Archive: Others
Finland’s first fair dedicated to homeless people, displayed in a museum

Finland’s first fair dedicated to homeless people, displayed in a museum

jani-leinonen-riiko-sakkinen-homelessness-fair-featJani Leinonen - Riiko Sakkinen - Homelessness fair
Jani Leinonen – Riiko Sakkinen – Homelessness fair

The Homelessness Fair, curated by Finish artists Jani Leinonen and Riiko Sakkinen, introduced a whole new exhibition concept to the Finnish art scene. Exhibited at Hyvinkää Art Museum, Leinonen and Sakkinen have invited different civic organisations that deal with homelessness, social institutions and other active parties in the field to take part in the exhibition. The context is art, which at its best is a meeting place of different approaches and viewpoints. The exhibition project has documentaries about homelessness, a social comic workshop for the homeless which is instructed by artist Katja Tukiainen, and there is also the Finnish Football Championship of the Homeless on 15 June 2013.

The Homelessness Fair is an antithesis to the Housing Fair that is held in Hyvinkää July – August 2013. The Housing Fair focuses on housing technology, environmental issues and the stylishness of interior decoration without problematising the societal and social dimensions of homelessness. In other words, The Homelessness Fair is a forum which creates discussion about what homelessness is and how it is defined.

Jani Leinonen - Riiko Sakkinen - Homelessness fair
Jani Leinonen – Riiko Sakkinen – Homelessness fair

Jani Leinonen - Riiko Sakkinen - Homelessness fair
Jani Leinonen – Riiko Sakkinen – Homelessness fair

Jani Leinonen - Riiko Sakkinen - Homelessness fair
Jani Leinonen – Riiko Sakkinen – Homelessness fair

Jani Leinonen - Riiko Sakkinen - Homelessness fair
Jani Leinonen – Riiko Sakkinen – Homelessness fair

Jani Leinonen - Riiko Sakkinen - Homelessness fair
Jani Leinonen – Riiko Sakkinen – Homelessness fair

Jani Leinonen - Riiko Sakkinen - Homelessness fair
Jani Leinonen – Riiko Sakkinen – Homelessness fair

Jani Leinonen - Riiko Sakkinen - Homelessness fair
Jani Leinonen – Riiko Sakkinen – Homelessness fair

Jani Leinonen - Riiko Sakkinen - Homelessness fair
Jani Leinonen – Riiko Sakkinen – Homelessness fair

Jani Leinonen - Riiko Sakkinen - Homelessness fair
Jani Leinonen – Riiko Sakkinen – Homelessness fair

Photos: Ella Tommila


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Thomas Struth’s jungle photos may make you feel helpless

Thomas Struth’s jungle photos may make you feel helpless

thomas-struth-paradise-13-featThomas Struth - <em>Paradise 01 (Daintree, Australia)</em>, 1998
Thomas Struth – Paradise 01 (Daintree, Australia), 1998

ABOUT THOMAS STRUTH’S NEW PICTURES FROM PARADISE

Next to his well known Street and Museum Photographs, Thomas Struth has been taking pictures of forests in different parts of the world since 1998. By giving these images the title New Pictures from Paradise he has endowed them with a special meaning as pictures of nature before the Fall of Man. His attention focuses on wild nature, at the same time referencing and questioning representations of paradise throughout history and cultures.

Thomas Struth about these works in Artforum: My approach to the jungle pictures might be said to be new, in that my initial impulses were pictorial and emotional, rather than theoretical. They are “unconscious places” and thus seem to follow my early city pictures. These images contain a wealth of delicately branched information, which makes it almost impossible, especially in large formats, to isolate single forms. One can spend a lot of time in front of these pictures and remain helpless in terms of knowing how to deal with them. There is no socio-cultural context to be read or discovered, unlike in the photographs of people in front of paintings in museums. Standing in front of the facade of the cathedral in Milan, one experiences oneself as a human being defined by specific social and historical conditions. The jungle pictures, on the other hand, emphasize the self. Because of their consistent “all over” nature, they could be understood as membranes for meditation. They present a kind of empty space: emptied to elicit a moment of stillness and internal dialogue. You have to be able to enjoy this silence in order to communicate with yourself—and eventually with others.

In most of these photographs Struth doesn’t allow our gaze to penetrate the depth of the image. Trees, branches and leaves create a dense texture that prevents us from seeing the horizon and the depth of the landscapes, which can only be guessed. Without hierarchically structuring the picture, its entire surface is crisscrossed all over and covered by plant forms – reminiscent of the lines in paintings by Jackson Pollock and Brice Marden. Struth’s jungle pictures mark the beginning of a different approach to the way the surface of photographic images capture our gaze, sending it in different directions. Thanks to their richness of details, the images are presenting a kind of silence that can be listened to for a long time before one can get to know its rules. From the first documentary portraits of families, to the cityscapes, to the museums, up to the harmonic chaos of the jungles, Thomas Struth’s photographic eye has travelled the world finding new ways of representing its complexity, trying to capture the presence of the unconscious in the visible.

ABOUT THOMAS STRUTH

Thomas Struth is one of the leading artists in contemporary photography. Born in Geldern near Cologne in 1954, from 1973 to 1980 he studied at the Düsseldorf Academy as student of Gerhard Richter and then Bernd Becher. By the end of the Seventies, he started to explore the possibilities of photography as psychological research. Since 1978 he takes pictures of urban landscapes, from 1980 he photographs museum visitors looking at paintings, thus exploring the different relationships between painting and photography, art and the viewer. Later he works on a broader range of subjects, working always in theme groups.

Since his first museum exhibition at Kunsthalle Bern in 1987, his work has been shown extensively in museums throughout the world. In 2003 the Metropolitan in New York staged a large retrospective, and recently he had exhibitions at the Prado in Madrid in 2007 and at the Museum Madre in Naples in Spring 2008. His works are in the collections of MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and Kunsthaus Zurich among many others.

Thomas Struth – Paradise 29 (Perù), 2005
Thomas Struth – Paradise 29 (Perù), 2005

Thomas Struth – Paradise 36 (New Smyrna Beach, Florida), 2007
Thomas Struth – Paradise 36 (New Smyrna Beach, Florida), 2007

Thomas Struth – Paradise 27 (Perù), 2005
Thomas Struth – Paradise 27 (Perù), 2005

Thomas Struth – Paradise 7, 1998
Thomas Struth – Paradise 7, 1998

Thomas Struth – Paradise 09 (Xi Shuang Banna)
Thomas Struth – Paradise 09 (Xi Shuang Banna)

Thomas Struth – Paradise 13 (Yakushima, Japan), 1999
Thomas Struth – Paradise 13 (Yakushima, Japan), 1999

Thomas Struth – Paradise 15
Thomas Struth – Paradise 15


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NYC artists install sculpture in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

NYC artists install sculpture in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

faile-wolf-within-featFaile - Wolf Within - 1
FAILE – Wolf Within, 2012, Fiberglass, Steel & Granite, 500cm, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

In October of 2012, New York artists FAILE unveiled their sculpture Wolf Within at the site of the National Garden Park in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The figure—a man cloaked in a wolf pelt, tearing away the remnants of a two piece suit in revelation—is a familiar one for those acquainted with FAILE’s work. Wolf Within was conceived on the brink of the 2008 financial crisis for a series of paintings that fused a decadent capitalist landscape with a lost but resurgent past. Images of native warriors set amidst gleaming skyscrapers opened the question of what we lose and gain in our pursuit for ever greater wealth, and figured the dangers of our entrenched political and economic systems.

For Western audiences, Wolf Within was a vivid illustration that the bull-market couldn’t last forever, and a world out of balance can only sustain itself for so long. Realized in 2012, in three dimensions, Wolf Within is a timely work for a Mongolian context. The figure’s suit invokes the influx of investors from around the world, and the wolf is, as ever, a potent symbol, a depiction of nature’s ferocious power and a reminder our environment and traditions cannot be forgotten.

Local sculptor and craftsman Batmunkh was invited to realize a concept created by FAILE and added his personal interpretation to their sculpture. Wolf Within embodies the similarity of the challenges faced by fast-modernizing places around the world. It also calls to mind the incredible changes Mongolia now faces, as a mineral rich and quickly urbanizing country. Afterall, the fortunes of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, increase as steadily as the mining of gold, copper, and uranium from sites like Oyu Tolgoi, shaking up a historically pastoral society. The consequences of this change are, of course, unknown, but Wolf Within is a reminder of nature’s strength, and its ambivalent dance with big money.

Faile - Wolf Within (2013)
FAILE – Wolf Within, 2012, Fiberglass, Steel & Granite, 500cm, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Faile - Wolf Within (2013)
FAILE – Wolf Within, 2012, Fiberglass, Steel & Granite, 500cm, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


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A large public installation by Robert Montgomery in India

A large public installation by Robert Montgomery in India

Robert-Montgomery-Fado-music-in-reverse-Biennale-di-Kochi-Muziris-featRobert-Montgomery-Fado-music-in-reverse-Biennale-di-Kochi-Muziris-2
Robert Montgomery, Fado music in reverse, Biennale di Kochi-Muziris 2012

Robert-Montgomery-Fado-music-in-reverse-Biennale-di-Kochi-Muziris-1
Robert Montgomery, Fado music in reverse, Biennale di Kochi-Muziris 2012

For India’s first festival of international contemporary art, the Kochi Muziris-Biennale, which first took place in 2012, Robert Montgomery has created a poem about exile in light on the sea-facing façade of Aspinwall House which he describes as Fado music in reverse.

Photos: Kochi-Muziris Biennale


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This is why Keith Haring got arrested numerous times

This is why Keith Haring got arrested numerous times

heith-haring-subway-drawings-featkeith-haring-subway-drawings-1
Keith Haring – Subway Drawings

In the early 80s Keith Haring created hundreds of drawings in the New York subway system. He used chalk to paint on unused advertising space, which was covered with black sheets of paper. Haring was caught and fined numerous times.

The endeavor began serendipitously when Haring noticed one of these blank panels in the station at Times Square and immediately went above ground to buy some chalk. The resulting process of drawing on these panels, a hobby that Haring later called a responsibility fueled his early work. Cultivating the project remained an important activity for him until 1985, long after he had achieved international critical and commercial success.

Often produced before an audience of commuters, which might include police who could ticket him for vandalism, the drawings emerged at a rate of sometimes 40 a day. When not torn or cut from their locations by admirers, they would eventually be covered with new ads. The routine disappearance of these works, in fact, became an incentive for their replenishment and a catalyst for constant reinvention. While many were documented by photographer Tseng Kwong Chi (whom Haring would phone upon returning to his studio to provide their locations) most of the drawings went unrecorded, thus creating one of the most epic and ephemeral projects in the history of the city.

Haring became captivated by the commitment to drawing worthy of risk that for him was one of the many attributes of the work of graffiti artists gaining acceptance at the time. Not wanting to imitate their efforts, and mindful of the science of semiotics to which he had been recently introduced, Haring started to regard the subway as a laboratory for communication and engagement. Motivated by the contact with a diverse (non-art) audience the Manhattan Transit Authority enabled, Haring regarded the MTA as an ideal platform for experimenting with a vocabulary of readily identifiable figures, such as the radiant baby, the barking dog, the hovering angel, and the flying saucer, among many others. Constructed entirely from outlines, each of these characters are staged within a frame lining the perimeter of every black sheet, a unifying trope of Haring’s work that could reference the television screen, the proscenium, or box from a comic strip. Due to prolific repetition and inexhaustible permutation, these characters assumed the identity of potent signs that could address a range of themes, both topical and universal, in a manner ideally suited to the pace and viewing conditions of commuters.

Manifesting a return to expressive figuration in the art world of the late 1970s (as well as in Haring’s own practice), the subway drawings also represented a unique conflation of studio practice and public art, cartoons and graffiti. Although Haring never identified himself as a graffiti artist, he was arrested many times for defacing public property.

Ultimately, Haring’s subway drawings were a synthesis of performative process, automatic writing, and democratic access. Critical to understanding Haring’s overall career and his efforts to connect street culture, fine art, and commercial practices (manifest most boldly by the 1986 opening of his “Pop Shop”), they have proved to be influential to subsequent generations of artists—from merchandise-savvy Takashi Murakami to street artists such as FAILE, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Swoon, among many others. While all of these artists fuse idiosyncratic, graphic style with iconic characters using forms of prodigious public address, Haring’s work remains distinctive in its celebration of the primacy of unmediated, spontaneous drawing.

keith-haring-subway-drawings-2
Keith Haring – Subway Drawings

keith-haring-subway-drawings-3
Keith Haring – Subway Drawings

keith-haring-subway-drawings-4
Keith Haring – Subway Drawings

keith-haring-subway-drawings-5
Keith Haring – Subway Drawings

Video


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Optical illusion billboard by Hawaiian artist in SouthKorea

Optical illusion billboard by Hawaiian artist in SouthKorea

Cayetano Ferrer, Daejeon CityCayetano Ferrer, Daejeon City
Cayetano Ferrer – Daejeon City #1, 2007

Cayetano Ferrer’s describes his works like this: My work ends up being the result of the question: what exactly is an illusion? Is everything we see on a screen or a printed photograph an illusion? Is culture implicated in illusion? Can language itself be an illusion?

Cayetano Ferrer, Daejeon City
Cayetano Ferrer – Daejeon City #1, 2007

Cayetano Ferrer, Daejeon City
Cayetano Ferrer – Daejeon City #1, 2007


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Alec Soth’s famous series about American dropouts

Alec Soth’s famous series about American dropouts

alec-soth-broken-manual-featAlec Soth - Broken Manual
Alec Soth – Broken Manual

ABOUT BROKEN MANUAL

Broken Manual by photographer Alec Soth is a compelling series that was created over a four-year period, from 2006-2010. They reflect Soth’s increasing interest in the mounting anger and frustration that some—specifically male—Americans feel with societal constraints and their subsequent desire to remove themselves from civilization. The resultant work is a group of portraits of men and the landscapes they inhabit that are poignant, disturbing and mysterious. Soth’s uncanny ability to gain the trust of those whom he photographs gave him unprecedented access to these notoriously elusive individuals, in moments, variously, of brooding, deep reflection or vulnerability.

The genesis of the work is Soth’s fascination with the life of Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk who, prior to his death in 1968, lived for almost three decades at the remote Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. Additionally, Soth studied the years that Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph spent evading the authorities in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. In visits to these two locations, Soth realized that both these men’s stories ignited “a fantasy of retreat”.

Soth’s alter ego, Lester B. Morrison, was borne out of his research on this topic. Morrison created a text—the eponymously titled manual that accompanies the exhibition—written to aid others who, like him, choose to retreat from society and live off the grid in a remote area of the country. In it, he offers helpful hints on everything from disguising one’s appearance to creating a pseudonym. Soth, in turn inspired by Morrison’s manual, traveled the country taking photographs that illustrated Morrison’s ideas. Morrison proclaims: “Let this book be your guide. Over the last few years I’ve studied the experts of escape. Let us now praise these lonely men: hermits and hippies, monks and survivalists.” He goes on to explain, “I’ve included a number of photos by my comrade Alec Soth. When you look at these scenes, try to put yourself in the picture. Visualize your new life on the lam. Before you know it, you just might make the break.”

In 2011 the full-length documentary, Somewhere to Disappear was published. The film follows Soth as he travels across America in search of the subjects for Broken Manual.

ABOUT ALEC SOTH

Soth has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions. In 2008, a large survey exhibition of Soth’s work was exhibited at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland. In 2010, the Walker Art Center mounted a comprehensive exhibition with an accompanying catalogue entitled From Here To There, Alec Soth’s America. work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, amongst others. Soth became a nominee of Magnum Photos in 2004 and a full member in 2008.

Alec Soth - Broken Manual

Alec Soth - Broken Manual

Alec Soth - Broken Manual

Alec Soth - Broken Manual

Alec Soth - Broken Manual

Alec Soth - Broken Manual

Alec Soth - Broken Manual

Alec Soth - Broken Manual

Alec Soth - Broken Manual

Alec Soth - Broken Manual


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