Tara Donovan (1969, New York) uses ordinary mass-produced materials for her site-specific art installations. From buttons, tape, toothpicks, needle pins or plastic cups, she builds large-scale sculptures mimicking the ways of nature.
She currently presents two new large-scale sculptures at Pace Gallery, NY (through June 28, 2014). In this exhibition, the artists works with index cards and acrylic rods. This is an exhibition not to miss, and only two weeks are left to discover her sculptures at Pace Gallery.
By accumulating mundane identical objects Donovan transforms the singular and ordinary into grand and ostentatious. The stacked material takes a shape that defies their everyday use: the artist succeeds in creating organic looking structures from unconventional material.
Bluffs (2006) is a sculpture she created by assembling hundreds of thousand of shirt buttons. The result resembles coral reefs or stalagmites. The mass-produced materials are transformed into shapes that seem to go back to nature. She calls her works site responsive, because it’s all about the perception of the artworks from where the viewer stands (close up or from a distance), and how it reacts to the different lights in the space.
Untitled (plastic cups) (2006) has to be recreated every time it is on display. Like most of her artworks, it can be adjusted to the space of the exhibition, and created big or small. It is stack of millions of transparent plastic cups, which she shapes into waves, forming a landscape. When the exhibition is over, it has to be taken away with a shovel.
Tara Donovan has earned acclaim for her ability to discover how the inherent physical characteristics of an object might allow it to be transformed into art. She explores the multiplication of these interactions, at times utilizing hundreds of thousands or millions of units, to generate powerful perceptual phenomenon and subtle atmospheric effects. The final form of her structures evolves from the innate properties of the materials she uses. As Donovan says, ‘it is not like I’m trying to simulate nature. It’s more of a mimicking of the way of nature, the way things actually grow.’
Watch a video of Tara Donovan and her artworks here
Exhibition on view through June 28th, 2014 at The Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street, New York.
Another exhibition at Pace Menlo Park (CA) through June 30th, 2014 features significant works created by the artist over the last 15 years.
* Tara Donovan’s exhibition of new work at Pace, 534 West 25th Street has been extended through August 15, 2014.
Sidney Regis started in 2008 an “Odyssey” which aimed at exploring and creating bridges between three fluids: time, light and water (“The Memories of Water”).
This new series of very large formats is the continuity of an earlier one (8th landscape) where the artist interrogated, always under water, the notion of “impermanence”. “The Dark Side of Light” questions and pushes the boundaries of photography. There is no focal point, identifiable subject or depth of field… The artist works on a raw and impalpable material: the diffraction of light in water.
The photographic shot is realised using an underwater installation, to concentrate the light onto a plate of metal.
The image is then numerically manipulated many times, in order to “immerge” into the heart of light and the numerical matrix of the image. The result is a residue, which the artist calls “digital-intra-light”.
The second element of the diptych, called “digital-intra-darkness” is an image resulting from a radical addition of black. This residue of the photographed image becomes an autonomous and raw entity, which emerges from the black and numerical magma: a sort of “anti-negative”.
In order to complete the photographic process, the artist, in partnership with Alice Tremblais, realises from the digital file a negative, which he develops on a traditional silver paper. This choice, beyond the technical aspect, plays on the ambiguity of the relationship between these different processes: the developing bath reveals the digital material.
These pictures are infinitely going back and forth between light and obscurity, between water and material. It is not about the process of the search for “beauty”, aestheticism or even the enhancement of the image, but rather a form of revelation through “destruction”. It is a revelation of the autonomy of light and water through the digital interpretation of the photographic device.
Sidney Regis’ photographs remind us of Thomas Ruff’s large color abstraction, and especially his ‘Substrat’ Series.
Photos: © Sidney Regis
Contact us for more information on the work of Sidney Regis.
We were invited by Mbassy Unlimited to their first event. Mbassy Unlimited, an initiative from artist Margret Wibmer, is an independent alliance for contemporary art & culture that initiates cross-cultural and trans-disciplinary collaboration. Their mission is to communicate and to ignite a new dialogue from the artists perspective relating to a broadening audience in light of an increasing global interconnection.
For the first event, at the Austrian ambassador’s house, Margret invited Florian Krepcik, a young emerging visual artist, to talk about his work, his views on the contemporary art world and his innovative cinematic approach in his latest work. Florian is an Austrian artist who studied in the Netherlands. He naturally turned himself to video art as it was for him the best way to control the audience and show them his world. The relationship with the audience is key to his work: he wants to seduce them and confront them with their emotions. The best way, according to him, is to have them sit in a dark room, where they have to watch and follow the narratives. That way the impact is much bigger than with any other forms of art -besides performances-. The appropriation of images is natural: in the work described below, Florian used images from a video game, but any source is possible: in our world flowed by images, why would you, as an artist, need to create what has already been done, when you can use them and work with them in a new way?
The debate was also the occasion to talk about how video art is presented to the public. According to Florian, video curation is still in its infancy. Films shouldn’t be shown in black boxes but more in cinema-like environments: people should have to watch it from the beginning to the end otherwise, what’s the point? Where is the experience? Curators should embrace this new medium and “impose” their audience to watch it like a movie. They could also think about evenings at museums, with projections from video artists’ works.
What is it to be an artist when you are 25? Florian wants to focus on his work; the art world recognition is secondary. First express yourself and later deal with the practicalities. So let’s let him broaden his world and give us amazing experiences. We are looking forward to it.
© Is this real love? Of course not , Florian Krepcik / Ron Mandos
Florian Krepcik was the winnar of the TENT Academy Awards, a prize for the best short film / movie / animation of young graduates, from the contemporary art platform TENT Rotterdam. He was also selected for the Best of Graduates 2013 exhibition at Ron Mandos.
Is this real love? Of course not by Florian Krepcik
Florian has created an innovative cinematic experience which infuses feelings in what is usually a cold environment. His way of using computergames as readymade images, makes you think about the real and digital world, about infrastructure, architecture and movement. Bringing in the aesthetics of film, by making the images of the game mainly black and white, creates unity while the artificiality is always there in the flickering light. The sound is brilliant, the selection of cinematographic quotations is great and the chapter titles make for an associative narrative in a very smart and alternative way. Source: Tent Rotterdam
This article was written by Jonathan Haber and has been posted on our blog with his consent. Enjoy reading it!
Photography has finally outgrown smart phones. With Thomas Ruff, even Mars looks small by comparison.
Make that ma.r.s., short for NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Survey—and the source of high-res images for some equally high-tech photo-manipulation. The planet’s surface looks dizzying enough on its own, thank you, but Ruff overprints it in two colors. Put on the cheap 3D glasses, the kind with red and green lenses, and you can imagine walking right into its craters. Unlike the prints and the gallery, they barely contain you. A second series runs taller still. At just under eight feet, the swirling abstractions have lost any hint of their origins as photograms, beyond their ghostly contrast between black and white.
They also typify a serious strain in photography. Make that all too serious, with large prints and global aspirations, much like the commercial pressure toward oversized installations. I recommend checking out Darren Almond on a busy day. He may not literally take your breath away, but he may well leave you wondering about the status of life on earth. Yet the impulse to manipulate space and time can still keep one guessing, maybe especially when a photographer has the sense to return to native ground. Meanwhile Letha Wilson creates her own ruined landscapes as a geologic map of America, on a more intimate scale, after photographing grander ones.
With Thomas Ruff, you may feel manipulated, because you are. From only a few feet away, his Mars looks all but flat. Yet to experience a crater’s actual size, one would have to step back. And photograms, by definition, are the direct imprint of objects, on a photosensitive surface exposed to light. Whatever happens on this scale to the thing itself, from Man Ray to E. E. Smith—or its ghostly forgetting? Is it worth the artist’s grand gesture, all to bring photography closer to László Moholy-Nagy, the origins of abstraction, and fine art?
Not that photography was waiting till now to think big. Ruff turned monumental twenty-five years ago, with faces too cropped to count as portraits rather than presences. Thomas Struth captures museum interiors at nearly life size, to put the institution and viewer alike on the spot, while Thomas Demand projects his paper models on much the same scale. (What is it with these Germans named Thomas?) Even Richard Misrach has felt the temptation to print his American landscapes larger than before, including his new beach pictures, like an overworked artist’s summer vacation. Grandeur has become the norm in other ways as well, as with displays in series for Bernd and Hilla Becher.
It can mean a grander time scale as well, as with the camera obscura for Vera Lutter—or with long exposures and seven continents for Darren Almond. Thierry Cohen, for another, photographs familiar skylines under glittering skies, but the skylines are dark, doctored to dim their artificial lights. He shot the stars from a different location, halfway around the world, then merged them with the city, as if nature had taken its revenge. (Cohen shares a gallery with Lloyd Ziff’s photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith from 1968 and 1969, and that means in retrospect competing with the best of them, but they will never, ever look so innocent again.) Does it matter that Cohen’s stars would in fact have shown above the city at just the right time? Maybe not, any more than it matters just what Ruff used for his photograms, for photography is thinking big.
But why? One answer is simply the technology that makes this resolution possible, and I do not mean the iPhone. (See, the devil made me do it—or at least made me buy larger inkjet printers.) Painting since Abstract Expressionism and Gerhard Richter has supplied models as well, as have Minimalism’s theater and Postmodernism’s assault on the natural. Ruff, Demand, Cohen, and Jeff Wall are all staging rather than documenting the world before them. Without the glasses, Ruff’s colored streaks look downright painterly.
Photography always had aspirations. “Faking It” at the Met went back before Photoshop, including the leap into the void from Yves Klein that erased his safety net. “Photography and the American Civil War” shows the medium reaching for an impact from the very start, with stereo views of the dead. That does not even count conventions borrowed from painting, such as posing soldiers with their weapons. Later, Alfred Stieglitz was at the center of American Modernism, and he was never just taking pictures. With another recent trend, keeping Polaroids alive, photographers may seem nostalgic for simpler times—but the slow pace of “instant photography” rebels against snapshots in its own way.
Do monumental prints, then, merely update past excesses for big markets? Maybe, but money changes everything. If you think of Ruff as lobby art, you will not be surprised to find his Mars in the lobby for Gagosian up on Madison Avenue. It you think of him instead as shooting holes in convention, transforming Modernism into manipulation, you can relish the beauty and the transformation. Then again, if you worry that collectors now take pride in seeing through conventions, too, who am I to argue? Sometimes the most vivid pictures are shallower than they appear.
Darren Almond is in a position to know about life on earth. The British photographer manages to cover all seven continents, from polar ice under an icy-white sky to tropical waters bathed in light. One can cross the planet just by turning one’s head. Judging by the distances and the dates, he must have moved fast, but he sure took his time along the way. He often worked by moonlight, the exposures taking up to an hour. Another photo shows the traces of planets or stars, in broken but still perfect circles in the sky.
They are breathtaking enough—and not only because of scale, although the show has room for only sixteen. (Hey, there are plenty bigger out there these days, when art in search of sales is so often out to impress.) They are also very much composed. One sees the drama of a waterfall from behind a black outcropping and a long horizontal of jagged cliffs from the air. A bright river rises up past bare branches and its own shallow eddies, before disappearing behind trees beneath distant mountains. Woods make their dark cross like a scar on a verdant plain.
In each case, the foreground invites one in while keeping one out. The cliffs could be a flyover with nowhere to land, the bright river the start of a journey in some epic trilogy yet to be filmed. Almond’s forbidding point of view no doubt helps determine the size of the prints: anything smaller would make contemplating danger easy—and anything larger would immerse one in the landscapes, as in Chernobyl for Diana Thater. Almond’s own video installation two years back purported to describe a monk’s “walking meditation,” but there is no easy walking or meditating here.
