Home > ArtoftheDay Weekly > #171 - from 22 April 2010 to 28 April 2010

Art Of The Day Weekly

#171 - from 22 April 2010 to 28 April 2010

Bernard Pras, Tom Murphy, a special kind of anamorphosis. Bernard Pras is exhibited at the Mazel Gallery, in Brussels, from April 24 to May 15, 2010.


Grace, all in style

LONDON – The Victoria & Albert museum has a theory concerning Grace Kelly, Princess Grace. She who was successively an anonymous theatre actress, a star in Hollywood and a European princess; she - the talented chameleon and in spite of all these changes- embodied a homogenous style throughout her life. A life under the sun and lights, and a tragic death in a car accident in 1982 that ensured her a place in the popular pantheon of the XXth century. To prove its theory the museum has deciphered that style presented as an original combination of a vamp and the girl-next-door. Grace Kelly was capable of wearing a casual pair of slacks as well as creations from the Parisian haute couture; she inspired Madonna, Kate Winslet or even designer Vera Wang. The exhibition presents her wardrobe throughout the decades, including in particular her famous wedding gown. This exhibition is a progressive shift from the monographs of designers such as Madeleine Vionnet or Yves Saint Laurent towards the exaltation of simple fashion messengers. Would this want to prove that art can simply be a matter of style. This remains to be seen…
Grace Kelly: Style Icon at the Victoria & Albert Museum from 17 April to 26 September 2010

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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938), Women Bathing (triptych, central panel), 1915/25, Oil on canvas, 196 x 171 cm Kirchner Museum Davos, courtesy Städel Museum, Francfort

Kirchner, heads and tails

FRANKFURT – On 15 June 1938, on the eve of summer, he destroyed a major part of his work before shooting two bullets into his heart. Still shattered by the images of World War I, Ludwig Kirchner had been living for nearly twenty years in Davos, Switzerland, when he chose to end his life in this manner rather than see his work and his own life fall into the hands of the Nazis who were about to take over Austria, right next door. The Städel Museum shows this last period of the Impressionist painter, marked by the wide Alpine landscapes. But, as the first museum to have collected his work, it also leaves a large space to the artist’s Expressionist period in the Brücke group, in the footsteps of Matisse and Munch. This very rich retrospective – nearly 180 works including paintings, drawings and prints – presents a few pieces never seen before. It also tries to show one of its originalities: in order to reduce costs, Kirchner often painted on both sides of the canvas. Consequently we are deprived of half of his work. For once, the back side of the canvas is brought forward, as is the case of Woman lying down in white blouse, which is finally shown at the expense of the Nude at the window
•Kirchner at the Städel Museum, from 23 April to 25 July 2010

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Andrea del Verrocchio, Head of a woman, 1470s, charcoal and white heightening, © Trustees of the British Museum.

The XVth century in 100 drawings

LONDON – Drawings are rarely given the importance they deserve, and very few exhibitions present this discipline, in spite of it being the mother of arts at the beginning of the Renaissance. This exhibit meets the challenge with «absolute» masterpieces such as View of the Arno in pen, both the first landscape drawing in European art and the oldest known work by Leonardo da Vinci (1473). It must be said that the efforts put together to organize this event are colossal, between the funds of the British Museum and the Graphic Cabinet of the Uffizi, in particular this choice of one hundred drawings, including Lorenzo Monaco, Michael-Angelo or Boltraffio that stages the evolution of the genre from 1400 to 1510, between the taste for the line typical of the Florentine school and the appetite for colors of the Venetians.
Fra Angelico to Leonardo, Italian Renaissance drawings at the British Museum, from 22 April to 25 July 2010.

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Paolo Domenico Finoglio, Raymond of Toulouse fights a duel againt Argant, © Pinacoteca Finoglio, Conversano

Baroque art, like in the movies

LILLE – Baroque art is imminently theatrical, as we have always known. At the palais des Beaux-Arts they have decided to push this all the way, by taking a «guinea pig» - a little known pictorial cycle, dedicated by Paolo Finoglio (1590-1645) to the epic poem Jerusalem delivered by Tasso. The demonstration was entrusted to a contemporary creator, Alain Fleisher, movie director, director of the Fresnoy-national Studio for contemporary arts, and recently in charge of staging an exhibition on reading at the National French Library (BNF). The ten paintings designed for the castle of Conversano, in the Pouilles region, were staged like the sequences of a movie, based on the light effects and reverse shots. This is an original approach to give appeal to an art form conceived in the past as a sort of cartoon strip but we had lost the tools to decipher it a longtime ago. •Finoglio, un maître du baroque napolitain, mis en scène par Alain Fleisher at the palais des Beaux Arts, from 23 April to 12 July 2010.

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Artoftheday also recommends…

• The Sainte-Chapelle in the castle of Vincennes groups together a beautiful collection, mostly from Brittany, of those angel musicians that inhabited Western churches, from the Midle Ages to the XIXth century. From 15 April to 5 September 2010.

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• At the Sucrière in Lyons, Cités végétales (Vegetable cities), designed by Belgian architect Luc Schuiten, presents a world that is possible, in which the urban fabric imitates that of the plants. From 27 April to 27 June 2010.

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The MoMA in New York was the first museum to honor Henri Cartier-Bresson (in 1947). Today it dedicates a retrospective with the means of its ambitions to the same artist, with nearly 300 photos. Until 21 June 2010.

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A museum with a human face

AMSTERDAM – «Nothing of the human realm is foreign to me» : this could have been the moto of Beep Elias-Vaes (1908-2002). This woman of the Dutch high society, married to the descendant of the famous admiral de Ruyter, occupied her free time after her husband’s demise in 1963 to an obsession, to collect. She was seized by a humanist thirst– we musn’t forget this is the land of Erasmus – and developed an interest in all cultures and accumulated thousands of objects, from the time of the Pharoes up to the avant-gards of the XXth century, side by side with armor, ceramics, books, ivories. This unique fund was preserved in the twenty rooms of a tiny museum in Rotterdam, but it could no longer ensure its survival. After giving certain works of art to museums, the executors of the will chose to scatter the rest of the collection in a sale: 4000 objects sum up 3000 years of history, with prices starting at a few hundred euros.
Twenty Rooms, the private collection of the late Mrs Elias-Vaes atz Christie’s Amsterdam, from 27 to 29 April 2010.

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Bernard Pras, The Wave, courtesy Mazel galerie, Brussels

Bernard Pras on the steps of Arcimboldo

He is undoubtedly Arcimboldo’s heir. As a matter of fact, a work by Bernard Pras had been placed next to the exhibition the musée du Luxembourg in Paris had dedicated in 2007 to the Italian painter of the Renaissance. The son of a bicycle runner who had a few successes on the French roads during the tour de France, the artist has updated his predecessor’s approach. The elements with which he builds his trompe-l’œil are not so much bits of squash or eggplant as pieces of plastic, screwdrivers, bottle tops, and even – the maximum insult for sectarians of the Ancien Régime – rolls of toilet paper. As a matter of fact the latter form a perfectly possible wig for the Sun-King. His anamorphoses (see the video above) are real amazing feats using recycled objects. Bernard Pras’ work is too unclassifiable, too weirdly eccentric according to «official» art. His needs to be seen «for real», and yet enjoys no real visibility… •Bernard Pras is shown from 24 April to 15 May 2010 at the galerie Mazel, in Brussels (22 rue Capitaine Crespel).

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Architects at home

«Tell me where you live and I will tell you who you are». In a profession as particular as that of architects, the saying is not necessarily valid. As we learn in this book that introduces us daily lives of Günther Domenig, Richard Rogers or Norman Foster, architects hesitate between two opposite strategies: to live in a house that reveals everything about them – or in one that says nothing… We know that to Frank Gehry the building of his home in California was the testing ground that would lead to the Guggenheim Bilbao. All the contrary of Oswald Mathias Ungers, who feels compelled to turn his home into an utopist manifesto, Massimiliano Fuksas is quite happy in his that reveals nothing. These homes, taken from former industrial silos, (Bofill), barns (Portoghesi), slanting over the sea (Shoei Yoh) or in an apartment building (Chemetov), they always have one quality: one is never indifferent to them. One regret in face of this book from 1999, is that its new publication with a very spirited text, is not updated and that it does not explain this choice (which can have its good reasons) of leaving things set in time… •Maisons privées d’architectes, by Jean-Louis André and Eric Morin, Chêne, 2010, 192 p., 25 €.

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BARCELONA – The Arts Libris festival, dedicated to books on art and design, will be held at the Arts Santa Monica space, on the Ramblas, from 22 to 25 April 2010.

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BRUSSELS – The 28th fair of modern and contemporary art, Art Brussels, will be held from 23 to 28 April 2010 at Brussels Expo with nearly 110 galeries.

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BRUSSELS -The villa Empain, designed in 1931 by architect Michel Polak for baron Empain, will open again to the public on 23 April 2010 after a restoration campaign led by its new owner, jeweier Jean Boghossian.

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GENEVA – The first edition of the contemporary art fair ArtbyGenève will be held at the Palexpo from 28 April to 2 May 2010, at the same time as the book and press fair.

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LILLE – The contemporary art fair Lille Art Fair will group together nearly 60 galleries from 22 to 25 April at Lille Grand Palais.

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TOULOUSE – The auction house Chassaing-Maranbat sold a jade seal of emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) on 17 April 2010 for 3,386 million €, the French record in an auction at the beginning of 2010.

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This week, do not miss


CHARLEROI - The B.P.S.22, a space for contemporary creation in the Province of Hainaut, dedicates an important exhibition to contemporary art and football. The project looks at the various facets of this popular sport, in connection with the challenges of our world.

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SAINT-ROMAIN-EN-GAL - Based on the rich collections of the future museum Confluences of Lyons, the relationship of man to death is clarified in the Gallo-Roman museum, from the Egypt of the Pharoes to the aborigenes of Australia.

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