Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for the Dolls category

Gisèle Vienne & Dennis Cooper with “Teenage Hallucination” at Centre Pompidou, Paris

by Suzanne on February 22nd, 2012


© Gisèle Vienne, via Dennis Cooper’s blog – click to enlarge

Director/writer team Gisèle Vienne and Dennis Cooper have been working as a pair on theatre projects since 2004 and are now presenting a series of haunting productions, puppets and portraits at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Their show Teenage Hallucination evokes uncanny memories of the Chapman Brothers‘ army of creepy mutant girls (particularly the brothers’ recent hybrid girl army with THEY TEACH US NOTHING swastika hoodies).

However, Gisèle‘s Olimpias are a lot less grotesque and hyperreal than the Chapman‘s creations but more cracked and broken in their appearance and there’s a subtle sense of mutilated and traumatised individuality in her adolescents’ intimidated stares and serious outfits.


© Gisèle Vienne, via Dennis Cooper’s blog – click to enlarge

39 dolls will be on show as an installation accompanied by a beautifully shot photographic documentation of Gisèle‘s work with and on them.

Also on show will be Gisèle‘s and Dennis‘ newest theatrical piece which was produced in collaboration with Stephen O’Malley of SunnO))) fame (working on sound as well as wall drawing designs) entitled Last Spring: A Prequel (a trailer has not emerged yet, sadly, but will be added to this post later).


© Gisèle Vienne, via Dennis Cooper’s blog – click to enlarge

But that’s still not all because Teenage Hallucination is part of a festival at the Centre Pompidou that’s packed with talks, presentations and screenings with other artists, filmmakers and authors and this coming Sunday promises to be particularly interesting/provoking with a presentation of Peter Sotos’ Mine Kept and Pierre Dourthe (Hans Bellmer author) discussing The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death.

The full programme of festival events is here. It’s quite intense if not slightly insane. Teenage Hallucination itself has opened tonight and will remain on view until March 12. Further details below.

On show: Feb 22 – Mar 12, 2012

Address: Centre Pompidou, Espace 315, 75191 Paris cedex 04, France, tel: +33 (0)1 44 78 12 33 | Map

Admission: FREE

Hours: Daily: 11 AM – 9 PM

Press release

Artist’s website

WurzelForum discussion

20 Most Popular Posts on Wurzeltod in 2011

by Suzanne on December 26th, 2011

To wrap up 2k11 on the Wurzelblog, I decided to post the 20 articles you guys liked best – according to likes, shares and reactions – and I must say, you’ve got a rather amazing and futureproof taste in the arts, people.

Many thanks for taking the time to submit stories, comment and interact in the past year(s).

(In order of popularity and ordered into rather random categories. Click on images to read stories.)

JAPANOPHILIA

ART FEATURES & REVIEWS

HISTORY & SCIENCE

INTERNA

“Surrealismus in Paris” at Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, Basel

by Suzanne on November 19th, 2011


La poupée by Hans Bellmer, painted wood, papier-mâché, mixed media, 1935/36, 61×170×51 cm, courtesy Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, photo © Collection Centre Pompidou/Vertrieb RMN/Georges Meguerditchian/ProLitteris – click to enlarge

I dislike the way big art metropoleis *cough* London *cough* always label their sell-out shows *cough* Leonardo da Vinci *cough* as “Shows of the Century” when - IF you can afford the outrageous admission prices at all - these shows are normally so totally overrun you really can’t appreciate the art or are even given a specific time slot and need to get the hell out after 30 minutes. Trust me, I know. I actually went to the last “big da Vinci thing” in London a couple of years back but I can’t even recall whether it was at the V&A, the Royal Academy or the British Museum. All I remember is that I COULDN’T SEE SHIT and people had the NERVE to bring their Dan Browns along. Jesus Christ.

Anyways, so thankfully, there’s always the smaller, quieter places that put on masterpieces of curating in the middle of nowhere – pretty much overlooked by the international media.

Well, one such tremendous art historical chef-d’oeuvre of a show is currently taking place at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen near Basel.

It’s devoted to Surrealism in Paris and features some of the most outstanding works of the one art movement that will never ever die.

Amongst the usual suspects that I won’t even bother mentioning here because the Beyeler is pretty notorious for its huge collection of surrealist art, you will meet the conjoined limbs of Hans Bellmer, the giant eyes of Paul Delvaux, the apocalyptic dreamscapes of Max Ernst and the sculptural synaesthesia of Méret Oppenheim.

Yes, I know right?! o_O

The exhibition looks also very stunning from an interior design point of view and a lot of effort, time.. and obviously money.. has been spent to contextualise and document the pieces. Definitely one to check out if you’re in Switzerland.

Surrealismus in Paris runs until the end of January 2012. Details below.


Der Gegenpapst by Max Ernst, oil on canvas, 1941/42, 161×127 cm, courtesy Peggy Guggenheim Collection, photo © David Heald/The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation/ProLitteris – click to enlarge

On show: Oct 2, 2011 – Jan 29, 2012

Address: Fondation Beyeler, Baselstrasse 101, CH-4125 Riehen, Basel, Switzerland, tel: +41 – (0)61 – 645 97 00, email: info@fondationbeyeler.ch | Map

Hours: Mon – Sun: 10 AM – 6 PM

Admission: CHF 25.– (but special deals with public transport!)

Introduction | Preview | Press images

WurzelForum discussion

Nathalie Djurberg’s “A World of Glass” at Camden Arts Centre, London

by Suzanne on October 6th, 2011


A World of Glass (film still) by Nathalie Djurberg, 2011, courtesy of Zach Feuer Gallery NY – click to enlarge

You pretty much know it’s going to be a great exhibition when the press release states that “some works in this exhibition touch on issues of a sensitive nature that may not be suitable for children.”

So we’re coming from one hot young female artist to another hot young female artist: This time, it’s Nathalie Djurberg who I’ve featured here a couple of times before.

From tomorrow Friday, October 7 onwards, Nathalie will be showing A World of Glass, four new claymation pieces with music by the always faithful Hans Berg at the Camden Arts Centre in London.

The show will be on until early 2012 so you’ll have plenty of time to check it out. AND YOU SHOULD!

Because they’re new films, video footage itself is obviously not online yet so all we have are still images but it does all look very promising indeed.

From the press release:

“A World of Glass consists of four new synchronised films with a soundtrack produced by Djurberg’s collaborator Hans Berg, presented amongst an immersive installation of glass-like objects. Another new installation will flood the central space with luminous colour, and a series of earlier animations will be shown in the Reading Room.”

The press release creeps me out a bit because I was just thinking of Goya when it mentioned Goya further down so I won’t be quoting any more from it but fetch the tinfoil hat.

And in case you’ve never heard of Nathalie Djurberg until just now, here’s what you can expect (well, it’s one of her more creatively perverted pieces, and therefore one of my very favourites…)

On show: Oct 7, 2011 – Jan 8, 2012

Address: Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London NW3 6DG, UK, tel: +44 (0)20 7472 5500, email: info@camdenartscentre.org | Directions

Hours: Tue – Sun: 10 AM – 6 PM, Wed: 10 AM – 9 PM

Press release & preview

WurzelForum discussion

In unrelated yet somewhat related news since I’ve been writing, editing, researching, coding, heck, even napping and falling in love on Macs for ages now:

R.I.P. Steve Jobs. You’ll live on in all these shiny things that have enabled me to do what I love doing. You have improved my life tremendously and in return I’ve given you lots of money, so I see it as a clear win-win situation.

Thank you and goodbye.

P.S.: Comments containing the phrase “capitalist pig” will be ignored for at least 24 hours.

Oh Sukkuhn’s “The Text Book (Chulsoo and Younghee)” at Base Gallery, Tokyo

by Suzanne on September 27th, 2011


From The Text Book (Chulsoo and Younghee) by Oh Sukkuhn – click to enlarge

In his first solo show in Tokyo, South Korea-born, Nottingham-educated artist Oh Sukkuhn (Suk Kuhn Oh) is currently presenting his Text Book series at Base Gallery.

The Text Book looks all kawaii but reveals way darker, more historically complex and socially traumatic layers upon further inspection – lessons from Korea’s turbulent past and possibly even memories of Oh Sukkuhn‘s own time as a photographer in the South Korean army.

The series is inspired by a boy named “Chulsoo” and a girl named “Younghee” – two Korean textbook characters from the Park Chung-hee era that have survived through the mid-90s.

From the gallery’s (originally Japanese) press release:

“By making “Chulsoo” and “Younghee” visible once again in his works, Oh Sukkuhn might be questioning us what the individual memory actually is or whether the memory not only stays in each of us but also prevail beyond in the nation perhaps. Works of insightful question and skepsis from the viewpoint of present-day Korean artist give us the moment to think over the derivation of our memories.”

.. and in the words of the artist himself:

“I wanted to collect our memories to create a new textbook that tells about our pain, [which stems] from identity confusion, while being depicted against dismal backgrounds. [I also wanted to explore the] individual’s sacrifice; needed for rapid economic growth in Korea. At that time it was considered that social values were more important than an individual’s existence. [...]

We may not exactly decipher their actions or feelings, but we can remember parallel moments in our own lives of hurt, embarrassment, shame, or other mortifications.”

Details below.


From The Text Book (Chulsoo and Younghee) by Oh Sukkuhn – click to enlarge

On show: Sep 21 – Oct 22, 2011

Address: Base Gallery, Matrix Japan S.A., 〒103-0025, Koura Daiichi Bldg. 1F 1-1-6 Nihombashi Kayabacho Chuo-ku Tokyo, Japan, tel: +81(0)3-5623-6655, email: info@basegallery.com | Map

Hours: Mon – Sat: 11 AM – 7 PM

Press release

WurzelForum discussion

Quay Brothers’ “Through the Weeping Glass” in Philadelphia, New York & L.A.

by Suzanne on September 15th, 2011


Still from Through the Weeping Glass by the Quay Brothers, via Morbid Anatomy

A while ago, the lovely Joanna of Morbid Anatomy fame shared the details for the premiere of Through the Weeping Glass: On the Consolations of Life Everlasting (Limbos & Afterbreezes in the Mütter Museum) – the Quay Brothers‘ new 30 min documentary film for and about the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum.

Apart from an exhibition at the Mütter itself, there’s also going to be three screenings of the new movie, the first one on Sep 22 in Philadelphia at the Mütter, a 2nd one will take place on Sep 24 at the MoMA in New York and the final screening will be presented by L.A.’s fantastic Museum of Jurassic Technology on Sep 27 at the Cary Grant Theatre.

Now, as this has been advertised for a while already, it seems that the screening at the Mütter is sold out but there’s a waiting list. The MoMA listing doesn’t have any booking information so I must assume it’s sold out too and so is the L.A. event. HOWEVER, as we all know from sold-out events, if you are smart and eager enough, I’m sure you can get hold of a ticket… somehow. Darwinism and all that.

And you know why it’s totally worth the effort? Cause, yes, the brothers will be present at all three screenings for talks and questions.

Some time after these initial screenings, the film will be made available on DVD with an accompanying booklet. I’ll keep you posted on that.

In the highly unlikely case you’ve never heard of the Quay Brothers, here’s the visually epic 2nd part of one of my favourite works by them, Street of Crocodiles from 1986 (1st part is here if you want to watch in context).

And if you like what you see, do check out the works of Jan Svankmajer and Ladislas Starevich – again, only in the unlikely case you live under a rock.

“Valley of the Dolls” Group Show at Strychnin, Berlin

by Suzanne on September 5th, 2011


Princess Owl by Eric van Straaten – click to enlarge

With Valley of the Dolls, Berlin’s Strychnin Gallery will once again pay tribute to some of the world’s leading young doll artists.

Curating a doll group show is a challenge in many ways but particularly because the genre has a difficult position in the arts and it’s often a very tricky navigation between admirable, if not slightly OCD crafts(wo)manship and downright sugar-coated fantasy kitsch.

Strychnin, however, has avoided falling into the marzipan trap by getting 3D-printing “sculptor” Eric van Straaten on board an otherwise female cast of doll artists and therefore giving a very decorative and fashiony Valley of the Dolls a much needed obscure twist.

Virginie Ropars will certainly once again deliver outstandingly detailed symbiotic and allegorical work, twin sisters Elena and Ekaterina Popovy will be presenting their samurai Barbie®… err… beauties while Marmite Sue has been taking self-harming one step further for this group show and will be showing porcelain lolitas with limbs carved down to translucent filigree.

Basically, there’s something for every doll lover in this show. Opens this Friday, September 9. Details below.


Model No. 3 by Ekaterina and Elena Popovy – click to enlarge

Opening reception: Sep 9, 2011, 7 PM onwards

On show: Sep 9 – Oct 2, 2011

Address: Strychnin Gallery, Boxhagenerstr. 36, 10245 Berlin, Germany, tel: +49 30 9700 2035

Opening hours: Thu – Sun: 12 – 6 PM

WurzelForum discussion

Jake or Dinos Chapman at both White Cube galleries, London

by Suzanne on July 20th, 2011


© Jake & Dinos Chapman, photograph by Tony Kyriacou/Rex Features, courtesy of The Guardian, 2011

[I guess readers have been wondering why I haven't expressed my take on the Chapman Bros' new show yet. Thing is, I haven't even SEEN it yet and the White Cube - having imposed super strict image rules for the double feature - has completely failed to supply me with the login to the press section, so I finally decided to just lift the images off the Guardian.]

One of the few genuinely pleasant things about living in the stink patch that is London is that – although the average annual exhibition schedule is often horrendously boring – there is always bliss in knowing that sooner or later another big Chapman Bros show will hit the White Cube.

And thank fuck, it happened again last Friday. For Jake Or Dinos Chapman, the brothers have been working on their own with their entourages of assistants to form two individual exhibitions – one held at White Cube Mason’s Yard and the other one at the Cube’s Hoxton Square premises.

The reviews are pretty much unisono good, strangely enough, far from raving though, but interesting to see that no-one really gives a shit about swastikas, iron crosses and Totenköpfe in art when it’s the Chapmans. Neither do I. It’s difficult to dislike the brothers and as YBA as they are at times, they have an uncanny sense for devilish detailing and comic timing – something that never comes out in press photographs. So if you’ve never been to a Chapman Bros show, don’t even begin to argue with me.


© Jake & Dinos Chapman, photograph by Tony Kyriacou/Rex Features, courtesy of The Guardian, 2011

If I disagree with the arts press on one thing, it’s the often raised issue of how oh-so politically clever their installations are. They really aren’t. If the pair does get politically active, it’s very honest, very down-to-earth, positivistic educational Realpolitik as their almost heart-warming recent Can’t Pay Your Fees? We Pay Your Bills! initiative illustrated.

So let’s be honest, their installations are actually rather repetitive and banal or maybe people don’t really know all that much about politics and their minds are easily flattered by an allusion to something seemingly profound. But does that even matter? No, absolutely not. Their work is exhilarating in its repetitiveness, there is lots of anal in their banal, it’s so totally wrong it’s way past right and just really wrong again, it is indeed Insult to Injury, to quote one of their earlier shows. Their oeuvre is, simply put, way too metal for one hand. \mm/

When I visited Fucking Hell three years ago (in a time when photographing their work was still okay with White Cube Mason’s Yard), I took pictures of the buildings with my zoom and only later discovered some of the intricate details INSIDE the miniature churches, factories, torture chambers, prisons of Fucking Hell. And that’s PRECISELY why I love Jake & Dinos. The Chapmans don’t just allude to and play with gore, sadism, facism, no, they really actually deliver these things in a grotesquely giddy folly – they put the sun in Endlösung. (Okay, okay, enough with the excruciating wordplays already.)

And that’s all before even beginning to analyse the eloquent depths of their humour as Fucking Hell was produced after Hell melted in the Big Saatchi Warehouse Fire (one of my earliest blog posts after moving the domain). It’s easy to imagine them shouting “FUCKING HELL!” when they got a phone call about it. The decision to rebuild the thing – better, stronger, more apocalyptic, more offensive than ever – didn’t take them long. In a NYT feature from July 2004, Jake declared:

”We’ll make it again. It’s only art.”

On show: Jul 15 – Sep 17, 2011

Address: White Cube, Hoxton Square and Mason’s Yard, London, UK, tel: +44 (0)20 7930 5373, email: enquiries@whitecube.com

Opening hours: Tue – Sat: 10 AM – 6 PM

Dinos not Jake interview | Jake not Dinos interview | Guardian preview

Publications: Jake will publish his third novel titled INTROSPASTIC: From the Blackened Beyond. Dinos will produce a publication of 22 drawings titled They Teach Us Nothing¹.

Artists’ website

WurzelForum discussion

¹ … and here’s what they look like:

Also, a great interview with the brothers conducted by CraneTV:


Harma Heikens at Witzenhausen Gallery, New York

by Suzanne on May 3rd, 2011


Mother and Child by Harma Heikens, mixed media, 2004 – click to enlarge

I just got an email from the great Harma Heikens (previously mentioned here and here) informing me of an upcoming exhibition of hers opening this Thursday at a great gallery I have to admit I have never heard of before but it looks very exquisite indeed. With galleries in Amsterdam and New York, Witzenhausen has a fantastic line-up of painters, photographers and sculptors.

Harma will be showing five new pieces at their New York gallery while Oksana Badrak will be exhibiting in Amsterdam.


Treasure Island by Harma Heikens, mixed media, 2005 – click to enlarge

Opening reception: May 5, 2011, 6 – 8 PM

On show: May 5 – Jun 4, 2011

Address: Witzenhausen Gallery, 5th Floor, Suite 508, 547 West 27th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenue, New York 10001, USA, tel: 212 239 1124, email: chelsea@witzenhausengallery.nl

Gallery hours: Tue – Sat: 11 AM – 6 PM, and by appointment

Press release

Artist’s website

Alice Anderson’s Childhood Rituals at Freud Museum, London

by Suzanne on March 30th, 2011


Housebound by Alice Anderson, site specific sculpture made of 3000 metres of dolls’ hair, 2011 – Photo by Wurzeltod – click to enlarge

You may have noticed that I’m posting events that are still a few weeks ahead of us. That’s mainly because I will be off to my home town of Lucerne in a few days to attend the Fumetto Comics Festival! Weeeee!

Anyways, I’ll be back in time for Alice Anderson‘s (previously featured here) amazing Childhood Rituals installation made of 3 km of dolls’ hair wrapped around London’s Freud Museum – with new sculptural pieces being on show inside the museum.

Alice Anderson about her work:

“I remember the terrible fears I used to have when I was a child left alone at home for many long hours waiting for the return of my mother. At that time I invented rituals for myself to calm my anxieties. These rituals consisted of undoing the thread from seams and I wound these threads around parts of my body and other objects. This obsession became so bad that I started to do the same thing using my hair.”

I don’t miss any of Alice‘s exhibitions as – just like Chiharu Shiota – she has the rare gift to transform surroundings to the point where space becomes irrelevant and time a distant memory.

If you’ve never had a chance to see her work up close and you happen to be in London tomorrow, you can also catch a glimpse of her commission to All Visual Arts’ Bound at their new Kings Cross location. Kate MccGwire will also have a piece on show.

On show: Apr 15 – Jun 5, 2011

Address: Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX, UK, tel: +44 (0)20 7435 2002, email: info@freud.org.uk | Map & Directions

Gallery hours: Wed – Sun: 12 – 5 PM

Admission: £6

Press release

Artist’s website