Art Of The Day Weekly
#130 - from 23 April 2009 to 29 April 2009
IN THE AIR
Return to Soweto
While all eyes are focused on South Africa, where the population voted for its new President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday 22 April, how is the local artistic scene doing? While certain creators are world known such as Marlene Dumas, William Kentridge or photographer Roger Ballen, not all the hopes linked to the end of apartheid have been satisfied. The Contemporary art Biennale of the Cape died in 1997, right after its second edition and there is not contemporary art museum in the country at the level of the country’s political and demographic weight (50 million inhabitants). Maybe we need to seek novelty where we least expect it. The city of Soweto, the symbol of a policy of repression, has created one of the most moving museums of these last few years. It is dedicated to the student uprising of 1976, in which 500 persons were killed, among them young student Hector Pieterson (for whom it is named), and benefitted from the efficient and clean architectural design of the Mashebane Rose agency. Just a few kilometres from there, at the entrance of the city, the FCB stadium will be the jewel of the next world football cup. Could Soweto become the destination of architectural pilgrimages? In an ever-changing world, everything is possible.
LAST DAYS.... UNTIL 29 APRIL.... Do not miss JOURS DE FÊTE L’ANNÉE EN IMAGES POUR PETITS ET GRANDS; from the Chandeleur to the Armistice, our celebrations told through old and contemporary images at the MUSEE DE L'IMAGE in ÉPINAL See article in ArtAujourdhui.info
ALSO...KOJIRO AKAGI CONNU ET INCONNU; the discovery of a great Japanese artist, a remarkable portrait artist of Paris, at the townhall of the Vth arrondissement in Paris. See article in art-of-the-day.info
Gandhara, between Alexander and Buddha
BONN – If one mentions Pakistan or Afghanistan, we create fear. If we say Gandhara, one thinks of Alexander the Great and the Silk Road. Gandhara though is on the territory of the two afore-mentioned States … The exhibition in Bonn brings back to life the first five centuries of our time in this crossroad region. The 300 objects – sculptures, low-reliefs, jewels and coins – document a golden age and confirm the role of Gandhara in transmitting Buddhism beyond the Indian borders. One of the most spectacular manifestations has now disappeared: the large Buddhas sculpted in the rocks of Bamyan, targeted by the Taliban in 2001.
Contemporary art in force
PARIS – During the first edition, in 2006, it was necessary to prove that French contemporary art, almost unheard of on the international level, did actually exist. On a triennial rhythm, to break away from the eternal biennials, Force de l’art has made itself its own place on the art calendar. For this second edition, under the vaults of the Grand Palais, the three curators (Froment, Jouannais, Ottinger) actually present the same question: how can one survive when the larger events (Art Basel, Frieze, enice Biennial, Documenta) and the major auctions are mostly held abroad? To try and answer this question, they have called in names the youngest generation of artists best known by the French media– those who will replace in the future, Buren, Lavier or Boltanski. So here we have, exceptionally, grouped together, Stéphane Calais and Fabrice Hyber, Didier Marcel and Philippe Mayaux. The large gap between Philippe Perrot’s figurative canvases and Kader Attia’s installations is inevitable. But it is rather encouraging if one reads it as an indication of cultural diversity…
Titus, father and son
ROME – Titus was rewarded with a beautiful arc of triumph in Rome for his conquest of Jerusalem and the treasure of the Temple (another consequence of his campaign was the Great Jewish Diaspora). Two thousand years after his short reign, an exhibition focuses on the three members of the Flavian dynasty: Titus himself, as well as his younger brother Domitian, the one with the terrible reputation, and above all their father Titus Vespasian, founder of the dynasty. It is organized in an ideal location – the Coliseum they themselves had built. With the help of fragments of columns, of a large marble map of Rome, of statues and busts of famous men, the circle of conquerors and courtesans has been recreated. Some of the pieces are shown at the Forum, in the Curia, which will reopen exceptionally to the public after a long period of being closed. Furthermore, an external itinerary marks by special signs the main monuments commissioned by the Flavian dynasty.
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From Miró to Murakami
PARIS – In the style of the major Anglo-Saxon auctioneers, the Tajan house presents an auction of modern and contemporary art divided in two sessions: during the day the most affordable pieces, on the eve in the evening the most sought after pieces, hence the most expensive. In the first part, on 28 April at 7: 30 PM, limited to some thirty pieces, we shall admire various works by Riopelle, a Portrait of Antonio Saura which should go for more than 100 000 euros, an Infinity Nets by Yayoi Kusama and a Time Points by James Rosenquist which should each dare the ceiling of 300 000 euros. The highest estimate (over 500 000 euros) concerns bronzes painted by Miró, Man and Woman in the night . The choice the next day is of course much wider, starting at some few hundred euros. A small Indian ink composition by Mathieu is estimated for example at 800 euros. It will be presented next to paintings by Rebeyrolle or Peter Klasen, objects by Raoul Ubac, mobiles by Martha Botho, serigraph works by Alain Jacquet or lithographs by Murakami.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Pierre Ardouvin, La Chose, 2008, tarpaulin, PVC, ventilating systems, timer, 6 x 3,20 x 3,50 m, coproduction Fondation d’entreprise Ricard and LIA-Centre d’art Bastille, courtesy galerie Cher Valentin, Paris.
Pierre Ardouvin : objects, instructions for use
There is something of Magritte in him. Artists do not necessarily appreciate when we see possible filiations, but how could we react otherwise in front of this universe that combines absurd, comical, be it surrealist aspects? It is not only a question of a taste for every day objects, transformed, erected as statues through a different and wild use, from the coat to the wheel barrow. It is also a question of playing with the titles, all sort of mini manifestos, from Love me tender (a lonely bumper car, a nostalgic evocation of the fairgrounds of the past) to Nasseville (a few cement blocks surrounded by a net).
Always amusing but nevertheless a little disquieting, Ardouvin’s art arranges the debris of our consumer society in an artificial setting – lighting, platforms, plastic flowers – that show how materialist dreams do not age well.
The Renaissance and sustainable development
The Renaissance marks the irruption of a new way of seeing the world and it is nowhere more remarkable than in painting. Hieratic compositions, built according to intellectual canons, are replaced by works nourished by the observation of Nature. This is the passage Nadeije Laneyrie-Dagen documents in her book. Starting with traditional elements – air, fire, water, earth – she shows for each one of them how Giotto or Roger van der Weyden influenced the representation of the world. One therefore gets attached to very simple things which, in the end, are very important: sprays of water and splashes, the light of candles, the texture of grass or of moss, the shape of the clouds. It is by being so closely interested in the shape of things that artists may have been the first to realize how fragile Nature is. Were Bosch and Mantegna environmentalists before their time?
BRUSSELS – The contemporary art fair Art Brussels will hold its 27th edition from 24 to 27 April 2009 with over 160 international galleries.
CHICAGO – The Pritzker Prize, considered by many as the«Nobel architecture prize» has been rewarded to Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, known in particular for the thermal baths of Vals.
GENEVA - The Europ'art'09 fair, that groups together independent artists and galleries, will be held from 22 to 26 April 2009 at Palexpo.
LONDON – The London Original Print Fair, specialised in prints, will be held from 22 to 26 April 2009 at the Royal Academy of Arts.
MEXICO – The MACO modern and contemporary art fair will be held from 23 to 26 April 2009 at the Centro Banamex.
RIO DE JANEIRO – The year of France in Brazil was launched on 21 April and will last until 15 November 2009.
SAN FRANCISCO – American photographer Robert Adams was rewarded the 2009 prize from the Hasselblad foundation