Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wangechi Mutu

One Hundred Lavish Months of Bushwhack, 2004

Females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body.

Wangechi Mutu (Saatchi website)

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Wangechi Mutu is a Kenyan-born artist, sculptor and anthropologist, who predominantly works in the medium of collage. The distinctive technique she uses in her large-scale artworks combines drawing with both pencil and ink (very expressive spatters and marbling) with collage elements taken from glossy magazines such as Vogue and National Geographic. Jordan Kantor observes: “The artist’s apparent revelry in the way ink splashes, runs, and marbleizes on the plastic-based Mylar sheets she typically uses conveys an enthusiasm for looking, and for the visual, that is contagious” (Dexter, p.214).

Hide and Seek, Kill or Speak, 2004

Wangechi Mutu uses the African female body as a starting point for her social commentaries. The depicted figures remind plastic surgeries gone-wrong or mutilated war victims, yet this repulsive and violent imagery appears beautiful in some perverse way. Her razor-sharp criticism hits contemporary African politics and the international fashion industry. David Moos, AGO Curator of Contemporary Art, explains: “Wangechi Mutu’s work boldly explores the contradictions of female and cultural identity, drawing the viewer into conversations about beauty, consumerism, colonialism, race, and gender. Her representations of the human form are disturbing and transfixing, at once utterly complex and strikingly direct” (AGO).

Indurated Ulcers of the Cervix, 2005

My Strength Lies, 2006

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Dexter E. (ed) (2005) Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing, London: Phaidon Press Ltd

AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario Provocative Kenyan-Born Artist Wangechi Mutu to Tear Up Gallery Walls in Canadian Debut: http://www.ago.net/provocative-artist-wangechi-mutu-to-tear-up-gallery-walls-in-canadian-debut

Saatchi Gallery, Wangechi Mutu – artist’s profile: http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/wangechi_mutu.htm

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Charles Avery and The Islanders

Untitled (the Port of Onamatopoeia)

Charles Avery is a Scottish artist, who in 2004 created a parallel universe, an imaginary island, which than he filled meticulously with its own geography, population, flora and fauna. Mythical creatures, gods, inhabitants, tourist and adventurers are embedded into complex social structure, forming an entire cosmos that spans between pure fantasy and theoretical reflection. This vast, ongoing project is executed in a numerous large-scale drawings, texts, sculptures and installations. The pencil and ink incredibly detailed drawings illustrate islanders’ everyday life, as if in a reportage, they invite the viewer to explore the story of Onomatopoeia, while sculptures and installations make it even more real and believable.

Untitled (Heidless Macgregor's Bar)

The fantastic world, which Avery devoted himself to describe, is based and reflects on the world around us and the artist’s own experiences (he was brought up on the Scottish Isle of Mull) and could be interpreted as “a philosophical meditation on art-making and the impossibility of finding truth“(Avery, p. 145). Nicolas Bourriaud compares Avery’s work to Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and says: “In our globalised universe, where even the slightest square meter has been charted by satellites and is accessible on websites like Google Earth, the invention of the world has a completely different meaning […] Inventing a country, nation or region from A to Z as Avery does, is like practicing a kind of intellectual separatism.”(Avery, p. 150)

The Palace of the Timewatchers

Untitled (Place of The Route of the If’En)

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Avery, Ch. (2008) The Islanders, An Introduction, London: Parasol unit, Koenig Books Ltd

Rawlings, L. Island Life, The List: http://www.list.co.uk/article/14587-charles-avery/


Zbigniew Rybczyński

Zbigniew Rybczyński is a visionary Polish film director, animator, cinematographer, innovator and experimentator in the technical field of filmmaking. He is a recognized pioneer in HDTV technology, which he used for the first time in 1986, while directing music video for John Lennon’s Imagine. Rybczyński won numerous prestigious industry awards internationally. He also has a distinguished academic career, teaching at universities in Poland, Germany, US and Japan.

Rybczyński is best known for his short animated video Tango, for which, among many other awards, he received an Oscar in 1983. The entire film is shot from a static camera, which focuses on the interior of a medium-sized room. The space is gradually filled with random characters from everyday life, who preoccupied with their daily routine move around the room in infinite loops, avoiding each other miraculously. The ostensible chaos and madness, created by Rybczyński in this scene, in fact happens to be a work of mathematical perfection and an extraordinary montage skill.

“I had to draw and paint about 16.000 cell-mattes, and make several hundred thousand exposures on an optical printer. It took a full seven months, sixteen hours per day, to make the piece […] The miracle is that I made less than one hundred mathematical mistakes out of several hundred thousand possibilities.” [zbigvision]

Tango was an inspiration to many music videos, including excellent (video, not the song!) Kylie Minogue’s Come In To My World directed by Michel Gondry.

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Gizycki, M. (2009) Antologia Polskiej Animacji (Anthology of Polish Animated Film), DVD, Poland: Polskie Wydawnictwo Audiowizualne

Zbig Vision: http://www.zbigvision.com/


John Stezaker – the surreal collagist

Untitled, 1977

‘I am dedicated to fascination – to image fascination, a fascination for the point at which the image becomes self-enclosed and autonomous. It does so through a series of processes of disjunction.’

John Stezaker


John Stezaker is a British conceptual artist working mostly in the field of collage. The excellent exhibition in Whitechapel Gallery is his first major solo retrospective, yet he has been manipulating photographs for the past four decades. Stezaker works mostly using classic movie stills, vintage postcards and illustrations.

Negotiable Space I, 1978

His collages at first glance seem effortless (very often it’s a postcard pasted onto an old photograph), but closer look reveals an incredible precision with which he chooses two pictures to fit perfectly together (the collages are made manually without digital manipulation). Also carefully selected titles intensify the poetic meaning of the artworks.

Mask X, 1982

My favourite works are the Marriage and the Film Portrait series, in which the artist creates the Frankenstein-like impressions simply by fusion of two halfs of different portraits together (usually male and female). Stezaker acts here as some mad plastic surgeon, who with a single cut of the blade constructs these often creepy, yet somehow beautiful hybrids. The hand of the same ‘maniac’ could also be seen in the Love and the Blind series, where the artist enhances the eyes of his female subjects by giving them the hypnotic ‘double vision’, while taking away the visual perception from the males.

John Stezaker @ Whitechapel Gallery.

The artist is represented by the Approach Gallery.

Marriage I, 2006

Film Portrait (She) VIII, 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love XI, 2006

Blind II, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Voyeur, 1979

 

 


Due Date: Brian Adam Douglas

After Goya, cut paper on birch panel, 109x81

Brian Adam Douglas is a Brooklyn based artist, who under the name Elbow Toe has been pasting his collages, drawings, woodcuts and stencil work onto the walls of the cities all around the world for the past decade. Due Date is his first solo show in UK and it’s hosted by Black Rat Projects in Shoreditch.

As Douglas describes it himself Due Date explores his “preconceived notions of parenthood and the opportunities for growth that come through that process.” It is a series of collages, which viewed from the distance could be easily mistaken for paintings. Douglas calls this medium ‘cut paper paintings’. He builds the images through the meticulous layering of tiny pieces of coloured paper, each individual piece replaces here a single brushstroke. It creates fluidity rarely seen in the collage work.

My favourite image After Goya depicts little girl in a pink dress terrified by the sight of two cats ripping apart a magpie. It is inspired, or even appropriated from Goya’s Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zúñiga.

I have to admit that I don’t remember last time I was so astonished by the work of so called ‘street artist’. It is most probably the best show I have seen recently and I strongly recommend to visit it.

Bears, cut paper on birch panel, 122x89

What Could Happen, cut paper on paper, 75x100

Any Which Way But Loose, cut paper on paper, 75x100

Sweet Dreams, cut paper on paper, 100x75

Assume Crash Position, cut paper on paper, 100x75

Knitting Circle, cut paper on paper, 90×115

Bass Notes: The film posters of Saul Bass

Design is thought made visual.

Saul Bass

Saul Bass was one of the greatest American graphic designers of the mid-20th century, who had a significant impact on the film industry. Breaking the convention of plain and unimaginative film titles, he reinvented them to become integral part of the movie. He is best known for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese.

As well as the film titles Saul Bass designed and created number of groundbreaking movie posters. Some of them were on show in the Kemistry Gallery in Shoreditch for the past month. Since I am very interested in poster art it was a great pleasure to see his work. I admire the distinctive style, but also the simplicity of the design. Most of his posters are created using two colours only (often red and black), the uncomplicated drawings seem almost effortless, but the final effect is eye-catching, direct and very recognizable.

In a period when graphic imagery can be so easily manipulated electronically, Bass reminds us that a strong idea is always at the heart of a great design. His work, as reflected in this exhibition, is as refreshing today as ever. [from a note accompanying the exhibition]

Here are some posters and photos from the show, which Kemistry Gallery kindly provided me with:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If that’s not enough I strongly recommend short movie “Why Man Creates”, for which Saul Bass received an Oscar in 1968.

Why Man Creates, Part 1:

Why Man Creates, Part 2:


Bass Notes @ Kemistry Gallery

 

exhibition poster

For everybody interested..

 

Saul Bass exhibition @

43 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch
London EC2A 3PD

kemistrygallery.co.uk