One cannot even find one’s way around. The pictures are not arranged geographically, like a National Geographic special or guided tour, and their titles, although specific when it comes to place and time, do not bother to name the continent or nation. The tropics and star trails are in Hawaii, the waterfall in Iceland, the river in Colorado, and the grass in New Zealand, but I know only because I have access to the Web. No human beings are visible to call any of them their home. The dislocation extends to time as well as space, but then time is space when one can simply turn one’s head. The long exposures give the appearance of broad daylight under a full moon.
The exposures also make photography a science experiment, much as it was in its origins—not excluding an experiment on the gallery-goer. An exotic device, on display along with the prints, is said to measure electromagnetic radiation. Its foil sheets and glass jar could come right out of an antique laboratory. The whole show resembles a research report by extraterrestrials on their first visit to planet earth. Conversely, if the places look utterly uninhabited (or downright uninhabitable), one could oneself be approaching a distant planet. I told you right off that breathing might be difficult.
If it sounds more than a little pretentious, it is. It is also representative of the latest twists and turns in the notion of the sublime. These visions are not mutually exclusive, just as Abstract Expressionism helped to create fresh interest in the Hudson River School, but they are distinct all the same. A spiritual and esthetic ideal in its origins, the sublime took on a sense of nation building in nineteenth-century America, of self-making in the time of Jackson Pollock, of ego-tripping for Matthew Barney, and now a kind of ego-undoing in the hands of an upmarket gallery and an inward-looking photographer. Where painters like Asher Durandor F. E. Church set their scale in contrast to mere humans, Almond excludes people—and where they poised on the edge of a continent, he crosses all the continents on the way to another world. Get out your spacesuit for a trip to earth.
Letha Wilson reaches some impressive heights, too, and why not? She did, after all, shape them herself, from plywood, museum board, and cement. Well, maybe not entirely, for each work entails actual photography, from a mythic American landscape. Wilson looks up close at rock faces and vegetation, from New England to the country of sagebrush and salt flats. She pulls back, too, for horizontal clouds above a slowly rising horizon. And then she adds her own.
The photograph comes first, at a gallery known for the medium, and nothing succumbs to the trend for the oversized and overstated. At its simplest, a storm cloud folds up like a fan, as it to promise relief from drier weather. More often, paper provided a mold, with photography later laid over or peeking through. Two mountains appear through neat circular holes in an apparent rock face, which owes its variations to four colors of poured concrete. Nothing at all appears where a smooth diagonal of wood once crossed another mold, but C prints layer the irregular surface without creasing. The fictive landscape might have evolved in geologic time.
Titles like Photogram New York (Colorado) or Salt Flats Cement Dip instantly announce a hybrid. Copper Pink Sand Dunes does so more subtly, since the copper pink refers to a sharp dab of paint. Yet the titles also imply displacement—a work not entirely at home outdoors or in. It says something that one has cliffs up close and peaks at a distance, but nothing in between. Displacement may simply go with the territory for the Badlands of outlaws. Here, though, an artist had to create it.
For an American, not to mention anAmerican artist, there is always something defining about the great outdoors. There is also something hard to live up to. This is, after all, the Maine of Winslow Homer and the west of the Hudson River School—where even a cement dip shares takes on the translucency of light and sky. Photograms, here too pierced by flaps and photos, recall Surrealism. The media also draw on both collage and Minimalism, like a slim column with the Grand Tetons sticking out from either side. The photos take on the physical heft of what they represent.
At least one can imagine that they do, while stepping up to inspect the damage. Wilson echoes a common theme in politics and photography, much as when Misrach encountered lunch tables on salt flats: disturbance of the land colors American, environmental, or human history—and a contested history at that. Wilson’s hybrids also suggest how, for many, the very idea of nature is always a human construction. A few years back in Socrates Sculpture Park, she built on minimalist geometry to stage the ideal of a community garden. Now the image itself stakes out a physical terrain, as another successor to the machine in the garden.
The environment sure looks more natural than in the gallery’s previous show. It also looks far more human. Lynne Cohen photographed offices and community centers, from 1971 to 1988, finding but with no hint of employment or community. She found walls lined with birds, clouds, and moose heads, but they chased out the people long ago. More often than not, even during a war game (Play at Your Own . . .), one can hardly put one’s finger on just what is out of place. Maybe that is because, for once, it is the world one knows all too well.
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When you look at Matthieu Faury’s work, you know it: this artist thinks big. The ideas, the concepts, the size of (most) pieces, everything breathes determination, conviction and ambition. But in what? We asked the artist to give us some insight about his versatile work and his creative process.
The artist is deeply rooted in our contemporary world. He is interested in the relationship between mankind and its environment. The process of creation is at least as important as the final result. Matthieu Faury follows his own path, sometimes doubting, destroying, building again… But always creating, with courage and the certainty that wherever he is going, that’s where he needs to be.
Matthieu Faury is a builder. He cuts open, dissects, analyses and finally rebuilds his own vision of our reality with one goal: understand the inner truth of life. IN Temple Extrudé, his thoughts and creative process make us think about society: divided but still one. Fragmented too, like all the blocks of the sculpture that seems so stable, in stone, and yet so fragile, as they are not sealed together.
The temple is a representation of politics and society: divided but still under one roof, hanging together. The artist also pointed out that architecture has become almost the new portrait in contemporary art: think about Bernd and Hilla Becher; the new German objectivity. Until the XIXth century, people’s portraits were haging on walls. They are now replaced by buildings, which have become the new face of our society. It can even be a self-portrait from the artist, where the stairs, carved at the “wrong” place and the “wrong” way or the inner way, bring him back to his inner self.
Matthieu Faury is a philosopher. He tries to understand our world. Find a meaning to who we are and what we do. That is therefore no surprise if he is primarily interested in subjects like politics, manking, the relationship with nature, even ecology.
Take his exhibition, Métaphysique des casques, in Les Baux de Provence (click here for the catalogue): his work tells us a story where the past resonates in his new work, where the helmet, symbol of warriors, is also a type of protection -even a shelter!.
Matthieu Faury could belong to the “irrealist movement”. Would there be one! His work is very much realistic, figurative. However it is only the starting point: the artist questions it and distorts it to question our reality and also suggests a confrontation of the person against himself. His current project is about apes, les grands singes. This subject is for him the ideal venue to address such issues as: where are we now with the Darwin theory? What is the relationship between man and nature? What is our impact on nature? Without mentioning ecology, that’s where it leads us. His latest work is Projet Fractal OO below.
Matthieu Faury was born in 1970. He studied sculpture at the Académie de Versailles and in the atelier of Maurizio Toffoletti. He works with a wide range of materials (bronze, aluminium, wood, manganese,…) that are chosen depending on the work. Most pieces are unique or in very limited editions. He currently lives between Paris and Avignon, France.
Photos: © Matthieu Faury © Mary-Laetitia Gerval
You are welcome to visit him 23 and 24 November during the Ateliers d’Artistes event in Avignon!
We spotted some intriguing pictures at Kahmann Gallery: their small format (about 20x20cm), the focus on the landscape and the use of black&white makes them look timeless.
What are they about? The artist has focused on nature, primarily mountains in the series shown at the gallery. The titles (“silent respiration of the forest”, “evanescence”) convey the idea that we get to see the spirit, the hidden vibration of nature. It is a work about patience, about connecting with nature.
Shikama turned to photography in 2007, after a career in design. He got drawn to the subject of mountains and woods and sought to capture the “invisible behind the visible”. The process is part of the artwork: he uses a large format camera and makes platinum prints on handmade paper.
More information? Click here
Dutch Artist Amie Dicke tells us about the creative process behind one of her works, created for an exhibition in the Gemeente Museum Den Haag. Click here to watch!
Amie Dicke, The Battle of Magenta at September 22nd 2012. Container, prints, water.
(Exhibition Nabeeld (Afterimage) at GEM Museum of contemporary art, The Hague)