Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for April, 2011

Leopold Rabus for "Best of" at Galerie Adler, Frankfurt

by Suzanne on April 27th, 2011


Les Corbeaux by Leopold Rabus, oil on canvas, 2006 - click to enlarge

One of the most underrated young Swiss artists, Leopold Rabus, has been invited by Frankfurt's Galerie ADLER to present his oeuvre alongside many other great artists such as Artists Anonymous, Gregor Gaida (previously featured here) and Peter Feiler at their Best Of show opening May 4, 2011.

I find it deeply inspiring to have places like ADLER showing fantastically dark and dystopian works of underrepresented artists in a - at least in art terms - relatively small city like Frankfurt. It's so important places exist that give "young artists" who really ARE under or around 30, a platform to exhibit their works.

So if you're ever in Frankfurt, go check out ADLER - their artist roster is fantastic, unique and very daring indeed.


Personnes derrière une serre by Leopold Rabus, diptych, oil on canvas, 2009 - click to enlarge

Opening reception: May 4, 2011, 7 PM

On show: May 5 - 21, 2011

Address: ADLER, Hanauer Landstraße 134, 60314 Frankfurt am Main, Germany, tel: +49 (0)69-43053962, email: mail@galerieadler.com | Map

Gallery hours: Tue - Fri: 12 - 6 PM, Sat: 11 AM - 3 PM, and by appointment

Artist's website

Maria Domenica Lazzari - Patron Saint of Anorexic Self-Harmers (Not Really)

by Suzanne on April 26th, 2011


Maria Domenica Lazzari by L. Giuditti after L.G. de Ségur, watercolour, 1846, Wellcome Library - click to enlarge

I SWEAR I was going to post this in time for Good Friday, but then, the internet's Madame Morbid beat me to it and I thought PFFFFFFT... FINE.

But you know me, and I just can't let it be and have to compulsively share great imagery and I don't think anyone could get tired of stigmatics.

Particularly stigmatics as hardcore as Maria Domenica Lazzari a.k.a. L'Addolorata who is depicted above (.. and obviously in the detail below, duh!) - brought to my attention by the amazing Wellcome Library blog. Make sure to click on the images to view them bigger.

There is something about her vacant stare that reminds me of the creepy photos of Anneliese Michel's exorcisms.

Then there's the dried blood that automatically brings to mind the Spot Portraits of the great Timothy Cummings, the Utrechtse Krop pictures D R Tenge posted recently or Lilliputrid's collection of Skin Diseases - a subject the Wellcome Collection itself devoted a recent exhibition to (that left me rather unimpressed).


Maria Domenica Lazzari (detail) by L. Giuditti after L.G. de Ségur, watercolour, 1846, Wellcome Library - click to enlarge

The Wellcome Library blog quotes from three letters by T.W. Allies who visited L'Addolorata in the summer of 1847 - she died around Easter the following year, aged 33...

"We intend to go on towards Venice on Tuesday; we think of stopping at Verona, and going north into the Tyrol, to see the Addolorata, I do no not know if you have heard of her. She has now been many years subsisting almost without nourishment, having on her hands, feet, and side the marks of our Saviour's wounds, and on her head a series of punctures representing the Crown of Thorns. Blood drops from all of these on Friday. I spoke with an eye-witness of this at Paris. The thing seems marvellous enough to go a hundred miles out of one's way to see it. [...]

[...] Three weeks afterwards her family found her in the morning with a handkerchief covering her face, in a state of great delight, a sort of trance; on removing the handkerchief, letters were found on it marked in blood, and Domenica's brow had a complete impression of the Crown of Thorns, in a line of small punctures, about a quarter of an inch apart, from which the blood was flowing freshly. They asked her who had torn her so (chi l'aveva così pettinata?) she replied, " A very fair lady had come in the night and adorned her. [...]

[...] Her breast heaved with a sort of convulsion, and her teeth chattered. On the outside of both hands, as they lie clasped together, in a line with the second finger, about an inch from the knuckle, is a hard scar, of dark-colour, rising above the flesh, half an inch in length, by about three-eighths of an inch in width; round these the skin slightly reddened, but quite free from blood. From the position of the hands it is not possible to see well inside, but stooping down on the right of her bed I could almost see an incision answering to the outward one, and apparently deeper. I leant over her head, within a foot of the Corona on the forehead, and closely observed the wounds. She looked at us very fixedly, but hardly spoke."

