28 January 2013


Kris Martin Lost Wax II 2013 (medium res) 1Kris Martin Lost Wax II 2013 (medium res)Kris Martin Lost Wax XIV 2013 (medium res) Kris Martin Untitled 2013 (medium res) 1 Kris Martin Untitled 2013 (medium res)
Kris Martin, White Cube Mason's Yard, London, 18 January - 16 March 2013; Images from the top: Kris Martin, "Lost Wax II"; "Lost Wax XIV"; "Untitled"; "Untitled" installation view; all works done in 2013 © Kris Martin, Photo: Ben Westoby, Courtesy White Cube 

With a solo show by 1972-born Belgian artist Kris Martin, White Cube Gallery starts the new year at Mason's Yard in London. As far as I'm concerned, I was a bit prejudiced, before visiting his current exhibition. Classifying his work into particular categories, such as the bigger, the better; flashiness and straining after effects; over-aestheticised high-gloss objects fetishised to pure goods for sale – I simply pigeon-holed Kris Martin, when I recalled his huge and half-inflated hot-air balloon, his golden oversized and shiny globe stand, his collages with advertisements of luxury watches, or a highly-polished Christian cross. However, the conceptual sculptor currently proves quite impressively that I was entirely wrong.

22 January 2013


Located a quiet backyard of Berlin’s hectic Neukölln neighbourhood, Ralf Dereich’s studio lies in the middle of Turkish fruit stores, one-euro-shops and hidden mosques. His working space seems settled, even though every wall displays a colourful and large painting-in-process. Also Ralf appears settled: He speaks reflective, self-critical and just as self-confident about his artistic practice. While shades of green and pink, indicated penises and breast brighten up his paintings, he considers concentration and an individual language just as important to him, as the search of an indefinite ‘something’. During a cosy coffee break, Ralf Dereich tells me about his escape from the art-alienated Rhineland-Palatinate to Berlin, about subconscious and aware working processes, and about the turning point, when he considers a painting to be cool. Click here or on the image to read the interview in English and/or German language.

Rald Dereich_studio visit_interview_artfridge.de image copyright artfridge.de Ralf Dereich_studio visit_intervew_artfridge_images copyright artfridge.de

9 January 2013


Tehran Skyline Sara Asefi_OutOfTime_Installation Elnaz Khoobroo_OutOfTime_Installation MahmoudBakhshi_Tulips rise from the blood of the nation’s youth_AzadGallery Extraterrestrial_Installation view(b)_AunGallery NazgolAnsarinia_AunGallery
From the top: (1) Skyline of Teheran, photo by Daria Kirsanova; (2) Sara Asefi, Installation view ‘Out Of Time, at Azad Gallery; (3) Elnaz Khoobroo, Installation view of ‘Out of Time’, Azad Gallery; (4) Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar, ‘Tulips Rise from the Blood of the Nation’s Youth’, 2008; all three images © the Artists, courtesy Azad Gallery, Tehran, Iran; (5) Installation View ‘Extraterrestrial’, Group exhibition at Aun Gallery, Tehran, Iran; (6) Nazgol Ansarinia, ‘Subtractions/Refractions’, 2012. Installation views at Aun Gallery, courtesy Aun Gallery, Tehran, Iran

The common knowledge about Iran’s current situation includes mostly negative headlines. We hear about the abuse of human rights, nuclear weapons, war. But there is much more to this country. One of the exciting things about Iran is Tehran’s contemporary art scene – a little bubble of relative freedom, a closed community in a huge chaotic metropolis of 12 million people. There are numerous contemporary art galleries in Tehran and new ones keep on opening. I will introduce four spaces, which are those with the most exciting exhibition program. 

4 January 2013


The Return of the Object at Invaliden1 photos by artfridge The Return of the Object at Invaliden1 photos by artfridge The Return of the Object at Invaliden1 photos by artfridge The Return of the Object at Invaliden1 photos by artfridge The Return of the Object at Invaliden1 photos by artfridge The Return of the Object at Invaliden1 photos by artfridge The Return of the Object at Invaliden1 photos by artfridge
From the top: 2x 'Sad Eis' sculpture by Sarah Ortmeyer, 'Garden Painting' by Frederik Vaerselv, 2x 'Solid Objects' by Sanna Marander, curtain 'Ce n'est pas une brioche' by Carl Palm, video work by Priscila Fernandes

Back in the 90s, art theorist Hal Foster wrote his book on The Return of the Real, referring to Jaques Lacan's psychoanalytic theory on the untouchable, unimaginable, immaterial order of the 'Real'. At Invaliden1 current group show The Return of the Object, curator Stefanie Hessler returns to the very touchable, the fetish of the object, investigating in a new philosophical trend: Speculative Realism. This movement doubts pretty much all older philosophies and the belief in science. It returns to a purely self-sustainable material order and denies all hierarchies between objects and subjects. 

Hessler's exhibition juxtaposes five contemporary positions demonstrating different handlings of materiality in (art)-objects. Subliminal and humorous, Sarah Ortmeyer's sculptures 'SAD EIS' manipulate our common object-based triggers of happiness, by replacing the expected pastel-colours of two huge ice-cream sculptures with black, white and grey. Frederik Vaerselv 'Garden Painting', on the other hand, projects the object's self-sustainability and the artist's withdrawal on a wooden panel, which he left outside of his studio where berries and birds left their traces on the object's surface. These two art pieces seem to demonstrate most clearly, how Stefanie Hessler wants to explore material fetishism. 

Another nice installation has been done by Sanna Marander, who placed colourful small objects on the floor, which appear quite random and play with the idea of a collection - its beginning, its evolving and its place of display. The place of display also has an importance in Carl Palm's curtain piece 'Ce n'est pas une brioche', which originally functioned as a room seperator for group shows. A little more complicate and perhaps a little too complex in its approach, is Priscila Fernandes origami video piece, which intends to evoke desires for the non-existing object.