Art Radar Asia

Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

  • Photobucket
  • About Art Radar Asia

    Art Radar Asia News conducts original research and scans global news sources to bring you selected topical stories about the taste-changing, news-making and the up and coming in Asian contemporary art.
  • Advertisements

Archive for the ‘Iranian’ Category

Four Asian artists nominated for NYC PULSE Awards

Posted by artradar on March 9, 2010


EMERGING ASIAN ARTISTS –  ART PRIZES

 

Four Asian artists were nominated for Pulse Awards at the PULSE art fair  which took place in New York City and Miami between 4-7 March 2010: Shun Duk Kang from Korea, Hiroshige Furuhaka from Japan, Farsad Labbauf from Iran and Sopheap Pich from Cambodia.

Though none of these four artists won either the PULSE award or the People’s Choice award, the fair gave them extensive exposure (they each won their own booths) and point to their status as emerging names in the global scene.

Shin Duk Kang, Heaven and Earth, 2008

Shin Duk Kang, Heaven and Earth, 2008

Shin Duk Kang, a South Korean artist, is represented by Seoul’s Galerie Pici. She creates installation art that reflect the limits of her material while evoking nature in her work. She also makes prints, which utilize geometric forms to continue exploring the subject of nature.

Hiroshige Fukuhara, The Night Became Starless, 2008

Hiroshige Fukuhara, The Night Became Starless, 2008

Ai Kowada Gallery 9 represents Hiroshige Fukuhara, who specialises in drawings with graphite and black gesso on wood. Viewers are drawn to the simplicity of his works, as well as the subtle addition of graphite, which makes his black-on-black drawings shimmer from certain angles. Before PULSE, he was featured in PS1’s 2001 show “BUZZ CLUB: News from Japan.”

Farsad Labbauf, Joseph, 2007

Farsad Labbauf, Joseph, 2007

Iranian artist Farsad Labbauf combines figurative painting with Iranian calligraphy to create a unified image, regardless of the content of the words or pictures within that image. He refers to his Persian heritage as his inspiration, especially its carpet-making tradition: that unrelated elements were able to come together in linear patterns to create a whole. He concludes that his work is “often an attempt for the union of the internal.”

Sopheap Pich, Cycle, 2005

Sopheap Pich, Cycle, 2005

Sopheap Pich is a Cambodian artist represented by Tyler Rollins Fine Art of New York. His work mostly consists of sculptures of bamboo and rattan that evoke both biomorphic figures and his childhood during the Khmer Rogue period. He has become a major figure in the Cambodian contemporary art scene.

AL/KCE

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for more news about contemporary Asian artists.

Advertisements

Posted in Asian, Cambodian, Drawing, Emerging artists, Fairs, Iranian, Japanese, Korean, New York, Painting, Prizes, Sculpture, USA | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Christies in Dubai sets record for most pricey Arab artwork

Posted by artradar on November 4, 2009


CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EASTERN ART

Christies

DUBAI- Christies auctions Ahmed Mustafa's diptych "Remembrance and Gratitude" on October 24, 2009 for a record breaking $662,500.

A Christies auction in Dubai set a new record for the price of a contemporary Arab artwork, fetching $662,500 for a double calligraphy piece by Egyptian artist Ahmed Mustafa titled “Remembrance and Gratitude.” Matoob Business reports Mustafa already held the record for the highest selling Arab artwork, and broke his own auction sales record set with a different artwork in 2007.

Christies not surprised

The record breaking sale was little surprise to Christies, however. The Daily Star reveals Christies had given the work the highest-ever guide price, valuing Mustafa’s diptych at $600,000-$800,000. Christies Middle East and Europe president Jussi Phylkkanen notes:

“Expectations were high, especially with regards to the exhibited works of exceptional quality”

Other high sellers

The second highest selling artwork at $578,500 dollars was “Untitled (Yellow Heads)” painting by India’s Tyeb Metha. Turkish artist Burhan Dogancay’s “Rift” sold for $242,500, and Iranian Charles Hossein Zenderoudi’s “Kharjee Spirit” fetched $218,500 dollars.

Middle Eastern market shows growth

The October 24th auction in total sold 6.7 million dollars worth of artworks, twice the value reached in the last auction that was held in April. The October sale was being viewed by experts as a test for the Middle Eastern art market, which has struggled in the recession as the mega rich expressed less interest in purchasing artworks.

Regarding the sale, AFP reports that Michael Jeha, Christies Middle East managing director commented:

“Despite the global economic crisis… the appetite for art in the Middle East continues to grow, and also the appetite for Middle Eastern arts.”

Jeha continued by saying that since the first auction in 2006, Christies sales in Dubai have risen by 400%.

Related Posts

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for the latest art market news and auction results


Bookmark and Share

Posted in Auctions, Business of art, Dubai, Egyptian, Indian, Iranian, Market watch, Middle East, Turkish, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Trends and opportunities in the contemporary photography market

Posted by artradar on October 7, 2009


PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET TRENDS

At a seminar held in London in September 2009 organised by ArtInsight three London-based photography market experts from a fund, a gallery and a major auction house shared their views on the most promising opportunities and interesting trends in photography today.

We attended the seminar and have teased out surprising facts and intriguing assertions for you to mull.

Background to the photography market

  • First photography auction was held in 1971 initiated by Sotheby’s.
  • Over the past 15 years, this medium has out-performed every other major medium including sculpture, prints, painting and sculpture.

