Art Critic, Diana Roman
Composers and architects create their works taking advantage of the stylistic or conceptual data. In both of these disciplines. ideas result in concrete products by means of different tools.Baroque era covers the period from 1580 to 1750.
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ALL ROADS LEAD TO SHANGHAI IN NOVEMBER by Diana Roman
All roads lead to Shanghai every November, and surely will be the same this November, with 3 international art fairs organized almost at the same time: West Bund Art&Design, Art 021, and Shanghai International Art Fair.
“Tour de force” would be the keyword for describing Shanghai’s art scene between 8th and 11th of November 2018, when major cultural events took place at the same time: West Bund Art & Design Fair, and Art 021.
Obviously, Shanghai was the center of the art world since the most important galleries in the field were present to show their collections to the Chinese public (and not only), both in West Bund Fair and Art021. And the huge crowds of viewers were ready to absorb all the information offered through the easy method of scanning the QR code, either to add a gallery on We chat or to read about an artwork. Oh, yes, and to photograph every inch of everything.
Being an art critic and connoisseur of modern and contemporary art world, I must say that the West Bund Art & Design Fair looked rather like an art review or a global Instagram account where one can see what are the artistic values offered by the mainstream galleries of the world, but I am not easily mesmerized, therefore I’ll both praise and critique what I saw.
The main pavilion accommodated VIP galleries such as David Zwirner, Hauser&Wirth, Gagosian, White Cube, Perrotin, or Thaddaeus Ropac, but also influential Asian galleries like OTA Fine Arts (Japan), Pearl Lam (China), Arario (Korea), White Space (Hong Kong) and so on, adding almost 40 other to the last year’s list.
The overall image of this fair was to familiarize the Chinese public with art currents like Conceptualism, Minimalism, Pop Art, Video Art and that was clearly the case of David Zwirner’s decision to exhibit Dan Flavin’s 1969 neon installation “Untitled – to Sonja,” (hard to sell, not for the price – 3.5 million dollars, but for the dimensions – 10 m/ piece), an icon for Minimalist art in the USA. I am sure he will choose another artist for this year, in order to gain not only local exposure, but money as well.
Dan Flavin, (1969), David Zwirner Gallery
Hauser & Wirth displayed a clean, museum-like show, called “Metaphorical Spaces”, presenting works of Larry Bell, Eduardo Chillida and Roni Horn; Thaddaeus Ropac chose the heavy artillery in showcasing Tony Cragg, Elizabeth Peyton, Robert Longo, Anthony Gormly (omnipresent throughout the fair), Georg Baselitz, Lee Bul and the most famous Romanian now, Adrian Ghenie, whose work “Favela” (not the best of his series “The Jungle of Paris”) was sold quickly for 1.2 million dollars. In fact, the German gallery owner hit the pot with selling also the Baselitz’s artwork for nearly 1 mil dollars. Ben Brown Fine Arts exhibited exquisite works signed by Gerhard Richter (one of them sold to a Chinese collector for 1.6 mil dollars) and Romanian born Gert&Uwe Tobias, whereas Esther Schipper Gallery elaborated the idea of movement in space, attracting the audience with playful installations by Ryan Gander, Ann Veronica Janssens, Roman Ondak, and famous works signed by Tomas Saraceno, Philippe Parreno, Ceal Floyer.
Adrian Ghenie, Favela, Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery
Georg Baselitz, Sind Wir schon da?, Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery
Gerhard Richter, Abstract painting, Ben Brown Fine Arts Gallery
One of the most famous works of the French-Algerian artist Philippe Parreno was shown by Pilar Corrias Gallery – “Speech Bubbles (Transparent Orange)”, well matched to Elisabeth Neel’s and Gerasimos Floratos’ paintings. As for Rirkrit Tiravanija’s conceptual works “Untitled 2018 (Asians must eat rice)” and “Untitled 2018 (bring on the lobsters) I find them offensive for this part of the world. Being conceptual works based on writing words on certain surfaces, in this case, mirrors, the artist used powerful verbs like must - “Asians must eat rice” or the imperative bring - “Bring on the lobsters”, not taking into account a quite recent social background of the Chinese people. In “Asians must eat rice” (the modal verb must is used in expressions of obligation and necessity) the use of must expresses the speaker’s feelings - like they have to, they are forced to eat rice, rather than one showing a culinary tradition. “Bring on the lobsters” sounds like an order to a servant and I don’t see how the concept of relational aesthetics created by Rirkrit Tiravanija would fit here (relational aesthetics = a set of artistic practices based on the whole of human relations and their social context). I would have refused displaying these works at the fair.
Rirkrit Tiravanija, “Untitled 2018 (Asians must eat rice)” and “Untitled 2018 (bring on the lobsters), Pilar Corrias Gallery
Blain Southern disappointed me totally with a show that lacked freshness and vigor (Enrique Martinez Celaya’s unappealing paintings and Abdoulaye Konate’s inexpressive textile work), but Galerie Templon’s exhibition was dense with masterpieces by Julian Schnabel, Chiharu Shihota, Franz Ackermann, He An, Francesco Clemente, Prune Nourry, Jitish Kallat and so on.
Rirk Enrique Martinez Celaya, Empire: Land series, Blain Southern Gallery
Chiharu Shihota, State of Being, Galerie Templon
He An, Galerie Templon
Julian Schnabel, Untitled (Chinese), Galerie Templon
Some of the most photographed artworks (surely not for their artistic value, but for their auction one) were Damian Hirst’s “Butterfly (Souls IV)” – White Cube Hong Kong Gallery and “Sanctus” – Gagosian Gallery, to which I add Takashi Murakami’s “Dragon in Clouds – Indigo Blue”(Gagosian) and Yayoi Kusama’s paintings displayed by OTA Fine Arts. This Japanese gallery (based now in Tokyo, Singapore and Shanghai) had one of the best Asian art exhibitions of the fair, showcasing painting, sculpture, installation and video art. A very classy, attractive Chinese contemporary art was offered by Pearl Lam Gallery, adding to the show the Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou.
Damien Hirst, Butterfly (Souls IV), White Cube Hong Kong Gallery
Yayoi Kusama, OTA Fine Arts Gallery
Yayoi Kusama, OTA Fine Arts Gallery
Pascale Martine Tayou, Pearl Lam Gallery
Liu Wentao, Pearl Lam Gallery
Contemporary Chinese ink landscape art was exquisitely shown by Hanart TZ Gallery, choosing to install huge paintings of a Modern Master: Xu Longsen. Also extremely interesting shows were offered by the newcomers ROH Projects, a gallery debuting with the exhibition of the Balinese painter Nyoman Masriadi (huge cartoon like figures of African people) and the gallery The Breeder, showcasing young contemporary Greek artists.
Hanart TZ Installation View, Image Courtesy of West Bund Art and Design.
Nyoman Masriadi, ROH Projects Gallery
Adriana Papademetropoulos, The Breeder Gallery
Jannis Varelas, The Breeder Gallery
Concluding, the art displayed at the West Bund Art & Design Fair satisfied my critical eye who enjoyed an event that proved to be of great artistic and financial value and I look forward to this year’s edition.