Archive: 2006
Is this a clever artwork or simply ignorant vandalism?

Is this a clever artwork or simply ignorant vandalism?

Ai Weiwei, Coloured Vases, 2006
Ai WeiweiColoured Vases, 2006

Exhibition visitors have expressed feelings of uneasiness or even pain and nostalgia when seeing Coloured Vases by Ai Weiwei. The 51 vases that make up the artwork are originally treasures from the Neolithic Age (5000–3000 BCE) and the artist has dunked them in common industrial paint, commenting on the devastation caused by the Chinese cultural revolution and the disregard for centuries-old craftsmanship. By covering the surfaces, the history of the vases is no longer visible, but still there, beneath the dried layer of industrial color. Some viewers have felt provoked by this audacious act, in their eyes destroying something rare and precious, instead of safeguarding and worshipping it.

Like with many other works by Ai Weiwei, he uses irony to challenge viewers’ assumptions and perspectives. As China’s most notorious artist, he finds himself in constant confrontation with the Chinese authorities, and Coloured Vases is an essential piece in his rebellious oeuvre.

Ai Weiwei, coloured Vases, 2006, Neolithic vases (5000-3000 BC), industrial paint, 51 pieces, dimensions variable
Ai WeiweiColoured Vases, 2006, Neolithic vases (5000-3000 BC), industrial paint, 51 pieces, dimensions variable

Ai Weiwei, Coloured Vases, 2006
Ai WeiweiColoured Vases, 2006

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Surprising photos of veiled female police squad in Iran

Surprising photos of veiled female police squad in Iran

Abbas Kowsari - Police Women Academy, 2006

Abbas Kowsari - Police Women Academy, 2006
Abbas KowsariPolice Women Academy, 2006

In 2003 the first females ever graduated from Iran’s police academy in the capital city Tehran, after undergoing a training of three years. Spiritual leader Ayatollah Khamenei himself had to give permission to Tehran’s police chief Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf to create the first all-female police unit.

Photographer Abbas Kowsari does not shy away from controversial topics. He has worked for over ten Iranian leading newspapers, most of them now banned from publishing. He was granted permission to take photos of the graduation ceremony, which turned out to be quite unusual. “During Qalibaf’s time as police chief,” Kowsari said, “policewomen performed many martial arts and chase routines, including climbing walls and jumping out of the windows of moving cars. But after he stepped down, that training was eliminated. Last year’s ceremony was limited to a parade, speeches, target practice, and the loading of revolvers by blindfolded policewomen graduates. No photographers were allowed.

Abbas Kowsari currently works as the senior photo editor for Shargh newspaper in Tehran and his photos have been published in The New York Times, Time magazine, Der Spiegel and others.

Abbas Kowsari - Police Women Academy, 2007
Abbas KowsariPolice Women Academy, 2007

Abbas Kowsari - Police Women Academy
Abbas KowsariPolice Women Academy

Abbas Kowsari - Police Women Academy
Abbas KowsariPolice Women Academy

Abbas Kowsari - Dragnet Tehran, 2003
Abbas KowsariDragnet Tehran, 2003

Abbas Kowsari - Police Women Academy, 2006
Abbas KowsariPolice Women Academy, 2006

Abbas Kowsari - Police Women Academy Edition- 2/7, 2006
Abbas KowsariPolice Women Academy– 2/7, 2006


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Front row seat to Parisian ghetto

Front row seat to Parisian ghetto

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - La fenêtre, 2005

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - Le groupe, 2007, C-print, 90x120cm
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, Le groupe, 2007

The Algerian-born, Paris-based photographer Mohamed Bourouissa was born in 1978. His work has been presented and featured in an extensive number of solo and group exhibitions at venues including the Centre Pompidou, the Palais de Tokyo, the Palazzo Grassi – François Pinault Foundation in Venice, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, , the MAXXI in Rome, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Finnish Museum of Photography of Helsinki, the Fotomuseum in Rotterdam, and many more impressive venues.

Mohamed Bourouissa’s pictures are inspired by classical painting, the pictures are expressive declarations pointing at the ethical fallout of photojournalism, focusing on the problematic power relations that take place within the photographic medium in addition to the voyeuristic nature of photojournalism.

Mohamed Bourouissa’s photo’s, like those of many photojournalists work, features impoverished, stylish young African and Arab men and women, some who are immigrants while others are the children of immigrants, living in suburban housing projects on the peripheries of Paris. The photographs, however, are posed, which is where the inspiration of the classical painting comes in, motionlessly elegant.

His photographic works depicts the tensions and the many issues that have implications for the daily lives of young people who live in France’s suburb, or the metropolis’s peripheries. His gripping images have used documentary-style content combined with formal compositions that are influenced by classical paintings. His work looks at socio-political issues that are prevalent in the lives of disenfranchised youth, seeming to call out on the audience to remove any rose colored glasses and address the problems head on. The work, while stunning, creates an uncomfortable reminder for those who ignore the periphery, for those who seem to forget that all is not well, serving to make the truth unavoidable. While some may turn on their heal to run to a nearby overpriced coffee shop where they can hide in the bliss of ignorance, where others may be inspire to address the social issues that this work forces the audience see.

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - Carré Rouge, 2005
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, Carré Rouge, 2005

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - L’impasse, 2007
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, L’impasse, 2007

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - La fenêtre, 2005
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, La fenêtre, 2005

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - La Morsure, 2007
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, La Morsure, 2007

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - La rencontre, 2005
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, La rencontre, 2005

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - Le téléphone, 2006
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, Le téléphone, 2006

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - Le Reflet, 2007
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, Le Reflet, 2007

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique, Sans titre (metro), 2007
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, Sans titre (metro), 2007

Mohamed Bourouissa – Périphérique,
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, 2007

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - La Butte, 2007, 90x120cm
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, La Butte, 2007

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - La République, 2006, Paris, France
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, La République, 2006

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - Le Miroir, 2006
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, Le Miroir, 2006

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - Le poing, 2006
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, Le poing, 2006

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - Le Toit, 2007
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, Le Toit, 2007

Mohamed Bourouissa - Périphérique - Le Couloir, 2007
Mohamed BourouissaPériphérique, Le Couloir, 2007


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52 tons of cardboard cut into 900,000 pieces to create one single photo

52 tons of cardboard cut into 900,000 pieces to create one single photo

Thomas Demand - Grotto, 2006 (detail)

Thomas Demand - Grotto, 2006, Pier 24, San Francisco, 2013, Photo, Blake Gopnik
Thomas DemandGrotto, 2006, Pier 24, San Francisco, 2013
Photo: Blake Gopnik

Thomas Demand has ignited the imaginations and adventurous sides of viewers with his photography piece, titled Grotto. Pulling viewers into an underground cavern covered in beautiful bright stalactites and stalagmites, art lovers find themselves in the center of the earth. However, if viewers look a little deeper, they will find that there is much more with Grotto than what meets the eye. Once viewers come into realization, they are left in awe at the work that had gone into the creation of this photograph.

Demand had to use 52 tons of cardboard cut into 900,000 pieces to construct this life-size model of the innermost depths of a cave in Mallorca, Spain. Demand created this elaborate and lifelike model out of paper and cardboard, and then photographed it.

Demand, an almost photographic purist, never alters or retouches his images. As an artist, Demand was so fastidious regarding the imagery of his work that he built cardboard pixels in order to give particular areas in the image the appearance of a slightly unfocused photograph. His postmodern relationship with reality comes out in his building the image before photographing it. It is said that he more often than not, has never seen the places or objects that he photographs. Demand has only seen the models of them. Grotto for example is based on a tourist postcard. Thus the photographs he takes are of models based off of photographs.

The model he creates looks unbelievably natural from a distance until you see the artifice. He uses painting techniques of the 1500s known as ‘grottesca’ (grotesque) and virtual computer technology to help with the creation of 3D model. Following the completion of his photographic work, the artist destroys his carefully constructed model, leaving the only evidence of what it once was, the photographs. The process of building and destroying is a cathartic method, allowing for the artist to once again create something beautiful and new.

Thomas Demand - Grotto, 2006 (detail)
Thomas DemandGrotto (detail), 2006

Thomas Demand - Grotto, 2006 (detail) 2
Thomas DemandGrotto (detail), 2006

Thomas Demand - Processo Grottesco at Fondazione Prada
Thomas DemandGrotto (detail), 2006

Thomas Demand - Grotto, 2006, Serpentine Gallery, London
Thomas DemandGrotto, 2006, Installation at Serpentine Gallery, London

Thomas Demand - Installation at NGV National Gallery of Victoria showing, at right, Grotte : Grotto 2006
Thomas DemandGrotto, 2006, Installation at NGV National Gallery of Victoria showing at right

Thomas Demand - Processo grottesco, 2006-2007, Fondazione Prada Milano 2015
Thomas DemandProcesso grottesco, 2006-2007, Fondazione Prada Milano, Italy, 2015

Thomas Demand - Processo grottesco, 2006-2007, Fondazione Prada Milano 2015 2
Thomas DemandProcesso grottesco, 2006-2007, Fondazione Prada Milano, Italy, 2015

Thomas Demand - Processo grottesco, 2006-2007, Fondazione Prada Milano 2015 installation view
Thomas DemandProcesso grottesco, 2006-2007, Fondazione Prada Milano, Italy, 2015


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2,000 year old Chinese vases after being dipped in paint

2,000 year old Chinese vases after being dipped in paint

Ai Weiwei - Han Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Photo Sotheby's
Ai WeiweiHan Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Han Dynasty vases (202 BC to 220 AD) and auto paint, dimensions variable
Photo: Sotheby's

The Han Dynasty Vases with Auto-Paint is a work shown as part of Ai Weiwei’s solo exhibition “Evidence”. It is a series of neolithic vases, painted smooth and shining with brightly colored automotive paint. The aged vessels are given new context, evoking the mass marketing and luxurious consumerist appeal of the goods typically adorned with this type of paint, that are highly coveted in China. By destroying their historical value, he creates a highly politicized satire that calls into question the nature of art.

About Ai Weiwei

Born in 1957, Beijing, Ai Weiwei began his training at Beijing Film Academy and later continued at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. He was instrumental in the founding of the Overseas Chinese Artists Foundation as well as laying the groundwork for experimental artists in the East Village. His work has been displayed all over the world in Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and the United States and recently has been commissioned by the Tate Modern. Later his name would become famous with projects such as the Bird’s Nest, the Olympic Stadium for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. His role as an activist deepened, with his infamous probe of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake student deaths and the following closing of his blog.

Ai Weiwei - Han Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Palazzo Strozzi, Italy
Ai WeiweiHan Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Han Dynasty vases (202 BC to 220 AD) and auto paint, dimensions variable, at Palazzo Strozzi, Italy

Ai Weiwei - Han Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Photo Sotheby's
Ai WeiweiHan Dynasty Vases in Auto Paint, 2014, Han Dynasty vases (202 BC to 220 AD) and auto paint, dimensions variable
Photo: Sotheby's

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Why are hundreds of shirts flying in the air?

Why are hundreds of shirts flying in the air?

Kaarina-Kaikkonen-Hanging-Clothes-Helsinki
Kaarina Kaikkonen – Helsinki, Finland

Kaarina Kaikkonen is an artist best known for creating sculptural works using recycled materials, notably second-hand clothing seen in her memorable jacket installations. The environment is incorporated into these installations in some way, resulting in a beautiful, colorful cloth landscape. Each garment individually tells a story as an extension of its past wearer, and as a group they come together to create a history and visual retelling of their space.

About Kaarina Kaikkonen

Kaarina Kaikkonen (b. 1952) began as a painter, but has become known as a sculptor who shapes the urban landscape and makes installations emphasizing the sense of community. Kaikkonen studied at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts School in 1978-1983. Kaikkonen’s first installation was on display in Helsinki in 1988. In Finland, one of her most famous works is the Way -installation, which she built on the steps of Helsinki Cathedral in 2000.

Kaarina Kaikkonen - Networking, 2009 - Piazza Calderini, Bologna, Italy
Kaarina KaikkonenNetworking, 2009 – Piazza Calderini, Bologna, Italy

Kaarina Kaikkone - Prato contemporanea - Crossing Borders - 1
Kaarina Kaikkonen – Prato contemporanea – Crossing Borders, 2014, Firenze, Italy

Kaarina Kaikkone - Prato contemporanea - Crossing Borders - 2
Kaarina Kaikkonen – Prato contemporanea – Crossing Borders, 2014, Firenze, Italy

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Dark comic style portraits by Chinese artist

Dark comic style portraits by Chinese artist

Wang Yuping – Taoist Priest No.06, 2007, oil painting and acrylic, 190x150cm
Wang Yuping – Taoist Priest No.06, 2007, oil painting and acrylic, 190x150cm

Wang Yuping (b.1962, Beijing) is known for his gritty, comic book style portraits of urban life in China. His paintings are playful, feature rough, tough or absurd Beijing characters and seem to spy on life in the inner city as a kind of Wang Shuo of the art’s world. By placing us in intimate spaces with arresting, descriptive personal images, Wang Yuping continues his exploration of urban culture and social change.

He entered the Central Academy of Arts and Design in Beijing, China in 1983. Since he graduated in 1989, he has been teaching in the Oil Painting Department of CAFA. In 1997, he participated in the 47th Venice Biennial. His works have exhibited in various notable exhibitions in China and abroad and have been collected by the National Art Museum of China.

Wang Yuping - Eleven Face Guan Yin (the upper part), 2010, oil painting and acrylic, 240x190cm
Wang Yuping – Eleven Face Guan Yin (the upper part), 2010, oil painting and acrylic, 240x190cm

Wang Yuping - Dutar, 2009, oil painting and acrylic, 190x160cm
Wang Yuping – Dutar, 2009, oil painting and acrylic, 190x160cm

Wang Yuping - Eleven Face Guan Yin (the lower part), 2010, oil painting and acrylic, 240x190cm
Wang Yuping – Eleven Face Guan Yin (the lower part), 2010, oil painting and acrylic, 240x190cm

Wang Yuping - Father and Son, 2010, oil painting and acrylic, 200x160cm
Wang Yuping – Father and Son, 2010, oil painting and acrylic, 200x160cm

Wang Yuping - Master Wu, 2010, oil and acrylic on canvas, 200x160cm
Wang Yuping – Master Wu, 2010, oil and acrylic on canvas, 200x160cm

Wang Yuping - Monopolized Marriage, 2009, oil painting and acrylic, 200x230cm
Wang Yuping – Monopolized Marriage, 2009, oil painting and acrylic, 200x230cm

Wang Yuping - Taoist Priest No.02, 2007, oil painting and acrylic, 150x120cm
Wang Yuping – Taoist Priest No.02, 2007, oil painting and acrylic, 150x120cm

Wang Yuping, Taoist Priest No.03, 2005, oil painting and acrylic, 150x120cm
Wang Yuping, Taoist Priest No.03, 2005, oil painting and acrylic, 150x120cm

Wang Yuping - Taoist Priest No.05, 2007, oil painting and acrylic, 150x120cm
Wang Yuping – Taoist Priest No.05, 2007, oil painting and acrylic, 150x120cm

Wang Yuping - Taoist Priest No.05, 2007, oil painting and acrylic, 190x150cm
Wang Yuping – Taoist Priest No.05, 2007, oil painting and acrylic, 190x150cm

Wang Yuping - Buddha's Warrior Attendant Ha (Upper), 2011, acrylic on canvas, 190x240cm
Wang Yuping – Buddha's Warrior Attendant Ha (Upper), 2011, acrylic on canvas, 190x240cm

Wang Yuping - Life long Company, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 230x190cm
Wang Yuping – Life long Company, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 230x190cm

Wang Yuping - What a Lovely Bird, 2006, oil on canvas, 120x150cm
Wang Yuping – What a Lovely Bird, 2006, oil on canvas, 120x150cm


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