In its early history this sector of the art market encountered resistance with buyers concerned that the works were not unique and therefore were not a viable investment. The development of controlled limited editioning in the seventies helped allay fears and the market saw steady but modest growth.

This all changed in 1989/1990 which marked the 150th anniversary of the introduction of photography and the market experienced a 45% leap in sales. Further steady growth marked the next 15 years until 2005 after which sales took off. 2006 saw the highest price ever paid for a photograph …US$2.6m.

  • Today photography accounts for 2% of total auction sales compared with 75% for painting and 11% for drawing and watercolour.
  • Photography has proved to be one of the least volatile sectors in the art market.
  • 9 photographs have broken the US$1m level including work by Japanese-American Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Why has interest in and sales of photography increased?

Nobody know for sure but various reasons have been offered including relative affordability, the introduction of controlled editioning, a loyal customer base and increased market transparency.

Photography trends

There is growing interest and, arguably, opportunities in the following four subsectors of photography:

  • fashion and celebrity photography
  • reportage-style photography
  • phot0graphs recording ephemeral art forms such as performance art and land art
  • “slice of life” photography – a vernacular style dealing the everyday real life as its subject

Brett Rogers of the Photographers Gallery noted the development of a sub-genre she called “constructive fiction” which blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction crossing the techniques of the photo-journalist and fine artist.

In an interesting twist she forsees gains for collectors of photography books and advises buying first editions and examples of rare, early books. Explaining that books usually feature the very best of an artist’s work, photography books can deliver enormous joy as well as potential financial dividends.

Matt Carey-Williams, Director of Christies Post-War and Contemporary Art recommended photographs from the 1930s to 1950s – a seminal period in the development of photography as an art form – and which he believes are “massively undervalued”.

Global opportunities in photography

During question time, the panel was asked where they saw opportunities in emerging countries and the following recommendations were made.

  • Visit Sharjah and Biennial and Art Dubai to see interesting work from the Middle East and Iran.
  • Explore Central Asian countries.
  • Korea has huge potential.
  • Female Indian artists are producing some interesting work.

It was agreed that Chinese photography seemed “a little old” though Matt Carey-Williams said that it would look “remarkably fresh again in twenty years”.

Current challenges facing the market

Conservation of photographs– One of the most pressing challenges today is developing guidelines for acceptable conservation work. Colour photographs fade and some artists and galleries will ”refresh” (reprint) the works and some refuse. As museums are beginning to collect contemporary photography on a large scale, panellists felt that it was likely that this issue would be resolved

Is photography a separate genre? – Recognising that artists now work in many media. there are questions about whether it is appropriate or useful to dedicate parts of the market such as galleries or funds exclusively to photography. Matt Carey-Williams explained that as an auctioneer he regards artists as artists first and photographers second. Brett Rogers noted that this trend away from a specialisation in photography is due to a change in the way art schools teach. A consequence of a broadening of focus though is that less attention is given to technique. Image is more important than technique for young photographers today.

(Editor’s note: It is may also be a sign of market maturity – specialist focus marketing and promotion is necessary for an emerging section of the market. Today many if not most contemporary art galleries show photography as a matter of course. Just as photography is integral to and fully-accepted in today’s art world on equal terms with other media we at Art Radar are looking forward to the day Asian art is given equal weight with other geographies in art media and we can drop Asia from our name).

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for market news and trends


Bookmark and Share

Posted in Celebrity art, Documentary, Indian, Iranian, Korean, Land art, Market watch, Middle Eastern, Photography | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stop…look again! Work of Iranian activist artist Parastou Forouhar is not what it seems…

Posted by artradar on September 22, 2009


CONTEMPORARY IRANIAN ART

For a revealing insight into contemporary art and its relationship with political and gender issues in Iran today, don’t miss this intriguing interview with Parastou Forouhar in which she describes how she challenges viewers to take a second look.

Parastou Forouhar

Parastou Forouhar, from Series II, Tausend und ein Tag, 2009.

Art by Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar takes on political proportions with her intriguing delicate imagery of torturous acts being perpetrated by Iran’s authoritarian regime.

Political violence is a deeply personal issue for the activist artist, whose parents were the victims of a politically motivated murder in Iran.

In an interview with DB Art Magazine, she discusses this trauma and her artistic style of creating beautiful ornamental artworks, which upon closer inspection reveal twisted scenes of cruelty.

Forouhar, who is now based in Germany, has exhibited at the 2nd Berlin Biennial in 2001, the Global Feminisms show in 2007 at the Brooklyn Museum of Modern Art, and her works can currently be seen in Iran Inside Out — a comprehensive exhibition at the New York Chelsea Art Museum. However, at the moment the artist is “more involved with politics than with art.”

Forouhar says she consciously intended for viewers to first see her ornamental images and feel they are beautiful, and then become shocked when the true subject matter becomes apparent. She says:

I challenge the viewer to take a second look. At first glance, you see the beautiful pattern and think you’ve understood it. And then you get a little closer and realize, no, it’s completely different, I didn’t understand anything at all. To challenge the viewer to take a second look is exciting to me. The viewer is thrown back on himself and is forced to reevaluate his perception.

