Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for the Photography category

Yinka Shonibare’s “Addio del Passato” at James Cohan Gallery, New York

by Suzanne on February 28th, 2012


Fake Death Picture (The Death of Chatterton – Henry Wallis) by Yinka Shonibare, MBE, 2011, digital chromogenic print, framed: 58 5/8 x 71 1/4 in. (148.91 x 180.98 cm) – click to enlarge

To be perfectly honest with you, I would even post about this show if I didn’t like a single artwork on display other than Fake Death Picture (The Death of Chatterton) (top) because channeling my favourite accidental (?) suicide painting of all time will always get you a mention on here.

Oh, wait, and there’s that… that fucking machine… err… pardon me, Anti-Hysteria Device (bottom). Yeah.

For Addio del Passato, British-born Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare has once again worked with his signature fabrics and created beautifully lavish costumes in bold colours and absolutely delectable opulent interiors achieving a gorgeous chiaroscuro of fabrics, textures and complexions so rich that you’re almost forgetting you’re actually looking at scenes of death. Well, at least a series of photographic re-enactments of famous death and suicide scenes of art history.

Overall, I will have to admit that I preferred the works from Yinka‘s Goya phase but you know me – I just like to complain.

Btw, if you missed Yinka‘s beautiful Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle on Trafalgar Square’s Forth Plinth, you might be able to see it at the National Maritime Museum in future if their campaign to save it from being sold is successful. Meanwhile, Elmgreen and Dragset have put a semi-nude very camp golden boy ridin’ a poneh in its place and I’m of course always very pleased about any kind of prepuberty sleaze in public squares.

Details below.


Anti-Hysteria Device by Yinka Shonibare, MBE, 2011, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, wood, metal with motor, 30 3/8 x 41 x 18 7/8 in. (77 x 104 x 48 cm), photograph: Stephen White – click to enlarge

On show: Feb 16 – Mar 24, 2012

Address: James Cohan Gallery, 533 West 26th Street New York NY 10001, USA, tel: 212.714.9500, email: info@jamescohan.com

Hours: Tue – Sat: 10 AM – 6 PM

Preview | Press release

Artist’s website

WurzelForum discussion

Nazif Topçuoğlu at Green Art Gallery, Dubai

by Suzanne on February 23rd, 2012


Like Thieves at Midnight by Nazif Topçuoğlu, c-print, 121 x 210 cm, 2011 – click to enlarge

Ah, I missed the glorious opportunity to tie this post in with my recent article on Hisaji Hara – it would have been a very smooth and insightful transition as both Nazif and Hisaji sure are experts in the complex inner workings and psychopathologies of Balthusesque girlhood.

Nazif has a particularly great eye for all those (mind) games girls play and he uses the anachronistic form of the tableau vivant as his artistic modus operandi and way to study these games.

They’re not too overcrowded tableaux though so every single protagonist becomes an integral part of the plot. The girls strike pathos-laden meandering poses reminiscent of distant art history – to mind come motives such diverse as the Pietà, the Deposition from the Cross, the Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Salome, even the Raft of the Medusa, Liberty Leading the People and famous death scenes from Jacques-Louis David’s Marat to Henry Wallis’ gorgeous Death of Chatterton. I could go on. I want to go on as this is exactly what makes Nazif‘s work so very rich but I’m afraid I’d never get to an end.


The Turtle Charmer by Nazif Topçuoğlu, c-print, 167 x 120 cm, 2011 – click to enlarge

The details of the scenes are staggering too and always spot on: We see seductively parted lips, extruding collar bones, golden glowing skin – youth doesn’t come much more beckoning than as it’s captured in Nazif‘s work.

It’s also fascinating to observe that his group scenes never seem staged, but narrated; his girls are never exposed but embedded; they are not vulnerable and exploited but self-conscious and very much in charge of the scene – in one sentence: They have definitely grown up.

In a way, it could be argued that Nazif is just as much a director or a choreographer as he is a photographer because getting these nuances right is something that has a lot to do with understanding every single bone and muscle of the body and face – and that’s also precisely what gives his tableaux a very painterly, very warm, very intimate, very incarnate and very baroque atmosphere.

I know it’s probably rather unlikely you are in the United Arab Emirates right now but if you ARE, do go check out his very comprehensive solo show at Green Art Gallery in Dubai until March 5. Details below.


Introspection by Nazif Topçuoğlu, c-print, 120 x 168 cm, 2010 – click to enlarge

On show: Jan 11 – Mar 5, 2012

Address: Green Art Gallery, Al Quoz 1, Street 8, Al Serkal Avenue, Unit 28, P.O.Box 257 11, Dubai, UAE, tel: + 9714 346 9305, email: info@gagallery.com | Map

Preview

Artist’s website

WurzelForum discussion

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

Karlheinz Weinberger’s “Rebels” at Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris

by Suzanne on February 21st, 2012


© and courtesy the Estate of Karlheinz Weinberger, Zurich – click to enlarge

In my early childhood, when we visited the fairgrounds in late autumn with a bag of Marroni (roasted chestnuts) warming my little hands, my mum would always tell me about how, when she was my age, the Halbstarke (“half-strongs”/”semi-toughs” – a movement both popularised and simplified by the movie Teenage Wolfpack) used to hang out near fairgrounds, looking intimidating, cool and… desirable.

Growing up in the 80s with unsightly skinny kids in stonewashed neon jeans and perms occupying fairgrounds, it always sounded like a completely different world to me and my imagination turned the Halbstarke into some half-men/half-wolves – pillaging and ravaging everything in their way that hasn’t fainted with hysteria yet.


© and courtesy the Estate of Karlheinz Weinberger, Zurich – click to enlarge

In my teens – after studying the not unsimilar life and career of Swiss photographer genius and car crash fetishist Arnold Odermatt – I came across the photographic work of self-taught photographer and previous factory worker Karlheinz Weinberger (1921 – 2006 – GIVE THE MAN A WIKI PAGE!) and it took another year or two to link the stories my mother had told me to the hauntingly powerful yet disarming Weinberger portraits and to realise that post-WWII Switzerland really wasn’t just all quaint and perfect but riddled with very diverse youth movements creating their very own eclectic aesthetic. An aesthetic that would some decades later inspire and influence the Swiss punk, post-punk and goth movements.

Until mid-March, Galerie Esther Woederhoff in Paris is showing a vast selection of works by Weinberger in an exhibition entitled Rebels. They’re absolutely incredible snapshots of an often forgotten youth movement – shot partially in Weinberger’s own pretty bourgeois living room - putting them in the very same Bildungsbürgertum environment they wanted to liberate themselves from - or in the great outdoors snogging in forests, riding pimped bikes, displaying their DIY gear, and just generally being totally badass, fierce and very un-Swiss.


© and courtesy the Estate of Karlheinz Weinberger, Zurich – click to enlarge

A motive that’s particularly prevalent throughout Weinberger’s work is the focus on the display of male genitalia. Halbstarke developed their very own style, distressing jeans by taking zips out, replacing them with bolts or string and therefore setting a very deliberate phallic accent to their attire. Having worked for “Der Kreis” (AGAIN, GIVE THEM A WIKI PAGE!), a homoerotic magazine published by a Zurich club of the same name that even dared to publish highly critical material during the Nazi era, Weinberger was well versed in an aesthetic celebrating the sensuous youthful male.

However, he documented the halbstarke females in an equally admiring way and his portraits of girls with outrageously backcombed hair, kohl cat eyes, animal print or boldly striped jumpers, very tight waistlines and a lot of chuzpe show a great amount of empathetic closeness to their cause. He was on their side without being one of them.


© and courtesy the Estate of Karlheinz Weinberger, Zurich – click to enlarge

Analysing the stylistic elements that made you halbstark, it’s actually very interesting observing how certain elements broke with gender stereotypes while others enforced them with a shitload of testosterone:

For the guys this meant that the Hollywood version of the quiff was often grown longer and softened to look rather effeminate, jeans and leather jackets were often short and revealing but this was then counterbalanced with the masculinity of scary Hell’s Angelesque back patches and of course the infamous horseshoe used as pendant – which was like the heavyweight 50s grandfather of the safety pin/pentagram/ankh.

The girls too walked a dual path both enforcing and breaking visual gender roles being the hourglass femme fatale only to adapt to a very tomboyish look and borrowing their boyfriend’s horseshoes, jackets and bandanas the next day.

It was a fantastic and great experimentation ground for the days to come and a lot of it has survived until today – particularly in the goth, crust punk and biker movements. A political movement or not, a lot of the Halbstarke later joined the youth revolts of the late 60s and they have changed the visual landscape of Switzerland for good. Thankfully.

Exhibition details below.

On show: Feb 11 – Mar 17, 2012

Address: Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, 36, rue Falguière, 75015 Paris, France, tel: +33 (0)9 51 51 24 50, email: galerie@ewgalerie.com

Hours: Tue – Sat: 2 – 6 PM

Preview | Press release | Publication

WurzelForum discussion

Hisaji Hara at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London

by Suzanne on February 18th, 2012


A Study of “Because Cathy taught him what she learnt” by Hisaji Hara, 2010 – click to enlarge

I think it must have been the lovely Nana Rapeblossom who first introduced me to Hisaji Hara‘s work a few months back and I must admit that it comes as a bit of a surprise to see him showing at Michael Hoppen now.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Hoppen as it’s a fantastic gallery with superb curating and as a matter of fact, they’re also hosting a marvellous Guy Bourdin show at Hoppen Contemporary right now – but it seems I had just subconsciously assumed that for his first solo show on European soil, he would choose a museum rather than gallery context given his penchant for highly composed arrangements and established European painters, especially (and obviously) Balthus.


A Study of “But it was one of their chief amusements to run away to the moors” by Hisaji Hara, 2010 – click to enlarge

There’s softened spatial serenity, composed simplicity, powdered sexuality, layered architecture, and ahistorical frozen theatricality to his works which are all aspects that are becoming ever rarer in a contemporary photography landscape which often seems dominated by the ironic dirty scenester snapshot so it’s a huge joy and inspiration to see such works being appreciated “over here”. Definitely a must-see for all London folks.

