Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Ian Wieczorek: 00040 - reviewed by Alan Rutherford

I'm ‘00040’ - Ian Wieczorek 
July 2016, LARROQUE, Midi Pyrenees, France

When the night time comes to a tiny village somewhere in France, we see a day time sky that is typical of an Irish landscape. Looking above into a window of a house, there is a film playing that features an Irish sky, with clouds and some blue sky. It is projected from the inside of the house onto the window and this is the work of artist Ian Wieczorek. It is a video work that is situated in the tiny village of Larroque, Midi Pyrenees  and was installed as part of the Larroque Arts Festival. The work creates a dialogue between time, space and site. It manifests itself as a form of Robert Smithson’s ‘nonsite’, where pieces of a place are taken and then re-constructed in a different manner in a completely different place and space. For the Land art movement, the sky above the actual work was pivotal in viewing and giving perspective and meaning  to work below on the ground. In  Wieczorek’s work, this same sky that was fundamental to the Land art ideas (in this case an Irish sky),  is used as the  materials and Wieczorek describes the work himself as follows:

‘The passing clouds of an Irish day infiltrate French night, establishing a link between two moments of time and place, illustrating the fragility of chance and the subjective nature of reality’

The work functions as a time based art piece that creates 2 separate streams of  time that are contrasted by each other. When the day time prevails there is nothing to be seen in the window, but as the sun slowly begins to set – something does then begin to appear. The light changes from daytime to twilight and then to darkness and this of course happens over a slow period of time. This outer lying narrative frames the actual video projection, where we see the passing of time at a different tempo as clouds drift gently past the blue sky. Watching the speed of the clouds and their movement  while framed against the real time transition of light to dark makes us realize that such a chance encounter is indeed both natural and un-natural. Artists such as Robert Smithson and also Olafur Eliasson have of course explored such encounters and the ‘subjective nature of reality’ that Wieczorek's talks about here. 

There is a dis-quieting and  a spatial dislocation that quietly subverts our perceived viewpoint - rather than looking in at something projected from inside a window, our experience of looking at daylight as 'outside' makes us feel that we are in a darkened space or room and in fact looking 'out'. In other words, it's a small intervention that reflects 'Das Unheimliche' (the Uncanny).   

Wieczorek's artwork can therefore be placed within the same philosophical narrative, where artists have used nature itself  to awaken our senses and to reveal such natural phenomena as we have never seen it before.  

Alan Rutherford, Glasgow, August 2016 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Merlin James - Long Game- CCA Glasgow, 22.1.16 - 13.03.16

'The first large scale Glasgow exhibition from painter Merlin James opens CCA’s 2016 gallery programme and includes work from the 1980s to the present day.'

Pictures from opening night: 

The transparent tortoiseshell and the un-ripe umbrella: GSS, 23.05.16 - 5.03.16

'Glasgow Sculpture Studios presents The transparent tortoiseshell and the un-ripe umbrella, a group exhibition curated by Louise Briggs, including new commissions and recent works by Eva BerendesStephanie MannRallou PanagiotouVanessa Safavi and Samara Scott.

The exhibition explores how each of these artists uses every-day, familiar objects and commodities to create abstract pictorial assemblages that play with our sense of what those objects are commonly used or known for. Within their respective installations, photographs and sculptural assemblages the objects become ambiguous, free-floating signifiers that when combined together alienate their familiarity to the viewer. The artists disregard the objects’ natural hierarchy to focus upon their decorative, material and sensory qualities, combining natural and artificial imitation, antiquity and plasticity, the industrial and hand-made.

While each artist works sculpturally, their practice clearly occupies the space between two and three dimensions, sharing much in common with the history of painting, and predominantly that of the still life where colour, texture, surface, composition, the layering of fore-and background, and the relationship between, and the arrangement of, objects is paramount. In the case of all the artists presented here however, the still life is anything but static. The works all appear to imply some form of live activation, either through references to the body and the absence of it and in the live substances and elements that amalgamate within some of the works.'

Pictures from opening night:

Monday, 4 January 2016

Bill Viola: Yorkshire Sculpture Park: 10.10.15 - 10.4.16

'Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) presents a significant exhibition by pioneering American video and installation artist, Bill Viola. Developed in collaboration with Viola, Kira Perov, Executive Director, Bill Viola Studio and Clare Lilley, Director of Programme, YSP, it is the most extensive exhibition in the UK by the artist for over 10 years. The immersive exhibition in YSP’s Chapel and Underground Gallery features installations from the last 20 years of Viola’s career and premieres a new work, The Trial.'

Selected images from the show :

British Art Show 8: Leeds Art Gallery: 9.10.15 - 10.01.16

Touring show held every 5 years to give an idea of current contemporary art practice. 

Selected images from the show: 

Pieter Geenen: This Land is My Land. This Land Is Your Land: Argos centre, Brussels: 04.10.15 - 20.12.15

'The exhibition 'This land is my land. This land is your land.' presents a series of new works in various media. Pieter Geenen uses the so-called Canadian Tobacco Belt as a point of departure for asking questions about concepts such as migration, land, identity, nationalism and colonialism.

In the first half of the twentieth century, this particular part of Canada became home to a large number of European migrants, especially people from the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, who embarked on a new life as tobacco farmers. Today the younger generations have adapted to the New World, a world created at the expense of the native First Nations. Since those early days, the local labourers lost interest in the hard work of tobacco farming, and they have been replaced by foreign workers from Central America and the Caribbeans.

Geenen uses the story of tobacco—its discovery by Europeans, its cultivation outside its original habitat, and the economic decline of the industry—as a metaphor for the concept of colonialism and the migration wave that followed, as well as for the potential loss of identity. Using the tobacco plant as a vehicle, the artist focuses on the special socio-economic reality of the ethnic and cultural groups involved.

In Geenen’s oeuvre, “time” and “space” are concepts that can be compressed and that can shift. “Here” and “there”, “we” and “they” are vague and mutually exchangeable. When all elements converge in this exhibition, a new, undefined and ambiguous reality results. A reflection on the identity of every individual being that questions both our personal and our collective position.'

Enrico David: Hepworth Wakefield, 13.11.15 - 24.01.16

Selected Images from exhibition: