7th Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan 2018

7th Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan 2018

By Eugenia Bertelè

Echigo-Tsumari art events and installations are imagined to bring energy back to the rural regions of Japan and to propose an alternative way of thinking in contrast with the urban focus of the XX century art. More than 350 artworks and installations scattered in 760 km2 of land. A very successful model that has being exported abroad

Yukihisa Isobe, a monument of Siphon, courtesy Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2018 - 7th Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan 2018

Yukihisa Isobe, a monument of Siphon, courtesy Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2018

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2018 (Niigata Prefecture, July 29, September 17) is one of the largest art festivals in the world and is held once every 3 years in the rural area of Echigo-Tsumari region (Japan), since 2000. The nature and lifestyle of this environment, known for its heavy snowfall and the particular Satoyama agricultural landscape, inspires artists to recover that special connection with art which has almost been lost today. Approximately 200 artworks by recognized international artists and architects are distributed in the area of 760Km2 of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field: among others, Cai Guo- Quiang, Christian Boltanski, Marina Abramovic, Antony Gormley, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Yayoi Kusama, Dominique Perrault, Tobias Rehberger, Leandro Erlich, James Turrell, etc. In the occasion of the 7th edition, about 160 new works will be created into mountains, fields, forests, empty farming houses, closed school buildings.
Echigo-Tsumari is a community project working all over the year through collaborations of partners, local people, artists, kohebi members (group of volunteers), organizations and companies.
The Triennial offers a new kind of journey: visitors traveling across the region can interact both with artworks, local people and the landscape: it allows analyzing global environmental approaches and expanding the dialogue on how people relate to nature.
Leandro Erlich, Palimpsest, new work, courtesy Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2018 - 7th Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan 2018

Leandro Erlich, Palimpsest, new work, courtesy Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2018

One of the highlights of this year’s edition is the remodeling of the Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel made by MAD Architects, installing a shallow pool of water to reflect the scenery at its far end.
The 2018 Triennial offers to art travelers two courses of official bus tour, featuring new and major works: the former, called the Antelope Course, showcasing the artworks that highlight terraced rice fields and civil engineering as device to survive in the severe natural environment, such as heavy snowfall and earthquakes.
Hoshitoge rice terrace, courtesy Echigo- Tsumari Art Triennial 2018JPG - 7th Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan 2018

Hoshitoge rice terrace, courtesy Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2018

During this trip visitors can explore at KINARE – the Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art -, the temporary exhibition, The Hojoki Shiki – The Universe of ten foot square huts by architects and artists. It’s a proposal to break the fetters of homogenous space that covers the world of today and examine the role of architecture and art in an era when local values have been swamped by globalization. It shows a variety of sectional, mobile, small architectural spaces with different functions (dwelling, office, shop, sauna, dining, etc.) by 30 groups of architects and artists selected through the open call (the jury: Hiroshi Hara, Ryue Nishizawsa, Fram Kitagawa), including Dominique Perrault Architecture, Toyo Ito & Associates Architects, and so on. The visitors can experience a virtual “village” in full size, which surrounds a large-scale pond created by Argentinean artist Leandro Elrich.
Christian Boltanski, Last Class, Photo: H. Kuratani - 7th Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan 2018

Christian Boltanski, Last Class, Photo: H. Kuratani

The latter is the Salmon Course guiding visitors to the works along the Shinano River, Japan’s longest river, to enjoy the dynamic topography with its typical river terraces. Damián Ortega is also featuring an installation, inspired by the indigenous mythology in Mexico that weaves history and landscape.
Each tour includes a special lunch prepared by a Michelin-star chef or food artist, emphasizing local food with fresh and seasonal menus.
Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale has been internationally recognized as a model of regional revitalization through art and the issues it’s been facing to boost the region are now being shared by many regions in the world, in particular in Asia.

More information at, click here
Review: Design Miami 2018 in Basel

Review: Design Miami 2018 in Basel

By Giampaolo Benedini*

The great showcase for collectible design is food for thought about Design and its ultimate meaning

DESIGN: noun

1. Ideation and development of goods, services, processes for mass production embodying functional and aesthetic demands based on the needs of the intended user; also, industrial design.

This is the recurring definition of the term “design”.

The overview of all the products displayed at Design Miami 2018 in Basel, in contrast to the dictionary definition, proves a kind of “conceptual confusion”. To make myself quite clear, let’s start by analyzing the kind of objects visitors are presented – objects which can be divided , albeit with some exceptions, into three main sections:

Handicrafts – creative and not-so-creative – often revealing little regard for functionality;
• Objects potentially suitable for industrial production but still focused on a small-scale, artisanal manufacturing;
Industrially produced objects.

These categories, obviously exacerbated, can help us understand the intrinsic value of every piece featured in Basel, the leading fair for contemporary art increasingly focused on design collectibles. The main difference between manufacturing and industrial production lies in the predominant use of craftsmanship versus machines and in the final number of pieces produced – despite the latest introduction of sophisticated, numerically controlled machine tools is allowing today the creation of unique pieces otherwise impossibile to produce without complex systems and molds.
Having said that, the whole exhibition, in my opinion, might as well be entitled “Creative Miami” given that of all the object displayed, only a few were likely to be – at least intentionally – Design Products. Among them, Prouvé’s projects at Patrick Seguin Gallery, drawn from Jean’s working background as a blacksmith and from his ‘second life’ as a designer: his independent and original creativity can combine shape with metal craftsmanship to create seats, tables and furniture as well as structures, facilities for buildings and panelised modular façade systems.
Jean Prouvé architecture presented by Galerie Patrick Seguin - Design Miami 2018 in Art Basel

Jean Prouvé architecture presented by Galerie Patrick Seguin

Then we find the car design at Stuart Parr Collection welcoming us with three Iso Rivolta created by Giorgetto Giugiaro, world-class car designer and incomparable talent since car production changed substantially, reshaping his working attitude from solo player to unsurpassed conductor.
It’s still quite a mistery why three versions of the same car were on display – maybe because of a Chevrolet 8v motor or because Eng. Rivolta moved to the US many years ago. Iso started developing its first vehicles with Isetta, a small car with a two-stroke motorcycle engine which proved a commercial flop in Italy due, for the most part, to increasing competition from FIAT hatchback. However, the Isetta prototype contributed to BWM’s renaissance, paving the way for a new generation of cars built under Iso license.
Anyway, the Stuart Parr Collection is an homage to Italy, highlighting Italian creativity throughout 1960’s economic boom after World War ll. Car design in particular benefited most from this innovative blast, rethinking vehicles and bikes in terms of new uses – exemplary was FIAT 600, which soon became “the car for holidays at the seaside” or our world-famous Vespa, for freight transport.

My overall impression is that true design is quite a rare thing in Basel’s flamboyant showcase. It would be hard to express any further opinion on the other pieces – despite many of them looked pretty catchy and well designed, like Gaetano Pesce collection on view at Raf Simons for Calvin Klein’s installation.
I regret missing Eams’ furnitures at such a great event – absolute leaders in the industrial design field – or Knoll’s amazing creations for both the home and working space.

That was real Design.

That, is what’s hard to find here, under the lights of Design Miami/Basel.
Carpenters Workshop Gallery - London, NY and Paris - Design Miami 2018 in Art Basel

Carpenters Workshop Gallery – London, NY and Paris

*With a degree in Architecture at Politecnico (Milan), Giampaolo Benedini has been working both in the field of architecture and design. He managed building design services for commercial activities, industrial and residential areas, as well as renovations and restorations of historical buildings. He was involved in several projects in the car industry (Subaru, Lotus, Bugatti), and in the bike industry (Aprilia and Moto Guzzi) to help building new plants and retraining old ones. For many years, he worked as R&D Manager for Schirolli, an ancient Mantuan company operating in the office furniture sector. In 1973 he founded and directed Agape, introducing innovative products for bathrooms. In the 1990s, he took part in the concept, design & development of Bugatti EB110, acclaimed as best performing and technologically advanced grand touring supercar in the world. In 1995 he directed the Lotus Style Centre in Norwich, where he developed new projects like Elise, a small sports car embodying all qualities of the prestigious English brand. In 1999 he founded Benedini Associati involving Bibi and Camilla Benedini with the aim to give Design & Interiors more and more importance (his network is wide. Until now, he applied for over 600 design products, many of which in the bathroom and office space, but also in the electronic and industrial field. In 2009 he founded Benedini&Partners, a company with a special focus on architectural design for new constructions and major renovations of historical buildings.

