Jenni Ward: Branch Series (installation), 2011, ceramic & high temperature, wire, variable dimensions
Dimitrios Antonitsis: Sarmale with Ketchup / SABOT Gallery, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
March 21 – May 5, 2012
Sleek show fitting the sleek space of Sabot and breathing contemporary air into the Transylvanian folklore.
A graduate of the New York Film Academy and a former fashion photographer, Antonitsis is keenly aware of the different ways reality can be manipulated or exaggerated. (Tina Sotiriadi | Art in America, April 2002)
The Folklore, as a term of Dimitrios Antonitsis’ personal vocabulary, is invariably concerned with the practice of handcrafts. Always manifesting a soft spot for the discarded and the rejected, the artist easily fell for the triviality of Romanian fleamarket-stands, where he purchased used ceramic pots and vessels, woven rugs and bedspreads, and even some coarse wood-crafted decorative objects. These forsaken, modest artifacts became the chosen ingredients for his challenging task of pursuing a juicy aesthetical discourse and transforming them into his own contemporary dish.
The mundane titles “Sarmale with Ketchup” (for his solo show at Sabot), and “Panache de Papanași” (for the concomitant exhibition at the Museum of Art in Cluj-Napoca), should be therefore read as an act of resisting social formatting.
Antonitsis uses his latest sculptural work as a sharp metaphor for leisure, fun and luxurious consumption. Bonus, a giant canine treat in aluminum and Bunny Labyrinth, a kids game silk-screened on a woven rug comment on our complicated and troublesome relation with over-achievement, social power and reward. His aesthetic language stretches from an attractive and minimal object making to an overcharged and exaggerated folklore design, always responding to the goal of articulating the concepts as accurately as possible. After all, Antonitsis is an artist who feels responsible for bringing truth to his audience. He can be wrong or misunderstood, but he must struggle to reflect reality in a way that speaks out the truth, whether we comprehend it or not.
Artist and curator, Dimitrios Antonitsis is the founder of Hydra School Projects, a cutting edge international platform for the visual arts set up in an elementary school on the Greek island of Hydra.
“The potential ability of the imagination has an important impact in our lives. Minds have visual images that we collect through our lives.
These inner-images that represent my works are examinations of my existence. However, in this bank of memories I cherish every possible emotion; happiness, growing pains, family loss, first love, motherhood, sexuality, multicultural experiences, frustration, social-political issues and most importantly the celebration of life.
As an artist I like to work with different mediums, especially ceramics and acrylic paintings. Lately I have been experimenting with ceramic installations and mixed media. The freedom of expanding my work in another dimension makes me feel more connected with the viewers.
The process of my work mostly is very spontaneous. The rest comes along with what my subconscious has been saving in my bank of memories, throughout my life and the happening of the moment.” Liliana Folta
Liliana Folta: An Abstract Poem of Freedom, 2009, (on going) traveling/interaction/installation: ceramic chain, bullets & bowl; white gesso, ink, wooden chair, white sheets, rug, soldier boots, paper, high temp wire, 3x7x2 ft.
Liliana Folta: Oíd el Ruido de Rotas Cadenas (Hear the Sounds of Broken Chains), 2010, Installation for the 1st Biennial of the Americas, unglazed ceramic chains, cotton canvas chains, wood, mirror, iron, high temp wire, 13ft. x 56in Diam.
Ebru Özseçen: True Love Soul Mate / RAMPA İstanbul, Turkey
March 02 — April 07, 2012
Ebru Özseçen combines her experience in the fields of architecture, design and contemporary art to explore different aspects of psychological and sociological relationship between space and body. Her work presents great diversity; ranging from urban intervention to sculpture and objects, from photography to video, from film installations to drawings. The artist is concerned with the dualities of inside/ outside and public/private; and explores individual memory in contemporary society. Ebru Özseçen investigates the seemingly mundane to expose its magical and unseen aspects. She reveals a space where fantasy and memory hide in plain sight.
It is impossible to disregard the gender aspect in Özseçen’s work, in which she indiscriminately plays with the androgynous form – the phallus, vulva, uterus or scrotum. At times pushing the boundaries of pornographic obscenity, the artist always places erotic intensity in the foreground. On the other hand, in many of her works it is possible to see Özseçen driven by her deep-seated admiration for the tradition of artisanship. The artist is drawn to the sensual quality of the form and the beauty of a well-accomplished object. This approach invites us to interpret the artist’s practice from a new perspective. Özseçen’s sharp gaze on the form, and her romantic obsession with the beautiful, the pure, and the unsoiled confront us as sharp yet sensitive, violent yet graceful works that have been refined in the hands of a craftsman.
Özseçen’s new work, Gerçek Aşk Gönül Eşi / True Love Soul Mate (2011), which will constitute the backbone of the exhibition at Rampa, is comprised of over 100 separate glass pieces. This work is realized in collaboration with Mayer of Munich and Glasshütte Lamberts, which are among the most prominent handmade glass studios of the world that has for the first time opened its doors to contemporary arts for this work. Each piece is produced in different sizes and forms with hours of effort in 1450-degree ovens. Recalling many of Özseçen’s work, heat once more emerges as a dominating component in this work, both as a physical force and as an allegory. For this work, the artist divulges that “the concept of true love and soul mate employed in the title should be sought not in the realm of romantic love, but rather in companionship, camaraderie as signified in the craftsman’s delicate touch on the objects he has amorously devoted himself to.” Installing two of her works of the same form together, one from the beginning and the other from the most recent phase of her career, Özseçen incites the audience to trace a playful phantom form.
Kimberly Cook: Divided Kingdom, variable, porcelain, copper, electrical wire, 2011
Valérie Blass exhibition / Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Canada
2 February - 22 April 2012
Employing virtually every sculptural technique—from moulding, casting, carving and modelling to assemblage and bricolage — Valérie Blass explores the territories between animal, human and inanimate forms, creating strange, hybrid objects.
The impact of Valérie Blass’s work resides in the anachronistic way she navigates between two sculptural traditions. She makes free-standing, vertical, handmade, humanscale, autonomous pieces that locate her squarely within the classical tradition of figurative sculpture. But the diversity of her materials and the plethora of mass-produced, bought and found objects she uses, stemming from an enthusiastic engagement with the material culture of the twenty-first century, anchor her art in assemblage and bricolage.
The exhibition, which contains approximately thirty new works, is accompanied by a major publication that includes essays by the curator, Lesley Johnstone, and by feminist art historian Amelia Jones, as well as an interview with the artist by Wayne Baerwaldt. It is Blass’s largest exhibition to date, following her participation in the inaugural Québec Triennial at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 2008 and numerous group and solo exhibitions in Montréal and across Canada.
Born in Montréal in 1967, Valérie Blass holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in visual and media arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal. In addition to participating in the first Triennial mounted by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, she has had solo exhibitions at Parisian Laundry, in 2008 and 2011, and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, in 2009. In 2010, she took part in group exhibitions organized by the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Her works were also previously seen at the Power Plant and the Blackwood Gallery in Toronto, and at Galerie Clark in Montréal.
Curator: Lesley Johnstone
MODERN TALKING, Museum of Art Cluj-Napoca, Romania
February 15 - April 15, 2012
The Museum of Art in Cluj-Napoca is hosting the group exhibition entitled “Modern Talking”, featuring contemporary artists whose works are challenging the conventions of painting and its legacy. Through the work of the invited artists, the visitor will be able to re-conceptualize the traditional acception of painting, which is no longer restricted to the oil-on-canvas formula, but offers a multitude of other alternatives. Fabric, metal, found objects, conceptual statements, flamboyant actions, installations and sculptures, all of these are putting forward an extended understanding of the medium; today, painting is expanded, painting is overall.
Sonia Almeida (PT); Mark Barrow (US); Baldur Geir Bragason (IS); Vittorio Brodmann (CH); Ana Cardoso (PT); Aline Cautis (US); Radu Comşa (RO); Ann Craven (US); Francesca DiMattio (US); Ida Ekblad (NO); Enzo Giordano (IT); Heather Guertin (US); Davíð Örn Halldórsson (IS); Ingunn Fjóla Ingþórsdóttir (IS); Jacob Kassay (US); Gilda Mautone (IT); Florin Maxa (RO); Dan Măciucă (RO); Elizabeth Neel (US); Ylva Ogland (SE); Paloma Presents [Urs Zahn & Roman Gysin] (CH); Zak Prekop (US); Jo Robertson (UK); Małgorzata Szymankiewicz (PL); Patricia Treib (US); Daniel Turner (US); Garth Weiser (US).
Special project by Sarah Ortmeyer (DE).
Organizers: Nicola Trezzi and Daria D. Pervain, in collaboration with Ewa Gorządek, Helena Kontova, and Giancarlo Politi.
A Trip to the Moon / Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
8 February – 8 April 2012
Rosa Barba, Marco Brambilla, Dara Birnbaum, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Gordon, Georges Méliès, Alex Reynolds, Lindsay Seers, Lillian Schwartz, Ryan Trecartin & Lizzie Fitch, Dziga Vertov, Ming Wong
The love affair between art and film started the moment the film camera was invented. This spring, Bonniers Konsthall will investigate the centurylong relationship.
A century after the first film experiments, moving image is an inevitable part of our visual culture. We interact constantly with moving images on different screens: computers, mobile phones and game consoles. With the development of portable equipment and social networks on the internet, the making, screening and distribution of film have become available to everyone. One could say that we have now reached the stage after film, a shift in technologies, maybe as decisive as the invention of film itself. A sad consequence of the invention of new technologies is that other techniques have to move to the graveyard of the outmoded and the obsolete. Those funerals also mean the burial of a certain vision.
How those shifts, those births and deaths in the history of the moving image, influence and change art is the core in this spring’s major exhibition project A Trip To the Moon.
→ Subscribe to our monthly newsletter if you want to receive news and interviews with ceramic artists.
→ The full interview with Marianne McGrath is featured in Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two.
Ceramics Now Magazine: Before starting a career in ceramics you studied Biology. In relation to your line of work, how would you characterize the relationship between Biology and Ceramics?
Marianne McGrath: I believe my study of biology helped create the artist I am today: one that works by questioning what surrounds me, and by creating objects based on observation in a very systematic manner. Artists, like biologists, work from direct observation and immersion in the environment around them, and are forever attempting to interpret this world.
Both groups employ creative means to achieve this. I grew up on a farm in Southern California, one my family had farmed for four generations, surrounded by this natural world that was under the direct manipulation of the human hand to serve human needs. I believe I was drawn to study biology in college because growing up immersed in this agrarian landscape and was incredibly interested in the idea that we, as humans, have this ability to define, control, and use the natural world that surrounds us, yet we also have an imperative responsibility as a species to maintain this world.
In my final semester in college, I took a ceramics class, the first art class I had ever formally taken. I was immediately overwhelmed by the questions I found artists asking, by the responses that they drew from their audience, and the simple fact that they were using dirt, one of the most basic components of the natural world, to create. This type of communication and way of thinking drew me in and I decide to completely change the direction of my life. I found that my voice was much more attuned to express my concerns of the livelihood of the natural world through the means of art than through my study of biology.
In the studio today, I find myself working in much of the same manner as I used to in the biology lab: trying to find the answer to a particular question. I also recognize my history as a student of biology in my draw to clay’s ability to be manipulated at all levels of its creation, whether its in the mixing and altering of a slip, or in the potential of atmospheric firings. I use this characteristic of clay as the basis of communication in my works.
What I See, What I Saw II, 2011, unfired earthenware, plywood, steel rod, wax, 4’h x 10’l x 20’x - View her works
You use unconventional techniques in very interesting ways, like unfired earthenware and wax. Tell us more about these methods and the creation process.
The medium of clay itself creates a very heavy material metaphor. Artists, I believe, are drawn to it for it’s malleability, its ability to record the touch of the human hand, and the sense of permanence it retains once fired. Unfired clay, especially at the bone-dry stage, is incredibly fragile and ephemeral-it can be dissolved or broken down immediately. The impermanence that clay retains at this stage struck me as incredibly meaningful, and I thus employed it to convey the meaning that I wished for in my work.
“My work is a contemplation on material, process, and object metaphors that juxtaposes the medium of clay with industrial materials to create installations that speak of landscapes lost. Inspired by the landscape of my agrarian childhood home now covered by suburban sprawl, I strive for these works to be spaces and scenarios the viewer can physically or psychologically enter and inhabit, that calls one to pause and witness the result of my consideration of the changing landscapes that surround us.
The resulting works are entities that are symbiotic yet impossible, balancing what can be seen now, and was seen before. These works speak of the human idea and need of home, and the necessary yet chaotic change that rural and suburban landscapes constantly undergo. They are meant to leave viewers questioning, perhaps considering the role they play in the landscapes that surround them.” Marianne McGrath
Marianne McGrath: Home Landscape Studies III, 2008, earthenware, plywood, steel rod, 12’h x 20’d x 20’w
Marianne McGrath: Home Landscape Studies III (detail), 2008
Marianne McGrath: “Maybe we can grow something on top of it all…” (detail), 2010