LA photography – Robert Heinecken

Some weeks ago i wrote about 80ies images and culture, and the absence in the contemporary art world of that kind of conversation. At FIAC, Cherry and Martin gallery presented an exhibition of works by American artist Robert Heinecken (1932-2006). Robert Heinecken received his BA (1959) and MFA (1960) from the University of California, Los Angeles. He founded UCLA’s photography program in 1964.

Through these works and other pieces in Cherry and Martin’s presentation, one can see Heinecken’s lifelong investigation of such themes as violence and dysfunction in the American family, the similarities between advertising and pornography, also the representation of women as sexual objects,  and the peculiarities of American representations of race and gender as they appear in America’s mass-media, product-driven, consumer-oriented culture.

New interest in the work of Robert Heinecken has led to a complete reassessment of his place in the history of American art. In many respects, Heinecken’s work is containing no value, which is typical of the mass American society, but it also links the Surrealist influence on American art-making to its later post-war engagement with Pop. Heinecken’s influence and importance in the history of Los Angeles as an art center is also being reconsidered, particularly with regard to the city’s unique role in the development of the photographic object.


Cherry and Martin


Yayoi Kusama at Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou is presenting the first French retrospective dedicated to the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama: chronologically following her career through 150 works created between 1949 and 2001, the exhibition tracks the major moments in the life of the artist and illustrates the protean character (paintings, sculptures, environments, performances) of a collection of works which Kusama has herself described as “obsessional”.

Working on the concept of infinity, the artist easily lost herself in the concept of space perpetuation: dots being a way to increase space, she enjoyed to be immersed in her optical spaces, after painting not only on surfaces but also on people and animals creating true happenings around her.

Strongly rooted in a childhood memory, a hallucination from which she developed the polka dot motif, this unclassified work still has significant influence on the cotemporary scene.

© Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama

Dogs and Russian dolls – Hellen van Meene

Last week to see the exhibition of new work by Hellen van Meene, continuing the artistʼs decades-long exploration into photographic portraiture. The exhibition includes several new portraits of adolescent girls, each one characterized by the artistʼs extraordinary use of light and elicitation of her subjectʼs psychological state. Notably, the selection also includes a series of formal portraits of dogs, a distinctly new direction within the artistʼs oeuvre. This is van Meeneʼs third solo exhibition at the great Yancey Richardson gallery.

© Hellen Van Meene

The intimately scaled female portraits in the exhibition were all shot in Russia and in the artistʼs hometown of Heiloo, The Netherlands. Characteristic of van Meeneʼs style, the portraits reflect an introspective mood, unveiling a moment of acute psychological poignancy. In Untitled, St. Petersburg (above), van Meene has returned to a model she previously photographed, whom the artist met in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2007.

© Hellen Van Meene

I’ve heard of some gossips about a teenager who didn’t want to be photographed and cried so much in front of the camera, therefore i’m not sure about the sensibility of the artist towards her subjects, and her deep reasons in the choice of the characters, but still that’s often the point of portraits, and the effort is worth it.

Yancey Richardson Gallery 

Hellen Van Meene

Selected by Ingrid Melano

Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset working on Olympus

Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset are the collaborative duo that started exhibiting in 1995 the artists have presented a great number of architectural and sculptural installations in an ongoing series of works entitled Powerless Structures in which they transformed the conventions of the ‘white cube’ gallery space, creating galleries suspended from the celing, sunk into the ground or turned upside down. For the Istanbul Biennial in 2001, they constructed a full-scale model of a typical Modernist Kunsthalle descending into the ground while located outdoor among ancient ruins. Further exhibitions include transforming the Bohen Foundation in New York into a 13th Street Subway Station in 2004, siting a Prada boutique in the middle the Texan desert in 2005.. in 2009 at Venice Biennale, they curated the project for the wonderful Nordic Pavillon, while continuing exhibiting their works in many powerful museums.

At the moment their last project is at Thorvaldsen Museum of Copenhagen, where they re-interpretated some neo-classical sculptures pushing on the hint gay-friendly, and making the marbles wear some stereotyped hot items: tanks and underwear, keeping it classical of course, but with that Scandinavian irony that has always been in their works.

© Michael Elmgreen Ingar Dragset

Thorvaldsens Museum 

Selected by Ingrid Melano