Shame to miss this show back in London.  Ends the day I leave Chile, such a shame as the group exhibition has some great artists and works.

THE SPACE WHERE I AM | GROUP EXHIBITION

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THE SPACE WHERE I AM | GROUP EXHIBITION

17 July 2014 – 27 September 2014

The Directors of Blain|Southern are delighted to present The Space Where I Am, a group show exploring ideas of the void and emptiness from the 1960s to the present day.

The exhibition’s title is taken from philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s book The Poetics of Space (1958), which describes the lived experience of space and where he contended “it is better to live in a state of impermanence than in one of finality”. All of the assembled works examine the dialectic between absence and presence, primarily valuing absence in the construction of form.

An element of faith or belief is often required when encountering Tom Friedman’s (b.1965) works; the viewer is invited to engage with the idea of the work, which might not be immediately visually apparent. Upon first encounter, Untitled (A Curse) (1992) appears as an empty pedestal. However, the sculpture actually comprises an invisible globe of space, as a witch has been asked to cast a curse on an 11-inch sphere floating 11 inches above the top of the pedestal.

Donald Judd’s (1928-1994) Untitled is a historical work from 1969, exploring how sculptural space cannot exist without empty space. A long, hollow aluminium beam rests on blocks of various sizes, the spaces between these corresponding to the blocks in identical proportions (based on the Fibonacci sequence). Judd felt that both positive and negative spaces were integral to form, with the relationship between the artwork and its environment also being key. Indeed, Carl Andre’s (b.1935) 36 Aluminium Lock Square(1968), a tile pattern arranged on the floor, directly explores space and form, removing sculpture from the plinth so that it expands into the space of the gallery and physical remit of the viewer.

Based on the principle that in our age matter should be transformed into energy and invade space in a dynamic form, Lucio Fontana’s(1899-1968) Concetto Spaziale (1964) consists of cuts and slashes to the surface of a bright monochrome painting. This gestural aesthetic blurs the distinction between two-and three-dimensionality, opening up sculptural possibilities with the appearance of a void behind, giving the spectator a sense of ‘serenity in infinity’. In a similar vein, work by Michelangelo Pistoletto (b.1933) addresses the spectator directly through a mirrored surface, blurring the line between the space of the work and the space of the viewer, unifying art and the changing realities of everyday life.

Integral to defining the aesthetic possibilities of video, one of Bill Viola’s (b.1951) rarer sound works, Presence (1995), offers a sensitive interpretation of human existence. First exhibited in the rotunda of the US Pavilion at the 46th Venice Biennale, voices from early childhood through to old age can be heard at the edge of audibility, whispering secrets and personal stories. The presence of the work can only be heard and felt, as sound vibrations pulse through the space.

In Schwarz, Rot, Gold (1999), Gerhard Richter (b.1932) abolishes form in favour of blank, reflective spaces; black, red and gold rectangles — recalling the German flag – become relational to the painting’s environment. Created alongside Richter’s commission for the entrance hall of the Reichstag in Berlin, celebrating the reunification of Germany, the work emphasises history’s untold stories, emptiness and reflectivity providing a vehicle to evoke memory.

James Turrell’s (b.1943) work is primarily concerned with light and space, and Pullen (Red) (1968) is created by projecting a single, controlled beam of light from the opposing corner of the room, so that it appears as a three-dimensional form. Working with simulation and real-time 3-D, John Gerrard’s (b.1974) work Sun Spot Drawing (Guantanamo City) 2012 (2012) is also created purely using light. The artist’s hand holds a magnifying lens which simultaneously casts a shadow and concentrates the sun’s rays into one pure white spot in its center. The work unfolds in this way, dawn until dusk, every day for a full 365-day solar year.

Taking a closer look into travelling sound and light waves, Continuum (2013) by the artist collective United Visual Artists (UVA), was born out of studies into interference and the way in which waves are refracted by environments that we occupy. Among other media, the sculpture uses coded LED lights in an attempt to merge the visible and invisible.

Best known for his paintings and sculptures that reflect concerns with the social ills of urban living, Keith Coventry (b.1958) often signals absent presences. Bench (1995), suggests an act of urban vandalism, presenting a bench characterised by its loss of function, its wooden seat gone to reveal a lonely skeleton. Rachel Whiteread (b.1963) actively casts negative space, inverting the presence of objects and nothingness. A work from the late 1990s, Untitled (Paperbacks) formally recalls minimalist sculpture, while incorporating hues of subtle colour; casting an impression of the pages of books, rather than their spines, it marks the removal of the object’s function and suggests absence or loss. Gordon Matta-Clark’s (1943-1978) silver-dye bleach-print Office Baroque (1977) marks the artist’s site specific work in a derelict building in central Antwerp where he made cut-aways in the different stories of the building, creating a vertical deconstructive sculpture.

Lawrence Weiner’s (b.1942) ROLLED INTO & ONTO THE SEA (1999) draws into question the relationship between sculptural form, signification and meaning. In the 1960s, Weiner challenged traditional assumptions about the status and nature of art. In doing so, he offered a unique insight into the difficulties of ascribing fixed forms and definitions, or perhaps even meaning, to both the practice of art-making and to the art object itself.

Rosy Keyser’s (b.1974) painting reaches beyond the limits of the canvas, inspiring a bodily response to our existence in the material world. Interested in the intersection between people and the matter that surrounds us, she forages for materials which she then gesturally moulds, tears or deconstructs to reveal their intrinsic fragilities. Using large stretchers that seem window-like and operate as a grid, these materials are applied upon voids of space to suggest a sense of ritual and renewal. Decay and absence are in flux, emphasising past presence and action; a palimpsest of existence that waxes and wanes.

Spinning Heads in Reverse (2006) by Tim Noble & Sue Webster (b.1966; b.1967) actively plays with positive and negative space. Self-portraits of the artists appear to be both physically absent but simultaneously present, perhaps only truly resonating in the viewer’s imagination.

Employing a metaphorical interpretation of absence and obstruction, Michael Joo’s (b.1966) Emigrant (2012) explores notions of exclusion and socio-economic division. Delicate self-entwining rope and stanchion forms are constructed of mirrored borosilicate glass, both absorbing and reflecting their own surroundings. As familiar objects that define space and segregate people, Joo suggests a new space, a cyclic space, which breaks down any social or physical divide.

Through the dialogues created by the juxtaposition of these artworks, the exhibition assesses how absence can actively give form to space, a subject that has preoccupied artists over the past half century, as well as examining how viewers might encounter these ‘empty’ spaces.

For further information on the exhibition, please contact Mark Inglefield
T: +44 758 419 9500 | E: mark@blainsouthern.com

Image above:

Michael Joo
Emigrant
2012
Mirrored borosilicate glass
Approx. 139.7 x 61 x 81.3 cm (55 x 24 x 32 in)
Photo: Peter Mallet 23.04.2012

 

Re-post from This Is Tomorrow.

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The Hidden Passengers

‘From the press release’

Productivity and growth are the philosophical premises of the present day. Working processes are being optimized to increase efficiency, working hours are being deregulated until the distinction between work and leisure time disappears. Artistic work seems to follow other criteria, but in this field too professionalisation and self-optimisation are on the rise. But what would happen if ‘doing nothing’ or ‘inaction’ were to become a source of inspiration for a refusal to produce.

New Ways of Doing Nothing devotes itself to a form of artistic production that opposes activity, doing and manufacturing, and instead gives an affirmative slant to forms of doing nothing, of refraining or asceticism. Here, refraining from something not only leads to a critical moment but also a creative one. New Ways of Doing Nothing – the title derives from Swedish artist Karl Holmqvist – focuses on positions in contemporary art in which ‘doing nothing’ generates its own potential with respect to the requirements (and impositions) of a society that concentrates on activity and productivity: for example in Natalie Czech’s variation on a diary entry by the Russian avant-garde poet Daniil Charms, who in 1937 noted: “Today I Wrote Nothing. Doesn’t Matter.”

Artists: Robert Breer, Alejandro Cesarco, Etienne Chambaud, Natalie Czech, Oskar Dawicki, Edith Dekyndt, Mathias Delplanque, Heinrich Dunst, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Marina Faust, Claire Fontaine, Ryan Gander, Lasse Schmidt, Hansen, Julia Hohenwarter, Karl Holmqvist, Sofia Hultén, Jiri Kovanda, Rivane Neuenschwander, George Perec/Bernard Queysanne, Superflex, Mario Garcia, Torres a. o.

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Things have been fast paced in the last few weeks.  I would normally be writing this from Queenstown, New Zealand where I have been based for the past thirteen winters however a month ago a new opportunity arose in Chile, specifically in Portillo.  So since making the move and taking on the challenge of learning a language in no time at all I am here in Portillo, Chile.  I spent two weeks in Santiago at a language school which gave me the basics and now I am in the thick of it trying to teach English, Spanish and Brazilian guests to snowboard.  I have to admit the office is pretty inspiring.

Whilst in Santiago I made a day trip to a city a couple of hours away call Valparaiso.  This is an inspiring city with a bubbling creative scene.  The street walls are painted in vivid colours and in addition some of the best street art I have seen in a long time.

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I am starting to build some new works around the digital collage that I made last year in Athens, Greece.  I hope to have a new piece up and running sooner rather than later.  I am also putting together final plans for my time in Armenia in October at the ACSL artist residency.  My nomadic life will continue for now, however I am looking for a base to create some works that are ready to be fabricated.  I guess this will always be the balance with this lifestyle and trying to balance the two sides of my life.

 

Alfredo (low)

The practice of Nicolás Lamas is full of playful process based works.  Using process, objects and a systematic use of language to explore the gaps within what others see as certainties.  The inquisitive nature of his various works explore past the obvious, simple techniques alongside conceptual installations allow your mind to wander.  Little gems of information are offered which allow your understanding to enquire as to what further levels of information Lamas is presenting.  It is good to see an artist who does this allowing a viewer to become engaged through entry points whilst also taking them on a tour of further concepts that could be over looked without this engagement.  Click here for his Website.

Anne Marie (low)

Nicolas (low)

Interaction between two spaces(low) Interaction between two spaces2(low)
Nothing comes from nothing?

2013

Method

Todas las palabras que no entiendo de la versión alemana de la Teoría de la Relatividad de Albert Einstein, son lijadas y sus restos son acumulados al lado del libro. A través de este método intento simplificar y acceder de manera absurda al contenido de las ideas expuestas en el texto. Todas las palabras que quedan en el libro son perfectamente entendidas por mí, pero el sentido y la complejidad de las ideas planteadas originalmente en el libro han sido deformadas a través de este ejercicio.21,5 x 15 cm (libro).
My limited knowledge of a language (German) is taken as the starting point for this work, where I sand all the words and mathematical equations that I don’t understand in the book of the Theory of Relativity of A. Einstein. The result of this action is a disjointed text where I can understand each word of the book but not the meaning of the ideas in the original version. The sanded words and equations become a mound of remains next to the book.
20 x 16 cm (book).

Layers of meaning

2012
Proyección de collages digitales realizados a partir de la documentación fotográfica de diferentes exposiciones encontradas en internet. Dimensiones variables.
 
Projection of digital collages made ​​from photographic documentation of different art exhibitions found on the Internet. Dimensions variable.

 

An Excursion Into LA’s Mojave Hinterland at the CLUI Desert Research Station

Kim Stringfellow
Re-blogged from KCET
Acoustic Binoculars.jpg

The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) has always occupied a somewhat paradoxical space–one that is informatively neutral but at the same time also subtly provocative. This aspect allows its organizers to penetrate often, impenetrable places such as the Nevada Test Site. Indeed, the CLUI is as well known inside the art world as it is outside of it. It is in fact one of the more internationally well-known and respected interdisciplinary entities in contemporary art that often does not appear as an arts organization at all but instead as a highly creative interpretive center for some institutional-like agency.

Founded in 1994 by the Center’s director, Matthew Coolidge along with various CLUI associates as a research and educational organization whose mission is “dedicated to the increase and diffusion of information about how the nation’s lands are apportioned, utilized, and perceived.” The CLUI stipulate that “the manmade landscape is a cultural inscription, that can be read to better understand who we are, and what we are doing.” The Center is interested in multiple interpretations of landscape from a variety of perspectives and points of view.

The Center supports and presents a variety of exhibition programs at its main exhibition and office location in Culver City, CA adjacent to another SoCal gem of hard-to-classify arts practice–The Museum of Jurassic Technology. The Culver City location also features a bookstore where one may sign up for the Center’s newsletter, The Lay of the Land and purchase various Center produced publications. The CLUI also organizes highly popular bus tour trips. Its years of research have been organized into a publicly accessible online Land Use Database. On occasion, the Center hosts outside researchers though its Independent Interpreter Series.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation Desert Research Station. | Photo: Kim Stringfellow.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation Desert Research Station. | Photo: Kim Stringfellow.

The Center’s American Land Museum is a group of associated satellite locations including the Wendover facility located deep within the Great Basin at the Nevada/Utah border adjacent to Utah’s Great Salt Lake–home of land speed records and Robert Smithson’sSpiral Jetty. Here resides the Center’s Wendover artist residency program at a former WWII training airbase whose claim to fame is its role supporting the first atomic bombing missions dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Wendover visitors may casually visit the Enola Gay hanger that housed the B-29 bomber that forever sealed Hiroshima’s nuclear fate, later immortalized in early Richard Misrach photographs.

Other field office locations and facilities include the Gulf States Field Office in Houston, TX; the Northeast Field Office in Troy, NY; the New Mexico Field Site outside of Albuquerque, NM; the Central States Exhibit Unit in Lebanon, KS and the Desert Research Station located in Hinkley, CA.

Opened in 2000 as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s exhibition Flight Patterns, the Desert Research Station (DRS) focuses on the California Desert region, specifically the Mojave Desert extending from Los Angeles outward fringes within the Antelope Valley eastward into Las Vegas, Death Valley, and the Mojave National Preserve–essentially “the desert beltway around the hinterlands of Los Angeles.” Exhibits are open year-round to the public and are accessible as self-guided gallery walk-throughs (visitors must access the facility through the combination keypad after phoning the CLUI during regular business hours for the access code; call-in information is located at the door). The DRS grounds include interpretive walking trails with signage exhibits. Additional facilities on site are available for researchers conducting operations with the CLUI.

Walking Trail. | Photo: Courtesy of CLUI.

Walking Trail. | Photo: Courtesy of CLUI.

Recent projects include several sound installations “related to spatial dynamics of the ground.” Steve Badgett and artist and interdisciplinary artist, Deborah Stratman produced the Desert Resonator, a 75-foot long aeolian harp which reacts and interprets the wind movement’s over the ground into sound, using a spherical acoustic resonator. This permanently installed sonic sculpture’s “six 75′ long strings pass over dual bridges and produce multi-harmonic drones contingent upon the force and consistency of the air currents”–effectively translating the wind.

Desert Resonator (Steve Badgett, Deborah Stratman). | Photo: Deborah Stratman.

Desert Resonator (Steve Badgett, Deborah Stratman). | Photo: Deborah Stratman.

CLUI associate, Steve Rowell explores the phenomenology of sonic booms linking sky, sound, and ground in unexpected ways. Due to the DRS’s proximity to Edwards Air Force Base and Naval Air Weapons China Lake Facility makes it a perfect location to research and collection of such sonic phenomena.

Wendover artist residency program participant William Lamson ended up staging his Line Describing the Sun project in the winter months of 2011 on nearby Harper Dry Lake when the originally intended site conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover proved inadequate. Using a Fresnel lens apparatus mounted onto a mobile unit Lamson inscribed a 366-foot burn arc other the course of one day onto the lakebed. The concentrated intensity of the 1,600-degree point of light melted the lakebed’s dry surface, “transforming it into a black glassy substance.” When the project was later exhibited in NYC the project prompted the NY Times to comment, “Mr. Lamson can’t go back in time, but he can still go to the desert.”

 

William Lawson executing 'Line Describing the Sun.' | Photo: Courtesy of CLUI.

William Lawson executing ‘Line Describing the Sun.’ | Photo: Courtesy of CLUI.

Other current projects include a collaboration with University of Southern California art curatorial graduate students that is studying and documenting experimental aircraft crash sites found throughout the region.

Future research projects include those supported by independent/autonomous solar power systems, an underground bunker space, additional sound/space projects, and one concerning DIY low altitude aerial photography. The walking trail is scheduled for completion by January 2013 with a combination gate to allow public access.

For more information visit the Center’s website.

The street address for the DRS is 40083 Hinkley Road, Hinkley, CA 92347.
Directions to CLUI’s Desert Research Station: From downtown Los Angeles, take I-10 east, to I-15 north towards Las Vegas/Barstow. Just before Barstow, take Highway 58 west. Proceed approximately 9 miles to Hinkley Road, which is sometimes indicated with a “Hinkley 1 Mile” sign. Turn right on Hinkley Road and drive north 4 miles to the DRS, located on the east side of the road. Phone the CLUI at (310) 839-5722 for combination access code during normal business hours.

Top Image: Using the horns at the DRS, acoustic “binoculars” on the walking trail. | Photo: Courtesy of CLUI

top box

 

2014, well for the five months that I have tasted, its been a roller coaster..

I’m still making and developing ideas and its this weird oddity that the unsettled nature of life sometimes spawns the biggest output.  Though with this creative time comes the realisation also of the never studio or mobile studio.  Being dislocated from anywhere and nowhere I currently feel uncertain of where I am making work.  Time, space, country, me or another.

My time in Japan ended suddenly though for the better.  No real mental space to channel in thoughts whilst there.  Now back seeking time and refuel at the olds.  A place that is neither home or away.  However a chance to scheme and plan the next chapter and fund the new energy to get back out there.

New plans are being made with current work and travel planned for Chile from the end of June through to September.  Once the wheels start I then will be rolling again.  Heading to Armenia after Chile and finally onto USA come the end of 2014.  Through these times my studio changes endlessly.  If anything the never studio is a studio of the person.  Where I stand is where my studio is, this functions quite well unless the feet don’t feel stable.

I am not sure what the work will be or how it will unfold though right now the fascination with change and transience within my work has come to a head.  I currently exist within a place that I am neither certain or uncertain, an unknowing of whether where I am heading is right however where I have been is no longer a route that I choose to travel.  Pushing further into a zone that is both liminal and borderless.  An adventure and into the realms of the never studio.

Tauba Auerbach: The New Ambidextrous Universe

ICA London

16 Apr 2014 – 15 Jun 2014

Review by Catrin Davies

There seems to be an obvious juxtaposition between the mathematical logic of symmetry and the mind-expanding potential of a parallel world. Yet the two are mutually inclusive in Tauba Auerbach’s first UK solo exhibition at the ICA where a series of immaculately conceived and crafted sculptures (and one photograph) represent theories on an alternate universe, existing parallel to our own.

‘The New Ambidextrous Universe’ is not just a dumping ground for all those left-handed people you never meet, it’s the space where Tauba Auerbach pairs physics and art, where sculptures almost intertwine but never quite (Square Helix II) and reflections are captured, distorted and reflected back to the viewer (Prism Scan II). It’s a collection of considered, visual palindromes.

It’s testament to Auerbach’s art that she is able to distil such complex theories into the sparsely arranged gallery; there are just seven works of art in total and the colour, texture and form of each are as controlled as her ideas. As ever in her work, the intellectual concept is deeply imbedded in the process, placement and materiality of her sculptures. The title of the exhibition is taken from Martin Gardner’s ‘The New Ambidextrous Universe’, a tome which explores the duality of a mirror universe and the idea of ‘chirality’ (when an opposite is not exact). Inspired by this concept, Auerbach has created powder-coated steel sculptures reminiscent of knit stitches and hook-and-eye closures, which mirror each other in form, interlocking, but never touching. On the floor two almost identical installations – ‘The New Ambidextrous Universe III’ and ‘The New Ambidextrous Universe IV’ – are constructed from raw plywood, but have been manipulated by hand to create parallel, but unidentical versions of one another.

Auerbach’s precise aesthetic and colour palette fits neatly into the ICA’s Lower Gallery. There’s an inherent tactility to her work and it’s no surprise that in the past she has dabbled in the design world too. She has a natural instinct for colour and space. And if this is what the other world looks like, I want in.

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