Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for June, 2011

Three Quick Thoughts About the Organisation of Things

by Suzanne on June 29th, 2011

- I -

Courtauld Gallery, London

I was supposed to go see a Toulouse-Lautrec & Jane Avril exhibition (apart from some St Vitus Dance pictures from the Salpêtrière, it wasn't worth it) but ended up staring at the gorgeous ceilings and floors of the Courtauld. Magnificent and esoteric.

- II -

Japanese Divers

The amazingly talented and ever inspiring Amrei Hofstätter of Verticospuppets posted this on my Facebook wall the other day. Watch it - it's like Leni Riefenstahl only wetter and portrays human robotics at its finest.

- III -

Miners' Hymns

A few months ago, Sir Substrom was kind enough to share Jóhann Jóhannson/Bill Morrison's The Cause of Labour is the Hope of the World with me which visualises everything summarised by the term "epic" and I'm glad to say that the commentary-less documentary it serves as a trailer to, The Miners' Hymns, is now available on DVD from the BFI.

Take that, neofolk!

Closing reminder: Claire Partington's "Voyage Extraordinaires" at James Freeman, London

by Suzanne on June 29th, 2011

Nightnight by Claire Partington, earthenware figure, 47 x 36 x 36 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge

With young porcelain art currently being all the hype, it's become somewhat difficult to find your niche as a ceramic artist.

Basically, Shary Boyle owns the witchy. Harma Heikens owns the social taboo and Charles Krafft the political. Barnaby Barford owns white trash, Jessica Harrison seppuku and Kate MacDowell symbiosis.

All at Sea by Claire Partington, earthenware figure with interchangeable heads, 58 x 56 x 17 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge

So what about Claire Partington? Well, it seems her niche is "interchangeable-heads-and -extremely-wide-panniers".

Well, I, for one, am relieved I have finally classified all of that.

If you're in London, you can see Partington's work from the Voyage Extraordinaires series at James Freeman Gallery until tomorrow evening - she's exhibiting alongside Sam Branton.

I suggest you check it out if you're near Angel.

Details below.

All at Sea by Claire Partington, earthenware figure with interchangeable heads, 58 x 56 x 17 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge

On show: Jun 2 - 30, 2011

Address: James Freeman Gallery, 354 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0PD, United Kingdom, tel: +44(0)20 7226 3300, email: info@jamesfreemangallery.com | Map

Gallery hours: Tue - Sat: 11 AM - 6.30 PM

Exhibited works | Press release

Artist's website

Closing reminder: Egon Schiele's "Women" at Richard Nagy, London

by Suzanne on June 29th, 2011

By Egon Schiele, photograph by Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

Just a very brief heads-up for London Schiele lovers:

The fantastic Women show at Richard Nagy which for the first time reunites some of the most amazing oeuvres by Schiele that are normally hidden away in private collections is only on for another day.

Yes, as always, I have ranted about the exhibition being very poorly lit, very poorly framed, hung and documented, but in the end, it's about the works, isn't it, and just like Bellmer's ingenious drawings, Schieles need to be seen face-to-face to be understood as his line work follows its own inherent logic, fragility, narrative, psychopathology and, maybe together with Alberto Giacometti's portraits, his drawings are some of the most sculptural works ever created in two dimensions.

Don't miss this. Details below. Oh, and here's a slideshow with some pictures I took when I visited the show last Friday:

(Sincere apologies for the blurred pictures, the lighting of the show as very poor but at least you get to see a few glimpses of the paper structures and textures as well.)

On show: May 19 - Jun 30, 2011

Address: Richard Nagy, 22 Old Bond Street, 2nd Floor, London, W1S 4PY, United Kingdom, tel: +44 207 262 6400, email: info@richardnagy.com

Gallery hours: Tue - Sat: 12 - 5 PM

Images | Press release

BP Portrait Award 2011 - The Worst Year Yet?

by Suzanne on June 28th, 2011

Holly by Louis Smith with help from Carmel Said (pictured without gilt frame), oil on canvas, 3.64 x 2.43 meters - click to enlarge

I wish I could say it nicely, but I really can't - I would have to lie. This year's BP Portrait Award was pretty shit.

I'm not sure whether it had to do with the jury being useless (probably, judging by the first prize winner. WTF?!), art supplies getting more expensive and everyone using shit paints with motives ending up looking very old and dusty or whether artists were just too busy with other commissions that actually made cash money and sent in that canvas they wanted to give grandma for her birthday.

Who knows? All I know is that it was the worst BP Award show I've been to in 5 years. And it wasn't just uninspired and rushed, the majority of the works on display also didn't impress in a technical manner when at least the photorealistic faction of painters always excelled in previous years. This year, even photorealism looked rather cheap and projected.

I spent a long time thinking whether it was me being in a bad mood or whether it was really the selection of works and after talking to many other visitors, I had to come to the cruel conclusion that it was indeed the works and I therefore blame the jury for this dreadful show, as surely, they must have gotten hundreds of submissions more exciting than what was displayed. That, or portrait painting is dead. (It's not, silly!)

There were a handful of works that managed to catch my attention for longer than 2 seconds, amongst them Nathan Ford's Abi (his small-scale works are actually a very nice exception every year) and Richard Brazier's piece David Carter At Home, which had both class and heart. It was also great to see Wen Wu's work again who was present with the gorgeous Venus As A Boy. Mary-Jane Ansell was sorely missed this year as her work would have set a welcome counterpoint to all the greasy hair and flaky skin (yeah, I get the "realism" and "documentary character" of it all, thankyouverymuch, but I can see that every morning when I look in the mirror and my T-Zone shines back at me.)

Amongst those mentioned above, there were two that stuck with me. One of them was David Eichenberg's Jade (below). He's clearly come a very long way since his last few submissions.

Jade (The Rehearsal) by David Eichenberg, oil on board, 48 cm (diameter) - click to enlarge

The other one, Holly by Louis Smith (top), won the 2nd jury prize - which I believe had way more to do with the actual size of the piece (3.64 x 2.43 meters), the enormous gilt frame and epic inscription H O L L Y, the Mark Rydenification of a mythological scene re-enacted in a superflat studio surrounding and the grotesquely exaggerated neo-romanticism of the subject. Even a person as kitschproof as I felt slightly sick inside when having to admit that this was indeed - and by far - the best piece.

Weird how the exhibition text and the artist kept underlining how it was all inspired by Prometheus when Andromeda would have been a logically and mythologically closer option. NEVERMIND.

Jonathan Jones (who was in the jury this year) goes a step further and states in the Guardian:

"The jury argued frenetically over this one painting but I wonder why my opponents failed to point out that it is the kind of painting Adolf Hitler might have loved. A nude, an eagle, a mountain vista – all that would have gone down great at Berchtesgaden."

I couldn't have found better words and you'd have to agree with him if you stood right there, dwarfed, in front of it.

For those interested in technique, the in-progress story of the piece can be witnessed here.

The exhibition continues until mid-September. Further details below.

On show: Jun 16 - Sep 18, 2011

Address: National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2H 0HE, United Kingdom, tel: 44 (0) 20 7306 0055 | Map

Gallery hours: Sat - Wed: 10 AM - 6 PM, Thu - Fri: 10 AM - 9 PM

Preview | Winners

Eikoh Hosoe (yes, AGAIN!) at Clair, Munich

by Suzanne on June 22nd, 2011

Yukio Mishima as Saint Sebastian by Eikoh Hosoe - click to enlarge

Yes, I know I abuse every Eikoh Hosoe exhibition announcement to indulge in Mishima erotica when the rest of his oeuvre is absolutely breathtaking, but deep deep down, you all want to see Mishima's perfectly toned oily near-naked body (... and ANYWAYS, I even threw in a Kazuo Ohno to be fair!)

Kazuo Ohno by Eikoh Hosoe - click to enlarge

People who are close to me know of my obsession with St Sebastians in art, and I actually have to admit that I now completely forgot what I wanted to write about here but OH BOY!

Exhibition details are below and let's here it from the man himself:

"The world to which I was abducted under the spell of [Hosoe’s] lens was abnormal, warped, sarcastic, grotesque, savage, and promiscuous…It was, in a sense, the reverse of the world we live in, where our worship of social appearances and our concern for public morality and hygiene create foul filthy sewers winding beneath the surface. Unlike ours, the world to which I was escorted was a weird, repellent city—naked, comic, wretched, cruel, and overdecorative—yet in its underground channels there flowed, inexhaustibly, a pellucid stream of unsullied feeling."

Mishima's preface to Eikoh Hosoe's Ordeal by Roses

From Ordeal by Roses by Eikoh Hosoe, gelatin silver print, 1963/1976 - click to enlarge

On show: Jun 7 - Jul 16, 2011

Address: Clair, Franz-Joseph-Str. 10, D-80801 München, Germany, tel: +49.(0)89.386674-42/46, email: info@clair.me | Map

Gallery hours: Wed - Sat: 3 - 7 PM, and by appointment

Preview | Bio

New articles, publications, blogs worth checkin'

by Suzanne on June 22nd, 2011

I didn't really want to turn each of the following into separate posts, so please do apologise the rather random character of what's to come.


Ingestion / Planet in a Bottle (by Christopher Turner for Cabinet Magazine)

A fantastic article about the bionauts, Buckminster Fuller, and why humans just can't and won't coexist with nature.

Bones with Bling (by Paul Koudounaris for ForteanTimes)

Nomen est omen. A short but sweet article about Europe's old bejewelled skeletons.


Fantastic Animals (by Aleksandra Waliszewska & Matthew Wascovich for My Dance The Skull)

A new publication from the amazing Aleksandra Waliszewska - a few people have told me that the above is most certainly a portrait of yours truly humpin'... SOMETHING... but I guess we'll never know.

Edition of 100 copies, 20 pages, 14 x 21 cm at only £5! Get one while they last.


Uno Moralez Mention No. 238917258

Sickeningly talented Uno Moralez posts pictures of an abandoned project.

Steven Cook's Alternity

The year is 2011 and it looks like Steven Cook has taken up alternifying reality again. Oh boy! Seen above is The Traveller Returns.


Incredible Custom Akira pinball machine

Based on a boring Gottlieb. Found by Otomblr - dedicated to the art of Katsuhiro Otomo.

Tokyo Scum Brigade Tumblr

TSB now have a Tumblr. Noice.

3 Videos for Your Brains, Ears and Humour Glands

by Suzanne on June 22nd, 2011

Just a couple of interesting visual and aural gems I stumbled upon in the past week that I wanted to share with you.

First up is the epic 3-part documentary All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace by Adam Curtis.

Shown here is the first episode entitled Love & Power from which you will be guided onto the next two.

It has already gained some notoriety due to its strange mix of absolute brilliance followed by sometimes rather brutal simplifications but all I can say is that you should watch all three parts and you will undoubtedly come out having learned something. The topic is extremely broad and being brave enough to take on a project like this is an achievement in itself and a rarity in today's TV landscape (actually, I don't even own a TV - I'm just being patronising, heh!)

The next one is a short but sweet aural pleasure by the great John Maus that came to me via Substrom. The footage is from Lars Von Trier's Element of Crime.

John Maus - Cop Killer from George Tanasie on Vimeo.

And finally, something that's funny cause it's true by Charlotte Young:

That's that. Over and out.

Maurizio Anzeri at BALTIC, Gateshead

by Suzanne on June 21st, 2011

Nadia by Maurizio Anzeri, 2010, image courtesy of BALTIC - click to enlarge

From June 25 onwards, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts in Gateshead will be presenting recent works by London-based Italian artist Maurizio Anzeri whose intricate embroidery and needlework has been gaining great popularity and high-profile collectors since his 2009 solo show at London’s Riflemaker.

Despite male artists like Seb Patane, John Stezaker or Angelo Filomeno creating similar darkly surreal, psychologically dense, and sweetly morbid collage works with ballpoint pens respectively photography and silk, Anzeri is still a pioneer in a genre strongly dominated by women like Julie Cockburn, Hinke Schreuders, Flore Gardner and Erin Endicott, to name a few.

Anzeri's clear focus on a geometric narrative, his obsessive attention to detail and his love affair with outsider art and ready-mades have made it possible for him to achieve authenticity, to create an aura by reworking the epitome of Walter Benjamin’s “technical reproduction” - the photograph.

Family Day by Maurizio Anzeri, 2009, image courtesy of BALTIC - click to enlarge

Using found photographs of unknown origins as his canvas, Anzeri stitches new anatomical and physiognomical realities onto the faces of our collective subconscious past. The outcome is often unnerving and psychedelic, sometimes fetishistic and occult, and always very tactile and playful.

Anzeri says that:

“There are no rules other than I always leave one or both eyes open. Nothing is bigger in my head than a face, it’s the best landscape we can look at.”

On Wednesday evening, June 29, the BALTIC invites the public to a free conversation where Anzeri will be discussing his work with Alessandro Vincentelli, BALTIC’s curator of Exhibitions and Research.

Details below.

Angelo by Maurizio Anzeri, 2010, image courtesy of BALTIC - click to enlarge

On show: Jun 25 - Oct 2, 2011

Address: BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 3BA, UK, tel: +44 (0)191 478 1810

Gallery hours: Daily 10 AM - 6 PM, except Tue: 10.30 AM - 6 PM

Press release

In memoriam Sibylle Ruppert, 1942 - 2011

by Suzanne on June 13th, 2011

La Décadence by Sibylle Ruppert, courtesy of HR Giger Museum - click to enlarge

As if it hasn't been a particularly sad month for the arts & humanities losing so many great thinkers and creators already, with Leonora Carrington, Jack Kevorkian and Jeffrey Catherine Jones leaving us, I just read about the passing of Sibylle Ruppert over on John Coulthart's Feuilleton and MonsterBrains.

I first came across Sibylle's work at HR Giger's castle/museum in Gruyères, Switzerland, and I was absolutely astonished by how her oeuvre brought together both a Bellmeresque laciness, a glossy surreal fetishism and the most steroid-induced masculinity I had ever seen outside of He-Man at that point. I was confused that I had never heard of her before because her absolutely otherworldly talent was so stricking, it just made no sense it hadn't been further discovered and exploited yet.

Flucht by Sibylle Ruppert, 1971, courtesy of Marco Witzig - click to enlarge

But maybe that's precisely what made her such an outstanding (artist's) artist - that she worked in relative obscurity and with obscurity - yet leading such a colourful and accomplished life as a ballerina, touring the world as a chorus girl, teaching art in mental institutions and drug rehabilitation centres - all the while being absolutely possessed by the daemon of art (... and the Marquis de Sade).

From her fascinating biography on HR's website:

"After the war they were taken in by an aristocratic family [who] owned a castle, and Sibylle spent her early childhood years as if in a dream world. Her father was a graphic designer and young Sibylle spent hours upon hours near his desk watching as he drew. One day she seized his hand and promised him that she would paint nice colourful pictures just like him. Her first drawing surprised everyone, it was a brutal illustration of a fist striking the middle of a face – she was 6 years old."

I am so very grateful I got to see your work face to face, Sibylle. Thank you for leaving your visions, your nightmares, your subconscious behind for us to inspect. You will be sorely missed.

You can find a gallery of her work here as well as on Feuilleton and MonsterBrains.

Kamm by Sibylle Ruppert, 1977, courtesy of Marco Witzig - click to enlarge

Bo.Lee's "Shadowside" at Blackall, London

by Suzanne on June 12th, 2011

UPDATE JUNE 29, 2011: Here are a few images of the Shadowside show taken from my Flickr:

Second Skin by Ione Rucquoi, 2010 - click to enlarge

Shadowside is Bath-based Bo.Lee Gallery's effort to introduce the London crowd to their roster of artists. They hired the perfectly located Blackall Studios for their 4-day-only group exhibition. Yep, Blackall is THAT expensive to hire, trust me, I know...

Heart to Heart by Ione Rucquoi, 2006 - click to enlarge

Dark Introductions to the Disowned Self - as the subtitle suggests, might be a statement somewhat difficult to fulfill with most of the art on show not really being that dark or that Jungian for that matter, but I can see it definitely working for the likes of Ione Rucquoi's (featured above) and Beth Carter's work.

Badgered by Kate MacDowell, hand built porcelain, cone 6 glaze, 2010 - click to enlarge

And anyway, the fact that Kate MacDowell's works will be on show should be reason enough to attend. So there.

Other exhibiting artists include: Patrick Haines, Neil Moore, Mercedes Helnwein, Chris Anthony

Details below.

Crave by Kate MacDowell, hand built porcelain, cone 6 glaze, 2006 - click to enlarge

P.S.: Does anyone else have to think of Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison here? Nope. Oh well, I guess it's just me then.

Opening reception: Jun 14, 2011, 6 - 9 PM, RSVP

On show: Jun 14 - 18, 2011

Address: Blackall Studios, 73 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4QS, UK | Map

Gallery hours: 11 AM - 6 PM

Press release | Preview