Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

Interview with Michal of Lokal 30 at LISTE

In Uncategorized on June 24, 2010 at 3:04 pm

To see this interview, click on Vernissage TV

For the fourth time, Lokal_30 is presenting its program at Liste – The Young Art Fair in Basel. The gallery is located in a former artists’ studio in a pre-war house at Foksal street in Warsaw, Poland. It has been open to the public since 2003 and is run by Agnieszka Rayzacher, Zuzanna Janin, and Michal Suchora. With Lokal_30_Warszawa_London_Project, Lokal_30 runs a temporary independent space in East London (UK) that serves as a platform to present Lokal_30’s program in England.

In this conversation with Olga Stefan, Michal Suchora, co-curator of Lokal_30 talks about the history of the gallery, and the gallery’s program, and shows us some artists Lokal_30 presents. The above video is an excerpt, the complete interview (9:05 min.) is available after the jump.

Olga Stefan in conversation with Michal Suchora, co-curator of the art gallery Lokal_30 at Liste – The Young Art Fair in Basel, 2010. June 20, 2010.

Art Unlimited 2010

In Art Reviews on June 21, 2010 at 9:02 am

Even at Art Basel, the Politics of Culture – this review appears on Artslant Worldwide

Comprised of special installations by individual artists, the Art Unlimited section of the influential fair Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland, always seemed an attempt by the gallerists to feel a little more museological. This year’s edition of Art Unlimited held few surprises. Doug Aitken, Bill Viola, Urs Fischer, Ugo Rondinone, Sigmar Polke, Dan Flavin, Ryan Gander, Christian Marclay. In this crowded field of art stars and icons three installations, with their strong and strange takes on the intersection of culture and politics, stood apart.

Two years after her late career autobiographical-documentary masterpiece, The Beaches of Agnès, the eighty-two year old French filmmaker Agnes Varda organized an installation (presented by Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris) where she revisits the beach as a poetic. For this work, Varda created a beachside cabana, complete with beach chairs and sand, perfect for drinking some beer and lounging around while watching a game. But the TV screen played the gruesome movie The Mediterranean, with two r’s and one n, between Sete and Agde about a beached whale on the shores of Sete, France. Varda’s message resonates: We have become entirely immune to suffering, which has become mere entertainment. “Be careful. It’s (the whale) angry because the world is sick,” states Varda on the artist statement accompanying her work.

New York-based artist Tim Rollins and K.O.S. (presented by Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich) also managed to interestingly engage with uncomfortable political realities with his work on view from 1992, Animal Farm. Almost 3m high and 14 meters long and painted on the pages of Orwell’s iconic book Animal Farm, Rollins’ gigantic opus portrays various notorious political figures’ heads on different animals’ bodies. Made in collaboration with Kids of Survival (K.O.S.), a group of young people from the South Bronx from disadvantaged backgrounds, this work presents a different dimension of political commentary at Art Unlimited, one which plays with the tension between culture and politics over time. The rather unique collaboration of the artist with troubled kids from the South Bronx, started in 1984 by Rollins and continuing today, is an example of real engagement with real impact, in contrast to the often superficial political work shown and sold at the larger fairs.

Environmental politics emerge again in a subtle but arresting installation, The Conference, 2010, by Swiss duo Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger. Located in a darkened room, the installation’s composed of a large white table, surrounded by several black chairs that disappear into the blackness of the space. Alongside the table and chairs are common conference accessories, including laptops, notebooks, and coffee cups, complete with leftover coffee. A bright white light shines overhead, illuminating the white table, while the only color to penetratethe scene the bright red crystals that have taken over this sterile environment. The organic shapes of the natural world contrast beautifully with the perfect geometry of their human-derived counterpart. Steiner and Lenzlinger’s atmosphere serves as a reminder of humankind’s inability to fully control our environment, as much as we would like to. Nature will reclaim its territory, and humans, so used to making the decisions, will be left trying to deal with the consequences.

Swiss Art Awards 2010 – Pauline Julier

In Art Reviews on June 21, 2010 at 8:58 am

This review appears on Artslant Worldwide

Walking into yet another darkened viewing room at the annual Swiss Art Awards, I thought “when will all this video end?” Although it’s likely heresy to propose that most art videos are boring, after having watched more than 15 in an exhibition featuring 40 or so works by as many artists, I had had enough. After much thunderingly disappointing boredom, I decided to give this one last video one a chance…. and was surprisingly captivated by the beautiful cinematography of the cold, lonely winterscapes I was watching.

The bench I sat on vibrated with the howling of the arctic wind. I was feeling the sounds of the cold. After a few stunning frames of deserted icescapes, the image moved to the central street of an arctic town, with two rows of houses, on either side of the snow-buried street, and four people trudging through the snow and glacial wind hither and thither, seemingly directionless.

The 5-minute scene and its accompanying sound effects, along with the vibrating bench transported me to this cold distant place. It gave me the shivers. The video, Noah’s Nightmare, 2010, is the fourth by Geneva-based artist Pauline Julier, one of the 23 Swiss artists to win the 30,000 Swiss Franc award this year. Her video deals with the aftermath of a global disaster, when the controversial Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, accused of “giving a false sense of security” by some critics, would need to be utilized. Dug into the side of a mountain and accommodating more than 4.5 million seeds, the Seed Vault is meant to be able to replenish humanity’s supply of seeds and get agriculture back on track in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

Noah, her futuristic fictional main character, “thinks it’s the end of the world and he’s all alone and nothing is alive,” Julier explained, as reported in the newspaper Icepeople.net. He envisions a post-apocalyptic world covered by ice, with few towns, and people “doing absurd things,” she continued. This is the world that I stumbled upon. In the middle of this deserted street scene, with its four disconnected characters, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ raw and carnal blues song “I Put a Spell on You” erupts from a corner-speaker, while the wind continues to howl and vibrate under me.

The passionate, animalistic sounds of the song are in stark contrast to the cold, isolated, and alienating scenery. Humanity seeps through even in the most hostile environments….With the end of the song, comes the lonely silence of the howling wind and the beautiful imagery of this icy archipelago off the coast of Norway. The film ends with an attempt to enter the Seed Vault and the hand-held camera moving away from the impenetrable door into the snow. Julier’s film is poetic and aesthetically stunning, while also presenting a haunting vision of our future.


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