Justin Lieberman

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Justin Lieberman

Work from “Squeezed Reliefs” at Martos Gallery, New York

“Here’s what the frenetic pace of a price-tagged art world has wrought: Justin Lieberman’s “Squeezed Reliefs” recycle unsold­ sculptures tacked onto canvases, topped off with paint that recounts the artist’s financial ruin. The artist makes clear in a statement that the black-and-white chicness of these eight works (all 2014) is meant to be a capitulation to what’s in style. One wonders if to enjoy these paintings is to also take part in the unforgiving cycles that led the artist here.

Pieces of sculptures drown under the paint, their original meaning has been co-opted by their worthlessness—at least by market standards. A stray wire hanger, a mannequin, bowls, and handicap signs all stick out desperately from the canvas’ surface. Most of the works’ titles come from archaic torture devices—Brazen Bull (an ancient Greek roasting), Leng tch’e (Chinese slow slicing), Peine forte et dure (stones placed on the chest until confession or death). Warped, white painted text, however, communicates past-due bills, an eviction notice, termination of service, and bad poetry (is there a difference?). In The Judas Cradle a slanted text begins, “You are in danger of losing your home,” its stylish skewedness somehow making the message less grave. Similar admonitions of “You must respond . . .” or “You are in violation . . .” mask the dregs of older works in the crowded frame. These newer, more aggressive amalgams compete for dominance with the ghosts of underlying narratives.

Two sculptures accompany the hanging works, including Arbeitsbeschaffungsmaßnahme (job-creating measure), a glass vitrine packed with art of friends, letters to collectors, fliers, exhibition cards, and some of the artist’s own work. The tight and anxious display mocks the frenzy of creating and supporting, and, in doing so, makes another work. Everything eventually becomes a part of another paycheck, as collected art-world ephemera become works, and old works get compressed into the new. In all these pieces, art has been reduced and reduced again until it’s something opposite: It’s a bill.” - Ali Pechman, Artforum

Olivier Cablat

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Olivier Cablat

Work from Enter the Pyramid.

“The project Egypt 3000 deals with the complex relationship between contemporary Egypt and its glorious past. The project took shape between October 2003 and June 2004, when Olivier Cablat was working on a CNRS programme in Karnak, in the south of Egypt.
Enter the pyramid – first book of the project Egypt 3000 – is composed with a set of images found on the Internet using the keyword “pyramid”.” – RVB Books

Holger Kilumets

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Holger Kilumets

Work from Maps and Territories.

“Maps & Territories is an elaborate exploration of the meaning of representation through a series of slightly disparate images, designed to relate to each other through the notion of free association. Borrowing elements from the history of art, photographic practice and advertising imagery, the series attempts to reveal the fragility of the mechanisms that sustain representations and raise questions about photography’s role as a representational device.

Representation, by its very definition, can’t be the thing it represents. Representations don’t merely recreate existing objects or elements of the phenomenal world; they beautify, improve upon, and universalise them. As a result, things get caught up in simulacrum, spectacle and fetish, creating a fictional world, a plastic postmodernity of illusions, appearances and images in which there is no capacity for a non-mediated relationship to reality.

In the contemporary world more and more things first become visible to us via the images we see of them. There is a shift towards the process of the replacement of an object by its image as representations in the form of photographs have become the dominant way through which we perceive and interpret the world around us. Because of this it seems vital to face the fundamental questions about the act of representation, its influence on our perception and understanding of reality and the habitus, modalities and the productive capacity of it.” – Holger Kilumets

Olve Sande

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Olve Sande

Work from Suites at Galerie Antoine Levi.

“Suites, per definition, are to be considered as consequetive units or pieces following a specific order and harmony. Like multiple rooms opening up, following each other continuously, or windows allowing a view to emerge through a fixed space, suites both suggest and direct progression. Olve Sande’s works, then, follow this compositional logic, appearing as unified objects or extracts of a larger composition, which rather than functioning as fixed referents, invite the viewer to follow through. On a very practical basis, this manifests directly in the formatting of the works, as each piece is based on measurements from speci fic windows. The measurements were sourced from the architectural surroundings of Jørn Sværen, a Norwegian poet Sande has collaborated with for the exhibition. Through this, a bedroom, storefront, or café window may become displaced into the gallery and integrated into the sense of exchange and experience underlying the exhibition.

These standardised measurements function as a structural premise that contextualises the works in the exhibition and ties them to another. This is not only evident, however, in their formatting, but further in the materials employed by Sande for their realisation. The unpainted plasterboards are put into a direct relationship with paint-absorbent felt, entering the two into a mutual relationship characterised by the potential of spills. This becomes a clearly felt tension between the repellant and the absorbent; a tension that is highly emblematic of the spatial parameters Sande delineates in his practice. Each space becomes a space of dialogue between the materials and structures that form its existence, and by extension, inform our experiences within their con fines.

At that, there is an implicit poetry that lingers around the works, evoked in the elusive nature of the titles. As a viewer, one is made to wonder where the rigid measurements and architectural material vocabulary comes into relation with the sentimentality and enigmatical nature of the notes. They seem to hover on the sidelines, informing the work, almost distracting from its stark flatness. The titles and dimensions of the works, provided by Sværen through a series of exchanges with Sande, could be described as marginal notes; they become exposed as the internal commentary of the poet, responding in quiet, significant gestures to the experience of the Suites.” – Galerie Antione Levi

Soft Intensities

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Soft Intensities

Work by Rachel de Joode, Jaakko Pallasvuo and Yannick Val Gesto at Gloria Knight

“Recent developments in contemporary art frequently beg the question of what to do with art’s materiality. With an exponential increase in the flexibility of the artwork to move between material and immaterial states—for instance, a work that starts life as a digital file is made into a physical form only to be redigitised and circulated online as installation shots—it is clear that an artwork’s iteration in physical space is but one component of a constellation of social, cultural, institutional, technological, phenomenological and affective relations, the exact contours of which are often obscure to the individual.

Soft Intensities takes as its starting point the idea that a reexamination of materiality cannot take place without accounting for the networks that are now, and in fact have always been, inextricably part of material objects. It proposes a malleable space in which the distinctions between an artwork’s material and immaterial components are muddied and confused. Having already witnessed the dematerialisation and dispersion of ‘the image object post-internet’ across its networks of distribution, from this space of indeterminacy new forms of materiality emerge.

Soft Intensities takes as a particular point of departure philosopher Timothy Morton’s recently developed notion of the ‘hyperobject.’ For Morton, these are entities such as global warming or the internet, “things that are massively distributed in space and time relative to humans.” As such, they constitute a loss of critical distance. Unable to be apprehended as a discrete, temporally-bounded entity, hyperobjects are only detectable in their effects, in the interrelationships they produce between objects and their aesthetic properties. Like the contemporary art object, hyperobjects are simultaneously there but not-there, wavering between immediate, tangible effects and modes of distribution that are more often than not hidden from view.

The work of Berlin based artist Rachel de Joode is concerned at a fundamental level with interactions between form and matter. Often working with highly abstracted or ‘raw’ materials, de Joode instigates shifts in form, so that the final art object is frequently one, two or more steps removed from the material being depicted. For instance, a recent work of hers takes photographs of the artist’s own tears which are mounted onto plaster, cut into the shape of their path down her cheek and displayed as sculpture. These shifts in form are frequently complicated by uncanny intrusions of art display practices, as in de Joode’s collaboration with Kate Steciw, Open for Business, which includes framed works embedded in a central plinth and plaster seeming to drip out of another framed, wall mounted print.

Her work for Soft Intensities, ‘Puddle in Pedestal, There,’ exhibits a similar interest in the slippage between material and form, with material this time being understood at its most simple and generative. Consisting of a framed photographic print of a mysterious wet matter inserted into a plain white plinth, the image is abstract and ephemeral. Its flesh coloured tone suggests skin or some kind of rash, but it’s difficult to say with any certainty. Instead, the image evokes a kind of ‘precarious slime’4 whose abstract fleshiness stands in for the status of matter or life itself. The work’s pedestal becomes foundational in the same way. Often spurned as an old-fashioned or hackneyed method of display, its simplicity is the starting point for display, as matter is the starting point for life.

