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One hour with swiss kinetic artist Ralfonso

Since the early 20th century, kinetic artists have been exploring the possibilities of movement, introducing the element of time, the nature of vision, reflecting the importance of the machine… AMA has had an interview with Ralfonso who extend this artistic lineage and incorporate motion into his art.   What is your background? My educational background is very much on the business side. I studied Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California, where I received my Bachelor’s Degree and then went onto an MBA from Wharton at University of Pennsylvania. So I have no formal art training, which might have been a blessing, as I was able to discover the magic of “art in motion” at my own pace and in my own way. How did you start to make kinetic art? My passion for this particular niche of sculptural art started very early. Even as a very young boy, I was always fascinated by mechanics and design. From this fascination, I started to design objects and sculptures that have a motion component, that then became art in motion, or kinetic art. I try to push the boundaries of kinetic art at the intersection of art, mechanics and design. Mostly I am inspired by nature, by the shape and natural interaction of all the elements. Therefore, my sculptures gently move with the wind, water, motors, or when pushed by hand, and range in size from 50cm to 15m.   What are the major difficulties of making kinetic art? Aside from all the aspects involved in designing a static sculpture, you add the dimension of movement to the art piece. This adds the 4th dimension of time and “change over time” to my designs. So now I have a much bigger tool box to work with, which include interactivity via internet, smartphone...

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Doing away with “the art of the insane”

Dr Anne-Marie Dubois is a psychiatrist in charge of the Art Therapy unit at the Parisian institution, Hôpital Sainte-Anne. She is also scientific director of the hospital’s museum for asylum creation. When psychiatry meets art history… Workshops are multiplying, patient demand is rising… From the treatment of anxiety to schizophrenia, art therapy has met with growing enthusiasm in mental healthcare institutions for the last thirty years or so. Used for psychiatric purposes, art-therapy techniques may well also change the way we see otherness, and transform our fears about insanity… To find out more about this art whose contours are still hazy, we went to meet the psychiatrist Dr Anne-Marie Dubois, in charge of the Art Therapy unit at the Encephalon Mental Illness Clinic. At the heart of the Parisian hospital Hôpital Sainte-Anne, this doctor is also scientific director of the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, whose creation dates back to the end of the 19th century. She has curated numerous exhibitions, including “Les Unes et les Autres”, “Psilocybine”, or “Elle était une fois” devoted to the Collection Sainte-Anne (until 28 February2018). From therapeutic issues to aesthetic commitment, Anne-Marie Dubois presents this “psychopathological art”: a singular practice crossing over mental health and art history. An interview.   The exhibition “Elle était une fois” goes over the history of the Hôpital Sainte-Anne’s collection. What are the milestones of this history? The oldest works date back to 1858. Already in the 19th century, a certain number of psychiatrists and artists paid interest to these spontaneous works produced by hospital patients. Some of these patients discovered, by chance, that they enjoyed this activity while others already practised art before being hospitalised. At a time when hospitalisation periods were long, this art could be described as “asylum” art – which is no longer the case...

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Antoni Clavé, a multiplier

In Paris, until 25 February, the BnF is presenting a short but stunning retrospective featuring lithographs and engravings by Antoni Clavé, accompanied by the publication of a new catalogue raisonné on his engravings. Spotlight on this event. Antoni Clavé once bathed in glory but over time, the tide has ebbed. In the 1950s up to the 1980s, his models, his kings and warriors, and his bullfights in earthy ochre and black tones gained a certain renown. Subjects that might seem a little dated today, like Bernard Buffet and his clowns some would argue. “Above all, he was a humble artist who steered clear of honours,” remarks Aude Hendgen, an art historian for the Archives de Clavé and head of the catalogue raisonné recently published by Skira. “In Barcelona, he always refused having a museum devoted to him despite several proposals.” A Clavé Galerie does exist, but in Japan: the first venue to be entirely dedicated to the artist, designed by Tadao Ando, and inaugurated in March 2011 in Yamanashi, near Tokyo – after the artist’s death, therefore, in 2005. Today, the exhibition at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF), “Antoni Clavé, estampes”, mounted following the donation of 92 prints by Clavé’s grandchildren, displays fifty or so pieces executed between 1955 and 1995. The fruit of numerous techniques: lithography, etching, aquatinting, engraving, carborundum engraving, goffering, collage and lithography on Kraft paper. The exhibition’s aim, according to one of its curators Céline Chicha-Castex, is to establish a link between Clavé’s engraved and painted work, and to reveal a few of his references. But above all, it is to bring back into the spotlight an artist who has been a little neglected, left in the shadows of other great Catalans: Antoni Clavé, the bridge that one could nonetheless place between Joan Miró and...

