Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for September, 2011

Laurie Lipton's "The Carnival Of Death" at Last Rites, New York

by Suzanne on September 30th, 2011

Sisters by Laurie Lipton, charcoal & pencil on paper - click to enlarge

Laurie Lipton. Featured here many times before and someone who really doesn't need an introduction anymore. I guess it's no coincidence that her upcoming solo show The Carnival Of Death at Last Rites opens on the day my granddad would have turned 101. But he's been dead for ages and undoubtedly a very handsome skeleton by now.

Knowing Laurie, I bet she also found it terribly funny to have the opening mark Children's Day in Singapore, World Vegetarian Day, the Independence Day of Tuvalu from the UK, International Day of Older Persons (cause Laurie's like TOTALLY ANCIENT - she was the first person ever to have a fine arts degree in drawing!) and of course, being a filthy commie, the National Day of the People's Republic of China. (Yo, thanks, Wiki!)

Put all of the above information together, add mind-boggling graphite details, cobwebbed Victoriana, anatomy lessons filled with the darkest of humour, lace and crochet that tells stories of homicide sweet homicide, ruffs made of spiderwebs and bone dust, tiaras and chandeliers made of spines, leg and pelvic bones like you're in fucking Sedlec, iconographic attributes so very batcave they'd make Dürer's Melencolia I hand over her goff laurels in despair.

Laurie Lipton really is dizzyingly joyful macabre decadence at its best: The dead bury the living.

Or as Laurie puts it:

"Skulls always look like they're laughing. Maybe the joke is on us?”

The Carnival Of Death opens this Saturday, October 1, and Laurie will be giving a talk and book signing with poisoned tea and anthrax cakes the day after.

Bring your children - it doesn't matter if they're half rotten. The deader the merrier.

Bone China by Laurie Lipton, charcoal & pencil on paper - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Oct 1, 2011, 7 - 11 PM

On show: Oct 1 - 23, 2011

Address: Last Rites Gallery, 511 W 33rd Street, NYC, USA, tel: 212.529.0666, email: info@lastritesgallery.com | Map

Hours: Tue - Sat: 2 - 9 PM, Sun: 2 - 6 PM

Preview | Press release | Talk & book signing

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Hugo Arcier's "Woman With A Cube"

by Suzanne on September 29th, 2011

Degeneration - woman with a cube from Hugo Arcier on Vimeo.

Every now and again, you stumble upon a visual or musical description that perfectly sums up some very bad drug-induced trip you had in your past.

This post-cubist piece here by French digital artist Hugo Arcier would probably be K and should be accompanied by Nurse With Wound's Ketamineaphonia from their 2008 album Huffin' Rag Blues for an even more papery groovy feel.

The artist himself says about this piece:

"All my 3D objects are afflicted with a degenerative disease. Gripped by terror, they understand what fate awaits them. Gradually they disintegrate, face after face they lose their appearance, with a fatal outcome. In this way the 3D objects die.”

Don't do drugs, kids, do art.

And drugs. If you really cannot help it.

Oh Sukkuhn's "The Text Book (Chulsoo and Younghee)" at Base Gallery, Tokyo

by Suzanne on September 27th, 2011

From The Text Book (Chulsoo and Younghee) by Oh Sukkuhn - click to enlarge

In his first solo show in Tokyo, South Korea-born, Nottingham-educated artist Oh Sukkuhn (Suk Kuhn Oh) is currently presenting his Text Book series at Base Gallery.

The Text Book looks all kawaii but reveals way darker, more historically complex and socially traumatic layers upon further inspection - lessons from Korea's turbulent past and possibly even memories of Oh Sukkuhn's own time as a photographer in the South Korean army.

The series is inspired by a boy named “Chulsoo” and a girl named “Younghee” - two Korean textbook characters from the Park Chung-hee era that have survived through the mid-90s.

From the gallery's (originally Japanese) press release:

"By making “Chulsoo” and “Younghee” visible once again in his works, Oh Sukkuhn might be questioning us what the individual memory actually is or whether the memory not only stays in each of us but also prevail beyond in the nation perhaps. Works of insightful question and skepsis from the viewpoint of present-day Korean artist give us the moment to think over the derivation of our memories."

.. and in the words of the artist himself:

"I wanted to collect our memories to create a new textbook that tells about our pain, [which stems] from identity confusion, while being depicted against dismal backgrounds. [I also wanted to explore the] individual’s sacrifice; needed for rapid economic growth in Korea. At that time it was considered that social values were more important than an individual’s existence. [...]

We may not exactly decipher their actions or feelings, but we can remember parallel moments in our own lives of hurt, embarrassment, shame, or other mortifications."

Details below.

From The Text Book (Chulsoo and Younghee) by Oh Sukkuhn - click to enlarge

On show: Sep 21 - Oct 22, 2011

Address: Base Gallery, Matrix Japan S.A., 〒103-0025, Koura Daiichi Bldg. 1F 1-1-6 Nihombashi Kayabacho Chuo-ku Tokyo, Japan, tel: +81(0)3-5623-6655, email: info@basegallery.com | Map

Hours: Mon - Sat: 11 AM - 7 PM

Press release

WurzelForum discussion

Kazuhiko Nakamura's "Atoma" - An Homage To Astro Boy

by Suzanne on September 23rd, 2011

Atoma by Kazuhiko Nakamura, 2011 - click to enlarge

And while we're doing breathtaking one-image features, here's Kazuhiko Nakamura's brand new piece Atoma - a spectacular homage to Osamu Tezuka's iconic Tetsuwan Atomu - yes, you could tell by looking at Atoma's hair... err... spirals, couldn't you?

As the artist himself puts it, it's a "biomechanical Astro Boy" so if I read any mentions of "steampunk" in the discussion thread, your comment will be glue gunned and your IP stuck to a cog and sold on Etsy. Cause that's what happens with steampunk. Yes.

If you happen to be Facebook friends with Kazuhiko, you can see in-progress pictures of Atoma here.

James Jean's OVM Strata Animation

by Suzanne on September 23rd, 2011

OVM Strata by James Jean, graphite and digital - click for full version

Because this study for O\\\////M is so very very pretty, because I haven't featured any James Jean art here in a while and because this is my damn blog, let's just pretend this is Tumblr and I can just post ONE image sans much text cause I'm deep like that.

Make sure to check out the much more glorious, original version here since I had to drop a few frames and resize for hosting reasons.

Gabríela Friðriksdóttir's "Crepusculum" at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt

by Suzanne on September 23rd, 2011

By Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, courtesy Cueto Project - click to enlarge

From the witchy hands of Gabríela Friðriksdóttir comes Crepusculum - her newest archaic-organic, proto-pagan, neo-ritualistic, chaos-elemental project . Yes, I made all these words up.

And to be even more annoying, I decided to not give you a preview of the actual work on show at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt but of past works, because, to be quite frank with you, Crepusculum reminded me very much (too much?) of my esteemed friends Kahn & Selesnick's work - only in a slightly more Burning Man fashion.

Opens this coming Wednesday, Sep 28 - the artist will be in attendance. Details below.

Still from Björk's Where is the Line? by Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, courtesy Cueto Project - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Wed, Sep 28, 2011, 7 PM onwards - artist will be in attendance

On show: Sep 29, 2011 - Jan 8, 2012

Address: Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Römerberg, 60311 Frankfurt, Germany, tel: +49.69.299882.0, email: welcome@schirn.de | Directions

Hours: Tue, Fri - Sun: 10 AM - 7 PM, Wed-Thu: 10 AM - 10 PM

Admission: €5

Press release

WurzelForum discussion

David Favrod's "Gaijin" at Spazio Cerere, Rome

by Suzanne on September 20th, 2011

From the Gaijin series by David Favrod - click to enlarge

Young photographer David Takashi Favrod was born in Kobe, Japan, the son of a Japanese mother and a Swiss father but grew up in Vionnaz, in the Swiss Valais Canton - a cultural duality that has strongly influenced his work ever since.

David says of himself that:

"For a Swiss, I am a Japanese and for a Japanese, I am a Swiss or rather a gaijin."

From the Le Tremblement Du Temps series by David Favrod - click to enlarge

Not an unproblematic - and often misunderstood - word but one so very important to Japan's understanding of itself and its relations to the rest of the world, Gaijin was chosen as the title of his solo show at Rome's Spazio Cerere which opens tomorrow evening.

Gaijin is also the title of probably his most intimate and powerful series of photographs - three of which you can see in this post (I sneaked in one picture from a different series because it's so very epic). All pictures were created in Switzerland but are full of references to Japanese culture and history so that the two countries and identities become one.

Being a Swiss living abroad and looking "back home", I very much understand the gaijin aspects of this series - the Caspar David Friedrichesque melancholy and animism in the uprooted landscape, the yearning of the changing seasons, the confinement of the tiny human between mountains and valleys, forests and moors, rivers and avalanches, the maddening impossibility of a horizon, the constant threat of the skies and the elements.

From the Gaijin series by David Favrod - click to enlarge

And from an interior perspective, there is so much psychological claustrophobia and spatial morphing in what are seemingly profane living room settings. Something that Gregory Crewdson or Estelle Hanania or even David Lynch also manage to get across. David Favrod has it too - the talent to make rooms morph so that they appear haunted, wallpapers century-old and scratched, baths overflowing and floorboards creaking.

The yōkai have arrived and are spooking about with the Toggeli.

It clearly adds to the Unheimliche that three protagonists in his Gajin series are not only wearing face paint or masks but have ropes, chains of lights and plaited hair tightly wrapped around their necks.

There is ONE thing, however, that makes the inherent uncanny of his oeuvre almost unbearable for me and that's the fact that there is this picture of his dad (?) wearing a Swiss military uniform common in the 80s which looks precisely like a picture of my dad in a Swiss uniform of exactly that period. And I don't mean they look similar, I mean they look ALIKE... o_O

Details below. Please note that this solo show will only last for 5 days, so if you're planning to attend, do it sooner than later.

From the Gaijin series by David Favrod - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Wed, Sep 21, 2011, 7 PM

On show: Sep 21 - 25, 2011

Address: Spazio Cerere, Via degli Ausoni 3, 00185 Roma, Italy, tel: +39 06 45422960, email: info@spaziocerere.it

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Idiots' "Romantic Decay" Retrospective at ArtKitchen, Amsterdam

by Suzanne on September 20th, 2011

Hangjongeren by Idiots, taxidermy squirrel, hoodie, 2007, French private collection - click to enlarge

I first posted about Afke Golsteijn and Floris Bakker - better known as Idiots - in my Taxidermia Wurzeltodensis post over 4 years ago.

The taxidermists haven't been idle since then and are currently presenting their most recent creatures, sculptures and embroidery works at Amsterdam's artKitchen Gallery in a retrospective entitled Romantic Decay.

Sadly, the gallery never replied to my image request so I therefore have no clue what's precisely going to be on show and have decided to feature two of my old Idiots favourites here instead. Details for the show below.

Niet aaien! (Do not pet!) by Idiots, taxidermy hedgehog, pins, antique wheel, 30 x 20 x 15 cm, 2006, French private collection - click to enlarge

On show: Sep 18 - 27, 2011

Address: artKitchen Gallery, 1800 Roeden, Joris van den Berghweg 101, 1067 HP Amsterdam, The Netherlands, tel: +31 (0)20 6223422, email: info@artkitchen.nl | Directions

Opening hours: Wed - Sat: 1 - 6 PM, and by appointment

Press release

Artists' website

WurzelForum discussion

Dr. Paul Koudounaris' "Empire of Death" at La Luz de Jesus, Los Angeles

by Suzanne on September 18th, 2011

St. Pancratius, Wil, Switzerland by Dr. Paul Koudounaris - click to enlarge

Back in June this year, I suggested Paul Koudounaris' ForteanTimes article Bones with Bling - The amazing jewelled skeletons of Europe for reading and those of you who followed my order friendly invitation will be very familiar with the topic discussed here, indeed with most of the image material as well.

If we go even further back, to June 2009, some very eager WurzelForum® members might remember an article entitled Sisterhood of the Skulls about the Neapolitan caves where a cult of old women "adopt" human skulls which was also written by the great Mr Koudounaris.

The remains of St Maximus, Basilica of Waldsassen by Dr. Paul Koudounaris - click to enlarge

For the past few years, Paul Koudounaris has been traveling to churches, crypta and catacombs around the world to compile a comprehensive study of vanitas rites and memento mori decorations of our collective religiously morbid past.

In October, his efforts will be published by Thames & Hudson in a beautiful tome containing 250 full-color and 50 black-and-white photographs entitled Emipre of Death - A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses and this coming Saturday, Sep 24, Hollywood's La Luz de Jesus gallery is holding an opening reception and book signing with the artist. A bit far away from the majority of subjects of his studies, but OH WELL, we Europeans can't have everything - after all, we got most of the actual relics, so we still totally win all the way. Details below.

If you're on the East Coast and near New York, you might want to wait until October 13, when Paul will be giving a lecture at The Observatory Room and sign his monograph in an event organised by the great Joanna of Morbid Anatomy.

Holy Martyr Theodosius, Waldsassen by Dr. Paul Koudounaris - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Sep 24, 7 - 10 PM - includes book signing

On show: Sep 24 - Oct 3, 2011

Address: La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA, tel: 323-666-7667, email: info@laluzdejesus.com

Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 11 AM - 7 PM, Thu - Sat: 11 AM - 9 PM, Sun: 12 - 6 PM

Preview & press release

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

"The Cabinet of Jan Å vankmajer" at Kunsthalle, Vienna

by Suzanne on September 16th, 2011

The Big Adventure Story Roman 4 by Jan Å vankmajer, 1997-98 - click to enlarge

The main - and sometimes only - reason why I think it's worth putting quite a lot of time, blood, sweat, tears into this blog is because I have a fantastic readership (yes, YOU!).

Just after I posted about the Quay Brothers and mentioned Jan Å vankmajer, long-time reader and supporter Kid37 alerted me to a vast Å vankmajer retrospective currently on display at the Kunsthalle Wien that's an absolute must-see if you're a Å vankmajarian.

Meat Love by Jan Å vankmajer, 1989

The great thing about The Cabinet of Jan Å vankmajer - The Pendulum, the Pit, and other Peculiarities is that not only films will be presented but also a comprehensive selection of his graphic and collaged works from different decades.

Ossuary by Jan Å vankmajer, 1970

Å vankmajer has always been the best commentator on his own work so let's have him explain what you're going to witness in Vienna:

“Whatever comes out of my subconscious I use it because I consider it to be the purest form; everything else in your conscious being has been influenced by reality, by art, by education, and by your upbringing, but the original experiences that exist within you are least corrupted of all experiences.”

Amen to that, amen. Details below.

On show: Sep 7 - Oct 2, 2011

Address: KUNSTHALLE wien, Museumsplatz 1, A-1070 Vienna, Austria, tel: +43-1-52189-0, email: office@kunsthallewien.at | Map

Opening hours: Daily: 10 AM - 7 PM

Preview | Images | Press release

Publication: Monograph on Jan Švankmajer’s oeuvre (incl. interview) is now available. 240 pages, app. 100 images, German/English. Verlag für moderne Kunst Nürnberg.

WurzelForum discussion