Henrique Oliveira – Baitogogo

Courtesy of Palais de Tokyo

Courtesy of Palais de Tokyo

Creating a spectacular and invasive Gordian Knot, Henrique Oliveira plays with Palais de Tokyo’s architecture, allowing a work that combines the vegetal and the organic to emerge. The building itself becomes the womb that produces this volume of “tapumes” wood, a material used in Brazilian towns to construct the wooden palisades that surround construction sites. In the form of paintings, sculptures or installations, the hybrid art of Henrique Oliveira (b. 1973, lives and works in São Paulo) evokes both the urban and the vegetable, the organic and the structural, as well as art and science, through compositions in which the unexpected generates a universe tinted with the fantastic.

Courtesy of Palais de Tokyo

Courtesy of Palais de Tokyo

Graduating from the University of São Paulo in 1997, the artist explores fluidity, the combination and color of materials, which endows his installations with a certain pictorial quality. Oliveira often borrows materials from the Brazilian urban landscape, notably tapumes, wood taken from fences surrounding and blocking access to construction sites. By using these materials, Oliveira highlights the endemic and parasitic nature of these constructions; evoking wooden tumors, his installations function as a metaphor for the favelas’ organic growth, thus revealing the dynamic decay of São Paulo’s urban fabric. In the artistic lineage of Lydia Clark or Hélio Oiticica, he uses the very context of this sprawling city as a raw material. The way in which it is treated, as well as its unexpected apparition, destabilizes the visitor’s perception of space.

Courtesy of Palais de Tokyo

Courtesy of Palais de Tokyo

Through a kind of architectural anthropomorphism, Henrique Oliveira reveals the building’s structure. At Palais de Tokyo, he plays on the space’s existing and structuring features, prolonging and multiplying pillars in order to endow them with a vegetable and organic dimension, as though the building were coming alive. The artist draws inspiration from medical textbooks, amongst others, and particularly from studies of physical pathologies such as tumors. Through a formal analogy, these outgrowths evoke the outermost layers of the bark of a common tree. The texture of this wooden tapumes installation inevitably calls to mind certain tree essences from Amazonian, humid tropical forests: the rivulets and other nodes constitute uncontrollable networks, in a logic that Man can no longer suppress.

Courtesy of Palais de Tokyo

Courtesy of Palais de Tokyo

Marc Bembekoff is currently a curator of the Palais de Tokyo (where he organized Damir Očko and Dewar & Gicquel’s solo exhibitions, amongst others), as well as an independent curator (“The Mystery Spot,” at the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard in Paris, 2012; “Du monde clos à l’univers infini” at the Quartier in Quimper, 2012) and a co-founder of the collective Le Bureau/. He has contributed to several monographic publications (Bettina Samson, Nicolas Boulard, etc.) and exhibition catalogues (musée Rodin, Freud Museum).

Palais de Tokyo 

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I, Like a Record

Courtesy of Shane Bradford and V1 Gallery

Courtesy of Shane Bradford and V1 Gallery

Hi Jesper,

Well, what can I say? …It revolves around the double meaning of the word ‘record’ of course…I, LIKE A RECORD. I wanted to say that each person is the sum of their experience and even though the experience may be the same, the way it is experienced will be different. Take ʻDark Side Of The Moonʼ…everyone knows it (well almost) and yet it is personal to each.

It reminds me of when I did a show in a massive ex-soviet museum in Lithuania years back – I went with a friend and we were treated with great hospitality and kindness until, that is, we got onto the subject of Pink Floyd’s ʻThe Wallʼ. They asked us ‘…did we know it?’ ‘Yes, of course we knew it, Pink Floyd are English after all…’ That comment was met, somewhat to our surprise, with incredulity and even anger, ‘No’ they said, ‘The Wall is OUR album, when the iron curtain was coming down, and in Berlin etc The Wall was EVERYTHING to us, you have no idea about The Wall!’ Or something like that. I thought ‘Fuck you. You can’t lay claim to a mass produced album for your own, especially one that sold 30 million+!’ But now I think fair enough, take it. It can be your very own and everybody else’s too.

Courtesy of Shane Bradford and V1 Gallery

Courtesy of Shane Bradford and V1 Gallery

The paint seals the albums, entombing, masking, preserving, hiding, whatever, my personal experience of each. No one will know, or really care what each one has meant for me although I can assure you each is dear to my heart! Painting them this way, in what has evolved to become this absurd signature style of dipping, reasserts my individuality on them for a moment before being reborn as everyone’s again. It’s just a way of saying I AM HERE – the same as everyone else, and different, and also confronting the untouchably epic scale of something like ʻAbbey Roadʼ by rendering it defunct, it makes a little space for the ME…I know Jesper, sad but true…

The sand sculpture attempts a similar comparison of the personal versus the epic. It is a faux geological record, spanning only a week…7 layers, 7 days. Its value is questionable I admit… I felt that because this was a project space, a sculpture that was speculative rather than authoritative would be appropriate. I don’t know if it has any merit at all and if it does, I would suggest it derives from the way it records my increasing ability to manipulate and work the sand from the bottom up, and nothing more. In this way it records in microcosm the idea of EVOLUTION itself, which is cosmic in scale! ….But by contrast on a mundane, everyday kind of level. So in the end the message is simple; in the cosmos of the ‘self’ things have a remarkable quality of being infinite and insignificant simultaneously. That is something that is not supposed to happen in the real world. That’s all I wanted to say really.

Thanks Shane —

Courtesy of Shane Bradford and V1 Gallery

Courtesy of Shane Bradford and V1 Gallery

Shane Bradford, born London UK 1971, is very well known for his drip works. He dips various objects (books, records and array of common objects) in multi colored emulsions, a process that can take up to a year, until they look like abstract mutations. Objects loose their function in the process and gain new meanings. Bradfordʼs humoristic wanderlust and socio political eye for the ironic paradoxes in modern society also extends to media such as film and large-scale installations. He has exhibited extensively, current and recent exhibitions include; The Hole, New York, Campbell Works, London, Boetzelaer Nispen Gallery, Amsterdam. In 2007 he won the distinguished Celeste Art Prize.

V1 Gallery 

Saturn I, II, III

GR®2013, SATURN I, TERSCHELLING (NL) ©Karl Van Welden 2011

GR®2013, SATURN I, TERSCHELLING (NL) ©Karl Van Welden 2011

“So many cages, so many small theaters, in which each actor is alone, and constantly visible.” Michel Foucault, Surveiller et Punir, 1975.

We met a dancer performing SATURN II in Copenhagen. During the chat we had, she explained us that through his creations, Karl Van Welden questions the relationship of man against the vastness of the universe. He developed a project in 2006 entitled Verenigde Planeten / United Planets which combined architectural forms to still images and slowness of movement. The planets of the solar system formed satellites around the anchor point of the cycle where each represented a series of art projects operating at a performance level.

GR®2013, SATURN I, TERSCHELLING (NL) ©Karl Van Welden 2011

GR®2013, SATURN I, TERSCHELLING (NL) ©Karl Van Welden 2011

Karl Van Welden explores new aesthetic intrinsically linked to the selected space between the public who is actively involved in the work. It thus overcomes the conventional relationship between the role of the spectator, the site, the performers and the real world. The performance-installation SATURN reveals the contemporary landscape by playing notions of distance, intimacy, loss, infinity, control and power. SATURN I – The landscape sublimes the grandeur of the nature SATURN II – The cityscape explores the urban landscape.  SATURN III – The townscape, created Vitrolles, France, highlights the interstices of a landscape that is both urban and natural.

GR®2013, SATURN I, TERSCHELLING (NL) ©Karl Van Welden 2011

GR®2013, SATURN I, TERSCHELLING (NL) ©Karl Van Welden 2011

Eight observation posts perched on a hill or a roof, fragments the environment in images and offer the public 
 benchmarks that allow it to grasp the immensity. Through long lenses or binoculars, the viewer zooms in on the details of the landscape. His eyes are sometimes guided by the presence of 
 isolated silhouettes in the distance, repeating infinitely small movements, our performer was one of them, and she was asked to pose for hours without basically moving. The visitor recreates the intimate perception of the landscape from one point to another according to his own rhythm, sound composition by immersing in a melancholy atmosphere and tension. A deep relationship is established  between the observer and the object of the observation.

Concept, design and staging by Karl Van Welden, dramaturgy by Bart Capelle; performers Stefaan Claeys, Sarah Eisa, Michael Helland, Raeymaekers Siet, Kevin and Fran Trappeniers Verstegen, Yannick Franck.

WpZimmer

VerenigdePlaneten

Playing hide-and-seek: The Photography of Anni Leppälä

© Anni Leppälä

Fence (wind), 2013 / © Anni Leppälä

Anni Leppälä, one of the most eminent young artists belonging to the Helsinki School, sat down and shared a moment with us, unveiling a bit of her artistic philosophy. She shared her views on what photography and arts in general represent to her, the interview finally ending in discussion on her projects-to-be and on the current state of the Finnish fine-art photography.

What fascinates you about photography? How did you discover it?

I’m not actually sure how I ended up studying at art school…  In high school I had this course on black and white photography, and back then, photography seemed to open up the possibilities to deal with my inner world and experiences. After high school I sought – and got accepted – to study photography to the Turku Arts Academy. These four years of studies were really intense – this was a significant period for me and determinant for my future.

Different themes, which emerge when combining and recognizing pictures is what fascinates me about photography: when a sort of third picture appears, a picture which has been invisible before. It is amazing how photographs are attached to real life, and at the same time, one can create new meanings through them. As if pictures would be using world as their point of reference. The narration which is attached to pictures is not linear however, but it rather develops in different directions. Through photography, we can recognize a certain feeling, an experience or a memory based on our senses. As a photographer, I’m interested in visible reality, which transmits these inner experiences; photography being their projector.

© Anni Leppälä

Static (Red Balloon), 2010 / © Anni Leppälä

The aspect of lost moments and their elusiveness is strongly present in your pictures: with the help of different clues found in the image, the viewer is able to build a story around it. What is the starting point for you when photographing? What do reality and fiction mean for you?

Reality and fiction, visible and non-visible get the possibility to blend in my pictures. Often when photographing, the presence of these non-visible elements is tangible, however, it is only afterwards, once looking at the photo, when one is able to see the outcome. A photograph always transforms its objects, so normally I don’t plan the pictures with their details before shooting. One has to be open for changes, and surprises, which are brought forward by this transience, are, at their best, things that develop my work. A certain light or detail can create an essential meaning for the picture, and this impact is practically impossible to predict in advance. I like the fact that a picture closes itself in it; finally it is its own, perfect entity. It is only afterwards, once looking at it from the outside, when one can realize its meaning and whether it is essential or not. So, this certain unexpectedness which is unfolded in photography fascinates me as well.

Sometimes I might have a specific place in mind, where I’d like to shoot, and from time to time, I also have a model with me. These models are close to me and I know them personally: mostly family members or friends. During recent years, when working abroad in different residencies, I noticed that the time between shooting and perceiving things, recognizing them, needs to be much shorter than in familiar surroundings: you need to react instantly, because you never know whether you’ll come back there anymore.

© Anni Leppälä

From the series Seedlings, (Room), 2004 / © Anni Leppälä

You have created a strong unique style, which is, however, full of inner controversies: often the subjects are either turned away or pictured with masks – as if the camera has searched and found something forbidden. At the same time, there is a strong theatrical element in your pictures: the curiosity of the viewer is often aroused with masks, red curtains or immobility of the characters. How do you explain this juxtaposition?

Even though I know my models personally, I want to depict them more as characters, not as individuals. The masks and the gestures of turning away were a natural element in the pictures right from the beginning: they leave the process of identification uncertain, attracts the focus on behind the picture. Paper masks are also a fascinating element once they’re captured in photographs; they represent a certain metamorphosis, which is a universal idea in photography and arts. In my earliest pictures, there is often an element of this “paper dollness”, of something superimposed and stagnant. This has been, in my mind, a symbol of metamorphosis, but it also represents the idea, which runs through photography more universally: processing the weigh of the lost moment and its yearning.

museo(ruumis) 001

Rooms: doctor’s office, 2008 / © Anni Leppälä

You have also done a lot of photographing in museums: old-time interiors are often featured in your works. Have you made this choice only for the sake of staging, or does it stand for a more profound meaning?

This phase was a part of my earlier works, when I wanted to study the theme of dissolution through something more constant. Ancient homes, which are turned into museums, are interesting for the sake of their inertia: they aim to preserve a certain, lost moment.  The things that are on display in museums have lost their original meaning, and their role is now to manifest something else. Back then, I also photographed a lot in my family’s old, abandoned house, which had, as well, remained intact, disconnected from time. I have a lot of memories connected to that house, whereas museums represent the same thing, but in a more universal level: an impossible attempt to stop time from passing.

© Anni Leppälä

From the series Seedlings, (The House), 2002 / © Anni Leppälä

Woman in maid’s clothes, paper doll, red-haired girl… Most of the characters that you photograph are females, even though they stay remote and anonymous, as if one would be watching something intimate, even forbidden. With this choice, do you want to take a stand on gender roles, or is it even relevant for you to talk about this?

