Contemporary Soviet Photography: Roman Pyatkovka

The Ukrainian photographer Roman Pyatkovka never thought that photography would be the passion of his life. For 8 years he worked at drama theatre as light technician. He then realized his interest in photography and met Boris Mikhailov, his future teacher and mentor. Self-aware, and provided of a strong visual sensibility, Roman Pyatkovka works on the creation of a dramatic photos drawn from reality.

© Roman Pyatkovka

© Roman Pyatkovka

Since then he has been selected for more than 30 collective and solo photo exhibitions becoming well-known for his series such as: “Ghosts. Famine 30-ies”, “I come from childhood”, “Games of libido”.

© Roman Pyatkovka

© Roman Pyatkovka

Some of his works are now part of the permanent collection of National Center for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) (Russia), Museum of Contemporary Photography (USA, Chicago), Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Moscow, Russia) and others. Here you can see one of my favorite series: “Wrong Picture”, but i warmly suggest to check also “Scheme”.

© Roman Pyatkovka

© Roman Pyatkovka

Cargo Collective

FotoFest 2012

Selected by Ingrid Melano

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Oh this is so contemporary! Welcome back Tino Sehgal

Tate has announced that Tino Sehgal, will undertake the annual commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2012. To be unveiled on 24 July that year, Sehgal’s new work will be the thirteenth to be commissioned in The Unilever Series.

Tino Sehgal undertakes the annual commission for Tate’s Turbine Hall in 2012. Sehgal has risen to prominence for his innovative works which consist purely of live encounters between people. Avoiding the production of any objects, he has pioneered a radical and yet entirely viewer-oriented approach to making art. His works respond to and engage with the gallery visitor directly, creating social situations through the use of conversation, dance, sound and movement, as well as philosophical and economic debate. Having trained in both political economics and choreography, the resulting works are renowned for their high levels of interaction, intimacy, and critical reflection on their environment.

Some of the most memorable examples of Sehgal’s practice have involved direct physical or aural encounters, such as This is Propaganda 2002. Shown at the Tate Triennial in 2006, this took the form of a female museum attendant singing the title of the work each time a visitor entered the room. On other occasions, the artist’s output has been more akin to a forum for discussion. His most complex work, This Situation 2007, required the participation of a group of intellectuals. They occupied an otherwise empty gallery space and interacted with each other and the audience in accordance with a set of rules and games established by the artist, a format which many of Sehgal’s works have used to create an environment that is both unfamiliar and engaging.

Sehgal’s recent solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2010 centred around This Progress 2006, a piece first shown in London at the ICA. Visitors to Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic spiral ramp were greeted by a young child who began a conversation by asking what ‘progress’ could be. As they walked up the ramp, they were handed over to a succession of increasingly older participants, who each furthered the discussion in varying ways until a senior participant bade the visitor farewell. These unrehearsed conversations provided an encounter that was always unique and personal, raising questions through non-confrontational dialogue about contemporary society, and inspiring an emotional, psychological and intellectual response.

Here is the video of one of his best performances ever.

Selected by Ingrid Melano

Flashback: Julião Sarmento 1997

© Julião Sarmento

Julião Sarmento is a Portuguese artist and painter. Born in Lisbon, studied painting and architecture at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts. Sarmento has developed a multi-media visual language, combining film, video, sound, painting, sculpture and installations. Sarmento‘s work often deals with issues of complex interpersonal relationships; he has consistently utilized themes such as psychological interaction, sensuality, voyeurism and transgression.

© Julião Sarmento

Sarmento is well known for his thickly impastoed, textured paintings where the paint field forms a ground from which he teases out his imagery in graphite, reversing the traditional basis of painting. His imagery is often partially or fully erased. He then draws on top of the erasure, creating fragmented and layered forms, which evoke disconcerting, mysterious gestures and relationships. Recent paintings no longer focus on line as a representation of female form, but utilize monochrome silhouettes to represent the figures.

© Julião Sarmento

© Julião Sarmento

He has exhibited his work extensively in one-man and group shows. Julião Sarmento represented Portugal at the Venice Biennial in 1997. He has been included in two Documenta. His work is represented in public and private collections worldwide such as: The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Holland; and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

Sean Kelly Gallery


Han, the new masterpiece by Elmgreen & Dragset

© Elmgreen & Dragset

“Creating a sculptural art work that will be installed in a public space is significantly different from showing it in the context of a museum. Visitors who enter a museum have already prepared themselves for a visual experience; whereas an audience outside a museum hasn’t actually asked to have an artistic experience – that is important to bear in mind when you, as an artist, are commissioned to do a public sculpture. The sculpture must communicate on all kinds of levels.” Elmgreen & Dragset.

© Elmgreen & Dragset

Han‘ is a public sculpture commissioned by the city of Helsingborg to the the London and Berlin-based artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. The title means ‘he’ in Danish, but it is actually also the name of Michael’s boyfriend back in London. The work is situated in front of the castle Krongborg which is the very location of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

© Elmgreen & Dragset

The sculpture is so to say a contemporary and male paraphrase of the danish national icon the Little Mermaid. It depicts a young man posing on a rock – he sits in the same way as the famous Little Mermaid does and the stone has the exact shape of  the stone used for his ‘older sister’. But the entire sculpture, both figure and stone, is cast in stainless steel. further more a hydraulic  mechanism can shut the eyes of the sculpture for a split second every 30 minutes.

The high gloss, polished, mirroring stainless steel is a clear contrast to the original and female mermaid who was cast in bronze. The reflecting stainless steel adds an almost psychedelic dimension to its visual aesthetics. The surroundings get distorted and morphed in the glossy skin of the sculpture, and the imagery changes according to the angle from which the sculpture is viewed.