Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for October, 2011

Mirka Lugosi's "Datura Park" at Galerie Chantiers BoîteNoire, Montpellier

by Suzanne on October 16th, 2011

© Mirka Lugosi, coloured pencil on paper, 58 x 78 cm, 2010 - click to enlarge

I assume that life is pretty sweet when your surname is Lugosi. If in addition, you possess some kickass graphite, ink, gouache and shading skills, you might really be Bela's granddaughter.

Muse to the great Gilles Berquet, Mirka Lugosi has clearly taken some of his approaches and motives on board but made up her very own distinctive language of visual storytelling.

Blending together a rather Helmut Newtonesque understanding of the female body, a love affair with Bellmeresque legscapes and Ruppertesque hair tornados, a ritualistic naivety and playful alchemy reminiscent of Marcel Dzama, she entraps us in a weirdly ravaged and thorny Jurassic landscape with phallic plants and rock formations, masochistically detailled anatomies, écorché dresses, gothic shrouds like Daniel Rabel was still walking amongst us and tight catsuits à la Les Vampires.

I know that all sounds pretty kaotic, but that's how it is, and I think if I had to summarise what Mirka's art is all about, I would tell you to go have a look at one of her earlier series, La Malaise Enchanté from 2002/03.

© Mirka Lugosi, graphite and coloured pencil on paper, 43 x 31 cm, 2011 - click to enlarge

According to the French press release, her show Datura Park features 20 recent and slightly older drawings and one installation piece:

"DATURA PARK propose un parcours en vingt dessins et une installation. Les paysages fétiches de l’artiste, l’évocation de la plante hallucinogène puissante et très toxique, parfois utilisée en fleur d’ornement sont au coeur de cette exposition."

For further reading, Mirka has some great books on offer on her own site - plus, you can also get her 80/90 book from the amazing Timeless Shop.

The show opened its doors earlier this month and will remain on view until shortly before Christmas.

© Mirka Lugosi, graphite and pigment ink on paper, 67 x 52 cm, 2010 - click to enlarge

On show: Oct 6 - Dec 23, 2011

Address: Galerie Chantiers BoîteNoire, Hôtel Baudon de Mauny, 1 rue carbonnerie, F-34000 Montpellier, France, tel: +33(0) 6 8658 2562, email: info@leschantiersboitenoire.com

Hours: Wed - Sat: 3.30 - 7 PM

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Felicity Powell's "Charmed Life - The Solace of Objects" at Wellcome Collection, London

by Suzanne on October 15th, 2011

© Felicity Powell, wax on back of mirror - click to enlarge (slightly)

As part of the Wellcome Collection's Miracles & Charms exhibition exploring objects of faith, hope and chance, artist, miniature sculptor and medal-maker Felicity Powell has been invited to enchant us with her vision of the Charmed Life by breathing new life into 400 carefully selected amulets from Henry Wellcome's collection - presented alongside her own mythological works.

Powell is a bit of an elusive one and information about her scarce on the web which is why I'm all the more excited to finally be given the chance to see her work in London.

Skull by Felicity Powell, wax on back of mirror, 2009 - click to enlarge (slightly)

The wonderfully bright and eloquent art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon once said about her work:

"[...] a series of astonishingly virtuoso, utterly compelling and haunting miniature bas-reliefs on the theme of strange Ovidian metamorphoses – human heads that are turning into outcrops of coral, figures shape-shifting into trees, or octopi, faces wreathed in snakes. Worked, with wondrous subtlety, from white wax on dark mirror glass, each one is a miracle of ingenuity."

Well there... he said it, the word I'm always afraid to use, "miracle", and he embedded it in a correct and justified context. Because watching Felicity create her works is truly that: Absolutely miraculous.

Charmed Life is part of the Miracles & Charms season and will remain on show until the end of February 2012.

Also on show at the Wellcome is Infinitas Gracias - a grand display of over 100 Mexican votive paintings.

Further details below.

© Felicity Powell, wax on back of mirror - click to enlarge (slightly)

On show: Oct 6, 2011 - Feb 26, 2012

Address: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK, tel: +44 (0)20 7611 2222, email: info@wellcomecollection.org | Map & Directions

Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10 AM - 6 PM, Thu: 10 AM - 10 PM, Sun: 11 AM - 6 PM

Admission: FREE

Miracles & Charms | Charmed Life

WurzelForum discussion

Akino Kondoh's "KiyaKiya" at Mizuma Art Gallery, Tokyo

by Suzanne on October 14th, 2011

Waiting (sketch) by Akino Kondoh, pencil on gesso, mounted on canvas, 2008, 26 ×38 cm - click to enlarge

Oh, Akino Kondoh! There are only few artists who can cut us so softly yet viscerally with melancholy and dreamy childhood imagery like her.

There's a way she draws her bodies with enormous economy and minimalism in the line yet absolutely bursting with voluptuousness that her girls are always suggestively frivolous and provocatively inviting us to some innocently perverted play. Lustful feral Kindfrauen - not unlike Anke Feuchtenberger's Die Hure H (The Whore H) and Fuco Ueda's dripping nymphets.

Ladybird's Requiem, which won her a YouTube award, illustrated this fluidity perfectly:

For the first time in 3 years, and after her international success as cover artist for Top Shelf's AX - A Collection of Alternative Manga, Akino presents a new animation, KiyaKiya - hopefully soon to be seen on her YouTube channel - as well as drawings, oil paintings and sketches at Tokyo's Mizuma Art Gallery.

The very sweet press release explains:

"The term "KiyaKiya" comes from the old Japanese expression "mune ga kiyakiya suru." Kondoh first encountered it in Shibusawa Tatsuhiko's “Introduction to the collection of girls” in the chapter about "childhood experiences." This expression, which describes “an enigmatic, nostalgic, disturbing feeling,” or an impression of “deja-vu”, is at the origin of the "KiyaKiya" series.

Kondoh says "very intimate things are easier to share with strangers than public ones." In the present exhibition, you will experience an uneasy and nostalgic feeling, as if you had long forgotten an important something and were about to remember it. Some memory locked down in your heart might very well resurface."

... and now, music!

On show: Oct 11 - Nov 12, 2011

Address: Mizuma Art Gallery, 2F Kagura Bldg., 3-13 Ichigayatamachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0843, Japan, tel: +81.3.3268.2500 | Map

Hours: Tue - Sat: 11 AM - 7 PM

Press release

Catalogue: A catalogue containing 200 sketches for the animation "KiyaKiya" will be presold at the gallery. (ISBN:978-4-904292-16-7)

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Ray Caesar's "A Dangerous Inclination" at Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City

by Suzanne on October 13th, 2011

Self Examination by Ray Caesar, edition of 20, ultrachrome ink on paper, 30" x 30" (unframed) - click to enlarge

I know I haven't really written that much about Ray Caesar in a while but there is now a fantastic reason to rectify that situation and it's called Self Examination (c.f. image above).

As you all know, I have followed Ray's work since the very early days and after a while, his love for very particular motives emerged quite clearly.

While I found that the vast majority of art blogs, critics and curators obsessed over the actual breathtakingly Victorian imagery per se, you could almost say that I soon reached a level of certain happy visual saturation and as a result and after I first saw one of his pieces in real life, my curiosity got drawn to a completely different aspect of his work: The minute details of insect life, veins, skin translucency, drapery and other insanely small things not really visible on the interwebs. It's like his work truly revealed itself in all the intricate little microcosms it was really made of.

At the same time, I wasn't sure in what direction his work and therefore my appreciation of it would drift after I had gotten so very and literally close to the subject matter and I was somewhat anxious what to expect next - particularly after 2008 having been such an insanely prolific and technically highly diverse and experimental year for him. Since then, I have been waiting while Ray has been searching in his box, it seems:

"I look inside myself and see very difficult and wonderful memories I have forgotten; things I tucked away in a secret box 45 years ago. I am now sitting by that box and opening up what’s inside. [This exhibition] communicates what I am finding.”

(Press release to A Dangerous Inclination)

And well, today, I received a preview for Ray's new show entitled A Dangerous Inclination at Corey Helford that opens October 20 and I am glad to say that my doubts were unfounded and that I have fallen in love with the boldness, the simplicity (well, on a Caesaresque scale...), the much more anatomically grown-up femme fatale nature of his new piece Self Examination and I truly believe it to be his most exciting and enticing work in years.

I had a secret love affair with those underpants since his Blessed (2006), and fucking hell, I never expected them to make such a smoking hot comeback. So thanks, Ray.

The full preview isn't online yet but there will be some 30 pieces on show including classics and rare editions so keep your eyes peeled. I don't know why they always say that - it's kinda gross.

Details for the show are below.

Little Miss Sardonicus by Ray Caesar, 1 of 1, ultrachrome ink on paper, acrylic & varnish on panel, 6" x 6" (unframed) - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Saturday, October 22, 2011, 7 - 10 PM

On show: Oct 22 - Nov 12, 2011

Address: Corey Helford Gallery, 8522 Washingto Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232, USA, tel: 310-287-2340

Hours: Tue - Sat: 12 - 6 PM

Press release

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Confessions of an Ill-Fitting Mask

by Suzanne on October 13th, 2011

Sometimes I write notes on Facebook - of all places - and sometimes they get really long so I thought I might post this one here as well because there's a certain lack of personal articles here. Thanks to Nana for reminding me about the book and to Rob for letting me (accidentally) rip apart his copy.

I knew I'd fall in love with Yukio Mishima's Confessions of a Mask and it's probably one of the main reasons I hadn't read it before. I wanted to read it at the right time and place where a hard look at my own childhood would be undisturbed.

I could always identify with male book characters way easier than female heroines and the only female characters I could ever fully immerse myself in were the doomed and downright pathetic ones like Madame Bovary - the ones "strong" only in their subconscious determination to really fuck things up big time.

So while I always understood stories better from a male perspective, this is the absolute first time I can also physically identify with a male character because my childhood body, my "bad habit" as Mishima calls it, awoke in a similar way - albeit a lot earlier. So early, I had to completely stop talking about it because if there's something curious about human nature, it's how we completely deny and repress the fact that we're extremely horny little animals from a very early age.

So whenever someone embraces that fact - be it in art or literature - and explains and yes, in Mishima's case you could say, exploits it passionately and vividly, I'm all ears.

It means writing against the forces who find honest looks at our early lives "disgusting", "perverted" and "misguided" when it's really just that: Brutal honesty and the willingness to remember and chronicle PRECISELY.

It's probably one of the most exhausting mental acts to bring back those memories - and in many cases, they've obviously been repressed for a reason and should maybe even stay that way forever.

In my case, however, the only reason they've been tippexed is because if there was one constant in my early childhood, it was the feeling of doing something wrong, something bad... essentially of BEING wrong, of BEING bad. I don't even know where that feeling came from as it didn't come from my parents so I have to blame generations of genetic devout Roman Catholicism for it.

Anyways, I don't really want to write about how, in a way, we're all born "perverts" but more about how we're all born guilty, all born sad.

The main reason apart from the very obvious ecological ones why I never want to put a life into this world is because I firmly believe that we are born with all the sorrow, all the weariness, all the longing, all the guilt, the Weltschmerz, the incessant coming of death (I don't believe for a second that children don't "get" the concept of death because they're so very close to it, so very mortal, so utterly incapabale of survival) but, perhaps most importantly and painfully, the full realisation that we'll never understand anything.

Babies look like old men, like used star dust thrown back together to form something really useless and compared to other animals, frankly quite ugly in shape.

One of my first childhood memories is, very similar to Mishima's actually, how some old lady bent down to take a good hard look at me when I was out with grandma and said - addressing me in the third person as if I didn't have ears.. or indeed, wasn't present: "She looks like she's carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, that little thing. Does she ever smile?"

Now, what society taught me was to put a smile on my face when people ask such questions because I would get lollipops, kisses, friends... yes, money. Instead, I hid behind my grandma's giant leg and started sobbing. I felt like I had let my guard down and that for a second, that woman saw right into me. So much so that it physically hurt.

Don't all children carry the weight of the world on their shoulders though? We are born crying and from the moment we can speak we ask the one essential question over and over and over again: Why. Why. Why.

If you're one of the lucky few, like I was, we get born to patient, imaginative parents who - often not knowing the answer to our whys themselves - just invent something glorious, something pompous, a lie so utterly megalomaniac it stills the thirst for a while, lets the mind go on an exotic journey full of colours and flavours.

I always knew it when I was being fed a make-believe, but then just like now, if the lie was pretentious and ridiculous enough, I would go along with it like a Sturm & Drang hero if it would make my brain stop aching and rotating and take it to some place else, some place far away, some place arcadian.

We are born curious escapists yet we are taught to get a firm cynical grip on reality (whatever that might be).

We are born sad wisemen and -woman yet we are taught to grow a smiling face around our masks and not ask too many questions.

I refuse. This mask and my face, they'll never fuse and when I die, I will take it off and lay it down beside me.

Nathalie Djurberg's "A World of Glass" at Camden Arts Centre, London

by Suzanne on October 6th, 2011

A World of Glass (film still) by Nathalie Djurberg, 2011, courtesy of Zach Feuer Gallery NY - click to enlarge

You pretty much know it's going to be a great exhibition when the press release states that "some works in this exhibition touch on issues of a sensitive nature that may not be suitable for children."

So we're coming from one hot young female artist to another hot young female artist: This time, it's Nathalie Djurberg who I've featured here a couple of times before.

From tomorrow Friday, October 7 onwards, Nathalie will be showing A World of Glass, four new claymation pieces with music by the always faithful Hans Berg at the Camden Arts Centre in London.

The show will be on until early 2012 so you'll have plenty of time to check it out. AND YOU SHOULD!

Because they're new films, video footage itself is obviously not online yet so all we have are still images but it does all look very promising indeed.

From the press release:

"A World of Glass consists of four new synchronised films with a soundtrack produced by Djurberg’s collaborator Hans Berg, presented amongst an immersive installation of glass-like objects. Another new installation will flood the central space with luminous colour, and a series of earlier animations will be shown in the Reading Room."

The press release creeps me out a bit because I was just thinking of Goya when it mentioned Goya further down so I won't be quoting any more from it but fetch the tinfoil hat.

And in case you've never heard of Nathalie Djurberg until just now, here's what you can expect (well, it's one of her more creatively perverted pieces, and therefore one of my very favourites...)

On show: Oct 7, 2011 - Jan 8, 2012

Address: Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London NW3 6DG, UK, tel: +44 (0)20 7472 5500, email: info@camdenartscentre.org | Directions

Hours: Tue - Sun: 10 AM - 6 PM, Wed: 10 AM - 9 PM

Press release & preview

WurzelForum discussion

In unrelated yet somewhat related news since I’ve been writing, editing, researching, coding, heck, even napping and falling in love on Macs for ages now:

R.I.P. Steve Jobs. You’ll live on in all these shiny things that have enabled me to do what I love doing. You have improved my life tremendously and in return I’ve given you lots of money, so I see it as a clear win-win situation.

Thank you and goodbye.

P.S.: Comments containing the phrase "capitalist pig" will be ignored for at least 24 hours.

Mercedes Helnwein's "Asleep in the Wind" at Merry Karnowsky Gallery, L.A.

by Suzanne on October 5th, 2011

Three Nurses by Mercedes Helnwein, oil pastel on paper, 37 x 33 inches, 2011 - click to enlarge

I guess if you're a Helnwein it must be difficult being an artist at times because rather than taking your work as your own creation, you're constantly being compared to your great dad Gottfried and it takes guts to go your own way.

Despite still being a young artist, Mercedes has however proven time and again that she knows what she's doing and that she has a visual language of her own.

After appearing in group shows and solo shows all over the planet, Asleep in the Wind is a show that Mercedes curated herself for Merry Karnowsky Gallery. The show will open this Saturday and will present her own works on paper alongside the oeuvres of Patrick Morrison and Glen Baxter.