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In conversation with Yuko Hasegawa

Yuko Hasegawa is an international curator par excellence. In her native Japan, she is a co-founder of Inujima Art House Project on Naoshima and an artistic director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT). Her latest project, “Japanorama”, is currently on at the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France. In the recent years, Yuko Hasegawa curated the Moscow Biennale (2017) and the XI Sharjah Biennale (2013), co-curated the 29th Sao Paulo Biennale (2010), and judged the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award and the MAXXI Bulgari Prize.   “Japonorama” is an extremely ambitious undertaking: the exhibition spans over 45 years of Japanese contemporary art history, and includes around 350 works by 100 artists.  You are obviously a very experienced curator, but do you still find it difficult to cope with such mammoth projects? First, let me explain why the exhibition starts in 1970.  In 1986, Pompidou staged an important overview “Japon des avant-gardes” that traced the history of avant-garde art in Japan from 1910-1970.  The new show follows on that earlier exhibition, picking up where the previous one ended. Same year “Expo ’70” in Osaka took place: a symbolic event marking Japan’s transition from the post-war period towards its own, new path of development in society, economy, technology, as well as culture: meaning a lot of people were seeking an original cultural identity, looking inside rather than outwards. This is why I thought it is important to start the exhibition from 1970 and up to the present day. Many exhibitions on contemporary Japanese art organised by foreign curators focus on art produced in the 1950-60s: mainly because this period was largely influenced by the European modernism, so it is easy for Western curators to contextualise it under this umbrella. In Japan of the 70s, Minimalism starts developing, whereas in the 80s...

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The economics of uncertainty

In public sales, we know that the final bidder is the one who wins. But at what price? Game theory is a way to resolve this conflict. Two hours with Françoise Forges, economics professor at the Université Paris-Dauphine. Everything you need to know on strategic bidding behaviour.   Game theory: as a topic, it’s a little bit tough to grasp. Otherwise defined as the secret life of numbers, or how to formalise conflicting situations within communities of individuals when they interact, it can be used effectively, for example, at public sales. How can the strategic behaviour of bidders be analysed, anticipated, or even thwarted? In very basic terms, game theory deals with the formal resolution of conflicts. First of all, there’s one name you need to keep in mind: William Vickrey, who in 1961 matched game theory with auction mechanisms for the first time. A winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, he was recognised for his research contribution to “the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information”. This was the man who namely theorised on the interaction of strategies used by bidders. Let’s say that here, we flirt with the concept of the “Nash equilibrium” whereby a player cannot modify his or her strategy unilaterally without weakening his or her position. All clear? It may not be exactly straightforward, but understanding it can pay off. Thanks to game theory, it’s possible, for example, to identify the symmetries at work in auction rooms. Game theory also offers very practical applications for military defence, where the modelling of nuclear dissuasion can prove handy. In short, the field is vast, starting with economic sciences and the analysis of competing logics, and spreading to the political sciences, where game theory can apply to electoral jousts. In the social sciences, Lévi-Strauss, an enthusiast...

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Museum in a Garage

Already the seat of the European Union, will Brussels soon be the new hub for contemporary art? In any case, it’s what Rudi Vervoort, patron of the Brussels-Capital region, has in mind. At the heart of the project is the iconic Citroën garage on Place de l’Yser. So what are the returns on this crazy bet?   There’s no longer any doubt that with the big – and rather extravagant-opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, last November, France has not quite finished establishing its cultural expertise and influence abroad. It is also clear that within the art world, the Centre Georges-Pompidou is truly enjoying the wind in its sails. After the success of its Iberian pop-up, which ran for five years in the Andalusian city of Malaga, the Parisian museum institution has surfed a wave of recognition and new partnerships, moving into Shanghai as soon as 2019, with Brussels on the horizon in 2020-2021. Nestled in the heart of the Belgian capital, at the crossroads between Place de l’Yser and the Quai de Willebroeck, the iconic Citroën garage has been chosen to become the future cultural and artistic hub of the “flat country”. Located on the edge of the canal, just a stone’s throw from Place Sainctelette, the garage was erected in 1933 following plans drawn up by André Citroën himself, who had ambitions to create the biggest car factory in Europe. The lovely glass palace, 21 meters tall, is characterized by a curved curtain façade, all built on 2 hectares of land. It would be nearly a century before the fate of the site changed course. In October 2015, the land was bought by the Society of Urban Planning (SAU), a real estate concern of the Brussels-Capital region, for €20.5 million, with the intention of making it the...

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