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Issue 09 4.90 US$9.99 Issue 09 / MARCH 2007 www.artreview.

com
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A distortion or a disease or an abnor mality always makes something start happening in the brain. Its really interesting.

M ARCH 2007
Marcel Dza ma: Teddy Bear or Bear Baiter? Flickr: The future of photography? Moscow: Things to do during this month s biennial

David Lynch Takes on the Artworld

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Future Greats 25 artists you need to know


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TALES FROM THE CITY


London, J.J. Charlesworth; New York, Jonathan T.D. Neil

FEATURE: DAVID LYNCH


A new exhibition of 40 years of David Lynchs painting, photography, drawing, lm, animation, installation and sound art opens at Fondation Cartier, Paris. Is he one of the greatest artists of our times? Skye Sherwin

FEATURE: MARCEL DZAMA MARCH 2007 MANIFESTO


This months issue as interpreted by Ian Monroe Can a cult artist who paints with root beer, is inspired by comic books and dresses up as cuddly animals stay young forever? Mark Rappolt

DISPATCHES
Ezra Johnsons painting lm at the Hammer; The Last Days of the British Underground at the ICA; ten years of ShanghART gallery, Shanghai, celebrated in a new book; Pale Carnage at Arnolni, Bristol; Richard Jackson opens Yvon Lamberts new Chelsea space; Wim Delvoye at Emmanuel Perrotin; Tony Just returns to oils at Gavin Browns Enterprise; Karel Funk at the 303 Gallery; London Fieldworks defrost Walt Disney

CONSUMED
Collecting them young at ARTFutures, Bloomberg SPACE; a book of Dan Perjovschis drawings from 22 Magazine; Marc Newsons Ikepod watches; Marcel Wanderss Crochet Chairs and more

On the cover: DAVID LYNCH photographed by JUERGEN TELLER

Marcel Dzama, Untitled, 2006. the artist. Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London

ARTREVIEW

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SPECIAL FOCUS: FUTURE GREATS


25 artists to watch out for over the next 12 months

ART PILGRIMAGE: MOSCOW


While a huge underclass has yet to benet from surging oil prices, Russias small class of the super rich are riding high and latching on to contemporary art as one more spending outlet Tom Parfitt

MIXED MEDIA: DIGITAL


What kind of afterlife awaits your digital persona? Plus: six choice websites Rgine Debatty

EXHIBITION REVIEWS
Jake & Dinos Chapman, Karen Russo, Matthew Day Jackson, David Musgrave, Aline Bouvy/John Gillis and David Burrows & Simon OSullivan, Networked Nature, Stan Douglas, The Metal Bridge, Peter Piller, Artists Anonymous, .all hawaii eNtres / luNar reGGae, Martin Durazo, Mario Ybarra Jr

BOOK REVIEWS
Art After Conceptual Art; Cindy Sherman; David Wojnarowicz; Bedlam

ON THE TOWN
Photos from the unveiling of Robert Wilsons VOOM Portraits in New York and Anselm Kiefer at White Cube Masons Yard

ON THE RECORD

MIXED MEDIA: MOVING IMAGES


Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylans new lm, Climates, features Ceylan and his wife as a couple breaking apart Jonathan Romney

MARCH 2007

MIXED MEDIA: PHOTOGRAPHY


What could not have been predicted in the digital and photoblog revolution is that Flickr et al. would have become repositories for technological and stylistic nostalgia Brian Dillon

Artist Konstantin Batynkov, Moscow Photo IVAN PUSTOVALOV

ARTREVIEW

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EDITORIAL Editor in Chief John Weich Executive Editor Dennis Hotz Editor Mark Rappolt Deputy Editor Skye Sherwin Managing Editor David Terrien Reviews Editor J.J. Charlesworth West Coast Editor Emma Gray Special Projects Editor Melissa Gronlund Editorial Assistant Laura Allsop Email editorial@artreview.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Brian Dillon Axel Lapp Christopher Mooney Jonathan T.D. Neil CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Andrew Berardini Luke Clancy Rgine Debatty Brian Dillon Morgan Falconer Martin Herbert Ana Finel Honigman Sarah James Shana Nys Dambrot Laura Oldeld Ford Sally OReilly David Osbaldeston Elwyn Palmerton Tom Partt Jonathan Romney Cherry Smyth Susannah Thompson CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Max Farago Ivan Pustovalov Juergen Teller INTERNS Danielle Dean Caroline Rees David Shariatmadari

ART Art Director Tom Watt Design Ian Davies Production Manager Rebecca Rudi Email art@artreview.com ARTREVIEW.COM Web Editor James Westcott Web Developer Rish ap Wiliam Email online@artreview.com ARTREVIEW.COM ARTREVIEW:DIGITAL Director of Online Media Daniel Roper T: 44 (0)20 7107 2781 danielroper@artreview.com MARKETING Marketing and Exhibitions Manager James Lee T: 44 (0)20 7107 2785 jameslee@artreview.com Marketing Assistant Chloe Le Tissier T: 44 (0)20 7107 2762 chloeletissier@artreview.com REPROGRAPHICS Wyndeham Icon PRINTING St. Ives Roche PAPER UNCOATED G F SMITH

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from left: In this months issue, Shana Nys Dambrot opens the Dispatches section with a preview of painter Ezra Johnsons new lm at the Hammer Museum. She is an art critic and author based in Los Angeles. Her ne art and design reviews, features and interviews have appeared in more than 20 publications. She is currently the LA Managing Editor at Flavorpill.net. Juergen Teller helped to change the face of fashion photography during the 1990s through his work for iD and The Face and fashion campaigns such as Helmut Lang and Marc Jacobs. He has gone on to become one of the leading lights in contemporary art photography. Recent exhibitions include Nrnburg, at Lehman Maupin, New York, and a solo show at the Fondation Cartier, in Paris. Tellers rst solo exhibition in Scotland, Awailable, is on show at Inverleith House, Edinburgh, until 15 April; Juergen will also be exhibiting in the Ukrainian Pavilion at this summers Venice Biennale. For this months cover Juergen flew to L A to photograph another icon, the director David Lynch. Ian Monroe is known for his large-scale collages on paper, made with monochrome or wood-grain vinyl, sometimes also including carpet and linoleum, depicting cavernous interior spaces and faux architectural planes. The works investigate the nature of idealised spaces the showroom, the corporate ofce block, the church and the hyperreal environments of science ction and computer games and the way they cater to specic desires or lifestyles that maintain certain kinds of collective social myths. For this issue Ian created the Manifesto pages a monthly feature in which an artist is invited to interpret the magazines content in the form of an artwork. PLANIT, an exhibition of Monroes work is on show at Haunch of Venison, London from 2 to 31 March. Tom Parfitt is a correspondent in Moscow for The Guardian. He has lived in Russia since 2002, after studying at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London. Last year Toms editors commissioned him to write about the citys rash of new chic industrial conversions and its threatened utopian architecture. Putting those stories together brought him contacts in the artworld who helped him compile this issues Moscow Art Pilgrimage. Ivan Pustovalov used to have a boring job in a bank. Now he takes photographs. This transition has not been without its struggles. His rst camera was stolen in Madrid, and another complete kit was swiped in Goa. I shoot the things that really touch my heart, he says, from dog ghts to celebrity portraits for glossy magazines, from reportage to famous actresses. Were not sure where the photographs he shot for us in Moscow t into that.
Shana Nys Dambrot photo: ERIC GRUSH.

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MARCH MANIFESTO

BY IAN MONROE

ARTREVIEW

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GIDEON RUBIN 04.04.2007 - 08.05.2007

Rokeby 37 Store Street London, WC1E 7QF, UK

+44 (0) 20 7168 9924 www.rokebygallery.com rokeby@rokebygallery.com

Gallery open Tues to Fri 11.00 - 18.00 Saturday 11.00 - 16.00 Late night every Tuesday till 20.00

Image: Gideon Rubin, White Flowers , 2007

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DISPATCHES

ART, MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE, FILM, SHOPPING, NEWS AND

MOTION PICTURES: EZRA JOHNSON


Painter Ezra Johnsons first solo museum exhibition, What Visions Burn, is a 22and-a-half-minute DVD; but in a way it contains scores of paintings. His lowtech approach to digital animation involves painting, photographing and then repainting single canvases for each scene in such a way that he is, in effect, creating celluloid palimpsests. Johnsons painting style evokes Impressionists like Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec who were attracted to the fuzzy chaos of crowd scenes and the fleshy, saturated colours of cafs, theatres and bohemian nightlife, demonstrating a love of rough-hewn textures

and emotionally charged locations that isnt far off from cinematography. The story (a daring art heist in New York) calls for the recreation of art historical and contemporary masterpieces in its sets, for complex establishing shots and evocative exteriors (such as the moon peeking through clouds over the New York skyline) that would be ascribed a cinematic sensibility even if one were seeing only the paintings on the walls. The press materials call the project a painting-film, which is an unconventional hyphenate to begin with, saying notably: This is film both of and about painting, and it is painting both of and about film. By using a layered

narrative that occasions, for example, seeing the theft of paintings through the visual perspective of a security camera (in effect looking at paintings within paintings and film within film at the same time), his relentlessly self-referential and transparent honesty to his process points to the deeper metaphor still, wherein the art thieves exist as metaphors for modern digital cultures enchantment with reckless acquisition and appropriation, and wherein painting still holds all the power. Shana Nys Dambrot
EZRA JOHNSON, WHAT VISIONS BURN, TO 6 MAY, HAMMER MUSEUM, LOS ANGELES WWW.HAMMER.UCLA.EDU

What Visions Burn, 2006, DVD, 22 min 27 sec. Courtesy Kantor/ Feuer Gallery, Los Angeles

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DISPATCHES

AND THINGS TO MAKE AND DO ART, MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE, FILM, SHOPPING, NEWS AND THING
Linder, Untitled Photomontage, 1978, photomontage. Courtesy the artist and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York

A DECADE ON: SHANGHART


Whod have thought ten years ago that Shanghai would become the international destination for contemporary art it is today? This is the question running throughout ShanghART Ten Years, a high-gloss book celebrating Lorenz Helblings ShanghART gallery. With such heavyweights as Hans Ulrich Obrist penning a salute to the art space, ShanghART may appear to have it good, but as its contributors are at pains to remind us, the gallery has come a long way from its humble (and illegal) beginnings in a Shanghai hotel. ShanghARTs success, undeniably a by-product of Chinas economic boom, is reflected in the roster of international writers and curators offering tributes to the gallery. The first Chinese gallery to participate in Art Basel, ShanghART has done much to raise the citys art profile. As contributor Jonathan Napack points out, the emergence of pluralism in [Chinese] society means multiple centers are possible, and Shanghai is just one of them. But curators and directors aside, it is still the art that counts. And with over 30 homegrown artists featured, ShangART Ten Years makes a reassuring case for a market that wont prove to be a flash in the pan. Laura Allsop
SHANGHART TEN YEARS IS PUBLISHED IN THE UK BY CORNERHOUSE PUBLICATIONS WWW.CORNERHOUSE.ORG WWW.SHANGHART.COM

POST-PUNK: THE SECRET PUBLIC


Punk is arguably the most intensely scrutinised capsule of pop culture, and one that has been commercially exploited to the extent that it now exists as a sorry, shagged-over shadow of the DIY ethos that once drove it. The story of what happened next, post-punk an era hazily associated in Britain with the decadent costumery and body politics of club king Leigh Bowery and the gritty Manchester underground of New Order has been drawing new interest for a while now. A Joy Division biopic is soon to be upon us, while Simon Reynolds excellent book Rip It Up and Start Again (2005) has done much to newly amplify the sounds of the period. This month The Secret Public, an exhibition rolling into Londons ICA by way of the Kunstverein Munich, aims at defining and refining a discourse around the further flowering of creativity that bloomed in punks wake. While a restrictive mainstream blanket of reactionary American culture dominated the 1980s,

Thatcherism, AIDS, the Falklands War, nuclear arms and the last gasps of the Cold War were all part of a troubling landscape. The exhibition presents those working across art, music, fashion and film who rumbled a darker response to the times. The extensive list of artists includes Linder, Bodymap, Cerith Wyn Evans, Victor Burgin, Gilbert and George, Isaac Julien, Richard Hamilton, John Maybury, Trojan, and Wolfgang Tillmans. The list goes on, and the intelligent, insightful selection by curators Stefan Kalmar, Michael Bracewell and Ian White suggests that this will be a show that offers fresh revelations. Skye Sherwin
THE SECRET PUBLIC: THE LAST DAYS OF THE BRITISH UNDERGROUND, ICA, LONDON, 23 MARCH 6 MAY WWW.ICA.ORG.UK

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DISPATCHES

THINGS TO MAKE AND DO ART, MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE, FILM, SHOPPING, NEWS AND THINGS TO MAKE
ON WITH THE NEW: YVON LAMBERT
French collector and gallerist Yvon Lambert moves into a new New York art space this month with an inaugural show of works by painter Richard Jackson. The move sees Lambert intensifying his presence on the New York scene, with a larger, renovated space in the heart of Chelsea taking the place of his old gallery. For the opening show, happening at both the new and old site, Richard Jackson will exhibit new works, including two major installations. An established gallery artist, Jackson was chosen to exhibit work for Lamberts booth at the recent Art Basel Miami Beach. That installation, titled Ducks in the Mens Room (2006), featured four cartoon ducks making a mess (quite literally the walls were spattered with paint) of a life-size WC. Jacksons Lego-inspired palette and not infrequent bouts of vulgarity might suggest he is an artist who just wants to have fun, but his work is underpinned by a Dadaist disregard for logic and respectability. His new work is similarly playful: the subject matter of his latest installation, The War Room, may be weighty but the work is characteristically irreverent, featuring a soldiers helmet perched atop a pair of breasts. Laura Allsop
RICHARD JACKSON: NEW WORKS, TO 22 MARCH, YVON LAMBERT NEW YORK, WWW.YVON-LAMBERT.COM

MAKE IT NEW: PALE CARNAGE


Pale Carnage, from an imagist short poem by Ezra Pound, is the title of a group show at Bristols Arnolfini gallery this month. According to the shows curator, Martin Clark, Pound was not the starting point for the exhibition: rather he became its missing link. Among the artists exhibiting are Lothar Hempel, Cerith Wyn Evans, Gillian Carnegie and Nobuyoshi Araki, and you may well ask what it is they have in common. But the artists Clark has yoked together all express, to some degree, an interest in the development of Modernism, a movement of course that Pound was instrumental in shaping. While that transitional moment in history is easily comparable to the one we are now living in, Clark is careful to say that the

above: Mark Leckey, Parade, 2003, DVD. Courtesy Cabinet Gallery, London below: Richard Jackson, The War Room, 2007 (work in progress), installation at Yvon Lambert New York

artists have not come together to articulate a new movement. The show does, however, express a curious symmetry: just as, a century ago, the modernists were mining cultural traditions for material, the artists in this show are mining the legacy of Modernism for their own works. An interest in formal clarity, and the potential for brutality that Modernisms vision of progression entailed, informs much of the work, some of which is being created especially for the show; while others, such as Mark Leckeys film Parade, mirror fin-de-sicle ennui with dark depictions of a decadent, dying world. Laura Allsop
PALE CARNAGE, TO 15 APRIL, ARNOLFINI, BRISTOL, WWW. ARNOLFINI.ORG.UK

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MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE, FILM, SHOPPING, NEWS AND THINGS TO MAKE AND DO ART, MUSIC, ARCHITECT
FOR THE LOVE: TONY JUST
Artists have been drawn to all kinds of qualities in graffiti from its anonymity and suggestions of chance expression, to its mood of unrefined thought and tough directness. But one doesnt usually find it appreciated for sensuality, lyricism or melancholy. Thats certainly the feeling one gets from Tony Justs pictures. In recent years his pastels have captured pink hearts bobbing along a wall of black signatures in Paris, with warm fleshy hues and consoling roundness. His source images arent always so touching - one motif borrowed from a wall in Berlin simply spells TOMB but they have gained a soft, rich warmth from being rendered in pastel. His new show at Gavin Browns Enterprise in New York this month brings new qualities to the fore, as Just has returned to working in oils, something he hasnt done for ten years. Hell be showing these larger works alongside smaller pastels, and he also plans to exhibit some aluminium and collaged cardboard sculptures based on large-scale outdoor works by Picasso and Keith Haring. And maybe his mood has changed as well, as in some measure his new pictures also reflect the rise of the anti-war movement. Its part of the art because its part of the world around me, he says, and its something that his work glimpses obliquely in everything from fliers for protest marches to images in the newspaper. Tony Justs last solo exhibition was back in 2004, but since then he has been included in a series of good group shows, from Greater New York, at P.S.1 in 2005, to shows at Paul Kasmin and Nicole Klagsbrun. This new outing could launch him on to greater things. Morgan Falconer
TONY JUST, TO 27 MARCH, GAVIN BROWNS ENTERPRISE, NEW YORK, WWW.GAVINBROWN.BIZ

Delvoyes pigs in China, 2005. Delvoye Studio. Courtesy Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris

UNDER THE SKIN: WIM DELVOYE


Wim Delvoyes work has long explored the dichotomies separating sacred from profane, soul from body, and art from base material. Channelling the idea of the artist as alchemist, in 2000 Delvoye created a machine, called Cloaca, capable of turning food into excrement and, eventually, into a work of art. Picking up where Piero Manzoni (he of the hermetically sealed cans of excrement) left off, Delvoye made a business out of selling bonds for vacuum-packed cans of artificially produced waste. For his upcoming show at Emmanuel Perrotin gallery in Paris, the artist will unveil a model of a Gothic-style church that he is currently building in Belgium. Xray scans of human bodies replace the traditional stained glass windows, holding medical negatives up to the light in an attempt to locate the soul within the body. Also included in the exhibition will be a signature tattooed pigskin from Delvoyes pig farm outside Beijing. Like the X-rays, Delvoyes skins suggest an absence, of an animal body filled not by a soul but with what it consumes and, inevitably, what it excretes. Laura Allsop
WIM DELVOYE, 3 MARCH 7 APRIL, GALERIE EMMANUEL PERROTIN, PARIS WWW.GALERIEPERROTIN.COM

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21st Century, 2006, pastel on paper, 41 x 32 cm. Courtesy Gavin Browns Enterprise, New York 31/1/07 11:27:46

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DISPATCHES

$10,000 $39,000

01

CONSUMED
The pick of this months offerings from shops, galleries and museums
words SKYE SHERWIN

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01 How many times do you get the opportunity to strap a work by a hotshot Gagosian Gallery artist to your wrist? None, thats how many. Until now. Ikepod is the must-have, stateof-the-art watch brand collaborating with Design Miamis reigning Designer of the Year, Marc Newson. Evolved from the POD watches Newson designed in the 1980s, the Horizon, Hemipode or Megapode employ forward-thinking yet classic design with technology that, in the case of the Megapode, can tell how much fuel an aircraft needs.
WWW.IKEPOD.COM

02 Rolling into its 23rd year, ARTfutures has a fine track record of spotting the next big thing, with past exhibitions featuring works by Sam Taylor-Wood, Damien Hirst and Mark Titchner. Unlike art fairs, this exhibition is the result of research by a team of independent curators seeking to bring the work of emerging artists to collectors. Among this years inclusions, Alastair Mackies Bi-Polar army helmet (shown), rendered in delicate metalwork and tapping into the sociopolitical mindset. Prices start at 500, 814 March at Bloomberg SPACE, London.
WWW.CONTEMPART.ORG.UK

03 Renowned internationally for his politicised art, Romanian Dan Perjovschi has been publishing the Bucharest political review 22 Magazine since the fall of Ceausescu in 1987. A new book of his drawings from the publication, dating from 1991 to 2006, along with a print titled Press Stress (shown), will bring the essence of the seminal mag to a wider audience.
WWW.ONESTARPRESS.COM

04 As the largest ever exhibition of the art of Gilbert and George goes on show at Tate Modern, one of their best works, The World of Gilbert and George (1981), is to be released on DVD for the first time. Both a portrait of the artists lives and documentation of their work as living sculptures, the film features the duo dancing, drinking and feasting, but always in the most controlled manner imaginable. Elsewhere it juxtaposes London youths with fresh flowers, and makes what was then subversive use of English hymns and the flag.
WWW.TATE.ORG.UK

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Conrad Shawcross, Counterpoint Piano (Second 9:8), 2006, mixed media, 140 x 140 cm. Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London

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05 Comic books rarely work a less-is-more aesthetic. This new print from Christian Marclay, however, is just a little tornoff corner of a cartoon, against a wilderness of white. Bearing the onomatopoeic Krak!, with an afterthought-bubble, what was that sound?, it reflects the artists concerns with how sound in this case what he has described as sound haikus is mediated. His new series of comic strip collages will be shown at White Cube Hoxton Square until 10 March.
WWW.WHITECUBE.COM

