13 Rooms: Exhibition Review.

The 13 Rooms exhibition was funded and supported by the Kaldor Public Art Projects, making contemporary art and artists available to the public for free. This particular project was curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist from the Serpentine Gallery, London. And Klaus Biesenbach from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). It was an interesting, exciting, confronting and satisfying collection of performance pieces. In this review I will be focusing on several of the works featured, to be quite honest the curatorial decisions didn’t concern me, I probably should have been more aware of what the curators had done, however I was so captivated and enthralled by the works themselves that the behind the scenes decision making did not concern me at the time.

ImageI decided to take the scenic route to the exhibition venue at Pier 2/3 around the back of the Rocks area in Sydney, passing under the harbour bridge and through parts of the historical Rocks precinct. Upon arrival I was greeted with a large line, which I sighed at but of course I begrudgingly lined up in. After what seemed like hours; but in reality was probably only 30-40 minutes I walked in side and was met with volunteers who wanted to know my postcode and to sign up for emails regarding further projects and exhibitions, the usual marketing mumbo jumbo. Finally inside I began to wander, even though there was a map displaying where the different artists works were. I ignored the formal layout and began to walk past and into the different spaces, some of which I regrettably did not wait in line for, I think back now that I was in no rush, but my impatience got the better of me. The one work I did wait in line for was Roman Ondak’s “Swap”. (image below)ImageUpon entering the space, everyone was instructed to line up around the room and to stay as close to the walls as possible to allow for maximum occupancy. We were greeted by a man who’s name I have forgotten; although I am not entirely sure that it was mentioned in the first place. This charismatic British performing artist began to explain the rules and guidelines associated with the work. The objective was to swap one personal item with the man sitting at the table, and then he would swap your original item for something else. I swapped an old roll of film I had leftover in my bag from my early art student days, I swapped it for an ordinary looking reusable shopping bag, simple and uninteresting, however, this item had originated from France and had made its way to Australia and is now in my possession. This trading of items led to something that was quite incredible in my opinion, I swapped an old cannister of film for an old shopping bag from France. After this a girl wanted to swap a letter she had written to her grandmother on the back of a postcard that had an image of Ben Quiltys portrait of Margret Olley on it. A lady then swapped something for the postcard, it turned out that this lady was Ben Quiltys Godmother. And then from across the room was an older woman who said she had cared for Ben Quiltys mother or Aunt. The amazing connections made between the people by swapping objects. I am a little sad about giving away the film though. I left the room feeling good and happy and fulfilled I had just made a connection with a bunch of other people, even those people who didn’t trade anything were connected to the moment, because they had witnessed it.

 

The other performances were strong, confrontational, bold, interesting and moving. Although discussing them would take a lot longer to discuss, and I know that most of my readers rather short and sweet than bitter and long. So I will leave you with some links and images and you can do some research on your own.ImageImageImageImageImage

 

http://kaldorartprojects.org.au/13rooms/

http://vimeo.com/user6025992/videos

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Artist of the Week: Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz (Brazilian, 1961)  (Text and images from http://www.artnet.com/artists/vik-muniz/)

Vik Muniz is a Contemporary visual artist who was born Vicente José de Oliveira Muniz (Brazilian, b.1961) in São Paulo, Brazil. Muniz began to discover art in the books he borrowed from his high school library. After studying advertising at the Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado de São Paulo, he moved to Brooklyn, NY, with his family in 1983. The artist began his career as a sculptor in the late 1980s, but he gradually became more interested in drawing and photography.

In 1988, Muniz explored the memory, perception, and images represented in arts and communication. He created The Best of Life, the series of drawings in which he reproduced from his memory some of the famous photographs he saw in the magazine Life. He then photographed his drawings to give more reality to his memories. In the mid-1990s, in order to create witty, bold, and often deceiving images based on photojournalism and art history, Muniz began to incorporate unusual and everyday materials into his photographic process. These materials included dust, diamonds, sugar, dry pigment, ketchup, caviar, and wire. In 1997, Muniz became well-known for his Pictures of chocolate series, in which he used chocolate syrup to create his works. The artist borrowed from popular culture and Old Masters artists such as Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh to make his works more familiar. He called this approach the “worst possible illusion.”

In 1998, he participated in the 24th International Biennale in São Paulo, and in 2001, he represented Brazil at the 49th Biennale in Venice, Italy. In 2006, Muniz created the series Pictures of Junk. In 2010, the documentary Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker, followed Muniz for three years. During this time, the artist created art with recyclables at Jardim Gramacho, a landfill which serves the metropolis of Rio de Janeiro. Muniz collaborated with the people employed to pick out recyclable material from garbage and created large-scale mosaic portraits; these works were sold at art auctions in London and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo. The artist has had his work exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the KAsama Nichido Museum of Art in Japan, among many other prestigious institutions. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

 

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Maria Callas from Pictures of Diamonds, 2004, Chromogenic print (edition of 10), 101.6 x 76.2 cm.

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The Flowers in the Blue and White Vase After Chardin, 2005, Chromogenic print (edition of 6), 101.6 x 129.5 cm.

Making videos

I have been considering making Vlogs or Video blogs and commentaries on my art and practice and uploading them onto YouTube. Making commentaries about my own practice and the practice of other artists, contemporary and otherwise, discussing exhibitions that I have seen or intend to see, a myriad of topics to do with art and the art world. At first they will be pretty poor quality, as I am planning on using my phone camera to record the videos and they may be jumpy and somewhat out of focus, but I just thought that it would be worth putting my idea out there.

In the meantime you can keep up to date with all of my regular content on my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nik-Uzunovski-Artist/225201424159742

And also here on my blog. Please take the time to like any posts or content that you enjoy on my blog or my artists page. Thanks.

Artist of the week: Alexander Calder

On my artists page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nik-Uzunovski-Artist/225201424159742 I started a series where I would find an artist whose work I enjoyed, or has inspired me or has just been a general interest to me and I have shared the artist and some examples of their work on my artists page, usually by way of sharing a link to a page like artnet.com

I have recently decided to move this series over to my blog and will do my best to make it the best series possible, rather than just copying and pasting a link. So this will be the first official artist of the week feature on my blog.

This week’s artist is Alexander Calder: (Text and images from www.artnet.com)

Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976) is one of the most celebrated sculptors of the 20th century. Born in Pennsylvania, Calder was interested in creating movable objects from a young age, and graduated from the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ, in 1919, with an engineering degree. He later decided to pursue a career as an artist, and moved to New York City to study painting at the Art Students League. While in New York City, he worked for the National Police Gazette and was sent on assignment to sketch circuses, a festive motif that would become a famous and enduring subject in his work. Upon moving to Paris in 1926, Calder began creating large-scale mechanical installations of intricate circus scenes, featuring wire sculptures with moving parts that he would operate over a two-hour performance session. Building off of his Cirque Calder, he began sculpting portraits and figures out of wire, and received critical attention exhibiting these works in subsequent gallery shows in New York City, Paris, and Berlin.He befriended several important Abstract artists in Paris at this time, including Joan Miró (Spanish, 1896-1983) and Piet Mondrian (Dutch, 1872-1944), and was invited to join the group Abstraction-Création in 1931. Inspired by the work of his fellow artists, he incorporated Abstract Kinetic elements into his sculptures, creating the Mobiles he is best known for today, in addition to his static works, Stabiles. Calder constructed his unique sculptures out of wire, metal, and wood, combining Abstract and Surrealist forms with biomorphic imagery in a distinctive style. His structures were carefully weighted and balanced, remaining sensitive to the movement of the wind or the motions of the viewer. Internationally celebrated for his wholly unique, whimsical pieces, Calder produced a wide-ranging body of work during his lifetime, including sculptures, drawings, paintings, jewelry, and set designs. He has had several retrospectives, and, among many other awards, was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Bicentennial Artist Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art, from New York City, in 1976. He died that same year, at 78 years old

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Coral and Shells, 1970. Colour Lithograph, 69.7 x  99.5 cm.
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La memoire elementare (edition 48/100), 1978. Lithograph, 51.4 x 72.1 cm.

Firing On All Cylinders

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This is my third group show in almost as many months. After I had finished University last year and graduated, I had said to myself that I would aim for several shows, group and solo and at least one show in a Sydney gallery. Well I managed to accomplish most of those goals, with a solo show on the way later in the year. This current show which I am exhibiting in is a group show, showcasing the work of the newly elected management committee of the Project Contemporary Art space in Wollongong. The gallery was under threat of being closed down for good, so a new group of individuals came together to save the space so that there would be a place for contemporary art to be exhibited and sold in the Illawarra.

I also co-curated the show along side fellow artist Damian Bancks. The curatorial thinking was to show each artists work on their own, rather than mixing the works together, which could have also worked and would have made for an extremely interesting and wonderful show, however, we felt it necessary to show each artist work by giving them a decent amount of wall space each, followed by a smaller wall being occupied by a series of bio’s which informed everyone a little about who they were and of their practice. It is always a triumph when an artist sells there work, it means that their hard work and dedication has quite literally paid off, I’m not afraid to say that the creative arts industry is a hard one to break into and become a success; being able to live solely by selling your work. I have sold works in the past, but this was the first time I had sold work before the show opened and also sold multiple works on the opening night. I cannot begin to describe the joy that this brought me, the feeling of success. Firstly I paint and create art for myself, however the act of exhibiting is a way of putting out the thing you have created to be seen, critiqued and enjoyed by an audience. And you won’t always receive the best feedback, but that’s all apart of the creative process. Selling works gives you the sense that you have achieved something, that you were successful in creating something that caught the attention and admiration of someone, the work resonated with them for whatever reason.

Being still relatively young most would say that I have a very long way to go in the world of art, as an artist and as an exhibitor and even as a person in general. It’s moments like this that seem to make it all seem worthwhile, you know that you have had a hard road to traverse and will undoubtedly continue to experience a plethora of hardships, especially in this day and age where art has to compete more than ever against new age forms of entertainment; some newer than others. However hard the road is, it’s always worth the journey. And even though I like to think that my journey started seven years ago when I first walked in my first life drawing class while I was at TAFE art school, I see this moment as a milestone along the path to greatness and success.

Enjoy the pics from the opening night along with some images of some of the work I am exhibiting  an get along to see the show if you’re in the Wollongong area before the 21st of April. And please take the time to visit and like my artists page on Facebook, plenty of content on there (link below)

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nik-Uzunovski-Artist/225201424159742