Amanda Pinatih

Art, theory and everything that interests me

Salvador Dali - Centre Pompidou

Dali Atomicus

Call us crazy, but we did it… Paris in 24 hours! After surviving a snowstorm in Belgium, the scary window washers in the périphérique (that literary don’t get out of the way) and the brutal traffic around Gare du Nord we arrived at the car parking underneath Centre Pompidou. The car parking is already worth a trip by itself; Dan Flavinesque lighting accompanied by opera music. Surfacing to the square in front of the modern art institute by elevator we encountered a huge line of people all excited to see this winter’s big exhibition. This season the museum pays tribute to one of the most complex and prolific great figures in 20th century art, Salvador Dalí, more than thirty years after the retrospective that the institution devoted to him in 1979-1980. And we wouldn’t miss it for a thing!

Often criticized for his theatricality, his liking for money and his provocative stance on political issues, Dalí is both one of the most controversial artists and one of the most popular. This exhibition sets out to throw light on the full power of his work and the part played in it by his personality and his strokes of genius as much as his outrageousness. The retrospective shows his great masterpieces, like The Persistence of Memory or more commonly called Melting Watches, and his most well known theatrical work, but also his early paintings, sketches and studies. And it is these miniature drawings that are most interesting; dreamy, elaborate stories are drawn up into frames that are barely a few centimetres square. Another highlight is the great selection of less familiar films, extracts from broadcasts and happenings. They show Dalí as a real pioneer of his time and give his perspectives on the works of Piet Mondriaan and abstract painting. Also a rare animation by Dalí in collaboration with Walt Disney is on display, showing how the artist’s characters and creatures can be transferred to a cartoon.

Mae West

The exhibition shows a grand overview of Dalí’s, often hallucinatory, oeuvre. However the presentation of the retrospective isn’t all that exciting. The audience enters the U-shaped exhibition through a big egg, within which Dalí is curled in the foetal position; the egg forms a symbol for the prenetal and intrauterine. Moving along, the artist’s works are placed on walls and in vitrines, quite old school for a progressive modern art museum. The audience is taken on a journey of historical and unknown pieces accompanied by simple texts that explain how and by whom the artist was influenced. This path is not so much chronological; it is divided in different themes, like the artist’s reinterpretation of Millet’s Angelus and the artist as scientist. It is incomprehensive why the curators chose this categorization, since the surrealist artworks really loan themselves for a more complex setting. The focus on pertinent themes already is a great desertion from scandalous biography, however the execution is still quite dull.

Nevertheless the staging of Dalí’s work of The Rita Mae West Room is original. The museum visitor can take place on the famous lip sofa, set in the features of the actress. The image of the art lover in the installation is projected on the facing wall, which can be photographed. As a result the museum visitor ends up with a photo of himself in an iconic Dalí artwork. A good example to explore further possibilities of exhibiting the surrealist works in exciting ways that trigger the audience and give another perception of Dalí’s opus. The French institute could have gotten more inspiration in The Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres - Spain, the largest surrealist object in the world, built by Dalí himself. The museum exhibits the artist’s eminent theatrical works, sculptures, sketches of weird creatures and grand (ceiling) paintings. It meticulously puts together the diverse artworks in wunderkammers and playful installations where the audience can wander trough the labyrinthine mind of the artist.
Maybe the Centre Pompidou’s curators have more luck breaking set patterns in another 30 years.

Until March 25, 2013

 

Zaha Hadid - Beyond Boundaries, Art and Design

 

We all know that Zaha Hadid is an amazing architect, however the current exhibition at the Ivory Press in Madrid also shows her design and art talents.

Descending the long stairs in the gallery one can already catch a glimpse of the organic white foam sculpture that invites you to touch it (which I sneakily did).  Once downstairs you can see this relief growing and spreading out on the wall. These organic forms translate to chairs and other seating objects that fill the room. Around the objects stalactites are dripping from the ceilings.  Hadid’s drawings, paintings, reliefs, sculptures and installations, not to mention furniture and product designs are all present.

 

The exhibition gives you a journey through the body of work of the architect. Drawings and paintings seem computer made, but are actually meticulously made by hand. Different layers in the artworks act upon each other forming a three dimensional piece. Her sculptural seating objects are complex and fluid and look more like spaceships than furniture. On four long black platforms various white object are aligned from small to large, to extra large. These works look like architectural models for buildings or towers, but could be, according to their size and shape, be used as vases or other applied art forms.  

Hadid goes about architectural work in a way that transforms our vision towards the future with new concepts and visionary forms, as can be appreciated in buildings such as the Guanzhou Opera House in China or the Hoenheim Nord Terminus terminal in Strasbourg. 

One only questions if her chairs and chaise-lounges are actually comfy…

On show until the 3rd of November.

Tom Sachs - Space Program: MARS

When in New York…. You go to Mars! Sounds logical , right? No? Well, if you’re called Tom Sachs, it is. The installation artist, sculptor and painter took his SPACE PROGRAM to the Big Apple where the public could enjoy the mission to Mars for four weeks in the Park Avenue Armory. The almost 17.000 square meter Wade Thompson Drill Hall, that is reminiscent of 19th-century European train stations, was dynamically tranformed into the red planet. As the visitor entered the enormous space he was taken on a space oddesey with an installation of meticulously and very original crafted sculptures.
Tom Sachs used his signature bricolage technique and simple materials that can be found in the daily surroundings of his New York studio to carefully engineer the component parts of the mission - exploratory vehicles, mission control, launch platforms, suiting stations, special effects, recreational amenities, and of course the Mars landscape. All of this was accompanied by a series of video artworks demonstrating the neccesary hard training of the astronauts for survival, scientific exploration, and colonization in extraterrestrial environments. The video’s could be enjoyed in an ensuite theater set-up including a popcorn vendor.

The artist and his studio team of thirtheen manned the exhibition, regulary showing the activation of the complex sculptural system, demonstrating dangerous flight plans and their first walk on the surface, recruiting new astronauts, but also setting up entertaining biking competitions. However, the expo was not only fun and games the conceptual foundation adresses serious issues - namely the commodification of abstract concepts such as originality, shock, newness and mystery. It also provokes refelction on the focus towards privatized space travel, utopian follies and dystopian realities. 
SPACE PROGRAM MARS was on shown only for 4 weeks, however, the project is ongoing with possibilities of future exhibitions. Tom Sachs’ SPACE PROGRAM was first launched in 2007 at Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles, with a mission to the moon inspired by and reimagining man’s first landing on the moon in 1969. 

Jesus Mateo

For those who like medieval churches but prefer modern art

In the midst of cold November my new hot Spanish boyfriend took me to Madrid to ‘warm me up’ (read: meet my brand new parents in law).  Of course he also organized a trip to Granada to see the glorious Alhambra and concocted a mystery detour to this medieval place called Alarcón. He planned the whole thing and thought about the smallest details, the only thing he forgot was to check the opening times of this secret place he wanted to take me to. So last minute he did a little surfing on the Internet and found out ‘it’ wasn’t open. Luckily he came across some telephone numbers and started calling them. Suddenly he was on the phone with the great artist Jesús Mateo. Yes, the ‘thing’ he wanted to show me were the contemporary mural paintings by Jesús Mateo in the church of Alarcón that are listed as world heritage by UNESCO. Mateo was kind of surprised that we, being a young couple and only a few days in Madrid, wanted to make the effort to drive all the way to the small village. He himself wasn’t there, but we could absolutely go and ask around for a certain Luis Martínez Lorentes, who would definitely give us a private tour. So we stepped in the car (a BMW Z4; the new parents in law weren’t doing that bad) and scurried away. 
Jesús Mateo is a self-taught artist and developed his technical training since he was very young through museum visits, workshops and, above all, through the lonely work in the studio. From a young age he opted for this world of colours and shapes. An individual exposition, when he was aged 17, and several collective ones distanced him quickly from the conventional expositive formulas. In 1994 he started his biggest project so far: the mural paintings in the church of San Juan Bautista. For ages this beautiful building, constructed at the end of the 16th century, was abandoned. Ancient and desacralised, the church offered the perfect space for a contemporary and radical work. Mateo sketched out plans for what eventually became the Murals of Alarcón. The immense proportions and technical challenges of the project kept the painter busy for six years to its realization.
When we arrived, the village was deserted, except for some stray cats that weren’t particularly keen on cuddles. Luckily we just had to ask one person, because, of course, everybody knew Martínez - the priest of the church of Alarcón. We got directed to his house, which was next to the church, where we got announced with the words ‘Este par de mozos tan guapos’. What means something like ‘there’s a handsome couple here waiting for you’. Well, thank you! With a keyring full of keys and a torch Martínez, a tiny and very old man, came down and guided us into the church. Have you ever stood in a pitch black, centuries old church? I can tell you it’s the most beautiful thing to see, how the church slowly lights up and when the mural paintings become visible.
Jesús Mateo had absolute freedom to create his own universe existing of nature, humans, animals and other creatures. You’ll find yourself between all these vibrant colours; the playful scenes are dancing around you and far above you. Sometimes they remind you of wonderful dreams full of stars and the magic of the night. Sometimes they scare you like only your nightmares can frighten you, packed with demons and other devilish monsters that look like they just crawled off a Heronymus Bosch painting. The whole work seems like a never-ending story, where you can endlessly look at and will always find new things that will surprise and amaze you.
The enormous artwork links to la Noche de San Juan (the night of St. John.). As Mateo could only paint during the nights - in the day it was too warm in the church - he wanted to recover those nights and connect them to the paintings. However, he says he didn’t get his inspiration from the stories behind la Noche: “Inspiration doesn’t exist for me, neither does Art nor the Artist as they’ve been defined by essays and artbooks in general. I don’t believe in myths, neither in superheroes nor in miracles. I’m only moved by certain and specific artworks. That sort of magic that surrounds some pieces is the flame that burns inside me since I was a kid." Mateo finds that curiosity and fascination is what makes him paint and when he creates it submerges him in a fantastic unreality, just like his fascinating paintings in the church of Alarcón. The village and the church are definitely worth a visit!

            

V&A - Postmodernism

                                   

Don’t we all love Postmodernism? The era when people said goodbye to Minimalism and embraced the theatrical. The time when Grace Jones rose to her throne and the feeling of a nearing Apocalypse became tangible with the premiere of ‘Blade Runner’.

This year’s grant fall/winter exhibition at the V&A tells you the story of how people lost their utopian visions and began to resist authority over a course of two decades, from about 1970 to 1990. Postmodernism shattered established ideas about style. It brought a radical freedom to art and design, through gestures that were often funny, sometimes confrontational and occasionally absurd. Most of all, Postmodernism brought a new self-awareness about style itself.

The show takes you through all the facets of culture: interior design, graphic design, music, fashion, architecture and of course art. It gives you a clear timeline and a complete narration in an exciting environment with lots of installations and surprising details. Additionally, it questions if we still live in post modern times or if we surpassed this era and stepped into a new age, where we can only feel the effects of the late unsettling epoch.

On until 15 January 2012

The Whole Ball of Wax

"Good artists never go on holiday" he said, as if to say they were always working on something. Or was it that they could never separate themselves from themselves?

The first thing I will say about this exhibition is just this: DON’T MISS IT!!

This group effort is the most refreshing thing I have seen in Amsterdam in years. In a new art space on the Amstel, eight young artists have combined their forces to create an intimate snapshot of independent art practice in this day and age. The conceptual installations, photos, drawings, sculptures and paintings are very diverse and intriguing. Artworks that you don’t get in five minutes but that will occupy your mind for days and days. The space works really well with the art, the narrow corridor makes you carefully squeeze past the art pieces so that you would not tread on them and there are enough corners and nooks that make for surprising perspectives. AMSTEL 41 is an independent project space with a frequent program of shows, presentations and events offered by a host of international plus local artists and curators. Very promising for the future and certainly a place to keep an eye on!

On until 22 October 2011, opening hours: Friday and Saturday, 15:00–18:00 and by appointment.

TRA - Edge of becoming

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“When you don’t know where you’re going, go by a way you don’t know.”  

Somewhere in de the midst of the Venice labyrinth lays Palazzo Fortuny. In this Gothic building the exhibition TRA - Edge of becoming opened in June. Jordan Kelly and I accidently walked in, craving some cold prosecco and a toilet visit. How were we to know that we were going to have our best art experience in Venice?
TRA is the space (or empty space) between two dimensions that marks the moment of passage from a condition to another, a breach towards new experiences. It is the idea of border that, seen from the point of view of its surpass, becomes site of process of creative transformation. Edge of becoming relates to the void as the pregnant possibility of energy, to chaos as the state of infinite becoming, and to becoming as the movement towards a situation.
The exhibition is a journey that takes you from the East to the West and back. It is an expedition of the ancient, the old, the modern and the contemporary. The exhibition is a collaboration between Palazzo Fortuny and the Axel Vervoordt Foundation, transforming the four floors of the palazzo in a complex exhibition trail that involves the visitors in an artistic, and at the same time suggestive and profound experience, where dialogue and confrontation between the artworks and between them and space is of fundamental importance.
The largely unrestored palazzo contributes to this atmospheric encounter. Mariano Fortuny turned the building, once owned by the Pesaro family, into his own atelier of photography, stage-design, textile-design and painting at the turn of the nineteenth century. The palazzo now still retains the rooms and structures as they were created by Fortuny, as well as provides a home to his tapestries and collections.
The exhibition begins with a monumental sculpture of a “Tau­Tau” woman, a nineteenth century work from the Toraja: an ethnic group from the Celebes Island. From here you travel alongside an illusionistic light sculpture of James Turrell, towards a room where the video Staging Silence of Hans op de Beeck plays next to a still of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster V. When you continue upstairs a Mesopotamian cuneiform tablet is presented in a cabinet together with Marcel Duchamp’s Rotorelief, and further up Giovanni Anselmo, Kimsooja, Saburo Murakami, Jiro Yoshihara, Bae Bien­U are in a creative dialogue with four Môn Dvaravati statues, made between the sixth and eighth centuries.

How crazy or eclectic this all sounds, the exhibition will give you another perspective on art and is definitely word the trip to Venice! The show is on until November 27, 2011.

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Leviathan

Although Anish Kapoor’s Leviathan has already left the building, I couldn’t stop my self from writing about this marvelous show case at the Grand Palais. Kapoors 35 meter high structure, created for this year’s Monumenta, is made out of PVC tautly-stretched over a giant metal frame. This enormous monster fills up the whole Palais with four balloons shooting in each direction of the belle époque exhibition hall.
Kapoor created a space in a space and, while walking around it, you sympathize with the ants, now knowing how it is to be so small. Because the sculpture looks like a colossal skippy ball, it feels like it could easily trample you and swift you up in its massiveness. When inside, it seems like you’re suddenly in the four stomachs of a cow. The perfect red colour and the membrane-like surface give you a very quiet and surreal experience, where you lose all sense of the surrounding environment.


Let’s see what the next Monumenta brings us..

Fondazione Prada

Who thought a fashion house could have such a beautiful art collection and could present it in such an original and exciting way. Well, Prada does. In an 18th-century pallazo on Ca’ corner della Regina right on the grand canal in Venice, Prada semi-permanently displays its art collection. Over the past two decades, Miuccia Prada and her husband have been building an overwhelming contemporary art collection. Anish Kapoor, Maurizio Cattelan, Damien Hirst and Louise Bourgeois are just a few of the impressive names belonging to this world-class assembly. The contemporary artworks give a new dimension to the grand palazzo, integrating modern culture with centuries of history. The exhibition is curated by Germano Celant and is divided in several sections that represent the present and future activities of the Prada Foundation.
One wing drew my particular interest, which was dedicated to the collaboration of Prada and OMA and mainly focuses on the future Fondazione Prada in Milan. Consuming eight rooms of the former palazzo, the exhibit - designed by Rem Koolhaas and associate-in-charge Ippolito Pestellini - includes photographs, drawings and hyper-detailed 1:100 models of the upcoming milanese museum complex. The models hang from the ceiling, which creates a more interactive encounter than your regular architecture presentation. One has to walk up a small staircase to see the multiple levels of the museum, where handmade miniature artworks complete the experience of being in an exhibition.


On until the 2nd of October.

‘The One & The Many’

An art space in a submarine wharf? Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds, especially, if you give Elmgreen and Dragset unlimited freedom to do whatever they want. And they did. The artist duo, that isn’t even educated in the arts, created an urban setting in the wharf, complete with an apartment block, statues, garbage cans, a broken down limousine, life actors and, of course, a ferris wheel. The exhibition ‘The One & The Many’ transforms the 5000m2 former Submarine Wharf into a deprived neighbourhood with a sinister atmosphere. The enclosed environment sucks you up in its depression. At first you feel like a stranger, a voyeur, you look into peoples windows and watch how the residents go on about their lives. Until that moment arrives where they - the rentboys and security guards - are noticing you and pull you into their game. You’ll feel like you’re going to be stuck in that disturbing situation forever and will never see the sunlight again. 

Elmgreen and Dragset… doesn’t ring a bell?  They are the Danish-Norwegian artists who set up the fake Prada boutique in the Texan desert and are responsible for ‘The Collectors’ exhibition during the Venice Biennale in 2009. So go down to Rotterdam and get a ride on the wheel! On until the 25th of September.