Collectors as philanthropists

This text appeared in the “Collectors as Philanthropists” catalogue for the RazemPamoja Foundation-initiated charity auction held at the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw: Philanthropy and collecting stem from opposite impulses. Collecting amounts to acquiring things for one’s own private enjoyment; philanthropy, on the contrary, consists in giving away money or other valuable assets for the public good. The one is self-gratifying and wrapped up in itself, the other selfless and outward-looking. Whereas the collector bestows his affections on objects, the philanthropist is by definition animated by the love of mankind. The auction Kolekcjonerzy filantropami (“Collectors as Philanthropists”) … Continue reading Collectors as philanthropists

Francis Alÿs

This review of Francis Alÿs’s show “Knots n’ Dust” at Beirut Art Centre appeared in the March-April issue of Flash Art International: 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. The sepia-colored photographs from which the cards are made recall Tornado (2000–10), a half-hour video that … Continue reading Francis Alÿs

Sean Scully at Cuadra San Cristobal

This Critics’ Pick of Sean Scully’s show at Cuadra San Cristobal in Mexico appeared on artforum.com: Displayed in stable stalls and outdoors at Cuadra San Cristóbal, on the outskirts of Mexico City, Sean Scully’s paintings and sculptures gain a lot from their unusual setting. The Luis Barragán–designed private residence and equestrian center is all vibrant color and clean lines. Although his palette is much wider than Barragán’s own and his bands of color are fuzzier around the edges, the artist’s works resonate with and meld into their semi-rural surroundings. Take Landline That Pink, 2017, for instance, whose very title pays homage to the … Continue reading Sean Scully at Cuadra San Cristobal

Daughters of Persephone

This essay appeared on tamawuj.org in the context of Sharjah Biennial 13: Jupiter replied . . .  ‘Proserpine shall return to heaven, but on only one condition: that no food has touched her lips since that is the law decreed by the Fates.’ He spoke and Ceres felt sure of regaining her daughter. But the Fates would not allow it, for the girl had broken her fast, and wandering innocently, in a well-tended garden, she had picked a reddish-purple pomegranate fruit hanging from a tree and, taking seven seeds from its yellow rind, squeezed them in her mouth. —Ovid, The Metamorphoses, … Continue reading Daughters of Persephone

Nicola Tyson’s grotesque bodies and faces

This essay appeared in Nicola Tyson: Beyond the Trace Exhibition Guide at The Drawing Room, London: Drawing may be the starting point for Nicola Tyson’s better-known work in painting, but for the artist it is also an end in itself. Most of her drawings, in fact, are made for their own sake. ‘When working in a sketchbook, it’s only those [drawings] that feel like they could be developed further, through the introduction of colour, that I pull out and use as the basis of a painting,’ Tyson insists.1 In those instances, she tends to project what may have been a rapidly executed drawing … Continue reading Nicola Tyson’s grotesque bodies and faces

Kasper Akhøj and Eileen Gray

This review of Kasper Akhøj’s “Welcome (To The TeKnival)” at Villa Sauber, NMNM in Monaco appeared on artforum.com: Kasper Akhøj, 63V52017, 2017, laser-exposed gelatin silver print, 20 x 16″. When Eileen Gray’s ill-fated 1929 architectural gem E-1027—a beautifully proportioned white modernist villa overlooking the sea at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, near Monaco—opened to the public in 2015, the controversial restoration project that started in 2006 and saw successive teams of architects and administrators undoing and redoing each other’s work was far from over. Taken on five separate visits to the site between 2009 and 2017, Kasper Akhøj’s black-and-white photographs chart the progress of such work at the house. Variously … Continue reading Kasper Akhøj and Eileen Gray

Performa 17: Afroglossia and Circulations

This interview with Performa curators Adrienne Edwards and Charles Aubin appeared online in Mousse magazine: Agnieszka Gratza: As well as being Performa’s chief curator and director, RoseLee Goldberg is overseeing the South African pavilion this year, and you’re looking after Afroglossia while Charles Aubin is curating Circulations, Performa17’s performance and architecture program. Perhaps you could start by explaining how you divide tasks. Adrienne Edwards: Typically what happens is that RoseLee has some instinct or inclination about what she might like to focus on in the next biennial. And so, in 2015, she said to me, “I think we should do … Continue reading Performa 17: Afroglossia and Circulations

We Come from the Sea

This essay, which starts from a quote by Joan Jonas, was commissioned by TBA21-Academy Journal:   Speaking at the first of the Structured Conversations (“Unpredictable Oceans and the Monstrosity of the Sea”), held at Cochin Club in Fort Kochi, Kerala during the opening of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale on 13 December 2016, artist Joan Jonas mused: We come from the sea. We don’t think about it very often but […] our semi-circular canals are similar, our eyes are similar, we have backbones. And the fish grew little legs and came out of the sea and then developed into what we are … Continue reading We Come from the Sea

Céline Condorelli

This interview with Céline Condorelli, on the occasion of her solo show at Stroom den Haag, appeared in Metropolis M magazine in Dutch translation: Céline Condorelli: Proposals for a Qualitative Society (Spinning) photo: Gerrit Schreurs, courtesy Stroom Den Haag Agnieszka Gratza: Attempts to Read the World (Differently) is an umbrella project that has many different strands, in which you took part either with other artists or on your own, with Display Show which morphed into Another Reality. After Lina Bo Bardi at Stroom den Haag. And you’re about to do a show there involving spinning tops and carousels. Céline Condorelli: We’ve been working … Continue reading Céline Condorelli

Taste of Things to Come?

Seen from the top of a mountain overlooking the fishing village, Henningsvær resembles an archipelago of islands loosely strung together, not unlike Lofoten as a whole. Bathed by the sea, some of the oldest volcanic rock formations on the Lofoten peninsula can be found on the edges of the settlement, right behind the sports arena known as Henningsvær Stadion – one of the locations of this edition of LiAF, in fact. 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 … Continue reading Taste of Things to Come?