Jaakko Pallasvuo contributes two works to Soft Intensities. 2012’s ‘The Artist’s Statement’ video is displayed alongside a new printed shower curtain work, ‘I Was The One Who Told Snoopy About That Mindfulness App.’ With an art practice that comprises video, drawing, an ongoing series of digital paintings and writing, among other mediums. Pallasvuo’s work displays a repeated concern with how the individual navigates today’s hyper-connected art world.

‘The Artist’s Statement’ disparages the tired trope referred to in the work’s title, while strategically positioning it for a new media/post-internet art audience—in the video, a shirtless man drinking Jim Beam reads out excerpts from Rhizome artist profiles and from the Patty Hearst kidnap tapes, while someone smooshes ice cream onto to floor with their sandal covered feet. Messy materiality meets meta-critical cynicism.

‘I Was The One Who Told Snoopy About That Mindfulness App’ is the latest in a series of Snoopy themed shower curtain works that Pallasvuo describes as “a forced meme.” Featuring text outlining contemporary art cliches, a contemporary installation show and a blurred out image of Snoopy, the work points towards the systems of value and prestige that run the art world, cynically buying into them at the same time that it undermines them. It’s also, as the text on the work explains, something to hide behind. Pallasvuo’s interest in Snoopy stems from he/she/it’s “chill energy.” Snoopy becomes a vehicle for recalibrating the demands of a precarious, hyper-anxious art system, a symbol for soft gestures within vast networks. Yannick Val Gesto’s work has typically borrowed from the vernacular graphic languages of cyber and video game culture. His ‘YuYu’ series consists of four plexiglas works based on compositions taken from screenshots of the anime show Hunter x Hunter. These images have been reinterpreted, fed through different types of software and rendered in garish, nightmarish colours. While traces of its source style remain, very little is left to contextualise them. There is a tension between the digitalised, depersonalised nature of these works’ provenance and their raw, almost organic abstraction. They depict a kind of grotesque synthesis, the paradoxical locating of emotion in cybernetics.” -Tim Gentles

Paul Chan

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Paul Chan

Selected Works” at Schaulager, Basel

Work from ,

“For six months, Schaulager is presenting the art of Paul Chan, born in Hong Kong and based in New York. It is the most extensive exhibition ever of work by this artist, just 40 years old, who has already created a wide-ranging oeuvre that reveals him to be one of the most inventive and multifaceted practitioners in contemporary art. His studies of current political and social issues, as well as the great and timeless concerns of history, literature, and philosophy, are incorporated into his art with lighthearted verve.

Paul Chan is prototypical of his generation, exploiting the potential of the World Wide Web and its information overkill to excess, redesigning it and establishing links with goal-oriented, unbridled enthusiasm. He is as versed in making videos and installations, in drawing and painting, as he is in writing and lecturing. A closer look at this seemingly disjointed, rampant, and bewildering oeuvre proves it to be consistent, unswerving, and profound. It is our pleasure to invite you to enter into Chan’s exciting universe and discover his exceptional art.

Schaulager’s invitation to mount an exhibition has been an opportunity for Chan to review what he has done so far and to move ahead with his work. In the architectural setting devised specifically for the exhibition, he has playfully arranged existing and new works to create an ingenious display of exceptional impact. You, as viewers, will no doubt be instantly struck by the immediate effect of the works in space. It is your turn to decide how much you wish to invest in the countless issues and questions addressed by the artist. If you embark on this journey of discovery, you will experience and understand things differently, things initially perceived as beautiful and yet disturbing, deeply moving yet alien or even shocking.

A “challenging” exhibition? Yes, and one full of unexpected twists and turns that will inspire you to take your time and come back for another look. That is why the admission ticket is valid for three visits. The accompanying program of events, including tours and lectures, offers visitors the opportunity to enhance their appreciation of Paul Chan’s oeuvre even more. On September 12/13 a symposium will take place in the auditorium. It is open to the public and will give further insights into the exhibition and Paul Chan’s work.

Once again on Thursdays, Schaulager will stay open until 10 p.m. for the “Schaulager Night”, during which your ticket includes an attractive program of tours, art films in the “Artist’s Choice” program, talks, and poetry sessions.” – Schaulager, Basel

Fixed Variable

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Fixed Variable at Hauser and Wirth.

“Hauser & Wirth is pleased to present ‘Fixed Variable’, a group exhibition featuring works by Lucas Blalock, Ethan Greenbaum, John Houck, Matt Keegan, Josh Kolbo, Kate Steciw, Chris Wiley and Letha Wilson.

‘Fixed Variable’ looks at the work of eight artists who explore the tension between the photograph and the object, in light of the new and complex ways that we experience images in contemporary visual culture: mediated by the computer, corrupted by Photoshop, unnoticed and ingrained in the urban landscape.

Through process and play, these artists confront the reductive definition of the photograph as a truth-telling, two-dimensional document. The image is intervened with and acted upon, be it with Photoshop, poured concrete, or a simple crease….” – Hauser and Wirth

Daniel Everett

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Daniel Everett

Work from New Existence.

“Daniel Everett embodies the current technological zeitgeist shared by post dot-com kids, the kids of the dot-com kids, and the relationship we have to our interconnectivity (the internet). His work is jaded, earnest, and self mocking at the same time.” – Beautiful/Decay

BIEN OU BIEN ?

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BIEN OU BIEN ? at MonCHÉRI

Featuring: Gabriele Beveridge, Aline Bouvy, Hamishi Farah, Mike Goldby, Manor Grunewald, Lucy Kim, Torben Ribe, Amanda Ross-Ho, Dominic Samsworth, and Michael Staniak.

“Freedom – as defined by Max Stirner – to be truly such, cannot derive neither depend on a third-party concession. It should be solely the outcome of a self-conquest just as it is exactly for the uniqueness and, finally, for the property.

MonCheri: property. Singular, in this case made with Galerie Valentin and Jeanroch Dard. The uniqueness in question does not emphasize union itself, but rather the strength of the bond that seeks its own high standards.
As a result of its selection, the active principles of «this new property» are different and unusual, and they are oblique to the smooth correlations that develop between the multiple artworks exhibited. These elements aim to move towards the conquest of a new identity.
A unicum that neither embraces luxury nor dislocation, no trendy attitude or too human pastimes.
There is only a strong desire to experiment, without limitations.

So, this is it, the behind-the-scenes of a vibrating greatness, which acts as a unifying vehicle.

For those of you who have not yet taste this «famous praline» or for those who had not done it sufficiently, on the first appointment of YEAH and LOOK WHERE IT GOT US!, here is another chance ready to offer you the new MonCheri in all its shades, as many as those of the works in exhibition. For the moment, and due to issues of suspense, we can only reveal name and ingredients but not the procedure or the quantity.” – MonCHÉRI

DeWain Valentine

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DeWain Valentine

Work from The Sensual Substance of the Sky

“History is not a seamless string of dates that covers everything of significance that happens at a given date: there are plenty of holes and lacunae in the way history is written. From the mid-1940s to the 1970s, critical attention was mostly absorbed by what was happening in and about new York city : a few decades later, one has rediscovered that there were other centers of creative energy and experimentation, just as important as new York, that had fallen off the radars of official Art History. Artistic centers have almost always impacted the way we think about and value art : in the 18th century, it was rome; from the 19th century up until the 1930s, it was Paris; from World War ii until the 1970s, it was new York.

Today, mercifully, the situation is becoming more complex, richer, and, more truthful to the reality — that never followed a linear model. Major American east coast museums, such as MoMA, are paying increasing attention on the l.A. scene, and its vernacular take on Modernism : recently, MoMA acquired a major sculpture by Valentine (Triple Disk Red Metal Flake – Black Edge, 1966) — please note that a sister piece of this sculpture Double Yellow Disk – Red Edge, 1966 is presented today at Almine rech Gallery.

