Wednesday, March 24, 2010

8th Shanghai Biennale, 2010

In the framework of the Shanghai Biennale 2010, curating is not about reaching conclusions, investigation or representation, but about organizing rehearsals. As long as a rehearsal is going on, the theatre of exhibition will remain open to the future. Today, the productivity of the art system far outstrips individual creativity.

For the Shanghai Biennale 2010, rehearsing is not a metaphor for a form of exhibition, but a way of thinking and operating strategy. What the Biennale aims to achieve is to invite a wide range of participants: artists, curators, critics, collectors, museum directors and members of the audience to rehearse in the Biennale, a fertile theatre to reflect on the relations between artistic experimentation and the art system, between individual creativity and the public domain.

This biennale defines itself as a rehearsal, as a reflective space of performance. As Brecht has noted, "Actors in rehearsal do not wish to 'realize' an idea. Their task is to awaken and organize the creativity of the other. Rehearsals are experiments, aiming to explore the possibilities of the here and now. The rehearser's task is to expose all stereotyped, clichéd and habitual solutions." The rehearsal of the 8th Shanghai Biennale is a self-performative act of the art world, a constant attempt at self-reminder and self-liberation. Rehearsal is wielded against performance, production and discursive practice. The responsibility of the curators is to differentiate, organize and then mobilize.

Rehearsal as a theme accentuates the sense of presence and action and aptly divides the curatorial work of the Shanghai Biennale 2010 into two parts: Exposition and Recapitulation. Exposition refers to the rehearsal tournaments scheduled to be consecutively opened between July and October 2010. AndRecapitulation is to return the rehearsal tournaments back to the main body of the exhibition in Shanghai, with the tournaments comprising its core content and groundwork. The two steps, Expositionand Recapitulation are part of the processes of trial and experimentation of the theme of the Shanghai Biennale on the international stage and it can also be viewed as the Biennale's emulation of and feedback to the international art scene.

The rehearsal tournaments are scheduled to start in July 2010 and close in October of the same year. The Biennale plans to invite around twenty influential thinkers, curators and artists from across the world to participate in the rehearsal tournaments. An Acting Committee will be formed at the executive level to assist the curators in academic research and organization of the tournaments.

The rehearsal tournaments will bring together thinkers, artists and curators in an attempt to accentuate the convergence of discourse and visual production. Each rehearsal will last a week and be housed in different artistic institutions, with works in progress by local artists as its basic plot and the artists' investigatory document and sensory materials as props. The black box of artistic creation will be revealed by the exposition of the whole creative process, so that it may become a rehearsal ground. Thinkers and curators are invited to play a role in the rehearsal by participating via various means ranging from debates to public speaking to writing. The aim is to unleash the manifold possibilities previously sealed in individual creativity. As a creative laboratory, the rehearsal tournaments will manage to integrate the resources of artistic creation, artists' ideas, art history, restrictions on the art system, critical discourse as well as the public by juxtaposing them on the stage for a rehearsal.

Sunday, March 21, 2010



Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, which this year celebrates its centenary, opens its galleries to contemporary art for the first time, to present a major exhibition of works by celebrated British artist Damien Hirst.

CORNUCOPIA is the title of the exhibition, which spans the last 15 years of the artist's career and comprises over 60 key works, including early paintings and sculptures. The exhibition is presented with the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.

Gathering together an exceptional ensemble of works, displayed throughout the museum in the company of the existing and remarkable collection of sea creatures and marine fauna, the exhibition stages a conversation between the past and the present, between art and science.

The dialogue between the museum's collection of specimens and aquariums and the artist's work allows the viewer to consider each discipline in a new light. Art and science here become mutually enlightening.

The display brings together seminal early works such as
Away from the Flock, Divided, 1995, in which the artist suspended a sheep in formaldehyde in a glass tank, with the more recent After The Flood, 2008, featuring a dove in flight suspended in formaldehyde and The Forgiveness, 2008, a nine-metre-long stainless steel cabinet with 3,502 butterflies and other insects displayed along the shelves.

From the exquisitely composed butterfly wing paintings,
the Psalms, 2008, to the monumental sculptures such as Sensation, 2003, and The Virgin Mother, 2005, the exhibition reveals the breadth of the artist's creative output over the last decade and a half.

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst was born in 1965 in Bristol, UK. He lives and works in London and Devon. Solo exhibitions include 'No Love Lost', The Wallace Collection, London (2009), 'Requiem', Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev (2009), 'For the Love of God', Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2008), Astrup Fearnley Museet fur Moderne Kunst, Oslo (2005), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2005) and Archaeological Museum, Naples (2004). He received the DAAD fellowship in Berlin in 1994 and the Turner Prize in 1995. An exhibition of the artist's private collection, 'Murderme', was held at Serpentine Gallery, London in 2006.

Michael Johansson

Michael Johansson



New York based sculptor Nick van Woert coats and spreads classical plaster busts with liquid plastic, insulation foam and other hardening materials, giving the perfectionist and fragile portraits a bold contrast of colour and randomness, and a physical dynamic frozen in time.

Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez: The Embodied Experience of Color marks the artist's first exhibition to focus solely on sensory chromatic environments and interactive projects.

Internationally known as a leading practitioner of kinetic art in the 1950s, Carlos Cruz-Diez began experimenting with color, perception and sensation during the 1960s and 1970s. His pioneering work from those decades proposed a dematerialization of the art object in favor of immersive environments incorporating the viewer's body, senses and subjectivity, and changing the audience from passive spectators into active participants.

Along with other artists engaged in experimental practices during the 1960s and 1970s, Cruz-Diez, sought to establish a new understanding of art's audience. His environmental works from this time can be considered completed only by a direct exchange with the viewer-participant. They reject the idea of the autonomous artwork and reassert the viewer's role as a constitutive part of the aesthetic experience. By incorporating time and motion, they propose a fluid exchange between art and its audience. In the process, they offer spectators the possibility of experiencing art as a potentially useful vehicle in the production of subjectivity.

Carlos Cruz-Diez: The Embodied Experience of Color reconstructs three of the artist's seminal works from the late 1960s and early 1970s, three-dimensional, traversable spaces that shift with the viewer's movement, engendering a heightened awareness of motion and time, and ultimately, a sensory-perceptual metamorphosis. Expanding upon the idea of interactivity by totally immersing the viewer in the corporeal experience of color through space and in time, the works assembled in this exhibition mark an important moment in Cruz-Diez's career. They represent an early and groundbreaking shift towards the articulation of the kind of relational and participatory practices that remain critical aspects of contemporary art.

The exhibition is curated by MAM adjunct curator Rina Carvajal and organized by Miami Art Museum. It is supported by SaludArte Foundation, Fundación Bancoro, Davos Financial Group and Fundación Mercantil.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010





Sunday, March 14, 2010



Sur le dandysme aujourd'hui lecture series at CGAC

What is dandyism? It cannot be defined, as attitudes are always difficult to describe. Who is a dandy? Nowadays the term dandy has been so overused that it has almost lost its meaning. Dandies were not just handsome and eccentric men who lived in a particular historical moment, they have in fact become part of the black on white of the page, they have turned into text, becoming protagonists of novels and plays or cases of study of dissertations or essays. Hence, Dandyism may only be described when someone or some feat, represents it: a historical, or not so much, character (Brummell in Honoré de Balzac's Treatise on Elegant Living, Barbey d'Aurevilly's The Anatomy of Dandyism, Count Robert of Montesquiou, Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time and Jean Lorrain's Monsieur de Phocas); a work of art and artist (Guys' drawings, Baudelaire's writings or Manet's paintings); the protagonist of a novel (so many, but above all, Huysmans' Against Nature); or a thespian actor (Wilde).

In this peculiar history of dandies, each one of its protagonists contributed with a new concept or developed a strategy already conceived by a predecessor; concepts and strategies that have come together and have been assimilated by several contemporary artists. Dandyism may have been the basis for some of the innovations of the avant-gardes and other artistic trends of the twentieth century and for the construction of the artist as an idea.

Sur le dandysm aujourd'hui. From Shop Window Mannequin to Media Star as starting point, these lectures strive to create a space for reflecting, questioning and debating over some of this concepts and stances, taking on the experience from two of the artists featured in the exhibition—Ignasi Aballí and Juan Luis Moraza—as well as from two exhibition curators— Jean-Yves Jouannais and Jeremy Millar—whose work has dealt at some point with this topic. On dandyism, ways of doing and ways of seeing.

The Sharjah Art Foundation announces the appointment of Suzanne Cotter and Rasha Salti as joint curators of the 10th edition of the Sharjah Biennial.

Plot for a Biennial is the title for the 10th Sharjah Biennial curated by Suzanne Cotter and Rasha Salti. Opening on March 16, 2011, the Biennial will present new and specially commissioned works by contemporary artists, filmmakers, writers and performers from across the region and internationally. Developing on the geographic reach and the focus on new production of previous Biennials, Plot for a Biennial merges what have traditionally been parallel formats of exhibition, film and performance into a multivalent sequence of encounters in sites across the Sharjah Cultural Quarter. In its visual, spatial and temporal dimensions, Plot for a Biennial attempts to reflect the hybrid nature of contemporary artistic practice, and the singularity of artistic positions as part of a set of shared concerns and consequences.

Curatorial Statement:
Plot for a Biennial will consider the production of art as subversive act; the location of the artist within a web of etymological tracings that intersect at the notion of treason, that shares Latin roots with trade and translation, activities central to the political economy, history and culture of Sharjah; and the city as a space of singularities and encounter form a matrix through which the Biennial's storyline unfolds.

Tailored to the idea of a treatment for film, replete with a plot and characters, it is conceived according to a constellation of keywords or motifs:
Treason, Necessity, Insurrection, Affiliation, Corruption, Devotion, Disclosure, Translation, which serve to frame explorations in subject matter and form. The assertion of individual subjectivity within the realms of culture, religion and statehood, the aesthetics of art as seduction and formal dissidence, and the production of art and its communicability as both dubious and potentially transformative are central themes. Within this lexical framework, artists, filmmakers, performers and writers constitute a cast of players that include The Traitor, The Traducer, The Collaborator and The Experientialist.

Proposing the Biennial as a script to be followed and improvised allows for a rethinking of conventions of the showcase, use of spaces, modes of display, and the rhythms of the city, inviting interaction from visitors and inhabitants of Sharjah. In borrowing the structure of a film narrative, the Biennial will function as a series of intersecting chapters, or reels, to be broken and reconstituted by the individual visitor at different moments and over the course of its unravelling.