This compelling interview also covers whether Islamic art is becoming ‘more Catholic’, (and yes, she agrees it is leaning more towards visual Islamic-pop elements and ritual), and questions the attitude of the young male Iranian generation towards their patriarchal past (they are reportedly ‘fed up’ with the traditional masculine character.) Read full interview here.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

Related Posts

Related Links

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for the latest contemporary art news and trends

Bookmark and Share

Posted in Activist, Germany, Iranian, Museum shows, Parastou Forouhar, Political | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Iran Inside Out review round up – 56 artist survey show in New York described as mesmerising, a privilege

Posted by artradar on September 3, 2009


IRANIAN ART SURVEY

56 contemporary Iranian artists are presented in the attention-grabbing and timely  Iran Inside Out exhibition at Chelsea Art Museum in New York (June 26 – Sep 5 2009).

Surprisingly – or perhpas not – only 35 artists in the show reside inside Iran and the other 21 dispersed outside Iran. Together they contribute 210 works of painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation on themes such as gender, war, and politics. Complemented with forums and film screenings, theatre performances, music recitals, and panel discussions, Iran Inside Out is part of Chelsea Art Museum’s 2008-2009 “The East West Project”. 

In this round up, art experts and critics from the New York Times to the Huffington Post give their perspectives on this exhibition and report that they are enthralled, mesmerised and surprised.  In this rich and challenging show unexpected findings and themes abound. Be sure to scroll down and read Huffington Post’s Marina Bronchman who discovers a controversial new view of the veil and its effect on sexual and gender expression.

 

Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell's Puerto Rico Performance Still, Digital C-print 2008 copyright artist and courtesy Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery
Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell’s Puerto Rico Performance Still, Digital C-print 2008 copyright artist and courtesy Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery

 

 

Chelsea Art Museum: Curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath

The curators explain that Iran Inside Out defies the traditional perceptions of Iran and Iranian art:

An intimate look into the people, both inside and outside a country that is more complex than images of veiled women, worn out calligraphy and what a handful of other emblematic images would suggest…an examination of the means through which a young generation of artists is reconciling the daily implications of cultural and geographical distances with the search for individual artistic expression…offers an unexpected insight into the artistic energy of a culture that is constantly evolving as Iranians living both in and out of the country, come of age living and working in contentious societies.

(Art Radar editor note: the curators of Saatchi’s Middle Eastern show ‘Unveiled’ (in which Iranian art predominated) earlier in 2009 also claimed to go beyond the ‘worn out’ to present a more nuanced and alternative view of art from the Middle East – this was hotly contested by some reviewers who were surprised to find that, on the contrary, bloodshed, repression and gender inequality were ubiquitous and courageously expressed. See related posts section below for the review round up of  Saatchi’s show).

 

Yet there are differences between insiders and outsiders say the curators:

Ironically, contrary to one’s expectations, the artists living abroad often draw more on their cultural heritage, while those on the inside focus more on issues of everyday life without much regard to what ‘the outside’ views as specifically Iranian references. Yet, within these disparities, one element stands strong: the recurrent references, sometimes ambiguous, at times emotional, often nostalgic and on occasion satirical and even tragic to Iran the country, Iran the past, the Iran which has been lost and that which could be found.

New York Times: Holland Cotter

Holland Cotter elaborates on how Iranian cultural references run through the show in this 30th-anniversary year of the Iranian revolution. For this critic, whether inside or out, artists are in touch with their cultural history. 

Golnaz Fathi, who lives in Tehran, walks the line between calligraphy and abstraction in his paintings; so does Pouran Jinchi, who lives in New York. The heroic epic called “The Book of Kings” is given an action-hero update by Siamak Filizadeh of Tehran, but also in film stills by Sadegh Tirafkan, who spends part of his time in Toronto.

 

“Zaal arrives to help Rostam, ROSTAM 2 The Return” by Siamak Filizadeh(2008)
“Zaal arrives to help Rostam, ROSTAM 2 The Return” by Siamak Filizadeh(2008)

 

 

Female artists are  given the spotlight, too:

Alireza Dayani’s fantastical historical drawings; Newsha Tavakolian’s photographic study of a transsexual; Saghar Daeeri’s paintings of Tehran’s boutique shoppers; Shirin Fakhim’s sculptural salute to the city’s prostitutes. Abbas Kowsari documents cadet training for chador-clad female police officers in Tehran. Less interestingly, Shahram Entekhabi draws chadors in black Magic Marker on images of dating-service models.

However, not all of them advocate social causes. Some artists employ a less aggressive tone:

Ahmad Morshedloo’s tender paintings of sleepers, Reza Paydari’s portrait of school friends and the mysterious little films of Shoja Azari are in this category.

Nevertheless, ambiguity does not equate with absence of politics in these artwork: 

Repression both inside and outside Iran is under scrutiny in a piece by Mitra Tabrizian about the roles of both the West and Muslim clergy in Iran’s modern history. In photographs by Arash Hanaei, brutal scenes from the Iran-Iraq war and Abu Ghraib are played out by bound and gagged dolls.

Flavorpill New York: Leah Taylor 

 

Sara Rahbar, 'Flag #5', 2007. Textile/mixed media, 65x35 inches
Sara Rahbar, ‘Flag #5’, 2007. Textile/mixed media, 65×35 inches

 

Taylor praises Iran Inside Out as one of the timeliest exhibitions in history:

With violence and political unrest roiling in that country, this exhibit takes a closer look at its inherent contradictions, tradition, culture, identity, and struggle — especially as faced by its younger generation of artists. As gruesome descriptions and footage of the election-protest clampdown continue to slip through Iranian censors daily, having Iran Inside Out‘s creative insight into the country seems a privilege, indeed.

Huffington Post: Marissa Bronfman

Shocked and enthralled by the creative artwork at the exhibition, Bronfman comments: 

A sense of duality was apparent in all the various pieces I saw at the exhibit, and there is an interesting geographical duality influencing the artists as well. The artists still living in Iran must struggle with avoiding government censors while not compromising with self-censorship, and those living outside strive to assume an “unlabeled artist-status” within a West-centric contemporary art world. The museum reminds us of their important commonality, however, such that all 56 artists desire to “establish an individual artistic identity free from the stigma of “stereotype” and “locality.” 

She explains what draws her the most about the Tehran Shopping Malls by Saghar Daeeri:

 

Saghar Daeeri, Shopping Malls of Tehran - Acrylic (Aaron Gallery).
Saghar Daeeri, Shopping Malls of Tehran – Acrylic (Aaron Gallery).

The paintings came to life with a stunning palette of vibrant colors and women depicted in a grotesque, almost fantastical rendering. Heavily made up faces, lacquered nails and peroxide hair instantly made me think these Iranian women were influenced by typical American ideals of beauty. However, Hanna Azemati, who works at CAM and presided over the show, offered a wonderful perspective that I hadn’t originally considered. She told me that, “Because of the compulsory veil, women express their femininity through venues that are allowed in exaggerated ways. They resort to excessive make-up, overdone highlighted hair, thin eyebrows, long colored nails and even suggestive behavior.” This dualism that Iranian women must grapple with, between veiling and self-expression, was communicated with profound contradiction and was really quite mesmerizing.

Contributed by Wendy Ma

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for more reviews on Iranian art

Posted in Activist, Critic, Curators, Feminist art, Identity art, Iranian, Islamic art, Museum shows, New York, Political, Religious art, Reviews, Shows, Social, Surveys, USA, War, Women power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

56 artist show Iran Inside Out – Will election unrest fan the debate about Iranian contemporary art?

Posted by artradar on June 30, 2009


IRANIAN CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION US

New York’s Chelsea Art Museum is holding its “groundbreaking” exhibition Iran Inside Out (26 June to 5 September 2009) which features 35 artists living and working in Iran alongside 21 others living in the diaspora.

We are promised a “multifarious portrait of 56 contemporary Iranian artists challenging the conventional perceptions of Iran and Iranian art”. However, do not be at all surprised if unfolding events in Iran and the very art itself will result in heated debate and deep schisms about this interpretation.

Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell's Puerto Rico Performance Still, 2008 copyright artist

Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell's Puerto Rico Performance Still, 2008 copyright artist

The debate was ignited by ‘Unveiled’, a show of Middle Eastern art (half of it Iranian) at The Saatchi Gallery London in the early months of this year. The exhibition garnered plenty of critical attention but strongly divided views were expressed about the success of the organisers’ claim to overturn the cliched idea that the Middle East is synonymous with violence and intolerance.

According to Henry Chu of LA Times , “Unveiled is an exhibition which offers an alternate vision: the Middle East as a source of lively, stimulating contemporary art — informed by conflict, certainly, but not consumed by it.” Nonsense, says Dorment in The Telegraph who claims the show is replete with references to bombs, religious police and the denigration of women.

This debate will be fanned anew by recent political disturbances in Iran. Relations between foreign powers and Iran are now severely strained following the disputed re-election on 12 June of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Click to browse Iran Inside Out catalogue

Click to browse Iran Inside Out catalogue

“Iran has repeatedly accused foreign powers – especially Britain and the US – of meddling after the 12 June election, which officially handed him a decisive victory” says the BBC while The New York Times gives us a specific quote:

President Obama, who made his most critical remarks of the Iranian leadership on Friday, when he called the government’s crackdown “outrageous” … said the prospects for a dialogue with Iran had been dampened.

…“Didn’t he say that he was after change?” Mr. Ahmadinejad asked. “Why did he interfere?”

Unfolding political events will challenge the New York show’s curators, artists and museum staff and test their courage. Even before the protests, in reference to Iranian art in ‘Unveiled’, the Guardian was saying:

It is still amazing how far into politics this art bravely goes and it is no overstatement to speak of bravery in this case. One of the artists represented here, who lives in Tehran, is muffled in the gallery’s publicity shot to conceal his identity. Another, the prodigiously gifted Tala Madani, has escaped Tehran for Amsterdam but still refused to have her face revealed in a photograph. Guardian

The museum’s website raises the interesting point – and this is perhaps the nub of it – that artists in the diaspora and at home in Iran choose different forms of expression:

Ironically, contrary to one’s expectations, the artists living abroad often draw more on their cultural heritage, while those on the inside focus more on issues of everyday life without much regard to what ‘the outside’ views as specifically Iranian references.

But, whereas the museum’s writers see the focus of home-based artists on the  ‘everyday’ as an act of choice, there are some who suggest it is an act of self-preservation. Time will tell whether the description of this show will be excoriated like that of the catalogue description of ‘Unveiled’:

In her catalogue introduction to .. ‘Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East’, Lisa Farjam airily dismisses European perceptions of the Middle East as a place synonymous with political oppression, religious intolerance, and terrorism as unthinking ‘clichés’ that prevent us from understanding the richness and diversity of Muslim societies.

