Refugees walk. Their aim is to reach the destination as soon as possible and when there are no public transportation (or they are not allowed to use any) walking is the only choice. In an endless journey that takes months, or even years, moving is the main need and the only thing that matters. They never stop and when they are forced to, it brings distress and desperation.
Same as in the Bible these people are forced to leave their houses and wander in the desert until they will reach a place where to settle down and start a new life.
They travel the old way, a step after another, in the manner of the ancient human beings.
Their footprints on the ground are traces of a mass migration on invisible routes passing next to our cities and houses. Refugees are often ignored and always moving, they are like traces in the sand that are easily cancelled.
Sicilian born Eugenio Grosso moved to Milan at 18 to study BA Scenography at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, graduating in 2007 with honours. He has first worked as a part-time commercial photographer since 2007 and then as full-time photojournalist since 2009.
Grosso is a regular contributor to Italian publications such as Corriere della Sera, la Repubblica and la Stampa. His work has been featured on international publications like the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Financial Times, the BBC and the Washington Post. He lives and works in London.
John Divola, Theodore Street, 2012, San Fernando Valley, 1973 and Zuma Beach (1978/2006), 1978
“Abandoned houses are one of the few places where you can go and paint anything you want and nobody is going to yell at you” says John Divola.
Los Angeles–based photographer John Divola is perhaps best known for this series of photographs documenting the gradual destruction of an abandoned and oft-vandalized beachfront property at Zuma Beach in Malibu. Without a studio of his own in the 1970s, the artist roamed Los Angeles in search of vacant properties that he could photograph. Using them as his canvas, he sometimes spray-painted his own designs onto their interiors, photographing them before the buildings were destroyed. Reflecting his painterly manipulation of the physical site, Divola’s Zuma photographs skillfully frame spectacular sunset views within these dilapidated structures, making his visually compelling, color-saturated photographs more than just pure documentation.
Divola has taken his camera into a variety of environments over the past four decades. However, it’s the vacant, dilapidated home that have been a constant throughout his career. He has found the structures in the San Fernando Valley and in the shadow of Los Angeles International Airport, along the coast at Zuma and deep into the Inland Empire. The modern ruins provided a studio when Divola couldn’t afford one. Divola could add to a scene that already existed, perhaps with a few strokes of a paintbrush, and then photograph it. They remain a part of his work, even now that he has his own space amidst the business parks and storage units of Riverside. Ultimately, these venues held an intrigue that went beyond practicality.
“It wasn’t a blank canvas,” says Divola. “It was something that already had a sense of place and presence and prior activity.”
It’s the activity that captures Divola’s eye. “If someone kicks a hole in the wall,” he says, “I’m really interested.”
Helga Wretman aims to fill the body and soul of participating artists with endorphins to improve their creativity and self consciousness, whilst providing a platform for international artists to connect with peers in other parts of the world. “We can finally meet in a virtual space and get fit for life together.”
12 artists have been invited to represent their country, themselves as artists and their will to communicate. This will be a performance where no participant is passive.
The class begins gently with an organic warm up of the joints and major muscle groups that prepares your body for more intensive stages. There after we move on to the activate the cardiac functions in your body. That will start with some fun sparring in couples and then we do some classic aerobic and end with an intensive Jump-style tutorial. At this stage we are warm and ready to move on to the muscle training and floor-work without weights, including yoga and various classic body toning and strengthening exercises. To end the class we make a stretching session focusing on both big and small muscle groups.
Helga Wretman (born 1985 in Stockholm) lives and works in Berlin. She completed her training at the Kungliga Svenska Balettskolan in Stockholm for Modern and Contemporary Dance. Helga has also studied dance in London, Berlin and Stockholm.
Wretman has performed in venues such as Peres Projects, Berlin; Darsa Comfort, Zurich, and Kunsthalle Athena, Athens. She has also performed for artists such as Aids- 3D, Jeremy Shaw, Donna Huanca, Peaches, Reynold Reynolds as well as performing in numerous German films as a stuntwoman.
Oliver Laric, Touch My Body, Green Screen Version, 2008 and The Marble Player, From the series Lincoln 3D Scans, 2013
Oliver Laric uses memes, movable type, copies and collective agency to make art that is only partly ‘his.’ Oliver Laric once showed a 16th-century print by Flemish court artist Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder. The etching depicts a scene of iconoclasm, or Beeldenstorm, during the Reformation, when churches and public spaces in northern Europe were systematically purged of religious imagery, often by mobs. Hallucinatory in its detail, the print shows a swarm of figures on a mount pillaging icons, breaking statues, tossing altarpieces into a fire. Birds in the air shit on monks beside bare trees that crown a bald outcropping; broken relics and shattered crucifixes jut out like gravestones from a pit.
Gheeraerts’s work isn’t simply a depiction of image breaking. When viewed from afar, the mass of active figures in the print forms a new, anamorphic image: a grotesque, composite illusion of a monk’s rotting head. An assembly of small bodies forms a sagging mouth (full of drunken townsfolk), and a group of monks ploughs a field that’s also the head’s wrinkled brow; a monkey stands inside an ear, and the figure’s nose is formed by a crucifix about to be toppled between two hollowed-out eye sockets.
