Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for July, 2011

GIFification of Junji Ito's "Uzumaki"

by Suzanne on July 30th, 2011

Animated version of Uzumaki by Junji Ito

Same Hat recently posted a couple of simplistic yet captivating GIFified versions of the great Uzumaki - what a fantastic way to start the weekend!

Animated version of Uzumaki by Junji Ito

If you've never read Uzumaki you can find it in its scanlated entirety here.

Animated version of Uzumaki by Junji Ito

I respect Junji Ito not only highly for his vast contribution to the horror manga industry - which earned him a Kazuo Umezu Prize - but also for his years of dedication to and obsession with the high art of dentistry because, let's face it, teeth are a WAY creepier thing than anything he's ever drawn.

Animated version of Uzumaki by Junji Ito

So click here for more Uzumaki GIF fun and here for random GIF fun.

The Work of Santiago Caruso

by Suzanne on July 28th, 2011

La Condesa Sangrienta, book illustration, by Santiago Caruso, 2009 - click to enlarge

Focussing mainly on exhibiting artists, I tend to not really profile as many young artists as I'd like to and it's often illustrators that don't get nearly as much exposure here as they do over on the WurzelForum.

Anyway, whenever someone whose oeuvre I've been admiring for a good while takes the time to write a lovely little email, I will obviously make an exception to the normal posting schedule and devote a little feature to said individual.

So yesterday, the great Buenos Aires born and based Santiago Caruso invited me to check out his work and even though I was very familiar with it already - thanks to the fabulous Jon Beinart - he inspired me to explore his website further and dive into his incredibly vast archive of works.

For someone who's still in his 20s, the technical versatility, the effortless switching between genres, the treatment of historical and fictional subjects alike is deeply impressive and awe-inspiring.

Invocation by Santiago Caruso - click to enlarge

You could commission Santiago to create you anything between a black metal album cover and the design for a trashy romance novel. He's done it all.

Browsing through his galleries, you'll find yourself reminded of artists as diverse as Joel-Peter Witkin, Giorgio de Chirico, Odd Nerdrum, Jan Saudek, Francisco Goya, H R Giger and Hieronymus Bosch, to mention only a few.

In a dizzying whirlwind of surrealist theatrical compositions, you'll stumble over visual themes such as Lustmord, danses macabres, anatomical écorchés, eldritch abominations and witches' sabbaths.

Personally, I always find myself immediately drawn to his trichromatic works in black/white/red; I think that's where his genius and the way his mind and hand have absorbed history and art history come through the strongest.

You can find Santiago's website here, his blog here and he's selling original works online here.

Yira, Yira by Santiago Caruso - click to enlarge

In other news, thank fuck for poeTV and Shelley Duvall:

Constructivist Russian Movie Posters at Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York

by Suzanne on July 28th, 2011

The Death Loop movie poster by Georgii & Vladimir Stenberg, 1928 - click to enlarge

A brief announcement for a fantastic - but sadly not that well publicised - exhibition at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York that's going to close this Friday.

The title Revolutionary Film Posters - Aesthetic Experiments of Russian Constructivism, 1920-33 pretty much gives away its purpose and content so there really isn't that much to add other than that you'll get to see a shitload of works by the amazing Georgii & Vladimir Stenberg, Alexander Rodchenko and many other Russian iconoclasts.

In addition, graphic interpretations of Sergei Eisenstein’s groundbreaking movies “Battleship Potemkin” (1925) and “October” (1927/28) are shown alongside the restored footage of the original films.

Arsenal movie poster by Georgii & Vladimir Stenberg, 1929 - click to enlarge

The press release states:

"Culled from the world’s largest collection of Russian Film Posters from the great era of Constructivism, the 95 examples of the medium on view represent a unique opportunity to survey how one of the most significant movements in the early 20th Century avant-garde informed a radical graphic style that has had a dramatic influence on the development of fine art and design over many subsequent generations. [...]

Outrageous color schemes, a frenetic depiction of line, vertiginous compositions, abstracted iconography, stark silhouetting and dynamic geometric designs combined with highly innovative use of collage and photomontage give these images an undeniable gravity and outré wonder that will appeal to aficionados of film and the Russian avant-garde, captivate those who are less familiar with this history, and inform contemporary designers and artists alike."

Venue details below. Thanks, Adrian Curry!

Countess Shirvanskaya's Crime movie poster by Georgii & Vladimir Stenberg, 1926 - click to enlarge

On show: May 6 - Jul 29, 2011

Address: Tony Shafrazi Gallery, 544 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001, USA, tel: 212-274-9300, email: info@tonyshafrazigallery.com

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

Press release | Works on display | Impressions

Book suggestion: Stenberg Brothers: Constructing a Revolution in Soviet Design

WurzelForum discussion

Desiree Dolron at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

by Suzanne on July 25th, 2011

Tai Pusam from the Exaltation series by Desiree Dolron, 1991-1999 - click to enlarge

Combining the mournful claustrophobia of her Xteriors series (bottom image), the romantic dilapidation of Te dí todos mis sueños, the frozen humanity of Gaze and the beautified insanity of Exaltation (top image), Desiree Dolron has truly created a photographic oeuvre that exists outside genre restrictions.

A selection of her work is currently on show at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. Details below.

Oh, and btw, it's probably not the brightest idea to steal her concepts, Richard Wathen. I have a sharp eye.

Xteriors VIII from the Xteriors series by Desiree Dolron, 2001-2008 - click to enlarge

On show: Jun 25 - Nov 6, 2011

Address: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Museumpark 18-20, 3015 CX Rotterdam, The Netherlands, tel: +31 (0)10 44.19.400, email: info@boijmans.nl | Map & Directions

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11 AM - 5 PM

Admission: € 10

Press release

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Gabriel von Max at Frye Art Museum, Seattle

by Suzanne on July 25th, 2011

By Gabriel von Max - click to enlarge

Reader and fantastic artist Benjamin A. Vierling (I recently posted about his current exhibition at Roq la Rue) informed me the other day that one of my favourite evolutionary theorists, monkey painters and homines universales, the emotive Gabriel Cornelius Ritter von Max, currently has a retrospective - the first von Max solo show in the US of A ever - entitled Be-tailed Cousins and Phantasms of the Soul devoted to his work at Seattle's Frye Museum.

The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus - whose own von Max retrospective I blogged about here - but the Frye show seems to be focussing more on the religious and ecstatic works.

Being learned in parapsychological subjects such as somnambulism, hypnotism and spiritism, von Max's work always had a dual focus on both the (eroticised) spiritual mysticism and the (satirised) natural sciences.

I was also delighted to see that there seems to be a few of his lesser known graphic works for Goethe's Faust on display.

From the Frye's press release:

"The artist’s first solo exhibition in America includes more than 120 works, including 36 paintings from public and private collections in Europe and America as well as original drawings, woodcuts on the theme of Faust, illustrated letters, rare photographs, and antiquarian publications illustrated by Max."

The show runs until the end of October. Details below.

The Seeress of Prevorst (Frederica Hauffe) by Gabriel von Max, oil on canvas, 1892, courtesy National Gallery in Prague - click to enlarge

On show: Jul 9 - Oct 30, 2011

Address: Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98104, USA, tel: (206) 622-9250, email: info@fryemuseum.org | Map

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11 AM - 5 PM

Admission: FREE

Press release

Catalogue: A 100-page, fully illustrated exhibition catalogue published by the Frye Art Museum and distributed by the University of Washington Press will be available in the Frye Store for $30.

WurzelForum discussion

Ernest Biéler at Kunstmuseum Bern

by Suzanne on July 24th, 2011

Les Feuilles mortes (detail) by Ernest Biéler, oil on canvas, 149.7 x 481.5 cm, 1899, courtesy Kunstmuseum Bern - click to enlarge

A beautiful and very comprehensive retrospective at Kunstmuseum Bern is currently honouring one of the great - and often forgotten - Swiss symbolist and Art Nouveau painters: The enigmatic and empathetic Ernest Biéler.

In the very centre of Dreamt Reality (Geträumte Wirklichkeit / Réalité rêvée) stand the two gorgeously esoteric Biéler works that the Kunstmuseum Bern owns (the rest of the works coming mostly from private collectors): Les Feuilles mortes (1899, top and below) and Les Sources (1900, middle and bottom).

Les Feuilles mortes by Ernest Biéler, oil on canvas, 149.7 x 481.5 cm, 1899, courtesy Kunstmuseum Bern - click to enlarge (FUCKING DO IT!)

Born in 1863 - and therefore a contemporary of famed Swiss Nabis artist Félix Vallotton - Biéler grew up in Lausanne and later studied art in Paris. Shortly before the turn of the century, he returned to Switzerland, impoverished but vastly experienced, first working from his studio in Geneva, then helping the great Ferdinand Hodler with his frescos for the Landesausstellung and finally - getting ever more artistic inspiration from the stunning Savièse region - he decided to settle in the Valais region.

Les Sources (detail) by Ernest Biéler, oil on canvas, 172 x 486 cm, 1900, courtesy Kunstmuseum Bern - click to enlarge

He wasn't the only artist enamored with the Savièse and together with Raphaël Ritz and Edouard Vallet founded the Ecole of Savièse.

Dreamt Reality opened earlier this month and will remain on show until mid-November. Details below.

Les Sources by Ernest Biéler, oil on canvas, 172 x 486 cm, 1900, courtesy Kunstmuseum Bern - click to enlarge (FUCKING DO IT!)

On show: Jul 8 - Nov 13, 2011

Address: Kunstmuseum Bern, Hodlerstrasse 8-12, 3000 Bern 7, Switzerland , tel: +41 31 328 09 44, email: info@kunstmuseumbern.ch | Map

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 10 AM - 5 PM, Tue: 10 AM - 9 PM

Admission: CHF 18

Press release | Exhibition guide

Catalogue: Ernest Biéler. Geträumte Wirklichkeit / Réalité rêvée. Hrsg. Kunstmuseum Bern / Matthias Frehner, Ethel Mathier & Fondation Pierre Gianadda (in German / French)

WurzelForum discussion

Ruth Marten at Hosfelt Gallery, NYC

by Suzanne on July 22nd, 2011

Hirsute by Ruth Marten, ink on found print, 9"x 5 7/8", 2007 - click to enlarge

There are artists who rework old illustrations because a) they simply cannot be bothered to start from scratch or b) they have horror vacui when sitting in front of an empty glaring sheet and then, well then there is Ruth Marten.

Ruth Marten's works are way more than mere ready-mades or upcycled memorabilia - as an actual expert in putting a most haunting aura in found material she literally intervenes in the historic.

What makes her stand out is beyond doubt her technical excellence and her astonishing versatility - her Hair series will illustrate to you what I'm talking about. Is this skill set that puts her work right up there with the Chapman Brothers' 2003 reworks of Goya's Los Desastres de la Guerra etchings in regards to twisted sense of humour, with Edward Gorey in regards to her whimsical melancholia and Heinrich Hoffmann in regards to educational shock.

Ruth is currently presenting slightly newer works than I'm showing here at the Hosfelt Gallery in a summer group show alongside Rachell Sumpter, Christopher Adams and Jeremy Stenger.

Please note that the exhibition has now been extended to August 5.

Zoophilia by Ruth Marten, ink on found print, 10 1/2" x 8", 2007 - click to enlarge

On show: Jun 23 - Aug 5, 2011

Address: Hosfelt Gallery, 531 W 36th Street, New York, NY 10018, USA, tel: 212-563-5454, email: infony@hosfeltgallery.com | Map

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 10 AM - 6 PM

Press release

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Jake or Dinos Chapman at both White Cube galleries, London

by Suzanne on July 20th, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

''We'll make it again. It's only art.''

On show: Jul 15 - Sep 17, 2011

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

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

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

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

Artists' website

WurzelForum discussion

¹ ... and here's what they look like:

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

Tran Nguyen at Thinkspace Art Gallery, Culver City

by Suzanne on July 15th, 2011

The Moon Is A Foul Intention by Tran Nguyen, graphite and acrylic on paper, 28 x 36 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge

I've been umming and ahhing about whether I should announce this exhibition or not because I've always found it somewhat difficult to place Tran Nguyen.

I guess she's in the process of finding her own style, but when I look at her pencilled works and her ornamental gold-leafing I can never help being reminded of Joao Ruas' oeuvre and when I analyse the movements of figure and fabrics I get a strange Eric Fortune sensation behind my retina.

Yet - and the reason why I've decided to post these pieces in the end - I do like the detailing in these two drawings, the sublime layering and delicate draping in the headscarves (I wish this precision and attention had continued down to the seams of the dresses that seem so very oddly stuck to the bodies like magnetic neoprene bathing suits). The luminosity of eyes, lips and fingernails is also very enticing and there's undoubtedly some lovely chiaroscuro going on around eyes and collarbones.

So let's just conclude that I'm having another unforgiving day and even though the show feels more like a giant drawing exercise to me than a finished exhibition, I think it's still worth checking it out in the flesh and prove me wrong.

Alongside Tran's The Synapse Between Here and There show, David Bray will show new works in Thinkspace's Project Room. Both shows open tomorrow evening and will run until early August.

Details below.

Confronted With An Over-exposed Marquee by Tran Nguyen, graphite and acrylic on paper, 28 x 36 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Saturday, July 16, 5 - 8 PM, Tran will be in attendance

On show: Jul 16 - Aug 6, 2011

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

Opening hours: Wed - Fri: 1 - 6 PM, Sat: 1 - 8 PM

Preview | Sneak peek

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

6 Things To Keep You Company In Desperate Times

by Suzanne on July 13th, 2011

As I'm trying my best to deal with an ever mounting misanthropy and overall sickness provoked by an insane amount of existential bullshit thrown at me while being repeatedly kicked in the guts and brains by this thing called "life", I decided to distract myself for a while and check out what some of my favourite artists have been up to. Here are a few random recent works by people I admire highly... and who help me keep going:

- I -

Laurie Lipton: Lace & cobwebs

Lachrymose Lace by Laurie Lipton, charcoal and pencil on paper, 57 x 40.2 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge

Laurie's most recent piece, Lachrymose Lace, has been opening a portal in my head. The gap in the row of pearls, the little threads sticking out of the lace, the irregularity at the bottom of the veil echoing the cobwebs, the waxy tear are all obvious signs of her artistic genius bordering on visionary madness.

- II -

Joao Ruas: Metal & alchemy

Etching Progress by Joao Ruas, 2011 - click to enlarge

Joao recently shared this progress picture of an etching he's working on with his readers and it perfectly illustrates his love affair with the meandering line, his sincere craftsmanship and his uncanny range of talents.

- III -

Xhxix: Casts & buttons

By Xhxix, 2011 - click to enlarge

Xhxix/非/hi likes to create a bit of mystery around himself and seems to really only have a Tumblr - which I almost certainly discovered via Nana.

Above is his newest digital piece and I think he is one of the very few artists who - with his dark yet playful eroticism - has actually turned me slightly more mellow towards the hipster male.

- IV -

Richard Stipl: Thorns & daggers

By Richard Stipl, 2011 - click to enlarge

Via Fuzzy Ladies (and therefore quintessentially via DR Tenge) come these new works by the glorious Richard Stipl.

... and finally, two disturbing visual feasts via Substrom and Sang Bleu

- V -

"Ehm... I guess it's some kind of graphic."

- VI -

Yes, I know Possession is overused and tumblrified to the extreme, but there's something hypnotic about this piece here: