Friday, December 07, 2012

Art Basel Miami Beach 2012

Art Positions 2012

written by Peter Duhon and Nathalie Zwimpfer in Miami Beach

Categorized by Art Basel as a platform for discovering new talent from across the globe, Art Positions delivers on that promise by presenting 16 artists spanning 10 countries. While in South Beach, Art Comments surveyed the works on display and we've short listed 5 of the artists for our readers to bookmark.

Latoya Ruby Frazier

Recently participated in the Whitney Biennial 2012 with much acclaim. Represented here at Art Basel by the Parisian space, Galerie Michel Rein. Her work is at once personal and political, she doesn't hesitate to critique the ill effects of industrialism and its proponents, for example, Andrew Carnegie and his legacy. 

Of the photographs on display, one series charts and documents the destructive course of a non-profit organization that is currently leading the charge in destroying community centers and hospitals in Pittsburgh, PA.

The documentation of erasure and displacement by Latoya Ruby Frazier continues her ongoing investigations and critique of capitalism that initially began with intimate, familial photographs.

Latoya Ruby Frazier

Aslı Çavuşoğlu

Turkish artist Aslı Çavuşoğlu, represented by NON, a gallery based in Istanbul, is well known for her recent project Murder in Three Acts presented at Frieze London 2012. At Art Positions there are two separate work series exhibited in the booth. One of which that stood out is the Pawnbroker series that consists of 9 photograms that mostly show sets of jewelry.

Aslı Çavuşoğlu’s work is important because it deals with Turkey’s rather turbulent history and especially the Ottoman nostalgia that has been spread over the country in the last few years. However, Aslı Çavuşoğlu’s work does not only focus on the country’s history but also deals with research and it’s difficulties that evolve due to historical events.

Aslı Çavuşoğlu

Irene Kopelman

Amsterdam based artist Irene Kopelman explores the relationship between art and research. In a previous project Kopelman has focused on sameness and difference in the context of zoology, more precisely in entomology. Her work deals with the difficulties of taxonomy and how complex phenomena are put in a tight system by simplification.

At Art Positions Irene Kopelman is represented by the LABOR gallery. The exhibition consists of several watercolor paintings and one work made of numerous pieces of fired clay presented on the booth’s floor. The work shows the practice of the notion of scientific models through visual means.

Kopelman’s work has a big importance for the current, ongoing discourse of the relationship between art and science and how the methods of research in each field can be applied on one another.

Irene Kopelman

Leyla Cardenas

Based in Bogotá and represented there by Casas Riegner, Leyla Cardenas engages with the remnants and artifacts of destruction, the seen and unseen, the visible and invisible. Her found object and sculpture on display, Excision, are an example of a process that mirrors that of an archeologist since she procures fragments such as walls, ceilings and floors to produce her work.

Her work embodies the failures of modernization, a reminder of the harsh realities produced by urban renewal and redevelopment in Bogotá but also globally.

Leyla Cardenas

Atsushi Kaga

Japanese artist Atsushi Kaga is presented by Irish gallery Mother’s Tankstation at Art Positions. His paintings and drawings show different scenes involving cartoon-like characters he created. On all his work, cute-looking fluffy bunnies, bears and other amusing creatures discuss the frailties of human existence charged with cynicism and humor.

Kaga activates the booth by co-opting it as a production studio where visitors can see him and his mother working to create art, custom handbags branded with his fictional characters.

Visit Atsushi’s visually highly appealing website where each character receives it’s own space:

Atsushi Kaga

Art Basel Miami
December 5 - 9, 2012

Monday, December 03, 2012

Turner Prize 2012

Paul Noble: Turner Prize nominee and his drawings

written by Nathalie Zwimpfer in Basel, Switzerland

The Turner Prize has often been criticized and various people and groups such as the Stuckists protest against Great Britain’s most famous art award every year. They are opposed to the Turner Prize’s focus on conceptual art since they would like it to concentrate on figurative painting. Turner Prize winning artists of the previous 10 years whose work are considered conceptual are Mark Leckey (2008), Mark Wallinger (2007), Tomma Abts (2006), Simon Starling (2005) and Jeremy Deller (2004). 

Indeed calling the award after one of Great Britain’s most famous painters might not be a very suitable and fortunate choice of name, however, nominating artists that work with all different kinds of media and methods only references today’s diverse artist’s practice. 

Penelope Curtis, director of Tate Britain and chair of the jury doesn’t even want to the award to be representative. She states: “The Turner Prize is neither a survey nor a barometer of what is happening in contemporary British art.” In contrast, the Stuckist’s approach is rather dogmatic. They claim: “Artists who don’t paint aren’t artist.”

Paul Noble

This year’s nominees are Spartacus Chetwynd, Luke Fowler, Elisabeth Price and Paul Noble. None of the four nominees is a painter, however, one of them, British artist Paul Noble, employs a rather traditional technique for his art production. His work consists of large-scaled drawings and numerous small-sized marble sculptures which are now exhibited at the Tate Britain in London. Paul Noble has been nominated for his solo-exhibition Welcome to Nobson at Gagosian Gallery in London in 2011.

Drawing remains the fastest way of accomplishing a visual expression and has always been an important part of visual arts. During the Renaissance drawing gained a special significance in the act of visual creation. Famous art historian Giorgio Vasari defined the term "disegno" - which is translated best by “drawing” - in his publication Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times in 1550. However, “disegno” in Vasari’s sense is not only a "drawing“, but becomes an artistic inspiration and an intellectual concept, too. A divine means of creation and knowledge.

Paul Noble

Although Vasari emphasizes the importance of drawing and sketching not only as an artistic method, but also as the essence of all artistic production, he doesn’t see them as autonomous pieces of art. In the course of art history drawings have hardly been valued as artworks themselves. They rather served as means to sketch a painting or sculpture. Only much later, in the 20th century, drawings became more appreciated and gained their autonomy as artworks.

It’s indisputable that Noble’s drawings are autonomous, self-consistent pieces of art. Not only their large-scaled size is impressive but also their density. Noble draws his fictional metropolis Nobson Newtown very precisely and the urban area is built up by hundreds of details. Even though Noble’s drawings follow rigorous constructional rules there’s this exceptional virtuosity in his use of ordinary, predominantly hard-mined pencils and all different shades. They especially reference Hieronymus Bosch’s perspective that makes space suddenly vanish. The drawing’s density reminds one of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s paintings.

Vasari describes the “disegno” as the foundation of all paintings, sculptures and architecture. Noble eludes from this function of drawings. He states: “There is no story or time in Nobson Newtown. I consider it to be a play without acts or actors.”

Paul Noble

Therefore one can argue that Noble’s drawings are rather conceptual than narrative or aesthetic. This is where things become interesting. Artworks cannot be categorized so easily. There’s a lot of potential in showing artworks of different media next to each other. That allows the development of the interplay between artworks on a meta-level. Seeing Paul Noble’s work at Tate Britain helps evoking questions about how different material, techniques and methods serve different concepts, ideas and creativity in general.