All I can say in response is that the artists in this show profoundly disagree with her sunny take on this part of the world. The evils Westerners see from a distance are the everyday context in which many of these painters and sculptors make their work – and it was precisely to escape repression at home that so many of the best of them now live in New York or Paris.

Their art isn’t (like so much Western art) about consumerism or celebrity or art itself; it’s about suicide bombers, religious police, unending war, and the denigration of women in Islamic societies. While I admit I was surprised that those still working in Tehran feel able to treat the subjects of gender, sexuality, religion, and politics without risking imprisonment or death, among the photos of the artists displayed at the end of the show, I noticed that one, who still lives in Tehran, has taken the precaution of wearing a balaclava. Telegraph

Related links: Exhibition description on Chelsea Art Museum site

Catalogue

In a still unusual and much-appreciated move, the museum has put the show’s catalogue online. It is a glorious glimpse of a very active art scene. Text and works by artists sit alongside interviews with collectors and galleries. Buy the ‘Iran Inside Out’ catalogue here.

FEATURED ARTISTS:

Inside Iran (35)

Abbas Kowsari, Ahmad Morshedloo, Amir Mobed, Alireza Dayani, Arash Hanaei, Arash Sedaghatkish, Arman Stepanian, Barbad Golshiri, Behdad Lahooti, Behrang Samadzadegan, Bita Fayyazi, Daryoush Gharahzad, Farhad Moshiri, Farideh Lashai, Golnaz Fathi, Houman Mortazavi, Jinoos Taghizadeh, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakher, Majid Ma’soomi Rad, Mehdi Farhadian, Nazgol Ansarinia, Newsha Tavakolian, Ramin Haerizadeh, Reza Derakshani, Reza Paydari, Rokni Haerizadeh, Sadegh Tirafkan, Saghar Daeeri, Shahab Fotouhi, Shirin Aliabadi, Shirin Fakhim, Siamak Filizadeh, Siavash Nagshbandi, Vahid Sharifian

Outside Iran (21)

Ala Ebtekar, Alireza Ghandchi, caraballo–farman, Darius Yektai, Kamran Diba, Leila Pazooki, Mitra Tabrizian, Nazanin Pouyandeh, Negar Ahkami, Nicky Nodjoumi, Parastou Forouhar, Pooneh Maghazehe, Pouran Jinchi, Roya Akhavan, Samira Abbassy, Sara Rahbar, Shahram Entekhabi, Shahram Karimi, Shirin Neshat, Shiva Ahmadi, Shoja Azari

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for Middle Eastern art news

Posted in Activist, Identity art, Iranian, Islamic art, Middle Eastern, Museum shows, Nationalism, New York, Overviews, Performance, Political | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Abraaj Capital Art Prize fills a void in the art prize world

Posted by artradar on May 4, 2009


ABRAAJ CAPITAL ART

Unlike other art prizes, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize is awarded for art project proposals rather than work already produced.

By recognising the latent potential of ideas and providing funding for the winners, the Abraaj Art Prize which is open to artists from MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) helps to bring into being works that may otherwise never have been made.

Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Walk on the Sky, installation, 2009

Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Walk on the Sky, installation, 2009

In its inaugural year the winning projects were on show for the first time at the Art Dubai art fair in March 2009.

Zoulika Bouabdellah

The winning piece by Algerian video and installation artist Zoulika Bouabdellah (b.1977) and curator Carol Solomon was a stunning three dimensional space called Walk on Sky, Pisces 2009.

The piece recreates the night sky with a system of light-emitting diodes mounted on an aluminium ceiling to form a constellation of of stars. The viewer is invited to walk on the  stainless steel floor which mirrors the pulsing pattern of coloured stars 3 meters above thus creating an experience of walking on the sky.

Multiple sources inform the work including the polygon star (a key geometric configuration in Islamic art), the influential tenth-century treatise, Book of Fixed Stars by the Persian astronomer Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi and the story of the legendary glass floor erected in front of King Solomon’s throne which the Queen of Sheba was led to believe was water. (note 1)

Bouabdellah’s work demands the involvement of the spectator, who must physically enter the installation in order to be able to experience it .

“It is not interesting from afar; you have to walk on it. When you walk on it, it becomes art.” explains Bouabdellah to the Gulf News.

When Art Radar viewed the piece out of doors at Art Dubai, the floor was covered in desert sand footprints and fascinated children played games of flying and sliding across the sky floor. As dusk fell the viewers became shadows and the coloured star patterns above and their reflections below grew more dominant, becoming intricate patterns of colour piercing the gloom. 

The work of the 10th century Persian astronomer Abd Al Rahman Al Sufi has provided a key source of inspiration for the piece. “My work is a homage to science, to global intelligence.”

Speaking of the influence of Islamic culture in her work, Bouabdellah points to a period between the 9th and 15th centuries, an era to which she would like to return in terms of the expansiveness and inclusivity of Islamic culture.