I don’t think Laric had ever seen the real Allegory of Iconoclasm (c. 1560–70) – which exists only as a smallish, unique print in the British Museum – when he introduced me to Gheeraerts’s work during a conversation about his own video Versions (2012), the third in his series of that name, in which the monk’s head appears briefly. I write ‘real’, although Laric’s information-driven videos and sculptures confound distinctions between real and fake, even making that effacement their subject. I write ‘own work’, despite Laric’s ongoing concern with the mutability of authorship and ownership. An author is fungible, particularly as enabled by recent forms of collective and participatory labour. Internet memes, popular and children’s films, super-cut YouTube videos, medieval sculptures, outsourced remakes and the ‘participatory’ labour practices of North Korean monuments are all found, re-remixed and translated in Laric’s works. And although I write ‘conversation’, that word only partially accounts for the hopscotching, hyper-medial surge of links, flickering images and n+7 web results that the artist retrieves, combs through and reassembles to display and comment on his own material, as well as that of others. ‘I sometimes Google terms that seem to have nothing to do with each other,’ Laric says. ‘“Mikhail Bakhtin and prosumer” or “Samuel Beckett and Teletubbies”. Usually, there’s an unexpected link.’ In the latter case, it might be Beckett’s Quad (1981), whose four actors could be proto-Teletubbies; in the former, it’s Bakhtin’s dialogic understanding of how production oscillates between collectives and individuals – a dialectical motor Laric puts to work in his collectively-based pieces.
There is no distinction between the material Laric finds and that which he presents as his own. Laric’s exhibition ‘Kopienkritik’ (Copy Critique) at the Skulpturhalle in Basel in 2011 took its cue from the 19th-century methodological approach to philology and ancient sculpture, which viewed (inferior) Roman ‘copies’ in terms of (superior) Greek ‘originals’, reconstructing those lost originals via the bulk typologizing of inferior later copies. Laric cast and grouped that museum’s collection of Greek and Roman plaster casts into typologies, alongside video monitors and heads cast by the artist. ‘Copyright did not exist in ancient times, when authors frequently copied other authors at length in works of nonfiction.’ This declaration does not come from a history of literary influence, but from the GNU Manifesto, written by MIT’s Richard Stallman in 1985 to announce an influential, free software, mass collaboration coding project (and the theoretical backbone to much open-source digital content today). ‘Be promiscuous,’ reads an Open Source Initiative manifesto encouraging coders to distribute their works free of charge. Laric draws on this ethos of collective reworking.
Although you can find it on YouTube, Laric’s Touch My Body: Green Screen Version (2008) is not really a video but rather a participatory game, or dare, that Laric intended to be appropriated and modified. For Touch My Body…, Laric stripped Mariah Carey’s music video for her 2008 song of the same name of all but Carey herself, and replaced it with a green screen, against which any background could be inserted. When Laric posted the piece to YouTube that year, users took the cue and began uploading amateurish, witty remixes using Laric’s template. (Including one with a background of zombie gore taken from Sean of the Dead, 2004). Today, the first result when searching for Laric’s piece on YouTube is not his original video, but an amateur mash-up, of which there are many.
Memes – like fame, lies and capital – accrue value and cachet as they circulate. But they also date and flatten, and while Touch My Body … lacks the complexity of Laric’s later pieces, it demonstrates the atmosphere in which his work arose: the newly ‘social’ internet; the advent of the ‘prosumer’ (‘producer-consumer’ or ‘professional-consumer’) technology that enabled easy editing by 15 year olds; online video-sharing platforms; freely accessible, though commercial, image repositories such as Getty Images and Flickr. On a larger scale, the points of departure for Laric’s works have been incipient shifts in group structures and collective agency (shifts not limited to the internet), the global political atmospheres of what in the mid-2000s began to be called ‘truthiness’: a simultaneous reliance on, and distrust of, circulated images and narratives.
The striking succession of historical images that opens the first of Laric’s essayistic video series ‘Versions’ (2009–12) is as much a comment on political shilly-shallying as an assertion of the masses’ new claim on image production and circulation. The video, which is a trove of examples of the fraught status of reproductions and copies from recent and contemporary material culture, begins with an image (released by Iran’s state media to Agence France-Presse in 2008) of four missiles, which was used to illustrate Iran’s missile tests when it appeared on the pages of the Los Angeles Times and the Financial Times, among many others; following this, Laric inserts a graphic that indicates how that image was clearly manipulated, if not fabricated, using Photoshop (the multiple missiles are effectively copy-and-pasted from within the image). And finally, a series of user-generated spin-offs of the Photoshopped image showing dozens of missiles, their streams in comic curlicues. I can’t think of any better way of exemplifying Jean Baudrillard’s ideas about simulacra and hyperreality in our age of truthiness than this simple slideshow compiled by Laric.
Patrizio Di Massimo, Col Sole in Fronte (With The Sun In Front Of Me), 2010
Col Sole in Fronte (With The Sun In Front Of Me) begins on the ground floor of the gallery with the video Duets for Cannibals. This work was commisioned by Milan City Council and Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation in order to make a portrait of an African boy, Abdullay Kadal Traore, who has been living in Italy for several years. I accepted that request but not standing behind the camera and filming Abdullay as an exotic subject. The video becomes thus a dialogue or a duet in which we reason together about staging my proposal for the commission that he initially accepts and then rejects, revealing the intrinsic limit that we are not disposed to go beyond although we are both paid.
On the first floor, the exhibition continues with a double video installation Faccetta Nera, Faccetta Bianca (Italian, Little Black Face, Little White Face). The drawing that I showed to Abdullay in Duets for Cannibals becomes an image through the use of two actors and a photography study. The video installation examines the problem of difference with a dichotomic and literal attitude, and it gains its real meaning when is combined with the mistaken interpretation in the songs in question. In fact, Faccetta Nera was composed in order to attribute a noble motivation to the Ethiopia’s colonial invasion (1935) encouraging the Italian and the Abyssinian to unite; while Faccetta Bianca was the subsequent request of the regime that didn’t relish the first song. Facceta Bianca attempted to overturn it, however it did not gain a general acceptance among those who still sing Faccetta Nera identifying that “Black” as the ideology colour. Faccetta Nera, Faccetta Bianca:
If you look at the sea from the hills/Young negro slave amongst slaves/Like in a dream you will see many ships/And a tricolour waving for you/Little black face, beautiful Abyssinian/Wait and see the hour coming!/When we will be with you/We will give you another law and another king/Little black face, beautiful Abyssinian/Our law is slavery of love/We will take you to Rome freed/YOU WILL BE KISSED BY OUR SUN/and a black shirt you will be too/Little black face, you will be Roman/Your only flag will be Italian!/We will march together with you/and parade in front of the Duce and the king
Little white face, when I left you/That day on the pier in the steam/With the legionnaires I embarked/And your black eye gazing at the heart/It was equally moved as mine/While your hand was saying goodbye to me/Little white face, my love/Goodbye little, pale, tired face!/Little white face, one goes where one’s already been/in the trench, already on my mind again/among so many misty faces/IS YOUR LITTLE FACE, BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN/Nearly contrasting these black faces/your sharpshooter is a flame and a light/Little white face, my only passion/The day the sharpshooter will clasp you tightly to his chest with emotion/will come/Little white face, one goes where one’s already been/And your little, beautiful, white face/Will rest on a tired medal!