Three Nurses (pictured above and in the artist's studio below) left the biggest impression on me - maybe because the nurse on the right looks very much like an anachronistic self-portrait of the stunning artist?

Details below.

Three Nurses by Mercedes Helnwein in her studio, 2011 - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Saturday, October 8, 2011, 8 - 11 PM

On show: Oct 8 - Nov 5, 2011

Address: Merry Karnowsky Gallery, 170 South La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA. 90036, USA, email: mkgallery@mindspring.com | Map

Hours: Tue - Sat: 12 - 6 PM


Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Cristina Vergano at Islip Art Museum, East Islip

by Suzanne on October 5th, 2011

Please Leave When It Is Wise To by Cristina Vergano, 2006 - click to enlarge

Information about this exhibition/print release is a bit sparse but it seems that Cristina Vergano is currently presenting works from her brilliant Figure of Speech series in a group show at Islip Art Museum in East Islip.

There's nothing on their site about this though and the information I have comes directly from Cristina's gallery Woodward, so maybe contact Islip Art Museum itself first if you're planning to attend.

Woodward Gallery also seems to have released a number of motives from the Figure of Speech series as giclee prints (two of which are featured here - please pardon the bad resolution) and if you're interested to know more about them, please get in touch with Woodward Gallery. Seems like the edition size is limited to 12 only so I'm not sure how long they'll be around for.

Wow.. that was a lot of really useful information, innit? (¬_¬)

When, What, Why? by Cristina Vergano, 2006 - click to enlarge

On show: Sep 14 - Nov 13, 2011

Address: Islip Art Museum, 50 Irish Lane, East Islip, NY 11730, USA, tel: (631) 224-5402

Admission: Suggested donation is $3.

Hours: Wed - Sat: 10 AM - 4 PM, Sun: 12 - 4 PM

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Madeline von Foerster's "Cabinet" - Exhibition and Print Release

by Suzanne on October 5th, 2011

Redwood Cabinet, 2008 by Madeline von Foerster, giclée print on Hahnemühle 310gsm, cotton rag paper, 28" x 20", ed. of 50, $240 - click to enlarge

Fantastic news for the lovers of symbiotic Wunderkammer art as Brooklyn based Skink Ink have just released beautifully lush and vibrant giclee prints of eight of Madeline von Foerster's most iconic works.

If you're local, you can go check out the prints in person at The Gallery at Skink Ink until October 23, for the worldwide audience:

This is a fantastic opportunity to get your filthy hands on Madeline's work for a very fair price and generously low edition size. The paper is Hahnemühle cotton rag and I know from my time working with prints that this gives a very haptic finish and A LOT of depth.

The details are as follows:

"Skink Ink is publishing an edition entitled 'Cabinet' which will comprise of a collection of six images, each 20” x 28”, which will be sold individually, each in an edition of 50. Ten copies of the complete Cabinet collection will be presented in a handmade portfolio case with printed interleaves offering additional information about each work. In addition there will be two further prints outside of the collection; a larger version of 'Amazon Cabinet' 24” x 36” in a an edition of 50 and a smaller print 'Invasive Species' (13” x 17”) in an edition of 100. All works are signed and numbered."

So that's 8 prints altogether, 6 of which are an edition of 50 that can be purchased individually or in a collected set and 2 hors-série prints - just to repeat everything and be generally annoying and patronising.

If you've still got questions about pricing and ordering, contact Philip Riley at 917 536 8347 or email him here.

Details about the exhibition are below.

Invasive Species II, 2008 by Madeline von Foerster, giclée print on Hahnemühle 310gsm, cotton rag paper, 13" x 17", ed. of 100, $125 - click to enlarge

On show: Sep 22- Oct 23, 2011

Address: Skink Ink Editions, 177 North 10th Street, Room G, Brooklyn NY 11211, USA, email: events@skink-ink.com, tel: 917 536 8347

Hours: Tue - Sun: 11 AM - 6 PM

Press release

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

Satanic Chairs

by Suzanne on October 2nd, 2011

I think the time has finally come, children, to close the internets and just let this play on repeat for it will never get any better than this. Ever.

Same Hat! found it. Of course.