 “Islamic culture during that period was like bridges between spaces. We cannot talk about Islamic culture without talking about Africa, India, Southern Spain, China.” The era represents for her a time when the yearning for knowledge transcended boundaries and cultural categories, when the Caliph would invite scholars, regardless of religion or ethnicity, to the Maison du Savoir in Baghdad. (note 2)

It seemed to us in the failing light as the echos of playing children reverberated inside the space, that the piece was more than a bridge linking spaces. Children showed us it was also a bridge across generations and a magic carpet of possibility. Just one warning….best to wear trousers if you want to take a walk across the mirrored floor of magic.

The other winners were:

Nazgal Ansarinia

Nazgol Ansarinia, Rhyme and Reason, carpet 2009

Nazgol Ansarinia, Rhyme and Reason, carpet 2009

Iranian artist Nazgal Ansarinia (b 1979) with curator Leyla Fakhr for her carpet piece Rhyme and Reason 2009 in which she transforms the traditional floral motifs of the Persian carpet into scenes of contemporary life from Iran. The work prompts us to take a closer look at what is being taken for granted.

Nazgol Ansarinia, Rhyme and Reason detail

Nazgol Ansarinia, Rhyme and Reason detail

Kutlug Ataman

Turkish artist Kutlug Ataman (b 1961) with Italian curator Cristiana Perrella for his video Strange Space in which the artist is filmed crossing a sulphorous desert land with bare feet and blinded eyes.  The piece is inspired by a classical folk story in which the hero blinded by the love of the heroine is condemned to wander in the desert trying to find her just to burn in flames when they finally meet. Ataman’s work is a metaphor for the relationship of attraction and trauma created when tradition and modernity meet.

Kutlug Ataman, Strange Space, video, 2009

Kutlug Ataman, Strange Space, video, 2009

Notes:

1.  Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2009 pamphlet distributed at Fort Island, Madinat Jumeirah at Art Dubai 18-21 March 2009

2.  Gulf News

Related posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for the latest news of prize-winning artworks in Asia

Posted in Carpet art, Classic/Contemporary, Dubai, Emerging artists, Installation, Iranian, Islamic art, Light, Middle East, Middle Eastern, Participatory, Prizes, Space, Turkish, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rarely exhibited art and more firsts at Asian Contemporary Art Week New York 2009

Posted by artradar on April 30, 2009


ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ART WEEK 2009

For the first time since its inception in 2004 Cambodian and Tibetan artists will be on show in the 200 artist, 8 day event to be held in New York May 10-18th.  But this is not the only first for ACAW in 2009.

The event which, according to Asia Society director Melissa Chiu, aims to present “the latest trends in Asian contemporary art” will also highlight the new vitality and increased international profile of artists from Central Asia and the Middle East.

Coming up soon on Art Radar is an exclusive interview with ACAW director Afghanistan-born Leeza Ahmady and her ground-breaking initiatives to change the perception of Asian art. In the art world, Asia traditionally refers to East Asia but Ahmady speaks passionately with us about how she has made it her mission to overtun this narrow definition and why it is important.

 

Qiu Zhijie, Failing City, installation 2009

Qiu Zhijie, Failing City, installation 2009

 

Also new at this year’s event is a platform called Open Portfolios, a series of 20 artist talks and performances, each of which will focus on one aspect of the artist’s work and allow visitors to get up close and personal with artists. Artists involved include Qiu Zhijie (China), Mitra Tabrizian (Iran), Zaher Shah (Pakistan) and Zarina Hashim (India)  at the Museum of Modern Art the husband and wife team Muratbek Djumaliev and Gulnara Kasmalieva from Kyrgyzstan. Seven selected artists will discuss their work in exclusive interviews available on www.acaw.net

In an astounding display of commitment to public education despite the weak economic climate, the ACAW team and the 35 participating venues will together present over 60 events, most of which are free to the public. In fact this year’s event has a record number of artists on show and includes many countries whose artists rarely exhibit work in the United States.

Countries represented include: Afghanistan, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestine, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

For a full program visit the  Asian Contemporary Art Week site.

Related posts:

Interview with Leeza Ahmady, director ACAW 2009

  • Part 1: How art from half of Asia has been missed
  • Part 2: Pockets of change in Asian art infrastructure
  • Part 3: Excitement at Asian Contemporary Art Week despite recession
  •  

  • 5 eighties born Cambodian artists in historic survey show Forever Until Now Mar 2009
  • Tibetan art moves away from its religious origins Sep 2008
  • Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for coverage of important Asian art events

    Posted in Cambodian, Central Asian, Chinese, Gallery shows, Iranian, Kyrgyz, Middle Eastern, Museum shows, New York, Nonprofit | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Who are the emerging Generation Y artists from Asia? The New Museum selects

    Posted by artradar on March 30, 2009


    EMERGING ARTISTS ASIA

    Trend: Generational grouping of art

    The New Museum in New York chooses 8 artists from Asia and a total of 50 globally, to describe the next generation of emerging artists (born after 1976) as part of its new signature triennial exhibition “the Generational” which runs til 14 June 2009.

    Tala Madani Spraying Stripes

    Tala Madani Spraying Stripes

    About the exhibition

    For “Younger Than Jesus,” the first edition of “The Generational,” fifty artists from twenty-five countries will be presented.

    Known to demographers and marketers as the Millennials, Generation Y, iGeneration, and Generation Me, this age group has yet to be described in any way beyond their habits of consumption. “Younger Than Jesus” will begin to examine the visual culture this generation has created to date.

