Friday, February 27, 2015

Petzel Gallery: Yeal Bartana

Petzel Gallery displays Yael Bartana’s films, photos, and neon-text. The grand sound attracted me into the room, which was running a film. The air of tension caused by the Hollywood blockbuster sized screen and extensive ending credits triggered me to be curious of its production and process.

Inferno, the 22-minute film is run by super-high quality resolution and sounds majestic. The slow motion technique in film often arouses the sacrosanct atmosphere regarding religious ceremony, and simultaneously viewer’s strong absorption in the story. The citizens of Sao Paulo go towards a new excessive temple, the replica of an ancient church in Jerusalem to celebrate its inauguration. Three helicopters carry sacred golden relics towards the temple with people’s expectations, blessings, and wishes. After the divine starts the ritual, fatefully, the divineness becomes destroyed because of a conflagration and the temple is destroyed, like past tragedies of human history.

High Priest
2014, LED light box with inkjet print on backlit film, 47.24 x 31.5 inch

I saw the emptiness of humanity in Bartana’s film. We know many historical remains come from past splendid and greedy cultures that had ended up going down to catastrophes. In the film, people enjoy talking about the tragedy, taking photos, and worshiping the debris that had become tourist attraction. Considering the destruction and the tourism, and the absurd and futile repertoire of human’s history, Bartana leaves a momentous resonance to the present age.  

2013, Alexa camera transferred onto HD, 22 minutes

Mamma Andersson, “Behind the cutain” at David Zwirner.

Mamma Andersson, “Behind the cutain” at David Zwirner.
519 & 525 West 19th Street David Zwirner, New York
January 8 - February 14, 2015

January 8th to February 14th David Zwirner presented new work by Swedish artist Mamma Andersson. Andersson was born in 1962 in Luleå, Sweden. She studied from 1986 to 1993 at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm, where she continues to live and work. The exhibit showcased the artist latest body of paintings and included two murals that were made specifically for the exhibit. She paints pictorially and her images seem surreal, but as if taken from a state or performance. The subject matter includes melancholic landscapes and private interiors.
Theatrical and domestic fictions construct an interior setting that reference domesticity and femininity. We are over-shadowed by giant characters that are based on toys or dolls. The representation of dolls appear throughout the show whether it is up-front, like her dolls that reveal their nature with their peg joints, or if it is more subtle such as seen in her painting “behind the curtain” which shows two female dancers whose bodies are stiff like a wooden dolls.

Her paintings seem heavily influenced by the painting process. In one work you will find areas that have washes of paint, or heavy and thick application of paint, or stark graphic lines. Her broad range of techniques is a testament to her engagement with the process. Translating her paintings to murals is a recent development, one that is complex and exciting. Entering the gallery to be over-whelmed by her murals is an experience that leaves the viewer challenging their familiarity with every-day objects (such as dolls).

Subodh Gupta : Seven Billon Light Years

by Eun Jin Wang

Even though the weather was getting cold just as usual winter in NY, the greeting with Martin Creed’s colorful stripes ,which is a permanent collection of Hauser and Wirth Galleries in Chelsea, was enough to make me heat up. Leaving the stripes behind with my warm heart, I was ready to explore the main exhibition. 

Hauser and Wirth Gallery, which is one of the major gallery around the world, presents Subodh Gupta’s recent works through the exhibition called  ‘Seven Billion Light Years’ which is same with the title of one of his film work which can be found in this show.

I had seen his show few times in my hometown, South Korea, but this exhibition presents a variety of medium that he used. There are films, installations and sculptures with his distinctive material which is found and common object but the most fascinating works to me were his paintings. 

There are four different utensil paintings with the actual object. The real utensil attached to one side of canvas and the painting is drawn just like photographs of it. Just as most people do, I did not know that Gupta has paintings works. Even though I don’t believe that he painted himself, the contents are enough to enjoy and appreciate his own intention.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Time Flies by Esko Mannikko at the Yancey Richardson Gallery

I have a confession. There may be more similarities between Oscar the Grouch and I than our impeccable taste in housing; we both get grumpy when we’re hungry. This was no different on the given day, when I thought to myself, “why bother look at photographs in person in a gallery if I can see them on their sites online?” Obviously, I was completely aware of this shallow comment. But it was immediately shot down when I saw Time Flies by Esko Mannikko at the Yancey Richardson Gallery.

This self-taught, Finnish photographer presents a selection of photographs that vary exponentially during his travels in Finland. From abandoned cars to family photographs, Minnikko’s photographs imply the passage of time, as well as the inevitable collapse of all materials: animate or inanimate.

            But perhaps the most intriguing component of this exhibition isn’t the photographs themselves, but the decisive presentation. The carefully selected frames for each photograph create a quirkiness that compliments the photographs. In addition to this, the tight singular alignment of the photographs creates an irony that is a tribute to the relationship between photography and painting. It creates a delightful visual experience, where the individuality of each work as a whole compliments one another with their character, wit, and unpredictability. It’s refreshing enough to persuade one to think that hunger was worth the while after all.

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao's New York: Assembled Realities

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao’s New York: Assembled Realities at The Museum of the City of New York features forty large-scale panoramic images of the urban landscape of New York City. The work displays the city’s allure but, aside from displaying technological innovations in photography, Liao’s argument for his work appears lacking.

Duffy Square, Times Square, Manhattan, 2011. 
By digitally stitching together over 200 images of an iconic location, Liao aims to capture the movement and vitality of New York City. The final product results in hyper-real images that are impossible to capture from one angle. One marvels at his crisp images that display Liao’s obvious technical prowess. The photographs’ content, however, could illustrate more complex issues than pedestrians and buildings. It is uncertain if the work could be considered significant if shown outside the context of a space devoted to New York City.

Feast of San Gennaro, Little Italy, 2011. 

As technology continues to develop and dominate culture, Liao has adapted his artistic practice to create work that has that “wow” factor. Like the work of Jeff Koons or Takahashi Murakami, Liao’s work is a display of technological advancement paired with an aesthetic that plays to humans’ innate attraction to bright eye-catching imagery. If one attempts to peel back the work’s shiny exterior there is a question of what exists as the work does little to further inform the viewer or alter the romanticized stereotype of New York City. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Half Empty at Grennan & Griffin Gallery

I had a chance to see HALF EMPTY exhibition at Brennan & Griffin Gallery. There were three artists’ pieces in this exhibition, but Mateo Tannatt’s sculpture Untitled interested me. The piece was a mixed-media sculpture that mixes a painted canvas, rag, and a cast chicken head positioned on a wooden pallet. I could see only one piece of his work in this gallery, but it was necessary to look up his previous works to be able to understand his world of art. The materials for his work mainly include everyday objects such as a carpet, a mannequin and kitchenware. Most of his sculptures are in a simple form which looks to be of great importance to him. His works are minimal and meticulous arrangements with a sensitivity for material texture and geometry. While viewing his exhibition, I started to think about art and objecthood. Setting feeble material up against a wall or installing an object in a risky manner or arranging objects that have different characteristics intrigues viewers and invites their concentration even for a moment. Perhaps, his work is completed by the participation by viewers instead of a visible piece if work itself? I am looking forward to his new works in the future.

Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao at the Museum of the city of New York

                               Jeff Chien Hsing Liao’s - Flatiron Building, Manhattan

When I walked into Liao’s at the Museum of the city of New York, I felt like I just entered an urban area. Most of the pictures were city views; however, I started noticing some special qualities to the images that aroused my interest. They didn’t look like Daido Moriyama’s traditional city pictures, but instead each picture has its own character and main focus, it’s obvious because a video in the exhibition unfolds this process. Many of his digital works were done with multiple exposures and focal points inside one frame. An image of the Flatiron Building caught my attention the most with the clear exposure of people walking under the blur building.

According to the composition of a picture, the Flatiron Building itself was supposed to be the main character; however, it was out of focus with an outline of its shape in which left only a trace of its iconic form. On the other hand, the street’s citizens, tourists, lamps and vehicles were clear and emphasized. Besides, many of the tourists were looking at the camera, as with the two men standing in the middle right. Some tourists were even taking pictures to the direction of where Liao took the picture. I felt a little embarrassed looking at those eye contact.

The sky was a dark blue shade that made the city looks cold. However, street lamp was bright and strong that its yellowish nature was spreading out to the environment. Accompany by the blur of diffused yellow light from the building, I could feel the warm inside such a cold city.

All in all, the practice of Liao is mainly related to “stitching images”. His practice created different focal points under one frame. The imperfection within the gaps somehow performs as a role of transitional zone between objects that also successfully bought out the iconic shape of the “blur” objects. Liao’s practice promoted the infinite development and possibility in digital photography.