“artist”

Allan McCollum, encounter in Soho

Born in 1944 in Los Angeles, Allan McCollum has lived in the heart of Manhattan since the 1960s. He is represented by the Mitterrand, Thomas Schulte and MFC-Michèle Didier galleries. An in-studio encounter.   Your work, based on the repetition of forms, is a continuation of your first series dating back to the 1970s… Having been an artist for nearly fifty years, I’ve done a lot of research in my time, but at my age, it becomes important, and even necessary, to look back and see what all your work has in common. I haven’t finished thinking about it yet, even if some unifying themes recur, such as mass production and unique objects. Since the very start of my career, I’ve explored these distinctions, I’ve mixed them up, and while I’m not the only artist to be doing this, I’ve always systematically worked in enormous quantities! I don’t make fifty but ten thousand pieces, and each one is unique. All of my investigations have also considered the space of the gallery or museum, as opposed to that of a store. I always try to contextualise the different ways we have of showing objects with meaning for us. I’ve also made some “souvenirs” and collaborated with small towns to create pieces relating to their own craftsmanship.   Did you originally intend for this multiplicity and this notion of quantity to go against a certain fetishisation of art and the art world? I never use this word “fetishisation” but I agree with the idea. I was born during World War II and I grew up at a time when we discovered the horrors of Nazis and millions of people killed just because they were Jewish, Communists, homosexuals, gypsies… It was a nightmare. Of course I’m expressing my own view, but I...

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Eduardo Kac, towards an anti-gravitational culture

At a time when Elon Musk is eyeing a billion-dollar project to send humans to colonise Mars, others are investigating the same question… with a piece of paper and a pair of scissors. With his Inner Telescope, Eduardo Kac has given birth to the first extraterrestrial artwork, in collaboration with French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.   The work in question has no top or bottom, no front or back. It’s an object that reproduces and interweaves the three letters of the word moi (“me” or “myself” in French). A poem, an object to read and observe from no one single viewpoint. Made up of two sheets of paper and several cut-out shapes, Moi started its levitation in space during Thomas Pesquet’s inaugural performance, in April 2017. Its design is simple as economy of means was a critical factor for the European Space Agency’s Proxima mission, with the artist’s challenge being to develop a project by using materials readily available at the space station. The shape taken by the word moi recalls that of the space vessel itself, its tube suggesting the modules while its flat surface echoes the solar panels. At the Galerie Charlot, an exhibition presenting the project in July 2017 offered a mix of mediums: there were several editions of Moi in paper, a first-person video at the GoPro, presenting the performance, the object’s levitation, with a superb shot of Moi floating in front of three windows that offered a glimpse of the blue planet, and Thomas Pesquet’s hands, as well as drawings and embroideries, photos of the first tests, and artist’s books following the project. A zero-gravity interview…   The roots of Inner Telescope can be traced far back in your work. Can you tell us about its origins? The project began in 2007, but its roots...

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LGR, three gazes on a collection

LGR… Three initials standing for three names: Laurence, Gaétane and Roland. Since the collection got off to a start in 1987 with the first acquisitions made by Gaétane and Roland Botrel – joined officially by Laurence Climbeau in 2006 –, the trio from the French Riviera has continued to fill it out through artistic their encounters and promenades. With a keen understanding of history, these erudite and passionate art enthusiasts collect works – often major ones in the processes followed by artists – to bring them together and offer unique, coherent and timeless readings of them. For them, art is a form of social engagement. These atypical collectors agreed to discuss with AMA their artistic choices and their view of the art market.   Gaétane and Roland, how did your collection get started? Gaétane and Roland Botrel: In 1987, we bought a Velickovic drawing in Monaco. Before this, we’d look at contemporary art by following the work of a few artists, including Velickovic, who’s since become a friend.   But you sharpened your gaze by looking at old art? Roland Botrel: Yes, from the Renaissance to Picasso. We had a stroke of luck when we met Italian artists originating from Piacenza, grouped around Foppiani, Berté and Armodio, who showed work between 1976 and 1980 at L’Œuf de Beaubourg gallery. They’d blend into their work both the legacy of the past and the poetic and surrealistic intelligence of modernity. This was really helpful for us… Gaétane Botrel: We’d also come to Paris every month for our work, and the opening of the Centre Georges Pompidou enabled us to develop our curiosity in contemporary art. We’d go to all the exhibitions and this helped us to discover many artists and the diversity of aesthetic movements.   You’ve collected, over 30 years,...

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A.R. Penck, a man of openness

A.R. Penck passed away while the Fondation Maeght’s major retrospective on him was underway. A few days after the sad news, Suzanne Tarasiève gallery also opened an exhibition on the artist. Two paths for tracing the complexity of the work of A.R. Penck. A homage. A.R. Penck left this world on 2 May in Zurich at the age of 77 years. Symbolically, the exhibition being held on him at the Fondation Maeght is titled “A.R. Penck. Rites de passage”. This will therefore be the last retrospective to be organised on the artist during his lifetime, and also the first homage to be paid to him. Homage accompanied by the exhibition “À travers A.R. Penck” at Suzanne Tarasiève (Paris), which represents several big figures from German painting: Georg Baselitz, Markus Lüpertz, Jörg Immendorff. Only Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter are absent from the list. A tumultuous life Ralf Winkler – this was the name he was born under – had a tumultuous life. He was born on 5 October 1939 in Dresden, in a Germany that would be designated as part of the “East” in 1949. Between 1956 and 1966, Ralf tried, unsuccessfully four times, to enter fine-arts schools in Dresden and East Berlin, even if he was not particularly troubled by this failure. He preferred contact with the “renegades” rather than the institutional painters – he would also be denied access to the Society of Artists of the German Democratic Republic. Already, in the middle of the 1960s, he adopted the pseudonym A.R. Penck for various reasons. Firstly, to pay homage to Albrecht Penck, a geologist specialising in the Ice Age. But above all, to get his works across the border more easily and to avoid censorship problems. The artist would take on other aliases: Tancred Michel or Théodor...

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Wolfgang Tillmans, at the frontiers of the visible

As one exhibition concludes, another opens… While the solo show dedicated to German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans is finishing at the Tate in London, the retrospective on him at the Fondation Beyeler is starting up in the Swiss city of Basel. Perfect timing for a closer look at this artist whose experimentations have taken him far and wide… Contemporary photography – unfortunately – doesn’t always have many superstars to boast about. Even if the medium has achieved recognition in the last decade, its ecosystem still remains closed: it has its own dedicated galleries, themed auction sales, mono-medium fairs, specialised journals… In this respect, Germany’s Wolfgang Tillmans emerges as something of a phenomenon. Earning steady recognition from institutions and art critics from a very early stage in his career, he is already counted amongst the most fashionable photographers… And yet we can sense that this artist still has more tricks up his sleeve. Born in 1968 in Remscheid in West Germany (near Cologne and Düsseldorf, and therefore also near Europe-focused Belgium and the Netherlands), he discovered the photography of Polke, Richter and Rauschenberg while he was still a teenager in the museums of big neighbouring cities. After three years in Hamburg, Tillmans continued his studies at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design in South England. He then moved to London before staying in New York for one year in 1994. This is where he met gallerist Andrea Rosen, who would be the first to support him, as well as his lover, painter Jochen Klein. The two Germans would return to Europe where they lived together in the British capital until the death, in 1997, of Klein, a victim of AIDS. Tillmans was not yet 30 at the time. In 2000, the artist suddenly emerged from obscurity by becoming...

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