The early historical chasm between the two coasts has led to opening up a more fluid dialogue between the two coasts, as works by new York Minimalists (Judd, Flavin, Jo baer) are seen, at MoMA again, in the context of l.A. ‚light and Space‘ artists, like deWain Valentine, craig Kauffman, John Mccracken (whose work was exhibited at Almine rech Gallery as early as in 1991).

The present exhibition of Valentine‘s work at Almine rech Gallery can be seen in this new historical context, and constitutes another important step in the vast reappraisal of the important artistic force that developed in l.A. in the 1960s, and of Valentine‘s major role there up to now.

The show at Almine rech Gallery, a comprehensive overview, offers a unique opportunity for audiences to delve into Valentine’s work, one of remarkable technical virtuosity and perceptual experience. Spanning across several decades, different and utterly fascinating plastic-based media and technical methods (not traditionally used in Modernist sculpture), deWain Valentine’s production has continually embodied a unique, quintessentially Southern californian aesthetic. He is best known for large-scale, translucent resin cast sculptures in a variety of apparently simple, geometric shapes – that vary none the less greatly from the Minimalist grids and cubes. in short, artists such as Judd and leWitt were concerned to achieve more a mechanical perfection, heightened by an interest in mathematic (or combinatorics). Valentine, on the other hand, was much more interested and excited by physics than by mathematics: his final goal was to endow his sculpture with a perfect gloss, a perfectly smooth ‚finish‘ (which would take weeks and months of arduous physical efforts.) His concerns with surface transparency and translucency, the use of industrial materials and processes, an emphasis on the qualities of prismatic color, and interest in the viewer’s perception and interaction connects him to the so-called light and Space movement from the 1960s and 1970s. Overall, what should be emphasized as a principal and distinctive feature of deWain Valentine‘s art (and his personality) are an unwavering attachment to an aesthetic of pure visual and haptic joy, and to a sensual, and uplifting celebration of outdoor life in the california of the 1960s.

The work of the light and Space artists, who gathered around the fledgling, yet intense, art scene located on the coast of Venice, california, was influenced by the distinctive and unique qualities of the atmospheric landscape of los Angeles, evoked by clarence Thomas urmy, a late 19th century poet from california:

The measurement of time and space, The depth of deepest seas, The distance of the faintest star —

noted for ethereal, luminous or shiny surfaces, the works by these artists not only evoked the Angeleno qualities of bright sunlight, filtered through expansive, foggy skies, but also relentlessly explored the viewer’s perceptual experiences, and the properties of non- traditional, industrial synthetic materials, which became available during those decades due to the booming postwar aerospace and manufacturing industries. According to catherine Grenier, curator of the exhibition Los Angeles 1955-1985. Birth of an Art Capital (centre Georges Pompidou, 2006), “if there is a single vector channeling los Angeles artists as a whole [...] it is the value set on experiment.” Artists included under the umbrella term of the light and Space movement includes Peter Alexander, larry bell, Mary corse, robert irwin, John Mccracken, James Turrell, craig Kauffman or Helen Pashgian, and, of course, deWain Valentine — although it should be said, as often in any group or movement, that few of these artists accept comfortably this label, or any label. Almine rech Gallery‘s history is closely associated with this group, however: it is important to signal that the Gallery opened its first show with James Turrell (this was the first european gallery exhibition Turrell had in november 1989 in Paris); and in 1991, Almine rech Gallery proposed the first exhibition of John Mccracken in Paris.

‘Finish Fetish’ is another category employed to characterize the production of some of these artists, such is the case with deWain Valentine. The term, often used by artist, critic and museum curator John coplans, alludes to the embrace of new industrial technologies, surface slickness, and glossy, attractive colors. This love for the shiny, spruced up quality of the slick surfaces offered a common syntax to these artists, but spoke far more to the ubiquitous Southern california’s surf and automobile culture, than to the search for perfection that characterized east coast Minimalism (conjuring industrial, mass production of geometric structures in perfect line with each other), whereas Valentine‘s surfaces are the result of painstaking physical act of sanding, and polishing an initially rough resin surface into a perfectly glass-like smooth surface.)

deWain Valentine was born in colorado, and arrived in l.A. in 1965 to teach a course in plastics technology at the university of california, los Angeles (uclA). He is regarded today among the earliest pioneers in the use of industrial plastics and resins to execute monumental sculptures that reflect the light and engage the surrounding space through its mesmerizingly translucent surfaces that arrest one‘s gaze. The artist’s first experience with plastics dates back to 1946 during a Junior High School course. He started to experiment with this kind of industrial materials at home – including fiberglass, recently declassified by the united States government after the Second World War – baking, molding and casting them. This technical knowledge, combined with his subsequent experience working with fiberglass-reinforced plastic in boat-building shops and painting automobiles, air planes, — and even, according to some even, uFOs — led to his fascination and artistic involvement with sculptures made out of colored plastic and polyester resin, all materials evoking a futurist era.

Valentine’s technical excellence and inventiveness made him stand out from his contemporaries, namely through his remarkable contribution to the plastics industry. Willing to take risks, in 1966 Valentine carried out some experiments collaborating with a chemical engineer, and developed a new type of modified polyester resin that would enable him to cast monumental objects in a single pour — a technical process that was just unconceivable until then. it was commercialized under the trade name of Valentine MasKat Resin. He thus started to work with this strong, stable and clear resin, creating larger than human-size sculptures that were integral to the architectural setting and functioned as space-modifiers, altering the spectator’s perception of the environment.

On view in the exhibition are both large-scale and smaller size colored sculptures. They range from simple geometrical forms, such as slab columns or solid circles fabricated in cast polyester resin, to brightly spray-painted concave disks made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic. Whichever the format or the color, the artworks, with their smooth, highly-polished translucent surfaces explore the material’s ability to carry and reflect light. Valentine is concerned with the transparent and diffractive qualities of spectral color, whose prismatic break-up effects become evident to the viewer with fluctuating light conditions.

These circular and columnar sculptures often convey a distinctive atmospheric effect: Valentine enjoyed how, by dripping a small volume of ink or liquid color, it would remain almost magically suspended in space, refusing to dilute totally within the mass of liquid resin : Valentine loved these physical ‚accidents‘ : he refers to them as his ‚clouds.‘ indeed, they have an eerie capacity to convey the effect of a cloud in a sky, or the effect of the smog on the atmosphere.

The particular forms of these sculptures are of particular note, as well : columns or prisms tend to be thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top, often resulting in something like a thin pyramidical structure. The case of circular sculptures is even more complex : the top is also thinner than the base, but the thinnest part is the center of these disks formed of a double concave circle – a signature form in Valentine‘s repertoire. Their color-scheme varies from dense tones at the thick parts to evanescent tonalities at the thinner areas; his chromatic palette tends to evoke mother-of-pearl, or a condensed summary of the rainbow range of colors. The paler the color is, the stronger the light refraction. Surfaces and color are translucent — although it is easy to miss this particular attribute of Valentine‘s sculpture. As one stand, facing the surface of some of these sculptures, one can gaze through this translucent resin-based substance, as one becomes aware of the inner space and the space beyond it, as if our eyes could enter through and penetrate something that our physical body could never do. in Valentine’s own words: “i am fascinated by the idea of being aware of the outer surface of an object, of seeing through it and of seeing also the inner surface.” This statement also reflects the artist’s concerns with the viewer’s perception and the phenomenological possibilities triggered by his artworks. These awe- inspiring viewing experiences are heightened by the sculptures’ responsiveness to and activation of their environments. Valentine skillfully juxtaposes the literal objecthood with the illusionist effects of atmospheric light, solidified sky, and contained fluid color.

On view as well are examples of Valentine’s most recent paintings. evoking a minimalist language permeated by sensuality, they are nonetheless illusionistic in their suggestion of a painted atmospheric surface and a glowing horizon line, made with acrylic polymer resin.

Valentine’s preoccupation with synthetic new materials and a wide range of visual and optical phenomena impacting the viewer’s perceptual experience places him within the long tradition of artists attempting to address the intangible qualities of atmosphere and light through the intersection of technique, science and art.” - Joachim Pissarro