06 First Christies opened their office, and now theres the Gulf Art Fair, emphatically announcing Dubais place in cultural commerce. While director John Martins prediction of a Left Bank feel to the natural home of oil billionaires sounds a little off, the selection of 40 international galleries promises to deliver more than dollars. Special projects for the fair include work by Conrad Shawcross (earlier piece shown). There is even a local inclusion: the Third Line gallery, specialising in work by young artists.
WWW.GULFARTFAIR.COM

07 Marcel Wanderss new Crochet Chair presents potential sitters with a shape thats as round and inviting as a beanbag, in materials that are positively ethereal: white lace crochet stretched over nothing but air. In fact it has been hardened with epoxy resin, rendering the favoured fabric of fragile old ladies as solid as marble. Debuting at Design Miami, it was a fitting follow-up to the awardwinning Dutch designers lace table, and perfect for those who want to tap bygone days with twentyfirst-century style.
WWW.MARCELWANDERS.NL WWW.BARRYFRIEDMANLTD.COM

08 inIVA and Autograph ABP have worked with some exciting international artists over the years, and a new print portfolio put together by the arts agencies reflects this. Sonia Boyce, Isaac Julien, Glenn Ligon, Hew Locke, Carrie Mae Weems (her work shown) and Chris Ofili have all created new works for an edition of 50, proceeds from which will go towards Rivington Place, a 15,000square-foot building for showing works by artists from diverse cultural backgrounds. Designed by David Adjaye, it promises to be a welcome addition to the London art map.
WWW.INIVA.ORG

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MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE, FILM, SHOPPING, NEWS AND THINGS TO MAKE AND DO ART, MUSIC, ARCHITECT
IN FROM THE COLD: HIBERNATOR
During the planning of the Disneyland theme park, Walt Disney introduced the world to the notion of a wienie something big and alluring (in this case Sleeping Beautys castle) that would draw visitors in much like a horse follows a carrot or a fat man a hot dog. In Hibernator, a new site-specific artwork by London Fieldworks on show at Beaconsfield, Walt is transformed into something of a wienie himself. Taking the well-documented myth that Walt was cryogenically frozen immediately after his death and now lurks in a highsecurity refrigerator awaiting the inevitable instant when technological progress can handle his defrosting and eventual reanimation as their starting point, London Fieldworks (aka Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson) will be setting up a studio in order to produce a film drawing on Felix Saltens eco-novel Bambi - that chronicles the great mans glorious return. Featuring solarpowered animatronics and live filmmaking, the event promises to tell the story of one hell of a silly sausage and to document the Disneyfication of Disney himself.
Untitled #12, 2005, acrylic on panel, 90 x 76 cm. Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York

THE HOODED MAN: KAREL FUNK


Karel Funks consummate portraits of friends from his hometown of Winnipeg and his Columbia MFA programme (class of 2003) remain tantalisingly vacant and opaque despite the astonishing detail and clarity of his photorealistcum-Northern Renaissance style of brushwork. Its not just that Funks subjects avoid eye contact we rarely see their eyes at all and are hidden away in the accoutrements of winter and hipsterism (big ski coats, trucker caps, headphones and the ubiquitous comfort hoods of today). We see individual strands of hair, acne scars, bald spots and contact lenses, but we dont really see the person. Funks reverential approach (painting on panels rather than canvas contributes to the religious atmosphere) and slavish devotion (he takes about a month on each painting, each one

HIBERNATOR: PRINCE OF THE PETRIFIED FOREST, 15 MARCH 29 APRIL, BEACONSFIELD, LONDON WWW.BEACONSFIELD.LTD.UK

hundreds of layers deep) is really a tautly ironic vehicle for a very contemporary lack of faith in the possibility and efficacy of portraying the interiority of these young men and even that they have interiority at all. It raises the question, is this related to the very particular demographic Funk paints, or is he participating in the universal crisis in portraiture? Funks debut solo show at 303 Gallery in 2004 was so highly developed it left Roberta Smith wondering where he could go from there. His new show might provide an answer: deeper into the mystery. James Westcott
KAREL FUNK, 10 MARCH 7 APRIL, 303 GALLERY, NEW YORK WWW.303GALLERY.COM
London Fieldworks, Hibernator, 2007. Courtesy London Fieldworks

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DISPATCHES

MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE, FILM, SHOPPING, NEWS AND THINGS TO MAKE AND DO ART, MUSIC, ARCHIT

TALES FROM THE CITY: London


words J.J. CHARLESWORTH There have been some odd things going on at the intersection of art, the media and politics over the last few months: a grinning Tony Blair taking a picture of himself on his mobile phone against the backdrop of an exploding Iraq, presented as an image by artists Peter Kennard and Cat Picton Phillips in a shop window on Oxford Street and then snapped by passersby on their mobile phones. Elsewhere an anti-war protesters placards, relocated from Parliament Square to the galleries of Tate Britain, appearing as an installation by artist Mark Wallinger and presented as a picture in the newspapers because protesters have been banned within a mile of Parliament. On TV, Indians burning British TV executives in effigy, because of the apparently racist comments of dimwitted Celebrity Big Brother contestant Jade Goody towards a fellow contestant, Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, presented as a news story on TV; and wait for it - artist Mark McGowan burning an effigy of Shilpa Shetty in counterprotest in London, flagged as a press release for an event that never happens. Guy Debord, godfather of the Situationists and author of the legendary The Society of the Spectacle (1967), has been pushing up the daisies for more than a decade, but he must be laughing in his coffin. The flowers of the spectacle are blooming ambassadors or the Nazis staging exhibitions of degenerate modern art or Jeff Koons taking pictures of himself teaching schoolkids to exploit the masses, art regularly gets tangled up with political life. So you might think that work like that by Kennard & Phillips or Wallinger are straightforward examples of art with a political message; but whats interesting is that its now only in the circuits of the media, apparently, that the spectacle of politics is being played out. Whether its mobile phones or the broadsheet press or the evening news, its hard not to notice how politics is dissolving into a kind of isolated mass voyeurism. Debords pessimism about how people relate to life seems ahead of its time: The spectacle is not a collection of images, he declares; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images. If this seems prophetic, it is only because it describes the present better than the time in which it was written. As peoples active involvement in political life has diminished, mediated experience takes on a life of its own, filling the vacuum: when the prime minister of Britain feels compelled to comment on what some idiot said on a reality game show, you know its not just the prime minister whos lost his grip on politics. But in the current situation, anyone, including artists, can fill that vacuum, and that makes for some interesting, provocative art. McGowans counter-protest in favour of racist Jade, and against the elegant Shilpa, sounds dodgy, but it assiduously inverted all the bile and scorn poured on Jade by the mainstream media, revealing how the controversy had turned into hysterical denunciation of the fat, ignorant, racist whitetrash British underclass. And it didnt even have to happen to make its point (McGowan merely advertised it in advance and was warned by the police not to proceed; a flood of eager support and furious objection nevertheless turned up in blogs, newspapers and his voicemail). As politics falls apart, and the gears of the media increasingly spin on air, itll be interesting to see how much further art can short the circuits of the spectacle.

Whether its mobile phones or the broadsheet press or the evening news, its hard not to notice how politics is dissolving into a kind of isolated mass voyeurism
everywhere at the moment, and many artists are positioning themselves in the space between art and politics, at a time when, you could argue, both are becoming ever more spectacular. Sure, art and politics have always been in dialogue in one way or another; whether it was Holbein painting

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WA N G J I N

MARCH 22 - APRIL 22, 2007 32 EAST 67 STREET NEW YORK

Detail: Installation of People's Republic of China Passport Stone No. 1205109 2004

FRIEDMAN BENDA
32 East 67 th Street NY, NY 10021 t: 212.794.8950 f: 212.794.8889 gallery@friedmanbenda.com www.friedmanbenda.com

10-124 Qi Jia Yuan Diplomatic Compound Jianguomenwai Avenue Beijing, China 100600 t: 8610 8532 2124 f: 8610 8532 3800 info@pekinfinearts.com www.pekinfinearts.com

DISPATCHES

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TALES FROM THE CITY: New York


words JONATHAN T.D. NEIL May I make a distinction between what we might call lifestyle and studio artists? These are gross generalisations to be sure, but as the cult of the artistic persona has come increasingly to stand in for, if not in front of, any kind of artwork (no matter how inadequate that last term may seem as a covering concept), it would appear that some categorical exercise, however ill conceived, could be useful at the present moment. I blame New York Magazine for inspiring this latest bit of impromptu pop theorising, as two of its articles from the January issue introduced the magazines readership to the artists Terence Koh and Dash Snow (with fellow artists Ryan McGinley and Dan Colen making appearances as the managers and handlers in the business of Snow and Co.) as the New York artworlds latest downtown, outr offerings. As profiles, the articles make the pair sound like interesting-enough characters, but their art would seem to be noteworthy (and notably expensive) by sheer dint of that fact, which is to say by the lifestyles they seem to lead. moment may well provide some historical grounding for the lifestyle distinction Im pursuing here, though, by which I mean it was also the moment of Warhols Factory (a point the editors of New York Magazine are quick to make as well), or at least its first iteration (a point those same editors miss). This is important: even though Warhol became the centre of gravity around which so much aesthetic activity appeared to orbit, the Factory maintained much of its own identity through its various incarnations (as with the Argo of myth). Like Warhol, the lifestyle belonged to the Factory itself to a place, not to a person (perhaps Andy was more of a studio artist than we might first suspect). Likewise, we should remind ourselves that minimalism was no solitary creature of the studio either. It owed the articulation of its phenomenological character to the influence of experimental dance and performance work practised by figures such as Simone Forti. But minimalism, or the discourse surrounding it at least, countered the potential for its artists to take centre stage by embarking on a campaign of subjective detumescence (a phrase I take from Denis Hollier). In the wake of The Irascibles, shunning the limelight was simply the thing to do. This impulse has waxed and waned in the intervening years. Julian Schnabel comes to mind as a lifestyler; Peter Halley as a creature of the studio. Rirkrit Tiravanija probably managed a perfect synthesis of the two by inviting the public into the studio for a meal, which was something like life itself, but with only the most demotic stylings (every New Yorker secretly lives on Thai food). At present, though, Tiravanijas participatory aesthetic has given way to a mode of cooler-than-thou posturing, no matter how innocently undertaken, which makes the solitary artist under lock and key in the studio begin to appear that much more avant-garde. Because for the lifestyle artist there can be no public, only publicity, which functions to keep us entertained, but at bay. Nevertheless, if we are to laud the life lived aesthetically, if now is indeed the time of the lifestyle artist, I have only one question to ask: Dont socialites do it better?

Julian Schnabel comes to mind as a lifestyler; Peter Halley as a creature of the studio. Rirkrit Tiravanija probably managed a perfect synthesis of the two by inviting the public into the studio for a meal
I should note that the latter of my two opening categories, the studio artist, has been much maligned of late, and at least since the 1960s, when minimalist object-making gave way to experiments in and on the environment by figures like Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer. That

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FEATURE

DAVID LYNCH

DAVID LYNCH

WEIRD ON TOP

Hes a great filmmaker, but is David Lynch a great artist?

words SKYE SHERWIN portrait JUERGEN TELLER

In 1990 Parkett ran the feature (Why)Is David Lynch Important? In it, various cultural commentators, artists, curators and other thinkers waxed lyrical on the significance of the directors films. There was mention of his achievements as a stylist, of clip-aesthetics, the MTV generation mentality and, of course, his impact on Hollywood and, by extension, global culture. By 1995 David Foster Wallace was able to remark that Lynch had reached a point at which he could be defined in his own terms; he had achieved adjectival status: he was simply Lynchian. And to many he is one of the great artists of our times. This month a major show of Lynchs artwork, The Air Is on Fire encompassing painting, photography, drawings, film, animation, installation and sound art from the 1960s to the present day opens at the Fondation Cartier, in Paris. At the same time, a new movie, Inland Empire, is being released in France and the UK, following rapturous reviews in the States, where critics declared it to be his best work since Eraserhead (1977). What better time, then, to revisit the question of his importance, the claim that he is one of our great artists?

On a day of blazing heat, even by LA standards, Lynch sits in his studio above the compound: two beautiful modernist constructions of grey stucco and glass. One is his home; the other houses the offices of his production company, Asymmetrical Productions (as well as having been a location for 1997s Lost Highway). He hasnt felt the need to show his art on a grand scale before, so why, I wonder, does he want to exhibit it now? Well I didnt really want to, is his characteristically perverse response.
ARTREVIEW

Perhaps one of the main reasons is the fact that Lynch is most often described as an artist, not a filmmaker, a title that when used in the context of movie reviews suggests he has moved beyond the mainstream position he found himself in when Twin Peaks (19901) afforded him the double-edged honour of cult household name. The forthcoming Cartier show provides an opportunity to assess whether he can be described as an artist in the conventional sense. When it comes to films, the past decade has seen the director abandon the rudder of accessibility that financiers insist upon; instead he pioneers an experiential type of cinema in which sound and image usurp plot, where character is destabilised, formula negated and conclusive understanding eluded. Inland Empire, his first experiment with digital filmmaking, sees him reach the most extreme point of this trajectory to date. Lynchs improvised approach to digital film including smudging out faces, layering images and using extreme close-up to create texture in the notoriously flat medium certainly prompts comparisons to the act of painting. Indeed, Lynchs creative career was initially that of a painter; he felt an impulse towards cinema as a desire to make paintings that moved. His first film, Six Figures Getting Sick (1966), which will be shown alongside other shorts at the Fondation Cartier, was an animation derived from a painting. And even as his career as a filmmaker developed Lynch never abandoned his commitment to painting, while further expanding his output into the domains of photography, sculpture, music projects and furniture design. Never ostensibly made for an audience, these works function as important creative outlets for someone who is a restless doer. However, many pieces, including drawings on Post-it notes and lined paper that

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FEATURE

DAVID LYNCH

above: Untitled, undated, watercolour on paper, 23 x 31 cm facing page: Untitled, undated, pencil on paper, 23 x 15 cm

incorporate scribbled phone numbers, have never been publicly displayed before. Indeed, the promise of some kind of insight into his creative process something he is not at pains to overly elaborate upon in interviews is ultimately what makes the forthcoming Cartier show such a tantalising proposition. A prominent Lynchian trope the freak, and a fascination with deformity is suggested with a sad humour in the pathetic melting hunks of snowmen photographed outside suburban homes, or digitally manipulated images of vintage erotica. Theres an attraction and a repulsion simultaneously, he explains. Its a human thing. Its a different angle on the human condition. A distortion or a disease or an abnormality always makes something start happening in the brain. Its really interesting. It makes you look at the human being in a different way. I think its like Diane Arbuss photos of those things, like Francis Bacon or Edward Hopper they start making you dream. In Lynchs formative years, as a young painter in the 1960s, those artistic reference points were, and of course continue to be, iconic. When it comes to Lynchs filmmaking, the impact of these figures is well documented; when it comes to his art, Bacons influence in particular is especially notable in both his earlier and most recent painting. Among the latest output, Well I Can Dream, Cant I? (2004) is a giant mixed-media work of a naked woman masturbating on a couch. And it presents its subjects fleshy shape in mottled corporeal textures familiar from Bacon though in Lynchs hands the paint comes across as a veritably volcanic eruption of anxiety. The paint, so thickly impastoed it becomes sculptural, seems to bubble with the distortion of decay, while her vagina, eyes and leering mouth are pitch-black holes. Offsetting this grotesquerie is an expanse of smooth, calm-looking grey and purple paper demarcating a room of unknown proportions, in a composition familiar from Edward Hoppers wideangle cinematic set-ups.

That particular painting there is really a homage to Bacon, and its three dimensional, with real clothes [the knickers are real], and its its own kind of thing. But the space and the fast and the slow area just happened like that, he says, using speed as an intentionally vague way to describe the painting process (Lynch has often said that he thinks words make things smaller and is thus resistant to lengthy explanations of his method). Getting vaguer still, he continues: I like this thing of fast and slow. And I like textures; the rest is an abstract sort of thing. Its partly like a scene with dialogue, but its so much more of something that I cant say in words. So its that, its just that. It feels correct to me, and I like the way it feels, and it was done. The artwork is more than a collection of references. It is, like everything in the exhibition, defined by a unifying vision that is best described as distinctly Lynchian. This piece works well if considered as an intense distillation of the violence of sexuality, and of the sexuality of violence, his masterful rendering of the uncanny and the bogeymen of the subconscious for which he is renowned on-screen. As such, its difficult to look at much of the work without making connections with his movies. The figure described above has a foetal form that recalls the diseased baby from Eraserhead, while the indefinite expanse of the room suggests the uncertain interior geography in which Laura Dern or Naomi Watts lose themselves in Inland Empire and Mulholland Drive (2001) respectively. At the same time, the themes of his films, and his method of translating them through character and narrative on-screen, have been explored through many different techniques and devices appropriate to art-making. The confrontational nature of the mixed-media work discussed above could be read as only one example of his handling of the clash between innocence and the big bad world. It is expressed in the faux-naive style of smudgy black and grey watercolours of childhood motifs made sinister, be they dogwalkers or aeroplanes. Paintings >
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FEATURE

DAVID LYNCH

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above: Untitled, undated, black-and-white photograph, 28 x 35 cm facing page: Untitled, undated, colour photograph, 28 x 35 cm preceding pages: Well... I Can Dream, Cant I?, 2004, giclee print, mixed media, 152 x 296 cm. Photo: Patrick Gries. All David Lynch. All images courtesy Fondation Cartier, Paris

IF YOU WANT TO... THINK IN A DIFFERENT WAY, THEN VISIT THE MORGUE, THE CITY MORGUE, AT MIDNIGHT. ITS REALLY SOMETHING

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FEATURE

DAVID LYNCH

dating from the late 1980s to mid-90s explore similar perspectives in an almost entirely black palette with simply delineated stick figures scratched angrily into the paints thick surface. Their titles demonstrate his interest in childhood fears that are both all-encompassing and mildly ridiculous, for example Billy Was Halfway Between His House and the Sickening Garden of Letters (1990), Oww God, Mom, the Dog He Bited Me (1988) and Thats Me in Front of My House (1988).

Lynch is resistant to discussing the works disturbing aspects. He says his use of live insects, for example, in paintings, feeding on sculpture or pinned regimentally to boards to be photographed, is not a morbid thing, evading the issue with deadpan humour: No, no, no. A lot of insects arrive when something is decaying, but theres a lot of insects that are very busy doing things, like bees. Im not sure if theyre busy 24/7, but theyre very good workers, and theyre making honey. He also dismisses the Romantic notion of the suffering artist, and he distances himself from any autobiographical reading of the work. I always say thats a way for an artist to get chicks to help them and take care of them. Its real nice to be melancholy and kind of poor, and then the girls come and make warm meals, and its so beautiful! But at the same time, if you analyse it, the more the artist is suffering, the less the artist can do. Negativity squeezes the conduit of the flow of creativity. Yet Lynch does discuss certain morbid curiosities. When he first lived in Philadelphia, with his friend the production designer Jack Fisk

when they were both aspiring artists, he used to make regular visits to the morgue. Well, because we lived kitty-corner from the morgue, the city morgue, and I feel like its important to experience different things, and if you want to experience something very organic and see something that is pretty, you know, powerful, that will make you think in a different way, then visit the morgue, the city morgue, at midnight. Its really something. And then youve had that experience, and it goes into the machine. Replete with plans for the kind of atmospheric soundscape that has proved an essential component of his cinema, and curtains that will act as a backdrop to certain works, The Air Is on Fire promises to be the consummate David Lynch experience. Yet his own image, specifically as the purveyor of all things weird and freaky, is something he seems less and less comfortable with. His last three films have at times been described as pastiches of his earlier work, as Lynch doing Lynch. As if in answer to this catch-22, Inland Empire is full of knowing winks at his reputation, including a dancing woman shouting This is so weird! into camera. My films are not that weird, he says, smiling. But you know, theres an expression: the world is as you are. Films are as you are. Its down to the viewer, and everybody has a right to say whatever they want. His artworks will provide the world with ample opportunities for a fresh perspective on all things Lynchian. The Air Is on Fire, 3 March 3 June, Fondation Cartier, Paris www.fondation.cartier.f r

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MARCEL DZAMA
A Violent Zootopia

BEAR BAITING

words MARK RAPPOLT photography MAX FARAGO

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FEATURE

MARCEL DZAMA

above: Stills from The Lotus Eaters, 20016, lm transferred to DVD. Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, and David Zwirner, New York

EVERYONE WHOS BEEN PAYING ATTENTION TO THE ARTWORLD

over the last six months knows that the secret to being taken seriously is to dress up as a bear. Just last autumn there was Swiss duo Fischli and Weiss lapping up praise for their critically acclaimed show at Tate Modern. In it they displayed films of themselves as they meandered around Los Angeles (The Least Resistance, 1981) and scrambled through the Swiss Alps (The Right Way, 1983) clad in their tatty trademark rat and bear costumes key moments in the early work of the artists, according to the exhibition guide. And as if to ram the point home, there they were the legendary costumes themselves displayed in monolithic Plexiglass cases for all to marvel at. Meanwhile, up in Englands second city (thats Birmingham for you readers who live over the pond), Canadian-born artist Marcel Dzama, a man renowned, according to The World of Interiors, for his odd, witty drawings, sculptures and videos peopled by cartoon bears and tree people, was exhibiting his own less tatty, but no less homemade-looking bear outfit, as featured in his film The Lotus Eaters (20016), at the Ikon Gallery. And by December Dzama was grinning out of a double-page spread in Vanity Fairs art issue, hailed as one of the leading lights of the new New York school, a row of bear heads to his rear. Now, fresh from that success, hes back in London with more of the cartoon beartree people business and a recut version of The Lotus Eaters at Timothy Taylor Gallery. OK, round about now you might be thinking that all this bear stuff is a little frivolous not the sort of thing youre supposed to be reading about in a serious art magazine like the one youre holding (play along, digital readers). It is; but a frivolous, perhaps even innocentlooking, aesthetic is a vital element of Dzamas art. The way the thirtyone-year-old renders his bears, tree people and the various other

characters that populate his works invites a certain level of innocent levity. I think, kind of, that at the beginning, at least for me, it felt more like a comic book feel, he says. And there was a phase where it felt like childrens illustration. I dont know what it is now, but it feels like another transition. Originally from Winnipeg, but now based in New York, Dzama is something of a cult figure in the artworld as a result of an instantly recognisable body of work primarily drawing executed (often using root beer as a medium) in a primitive, childlike style, in a rural setting, and featuring a cast of anthropomorphised animals and human characters (some related to nursery rhymes of the sort that revolve around cunning foxes and wicked wolves, or folksy fables such as Pinocchio, while more recent works are haunted by the ghostly head of James Joyce), captured at the mid-point of a narrative, but one that continually evades any complete reading. I actually write stories for each work, Dzama explains. So why is he an artist rather than a writer? Im not a good writer. I never was, he continues. Maybe the drawing was a replacement for that. Part of the fun (and perhaps unusually for contemporary art, but in common with Fischli and Weiss, fun is definitely what it is) as much for the artist as for the viewer, one suspects lies in guessing what the stories that lie hidden within the artworks are all about. Are many people successful? Thats rare, because what Im thinking is probably more simple than what they imagine it to be. Probably less crazy, actually. But I want to hear what peoples interpretations are. Although Dzamas work falls into what is often described as outsider art inasmuch as he appears to exhibit images of an internalised world that exists out of time and place, rendered in an apparently untrained (as far as academic art goes) hand hes never >
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FEATURE

MARCEL DZAMA

DZAMAS INNOCENT AESTHETIC SERVES SOMEHOW TO NORMALISE THE ACTION: ITS ALMOST BUT DEFINITELY NOT QUITE CARTOON SEX AND VIOLENCE
facing page: Untitled, 2006, four-part drawing, pencil, watercolour, root beer and ink on paper, each 35 x 27 cm. the artist. Courtesy Timothy Taylor Gallery, London

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WHAT IM THINKING IS PROBABLY MORE SIMPLE BUT I LIKE TO HEAR WHAT PEOPLES INTERPRETATIONS ARE

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FEATURE

MARCEL DZAMA

been unaware of the fact that hes playing to an ever-expanding crowd. At school, he recalls, he was an incorrigible doodler. When his teachers began keeping the doodles they confiscated during class, he realised he was on to something: That felt kinda special, he says. Maybe it was my first audience or something that made me think it was art. His move from rural Canada to New York in 2003 was motivated, among other things, by the fact that he could be closer to his gallery. Whatever Dzamas stories are really about, his drawings suggest that they involve acts of violence Goya-esque amputations, maimings, hangings and shootings and less frequent episodes of kinky sex (reminiscent of the work of Aubrey Beardsley), and fuel the viewers desire to know whats going on. Particularly given the fact that Dzamas innocent aesthetic serves somehow to normalise the action: its almost but definitely not quite cartoon sex and violence. When pushed to describe the effect of all this, Dzama explains that its almost like the thoughts that come into your head as you start to fall asleep. Its like the start of a dream, but then you wake up suddenly or something. It almost has that feel. And like many dreams, Dzamas outlandish visions are rooted in reality. A lot of the time Ill just let the drawing draw itself, and Ill surprise myself with how violent it is. But its not different than looking in the newspaper these days. One way of looking at Dzamas work, then, is to view it as a way of dealing with the ecological, political and social Armaggedon that often seems to describe the world around us. Where an artist like Thomas Hirschhorn does this by stripping away media and mediation in order to magnify the whirlwind of sex and violence (by incorporating genuine pornography and real images of people with their brains blown out

in Iraq into his installations and collages), Dzama offers something that deals with the way in which we internally mediate these things, the way we normalise horror while still acknowledging its existence within ourselves. In terms of how it works on a personal level, Dzama offers this explanation: When I was young, I used to spend a lot of time at my aunties farm, and on my grandfathers, [and] I guess Id see a lot of animals be killed for food they raised cows and they would be butchered and I would see all this. I guess Id see the brutalities in life. Perhaps this, then, is why so many manimals crop up in his work. Im actually a vegetarian, so I kinda feel sorry for any brutality against animals, the artist says. By layering innocence and experience (yes, hes a fan of William Blake), fantasy and reality, and humour and violence, Dzama investigates the ways in which we bear, or cope with, an ugly, brutal world. And perhaps more importantly, how we might share that burden as individuals within a crowd. As if to demonstrate, Dzama describes the story of The Lotus Eaters: Its about an artist whos haunted by the death of his wife, and he slowly goes mad and is consumed by the world he made in his drawings. Or he becomes part of it. [By] travelling through this world he gets to meet his wife in the end. And then Dzama backtracks furiously, afraid he may, for once, have given the plot away. Thats only the narrative hed give if forced to give one, he points out. Theres a lot of sidetracks. Marcel Dzama will be on show at Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, from 8 March to 13 April

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SATORU AOYAMA
april 4-may 13 2007 at One in the Other 45 vyner street london e2 9dq phone: +44(0)20 l983 6240 http://www.oneintheother.com/ october 17-november 17 2007 at Mizuma Art Gallery

Satoru Aoyama "Julian" 2006 Embroidery (cotton and polyester thread) on polyester 30.0x28.0cm
C satoru aoyama

AI YAMAGUCHI
march 14-april 17 2007 at Mizuma Art Gallery october 13-november 10 2007 at ROBERTS & TILTON 6150 wilshire boulevard los angeles, ca 90048 phone: +1 323 549 0223 www.robertsandtilton.com

Ai Yamaguchi "tokonaka ni oru" 2007 acrylic on cotton 15.5x51.0cm

2F fujiya bldg. 1-3-9 kamimeguro meguro-ku tokyo 153-0051 japan phone: +81-3-3793-7931 fax: +81-3-3793-7887 www://mizuma-art.co.jp gallery@mizuma-art.co.jp

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SPECIAL FOCUS

Twenty-ve artists to look out for in 2007 Future Greats


left to right, from top: Thomas Houseago, Thomas Zipp, Bertram Hasenauer, Akino Kondoh, Adel Abdessemed, Ry Rocklen, Rosson Crow, Cheyney Thompson, Robert McNally, Joel Tauber, Paulina Olowska, Hvard Homstvedt, David d Noonan, oonan, Karen Russo, Kate Atkin, Doug Fishbone, Katy Moran, Alex Pollard, Zilvinas Kempinas, Rez Rezi van Lankveld, Chris Evans, John Russell, Melvin Moti, Michael Simpson, on, Jaime Pitarch Pitar PLUS: For a guide to whats new in the New York artworld, check out the rst in a series of supplements to ArtReviews digital edition, including a guide to the citys hottest new galleries, Kalup Linzys audio tour of the emerging-art scene, listings and much more.
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words AXEL LAPP

Bertram Hasenauer
BERTRAM HASENAUER HAS LATELY BEEN IN PREPARATIONS FOR two exhibitions of drawings, which he composes on the wall of his studio in Berlin Friedrichshain and in cardboard models on the oor. He is one of the winners of this years Strabag Art Award in Vienna, with the connected solo show at the end of January, and he has a gallery exhibition in Sassa Trlzschs new space, ST Studio, in Berlin. Both shows combine portraits with material studies, landscapes and drapery, all meticulously executed in coloured pencil on paper. Due to the mediums subtlety, and because the works will be sparingly set in the whitewashed exhibition spaces, these shows will appear quite frugal, but the drawings will nonetheless hold their own and articulate their presence. Hasenauer, who was born in Saalfelden, Austria, in 1970, is equally a painter and a draughtsman. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, at the University of Arts in Berlin and at Central Saint Martins College in London. In his paintings he works with acrylic on wood, modulating the diluted pure colours in numerous washes and thus creating a similarly perfectionist surface to his drawings. His works are meditations on appearance, on the perception and display of surface. Many of his subjects are young people against a white background, either confronting or turning their backs on the viewer, stating their presence in an undened space. These portraits, however, do not necessarily depict a specic person though Hasenauer occasionally links them to people he knows. They are more amalgams of styles and attitudes, as if several people were fused into one, their looks merged. Many of these gures are alike; next to each other, their faces are closely related, with the shapes of the eyes or the lines of the lips almost indistinguishably varied, so that they appear like pictures of siblings or even twins. Once apart, though, the di erences manifest themselves and the personalities of these gures seem to develop. Through the distinctions in posture and gesture, they turn into types, into stylisations of everyday self-portrayal and manner. It is therefore unsurprising that Hasenauer recently included the drawing of a knights armour into one of his series, or that he draws hooded youths or shrouded gures.

All Instant Things Are Fading, 2006, crayon on paper, 30 x 42 cm. Courtesy Galerie Hohenlohe, Vienna

ARTREVIEW

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words MARK RAPPOLT

Michael Simpson
as part of the 1959 Young Contemporaries exhibition in London. Since then (but way back in 1974), Young Contemporaries fresh to the scene. Now that hes has become New Contemporaries, and Simpson a little less fr past. But greatness is a sixty-six, Simpsons future,, many might say,, would appear to be in the p quality that often takes time to develop. Its certainly not a synonym for youth. Since 1989 Simpson has been working on a series of very large paintings that ostensibly take benches as their sole subject matter.. Ugh old AND boring, youre probably thinking to ou shouldnt be so easily put o . Simpsons benches are truly yourselves round about now; you ee-dimensional (its hard d not to think of the benches as sculptur sculptures remarkable things. Oddly three-dimensional om memor rather than paintings) and painted from memory, they seem, both aesthetically and ideologically ideologically, to be some sort of bizarre mix-up in which fteenth-century Venetian painting has been suspended in a modern-art solvent (with references to minimalism, Brutalism and Pop art). But beyond that, the paintings take the life of the renegade philosopher Giordano Bruno (often described as one of the founders of free thought, he wrote books on, among other things, mnemonic technique), who, following eight years of torture and interrogation, was burned at the stake by the Inquisition in 1600, as their subject. Within the paintings, however, references to this history at least to those who are not familiar with Brunos life (thats most people) remain relatively obscure. A wreath of owers, for example, might bring to mind Romes Campo dei Fiori, where Bruno met his end. But perhaps it is the fact that the powerful e ect of Simpsons work remains intact to those who havent got a care about martyrs, theology or sixteenth-century philosophy that makes it truly worth checking out. Simpson has increasingly come to think of these paintings as being of the vanitas variety, but they are far more eerie and disconcerting than any still life with skull. They recall the bench memorials that litter Britains parks and squares tombstones disguised as seating arrangements but also mortuary slabs, co ns, waiting rooms, balance scales and architecture. Perhaps it is his xed subject matter that gives Simpson the freedom to explore the language of painting and, through that, the depths of arts ability to contain and communicate multilevel narratives, obscure meaning and complex ideas. Ultimately what all that means is that Simpsons paintings can only be paintings and no words or photographs can truly sum them up.
MICHAEL SIMPSON EMERGED INTO THE CONTEMPORARY ART WORLD
Bench Number 64 (2006), oil paint on canvas, 244 x 518 cm. Courtesy David Risley Gallery, London

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7/2/07 17:51:16

words KEITH PATRICK

Jaime
Dust to Dust, 2006, video, 20 min. Courtesy the artist and Galera dels Angels, Barcelona

Pitarch

FIVE YEARS AFTER LEAVING THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART, in 1996, Jaime Pitarch was exhibiting with Lotta Hammer and the fashionable Hales Gallery. But a traumatic attempt to rescue a drowning woman from the Thames marked an abrupt end to his London period. Two years of introspection followed, spent in Grenoble and the remote mountains of southern France, before an eventual return to his native Barcelona. That could have been the end of the story, but since his return, Pitarchs artistic reawakening has been little short of remarkable. Typied by punishing periods of work, his oeuvre now embraces video, sculpture, collage, installation, photography and graphics. Clearly the medium isnt the message. Rather, Pitarch interrogates the precarious balance behind the comfortable order of things, engineering moments where the gears slip and our reassuring world dissolves into anarchy. Although precedents can be found in the surrealist object, and also in Spains unique political history, the conviction behind Pitarchs unnerving vision lies in rst-hand experience. A minor disorder in which perception becomes momentarily dissociated from meaning has led to an archive of sorts that documents the fragility of the conceptual framework we call reality. Many of his installations balance precariously, absurdly defying gravity, or their supports are chiselled away to an impossible thinness. Inexplicably, toy soldiers begin to melt or, lmed through the window of a microwave, become enmeshed in a battleeld of exploding popcorn. Photographs of fetishistic heads turn out to be spent matches, salvaged from bars and streets. A wineglass rests impossibly close to the edge of the table and a co ee spoon is the apparent victim of demonic possession. Small statements, but having the power to disarm with all the incisiveness of peripheral vision. In the video Dust to Dust (2006), the artist takes a broom and begins sweeping a vast, empty industrial space. As the dust rises, an all-consuming mist dissolves the scene. Over 15 minutes the now-empty space slowly re-emerges in a kind of uneasy truce: the calm before the narrative is repeated in an endless cycle. However, the true mark of an artist whose career is on the move lies in the works ability to attract patronage and support. Aside from being represented by one of the leading galleries in Barcelona, in the last year Pitarch has been selected for exhibitions in Montevideo, Cologne and most recently New York, in a solo show at the Spencer Brownstone Gallery. Dust to Dust was chosen by Mara de Corral, co-curator of the 2005 Venice Biennale, for her presentation in last years ARCO, and has since been acquired for MACBAs permanent collection.

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words JONATHAN T.D. NEIL

Rosson

IT IS SURELY A SIGN OF THE TIMES THAT THE TERM DECADENCE today signals remorseless excess without the accompanying connotations of decay, of immanent decline. If its decadent, it is the most money can buy, and any restraint that goes by the name of taste belongs now not to the cultured but to the timid hardly a term of praise. Yet what is and what is not decadent can never outrun the ambivalence that attaches to our observations of it. Whatever is decadent will always be at one and the same time too much and, by logical extension, not enough. Why this short excursus through the semantics of decadence? Because Rosson Crows enterprise demands it. Since 2004 Crow has painted interior spaces culled from the homes and apartments, the lobbies and lounges, which see the comings and goings of the wealthy. Yet these places lack any structural coherence necessary to labelling them as true interiors. Each scene o ers an amalgam of collaged perspectives, the e ects of which can be unsettling. But more often than not, the rigidity of these early canvases kept them at and cartoonish. Within the last year, however, Crows method has migrated from a reliance upon the sti lines of those perspectival constructions on view in the back wall of such scenes as Dulaney House (2004) to a looser and far more uid handling of paint, which attends a similar shift in Crows subject matter to what she calls an even more faux-baroque and over-the-top series of interiors. With these works, gathered under the title Hotel and Lounge, Crow sought out the kinds of rooms and furniture that walk a knife-edge between high design and vulgarity. Canvases such as Vacancy at the Vargenville (Through Corridors, Salons, Galleries) (2006) reveal Louis XV interiors in the process of melting away. Others, such as Front Parlor at Stanton Hall (2006), distort their architecture with layers of watery, electried colour. All are spaces of dual character: possibly elegant and inviting at night, when they serve as urban playgrounds and backdrops for recreational entertainments (fuelled, no doubt, by drugs and booze); but tawdry in the light of day, the furniture, like the senses, frayed. Devoid of people, as Crows canvases always are, the works seem to conjure the empty streets of Atgets Paris and its ghosts of the bourgeoisie. As we know, that time and place gave quarter to the rst decadent movement in art and literature. Perhaps the work of Rosson Crow marks the beginning or the decline? of another.
Collectors Suite at Eden Roc (1973), 2006 oil on linen, 196 x 343 cm on three canvases. Courtesy Canada, New York

Crow

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5/2/07 22:43:31

words MARK RAPPOLT

Zilvinas Kempinas
MENTION THE WORD MINIMALISM

to most people these days and you know that boring has just popped into their heads. Perhaps, if youre lucky, theyll also be picturing their tedium in the form of the odd black square or set of Judd-like shelves. The work of Zilvinas Kempinas, while comprising, in many instances, simple compositions of black and white, or light and shadow, o ers a timely reminder of how rich and rewarding even the most minimal of works can be. In 2004, for his debut solo show at New Yorks Spencer Brownstone Gallery, Kempinas exhibited Flying Tape (2004), a ring of industrial oor fans positioned in such a way as to spin a large, uttering loop of videotape in the air above them. In practical terms Kempinas was simply exploiting maybe doing nothing more than demonstrating the most humdrum laws of physics. Visually the e ect was mysterious and ethereal like watching a ying carpet, or a lowbudget, low-tech Siegfried & Roy magic show. Indeed, perhaps what makes Kempinas special is the fact that, in a world in which spectacles and spectaculars (and a fair proportion of the art you see these days falls into one of those categories) are words that are increasingly synonymous with biggest and most expensive, he doesnt feel the need to walk onstage in a spangly jumpsuit and frolic with a rare white tiger. More often than not, the odd bit of videotape is all he needs. In 2006, for his second solo show with the gallery, the thirty-seven-year-old New Yorkbased Lithuanian used strips of tape strung from oor to ceiling to create a series of ghostly tubular columns within the space. Columns (2005; now in the Margulies Collection in Miami) is arranged so that the edge of the lmstrips point out (and thus, when viewed head-on, are barely perceptible), and the columns ironically, given that they are in e ect stilled or frozen lms appear to be animated line drawings: the apparent thickness of the lines (or the extent to which the face of the strips of lm was visible), and thus the e ects of light and shade, uctuate as you move around the installation. And perhaps there is a further irony in all this: Kempinas is using one the most modern of media to create the most old-fashioned of e ects. Despite that, in the same exhibition Kempinas demonstrated that he is not averse to using tape in a more conventional manner. Bike Messenger (2005) also in the Margulies Collection is a four-screen projection of the results of Kempinas strapping four cameras onto a motorbike (front, sides and back) and riding through rush-hour tra c in Times Square. And it provides just the sort of e ects of audio and visual disorientation that you might expect. While nowhere near as elegant as Kempinass installations, its yet another example of the artist extracting the most from the least.
Flying Tape, 2006 (installation view, Palais de Tokyo, Paris), fans, magnetic videocassette tape, dimensions variable. Courtesy Spencer Brownstone Gallery, New York

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words J.J. CHARLESWORTH

John

Limited Options, 2005, laserjet print on vinyl, mdf support, 72 x 72 cm. Courtesy the artist

GREAT ROCK BANDS AND ART COLLECTIVES FACE THE SAME PROBLEM

when they split: what to do on your own after achieving fame as part of a legend? John Russell was founding member of BANK (19902000), the group that, during the heyday of the YBA moment driven by the art celebs of the Saatchi generation, brought a ercely humorous, vulgar, satirical and critically astute assault on the heady boosterism of the London artworld. Extraordinary shows with titles like Zombie Golf (1994) and Cocaine Orgasm (1995) live on in memory. But life as the solo artist beckons, and in Russells case his art has thrived with the focus that comes from working independently. Since 2000 Russell has been pursuing his fascination with how aesthetic experience might relate to a politics of excess and disruption. Driven by an intense engagement with contemporary philosophy, his recent work elaborates on how popular culture expresses a desire for sensual excess, which both conicts and sustains arts attempt to reconcile thinking and feeling, concept and experience, reason and unreason. The performance work Twenty Women Play the Drums Topless (with Fabienne Audoud, recently staged at Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto), does exactly what it says on the tin, to the consternation of the artworlds arbiters of the politically correct. In solo exhibitions at the Norwich Gallery and Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, in 2005, Russell presented suites of vast digital laserjet prints on canvas that visualised the fusion of a popular aesthetics, and its language of bodily and commodity desire, with an iconography that pitted modernist genius against religious transcendence: Jackson Pollock repainted through lurid images of meat, ice cream and crucied hands. Russells taste for cross-disciplinary work and collaborative production has led him to publish Frozen Tears I (2003) and Frozen Tears II (2004), paperback doorstops that take the appearance of 800-page horror/sci- bestsellers, with texts by 50 artists and writers from the UK and elsewhere. Frozen Tears III is imminent. With a solo exhibition at the prestigious Matts Gallery, London, in April, which promises 30-foot backlit canvases, and the screening of The Thinking (2004) a lm collaboration with curator Mark Beasley and LAs Damon Packard at Sketch, London, this month, Russells desire for overload looks set to be realised. If excess be the food of art, were lovin it!

Russell

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5/2/07 22:43:47

words EMMA GRAY

Joel

September 27, 2006: They removed 400 square feet of asphalt and replaced it with mulch! (2006), lightjet print mounted on aluminium, 51 x 76 cm. Courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles

JOEL TAUBER DOESNT HAVE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR AGAINST TREE PRUNERS. But two years camore nearly engulfed by tarmac, something ago, after observing the savage defoliation of a sycamore auber explains. It seemed emblematic of clicked. The tree looked really lonely and forlorn, Tauber arking lot and the wilderness is disappearing. where we are: the world is becoming this big parking ebel with a tree-hugging cause. And with that, he turned into a vigilante eco-activist a rebel aign and impersonating a civic worker to save a Engaging in a guerrilla gardening campaign auber, a video artist and art professor at sycamore from urban blight is all in a days work for Tauber, USC. He fell madly and quite spectacularly in love with the tree, now the subject of Sick Amour, his exhibition this month at Culver Citys Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects gallery. Comprising a series of lmed vignettes in a 12-channel video installation, Sick Amour manages to be both funny and heartbreaking. One piece pointedly illuminates how the tree cant procreate, a bitter irony evidenced by the discarded condoms Tauber nds on his daily watering missions. Others reveal important ecological info, like the trees ability to absorb 100 pounds of carbon dioxide a year and turn it into oxygen. Arboreal romance, however absurd that sounds, doesnt begin to hint at the antic nature of Taubers previous projects; the artist assumes a position somewhere between extreme sportsman, eco-warrior and naturalist monk on a mission to connect the dots of lifes many unanswered Big Questions. He has buried himself seven times in order to get closer to God and nature. He has own 150 feet above the ground suspended by helium balloons while playing the bagpipes a homage of sorts to Eilmer, a fteenth-century monk. And Tauber has gone scuba-diving 40 times in order to chart his depths as a means of becoming music. For the time being, lets simply call him a video artist a stripped-down environmentalist version of early Matthew Barney. Tauber can be as poignantly eccentric as German performance jester John Bock, and as profound as Joseph Beuys. There is a performance element to his work, but that is just the camera following him on his missions, which, like Barneys personal-transformation odysseys, are spiritual voyages. Taubers nal products, however, are more akin to insightful public television documentaries than Hollywood epics. It seems perfectly tting, then, that the artist should live in a cave (a rock face provides the central ballast to his Eagle Rock apartment) just a short hop from the Hollywood Hills. Hes like a character straight out of a Wes Anderson lm, and there really isnt much he hasnt done in the pursuit of contemporary art.

Tauber

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words MARK RAPPOLT

Akino

YOU ONLY NEED A SET OF EYES TO WORK OUT THAT AKINO KONDOHS DRAWINGS,

paintings, intings, limited-edition comics and handmade animations come out of the manga tradition. Aside from its obvious aesthetic, the twenty-six-year-old -olds fantastical works treat what are, by now, the familiar tropes of Japanese teenage sexuality a subconscious populated by bizarre dreams and obsessions (often insects,, as in the animation Ladybirds Requiem, 20056), involving actors who are neither pre- nor post-pubescent, with undertones of violence and entrapment, and frequently appearing to represent the kind of female character that might have wandered out of the pages of a Haruki Murakami novel. Still, if you simply wanted your art to reect cultural stereotypes, you could just as well buy a postcard of a sword-waving samurai or, if you like the ner things, a Hokusai print. Of course, theres equally no point in denying the fact that Kondohs work looks, in many ways, typically Japanese. But its not the glossy industrial look and feel that characterise the output of someone like Takashi Murakami; rather, its something more minimal, and far more driven by the personal than by the personalities that literally characterise her compatriots productions. Instead, Kondohs sensual art exudes a strange tactility (perhaps, in the end, her work is about feeling things in every sense). In the drawing Crevasse of the Night (2005), for example, a curvy, dark-fringed girl squats, frog-like (a bizarre cross between an alluring damsel and a sumo wrestler), in a eld of dark grass, the texture of which is indistinguishable from her hair, while a splatter of red owers, pollen or perhaps blood (Kondos work has an almost permanent sense of menstruation) surrounds her. Alternatively, the frog person might be trying to tear open the top of someones head. This sense of interiority dominates Kondohs work: in the drawing Chrysalis (2005), the head of a darkly fringed girl peers out of a frogspawn-like goldsh bowl, with apparently unseeing eyes, at three faceless, red-dressed copies of herself. Kondohs art to date has demonstrated an increasing complexity and sophistication without losing the clear and simple lines of her manga work. It will be interesting to see if that balance can be maintained as she becomes better known and more of a star in the artworld.
Ladybirds Requiem 2-12, 2006, pencil and acrylic on gesso, mounted on canvas, 26 x 38 cm. Photo: Kei Miyajima. Courtesy the artist and Mizuma Art Gallery, Tokyo

Kondoh

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words MELISSA GRONLUND

Paulina
PAULINA OLOWSKA IS UNIQUE:

hav shes the only artist in this years Future Greats list to have appeared in this magazine last year. Thats not because weve forgotten, or because she didnt become as great as last years writers thought she might; rather its because were expecting big actice, Olowska locates images of women as they things over the next 12 months. In a prolic practice, have been represented in the past: as props for Pollocks and Calders; as advertisements for cigarettes, cars and cocktails; as ingnues and odalisques. She reproduces these beleaguered women in the cool stylisations of a number of periods in jazzy, modernist collages; moody, deskilled paintings; and glowing, seedy neon. Her paintings and collages bear evidence of destruction and reconstitution rips, tears, charred edges and her exhibitions are lled to excess. Taking as her subject the history of art, she renes this as the history of women in art, and her schizophrenic appropriation from di erent eras and styles maps out an incomplete but collective project: it is a ctional history in the making. Iconic buildings appear in washed-out, nervy reproductions; Modernism is no longer new but it still holds potential. A faux salon at the Kunstverein Braunschweig in 2004 brought together female members of the Bloomsbury Group Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell and Charlotte Perriand in painted form. The notion of animation is taken literally: in a 2003 performance, Nova Popularna, with her frequent collaborator Lucy McKenzie, the pair constructed a bar in Warsaw, and stood serving drinks to patrons living incarnations of Manets A Bar at the Folies-Bergre (1882). Though she dabbles in di erent periods, Olowska is best known for her reinterpretation of Modernism, which she mines as much for its expressive potential as for its historical coincidence with the beginning of the Soviet empire. The dissolution of the latter and the tendency to treat communist paraphernalia as kitsch recur throughout her work and are treated with ambivalence: as sites of loss, as objects of satire, as familiar history. Importantly, Olowskas work reinvigorates the idea of art as agitprop; enlivening the notion that popular graphic art, like billboard posters and murals, can carry a positive social message, available and pertinent to all.
Abstract Dancers, 2006, acrylic on wallpaper, 147 x 240 cm. Courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Olowska

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words SKYE SHERWIN

The Black Room, 16mm lm on DVD, 25 minutes, colour with sound, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist

Melvin

ic imagination over a has cast his lmic historical and geographical panoply in the past few years. His subjects bjects have included an aged Jamaican dancehall star recalling her Kingston glory days (Top Legs, 2005), and the memories of Indian plantation workers from a former Dutch colony (Stories of Surinam, 2001). It is his two art-historical lms that have caused the most ink-spillage -spillage to date however. No Show (2004) explored the curious account of a guide from the Hermitage museum, giving a tour to soldiers during the Second World War, who perfectly recounted details of the paintings of Fra Angelico and Rembrandt, even though the frames that had held the works were in fact empty. The Black Room (2005), a sophisticated development of the ideas that underscored his earlier works, sets the dialogue of an imaginary interview with the Surrealist writer and lm critic Robert Desnos against images of The Black Room, walls preserved from the Villa Agrippa that stood long ago in Pompeii. Time, subjective histories, and the power of imagination are all central to these works and in Desnos, Moti nds the perfect expression of these themes. Desnos was an advocate of automatic writing, like a number of the Surrealists, creating poems and stories under hypnosis. It was a practice that played with both his mental and physical wellbeing, resulting in sleep deprivation and eating disorders. It was claimed Desnos was addicted to the process, and, in a sign of his mental erosion, he even went for fellow writer Paul Eluard with a knife. The Black Room creates a symbiotic tension between Desnoss authentic imaginative experience of creating under hypnosis and Motis imaginary interview with the Surrealist, which is set in 1931 after he had split with Bretons branch of Surrealism. Visually, the camera pans slowly across the black expanse of wall, against which painted shapes oat, suspended magically in a void. Stylistically this was part of a move from a realistic depiction of the world towards a fantastical space. The lm is a revelatory exploration of what can be seen and what can be spoken about, to paraphrase the distinction drawn by Michel Foucault. Motis interest in how unearthly experience can be imaginatively mediated has recently focused on the gure of Katie King, a frequent ghostly visitor to ninteenth-century sances, and last year he published a book, The Biography of a Phantom, in which he reconstructs her appearances.
TWENTY-NINE-YEAR-OLD DUTCHMAN MELVIN MOTI

Moti

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words MARK RAPPOLT

Adel Abdessemed
Practice Zero Tolerance, 2006 (installation view, La Crie Centre dArt de Rennes), terra cotta, 365 x 165 x 120 cm. Photo: Marc Domage. Adel Abdessemed. Private collection. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris

AT FIRST GLANCE, ADEL ABDESSEMEDS WORK

which spans video, photography, animation, sculpture and installation is a rush. In the case of Schnell (2005), literally. That piece consists of 11 seconds of looped video footage, shot during the time it took a video camera to fall from a helicopter hovering 700 metres above Berlin. At once an Icarian plummet, a dizzying bewilderment of the senses and a vertiginous leap into the void that outdoes Yves Kleins celebrated photograph of himself ying out a window, the work is the perfect introduction to the thirty-six-year-old Algerians oeuvre. And in contrast to the rapid death-dive this work describes, Abdessemed, who now lives between Paris and Berlin, is an artist on the rise. While the themes of Schnell appear in a number of other works Habibi (2003), in which a giant skeleton, suspended above the ground in Superman pose, appears to be ying out of, or being sucked into, the fans of a jet engine, or Bourek (2005), in which a attened aeroplane fuselage is rolled up like a traditional oriental pastry Abdessemeds relatively simple works gather up a sometimes bewildering array of references. Perhaps his most famous piece, God Is Design (2005), is an animation, in which 3,050 relatively simple drawings of biological signs and Jewish and Islamic religious symbols morph, merge, multiply and mutate like so many rampant, hyperactive cells. Replete with references to disease and infection, as well as the possibilities for cross-fertilisation and coexistence, the work is the perfect metaphor for our transnational world. Following an appearance at the last Venice Biennale, a nomination for the 2006 Prix Marcel Duchamp and, also last year, his rst solo institutional show, at Pariss Le Plateau, Abdessemed is attracting a growing number of fans. Chief among them is the worlds number one collector Franois Pinault who bought Practice Zero Tolerance (2006), a Charles Ray-like ceramic replica of a burnt-out Renault that is an overt reference to the riots in the suburbs of Paris at the time, and a more covert reference to suicide bombings in the Middle East. Another seamless fusion of aesthetics and politics, like much of the artists work, Practice Zero Tolerance occupies a position between two poles: in this case the zero tolerance of the title refers to the policies of those seeking to punish the perpetrators of acts of vandalism (as Frances Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy famously used it) or functions as an explanation of what motivates the kind of pyromaniacal protest that produced Abdessemeds model. However you choose to read it, Abdessemed has produced another striking monument of our times.

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words MELISSA GRONLUND

Cheyney

Quelques Aspects de lArt Bourgeois: Le Non-Intervention, 2006 (installation view). Courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York

IN ADDRESSING PAINTING, THE NEW YORK ARTIST CHEYNEY THOMPSON looks at the big picture,

as it were not history painting, ainting, but the histor history of painting and its role in the socio-economic eld. Thompson systematically stematically deconstructs how a work is cr created: unpacking it into its colours, its establishment of perspective and its subject matter, and considering, as well, its post-studio life of being packaged, ackaged, exhibited and sold. Rather than relying on textual material or general foreknowledge,, Thompson works with a sense of visual and spatial expansiveness that suggests exploding, ecstatic discovery. very. y. He installed his 2004 show at Andrew Kreps as if the gallery wer were a salon, covering the walls alls with paintings of wooden structures, all pictured from di erent angles. angles His 2006 06 show at the same gallery expanded into the back room; oom; viewers had to peer o over wooden tables to look at the prints on display. For his 2006 show at Daniel Buchholz in Cologne, in the installation The End of Rent Control and the Emergence of the Creative Class, Thompson presented eight oil portraits of his landlords, a married couple around sixty years old: four of the woman, and four of the man. Drily titled 4 Colors Subtracting Light from the Room in 6 Degrees of Intensity Repeated 4 Times (2006), the portraits are rendered with a virtuosity that belies their systematic origins: to create each, Thompson used only the four colours of a photographic reproduction (cyan, magenta, yellow and black), varying their saturation and sharpness in each image. They are surprisingly intimate the woman posing self-consciously, the husband sitting small on a pillow-lled couch and, much like the muted oil on canvas of a potted plant by a window (The Subtraction of Light from the Room Produces the Illusion of a Bourgeois Interior, 2006), Thompsons deadpan presentation of artistic rendering as formula is at odds with the lyricism of the title and of the work on display. The artists laying bare of the device presents painting in the gallery space which is to say, the marketplace as a disassembled rather than nished product, and squarely tilts at the art market: his plinths are cheap folding tables, as used in the unregulated markets of street vendors, and his subject recalls Hans Haackes photographic series Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, A Real Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 (1971). In replacing Haackes investigation of the Harlem landlord Harry Shapolskys greed with a critique centring on aesthetics, Thompson points his paint-stained nger at the art markets own unregulated, arbitrarily taxed, incomprehensible structure.
ARTREVIEW

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words J.J. CHARLESWORTH

Doug

Pope Pourri, 2006, digital giclee print, 42 x 59 cm. Courtesy the artist and Gimpel Fils, London

YOU KNOW, I DONT GET THE WHOLE VEGETARIAN THING: I mean, if were not supposed to eat animals, then why are they made of meat? Doug Fishbone likes a joke more than most artists. Moving from mass-media manipulation to stand-up and politics, this New Yorker has pitched his wise-guy conceptual art into the London scene with a vengeance. From the man who dumped 20,000 bananas on Trafalgar Square, Fishbones absurdist stream-of-consciousness PowerPoint presentations were a highlight of last years British Art Show 6. At the recent Paranoia exhibition at the Freud Museum, useum, Fishbone installed a young Asian man in M Muslim dress, seated impassively inside a cage-like fence; a razor-sharp comment on the domestic hysteria spawned by the war on terror. Fishbone hbone takes an energetic and direct approach to art. Disarming and democratic, the mix of shock and humour makes for a winning combination. Fishbones work rag-picks the avalanche alanche of verbiage and second-hand ideas that make up the mass media, to critique some of the more unseemly aspects of life in the modern age. His presentations and lectures focus on themes like corporate greed and violence, obesity, indi erence and the inability of cultures to understand each other. Appropriating imagery from the Internet, his hilarious and shocking narratives question how we take an opinion on controversial visual images and concepts. New Age hokum, terrorists, the political elites, the battle of the sexes, conspiracy theories, sex, drugs, fast food, religion, freak-show obscenities, o ensive jokes about minority groups nothing is spared in the deranged kaleidoscope of disinformation that Fishbone remodels from the wilder edges of contemporary life. O ending and cajoling, moving in one breath from charming anecdote to bizarre non sequitur to a horrendous gag about your mum, or Arabs, or Jews, he disarms by adopting every position at once. You laugh when you know you shouldnt, and Fishbone is gleefully aware that humour can undermine the repressive etiquette that distorts our relationship to real life. Fishbones interest in the corrupt seductions of junk culture and voodoo politics is taking him further into the realms of that most venal and empty gure, the celebrity. At his recent solo show at Gimpel Fils, he presented his smooth-talking, Hollywood-bullshitting alter ego in the video Its Not You, Its Me (2006). Hustling money for a movie project, Fishbone shamelessly pulls every emotional string he can: lets do it for the children, he implores. The irony is that Fishbone is actually working on a lm project of the same name. Arts always been antagonistic to the mass media. Fishbones work suggests that if you can join them, you can beat them too.

Fishbone

ARTREVIEW

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5/2/07 14:42:50

words JOHN WEICH

Rezi van Lankveld


Ideas of Solution, 2005, oil on board, 152 x 152 cm. Courtesy the Approach, London

THE MOST COMMONLY USED WORD TO DESCRIBE REZI VAN LANKVELDS paintings is cloudy. Rezi van Lankveld hates the word cloudy. During a recent podcast interview on the Dutch cultural programme Avonden, she took the interviewer to task for repeatedly using the word, while at the same time failing (perhaps intentionally) to articulate another, more apt description for her enigmatic, teasingly archaic chaic portraits rendered in curious smears, smudges and blots blots. It all left me thinking: this is either a painter ainter still coming to grips with her unquestionable talent or one entirely unphased by the beguiling e ortlessness of her method. Van Lankvelds procedure involves pouring diluted paint onto wood panels and drawing into the wet surface, brush trudging through the ever-thickening paint as it searches, apparently unpremeditatedly, for the contours of a gure or gures. It is a process that relies as much on trial and error as it does on serendipity, invigorating her work with a control-versus-coincidence ambiguity that recalls Pollock, though happily replacing his mid-century swagger with a preModern torpor. While Van Lankveld openly acknowledges the role of coincidence in her work, a ick through her oeuvre reveals a steady condence and mulish control over brush and paint. Her colour palette is muddy and melancholic, the gures that arise through the thick, heavy layers ultimately intimate. With a Koninklijke Prijs voor Vrije Schilderkunst (a prestigious annual painting award for Dutch painters under thirty-ve) in her pocket and the support of two globally active galleries (the Approach in London and Diana Stigter in Amsterdam), Van Lankvelds sober panels are increasingly appearing in group exhibitions and private collections in Holland and beyond (with Dutch museums now showing interest), something attributable to the fact that they are so staunchly unlike the photography-rooted reworkings of reality currently crowding gallery walls. A more pugilistic, more articulate artist might openly aunt this di erence indeed, one of the arguments against Van Lankvelds work is that it is not di cult enough but one gets the feeling she prefers the ten-hour studio sessions that give rise to her emotive, inky ambiguities to duking it out in the theoretical arena. Van Lankvelds paintings o er an innocent otherworldliness interpreted by an opportunistic hand.

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5/2/07 14:44:06

words J.J. CHARLESWORTH

Karen

Stills from Insiders, 2006, video, 75 min. Courtesy the artist and One in the Other, London

IF YOU COULD SHINE DARKNESS FROM A TORCH, you might be some way to describing the work

of Karen Russo. In her drawings, paintings, video installations and semi-ctional documentaries, Russos explorations of the darker side of human experience open onto scenes of occult happenings, subterranean spaces, uncontrollable impulses, criminality and the ambiguous moral status of the artist in modern culture. The Israeli-born artist, who relocated to London two years ago, has long been fascinated by how society projects everything it nds abnormal, excessive and intolerable into a whole universe of images and archetypes that recur, almost compulsively, throughout our culture. Theyre themes that criss-cross and interlink, building up a powerful and allencompassing worldview that doesnt make concessions to those who want art to be easy on the eye, or on the mind. In the video The Point of Departure (2006) [see Martin Herberts review in this issue] Russo draws us from the classical space of a nineteenth-century museum into the tunnels and catacombs of the Paris sewers, on a bizarre journey into a shadowy parallel domain, the negative mirror image as she calls it, of the civilised world above. If the sewer is the subconscious, rotten underside of the city, then the criminal is the negative of the civilised individual, an opposition she explores in the video Insiders (2006), where both prisoners who make art and professional artists faces silhouetted in anonymity talk of the motivations and desires that drive them to produce. Russo questions how ideas of madness and obsession lie behind our image of both criminals and artists. Such archetypes, Russo suggests, say more about how our culture contains di cult or unmanageable impulses than it does about the artists or criminals themselves, the lasting inuence of Romantic thinking about art. Russos complex, often unsettling themes and her against-the-grain approach to what art should be for, and how artists might be understood, have won her a small but growing public. From her studio in East London, shes now researching a new documentary on William Lyttle, the mole man of Hackney, who has spent the last four decades burrowing a network of tunnels and caves from under his suburban house. Russo enthuses how she was amazed to discover the great similarities between Lyttles thinking and that of the average artist, creating things that dont work or dont have a functional value, the zen-like work process and the obsession involved in the making. Creativity turned to perverse, obsessive uses, or obsession and a desire for excess as the drivers of creativity? Is Russo the authentic dark, romantic artist, or just playing the part? Or do we look for such a character as a projection of what we would prefer to hide from ourselves?

Russo

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5/2/07 14:44:29

words MELISSA GRONLUND

David

AUSTRALIAN ARTIST DAVID NOONAN explores a state of what might be called temporal exile: hangovers from the past in the present, folk symbols whose meaning is forgotten and, in a more general way, the lingering nostalgia for a grandeur andeur lost before our time. time Noonan, who has a solo show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris aris this month, makes collage, collage screen prints mounted on plywood, 8mm lms and squat carved sculptures ulptures all largely rendered in sepia or black and white, and unied as a whole by recurrent ent motifs, such as the owl or the intricate patterns of 1970s brocade. Tudor (2005), shot on grainy ainy 8mm lm and transferred to DVD, records the facade and dormer windows of a Tudor udor mansion glimpsed through fat summer foliage; Noonan leaves open the question of whether the house is from the Tudor period or whether it has simply been rebuilt, aspirationally, in its style. The black-and-white Field (2005), also shot on 8mm, records a young woman walking through tall grass; she is, and always has been, the subject of innumerable poems, paintings and daydreams. In his screen prints Noonan layers images on top of one another, combining actors, dancers and vaguely Ingmar Bergman-esque gures with plants, birds and the gridded lines of city buildings. A recent suite of images culled much of its source material from theatre magazines of the 1940s and 50s: theatrically lit faces, with shadows falling from high cheekbones or expressions exaggerated by stage makeup, and bodies clamped in the high drama of theatrical gestures. Their import, once immediate, is here rendered opaque; and the chiaroscuro e ect of the lighting is muted by the overlap of other images. Meaning is both remade and distorted: a chorus looks out to the stage lights while above them a white dandelion clock hovers like a proximate sun. The e ect of the layered images is of looking through two superimposed panes of glass, each pushing and pulling, rather than the hierarchy of elements given by collage. As such, the work looks resolutely two dimensional, forgoing the illusion of spatial depth for the irreal quality of after-images. This perhaps heightened by Noonans placing gures upside down or on their side: in Untitled (2006), for example, two dancers one of them Yvonne Rainer oat like interlocked puzzle pieces in the middle of the print, creating tumbling displacements of time, place and the picture plane.
Untitled, 2006 screen print on laminated plywood, 188 x 266 cm, edition 1/1. Courtesy the artist, Foxy Production, New York, and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Noonan

ARTREVIEW

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5/2/07 14:44:47

words SKYE SHERWIN

LONDON-BASED ARTIST KATE ATKINS LARGE-SCALE DRAWINGS seem to present the kind of exotic nature-studies explorers of yore brought back to Britain in sea-battered sketchbooks. Her densely realised fronds, shoots and copious ru es of leaves originate in more prosaic settings, however. She nds her subjects in Londons parks, focusing on unusual specimens such as over-pollarded trees, photographs them from many angles and then recreates the plants as hyperreal abstractions through the process of drawing, leaving photography looking atly inadequate by comparison. In resembling the imported sketches of those early natural history enthusiasts and amateur botanists, Britains colonial past comes to mind. Yet the journey Atkins work initiates is more of an interior one. The title of one work, to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth, Aesculus Hippocastanum II (2005), was culled from Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness (1902), in which the colonial traders themselves are taken over by the primitive id lurking in a psychological jungle. Indeed, like Conrad, Atkins studies of trees and herbaceous borders have little to do with the Romantic conception of nature. There is no sublime engagement here. Instead, as the environment becomes a hothouse topic for artists, her work belies scepticism as to our ability to relate e ectively to nature at all. In fact she downplays the signicance of using her tree models and so forth: its the process thats most important. Elements of nature become isolated, islands unto themselves; studies in alienation that speak to the distance between modern life and the natural world while charting a journey from the subjective to the objective. Of course, as Atkin points out, islands are also a place where stories begin. In such settings ideas can be broken down into their essence, to be tested and built up again, or destroyed. Though remarkable for her stunning draughtsmanship in a time of a resurgent interest in drawing, the strong conceptual basis of the work is pushing her practice into new areas. For her rst solo show, at Museum 52 this month, Atkin has expanded her output into painted reliefs. Resembling both fungal growth and aerial photographs of islands, they are built up from papier mch and chicken wire, and then painted to look matt black with blackboard paint.

Kate

Untitled, 2006, pencil on paper, 116 x 226 cm. Courtesy Museum 52, London

Atkin
ARTREVIEW

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5/2/07 14:45:22

words EMMA GRAY

Hvard Homstvedt
Remnants, 2006, oil and acrylic on linen, 183 x 274 cm. Courtesy the artist and Kantor/Feuer Gallery, Los Angeles

works utilise oil paint the way a weaver manages the warp and weft of a tapestry the marks mimic the movement of a shuttle gliding consistently back and forth across the canvas. These textile-like paintings are simple yet sophisticated, bearing the mark of a traditionally trained artist Homstvedt studied at Yale and the Rhode Island School of Design but also his cultural duality. Homstvedt o sets the homespun arts and crafts of his Scandinavian homeland with the high-polish urban lustre of New York City, where he lives and works. The at and sometimes illustrative surfaces of the artists recent work could have slipped right o a Gary Hume or John Wesley painting. Yet Homstvedts mystical content owes more to the archetypal imagery of, say, Goya or fellow Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum than to any YBA. In conversation, Homstvedt breathlessly skips across the centuries, identifying aspects of his work with artists like Michael Raedecker or Balthus, who link to two other important Homstvedt hallmarks: the use of symbolic and allegorical imagery, and of a sombre Norwegian palette consisting of sumptuous ochres and myriad shades of burnt umber. Darker colour elds are punctuated with lighter notes of grass-green or golds that momentarily lighten the pitch in an otherwise subdued world. They are haunting images which evoke other-worldliness, but the paintings are neither the stu of dreams or nightmares. Depicting solitary gures or heads transported into abstracted landscapes or interiors, they are often culled from observed moments or media imagery stockpiled by the artist for the express intent of repurposing, and they resonate with the viewer more like a snapshot from a dream sequence or stanza than the more obvious arc of a fairy tale. Take Tarp (2005), a painting involving a complicated construction of six men encircled, each holding the edge of a tarp-like fabric above their heads. Its inspiration was, in fact, a newspaper photo of a group of soldiers, but it was also inspired by Goyas happier early paintings of children dancing in a circle. Such is the contrary and compelling reach of Hvard Homstvedts visual impetus. Thirty-year-old Homstvedt, who shows with Kantor/Feuer Gallery in Los Angeles and has quietly established himself while garnering the attention of major art critics for his highly technical fabric-like surfaces and anti-pop stance, will celebrate a homecoming of sorts later this year. The artist will mount his rst major solo show in Norway, at the Gallery Riis in Oslo, in November.

NORWEGIAN ARTIST HVARD HOMSTVEDTS LATEST

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6/2/07 17:56:10

words MELISSA GRONLUND

Thomas

THOMAS ZIPPS WORKS ARE DIMLY LIT BY THE CONFLAGRATIONS OF THE PAST: atomic explosions and the bombs dropped on Germany during the Second World orld War, glimmers of scientic and artistic achievements. A confused historical consciousness and a dose of black humour permeate his canvases, collages, sculptural al objects and pseudo-mathematical diagrams. The Berlin-based artist has revived ed the once ubiquitous symbol of apocalypse the atom bomb as a key motif. Paintings crudely depict explosions,, and menacing portraits show pale, globular aliens and men with steely grey eyes. For Achtung! Vision: England ngland Attacked by the Subreals (2004) Zipp reproduced Max Ernsts group portrait of the surrealists, but covered the mens heads with small oil renderings of space creatures, turning the artistic gathering into a colloquium of sinister celestial expats. The grey palette, map of England in the corner and concentric circles etched into the background explain the titles warning and give the work its black spin: we have on show not the cheerful surrealists but the subreal species of a post-atomic landscape. Zipps layering of original work on reproduced images engineers a confrontation between the present and past: the now of Zipps painting, the that-was-then of the photograph. He frequently reproduces images of domestic interiors after they have been abandoned or bombed soot-covered bourgeois sitting rooms, o ces strewn with papers and upturned chairs and decorates these rooms walls with his newly painted canvases. At the Berlin Biennial last year, Zipp papered a classroom in a former Jewish girls school a building which hadnt been opened since the Second World War with large photocopies of other bombed rooms: a trompe loeil vision of the rooms own possible historic past. On top of the interior landscape he hung his own newly painted canvases, giving a vague sense of tragedys continued presence and ones trespass through it. Zipp, who is showing at the South London Gallery in November, has lately expanded the installation e ect of his two-dimensional work into those incorporating objects which intrude palpably into the visitors space. In his 2006 exhibition at Alison Jacques in London a large black balloon was suspended from the ceiling, looking like the condensation of test-site residue. A dark pulpit in a 2005 show in Madrid presided over paintings of explosions and skeletons, sketching out a recurring history of hope, achievement and devastation.
Achtung! Luther, 2006 (installation view Rings of Saturn, Tate Modern, London), mixed media, multi-part. Courtesy Alison Jacques, London, Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin

Zipp

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6/2/07 17:55:14

words MARTIN HERBERT

Katy

Who Reaps the Sweets, 2006, acrylic on board, 48 x 56 cm. Courtesy the artist and Stuart Shave Modern Art, London

HERES HOW HOLLYWOOD WOULD TELL IT. Artist tist mounts her MA display, and a leading dealer (Modern Arts Stuart Shave) sees it and o ers her a show.. This leads to a group exhibition in New York (at 303 Gallery). Artist clicks her heels three ee times; someone from Gagosian sees that show, o ers her a working relationship. A mere year ear after graduation, shes catapulting towards the sort of dizzy heights that require oxygen masks. And that is Katy Morans story sort of, if you ignore the earlier training in graphic design, the below-the-radar period selling out of a studio in Manchester and, to hear her describe it, the befuddled entry into the London artworld. Her success, now its come, is well deserved. Hazily gurative, opulent yet obstinate, Morans paintings are unlike anything else out there right now. My rst impression of them sumptuous paint strokes that loosely signal human activities or landscapes, rich palette of blues, greens, pinks and greys suggested the ouncy end of eighteenth-century painting (Gainsborough, Watteau, Fragonard, etc.) reduced to some kind of sensuous essence. And indeed Moran is interested in that stu , but at a distance. No sentimentalist, shes fascinated by things on the line between awful and wonderful. When Im making a painting, I get quite excited by how close to awful I can push it, while getting something really quite lovely as well. If anything its the regurgitations of the eighteenth century Im interested in, the stu that ends up on the walls of kebab shops and hairdressers. As such, her work with its direct address to the viewers sensibilities is intensely concerned with the vagaries of taste. Reecting that balance between attraction and repulsion is quite a trick, it turns out. I work upside down, says Moran, using inverted images pulled from the Internet. Theyre nished when I can see a gurative element in them through the paint Im searching for the thing it reminded me of, or suggested to me, and trying to get close to that thing. The paintings arent always particularly readable as image, but theyre eloquent in mood, inspired among other things by Francis Bacons idea that unintentional paint marks suggest a more convincing reality. Moran is not on Bacons level yet, but then shes in pursuit of a di erent horde of images, pulling in multiple directions, inspiring quiet anxiety alongside visual pleasure. Given her recent rise, is she worried about becoming locked into a market-pleasing way of working? Not at all, says Moran. Im doing exactly what I want, and I feel like I havent compromised one bit. Spoken like a star.

Moran

ARTREVIEW

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2/2/07 13:19:18

words J.J. CHARLESWORTH

Chris

CHRIS EVANS IS ONE OF THOSE RARE ARTISTS WHO MANAGES TO ADDRESS SUBSTANTIAL ISSUES

about the context he works in, while doing it with a compelling, if mischievous, sense of humour. Heir to such masters of playful art-institutional subversion ersion as General Idea, or the artworld equivalent of media-prankster Sacha Baron Cohen, Evanss work explores how complicity, deceit and moral ambiguity can be worked in and out of the circuits cuits of arts institutions institutions. Evans probes the tensions between artists and the institutions they have to work with, and casts a satirical eye on the narrow liberal pretensions that often underpin right-thinking critical artists. For UK Arts Board Agency (2000), Evans advertised for artists proposals for work that needed funding, with the vague proviso that the proposals would have to involve trees. Evans took these ideas and turned them into applications to funding bodies. Freed from having to balance the chore of making an application against the chance of success, artists put forward wild ights of fancy, such as Alan Curralls proposal to build a bridge from Plymouth to Cape Cod. Evans explains: I was trying to intervene between artists and state funding, to work my way into the set-up that decides what gets made. What kept me going was the thought of an arts board o cer faced with an inexplicable rush of interest in the tree as a contemporary theme. More recent projects include Radical Loyalty (2003), in which Evans has bought a piece of land outside Tallinn, Estonia, in order to turn it into a sculpture park. Evans has designed maquettes for sculptures as the result of conversations with the managing directors of international companies such as Schlumberger Oil and Starbucks, now moving into Estonias emerging market. Evans asked how each would envision loyalty and how loyalty might be thought of as radical. In an added twist, the maquettes will be produced by Estonian artists responsible for building the countrys monuments during the Soviet era: art, commerce and power tied in an ambiguous and suspect contract. Right now, Evanss ongoing residency project, Militant Bourgeois: An Existentialist Retreat (2006) is at the International Project Space in Birmingham. A Portakabin hut where artists can spend time alone in order to facilitate a more authentic artistic reection, Retreat questions both the pressure for artists residency projects to benet the community, and the idea that artists need to be granted free time to make better art. Asking uncomfortable questions about the artworlds most cherished assumptions of freedom, egalitarianism and autonomy, Evans makes us laugh, even as we realise that he may just well be right.
Militant Bourgeois: An Existentialist Retreat, 2006. Courtesy the artist and Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam

Eva Evans

ARTREVIEW

Future Greats_p100.indd 2

5/2/07 14:39:31

words SKYE SHERWIN

Thomas Houseago
Untitled, 2005, plaster, hemp, steel, 84 x 191 x 66 cm. Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

THOMAS HOUSEAGOS ART PRACTICE

could be seen as what happens when you take an unabashedly classical, gurative approach to making sculpture and you transplant it to Los Angeles. From a distance, his white plaster gures suggest the undulating shapes of Henry Moores abstractions. The faces are primitive-looking, drawn on masks that recall other modernist forebears such as Picasso. The limbs are similarly delineated by dense pencil marks on at plaster planes, creating a strange tension between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional. Yet move in for a closer inspection and the forms dont look quite so pure: drill holes abound, and the slabs of plaster are held in place by crude iron bolts. The trace of the sculptors hand is to be seen everywhere. Then, around the back of one work, a faecal deluge of plaster has dried into messy rivulets. Art history has collided face-rst with the unsavoury aspects of human existence that come to the fore in LA, a twisted mix of the classical and the abject. Houseago in fact hails from Leeds, the same hometown as Moore. His condence with his references is the result of an involved journey through the ideas that have haunted contemporary artists since the early 1990s. In a recent interview he recalled the atmosphere during his time at St Martins as one of heavy theorising about postmodern endgames and the death of everything. Fleeing this sense of absolutism in the London artworld, he went to study at De Ateliers, in Amsterdam, where he still shows with Galerie Fons Welters, before moving to Brussels. It was in Brussels that he fully developed his idea of what it meant to be a studio-based artist, removing himself from the fray to concentrate on his own ideas. He has now been on the West Coast for four years, developing sculpture that on the one hand seems to sit apart from the current LA scene. Yet while he has followed an individualistic engagement with the materials messy nature, in that very act of scatological freeplay the work is brought back round to local gures like Paul McCarthy. Houseagos recent combination of drawing and sculpture created for the Rubells Red Eye show at Art Basel Miami Beach last year also reveals a new openness to chance elements that he attributes to LA: Tuf-Cal, the synthetic alternative to plaster of Paris used on the West Coast, was found to pick up the trace of his drawings in a far more profound way. A show with Georg Herold at David Kordansky Gallery later this year promises to further his intriguing explorations of the two media. I think every time someone approaches sculpture, you have to completely re-breathe it, he says.

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2/2/07 13:20:15

words MELISSA GRONLUND

Alex

Portrait (from the series Young Men), 1, 2006, framed acrylic and jesmonite on conte board, 74 x 74 cm. Courtesy the artist and Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow

IN HIS KNOWING PRACTICE, THE GLASGOW-BASED ARTIST ALEX POLLARD

redirects attention from the gallery to the studio, creating gangly sculptures that appear to be made out of studio tools and debris pencils, discarded pieces of cardboard, rubbers but are in fact fashioned from the more durable and eminent materials of bronze or plaster. He celebrates the process of making art: the ts and starts, the potential for failure and the freedom failure a ords. Rather than using tools to make new objects, they are valued as things in themselves. Twisted out of functionality, a ruler is cast in plaster, with useless measurements painted meticulously. Pencils and compasses assemble themselves into spindly gures, anorexic brontosauruses, skeletal hands, ageing bureaucrats and regal birds a cast of malnourished beasts. The works engineer a delicate balance between the near-invisibility of the work on display and the permanence of his material. His site-specic works exploit this e ect, posing his elegant, spare material in sites that are better known for catering to bombastic work: the Frieze Art Fair, the Venice Biennale. (Pollard represented Scotland at the last Biennale and will again this year.) At the 2006 Scottish pavilion he showed a wall drawing which could not be a more succinct assessment of the work on display. Thin lines curved on the wall until they met the tools that made them: rulers and compasses, which were arranged in the shape of a hand. In the staging of the process of making the work, the tools themselves became representational, a reversal he accomplishes in his portraits as well. At his rst London solo show, at the Reliance gallery in 2006, he made a portrait of doodles across a canvas that seemed to accumulate and transform back into the pencils that drew them; the outline of the face was derived not from the doodles but from the arrangement on the canvas of the pencils themselves. Pollards illusionism is deceptively modest: his subject is the process of making art, and what its like to be an artist, in the studio, with the detritus of possibility littering the oor.

Pollard

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5/2/07 13:43:33

words SKYE SHERWIN

Ry
A FRIEND OF RY ROCKLENS ONCE ACCUSED THE ARTIST OF RUNNING A CONVALESCENT HOME

for objects, and its easy to see what the wag meant. Patients during a recent visit to Rocklens South Los os Angeles studio included the pale jade pieces of a mah-jong game and a battered red die, an old wire mattress topped by a screen and punctured by coloured pins, a strangers discarded giant Valentines card and other interesting otsam. Through Rocklens sculpture, these items, abandoned on streets and in city dumps in a consumer society seemingly at the peak of wastefulness, will be preserved in a newly meaningful combination of forms and ideas. Most of the above is material for Rocklens rst solo show, at LAs Black Dragon Society this month, the follow-up to his inclusion in the Rubells Red Eye exhibition at last years Art Basel Miami Beach. Rocklen was among the youngest artists to be included in that show, alongside LA godfathers like Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy and Rocklens former tutor Charles Ray, and his sensitivity to materials, form and theme has marked him out from his own generation of emerging LA- based artists. Of the works then seen, 10,000 Year Wait (2005), which positions a white chair (actually made of Styrofoam) atop wine glasses, is notable for the artists witty play with gravity, and the way in which he challenges the viewers expectations of form. Eighty Ape (2005), in which a gorilla suit is pulled out between curved metal prongs, resonates double entendre: it could be a Christ-gure stretched agonisingly on a cross, or Superman free-falling through space. Made when the scandals of Abu Ghraib were hitting the headlines, the work also speaks of darker social and political concerns. This combination of lightness and weight is typical of Rocklens work, both formally and thematically. For example, a new piece, to be shown this month, could be read as a tragicomic statement on the ip side of California dreams. The work is made from an old wrought-metal sunchair, the rusty frame of which he has encased in a new skin of tan paint. At the end of each of the chairs arms a set of airbrushed fake nails delicately protrude, establishing a tension between the solidity of the chair and the fragility of the tarnished nails. Completing the anthropomorphic process, the lopsided form of a badly taxidermied dog someones rst stu ng? watches over its hoochie-mama-cum-Norma Desmond mistress. The work can seem supercially unassuming. Its grubby, blackened with the traces of human use: what Rocklen refers to as soul residue. But spend some time with these battered dtournements and they provide moments of biting clarity amidst the chaos of modern life.
Hideaway, 2006, sunchair, Celluclay, paint, fake nails, wheels. Courtesy the artist and Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles

ARTREVIEW

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5/2/07 13:29:39

words SKYE SHERWIN

Robert

A PAGODA NESTLES ON TOP OF A PRECARIOUS IOUS STACK OF GIANT BISCUITS. Its base of KitKats, shortbread and Bourbons forms an inverted erted pyramid, onto a double row of milk biscuits, biscuits balanced house-of-cards style.. Or maybe its the pagoda thats miniaturised, with its walls of cardboard and iced Party Ring mobiles,, shrunk down to size by an imagination with scant regard for gravity, and realised in a hyperreal, eal, pencil-on-paper draughtsmanship. So How Was It? (2006) goes the deadpan title,, perhaps the greeting emanating from the little gure peeking out from the buildings dark door, or the artists jaunty comeback to anyone contemplating his endishly intricate witchs house of cake. The work is outstanding for both its technical sophistication and exceptional condence with visual metaphor, using imagery that is controlled yet boldly open-ended. This is but one of the fantastical environments, conjured into being over many months, by the Gateshead-based twenty-four-year-old artist Robert McNally. An earlier work, Gonzo (2005), a crazed mix of cacti and y agaric mushrooms that dwarf Doric columns, Victorian railway arches and motorways, reveals an a nity with Terry Gilliams surreal Monty Python artwork combined with a penchant for tripped out, Hunter S. Thompson-style weirdness. McNallys obsessive involvement with the act of drawing, coupled with a boyish love of iconic transgressors, locate him somewhere near Paul Nobles pencil worlds of shit and sex. But while Noble has created his dystopian Sodom across years worth of drawings, McNallys work sparks a big bang and a new universe with each undertaking. McNally says the drawings begin with his need to translate an idea or a feeling that cant be expressed in words. So How Was It?, for example, was inspired by a recent trip to Japan, where freeways, skyscrapers, traditional buildings and the precisely made yet fragile cardboard dwellings of the homeless all jostle one another in cities built on earthquake fault-lines. Of his forthcoming rst solo show, at Londons One in the Other gallery, McNally reects that having to produce eight new works in the time frame he might previously have spent on only one has enabled him to stretch his technical prowess even further. Unsurprisingly, spending 16 hours a day drawing, McNally says he has a strong right arm, but before you think it, he also points out that he has excellent eyesight.
Gonzo, 2005, pencil on paper 150 x 152 cm. Courtesy One in the Other, London

McNally

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Li Jikai
We Wanna Go
Acrylic on Canvas, 145 x 200 cm, 2006
72 West Beijing Rd Nanjing No.10, Nanjing 210024 China. T 86 25 832 23399 www.rcmgallery.com

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ART PILGRIMAGE

MOSCOW

ARTREVIEW

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MOSCOW
THE CITY ACCORDING TO ART

Big, brash and growing more confident by the moment, Moscow is a city on the make. It s hard to believe that only 15 years ago this glittering metropolis was being jolted by the rst convulsions of capitalism as the Soviet Union turned to dust. Now, giant malls and skyscrapers sprout in every neighbourhood, neon signs flash from rooftops and Hummers power down the streets.
words TOM PARFITT photography IVA N PUSTOVALOV

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ART PILGRIMAGE

MOSCOW

this page: Krasny Oktyabr chocolate factory facing page: artist/curator Oleg Kulik and his exhibition Veru (I Believe), at Winzavod preceding pages: Blue Noses Vyacheslav Mizin (left) and Alexander Shaburov

While a huge underclass has yet to benefit from surging oil prices, Russias small class of the super rich are riding high and are starting to latch on to contemporary art as one more spending outlet. Prices are modest in the tens of thousands of dollars but rising fast. Meanwhile, contemporary art once dismissed, as one curator puts it, as the stuff those freaks do is gaining credibility, with a growing trend of one-man shows moving into weighty museums like the Tretyakov. The First Moscow Biennale, in 2005, speeded the development of a new art infrastructure that had begun to emerge through art fairs, commercial galleries, non-profit exhibition spaces, festivals and conferences. Now the artworld is gearing up for Moscows second Biennale in March, assured that the city while still an upstart on the international scene has something to be proud of. High rents and the desire to bring gallerygoers and buyers to a centralised exhibition space has triggered another new trend: several of Moscows top galleries are moving out of their cramped city-centre premises to Winzavod, a vast former wine factory in the east of the city, where space is almost unlimited.

Its a tendency that has already shown itself with the recent appearance of Art Strelka in a chocolate factorys disused garages and the new State Centre for Contemporary Art in a former workshop. Elsewhere, the irreverence of groups like the Blue Noses has given a burst of maniacal energy to the Moscow scene, which stayed largely in the grips of knotty conceptualists into the mid-1990s. The Noses Alexander Shaburov and Vyacheslav Mizin delight in pricking the pomposity of some of their contemporaries and have built up a sizeable following abroad, emerging, as one critic observes, as the Dumb and Dumber of Europes art fairs, swiping at the rarefied air with a provincial Russian hatchet . In short, while trailing other European capitals in resources and ingenuity, Moscow has increasing reason to feel bullish about the future.

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ART PILGRIMAGE

MOSCOW

MARAT GUELMAN GALLERY Malaya Polyanka ulitsa, 7/7 Tel: +7 (495) 238-8492 www.guelman.ru Owner and director Marat Guelman is Russias most famous gallerist as well as a former spin doctor a potent mix that can provoke rage and respect in equal measure. Last autumn, a group of ten young ultra-nationalists burst into the gallery, kicking Guelman in the face and tearing down graphic works of art exhibited by Georgian artist Alexander Djikia (the Kremlin had whipped up anti-Georgian hysteria after a political spat). Yet the gallery has soldiered on, always pushing the boundaries, in particular with the irrepressible Siberian collective the Blue Noses who saw several works recently impounded by customs officers for allegedly insulting President Vladimir Putin. The Malaya Polyanka gallery will continue despite the move of most exhibitions to Winzavod. Artists include: Tanya Antoshina, Alexei Kallima, Dmitry Gutov, Vladimir Doubosarsky & Alexander Vinogradov, Vyacheslav Mizin & Alexander Shaburov (the Blue Noses), Alexander Brodsky, Tatyana Liberman, Georgy Ostretsov
this page: Blue Noses's Fucking Fascism exhibition, Marat Guelman Gallery facing page, from top: artist Sergei Bazilev; artist Sergei Vorontsov

REGINA GALLERY At Winzavod (see below) and, until further notice: 1-st Tverskaya-Yamskaya ulitsa, 22 Tel: +7 (495) 250-8571 www.regina.ru Follow the staircase up to the fourth floor, beside the Tsvety (Flowers) cocktail bar on Tverskaya-Yamskaya, Moscows Oxford Street, and youll find yourself at Regina, a gem that could be easily missed. The celebrated Sergei Shekhovtsov, also known as Porolon (Foam), exhibits here, as does performance artist Oleg Kulik, most well known for his dog series. Artists include: Oleg Kulik, Sergei Shekhovtsov (Porolon), Nikolai Bakharev, Natasha Struchkova, Maria Serebriakova, Sergei Bratkov

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STELLA ART FOUNDATION Mytnaya ulitsa, 62 Tel: +7 (495) 291-3407 www.nafoundation.com Directed by Stella Kay, the foundation grew out of Stella Art Gallery, which has since ceased to function. Stella has set itself the task of raising the profile of Russian contemporary art abroad. The foundation channels proceeds to good causes like orphanages for HIVinfected children in Moscow and the town of Ust-Izhora in the Leningrad region. Exhibitions can be sporadic, so call ahead. Artists: Contact foundation

STATE CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART Zoologicheskaya ulitsa, 13 Tel: +7 (495) 254-0674 www.ncca.ru ART STRELKA Bersenevskaya naberezhnaya, 14 Tel: +7 916 112-7180 www.artstrelka.ru Situated in disused garages at the Krasny Oktyabr (Red October) chocolate factory, this gallery complex, with a stable of young artists, is 100 per cent low-tech. You reach it by crossing the new footbridge over the Moscow River from the Christ the Saviour cathedral to the edge of the factory (which sends the occasional enticing waft across the site) on Bolotny Island. Here, in sight of the Kremlins golden spires, a wide yard is closed in on two sides by garages transformed into exhibition halls. The chocolate factory lets the old garages for a peppercorn rent and Art Strelka works as a collective. The only requirement is for all the galleries to coordinate their openings one night a month, to attract more buyers and critics. Art Strelka has been a pioneer in the move into deserted industrial spaces and is run by Olga Lopukhova, a veteran of the Moscow art scene. Artists include: Andrei Roiter, Ilya Kitup, Oleg Tistol, Sergei Vorontsov, Sergei Bazilev Opened in late 2005 after Moscows first Biennale, this is an ingenious conversion of a workshop in a former theatre-lamps factory near the city zoo. On a shoestring budget of $4.5 million, the building with trembling brick walls and on the verge of collapse was braced with steel bands like a rectangular barrel. Instead of building a third floor, which they feared the walls could not hold, the construction team suspended a top-lit exhibition hall and auditorium from overhead trusses. The finished result has been likened by critics to an airship nestled above ones head, fastened to a cats cradle of hawsers and beams, and is worth a look regardless of the centres other attractions: exhibitions, seminars, workshops and a growing permanent collection.

GARY TATINTSIAN GALLERY Ilyinka ulitsa, 3/8 Tel: +7 (495) 101-2102 www.tatintsian.com The first gallery to make a real success of selling work by established Western European and American artists, proving there is a growing market in Russia. Artists include: Joel-Peter Witkin, Antony Gormley, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Damien Hirst, Tony Matelli

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ART PILGRIMAGE

MOSCOW

AIDAN GALLERY At Winzavod (see below) www.aidan-gallery.ru Another of the set abandoning their cramped central Moscow spaces for the airy freedom of Winzavod, Aidan is named after its owner, Aidan Salakhova, daughter of the famous Soviet painter Tair Salakhov. Salakhova has not forgotten her roots and professes a respect for traditional qualities like composition, form, expressive chiaroscuro and complex colouring. She describes herself as a sympathiser with the new Russian classicism of St Petersburg artist Timur Novikov, who died in 2002. Aidans ideology is based around aesthetic work and on principle excludes aggressive and deliberately provocative projects. Yet the playful is not excluded. Its with Aidan that Rostan Tavasiyev, sometimes called the golden child of the new Russian avant-garde, indulges his fascination for fluffy toys. Artists include: Elena Berg, Konstantin Latyshev, Rauf Mamedov, Oksana Mas, Mikhail Rozanov, Rostan Tavasiyev

XL GALLERY At Winzavod (see below) and, until further notice: Podkolokolny pereulok, 16/2 Tel: +7 916 671-6078 or +7 916 125-0995 http://xlgallery.artinfo.ru/

Gallerist and owner Elena Selina and multimedia editor Sergei Khripun started XL way back in 1993 and have an unparalleled reputation for seeking out new paradigms in contemporary Russian art. All the greats have shown their work at this side-street gallery at one time or another, and XL has more than 150 exhibitions under its belt. Artists include: Aidan Salakhova, Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Aristarkh Chernyshov & Alexei Shulgin, Vlad Mamyshev-Monroe, Oleg Kulik, Vladimir Dubosarsky & Alexander Vinogradov

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PLACES TO HANG OUT KLUB NA BRESTKOY 2nd Brestkaya ulitsa, 6 Tel: +7 (495) 200-0936 A meeting place for artists and musicians, this stalwart of the Moscow scene should be your first port of call after a hard day traipsing around the galleries.

KITAISKY LYOCHIK Lubyansky Proyezd, 25/12 Tel: +7 (495) 924-5611 Chinese Pilot draws a young crowd attracted by its reasonable food, laissez-faire attitude and decent live music. Paperny Tam, the house band, are a must-see.

FAQ CAFE AND CREATIVE STUDIO Gazetny pereulok, 9 Tel: +7 (495) 629-0827 www.faq-cafe.ru A warren of tiny rooms in a basement just off Tverskaya near the central telegraph office, this excellent caf is a honeypot for writers, journos and artists. Chinese-Armenian owner David Yan organises regular sessions of jazz, body art, street performances and lots more.

WINZAVOD 4-th Syromyatnichesky pereulok, 1/6 Tel: +7 (495) 917-3436 www.winzavod.com Down a side street behind the Kurskaya railway station, this sprawling former wine factory with cavernous cellars is shaping up as the new Mecca for Russian contemporary art. Five major galleries XL, Aidan, Regina, Stella and Guelman are due to move here in 2007. A smell of wine residue still hangs in the air, the walls are chipped tiles and bare brick, but the sheer scale of this place (20,000 square metres) is awe-inspiring. Oleg Kuliks opening exhibition for this years Biennale, I Believe (A project of artistic optimism), brings together 51 artists in what he calls these beautiful catacombs that resemble some kind of ancient construction from a lost epoch.

PROYEKT OGI Potapovsky pereulok, 8/12 Tel: +7 (495) 927-5609 A book shop, club and gallery combined, OGI is one of Moscows most favoured hangouts for young intellectuals, or those posing as such. Food is cheap as chips, but beware the place can get rammed and smoky, even midweek. DOM B. Ovchinnikovsky pereulok, 24 Tel: +7 (495) 953-7236 www.dom.com.ru Expect the unexpected here, with avant-garde performances alongside live music and occasional exhibitions.

this page: Veru (I Believe), curated by Oleg Kulik, at Winzavod facing page, from left: owner Elena Selina, XL Gallery; Aidan Salakhova, Aidan Gallery

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MIXED MEDIA

MOVING IMAGES

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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS
THE TURKISH FILM CLIMATES RAISES PROVOCATIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT BIG SCREEN SELF EXPOSURE
words JONATHAN ROMNEY

ARTREVIEW

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Climates is out now

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Stills from Climates, 2006, dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan. All images courtesy Articial Eye, London

when filmmakers choose to step in front of their own cameras. But just as fascinating, sometimes, is their insistence that the person we see on screen is nothing to do with the person who made the film. Woody Allen has for years been professing astonishment that anyone should imagine that he remotely resembles his on-screen character. In 1993, Canadian director Atom Egoyan and his wife, actress Arsine Khanjian, visited Armenia, where they made Calendar, about a couple who split up on a trip to Armenia. Egoyan and Khanjian played the leads, and claimed to be taken aback when audiences assumed that the film reflected the state of their relationship. Cinema, of course, is never a mirror of reality, and when filmmakers appear to use it as a vehicle for self-portraiture, its more likely that we are actually looking at a mask. Woody Allens films, like Calendar, are not directly about the person who made them, but they certainly seem to represent that persons need to fictionalise himself and those around him. To date, few apparent first-person films have come quite as close to the bone in marital terms as Calendar, but now it has arguably been outdone by Climates, the new feature by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Climates too is about a couple who go on holiday and split up, in this case dramatically and rancorously. The woman, Bahar, leaves to get on with her life and her work in production design; the man, Isa, whom the story follows, appears to be irreparably stalled in bruised self-pity. What makes the film so uncomfortably intimate is the fact that Isa is played by the director himself, Bahar by his real-life wife, Ebru Ceylan. When the couple speculate about whether or not the age difference between them is a problem, the visible fact that Nuri really is, by some way, the older of the two makes it impossible to dismiss the parallel between real and fictional partners as merely part of the story: the Ceylans are inescapably implicating themselves, although that fact may well be more uncomfortable for the viewer than for the couple. Ceylan has drawn on his own life before, no less selfconsciously. His first films, Kasaba (1998) and Clouds of May (1999), were respectively about a small town like the one where Ceylan grew up, and about an arrogant filmmakers attempt to make an autobiographical feature not unlike Kasaba. In Uzak (Distant) (2002), about a disillusioned Istanbul-based photographer and his country cousin, former-photographer Ceylan not only cast his own cousin Emin Toprak in the latter role, but shot in his own Istanbul flat, as well as giving his lead actor much of his own wardrobe and even his own car to drive. Ceylans disingenuous justification is that such homemade measures simply keep the budget down. Even so, whether or not youre aware who plays its leads, Climates immediately strikes you as a singularly hard-edged and entirely unnarcissistic essay in indirect self-portraiture. Its without a doubt one of cinemas most pitiless essays on conjugal life since Ingmar Bergmans heyday; it also comes across as the directors vulnerably besotted love letter to his wife and co-star.
THE RESULTS ARE OFTEN FASCINATING

The film begins with the couple on holiday. Isa, a university lecturer, photographs ancient architectural sites, while Bahar looks on, conspicuously bored: what Ceylan, however, is really looking at all this time (and by implication, Isa too, though he doesnt really see her) is Bahar/Ebru herself, whose features, sometimes blank, sometimes subliminally pained, are shown up close, the mystery that he is consistently puzzling over but never able to fathom. Ceylan contemplates her expression like an unmapped landscape: the film is shot on high-definition video, its astonishing clarity giving equal prominence to facial features and to terrain, which take on a strange equivalence as objects of contemplation. Ceylan himself, however, often contrives to make himself look both ageing and childlike, brutish and sometimes ungainly, but above all exposed: for a filmmaker to show the camera the naked soles of his feet, as Ceylan does early on they are propped up against the car windscreen as he dozes en route is surely to strip away any last vestige of false mystique. Ceylan can be rivetingly tough on himself or, through his character, on the figure of the cosmopolitan male Istanbul intellectual. Isa comes across as weak, self-pitying, inept at emotional communication, offhandedly callous: he takes a cab drivers photo, promises to send him a copy, then crumples up his address, an act all the more shocking in its utter mundanity. He is also emotionally exploitative, with a violent streak: he gets together (simply because he can) with an old flame at her apartment, then grapples her to the floor in an unmistakable act of rape, although he may not see it as such. The scene, shot in an unforgivingly long take, is all the more shocking in the way it ends: the noise of a lamp rolling on the ground suddenly merges into the sound, as the next scene begins, of a sewing machine operated by Isas mother (herself played by Ceylans own mother). Climates is often painful to watch, not because its harrowing as such, but simply because you feel that the Ceylans are exposing themselves too much, inviting us to intrude into their intimacy and in the first instance, to make the naive assumption that that intimacy actually is their own. We find ourselves constantly asking ourselves exactly how we feel about watching this, all the more so since the film never tells us what its characters are feeling: this is an essay in the unsaid, with the characters emotions always remaining implicit, obscured or interrupted just on the point of revelation. For all its immediacy, Climates is an extremely composed, complex film, as close to a novelistic layering of meaning as youll find in contemporary cinema: like Uzak, it reveals subtle new shifts of meaning on repeated viewings. As well as reasserting Ceylans status as a world-class filmmaker, Climates reveals a striking talent in Ebru Ceylan, whose pensive, acerbic reserve seems throughout the film to be coolly judging the camera and, by implication, the man behind it.

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ALL THAT FLICKRS...


ARE BLURRY PHOTOBLOGS AND COMMUNITIES LIKE FLICKR SITES FOR GOLDEN NOSTALGIA OR DIGITAL REVOLUTION?
words BRIAN DILLON
EVERY TECHNOLOGY, WROTE WALTER BENJAMIN, dreams into being the one that will follow it. The diorama pictures photography before the fact; the phantasmagoria invents in advance the spectacle of cinema. But the process is dialectical: new media are also mistaken for old, new forms and materials are deployed, nostalgically, to traditional ends. The architects of Paris in the early nineteenth century failed to understand the functional nature of iron, for example, and blindly persisted in using the new construction technique to build supports resembling Pompeian columns, and factories that imitate residential homes. The error, if thats what it is, is nowhere more evident than in the history of photography, where, as Benjamin famously puts it, the artistic forms of the past live on for decades in the deluded attempt to turn the photograph into a conventional work of art. At last, however, the aura withers, and modernity prevails. About ve years ago, a weak echo of Benjamins toowell-known essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction could just be discerned in excited accounts of the birth of the photoblog and websites like Flickr. Youd have been forgiven for thinking, briey, that a democracy of photographs was upon us: a world in which our accelerated lives

would leave contrails of digital images in their wake, casual archives of all our indecisive moments. (Thames & Hudson even published, belatedly, fotolog.book: a hefty volume devoted to the phenomenon.) In fact, as often with such predictions, the novelty in question has simply vanished into the texture of daily life, so that if it has any utopian potential left at all, it is now hidden in plain sight. When Everyman and his Luddite greataunt has got a MySpace page and a Flickr account, the politicisation of aesthetics starts looking less likely than ever. If the proliferation of digital images has happened pretty much as prophesied in terms of volume, and not at all in terms of transformative value, what could not have been predicted is the way sites like Flickr have become repositories for a specic sort of technological nostalgia. On the one hand, inevitably, there are numerous groups devoted to aping (unsuccessfully) this or that venerable photographer. The William Eggleston group favours saturated colours and a sense of randomness, the Stephen Shore group something somehow everyday but extraordinary. Another group announces itself as a tightly curated, representative sampling of the best Walker Evansesque photos: so tightly curated that there are no pictures at all. Predictably, a certain pathos attends anonymous e orts to reproduce the work of Nan Goldin: all those unmade beds, over-considered and ill-composed.

All photos polaroid_billy, fotolog.book, Thames & Hudson, 2006, 19.95

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PHOTOGRAPHY

But the more intriguing type of nostalgia at work has to do rather with the apparatus than with the artist. Flickr is littered with countless images produced with old-fashioned lm cameras, many of them from negatives or slides scanned at home and uploaded in loving homage to the photographers favoured camera, lm or format. Of course, there are wellheeled enthusiasts of the Leica, Rolleiex and Hasselblad, swapping gear tips and talking curves and levels. The more complex contributor, however, is the devotee of some longforgotten point-and-shoot camera from the late 1970s, the fan of a maddeningly unreliable Soviet-era rangender, the champion of a defunct lm format who has to trawl eBay for the last few rolls. All manner of machinery is represented, from view cameras to Instamatics, pinholes to Polaroids. The motivation to interrupt the seamless consumer vision of the cheap digital image is unclear. The nostalgic popularity, in the late 1990s, of the resurrected Russian Lomo, with its plastic lens and unpredictable focus, is not quite the same thing as going to the trouble of yoking together a dying consumer technology and its replacement. One upshot of the Flickr e ect, though, is surely a decline in sales of the Lomo, as the cameras retro-savvy target market discovers that any piece of analogue trash will do, up to and including the kind of camera once given away free with breakfast cereals.

Compared to the odd fact of technological miscegenation a phenomenon usually observed in the terminally confused or tech-tentative, with their USB turntables and WebTV the results, in terms of the images uploaded, are in a way neither here nor there. They are, as one would expect, mixed; but a few formal conventions suggest the scope of the nostalgia involved. The saturated colours of old slide lms are especially celebrated. Blur is a value in itself, whether or not its dressed up as an experiment with a cameras depth of eld. Timelessness, ever the aim of the ambitious amateur, takes the form of monochrome studies of pretty girls with bobs and shot glasses at the ends of shiny bars. It could have come from way back when, opines one contributor to the Polaroid 55 group, saluting a peers particularly archaic-looking use of their favourite lm. In other words, the photograph seems to come from some utterly indenable past: a mere then made to counter, ahistorically, our uneasy now. More intriguing than the quality of the images is exactly what sort of anachronism we are looking at in a photograph made with, say, a seventy-year-old Brownie, scanned with a cheap lm scanner, nessed in Photoshop and posted to Flickr. Is retro still the point, nostalgia the pathology or kitsch the style in question? Isnt this clash of historical moments also Benjamins denition of revolution? In The Articial Kingdom, her 1998 study of the kitsch experience, Celeste Olalquiaga suggests that the artefact entrusted with our sense of the past may be even deader than it seems: cultural fossils lead to a nostalgic kitsch that yearns after an experience whose lack is precisely glossed over by the desire for a utopian origin, producing a perfect memory of something that really never happened. The colours were never so warm, the light never so limpid, the snapshot itself never so redolent of summers gone by as when one saw it for the rst time glowing among countless digital souvenirs.

FLICKR IS A REPOSITORY FOR A SORT OF TECHNO LOGICAL NOSTALGIA

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DIGITAL

Ashes to ashes, data to dust


WHAT KIND OF AFTERLIFE AWAITS YOUR DIGITAL PERSONA?
words REGINE DEBATTY
LAST SUMMER EMILY ADDED MY NAME TO HER WILL. In the event of her death, I will inherit her three blogs. At rst this sounded like a mere eccentricity, but soon it plunged me into deeper thought: what fate awaits our digital data when we die? Gone are the days when our lovers letters were tied with ribbons and kept in a drawer; today we store their emails in a le somewhere on a hard disk. Do they have to disappear with us? The web has modied nearly every aspect of our lives. We dont irt, shop, read the news or socialise in the way we used to. But perhaps the most impressive sign of the webs omnipotence is that it is also engendering new rituals of mourning. As is often the case with anything tech-related, we are taking our cue from teenagers. Most of them publish all sorts of information and images about themselves on the social networking site MySpace. The webspace, founded in 2003, is home to millions of users. Some of them have died prematurely. And given that they were so very young, their relatives and friends have turned the deceaseds MySpace page into something that lies somewhere between a gravestone and that teenage bedroom that never gets touched after the son or daughter has disappeared. A couple of years ago this practice was systematised and framed by Yourdeathspace.com, a website that denes itself as a collection of dead MySpace users. Another site, MyDeathSpace.com, goes further by aggregating links to the pages of MySpace users, along with stories, obituaries or blogs that detail their lives and how they died. All of the above raises another question: will the web one day become the rst place we turn to when we want to pay our last respects? The digital artworld has been fast to react to this phenomenon. Michele Gaulers Digital Remains project assumes a world in which our data is stored on the network and remains accessible to people who have been bequeathed the right to nd solace in the browsing of our virtual memories. Mission Eternity, by etoy, is even more ambitious: the massive body of digital information we leave behind is not only accessible after our death and archived in digital capsules for future generations but it will also nd a place in a physical sarcophagus. Now someone like Elliott Malkin reckons that we might not want to forget about stone and earth graveyards immediately. His Cemetery 2.0 networked devices connect directly between a physical burial site and the online presence of the deceased. Visitors to the grave can view related online memorials on the device display, while online mourners will recognise that their browsing is associated with the actual grave. I for one have no idea about what should become of my blog were I to disappear, but I know that, whether you believe in the afterlife or not, youd better make sure that its web equivalent will treat the memories youve placed into its care as well as they deserve.
from top: Cemetery 2.0, linking headstone to online memorial, courtesy Eliott Malkin; access key for logging on to the deceaseds digital remains, courtesy Michele Gauler

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WEBSITES

PACKET GARDEN Packet Garden tracks the servers you visit, their geographical location and the kinds of data you access online and turns that information into a bucolic landscape. Uploads make hills, downloads make valleys, plants grow for each protocol detected by the software, etc. www.packetgarden.com TALE OF TALES The Endless Forest is a multiplayer online role-playing game. Youre not a soldier or a magician; youre a deer. Theres no violence, no rules to follow, no chat function. All communication happens through deer bodylanguage. You can roar, sniff other deers, eat mushrooms from the trees, carry flowers on your antlers and walk in one of the most beautiful landscape the www has ever created. www.tale-of-tales.com

FLAVORPILL Flavorpill publishes ten email magazines about the cultural events taking place in New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago and London. If following ten mags is a bit overwhelming, start with Network Update, the issue that sums them all up. www.flavorpill.net

SOBJECT SOBJECT collects the photographs of every single object that Alberto Frigo has touched with his right hand. After a while, patterns emerge and viewers start to interrelate the events that take place in the artists life. www.albertofrigo.net

ARTCAL ArtCal announces exhibition openings in New York. Basic design, decent service and extra brownie points for focusing on under-known galleries and artists. www.artcal.net

RHIZOME To celebrate its ten years, rhizome, the platform for the new media art community, is running a series of online exhibitions that showcase the diversity of contemporary art based on the Internet. www.rhizome.org

dot com:
A MONTHLY LOOK AT THE BEST OF THE NET
words REGINE DEBATTY
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REAR VIEW REVIEWS BOOKS ON THE TOWN ON THE RECORD

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REVIEWS

JAKE & DINOS CHAPMAN

JAKE DINOS CHAPMAN: BAD ART FOR BAD PEOPLE


TATE LIV ER POOL 15 DEC E M BE R 4 M ARCH

IF THE MUSEUM IS A PLACE WHERE ART GOES TO DIE, THEN INHABITING A TERRITORY THAT INVOKES THE NECESSITY FOR A MID CAREER RETROSPECTIVE MUST BE A STRANGE EXPERIENCE. AN OPPORTUNITY FOR REFLECTION, A PLACE WHERE THE PREVIOUS IS REPLACED BY THE PRESENT AND WORKS ARE TOGETHER STOLEN FROM THE URGENCY OF THEIR ORIGIN IN TIME, REPOSITIONED TO FORM A COLLECTIVE BACKWARDS LOOK AT A SELECTIVE PERIOD OF PRODUCTION AND COGENCY. Occupying a complete oor of Tate Liverpool, the multiple bodies of work on show by Jake & Dinos Chapman employ the usual armoury of mannequins, etchings, drawings, sculpture and vitrines, stretching from the early 1990s to the present. The exhibition contains those earlier works so e ectively imprinted into the wider public consciousness, alongside other forays into the structures, cultural legacies and wreckages of the so-called developed and cultured world. In any retrospective we might expect a few works to appear tired as time passes. Here, interestingly, some early mannequin sculptural works are covered in a discernible layer of dust, and in some cases its clear that its settled under the conditions of what must, on this showing, be one of

From Disasters of War IV, 2001, portfolio of 83 hand-coloured etchings with watercolour, each 25 x 35 cm. Photo: Stephen White. the artists. Courtesy Jay Jopling/White Cube, London

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the most labour-intensive studios around. While others, particularly the more iconic pieces, such as the 1994 reworking of Goyas Great Deeds against the Dead or Zygotic acceleration, biogenetic de-subliminated libidinal model (enlarged x 1000) (1995), seem to be nely layered through the display and storage conditions of collections private and public. Its striking how this interchange a ects the reading of these works, for while some have been in existence for a decade or more, their appearance here at the Tate reminds us that the moral dust surrounding their activities has likewise settled, with the possibility of providing a clearer view of the battleeld. As expected, the transgressive act surfaces almost to the point of exhaustion in the use of subject matter and methods, tactics encapsulated in the Chapmans reworkings of two sets of prints from Goyas Disasters of War (181020). In Injury to Insult to Injury (2004) the relentless grin of a rampant mock-adolescent mind drawn over the protagonists heads greets the viewer, as the terrible actions in these celebrated tableaux unfold. Its a dening principle of the avant-gardes Oedipal gesture that recalls Duchamps rendering of a moustache over a reproduction of the Mona Lisa. Similarly, another set, Like a Dog Returns to Its Vomit (2005), has the framed images congured in the shape of its own shitting dog of war, zzing with absurdly comical hand-tinted etchings. On it goes. Theres seven full rooms of this, and the distinctions between parody, satire and the spectacle of entertainment become increasingly confused. Other avant-garde strategies recur in Hell Sixty Five Million Years BC (20045), a room lled with plinths, each presenting their own a ectionately made, brightly painted, mixed-mediaconstructed dinosaurs. In some pieces its hard to avoid considering the postwar assemblages of Dubu et, or early cubist sculpture, or the aesthetic discoveries of tribal sculpture, and their subsequent looting by artists bent on newer horizons of modernity. Thats the point. Except here, the papiermch dinosaurs have been produced from a huge supply of toilet paper. A scatological metaphor for our own state of inner cultural anxiety, or of our postmodern disenchantment with the promise of creativity? After all, perhaps even our most original ideas arent our own Above it all, a papier-mch meteorite prepares to deliver its deathly end, cutting short this recursively primitive scene of creative arrested-development. The miniature epics of four separate cases of recently produced hellscapes pick up where the mammoth, re-destroyed Hell (1999) left o , promising even fuller e ects of apocalyptic vertigo, producing wildly diverging forms of negation, in an endless cycle of carnage on a mass scale. Perhaps the lost original serves as a psychological reminder of a ghost they feel necessary to revisit in still further acts of laborious redundancy. The reconstructed space of a saddened wallpapered room stands alone to form a mock studio in Painting for Pleasure and Prot (2006). Filled wall-to-wall with oil portraits of their paying subjects, undertaken in a production line of sittings at the last Frieze Art Fair, the space is littered with the creative detritus of unspent canvases: oils, bottles of white spirit, cloths and empty lager bottles lie in testimony to their activity like a performance residue, but with all the tops screwed on safely, in an attitude contradictory to the works spirit. Somehow unsurprisingly, and in contrast to the others, a portrait of what looks like a well-known collector gets o lightly not a penis or vulva in sight. To explore the contract of exchange between artist and patron seems somehow better suited to the spectacle of its original context than here, giving weight to a realisation that not everything is best seen in the light of looking backwards. David Osbaldeston

Hell Sixty Five Million Years BC, 2004-5, toilet roll, cardboard, newspaper, glue, poster paint, bronze, dimensions variable. Photo: Markus Tretter. the artists. Courtesy Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz

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REVIEWS

KAREN RUSSO

Point of Departure, 2006, video, 6 min. Courtesy the artist and One in the Other, London

KAREN RUSSO

A few seconds into her video The Point of Departure (all works 2006), Karen Russos camera corkscrews around an antique statue ONE IN THE OTHER, LONDON in a museum, zooms across the oorboards and, in a ash, drops us 30 NOV EM BER 7 JA N UA RY into the Paris sewer system where, for six minutes, we blunder in half-light through changeable tunnels, towards silent graves and strange vaulted sepulchres. Non sequitur? Not in Russos world, where admired artistic activity is twinned with the basest of urges, and special exceptions to the rationalisms that underwrite society such as the romanticised categories of artist and criminal are implicated as holding pens for ill-understood forces. In the 75-minute Insiders artists and prisoners with artistic leanings dilate in turn on their common histories: awkward upbringings, tangles with authority and society, selfabsorption, their desire to be di erent and live according to a personal ethics, etc. All participants are silhouetted, and none are identied, so that one has to guess which category they fall into. Its not easy. This, clearly, is an echo of the Nazis infamous characterisation, derived from research into the psychic pressures of industrial life by Victorian critic Max Nordau, of modern art as degenerate; of comparable brain damage existing in, say, Expressionists and extortionists. Today the dogma is di erent, if only moderately less rigid. As the artworld operates as a clearinghouse for the transgression of norms, the market booms and more artists are garlanded, so too as social control tightens, and as testimonies from Russos interviewees of being suspected of terrorism attest do citizens become potential criminals. (Soon enough, we may all have to become one or the other.) If art is a designated safety zone, however, none of Russos speculating is truly provocative, or e ective. And that may be the deepest conscious irony of her interest in returning the repressed to full, uneasy visibility in the course of art-making. In a series of ink drawings, giant swastikas rise dripping from deep waters, crowned bizarrely with a Chinese dragons head; or appear mysteriously are in rocky landscape. One recognises the hand in these drawings: nervously intelligent, it is the same that urgently wields the camera in The Point of Departure, and it is precisely this itchy energy which unies Russos work. Certainly, on the evidence of this and earlier outings, she appears to have di culties in composing an exhibition that e ectively showcases it. (Here, unwarranted emphasis was given to the naturally ancillary drawings, the miasmic videos relegated to constructed booths.) If Russos intent was to inspire a prickling anxiety at every turn, she succeeded. But one suspects that only when she nally marshals her various activities into cohesive shows for she is also a prolic writer will Russo be revealed as a talent to be reckoned with. Martin Herbert
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REVIEWS

MARIO YBARRA JR

MARIO YBARRA JR: BRING ME THE HEAD OF...


A N N A H E L W I N G G A L L E R Y, L O S 20 J A N U A R Y 24 F E B R U A R Y ANGELES

The latest show of work by cholo aestheticist and inveterate jester Mario Ybarra Jr brings together in joyful communion and staged battle a gaggle of Chicano and pop icons. TexMex cowboys duel with gangster Aztecs in tribal tattoos and blue jeans, sea monsters and demons troll urban streets while an angry eagle swoops over a group of black proled protesters bearing blank signs. Ybarras drawings are descended from the high school notebook sketchings of lowrider and Chicano classmates, with Ybarras being a strange and more sophisticated re-imagining of what often were pictures of old cars with scantily clad, well-endowed girls. Ybarra extracts much of his subject matter and refreshing attitude from the subcultural social environment of Los Angeles where he lives and works. Though perhaps restrained compared to other strands of his work, the vitality of this show is still apparent. These drawings are jaunty and joyful, even in the battle scenes, or when the subject is The Ballad of Chalino Sanchez (1998). The norteo musician Chalino Snchez began his career as an illegal Mexican immigrant and farm worker in the Coachella Valley of Southern California, but went on to pen bouncy narco-corridos in Los Angeles clubs that transferred traditional tales of banditry to the citys street gangs and drug tra ckers. Chalinos kidnapping and execution in northern Mexico skyrocketed his reputation to folk hero. Ybarras colour pencil drawings outline the strange, sad tale of the pistol-packing musician. One drawing shows a pile of money circulating via various blue arrows to crude drawings of a house, a family group and a pile of cassette tapes and discs. The tapes and discs lead to an assault rie which points back towards money. Another drawing shows the murdered musician, hog-tied and blindfolded, while his superbright-red blood puddles around him. Ybarras homage to Chalino teases out the subtle gradations and signicance of transnational and subcultural spaces and people. By accentuating and emphasising the various styles (dress, language, icons and slang) of the subcultures he investigates, Ybarra reveals that these groups become political agents in self-understanding their place in the larger social fabric. At stake in Ybarras work is a relationship to the aesthetic and political that comes to embody what Dick Hebdige called subterranean style, one that can stick and move, evading obliteration by the dominant class. But Ybarras work never degenerates into bloodless polemics or axe-grinding identity politics, managing to capture the verve and energy of his milieu through Chalino and Chicano iconography, casting them as either visual narrative told in a particular community style or ridiculous conuences of the strange and disparate that make up the particular group. The overarching social context that Chicanos work in and against is embodied in the American ag (with a Mexican emblem as counterpoint) titled Protest Flag (2006). The Stars and Stripes on view resembles many of the ags I saw in last years May Day protests in Los Angeles against unfair immigration practices. This piece highlights the political specicity of whats really at stake in these subcultural and subterranean styles, and the relevance of Ybarras practice to both an aesthetic and political discourse. Andrew Berardini

A Requiem: OSWALD, 1963.11.24 - 2006.4.1, 2006, silver gelatin print. Courtesy SHUGOARTS, Tokyo

The Ballad of Chalino Sanchez (detail), 1998, coloured pencil on paper, 18 x 15 cm. Courtesy Anna Helwing Gallery, Los Angeles

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Books:
Although the title would seem to promise analysis of art that has followed on from and is exegetic to conceptual art of the 1960s and 70s, this collection of essays places more emphasis on re-evaluating historiography. The first two sections, After Conceptual Art and Dismantling Binaries, with essays by Benjamin Buchloh, Isabelle Graw, Helen Molesworth, Gregor Stemmrich and others, establish the overarching methodology of the book the careful disembowelment of preexisting readings of artworks. Conceptualism as the last bastion of avant-gardism, on the verge of splintering into postmodernism, is an enduring and alluring idea, but the book aims to scotch the generalisations required to demark a movement, reconfiguring polarities such as expressionistic and conceptual representation, design and art, feminist theory and essentialism, the public and private realm into a series of overlapping heterodoxies. As a subtext this does not constitute news, but the tight locality within which the writers map their propositions makes for a number of useful metonyms for thinking about contemporary art. Presumptions regarding conceptualisms negation of commodification, visual opulence, craft-based production values, expressiveness and institutional control come under repeated interrogation. Graws essay, for instance, outlines historical points and counterpoints when gesture and concept have operated under apparently contradictory conditions. She suggests their reciprocal residual inflection on one another and traces processes of value formation and relations to the market, drawing a matrix through which to evaluate contemporary fusions.

ART AFTER CONCEPTUAL ART


Edited by Alexander Alberro & Sabeth Buchmann MIT Press, 17.95/$30.00 (paperback)

In contrast to publications like ArtReview, which emphasise an illustrative relationship between image and text to afford easy visual access, Art After Conceptual Art carries murky black-and white reproductions to little elucidatory effect. Considering the subject matter of the book, this would at first seem tenderly ironic, mirroring the assumed anti-aesthetic stance of the subject in hand. But as the informatic nature of conceptualism is proved to be not without its exceptions, the books reproductions become more of a synonym for how academic discourse formulates an artworks phenomenology at a different level to journalism. What can be perceived as the opacity of such essays is often down to the employment of less accessible or stable references than imagery. While drawing connective tissue between phenomena with recourse to other artworks, historical positions or formal or methodological tropes, these essays reflect the anxiety of its mutability. It would seem that the myopic view imparted by such a partially hidden field of references is demonstrative of the aim of the book, as stirring up the sediment of art history necessarily negates conclusiveness. Sally OReilly

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REVIEWS

BOOKS

CINDY SHERMAN
Among the more dismaying reminders in this collection is just how little one had to do, conceptually, circa 1980, before claiming to have defined a nascent photographic postmodernism. The opening essays by Craig Owens (The Allegorical Impulse) and Douglas Crimp (The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism) will be familiar to anyone who has studied Shermans reception, or October magazines influence on contemporary criticism. What might have been forgotten is the peculiar clunkiness of early efforts to define Shermans art or account for its context. So seduced were Crimp and Owens by the fundamental ambivalence of signs, so thrilled to discover that nature was after all actually culture, that they failed to notice their own assumptions becoming just as constricting as the mimetic or iconographic readings they affected to deplore. The issue is more clearly stated with regard to the first feminist responses to Shermans work. If the force of the Untitled Film Stills (197780) and subsequent series chiefly consisted in their undoing of ideas of selfhood, gender and bodily being, how come so many of Shermans critics were so ready to read the unruly work as mere container for certain theoretical nostrums? Reading Judith Williamsons A Piece of the Action: Images of Woman in the Photography of Cindy Sherman (1983), its as if she would rather the artists enigmatic personae came with speech bubbles, informing the dutiful viewer that femininity is a performance. Laura Mulvey, in 1991, was similarly schematic in response to Shermans turn to the grotesque, crudely reducing Kristevas concept of the abject to a monstrous otherness behind the cosmetic facade. The self, you see: its a construct. So is gender. Bodies are gross. And Cindy Sherman agrees. This is not exactly to dismiss Shermans early critics. As Abigail Solomon-Godeau pointed out in Parkett in 1991, the alternative to these readings was a flabby old humanism typified by Arthur Danto: the idea that Sherman was just some sort of complicated self-portraitist. Solomon-Godeaus Suitable for Framing: The Critical Recasting of Cindy Sherman is a pivotal piece, tracing the critical evacuation of political content from Shermans photographs and her inauguration as a major artist in the late 1980s. They are essentially, she says, the same thing. Solomon-Godeaus somewhat naive distinction between proper (academic) criticism and mere institutional publicity wont hold up, however: the two convincing and nuanced essays in the book are inseparable from Shermans star status. In Cindy Sherman: Untitled, Rosalind Krauss expertly adduces the failing of Mulveys tendency to discuss the photographs as if they straightforwardly declare the powers of horror, instead of embodying an abjection that cannot be translated into politically useful terms. Norman Bryson makes essentially the same point why, he wonders, was it so easy in the 1990s to believe in the body both as pure sign and as unspeakable filth? But he adds the caveat that Shermans abject is really no such thing; it is, rather, a comic decoy for the real, unrepresentable, thing. Sherman, in other words, lets you have your fetid cake and eat it too. The oddest thing about this volume the sixth in MITs October Files series on texts that have altered our understanding of art in significant ways is how its story of increasing critical refinement exactly reverses the career arc of its subject. The assumption throughout is that Sherman has just got more and more intriguing, that the ravishing and inexhaustible Untitled Film Stills were but a prelude to lurid studies in abjection. The truth is that since the artists turn to what Bryson calls the dark side in the mid-1980s since the work became more immediately legible in terms of current concerns in cultural studies the art has got a whole lot less interesting. Which is surely some kind of lesson in the perils of critical optimism and institutional blindness. Brian Dillon

Edited by Johanna Burton MIT Press, 10.95/$15.95 (paperback) / 25.95/$40.00 (hardback)

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BOOKS

A Definitive History brushes the genre, or the discipline, of biography against the grain. Even the books title signals its challenge to the subjective datum of a life, normally a requirement for a study purporting to deal with a biographical object. Here, countercultural artist, writer, poet and muse David Wojnarowicz becomes mapped onto a place, New Yorks Lower East Side, whose tight streets and tenement buildings played host to generations of immigrants, outcasts, beats and artists, all looking for a place in which to work, live, and love in relative peace, away from an intolerant society they nevertheless enriched. There is also the troublesome inclusion of that or in the title, which mocks the claim that what follows is anything close to definitive. Instead, this new title gathers together what must be the first words of a narrative that has yet to be written, that of the artistic and cultural nexus that was Manhattans East Village and Lower East Side from the late 1970s until the early 90s, and of one mans singular sensibility: Wojnarowicz the Woje, as James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cooks Ground Zero comic depicts him serves at once as central figure and foil in the many recollections Sylvre Lotringer has gathered over the course of 13 years. The voices are of close friends, collaborators, lovers and Wojnarowicz himself. And through them we are offered a glimpse of how deeply generous and affecting this obviously wounded character was. The ambivalence of affecting is important here, because the accounts of Lotringers interlocutors are not always flattering. Artist and filmmaker Steve Doughton recounts one particularly ugly bout of behaviour that has Wojnarowicz playfully victimising his friend and former lover, Steve Brown, by following him around one day and writing solicitous graffiti about Steves homosexuality, much to Browns serious and ultimately quite emotional dismay. The incident is capped off with Wojnarowicz and Doughton seeing Brown off at Penn Station on a work trip. As the train pulled out of the station, Doughton remembers, David whipped out his pen and scrawled FAG in big letters over the whole window Ill never forget the image of Steve jumping up and down in his little room and the sound of his muffled screams, as the train disappeared David stooped over laughing silently and pushing his glasses back up onto his nose in that way he always did.

DAVID WOJNAROWICZ: A DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF FIVE OR SIX YEARS ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE
Interviews by Sylvre Lotringer, Edited by Giancarlo Ambrosino, Semiotext(e), 16.95/$24.95 (hardback)

Such cruelty is difficult to come by, but as David West, another artist to emerge from the East Village scene, noted of Wojnarowicz, I think that profoundly he was full of violence. Violence, that is, as the outward expression of a deep rage, which Wojnarowicz put to work in his art and writing, and ultimately in the service of free expression and political activism, both when the National Endowment for the Arts came under fire and as the government sat back and watched AIDS ravage the gay community. This, sadly, is the cultural heritage of the 1980s, as are neo-expressionism and postmodernism, which, as Jennifer Doyles closing essay rightly demonstrates, have largely kept critical assessments of Wojnarowiczs work at bay. Too bad we cant count that essay as first in such a much-needed reassessment. Though Doyle does go so far as to position Wojnarowicz within a long and largely literary tradition of activist cultural production, she badly misrepresents what is disparagingly called the disciplining machineries of art historical and critical writing. (Apparently literary criticism, which Doyle seems to think is better suited to the critical engagement with Wojnarowiczs work, has no such disciplining tendencies.) A book that is sure to become a staple of any future reappraisals of Wojnarowicz, the East Village scene and the 1980s more generally demands a far more thoughtful, critically astute and agenda-free kind of writing to round out its otherwise unsentimental generosity. Jonathan T.D. Neil

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Though its title refers to Londons infamous Bethlem asylum, the majority of Jennifer Higgies book is set during a Victorian-era grand tour. In this imagined account of a year in the life of fairy painter Richard Dadd, Higgie maps out the trip he took through Europe to the Middle East in 1842 as a draughtsman to a wealthy benefactor. It is during this trip, however, that the artist became obsessed with the Egyptian god Osiris, an influence that is presumed to have driven him mad and caused him later to kill his own father. Exciting stuff (and the stuff of not a few other fictional accounts): but the narrators consistently myopic perspective often slows the pace to a crawl, though we are expected to believe it is his benefactor, the priggish and boring Sir Thomas, who is the storys real bane. Bedlam is, in essence, a discourse on visual literacy, and there is something inherently ironic about a painter writing out his artistic designs. Herself a writer on art, and co-editor of Frieze magazine, Higgie takes the opportunity in Bedlam to move away from objective analysis of a finished artwork, to insinuate herself at the heart of the creative process and consequently at the heart of the artists burgeoning madness. Psychologists guess that Dadd suffered from schizophrenia, positing that he may have been genetically predisposed to the illness (two of his siblings suffered from similar mental afflictions). And while his madness develops steadily throughout the book, it is clear from the start that Dadd is plagued with an almost singularly subjective vision. Initially making little attempt to distinguish between the speech of others and his own internal monologue, he soon falls into a pattern of isolation and insomnia.

BEDLAM
By Jennifer Higgie Sternberg Press, 19.49 (hardback)

The claim by Marxist literary critic Georg Lukcs (a fine analyst of character in nineteenth-century literature) that sanity is maintained through a dialectical relationship between subjectivity and objectivity (and that insanity is effected through an excess of either one) is reflected in the way Dadd draws away from his sole link with reality the dreadful Sir Thomas and into the world of his private obsessions. Dadd begins his account saying: Perhaps it is the story that chooses the man and wraps him in it until he suffocates. Higgie is successful in making Dadds suffocation palpable, with stuffy vocabulary and tightly constructed sentences invoking a closed lexical space that is, ironically, a prison of the narrators own making. In many ways, Bedlam is a compendium of all the classic markers of a madness narrative: the subject who goes away and comes back altered; his loss of memory; his blinkered vision, paranoia and inability to distinguish between the real and unreal. But Bedlam also suggests that it is the condition of the artist that encourages such heightened subjectivity: that, in his status as a constant observer, the artist is in danger of confusing the actual with the imagined. Its no page-turner, largely because Dadds solipsism is so unbearable, but Bedlam is nonetheless an interesting study of a mans unhealthy appetite for, as he puts it, just looking. Laura Allsop

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LISTINGS

UNITED STATES NEW YORK AIPAD Seventh Regiment Armory 67th Street New York, NY 10001 T +1 202 986 0105 aipad.com The Photography Show 1215 Apr APERTURE 547 West 27th Street New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 505 5555 aperture.org BELLWETHER 134 10th Avenue New York, NY 10011 T +1 929 5959 bellwethergallery.com Tanyth Berkeley 15 Mar14 Apr BOSE PACIA 508 West 26th Street New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 989 7074 bosepacia.com Justin Ponmany 1 Mar14 Apr CHI 293 Grand Street Brooklyn, NY 11211 T +1 718 218 8939 Open Mon 9-4, Thu-Sun 11:30-8 chicontemporaryneart. com Carri Skoczek: Eye Candy Marcy Milks: In Miniature Both 14 Mar14 Apr Receptions 16 Mar 69 CHINA SQUARE ART CENTER 545 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 226 7836 chinasquareny.com Dragons Evolution JAMES COHAN GALLERY 533 West 26th Street New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 714 9500 jamescohan.com Manfredi Beninati to 17 Mar Nam June Paik 24 Mar-21 Apr

FEATURE INC. 530 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 675 7772 Open TueSat 116 featureinc.com Dike Blair 24 Feb31 Mar Judy Linn 24 Feb31 Mar FORUM GALLERY 745 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10151 T +1 212 355 4545 forumgallery.com Odd Nerdrum to 17 Mar Oleg Vassiliev 28 Feb31 Mar GALLERY ARTS INDIA 206 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010 T +1 212 244 4320 Open TueSat 11-7, Sun 12-5 artsindia.com SUSAN L. HALPER FINE ART New York, NY T +1 212 473 7166 Open by appointment susan@susanhalper.com PRISKA C. JUSCHKA FINE ART 547 West 27th Street New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 244 4320 Open TueSat 116 priskajuschkaneart.net Emily Noelle Lambert: Paintings 29 Mar28 Apr John Sparagana 8 Mar7 Apr LUXE GALLERY 24 West 57th Street New York, NY 10019 T +1 212 517 2453 luxegallery.com Axel Pahlavi 28 Mar28 Apr METRO PICTURES 519 West 24th Street New York, NY 10011 T +1 212 206 7100 Open TueSat 106 metropicturesgallery.com Group Exhibition to 10 Mar Andreas Hofer 24 Mar21 Apr

PACE WILDENSTEIN 32 East 57th Street New York, NY 10022 T +1 212 421 3292 Open MonThu 9:306, Fri 9:304 pacewildenstein.com Robert Mangold to 3 Mar Corban Walker: Grid Stack to 10 Mar PHILLIPS DE PURY COMPANY 450 West 15th Street New York, NY 10011 T +1 212 940 1240 phillipsdepury.com Ross Lovegrove: Endurance 21 Mar4 Apr MAX PROTETCH 511 West 22nd Street New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 633 6999 Open TueSat 106 maxprotetch.com Tim Hyde to 11 Feb Oliver Herring 22 Feb14 Apr RHONDA SCHALLER 547 West 27th Street New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 967 1338 rhondaschaller.com Live Free or Die 831 Mar SCOPE 521 West 26th Street New York, NY 10001 scope-art.com Basel 14-17 Jun MARGARET THATCHER PROJECT 511 West 25th Street, Suite 404 New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 675 0222 thatcherprojects.com Robert Sagerman to 24 Mar UNITED STATES ART CHICAGO artchicago.com 2730 Apr WALTER MACIEL GALLERY 2642 South La Cienega Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90034 T +1 310 839 1840 waltermacielgallery.com Frank Ryan 3 Mar7 Apr

UNITED KINGDOM LONDON ARTFUTURES Bloomberg SPACE 50 Finsbury Square London EC2 T +44 (0)20 7831 1243 Open daily 116 Sun 115 contempart.org.uk 814 Mar BARBICAN Silk Street London EC2 T +44 (0)845 120 7520 Open Mon, Wed, Fri-Sun 118 Tue & Thu 116 barbican.org.uk/ artgallery CYNTHIA CORBETT GALLERY 15 Claremont Lodge Wimbledon SW20 T +44 (0)20 8947 6782 M +44 (0)7939 085 076 thecynthiacorbett gallery.com Christina Benz: Liquid to 9 Mar Yvonne de Rosa: Contacts to 9 Mar ESTORICK COLLECTION 39a Canonbury Square London N1 T +44 (0)20 7704 9522 Open WedSat 116, Sun 125 estorickcollection.com Barbed Wit: Italian Satire of the Great War to 18 Mar FRITH STREET 5960 Frith Street London W1 T +44 (0)20 7494 1550 Open TueFri 106, Sat 114 frithstreetgallery.com HALCYON Renoir House 136 New Bond Street London W1 T +44 (0)20 7307 0044 halcyongallery.com Reuben Colley: Urban Landscapes 28 Feb17 Mar

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JERWOOD VISUAL ARTS 171 Union Street London SE1 T +44 (0)1372 462 190 Open MonFri 105, Sat Sun 103 jerwoodvisualarts.org Contemporary Painters to 13 Mar Sculpture Prize 18 Apr23 May MARLBOROUGH FINE ART 6 Albemarle Street London W1 T +44 (0)20 7629 5161 Open MonFri 105:30, Sat 1012:30 marlboroughneart.com Thierry W. Despont 14 Feb8 Mar Daniel Enkaoua: Recent Work 15 Mar5 Apr THE PHOTOGRAPHERS GALLERY 5&8 Great Newport Street London WC2 T +44 (0)20 7831 1772 Open daily photonet.org.uk Photography Prize 2007 to 9 Apr ROKEBY 37 Store Street London WC1 T +44 (0)20 7168 9942 Open TueFri 116, Tue to 8, Sat 114 rokebygallery.com PAMELA SCHILDERMAN St Pancras Church Crypt Euston Road London NW1 Open MonFri 117, Sun 11:305 Bula Matari: Installation consisting of salt crystals sealed in hand-blown glass 24 Mar6 Apr TIMOTHY TAYLOR GALLERY 24 Dering Street London W1 T +44 (0)20 7409 3344 Open MonFri 106, Sat 101 timothytaylorgallery.com Marcel Dzama: Moving Pictures 8 Mar-13 Apr

WYER GALLERY 191 St Johns Hill London SW11 T +44 (0)20 7223 8433 Open TueFri 106 Thu to 8, Sat 105 thewyergallery.co.uk UNITED KINGDOM ANGLESEY ART HERITAGE Oriel Ynys Mn Llanefni T +44 (0)1248 724444 Museum & Art Gallery Open daily 10:305, free admission angleseyheritage.org Nigel Talbot to 25 Mar Eoghann MacColl 31 Mar13 May A major collection of Sir Kyfn Williamss work FERMYNWOODS CONTEMPORARY ART Beneeld Road, Brigstock T +44 (0)1536 373 469 Open Thurs-Sun 26, or by appointment fermynwoods.co.uk James Smith: Alter 1 Mar15 Apr ISENDYOUTHIS.COM Lamper Head Conworthy, Totnes T +44 (0)1364 653 208 Art Slide Show, Artist Portfolio, Gallery Guide, Exhibition Guide & Artist Directory HENRY MOORE INSTITUTE 74 The Headrow, Leeds T +44 (0)113 246 7467 Open Mon-Sun 105:30, Wed 109 Closed Bank Holidays henry-moore-fdn.co.uk GALLERY PANGOLIN Unit 9, Chalford Industrial Estate, Chalford T +44 (0)1453 886527 Open MonFri 106, Sat by appointment gallery-pangolin.co

RUGBY ART GALLERY AND MUSEUM Little Elborow Street, Rugby T +44 (0)1788 533 201 Open Tue & Thu 108, Wed & Fri 105, Sat 104, Sun 124 rugbygalleryandmuseum. org.uk IRELAND IRISH MUSEUM OF MODERN ART Royal Hospital Military Road Dublin 8 T +353 1612 9900 Open TueSat 105:30, Wed 10:305:30, Sun 125:30 modernart.ie Alan Katz: New York 28 Feb20 May Georgia OKeeffe 7 Mar13 May RUBICON GALLERY 10 St Stephens Green Dublin 2 T +353 1670 8055 rubicongallery.ie Michael Kane: Sculpture and Drawings 8 Mar14 Apr GERMANY GALERIE GITI NOURBAKHSH Kurfuerstenstrasse, 12 10785 Berlin T +49 (0)30 4404 6781 Open TueSat 106 nourbakhsh.de SPAIN GALERIA ESPACIO MINIMO Doctor Fourquet, 17 28012 Madrid T +34 91 467 6156 espaciominimo.com Ian Burn 8 Mar14 Apr RUSSIA STELLA ART FOUNDATION Mytnaya ul 62 115191 Moscow T +7 495 954 0253 stellaartfoundation.com CHINA AYE GALLERY Room 601, Unit 3

Yonghe Garden Yard 3 Dongbinhe Road An Ging Men Dongcheng District 100013 Beijing T +86 10 8422 1726 Open TueSun 106, with appointment ayegallery.com RCM GALLERY 72 West Beijing Road Nanjing No. 10, 210024 Nanjing T +86 25 8322 3399 Open TueSun 106 rcmgallery.com Li Jikai SHINE ART SPACE Block 9, No. 50 Moganshan Road 200060 Shanghai T +86 21 6266 0605 Open TueSun 106 shineartspace.com Mao Tongqiang: Mirage Series thru Mar KOREA GALLERY HYUNDAI 80 Sagan-dong Chongro-ku Seoul 110-190 T +82 2 734 6111 3 Open TueSat 106, Sun 106 galleryhyundai.com Zeng Fanzhi 725 Mar AUSTRALIA ARC ONE GALLERY Arc One Flinders Lane Melbourne, Vic 3000 T +61 3 9650 0589 Open TueFri 115, Sat 114 arc1gallery.com SHERMAN GALLERY 16-20 Goodhope St Paddington, Sydney 2021 T +61 2 9331 1112 Open TueFri 106, Sat 116 shermangalleries.com.au Voiceless: I Feel Therefore I Am 23 Feb10 Mar Michael Johnson 15 Mar5 Apr

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ON THE TOWN

16 January
VOOM Portraits Robert Wilson, Phillips de Pury, New York photography MICHAEL SIMON & ADAM E. MENDELSOHN

25 January
Anselm Kiefer: Aperiatur Terra, White Cube, London photography DAFYDD JONES

ARTREVIEW

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Wang Qingsong

VOOM PORTRAITS ROBERT WILSON A B C D E F

Savannah Knoop & Laura Alpert Peter Stormare & Steve Buscemi Isabella Rossellini & Robert Wilson Mary McFadden Noah Khoshbin Crowd and VOOM Portrait of Mikhail Baryshnikov as St. Sebastian G Bianca Jagger
ANSELM KIEFER: APERIATUR TERRA

Rachel Whiteread, Dinos Chapman & friend Michael Clarke & Rifat Ozbeck Nicky Haslam & Katrine Boorman Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst Robin Vousden & Tracey Emin Jay Jopling & friend Michael Craig-Martin, Nicholas Logsdail & Norman Rosenthal Anselm Kiefer Alan Yentob & Antony Gormley

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ON THE RECORD

A DECADE AGO, MUCH NEW ART WAS EYEBROW DEEP IN CRITICAL THEORY. NOW IT SEEMS AS CAREFREE AS A SUMMERTIME SCHOOL BOY, WHILE FAR BETTER DRESSED
PETER SCHJELDAHL, THE NEW YORKER ARTIST ANNE HARDY ON ONE OF HER OWN PHOTOGRAPHS, THE GUARDIAN

With just 20 percent of the Gulf Art Fairs exhibitors coming from the art market of the Middle East and Arab world, the extent of the inaugural events afliation with the local art scene could be their Achilles heel
LISA BALL-LECHGAR ON THE GULF ART FAIR, CANVASONLINE.COM

JASPER JOHNS, THE ART NEWSPAPER

So be friends with an artist? Are you kidding? They only want to talk about themselves anyway, until theyre about 60, when they start reading a few books and visiting the National Gallery and you can have a decent conversation about art
JONATHAN JONES, THE GUARDIAN ARTS BLOG ARTREVIEW

I FEARED I WOULD END UP MAKING HEAVY-METAL ALBUM COVER ART OR GO ALL NEW AGE AND VAGUELY SPIRITUAL

GRAYSON PERRY ON FEARS THAT DRUGS WOULD AFFECT HIS PRACTICE, THE TIMES

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