Wim Botha

Alcune immagini della bellissima installazione di Wim Botha per il Padiglione del Sudafrica alla Biennale di Venezia, in corso fino al 24 novembre.

Danaë by Vadim Zakharov

venice-biennale-russian-pavillion-danae-vadim-zakharov-3-thumb-620x413-60437 copiaMy new article for Cool Hunting.

Greek mythology is the inspiration for the Russian Pavilion at this year’s 55th Venice Art Biennale, which is seen in “Danaë”—a provocative installation conceived by conceptual artist Vadim Zakharov and curated by Udo Kittelman, under the supervision of commissioner Stella Kesaeva.

The rooms of the building (designed and built in 1914 and situated in the area of the Giardini) have undergone some structural changes to connect all of the spaces that host the installation, which consists of objects, performance and the continuous involvement of the visitors.

The action is centered on the flow of custom-made golden coins (each one is One Danaë), symbolizing fertility and abundance. Coins fall from the sky, in a room where only women are allowed to enter (protected by a transparent umbrella) and take a handful. The coins are then brought by female visitors to an adjacent room, put into a bracket and hand-lifted to the upper floor through a hole in the ceiling. The man who takes the coins up is in charge of filling a machine that, thanks to a special lift, automatically takes them to top of the pavilion, where they fall again. This process keeps repeating and repeating.

In another room, a man is sitting on a saddle on top of a pillar. While he’s eating peanuts, the only thing he produces is leftovers falling on the ground—trash, not gold. Writing on the wall says: “Gentlemen, time has come to confess out Rudeness, Lust, Narcissism, Demagoguery, Falsehood, Banality and…” In another room the sentence continues: “…and Greed, Cynicism, Robbery, Speculation, Wastefulness, Gluttony, Seduction, Envy and Stupidity.” Only the golden coins carried by the ladies can save: on one side, their true value is unveiled and it consists of “Trust, Unity, Freedom, Love.”

The 55th Venice Biennale is open to the public now until 24 November 2013.

The Abramović Method

My new article from Cool Hunting

Marina Abramović has returned to Milan with a new performance, specially conceived for the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC), her first major museum exhibition since her retrospective in 2010 at the MoMA. The Abramović Method continues Abramović’s three major performances from the last decade: The House With the Ocean View (2002), Seven Easy Pieces (2005) and The Artist is Present (2010). The focal point is always the constant relationship with the public, which becomes part of the artwork.

A retrospective of her most significant performances is presented among furniture with embedded minerals, allowing the public to interact with them while standing, sitting or lying down on the sculptures. These objects create a physical and mental pathway that transforms the PAC into an experience of darkness and light, absence and presence, altered perceptions.

Visitors can become performers and stand in absolute silence (thanks to special noise canceling headphones) expand their senses, observe (the rooms are provided with telescopes), and learn to listen. The Abramović Method aims to transform the artist, the performers and the public. In the video below we get a brief look at the piece in action.

The Abramović Method
Curated by Diego Sileo and Eugenio Viola
March 21—June 10, 2012
PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea
Via Palestro, 14

Simon Denny: Watching Videos Dry

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My new article from Coolhunting.com

Currently exhibiting the powerful work of Simon Denny, in the scope of young Italian art galleries,T293 Gallery in Naples, is one of the most promising. Owners and curators Paola Guadagnino and Marco Altavilla constantly search for artists able to convey strong ideas, not just style, which Denny does successfully with his installation “Watching Videos Dry.”

Dedicated to the stages of drunkenness, including Euphoria, Lethargy, Confusion, Stupor, Coma, Hangover, the whole of the installation itself represents the seventh stage an signifies that everything is in progress in Denny’s world. The fact that some of these works are replicas of previous pieces exhibited at the Luettgenmeijer Gallery in Berlin, while others are the prototypes for other upcoming installations, underlines the sense of perpetuity in his concept.

Born in 1982 in Auckland, New Zealand, Denny now lives and works in both Auckland and Frankfurt. Seemingly the perfect successor to the work of Marcel Duchamp, Denny’s bi-dimensional readymade sculptures (like those that use Ikea tables and video cassettes) make us feel like we are in front of TV screens.