Tag Archives: architecture

Light and Color!

I spent several days in December in Oslo. You may not believe but first thing that comes to my mind is – light! And then color! And then some more light!

The color was more indoors. Somewhat lazy and unwillingly I went to City Hall, only to discover that it was a real gem. One may say it is kitsch or another that it is too much of national and soc-realistic portrayals of the history and local population; I may say that is was, in today’s abundance of images and reincarnations of power and force – just fresh, unexpected and alive. What you say?

What you have seen here are details from ceilings, walls, doors and interior.

Not so far away another fascinating indoors, Oslo Opera House, designed by Snohetta – and again light:

Although mother nature did its magic and outside are predominantly monochrome colors, human touch did its magic and, as beauty is in the eye of beholder, some of you may appreciate a whole different angle on Scandinavian outdoors:

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He Couldn’t Swim Either

When in Oslo, don’t miss two things: Oslo Opera House and Astrup Fearnely Museum. Here are some messages and impressions from the second one.

This museum has been built between 2006 and 2012 and designed by designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The complex is itself very nordic: very light, very ethereal, very transparent and minimalistic. Or is it just a huge sail? Inside, on the other hand, is colorful and loud, as one of the world most complex and diverse private collections found its place there. The collection itself dates to 1960s and museum displays it not in chronological view but in its full visual richness and expression. I may say that I learned here about Bjarne Melgaard and have never seen before so many damien-hirsts at one place. However, another piece was perhaps more intriguing:

Tom Sachs, “London Calling”, 2004

Is it electric cupboard? Or self-reflection board? Or serves only as a visual composition?

The exhibition is curated in the way that the visitor is engaged herself in the art, from just observing, going and out or avoiding it, to picking up the posters or candies from the floor and taking them with (yes, ‘the art pieces’ they are!).

Or – others are just – honest:

More about it you may found in their own blog.

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Skyscrapers: in and out

I’ve been recently in Chicago – a city with certainly some of the most beautiful high-rise buildings in the world. These buildings have later inspired the cities and architects around North America to compete more creative, more theme oriented and unusual in their next project. Museum of Contemporary Art has organized a fantastic exhibition on skyscrapers, showing them from inside out: what it means not only for citizens as part of the skyline but also for their inhabitants. Moreover, what skyscrapers meant for society, their construction and, sometimes, deconstructions. Last but not least, all those emotions that those skyscrapers involve have been also touched upon and often on display.

 

Roy Ethridge, “Tokyo 2”

What a fantastic shot! Roy Ethridge captured romance of this world by striking the upward rising Tokyo with a sharp ray of light and rainbow in one and focusing not only on metropolitan urbanism of the city but also on its lucky charm of modernity.

 

Peter Wegner, “Buildings Made of Sky, VI”

Another interesting photography: Wegner shows the obvious here with non-obvious means. Long city boulevards, elongated upending buildings and gloomy sunset – he surrealistically ‘creates structures where none seem to exist’.

 

Jan Tichy, “Installation No. 3”

The image here does not do the work its justice: the light projection right on the fragile paper structure is further translated on the wall, so that the installation is a constant play of light and shadow. Reminds a lot on works of Sol LeWitt.

 

Kader Attia, “Untitled (skyline)”

What you see here are refrigerators,  which have been altered by simple mirrors. This work symbolizes ‘a yearning for the glamour of the metropolis’, but also shows how this urbanity can be easily improvised and approximated.

 

Ahmet Ögüt, “Exploded City”

Ahmet Ögüt shows here an imaginary metropolis, comprised of building that have been destroyed in an act of destruction, conflict or war. He shows them in the shape as they used to exist, disregarding the geography and placing them all together (this above is only a table explaining the background). Through this installation, the artist is playing with personal stories and emotions, the meaning of building and their destructions as well as the role of mass media.

 

Jonathan Horowitz, “Recycling Sculpture (World Trade Center Memorial)”

What you see behind Ögür’s model of Vijecnica in Sarajevo (“Exploded City”) is an everchanging sculpture representing World Trade Center towers. Every day the newspapers are placed and the ‘towers’ are rising; once the newspapers fill rectangular forms, they are removed for recycling. In this way, the artist plays with idea of constant change and rise and fall patterns.

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To me art is about self-acceptance

Before going to dOCUMENTA, I had a privilege (with time) to make a stop in Frankfurt and visit a must-see exhibition of Jeff Koons. Enfant terrible of several decades already and highly disputed and discussed about mega-artist has some amazing shows in Frankfurt and Basel. I had a chance to visit both Liebieghaus, for sculptures, and Schirn Kunsthalle, for his paintings.

Paintings were shown in one big hall and were combined there from several series and time periods, ranging from “Celebration”, “Made in Heaven”, “Antiquity”, just to name few.

Jeff Koons, The Painter, Exhibition in Schirn Kunsthalle

 

However, Koons’ sculptures were the ones that made me think/laugh/look around/smile and again think about them way longer after leaving the space. Not only that his pieces were provocative for themselves (‘balloons’ – that are not; e.g. made of stainless steel, all with ‘creases’, and several tones heavy), but the curatorial design and dramaturgy was amazing. Jeff Koons was placed right in the middle of antique and medieval classics. I have seen his ceramic women taking the bath right in front of renaissance tiles with Venus or Koons Cherubs next to baroque Eros and Psyche. After all, feel free to judge for yourself:

“Popeye”, 2009 – 2011

“Cherubs”, 1991

“Metallic Venus”, 2012

“Hulks (Bell)”, 2004 – 2012

“Woman in Tub”, 1988

 

To me art is about self-acceptance, and once you learn to accept yourself, automatically there’s a transcendence to going outward; it directs you to the acceptance of others, and everything is a metaphor for that acceptance—whether it’s working with objects, or images, or anything from the external world… [It] is a metaphor for the acceptance of others.

— could not agree more with him.

The exhibition is to be seen by 23 September.

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S*** on Your Hat

Few months ago I have visited Barcelona. It was a perfectly chaotic weekend with both good and not-so-good experiences, but with some great people (and that is what counts).

On a hot touristy Saturday I had no choice but to hit MACBA and I can’t say I regretted it. The building itself has been designed by Richard Meier and its design is an antidote to the city’s Gaudi/gothic architecture. It is very bright, open, minimalistic and urban and its huge triple-floor ramp-hall reminds me a bit of Centre Pompidue’s.

MACBA, inside out view

At that time, temporary exhibitions involved spanish photographs and contemporary art works, which I did not have much background about I must admit, aside from Antoni Tapies’ works. What I liked a lot were films from Aleksandr Sokurov, a Russian director, who has been awarded with several awards, one of them being Golden Lion in Venice International Film Festival in 2011. I found the monotony in life or Russian solders in “Confession: From the Commander’s Diary” and their confinement and limitness in their activities but also space very strong and thoughts-provoking. However, “Elegy of a Voyage” from 2001 is what really kept me siting there for long time. (Both may be found in e.g. YouTube.) This seems to be an infinite voyage, ‘told’ to us by a nameless narrator, which we can easily identify with and see it from his own eyes: no matter how much dreamlike it may seem and not related to reality, it ends with narrator finding its identity.

Other work, also as video art shown, was Samuel Beckett’s “Not I” from 1972, showing disembodied lips of a woman telling us about dramatic incidents in her life in high-pitched voice. It is very intense for audience, hinting a big trauma and detesting for self – which one does not feel comfortable listening to and seeing.

 

There was another interesting Bruce Naumann there, combining both video and installation, “Shit on Your Hat – Head on a Chair”, from 1990,

Bruce Nauman, “Shit on Your Hat – Head on a Chair”, 1990

as well as Pierre Bismuth’s “Postscript – The Passenger”, from 1996-2010.

Pierre Bismuth, “Postscript – The Passenger”, 1996-2010

Both are being somewhat humorous, tricky and also experimental in interpreting reality and suggesting (and controlling?) the course of events and our perception.

What is left for me to do next time when I am there would be Fundacio Antoni Tapies. This time I can also admire its outer look, work of  Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

Fundacio Antoni Tapies

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Cutting-edge

This event also happened few months ago, but as new one is coming up in autumn, I thought that it still worth of putting up some photos here. I am talking about Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, once a cotton-spinning areal and today an artistic hotspot. More about its history and revival you may find here, but I will just mention that many of Berlin galleries have found its (second) presence here as well as some up-and-coming and already established artists, the most prominent being Neo Rauch. Not only that: British Guardian proclaimed its ‘cutting-edge arts’ as ‘the best of Germany’.

For this spring gallery tour, we were invited by Halle 14, a fantastic exhibition space, which charms with its raw architecture but avant-garde contents. One of its gems is group Famed, which love to play with light installations. Other shots that I made in different exhibition spaces there were the following ones:

Peter Krauskopf, “Landschaften”, 2006-2007

L.C. Armstrong, “Green Vase with Oranges and Skull”, 2005

Markus Uhr, “Marilyn”, 2009

Exhibition comparing Dutch classics of 17th century and contemporary artists, SOR Rusche Collection

One of the buildings in the areal

Areal

Grass rooftop and view over Leipzig

There are regular gallery tours every spring, autumn and winter. More information you may find on their website.

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Salone del Mobile or “Two Alices in the Wonderland”, Part II

I had a chance to visit this time Salone del Mobile in Milan, one of the most prestigious design furniture fairs in the world, together with its accompanying content outside the fair premises. That included visiting the city center, Brera and other areas within FuoriSalone, fair program that is being shown for many times in the row now outside of the regular fair content. Second day was reserved for the furniture fair itself.

The day after we went to official fair areas, which was expectedly overwhelming. As we were not looking for anything in particular, we hit first SaloneSatelite and in  the end of the day, that remained our favorite spot. Satellites are those relatively smaller boots, mostly arranged by less established younger designers, such as Zeljka Kavran or design schools, such as New York Institute of Technology or American University of Sharjah, just to name few. This area was boosting of freshness and new vibes – it is not to say that others were not, but we found this one more to be more innovative and dynamic.

I hope you liked Salone del Mobile 2012!

(Please note that I have marked the design objects to the best of my knowledge. If there are any objections, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. I can remove the picture from this blog right away.)

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