Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for the Illustration category

Max Klinger at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Strasbourg, and OH MAH GAWD IS SHE BACK OR WAT

by Suzanne on July 22nd, 2012


An die Schönheit; Vom Tode Zweiter Teil by Max Klinger, etching, 1890, courtesy V&A London – click to enlarge

Hi. I guess I’m back. Let’s see whether I can still werq dis blog, yo.

In case you were wondering, I’ve been mainly hanging out over on FB (yes, yes, I know… stop looking at me like that – it just so happens that most of my online contacts are over there and it’s just been too convenient to stay in touch). Anyway, just like most other anti-social online platforms, I’m using FB in a very unusual and actually useful way so if you care about getting a more daily dose of Wurzeltod®, you can subscribe to its public updates.

I’ll try to do a better job at mirroring my FB posts to my Twitter like I used to do in the past for all those of you who rightly boycott FB, but let’s face it, it’s just not in my nature to ever be concise enough to tweet successfully.

I have also fed the forum with loads of new content, so go check it out and please note that a lot of the posts are NSFW. I can highly recommend the Symbiosis/Parasitism/Mutual Decay, the Eros & Thanatos as well as the Eyeballs thread. They make me happy. Yes they do.

Flickr update is also imminent, btw, maybe this news is of interest to those of you who still mainly remember me for sporting industrial insulation tape on nipples and other shit we used to do on Fotolog in the early noughties for reasons I now ABSOLUTELY cannot remember.

NEVER MIND.. on to more important matters now: Art that doesn’t suck. We’ll start with painter, sculptor and engraver genius Max Klinger.


Brahmsphantasie, Opus XII: Abduction of Prometheus by Max Klinger, etching, 1894 – click to enlarge

Max Klinger. We had him here back in 2008 with two examples from his magnificent dream-inspired Paraphrases about the Finding of a Glove series from 1881.

Now the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Strasbourg is presenting a vast range of his engravings in a show called Max Klinger – The Theatre of the Bizarre which, as the title suggests, hopes to focus on how Klinger was forever driven by dream imagery and the relentless search for ways to visualise the cryptic, the elusive, the primordial, the eldritch, the uncharted, the subconscious.

Strasbourg hasn’t sent me the press login through yet but with the museum’s graphic arts room housing nearly 200 of Klinger’s engravings, I can guarantee you that you will find some fantastic oneiric trouvailles at this retrospective.

Details below.


Rettungen Ovidischer Opfer, Opus II: Erstes Intermezzo by Max Klinger, etching, courtesy British Museum London – click to enlarge

On show: May 15 – Sep 16, 2012

Address: Museum of Modern and contemporary Art (MAMC), 1, place Hans Jean Arp, Strasbourg, France, tel: +33 (0)3 88 23 31 31 | Map

Hours: Tue – Sun: 10 AM – 6 PM

Admission: €7

Press release

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

Mirka Lugosi at Confort Moderne, Poitiers, France

by Suzanne on December 2nd, 2011


© Mirka Lugosi, 2008

I posted an introduction to Mirka Lugosi‘s work only back in October when she was showing her work in Montpellier and well, she’s already having another exhibition entitled L’Homme Invisible on French soil, this time held at Confort Moderne in Poitiers.


© Mirka Lugosi, 2006 – click to enlarge

It’ll remain on display until January 2012 and from what I can see it’s a very comprehensive show focussing on her drawings and presenting works from pretty much the entire past decade of her artistic shenanigans.. but wait, there is more:

“[...] L’exposition au Confort Moderne se construit autour d’un ensemble représentatif de son travail des dix dernières années et inclut d’autres travaux comme des illustrations des années 80 et 90 ou encore des archives des lives du Syndicat. Enfin, quelques photos vintage de Gilles Berquet et des éléments mobiliers qui l’accompagnent lors de ses séances de travail donnent une vue élargie de l’œuvre et du parcours de Mirka Lugosi.”

Ouais! Do go check this out, les enfants! Details below.


From the Le malaise enchanté series by Mirka Lugosi

On show: Nov 19, 2011 – Jan 13, 2012

Address: Le confort moderne / Association L’Oreille est Hardie, 185 rue du Faubourg du Pont-Neuf, 86000 Poitiers, France, tel: +33 [0]5 49 46 08 08, email: box[at]confort-moderne[dot]fr

Hours: Mon – Fri: 2 – 6 PM

Preview & press release

Artist’s website

WurzelForum discussion

Christopher Conn Askew’s “96 Tears” at Merry Karnowsky, Los Angeles

by Suzanne on December 1st, 2011


A Teardrop and a Flame by Christopher Conn Askew, watercolour, ink, graphite, nail polish & gouache on paper, 18 x 24 inches, 2011 – click to enlarge

96 Tears is one of the very few exhibitions where I don’t even mind looking at the opening photographs because for once, they’re full of beautiful and inspiring people – amongst them, obviously, the brilliant Askew-san himself.

For me, it has become ever clearer over the years that CC Askew is one of those rare artists who – rather than beginning to focus on the easy recipe of iconography that works and recurring themes that sell – constantly expand their intellectual and occult horizons, artistic heritage and understanding of foreign cultures and thus manage to integrate ever new aspects into their works.

In a way, CC has sometimes almost been a bit of a reverse Suehiro Maruo to me because just like Maruo – who has an obsession for blending motives from the Golden Age of Hollywood into his works – Askew does something similar with oriental cultures. And just like a Vania Zouravliov he does it with the utmost respect, admiration and sensitivity.

But this simple analogy would not do the master justice as he’s an iconosynthesist in his own right who has created his very own visual language and narrative codes.

So YEAH, what am I even writing this all for? It’s all pretty self-evident from the two new works posted here that you should absolutely go see 96 Tears if you’re in L.A. before December 10.

And in the meantime, I’ll be sitting here praying to the Elder Gods that Askew will be asked to design Shin Megami Tensei: Persona characters some fine day in the future.


No Golden Years by Christopher Conn Askew, watercolour, ink, graphite, nail polish, gouache & gold leaf on paper, 12 x 27 inches, 2011 – click to enlarge

On show: Nov 12 – Dec 10, 2011

Address: Merry Karnowsky Gallery, 170 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA, tel: 323.933.4408 | Map

Hours: Tue – Sat: 12 – 6 PM

Preview | Opening photos

WurzelForum discussion

A Mid-November Dance with Death

by Suzanne on November 16th, 2011


Pest from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 – click to enlarge

“I cook doom in the air and what breathes has to die.”

It’s this time of year again – a time of such enormous transformation and transmutation in nature – when I find myself doing strange and silly things like obsessively reading the Nibelungen or losing myself in Skyrim because of some ominous melancholy and a deep longing for being reunited and rot away with the earth, the elements, of sinking, of dissolving, of dreamless thankful sleep.

And I really miss how this time of year feels like in my homeland. I miss the magic of how the mist and will-o’-the-wisps rise magnificently over the frosty fields and graveyards, how the forests creak with the cold like old bones, how the crows complain over the lack of grains, how the dormice hurriedly prepare their beds of leaves for a harsh winter.


Jungfrau from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 – click to enlarge

“Youth, so fiery, with cheeks so red. So blissful is love – so hideous is death.”

I miss the lake steaming in the morning, I miss still gasping at that fierce, majestic and omnipotent ancient natural fortification wall, the Alps, putting on its snowy white coat under the absolutely colourless and closed heavens even though I have seen its sight a million times. I miss the smell of bonfires and the sound of whips cracking in the clear glassy evening air. I miss hearing cowbells and spotting lanterns dancing like fireflies in the distant dark.

But mostly, I miss hiding in the medieval section of libraries hugging the radiator and a cup of really shitty instant coffee, completely immersed in studying Totentänze only to be thrown out at closing time and walking home aimlessly and hurt and finding myself in front of the Spreuer Bridge – that illustrated passage over the river Reuss talking to me so vividly from 1630 via the playful and treacherous skeletons of Caspar Meglinger.


Deliquent from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 – click to enlarge

“One death as retribution for the other. So does both justice and crime serve me.”

Growing up in Catholic Switzerland meant I’ve seen A LOT of danse macabres in my early childhood and by the time I moved to Protestant Basel to study, I was ready for their more scientific, demystified and bürgerliche understanding of the dance of death. I can’t say I understood it at first – I felt it was sorely lacking in the flamboyant Baroque accusatory celebration of decadence and the deadly sins. Protestant Totentänze are never about a sexy death. What I saw was a way more silent and depressing death. Anonymous diseases finishing people off from within instead of inebriated tomfoolery until the very end and very dull modest existences just being blown out rather than the grotesque fights for life and death seen in Catholic cycles.

It took a short train journey in 2002 from Basel to the university library of Freiburg im Breisgau (it’s a fucking Goth uni – the art department was literally in the catacombs) to rekindle my love for the Totentanz. It was there where I found a copy of the Leipzig Todtentanz für alle Stände (Dance of Death for all Classes) – excerpts of which you can see here.


Handwerker from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 – click to enlarge

“This house that you have built for yourself – let me see whether it fits you.”

