The 2013 Kinetica Art Fair

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2013-03-25 09:44:42

Belated and speedy report on the 5th Kinetica Art Fair.

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Aphra Shemza, Composition X. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

Year after year, i go to Kinetica with enthusiasm. I might find it a challenge to spot the real gems in a sea of (sometimes) artistically questionable works but that's part of the fun. Kinetica might not be the Mecca for art & science that some bloggers and journalists describe (too many holograms!) but it's certainly a good place to discover kinetic, electronic, and robotic art. It also has a friendly, open atmosphere that makes it surprisingly easy to have a chat with artists, art dealers and other exhibitors.

This year, the theme of Kinetica's exhibition and programme of talks and performances was 'Illusion and Reality' and the thin veil that divides what is real and perceived. The -fairly broad- theme aims to challenge ideas on what is real, perceived or imagined, and focuses on transformation, metamorphism, visual paradox, vibration, nature, the subliminal and the subconscious.

This year, i liked:

Wu Xiao Fei Dyson's Musical Typewriter sits quietly on a table. Each of its letters is attached to a fishing line that disappears quickly in a confusion of other fishing lines and triggers a little hammer as you type. The hammers strike empty barrels of rapeseed cooking oil, jars of Marmite, cans of Pepsi, wine bottles, etc. Each producing a different sound.

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Wu Xiao Fei Dyson, Musical Typewriter. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

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Wu Xiao Fei Dyson, Musical Typewriter. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

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Wu Xiao Fei Dyson, Musical Typewriter. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica


Wu Xiao Fei Dyson, Musical Typewriter

Mechanical Flipbooks by Mark Rosen and Wendy Marvel, (based on the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge) are inspired by Eadweard Muybridge's pioneering photographic studies of motion.

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Mark Rosen and Wendy Marvel, Mechanical Flipbook. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

Mechanical Flipbook, Horse in Motion

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Mechanical Flipbook, Horse in Motion. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

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Mark Rosen and Wendy Marvel, Mechanical Flipbook. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

Right at the entrance of the fair, The Walk was impossible to miss. The 2.5-meter diameter sphere is covered with some 35,000 LED's displaying a video loop that tells a story loosely based on Dante's Divine Comedy of the journey from Hell to Purgatory.

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Titia Ex, The Walk. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

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Titia Ex, The Walk. Image Happy Famous Artists

The most exciting booth was by far the one set up by All Visual Arts. They showed six works inside a small dark room.

The level of water contained in Ben Tyers' Breathe glass sculpture goes up and down following a slow, regular rhythm. In fact, the mechanism 'inhales and exhales' the same capacity of air as two human lungs. There's something meditative about the piece as after having watched it for a short period of time, you realize that your own breathing pattern calms down.

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Ben Tyers, Breathe, 2009. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

Paul Fryer's Chess for Tesla (which some of you might have seen at The Art of Chess exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery) is an homage to Nikola Tesla. Because Tesla was a pioneer of the vacuum tubes, the 32 pieces in the set are glass vacuum tubes. I didn't dare touch the work but apparently The board of the chess set powers the vacuum tube pieces so that when unplugged the individual pieces glow for a little while, struggling to keep connection with the board, and then die. Plug them back in and they reactivate.

I was told that the chess board was about to travel to Hollywood to feature in a blockbuster scifi movie (Star Trek if i remember correctly.)

More images, including Kinetic LEGO sculpture by Alex Allmont and a kinetic-tensegrity-roof and reactive floor.

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Alex Allmont. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

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Alex Allmont. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica


Alex Allmont, All Work and No Play. At Kinetica 2013


Alex Allmont, Ride With Me

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Alex Allmont. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


David John Rosewell, Puppets to our Creation

David John Rosewell's Puppets to our Creation mirrors the movements of the viewer who stands in front of it. The person becomes thus both the puppet and the puppeteer.

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Sharisharishari + Takumi, Tea Ceremony Room. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

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Christiaan Zwanikken, Exoskeletal. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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Alexei Shulgin, Rotating Landscapes. Image Happy Famous Artists

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Piotr Jedrzejewski. Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

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Photo by Luke Neve for Kinetica

More images on Happy Famous Artists and on my flickr set. The Torygraph has a stunning gallery.

Previously: The Kinetica Art Fair (part 1), The Kinetica Art Fair (part 2) and Soundwaves.

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2013 Sony World Photography Awards: Afrometals, crimes and Cossak's bootcamps

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2013-03-21 14:26:51

The other day i received the code to download the photos of the photographers shortlisted for the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition. Idle and bored, i opened the files and thought i should share the images. Because that's the kind of thing you do when you're an idle and bored blogger but also because the photos are as stunning as ever.

As usual in this kind of international photo competition, there's a couple of winning shots about Palestine, some portraits of magnificently coiffed people, plenty of violent deaths, prisoners living in dire conditions and almost half of these talented photographers are Italian. I'm very impressed by the Afrometals series, btw.

Most of these images will be exhibited next month at Somerset House in London in April and i'll take the opportunity to highlight the fact that for the first time in 5 years, i'm actually writing about an exhibition before it has closed.

Here's a quick selection with texts copied/pasted from the txt file accompanying each images.

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Agurtxane Concellon. From the series: Røros, a journey. Copyright: ©Agurtxane Concellon, Spain, Shortlist, Travel, Professional Competition, 2013

A group of 20-30 men and women with 12 horses and sleighs will travel during three days, crossing snowed roads and iced lakes, to reach to reach the opening day of Røros winter fair in Norway.

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Alecsandra Dragoi, New Year's eve traditions in Romania. Copyright: ©Alecsandra Dragoi, Romania, Winner, Culture, Youth Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

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Daniele Tamagni, Edith, Hellrider, Dadmonster. From the series Afrometals. Copyright: © Daniele Tamagni, Italy, Shortlist, Art & Culture, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

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Daniele Tamagni, A fan of metal music performing on at Kanye village. From the Series: Afrometals. Copyright: © Daniele Tamagni, Italy, Shortlist, Art & Culture, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

In Botswana metal music has landed in the nineties, but the rock came in the seventies by two Italian brothers, Ivo and Renato Sbrana, born and raised in the heart of Africa. The metal complexes are performing in nightclubs, concerts, festivals. The most famous African rock band is now Skinflint.The ranks of their fans has expanded dramatically. These fans wear jackets and black leather pants, studded belts, boots and cowboy hats. On their t-shirts stand out skulls, obscenities, historical covers of hard-rock groups popular in the seventies and eighties of the last century such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, AC / DC. Basically they created their own style look that is inspired by the classic symbolism metal, but also borrows heavily from the iconography of hands-Western film and the traditional rural world of Botswana (ever-present horns of animals concealed beneath the leather jacket ).

Tamagni is also the author of the equally amazing Gentlemen of Bacongo.

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Oliver Weiken, Palestinian morticians prepare the body of a man who died during an Israeli airstrike for his funeral in a morgue in a hospital in the Jabalya refugee camp, north of Gaza City, 21 November 2012. From the series: Israel - Gaza War. Copyright: © Oliver Weiken, Germany, Shortlist, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

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Oliver Weiken, From the series: Israel - Gaza War. Copyright: ©Oliver Weiken, Germany, Shortlist, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2013

On 14 November 2012 Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a seven day operation in the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip, dubbed 'Operation Pillar of Defense'. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that 158 Palestinians were killed during the operation, of which: 102 were civilians.

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Paolo Pellegrin, From the series The Crescent, Rochester, USA, 2012. ©Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum Photos. For Postcards from America project and ZEIT Magazine, Italy, Finalist, Current Affairs, Professional Competiiton 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

The area of Rochester where these pictures have been taken is part of the so called 'Crescent', a moon shaped area that runs across several Rochester neighborhoods and where crime rates are significantly higher than the rest of the city. The Crescent is home to 27 percent of the city's residents and 80 percent of the city's homicides. The reasons behind the burst of violence include the lagging upstate economy, a steady migration of residents to the suburbs and a growing number of abandoned houses prone to become centers of drug sales and use. Rochester also has a school system that performs poorly. People inside the Crescent experience those problems in greater concentration. ''It's an area of great poverty and high consumption rate of drugs which fuels an incredibly high number of homicides,'' said the Rochester police chief. Rochester, NY. USA 2012

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Javier Arcenillas. From the Series: Red Note. Copyright: © Javier Arcenillas, Spain, Shortlist, Contemporary Issues, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

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Javier Arcenillas. From the Series: Red Note. Copyright: © Javier Arcenillas, Spain, Shortlist, Contemporary Issues, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

Honduras is considered one of the most violent countries in the world. Every day in the streets of cities like San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa capital murder, robbery and violence are increasingly present. Ineffective internal politics of a country as unstable where drug trafficking into the USA is uncontrollable and unsafe neighborhoods of Maras is the closest thing to a daily war.

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Daesung Lee. From the series: On the shore of a vanishing island. Copyright: ©Daesung Lee, Korea, Finalist, Contemporary Issues, Professional Competition 2013/SIPA Press

Ghoramara island is located on a delta region in West Bengal. Due to the dramatic increase in sea level, resulting from the effects global warming since the 1960s, the shores of this island are being perpetually washed away. Since the 1980s more than 50% of the territory has vanished due to erosion by the sea. Many of the people still living on the island are farmers and fishermen who depend on the islandís resources for their livelihoods. According to a civil servant I met, in 20-25 years the Indian government could abolish the island and has already formulated a plan to evacuate villagers to another island named Sagar. However, this evacuation plan does not ensure any financial support or compensation for those having to relocate their lives. I situated villagers on the shore and took portraits of them in juxtaposition with the beauty of the vanishing island. There will come a day when these people will have no choice but to move out of their homeland.

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Valerio Bispuri, Prison inmates Santiago, Chile. From the Series: Encerrados. Copyright: © Valerio Bispuri, Italy, finalist Contemporary Issues Professional Competition 2013 Sony

I spent 10 years travelling for South-America jails. A different and complex world in which violence and abuse are part of convicts life. I saw how the convicts try to find a space similar to that one they had outside jails. They try to preserve their dignity. The necessity to recreate their space is the only way to defend them. They hardly try to maintain their habits in a human boundary condition and overcrowding status. Violence and power management inside the jails are direct consequences of these conditions. I went around for 74 male and female jails in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia e Venezuela. I got in contact with prisoners and guards, with fear and anger, with hope and diffidence. Some convicts considered me a distraction, others looked at me with envy, others again with contempt because they thought that I was there only for taking pictures to sell of their confined life.

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Maxim Donyuk, Natalie, 37 years old. Diagnosis: MDR TB + HIV. From the Series: Tuberculosis in the Faces. Copyright: © Maxim Dondyuk, Ukraine, Shortlist, Portraiture, Professional Competition, 2013

Tuberculosis department of Kherson, August 4, 2011. "I had a great loving family. I was my daddy's little girl. At 42 years old, my father went for a swim and died. My younger sister was going to college, and we needed money to pay for that. The economy was bad at the time, no one was getting paid. That's how I got into drugs." To provide for her family and pay for sister's education, Natalie gave up her music education and started selling drugs instead. Over time, she began to take drugs herself. That's how she contracted HIV, and later - tuberculosis. Natalie died in August 16, 2011. Her sister got married, gave birth to a daughter, and now lives in Moscow.

Series Description: In 1995, the World Health Organization declared the tuberculosis epidemic in Ukraine. Over the past 16 years, the situation has deteriorated even further. Each day TB takes lives of 30 people, annually of about 10,000 people.

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Colin Delfosse, Kamara Serbungo, 17, fled Rubabe (Rutshuru territory) when the M23 soldiers entered the house of his family to forcibly enlist him. Refugee in the Kanyaruchinya camp, he fled a second time when the M23 took over Goma. With other displaced persons he's now taking shelter at the Don Bosco parish. Colin Delfosse, Belgium/2013 Sony World Photography Awards, category Current Affairs

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Andrew Lubimov, Reportage about children military-patriotic camp, located in Crimea (Ukraine). From the series: From the cradle to combat. Copyright: © Andrew Lubimov, Ukraine, Shortlist, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

The pupil of Cossack's children military-patriotic camp "Crimea-Sech" eats buckwheat cereal at a separate table, during a lunch break in camp, Thursday, August 02, 2012, the Crimea (Ukraine). The main rations of pupils are the cereals and flour's products, tinned stewed meat. Children make breakfast, dinner and supper for themselves.

"Crimea-Sech" accept the children and teenagers between the ages of 8-18 years coming from different regions of CIS countries (Ukraine, Russia, Belarus). These children are cadets and already valid Cossacks of the various Cossacks organizations. Every day pupils of the camp are involved in dissimilar occupations -weapon assembly and disassembly, tactic combat simulation, survival in extreme conditions, reconnaissance work, terrain orientation, hand-to-hand fight, firing from different types of firearms.

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Reinis Hofmanis. From the series: Territory. Copyright: ©Reinis Hofmanis, Latvia, Shortlist, Architecture, Professional Competition, 2013

Territory is focused on various aspects and boundaries in the urban landscape. There are boundaries in landscapes which exist between the public and the private space, there are specifics of vision and perception, and an urban landscape serves as evidence of the way in which people populate and move around in territories. Each image features a guard and his guardhouse. Guard booths are architecturally inexpressive and humble, although present in the urban landscape. Those are images that feature the moment at which the guard has spotted or is approaching the photographer.

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Zhang Kechun, Holding Mao's picture swim across Yellow River in Henan, 2012. From the series: The Yellow River. Copyright: © Zhang Kechun, China, Shortlist, Landscape, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

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Louise Porter, Kara Woman, Omo Valley, Ethiopia. Copyright: © Louise Porter, USA, Shortlist, People, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

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Fausto Podavini. From the series: Mirella. Copyright: ©Fausto Podavini, Italy, Finalist, Lifestyle, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

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Jens Juul. From the series Six degrees of Copenhagen. Copyright: ©Jens Juul, Denmark, Finalist, Portraiture, Professional, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

Taking its point of departure in the idea that every person on Earth is connected in the sixth degree, this series of photos depicts human connections through the city of Copenhagen. The set up is that Jens Juul portray random people that he engage with in the streets, and that these chance meetings end up with him taking highly personal photos of these people, who then each send Jens Juul on to another person in their network, who he can portray, who then gives me the name of another person...

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Danny Cohen, Polar Bear. Copyright: ©Danny Cohen, Australia, Shortlist, Enhanced, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

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Arjen Schmitz. From the series Hong Kong. Copyright: © Arjen Schmitz, Netherlands Finalist, Landscape, Professional Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

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Peter Mysticdidge Plorin, Of the Tiger and Turtle. Copyright: ©Peter Mysticdidge Plorin, Germany, Shortlist, Architecture, Open 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

"Of the Tiger and Turtle" is a work of art on an industrial landmark. In the background you can see a steel mill.

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Diko Risanto, Jaranan (Pentulan). Copyright: © Diko Risanto, Indonesia, Shortlist, Portraits, Youth 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

Image Description: Jaranan is one of traditional culture in Indonesia, this dance usually play with trance by ghost. It looks unusual because jaranan usually has played by adult . this boy playing as pentulan.

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Mehmet Karaca, Makro Dunyasi. Copyright: © Mehmet Karaca, Turkey, Shortlist, Nature & Wildlife, Professional Competition, 2013

The Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition will open at Somerset House, London, on Friday 26 April, the day after the winners of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards.

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Ruins in Reverse

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2013-03-20 11:52:53

The programme of Project Space, the quiet gallery by the side entrance of Tate Modern, almost in front of the gadget shop, is often bolder, brainier and more socially-engaged than Tate's more blockbuster offerings (the Lichtenstein retrospective is a joy, btw.) Project Space is now showing Ruins in Reverse, a small-ish exhibition that takes its title from a a paragraph from an essay that land artist Robert Smithson wrote in 1967 while he was visiting industrial ruins in New Jersey: That zero panorama seemed to contain ruins in reverse, that is -all the new construction that would eventually be built. This is the opposite of the 'romantic ruin' because the buildings don't fall into ruin after they are built but rather rise into ruin before they are built. This anti-romantic mise-en-scène suggests the discredited idea of time and many other 'out of date' things. (...)'

Six artists were invited to show existing or specially commissioned work that consider the -sometimes fictitious- relationship between historical monuments and urban ruins.

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Rä di Martino, No More Stars (Star Wars), 2010. © the artist and Monitor, Rome

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Rä di Martino, No More Stars (Star Wars), 2010. © the artist and Monitor, Rome

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Rä di Martino, No More Stars (Star Wars) 33°59'39 N 7°50'34 E Chot El-Gharsa, Tunisia 03 September 2010. © the artist and Monitor, Rome

No More Stars (Star Wars) is perhaps the series that most clearly embodies the idea behind the show. Rä di Martino photographed the quietly decaying Star Wars movie sets in the deserts of Tunisia, which now look like an undusted archaeological site. I like the fact that her photos intrigue and attract the eye even if at first, you have no idea that they show the dissolving remains of a cult sc-ifi movie.

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Pablo Hare, Monuments 2005-12. Giganotosaurus, Valle de Majes, Arequipa, 2006. © Pablo Hare

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Pablo Hare, Monuments, 2005-2012. Miguel Grau, Bahía Tortugas, Ancash, 2008. © Pablo Hare

Pablo Hare's Monuments series documents the proliferation of public statuary on public squares and in the landscape of the young Republic of Peru. These dolphins, dinosaurs, Ancient Greece-style statues and other sculptures are sad rather than majestic and are often at odds with the spirit of a place they are supposed to epitomize.

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Eliana Otta, Archaeology as Fiction and Materiality as Fiction, 2010. © Eliana Otta

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Eliana Otta, Archaeology as Fiction and Materiality as Fiction, 2010. © Eliana Otta

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Eliana Otta, Archaeology as Fiction and Materiality as Fiction, 2010. © Eliana Otta

Eliana Otta's Archaeology as Fiction surveys and maps the decline of Lima's (analogical) record industry since its 1960s and 70s heyday, and the concurrent construction boom taking place in Lima.

The artist wrote down the addresses she could find printed on the records she owns and hunted for their location in the city. Most have disappeared and the buildings are either crumbling or have been replaced by offices of the Opus Dei.

The installation at Tate shows cassettes, photos, CDs, vinyls, lyrics written by hands or printed, etc. Each artefact has a material relationship to music and to an era that might now look like fiction to people who grew up with digital culture.

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Haroon Mirza, Cross section of a revolution, 2011. © Haroon Mirza

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Haroon Mirza, Cross section of a revolution, 2011. © Haroon Mirza

Haroon Mirza's sound installation Cross Section of a Revolution combines turntables, radio set and computer keyboards, fragments of technological obsolescence that form part of our domestic archaeology, with intangible fragments of the fast-paced Internet era. A TV monitor is repurposed to deliver a YouTube clip of a public speaking competition in Lahore. The turntable assemblage emits a repetitive electronic sound. It sounds like cacophony, i've no clue what the guy on the screen is talking about but the result is rather engrossing.

This way for the video.

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Amalia Pica, On Education, 2008. © Courtesy Herald St, London and Diana Stigter, Amsterdam

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Amalia Pica, On Education, 2008. © Courtesy Herald St, London and Diana Stigter, Amsterdam

Other works include Amalia Pica's video On Education showing a man painting an equestrian statue and a commission by José Carlos Martinat which explores the idea of the neglected urban ruin. The artist hung resin skins peeled from Lima's city walls by the windows of Tate Modern. They show ads and graffiti and they assume a whole new meaning when hanging inside the museum space.

Center for the Aesthetic Revolution has more photos and info.

Project Space: Ruins in Reverse is curated by Flavia Frigeri at Tate Modern and Sharon Lerner Museo de Arte de Lima. The exhibition is at Tate Modern, Project Space, Level 1 until 24 June 2013.

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STRP Biennial, a walk through the city of cyborgs

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2013-03-18 13:21:29

I just read in a press release that i was one of the 20.000 visitors of the sixth edition of STRP in Eindhoven. The yearly festival is now a biennial but the formula hasn't changed much: 10 days of science&tech-infused art and of electronic music.

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The New Machine Era, by Boudewijn Bollmann

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Marguerite Humeau, Back, Here Below, Formidable - The Rebirth of Prehistoric Creatures, 2011. Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann

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Marshmallow Laser Feast, Forest, 2013. Photo Boudewijn Bollmann

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Silent Cinema. Photo by Saskia Schilten

The theme of this year's exhibition is City of Cyborgs. Not the city of androids, clunky clones and man/machines contraptions but the city we are already walking through, smartphones in our pockets, implants in our bodies for some and ready to get our hands on Google glasses. City of Cyborgs in STRP speak means animatronics, opera for prehistoric creatures, a forest of interactive lasers, tapas made from edible solar cells, absurd mega machines and lots of dance. The high tech, the low tech, the digital, the organic and everything in between and beyond.

This year, STRP provided me this with a good excuse to catch up with and reflect on today's cyborg scenery and with the opportunity to discover artists and works i had never encountered so far.

I might be late to the party but i've just added the name of Ief Spincemaille to my list of young artists t follow. Sadly, I didn't manage to get my hands on his Reverse Blinking goggles. All i can say is that people kept telling me "Have you tried it? Have you?! it's brilliant! Brilliant!' Since i've missed the fun, i'll just copy/paste the description:

Imagine being caught with your head inside a photo camera. It's completely dark. Only when the shutter opens for a very brief moment, you perceive a flash of the world. You see people as static figures, entire street scenes as moments frozen in time. Everything you lay your eyes on seems to acquire the characteristics of a photograph. The shutter moves so fast that it leaves no space for movement. The plates move up and down causing your eyes to make a reverse blinking movement: the plates are generally shut off, and only open and close quickly and briefly. The spectators can open and close the shutter themselves with a button, allowing them to determine the frequency, but not the speed (shutter time).

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Ief Spincemaille, Reverse Blinking. Photo by Saskia Schilten

I did however, have a go at the other work that the artist was showing: the Chain driven 3D mirror which makes it possible to walk around your own head and view it as if it belonged to somebody else. The most remarkable aspect of the work is that it doesn't involves any digital technology but relies entirely on mechanical components: a chain, sprocket and motor.

I actually found it more interesting to watch visitors trying on the apparatus. They seemed to hover between the fascination to watch their own head under every possible angle and the self-conscious feeling that people around them are watching them. I wish i had a better photo of the installation but i stupidly deleted mine and the ones provided by the festival focus more on the near-orgasmic expressions of the visitors than on the artworks themselves.

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Ief Spincemaille, Chain Driven 3D Mirror. Photo by Saskia Schilten

Paul Granjon's modified Robotic Perception Kits were available for a test-run in the exhibition space but they were so much in demand that yet again, i didn't manage to get them on. The goggles and ear sets allow users to experience the world as is if you were a robot.

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Paul Granjon, Robot Perception Kit, 2006. Photo by Saskia Schilten

I'm going to hop right into the performances programme. Because you cannot curate a cyborg-themed festival without including Stelarc, one of the opening night performances saw him manipulating his now legendary Exoskeleton. The beastly machine has been touring festivals and exhibition for several years and it still has the power to knock out and turn us into a collectively gasping crowd. I for one was very impressed.

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Stelarc Exoskeleton. Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann

That same night saw a performance by Daito Manabe. The artist has gained fame over the past few years by sitting solemnly in front of a table while the muscles of his face are controlling the tones and rhythms of his musical performances.

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Daito Manabe. Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann


Daito Manabe, Electric Stimulus to Face -test 4 (Daito Manabe 's friends)

Back to the exhibition and to contraptions i wouldn't be seen dead wearing: Guo Cheng's The Mouth Factory is made of drills and lathes designed to be operated with the user's jaw and mouth.

A couple more works you might or might not have heard about already:

Valerie, My Crystal Sister is a crystal chandelier that hides a moving story: the attempt by designer Lucas Maassen to create an object that would be, genetically speaking, the sister that he never had. The chandelier is not only a visualization of the basic code of life, it also asks whether it is possible to use the biological process that created Maassen as a design process to create an object. The designer first crystallized synthetic DNA fragments taken from his parents and then produced a magnified version of this crystal also out of crystal. Finally, Maassen assembled one thousand such pieces to form the chandelier exhibited at STRP.

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Lucas Maassen, Valerie, My Crystal Sister. Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann

Jordi Puig's A-ME is an 'emotional memory recall device.' The installation allows visitors to upload memories to an artificial brain. They can also navigate the brain and listen to the memories that other people have stored in A-ME.

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Jordi Puig, A-ME. Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann

A-me : Augmented memories from WASAWI on Vimeo.

Waterfall Swing. The name says it all.

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Dash7Design, Waterfall Swing. Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann

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Waterfall Swing. Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann

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The New Machine Era, by Boudewijn Bollmann

More images on STRP's flickr set.

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#A.I.L - artists in laboratories, episode 23: Austin Houldsworth

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2013-03-14 05:27:16

The new episode of #A.I.L - artists in laboratories, the weekly radio programme about art and science i present on ResonanceFM, is aired tonight.

My guest at Resonance today is Austin Houldsworth, a young designer with whom we are going to discuss money, its physical disappearance and the financial crimes that could be committed within a completely electronic marketplace.

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Austin Houldsworth, Crime Pays

As you might remember from a post i wrote a couple of weeks ago about his project Crime Pays, Austin's research explores the near future possibility of living in an entirely cashless society. Today, card transactions are on the rise and it is also forecast that at some point over the next few years, mobiles will have overtaken cards to pay for goods and services. But it's not just banks who want you to go cashless, governments also want to see the end of coins and bills because a cashless society is easier to trace and control and they see cash as the currency of the black economy. Now the value of the black economy varies from country to country. In Italy, for example, the black economy is thought to be 27pc of GDP and to fight its expansion, the previous government has decided that any transaction of over 1000 euros has to be handled by card exclusively. Similarly, Spain has recently banned the use of cash in transactions of 2,500 euros or more. And the movement is spreading... Although the black market might be less widespread in the UK, the government is still spending 20 to 40 billion per year combating organised crime.

So we're going to talk more in depth about Crime Pays but also spend some time on a competition Austin is curating at the moment. The Future of Money Design Award has a pretty appetizing theme this year: artists and designers were invited to design a crime for the age of electronic transactions.

The show will be aired today Thursday 14st March at 17:30. The repeat is next Tuesday at 6.30 am (yes, a.m!) If you don't live in London, you can catch the online stream or wait till we upload the episodes on soundcloud.

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Primrose - Russian Colour Photography

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2013-03-13 11:24:47

Whenever i'm in Amsterdam i head to Foam, the city's museum of photography. Out of habit mostly. I actually think that Huis Marseille's programme is often bolder and more relevant to my own interests but this month Foam has a show titled Primrose - Russian Colour Photography and the word "Russia" always does it for me. The exhibition charts Russia's attempts to produce coloured photographic images from the 1860s to 1970s. Room after rooms, the visitor realizes that photography is a cogent filter to reveal the history of a country in the course of a century.

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Dmitry Baltermants, Men's talk, 1950s

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Photo of the exhibition opening © Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow

You can read a text written by curator Olga Sviblova over here. It presents with great clarity the changes in technology and the socio-political vicissitudes Russia went through during the early days of colour photography. Not only am i no expert in Russian history nor photography techniques but i'm also an ultra lazy blogger. I hope you will excuse me if i just sum up (but mostly cut/copy/paste) Sviblova's words below:

Colour became widespread in Russian photography in the 1860s. At the time, colour was added to photographic prints manually using watercolour and oil paints. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Russia was undergoing two opposing trends: active europeanisation and search for a national identity that translated into tinted photographs that portrayed people wearing national costumes -- Russian, Tatar, Caucasian, Ukrainian, etc.

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V. Yankovsky "In memory of my military service". Saint Petersburg. Beginning of 1910s Collodion, painting Collection of Moscow House of Photography Museum © Moscow House of Photography Museum

The photographic documentation of life in the Russian Empire in the early 20th century acquired the status of a State objective. In May 1909 Tsar Nicholas II gave an audience to the photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky who, in 1902, had announced a technique for creating colour photographs by combining shots taken successively through light filters coloured blue, green and red. Delighted with this invention, Emperor Nicholas II commissioned the photographer to take colour photographs of life in the various regions of the Empire.

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Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, Portrait of Lev Tolstoy, 25 May 1908

Meanwhile autochrome pictures by the Lumière brothers, with whom Prokudin-Gorsky worked after emigrating to France, became very popular in early 20th-century Russia. Autochromes, colour transparencies on a glass backing, could be viewed against the light, or projected with the aid of special apparatus. They were used by Pyotr Vedenisov, a nobleman whose hobby was to photograph his own family life. The private image later provided an excellent description of the typical lifestyle enjoyed at the time by educated Russian noblemen.

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Piotr Vedenisov, Kolya Kozakov and the Dog Gipsy. Yalta. 1910-1911 Collection of Moscow House of Photography Museum © Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow / Moscow House of Photography Museum

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Piotr Vedenisov, Vera Kozakov in Folk Dress. 1914, Collection of Moscow House of Photography Museum © Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow / Moscow House of Photography Museum

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Piotr Vedenisov. Tania, Natasha, Kolia and Liza Kozakov, Vera Nikolayevna Vedenisov and Elena Frantsevna Bazilev. Yalta, 1910-1911

The onset of the First World War in 1914 and October Revolution in 1917 reduced to ruins the Russia whose memory is preserved in the tinted photographs and autochromes of the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Vladimir Lenin and the new Soviet government saw photography as an important propaganda weapon for a country where 70% of the population were unable to read or write. From the mid-1920s photomontage, used as an ideological 'visual weapon', was widespread in the Soviet Union, enthusiastically encouraged by the Bolsheviks.

From the mid-1920s Alexander Rodchenko regenerated the forgotten technique of hand colouring his own photographs. In 1937, at the height of Stalin's repression, Rodchenko began photographing classical ballet and opera, using the arsenal of his aesthetic opponents, the Russian pictorialists, who by that time were subject to harsh repression. For Alexander Rodchenko soft focus, classical subject matter and toning typical of pictorial photography were a mediated way of expressing his internal escapism and tragic disillusionment with the Soviet utopia.

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Alexander Rodchenko. Race. "Dynamo" Stadium. 1935. Artist's gelatine silver print, gouache. Collection of Moscow House of Photography Museum © A. Rodchenko - V. Stepanova Archive © Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow/ Moscow House of Photography Museum

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Varvara Stepanova, Red Army Men, photomontage for "Abroad" magazine, 1930 collection B Ignatovich

In 1932 general rules for socialist realism were published in the USSR, as the only creative method for all forms of art, including photographic. Soviet art had to reflect Soviet myths about the happiest people in the happiest country, not real life and real people.

In 1936 both Agfa and Kodak introduced colour film but Second World War delayed their broad distribution to the amateur photography market. In the USSR colour photography only appeared at the end of the war.

Until the mid-1970s, in the USSR negative film for printing colour photographs was a luxury only available to a few official photographers who worked for major Soviet publications. All of them were obliged to follow the canons of socialist realism and practise staged reportage.

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Yakov Khalip. Sea cadets. End of 1940s. © Moscow House of Photography Museum

From the late 1950s, in the Khrushchev Thaw after the debunking of Stalin's cult of personality, the canons of socialist realism softened and permitted a certain freedom in aesthetics, allowing photography to move closer to reality.

In the postwar period, during the 1950s to 1960s life gradually improved and coloured souvenir photo portraits again appeared on the mass market. They were usually produced by unknown and 'unofficial' photographers, since private photo studios that used to carry out such commissions were now forbidden, and the State exercised a total monopoly on photography by the 1930s.

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Dmitry Baltermants, Portrait of Olympic champion Yury Vlasov, 1960. Installation shot by Foam

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Dmitry Baltermants Show-window. Beginning of 1970s Colour print Collection of Moscow House of Photography Museum © Dmitry Baltermants Archive © Moscow House of Photography Museum

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Dmitry Baltermants Meeting in the tundra. From the "Meetings with Chukotka" series. 1972 Colour print Collection of Moscow House of Photography Museum © Dmitry Baltermants Archive © Moscow House of Photography Museum

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Dmitri Baltermants, Rain, 1960s

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Dmitry Baltermants. Moscow. 1960s. Museum 'Moscow House of Photography'

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Robert Diament. He has turned her head. Beginning of 1960s. Colour print. Collection of Moscow House of Photography Museum © Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow/ Moscow House of Photography Museum

Boris Mikhailov copied, enlarged and tinted these kitsch photo souvenirs to supplement his income at his photo lab in the early 1970s. Revealing and deconstructing the nature of Soviet myths in the process.

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Boris Mikhailov, From the series Luriki, end of 1970s - beginning of 1980s

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Boris Mikhailov, Untitled (from the series Luriki), 1971-1985

Colour transparency film, which could be developed even in domestic surroundings, appeared on the Soviet mass market in the 1960s and 1970s. It was widely used by amateurs, who created transparencies that could be viewed at home with a slide projector. An unofficial art form emerging in the USSR at this time developed the aesthetics and means for a new artistic conceptualisation of reality, quite different from the socialist realism that still prevailed, although somewhat modified.

More than half a century of Soviet power after the 1917 Revolution radically altered Russia. The photographer was certainly not required or even allowed to take nude studies as corporeality and sexuality were seen as inherent signs of an independent individual. In photographing Suzi Et Cetera Boris Mikhailov disrupts the norms and reveals characters, his own and that of his subjects. It was impossible to show these shots in public, but slides could be projected at home, in the workshops of his artist friends or the often semi-underground clubs of the scientific and technical intelligentsia, who began to revive during Khrushchev's Thaw after the Stalinist repression. Boris Mikhailov's slide projections are now analogous to the apartment exhibitions of unofficial art. By means of colour he displayed the dismal standardisation and squalor of surrounding life, and his slide performances helped to unite people whose consciousness and life in those years began to escape from the dogmatic network of Soviet ideology, which permitted only one colour -- red.

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Photo of the exhibition opening © Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow

More photos in Le Journal de la Photographie and Multimedia Art Museum Moscow.
Primrose - Russian Colour Photography is at Foam in Amsterdam until 3 April 2013.

Related posts: Soviet Photomontages 1917-1953 and
Russian Criminal Tattoo portraits.

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Carsten Nicolai - Observatory

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2013-03-11 14:08:50

Very few artists manage to translate scientific phenomena into stunning images as elegantly as Carsten Nicolai. If you're in London, don't you dare miss Observatory at Ibid Projects.

The works on show visualise diverse physical occurrences. From the ground floor to the top floor, the installations, videos and photographic pieces investigate phenomena that get further and further away from our daily experience.

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Carsten Nicolai, thermic, 2011

The installation on the ground floor, Thermic, screens the usually invisible heat waves floating through space. Hot air produced from a streaming heat source made visible by a spotlight rendering shadows of it onto the wall. Like a mirage, we can see fluctuations of air thus realizing that we are not surrounded by empty space but by physical, flexible matter.

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Future past perfect pt. 04 (stratus), 2013


wolken w1, 2013

One floor up, the video future past perfect pt. 04 (wolken) shows clouds that appear almost as an optical illusion - the camera zooms in while different shots of clouds are interspersed together. Accompanying prints from the wolken series show clouds that reveal resemblances to both micro and macro structures.

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Particle noise, 2013

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Particle noise, 2013 (detail)

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Traces t14, 2007

In particle noise on the top floor of the gallery, radioactive particles and magnetic noise are captured in sound, with Geiger counters being the source for a sound installation. The
traces series of photographs, exhibited alongside this installation, document the numerous traces of cosmic and terrestrial radiation, which ionize the gaseous ethanol steam inside a cloud chamber.

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Wismut (dust) w8, 2013

Carsten Nicolai - Observatory is at Ibid Projects until 20 April 2013.

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#A.I.L - artists in laboratories, episode 22: Asa and Rachael from MadLab

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2013-03-07 03:04:49

The new episode of #A.I.L - artists in laboratories, the weekly radio programme about art and science i present on ResonanceFM, is aired tonight.

My guests at Resonance today are creative technologists Asa Calow and Rachael Turner, the founders of the MadLab. Madlab is the short name for Manchester Digital Laboratory, a remarkably active community space for science, technology and art located in Manchester Northern Quarters. Luckily for me, Rachael and Asa are currently in London, where they are heading a series of workshops and events as part of their residency at The Arts Catalyst.

The events explore in a hands-on way the world of DIY Biology. Participants learn how to build their own labs using LEGO and affordable materials, create microbe-powered LED lights using local mud, go on a hunt for water bears and participate to a feast of cellular gastronomy. Yesterday night, i participated to the workshop on genetic modification for beginners. It was eye-opening and fun (although scientific protocols tend to be a bit repetitive.) Many of the events are already sold out but some have bigger capacity and there's still a few spots to grab. So have a look at the website of artscatalyst.org for more details.


Shoestring Biotech workshop. Photo: The Arts Catalyst

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The show will be aired today Thursday 21st February at 17:30. The repeat is next Tuesday at 6.30 am (yes, a.m!) If you don't live in London, you can catch the online stream or wait till we upload the episodes on soundcloud.

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Tatty nostalgia. Mike Kelley's retrospective at the Stedelijk

Feed : we make money not art
Published on : 2013-03-06 10:06:36

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Janitorial Banner, 1984

The press release for the exhibition states that Mike Kelley is widely acknowledged as an artist who defined his era. Meanwhile, an article in the LA Times says that he is an artist few Dutch knew. Well, thank you LA Times, i feel less lonely with my crass ignorance.

Mike Kelley used found objects, textile banners, drawings, assemblage, collage, performance and video to comment on high and pop culture, youthful rebellion and American society in general.

There are stuffed toys quietly seating around a rug as if they were having a picnic. Handmade dolls have been dismembered and used to create a wall composition. There's also a banana man, colour exercises based on asinine adult humour magazines, bird houses of various architecture styles, etc. Which sounds cheerful, except it's not. It's nostalgia, but a nostalgia that's a bit dirty and bedraggled.

The exhibition was programmed in collaboration with the artist as a thematic, mid-career survey, but everything changed when Kelley committed suicide in January 2012 . The show is now a retrospective, with a more chronological shade.

I told you it wasn't too cheerful. But it is a bold, brilliant and flamboyant show. The retrospective was for me an introduction to Kelley's work and I definitely recommend that you brave the queue to enter the Stedelijk (well, it wasn't very smart of me to go there on a Sunday afternoon after all) and spit the 17.50 euros to get an entrance ticket.

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Estral Star #3, 1989

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Ah. . . . Youth!, 1991

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Empathy Displacement, 1990. Photo Lost Painters

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Mike Kelley, Naked Majas (Bettelheim's Genital), 2008-2009

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Photo of the opening at the Stedelijk museum. ©Reinier RVDA for Stedelijk

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Photo of the opening at the Stedelijk museum. ©Reinier RVDA for Stedelijk

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Photograph: Evert Elzinga/AFP/Getty

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Photo of the opening at the Stedelijk museum. ©Reinier RVDA for Stedelijk

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Nostalgic Depiction of Childhood, 1990

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View of one of the exhibition rooms

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Figure II (Hair), 1989

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Mike Kelley, Banana Man Costume, 1981

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Arena #7 (Bears), 1990

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More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages Of Sin, 1987

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Switching Marys, 2004-2005

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Kissing Kidneys, 1989

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Animal Self and Friend of Animal, 1987

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Dancing the Quadrille (from the Reconstructed History Series), 1989

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Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij

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Photo: I Am Expat

The Mike Kelley retrospective remains open until 1st April at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. The show will then travel to the Centre Pompidou, Paris, MoMA PS1, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

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Paraná Ra'anga. Itinerancia 2011-2013

Feed : Universes in Universe - Magazine
Published on : 2013-03-03 00:46:33
Exhibition as the final presentation of an expedition along the Paraná river. Participants from Argentina, Paraguay, and Spain. Espacio de Arte OSDE, Buenos Aires

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