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Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

By Tiziana Maggio

Interview with Giorgio di Palma, who is pushing ceramic forward

Just one heartfelt advice: remember his name. For his disruptive approach to the ceramic, we could define him the Damien Hirst of this craft, but actually to be more precise, Giorgio di Palma is like Damien before getting his god-like attitude and marketing power.
Giorgio di Palma, Tools, Hand sculpted ceramic, glaze and platinum, Dimension Real dimension, 2013 - Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

Giorgio di Palma, Tools, Hand sculpted ceramic, glaze and platinum, Dimension Real dimension, 2013

In fact from his workshop in a tiny centre in the south of Italy, Giorgio is revolutionising his art. Class 1981, he studied Archeology to then actually started working as IT technician. However, after few years he finally decided to listen to his true passion, the ceramic craft, and follow his call back home in the small town of Grottaglie, which actually is historically well known for its century old ceramic tradition. It is not a coincidence then that since he moved back home in 2010, Giorgio has been producing an incredible collection of ceramic art which are starting to attract interior designers and art collectors’ interests.
Cartucce, photo Dario Miale - Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

Cartucce, foto-Dario-Miale

His artistic statement is all about a personal and ironic approach: ‘I work my own way, without focusing on the technique, and I always avoid giving my objects a real function. I produce ceramic items which are not needed. In an era of excess and wastefulness, my aim is to create objects fallen into disuse, useless, but impossible to leave behind. They will outlive us, because now they are made of terracotta, hence immortal. Through a special time machine called ceramics I enjoy transforming the useless into the eternal and consecrating the moment.’ I have got to know Giorgio primarily via email and it immediately transpires how down to heart and committed this artist is.
Giorgio di Palma - Cercamic objects. Photo: Dario Miale - Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

Giorgio di Palma – Cercamic objects. Photo: Dario Miale

Do you have a mentor in your professional and personal life?
In my life I have always been surrounded by people who inspired me, hence I don’t think I have ever had only one mentor. I might sound pretentious but I believe in myself so much that I could call myself the Giorgio di Palma’s mentor. This does not mean that I believe I can do anything I want. With time I have learnt that in every craft and industry there are experts that could be my teachers and mentors. Hence if I want to make marinated anchovies I will ask for my mother’s instructions and if I want to create a complex ceramic piece, I will ask my father for some advice.
Giorgio di Palma, Cappello, walkman, borraccia e twix in ceramica - Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

Giorgio di Palma, Cappello, walkman, borraccia e twix in ceramica

Who is a living artist you admire and you would collect?
My house and studio are full of art made by artists I was lucky enough to meet and get to know closely. I need to know the artist personally in order for me to collect his pieces, in fact behind every piece I have, there is a story to tell. Hence I would say I collect stories, not art.
Giorgio di Palma, Balloons Permanent Installation on a wall in Vizzini, Sicilia, Italia, Ceramic, glaze, 2015 - Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

Giorgio di Palma, Balloons Permanent Installation on a wall in Vizzini, Sicilia, Italia, Ceramic, glaze, 2015

What can you not stand in the art world?
I have to say I cannot stand the art world as a whole. I never wanted to call myself ‘artist’ and I always avoided the path of art galleries-collectors-price politics. Some of my pieces are displayed in museums where a wider audience can see them and enjoy them. However, I usually sell in my studio and in few selected shops: my buyers can be either the kid who needs to buy a gift for his aunt and the person who falls in love with a unique original piece.
Photo @lucamarianaccio - Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

Photo @lucamarianaccio

What’s your biggest achievement so far in life and career?
Maybe my biggest one has been to came back and make a living in my hometown Grottaglie, in Southern Italy.
Giorgio di Palma, Detergents, Handsculpted ceramic, glaze and decal, Dimension Real-dimension, 2016 - Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

Giorgio di Palma, Detergents, Handsculpted ceramic, glaze and decal, Dimension Real-dimension, 2016

Are you interested in Italian politics?
Fundamentally no. I voted just three times in my life and I deeply regretted each time. I believe citizens can’t really decide on complex topics like vaccines, Euro, etc..There are designated people with specific expertise who know what and how to decide on those matters. We should just convince them to do that. Instead on ethical choice, rather economic-political matters, citizens should decide.
Baloons phone, Giorgio di Palma, Isculpture Gallery San Gimignano, Tuscany Contemporary Art - Casole d'Elsa - Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

Baloons phone, Giorgio di Palma, Isculpture Gallery San Gimignano, Tuscany Contemporary Art – Casole d’Elsa

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I see myself ‘escaping’ from Italy often but also having Grottaglie as a base for me to come back.
Artist studio, photo Dario Miale - Giorgio di Palma: a ceramist to watch out for

