Yorkshire Sculpture Park Bee Project

April 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

On 6 March the artist Rebecca Chesney begins a year-long residency at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, researching the bees and plants of the Bretton Estate to develop new work. From her studio in the nature reserve, Chesney will document the differing bee species on site, making maps of their journeys around YSP and linking her work to the current and historic planting schemes of the estate. With the help of experts and visitors, Chesney’s residency will draw attention to the plight of bees which are under great threat: a fifth of all honeybees in the UK were lost in 2008/9 and their disappearance would be catastrophic.

Bees are of immense significance: practically, with bees pollinating a third of the food we eat, and culturally – their behaviour being used as a metaphor for a great number of human activities, from religious belief to political ideology. During her time at YSP Chesney will make work that interweaves ecological aspects of bee populations, folkloric traditions and apian-inspired art, poetry and prose to create a new body of work. Apian inspired art dates back thousands of years – the earliest known examples being the cave paintings that detail honey collection discovered in the Cueva de la Arana in Valencia. Examples can be found in music, notably in the Flight of the Bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and visual art with the highly influential artist Joseph Beuys who was particularly interested in the organisational systems of bees and created works using honey and beeswax. The Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí took inspiration from the bee both decoratively and structurally, inspired by the inner chambers produced in the hive, and the poet Sylvia Plath wrote a series of bee poems, which are included in her seminal work, Ariel.

 

Working with the Regional Bee Inspector (FERA), Chesney will introduce two honeybee colonies into her nature reserve site and on key dates visitors will be given access to this area – which is normally out of bounds. The restoration of the estate boathouse and immediate grounds has created a unique environment extending down to the lakes, which will be used for special events, discussions and project related activities. The boathouse, with an uninterrupted view across the lake, will be Rebecca’s studio for the duration of the project and will also be a learning and contemplative space for invited groups. As well as being able to view the new hives, visitors will have the chance to experience the inner workings of an observation hive installed in the studio.

A display in the Upper Space of the YSP Centre will feature the initial outcomes of the residency, including pressed plant specimens, intricate pencil drawings, a new wall work and photography as well as conceptual and actual mapping of the creature’s significance to the site. Throughout the residency, visitors are invited to participate by using bee identification cards and making bee promises, for example, to plant something at home that will attract bees in exchange for a limited edition pin badge.

Chesney is a Preston based artist whose practice considers changing environments and human activity through drawing, photography, installation and film. Her solo exhibitions include The Lowry, Salford; Stadtgalerie Kiel, Germany; University of Massachusetts, Boston; and her most recent residencies have been with the University of Aberdeen Anthropology Department and Op zoek naar het Noordgevoel, Amsterdam. Chesney took part in the 2006 Liverpool Biennial and is a co-director of Pest Publications.

Text credit: E-Flux

Mohsen Makhmalbaf winner of the FTC Prize

November 28, 2009 § Leave a comment

Wealthy philanthropist and chairman of Orient Global Richard Chandler, established the ‘Freedom to Create Prize’ in 2008, in a bid to shine a light into those parts of the world where creative freedom is not a given, and to use the arts to drive change in broken societies.

The prize is open to artists in all fields and is awarded to an individual or group that uses its creative work to promote social justice, build the foundations for an open society and inspire the human spirit”.

More than 1,000 applicants from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe entered their work, and eventually five finalists were chosen by judges Daniel Barenboim, the human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson and last year’s inaugural winner, the Zimbabwean playwright Cont Mhlanga.

This year, the prize was awarded to Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the celebrated Iranian filmmaker and official overseas spokesman for 2009 Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. The high profile ceremony took place on 25 November at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London where a cheque for $50,000 was presented to Makhmalbaf. Half of the money that is won must obligatorily go to a cause of the winner’s choosing. Makhmalbaf announced that he will donate his fund to the Green Movement NGO to help the victims of the incidents following the election in Iran.

Commenting on his award, Makhmalbaf said, “People of my country (Iran) are killed, imprisoned, tortured and raped just for their votes. Every award I receive means an opportunity for me to echo their voices to the world, asking for democracy for Iran and peace for the world.”

Over the past 10 years, Makhmalbaf has written and directed a large number of feature films and  short films that have been widely presented in international film festivals.

Time magazine selected his 2001 film, Kandahar, as one of top 100 films of all time. Kandahar was an inquiring film about life under the Taliban in Afghanistan. Shot largely in Iran but also clandestinely in Afghanistan, the film had its premiere in Cannes four months before 9/11, after which it went on to achieve a wide audience and win for its director the Federico Fellini Prize from UNESCO.

Other films of his include Boycott, an early work from 1985 set in Iran before the Islamic revolution which swept the Shah’s regime from power. Based on Makhmalbaf’s own experiences, it chronicles the experiences of a young Communist sympathiser who is sentenced to death. Five years later Time of Love, a frank portrayal of marital infidelity, became the first of several films of his to be banned in Iran.

Following this year’s disputed Iranian elections, Makhmalbaf diverted his attentions from filmmaking to be the voice of defeated presidential candidate Mir-Houssein Moussavi

Makhmalbaf’s rise to become leader of the new wave of Iranian cinema came from unlikely beginnings. When he was 15 he formed an underground Islamic militia group and was shot and jailed by the time he was 17. While imprisoned, Makhmalbaf educated himself and underwent an intellectual renaissance after which he distanced himself from violence, believing Iranian society suffers more from cultural poverty than anything else.

His nominating party, ZirZamin, an alternative Iranian media magazine said: His works were nominated because they promote freedom, understanding, open societies, secular humanism and respect to others. His analysis and depiction tasks people to questions real in everybody’s life and social realism. He is not only a film director but an educationalist, author and analyst.”

Panellist Daniel Barenboim, acclaimed conductor and founder of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, said of Makhmalbaf: “His voice has been one of the most important artistic contributions from Iran to world culture over the last decades. His films have given international audiences a window into contemporary Iran. His work in Afghanistan, both artistic and humanitarian, has added valuable facets to the understanding of this troubled country.
The second place prizewinner was the Burmese refugee women’s group, The Kumjing Storytellers, who use giant paper maché dolls to represent their stories of ethnic persecution in Burma. Not simply an artwork, but a living art action, The Journey of Kumjing is a performance in which these martyred women can tell their stories, challenge discrimination and assert their human rights.

He has also fostered a new generation of Iranian filmmakers. Last not least, his support for the recent peaceful protests against the stolen Iranian elections made it more difficult for the regime in Tehran to silence the opposition. Especially in view of the deeply unsettling remarks and intentions of President Ahmadi-Nejad, his efforts to publicize dissenting views deserve support.”

The third place prizewinner is Afghan female artist Sheenkai Alam Stanikzai, who used video performance, installation and photography to tackle the subjugation and violent persecution of women in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries. Stanikzai is one of a generation of Afghans who grew up during the Taliban which censored culture and banned music, and her art explores the re-emergence of Afghan spirit after years of oppression.

The Youth Prize winners were Poimboi Veeyah Koindu, former child soldiers from Sierra Leone who use dance to promote community healing.

Founder Richard Chandler said he was humbled by the bravery of this year’s winners adding their courage and stories epitomised the daily sacrifices made by artists on frontlines from around the world.

For more information about the prize, please visit: www.freedomtocreateprize.com

First permanent artwork for London Underground since 1984

November 27, 2009 § Leave a comment

Full Circle by Knut Henrik Henriksen (b 1970, Oslo) was unveiled today in King’s Cross St. Pancras Underground Station. This is the first permanent artwork to be installed on the network since Paolozzi’s mosaics at Tottenham Court Road in 1984. Let’s face it with the amount of time that we spend underground, these type of aesthetic pleasures do more than enhance the surroundings, but transform spaces.

Full Circle has been created as an integral part of the King’s Cross station upgrade. It references the impressive contemporary architectural setting of the modernised Tube. The size and form of Henriksen’s sculpture is frequently defined by such architectural specificities as the height, depth and materials of a given location. These become starting points for his work and in this case the circular end wall of the concourse tunnel is the origin of his concept. The circle is truncated where it meets the floor, implying a ‘lost’ segment of circle beneath. This segment has been ‘reinstated’, conceptually exhumed by Henriksen, and mounted as an integral architectural feature of the end wall. It is fabricated by the station upgrade contractor from the same material (shot-peened stainless steel) as the wall itself. The effect is of a minimalist relief: a subtle, elegant work in metallic grey.

Henriksen’s practise is underpinned by a preoccupation with and critique of key Modernist principles – form fitting purpose and truth to materials; minimal embellishment.

In the 1930s, London Underground’s Managing Director Frank Pick, fired up by European Modernist ideals, championed a unifying principle of the Tube network, which became known as Total Design. Through this concept such elements as the Roundel, the Tube map, the Johnston typeface, artists’ designs for posters and station designs, exemplified by the work of architect Charles Holden, have combined to become central to London Underground’s world renowned identity. Henriksen’s Full Circle brings this vision up to date, seamlessly becoming part of the Underground’s tunnels and passageways.

The installation at King’s Cross St. Pancras is just one of a number of significant permanent artworks commissioned by Art on the Underground for key stations on the network over the coming years. For example, Daniel Buren will create a dramatic new work for the Tottenham Court Road Tube station, which is undergoing a major upgrade.

For more information about Art on the Underground, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/art

Text credit: Asthetica Magazine
Photo credit: Daisy Hutchison

Art Swap Shop

November 20, 2009 § Leave a comment

ArtBarter is a platform for exchange between artists and the public.

Curators Lauren Jones and Alix Janta are organising a show featuring work from 50 London based established and emerging artists.

The list includes Tracey Emin, Gavin Turk, Mat Collishaw, Gary Hume, Abigail Lane, Polly Morgan, Boo Saville, Abigail Fallis and Paul Fryer.

The event will open its doors from the 27 November to the 29 November 2009 and will be held at the Rag Factory in east London, the former studio of  Tracey Emin and Gary Hume.

The Art Barter event revolves around the idea that artwork will be acquired by individuals through alternative means to money. Artists have always been familiar with the use of barter. From Picasso exchanging sketches for his meals, to hotels (such as The Chelsea Hotel in NY) accepting art as payment for rent and select YBA’s having tabs at restaurants such as The Ivy in exchange for pieces of their work to adorn the restaurant walls. However, the ArtBarter event is unique because it is the only exhibition to promote such a form of exchange amongst a wide array of artists and the general public all at once.

There is a catch at ArtBarter where you will not know which artwork belongs to which artist until after the show’s end. This will create a gamble for the public and will make people value the art for what it really is, not for the name or price tag that formerly was attached.

Curator Lauren Jones says, “We want to make art available to a more diverse crowd, not just people with disposable income. ArtBarter is the perfect setting to make this happen, whilst also providing a fun way to get people involved with the arts.”

So whether you have a special talent or skill to offer or something unused that may be desirable to others; or if you just wish to view a great exhibition and try your luck with bartering, come down and become part of ArtBarter.

ArtBarter would also like to take this opportunity to announce that they have linked up with charity Arts Against Knives. ArtBarter feel passionate about this cause and will be collecting donations during our event.

ArtBarter
24 Princelet Street,
London, E1 6QH

For more information contact Lauren Jones at: lauren@artbarterlondon.co.uk
Web site address: www.artbarterlondon.co.uk

Address: The Rag Factory, 16-18 Heneage Street, London E1 5LJ
27 & 28 November 10:00 – 19:00, 29 November 11:00 – 21:00

Serpentine boss tops Art’s Power 100 List

October 16, 2009 § 1 Comment

arlogo

The ArtReview Power 100, published each year in the November issue of ArtReview magazine, is a comprehensive listing of the artworld’s most powerful figures.

Now in its eighth year, entrants are ranked according to a combination of influence over the production of art internationally, sheer financial clout and activity in the previous 12 months – criteria which encompass artists, collectors, gallerists and curators. Regular appearances are also made by those who run the major art fairs, by museum and foundation directors, and even by the occasional critic.

The 2009 edition of the Power 100 is an important issue as it reflects fundamental changes in influence. An Art Review spokesman said changes in the list reflected changes in what power meant in the art world.

Previous No.1’s, both artists and collectors, have plummeted, while only the most ambitious of museums have stayed near the top; meanwhile, percolating up from the middle ranks is a new generation of highly networked, flexible, globetrotting curators – men and women at the very centre of a new way of working.

The ArtReview Power 100 is not just a who’s who to contemporary art but also a guide to general trends and forces that shape the artworld. With almost a third of entries new to the list this year, and sharp divisions among the panel of international experts making the selections, this edition is one of the freshest in years.

Text credit: ArtReview

power100

1. Hans Ulrich Obrist
2. Glenn D. Lowry
3. Sir Nicholas Serota
4. Daniel Birnbaum
5. Larry Gagosian
6. François Pinault
7. Eli Broad
8. Anton Vidokle, Julieta Aranda & Brian Kuan Wood
9. Iwona Blazwick
10. Bruce Nauman

11. Iwan Wirth
12. David Zwirner
13. Jeff Koons
14. Jay Jopling
15. Marian Goodman
16. Agnes Gund
17. Takashi Murakami
18. Alfred Pacquement
19. Peter Fischli & David Weiss
20. Mike Kelley
21. Barbara Gladstone
22. Steven A. Cohen
23. Dominique Lévy & Robert Mnuchin
24. Adam D. Weinberg
25. Marc Glimcher
26. Amy Cappellazzo & Brett Gorvy
27. Cheyenne Westphal & Tobias Meyer
28. Ann Philbin
29. Matthew Higgs
30. Matthew Marks
31. Tim Blum & Jeff Poe
32. Gavin Brown
33. Ralph Rugoff
34. Liam Gillick
35. Anne Pasternak
36. Dakis Joannou
37. John Baldessari
38. Isa Genzken
39. Paul McCarthy
40. Michael Govan
41. Eugenio López
42. Cindy Sherman
43. Ai Weiwei
44. Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
45. Annette Schönholzer & Marc Spiegler
46. Diedrich Diederichsen
47. Richard Prince
48. Damien Hirst
49. Bernard Arnault
50. Massimiliano Gioni
51. Amanda Sharp & Matthew Slotover
52. Joel Wachs
53. Victor Pinchuk
54. Udo Kittelmann
55. Marina Abramović
56. Michael Ringier
57. Gerhard Richter
58. Richard Serra
59. RoseLee Goldberg
60. Kasper König
61. Roberta Smith
62. Monika Sprüth & Philomene Magers
63. Germano Celant
64. Emmanuel Perrotin
65. Peter Schjeldahl
66. Beatrix Ruf
67. Okwui Enwezor
68. Nicolas Bourriaud
69. Karen & Christian Boros
70. Isabelle Graw
71. Maurizio Cattelan
72. Charles Saatchi
73. Jerry Saltz
74. Jasper Johns
75. Louise Bourgeois
76. Thaddaeus Ropac
77. Mera & Don Rubell
78. Thelma Golden
79. Sarah Morris
80. Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
81. Anita & Poju Zabludowicz
82. Paul Schimmel
83. Jose, Alberto & David Mugrabi
84. Sadie Coles
85. Daniel Buchholz
86. Victoria Miro
87. Maureen Paley
88. Johann König
89. Nicolai Wallner
90. Maria Lind
91. Massimo De Carlo
92. Mario Cristiani, Lorenzo Fiaschi & Maurizio Rigillo
93. Rirkrit Tiravanija
94. Toby Webster
95. Long March Space
96. Nicholas Logsdail
97. Harry Blain & Graham Southern
98. Claire Hsu
99. Peter Nagy
100. Glenn Beck

Damien Hirst and Bill Viola are to exhibit ‘important’ new works in St Paul’s Cathedral

October 6, 2009 § 1 Comment

imagesSince the beginning of time, religion and art have always formed a close partnership.

It begins within the Bible in the book of Exodus chapters 25 to 30 where we find a form of divine patronage whereby God Himself commissions the Israelites to create certain forms of art for his glory.

Religious subject matter has always been central to works of historic art and although over the course of time we may think that this has ceased to be the case, I happen to share the sentiments of Rev. Charles Erlandson (see quote below) in that all art, whether we like it or not, is primarily a means of worship.

“We must recognize that art is always religious in nature. This should in no way be considered a shocking or exaggerated claim, since it is clear that all of life is inherently religious. Men may or may not acknowledge their religious nature, just as they may or may not acknowledge their Creator, and the art they produce may or may not be consistent with their religious beliefs. Nevertheless, all art is religious. Whether we are considering a Shakespeare play, a Seurat painting, or a Cage non-composition, all art reflects a certain worldview, which is to say a certain religion. This means that art is not neutral. Something is being asserted about God and the world He has made, and that ‘something’, measures up to varying degrees to what God Himself has revealed to us. Therefore, we have a clear motive for care in selecting the art with which to adorn our environments.” Rev. Charles Erlandson

I therefore found it particularly exciting when I read about the Anglican Church commissioning two great artists to create contemporary works of art for St. Pauls Cathedral, in London.

Artists are a vital part of the body of Christ and despite some backlash seen in articles such as in the Spectator about the appropriateness of a Hirst in a place of worship http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/5317261/should-st-pauls-host-a-hirst.thtml and about the artists himself as being more interested in money than our own mortality http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/jun2007/hrst-j26.shtml, I think any artist creating any type of work for the glory of God is to be applauded.  Who are we to say who can and cannot produce work, and who for?

St Paul’s is an iconic monument built to glorify God, an integral part of the London skyline, a symbol of the hope, resilience and strength of the city and nation it serves.

Its rich and diverse history mean that many visitors come to the Cathedral and will be able to marvel at many different aspects of the building including new work from one of our country’s most renowned artists.

The cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th century, has already hosted temporary installations by living artists including Yoko Ono and Rebecca Horn.

After the unveiling of Hirst’s work in November of this year, Canon Martin Warner, Treasurer of St Paul’s Cathedral, hopes the cathedral will raise sufficient funds to host a rolling programme of art installations at St Paul’s.

“There is a range of contemporary artists today who are saying fascinating things in their art and we would never prejudge whether or not a proposal to include them in the floor of the cathedral would meet a positive or a negative response,” he says.

“The huge numbers of people that visit Tate on the opposite side of the Millennium Bridge from us are an indication of that fascination with…how you can express what is intangible but real and that comes very close to what Christian faith is all about. Art today captures people’s imagination in a way that perhaps narrative discourse doesn’t”

The cathedral is also currently trying to raise funds for the production, installation, and maintenance of plasma screens for a video project by American artist Bill Viola, which could cost around £2m. This ‘altarpiece’ would consist of a couple of giant multi-screen installations on the themes of Mary and the martyrs which would be mounted on hinged panels allowing them to be switched off and closed during services. An application for subsidy is expected to be made to The Arts Council.

bill_viola

Canon Warner says, “St Paul’s has no external funding; we get no government funding and no central church funding. We just manage to cover the costs of running the cathedral as it is…so any art project is dependent on being grant funded and dependent on fund raising.”

Both artists have previously made works of art using religious references. Bill Viola exhibited a video entitled ‘The Messenger’ originally produced for Durham Cathedral in 1996 to great acclaim.

Damien Hirst a self-confessed lapsed Catholic, examined God and religion in a 2003 show at the White Cube gallery, which featured a cow cut in half, entitled ‘Prodigal Son’. It also featured a piece called ‘Jesus And The Disciples’ - which comprised 13 glass tanks including a severed cow’s head with metal instruments sticking out – and a dove in a glass cabinet called ‘The Ascension Of Jesus’. Other works by Hirst that refer to religion include his infamous diamond-encrusted skull, ‘For The Love Of God’.

hirstandcow

It is also not the first time the artist has exhibited in a church. In 2007 he had a show at All Hallows in the City, and I can’t wait till the unveiling this time round of the unknown piece which hopefully won’t be too contentious…

Turner Prize Panel Announces the 2009 Contenders

October 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

turner prize

Enrico David, Roger Hiorns, Lucy Skaer, Richard Wright

Remember these names, as these are the names of the Turner Prize nominees for 2009.

The Turner Prize is one of the world’s most prestigious awards for contemporary art. The Turner Prize is in its 25th year, and is an award given to an artist under fifty, born, living or working in Britain, for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation in the twelve months before 6 May 2009.

The annual prize has earned a reputation as a provocative contest, with previous winners including Damien Hirst for ‘Mother and Child Divided’ and Tracey Emin’s entry with ‘My Bed’ made national headline news.

This year, the judges are aiming to make the competition more accessible, with the focus on painting and sculpture.

The four artists will present works in a show  held at Tate Britain before the winner is announced at the Tate on 7 December 2009 during a live broadcast by Channel 4.

To view work by the artists click HERE.

Nominations are invited each year, and the prize is judged by an independent jury that changes annually. This year the members of the Turner Prize 2009 jury are:

1. Charles Esche -Director Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
2. Mariella Frostrup – Writer and broadcaster
3. Jonathan Jones – Art critic, The Guardian
4. Dr Andrea Schlieker – Director Folkestone Triennial, and curator
5. Stephen Deuchar – Director, Tate Britain and Chair of the Jury

The Turner Prize 2009 exhibition will be shown at Tate Britain from the 6 October 2009 to 3 January 2010.

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