The exhibition pertains to the sun, that is said to be Italy’s petroleum, to our heads and faces, to the intensive dialogue between the Italian contemporary society and its specific colonial past. The Italian song, through its use and quotation, interweaves all the works in the show and expresses historical, cultural and image ties. The exhibition also includes a rich selection of drawings made in 2009.
Col Sole in Fronte is then this press release that explains itself as an artwork within the exhibition. It explains and extends itself all around looking for that place in the sun which is Italy, which should be Italy, but has never been.
Go…my heart, from flower to flower/with sweetness and with love/go you for me…./Go…since my happiness/WITH THE SUN IN FRONT (OF ME)/and happy I sing/blissfully…/I wanna live and enjoy/the air of the mountain/’cause this enchantment/costs nothing!/Ah, ah! Today I ardently love/that impertinent creek, minstrel of love/Ah, ah! The blossoming of the trees/keeps in feast this heart/do you know why?/I wanna live like this/with the sun in front (of me)/and happy I sing/I sing for me!/Ah, ah! Today I ardently love/that impertinent creek, minstrel of love/Ah, ah! The blossoming of the trees/keeps in feast this heart /do you know why?/I wanna live like this/ with the sun in front (of me)/and happy I sing/I sing for me!/
Co-founder of Seventeen Gallery, Hoyland, came to London from Shropshire to study at Chelsea College of Art & Design. “I wanted to be a ground-breaking performance artist.” Instead, in the late 1990s he went to work at Coskun Fine Art in Knightsbridge, run by Gul Coskun: “High heels, short skirts and Warhols. The hardest-working woman I’ve ever met.” Inspired, he opened Seventeen in 2005 with Nick Letchford, who he’d met two years earlier in a Hoxton bar. Specialising in video, the gallery on Kingsland Road represents nine artists, including sculptor Susan Collis and Oliver Laric.
How do you find artists? “I meet them in the pub. Finding artists is easy, finding people you like is harder.”
What kind of work catches your eye? “Detailed work with lots of labour involved. I like artists to bleed for it and to see that problems have been overcome.”
What’s been the highlight so far? “Being a gallerist is self-indulgent; it fulfils your art needs and is emotionally easier than being an artist. You get all the cream without any risk.”
Lauren Greenfield, Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood, 1997, Girl Culture, 2002 and Thin, 2006
Acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield is considered a preeminent chronicler of youth culture, gender, fashion, media, wealth, beauty, and consumer culture as a result of her groundbreaking photographic projects (Girl Culture, Fast Forward, and THIN) and her documentary films (THIN, kids + money, Beauty CULTure, and The Queen of Versailles).
Her photographs have been widely published and exhibited, and are in many museum collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the J. Paul Getty Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the International Center of Photography, the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), the Harvard University Archive, the Smith College Museum of Art, the Clinton Library, and the French Ministry of Culture.
In 2012, she received one of the highest honors in documentary film, the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award, US Documentary 2012 for her documentary film, “The Queen of Versailles”. In 2003, American PHOTO Magazine named her one of the “The 25 Most Important Photographers Now.” In 2005, she shared the number three spot of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” (American Photo Magazine). She is the recipient of numerous photography awards and grants, including the ICP Infinity Award for Young Photographer (1996), the Art Directors Club Gold Cube for Photography (2011), a National Geographic Grant, a Hasselblad Foundation Grant, the People’s Choice Award at the Moscow Biennial, and the NPPA Community Awareness Award.
In 2009, Greenfield was one of eight photographers featured in the inaugural exhibit (L8S ANG3L3S) at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. In 2010, Greenfield’s work was also featured in a major historical exhibition at the Getty Museum entitled Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography since the Sixties (2010). Her THIN and Girl Culture traveling exhibitions, curated by Trudy Wilner Stack, have been seen by half a million people in over thirty venues around the world.
Greenfield’s first feature-length documentary film, THIN, aired on HBO, and is accompanied by a photography book of the same name (Chronicle Books, 2006). In this unflinching and incisive study, Greenfield embarks on an emotional journey through the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Florida, a residential facility dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders. The feature-length documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006 and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Direction in 2007. It won the Grierson Award for best documentary at the London Film Festival, and Grand Jury Prizes at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, the Newport International Film Festival, and the Jackson Hole Film Festival. The project was featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, and CNN and was excerpted in People Magazine. Greenfield’s followed-up documentary short film, entitled kids + money, was selected for the Sundance Film Festival 2008, won the Audience Award at the AFI Film Festival, the Hugo Gold Plaque at the Chicago International Television Awards, the Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary, the Cinema Eye Honor for Nonfiction Filmmaking, and broadcast on HBO in 2008. The film is a conversation with young people from diverse Los Angeles communities about the role of money in their lives. Her third documentary short, Beauty CULTure, was commissioned by The Annenberg Space for Photography in 2011, and became the central installation for a record-setting exhibition in Los Angeles (also entitled Beauty CULTure). Shot in Paris, New York and Los Angeles, this film is a critical examination of “…beauty in popular culture, the narrowing definition of beauty in contemporary society, and the influence of media messages on the female body image”. The short was selected to premiere in the Tribeca Film Festival’s Shorts Program in 2012.
In January 2012, Lauren Greenfield received the Sundance Film Festival’s Directing Award, US Documentary 2012 for her documentary feature film, The Queen of Versailles, which was released theatrically in 2012 (Magnolia Pictures), and will broadcast on Bravo in 2013. The film went on to become on of the top-grossing documentary films in 2012, received numerous awards, nominations, and “Best of 2012” accolades, including the Grand Jury Prize from the Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFFDOCS), a Best Director Award from the RiverRun Film Festival, a Special Jury Documentary Feature prize from the deadCenter Film Festival, and a prestigious nomination for Best Documentary Film, 2012 by the International Documentary Association (IDA). In 2013, Greenfield was one on only five directors nominated by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries for the year 2012. According to PBS/POV, The Queen of Versailles was ranked #2 of the Top 10 Documentaries of 2012, based on awards, nominations, peer recommendations, and other ranking criteria.
Greenfield graduated from Harvard in 1987 and started her career as an intern for the National Geographic Magazine. She lectures on her photography, youth culture, popular culture, and body image at museums and universities around the world.
Arnar Asgeirsson, Intersection #2, and Intersection, digital print, 50 x 65 cm, 2014
Arnar Ásgeirsson practice involves video works, animations, drawings, installations and sculptures with performative aspects deal with the queston of creative ownership, originality, the relation between high- and low art, reproduction and the differences between creating and copying.
Inserting objects as characters into new scenarios, creating the possibility of narratives to emerge. Believing that appropriated objects and re-produced items become works of art and shed light on their own history and their prior, current and future surroundings.
Wojciech Kosma, In the beginning was the word, Rehearsal II, 2011 and The—family Part 1: Pieta, 2013
It’s not often that we get to spy on each other’s private relationships. Reading a Facebook wall is no substitute for watching a couple alone in bed. Is it even possible for intimacy to be glimpsed from the outside – or does it become something else just by virtue of being watched? If we could witness the inner workings of others’ relationships, how would it change the way we think about our own? Over the past two years, the artist Wojciech Kosma has established a framework for performance art that maximizes the act of self-exposure, asking whether it is precisely through the act of public performance that the most ‘authentic’ relationships can develop.
Kosma is a Polish artist based in Berlin. His artistic history is varied – he has a background in computer science and music composition – but since around 2011, he’s become devoted to an increasingly unified pursuit, dubbed The—family, in which he creates performances using live actors. To the naked eye, each performance looks like a pair of close friends or lovers have landed in a room without instructions and been left to their own devices. Kosma’s influence is remote, his role distilled to the creator of conditions within which action can develop – a kind of John Cassavetes without a camera.
The most recent iteration of The—family series of performances, Pieta, occurred in January 2013 at LEAP overlooking Alexanderplatz in Berlin. For two consecutive nights, viewers were given a window into the relationship between Brian Doose, a 24-year-old American and Ingrid Sattes, a 51-year-old German. Sattes and Doose circled each other on a mat in the middle of the room: joking, fighting, fondling, singing, arguing and kissing.
Seemingly without self-censorship, Sattes gave a tearful account of a recent meeting with her ex-Nazi father, confessed age anxiety and body issues and sought reassurance and comfort from her partner – who at varying moments either gave or withheld affection. As power dynamics emerge between various actors in Kosma’s pieces, they become archetypes for relationship typologies we’ve all experienced in some form or another. Perhaps one falls into preconditioned patterns when on stage. Or perhaps we are all performing received notions of intimacy even when alone together.
Kosma orchestrates The—family relationships within a prescribed space. The people he selects rehearse regularly and rigorously in a defined area where he is always present but which is generally open to visitors. During this process the performers’ relationships begin to leak out into non-performance time; they meet the rest of the group and go out together – re-situating their relationships into the ‘regular’ arena of social performance. The difference is that those of us who have seen them perform have seen them at their most vulnerable moments – we know them, obliquely, in the way we are only used to knowing a best friend or a lover.
Far beyond the range of ‘performance as performance’, Kosma’s work elucidates the permeable membranes of artistic production and social space. Over time he is establishing a form of community between both realms. The—family is not a direct product of the art world but an outlet from its sphere within the scope of its influence.
Pennacchio Argentato, Survival Upgrade, 2013 and Dude where is my career?, 2009
In May 2013, footage emerged in the media of a man waving a bloodied meat cleaver in the air whilst reciting the mantra to the camera: ‘You [people] will never be safe’. The phrase formed part of a political message delivered in the style of a home video to the British public by the man who, along with one other, had hacked a British soldier to death on the streets of Woolwich just moments before. The footage was threatening, macabre and darkly arresting; its rapid dissemination on the Internet pointed to a grim, voyeuristic fascination with the brutal crime and its motivations.
It is this interaction of human events with the complex machinations of technology that appears to fascinate collaborators Pasquale Pennacchio and Marisa Argentato. The two artists wrenched the phrase ‘you will never be safe’ from this context as part of their exhibition ‘Survival Upgrade’ and hung it in the centre of Van Horbourg, a non-profit curator’s collective operating within a temporary art space in Zurich run by founders and co-directors Sandra Oehy and Roger Meier. Far from the original setting of the crime, the sinister words were objectified by the artists, who frequently use the technologies of fabrication and projection to attempt to engage with the hypnotic and transformative powers of technology.
