Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Shape Of Things To Come

I visited Camden Arts Centre and Whitechapel Gallery yesterday.  I didn't quite feel connected to the exhibition at CAC.  I think I enjoyed the tea and cake at their cafe better than their show.  I went to Whitechapel to see my favourite artist Fred Sandback's installations and I was not disappointed.  It's a pity no photography was allowed.  Hopefully I'll see more of Sandback's works when I visit New York in August.

I visited Saatchi Gallery and Serpentine Gallery today.  It was a great show by Michelangelo Pistoletto at Serpentine but again no photography.  So I have no images to share.  I did take some pictures of their annual summer pavilion by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.  I'll write about that on a separate post later when I get a chance to.

Saatchi is showing The Shape Of Things To Come: New Sculpture.  Although most works on view here are from a few years ago, they do not look outdated.  Here are some of my favourites:

Björn Dahlem at Saatchi, London 2011:


David Batchelor at Saatchi, London 2011:


Anselm Reyle at Saatchi, London 2011:


Roger Hiorns at Saatchi, London 2011:


Kris Martin at Saatchi, London 2011:


Saturday, 30 July 2011

Patchwork London: bold McGee vs subtle Feehily

It was my first day in London yesterday.  Instead of visiting the major art institutions, I decided to go hopping some independent galleries first.  I did see some good shows: White Cube Mason's Yard, Haunch of VenisonPilar Corrias and Stuart Shave/Modern Art in central London, and White Cube Hoxton Square and Hoxton Art Gallery in east London.

Stuart Shave/Modern Art shows the new works by two very different artists - Barry McGee and Fergus Feehily.  McGee's works are an explosion of bold colours with tesselations of geometric patterns.  They are full of life and energy.  Feehily's works, on the other hand, are more subtle and of a smaller scale.  He pays a lot of attention to the materials he's using, which are sometimes found and sometimes made.

McGee at Modern Art, London 2011:





Feehily at Modern Art, London 2011:


Thursday, 28 July 2011

Hafen Hamburg

I can't believe my European trip this summer is finishing soon.  I'll be leaving Hamburg tonight and flying to London England, where I'll stay for a few more days before heading back to Toronto.  My last day in Hamburg is rather relaxed.  The day started with a ferry cruise in Hafen Hamburg.  My sights are mainly on architecture around the harbour.

At Altona:


BRT Architekten's 2006 Bürohaus Dockland, Hamburg:




Herzog and de Meuron's 2012 (to be completed) Elbphilharmonie in HafenCity, Hamburg:


At Speicherstadt:


In addition to all the architecture, I also saw some art in the harbour.  Kunstverein Hamburg has Bulgarian artist Plamen Dejanoff's installation The Bronze House erected right by the Unilever building.  It is the facade of an architectural design composed entirely of caste bronze modules.  Five other similar structures are currently being constructed in the Bulgarian city Veliko Tarnovo.

Dejanoff at Kunstverein Hamburg (offsite in HafenCity), 2011:

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Weiß und andere Farben

I visited the contemporary art gallery of Hamburger Kunsthalle today.  As in any art museum, the display of its collection is a mix-big.  More to my personal taste is its collection on the first floor, titled Weiß und andere Farben (white and other colours).

Imi Knoebel:


Robert Ryman:


Max Hermann Mahlmann:


Andreas Brandt:


Josef Albers:


I was most surprised and very delighted to see Frank Nitsche:


It is worth mentioning that the architect for the gallery addition to Hamburger Kunsthalle was O.M. Ungers, who is well known for his use of cubic forms in his designs.  His architectural drawings are among my favourites.

Ungers' 1995 Hamburger Kunsthalle Galerie der Gegenwart, Hamburg:


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cornet of Horse

My journey of contemporary German art exploration continued today in Hamburg.  I visited Deichtorhallen Internationale Kunst, Kunstverein Hamburg and Kunsthaus Hamburg and attended some nice exhibitions, especially at the last two venues.  Henning Bohl's solo exhibition Cornet of Horse at the Kunstverein is what I like most.  Bohl explored different possibilities for generating picture motifs and how art could be presented and staged.  His architectural sensibility is what makes his works interesting.

Bohl at Kunstverein Hamburg, 2011:






In addition to his spatial installations, Bohl turned his canvasses into amplifiers for Sergei Tcherepnin's music by picking up the vibrations of the sound.  The result is some glitchy experimental electronic sound I have always loved.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Axis of remembrance*

I am leaving Berlin for Hamburg this afternoon.  I'll finish my Berlin chapter on a more sombre note.  I visited Daniel Libeskind's Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum) yesterday and Peter Eisenman's Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe or Holocaust Memorial) this morning.

Libeskind's 2001 Jüdisches Museum, Berlin:




Eisenman's 2005 Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas, Berlin:



It was a grey day when I trod the wavering ground of the memorial this morning.

* Axis of Exile, Axis of Holocaust and Axis of Continuation are the three major axes in the design of Jüdisches Museum

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Bulloch's manifesto and rules

I have only seen her works in art books before.  On my visit to Berlinische Galerie today, I saw the amazing works by Canadian born Berlin artist Angela Bulloch for the first time.  Titled Information, Manifesto, Rules and other leaks ... , Bulloch's show consists of found texts presented with a new design layout and transformed into monumental wall paintings and posters.

Bulloch at Berlinische Galerie, Berlin 2011:





Bulloch's works remind me of my favourite artists Liam Gillick and El Lissitzky.  Lissitzky's and Hungarian artist Lajos Kassák's constructivist works were aptly shown at BG at the same time.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Sarah Morris x John Hancock

I was ecstatic to see Sarah Morris' latest works at Berlin's Capitain Petzel today.  Her show was titled John Hancock because she used that legendary building as a starting point for her latest series.

Morris at Capitain Petzel, Berlin 2011:





Her 2010 film Points On A Line was also shown at the exhibition.  The film, featuring Mies van der Rohe's famous Farnsworth House, was very beautifully shot.


Also worth mentioning is that the soundtrack of the film was composed by multi-talented Liam Gillick.

based in Berlin

based in Berlin is a showcase of the broad spectrum of contemporary art happening in Berlin right here right now.  I went to one of the venues for the exhibition, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, yesterday.  I got the chance to see some very exciting new art.  Here are my favourites:

Akim's graffiti work:


Kitty Kraus's installation:


based in Berlin also presents performances.  Experiemental electronic musician Pantha du Prince's performance at KW last night was excellent.  The flavour of his hour-long non-stop music last night was rather similar to but darker than this video - Es Schneit from his album Black Noise last year.


Video from 's youtube channel

Friday, 22 July 2011

Chad Gadya: Stella after Lissitzky

I experienced an art overdose yesterday, trying to squeeze in too much within a one-day time frame.  I was really exhausted.  I should never do that again.

It has been raining in Berlin for two days now.  There's really nothing better to do than to stay indoors.  I visited Daimler ContemporaryHamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart and  Mies van der Rohe's Neue Nationalgalerie yesterday.  There's so much to see in HBMfG that I could have dwelt in there for the entire day.  I went to Deutsche Guggenheim and Kunstwerk today - at a much better pace.  I've seen so much these past two days that there is a lot that I can possibly write about.  But I think, for now, I'll just write about what I saw at NN last evening.

Two great masters were brought together at NN with Frank Stella's illustrations after El Lissitzky's Chad Gadya.  Lissitzky made illustrations for the old Jewish song Chad Gadya in the late 1910s.  More than 60 years later, Stella made new illustrations for the same song, having been inspired by Lissitzky's original work.  I like Stella's version better since Lissitzky has not quite matured to his suprematist style at that time yet.  Stella's work is, to my delight, geometric based.

Stella at Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin 2011: