Art Basel Hong Kong 2015 just rolled out this weekend. Here are my highlights:
Sometimes I feel very lucky been born in one of the most qualitative fabrics production area of the entire globe. Just few kilometers from my Studio is located Albini Group, here presented in this beautiful video by Monocle.
A selection of 6 interesting artworks exhibited at Los Angeles Contemporary this weekend.
Today’s adventure has taken me and Federica to the biggest European Island in a lake: Monte Isola. The Island is not only renowned for its touristic appeal but also for the net-making industry. The islanders of Monte Isola in particular are famous for their historic skill at making fishing nets; now they also make other net items like tennis and volleyball nets and hammocks. A relevant destination for textile art then, spend the day visiting laboratories and listening to enchanting stories. A relevant destination for contemporary art too: Christo next big environmental installation will take place over there, connecting the Island with land through a colorful bridge.
These pics were taken by me:
And these are vintage photographs describing the culture of net-making in the 40’s and 60’s:
Sarteri schemochrome, linen and Egyptian cotton overpainted threads. Inspired by the Hamaguri Gate Rebellion that took place on August 20, 1864, at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.
In these days of #JesuisCharlie western world rediscovered itself unite against barbarities. An alleged culture clash that burns since centuries. Fundamentals of traditional religions are blocking their evolutions in a future society of equality, unity, comprehension and love. Fear, terrorism are just karmic side-effects of shortsightedness. It’s not the matter of a religion against the other, it’s blind rationality from one part and blind faith from the other.
Selon Hegel, « L’intérêt particulier de la passion est donc inséparable de l’affirmation active de l’universel… Ce n’est pas l’Idée qui s’expose au conflit, au combat et au danger; elle se tient en arrière hors de toute attaque et de tout dommage et envoie au combat la passion pour s’y consumer. On peut appeler ruse de la raison le fait qu’elle laisser agir à sa place les passions, en sorte que c’est seulement le moyen par lequel elle parvient à l’existence qui éprouve des pertes et subit des dommages. »
In October 2014 I got the chance to jump again to my second home away from home, the beautiful and bustling Shanghai. This time I enjoyed myself with an unexpected change of plan and painted a non commissioned mural over the infamous Moganshan Lu with some old and new friends that were bombing graffiti. Painting action of the piece follows.
Shanghai keeps its bittersweet touch as unpredictable urban playground.
By the way I was there for the young – though already interesting – Fashion Week and had great time hanging around with special friends. Creative communities spread worldwide and it was great to meet up!
Getting to China is always about experiencing some of my favorite cuisines.
And that old taste the french concession preserved.
Also found time to check the brand new Power Station of Art latest contemporary art museum of Shanghai placed in the decadent Expo 2010 site, and was already that time you catch a crazy taxi starring at a sunset over the Metropolis heading to Pudong Airport.
Among 2014 projects that became reality one rediscovered me in an intimate form. I was asked by the Milan City Council and the City’s energy public company to project color interventions that were realized with special paintings and coatings, in strategical spots of the urban area. Streets of Milan as any Italian city, town or village are permeated by art, architecture, culture: you literally breath energies of the glorious past mixing them with contemporary life’s flow. A special intervention has been this one, on the right corner of the prestigious Teatro La Scala. Electric boxes are visual abandoned elements of any Italian urban landscape. Designing a new attire for them makes me feel like taking care of something that is not mine but collective. Color and structures open a visual channel that is capable of engaging the environment and the outsiders who experience it in transition. It feels good when you spot tourists taking pics to what was only a dirt service box, children also get impressed by colors and few bright souls try even to read a message in the color scheme. I’m going to post other realized interventions soon.
The view on the box as you exit from Teatro La Scala and turn on the left.
The box on the right with a group of Chinese tourists just dropped off a bus at 6:00 in the morning trying to experience a desert center of Milan, failing in their mission.
The box as it looked like before the intervention.
The color scheme project, color where selected researching the history of the Theater and its urban surroundings.
Close up of the painted box and functional service tag.
Only today I find the time to review my notes about artworks exhibited at Art Basel Miami this last December. These are the selected 10. Beginning with the masterpiece “Nocturne Tropicale II, 2014″ by Robert Kelly showed at San Francisco based John Berggruen Gallery stand.
POUL GERNES – Series with black and white as recurring colours, 1965
enamel paint on masonite
Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen V
GABRIEL DE LA MORA – 333,700 (diptych), 2014
13,346 struck sides of 6,673 boxes of 333,700 burnt matches mounted on acid-free cardboard
EDUARDO TERRAZAS – 14.1, 1987
rules of wood mounted on a table of wood, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City
SHINRO OHTAKE – Time Memory 24, 2013
acrylic, pencil, printed matter, cellophane tape, paper and brown paper
Take Ninagawa, Tokyo
RICHARD SERRA – Level V, 2013
1 color etching
Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
LOTTY ROSENFELD – El Tololo. Observatorio Astronómico, 1984
1 vintage photograph
Galería Visor, Valencia
MARIO SCHIFANO – Untitled, 1963
enamel on paper laid on canvas
ALBRECHT SCHNIDER – Untitled, 2008
acrylic spray color on paper
Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin
JUAN USLÉ – Soñe Que Revelabas (Brahmaputra), 2014
vinyl, dispersion and dry pigment on canvas
Cheim & Read, New York
In December 2014 I had the chance to travel back to Canary Islands for a mural project using last year color study about environmental colors on the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Selected colors were iron rich oxidized red bole, gem-quality olivine, black lava.
The occasion was great to visit the Islands and take inspiration for textiles and creativity. Here some backstage pictures.
Bridget Riley is an abstract painter who came to prominence in the American Op Art movement of the 1960s, after her inclusion in the 1965 exhibition “The Responsive Eye” at The Museum of Modern Art. There, her black-and-white paintings—which created illusions of movement—were shown alongside works by Victor Vasarely, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Frank Stella, and Ellsworth Kelly, among others. In the late ’60s, she introduced color into her work and went on to win the Prize for Painting at the 1968 Venice Biennale. Since then her work has unfolded through numerous groups and series that engage the viewers’ perception to induce simultaneously shifting patterns of forms and changing, optical mixtures of colors. Over the past decade, she has also made large, black-and-white murals that shape and articulate the environments they occupy. Her work is ultimately inspired by nature—“although in completely different terms,” she says, adding, “For me nature is not landscape, but the dynamism of visual forces—an event rather than an appearance.”
Backstage shot of the ride to production site through the Huhang Railway (滬杭鐵路) between Shanghai and Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. Chinese high speed trains are comfortable, very comfortable.
This was a comfort kit of snacks delivered by the shy hostess, many unknown ingredients though. Seats were gorgeous like the ones on a first class Airbus 380.
The distorted view by full speed at 300+ km/h over the rural villages on the road.
Here we are in our favorite floor: the fabrics’ stock.
Those big guys can wash many, many, many clothes and are always full operative.
Alberto working on illustration during a business meeting. Such a productive Sunday.
Finally I reserved some time to update a backstage post on this blog. Few weeks ago me and Alberto jumped in Dubai for some meetings in the Emirates. We left Milan at 15°C and after a short night we landed in a 45+°C on fire Dubai in the early morning. We found ourself cruising along Sheikh Zayed Road in the first morning traffic, heading to Dubai mall for breakfast.
Frozen air conditioning and a relaxed Arab breakfast were legit.
As I stated I don’t like malls, but at Dubai Mall there’s the biggest Kinokuniya library I ever visited. The perfect destination for a color literature hunt. So we did.
At noon, after the meetings we tried to have a walk in Marina but it was really too hot to stay in open air.
We just shot some pics of giant facades in the area and jumped in our paradisiac air conditioned white car heading to Alserkal Avenue.
Situated within the industrial quarter of Al Quoz in Dubai, Alserkal Avenue houses twenty creative and art spaces. Since 2007 it has grown organically in tandem with the Middle East’s burgeoning arts scene to become the foremost arts and cultural hub of Dubai and the UAE. That’s me working at A4 Space, a fresh co-working space where we also met Maria.
Alberto had never visited the Grand Mosque so we decided for a drive to Abu Dhabi and when we arrived the view was ecstatic.
Getting back to Dubai for our next flight to Asia we enjoyed a traditional arabic dinner at Al Fahidi Historical District.
Maser from Dublin is one of the artist that keeps impressing me through powerful, colorful, optical installations. A bold style that reminds me of Canadian designers Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte and Jakub Zak who pooled their design practices under the epithet Oeuffice. But Maser’s installations set in public spaces and environments scale to a brand new level. A selection of artworks follows.
Unique Sarteri’ schemochrome mixed tecnique on linen with unraveled borders. – 42,5 x 42,5 cm, 2014
Costante Girardengo (18 March 1893 – 9 February 1978) was an Italian professional road bicycle racer, considered by many to be one of the finest riders in the history of the sport. He was the first rider to be declared a “Campionissimo” or “champion of champions” by the Italian media and fans. He has been immortalised in Italian popular culture through the critically acclaimed song “Il Bandito e il Campione” by Francesco De Gregori that juxtaposes his life with that of his childhood friend the notorious bandit and outlaw Sante Pollastri. Pollastri was arrested in Paris in 1927 by men of the Commissioner Guillaume, betrayed by an informer tipped off the police. He was there for a stage of the Tour de France, won by Girardengo few minutes before he got caught. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but was pardoned in 1959 by then President Giovanni Gronchi. He spent the last twenty years of his life in Novi Ligure, where he has been a street vendor. He died in 1979, a year after the disappearance of Girardengo.
* Illustrations by talented Riccardo Guasco
Unique Sarteri’ schemochrome mixed tecnique on linen, naturally dyed linen with unraveled borders. – 35 x 35 cm, 2014
The Derborence forest lies in a bowl-shaped valley in the Diablerets massif in Canton Valais, Switzerland. It has had a dramatic history, as repeated rockfalls have blocked its entrance. After a massive fall in 1749 – the biggest in Switzerland in recorded history – the streams flowing down the mountain side were no longer able to escape, and formed a lake. From that time on, it was completely impossible to exploit the forest. The trees are mainly silver fir – some of which grow to 40 m (130 ft) – as well as larch and spruce. Since 1950 50 ha (124 acres) – about half the total area – has been a nature reserve enjoying complete protection.
Sarteri’ schemochrome, 100×100 cm spraypaint & acrylic on canvas, 2012
Sarteri’ schemochrome, 100×100 cm spraypaint & acrylic on canvas, 2012
Sarteri’ schemochrome, 100×100 cm spraypaint & acrylic on canvas, 2014
The schemochrome represents a visual code where army green color-rods interact with desert morning glory blond rods in square modules over a gunmetal background.
The city of Sirte was the final major stronghold of Gaddafi loyalists in the Libyan civil war and Gaddafi was killed there by rebel forces on 20 October 2011. During the battle, Sirte was left almost completely in ruins, with many buildings totally destroyed or damaged. The Artist was touched by a war scene where armed vehicles were passing by a morning glory bush, right in the middle of nowhere in the Libyan desert. Life and nature was still there in a desert of death and destruction.
Relationships between color and geometry are at the core of the practice of New Haven, Connecticut-based artist Karen Dow. With their rhythmic arrangements of loosely rendered rectangles, her “non-objective, neo-plastic” paintings and monoprints have drawn comparisons to Bauhaus weavings, De Stijl, and the “crazy quilts” of the African-American folk tradition. The paintings are cumulative, developing over time as she adds details by painting washes of gouache, sending a piece through the printing press several times, or even hanging materials from the canvas. “I add and edit colors until I arrive at the palette. I am looking for economy without compromising complexity,” Dow has said. “I want to arrive at a painting that is easily seen at once as a complete thought. A painting is resolved when I see a path that leads my eye through the painting without a snag.”
27 x 27 cm #Sarteri schemochrome: embroidered colour rods on fabric based on environmental color study for the City of Milan.
Nick Frank, Sony World Photo Awards Finalist of 2014, is an architectural photographer from Munich Germany who depicts the world through his camera creating solid compositions of architectural urban and industrial environments. His latest projects caught our attention. His focus on urban details, subways, colors and schemes let us include his works in our definition of abstract structuralism.
210 × 297 mm Sarteri schemochrome on paper, based on official Financial Times Identity and Communication Guidelines, extracting brand’s primary, secondary and tertiary colour palettes: FT Pink (Pantone 473) FT Grey (Pantone 432), FT Blue (Pantone 295), FT Burgundy (Pantone 187), White.
The international daily newspaper with a special emphasis on business and economic news internationally represent a media reference in globalization and international economics. Sarteri idealizes a geometric hourglass through a paradicmatic coloured cuisenaire rods structure.
“Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Galleria del Milione of Milan exhibited Klein‘s ‘Mural Projects’ back in 1952. It’s impressive how Klein’s research keeps actual nowadays. Abstraction and structures are distinctive elements of his aesthetics.
Also in most famous photographic productions of the Artist we find a focus on structures and abstraction.
Savvy studio located in México realized La Peñita de Jaltemba concept in collaboration with: Isauro Huizar & Tomás Guereña. A fictional story was written about the lost Jaltemba tribe in order to develop the concept and design for a seafood bar called La Peñita de Jaltemba in Playa del Carmen located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
Characteristic elements of the Jaltemba tribe were reinterpreted into a graphic and spatial language. We love to the systems of signs, calligraphy studio and organization of grids.
In the restaurant the canoe is used as a light fixture and is suspended above the Great Table. There is a mural depicting offerings on one of the side walls. It references the ceremonies practiced by the tribe worshiping life and was constructed with found objects and wood collected from the shore.
The wood and varnish used for some of the finishings are a reminder of what has been corroded by the sun and the sea, a sight that is very common along the coastline. Sunsets in Jaltemba were translated into a colour gradient that was used on all the graphic language and in some of the applications such as the canoe’s interior and the mural. The bar is an element that contrasts with the rest of the space since it doesn’t have such a tribal approach. It has rather a more industrial touch, which reminds us of a cargo vessel – trapdoors provide access to the toilets. The counter bar reflects much of its function through a modular grid which divides it into individual areas: flavoured water, cocktails, equipment, mezcal, etc.
For De Unie Hasselt-Genk, Felice Varini realises a painting on the roofs and facades of 99 buildings in the city centre of Hasselt en Belgique: ‘Trois ellipses ouvertes en désordre’. The composition can only be seen in its entirety from one particular vantage point, the Sky Lounge of the Radisson Blu Hotel. Following the route of De Unie across town, however, visitors will be confronted with a number of fragments of Varini’s work. Every fragment is an attraction in itself.
A selection of picture of the artwork:
And a video about the making of Trois ellipses ouvertes en désordre:
Swiss-French artist Felice Varini always sets out to create interventions in the existing architecture of the urban and industrial landscape. The open space is the canvas upon which the artist applies his geometric colour planes. From a carefully chosen position, Varini ‘projects’ his perspectival figures across the sprawling city. He is, however, particularly interested in what happens in the areas outside of that one vantage point, where only fragments of the artwork can be seen and all sense of coherence is gone.
Here a selection of Moneyless‘s 4 installations we love and selected.
Born in Milan in 1980 and raised in Tuscany, Moneyless’ art is characterized by an investigation on the rawest elements of life and focuses on a process of continuous evolution. He certainly owes his graphical mark to the street, where he was born as an artist and where he grounded his roots in the ’90s graffiti/writing scene. “I wanted to undress the letters from the alphabetical presence” he says – then Teo started focusing on the pureness of the shape, the pregnancy of geometry in the fundamentals of life, gradually taking distance from walls and lettering – “My efforts then dropped the symbolic meaning of the letter”. His artistic research, relieved by the weight of a fixed form, made his style move towards a pure geometry onthology. Moneyless’ aesthetic seems to quote a Platonic vision where geometry is represented as the structure, the foundation upon which all nature is built. Fire, air, water and earth are the basic elements of existence and they come out from the multiplication of the main geometrical figure, the triangle: we’d better say division rather than multiplication, because it’s through subtraction that Moneyless looks into evolution.
Mary Iverson is a painter and public artist based in Seattle. Her work portrays the clash between globalization and the environment, offering visions of container ships as they collide with national parks in surreal, post apocalyptic scenarios.
A documented studio visit is available @ arrestedmotion.
Frank Stella’s Black Series II is a portfolio of eight lithographs. They were published by Gemini G.E.L in an edition of one hundred. The lithographs transpose the compositions of Stella’s diamond-pattern Black Paintings (1959-1960) into prints.
Stella gave them the same names as the paintings they were based upon: Tuxedo Park, Gezira, Point of Pines, Zambesi, Jill, Delphine and Hippolyte, Gavotte and Turkish Mambo. The Black Series I of the same year similarly assembled twelve of his Black Paintings with rectilinear compositions. The Black Paintings (1959-1960) are Stella’s most important and radical contribution to post-war abstract painting, only rivalled by the shaped canvases executed in aluminium and copper paint between 1960 and 1961.
In 1967, Stella turned down Kenneth Tyler‘s invitation to make prints at the Gemini G.E.L. workshop in Los Angeles, stating that if he ever made a drawing he used a Magic Marker pen. However, Tyler devised a custom-made marker filled with lithographic ink that could be used to draw directly onto lithographic stones. As a result, Stella began working at Gemini G.E.L (Gilmour 2000, p.6). The two Black Series were the second suites of prints Stella created at Gemini, the first being Star of Persia I and II (1967). The Black Series II differs from Black Series I in the choice of paper and ink. While the first series was printed on buff-coloured paper in metallic black-grey ink, the second series employed bright white paper and ‘the sooty richness of French Charbonnel black ink,’ enhancing ‘the more aggressive optical qualities inherent in the diagonal striping’ (Axsom 1983, p.48).
All of Stella’s early prints were based on stripe paintings – conceived as so-called ‘album’ prints which were supposed to be assembled in binders to provide an intimate record of his early work. The Black Series II was based on the complete series of diamond-pattern Black Paintings that Stella created in 1959-60, including Gavotte of 1959 which was destroyed by the artist in 1961. The related print and sketches provide the only surviving record of the work. The prints are not illustrations of the paintings but differ significantly in detail and character. While the application of the ink with a lithographic marker recreates the free-hand quality of the paintings, the stripes in the prints are generally more clearly defined resulting in a more intensely optical diamond-pattern. Stella further changed the striped pattern and number of black bands in order to avoid the prints becoming miniature reproductions of the paintings. The images are situated off-centre, in the bottom left-hand corner of the sheets. Stella thus prevented the geometric figures assuming the object-like quality of the paintings displayed on white walls, instead ‘allowing the unpainted areas between the stripes to be identified with the paper,’ thus countering ‘traditional figure-ground relationships’ and introducing ‘an element of tension as the eye moves to correct the asymmetry’ (Axsom 1983, p.14).
- Pat Gilmour, ‘Tyler and the Art of Collaboration,’ in The Kenneth Tyler and Tyler Graphics Collection of Contemporary Prints and Multiples, Sotheby’s New York, May 6, 2000
- Richard Axsom, The Prints of Frank Stella: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1967-1982, New York 1983, reproduced (colour) pp.48-52
- Frank Stella: The Black Paintings, exhibition catalogue, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore 1977