ArtNerd Membership Scheme

by Suzanne on April 22nd, 2011

"For each new sponsor, a fallen angel will get a puppy."

- BibliOdyssey

UPDATE APRIL 25, 6.30 PM, GMT: Artist and long-time Wurzeltod® favourite Derek Nobbs has confirmed to design our membership cards! Please click here for press we've received and ways to spread this message. Thank you all! x

As announced back in February, I have now finalised the details on the ArtNerd membership scheme to support the Wurzeltod® gallery venture.

Memberships are vaild for 2 years from the date of subscription and there are 5 main membership categories: Junior ArtNerd, ArtNerd, ArtNerd Pro, Super ArtNerd and Pathological ArtNerd. Just like in real life.

Junior is for those who are impoverished themselves but don't want to miss out on a membership card and flyers, ArtNerd is the basic account that comes with a little print, ArtNerd Pro is very much like a MacBook Pro with lots of interactive extras, the Super ArtNerd is the superhero of it all with special powers to extend opening hours etc. and the Pathological ArtNerd REALLY needs medical help because he'll get so many benefits it should be illegal.

You can find out more about the rewards each category offers you by clicking on the little question mark next to it or by scrolling down to the bottom.

I will get back to every submission within 24 hours.

With your support, what you've seen and appreciated online here for a decade can become a brick-and-mortar reality. You rule.

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Junior ArtNerd

• Membership card
• Show preview emails
• Show flyers, mini posters, stickers and badges

ArtNerd

• Membership card
• Show preview emails
• Show flyers and mini posters
• End-of-year special limited edition members-only print (edition size determined by amount of ArtNerd members)
ArtNerd t-shirt

ArtNerd Pro

• Membership card
• Show preview emails
• Show flyers and mini posters
• End-of-year special limited edition members-only print (edition size determined by amount of ArtNerd members)
ArtNerd t-shirt
• Invitation to monthly Pro/Super/Pathological ArtNerd art tours to selected London exhibitions, organised and held by Wurzeltod
• Free entry to talks and film nights at ArtNerd
• Also available for couples, i.e. people living in the same household

Super ArtNerd

• Membership card
• Show preview emails
• Show flyers and mini posters
• End-of-year special limited edition members-only print (edition size determined by amount of ArtNerd members)
ArtNerd t-shirt
• Invitation to monthly Pro/Super/Pathological ArtNerd art tours to selected London exhibitions, organised and held by Wurzeltod
• Free entry to talks and film nights at ArtNerd
• Show pre-previews with artists and Wurzeltod before opening nights
• Out-of-hours access to gallery by appointment
• Also available for couples, i.e. people living in the same household

Pathological ArtNerd

• Membership card
• Show preview emails
• Show flyers and mini posters
• End-of-year special limited edition members-only print (edition size determined by amount of ArtNerd members)
ArtNerd t-shirt
• Invitation to monthly Pro/Super/Pathological ArtNerd art tours to selected London exhibitions, organised and held by Wurzeltod
• Free entry to talks and film nights at ArtNerd
• Show pre-previews with artists and Wurzeltod before opening nights
• Out-of-hours access to gallery by appointment
• Discounts on prints and framing and personal advice
• Name will appear as sponsor on flyers etc.

PRESS

• Warren Ellis: LONDON: ArtNerd Gallery Start-Up Membership

BibliOdyssey:

"Please become a member of ArtNerd and help the esteemed Suzanne of Wurzeltod get her unique gallery off the ground. For each new sponsor, a fallen angel will get a puppy."

• Lindsey Carr: New Exhibition Space

"The quite wonderful Suzanne G who runs the art blog Wurzeltod is starting up a new exhibition space called ArtNerd in Brick Lane, London. I can't tell you how excited I am to hear this. She has a wonderfully unique and incisive voice as well as journalistic rigor which is sometimes entirely lacking on art blogs.

She covers a lot of artists I would never have heard of elsewhere and it's not lazy writing either. It's gloriously literary and it's pretty obvious she has an encyclopeadic knowledge of art history. She may be the only person i've read who has a critical edge to her coverage of the new underground/pop-surrealist/new contemporary arts.

In order to help fund this excellent space she is offering a range of membership options from £15 upwards. They last for two years and come with some great perks.

I suggest if you live anywhere in Britain and want to see an art space with a difference you sign yerself up. I am offically an ArtNerd and will wear my badge with pride. If you can't afford to sign up then I heartily recommend Wurzeltod as a source of visual wonder."

• Misanthropop: Art-Nerd Gallery Needs Your Help

"Suzanne has been giving exposure to little-known and extremely talented artists for over a decade.

To help get this wonderful endeavor off the ground, she has started offering several different paid gallery memberships that grant a slew of benefits and exclusive rights and materials. As a member, you’d be a part of Art-Nerd itself.

Suzanne does an awful lot for starving artists and art lovers alike, while asking for very little in return. Help her make the jump from the web to establish an excellent gallery in the fleshworld. These kinds of things need its patrons to thrive. It’s worth it."

• Elspeth McIntosh, artist:

"I have been a fan of Suzanne Gerber's Wurzeltod for many years now. So much inspiration has come from the website to fuel my art, particularly during my undergrad in fine art - without which, my aesthetic and same bad taste would never be the same. Suzanne is now venturing to open a gallery in London with the memberships contributing to the setup of the space - with maaaany benefits to be had. Sincerely brilliant!"

Mario Kaoru Mevy, musician:

"Discovering Suzanne Gerber's blog 2 years ago gave me an incredible creative boost, I discovered so much it's somehow too much for my mind to handle. She is without doubt the most awesome online curator! That will also translate to the "real world" if her gallery project takes off. She is currently looking for supporters for it to work; I'll be a subscriber. Naturally."

SPREAD THE MESSAGE

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Jessica Harrison at Jealous Gallery, London

by Suzanne on April 18th, 2011

UPDATE MAY 5, 2011: Show impressions now on Flickr!


Amy Jane by Jessica Harrison, 2010 - click to enlarge

Jessica Harrison gained massive Tumblr notoriety last year for her 2010 Breaking series and quite deservingly so as she is a super talented trans-genre multimedia artist and there is so much more to her work than just mutilated porcelain sculptures - even though that's what I'm focussing on here.

London's Jealous Gallery will be showing the complete collection of her Breaking figurines alongside prints from the end of April until mid-May. Details below.


Mairi by Jessica Harrison, 2010 - click to enlarge

On show: Apr 28 - May 15, 2011

Address: Jealous Gallery, 27 Park Road, Crouch End, London N8 8TE, United Kingdom

Gallery hours: Thu - Sat: 10 AM - 6 PM, Sun: 11 AM - 4 PM

Artist's website

Patricia Piccinini at Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

by Suzanne on April 18th, 2011


Newborn by Patricia Piccinini, 2010, silicone, steel, human hair, possum felt - click to enlarge

It's been a while since we last had Patricia Piccinini's work featured here.

At any rate, for Australian readers, there's now finally a great chance to see some of her newest pieces (3 previously unseen sculptures) at Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide.

Her new show, Once Upon A Time, opened on Saturday and will remain on show until the end of June.


Bottom Feeder (rear view) by Patricia Piccinini, 2009, silicone, fiberglass, fox fur, steel - click to enlarge

The exhibition programme seems to be somewhat aimed at a younger audience - with lots of competitions and school holiday events planned - but there is also plenty of movie presentations and talks for more evolved hominoids who believe in contraception. Details here.

There's a special meet and greet event planned for May 14 at 12 PM with the artist speaking about her oeuvre and answering questions.

Oh, and here's your chance to see "The Gathering" again, in case you missed it:

On show: Apr 16 - Jun 26, 2011

Address: Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace , Adelaide SA 5000, AUS, tel: 61 8 8207 7000, email: agsainformation@artgallery.sa.gov.au

Gallery hours: Mon - Sun: 10 AM - 5 PM, or by appointment

Admission: $15 AUS

Press release

Artist's website

Kara Walker at Lehmann Maupin and Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York

by Suzanne on April 18th, 2011


Alabama Loyalists Greeting the Federal Gun-Boats by Kara Walker, 2005 - click to enlarge

And we're staying historically monochrome with Kara Walker whose new double show Fall Frum Grace, Miss Pipi's Blue Tale will be opening at Lehmann Maupin - in collaboration with Sikkema Jenkins & Co - in New York this Thursday.

From the press release:

At Lehmann Maupin Gallery, Walker will present three new video works, which draw on her own experience in the Mississippi Delta, “a region mythologized in song and popular culture but tragically depressing.” She explains, “I drove down to the Delta thinking about the terrors of Jim Crow and slavery, yet the silent indifference of the landscape and the economic stasis, lack of mobility, and the persistence of a racist memory in the area was what stuck.” [...]

Sikkema Jenkins & Co. will present, Dust Jackets for the Niggerati- and Supporting Dissertations, Drawings submitted ruefully by Dr. Kara E. Walker a concurrent exhibition of Kara Walker’s graphite works on paper and hand-printed texts. This body of work grew out of the artist’s search for understanding of the way that power asserts itself in interpersonal and geopolitical spheres. [...]

Details for the Lehmann Maupin show below. Check Sikkema Jenkins & Co for further information about their show as nothing has gone online yet.


A Warm Summer Evening in 1863 by Kara Walker, 2008 - click to enlarge

On show: Apr 21 - Jun 4, 2011

Address: Lehmann Maupin, 201 Chrystie Street, New York, NY, tel: 212 255 2923 | Map

Press release & preview

Gallery hours: Tue - Sat: 10 AM - 6 PM

... and in other chromatically challenged but visually ingenious news...

i) The great Uno Moralez has a new bitmap marvel out:


© Uno Moralez, 2011 - click to enlarge

ii) Ruth Marten has updated her website with gorgeous new work...


Oyster by Ruth Marten, ink on found paper, 2008 - click to enlarge

Eikoh Hosoe's "Irrationality" at Kahmann Gallery, Amsterdam

by Suzanne on April 18th, 2011


Ordeal by Roses (Barakei) #32 by Eikoh Hosoe, 1961 - click to enlarge

Amsterdam's Kahmann Gallery is currently showing a beautiful Eikoh Hosoe retrospective entitled Irrationality - presenting sumptuously dark photographes of butoh (Kamaitachi, 1965–1968), mythology, rites and definitely one or two gorgeous portraits of Yukio Mishima (Ba-ra-kei - Ordeal by Roses, 1963, see above)

The show opened in March and will remain on display until May 9.

I can't really click on much on the gallery's website and I assume it's some flash problem, so the infos I posted below come from Photography Now instead.


Man and Woman # 20 by Eikoh Hosoe, 1960 - click to enlarge

On show: Mar 10 - May 9, 2011

Address: Kahmann Gallery, Lindengracht 35, 1015 KB Amsterdam, Netherlands, tel: +31 (0)20 . 5158589, email: info@kahmanngallery.com

Gallery hours: Tue - Sat: 1 - 5 PM, or by appointment

Daniel Clowes Interview, Fumetto, April 2011

by Suzanne on April 15th, 2011


The Wurzeltod® and The Fenner® getting their copy of Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron signed by Daniel Clowes - Click here for result - Photo by Fabienne Anthes, Fumetto 2011 - click to enlarge

Rob and I had the great privilege and honour to conduct a short interview with the great Daniel Clowes during Fumetto 2011 in Luzern, Switzerland.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with his oeuvre (PHILISTINES!), Daniel Clowes is a leading (in my personal opinion the best) comics artist of our time with the rare talent to create equally spellbinding words and imagery. I assume you could therefore call him a "graphic novelist" if you MUST (*shudders*), but I do believe he is so much more than that with a Bunuelesque, Lynchesque phantasmagoric cinematographic imagination and a Chris Wareish claustrophobic understanding of all the grey areas of human nature and the sheer terror of everyday life. He shares the joy to celebrate the imperfect, ugly, grotesque and freakish with Robert Crumb and even artists of the Japanese ero-guro genre.

Reading his books - particularly the entire Eightball - is an act of letting go, of being absorbed by the pulp, of becoming part of his universe. A bit like being locked into a museum with a dusty Paul Delvaux where not one character is looking at the other... searching for eyes, for a point, a perspective, an exit and realising that the only way out is through the canvas.

OKAY, YOU GOT THE DAMN IDEA! YOU WANNA READ HIS BIO?! HERE'S HIS BIO!


Eightball #8 cover by Daniel Clowes, Fumetto 2011 - click to enlarge

Wurzeltod/Misanthropop (W/M): We were amazed to see so much relatively early and unpublished work at your Fumetto retrospective at Frigorex and it occurred to me how much more geometrical, raw and abstract your early work was compared to what you're doing now. Was it a conscious decision to create more of a "well-rounded" style or just the natural evolution your art took?

Daniel Clowes (DC): I always wanted to draw the way I draw now to some degree but I wasn't able to back then. That early, kind of angular style... there's a lot of shortcuts in it that other artists might recognise as things that eliminate the need to do complicated drawing. I wanted the pages to read a certain way, have a certain look. Back in the early days, I simply wasn't able to draw absolutely anything. You could say I was writing stories around my limitations.

Very complicated visual stuff would often have to end up in word balloons. A guy on horseback would have been in text rather than drawn, for instance. As I got years and years more practice and accumulated more drawing skills, I felt more and more comfortable. I still wouldn't want to draw horses but if somebody put a gun to my head and said "Draw that!", I could.

Even though I'm moving in the direction that I have set out, I'm still not one of those artists who can sit down and draw without any struggle, I still have to work very hard to make it look like what I want it to look like. I've learned to make it look more effortless now - whether it is or not. That's the trick.

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W/M: That brings me to a question I asked Peter Blegvad for Fumetto 07: What's the most difficult thing for you to draw? What do you struggle with most or even avoid? Peter said that he finds it almost impossible to draw hands and admired Killoffer's hands greatly. So what is your pièce de résistance?

DC: Animals - they're very hard to draw. I can draw animals in a cartooney, exaggerated way but when I try to draw them naturalistically, they look really goofy. I was never interested in drawing animals in a realistic way as a kid. Same with cars. I can draw the outline okay but when I draw the people inside they either look scrunched up or really spacious.

Another thing that's hard to draw is people eating dinner. You have to draw all the plates, knives and forks in perspective and you have to match where everything is at the table, it's much more difficult than it seems.

I think that the easiest comic to draw would be something like Tarzan where they're all out in the jungle. It's a space thing, you'd just be drawing vines and trees until they fill up the page and you have no actual three-dimensional space left - you would not even need to use perspective at all.

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W/M: Who would you list as your biggest influences - be it in comics or art in general?

DC: In the world of comics it would be Robert Crumb and Harvey Kurtzman. I try to find influence in every aspect of comics, and I tend to find that filmmakers are more of an influence than other visual media. I personally think that painters are not a good influence for comics, the kind of things you're trying to do in a painting aren't useful for what you're trying to do at all in a comic. Unless you look at it holistically, the entirety of a painting as a narrative of a story, and how that would translate into a comic. But the demands of picture making are very different than they are in a comic.

The older I get, I find the more interested I get in limited forms of art, the dialogue of theatre and the cinematography of film. I don't want any one picture to stop you from the entirety of the story. There are artists who try to make every panel this beautifully composed image but my goal is to get people reading the comics to forget that they're looking at pieces of paper and are turning pages but that they're actually inhabiting this world. That they're partly in control and that it's no longer just an experience of assimilating images. I don't want to give any one panel too much weight of opinion.

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Selfportrait by Daniel Clowes, Fumetto 2011 - click to enlarge

W/M: There's probably a fair amount of people who got to know your work via movies like "Ghost World" and as you said before, you're drawn to cinematography. How would you react if you were given a chance to work with a director with a similar penchant for the surreal and bizarre like David Lynch, or, if still alive, Luis Buñuel, on the movie version of "Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron"?

DC: I would obviously let David Lynch do it, but the trouble with most filmmakers like him is that he's got his own vision so it would end up being absolutely his film. He's not the kind of filmmaker who is going to try to accurately bring my inspiration to screen, he would just take it as a beginning and create his own film of that. Which could be great - I would be all for it, but it just wouldn't feel like a collaboration, necessarily.

I almost feel that "Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron" would be better done by someone who is a really straight forward, sober director, without any inflection at all, just to do it really deadpan, without further pointing out the strangeness of it or it would turn into the "wackiest film ever made!" (laughs)

I always think "Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron" will be a mainstream film in 2050 with kids going to see it... culture having fallen to that level by then. (laughs)

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W/M: I read in a decade-old Guardian article that you produced over 20 drafts for "Ghost World" and even made your own props etc. Are you a bit OCD when it comes to movie adaptations of your works?

DC: Yes, I was a little OCD about "Ghost World". I felt like it was my only chance to ever make a film so I wanted to do it perfectly. And I was also very insecure and had no idea how to write a script. Even the college intern types working on the film knew more about making movies than I did in terms of technical aspects. I actually felt like a real fraud being able to bypass all the education you have to go through to make a film. I just walked right into it and had all that control.

You write a script and you think people are going to change things around but it really wasn't like that at all. People take it very seriously. Every word you write has an almost biblical significance, it's almost like a fundamentalist religion where people take every word literally and you can throw in some funny little description to make Terry Zwigoff (EDIT W/M: the director of "Ghost World") giggle and all of a sudden you find there's a technical guy building whatever you wrote as a little joke and spending hours constructing something that could just as easily have been replaced.

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W/M: Did you experience the process of script writing to be somewhat similar to writing graphic novels considering they are both sequential forms in a way?

DC: It's similar because in both you're telling stories through the dialogue. You're writing really small indications of what those visuals would be but that's the director's job... to set the scene. So in many ways it's very similar but there's a time element in the film where in the comic you can be a little more elusive. You don't have to be quite as direct and clear in the way you tell a story because the reader can stop when they're a little confused, they can go back and make sense of a story again.

Whereas in a movie, the minute you are watching a movie and say "Wait a minute! Is that the guy who did that?" you are not watching the movie and the movie is moving past you and you are still thinking about something that took place earlier. You have to keep the audience in the movie as it is going along. And that's a very different demand than creating a comic or a novel.

Also, movies have more of a musical quality. You have to mix things together so that it works rhythmically and feels that the emotions are moving in the right way. It's a complicated aspect that the screenwriter has very little control over.

I was so used to having utter control over what I did in doing comics, so I had to learn to think of the screenplay as the final form, I tried to get it as good as I could and then whatever movie is made from it, I had to step back from that. That's a separate thing.

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Art School Confidential by Daniel Clowes, Fumetto 2011 - click to enlarge

W/M: Let's get back to your graphic novels for a bit. I was wondering whether you could tell us more about your love affair with the imperfect misanthropic suburbia man/woman as main protagonist, why he's different to the classical anti-hero and whether you generally prefer broken glamour to white teeth perfection.

DC: That's very true. I have actually thought about that a lot. I think that's something I have yet to do: To really sit down and try to create a likable character. To build a likable character, let's say in a Hollywood movie, you have to make him so over-the-top... it's so flattering to the audience's sense of themselves, so pandering to their fragile egos that it seems almost like you're making fun of the audience's feelings.

To me this just seems too awful - it has the same qualities as doing advertising for a really unhealthy product. And it's precisely because of that that I like the idea of trying to play with that at some point. Whenever I try to create a likable character though, he just turns into another Wilson - because that's of course who I find likable. All of my friends are much more the angry, seething, out-of-place guys and I can't imagine anything worse than hanging out with a Russell Crowe type character. (laughs)

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W/M: The Guardian has quoted you as saying "I once had this idea to do a comic where a mother tattoos a message on her baby's head so that years later, when he's losing his hair, he finally sees it. It would say something like, 'I never loved you'.". That was obviously before you became a father yourself. Is it something you've considered doing when your son was born?

DC: (laughs) It actually didn't cross my mind. They're their own autonomous beings much more than I ever imagined myself. I thought children were just these creatures that parents control and shape but they really are just themselves from minute one.

He was also born with a lot of hair so I would have had to shave his head first. (laughs)

But someday he's going to read that interview and go "God, my dad was such an asshole!" (laughs)

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W/M: Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure!

DC: Nice talking to you guys!

Daniel Clowes' Fumetto retrospective will be on display until April 17, 2011 in Luzern, so if you happen to be in Switzerland this weekend, don't miss it. More information here.

The Fumetto 2011 Report

by Suzanne on April 14th, 2011


Waiting by the ILLUMAT® for this - Photo by Robert M Fenner, 2011

This year's edition of Fumetto marked the festival's 20th anniversary and it was a worthy celebration of sequential art that I was fortunate enough to attend with The Fenner.

And since all festival director Lynn Kost had to tell me when I congratulted him on the programme was "Yeah, you just came for Dan Clowes!", I thought I should probably at least attempt to prove him wrong by writing this little Fumetto photo love story. Do teenage magazines still print those? I suppose not. I sometimes forget that I could be your collective gramma.


Installation view of Daniel Clowes' retrospective during Fumetto 2011 at Frigorex - Photo by Wurzeltod, 2011

Anyways, so just like every year, there was some outstanding and exceptional work on display: From a post-apocalyptic bombed-out teenage angst shelter to art brut to traditional sequentialism to sausage art. Yes, there were A LOT of sausages from Ampel Magazin, to Beni Bischof (obsessively!), to (more subtly, but STILL!) Brecht Vandenbroucke and Tommi Musturi AND I HAVEN'T EVEN BEEN TO THE SATELLITE EXHIBITIONS! I have been thinking about this trend since my return and to be frank with you, I'm not sure whether it has to do with Lucerne's sick love affair with the "Cervelat" or whether it's more because, after all, every idiot can draw a sausage with a face - including myself. At any rate, I thought it essential to raise this issue.


Artwork by Tommi Musturi for Fumetto 2011 at SBB Tunnel - Photo by Wurzeltod, 2011

But now, and because I'm an opinionated cunt, to my personal Top 5 of Fumetto 2011 in Order of Awesomeness:

1. Daniel Clowes
2. ILLUMAT®
3. Tommi Musturi
4. Jim Shaw
5. Beni Bischof

6./Honourable mention: Atak

- 1-

Dan Clowes needs no further explanation/introduction/votum as people who know me well are probably sick of me going on about his work. All I can say is that an interview that Rob and I conducted with him will follow later and in the meantime, why not get jealous at my signed copy of Like A Velvet Glove Cast In Iron?! And just one last word to "curator" Susan Miller: That press release was DREADFUL! Particularly compared to Lynn's amazing essays. Just sayin', just sayin'.

- 2 -

The ILLUMAT® (top picture) was a very pleasant surprise this year and I'm glad I waited amongst screaming children and smelly dogs for the Weimar illustration students... errr... ROBOTS to draw me this amazing watercolour with the instructions "Godzilla standing on Mount Fuji with a censored erection. During sunset" (Yes, OF COURSE I wanted to go for "Godzilla Bukkake" first, but so much for self-censorship..)

- 3 -


Projected face paint courtesy of Tommi Musturi and Fumetto 2011 - Photo by Robert M Fenner, 2011

Finnish artist Tommi Musturi was probably my favourite discovery of this year's Fumetto. His candy-coloured neo-new-age worlds and zine works were as psychedelically trippy as they were technically impeccable. That's sensory overload and synapses harakiri at its best!

- 4 -

Jim Shaw is one of those artists I always knew about but had so far subconsciously avoided a confrontation with his oeuvre in the slightly psychotic fear I would hate it or its monochrome character wouldn't have enough essence. Well, I'm glad to say I couldn't have been more wrong and more snobbish. His (very directly) William Blake inspired cycle was one of the big revelations of Fumetto 2011. His works have all the gravitas, all the complexity, all the rebellion, all the cleverness that even elusive Blake himself would have loved this homage to him.

I'm afraid I wasn't allowed to take pictures of this show as it was at the modern art museum. Same applies to Yves Netzhammer whose show was very inspiring too. BOOOO KUNSTMUSEUM LUZERN!

A propos Kunstmuseum Luzern: If you visit the Fumetto exhibits, make sure to check out Patricia Bucher's Schlachtenpanorama one room after Jim Shaw's exhibition as well. You won't regret it.

- 5 -


Detail of Beni Bischof's No Longer Pie in the Sky installation at Fumetto 2011, SBB Tunnel - Photo by Wurzeltod, 2011

Beni Bischof's work is art brut at its best. it's unfiltered and uncensored inspiration put into shape. And they're weird, foamy shapes growing like a fluorescent cancer and pulsating in stroboscopic light. It's unsurprising that a lot of his displays immediately entered my dream cosmos. Lynn called Beni "eine Art Verdauungsmaschine" in his press release and I couldn't agree more.

- 6 -

Let's be honest: Atak's exhibition was the most epic one. And that's precisely why he didn't make it into the top 5. I just don't think he still needs the attention. His Toy Box was a work of genius though and put a giant smile on my face and this here was rather sweet too:

So, kids, what can I tell you? I had a great time, I got a chance to talk at length with one of my biggest comics heroes ever, I have a Godzilla with a giant censored erection, I had fun looking at Pipifax and Analph books I couldn't afford and I got to spend a few days in my home town of Lucerne.

The festival was outstandingly curated and locations (some architecturally stunning, some venerable, some industrial) well chosen. It was a particularly brave (and the right!) choice to put the headliner in an old fridge factory outside the city and not in the central modern art museum. Contextualisation always needs to go before commercialism and easy access.

I would particularly like to thank Dan Clowes, Lynn Kost, Daniela Krienbühl and Fabienne Anthes and everyone else from the amazing Fumetto team for making this all possible. You rock, in case you hadn't noticed.

Oh, and here's a little slideshow with some impressions for all of you who were too lazy to read this. Bastards.

Fumetto is still going on, btw, and all the exhibitions will remain on show until April 17, 2011.


Dan Clowes in conversation at Frigorex, Fumetto 2011 - Photo by Wurzeltod, 2011

Eric Beltz's "Trance Farm" at Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York

by Suzanne on April 14th, 2011


Holy Fuck by Eric Beltz, graphite on bristol, 60" x 40", 2010

Welcome back. Fumetto 2011 report and Daniel Clowes interview (YES!) will follow later today.

Eric Beltz (previously featured here) is one of my favourite Facebook artist friends. Status updates like "work, other work, dog haircut" or "cleaning, preparing, waiting" would seem terribly dull uttered by anyone else but have a strange rhythmic beauty and deep prosaic humour that seem to stand in such strong contrast with Eric's dark shamanic, esoteric, parapsychological, alchemical and ritualistic oeuvre.

What I always found particularly inspiring about Eric is that he takes the artist statement a giant step further, making it a lucid and enlightening artwork statement with background information to every single piece he's made without falling into the pretentious exegesis trap like most art texts do. Here's the statement for the above piece, Holy Fuck. These personal texts are a very good and - in these decontextualising and purely associative visual times - RARE example of how a work of art can actually be appreciated more with the creator's context provided.


Holy Fuck (detail - crow, Hellebore in black mist, mouth of Hell, shadow puppets, black glowing trees) by Eric Beltz, graphite on bristol, 60" x 40", 2010 - click to enlarge

If you're Facebook friends with Eric, he lets you even further into his vision by providing minute insights into this working method. Click here for work in progress on the top panel, the lower panel and the details of Holy Fuck.

Eric Beltz is currently showing an impressive array of new works under the title Trance Farm at New York's Morgan Lehman Gallery. Details below.

In other ocularly pleasing news, my new favourite Tumblr blog is Chicks With Steve Buscemeyes. Sweet.

On show: Apr 7 - May 14, 2011

Address: Morgan Lehman Gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, 6th Fl. New York, NY 10011, USA, tel: 212.268.6699, email: art@morganlehmangallery.com | Map

Gallery hours: Tue - Sat: 10 AM - 6 PM, or by appointment

Press release & preview

Artist's website

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