Opens Feb 24. Details below.


A Study of “Katia Reading” by Hisaji Hara, 2009 – click to enlarge

On show: Feb 24 – Mar 31, 2012

Address: Michael Hoppen Gallery, 3 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TD, UK, tel: +44 (0)20 7352 3649, email: gallery@michaelhoppengallery.com | Map

Hours: Mon – Fri: 10.30 AM – 6 PM, Sat: 10.30 – 5 PM

Preview

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

Impressions of “Essence of Edo-Tokyo” featuring Ryo Arai at ICN, London

by Suzanne on November 17th, 2011


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod – click to enlarge

Although I missed the opening reception for Ryo Arai’s show at London’s ICN Gallery, I did manage to check it out after a fantastic Liberty Snake ZeroZeroNain organised by Misanthropop that saw some of London’s best post-punk DJs and connoisseurs come together.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod – click to enlarge

Anyways, after admittedly being initially a bit disappointed that the sculpture on the exhibition flyer was not actually on show, everything completely made up for that slight flaw. So much so that this is hands down my favourite London show of 2k11 after Charles Matton’s Enclosures at All Visual Arts earlier this year.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod – click to enlarge

It was tricky to capture all the details of the gorgeous papier-mâché texture of the sculptures in the photos but I hope you nevertheless enjoy these impressions of the show.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod – click to enlarge

What’s more is that the ICN staff was extremely sweet, helpful and very knowledgeable and I purchased an absolutely gorgeous and apparently out-of-print Ryo Arai monograph for as little as a handful of sushi.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod – click to enlarge

East London can be glad to have this magical new place delivering so much Japanese ocular and culinary goodness to the area.

Essence of Edo-Tokyo will remain on view until this Saturday, November 19, so do go check it out if you’re in London.


Papier-mâché yokai by Ryo Arai, photo by Wurzeltod – click to enlarge

Iwajla Klinke’s “Crowns and Gladiola” at Galerie Suvi Lehtinen, Berlin

by Suzanne on October 29th, 2011

Lots of announcements to post so I’ll keep these all fairly short.


From the Ritual Memories series by Iwajla Klinke

This coming Friday, November 4, Iwajla Klinke will be opening her solo show Crowns and Gladiola at Galerie Suvi Lehtinen in Berlin.

On show will be a new series of works, but I decided to illustrate this post with one of her most powerful past series: Ritual Memories – for all those of you who are new to her haunting work.


From the Ritual Memories series by Iwajla Klinke

Crowns and Gladiola will investigate the following:

“The photographic portraits featured in “Crowns and Gladiola” take as their inspiration the Yona Wallach poem, “Jonathan,” in which the author imagines herself a young boy being slain by other children wielding gladiola as swords.

Here, Iwajla Klinke’s fascination with human ritual – previously explored through portraits of young male subjects adorned in arcane religious cloths – is expanded to explore cultural practices situated even further from the center of mainstream Occidental discourse.

Idylls from Wallach’s poem are interpreted almost literally in portraits of fencers; a series of models bearing bridal crowns evoke a not-so-distant time when girls of a similar age had their futures determined for them through arranged marriage.”

You can read the full press release here. The show will remain on view until November 26. Details below.


From the Ritual Memories series by Iwajla Klinke

On show: Nov 5 – Nov 26, 2011

Address: Galerie Suvi Lehtinen, Novalisstrasse 7, 10115 Berlin, Germany, email: info@galerielehtinen.com, tel: +49 (0)176 3240 6673 | Map

Hours: Tue – Sat: 12 – 6 PM

Press release

Artist’s website

WurzelForum discussion

Nagi Noda at Creation Gallery G8, Tokyo

by Suzanne on October 20th, 2011


Nagi Noda, 1973 – 2008

Nagi Noda – the incredibly talented multi-genre artist, director, designer, fashion and hair visionary who died in the prime of her creative career three years ago is finally being honoured with a retrospective of her astonishingly diverse work in Tokyo, where she lived and worked.

Creation Gallery will be showing lots of previously unseen works and certainly some of her well-known animal haircuts/hats, superb photographs and some of her fantastically imaginative videos like Mariko Takahashi’s Poodle Fitness Video which beyond doubt influenced such annoying obnoxious OKAY OKAY kinda cute things as this.

I’ve long forgiven her a rather obvious appropriation of Makoto Aida’s work.

So if you’re in Tokyo, do go down to Creation Gallery to celebrate the short sweet life and jubliant work of this stellar woman.

Sentimental Journey – Nagi Noda from FIBRA on Vimeo.

On show: Oct 18 – Nov 18, 2011

Address: Creation Gallery G8, Recruit Ginza 8 Bldg., 1F
8-4-17 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8001, Japan | Map

Hours: Mon – Sat: 11 AM – 7 PM

Press release

Artist’s website

WurzelForum discussion

Thanks for the reminder, Gestalten!

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