Hajime Sorajama, Untitled (Human), 1991

Several Flames

February 2 2014
1:02 PM

Founded by Kaleidoscope‘s editor-in-chief Alessio Ascari and gallerist Federico Vavassori, Several Flames is an independent curatorial platform taking on different forms, such as exhibitions, live events and publications. Their approach is distinguished by an omnivorous approach to visual culture and a focus on the visionary power of art, embracing various generations and bringing overlooked stories to surface. During this very weekend, within the context of new Malibu art fair Paramount Ranch, Several Flames is kicking off in Los Angeles with a two-person exhibition, “Power Ballads,” juxtaposing the work of Hajime Sorayama and Max H. Schneider. Sorayama (b. 1947 in Ehime, Japan; lives and works in Tokyo) is a legendary Japanese illustrator known for his precisely detailed, hand-painted portrayals of voluptuous robotic women, obtained through an astoundingly artful use of the technique of airbrush painting. Schneider (b. 1982 in Los Angeles, where he lives and works) is an American artist whose drawings, aquariums, and tapestries, characterized by a seemingly endless register of detail, poetically simulate the textures and surfaces of the natural world.
In addition to their participation in Paramount Ranch, Several Flames has recently been invited to take over “Art Residency,” a curatorial series in Dazed & Confused magazine, whose final installment appears in the current February issue. The first edition of their annual almanac, an image-based publication designed by Omar Sosa and revolving around the dichotomy of real and surreal, will be published in Spring 2014.

Paul Cowan, Untitled, 2012
Courtesy of the artist and Clifton Benevento, New York

Chicago-based artist Paul Cowan

January 16 2013
9:08 PM

There’s something Midwest-feeling about the work of Chicago- based artist Paul Cowan (b. 1985, Kansas City, MO), with its signage, its tucked-away industrialism, its thinking on and about margins. Cowan’s recent exhibition at Clifton Benevento in New York took its title from Melville’s Marginalia, a virtual archive of the marginal notes made by the American author in his own books. The exhibition, focusing on partitions, marginalia, and the periphery, included the painting Untitled (2011); for this piece, Cowan hired two sign painters, also based in Chicago, who hardly spoke Spanish to create a sparse painting in primary colors—a yellow squiggle, a blue curve and a red right-angle. The result looks like a PowerPoint animation, vibrant yet empty, with some of Laurence Weiner’s diagram-like lines of motion. The emphasis on artistic process — the problem of translation between the artist and two Spanish-speaking outsourcee — leads to a deceptive clash between final object and procedure. In other works from 2012, the discreet minimal gesture of painting a gallery room references the fact that when one paints a room, the sense of smell declines as the color’s lasting power takes hold; and a fishing lure on a canvas seems like a formal diagram of flat futility. Cowan’s solo exhibition at the MCA Chicago opened last November and is on through early March. (Pablo Larios)

Piero Gilardi, Beach Fire, 2007
Courtesy of JRP|Ringier

Piero Gilardi’s retrospective monograph published by
JRP | Ringier

January 3 2013
1:39 PM

JRP|Ringier is releasing a new retrospective monograph on Turin-based Arte Povera artist Piero Gilardi (b.1942). Gilardi’s works from the late 1960s and early 1970s generated much interest, especially his large, hyper-realistic sculptures of polyurethane foam, “Nature Carpets,” designed to generate a new kind of awareness and experience of nature for the viewer. Despite some critical acclaim, the artist decided stop making art in 1972. He went on to spend the next ten years travelling extensively (staying for significant periods in both Nicaragua and Kenya, as well as on native Mohawk reserves in upstate New York) and publishing his accounts in a number of magazines, including Flash Art. During this time, he also began to organize events drawing awareness to particular political and ecological issues of the time, events that encompassed street theatre, factory protests as well as other campaigns and social initiatives. Ten years after his departure from art-making, Gilardi returned, expanding on the “Carpets” series and making other forms of sculpture, interactive installation and landscape design. In these, he again intended to draw attention to pressing ecological and environmental issues. The publication will focus on these shifts and will coincide with a major retrospective survey of his works in the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Nottingham Contemporary and Castello di Rivoli in Turin. (Isobel Harbison)

Aleksandra Domanović, Portrait (Copper), 2012
Courtesy of the Artist and Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin

(Fall 2012)

October 1 2012
11:18 AM

We are pleased to announce the release of Issue 16, soon to be presented in Milan, London (during Frieze Art Fair) and Paris (during FIAC). This issue will mark the first year of the visionary art direction by leading London design firm OK-RM.

This issue’s opening section, HIGHLIGHTS, features Aleksandra Domanović, whose videos and sculptures are seen by Pablo Larios as embodiments of the perpetually productive disunion of politics and art; the ambitious public art program of New York’s High Line, described by Piper Marshall as one that confronts artists with many challenges; the record label Tri Angle, whose founder Robin Carolan talks to Ruth Saxelby about how to embody the zeitgeist of electronic music; the Indian duo Desire Machine Collective, who discuss with Sandhini Poddar and Ulrich Baer about mapping an experimental history of colonization; and American painter Sylvia Sleigh, whose elusive politics is contrasted by Joanna Fiduccia to the detailed realism of her portraits.

The blend of cybernetics and underground culture realized in the symbolic and mythological repertoire of Cyberpunk continues to inspire sci-fi narratives and permeate the arts, reinforcing its status as a powerful aesthetic. This issue’s MAIN THEME examines the emergence of an art that addresses the processes of mechanization, desexualisation and reification of the human body, and how they relate to questions of identity, morality and fantasy. Featured contributions include Michele D’Aurizio’s overview of the work of a new generation of artists; Karen Archey’s analysis of the work of Canadian artist David Altmejd; a discussion between Brody Condon and Jason Brown coordinated by DIS magazine; and a conversation between young artist Timur Si-Qin and influential philosopher Manuel De Landa.

Comprising an essay by Alessandro Rabottini, an interview by Matt Keegan and a photographic portrait by Grant Willing, this issue’s MONO is devoted to American artist Frank Benson, whose work rides the dialectic between the space of the photographic image and the space of sculpture. Evoking celebrated artists like Charles Ray, Jeff Koons and Robert Gober, Benson uses the latest technology available and yet imbues the sculptural process with a profound understanding of physical materiality—making works that oscillate between analogue and digital, solidity and suspension, humor and elegance.

Finally, in this issue’s REGULARS, Hans Ulrich Obrist interviews the New York-based provocateur Liz Magic Laser; Dorothée Dupuis introduces the hidden life of Marseille; Luca Cerizza analyzes the emotional topography of Alberto Garutti; and Carson Chan meets the DAAD‘s visual arts director Ariane Beyn.

The edition is enriched by our seasonal TIPS on following, reading, listening, stopping by, meeting and visiting; as well as by three SPECIAL INSERTS—drawings by Ken Price, stickers by Alistair Frost and images by Karthik Pandian.

Group Show, installation view at Shanaynay, Paris
Courtesy of Shanaynay, Paris

Independent exhibition space Shanaynay, Paris

September 14 2012
1:58 PM

Shanaynay is what its founders Jason Hwang, an artist and curator from Los Angeles, and Romain Chenais, a curator from Paris, hesitantly call an “Independent Exhibition Space.” Their space is situated in a storefront in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, “close enough to the hip young galleries in Belleville to not be excluded and far enough to not be included.” Hwang and Chenais met at the now defunct artist-run space The Institute of Social Hypocrisy where they discussed artist-run initiatives and the lack thereof in Paris. They decided to start their own space and Shanaynay has been running for five months now. Their working method is “conversational and collaborative” and their space both offers room for experimentation - projects can be developed in the space over time - and functions as a resource - they have a public library comprised solely of donated books. They purposefully work within a very modest set of means, to “avoid certain structures of presentation traditionally associated with public art institutions and/or private galleries” and “experiment with conventions such as the press release, art documentation, and the art opening.” (Maaike Lauwaert)

Shanaynay will inaugurate the group show “Vous vous foutez de nous? Vous ne vous en foutrez pas longtemps” with Valentin Boure, David Douard, Camilla Oliveira Fairclough, Charlotte Houette and Charlotte Seidel tomorrow evening (September 15) on the occasion of the second Biennale de Belleville.

Our summer special

July 20 2012
4:20 PM

Make it real, your summer dream,” goes the mushy song by the Beach Boys and the same holds true for art galleries: this is the season dedicated to pursuing projects, insights and stakes that are labeled as “don’ts” at the height of the season. This approach is most popular in the capitals of the anglophone world—New York, Los Angeles and London—where July is the month for experimenting, taking risks, establishing reckless synergies and playing around (often while brushing up the overstocks). As if gallerists had lost their ties, changing their button-up for a t-shirt and their Church’s for a pair of Havaianas.

Like a party, it takes a well-assembled group of people to make a summer show work. It is often organized by an independent curator or an artist; it frequently includes work by artists who are not represented by the gallery, thus becoming an opportunity to scout talent, test collaborations, estimate feedbacks. To celebrate this magic formula, we have ranked this year’s best summer shows. After a long and animated debate that eliminated exhibitions of the caliber of Andrew Kreps‘s “Commercial Psycho,” curated by Will Benedict; David Kordansky‘s “Drawing a Blank,” curated by Matthew Brannon and Jan Tumlir; and Eva Presenhuber‘s “Painting Now!,”  we have decided on ten shows that we will unveil in this blog over the course of the next two weeks. And for the winner, what better reward than an ice cream cone-shaped trophy? (Alessio Ascari)

Palais de Tokyo, juin 2011
Photography by Patrick Tourneboeuf/Tendance Floue/Oppic

The metamorphosed
Palais de Tokyo

April 12 2012
4:12 PM

After ten months of renovation and extension, the Palais de Tokyo re-opens its doors on April 12th. From 8PM today until 12PM tomorrow, the visitors are invited to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Palais’ metamorphosis before its official opening on April 20th (with La Triennale, curated by Okwui Enzewor). On this occasion, around 50 artists such as Ulla von Brandenburg, Jacques Lizène, Christian Marclay, BYOB and Matthew Herbert will intervene in the space, proposing 28 hours of performances, concerts, lectures and installations.
Aiming at rivaling with the most important art institutions worldwide, the new building (Europe’s largest contemporary art space with its 22,000 square meters) hosts exhibition galleries, two restaurants, four cinemas, a recording studio, a concert hall and several conference rooms. Among the manifold activities scheduled to take place over the course of 2012, a partnership between KALEIDOSCOPE and the Tokyo Art Club—the Palais’ VIP club—will give shape to an intense program of lectures and events scheduled to kick off in June.

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