Nina Koennemann

Nina Koennemann

 

August Review 2015

August Review 2015

 

Aldo Mondino at Isabella Bortolozzi

Aldo Mondino at Isabella Bortolozzi

 

Michael Smith “Excuse me!?!…I’m looking for the ‘Fountain of Youth’” at Greene Naftali

Michael Smith “Excuse me!?!…I’m looking for the ‘Fountain of Youth’” at Greene Naftali

 

FEATURED ARTIST: Donna Huanca, Tattoo Shoes, 2015. 
Nylon, wood….

FEATURED ARTIST: Donna Huanca, Tattoo Shoes, 2015. 
Nylon, wood….

 

Postcard from Palermo

Postcard from Palermo

The residency show is installed in the Cappella dell’ Incoronazione, a Norman Chapel used since the 12th Century for the coronation of successive Kings of Sicily. The Chapel includes an outside courtyard and a crypt as well as a main room formerly dedicated to prayer and ceremonies. The arches and high ceilings in that space create diffuse shadows while the courtyard features a set of columns running around its perimeter, yet these columns carry no roof. This has the effect of leading one’s eyes up to the sky, and the outline of one upper segment of Palermo’s Cathedral with its arabesque patterns. Such a complex interplay between the natural and the manmade – as light interacts with the particular architecture of a city and region with a complex cultural history – required a subtle response from the selected artists. The resulting exhibition suggests an accord being made between the individual artist and that environment via the artwork, attempting to identify through poiesis what cannot be truly represented.

Whilst socio-political aspects relating to the ‘landscape’ were conspicuously absent, a wider narrative of beauty and the sublime was construed. The resulting exhibition demonstrates that sometimes, beyond all discussion on urbanisation, gentrification and man made climate change, there remains at times only a sense of awe. This is a point well expressed by Ignazio Mortellaro’s piece Ed è subito sera (And Suddenly It’s Evening, 2015), a brass rod measuring 3 metres in length representing the horizon and bearing an inscription of a hermetic poem written by the 20th Century Sicilian poet Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-1968):

Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra
trafitto da un raggio di Sole:
ed è subito sera.

Each of us stands alone at the heart of the Earth
Pierced by a ray of sunlight:
And suddenly it’s evening

The poem is a reflection on mortality, but also upon the entwinement of man and nature. The piece is positioned to reflect sunlight and is aligned perfectly across the East-West axis of the compass.

Postcard from Palermo

Adrianna Glaviano, Photograph (2014)

Inside the chapel itself, the works of Adriana Glaviano and the identical twins Carlo Fabio Ingrassia complement each other. Whilst the former printed photographs of fabrics which appear on first glance to be painted, the latter two artists presented miniature photo-realist pastel drawings. In both cases the depicted scenes represent fragments of landscapes or townscapes saturated in light, like glimpses caught through half-shut eyes, reflecting lines from Emily Dickinson’s poem which describes the oppressiveness of the midday sun in Sicily:

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath
When it goes, ‘tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –

The Ingrassia twins work obsessively on the same piece, drawing from the outside of an image towards the centre and meeting in the middle. Their laborious studio process results in effortless-looking harmonious compositions such as Frammenti di una Triologia (Fragments of a Trilogy, 2015), which was displayed in the main chapel. Here, the use of colour and shadow evoke the unsettling atmosphere of dusk, continuing the theme of light and shadow as absolutely crucial to an understanding of the island of Sicily.

Paula Karoline Kamps’ trio of large scale ink paintings, also displayed in the main chapel, take a more personal approach to the landscape via an exploration of its effect on the body, both of human and animal. It’s Like no Tomorrow (2015) depicts a moonscape overlaid with a human torso and legs, and several newly hatched turtles. The work is based on the experience of a moonlit walk across the beach close to Menfi in the region of Agrigento, in which the artist witnessed turtles hatching and walking in file across the sand and directly to the sea. The suggested contortion of the human figure, which floats ethereally against a regal Prussian Blue backdrop, meets with the sensation of being blanketed by the depicted sky and moonlight. One senses less a domination of man by nature and more a wilful submission to its cycles.

Postcard from Palermo

John Kleckner, Nervous man in a four dollar room (2011)

The strong presence of painting in ‘When the Landscape Listens’ is echoed across town in a group show held at Galleria Francesco Pantaleone. The exhibition, entitled ‘La declinazioni della pittura’ (the declinations of painting) and dedicated to an investigation of the resurgence of painting and the jettisoning of the strict formal distinction between abstraction and figuration, was curated by Ariana Rosica. It includes a work by John Kleckner entitled Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room (2011), based on a collage ‘sketch’ from which the artist diverged during the process of painting. Kleckner, who is based in Berlin, focuses on qualities of light and space, producing images that oscillate between areas of flatness and depth, as well as between abstract fields and figurative elements suggestive of human or other forms.

Postcard from Palermo

Gianni Pettena, Werable Chairs (1971), Installation, Collapsable chairs in cardboard

This mixing of visual codes could also be seen at Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Palermo (GAM), where Lorenzo Bruni has curated a show bringing together the architectonic works of Gianni Pettena and the paintings and sculptures of William Mark Zanghi. The latter produces paintings depicting phantasmagoric landscapes populated by dogs who take on quasi-human characteristics. Such an approach mocks the human tendency to project anthropomorphic qualities onto animals and nature. The subject matter could not be more fitting in Palermo, where the city’s population of both stray and domestic dogs move wolf-like through the streets, lurching from shadow to shadow seeking food scraps and water in the city’s oppressive heat.

Postcard from Palermo

‘Il Museo Delle Palme’ (The Museum of the Palm Trees), installation view

The relationship between man and nature is also central to ‘Il Museo Delle Palme’ (The Museum of the Palm Trees), a temporary project curated by Giuseppe Buzzotta and Vincenzo Schillaci from the Palermo based artist run ‘L’A Project’ space, in collaboration with Carlo Pratis, director of Rome’s Galleria Operativa. The project re-opened a closed wing of a museum dedicated to depictions of palm trees at the Orto Botanico di Palermo (The Botanic Gardens of Palermo). The collection, amassed by a former museum director is hung salon style from floor to ceiling and features unknown artists alongside established names such as Bruno Ceccobelli. To these works a new collection has been added in a parallel wing, including works by young Italian artists such as Leonardo Petrucci, who designed a wallpaper. At firstit appears to be a generic design of the 1970s, yet on closer inspection the palm trees are accompanied by repeated images of the Red Palm Weevil, a beetle which has devastated palm trees across the Mediterranean since the ‘80s.

Postcard from Palermo

Leonardo Petrucci, Coniunctio oppositorum, wallpaper (2015)

Further works – some of which were realised during a two week residence attended by, amongst others, Emiliano Maggi and Matteo Nasini – are to be found throughout the Botanic gardens. Rome based artist Nasini place zig zagged threads of dyed wool clustered together between several Silk Floss trees, making a kind of barrier which will over time accumulate a layer of natural undyed wool which is produced by the trees itself, creating one white woollen mass effacing the form and colour scheme of the artwork.

Such an intervention helps to draw attention to the element of chance always present even in a heavily designed space such as the Orto Botanico di Palermo. The gardens and their buildings were designed by French architect Léon Dufourny to house the faculty of botanical studies of the Accademia dei Regi Studi. Its lavish form bears witness to a time when Palermo was a central power at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Far East, a position it held on and off for centuries. This can be seen equally in its Arab-Norman architecture, several examples of which were awarded UNESCO heritage status this month.

However, it’s also clear that no architecture ultimately can compete with the overwhelming sky of the region. As Pier Paolo Pasolini observed while writing The Long Road of Sand (1959), ‘more South than here is not possible’. It is a place dominated by the in-between worlds of midday and dusk. In this respect it will be interesting to see how Manifesta, the ‘European art biennial’ establishes itself in Palermo in 2018. Disregarding fears of looming corruption, and mismanagement of cultural budgets – which are both factors which will have to be contended with in Sicily – it remains to be seen how the hallmarks and trappings of the contemporary art scene will translate against the unremitting backdrop of Sicily’s capital, and nature.

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Public open call for the position of Director

Public open call for the position of Director

 

Kabbalistic Synthesizer, a ‘sonification’ of live macrocosmic phenomena

Kabbalistic Synthesizer, a ‘sonification’ of live macrocosmic phenomena

 

Caroline Woolard Flips the Real Estate Script

Caroline Woolard Flips the Real Estate Script

 

Forms of Elegance — Dynastic Chinese ceramics at the PMA

Forms of Elegance — Dynastic Chinese ceramics at the PMA

 

Peter de Cupere

Peter de Cupere

 

Aldo Mondino at Eden Eden

Aldo Mondino at Eden Eden

 

Albert Oehlen “An Old Painting In Spirit” at Kunsthalle Zürich

Albert Oehlen “An Old Painting In Spirit” at Kunsthalle Zürich

 

Luis Camnitzer

Luis Camnitzer

 

Maxime Guyon

Maxime Guyon

 

After Utopia at the Singapore Art Museum

After Utopia at the Singapore Art Museum

 

Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names 3. Korakrit Arunanondchai

Painting with history in a room filled with people with funny names 3. Korakrit Arunanondchai

 

“Toys Redux—On Play and Critique” at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich

“Toys Redux—On Play and Critique” at Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich

 

A conversation with the Rubells

A conversation with the Rubells

 

Graphisme en France 2015 & the Infini booklet out now

Graphisme en France 2015 & the Infini booklet out now

 

Seeking Curator

Seeking Curator

 

New website launches

New website launches

 

Inaugural exhibitions

Inaugural exhibitions

 

Harald Klingelhöller at Tucci Russo

Harald Klingelhöller at Tucci Russo

 

A Case For Abstraction: No Boundaries

A Case For Abstraction: No Boundaries

 

FEATURED ARTIST: Donna Huanca, installation view, SADE on DMT,…

FEATURED ARTIST: Donna Huanca, installation view, SADE on DMT,…

 

Microetchings and a hodgepodge of scientific imagery — Mind Illuminated at the Mütter Museum

Microetchings and a hodgepodge of scientific imagery — Mind Illuminated at the Mütter Museum

 

New eBay Test Listings Prints

New eBay Test Listings Prints

 

Artists announced

Artists announced

 

Mary Jacobus

Mary Jacobus

 

John Constable

John Constable

 

Claude Monet

Claude Monet

 

INTERN AT MOUSSE!

INTERN AT MOUSSE!

 

Laura Owens at Capitain Petzel

Laura Owens at Capitain Petzel

 

Ozone. Thomas Eggerer

Ozone. Thomas Eggerer

 

Evan Calder Williams: T-1 at Artists Space

Evan Calder Williams: T-1 at Artists Space

 

“Signal Failure” at Pace Gallery, London

“Signal Failure” at Pace Gallery, London

 

John Waters “Beverly Hills John” at Sprüth Magers, London

John Waters “Beverly Hills John” at Sprüth Magers, London

 

10th edition

10th edition

 

Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares

Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares

 

Frieze Projects seeks curator

Frieze Projects seeks curator

 

Participating artists announced for 10th edition

Participating artists announced for 10th edition

 

Opening

Opening

 

“Ordering Nature” at Marianne Boesky

“Ordering Nature” at Marianne Boesky

 

FEATURED ARTIST: Donna Huanca, installation view, Psychotria…

FEATURED ARTIST: Donna Huanca, installation view, Psychotria…

 

“Weird Science” and “No Vacancies” at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York

“Weird Science” and “No Vacancies” at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York

 

Frederick Childe Hassam

Frederick Childe Hassam

 

XII Baltic Triennial

XII Baltic Triennial

 

The artblog Reader Advisor

The artblog Reader Advisor

 

Bald Spot Comics

Bald Spot Comics

 

“Marlborough Lights” at Marlborough Broome Street

“Marlborough Lights” at Marlborough Broome Street

 

Com’è viva la città. Art & the City 1913-2014

Com’è viva la città. Art & the City 1913-2014

 

Remco Torenbosch

Remco Torenbosch

 

AAT + Persona II. Lorenzo Senni

AAT + Persona II. Lorenzo Senni

 

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at YBCA

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at YBCA

 

Gareth Moore “A Burning Bag as a Smoke-Grey Lotus” at Stroom Den Haag

Gareth Moore “A Burning Bag as a Smoke-Grey Lotus” at Stroom Den Haag

 

Artguide

Artguide

 

William Kentridge

William Kentridge

 

Patrick Staff and Dale Harding

Patrick Staff and Dale Harding

 

The Berkowski Daguerrotype

The Berkowski Daguerrotype

 

AMO

AMO

 

Renters on the move with Recess

Renters on the move with Recess