Todtentanz für alle Stände was conceived by Carl Merkel and the woodcuts are by the absolutely fantastic Johann Gottfried Flegel. It was published in Leipzig in 1850. You can read the entire book here. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried when I first saw these – the carefully selected botanic symbolism of each and every scene relating to the trade or rank of the portrayed person, the way scenes turn into ornament, ornament into filigree and finally filigree into calligraphy. A whole world opened itself up to me when I first saw these and I hope you will appreciate getting lost in them too. I’m sorry I couldn’t make the English translation rhyme like the German original – it would take me ages to do it gracefully.

I would like to thank my dear friend Peacay from BibliOdyssey for making me remember this very special Totentanz. You have no idea how much finding this on your blog means to me, PK.

How lucky we are to walk amongst the proud dead.


Künstler from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 – click to enlarge

“All your hopes and aspirations were in vain – but now death is fairer than life.”

Richard Stipl & Co.’s “Savant” at High Roller Society, London

by Suzanne on November 1st, 2011


Installation view of Savant at High Roller Society, London, showing Richard Stipl‘s work – click to enlarge

When I first got an invite to this show, I couldn’t believe that a London gallery would put together so many of my favourite young international artists for a group show. And a street art gallery on top of that!

Then I heard that artist Joe Becker was in charge of curating Savant and the epicness of it all immediately made a lot of sense.

Savant shows the works of Richard Stipl - who I still suspect to be the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson (YES, OF COURSE I calculated that!) of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt - Rory Dean, Peggy Kouroumalos, Joe Becker, James Unsworth et al.

I sincerely wish they hadn’t slapped the term “New Gothic Art” into their press release and what exactly is supposedly “idiotic” about any of this art I will never understand; as a matter of fact, I don’t even find any of it “offensive”, but oh well, this is the UK, I come from a different school of cannibalist Marxist thinking and I guess this type of work seems somewhat “strange” and “wacky” to the lazy European eyeball.

So let’s just agree that they’re fantastic works by very talented young international artists, ja? Danke.

Do go see this. It’s rare to get a group show like that in Londinium. Trust me.

Oh, and if someone could please tell me whether Stipl‘s The Ritual has indeed dentures on it or whether someone just left them there by accident, that would be much appreciated. They only appear in this installation view and the whole thing really confused me. Thanks.


Installation view of Savant at High Roller, London, showing Joe Becker‘s and Richard Stipl‘s work – click to enlarge

On show: Oct 29 – Nov 27, 2011

Address: High Roller Society, 10 Palmers Road, London, E2 0SY, UK, tube: Bethnal Green, Mile End, email: info(at)highrollersociety.co.uk, tel: +44 (0)208 981 8177 | Map

Hours: Thu – Sun: 12 – 6 PM, and by appointment

Press release | Installation views

WurzelForum discussion

Joao Ruas’ “Yore” at Thinkspace, Culver City

by Suzanne on October 29th, 2011


The Two Tempting Heracles by Joao Ruas, graphite and watercolour on acetate and heavyweight paper, 2011 – click to enlarge

Been umming and ahhing whether I should announce this or not as I must honestly admit that, at least from what I’ve seen in the preview, some of the subtleties in the facial features seem a bit more rushed than usual and the Ruasesque obsession with suggestive gestures appears to be more in the background while more attention is focussed on layering of fabrics and hair. Which is not necessarily a negative thing but it’s a bit omnipresent at the moment with Eric Fortune and Tran Nguyen moving in a somewhat similar direction.

Having said that, most of these works are still in progress and the piece above did convince me and has pretty much everything I’m looking for in a Ruas and some anatomical details are indeed rather breathtaking – like the ecstatic definition of the toes and the toning of the belly in this new piece here.

Yore opens this coming Saturday, November 5, at Thinkspace and will remain on view until November 26. Details below.

Opening reception: Saturday, Nov 5, 2011, 5 – 8 PM, artist will be in attendance

On show: Nov 5 – 26, 2011

Address: Thinkspace Art Gallery, 6009 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232, USA, tel: (310) 558-3375, email: contact@thinkspacegallery.com

Hours: Wed – Fri: 1 – 6 PM, Sat: 1 – 8 PM

Preview

Artist’s website

WurzelForum discussion

Fu Lei print exhibition at ART Gallery, Beijing

by Suzanne on October 29th, 2011


© Fu Lei – click to enlarge

I don’t really have much on this exhibition other than that prints by Fu Lei will be on show and that it closes tomorrow, well today in Chinese terms, at 6 PM sharp at ART Gallery in Tongzhou District in Beijing, so if you’re out there, do go check it out.