Artist studio, photo Dario Miale

Like his ceramic lollipop and balloons, Giorgio is a straightforward and extremely enjoyable artist who can surprise you with a genuine approach that will definitely further his career in the directions of being internationally collected and unanimously acclaimed.
Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

By Eugenia Bertelè

Open to the public from Saturday May 26th to Sunday November 25th 2018, at the Giardini and the Arsenale, Freespace, the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Titled FREESPACE, will be curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Directors of the Irish firm Grafton Architects, winners of numerous international awards and recognized for a relevant academic activity. La Biennale di Venezia President, Paolo Baratta, explained that this edition focuses on the question of space, the quality of space, open and free space. The fundamental parameter of reference is indicated with great clarity. «The desire to create FREESPACE can become the specific individual characteristic of each individual project. But space, free space, public space can also reveal the presence or absence of architecture, if we understand architecture to be thinking applied to the space where we live, that we inhabit.»
Arsenale, photo Andrea Avezzù, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Arsenale, photo Andrea Avezzù, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

This year the exhibition includes 71 participants between Giardini and Arsenale with 63 countries represented; they will be joined by others gathered in two special sections: Close Encounter, meetings with remarkable projects (16 participants) where will be presented well- known buildings of the past to install a new reflection; and The practice of teaching (12 participants) that collects projects developed as part of teaching experiences. Curators explained they discovered «invention and creativity at the micro and macro scales historic buildings liberated by the intelligence of the architects; forgotten buildings re-visited and brought to life; transformative typologies of habitation; infrastructural needs translated into public and civic facilities.» Furthermore, «a key component in attending to the continuity of tradition in architecture is the practice of teaching».
Álvaro Siza, Evasão, 2018, photo Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Álvaro Siza, Evasão, 2018, photo Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Curators have used the Manifesto FREESPACE, issued in June 2017, as a reference point for putting the exhibition together. This text contains a vision of architecture as the translation of a need in a significant space. They believe that everybody has the right to benefit from architecture emphasizing its role in the choreography of life. They see earth as a client. This brings with it long-lasting responsibilities. Architecture is the play of light, sun, shade, moon, air, wind, gravity in ways that reveal the mysteries of the world. All of these resources are free.
Allison Brooks Architects, ReCasting, 2018, photo Andrea Avezzù, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Allison Brooks Architects, ReCasting, 2018, photo Andrea Avezzù, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

The exhibition promise is to have a spatial, physical presence of a scale and quality to communicate architecture’s complex spatial nature.
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Some of the most well known architecture firms of the world are represented at the Architecture La Biennale exhibition, as Álvaro Siza (Portugal); Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner (Haldenstein, Switzerland); Benedetta Tagliabue – Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona, Spain; Shangai, China); David Chipperfield Architects London, UK; Berlin, Germany; Milan, Italy; Shanghai, China); Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, USA); Elemental (Santiago, Chile); Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA (Tokyo, Japan); Paulo Mendes da Rocha (São Paulo, Brazil); Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects (Tokyo, Japan). The Awards Ceremony will take place on Saturday May 26th, 2018 during the opening of the 16th Exhibition. The international jury will announce the winners of the internationals awards: -Golden Lion for best National Participation -Golden Lion for best participant in the International Exhibition FREESPACE -Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the International Exhibition FREESPACE The Jury may also award a maximum of one special mention to National Participations; a maximum of two special mentions to the participants in the International exhibition FREESPACE
Kenneth Frampton, Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Kenneth Frampton, Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

During the time of the event La Biennale will also host the 12th International Festival of Contemporary Dance (June 22nd- July 1st 2018); the 46th International Theatre Festival (July 20th- August 5th 2018); the 75th Venice International Film Festival (August 29th- September 9th, 2018) and the 62nd International Festival of Contemporary Music (Sevptember 28th- October 7th, 2018). For more information: www.labiennale.org
Photo London 2018-savvy: who and what to look out for this year

Photo London 2018-savvy: who and what to look out for this year

By Tiziana Maggio

Look Lateral reporting from the opening night on the artists and galleries to discover this year

Bieke Depoorter 2017 FRANCE. Paris. Agata. 2017 - Photo London 2018-savvy

Bieke Depoorter 2017 FRANCE. Paris. Agata. 2017

At its fourth edition, the UK photography event of the year opened with a preview yesterday Thursday and promised to wow its visitors until May 20th at Somerset House in in the heart of London. After a very successful third edition, the fair is in fact coming back this year with more than 100 national and international specialist galleries and publishers from 18 countries and establishing itself as a must for all art and prints hunters and lovers.
Carolyn Drake 2014 -UKRAINE. Ternopil. Petrykhiv. 2014. Marishka, 20 - Photo London 2018-savvy

Carolyn Drake 2014 -UKRAINE. Ternopil. Petrykhiv. 2014. Marishka, 20

Magnum Photos at stand G6 is presenting a selection of prints, from the contemporary to the classic, from Bieke Depoorter, Alex Majoli, Matt Black, to Jim Goldberg, Carolyn Drake and Mikhael Subotzky. In particular with the last one, well-renowned for being an innovative creator, the visitors can actively be captured by the gigantic images. By just downloading the Avara application on their devices or borrowing an available iPad, they can direct them at the print and an Augmented Reality (AR) will bring the still photo alive, showing what was happening during the shoot.
Mountainscapes, 2018, by Pacifico Silano, archival inkjet print. Courtesy of Rubber Factory - Photo London 2018-savvy

Mountainscapes, 2018, by Pacifico Silano, archival inkjet print. Courtesy of Rubber Factory

We recommend getting lost in the Discovery section, curated by art consultant Tristan Lund and hosting 22 emerging galleries and artists in a newly expanded dedicated space. First Chinese gallery in the Discovery, ON/Gallery from Beijing is presenting works by Shen Wei, which have a oneiric allure in their glossy fashion-magazine with a photo-journal’s authenticity. Rubber Factory (New York) is instead bringing an america allure with Pacifico Silano’ works where from few very measured details the viewer is free to guess an untold story of images.
Also this year Photo London is hosting a compelling talk-programme, installations, book signings and two awards, Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers’ Award and the MACK First Book Award. As it happens for the most popular fairs, also this fair is magnetising an increasing number of satellite events all over London: from Peckham 24 to Offprint at the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, lovers of this medium will be ensured to have a busy weekend.
Before leaving, we stopped for a Japanese sake at the ‘Lip bar’ hosted by Hamiltons Gallery, which we recumbent and not just for the liquor. Replicating Bar Kuro in Shinjuku where the Tokyo’s independent photographer Daido Moriyama, recognised as one of the few living modern masters photographer from Japan, used to go for many years, this intimate special installation allows visitors to enter in a travel capsule where they can get closer to Daido’s oeuvre. It cannot be missed!

Go: to feed your mental database with the most solid reference for prints and to feel part of the always more demanding photography community.

Don’t go: if you don’t like the overwhelming Louvre’s effect.
Glasgow International 2018, what a fair!

Glasgow International 2018, what a fair!

By Tiziana Maggio

The short post-guide: Glasgow International finishes and this is our take

After almost three very busy weeks, the free GI festival finished yesterday, on a very fortunate combination of the Bank holiday weekend and temperatures reaching a high of 22 degrees. Glaswegians and fair visitors in fact have made the most of this warm weekend visiting and enjoying the festival fully for the last few days.
Rose Marcus, GW (Double you), 2017 (Image Facebook GI festival) - Glasgow International 2018

Rose Marcus, GW (Double you), 2017 (Image Facebook GI festival)

From artists’ studios through to major museums, several locations across the city were involved, including the Forth and Clyde Canal and Glasgow’s network of subway stations and carriages. The art-hunters started every day touring from the city centre hub of Trongate 103 in the Merchant City where they could grab a coffee and GI map and plan their art walk and even bike tours leading to Tramway, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvin Hall and the Gallery of Modern Art and many other locations.
Which i which... by Layla Roxanne Hill - Glasgow International 2018

Which i which… by Layla Roxanne Hill

As the director Parry said ‘I got the Subway this morning and came out at St Enoch and the whole floor of the station was covered in these vinyl artworks. They have transformed the space while not being overpowering. It lets everyone get on with their thing while being very beautiful.’
Untitled by Najma Abukar - Glasgow International 2018

Untitled by Najma Abukar

The performance and works displayed by Yon Afro Collective– YAC (Najma Abukar, Layla Roxanne Hill, Rhea Lewis, Sekai Machache, and Adebusola Debora Ramsay) appeared one of the post-brexit most significant events of this Biennial. Hosted by Govanhill Baths Community Trust and titled (Re)imagining Self and Raising Consciousness of Existence through Alternative Space and (Re)imagined Place, it very effectively pointed the attention on the lives of women of colour in Scotland narrating stories often ignored and and how the Black Other is viewed.
Musoro 2 by Seki Machache - Glasgow International 2018

Musoro 2 by Seki Machache

Each YAC artist self founded the event and explored the topic through their media and craft, from paintings, photography to sculpture and text exploring the challenges of women of colour living in different socio-political environments.
Adebusola Debora Ramsay - Origins (2014) - Glasgow International 2018

Adebusola Debora Ramsay – Origins (2014)

Planning already the next fair, the director Parry said he wants to increase access. “Within England, across Europe and internationally, Glasgow is really respected in terms of the artwork on show. And while there are a lot of people who know and love the festival, I think the biggest thing for us to do is to reach and invite as many people as possible to come and discover the amazing work being made here.”
Simon Buckley and Othmar Farre Present FOUNDATION PAINTING SHOW gallery - Glasgow International 2018

Simon Buckley and Othmar Farre Present FOUNDATION PAINTING SHOW gallery

We can definitely say that also this year the festival has again succeeded in drawing a wider attention on the city vibrant artistic production and in positioning the Scottish artistic power-house in the centre of the international art plethora.
The Ey Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, fame, tragedy

The Ey Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, fame, tragedy

By Tiziana Maggio

London, Tate Modern, 8 March – 9 September 2018 – Tate Modern recently opened a new exhibition and its curatorial concept immediately caught my curiosity. It is the first ever solo Picasso exhibition at the Tate and the curators are offering a fascinating focus on a specific year in the career of the master: 1932

Pablo Picasso, Sleeping Nude with Blonde Hair, 1932 - The Ey Exhibition: Picasso 1932

Pablo Picasso, Sleeping Nude with Blonde Hair, 1932

I decided to pay a visit, along with my friend and artist Christina. Visitors are afforded a very privileged opportunity to appreciate over 100 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs displayed in a month-by-month journey through Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’.
People attending the EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 Love, Fame, Tragedy - The Ey Exhibition: Picasso 1932

People attending the EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 Love, Fame, Tragedy

As soon as I enter the first room, I am already ecstatic: The Great Depression is about to hit the art market and the Master is in his fifties and at the peak of his success, going around in a chauffeur-driven car and living in grand apartments in Paris with Olga Khokhlova, the Russian ballet dancer and mother of his son.
Pablo Picasso, The Dream (Le Rêve) 1932, Private Collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2018 - The Ey Exhibition: Picasso 1932

Pablo Picasso, The Dream (Le Rêve) 1932, Private Collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2018

His talent has reached a new height of sensuality now, mainly inspired by his 17 year old muse and mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, featured in numerous works, from Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, to Nude in a Black Armchair and The Mirror.
Pablo Picasso, Woman in a yellow armchair, 1932. Private collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2016 - The Ey Exhibition: Picasso 1932

Pablo Picasso, Woman in a yellow armchair, 1932. Private collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2016

At the end of our viewing, I turn to my friend Christina with my elated smile of fulfilment and an unexpected comment breaks my euphoria: ‘Although prolific, he was a narcissistic, macho, lavish, misogynistic, exploitative, over-idolized , male dominatrix of an artist! Sadly this is what Western art society and art educational system still admire and promote…!!
Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, 8 March 1932. Photograph: Andy Paradise/PA - The Ey Exhibition: Picasso 1932

Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, 8 March 1932. Photograph: Andy Paradise/PA

I was speechless. In only one comment, she opened a vortex of thoughts that I couldn’t suppress for days. I rewinded the whole exhibition in my mind several times and in the end I came to a conclusion. If on one hand this exhibition shows us the magnificent artistic peak reached by Picasso, on the other it opens the archives of his love life. There is nothing better than an exhibition that is able to create debate and open discussions. #Payavisit
Glasgow International 2018

Glasgow International 2018

By Tiziana Maggio

20 Apr 2018 – 7 May 2018 – How knew Glasgow could be the city to go for contemporary art too!?

The international biennial opened last week its eighth edition and it is already showing an ambitious programme under the direction of Richard Parry: more than 80 events, 45 group shows, 40 solo exhibitions, pop-up performances, talks in conventional venues and unusual locations too. They are popping all across Glasgow, placing the art and the city itself among the most talked-about for the next two weeks internationally. How knew?
Who is Heinztien - Glasgow International 2018

Who is Heinztien

In the last ten years actually, the Scottish festival has been featuring hundreds of contemporary visual art by established and emerging Scottish and international artists and site-specific exhibitions, becoming soon a not-to-be-missed event in the international calendar of most art fair connoisseurs. Formerly the curator of the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, Parry in fact says ‘Glasgow has a contemporary art scene to rival that of any city in the world and Glasgow International has played an increasingly significant role since its inception over a decade ago.’
The office of a coffee maker, and then the beach - Glasgow International 2018

The office of a coffee maker, and then the beach

Combining art by more than 260 artists from 33 countries, this year the event is showcasing exhibitions reflecting on critical topics like politics, identity, fatherhood, race, queer feminist photography. It appears like an important sign of the current times, where it is impossible to not reflect topics that have been so drastically redefined and discussed recently. In this Scotland’s hyper art-fair, this is surprisingly made by biblical figures, dragons and elephants!
43 Esther Ferrer Malarme Revise - Glasgow International 2018

43 Esther Ferrer Malarme Revise

Highlights will see a major new group exhibition at the Gallery Of Modern Art (GoMA) and solo exhibitions by international artists including Esther Ferrer, Urs Fischer, the group of black female artists from Cape Town iQhiya Collective as well as commissions by two Turner Prize winners, Lubaina Himid with Breaking in, Breaking out, Breaking up, Breaking down in the main hall of the Kelvingrove and Mark Leckey, the ‘artist of the YouTube generation’ with Nobodaddy (after William Blake’s poem).
Nobodaddy by Mark Leckey at Tramway, Glasgow Photograph Keith Hunter - Glasgow International 2018

Nobodaddy by Mark Leckey at Tramway, Glasgow Photograph Keith Hunter

In particularly Lecky’s work has been the most much-anticipated and talked about: in the darkness of an empty room at Tramway a morbid figure echoing the pose of Rodin’s Thinker expresses melancholy and solitude. Job, this is its name, seems to be the personification of old sorrows and technologically new inputs coming from surrounding screens and speakers in its body. It is a mystical figures and it is creating an hypnotic space for appreciation.
Alongside the official GI calendar, the buzz is ensured all over the city to visitors, me included, in a quest for other spectacular art and some free teas and whiskey too (!), in fact they will have the opportunity to dive into emerging local art promoted by independent galleries and by the alternative platform Glasgow Why Open House Arts Festival (GYFest).
Beyond the Myth: Frida Kalho

Beyond the Myth: Frida Kalho

Original text by Eugenia Bertelè

The Mudec (Museum of Cultures) of Milan hosts until Wednesday June 6th 2018 a can’t-miss retrospective dedicated to the Mexican artist Frida Kalho (1907-1954). An exhibition going “beyond the myth”, that aims at beating all its many competitors born after this unstoppable Fridamania displaying unprecedented material from the archives

Frida Kahlo , Venado herido, The Wounded Deer Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo , Venado herido, The Wounded Deer Frida Kahlo

BIOGRAPHY VS ART

How could we possibly restore the artistic value of a worldwide brand, Frida Kahlo, having her image all over the place, including tampons and nail polishes? And how should we interpret the opening of a museum, by the Riviera Maya, having its whole exhibition path based on a multimedia recreation of Frida Kalho’s life that includes everything but the display of her original works? Frida Kalho has lived the life of a rock star, that’s a fact.
Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress (1926)

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress (1926)

Looking for some examples? Woman, Latin-American, maverick, wife of the controversial wall painter Diego Rivera. Heroin surviving terrible accidents and exhausting diseases. Mother losing three fetuses. A strong personality, almost multiplying itself in the reproduction of her self-portrait – more than a third of Frida’s whole production (about 200 pieces).
Frida Kahlo, Henry Ford Hospital, © Foto Erik Meza / Xavier Otaola - © Archivo Museo Dolores Olmedo © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida

Frida Kahlo, Henry Ford Hospital, © Foto Erik Meza / Xavier Otaola – © Archivo Museo Dolores Olmedo
© Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida

THE ARCHIVE, A VALUE

However, what is fundamental in this Milan exhibition is the scientific study conducted by the curator Diego Sileo on the documents found by Frida’s house in Mexico City, the Casa Azul, providing a completely new perspective on her career. The exhibition consists in four sections: Woman, earth, politics and pain, and gathers together more than 70 paintings, 40 drawings, 150 letters, pictures and objects loaned by the most relevant international collections (Museo Dolores Olmedo and Jaques and Natasha Gelman Collection).
Firda Kalho, Diego nella mia mente, © Gerardo Suter © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Firda Kalho, Diego nella mia mente, © Gerardo Suter © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Not mentioning a couple of slipups, the romantic Italian music juxtaposing a documentary showing scenes from the life of the couple, and the explosive merchandising at the end of the path, the value of Sileo’s research stands incredibly out, making it possible to better understand Frida Kalho’s works and to give her value as an artist, giving new keys to interpretation.
Firda Kalho, La colonna spezzata, © Foto Erik Meza / Xavier Otaola - © Archivo Museo Dolores Olmedo © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Firda Kalho, La colonna spezzata, © Foto Erik Meza / Xavier Otaola – © Archivo Museo Dolores Olmedo © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Moving away from all biographical simplifications, we can finally discover how she uses her body as a political and sacrificial manifesto; how she is osmotically bound to nature, how she sees the Earth as the place of both genesis and death; how she shows her femininity, how she constantly reaffirms her being Mexican through symbols like her over-stressed somatic features (eyebrows, light moustache, fuzz, thick black hair turning from pure ornament to a representation of pain), like the use of traditional clothes, through mentioning pre-Columbian characters – destroyed by her typical glance, so ironic, gritty and intriguing. A unique language, where the traditional naïf paint by Rousseau meets the influences of the surrealistic alphabet, creating Frida Kalho’s totally authentic style.
Firda Kalho, Bimba tehuacana, Lucha María (Sole e luna), © Rafael Doniz © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Firda Kalho, Bimba tehuacana, Lucha María (Sole e luna), © Rafael Doniz © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

BLOCKCHAIN, THE DIGITAL ARCHIVE OF TOMORROW?

The archive is, therefore, one of the funding pillars of knowledge, the place treasuring history. How will archives look like in the future, I wonder? Will the new technologies – blockchain, for instance – be able to ensure data storage and simultaneously keep up with the constant upgrades of the scientific research and of the circulation of artworks?

POPULARITY VS MARKET

The amazing marketing now surrounding Frida Kalho doesn’t seem to depend from the quotations of her original paintings. In fact, if we look at how these quotations have changed from the ‘70s until now, it almost seems that such marketing speculations have not played in her favor.
Frida Kahlo, Dos Desnudos en el Bosque (La Tierra Misma), 1939

Frida Kahlo, Dos Desnudos en el Bosque (La Tierra Misma), 1939

The best result one of her works has ever achieved at an auction house was in fact recorded in 2016 at Christie’s, when Dos Desnudos en el Bosque (La Tierra Misma), 1939, was sold for 8 million dollars. During that same week a 1982 painting with a skull by Jean Michel Basquiat was sold for 57 million dollars. That painting wasn’t one of the most representatives of Frida Kalho’s vision if compared, for instance, to the self-portrait (Retrato con mono y perico, 1942) bought in 1995 by the Argentinian Edoardo Constantini for 3.192.500 dollars at Sotheby’s, New York. Such result looks very much like the cost of an opportunity within a market having a really scarce offer.
Firda Kalho, Diego y yo

Firda Kalho, Diego y yo

In 1990, in fact, Frida had become the most paid Latin-American artist ever, selling the portrait Diego y yo, 1949, for 1.430.000 dollars at Sotheby’s, New York. Today, 20 years later, the prices have not increased significantly.
Frida Kahlo, Natura morta (Sole di Samuel Fastlicht), © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

Frida Kahlo, Natura morta (Sole di Samuel Fastlicht), © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, D.F. by SIAE 2018

The ages will tell how will the market react to this scientific reimagining of Frida Kalho, one of the most cutting-edge artists of the past century.

MUDEC, Museo delle Culture, Via Tortona 56, Milan, Italy – From Thursday February 1st to Wednesday June 6th 2018 – www.mudec.it
It’s already joyous Spring time for the international art market!

It’s already joyous Spring time for the international art market!

By Enrico Cavaliere

It’s already joyous Spring time for the international art market! Stunning results for the Modern & Impressionist and Contemporary Art auctions in London, February/March 2018

If you were of the impression that heavy snow and Siberian weather conditions or financial turmoil can stop the appetite of big collectors, well think twice… Last week the Impressionist & Modern Art evening sales put on display by the big auction houses in London managed to amass an overall £285m (with fees). No records were broken (even though stunning results were not missed) and the absolute dominator of the whole week was – surprise, surprise! – Pablo Picasso. The Spanish superstar was featured extensively at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s (the former having 9 works by the Master in the catalogue, the latter 4) and all the pieces sold rather well. London-based art advisory firm Gurr Johns was particularly active on behalf of their high-profile clients in this sense, purchasing 11 of them out of the total 13 and splashing a grand total of £100m (including buyer’s premium). No wonder if we therefore decided to focus on Picasso’s two top lots, democratically split between Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The week’s first prize lot to test the market’s robustness was Mousquetaire et nu assis. Completed on April, 11th 1967 at his home/studio in Mougins, Southern France, at the end of a period in which he was recovering from surgery and saw the painter immersing himself in extensive readings. Literary sources definitely had an impact on the appearance of the musketeer’s figure in Picasso’s production from late 1996 onwards, as confirmed by the artist as well (see novels by Dumas or Shakespeare). However, the world of the Old Masters had a clear influence too. Frans Hals, Goya, Velázquez, El Greco but especially Rembrandt, for whom Picasso had a deep, authentic respect (and almost identified with) since he was seeing the Dutch very much like a predecessor of himself, with the same stigmata of greatness that only the gifted ones receive. In this specific case, two paintings by Rembrandt must have inspired the Spanish painter: The Nightwatch (1642, currently at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam) with the figures of the guards resembling of musketeers and more importantly Portrait with Saskia (circa 1636, now at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden), representing the artist with his younger wife Saskia. In this second case, the link is even more direct being the sensual, seated nude in the foreground of Picasso’s canvas his final great love, muse and wife Jacqueline Roque who played a major role in the master’s impressive late productivity. Characterised by lavish, loose, tactile brushstrokes and marked by a distinct eroticism, the present work perfectly epitomises Picasso’s last phase of his magnificent career where desire and lust for life balance each other in a remarkable way. Offered to the public with an estimate between £12 and 18m, it sold for almost £14m (including fees).
Pablo Picasso, Femme au béret et à la robe quadrille - Marie Thérèse Walter (image Sotheby's)

Pablo Picasso, Femme au béret et à la robe quadrille – Marie Thérèse Walter (image Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s was quick to respond to the challenge the day after…and what a response! Femme au béret et à la robe quadrille (Marie-Thérèse Walter), dated 1937, was bearing an estimate on request and in the saleroom was fiercely contested by two different phone bidders. Post-sale, it was revealed that the winner had been Gurr Johns (and who else could it be?), submitting the decisive bid of £44m hammer (£49,8 if you consider the buyer’s premium). Boldly painted and with a rich, primary palette of colours, it was completed towards the end of a key decade for Picasso, for both personal and broader reasons. The 1930s were opened by the great influence that the artist’s favourite model and then lover Marie-Thérèse Walter had on his production. This explains why the portraits of this period are imbued with an increasing sensuality which started fading away in the second half of the 30s: the reason being the encounter with young talented photographer Dora Maar in late 1936, whose beauty was less voluptuous and more algid, definitely more intellectual. Picasso found therefore himself between the two of them and the present picture sees them both depicted, the red beret and the profile are a clear reference to Marie-Thérèse, whereas the angularity of the face and the long hair recall of Maar. In other words, we are here in front of a double-portrait of the two muses who were at the time competing for the painter’s attention (and love). Additionally, 1937 was also the year of Guernica, conceived by Picasso as his artistic manifesto against the escalating horrors caused by the Nazi/fascist regimes increasingly gaining sinister power in Europe. Behind the powerful faces of Guernica’s weeping women is Marie-Thérèse again – an additional evidence of the extreme importance the model was still having in the Master’s life.
Pablo Picasso Mousquetaire et nu assis (image Christie's)

Pablo Picasso Mousquetaire et nu assis (image Christie’s)

Following on the results of the Impressionist & Modern Art auction, March wrapped up a highly successful week for Contemporary Art as well. Results were even more impressive, showing how the international art market is in full recovery – at least for the above segments – after a string of depressing outcomes marking most of 2017, in London and elsewhere. Overall, £343m (with fees) were raised by Evening Sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips respectively. From an auction perspective, the result achieved by Phillips’ London team was undoubtedly the most unexpected: presenting a mix of 20th Century art (therefore not strictly focussed on Contemporary Art), it gathered £97m, with buyer’s premium included, accompanied by stunning 92% sell through rate – the highest ever total for the auction house, in global terms and across all categories. No surprise we would hence like to start this post-sale review with a quick analysis of this specific auction. The star lot was again a work by Pablo Picasso, entitled La Dormeuse and dated 1932, half-painting and half-drawing, which managed to achieve nearly £42m after being fiercely disputed by five bidders. It was eventually won by a client who was active over the phone with a Phillips’ senior executive, Ms Marianne Hoet.
Pablo Picasso, La Dormeus (image Phillips)

Pablo Picasso, La Dormeus (image Phillips)

Strategically sold on the same day the Picasso’s show at Tate Modern had opened (the exhibition is still ongoing and will be on display until September 9th, apparently the seller turned down the institution’s offer to include it) and presented with a very competitive estimate (£12-18m), it had never appeared at auction before and had been in the same private collection since 1995, when privately acquired from the then existing NY-based Pace Wildenstein Gallery. Moving on to the big guns, the most successful sale of the whole week in terms of both revenues and average quality was Christie’s one, demonstrating once more the positive momentum which the Pinault guys are currently going through (they are winning top consignments in series, culminating with the Rockefeller Collection going on sale in NYC this May). The £137m threshold (considering fees) was hit, making this the highest ever dedicated auction taking place in London (92% was sold by lot and 96% by value). The top lot was Andy Warhol’s Six Self-Portraits, a rare masterpiece completed by the Pop Art guru only months before his death in 1987 and included in the first and only exhibition entirely centred on Andy’s portraits (at the Anthony d’Offay’s London gallery in 1986). It managed to gather in excess of £22m, with fees. Stuffed with great pieces by established names (it is also worth mentioning a unique and stylish piece by Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, Attese, executed in 1965 and representing a brilliant example of the artist’s ability to cross the borders between flat art and design – adjudicated for £8,6m including buyer’s premium), our attention was immediately directed towards an ambitious and monumental work: The Raft of Perseus by US-based young artist Kristin Baker.
Kristin Baker, The Raft of Perseus (image Christie's)

Kristin Baker, The Raft of Perseus (image Christie’s)

Raised to international recognition in the early 2000s when she started collecting high profile shows at Deitch Projects, Acme (LA), Gavin’s Brown, Centre Pompidou as well as Saatchi Gallery in London, with the present work Baker has decided to give her own personal interpretation of a key painting for 19th Century European painting, The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault (1791-1824). This is part of a wider project which sees the artist, initially influenced by the world of motorsports, now constantly looking back at previous art historical movements and figures. The Raft of Perseus is a colossal (254.4 x 405 cm) juxtaposition of planks, shards, sails as well as masts of colour creating vibrant and powerful masses of material and pigment. The glossy surface, an effect enhanced by Baker’s wise decision to work on PVC rather than on canvas, is permeated by an overall sense of vigorous energy and dynamism (a clear reference she owes to the Italian Futurism) that makes the viewer feel at the centre of the scene and a live witness of the imminent disaster. One of the ‘cheapest’ lots within the whole auction (estimate was £50-70,000), it sold for an overall £100,000. Sotheby’s Evening Sale also significantly contributed to the week’s very healthy performances, putting together a robust £109m figure, even though the auction proved to be less spectacular in general. In this case, it was Peter Doig who took the stage. His The Architect’s Home in the Ravine, a work from 1991 which has been at auction four times in the last 16 years, being the last only two years ago (also in London, but with Christie’s), was the star lot of the night and obtained £14,3m (with buyer’s premium taken into consideration), only slightly above the low estimate.
Peter Doig, The Architect’s Home in the Ravine (image-Sotheby's)

Peter Doig, The Architect’s Home in the Ravine (image-Sotheby’s)

As typically happens with Doig, it embodies both references to physical experiences and emotive recollections, helped by the use of photographic material. It is also a tour de force of thick paint lines which create an intricate layer in the foreground imitating the dense forest surrounding the big house in the background (that one of mathematician Eberhard Zeidler, in the wealthy suburb of Rosedale, Toronto). Additionally, the subject was also inspired by a visit to Le Corbusier’s building Untié d’Habitation in France, equally enclosed in a wood. Such a painterly style, meticulously developed after a careful study of selected art historical references (ranging from Post-Impressionism – see Munch – to Jackson Pollock) became recurrent with the artist in the early 1990s and contributed to the success of a seminal body of works produced at that time, which marked a key moment in his career and influenced its further development. Positioning itself on the edge between abstraction and representation, this canvas is a mesmeric work witnessing Doig’s ability to mix dreamlike, nostalgic memories with savvy painterly skills.
MiArt 2018

MiArt 2018

By Jessica El Hefyan

MIART the leading modern and contemporary art fair in Italy will run this year from April 13 to 15

MiArt 2018

MiArt 2018

“There won’t be many big news for this 23rd edition” announced the art director of the fair Alessandro Rabottini during the presentation at Palazzo Marino in Milan. Actually it appears that this year, all the attention is focused on cosolidating the identity of the event. Indeed, what we are going to notice the most will be the refinement of the details of what we’re used to receive in terms of beauty and services from the fair. First off, the quality of the participating galleries seems to be the real driving force of this edition, given the presence for the first time of some of the main galleries of the planet. “Gagosian” to name but one giant, but also Rodeo (London), Almine Dech (Paris) and Kalfayan Galleries (Athens).
The presentation at Palazzo Marino, Milan.

The presentation at Palazzo Marino, Milan.

186 galleries will be present from all over the world (+6% more than last year): 109 italians, 77 foreigns, 62 of which for the first time present. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing yet which works of art will be exposed this April. But looks like the best artists of the modern and contemporary art world won’t be missing from the scene neither this year. Relevant names in every stand seem to be promised. Expect important figures like Giorgio De Chirico, Lucio Fontana, Enrico Baj, and many others!
 Larry Gagosian.

Larry Gagosian.

In order not to fail the ad campaign, the promoting has been assigned to “Mousse Agency” who choose to collaborate with experts of art this time, just to make sure to give a proper light to the fair. Anlessadro Sciarroni, Masbedo and Alice Schillaci have been committed for months in a remarkable work that could now be called “Art that communicates art”. As main sponsor, one of the major bank of the country Intesa San Paolo which always showed a strong interest in the art world. To confirm its passion Michele Coppola the art and culture director of the bank, announced they will select a contemporary artist to whom commision an important art work to expose in rotation in many cities for one year.
MiArt 2018

MiArt 2018

To honour the fair, the Milan art week proposes in addition two other events. The Art Night no-profit on Saturday 14: a whole night where a tourist can enjoy the city between performances, openings and special events entirely arranged in no-profit locations like Videoart Project Space, Cabinet, Edicola Radetzky, Marsèlleria, Mega, Assab one and many more. On Sunday 15 besides, given the importance Milan gives to art, all the galleries will be exceptionally open during the day to allow the art lovers visiting their expositions. For all the details of the fair instead, stay tuned! We’ll keep you updated.