Pennacchio Argentato cut the words out of Perspex with a light-transmitting film on one face. Behind this, a projector was set up at a distance to transmit swirling fractal images through the Perspex and onto the front surface of the text. The overall effect was that of gaudy kitsch, visually arresting when you first enter the space and face the text, but less convincing as you move around and to the rear of it. This was largely due to the material itself, which is flat and flimsy, slightly undermining its own apparent status as the centrepiece of the exhibition. The flatness of the material did however have one curiously confounding effect, which was to negate the very depth of the images projected onto it. By turning the freestanding words into a screen upon which the abstract receding fractals were projected, the artists managed to debunk any conventional optical illusion of depth commonly associated with filmic projection, or indeed with any projection onto the solid wall of a gallery, because in this case the audience could walk behind the ‘screen’. The projection, in other words, was revealed for the ruse it really is, while at the same time the words lost their meaning in deference to the hypnotic optical effects they have become a latent surface for.
In past exhibitions, notably ‘Five o’clock shadows’ at T293 Gallery, Rome in 2010 and the group show ‘Where Language Stops’ at Wilkinson Gallery in London in 2011, Pennacchio Argentato have exhibited immense planar forms cast from concrete, wood and fibreglass that slide, fold, slither or droop lazily across the floors and walls of galleries. But in the second part of ‘Survival Upgrade’, the artists’ almost comically anthropomorphic sculptures were reinterpreted as prosthetic human limbs cast out of Carbon-Kevlar, a material favoured by the US army for the manufacture of soldiers’ combat helmets and other protective gear. This is a new material for the artists, who have previously worked with cast concrete and Perspex, yet the experiment seems successful. The Carbon-Kevlar appears both sleekly organic and awkwardly mechanistic, able to mould itself symbiotically with the human body whilst retaining the appearance of a hard, shiny shell, cast off like the plasticized robotic detritus of some future world in which the technological extension of the body has already outlived its usefulness. These apparatuses occupied the periphery of the space in which the text formed the centrepiece, yet they were by no means secondary to it. Flung to the edges of the white room by some centrifugal force, either adhering to the walls or scattered about the floor for the viewer to pick his or her path between, the prosthetic limbs were rendered as junk, as the bodies they were made for have evolved – or mutated.
There is allegedly no such thing as coincidence, so presumably there’s some meaning to the fact that Phoebe Philo was showing her new Céline collection on International Women’s Day, even though she conceded that she was very conscious of walking a line between the responsibility that has been bestowed upon her as the Designer Who Knows What Women Want and the borderline irresponsibility of pleasing herself. A challenging balancing act, for sure, except that in addressing her own wants and needs, Philo managed to find a new space for Céline.
“The best part of this job is finding out more about myself,” she said after the show. “It gets deeper and deeper into the roots.” And where those roots went deep today was into a new sense of playfulness. Big, fluffy pom-poms? Otters and foxes and deer as literal animal prints? Duvet coats? All that and more showed a new side of Céline. “Dressed-up-ness,” Philo called it. “I was never in the headspace to approach it before. I find glamour and sexuality awkward. When do they feel authentic? What’s real, what’s not?” Big questions. And Philo addressed them with a collection that, by her own admission, was a little Latin American. “The blood is hotter,” she said. “The approach is more dramatic.”
That was certainly helped by Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso crooning ardently on the soundtrack, and a set that had the flavor of a villa in Rio, with wood-grain pillars and terra-cotta tiles. They cracked as the models walked on them. Why was that erotic? And that was before knits that defined the body, and coats that were fervently trimmed in fox, and shoes whose heels were bejeweled, and a surreal Madonna nod with a knit bustier. And holsters! “There was almost too much going on,” Philo conceded. “That’s why there were other times when it was more gritty, more Northern soul, less passionate.”
Maybe by “less passionate” she meant plain knit dresses worn with high-tops (“Keeping everyone grounded,” she said) but they were a respite in a collection that otherwise shunted boldly into graphic new territory. This wasn’t the first collection this season that has exalted the artisanal work of the hand, but here it had a particularly striking naïveté: boiled-wool pieces with embroidery smashed up, broken down, as well as trims of fur and feather. Those animal prints were hand-drawings based on the illustrations in children’s books. Then there was the fox fur. “Loaded, vulgar, intense,” said Philo. “I’m trying to propose that we women go for it.”
How many times has it been said that design is autobiography? This collection was a testament to that truth: a freer Philo, a Philo in search of fun. Yes, the duvet coats spoke of the protection that was an early Céline signature, but here the sleeves buttoned off and some of them were peeled back, suggesting imminent breakout.
View from the Mars Hand Lens Imager camera on the arm of NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover and Curiosity Self-Portrait at Mojave Site on Mount Sharp, Mars, 2015
A team using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover has made the first detection of nitrogen on the surface of Mars from release during heating of Martian sediments. The nitrogen was detected in the form of nitric oxide, and could be released from the breakdown of nitrates during heating. Nitrates are a class of molecules that contain nitrogen in a form that can be used by living organisms. The discovery adds to the evidence that ancient Mars was habitable for life.
Nitrogen is essential for all known forms of life, since it is used in the building blocks of larger molecules like DNA and RNA, which encode the genetic instructions for life, and proteins, which are used to build structures like hair and nails, and to speed up or regulate chemical reactions.
However, on Earth and Mars, atmospheric nitrogen is locked up as nitrogen gas (N2) – two atoms of nitrogen bound together so strongly that they do not react easily with other molecules. The nitrogen atoms have to be separated or “fixed” so they can participate in the chemical reactions needed for life. On Earth, certain organisms are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen and this process is critical for metabolic activity. However, smaller amounts of nitrogen are also fixed by energetic events like lightning strikes.
Features resembling dry riverbeds and the discovery of minerals that only form in the presence of liquid water suggest that Mars was more hospitable in the remote past. The Curiosity team has found evidence that other ingredients needed for life, such as liquid water and organic matter, were present on Mars at the Curiosity site in Gale Crater billions of years ago.
“Finding a biochemically accessible form of nitrogen is more support for the ancient Martian environment at Gale Crater being habitable,” said Jennifer Stern of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Stern is lead author of a paper on this research published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science March 23.
“Scientists have long thought that nitrates would be produced on Mars from the energy released in meteorite impacts, and the amounts we found agree well with estimates from this process,” said Stern.
The team found evidence for nitrates in scooped samples of windblown sand and dust at the “Rocknest” site, and in samples drilled from mudstone at the “John Klein” and “Cumberland” drill sites in Yellowknife Bay. Since the Rocknest sample is a combination of dust blown in from distant regions on Mars and more locally sourced materials, the nitrates are likely to be widespread across Mars, according to Stern.
Chris Steele-Perkins, Virtual reality display by Subaru, Japan, 1999, Street Children in Luanda, Angola, 1999, Taliban fighters move against Masood’s forces, Afghanistan, 1996 and Trying out artificial limbs at ICRC clinic in Kabul, Afghanistan, 1994
Christopher Horace Steele-Perkins (born 28 July 1947) is a British photographer and member of Magnum Photos, best known for his depiction of Africa, Afghanistan, England, and Japan.
Steele-Perkins photographed wars and disasters in the third world, leaving Viva in 1979 to join Magnum Photos as a nominee (on encouragement by Josef Koudelka), and becoming an associate member in 1981 and a full member in 1983. He continued to work in Britain, taking photographs published as The Pleasure Principle, an examination (in colour) of life in Britain but also a reflection of himself. With Philip Marlow, he successfully pushed for the opening of a London office for Magnum; the proposal was approved in 1986. Steele-Perkins served as the President of Magnum from 1995 to 1998.
Steele-Perkins made four trips to Afghanistan in the 1990s, sometimes staying with the Taliban, the majority of whom “were just ordinary guys” who treated him courteously. Together with James Nachtwey and others, he was also fired on, prompting him to reconsider his priorities: in addition to the danger of the front line:
“you never get good pictures out of it. I’ve yet to see a decent front-line war picture. All the strong stuff is a bit further back, where the emotions are.”
A book of his black and white images, Afghanistan, was published first in French, and later in English and in Japanese. The review by Philip Hensher in the Spectator read in part:
“These astonishingly beautiful photographs are more moving than can be described; they hardly ever dwell on physical brutalities, but on the bleak rubble and desert of the country, punctuated by inexplicable moments of formal beauty, even pastoral bliss… the grandeur of the images comes from Steele-Perkins never neglecting the human, the individual face in the great crowd of history.”
Work in South Korea included a contribution to a Hayward Gallery touring exhibition of photographs of contemporary slavery, “Documenting Disposable People”, in which Steele-Perkins interviewed and made black-and-white photographs of Korean “comfort women”.“Their eyes were really important to me: I wanted them to look at you, and for you to look at them”, he wrote. “They’re not going to be around that much longer, and it was important to give this show a history.” The photographs were published within Documenting Disposable People: Contemporary Global Slavery.
Hauser & Wirth is a gallery of contemporary art and modern masters, with locations in Zurich, London, New York, Somerset and Los Angeles.
Hauser & Wirth was founded in Zurich in 1992 by Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser. In 1996, the gallery’s first permanent location, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, opened in the former Löwenbräu brewery building, along with other contemporary art galleries, the Kunsthalle Zürich, and the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich.
Hauser & Wirth opened its first London gallery on Piccadilly in 2003 with an installation by Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy and, in 2010, the gallery opened a second permanent space on London’s Savile Row.
In 2006, Hauser & Wirth opened a new space at the historic premises of 15 Old Bond Street, shared with the UK’s leading old master dealer, Colnaghi. The gallery hosted two to three twentieth century and contemporary shows each year, including exhibitions of works by Louise Bourgeois, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Subodh Gupta, Henry Moore and Francis Picabia, before the space closed in 2010. Hauser & Wirth also opened an enormous temporary project space in London’s East End in 2005. Hauser & Wirth Coppermill showed exhibitions by Martin Kippenberger and Dieter and Björn Roth, Christoph Büchel and Martin Creed before it closed in July 2007.
In September 2009, the gallery inaugurated its outdoor sculpture programme in Southwood Garden, St James’s Church, London, with an exhibition by Swiss artist Josephsohn. Also in September, Hauser & Wirth opened a New York gallery in the Upper East Side of Manhattan with ‘Allan Kaprow: Yard’, an Environment first made in 1961 by Allan Kaprow, the American artist known as the inventor of ‘Happenings.’
In October 2010, Hauser & Wirth London opened their new gallery, designed by Selldorf Architects, at 23 Savile Row with the exhibition, ‘Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works’. In December 2013, Hauser & Wirth closed their Piccadilly gallery permanently.
In 2013, Hauser & Wirth opened their second New York gallery at 511 West 18th Street, in what used to be the Roxy. Located on the second level of a Chelsea garage, the gallery draws visitors up a long, sweeping stairway before revealing the 10,000 square feet exhibition space. Several artists contributed to the project including Björn Roth, who designed the gallery’s Roth Bar as a tribute to his father Dieter Roth; and Martin Creed, who created a custom installation for the entrance stair hall.
In July 2014, Hauser & Wirth Somerset opened on the outskirts of Bruton in Somerset. Hauser & Wirth Somerset is a gallery and arts centre focused on a core belief in conservation, education and sustainability, and is designed around several renovated Grade II-listed historical buildings as well as two new purpose built galleries on the site of Durslade Farm. Accompanied by an extensive education programme and regular artists-in-residence, the gallery aims to share contemporary art with new audiences and to engage the public with art, the countryside and the local community. In September 2014, a landscaped garden designed for the gallery by internationally renowned landscape architect Piet Oudolf was launched, including a perennial meadow that sits behind the gallery buildings.
That’s how Jamie Bartlett, author of The Dark Net, sums up the constantly evolving battle in cyberspace between terrorists and the intelligence agencies trying to discover their hidden communications.
“The unbelievable growth in widely available (encryption) software will make their job much harder,” he said. “What it will mean is a shift away from large-scale traffic network analysis to almost old-fashioned intelligence work to infiltrate groups – more and people on the ground as opposed to someone on a computer in Cheltenham.”
In the Second World War there was Enigma, the German cipher machine eventually decoded by Britain. There was also steganography, the art of shrinking and concealing information inside objects such as microdots, usually only detectable by those who knew exactly where to look.
In Cold War days spies sat next to each other on park benches or left secret messages to be picked up later in “dead letter drops” behind objects such as flowerpots or in crevices in walls.
In the 1990s extremist groups used satellite phones and faxes to communicate, with paper messages from Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan churning out of a fax machine operated in North London by his UK representative. Already that sounds almost prehistoric.
For close to two decades now the internet has been the river through which most terrorist communications flow, hiding amongst the legitimate, the ordinary, the innocuous or the just conventionally criminal.
The dark web sounds sinister and it certainly does hide a multitude of very dark dealings. But the sheer volume of ordinary people now using it as a matter of course have inevitably pulled it closer into the mainstream of digital communications.
The more people who use it, the easier, in theory, it will be for terrorists to hide their own messages amongst its terabytes of data. But the dark web does have benign uses and while it presents a growing challenge to counter-terrorism authorities this is a phenomenon that is unlikely to disappear anytime soon.
Viviane Sassen: Pikin Slee, 3 February 2015 – 12 April 2015
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
The content of the exhibition focuses predominantly on a body of work that Sassen made in Pikin Slee, Suriname in 2013. Pikin Slee is the second-largest village on the Upper Suriname River, deep within the Surinamese rainforest. The exhibition consists of black and white and colour works shot on an analogue camera.
In her first visit to Pikin Slee in the summer of 2012, Sassen was intrigued by the village and its inhabitants. Her eye was caught by the overwhelming natural beauty and the Saramacca’s very traditional way of living, combined with the more mundane objects which seemed to seep through daily life. The Saramacca community are isolated from the outside world, living without running water, electricity, roads or the internet. The only way to access the village is by canoe, a journey of about three hours up-river. They grow their food on small agricultural plots, producing cassava bread, pressed maripa palm oil and dried coconut.
Shot mainly in black and white and of contained format, Sassen’s series of abstract compositions and elusive subjects are an exploration of the beauty of the everyday, an investigation of the sculptural qualities of the ordinary.
“My memories of Africa have always played a major role in my life and in my work. I guess that’s because they filled my very first consciousness. It’s in my spine, my blue-print so to speak… When I returned back from Kenya, all I knew was my life there, so Holland seemed very strange and new to me… Now that I’ve travelled so much in Africa over the past 12 years, my ideas about the continent and about myself in relation to it, have changed of course. But it’s a continuous journey, both in the inside world and the outside world. My work is a reflection of that journey.”
Sassen was born in 1972 in Amsterdam, where she now lives. She first studied fashion design, followed by photography at the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) and Ateliers Arnhem. Her work was first published in avant-garde fashion magazines and is regularly commissioned by prominent designers. Sassen was included in the main exhibition of the 55th Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace, in 2013. A retrospective of 17 years of her fashion work, In and Out of Fashion, opened at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam, in 2012, accompanied by a book published by Prestel (Munich); the exhibition travelled to the Rencontres d’Arles festival and then the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh. The book won the Kees Scherer prize for best Dutch photography book of 2011/2.
She was awarded the Dutch art prize, the Prix de Rome, in 2007, and in 2011 won the International Center of Photography in New York’s Infinity Award for Applied/Fashion/Advertising Photography. She was one of six artists selected for the 2011 New Photography exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Solo exhibitions have taken place at FORMA in Milan (2009) and FOAM in Amsterdam (2008), among other venues.
Gagosian Gallery is a contemporary art gallery owned and directed by Larry Gagosian. There are eleven gallery spaces: three in New York; two in London; one in each of Beverly Hills, Rome, Athens, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong.
Gagosian Gallery began in 1979 in Los Angeles. In 1985, the business moved from Los Angeles to New York. In 1986, Gagosian opened a second space on West 23rd Street in Manhattan. The Gagosian Gallery program made exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as presenting works of Modern art.
In the 1980s, the Los Angeles gallery showed the work of young contemporary artists such as Eric Fischl, Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Salle, as the New York City space mounted exhibitions dedicated to the history of The New York School, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art by showing the earlier work of Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Willem de Kooning.
In 1989, a new and more spacious gallery opened in New York City at 980 Madison Avenue with the inaugural exhibition: “The Maps of Jasper Johns.” During its first two years, the Madison Avenue space, once used by Sotheby’s, presented work by Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly and Jackson Pollock. Shortly after, artists such as Walter de Maria, Philip Taaffe, Francesco Clemente, and Peter Halley joined the gallery.
In spring of 2000, Gagosian became an international gallery with the opening of a Caruso St John-designed space on Heddon Street in Picadilly, London, then the largest commercial art gallery in the city. The U.K. gallery inaugurated its exhibitions program with a performance by the Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft, followed by an exhibition of works by Chris Burden. In September 2000, in New York, Gagosian held the Hirst show, Damien Hirst: Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings.
A second London Gallery, also designed by Caruso St John, on Britannia Street, opened in May 2004 with a paintings and sculpture show by Cy Twombly. Comparable to the Chelsea exhibition space in size, this addition was then the largest commercial art gallery in London. It accommodated large sculpture, video pieces and installations such as Martin Kippenberger’s show, The Magical Misery Tour, Brazil. The Heddon Street location closed in July 2005, and a new storefront space on Davies Street opened simultaneously with an historic exhibition of Pablo Picasso prints.
In 2010, Gagosian opened its Paris gallery at 4, rue de Ponthieu, where it debuted with an exhibition of five new acrylic abstracts and five bronze sculptures by Cy Twombly. Priced between $4 million and $5 million each, all the paintings sold before the gallery officially opened. Located off Rue du Rhône in Geneva’s business district, a 140-square-metre Art Deco space was opened as the gallery’s Swiss outpost later that year.
