Magazine Contemporary Culture


“Looking at where figurative painting is today, there is more room for creativity and imagination.”

Go Figure, Curated by Eddie Martinez, 6 October – 13 November, 2011
Dodge Gallery, New York

People say “painting is dead” and within that figure painting is mummified. Since painting began, we have used the figure to let people after us know that we existed before them. This is clear when we look at cave paintings wherein the “painted” people and animals and other symbols represented life. Looking at where figurative painting is today, there is more room for creativity and imagination. Take for instance the approach of artists in this show from Erik Parker’s weirdo psychedelic melting faces to Jamison Brousseau’s take on the figure represented by R2D2 from Star Wars. Gina Beavers current approach to the figure looks like studies that would have been done by someone enrolled in the “art students league” in New York City in the 1950’s. Another interesting component of the work in this show are the materials used and the execution of the works. For example Allison Schulnik’s technique is to use paint sculpturally to create her figures. She lays on thick impastos, whereas Daniel Gordon uses photography and collage to manipulate the look and feel of his work, often leaving the figures disfigured and mangled. Denise Kupferschmidt’s drawings evoke a re-imagined historical feel with paired down, Egyptian-meets-sci-fi characters.

Featured Artists:
Joshua Abelow, Derek Aylward, Gina Beavers, Brian Belott, Katherine Bernhardt, Jamison Brosseau, Ted Gahl, Daniel Gordon, Joseph Hart, Denise Kupferschmidt, Jose Lerma, Erik Parker, Allison Schulnik, Michael Williams

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Benjamin Valenza

Benjamin Valenza at Salon 94 Freemans, New York, 2009 and Residue 01, 2011

Art Since the Summer of ’69 is proud to present Twice upon a Time, Benjamin Valenza’s first solo show in New York City. A large L- shaped yellow metal plate, deeply corroded by acid at four points, performs as an abstract panther in the show, or simply as an abstract painting. The work is the result of Valenza’s experiments with materials and carelessness, or rather of his love of ‘heavy duty’ materials.

One could describe Valenza’s method as working ‘ Hardcore Brancusi – ish’. From heavy duty, hardcore gestures to painstaking etching, Valenza will take his ‘trademark’ stones on legs to a new level, presenting a large black stone, engraved with a mysterious poem. The fifty-five pound heavy black alabaster rock will be presented on a large round pine tabletop and act as the center of the exhibition. Less anthropomorphic than the other stones Valenza has made, the black rock pays homage to Constantin Brancusi in its use of carving. Although Valenza does not carve the stone to let a form take shape and reveal the essence of an object or an idea. He simply carves words and leaves the shape of the stone intact.

Benjamin Valenza (b.1980 in Marseille, France) works and lives in Lausanne, Switzerland. He is a founding member of Galerie 1m3. He has exhibited at Fluxia Gallery in Milan, Castillo-Coralles in Paris, Hayward Gallery in London, Jan Winkelmann Gallery in Berlin, and Musee Cantonal Des Beaux Arts in Lausanne, among others.

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Matthew Day Jackson, The Tomb, 2010

Matthew Day Jackson, The Tomb, 2010

The Tomb, a large-scale work derived from the Tomb of Philippe Pot.  Attributed to Antoine LeMoiturier, in the collection of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Tomb of Philippe Pot is considered one of the masterpieces of the Burgundian style of the late 15th century.
Jackson replaces the eight hooded monks who carry Pot’s effigy with astronauts that are rendered from scraps of wood and plastic.  They are then compressed into a block and cut with a CNC (computer numerical control) process.

The astronauts shoulder a steel and glass box that holds a skeletal structure based upon Jackson’s own body. The hands and feet are cast from either Jackson’s own extremities or handles from tools. Other elements of the skeleton incorporate biomedical prototypes, various industrial materials, and found wood. Viewed through a one-way mirror, which allows the viewer to simultaneously see one’s own reflection and the effigy’s contents, Jackson’s skeleton provides both autobiographical reference and explores the interconnectivity of disparate forms and narratives.

The Tomb can also be seen as Jackson’s exploration of the “Horriful”—his belief that everything one does has the potential to evoke both beauty and horror at the same time. For Jackson, the allusion to death is not a “Memento Mori,” but a claim to “Carpe Diem.”

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Mark DeLong

Mark DeLong, Untitled, 2011

Mark DeLong, born 1978 in New Brunswick, is a self taught artist working in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture and video.

His work has been displayed at Colette, Paris; Bee Studios, Tokyo; Spencer-Brownstone Gallery, New York; Abel Neue Kunst Gallery, Berlin; Perugi Art Contemporenea, Padova, Italy; Museum Of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; LES Gallery, Vancouver; Little Cakes, New York; and Cooper Cole in Toronto. Delong has collaborated with such artists as Paul Butler, Jason McLean, Jacob Gleeson, and Geoffrey Farmer. His work has been seen in Border Crossings and Canadian Art Magazine and he has published books with Nieves, Switzerland; Seems Books, and TV Books in New York. DeLong currently lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. DeLong will be participating in a two person exhibition at Cooper Cole in March 2013 with artist Joseph Hart.

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Dan Colen


Dan Colen, No Sex No War No Me, 2011 and Rama Lama Ding Dong, 2006

Dan Colen was born in New Jersey in 1979. Exhibitions include the 2006 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2006); “USA Today,” Royal Academy, London (2006); “Defamation of Character,” PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York (2006); “Fantastic Politics,” National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo (2006); “Skin Fruit: Selections from the Dakis Joannou Collection,” New Museum, New York (2010); “Peanuts,” Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (2011); “In Living Color,” FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2012); “Meanwhile…Suddenly and then,” 12th Biennale de Lyon (2013); “Dan Colen: The Illusion of Life,” Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2013); “Help!” The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, CT (2014); and “The L…o…n…g Count,” The Walter De Maria Building, New York, NY (2014).

Colen lives and works in New York.

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Paul Berger

Paul Berger, Whimac 1, 1994 and 750s-mc, 1999

Paul Berger have been working in the photographic medium since 1965, and in digital electronic media since 1981. He earned a BA degree in Art at UCLA in 1970, studying with Robert Heinecken and Robert Fichter.  Berger completed MFA graduate work at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, in 1973, studying with Nathan Lyons. His photographic work has always involved multiple images in structured sequences, often with texts.

This interest in sequence and narrative transitioned to one based in digital manipulation of electronic imagery beginning in the early 1980’s. Paul Berger had a book version of the series Seattle Subtext published in 1984, and a catalog to the Seattle Art Museum exhibition “The Machine in the Window” published in 1990.  Berger have exhibited photographic and digital artworks widely, both nationally in America and in Europe, including major exhibitions in New York, Chicago, Los Angles, San Francisco, Paris and Cologne.

Berger was the subject of a 2003 retrospective exhibition “Paul Berger: 1973-2003” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, which was reviewed in Artforum that same year. Berger have been published in numerous books, including Seizing the Light: A History of Photography; Robert Hirsh, 2000; Nash Editions: Photography and the Art of Digital Printing, ed. Garrett White, 2007; and The Digital Eye: Photographic Art in the Electronic Age; Sylvia Wolf, 2010. Paul Berger have taught at the University of Washington’s School of Art for 35 years, having co-founded the Photography program in 1978.

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Nan Goldin, Scopophilia, 2011

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Nan Goldin, Scopophilia, 2011

Scopophilia, which consists of over 400 photographs culled from Goldin’s career, pairs her own autobiographical images with new photographs of paintings and sculpture from the Louvre’s collection. Organized around themes of love and desire, Scopophilia, which means “the love of looking,” reflects on Goldin’s intensely personal photographs, as well as the unique permission given to the artist to photograph freely throughout the Louvre Museum. Of this project, Goldin explains, “Desire awoken by images is the project’s true starting point. It is about the idea of taking a picture of a sculpture or a painting in an attempt to bring it to life.”

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Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon,  From the Series, Contraband, 2010

Shot over five days for the book and exhibition, “Contraband” — of items detained or seized from passengers or express mail entering the United States from abroad at the New York airport. The miscellany of prohibited objects — from the everyday to the illegal to the just plain odd — attests to a growing worldwide traffic in counterfeit goods and natural exotica and offers a snapshot of the United States as seen through its illicit material needs and desires.

Taryn Simon (born February 4, 1975) is an American artist. Simon’s artistic medium consists of three equal elements: photography, text, and graphic design. Her practice involves extensive research, in projects guided by an interest in systems of categorization and classification. She is a graduate of Brown University and a 2001 Guggenheim Fellow.

Simon’s photographs and writing have been the subject of monographic exhibitions at institutions including Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2012); Tate Modern, London (2011); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2011); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2007); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2008); Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2004); and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2003). Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Modern, Whitney Museum, Centre Pompidou, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2011 her work was included in the 54th Venice Biennale.

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2000: David Askevold

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David Askevold, Harbour Ghosts, HFX (detail), 1999 and Tourists Veiwing Pilescape, Inkjet on Canvas, 2000

David Askevold (30 March 1940 – 23 January 2008) was an experimental Canadian artist who lived in Nova Scotia. Askevold studied art and anthropology at the University of Montana. In 1963, he won a Max Beckmann Scholarship to study painting for a year at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in New York. In 1966, he enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, in Sculpture. Askevold went to Halifax and joined the faculty of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1968.

His artwork, often manifested on videotape, is usually the result of a non-strategy based on favorable happenstance, collaboration, and selected circumstance. This method evokes those used by many younger artists today, such as Dave Muller and Rirkrit Tiravanija, who invite the unscripted, unchoreographed participation of others as a necessary part of their artistic practice.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he taught at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CalArts in Valencia, and the University of California, Irvine. Askevold showed at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in 1983 in a group show entitled Head Hunters. He had solo shows at the Thomas Lewallen Gallery in Los Angeles in 1978, the Jancar/Kuhlenschmidt Gallery in Los Angeles in 1981, and a survey entitled Selected Works 1972–1976 at the University of California, Irvine in 1976. His group shows in the area include Reconsidering the Art Object 1965–1975 at MOCA (1995) and Michael Asher, Richard Long, and David Askevold at Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art (1977). At the 1977 Documenta exhibition at Kassel, Askevold showed Muse Extracts, a 13 part photo text piece of ghost-like photographic reflections of the artist’s head and torso taken at a pond near Crystal Crescent Beach in Nova Scotia.

In 1985, while teaching as a visiting artist in media arts in Minneapolis, Askevold collaborated with students to produce his only music video, a tape of two songs by the rock and roll band Hüsker Dü.

His works are held in the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

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Dance Theatre, 3D Cinema; Pina

Pina, 2011, Dir. Wim Wenders, 104 mins

Philippina “Pina” Bausch (1940 – 2009) was a German performer of modern dance, choreographer, dance teacher and ballet director. With her unique style, a blend of movements, sounds and prominent stage sets, and with her elaborate cooperation with performers during the composition of a piece (a style now known as Tanztheater), she became a leading influence since the 1970s in the world of modern dance.

Wim Wenders’s deeply intelligent 3D tribute to the work of the modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch was conceived as a collaboration with her. Pina Bausch, died in production (2009), just as Wenders, the director of ‘Paris, Texas’, was about to start shooting.

The resulting film achieves a poignant, elegiac quality, shot through with an overwhelming sense of loss, both on the part of the dancers of the Tanztheater Wuppertal, the company she ran for 36 years, whose thoughtful interviews and dance sequences form the film’s backbone, and the director himself. ‘Dance for love,’ one of her colleagues remembers her saying, recalling it as one of the few instructions he received from Bausch in years of working with her.

Bausch was a reticent figure, wary of personalities and insistent on letting her work speak for her. She would undoubtedly have been a distant figure in this film had she lived, but now her absence has a sombre, almost tragic quality.

If its meaning can be summed up – though it is arguably the point of an abstract artform that it can’t be summed up – it is probably in the words of a dancer who asks, “What are we yearning for? Where does all this yearning come from?” We spend our lives yearning, and then, in the shadow of mortality, our yearning is redirected backwards, a yearning to understand our past lives, our youth, and again forwards – a yearning to understand the point of our death. Wenders’s movie uncovers the crucial state of yearning in Bausch’s work.

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Valerio Spada, Gomorrah Girl

Valerio Spada, From the Book, Gomorrah Girl, 2011

Valerio Spada’s self-published photo book Gomorrah Girl, the grand prize winner of 4th annual Blurb Photography Book Now Competition. The book explores the murder of Naples resident Annalisa Durante, a young woman caught in the crossfire of violence in “the land of Camorrah,” (the name for the Mafia in Naples). It is an artfully made documentary about adolescence in one of the most dangerous places in Italy to grow up.

“Gomorrah Girl shows the problems of becoming a woman in a dangerous, crime-ridden area,” says Spada, who studied in Milan and has worked as a fashion photographer. “At age 9 they make themselves up as TV personalities and dream of becoming one of them. At age 13 or 14 they often become mothers, skipping the adolescence which is lived fully everywhere else in Italy.”

The story comes together in the books innovative design—Spada’s own documentary photographs, along with a smaller book of photographs detailing the police investigation, are bound together. Captions offer details into the personal tragedies suffered by the subjects alongside stone-cold factual information provided by police evidence.
“As each page unfolds, the viewer is challenged by layers of meaning,” Says Larissa Leclair, a photography curator/writer and a judge in this year’s contest.

Spada wanted to take pictures of the original murder evidence, but the Italian police denied him permission. Handing over photographs of the crime scenes, “the police told me, ‘If you want, you can take pictures of the pictures.’ I remember I was depressed, thinking, ‘I cannot get what I want,’” says Spada, “But I shot every single page. And while I was shooting, all was clear once again. This had to be a book within a book.”

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Egill Sæbjörnsson


Egill Sæbjörnsson in collaboration with Karolin Tampere, Installation view, 2008

Egill Sæbjörnsson (born 1973, Reykjavik / IS) graduated from the Icelandic College of Arts and Crafts (now the Icelandic Academy of the Arts) in 1997 and studied at the University of Paris, St.Denis, from 1995 to 1996. Since 1999 he shares his time between Reykjavík and Berlin. His art is an unusual fusion of music, sound, video and installations in addition to which he often appears himself as part of his exhibition projects. From the start of his career he has handled different media and expressive idioms with remarkable facility. He harnessed computers, projections and musical instruments in his performances where he himself took on a different persona in each new context. He has a whole career in music and has released his music with record companies and music is an integral part of his many performance projects.

In recent installations Egill has used video, sound and sculptural installations to create a sort of cabaret in the gallery with cut-out figures and artworks that speak and sing and even interact. There are numerous echoes from art history, including Dada-evenings in the teens and twenties, and the artworks themselves comment out loud on such references.

Egill’s recent exhibitions in Iceland include a large installation at the National Gallery in 2004, a solo exhibition in Gallery 101 and an exhibition with Magnús Sigurðsson at the Living Art Museum. In 2004 Egill was invited to take part in the international workshop programmed at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. He has also exhibited widely abroad, most recently in Berlin, Vienna, Skopie, Lubliana and London.

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Standard (Oslo) Gallery


Fredrik Værslev, Untitled, 2010. Spray paint, house paint and white spirit on canvas /wooden stretcher

STANDARD (OSLO) Gallery was established in April 2005. Based in Oslo the gallery aims at promoting contemporary Norwegian artists in the international field, as well as introducing international artists to the Norwegian audience.

Gallery artists have been included in a number of internationally renowned exhibitions, such as Documenta (2007 and 2012); the Whitney Biennial (2006, 2008, 2010 to 2012); the Venice Biennial (2003, 2005 and 2011); the Biennial of Sydney (2004, 2008, 2010, 2014 and 2016); the Istanbul Biennial (2005); the Lyon Biennial (2007, 2013 and 2015); Manifesta (2004, 2016); the Gwangju Biennial (2010); the Taipei Biennial (2014); and Momentum – the Nordic Art Festival (2000, 2004, 2006 and 2009). The gallery also participates in the following art fairs during the year: Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Los Angeles Contemporary and Frieze Art Fair New York.

Waldemar Thranes gate 86c
N-0175 Oslo

+47 22 60 13 10
+47 22 60 13 11

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Exhibition: Lygia Pape, Magnetized Space

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Lygia Pape, Magnetized Space, 7 December 2011 – 19 February 2012
Serpentine Gallery, London

Pape was a founding member of the Neo-Concrete movement, which was dedicated to the inclusion of art into everyday life. Pape’s early work developed out of an interest in European abstraction, however she and her contemporaries went beyond simply adopting an international style, and started to draw on their own local situation.

Neo-Concretism is often seen as the beginning of contemporary art in Brazil, and Pape’s work – which focused on the coming together of aesthetic, ethical and political ideas – has formed an important part of Brazil’s artistic identity.

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“There is a dialogue to be had about sex. All the information out there, whether it’s about sex parties, Internet sex, or pornography, is overwhelming. There is a real need for an edited voice.”

Classy pervs, rejoice: The coffee-table sex magazine Richardson is back from the dead. British fashion stylist Andrew Richardson (no relation to the similarly licentious photographer Terry) put out three glossy issues featuring porn stars and pontification between 1998 and 2002 before going on hiatus amid the post-9/11 economic downturn. In the years since, Richardson refined his business plan. (Sex = still interesting! Website = necessary!) “It’s the perfect time,” Richardson says. “There is a dialogue to be had about sex. All the information out there, whether it’s about sex parties, Internet sex, or pornography, is overwhelming. There is a real need for an edited voice.”

“Sorry I was being polite because you had put me in a public and difficult position. I actually think the magazine brings nothing to the potential art of pornography and do not want to be quoted in any way. Sincerely, Richard Avedon.”

That was a letter written by the legendary photographer to Andrew Richardson that is proudly reprinted in the opening pages of the third issue of the magazine published in 2002. With its confrontational, potent mix of sex, politics, art and a hefty dose of punk rock attitude, Richardson was never going to be to everyone’s taste. But even if Avedon passed on it, plenty of the highest calibre of photographers ranging from Glen Luchford, Mario Sorrenti and of course, Terry Richardson have shot for its pages, elevating it far above the realms of the mere sex magazine. That the magazine more closely resembles a beautifully put-together coffee table book is probably due to British-born Richardson’s background as a highly-sought after fashion stylist. But inside its pages, stories on group sex, sadomasochism, internet hook-ups, a guide to sexual fetishes represented by handkerchiefs and contributions from the likes of Bruce LaBruce, Harmony Korine, Richard Prince, Jack Pierson, Larry Clark and anarchist, Stewart Home serve to discomfit and entice in equal measure.

After a seven-year hiatus, the magazine returns with an unflinchingly honest look at the female gaze in A4. Crossover porn star, Sasha Grey gives a full and frank interview whilst posing seductively, whereas elsewhere Amy Kellner dishes on Riot Grrl, and transgressive artists like Annie Sprinkle, Valie Export and Carolee Schneeman are profiled in detail. At a time when the conservative nature of advertisers means that sexual provocation in magazines has become a rare commodity, the return of Richardson provides a much needed jolt and frisson of excitement.

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Shahryar Nashat

Shahryar Nashat, Dowscaled Upscaled 1, 2011

A stout cavalier straddles a parade horse, his head bowed slightly to survey his troops in promenade. In the fresco he created for Florence Cathedral, Paolo Uccello painted Sir John Hawkwood and his horse in one-point perspective, on the same level with the viewer, but depicted the cenotaph on which the mercenary and his horse stand in three-point perspective, viewed from below. The multiple vanishing points upset the hierarchy between the subject and the object, disorienting the viewer and the viewed: the equestrian statue is indeed monumentalized on the impressive cenotaph, but Uccello’s perspectival play pulls the viewer up alongside the cavalier.

When a regime falls, the monuments to its figureheads are broken off at the ankles and toppled from their pedestals. Suddenly, all points of reference are lost. The displaced desperately seek a new ruler who can assure them a defined place in the world. Who is the subject and who is the object in this exchange? In Nashat’s video Modern Body Comedy (2006), two men act out these questions in a choreographed performance in which a pair of shoes and socks, a false moustache and a broken chair are the props for their power games. When one man kneels to lace the other’s shoes, his gesture seems obsequious; yet it could also be an expression of dominance, as he has, in effect, immobilized his partner. The film ends with the two actors on the floor in a confused embrace, somewhere between tickling and wrestling.

Like Uccello’s fresco, Nashat’s work sends tremors through the ground between the subject and the object. Human existence, Nashat seems to say, is a constant struggle for dominance, played out not just between the self and the other, but also schizophrenically between the self and itself. Nashat’s work dismisses the dominant/subordinate dichotomy, demonstrating that such concepts are illusions conjured to reorder the muddled superimposition of roles, identities and meanings we encounter in daily life.

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Sculpture: John Kleckner and Patrick Tuttofuoco, Those Ghosts, 2011

John Kleckner and Patrick Tuttofuoco, Those Ghosts, 2011

The works in this exhibition are about human figures dissipating into voids, into abstractions, and shape-shifting into solid structures. Transformation, transcendence, and transience are the core concepts fixed into 2- and 3-dimensional material permanence in each of the exhibited artworks.

In his newest works one can see John Kleckner transitioning from meticulously rendered rotting noses and metamorphosing cavemen, to poetic allusions/illusions of infinite (contemplative) space. Figures do still appear and certainly inform the works on view, but with this new direction and some new techniques, Kleckner has opened his practice to fully embrace abstraction. These works of ink on paper are a meditative union of carefully planned accidents and haphazard intentions.

Patrick Tuttofuoco’s practice initiates a dialogue between individuals and their environment, exploring notions of community and social integration. Tuttofuoco’s sculptures study this concept, relating it to solitary individuals and their ability to transform external reality. Tuttofuoco melds Modernism and Pop; he presses figuration into abstraction, using man as the paradigm of existence, as the matrix and measuring unit of reality. From this interpretative and cognitive process, infinite versions of man and the context of his existence are produced, from which shapes able to animate the sculptures are generated.

John Kleckner’s (b.1978) work is included the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, NY (The Judith Rothschild Collection of Contemporary Drawings); The Saatchi Gallery, London; Magasin 3, Stockholm, Sweden; and The Deste Foundation Athens, Greece.
Patrick Tuttofuoco (b. 1974) has exhibited in: 10th Biennial of Havana, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; 50th Venice Biennale; Magasine, Grenoble; Manifesta 5; MAXXI, Rome; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo,Turin.

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Ditte Haarløv Johnsen, Maputo Diary

Ditte Haarløv Johnsen, Maputo Diary, 2000-2009

Mozambique gained its independence in 1975. It was ruled by the socialist Frelimo Party. My parents decidedto  relocate to  help the government  rebuild the country. We arrived in Maputo on the 11  of  January 1982.  I was five years old.

In 2000,  I spent another summer in Maputo. This time  I helped out at the photo school and got to  use thedarkroom for free. One day walking home from the school I met Ingracia and Antonieta. They stood out fromthe crowd as they strolled down the streets of Maputo, hips swaying. They were openly gay and for Maputo this was truly outrageous.
I approached them and we spent an afternoon together. Gradually they allowed me to get a glimpse into their lives. Stigmatised and  yet inhibited by such a crazy and stubborn will to survive. And with a fearlessness I admired – there was not much left to lose. Antonieta worked the streets and Ingracia  survived  by entertaining in the bars  of the  Shanty  Towns  and  getting  people to  buy  him  beer and food.
They introduced me to their circle of gay friends: “The Sisters”. I  photographed the Sisters and got the  feeling of a  story that was so much  deeper than what a  few picturescould convey. That was the beginning of Maputo Diary.

One and a half years later, I returned. I went to look for Ingracia at the apartment where he used to live. His mother had passed away and Ingracias older sister, Carla, had  taken over the place. She had kicked out Ingracia who was now living with an auntie. Ingracia showed me the way to Antonietas new place. Antonietta was more tired than when we first met. Tired of walking the street every night.
Maputo gets cold in the winter. I would walk the streets with Antonieta – attracted to that dark and secret side of life.
Antonieta was the only man in Maputo that dared wear womens clothes in public. He had worked the streets since he ran away from home at the age of 13.
Whenever he managed to make a little money, he would spend it right away. He said: “Save money for what if tomorrow I might be dead?” And he lied a lot. It annoyed me when he also lied to people about me, bragging about the big money I had spent on buying us drinks at an imaginary bar the evening before. I told him off and he said: “Ditte; When I meet a man I tell him my nameis Isabel and that I have two children, Carla and Nito. My whole life is built on lies”.
On New Years day we travelled to Xinavane, the village where he was born. There, with the family, Antonieta was Antonio. Antonieta died the 11th of January 2004. He was 29 years old. I always felt it as a special confirmation of the bond between us that he died on my birthday.

Ingracia’s brother Zito was in jail. Zito had been using hard drugs for a long time and was now doing time at the “Central Prison”. Marcelo, a Sister, had been accused of stealing a pair of pants off a clothesline and was also at the Central Prison. Ingracia had been inside  for a while. He sold  his stove back home and used the money to pay an officer to sign his release papers.
The prison was overcrowded. There was one water tap for the 2000 inmates and no latrines. A plate of foodwas served once a day and always the same – rice with a watery sauce. Inmates survived by trading food which family brought on the visit that was allowed every two weeks. Sex was traded too.
Marcelo was found innocent and released, having spent eight months in the Central Prison. He returned to his home province and lived there for two years until he passed away. Soraia, the owner of the bar where we usedto hang out, said: “He should have played safe”.

Rui  rented a room in the outskirts of Maputo. He also belonged to the group of Sisters. As a teenager, Ruiwent to Eastern Germany, where he worked on a power plant and came out as a gay man. When East and WestGermany reunited, all Mozambicans were sent home. Coming back was tough. Jobs were hard to find and Rui moved around a lot. Wherever he moved to he would bring with him his pot of orange flowers. Last time we met he said: ”There are so many feelings in my life. I think a lot about love and the work that I don’t have -and  sickness.” And  I  asked  him  what  he meant  by  sickness.  “You  know,  any  kind  of  sickness…  And  I’m afraid because I’m alone…”

Twenty percent of the Mozambican population are HIV positive. Yet it is still a taboo to talk of the disease.Rui passed away in 2004. He was 32 years old

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Eddie Peake, Transexual, 2011

Eddie Peake, Transexual, 2011

The flesh-coloured walls of the young London-based artist’s room-within-a-room were plastered smooth. In the middle stood a lumpen beige sculpture, There is No Such Thing as an Equivalent (all works 2011): slightly phallic and bulbous – with wonky lumps and bumps, like an ill-formed Barbara Hepworth – its colour mimicked that of the plaster. The space’s corners and walls didn’t correlate with those of the buildings; nothing was quite aligned.

Peake’s room was one with multiple views: alongside the aforementioned bottom was a rainbowed placard that read ‘Eddie Peake Thing’ and a board with a smiley face on it, all part of the work Transsexual. Through one of the three windows opposite you could see a photo of the legs of a man/boy sticking out from beneath a panel painted with orange, blue and pale green squares. Beside this, a large version of the bottom spanned two windows – letting the viewer see more, but perhaps not as much as they would like – accompanied by a pale pink board that cheekily stated ‘P.S’, next to another of a painted palm tree. To the right was his face: eyes turned coyly downwards, he looked as if he was about to flutter his eyelashes, a picture of young, androgynous perfection, standing next to another sign reading ‘Eddie Peake’ (all part of Jungle). Beside this was a doorway leading nowhere, but poking my head around lead me to see the final image of him: here his face and naked upper body were fully exposed. Beside him was a board which read, ‘The Loving Clutches of My Hands’.

The blankness of the beige structure contrasted sharply with the works hung on the existing walls of the gallery outside, creating another world within what would normally be a very ordinary Victorian room, on an upper floor of a terrace in Soho. It felt like a Modernist version of a temple or theatre: tiny in size and minimal in character, but somehow ridiculously monumental as a gesture. The contrast between the interior space and the exterior works was disorientating; the views out of this ‘stage-set’ were onto a hipper, younger and more fractured world. One part without the other part would have been redundant; the exhibition’s success lay in how one world made you view the other.

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Iman Issa


Triptych #6, 2009. Photographs, Text, Dimensions Variable

Issa’s Triptych series (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6) from 2009, is a group of six beautiful wall installations comprised of photography, video objects and texts. They are images of places she collected in New York and restaged; settings that occurred through a personal psychological process in order to reveal personal associations. As Issa says “At one point I realized that what might have attracted me to these spaces was that they reminded me of others…. In trying to be as precise as possible, I realized that the certainty with which I was able to construct and produce these images did not translate to my final photographs, that I no longer recognized my constructions.”

In an attempt to articulate the content of memories and associations, Iman Issa decided to start constructing settings that corresponded to them, settings which she would then photograph. The resulting images ended up constituting the second element in each of these triptychs.

In trying to be as precise as possible, the artist realized that the certainty with which she was able to construct and produce these images did not translate to her final photographs, that she no longer recognized her constructions, nor was she certain of their sources. This brought about the idea to approach these photographs in a removed manner – as if they were found or produced by someone else – and use them as a point of departure for another artwork, one which eventually became what is presented here as the third and final element in each of these triptychs.

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