Xiaolangdi – A project by Alain Feliu; The construction of a dam on the Yellow River in China.

(c) Alain Feliu courtesy Jecza Gallery

(c) Alain Feliu courtesy Jecza Gallery

Currently on view @ Jezca Gallery! October 17 – November 20

[Special thanks to Jezca Gallery for allowing us to share their PR with our followers.]

Alain Féliu (French artist) followed the construction process of a dam in Xiaolangdi. During three years time, using a large format 4 by 5 inch camera, Alain Féliu captured the evolution and implications of this construction project on the landscape, the environment and the people.

His photographic journey, in an unknown territory, means for many of us, the chance to explore this vast country, its people and policies. The series also shows the way nature and communities learn to adapt, move or change – in the region of Xiaolangdi more than 170.000 people had to move their homes in order to escape the flood, to give only one example.

This powerful exhibition doesn’t speak only about a 154 meter high and 1000 meter long Chinese dam, the project is more a metaphor for one of the biggest countries in the world – China – with its hierarchies, culture differences, people and constant evolution.

In his own introduction to the series the artists recalls his fascination for this site: “Xiaolangdi (“Small Deep Wave”/translation of name in English) is one of those places of an intense poetry and of whose imaginary you can no longer escape.

 So you return.”

(c) Alain Feliu courtesy Jecza Gallery

(c) Alain Feliu courtesy Jecza Gallery

 

If you are in Timisoara, Romania make sure you check out the show!

Jezca Gallery/ Calea Martirilor 51/52-53 / Timisoara, Romania

For more info email: jezca@jezcagallery.com

Cheers!

XX, CHC

@CultureHeARTs

 

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National Academy: Beyond the Classical

The National Academy Museum & School has put on a rather EXCEPTIONAL show: Beyond the Classical. What I was thinking what the should would be composed of … well let’s just say I was ABSOLUTELY wrong. I was thinking I would be looking at Ancient Greek Sculptures contrasted with contemporary versions. That was not the case. AT ALL.

What I saw before me was INCREDIBLE. A FASCINATING mix of MODERN and CONTEMPORARY works that draw on classical works and themes. This show is a MUST SEE. From Rauschenberg to Duchamp, to Kiki Smith, Mickalene Thomas and more… the list goes on and on. And the works you are presented works are not necessarily typical for what you would normally associate with each artist (especially Mickalene Thomas).

Check out a few snaps of works below that are in the show… but we did not include them all because we ENCOURAGE you all to go and check it out! (Images from Top to Bottom: Yinka Shonibare, “Fake Death Picture,” 2011 – Susan Solano, “Memoria,” 1992-93 – Marcel Duchamp, “L.H.O.O.Q.,” 1964 – Mickalene Thomas, “Carmen: Standing Reaching, Standing Twisting, Standing with Back to Artist,” 2011.)

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XX,

CHC

@CultureHeARTs

Heidi Horowitz: The Photographer’s View

CHC: Well hello there, Heidi. How are you doing today?

HH: Today is like all days, I am so grateful for it!

CHC: Brilliant! Let’s begin with the basics, how did you get started with photography? Was art always in your background?

HH: While growing up I was constantly exposed (no pun intended) to my father’s lens. He was a great photography enthusiast, always searching for new equipment or the best buy in film. I am now in possession of the many photos he took while serving in World War II overseas, during the time he spent traveling as a comedian with “The Major Bowes Amateur Hour”, and of course the thousands of family photos he took. My entire family is creative. My sister, Jane Simonson is a fine art painter, whose works have been shown in various galleries and museums. I couldn’t (and still cannot) draw a stick figure. I knew what I wanted to express on paper or perhaps even in words, yet I just didn’t have that gene. This, my favorite photography quote pretty much sums that up: “The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things in words.” – Elliott Erwitt

CHC: When did your photography really come into play as a serious passion to pursue?

HH: Around 5 years ago, I was constantly taking poor quality pictures with my blackberry (ancient!). Everywhere I went, I documented events as they happened in my life, in order to preserve my memories. On one particular birthday, my kids bought me a “real” camera, a ‘point n shoot’ so that at least I could have better quality pictures.

That was it for me. I signed up for lessons, upgraded to a DSLR, added lenses, more equipment, more camera bodies, even more lenses, and went out on the streets.

CHC: You photograph the everyday. Why People, the title of one of your series? How do you relate as the artist to your subject?

HH: You are correct I photograph the everyday. In my series, People, I look for a ‘story’. I don’t necessarily care what the “true” story is, as I am not a photojournalist. I relate what I call a good photo to a good ballet. I have been a patron of the New York City Ballet for over 30 years. The reason I adore the ballet so much is that for the most part, there is no “story”. Unless it is intended to have one, such as Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake, (which I still love to see for the pure athleticism of the dancers), but those are not nearly as interesting or fun for me. The same holds true in my photography, whether it is of People or of the dolls in my Mirror Mirror series. The normal stress that comes with everyday life will show on people’s faces and body language, good and bad, whether it is because they are rushed, busy, hot, cold, hungry, tired, happy, distraught, in pain, frustrated because they have to wait for something or for someone, or excited because they are waiting for something or someone!

Rarely do I find a relaxed human on the streets of New York. I relate more to people on the beach. The beach is a wonderful “street”. The public beaches are so much fun for me because there is so much diversity, from very young to very old, the eccentrics, the vast array of body types and so many tattooed bodies! It is their “day off”, time to relax, maybe meditate, exercise, play or simply sleep.

CHC: Your series Mirror Mirror is all about the use of Barbie in eerie, mysterious, evocative and humorous situations in your works (please feel free to agree or disagree), I ABSOLUTELY ADORE these photographs. From what I’ve previously seen as what I like to call “Barbie Art,” I have never been so entertained and fascinated, even in the most mellow situations pictorially. How did Barbie enter your oeuvre? Why Barbie? What does this plastic ICONIC doll mean to you?

HH: Are you sitting down? With all due respect to Mattel © and to collectors, the Barbie doll means absolutely NOTHING to me. [CHC SURPRISED!!!] I do not collect them, “iconic” and as beautifully made as some of them may be. I do not keep the boxes for the “future”. I am not promoting the doll as a product. I do not see the doll as anything more than a plastic “model” that I use to represent the emotional side of me. I find some of the dolls have just the right facial expression or body language that I can maneuver to meet my needs for a certain message I want to send photographically.

CHC: Explain how you shoot your Mirror Mirror series if you don’t mind. Do you pick out which Barbie you will use, choose the location, and have an idea of what you want the picture to turn out like…or do you bring Barbie somewhere with you, have your camera and just go with the flow?

HH: I use both methods, and sometimes will combine the two. A shoot can take anywhere from half a second while on the run or “in the moment,” to weeks for the staged pieces, where I conjure up an idea, make sure the lighting is just right, the props are proportioned well, and the doll in use is clean and ready for work! But, I always have a camera with me anyway, and more often than not, depending upon the day, there will be a random doll in my bag.

This is an example of an unstaged, “I happened to have the right doll in my bag” moment. I had to work out the right proportion, hand and leg position, lighting all of the faces and direction of movement in a matter of seconds while holding my camera steady with one hand. Very difficult!!! The “story” here is  as if she is trying to “blend in” with the crowd, which apparently, she did, as not one person even noticed what I was doing. This is telling of what New York City is, to me. People are distracted by nothing other than themselves. -Heidi Horowitz

This is an example of an unstaged, “I happened to have the right doll in my bag” moment. I had to work out the right proportion, hand and leg position, lighting all of the faces and direction of movement in a matter of seconds while holding my camera steady with one hand. Very difficult!!! The “story” here is as if she is trying to “blend in” with the crowd, which apparently, she did, as not one person even noticed what I was doing. This is telling of what New York City is, to me. People are distracted by nothing other than themselves. -Heidi Horowitz

CHC: Unlike your “Barbie” photographs, do you stage the photographs you take of those in your People series? Do you ever interact with the people before of after you shoot, or is it all about the story the picture tells, and for people to leave the rest up to their imagination?

HH: I never stage a photo on the streets. As I mentioned previously, I am not actually interested in getting to know a perfect stranger’s story. That is none of my business, and it is not my job to report. It is more fun, and way more interesting to me to have the viewer make that up in their own mind, based upon all of the elements that go into a shot.

I normally do not photograph children, but sometimes it is necessary. This is about the interaction between the small child and the large adult, both dressed in costume, but only one of them knows that. As I saw this scene unfolding I literally ran to catch up to it. The “story” I made up in my head was this adorable little girl thinking “OMG I think I just saw the real spiderman! Nobody is going to believe me!” And she is utterly amazed that he is looking directly at her, as if to say, “Yeah, kid, it’s me. Don’t you worry, I am watching out for you.. go ahead and take your daddy trick or treating..and by the way, "Nice job on the feathers.” - Heidi Horowitz

I normally do not photograph children, but sometimes it is necessary. This is about the interaction between the small child and the large adult, both dressed in costume, but only one of them knows that. As I saw this scene unfolding I literally ran to catch up to it. The “story” I made up in my head was this adorable little girl thinking “OMG I think I just saw the real spiderman! Nobody is going to believe me!” And she is utterly amazed that he is looking directly at her, as if to say, “Yeah, kid, it’s me. Don’t you worry, I am watching out for you.. go ahead and take your daddy trick or treating..and by the way, “Nice job on the feathers.” – Heidi Horowitz

CHC: Who would you say are your artistic idols? Whether it be iconic artists, photo journalists, family, anyone…Moreover, whose works do you admire most and draw inspiration from? Do you have a muse?

HH: My most influential artistic idol is my sister, Jane Simonson. Because of her, I was surrounded by art in some form or another throughout my life. There are so many artists that I admire, and I am thankful to have made some amazingly talented friends in the photographic community, but I especially look up to Lori Nix, who’s creative process requires enormous patience, as she not only builds her own sets, but then photographs them in the most beautiful way, each one depicting a sense of emotion, without the use of a doll! David Carol, my teacher and mentor, has been incredibly inspirational to me. He introduced me to the “world of photography” as he himself lives it. He has had me study lists upon lists of who’s who in photography, past and present. If I am in a “slump”, he takes me on “field trips” to places I’ve never been, makes me run to “get closer” to a shot, and reminds me to check my exposure! Whether it is below freezing or stifling hot outside, we will walk and shoot for miles, and at the end of the day I will have learned something new, not only about photography, but about myself.

As for having a “muse”, yes I do have one. Me! I use my own PERSONAL life experiences, whether happy, sad, dark or funny, as inspiration for and representation of ALL women.

CHC: Where can we find and purchase your work?

HH: Some of my work can be seen on my website, Facebook or Instagram. Although, there are many more photographs that I do not choose to show online, I always try to arrange a private showing of my work when requested. Each photograph is produced in limited editions usually of only 12, signed (en verso) and numbered. Sizes will vary, but the Mirror Mirror series always shows best when printed 30” x 40” or larger. All inquiries can go to my “contact” page on the website to email me directly.

My work has also been featured in: Rangefinder Magazine, December, 2013 issue, Best of 2013 ‘Our Pics of the Year’ page 68, also featured as the background for the ‘Contents’ page; Musee Magazine, issue #2 page 47; Musee Magazine, issue #2 page 82; Lenscratch “Family” Exhibition; Lenscratch “Toy Camera” Exhibition; Lenscratch “Backyard” Exhibition; Lenscratch “Summer Fun” Exhibition; Musee Magazine’s Instagram “pic of the day.”

To see further through the eyes of Heidi check out:

Instagram: @HEIDIHOROWITZ21

Website: WWW.HEIDIHOROWITZ.COM

Facebook: HEIDI HOROWITZ PHOTOGRAPHY

XX, CHC

A Twist on Relational Aesthetics

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Happy Meal” by Montreal artist Thierry Marceau at Joyce Yahouda is no longer in exhibition but is definitely worth mentioning! Why may you ask? What importance does it hold? And why bring it up now? Well, my friends this display by Thierry Marceau displayed the past, relational aesthetics, and celebrated the gallery space in a number of new and exciting ways. 

The ethos surrounding “Happy Meal” was the exploration of the relationship between POPULAR CULTURE and the King of Pop Art, ANDY WARHOL. Marceau transformed the gallery space into a playground of kitschy, gauche McDonald icons in conversation with the late Mr. Warhol.

Upon entering the space, the viewer walks beneath the iconic GOLDEN ARCHES into a McD’s haven. The viewer was then confronted with images, installations and sculptures all relating to that franchise we all know so well and love. Chicken nuggets play in what looks like a play pen, hamburgers sculptures, friends of Ronald McDonald, images and video installations of Ronald McDonald play throughout the gallery space, where viewers could sit on comfy red and yellow pillows mirroring those playgrounds kids are so often used to playing in at the restaurant.

To the left of this so-called McDonald’s sanctuary lay another room. Covered in silver paper, hung images of Marceau depicted as Warhol imitating the environment of THE FACTORY. These two rooms adjacent to each other seem to fit perfectly next to one another – the King of Pop commenting on one of the largest popular culture phenomenon’s that has taken over internationally.

Now, I that I have explained the space, why might you ask is this innovative or any different? What struck me about this exhibition was the underlying celebration of our postmodern world we live in today.

What Marceau essentially created was a place of deconstruction where we could look at the past, and our current situation today and find new ways of interpreting the past to our current situation. This exhibition plays upon this relatively new 90’s theory art historians like to call RELATIONAL AESTHETICS, but puts a twist on it.

Marceau created a space where the viewer could INTERACT, take part and come to ones own conclusions. There was no need for the artist to coerce the audience into interaction because the space he created did this itself. We walk around see what we see and come to our own conclusions. Maybe Warhol was celebrating this global franchise that links people, cultures society together. Maybe he was making a mockery of how culture becomes so wrapped up in our consumer goods and getting a bang for our buck. This twist for me was new and exciting, because I felt an instant conversation arise between myself, McDonald’s and Warhol. Marceau breathed new life into a late artist and older artistic movement. It was NEW, EXCITING, and FRESH. That’s what ART should be.

PEACE OUT, K

Richard Avedon: Fusing Fashion and Art

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Richard Avedon, FASHION photographer turned ARTIST shows the DIVERSITY and COMPLEXITY of photography in his newest solo exhibition at Gagosian Gallery (Davies Street, London) which is currently on display until October 26th.  Avedon exhibits a collective of fashion photographs from his work between the 1960’s and 1970’s in “Avedon: Women”. These fashion photographs not only depict the BEAUTY of the clothes, but do something greater, or so I think. I think what makes this exhibit so INTERESTING and INNOVATING is his questioning of the role of photography and how it is used. He attempts to differentiate his photographs by breaking all the rules by portraying his models in motion -confident, vivacious, with a joie de vivre. The COUTURE clothing only accentuates these eccentric poses. Although these photographs can seem superficial and more fashion photography-like, Avedon cleverly and slyly evokes deeper meaning. Take Jean Shrimpton, evening dress by Cardin, Paris 1970’s (below).

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Sure it is a beautiful silk gown in motion, but is Avedon bringing more to the table? Is he referencing some sort of art historical reference say…Unique Forms Of Continuity in Space (below) by Umberto Boccioni.

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What Boccioni did for Italian Futurist art sculptur e- attempting to bring the MOVEMENT to the medium of sculpture is what Avedon does for photography. He brings a certain DYNAMISM, which rethinks the medium of photography from being still and motionless to active and forceful. The cloths only highlight this movement as well as create a certain tension to the pieces. In a way he is self -contradictory in his works, intensifying the action through the draping of the clothing but capturing it in the stillness of the camera – makes you think right?

How fittingly appropriate for FASHION WEEK – eh?

PEACE OUT, K

Tightrope @ Sumarria Lunn Gallery

HEY LONDON! CHECK IT OUT!!!

TIGHTROPE: Takming Chuang, Echo Morgan, Emily Speed and Hanae Utamura

Opening: 5th September 6-9pm with performance by Echo Morgan

Exhibition runs: 6th September to 17th September 2013 / 11am – 6pm (Tuesday to Friday) / 12 – 5pm (Saturday)1003553_628715632369_1273852454_n

Curated by Kate Pantling, Tightrope brings together the work of four international emerging artists Takming Chuang, Echo Morgan, Emily Speed and Hanae Utamura.

The artists share a performative approach to their practice, where a sense of harmony, dissonance and a raw energy are connecting threads. Each artist takes their own body as a starting point, orchestrating narratives that explore the impact of encounters with materials, environments and cultures. Their work is personal, particular and often intimate but speaks to broader political and cultural concerns.

By approaching their work from the context of performance, the artists bring a strong sense of dramatic tension to their artworks. Each of them embraces the visual impact of their interventions to create work that encapsulates a moment imbued with anticipation. They create projects that play across multiple mediums eluding easy categorisation and bringing dynamism and depth to the expression of their ideas.

Takming Chuang documents physical, often uncomfortable encounters between his own body and traditional art materials. For Dead Hang the artist used his own perspiration to tarnish brass plates after performing repeated pull-ups. His Stand marks the result of hours spent motionless on top of a section of painted canvas until his body heat and weight caused it to harden into a mould of his feet. Through these repeated actions, leaving traces of his own body, Chuang explores themes of physicality, sexual identity and mortality.

Echo Morgan uses her own body as a canvas to reclaim and reassess the cultural expectations of her birthplace in China. Applying the feminist theories of Hélène Cixous who asks us to ‘write about our own story, our history, and ourselves’ she addresses issues of gender, and cultural politics through performance, film and photography. For I am the Four Gentlemen Morgan paints on her skin a depiction of the four plants known in China by the same name, chosen for their hardy attributes and depicted as a group: the orchid, the bamboo, the chrysanthemum and the plum blossom. Through doing so Morgan reclaims this Chinese trope as her own and challenges traditional cultural ideals.

Emily Speed explores the relationship between the body and architecture, considering how a person is shaped by the buildings they have occupied and how a person occupies their own psychological space. Her Body / Building photographs mark the point of intersection between the body and the buildings built to house and protect it. Speed’s works make connections by building up shifting layers of disparate materials over time. Through exploring the built environment and drawing on historic architecture, she examines our attempts to create permanence and legacy through building.

Hanae Utamura’s works arise from the artist’s encounters with specific sites. Her Secret Performance Series documents a series of performances in which the artist, as an anonymous figure, makes subtle, insistent and sometimes dangerous interventions into the natural environment. Utamura’s photographic works refer to the traditional Japanese preference for landscape art and the desire to eliminate the self in order to be at one with nature. Her works hinge on an exploration of harmony and disjuncture between her body and the physical and cultural landscape it inhabits.

For more information check out their website! The gallery is located at: Sumarria Lunn Gallery
36 South Molton Lane
London W1K 5AB

ENJOY! Let us know what you think!

XX, DP

 

East End Art Adventures with K+D

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Today K and I decided to first go to Victoria Miro Gallery and see an exhibition by a Dutch artist John Kørner whose show Fallen Fruit From Frislan is currently on display. The works tell a story about the artist’s life and that of his families through their life journeys. There is a sublime and fantastical element to it. Between it’s wooden crafted boat with ceramic figurines standing vertically amongst the other figurines, shaped in the form of Matroyshka dolls – you know those toys that you keep opening and opening finding more dolls capsules insides – there also is an element of one being trapped. The Matrosyshka dolls, whether he purposely intended to create this reference or not, are sealed shut, appearing like they cannot be exposed more than they already have. Or perhaps, they are prisoners of their own minds? Maybe that is extreme but they are absolutely closed off figuratively and physically.

Yet contrasting to this deep metaphorical boat set up on a rug covered skate ramp (cool right?) and bright acrylic canvases that have been washed down appear nothing but brilliantly bright and magical. There is a surrealist quality to these works that makes the viewer question their life – perhaps a life that we take for granted. But we encourage you to go for yourself and develop your own interpretation! Art is there for us to stimulate our crazy minds.

So, after our indoor experience we decided to take our art discovery walk around East London and go “graffiti hunting” as I like to refer to it. While it was truly an adventure going in and out of alleys, searching for fabulous works, we def hit the JACKPOT. Below are Street Art/Urban Art (graffiti and wheat paste) pictures taken from our wonderful splendid journey. Hope you enjoy.

Have a FABULOUS weekend. Cheers.

xx, DP