In the exhibited works, Fu Lei’s (does anyone have a link with more works by him?!) Brancusiesque bunny character voyeuristically disrupts Rubenesque scenes of intercourse and autoerotic thrombosis taking place amongst silken pillows, nooses, pearls and rotting food… which is PRECISELY why I’m posting this here in the first place.

Google Translate spits out stuff like this when trying to translate the press release so go figure:

“Fu Lei, deconstruction is the period of history (the history of the digestion period of the structure) still adhere to the pure spirit of the legacy of ancient beads. He was forgotten in the old grid deepest material, as has been forgotten in the appendix in the digestive system of a hard rice.”

Oh, and anyone who says “Oh cool, reminds me of Botero!” will have their fucking IP blocked for good.

Details below.


© Fu Lei – click to enlarge

On show: Oct 16 – Oct 30, 2011

Address: ART Gallery, East Region Songzhuang, Tongzhou District, Beijing, China, email: art@ccartd.com

Hours: Tue – Sat: 10 AM – 6 PM

Chinese press release

WurzelForum discussion

Christiana Soulou’s “Les Enfants Terribles” at Sadie Coles, London

by Suzanne on October 29th, 2011


© Christiana Soulou, courtesy of the artist and Sadie Coles – click to enlarge

Born in the 1960s in Athens and educated in Paris, Greek artist Christiana Soulou will soon be presenting a selection of new works under the title Les Enfants Terribles - inspired by the 1929 novel of the same name by Jean Cocteau, I presume; no press release has surfaced yet - at London’s Sadie Coles gallery.

There’s a rather obvious seductive Hans Bellmer and playful Pierre Klossowski influence to what she does and every once in a while, some Rachel Goodyear poses come to mind.

It’s obviously rather heartbreaking to view her work over the interwebs as her drawings are way too fragile and intricate – so if you’re in London, do go check out Les Enfants Terribles at Sadie Coles where you can also pick up reasonably priced books about her work – one even written by the great Hans Ulrich Obrist. Gosh.

The show runs until December 21 . All details below.

Opening reception: Nov 2, 2011, 6 – 8 PM

On show: Nov 2 – Dec 21, 2011

Address: Sadie Coles HQ, South Audley St, 69 South Audley Street, London W1K 2QZ, United Kingdom, email: info@sadiecoles.com, tel: +44 [0] 20 7493 8611 | Map

Hours: Tue – Sat: 11 AM – 6 PM

Invitation card

WurzelForum discussion

Keiichi Tanaami’s “Hop Step Jump” published by Nieves

by Suzanne on October 21st, 2011


Double page from Hop Step Jump by Keiichi Tanaami, published by Nieves, 32 pages, 19.5 x 25.5 cm, color offset, 2011 – click to enlarge

I guess I have expressed my huge love affair with the small(est) press and tiny publication houses/rooms/shoeboxes here often enough by posting about releases by My Dance The Skull, Shelter Press, Le Dernier Cri, Atem Books and obviously also the now sadly defunct Kaugummi Books and Les éditions derrière la salle de bains. And everyone I forgot.

A small publisher that’s been around for a decade now releasing book after book and zine after zine is Zurich’s Nieves. Their catalogue is really diverse and eclectic and they have their own iPhone app and they’re an incredibly progressive and very driven bunch of people.

Why am I telling you all this? For mainly three reasons:

• Because a lot of small art zine publishers are struggling to survive due to a low-to-non-profit nature of their business and no-advertisement approach while doing highly important communication work for the visual arts. So they deserve your support.

• Art zines are often super cheap, a lot of them numbered and limited in edition size, lovingly produced – a lot of them screen-printed or printed on Risographs or Goccos, and they simply offer you so much more authenticity and genuinity than a glossy mag.

• Nieves has just released a little book on the art of Keiichi Tanaami and it’s super tasty and psychedelic.


Double page from Hop Step Jump by Keiichi Tanaami, published by Nieves, 32 pages, 19.5 x 25.5 cm, color offset, 2011 – click to enlarge

Hop Step Jump is a fantastic visual journey through Keiichi Tanaami‘s memories and nightmares. Born in Tokyo in 1936, he absorbed the horrors and grotesquery of warfare from early childhood and later wrote about these experiences and how they affected his art:

“I was rushed away from my childhood, a time that should be filled with eating and playing, by the enigmatic monstrosity of war; my dreams were a vortex of fear and anxiety, anger and resignation. On the night of the air raid, I remember watching swarms of people flee from bald mountaintops. But then something occurs to me: was that moment real? Dream and reality are all mixed up in my memories, recorded permanently in this ambiguous way.”

You can preview the book here and purchase it here.