    First major international museum exhibition for 80s artists

    Consistent with the New Museum’s thirty-year mission to present new art and new ideas, “The Generational: Younger Than Jesus” will be the first major international museum exhibition devoted exclusively to the generation born around 1980, tapping into the different perspectives prescribing the future of global culture.

    Elad Lassry untitled film

    Elad Lassry untitled film

    Huge demographic

    In the United States, this demographic group is the largest generation to emerge since the Baby Boomers, while in India half the population is less than twenty-five years old; the sheer size of this generation ensures its worldwide influence.

    By bringing together a wide variety of artists and contextualizing their different approaches, “Younger Than Jesus” will capture the signals of an imminent change, identify stylistic trends that are emerging among a diverse group of creators, and provide the general public with a first in-depth look at how the next generation conceives of our world.

    Chu Yun Love - a project created for Siemens

    Chu Yun Love - a project created for Siemens

    Artists from Asia

    China: Chu Yun, Cao Fei, Liu Chang

    India: Shilpa Gupta

    Israel: Elad Lassry

    Iran: Tala Madani

    Kazakhstan: Alexander Ugay

    Turkey: Ahmet Ogut

    Publications

    For those who can’t make it to the show at the Bowery, the New Museum’s publications are the next best thing.

    Buy Younger Than Jesus Directory

    Buy Younger Than Jesus Directory

    Biographical information and images from the over 500 artists who were submitted for consideration for the exhibition by the global network of informants will be included in the publication Younger Than Jesus: The Artist Directory, co-published by the New Museum and Phaidon. The publication will serve as an informal census of the artists from this generation, and will expand the exhibition by adding an additional platform.

    ytjthereader

    The exhibition catalogue, co-published by the New Museum and Steidl, will include reproductions of the work of the fifty artists chosen for the exhibition, as well as original essays by the exhibition curators and an anthology of articles by a diverse group of writers including philosophers, sociologists, journalists, activists, and marketing and technology experts. It is intended to compose a complex picture of the art and preoccupations that animate the work of this emerging generation.

    Related posts:

    Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for news and trends

    Posted in Chinese, Emerging artists, Generation art, Indian, Iranian, Israeli, Kazakhstani, Museum shows, Overviews, Surveys, Turkish | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Review round up – Saatchi Middle East art show Unveiled – which artists are critic favourites?

    Posted by artradar on February 26, 2009


    Kader Attia, Ghost, Installation

    Kader Attia, Ghost, Installation

     

     

    SAATCHI MIDDLE EAST ART SHOW

    Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East, Saatchi Gallery, London to 6 May 2009

    Advertising mogul and art patron Saatchi is a master at generating extensive high profile media coverage for his shows giving us an uncommon opportunity to synthesise the critics’ views of individual Middle Eastern artists and the show overall.  Here are the highlights:

    • critics were kind: Saatchi is “back on form” in a show which is “impressive” , “extraordinarily good”
    • Tala Madani received rave reviews: “I haven’t come across a young artist this original witty and talented in twenty years”
    • Kader Attia’s installation Ghost was the show stopper artwork for most critics
    • painting section of the show was weaker than works in other media
    • sculpture and installations garnered most critical attention receiving mixed reviews
    • varying views were expressed about the success of the organisers’  claim to overturn the cliched idea that the Middle East is synonymous with violence and intolerance   

    Ranking of artists by number of  mentions (positive or neutral unless stated)

    1. Kader Attia – (5) – Independent, Reuters, Telegraph, Standard (thumbs down), Bloomberg
    2. Tala Madani – (5) – Time Out, Independent, Guardian/Observer, Telegraph, Standard
    3. Marwan Rechmaoui – (4) – Time Out, Independent, Guardian/Observer, Standard
    4. Sara Rahbar – (3) – Time Out, Independent, Reuters
    5. Rokni Haerizadeh – (3) – Reuters, LA Times, Standard
    6. Ramin Haerizadeh – (3) – Guardian/Observer, LA Times, Telegraph
    7. Wafa Hourani – (3) – Time Out, LA Times, Standard
    8. Ahmed Alsoudani – (3) – Time Out, Standard, Independent
    9. Halim al-Karim – (3) Reuters, Telegraph, Standard (thumbs down)
    10. Shirin Fakhim’s – (3) Reuters, Telegraph, Bloomberg
    11. Diana Al-Hadid – (2) Time Out, Telegraph
    12. Shadi Ghadirian – (1) Bloomberg
    13. Hayv Kahraman – (1) Independent

     

    ‘Unveiled: New Art From the Middle East’ at London’s Saatchi Gallery – LA Times – Henry Chu – Feb 11 2009

    The usual Middle East-related topics of religion and war are not to be seen in this exhibition which is instead dominated by themes of sexuality, gender and religion says Chu. His story focuses on the struggles of the artists with censorship and the threat of officialbacklash. Despite this a thriving art scene is developing in some cities and – surprisingly – Tehran now has over 100 commercial galleries. Artists mentioned include the Haerizadeh brothers Rokni and Ramin (Men of Allah) and Palestinian Wafa Hourani’s whose  Qalandia 2067 is a ‘striking’ small-scale model of a refugee camp half a century in the future.

    Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East at the Saatchi Gallery Telegraph– Richard Dorment – Feb 4 2009

    Dorment pooh-poohs the ‘sunny’ assertion by Lisa Farjam in the exhibition catalogue that it is a cliche to associate the Middle East with political oppression, religious intolerance and terrorism. He ‘profoundly disagrees’ saying this show is replete with references to bombs, religious police and the denigration of women. The most ‘remarkable’ artists are Kader Attia, Halim Al-Karim (Hidden War)  and Diana Al-Hadid (Tower of Infinite Problems) because their work transcends the political. However Dorment finds himself most interested in some of the other artists. Ramin Haerizadeh’s strutting pouting Men of Allahis not the strongest work he says but one of the bravest and suggests the psychosexual motivation of fundamentalism. He mentions work by Shirin Fakhim and refers to Tala Madani (Tower Reflections) ” I haven’t come across a young artist this original witty or talented in 20 years”. Despite the weakness of the painted works, overall the show is much stronger for being ‘less slick and commercial’ than its predecessor, a show of Chinese art.

    Unveiled: New Art From The Middle East – Time Out– Ossian Ward – Feb 3 2009

    Saatchi has no truck with the high-minded concerns of the academics and curators which is a good thing says Ossian Ward. It means he does not try to provide an explanation  for his unapologetic grouping of artists who come from lands which are bewildering in their diversity. 

    “The sculptural works shine but the paintings disappoint” as does some of the works which border on “gross-out territory” reminiscent of YBA (Young British Artists). Artists discussed include Marwan Rechmaoui (Spectre), Diana Al-Hadid, Wafa Hourani, Ahmed Alsoudani and Tala Madani. 

    Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East, Saatchi Gallery, LondonIndependent– Charles Darwent – Feb 1 2009

    An ‘impressive’ and ‘extraordinarily good’ show says Darwent in which the united and divided cultures of the West and Middle East are laid bare. Rich with historical and art references, Darwent gives thoughtful reviews of works by Sara Rahbar, Hayv Kahraman, Ahmed Alsoudani, Tala Madani, Kader Attia, and Marwan Rechamoui. Sara Rahbar’s work  Flag #19 is singled out.

    Noting the interplay of West and Middle East evident across the works, Darwent comments that thartists are Middle Eastern but ‘not quite’  and in fact only 11 of the 19 – and only 2 of the 7 women – artists now live  in the region.

    The veil is lifted on hidden talent Guardian/Observer – Laura Cumming – Feb 1 2009

    At its best says Cumming this ‘candid collection from the Islamic world is inventive and truly fearless’ though some of the work is a ‘shambolic hybrid of eastern content and western style’ which ‘plays hard to the international art fair and biennale market’. But no matter there are some independent minds: among them are Ramin Haerizadeh- whose satirical sexually-charged photo works are ‘gleefully savage’ – Marwan Rechmanoui and the ‘prodigiously gifted’ and ‘original’  Tala Madani (Holy Light, Elastic Pink). Overall says Cummings it is amazing how far into politics this art goes and points out that the publicity shot of TalaMadini has been treated to conceal her identity despite making her home in Amsterdam.

     Subversive Beauty in UnveiledStandard (This is London) – Ben Lewis – Jan 30 2009

    London’s great art entrepreneur is back on form says Lewis and the works by artists from Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq are “thrillingly topical and often brilliantly executed”. There is an excitement in seeing politics through the language of contemporary art rather than the familiar TV images. Highlights are paintings by 3 artists Ahmed Alsoudani, Rokni Haerizadeh and Tala Madani. Marwan Richmaoui and Wafa Hourani are mentioned. Kader Attia is slammed for being “excessively shiny and large” and Halim Al-Karim is also given a thumbs down.

    Saatchi show unveils vibrant Middle East art sceneReuters– Mike Collett-White – Jan 29 2009

    This provocative show will test the tolerance of some says Collett-White in a rare opinion at the beginning of this facts-dominated piece covering the inspiration for the show. The recent unrecognised flourishing of artistic communities in Tehran and Beirut is the rationale for the show explains Rebecca Wilson head of development for Saatchi. Apart from French-Algerian Kader Attia and his ‘striking’ piece (Ghost), other artists mentioned include Rokni Haerizadeh (Typical Iranian Wedding, Beach at the Caspian), Halim al-Karim (Hidden Prisoner 1993), Shirin Fakhim’s work about prostitutes incorporating kitchen utensils and Sara Rahbar.

     Saatchi shows veiled women made of foil, Iran sex-worker dollsBloomberg– Martin Gayford – Jan 29 2009

    Full of “brash, sometimes shocking Saatchi-type art” this is clearly a display of one man’s tastes and there is nothing wrong with that says Martin Gayford. Saatchi has a propensity for figurative art “though frankly none of it is that exciting” but it is the sculptures and installations that grab attention and Kadia Attia’s Ghost is a show-stopper. Other artists address women’s issues too and Gayford highlights Shirin Fakhim (Tehran Prositutes) and Shadi Ghadirian’s photographs (Like Everyday Series).

    Related links: Saatchi website

    Related categories: Middle Eastern art, Iranian art, gender in art, political art, reports from London

    Related posts:

    Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for news round ups of influential shows and important events

    Posted in Collectors, Feminist art, Identity art, Iranian, Iraqi, Islamic art, Lebanese, London, Middle Eastern, Painting, Palestinian, Photography, Political, Prison, Religious art, Reviews, Saatchi, Sculpture, Shadi Ghadirian, Social, Syrian, UK, Women power | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »