Ettore Spalletti

Experiencing Ettore Spalletti’s solo exhibition at the NMNM’s Villa Paloma — spread over three floors and seven galleries — is akin to walking through a James Turrell light installation. The immaculately white rooms dissolve the edges and absorb the shadows of the artworks on view, which appear to hover in space and meld into their surroundings. Continue reading Ettore Spalletti

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Into The Mountain

The ‘tale of my traffic with a mountain’ is how Nan Shepherd describes her slender volume in the foreword to The Living Mountain, 1977. Curiously for a book that repeatedly asserts the essential unity of its subject – the Cairngorms in Shepherd’s native Aberdeenshire – The Living Mountain reads like an anatomy of a mountain with short, overlapping chapters addressing in turn its geological features, the elements, all the living things and creatures, including man, who form part of it and shape it. Continue reading Into The Mountain

Liina Siib: Politics of Paradise

Born and raised in Tallinn, Estonian artist Liina Siib belongs to what anthropologist Alexei Yurchak, in his seminal 2005 book Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More, calls “the last Soviet generation”: people who came of age during the “late socialism” period, the three decades that preceded the Perestroika. Siib graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in 1989, when the Soviet system was in its final throes. Continue reading Liina Siib: Politics of Paradise

Letter from Zacatecas

Opened in 1979, the Swiss-made funicular gliding above the silver-mining city of Zacatecas in North-Central Mexico, was the first of its kind in the country. The short ride on the recently refurbished cable car took me up to Cerro de la Bufa – the shapely hill named after a pig’s bladder (bufa) – past or rather over a sea of whitewashed and bright-coloured houses staggered on the slopes of a narrow valley that contains the city centre. Continue reading Letter from Zacatecas

‘Low Form’ at MAXXI

The evocative, if not entirely obvious, title of this group show points to the ‘unstable forms produced by artificial intelligence’, in the words of Fondazione MAXXI’s president, Giovanna Melandri. The notion of ‘low form’ is somewhat at odds with the highly sophisticated nature of some of the digital tools and algorithmic processes used to generate the works on view by the 16 international artists included in the show. Mostly born in the 1980s, or failing that the 1970s, they belong to the Millennial Generation and are – just about – ‘digital natives’. Continue reading ‘Low Form’ at MAXXI

Franz Erhard Walther

Conceived and curated independently, these two parallel exhibitions—Franz Erhard Walther’s first in the Mexican and Latin American context—beautifully complement each other. One takes over the top floor of the David Chipperfield–designed Museo Jumex in the industrial district of Nuevo Polanco; the other is staged amid the clutter of Casa Luis Barragán, the final residence and studio of the revered Mexican architect, situated in the working-class Tacubaya neighborhood of Mexico City. Continue reading Franz Erhard Walther

Francis Alÿs

Paradoxes are knotty statements that fold back on themselves, as in “Sometimes winning is losing / Sometimes losing is winning.” Finger written by the artist on a windshield, following a sandstorm that covered Beirut in a film of dust, these words appear as bilingual (English and Arabic) captions in one of four postcards commissioned for Francis Alÿs’s first solo show in this war-torn region. Continue reading Francis Alÿs

Taste of Things to Come?

For the first time since its inception in 1991, the biennial, which in the past has mainly been held in the larger, neighbouring towns of Solvær and Kabelvåg, took place within the confines of Henningsvær. Due to the decline of the fishing industry to which it owes its wealth and the ongoing threat of oil rigging, the town faces an uncertain future, thus lending itself beautifully to the theme chosen by curators Heidi Ballet and Milena Høgsberg for this edition of LiAF, titled I Taste the Future. Continue reading Taste of Things to Come?

Roberto Cuoghi: Perla Pollina

The accidental title of Roberto Cuoghi’s midcareer retrospective, which the press release attributes to “the erroneous effects of an auto-correct program,” invites various possible readings. A reclusive and enigmatic figure who has been known to shun the art establishment, the Italian artist cultivates a hermit-like persona. The titular “pollina,” suggestive of chicken manure, put this critic in mind of Aesop’s fable about a rooster who finds a jewel in a dung heap only to cast it aside, since in his eyes the gem is no substitute for plain corn. Continue reading Roberto Cuoghi: Perla Pollina