Friday, October 29, 2010

Last Weekend of Syncopation

Some pics from the opening of my show which is up til Sunday.

Syncopation © Laura Gianetti

Syncopation © Laura Gianetti

Syncopation © Laura Gianetti

Syncopation © Laura Gianetti

Syncopation © Laura Gianetti

Syncopation © Laura Gianetti

Syncopation © Laura Gianetti

Its hard to get a feel for the whole show (or the lots of people there) but here are some glimpses from the top:
Levack and Lewandoski (left), Mark Titchner (right); Cory Arcangel and Frankie Martinl Oliver Laric; Jayson Scott Musson; Ajit Chauhan; Matt Stokes; Jen Lewandowski in front of the Jeremy Shaw

Monday, October 25, 2010

Set Me Free

I'm sad I'm not in NYC to see Free at the New Museum. I really want to see the full installation of Aleksandra Domanovic's 1930 project. Thankfully the New Museum has created a website as a catalogue so I can get a good dose of content from the (dis)comfort of my favourite cafe in Berlin.
The show looks completely on my conceptual wavelength. I'll be expanding on my art-internet obsession for the next six months for the upcoming show at MU - and sort of extension of the show and tell talk I did to coincide with Mark Titchner's GSK Acid Test eventa couple of years back. In the spirit of free here are some images screenshot from the Free website. In order from the top Trevor Paglan, Alexandre Singh (who's in my next book out in April), Andrea Longacre-White, Lisa Oppenheim and Harm van den Dorpel.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Syncopated Melodies

The opening of SYCNCOPATION at Grimmuseum in Berlin was so great last night - I'm immensely happy with how it turned out. The show runs until October 31 but there are some online hints and interviews here and there for those not in Germania to get a feel of the show.

Dazed Digital did an interview with Levack and Lewandowski

It got a little mention at my other alma mater Twin..

And Whitehot magazine did a rather personal interview with me about the basis of the show with a good selection of images.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Syncopation open Oct 21, Grimmuseum Berlin

My exhibition in Berlin opens on Thursday - I'm doing a singing performance at 9pm. Jeremy Shaw (who's also in the show) is DJing at the after party. Honoured by the artists who agreed to be in the show.

Curated by Francesca Gavin
Group exhibition with Cory Arcangel and Frankie Martin, Oliver Laric, Paolo Chiasera and DJ Shablo, Ajit Chauhan, Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski, Jayson Scott Musson, Jeremy Shaw, Matt Stokes and Mark Titchner

Fichte Strasse 2 10967 Berlin
21-31 October 2010
Open daily 14-19h

Private view Thursday 21 October 19h
Performance by Francesca Gavin 21h

Bierhaus Urban from 23h
Urban Str 126 corner Graefe str
Djs Jeremy Shaw, Francesca Gavin

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ciao China

Back from Shanghai. The expo is really odd. Someone called them 'architectural press releases' - buildings representing each country often not filled with much apart from tourist propoganda. The site was SO large. People would queue 4 to 6 hours to get into a single space.... I only really saw North Korea. Which had a fountain with multi coloured neon lights and naked cupids doing acrobatics. And they sold 'Kim Jong Il - The collected works'. Their space was situated next to Iran at the expo - a match made in heaven.

I went on the tube a rush hour and 400 people all moved with me like ants to change lines. It makes you feel very drone like. You rethink personal space. Not a lot of individualism here. Its also quite dirty, and um fragrant... with beacons of capitalistic consumption like a faux Tokyo. Found some old buildings here and there which I searched for, though large swathes of the city had been knocked down for progress. Which means less people were using the gutter and pavement as an extension of their kitchen surfaces..

Best bit was I read JG Ballard's autobiography there - which touches on his Empire of the Sun, 30s Shanghai days. I am growing increasingly obsessed by him...

Monday, October 04, 2010

Shanghai Expo

So I'm on my way to Shanghai afternoon tomorrow do chair a panel discussion on art and the city for UN-HABITAT at the Shanghai Expo. It takes place on Saturday October 9 at 3pm for a couple of hours... Frantically preparing... if only my printer wasnt playing up on me....

Teeny Tiny Art

In recent years I've banged on that big art is dead (and dead dull). That over the top giant canvas thing feels really dated and overblown and all about the money. How 2007. Edward Lucie-Smith is curating a show at Charlie Smith that is all about small art. He's written a surprisingly good text for the press release about the idea (though I'm not sure I'm going to like the small artists he's showing, but no one's perfect).

Polemically Small Curated by Edward Lucie-Smith
Oct 8-30 @ Charlie Smith London

"What’s the polemic? Why small? This exhibition, of small, sometimes very small, works of contemporary art is essentially a rant about the outmoded rhetoric of size that is still embraced by what likes to call itself the avant-garde. New cutting-edge artists have been painting small now for some time. It’s happening here in London; it’s happening in Germany, still the real centre for avant-garde activity in Europe; it is happening among a certain number of Italian artists. It may be happening elsewhere as well. The interest in small-scale art is inevitably starting to spread to other genres – sculpture, photography and video.

Huge art, in Modernist terms, was essentially an invention of America in the 1940s. Very big Abstract Expressionist paintings were the “barbaric yawp” (to quote Walt Whitman) that proclaimed the new cultural dominance of the United States. Before that the important Modernist painters had only occasionally painted on a very big scale, to suit a special occasion. Picasso’s Guernica is a good example.

Big abstract paintings made themselves at home in the lofts of South-of-Houston-Street New York, then being colonized by artists. These originally industrial spaces seemed to offer plenty of wall. Love it, live with it, if necessary trash it. New art, though big, was still cheap. Later, with the multiplication of new museums in America and elsewhere, big paintings seemed to have a logical purpose. Admiring critics wrote pieces about the way in which these overweening canvases offered a new experience in wraparound vision. Inevitably, however, the space available soon started to run out. How many Pollocks, de Koonings and Rothkos does it take to fill a vast gallery space to the point of bursting? Too many painters were producing big canvases, with the result that a lot of contemporary art, even art safely in the possession of museums, now spends most of its time in store. Where ambitious private collectors are concerned, we have become used to the term ‘warehouse art’. The proud possessors are known to own it. It’s also known that they don’t live with most of it. In a real sense, art that isn’t being looked at doesn’t exist. Warehouse art is non-art. An awful lot of ambitious but misguided artists are still producing it.

If we look at the art of the past, art earlier than Modernism, we find a mixture of big art and small art. The big art was almost invariably produced for absolutely specific purposes – never on spec. It adorned churches and palaces. It offered a focal point to a public square. Small scale art was sometimes produced without a patron in mind, simply for the market, as most art is produced today. Many of the great masterpieces of the past are disconcertingly small. Portraits by Van Eyck and Memling. Religious paintings by Antonello da Messina. Some, though not all, of Rembrandt’s self-portraits. Samuel Palmer’s landscapes of the Shoreham period. Even the Mona Lisa. They need to be looked at in a different way from wraparound art – slower, more contemplative – dare one say it? – more loving.

Today many young artists are forced, through economic necessity, to work in very small spaces. Collectors, even when prosperous, don’t have unlimited wall space. How many wraparound canvases can you house in a two-bedroom flat? There is an obvious disjuncture between what is being made and its supposed destination. An art market that produces solely for museums and warehouses surely isn’t in a healthy condition.

This exhibition is meant to do two rather ambitious things within a physically small space. First, to suggest that contemporary art is changing, and changing rather faster than usual. An important part of this change is the rebellion against huge size. Artists are making small work not because they are forced to (though in some cases that is increasingly true), but because they actually want to – because small art, in current conditions, is actually cutting edge, and delivers a new and dissident message. “Look at me in a different way,” it says. Secondly, linked to this, the show invites visitors to explore, on their own terms, how this different way of looking functions, and what it may possibly deliver."

Edward Lucie-Smith