When photographing, the character of a girl or a woman seems the most natural and the closest one for me. I have no need, nor intention, to highlight the gender specifically, but it is clear to me that the female figure has its definite place in the pictures when transmitting certain experiences and emotions.

© Anni Leppälä

From the series Seedlings, (Ribbon), 2004 / © Anni Leppälä

Do you have other dreams than photographing?

My dreams and hopes are strongly attached to arts, to things and experiences that it represents to me, for example through works of other artists. Moments of understanding, which sometimes occur when working, are worth of pursuing for. Also the search of balance is essential for me.

Nature with its different elements is also something characteristics of your works; someone might associate this with the Finnish landscape. How important is it to you as a source of inspiration?

Experiencing the different seasons in Finland is something very multifaceted. The light which enters from the window and its constantly changing amount, for instance, is a part of the versatile characteristics of nature. In nature, I often find counterparts to different emotional states or experiences, which is something very substantial and inseparable for my works.

You are born in Helsinki, where you currently work. How do you see the state of photography in Finland? What it means for you and your work to be a part of the Helsinki School?

In recent years, Finnish fine-art photography has become eminent abroad, thanks to the Helsinki School. I have participated in their exhibitions since 2006. It has been a great opportunity, permitting me to discover more possibilities when exhibiting abroad. Also, participating in the Helsinki School has been really important for me in order to develop my work: for example when planning and realizing the display for exhibitions, and being able to actually see the final result. Moreover, it has been essential for me to get to know other artists and students through the Helsinki School.

© Anni Leppälä

From the series Seedlings, (Buttons), 2004 / © Anni Leppälä

Your last solo exhibition was in France, in Montreuil-sur-Brêche: where can we enjoy your works the next time? What are your current projects?

My works will be on display in Berlin, at the Art Berlin Contemporary fair in mid-September. I’m also planning to work on an artist’s book.

Anni Leppälä

The Helsinki School

Text by Sini Rinne-Kanto

 

Marc Quinn – The Archaeology of Art

Courtesy Matteo De Fina

Courtesy Matteo De Fina

The Giorgio Cini Foundation presents a new major exhibition opened to the public on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore from May 29, 2013: Marc Quinn, major solo exhibition curated by Germano Celant and produced in collaboration with the artist, who sees a selection of more than 50 works – including sculptures, paintings, drawings and other art objects – by Marc Quinn, one of the most well-known representatives of the generation of Young British Artists. With more than 50 works, including 15 never before exhibited, the exhibition titled Marc Quinn is among the most important ever devoted to the artist. In addition to celebrating the renewal of the collaboration between Quinn and Celant (dating Garden exhibition organized by Fondazione Prada in Milan in 2000), Marc Quinn marks the return to Venice after the English artist The Overwhelming World of Desire in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection 2003 and reaffirms the growing interest in the Giorgio Cini Foundation for Contemporary Art.

Courtesy Matteo De Fina

Courtesy Matteo De Fina

Marc Quinn began his career exploring some particular themes, such as the relationship between art and science, the human body and its mechanisms of survival, life and its preservation, beauty and death. Quinn describes the show as “an exploration of the relationship with our body and the physical and cultural world around us, what it means to live in a world that is real and virtual at the same time.” In the exhibition you can admire, the five colossal shells of the series The Archaeology of Art that seem to ask if the desire to create art is inherent in nature. Perfectly symmetrical shapes, created by nature, which conceal a strange intelligence and seem to follow an order to their superior. Enormous in terms of size, but extremely detailed, these shells are between objects printed in high definition 3D world’s largest, the result of a digital code issued by a computer on the basis of the code of the biological DNA that has created the originals. The shells carved in bronze lie on the beach, as rocked by the tide.

Courtesy Matteo De Fina

Courtesy Matteo De Fina

“The works of Marc Quinn are projected into the past and into the future, from birth to death. Are floating images that depict the body, the flesh, the happy reproduction of his contemplation, both positively and negatively. Exteriorize the intimate desires of the human being and the mental images that pass from one condition to another, and sexual embrace both his inner and outer life – says the curator Germano Celant – This major solo exhibition of the Giorgio Cini Foundation intends to contextualize the production latest Quinn to provide a greater understanding of his art, as an art of incarnation, which focuses on the visual and tactile values, targeted to nature, the human being, but also in the light of the retina and that the filters. »

Courtesy Matteo De Fina

Courtesy Matteo De Fina

Fondazione Cini

Selected by Ingrid Melano