International of Art, 1919 / Portada inedita de la revista Internacional de arte – left/izq.
El Lisitzski, “The New Man”/ “El hombre nuevo” (1920-1923) – right/dcha.

The final section explores the connections between Russia and two of the main Dada centres, Paris and Berlin, with works from Russian artists in those two cities and the presence of artists like Lissitsky in Berlin, and Sergei Sharshun and Ilia Zdanevich in Paris.

The nihilistic zeitgeist that followed the Great War originated Dada, and the Marxism of the Russian Revolution agreed in principle with their ideals. The artists often pushed the Dadaesque into Russian mass culture, in the form of absurdist and chance-based designs. Their goal was to cause the death of art. But, failing to do that, they mostly became artists who managed to break moulds and created great works of art.


Rompiendo moldes en la vida y el arte
Dada ruso 1914-1924
Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, España
6 de junio – 22 de octubre de 2018

Me gustó visitar esta exposición de arte hace un mes en Madrid, España, en el Museo Reina Sofía; el primero que cubro fuera del Reino Unido.

Aunque la exposición me pareció un poco larga debido a la cantidad de obras expuestas, alrededor de 250, fue bastante exhaustiva y me pareció interesante lograr una buena perspectiva del arte creado por los artistas vanguardistas rusos durante este período, de 1914 a 1924. La muestra incluye pinturas, collages, ilustraciones, esculturas, proyecciones de películas y publicaciones, y está dividido en tres partes.

Dada o Dadaism fue un movimiento de arte de la vanguardia europea que se desarrolló a principios del siglo XX en reacción a la Primera Guerra Mundial y tuvo un centro temprano en Zurich. El movimiento Dada rechazó la lógica, la razón y el esteticismo de la sociedad capitalista moderna, expresando irracionalidad y protestas absurdas en sus obras.

En lo que respecta al Dada ruso, las obras expuestas aquí se produjeron en el apogeo del florecimiento de Dada, entre la Primera Guerra Mundial y la muerte de Vladimir Lenin, que solía frecuentar el Cabaret Voltaire en Zurich, donde se originó este movimiento artístico.  Los dadaístas rusos en exposición, así como el resto de los dadaístas, apoyaron el internacionalismo y se involucraron en prácticas excéntricas y manifestaciones pacifistas.

La primera parte de la exposición, y también mi favorita, se centra en la abstracción ‘alógica’. Al entrar en la muestra, se pueden ver fotos de algunos de los dadaístas rusos, en una actitud bastante irreverente. En la siguiente sala hay algunas proyecciones de películas en blanco y negro, de las cuales también tomé una instantánea que se muestra a continuación. Una de las esculturas creadas en este período incluye “Relieve de esquina complejo“ de Vladimir Tatlin (1915), junto a la cual puedes verme posando para la foto.

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The Art Blueberry performing next to Vladimir Tatlin’s, “Complex Corner-Relief”/”Relieve de esquina complejo” (1915).

Uno de los éxitos de esta exposición para mí fue ver los diseños del telón de escenario de la ópera futurista “Victoria sobre el sol”, producida por Malevich en 1913, que le llevó a crear su bien conocido “Black Square“ en 1915. No podemos ver la obra “Black Square” aquí, pero podemos ver un diseño para el telón de la ópera Victoria sobre el Sol y algunas otras variantes, incluyendo cuadros blancos y negros que me parecen estupendos. Se me puede ver posando junto a uno de ellos a continuación.

Kasimir Malevich, “Design for the curtain of the opera Victory over the Sun”/ “Diseño para el telón de la ópera Victoria sobre el Sol” – left/izq.
The Art Blueberry performing next to Malevich’s work.

Aleksei Morgunov fue citado dentro de la exposición diciendo: “En 1914-15, Malevich y yo decidimos que prácticamente todas los principios pictóricos que habían evolucionado a través de la negación de las formas anteriores nos conducían necesariamente al lienzo vacío. Nuestra tarea entonces consistía en crear formas nuevas que conservaran el carácter de las formas geométricas elementales. Una de esas formas era el cuadrado “.

Olga Rozanova, “In the Street”/ “En la calle” (1915) – left/izquierda
Aleksei Morgunov, “Composition no. 1″/ “Composición n. 1” – right/derecha.

En colaboración con el músico Mikhail Matyushin y el poeta Aleksei Kruchenykh, Malevich hizo un manifiesto llamando al rechazo del pensamiento racional. Querían cambiar los sistemas establecidos de la sociedad occidental. En la ópera “Victoria sobre el Sol”, los personajes intentaron abolir la razón capturando el sol y destruyendo el tiempo. Malevich llamó a esto Suprematismo, y este nuevo movimiento tiene que ver con la supremacía del color y la forma en la pintura.

La segunda sección abarca el período comprendido entre 1917 y 1924, desde la victoria de la Revolución Rusa hasta la muerte de Vladímir Lenin, que frecuentó Cabaret Voltaire en Zurich, tocando nociones como el internacionalismo. El suprematismo de Malevich tuvo una fuerte influencia en sus contemporáneos.

Como tal, Sofia Dymshits-Tolstaia dijo en un testimonio: “Llegué a Vitebsk después de las celebraciones de Octubre, pero la ciudad aún brillaba por las decoraciones de Malevich: círculos, cuadrados, puntos y líneas de diferentes colores … Sentí que me encontraba en una ciudad embrujada, en ese momento todo era posible y maravilloso.”

Podemos ver esta influencia de Malevich en el diseño de Morgunov para la portada de la revista ‘The International of Art’, y en ‘The New Man’ de Litsitzki que se muestra a continuación.

Aleksei Morgunov, Unpublished cover of the journal The International of Art, 1919 / Portada inedita de la revista Internacional de arte – left/izq.
El Lisitzski, “The New Man”/ “El hombre nuevo” (1920-1923) – right/dcha.

La sección final explora las conexiones entre Rusia y dos de los principales centros Dada, París y Berlín, con obras de artistas rusos en esas dos ciudades y la presencia de artistas como Lissitsky en Berlín y Sergei Sharshun e Ilia Zdanevich en París.

El espíritu de la época nihilista que siguió a la Gran Guerra originó a Dadá y el marxismo de la Revolución rusa comulgaba en principio con sus ideales. Los artistas a menudo empujaban al dadaismo hacia la cultura de masas rusa, con forma de diseños absurdos y basados ​​en el azar. Su objetivo era causar la muerte del arte. Pero, al no hacer eso, en su mayoría se convirtieron en artistas que consiguieron romper moldes y crear grandes obras de arte.

Shared memories in colour

Howard Hodgkin
Last Paintings
Gagosian, Grovenor Hill, London
June 1 – July 28, 2018

The Gagosian gallery at Grosvenor Hill is now showing a show of Howard Hodgkin, a widely known British contemporary painter I first discovered with an exhibition there was at Tate Britain, London, in 2006. That show spanned his entire career from the 1950s, despite he wasn’t celebrated as a major figure in British art until the 1970s, but it revealed the early development of his visual language. The memory I keep of it is that it was a fest for the senses due to the vibrancy of the colours and expressiveness of the artworks.

The current exhibition at the Gagosian gallery showcases the final six paintings he completed in India before he died in March 2017, including more than twenty other paintings never displayed before in Europe. I was pleased to see his work again, and the final evolution of it as a gold brooch to the show I saw at Tate more than ten years ago.

Despite his work seems abstract at first sight, Hodgkin stated clearly that he wasn’t an abstract painter. The artist did a a continuos exploration of the representation of emotions, personal encounters and above all, memories of specific experiences that the viewer can relate with going back to his/her own experiences.

In an interview with Kenneth Baker in the Summer of 2016 Hodgkin said: “I can’t control the viewer. But I tell them what the picture’s about, always. I’ve never painted an abstract picture in my life. I can’t.”

He showed a passionate commitment to subject and said also in this interview that it’s when the physical reality is established that the subject can begin to show itself. But, he lamented that people didn’t usually see that his pictures where made of shape, drawing and composition.

Shared memories are a key part in his work. And it was very insightful to read the title of the works to know what he had in mind when he made a new painting. That reading was very evocative to me with some works. Like the painting titled “Portrait of the artist listening to music” displayed below, or the one titled “Darkness at noon” where The art raspberry performs as if she were a sculpture in the shadow.

Although we both liked most paintings, my favourite paintings didn’t necessarily coincide with the ones loved by The art raspberry. And, therefore, each of us performed with the ones we liked the most. In some cases, adding a new interpretation. Like with the work titled “Don’t tell a soul”, where mi position in front of the green brushstrokes over yellow seem to suggest “The birth of an idea” or “A moment of inspiration”. Finally, with the painting “Love song” I felt like a butterfly over some flowers and I truly felt connected to it.

Hodgkin represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1984 and received the Turner Prize in 1985. In addition, he was included by the newspaper The Independent in a list of the 100 most influential gay people in Britain.


Recuerdos compartidos en color
Howard Hodgkin
Últimas pinturas
Gagosian, Grovenor Hill, Londres
1 de junio – 28 de julio de 2018

La galería Gagosian en Grosvenor Hill, Londres, muestra ahora una exposición de Howard Hodgkin, un pintor británico ampliamente conocido que discubrí por primera vez con una exposición en Tate Britain, Londres, en 2006. Esa muestra abarcaba toda su carrera desde la década de 1950, a pesar de que no fue celebrado como una figura importante en el arte británico hasta la década de 1970, pero revelaba el desarrollo temprano de su lenguaje visual. El recuerdo que guardo de esta muestra es que fue un festival para los sentidos gracias a la vitalidad de los colores y la expresividad de las obras de arte.

La muestra que hay ahora en la galería Gagosian expone las últimas seis pinturas que completó en la India antes de morir en marzo de 2017, incluyendo más de veinte pinturas que nunca antes se habían expuesto en Europa. Me gustó ver su trabajo de nuevo, y la evolución final de este como un broche de oro para la exposición que vi en Tate hace más de diez años.

A pesar de que su trabajo parece abstracto a primera vista, Hodgkin afirmó claramente que no era un pintor abstracto. El artista realizó una exploración continua de la representación de emociones, encuentros personales y, sobre todo, recuerdos de experiencias con las que el espectador puede identificarse fijándose en sus propias experiencias.

En una entrevista con Kenneth Baker en el verano de 2016, Hodgkin dijo: “No puedo controlar al espectador. Pero les digo de qué se trata la imagen, siempre. Nunca he pintado una imagen abstracta en mi vida. No puedo “.

Mostró un compromiso apasionado con el sujeto pictórico y dijo también en esta entrevista que cuando se establece la realidad física es cuando dicho sujeto puede comenzar a mostrarse. Pero, se lamentó de que la gente no suele ver que sus imágenes están hechas de forma, dibujo y composición.

Los recuerdos compartidos son una parte clave de su trabajo. Y fue muy interesante leer el título de las obras para saber lo que él tenía en mente cuando hizo una nueva pintura. Esa lectura fue muy evocadora para mí con algunas obras. Como la pintura titulada “Retrato del artista que escucha música” que se muestra abajo, o la que se titula “Oscuridad al mediodía” donde The art raspberry actúa como si fuera una escultura en la sombra.

Aunque a los dos nos gustaron la mayoría de las pinturas, mis pinturas preferidas no coincidieron necesariamente con las que le gustaron a ella. Cada una hizo su ‘peformance’ con la obras con las que mas conectó en aquel momento. En algunos casos, añadiendo una nueva interpretación. Al igual que con el trabajo titulado “No le digas a un alma”, donde mi posición delante de las pinceladas verdes sobre amarillo parecen sugerir “El nacimiento de una idea” o “Un momento de inspiración”. Finalmente, con la pintura “Canción de amor” me sentí como una mariposa sobre algunas flores y me sentí conectada con la pintura.

Hodgkin representó a Gran Bretaña en la Bienal de Venecia en 1984 y recibió el Premio Turner en 1985. Además, fue incluido por el periódico The Independent en una lista de los 100 gays más influyentes en Gran Bretaña.

Howard Hodgkins-The art raspberry

The art raspberry performing next to “Darkness at noon” (2015-2016).

Howard Hodgkin-The art blueberry2Howard Hodgkin-The art blueberry1Howard Hodgkin-The art blueberry3

The art blueberry performing next to “Love song” (2015).

Howard Hodgkin-Red sky at night

Painting above: “Red sky at night” (2001-2011).

Howard Hodgkin-red sky in the morning

Painting above: “Red sky in the morning” (2016).

Howard Hodgkin-Darkness at noon

Painting above: “Darkness at noon” (2015-2016).

Howard Hodgkin-Indian veg

Painting above: “Indian veg” (2013 – 2014).

Art creation as an ongoing process

Past art shows: Giorgio Griffa. A continuos becoming.
Camden Arts Centre, London, UK.
26 January – 8 April 2018

We visited this art exhibition in March this year and got really inspired by the paintings presented by Giorgio Griffa (1936) at the Camden Art Centre. Griffa is an Italian abstract painter who lives and works in Turin and has been closely related to Arte Povera, which stands for ‘poor art’. This is a movement that appeared in Italy in the 1960s and with which artists sought to radically redefine painting by incorporating throwaway or ‘poor’ materials into their work.

Griffa believes in the ‘intelligence of painting’ and allows for every element of the process to influence and form his work, from the type of brush he uses to the nature of the canvas or the dilution of the pain.

Griffa’s approach is performative and time-base, as he assures that painting is “constant and never finished”.

 

His sources of inspiration are quantum energy, time-space mathematics, the golden ratio and the memory of visual experience since time immemorial. The body of work he presented at the Camden Arts Centre spans his career as an artist from the 1960s through to today and it was curated by artist and curator Stephen Nelson.

I found this exhibition visually striking and very much of my taste. The use of bold and primary colours over unstretched raw canvas was reinforced by the white background of the walls. As soon as I went through the door I felt I was entering the artist’s individual universe. The simple shapes and materials he uses on his paintings resonate with me; as if the artist had found a series of universal symbols and shared them with the rest of the world.

Performing as The art berries, we added another layer to these art exhibition and I dare to say that Griffa would approve of this addition to his work, not only for what it brought of improvisation and time-base performance, but also for the “constant and never finished” approach he likes to use on his paintings.

 

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The plasticity of a surreal dream

Past shows: Karla Black, Stuart Shave/Modern Art
17 Nov – 16 Dec 2017

We attended this exhibition in November last year and really liked discovering Karla Black’s new body of work. With this exhibition she attempted to emphasise the importance of mark-making in her practice, which combined with colour and light connects her sculptural practice to painting.

Moreover, she concentrated specifically on one of the many sculptural problems that preoccupies her: how to preserve the precious, formal aesthetic decisions she makes, within the precariousness of the informal materials she favours. Many of the works in the exhibition were conceived and realised within the gallery space. As she’s asserted in the past, her sculpture is absolutely non-representational.

“There is no image, no metaphor,” Karla Black said.

In the first room, there were free standing sculptures made of Vaseline mixed with paint, then sealed between glass screens. In addition, we found hanging sculptures in the same materials and in clay, wool and spray paint across the whole show. In the second room, there were floor artworks of a pink fluff material and thin sculptures made of Johnson’s baby oil bottles, crystal glasses and wax.

Karla Black lives and works in Glasgow. She was born in Alexandria, United Kingdom in 1972, and completed an MA in Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, in 2004. In 2011, Black’s work represented Scotland at the 54th Venice Biennale, and was the same year nominated for the Turner Prize. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at multiple galleries in the UK and abroad.

Black’s works for this exhibition were fragile and evocative. The plasticity of the materials she used for this exhibition, as well as the pastel and shinny colours she employed on most of these artworks remain in my mind as part of a surreal dream.

 

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A peek at the Californian mountains

Past shows: Ed Ruscha at the Gagosian gallery, London
“Extremes and In-betweens”
Oct 5 – Dec 17, 2016

This is an art show we visited more than a year ago and it’s not currently on. But I’ve decided to start my blog with it because it was very inspiring for me. It made me realised what I wanted to blog about and therefore, I owe it a first post here.

I first encountered Ed Ruscha’s work at Tate Modern and have been interested since. He’s called by many the Magritte of Los Angeles and one of the longest living pop artists. He produced all the works for this exhibition in 2016, and it was Gagosian’s first show of Ruscha’s paintings since an exhibition at its Rome gallery in 2014-15.

The novelty of this show is that the words appearing on the artworks were presented in logical sequences and in diminishing or augmenting typeface over a sand background in most of them; and with blue skies over the mountains of California in some other works, combined with a circled selected view that suggests we are having a peep in, but not part of this idyllic scenery.

As per the press release published by Farah Nayeri for The New York Times, Ruscha said about his works at the opening: “I’m not trying to wrap things up or make final statements or capture anything in a big way,” he said. “It’s more like, whatever the voyage is, that’s where I am. I’m just traveling along the tops of things, not trying to bring an answer to anything, necessarily, but just to keep making pictures.”

With the comments above, it appears to me that he doesn’t want to be categorical with these artworks, but exploratory with visual images as well as with words. A search done from a rather logical perspective.

The photo with raspberry adds a new layer to these artworks. She seems to be enjoying the solitude of these mountains and looking at us from within the scenery itself.