“artist”

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...

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Art Basel or shock aesthetics

An ardently arty atmosphere that anticipates the arrival of 100,000 art enthusiasts… Basel – the place to be in June, the fair where the art elite show their stuff. The spot where a mere trend can, in just a few hours, go viral. Welcome backstage at the world’s biggest contemporary-art supermarket.   It’s difficult to find anything that tops it in the art world… Let’s just say that Art Basel is like a VIP lounge where elegance reaches its peak. Everything smacks of luxury, from the Ruinart champagne to the chic dress code. In short, an ideal world that oscillates between the post-conceptual and the neo-Platonician. This is utopia, Swiss-style. And a megafair that is like no other. Because it’s the biggest and the best. To get a picture of this 48th edition, just imagine a penthouse with full view of the ocean of the avant-garde! It’s therefore in Switzerland that this planetary fest of the ultra-contemporary, in the oh-so Calvinist city of Basel, where – according to a certain Max Weber – Protestant ethics first started flirting with the spirit of capitalism. And since nothing happens by chance, it’s in the same city (whose symbol is a bishop’s crozier) that you’ll get a big shock: a large-scale service of worship drawing 291 state-of-the-art galleries from 34 countries and six continents. From aesthetic bliss to irritation, from works that will get under your skin to those that will make your hair stand on end, you’re going to love it. As mentioned in the press kit – that doesn’t hold back on superlatives – all of the art elite from across the globe will be converging in Switzerland for four days of jubilation. A geotropism that, season after season, assembles smooth dealers and moneyed collectors, crotchety curators and all kinds...

Tags: , , , ,

Six exhibitions to see in Venice during the Biennale

From 13 May to 26 November, a dense programme has been scheduled at Venice for the 57th Biennale. From Xavier Veilhan’s “Merzbau musical” to Mark Bradford’s social project, we take a little look at the openings not to miss. This year, the Venice Biennale is being steered by a Frenchwoman, Christine Macel, curator of the department of contemporary and prospective creation at the Centre Pompidou. The event’s theme, “Viva Arte Viva”, covers the capacity of artists to “invent their own universes” and “inject vitality into the world we live in”, in the words Paolo Baratta, president of the Venice Biennale foundation. This faith in art and the future is a deliberate choice on Baratta’s part after a beautiful but austere 2015 vintage, curated by Okwui Enwezor (“All the World’s Futures”). The Italian city will be welcoming numerous exhibitions and national pavilions simultaneously. Much to see, to hear, and to reflect on…   French Pavilion: a new-generation recording studio This year, the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is being overseen by Xavier Veilhan, and shouldered by curators Lionel Bovier (director of the MAMCO in Geneva) and Christian Marclay (artist and musician). Veilhan, as successor to Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, is setting up a project called “Merzbau musical” which plays on the volumes and decors of the French Pavilion’s space, drawing inspiration from a recording studio. The exhibition’s title is a nod to Kurt Schwitters whose “Merzbau” consisted of a habitable construction of variable dimensions, composed of salvaged objects. Schwitters’ project, initially intended to be named “Cathédrale de la misère érotique” (Cathedral of Erotic Misery), started in Hannover, then continued in Oslo and New York, throughout the artist’s life. In the French Pavilion, Xavier Veilhan places at the public’s disposal all types of musical instruments – some existing, others invented for the...

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Future\Pace: a new strategic partnership

Combining the gallery and curatorial expertise of Pace London, the cultural placemaking experience of Futurecity, and the collaborative energies of an international group of artists, the new strategic partnership Future\Pace offers a pioneering approach to commissioning art in the public realm.   We talk to Pace London President, Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, and Futurecity Founder, Mark Davy, to discuss the idea of a cultural city; learning to speak the language of developers; the economic benefits of collaboration; and a new breed of artist.   How did the partnership between Futurecity and Pace London come about? Mark Davy: Mollie and I met when I was working on strategy for the Crossrail Culture Line, which is matching six of the new London Crossrail stations with six leading galleries and six international artists. Although there’s a real appetite at the moment for artists to create large-scale interventions in urban settings, it’s actually quite difficult to get artists to work in this context. Either they don’t have the teams behind them or they are inside a gallery system, which can be hard because you need to work in a very collaborative, open-ended way. Mollie and I were interested in the idea of a new group which gave developers, city organisations and authorities the opportunity to take on artists who could do large-scale works, who could work in a multi-disciplinary set-up, collaborate (which is not always easy for artists!) and deliver. Futurecity has been working in this area for about ten years: for example, Mark Wallinger’s White Horse at Ebsfleet, or Slipstream with Richard Wilson at Heathrow. We provide support with the strategic, structural element of the job: the indemnities, the insurances, the contracts and the project management. Pace London has the gallery and curatorial expertise, as well as being able to bring in very good,...

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Bertrand Lavier, an a cappella interview

Following a long collaboration with the gallerist Yvon Lambert, Bertrand Lavier is, for the first time, showing work at the Almine Rech gallery. The artist is presenting a set of works from different “construction sites”, series that he gradually picks up over time as his work evolves. A guided tour.   Bertrand, your exhibition starts with a “painting room”… Here, I present several series of works, including new “Walt Disney Productions”. These works have classic frames, which give them a kitsch insolence. Stemming from one fiction – the one drawn by Walt Disney – they tip over to another – one associated with the field of art. These bright white wooden frames with foliage and arabesques highlight their artificial aspect. This is the first time that you’re using frames even if they were already present in the 1947 Walt Disney cartoon Mickey at the Museum of Modern Art. The Walt Disney Productions “construction site” started in 1984 with a series of Cibachromes, then ink jets on canvas until 2013, the year when I started painting on these prints. It was also in 1984 that I started covering mirrors with a “Van Gogh touch”. From 2011, I stopped covering their entire surface but instead would paint them with a “brushstroke touch” immortalised by Roy Lichtenstein. This way, I appropriated a fundamental gesture from contemporary painting and used it on the mirrors and Walt Disney Productions. This gesture, freer than the “Van Gogh” touch, allows me to easily follow the curves of painted motifs. For the Walt Disney Productions presented here, the fact that the whole of the canvas isn’t covered with paint means that the motif of the serigraphed outline is left visible, showing the stages preceding the final result. Have you used all the works that Mickey and Minnie discover...

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ad.