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Archive for the ‘Saatchi’ Category

“The Empire Strikes Back – Indian art Today” at Saatchi Gallery: critics’ review roundup

Posted by artradar on February 24, 2010


INDIAN CONTEMPORARY ART

“The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today” opened on 28 January 2010 at Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London. It has received attention from critics interested in both the cultural implications of contemporary Indian art in British society and the exhibition’s impact on the art market.

Intensity and violence are found in some stand out works but the consensus suggests an uneven show.

According to the Business Standard, over 100 works of 26 Indian artists are being displayed. Price estimates are included for some works.

Also concerned with the art market, Colin Gleadell of The Daily Telegraph contemplates the impact of “The Empire Strikes Back” on the value of Saatchi’s investment in Indian contemporary art. He also summarises the fluctuations in the Indian contemporary art market.

Generally, critics’ reviews have been mixed: though they support the concept of showing contemporary Indian artists, many claim that there are only a few standouts.

The Financial Times‘s Peter Aspden is intrigued by “contrast between the work’s wholesome message and the gruesome imagery used to deliver it” in Jitish Kallat’s Public Notice 2, the first work in the show.

Jitish Kallat, Public Notice 2

Jitish Kallat, Public Notice 2

He then interviews Rebecca Wilson, the associate director of Saatchi Gallery. She explains Saatchi Gallery’s reasons for organising the show, focusing on global trends regarding Indian and Pakistani contemporary art and the sheer volume of new artists from the region.

The Guardian’s Adrian Searle begins with “One might expect Charles Saatchi to show just the sorts of things that are presented,” listing works like Huma Mulji’s Arabian Delight and Atul Dodiya’s Fool’s House as expected works. He concludes “A lot of the work looks exoticised for the gallery, the artists playing their post-colonial otherness as a gimmick, rather than making art of substance.”

JJ Charlesworth of Time Out London also concedes that there are works of “bog-obviousness,” but especially praises Chitra Ganesh’s Tales of Amnesia, consisting of 21 comic-inspired prints that question the role of femininity in society.

Husband-and-wife Subdoh Gupta and Bharti Kher impress Ben Luke of London’s Evening Standard, though he mentions the “collection’s unevenness.”

Bharti Kher, An Absence of Assignable Cause

Bharti Kher, An Absence of Assignable Cause

Luke is especially interested in Bharti Kher’s An Absence of Assignable Cause, which is her conception of a sperm whale’s heart covered in bindis.

The Times’ Joanna Pitman is fascinated by the artists who “push their media into almost illegible territories, as if to say that art could not possibly be adequate to record what really matters.”

Probir Gupta’s painting Anxiety of the Unfamiliar and Tallur L.N.’s Untitled both depict what she describes as “bleary fragments, the chance events, and barely registered perceptions of this imbalanced, disturbed country.”

However, Pitman also comments on the unevenness of the show: “Many works resemble the outpourings of pained and confused undergraduate minds.”

Mark Sheerin of Culture 24 is also struck by the intensity present throughout the works. He  claims that, “At best, such high impact work can astound and violently re-orient you” and cites Tushar Joag’s The Enlightening Army of the Empire’s “skeletal, spectral band of robotic figures” as a prime example.

Tushar Joag, The Enlightening Army of the Empire

Tushar Joag, The Enlightening Army of the Empire

He encourages the reader to “come and let the works do violence to you. They should be resisted, if at all.”

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Posted in Asia expands, Atul Dodiya, Bharti Kher, Consumerism, Gallery shows, Heart art, Indian, Jitish Kallat, Light, London, Overviews, Political, Rashid Rana, Reviews, Robot, Saatchi, Sculpture, Shows, UK, Words | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Korean Eye exhibition in Saatchi Gallery London extended due to popularity

Posted by artradar on August 12, 2009


KOREAN CONTEMPORARY ART

There is perhaps no greater indicator of changing tastes in London’s contemporary art scene and the West’s hunger for fresh cultural and artistic influences than the masses of people who came to witness the ‘Korean Eye: Moon Generation’ Exhibition, which showcases the finest contemporary Korean art at the renowned Saatchi Gallery in London. In fact, over 40,000 gallery-going visitors

Kim Joon, Bird-land Donald Duck, 2008.  From Korean Eye, Moon Generation. On view at Saatchi Gallery, London.

Kim Joon, Bird-land Donald Duck, 2008. From Korean Eye, Moon Generation. On view at Saatchi Gallery, London.

came to experience contemporary Korean art in just 2 weeks. The Saatchi Gallery originally planned to host the Exhibition from June 20th-July 5th, but the unexpected crowds inspired Charles Saatchi to request the exhibit continue until September 13.

‘Korean Eye’ is a groundbreaking show for Korean contemporary artists, who have had very little prior exposure in London and the West.

Of the choice to extend the show, Simon de Pury, Chairman of Phillips de Pury and Company, comments: “The interest in Korean Eye has been so great that we felt the Exhibition must be extended. Korean contemporary art is not that well known in Europe and it is a privilege to host such original and exciting work.”

Among the honored guests at the exhibition’s London opening on July 2 were Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Sir David Tang, the founder of Hong Kong’s China Club and its acclaimed art collection. Cherie Blair was no doubt one of London’s art enthusiasts who discovered the richness of contemporary Korean art that evening, saying, “I didn’t realise that Korea had such a thriving modern art industry but this exhibition is extraordinary. The breadth of the works is fantastic and it has been a real privilege to meet some of the artists and view the works first hand.”

The show’s curator, 35 year old Lee Dae-hyung, came up with the idea for the show last March, and secured sponsorship and support from David Ciclitira, president of Parallel Media Group, the auction firm Phillips de Pury & Company, and Standard Chartered Bank. Lee is the head of the curating company Hzone, and has been promoting Korean artists in Seoul, Tokyo, London, and Beijing for the past 8 years. His next exhibitions include a showcase of experimental furniture designs titled ‘Mad for Furniture’, and the December exhibition ‘Korea Tomorrow’, both to be held in Seoul.

I Miss You, by Jang Seung-hyo

I Miss You, by Jang Seung-hyo

The show’s popularity and enthusiastic London reception indicate a bright future for Korean contemporary artists on the Western and international scene, and suggest a new trend of Western fascination with Korean influence. Art enthusiasts, be aware: contemporary Korean art is certainly something to watch.

-contributed by Erin Wooters

    • Red River Flowing With Flowers Flame, by Kwon Ki-soo
  • Red River Flowing With Flowers Flame, by Kwon Ki-soo

Related links:

  • The Saatchi Gallery
  • Local Curator Brings Korean Art to Britain–JoongAng Daily–July 09
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    Posted in Business of art, David Ciclitira, Events, Galleries, Gallery shows, Korean, London, Saatchi, UK | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Collector Ciclitira, founder of Korean Eye, makes big plans for Korean art

    Posted by artradar on June 30, 2009


    KOREAN ART

    If you have an interest in Korean contemporary art, be sure to make time for the latest 20 minute podcast from Arttactic, a London-based research house.

    In it, British collector and sports promoter David Ciclitira, together with Rodman Primack, Phillip de Pury’s London chairman, discuss Korean Eye, a multi-year initiative founded by Ciclitira which aims to promote Korean contemporary art to a Western and ultimately international audience.

    Hyung Koo Kang, Woman, 2009

    Hyung Koo Kang, Woman, 2009

    Korean Eye is holding its first 31 artist exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery in London until 5 July 2009 and the exhibition catalogue is available online. “This space in London is the iconic space right now, it has three to four thousand people a day going through the space in 20 days, so we’ll have 60 to 80 thousand people coming through, so that will be good” says Ciclitira in an interview with Art Market Monitor.

    None of it’s from my collection. It’s all brand new. It’s all for sale. I’ve built up a collection of Korean contemporary art in the last two or three years. But I asked a young curator to put the show together, so it’s his choice of artists. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but when you hire a curator, you let them do it.

    Later Ciclitira plans to bring a larger Korean Eye-branded show to other ‘markets’  including perhaps Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong.

    Seung WookSim, black mutated ornamentation 2007, hot glue on steel frame

    Seung Wook Sim, black mutated ornamentation 2007, hot glue on steel frame

    ‘The Korean Eye’ initiative is interesting on several fronts:

    1. Bringing Korean art to the West

    Korean contemporary art has, as yet, had little exposure in the West.

    Chinese and Japanese contemporary art have already received academic and critical attention from universities and museums in Western cultures. However unlike Japanese art which has experienced long international exposure and Chinese art which has strong national support from economic growth, Korean art is in the shadows. note 1

    Ciclitira points out in the podcast that although show catalogues produced in Korea are of a high quality, there is not yet a bilingual book on Korean contemporary art, a gap which ‘Korean Eye’ plans to address in the next 18 months.

    Koreans have a 25 year history of collecting Western artists but support for local artists is burgeoning. There has been a growth spurt in the number of Korean galleries in the last 2-3 years and artists are not harnessed to individual galleries. The resulting competitive environment created keen pricing even before the recession. Now the recession is stimulating further discounts. Korean galleries are present at Asian art fairs and have set up galleries across Asia but are still rare further west.

    Park Seung Mo, Contrabass

    Park Seung Mo, Contrabass

    2. Bank sponsorship money can still be found …in Asia

    Funds available from bank sponsorship have been thin on the ground since the Lehman collapse in autumn 2008. While the Hong Kong Art Fair ’09 failed to find a replacement sponsor for Lehman, Ciclitira has had better luck:

    I’ve been very fortunate to be sponsored by Standard Chartered. That’s not a bank known to many American people. It’s now Britain’s second-largest bank. It was the only bank that didn’t invest in subprime. It’s in 108 markets around the world. It’s highly profitable. It’s basically a Hong Kong-based business. But it’s the largest single foreign investor in Korea. They bought a major bank there, and it’s a really super bank which supports, locally, art. That’s one of the things that they do. And they’ve been really, really supportive of this project. I have been amazed how much traction we’ve gotten from their involvement. So in this time of recession, they’ve been very helpful and we hopefully get to work together with them in the future to build it in other markets.

    3. Branded selling exhibitions – a new style of show

    Finally ‘Korean Eye’ represents a new style of branded selling exhibition which brings together a collector’s passion, government support, bank sponsorship and auction house sales expertise.

    Somewhat like Saatchi, Ciclitira has a background as a professional promoter and an ongoing passion for art. But whereas Saatchi has chosen to exhibit his own self-curated non-selling shows, Ciclitira makes no bones about his plans to develop ‘Korean Eye’ as a brand of selling shows. While he admits to having experienced a steep learning curve:

    What I’ve found interesting in this whole learning process is how unsophisticated the art world is, because when you work in major sports events, there are more dates, so much more research, everything is television linked to media values, and art feels amateur when you look at how they do things, and it’s no small wonder that when they need to raise massive money, they find it quite hard.

    David-Ciclitira-330x449

    Collectors who, in the later stages of the their collecting career, want to be involved with supporting the evolution of art, come from backgrounds of all kinds. It will be fascinating to watch what kind of influence this sports promoter will bring to the democratisation of art through branding and media involvement.

    I worked a long time with UBS, and I have access to all their research, and their research, number one for their clients was golf. Art came in third, I think, classic cars or wine were second. The reality is, it’s out there. I believe the art market goes beyond your top bracket. My people all started saying, “The chairman’s crazy, he’s going to do this,” and they’ve all ended up loving it. “Can I get my bonus in a piece of work?”

    The problem with the art world is that they’re a bunch of snobs. The reality is that gallerists make people feel as if they’re not wanted, and I think this is part of the breaking down of what will happen in the next 10 years, more people will want to get involved.

    It sounds like Ciclitira is a man with a mission to make that happen.

    Note 1 Korean Eye Moon Generation catalogue Page 9, Joon Lee Deputy Director Samsung Museum of Art

    Artists

    Ayoung Kim, Bahk SeonGhi, Boomoon, Cho Hoon, Choi TaeHoon, Choo JongWan, Debbie Han, Han KiChang, Hong KyongTack, Jang SeungHyo, Jeon Junho, Kang Hyung Koo, Kim Inbai, Kim Joon, Koh MyungKeun, Kwon KiSoo, Lee Dongwook, Lee HyungKoo, Lee LeeNam, Lee Rim, Lee Ufan. Lee Yong Baek, Lee YongDeok. Park JungHyuk, Park SeungMo, Park SungTae, SeungMin Lee, Sim SeungWook, Whang Inkie, Yi HwanKwon, Yoon Jong Seok

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    Posted in Asia expands, Corporate collectors, David Ciclitira, Democratisation of art, Galleries, Gallerists/dealers, Gallery shows, Korean, London, Overviews, Saatchi, Yi Hwan-Kwon | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Top 10 most influential contemporary art collectors – Apollo Magazine

    Posted by artradar on April 13, 2009


    CONTEMPORARY ART COLLECTORS

    The collectors who really matter to the history of art are not necessarily the very richest or even the most acquisitive says Martin Bailey in Apollo Magazine:

    They are those who by their example set standards for others, encourage interest in the art they collect and share their treasures with the public. In short, the collectors of greatest importance are those who wield the greatest influence.

    Of APOLLO’S list of the 20 most influential collectors today, 10 collect contemporary work. Here is a list with some brief ntoes. For more information see the full article go to Apollo Top 20 most influential art collectors.

    ELI BROAD

    Post-war and contemporary Nationality: American Age: 75 Source of wealth: Property and insurance

    Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, began to collect modern and contemporary art in the 1970s, and have amassed one of America’s greatest private collections. They have nearly 2,000 pieces.

    Broad was also the founding chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. He has given $26m to help build a Zaha Hadid-designed art museum at Michigan State University; building work is due for completion in 2010.

    EUGENIO LOPEZ ALONSO

    Latin American and international contemporary Nationality: Mexican Age: 40 Source of wealth: Food processing

    Eugenio Lopez inherited the Jumex fruit juice business. Although relatively young, he has amassed one of the largest private collections of modern Latin American art. Lopez’s collection comprises 1,500 works, half Latin American and half international.

    FRANCOIS PINAULT

    Contemporary Art Nationality: French Age: 71 Source of wealth: Luxury goods

    Starting by collecting early modernism, Francois Pinault quickly moved into post-war American painting and finally into contemporary art. In 1998 he purchased a controlling share in Christie’s, which puts him in the centre of the art world. Pinault has long wanted to display his collection, now comprising 2,500 works. After scrapping plans for a museum in a former Renault factory on Ile Seguin, in the Seine in western Paris, he took over Palazzo Grassi in Venice, which reopened in 2006. Even more ambitiously, the Francois Pinault Foundation is transforming Venice’s Punta della Dogana (customs building) into a contemporary art centre, which is due to open in June 2009 for the Biennale.

    VIKTOR PINCHUK

    Contemporary Art Nationality: Ukrainian Age: 47 Source of wealth: Steel

    Viktor Pinchuk’s collecting began in the early 1990s with Russian impressionism. He subsequently developed the idea of opening a public display, and turned towards contemporary art, feeling that this would be more popular. In September 2006 the Victor Pinchuk Foundation opened the Pinchuk Art Centre in Kiev, which is one of the largest public galleries for contemporary art in eastern Europe. Owning 300 works, it comprises both Ukrainian and international art. In January Peter Doroshenko became its artistic director (he is an American of Ukrainian background and formerly director of the Baltic in Gateshead, northern England). Among Pinchuk’s recent purchases is Koons’s Hanging Heart, for which he paid $24m.

    LEKHA & ANUPAM PODDAR

    Indian Art Nationality: Indian Age: unknown; 34 Source of wealth: Paper industry and hotels

    Lekha Poddar, from Delhi, began collecting in the late 1970s and her son Anupam in 2000. Together they recently set up the Devi Art Foundation. They now have 7,000 works of Indian art, ranging from tribal to contemporary (with some from neighbouring countries).

    DON & MERA RUBELL

    Contemporary Art Nationality: American Age: 66; unknown Source of wealth: Inheritance and hotels

    Based in Miami Beach, the Rubells began to collect in the 1960s, and after receiving an inheritance in 1989 were able to expand their ambitions, both to build the collection and open it to the public. Their daughter and son, Jennifer and Jason (and Jason’s wife, Michelle), are closely involved, which explains why it is known as the Rubell Family Collection. In 1996 their Contemporary Arts Foundation opened a public space in a former Drug Enforcement Agency warehouse in Wynwood, north Miami, to show a changing selection of works in 27 rooms. The collection now comprises over 5,000 pieces. The Rubells particularly enjoy discovering up-and-coming artists.

    CHARLES SAATCHI

    Contemporary Art Nationality: British Age: 65 Source of wealth: Advertising

    Charles Saatchi is probably Europe’s most powerful collector of contemporary art. With his first wife, Doris Lockhart, he began with American abstraction in the 1970s. In 1985 he opened his first public gallery, in Boundary Road, north London. By the end of the decade he had turned to British artists, later commissioning Hirst’s ‘Shark’ and buying Emin’s ‘Bed’ and the Chapman Brothers’ Hell Having become the leading patron of the Young British Artists (YBAS), he shot to fame with his controversial ‘Sensation’ exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997, which then toured to the Brooklyn Museum of Art. In 2003 his gallery moved from Boundary Road to County Hall, where it remained for two years. His current space is  in the King’s Road, Chelsea, in a converted army barracks.

    Saatchi not only buys, but also sells, so his collection is constantly evolving. He owns around 3,000 works. Although wanting the public to enjoy his art, he remains a rather private figure.

    SAUD AL-THANI–Eclectic, but particularly Islamic and natural history Nationality: Qatari Age 41 Source of wealth: Family wealth

    Sheikh Saud al-Thani is a cousin of the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. As chairman of the country’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage, he was responsible for buying for a group of new museums that are being set up in the capital, Doha. However, it has often been unclear whether his purchases were for the national museums or his personal collection. The scope of his purchases is enormous, ranging from antiquities to 20th-century furniture. Money is no problem. Saud al-Thani’s current personal role in collecting is unclear, but other members of the family are voracious buyers.

    DAVID THOMSON

    19th-century English to contemporary art Nationality: Canadian Age: 51 Source of wealth: Media

    David Thomson, the 3rd Lord Thomson, is the son of the media owner Kenneth Thomson, who died in 2006. Kenneth Thomson was a very major donor to the Art Gallery of Ontario, to which he gave 2,000 works in 2002.

    GUY ULLENS

    Chinese contemporary art Nationality: Belgian Age: 73 Source of wealth: Food processing

    Baron Guy Ullens is of Belgian origin, but resident in Switzerland. He began to collect classical Chinese painting while on business trips to China, but in the 1980s, together with his wife, Myriam, he branched out into Chinese contemporary art-famously selling his paintings by Turner to finance his purchases. Today he owns one of the world’s finest collections, with 2,000 works.

    In November 2007 Ullens opened a permanent space in a restored military factory in Beijing, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. It has changing displays, with works from the Ullens collection and outside loans (including international art).

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    Posted in Anupam Poddar, Francois Pinault, Saatchi, Ullens, Viktor Pinchuk | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

    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

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    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 »