Liverpool Biennial 2018

Liverpool Biennial 2018

By Eugenia Bertelè

The 10th edition of the Liverpool Biennial 2018 will be held between July 14 to October 28, inviting artists and audience to reflect, through the question Beautiful world, where are you?, on the uncertainty of the contemporary social, political and economic status. Over 40 artists from 22 countries will try to answer this question through existing works and new commitments



In 2018 Liverpool Biennial is celebrating 20 years of presenting international art in the city and region. The exhibition is curated by Kitty Scott (Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario) and Sally Tallant (Director, Liverpool Biennial) with the Liverpool Biennial team. The biennial is presented in different locations across the city including public spaces, civic buildings and Liverpool leading art venues: Bluecoat, FACT, Open Eye Gallery, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University’s Exhibition Research Lab, RIBA North, the Playhouse theatre, St George’s Hall, the Oratory, Victoria Gallery & Museum (University of Liverpool), and Blackburne House.
The title Beautiful world, where are you? comes from a 1788 poem by the German poet Friedrich Schiller, set to music by Austrian composer Franz Schubert in 1819. The years between the composition of Schiller’s poem and Schubert’s song saw great upheaval and profound change in Europe, from the French Revolution to the fall of the Napoleonic Empire.
RYAN GANDER Time Moves Quickly (workshop), 2018, Courtesy Brian Roberts, Liverpool Biennial 2018

RYAN GANDER Time Moves Quickly (workshop), 2018, Courtesy Brian Roberts, Liverpool Biennial 2018

40 artists from 22 countries contribute this year to create a new map of contemporary art ranging all continents: the curatorial selection, with the aim to discuss the global situation, broadens the reflection to artists who don’t represent Eurocentric perspective, bringing together indigenous artists from Canada and Australia, including the British debut of the legendary French film-maker Agnès Varda with the commitment of 3 Mouvements, a three-channel video installation combining precedent works, and portraying individuals in society through poetic images. Varda presents also Ulysse, a short film she directed in 1982. Recognized British artist Ryan Gander worked at Times moves quickly with 5 children from Knotty Ash Primary School in Liverpool to produce a series of artworks and a film exploring the activities carried out in the workshops. The project takes inspiration from the Montessori method of education, based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play.
BRIAN JUNGEN, Warrior 3, 2018 (detail). Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, Liverpool Biennial 2018

BRIAN JUNGEN, Warrior 3, 2018 (detail). Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, Liverpool Biennial 2018

A monumental ephemeral and site-specific sculpture by the Iranian artist Abbas Akhavan fills the Vide gallery at Bluecoat. Variations on a ghost make reference to artworks destroyed by ISIS over the last decade, in particular the ancient sculptures of the Assyrian protective deities, half man, half lion. The artist creates a transforming artwork that changes the physical appearance and the smell during the exhibition and turns its surface into a stone crust. At Great George Street in Liverpool, Turkish artist Banu Cennetoğlu, presents an updated version of The List, tracing information relating to the deaths of more than 34.000 refugees and migrants who have lost their lives within, or on the border of Europe since 1993.
ANGNÉS VARDA, Ulysse (film still), 1982. Courtesy the artist, Liverpool Biennial 2018

ANGNÉS VARDA, Ulysse (film still), 1982. Courtesy the artist, Liverpool Biennial 2018

Cennetoğlu explores the political, social and cultural dimension of the production, representation and distribution of knowledge questioning how this information can possibly feed a society’s collective thinking and become part of its ideology. Chechen artist Aslan Gaisumov, traces the struggle and turbulent stories of his people, connecting personal and collective memory in his recent work Keicheyuhea, created while following his grandmother during the return to her lost homeland in the mountainous scenery of the North Caucasus for the first time since the displacement of her family 73 years earlier.
Aslan Gaisumov, Keicheyuhea (video still), 2017, Courtesy the artist, Liverpool Biennial 2018

Aslan Gaisumov, Keicheyuhea (video still), 2017, Courtesy the artist, Liverpool Biennial 2018

Polish artist Paulina Olowska created a new mosaic called Grace, Charles and the Sunflower that references the socialist belief that through the creation of a public work one can influence and present optimistic visions of a better world. The artist’s idea is based on a Polish mosaic from the 1960s situated on the side of a public school in the village of Raba Zdroj, where she lives. Despite its history, the mosaic remains unprotected and unmaintained: the government no longer promotes this kind of popular, public, post-soviet art and there is a strong possibility that it will be demolished in the future. By presenting a similar mosaic in Liverpool, Olowska champions the value of these works and suggests that they should be protected as part of the country’s national heritage.
Banu Cennetoğlu, list of 13.824 documented deaths of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants due to the restrictive policies of Fortress Europe, courtesy the artist, Liverpool Biennial 2018

Banu Cennetoğlu, list of 13.824 documented deaths of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants due to the restrictive policies of Fortress Europe, courtesy the artist, Liverpool Biennial 2018

Over the past two decades, the UK’s largest celebration of contemporary art has commissioned more than 300 new artworks and exhibited by over 400 artists from across the globe.

More information at this link.
Review the complete artists list at this link.
10th Berlin Biennale – “We Don’t Need Another Hero”

10th Berlin Biennale – “We Don’t Need Another Hero”

By Chiara Rizzolo

More intent on raising questions than providing prepacked answers, the 10th Berlin Biennale (BB10) is a perfect blend of “complex subjectivities”, from curatorial team to selected artists

We don’t need another hero” is the title of the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (BB10) which opened to the public last month (June 9) in five different venues all around the city. This year’s edition was conceived so as to offer a more ‘compact’ event rather than a dispersed big show presenting over a hundred works. Hereby, the curator Gabi Ngcobo and the curatorial team of Nomaduma Rosa Masilela, Serubiri Moses, Thiago de Paula Souza, and Yvette Mutumba, concentrated upon taking their visitors on “a journey confronting the current widespread states of collective psychosis.
The final result was a selection of 46 participating artists and collectives and only five venues reflecting the position of Berlin as a city in dialogue with the world.
Curators of 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, 2018: Thiago de Paula Souza, Gabi Ngcobo, Nomaduma Rosa Masilela, Yvette Mutumba, Moses Serubiri

Curators of 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, 2018:
Thiago de Paula Souza, Gabi Ngcobo, Nomaduma Rosa Masilela, Yvette Mutumba, Moses Serubiri

By recalling Tina Turner’s song “We Don’t Need Another Hero” (1985), the Berlin Biennale isn’t interested in providing a coherent reading of history or the present of any kind. It rejects the desire for a savior, as the song says. Instead, it focuses on the political potential of the act of self–preservation, “refusing to be seduced by unyielding knowledge systems and historical narratives that contribute to the creation of toxic subjectivities.

For this reason, many featured artworks are part of a wider project or a body of works, a series. No medium is preferred over the others, sculpture, painting, installations and performance have all the same importance. Different configurations can lead to creative complexities and new meanings: BB10 encourages a conversation with artists and contributors in order to talk – and hopefully act – through art in the attempt to stop the “willful disregard for complex subjectivities”.

The viewer is free to relate and interact with the local contexts addressed and represented in many of the pieces, engagement is high. Berlin comes out as a place open to pluralism even at a time when nationalism and xenophobia are a hot topic.
Until September 9, 2018 the permanent exhibition venues you can visit are: Akademie der Künste at Hanseatenweg, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Volksbühne Pavilion, ZK/U – Center for Art and Urbanistics and HAU2, which serves as a site for two performances over the course of the Biennale. These places were chosen both for their relevance through Berlin’s past and present history.

Here’s the five artists you must not miss at BB10!

• Basir Mahmood

VENUE: Akademie der Künste
Basir Mahmood all voices are mine (Installation View), 2018 - Video

Basir Mahmood all voices are mine (Installation View), 2018 – Video

All voices are mine (2018) is a disparate collection of images, gestures and reminiscences the artist filmed during a single day of shooting with a team of professional actors. All these gestures – already performed in other films – are put together into a long sequence from day to night, transforming the bodies into living tableaux. The atemporality of every single action combined with the new temporal dimension helps escaping dramatization or fiction: the video looks like a vivid painting animated by time.

MORE: www.basirmahmood.com

• Heba Y. Amin

VENUE: ZK/U – Center for Art and Urbanistics
Heba Y. Amin, The Master’s Tools I, 2018, courtesy Heba Y. Amin

Heba Y. Amin, The Master’s Tools I, 2018, courtesy Heba Y. Amin

Dreaming of a new map of the world she lives in, Egypt-born artist Heba Y. Amin picks up the ambitious (unrealized) plans devised by the German architect Herman Sörgel in the 1920s to drain the Mediterranean and connect Europe with Africa. Surrounded by maps, recurring symbols and photographs, Amin embodies a fictional political figure who is bringing up the proposal yet again, this time for benefiting the African continent. In her utopian vision, the connected continents could help bring justice to the African people, as well as end terrorism and the migrant crisis. Thought-provoking, The Master’s Tools’ alternative geographies leave us with “an uneasy feeling of insecurity about the kind of a world we are currently inhabiting — and the world we might wish (or not wish) to inhabit.” (Yvette Mutumba, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the art magazine Contemporary And (C&) – Platform for International Art from African Perspectives).

MORE: www.hebaamin.com

• Lorena Gutiérrez Camejo

VENUE: KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Lorena Gutiérrez Camejo, ¿Dónde están los héroes (Where are the heroes), 2016, photo Rofolfo Martínez

Lorena Gutiérrez Camejo, ¿Dónde están los héroes (Where are the heroes), 2016, photo Rofolfo Martínez

¿Dónde están los héroes? (Where are the heroes?, 2015–16) is a three-by-five-meter painting composed of 100 individual paintings. The overall composition, with this colorful, repeating vertical pattern seems to recall the iconic hierarchical aesthetic of the military rankings or “ribbons” worn on uniforms. The minimalism of the paiting avoiding any details, together with its size, is a not-so-hidden allusion to Cuba’s current and past political situation, starting from Fidel Castro until present times. Through the question in its title – Where are the heroes? – the artist leaves us to ponder an answer.

MORE: www.lorenagutierrezcamejo.com

• Dineo Sheshee Bopape

VENUE: KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Dineo Sheshee Bopape, Untitled (Of Occult Instability [Feelings], 2016-18, bricks, light, sound, videos, water, framed serviette. With Jabu Arnell’s 'Discoball X, 2018

Dineo Sheshee Bopape, Untitled (Of Occult Instability [Feelings], 2016-18, bricks, light, sound, videos, water, framed serviette. With Jabu Arnell’s ‘Discoball X, 2018

A video of Nina Simone’s Feelings performance, an arrangement of bricks suggesting different states of ruination, buckets catching drips of water, and a framed playlist written on a paper napkin – all lit in apocalyptic orange: Untitled (Of Occult Instability) [Feelings] is an environmental installation. Bopape invited also three artists to contribute to her installation: Lachell Workman, Robert Rhee and Jabu Arnell, whose giant cardboard ball suspended from the ceiling, at a first glance might seem responsible for the wreckage. Visitors can pick their way through broken bricks, torn-off metal pipes and streaming screens… The artist’s message is clear: “Yesterday’s hero can become today’s tyrant,” as she said in an interview.

MORE: seshee.blogspot.com

• Sondra Perry

VENUE: Akademie der Künste
Sondra Perry, Eclogue For No Horizon, 2017, courtesy Sondra Perry, photo Kjell Ove StorvikNNKS

Sondra Perry, Eclogue For No Horizon, 2017, courtesy Sondra Perry, photo Kjell Ove StorvikNNKS

New Jersey–born artist Sondra Perry is a video artist using computer-based media like Chroma 3D blue screens, 3D avatars, open source softwares and found footage from Youtube, installations, and performances to explore different ways blackness has been presented throughout history. Eclogue For No Horizon explores the theme of the science-fiction concept of terraforming, an evolving process after which a planet becomes habitable and allows the survival of the human race. The video installation is spread across three screens encouraging the viewer, together with the artist, to reflect upon how space reacts to different bodies but also how certain bodies can subvert material and psychological boundaries: transforming ecologies through occupation is the first step to make a landscape inhabitable.

MORE: sondraperry.com
Luigi Ghirri: frameless landscapes

Luigi Ghirri: frameless landscapes

By Chiara Rizzolo

The Triennale museum takes us on a photographic journey across Italian landscapes and architecture made familiar by Ghirri’s liturgical rite for the genius loci.
The landscape of architecture but also, the architecture of landscape

Omnia quae sunt, lumina sunt
“All things that are, are lights” ¹

Luighi Ghirri started taking saturated kodachrome snapshots in the early 1970s, pioneering the color photography as a new art form. The idea of a “snapshot aesthetic” had somehow already started spreading in the mid-1960s, but the majority of photographers were still using black-and-white film. It took another decade before William Eggleston – to whom Ghirri has always been likened – and Stephen Shore, to name a few, began adding the sparkle of saturated hues to their works.
Luigi Ghirri, Riviera Romagnola, 1988 - 1989 by Luigi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri, Riviera Romagnola, 1988 – 1989 by Luigi Ghirri

Ghirri’s admiration for Eggleston, in particular, was immediate and strong. The American’s photographs looked completely different from those taken by his contemporaries. As Ghirri said in an interview in 1984, “As soon as I saw Eggleston’s works at the Stadtpark Forum in Gratz, I couldn’t help but feeling a strong emotional ‘uneasiness’. My first reaction was pure wonder. What couldn’t cease to amaze me was Eggleston’s new way to look at things. I was feeling an enchantment I had never experienced before. Those signs and those landscapes I was looking at were not the familiar signs, landscapes, and symbolic objects he used to capture. Rather, they looked kind of blurry, vague, with unusual perspectives.

Far from the urge of sharpness and precision – a common trend in Shore, Meyerowitz and Sternfeld’s photography at the time –, Eggleston was using his camera as a tool to fragment the image, to dissolve our traditional conception of a “pre–fab” world and show a different reality. It’s a formal revoluton: no centre is left to the spectator’s vision and, consequently, light ends up being so omnipresent that it somehow disappears. Originated elsewhere, it simply starts co-exhisting within the space as a “radiant sea”.
Following this philosophy, Luigi Ghirri pursued his attraction to italian landscapes, architecture and its relationship with the surrounding environment. He photographed iconic buildings as well as the local houses along his homeland Emilian fields, both with an equally poetic and liturgical eye. He critically viewed photography as a powerful visual language, the only way to handle human’s tremendous yearning to achieve more and grab a slice of infinite – a desire deeply rooted within all of us. Photographic constructions means the construction of an image.

My aim is not to make PHOTOGRAPHS, but rather CHARTS and MAPS that might at the same time constitute photographs,” writes the photographer on his craft, in his 1973 essay, Fotografie del periodo iniziale.

An old house, a roof, a vanishing decoration, a man sitting against a wall, a desert road, a mediterranean tree: these subjects stand like ‘apparitions’ in full light, reversing Ecclesiastes’ motto Nihil sub sole novum (“There is nothing new under the sun”). Instead, photography reveals there’s nothing old under the sun: we can look at a landscape a hundred times as if it was there for the very first time. Isolated from the reality which surrounds them and presented in a photograph as part of a different discourse, these images become laden with new meaning.
Ghirri’s eye on architecture is widely shown in the the exhibition “The Landscape of Architecture” at Triennale museum in Milan. Running through 26 August 2018 and featuring the fruitful relationship between Ghirri and Lotus International Architecture Magazine, the exhibition displays about 200 original photographs from the magazine archives, together with some work materials.

Divided into three sections – Italian Landscape, Domestic Design, and Architectural Images commissioned by the magazine – this neon-lit environment let us wander among images and quotes from the photographer’s writings, encouraging a personal reading of them both. “The daily encounter with reality, the fictions, the surrogates, the ambiguous, poetic or alienating aspects, all seem to preclude any way out of the labyrinth, the walls of which are ever more illusory… to the point at which we might merge with them… The meaning that I am trying to render through my work is a verification of how it is still possible to desire and face a path of knowledge, to be able finally to distinguish the precise identity of man, things, life, from the image of man, things, and life.” Luigi Ghirri
Attention is the only path towards the ineffable, the only possibile way through mistery. It is the ultimate, higher source of imagination. Reality, knowledge and fairytale somehow intertwine creating new worlds, new symbols, new images-within-the-image. Lined up, all these places (“loci”) recreate a strange sequence made of stones, churches, blue seascapes, country roads, objects. These “impossibile landscapes” – as Ghirri called them –, suddenly become familiar like an old enigma no longer inscrutable and indecipherable, finally solved by the heart.
Luigi Ghirri, 'I Bagni Misteriosi' di Giorgio de Chirico e la Triennale, 1986

Luigi Ghirri, ‘I Bagni Misteriosi’ di Giorgio de Chirico e la Triennale, 1986

¹ J. S. Eriugena (c. 815 – c. 877, theologian, neoplatonist philosopher, and poet)
Leunora Salihu: exploring space

Leunora Salihu: exploring space

By Chiara Rizzolo

A spatial journey with Leunora Salihu, the Kosovian artist abstracting and redefining shapes from everyday life

Leunora Salihu foto Mathias Schormann

Leunora Salihu foto Mathias Schormann

Leunora Salihu (1977, Pristina, Kosovo) is a multifaceted artist combining different industrial and organic materials to explore space through – or maybe, beyond – the physicality of her sculptures.
Every piece – be it a ceramic work or a temporary public installation – challenges the possibilities and limits of movement juxtaposing natural and constructive “form-elements” from industrial, architectural and design fields.

I’m looking for something extraordinary in form and material, paired with the temporal aspects of movement. Condensing such contrasts into a clear image is appealing to me.
Her “Spatialism” explores the classic questions of sculpture, such as the relationship between volume and surrounding space, the dynamism of the whole related to its individual parts and the interplay between sculpture and pedestal. Hereby she creates voluminous objects, often recurring to familiar shapes mimicking human proportions or architectural prototypes of human habitations (like in Haus, 2009) – ranging till the anatomy of insects, hives or nests.
Ceramic, wood, and metal are combined with minute care and tenacity, giving each sculpture not only an original shape but also a consistent “geometry of presence” – and therefore, of distance – in Space.
The poet is a pretender” once wrote Fernando Pessoa referring to the artist’s ability to create a perfect illusion in the eye of the beholder but don’t call her an “illusionist”: her sculptures are meant to be a ‘unicum’, a continuous “transition between an object and its base or between inside and outside” she says. Nothing’s hermetic, nothing’s hidden. For a while, you could say they even defy the commonsense requirement of finiteness.
Every sculpture is an encounter: what the viewer witnesses is a kind of physical presence, a face-to-face interaction turning everyone into an integral part of the work. There’s a timeless, ethereal balance between the austerity of the composition and the light permeability of the objects and this astonishing perception is made possible thanks to the accurate combination of antithetical materials such as wood and metal; plaster and ceramics, resin and clay…
Leunora Salihu’s sculptures create an apparent paradox: at first glance, almost every object seems to be asking for a symbolical, multi-layered interpretation.  But this is misleading, for it denies the intense physical realism of the artist’s creations. If it is still “symbolic truth” that we are to find here, then we still have to start a conversation with the form, which is as meaningful on the small size, though evident on the large.  Salihu’s artworks are exceptional for they spur an audacious human endeavor to embrace space, to fill and understand it from every perspective.
Leunora Salihy - Leunora Salihu, Turm, 2010-2011, Galerie Thomas Schulte

Leunora Salihy – Leunora Salihu, Turm, 2010-2011, Galerie Thomas Schulte

This is the reason why her public installations are meant to be temporary interventions rather than permanent. Everything is designed in such a way that the sculptures do not lose their ethereal aura becoming an ‘invading fetish’. Pressed wood or roofing gently combines with parks and places’s aesthetic, allowing the artwork to remain fully visible (and interacting).
Primoz Bizjak: more than meets the eye

Primoz Bizjak: more than meets the eye

By Chiara Rizzolo

The Slovenian photographer Primoz Bizjak leads us to a sublime journey across the Apuan Alps to unveil the inner light and colors of impermanence

After a childhood spent in the fields behind his house looking for pieces from the First World War, a holy curiosity and a strong need to widen horizons drove a grown up Slovenian transport logistics engineer to finally attend the Fine Art School in Venice and become a photographer. “Now my curiosity is the source of my work” says Primoz Bizjak after several solo and group exhibitions in Italy, Spain, Germany, Slovenia and Canada.
Primoz Bizjak by Ph. Carlos Fernández

Primoz Bizjak by Ph. Carlos Fernández

Using two old analogical cameras and nocturnal shots revealing colors usually hidden in the night, Primož’s pays a special attention to landscape, to the framing and to every detail. With an eye on abandoned places or places going through a transition, his work is a record of a certain locus in a particular point in time – often, a revealing one. All compositions are front-on and stick to the essential: there’s no room for unusual perspectives – “the students’ stuff” – as he calls it. Underlying all series is the idea of an unmediated directness with the selected subject, heightened by the fact that the works undergo no degree of digital manipulation. “I’m far more interested in the object itself, what’s in front of me, and I try to show it as it is. Much more important for me is the viewpoint, both in terms of form and concept.” His photographs patiently unveil the history of places, their symbolic landmarks as well as their impermanent function. Light is crucial, in this regard, since “it can sometimes help us see the same object in different ways or even reveal things the eye cannot see” – both in term of form and concept. After all, it hasn’t been that long since early childhood explorations: that young boy is still running in the fields or climbing up a mountain to witness the ephemeral, the hidden voice or nature or maybe, just the passing of time.
Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane - Passo della Focolaccia, 2017

Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane – Passo della Focolaccia, 2017

Gregor Podnar Gallery recently hosted “Alpi Apuane”, a series of seven photographs taken between 2014 and late 2017 and dedicated to the vast mountain range in northern Tuscany. It took Bizjak four patient years to find the perfect moment in time revealing what is left behind – or sometimes beyond – Apuan rock walls. His analogue shots features nocturnal images surprising the viewer with a full spectrum of colors normally hidden in daylight. He gradually captured the abandoned quarries and extraction sites, defying heights and ‘no-entry’ signs to unveil what we would never be able to see.
Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane - Antro del Corchia, 2015

Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane – Antro del Corchia, 2015

As a Romantic explorer, the artist captures these “suspended” landscapes abstracting them from both temporal and spatial dimension and freezing them into an atemporal place in history. The viewer’s experience, on the other side, is deeply immersive, almost a religious one. We’re asked to look deeper, to be silent witness of the mountain’s breathe. Maybe this is the ‘Sublime’ feeling well described in the 18th century writings by Joseph Addison and a few other Englishmen who had experienced a journey across the Alps. Sharing the same appreciation of the fearful and irregular forms of nature, what these writers and philosophers also had in common was a strong feeling of “delight that is consistent with reason”: the experience of the journey was at once “a pleasure to the eye as music is to the ear”, but “mingled with Horrours, and sometimes almost with despair”. The very etymology of “Sublime” – from Latin Sublimis (sub, “under” + limen, literally “lintel, threshold, sill”) seems to suggest us a perfect interpretation of Bizjak’s recherche: we’re somehow asked to look carefully at all these nuances, to discover in every detail a glimpse of what lies behind and, at the same time, aspires to reach the peak of an undisclosed height.
Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane - Tre Fiumi, 2015

Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane – Tre Fiumi, 2015

Even a dismissed quarry can be called sublime because it ascends to the heights in a figurative and physical sense, as can every aspect of nature – as long as it has its own grandeur or is able to covey a “spiritual awakening”. Alpi Apuane thus is more than just a Proustian search of lost time. It’s a symbolic recollection of childhood’s curiosity together with adulthood appreciation of the transient impermanent. It’s a journey trhough Memory, an invitation not to forget what belongs to the past, elevating reality to the imaginary, almost mystical level.  
Obliteration is not an option.
Bizjak’s “unmediated intimacy” with the mountain is the way through an Epiphany, a sudden revelation. The micro becomes macro and viceversa: every photograph is a ‘manifestation’, that holy moment when a simple rock or a ray of light against a wall flashes out with its own peculiar meaning and makes us realize we’re maybe smaller than we think but – at the same time – higher.
For more information, visit Gregor Podnar Gallery.
Serpentine Pavilion 2018 review

Serpentine Pavilion 2018 review

by Tiziana Maggio

Serpentine Pavilion: unveiling a concrete tapestry in a garden…

Serpentine Pavilion 2018

Serpentine Pavilion 2018

This summer a dark fence is going to stand in the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens. On Tuesday 12th June, the new Serpentine Pavilion 2018 opened to the public giving at a first view very little of itself away, if not just two textured overlapping rectangles. In fact, as soon as I arrived my partner of adventures Roro stated: “It looks like a prison”.
However, from a closer look the structure reveals to be formed by undulated roofing tiles stacked together and romantically woven on to steel poles which welcome us in a courtyard-like space with a shallow triangular pool covered by a curved mirrored canopy. Also we realised that the two nested rectangular spaces are wisely placed parallel to the Serpentine Gallery one and the Prime Meridian of Greenwich the other.
Serpentine Pavilion 2018

Serpentine Pavilion 2018

I have to say that after the tree-inspired Pavilion created last year by Diébédo Francis Kéré, this black textured walls are everything but unwelcoming or rough: in fact with a cafe, chairs and light and breeze filtering through the decorative tiles, they will offer for the next four months a relaxing and intimate place to recover from the either rainy or hot city’s buzz and enjoy a calendar filled of art events.
Serpentine Pavilion 2018

Serpentine Pavilion 2018

Plus, the distorted images reflected by the ceiling and the water highlight how simple materials like cement can create complex pieces of tapestries. The Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, who was mingling around at the opening, invites us to enjoy the water and a cool splash for our suffering soles in the hopefully warm days of this London’s summer.
Serpentine Pavilion 2018

Mexican architect Frida Escobedo’s pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery, in London. Photograph Ray Tang Rex Shutterstock

Establishing her practice in 2006, she led several projects in her country, London, California and Lisbon. After Zaha Hadid inaugural Pavillion in 2000, Frida is the second solo woman to be chosen for the Serpentine Gallery’s annual commission. Also, at 38 years old, she is the youngest architect of any of her predecessors achieving the prestigious leading role, becoming the 18th architect selected to design the Pavilion.
My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the expression of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms” stated Escobedo.
Serpentine Pavilion 2018

Serpentine Pavilion 2018

Serpentine Director Hans-Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel explained that Escobedo’s Pavilion is “a beautiful harmony of Mexican and British influences” and an “architecture for everyone which promises to be a space of reflection and encounter”. In fact the young architect wanted to reinterpret the permeable ‘celosia’, a type of breeze wall which is a common element in the Mexican residential properties to get some restorative and cool siesta-times, creating a very previous British reference for us.

Go: the Pavilion is always worth a detour from your running around.
Don’t go: if you prefer your sofa, couch potato!
A performance by Naama Tsabar

A performance by Naama Tsabar

By Pietro Ferrazzi

Musical artworks: strange paintings with electronic cables, plugs and microphones with Naama Tsabar

Wednesday in Basel means breakfast at the Kunsthaus Baselland and the chance to stumble upon great and uncommon shows. This year the three selected artists are Rossella Biscotti, Rochelle Feinstein and Naama Tsabar. And it’s the latter who gets the main space of the museum and our attention.
Here and there, you can see strange paintings with electronic cables, plugs and microphones. And pieces of blue, red and black felt combined with wires. It looks like an unfinished stage but everything makes clear when a performance starts.
A group of girls starts playing those paintings with theatrical gestures, bringing us to a surreal and magic atmosphere delighting our ears and our feelings. What a great start to a day!