Daniel Arsham

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Daniel Arsham is a multi-disciplinary contemporary artist who alternates between design, film, sculpture and photography.

The above image highlights Arsham’s  signature concept of ‘fictional archaeology’ which sees devices such as boom boxes or cameras decayed with geological material, creating an eery and somewhat alien impression.

His newest venture is Film the Future, a production company which produces immersive short films and advertisements for the likes of Usher and Calvin Klein.  The fourth instalment of his Future Relic short film can be seen here.

 

 

Vogue 100: A Century of Style

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The latest exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Vogue 100: A Century of Style, was not what I expected.  I usually tend to avoid Vogue and other fashion magazines, simply for the reason that fashion doesn’t feature high on my list of priorities. I do, however, have a secret passion for the creativity and escapism of fashion photography and Vogue, without doubt, features some of the most daring and outlandish photographs in the world of fashion.  The exhibition is a treat.  It is beautifully staged, wonderfully designed and features endless pictures from Vogue’s early days in 1892 to its transformation throughout the glitz and glamor of the 20s right up to the present day.  I was pleasantly surprised that Vogue covered political and cultural affairs, including Matisse hard at work making his famous cut-outs in bed. It’s definitely an exhibition not to be missed.

Image: National Portrait Gallery 

 

Cecile Emeke

Today I spent a few hours at Southbank’s Africa Utopia festival, an event which aims to showcase contemporary culture, art and ideas from numerous African countries that are helping to change the world.

One person who caught my attention was Cecile Emeke, an artist, director and writer who has gained global recognition for her online documentary series, Strolling and the French version, Flâner. 

“I try to be honest in my work and I think honesty is what allows nuances of humanity to shine through. I stay true to myself and my truth, bringing another story and voice to the table, and therefore helping to break single story dogma, as opposed to trying to mould myself to what I think people want to see or hear.” – Cecile Emeke

Station to Station: A 30 Day Happenning

The Barbican is currently holding a “living exhibition” of numerous multi-media events spread over a 30 day period.  It is a fascinating project which builds on Doug Aitken’s 2013 venture Station to Station and really does offer something for everyone.

I started my visit off with Light Echoes by Aaron Koblin and Ben Tricklebank, an immersive installation of laser beams and atmospheric music, which encourages the spectator to move in time with the light.  I then sampled the delights of cactus omelette based on Ed Ruscha’s recipe whilst watching his bizarrely entertaining short film, Premium. After wandering around the gallery space, I sat down to witness Abraham Brody’s Soul Alchemy II. Brody, a classically trained violinist, encouraged interaction between members of the public and performed very emotive music whilst looking into the eyes  of any willing participant.  It was incredibly moving.

Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening – 27 June 2015 – 26 July 2015 

Image: still from Light Echoes

Carsten Höller

It’s not every day you get to enter an exhibition through a dark tunnel or exit via a swirling slide, but that is just what’s on offer at Carsten Holler’s latest exhibition, Decision.

The exhibition immerses the audience in an experiential environment in which they are invited to interact with the displays and in some respects decide on their own experience within the gallery. It is a great critique on what contemporary art is and can be, yet I couldn’t help but think it was more of a gimmick to draw in the London crowds. Needless to say, it was still a fun way to spend the afternoon! Some highlights for me included Pill Clock which drops a capsule every 3 seconds to mark the passing of time and is intended to be consumed by the visitor, and the seemingly misplaced installation called Fara Fara which features the music scene in the Democratic Republic of Congo!

Michal Rovner

Michal Rovner (b.1957) is a multi-media artist, specialising in video and cinematic installations.  In her current exhibition at Pace Gallery (London), the viewer would be forgiven for thinking they are entering a room of bold, abstract paintings. Indeed, they are, but a closer look reveals the wonderful multi-layering of tiny human figures which move ritualistically across a textured backdrop.  Some figures trail off the screen, others push and pull one another, and yet the viewer has no concrete notion from where these figures came, or where they are going.  They are in constant flux, striving to reach an unidentifiable destination and unknown in their struggle.

Andy Warhol


“Yes, it’s a fad [Pop Art]…I think it would be great if more people took up silkscreens so that no one would know whether my picture was mine or somebody else’s.” – Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol is an artist who doesn’t need much of an introduction.  His silkscreen images of Campbell Soup cans, Marilyn Monroe and dollar signs, to name but a few,  are easily recognisable and also fetch for millions of dollars in international art auctions, making him one of the most commercially successful artists ever to have lived.

Starting his career off as a fashion illustrator using hand-painted drawings, Warhol later began to silkscreen his work via mainstream techniques.  This in effect blurred the boundaries between art and commodity, with the dollar sign silkscreens epitomising this notion of art as capital exchange.

The digitally reproduced image above has only recently been rediscovered, having been salvaged from old Amiga floppy disks stored at the Andy Warhol Museum.   Warhol was involved in the 1985 launch of the Commodore Amiga and was commissioned to produce digital images by the computer and electronics manufacturer as part of the launch.  [A documentary about this recent discovery can be viewed online at the Carnegie Museum of Art.]

The original image for this work, Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482) was produced in 1984 with acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen after Warhol significantly cropped a reproduction of Botticelli’s painting.

This silkscreen formed part of Warhol’s wider 1984 print collection entitled Details of Renaissance Paintings, which also featured appropriated images from paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and Ucello. Reproducing iconic, classical paintings was in a sense a way for Warhol to critique the traditional art market and highlight its commercial value.  Classical paintings had already become part of mass consumption, appearing on souvenirs, biscuit boxes, postcards, etc, but what Warhol did was to re-interpret them in Pop Art form and emphasise their commercialism.

Subject for this topic is inspired by a new MOOC I am taking: Warhol, The university of Edinburgh.