In early 2011, the gallery, which has had a representative in Hong Kong since 2008, opened a 5,200-square-foot (480 m2) facility at the Pedder Building there. The outpost was inaugurated with an exhibition by Damien Hirst. That year, a survey of dealers in The Wall Street Journal estimated that Gagosian Gallery’s annual sales approached $1 billion. In May 2011 alone, roughly half the works for sale by the major auction houses in New York (evening sales only) were by artists on the gallery’s roster.
In October 2012, Gagosian Gallery opened a new gallery outside of Paris in Le Bourget. Designed by architect Jean Nouvel, the 17,760-square-foot (1,650 m2) space is the 12th Gagosian location worldwide.
Mark Leckey, From the Exhibition, See We Assemble, 2013
Mark Leckeyis a British artist, working with collage art, music and video. His found art and found footage pieces span several videos, most notably Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999) and Industrial Lights and Magic (2008), for which he won the 2008 Turner Prize.
Through a multi-disciplinary practice that encompasses sculpture, sound, film, and performance, British artist Mark Leckey explores the potential of the human imagination to appropriate and to animate a concept, an object, or an environment. Drawing on his personal experiences as a London-based artist, who spent his formative years in the north of England, Leckey returns frequently to ideas of personal history, desire and transformation in his work.
Leckey was born in Birkenhead, near Liverpool, in 1964. In a 2008 interview in The Guardian, he described how he grew up in a working-class family and became a ‘casual’ in his youth. He left school at 16 with one O Level, in art, and at 19 became obsessed with learning about ancient civilizations. In the Guardian interview he described himself as an autodidact, “That’s why I use bigger words than I should. It’s a classic sign.” Following a conversation with his stepfather he took his A Levels and went to an art college in Newcastle, but didn’t enjoy it: “It was the early 1990s, when critical theory had swept the nation. The place was full of hippies from down south who were reading Mervyn Peake and Tolkien, and suddenly they were made to read Barthes and Derrida. It was like a Maoist year zero. I became very suspicious of the merits of critical theory…”
Mark Leckey’s video work has as its subject the “tawdry but somehow romantic elegance of certain aspects of British culture.”He likes the idea of letting “culture use you as an instrument.” but adds that the pretentiousness that artists sometimes fall into is destructive to the artistic process: “What gets in the way is being too clever, or worrying about how something is going to function, or where it’s going to be. When you start thinking of something as art, you’re fucked: you’re never going to advance.” Matthew Higgs has described his work as “possess[ing] a strange nonartlike quality, operating, as it does, on the knife’s edge where art and life meet”.
On Pleasure Bent is a body of work in which Leckey attempts to form a kaleidoscopic memoir, assembling his past from the imagery that he believes conditioned him. The exhibition will include all new works, several being exhibited publicly for the first time. Objects will include LED screens featuring looped animations, animated screens made up of highly-magnified computer screens silk screened with images, as well as cinema lobby style ’standees’ and a trailer for a new video.
Pierre Huyghe, In Border Deep, 2014. and The Host and The Cloud, 2010
Pierre Huyghe (born 11 September 1962) is a French artist who works in a variety of media from films and sculptures to public interventions and living systems.
Describing his work can often be an exercise in frustration, bringing to mind the poet John Ashbery’s observation about Roussel, an important influence on Mr. Huyghe: that trying to summarize Roussel’s “mad wealth of particulars” was like trying to “summarize the Manhattan phone book”.
Pierre Huyghe has long loved “Locus Solus,” Raymond Roussel’s 1914 novel about an inventor who invites friends to a secluded estate to show off his creations, one of which is a tank filled with cadavers that re-enact the most important moments of their former lives, animated by a miraculous substance called resurrectine.
Huyghe has been working with time-based situations and has explored the exhibition process from the 90’s. His works imply such diverse forms as living systems, objects, films, photographs, drawings and music. In recent years, he has created self-generating systems, including living entities and artifacts, in which emergence and rhythm are indeterminate and exist beyond our presence. Taking the exhibition and its ritual as an object in itself, Pierre Huyghe has worked to change the paradigm of this encounter, exploring the possibility of this dynamic experience.
He has had numerous international solo exhibitions at such venues as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2014); the Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2014); the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013-2014); the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, Mexico (2012); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain and the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2010); Tate Modern, London, England (2006); Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2005); Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin (2004); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and DIA Center for the Arts, New York (2003); the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2001); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2000); and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1998).
He has also participated in a number of international art shows, including documenta XI (2002), XIII (2012); the Istanbul Biennial (1999); the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1999); Manifesta 2, Luxembourg (1998); the 2nd Johannesburg Biennial (1997); and the Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon (1995).
Ari Benjamin Meyers, Songbook, Installation view, 2013
Ari Benjamin Meyers artist, born 1972 in New York, is an American composer and conductor working in the experimental, electronic, new music scene in Germany. He is also active in the field of contemporary art.
While primarily known for his work with the ground breaking dance club-orchestral mash-up, Redux Orchestra, he has also worked with many other artists most notably Einstürzende Neubauten and Anri Sala. Other collaborators include Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Anri Sala, Tino Sehgal, La Fura dels Baus, The Residents, raumlabor.berlin, Ricardo Villalobos, Staatsoper Dresden, Staatskapelle Berlin, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York, Morton Subotnick and The Orb.
Meyers’ catalog includes operas, music for plays, dance, and film as well as music for diverse chamber ensembles. As evidenced by his arrangements for the live performancesRedux Orchestra versus Einstürzende Neubauten, Meyers’ work often takes the form of productive sabotages: he constructs and deconstructs musical situations and deliberately plays on the expectations of a given audience. Although personally distancing himself from the term “Crossover”, his work is often discussed within that context.