n. pl. cor·po·ra (-pr-)
1. A large collection of writings of a specific kind or on a specific subject.
2. A collection of writings or recorded remarks used for linguistic analysis.
3. The main part of a bodily structure or organ.
//Reviews of art. Art and language. Art and the body.
André Kertész (1894-1985) is probably best known for his
pioneering modernist work produced in Paris during the late 1920s/early 1930s,
including his Distortion series,
featuring two nude models with their reflections caught in carnivalesque
mirrors, and his later Washington Square images, capturing clouds and
silhouettes. His fascination with and dedication to light (“I write with
light”, he is quoted as saying) and shadow carry through all of his career,
from his earlier photographs taken with an ICA box camera in pre-war Hungary,
showing his almost ultra-sensitivity to the lot of his fellows, particularly
the poor, the working class and the peasantry (for example, Lovers, Budapest, 1915 and Bocksay-Ter, Hungary, Oct 1914 – the
earliest dated print in this exhibition) to his later shots in London in the
This May exhibition at James Hyman is aptly time-framed with
the largest work in the exhibition, a unique oversized enlargement of Muguet seller, Champs Elysees, May 1st
1928, printed by Kertész around 1960, portraying an amputee war veteran
selling the traditional May flower, lily of the valley, on the steps to a metro
station. The show focuses solely on Kertész’s European photographs, some well
known, some previously unpublished. Delightful in its insights into the
photographer’s life and times, with numerous shots of his contemporaries and
their studios, this exhibition refutes the fact that Kertész seldom travelled
after moving to New York in 1936. Here we have evidence of many trips to
Europe, and, on each occasion, Kertész is seen to do as Kertész always did: to
observe the world as if through a lens and to reflect back his unusual vantage
point with depth both of field and perception.
Collateral Event of the 56th International Art
Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Fontana, Cannaregio 3829-3830, Venice
9 May – 22 November 2015
For the Scotland + Venice 2015 collateral event of the 56th Venice
Biennale, Glasgow-based artist Graham Fagen has filled the formerly mercantile
Palazzo Fontana with an intriguing homage both to his homeland and to the
Jamaican culture that influenced him as a teenager – bringing out surprising
links between the two, as well as to Venice itself, which Fagen describes as “a
cultural hub for the world”.
A towering rope tree in the first room makes reference to the trading
history of the Italian city, while a series of ink drawings, based on Fagen’s
teeth imprints, and his tactile “squeezees” and teeth casts present a more
personal angle, rooting the show in Fagen’s own cultural history and physical
Throughout the palazzo, the tone is set by the strained strings echoing
from the major collaboration in the final room. The five-channel audiovisual
work was produced together with composer Sally Beamish, the musicians of the
Scottish Ensemble, reggae singer and musician Ghetto Priest and the music producer
Adrian Sherwood and presents a melancholic classical-cum-reggae dub
interpretation of The Slave’s Lament, published by Scottish national hero Robert
Burns in 1792.
Each year, curator, publisher and
art dealer Justin Hammond scours the country looking for the most promising
graduate art talent. He attends degree shows, speaks to course tutors,
collectors, curators and artists, and compiles a list of 40 graduates, whom he
deems worthwhile watching. The Catlin Guide, launched each year at the London
Art Fair, presents these 40 artists with an image of their work and a short Q&A
interview about their future projects and aspirations. From this long-list,
Hammond then selects eight artists to be in the Catlin Art Prize exhibition,
held in May at the Londonewcastle Project Space in Shoreditch. He looks for
talent and promise, of course, but also for artists whom he thinks will work
well together and produce a cohesive and coherent group show. This year, the
eight finalists’ work draws on themes of urban renewal and gentrification,
power struggles, and a more surprising common undercurrent: Nazism.
The eight artists to look out for this year are: Jon
Baker (Chelsea College of Arts), Felicity Hammond (Royal College of Art), Oliver Hickmet (City & Guilds of
London Art School), Nicholas William Johnson (Royal College of Art),
Paul Schneider (Royal Academy of Arts), Lexi Strauss (Royal College of Art),
Dominic Watson (The Glasgow School of Art) and Zhu Tian (Royal College of Art).
With the winner of the £5000 prize – selected by a jury, this year comprising Aaron
Cezar, founding Director of Delfina Foundation; Charlotte Schepke, founder of
London art space Large Glass and previously director of the Frith Street
Gallery; andGeorge Vasey, independent
writer and curator of theNorthern
Gallery for Contemporary Art – having been announced on 13 May as Zhu Tian and
the Visitor Vote (£2000) going to Paul Schneider, Studio International went to
take a look at the exhibition and to speak to the artists taking part.
“I have become accustomed to the darkness,” smiles Jesc
Bunyard. “I spent most of the third year of my BA in the darkroom.” While the
artist might be toiling away in the dark, Bunyard’s audience get to luxuriate
in the sumptuously rich colours of the photograms that she produces – like
cells of dye, they seem to breathe and expand as you gaze upon them.
Photography has always run through Bunyard’s practice,
although filmic work grew within the second year of her BA at Goldsmiths
(completed in 2013), where she also established a music group, comprising
fellow artists and musicians. “Initially this developed out of a desire to push
the photograph beyond its two-dimensional boundaries. I want the medium to be
seen as something more than just a picture you can hang on a wall. So, I
started by displaying my photograms alongside a soundtrack I created.” For Photo Piece, a collaboration with The
Angel Orchestra, Bunyard’s photograms were used by the musicians as a visual
score for an improvised piece, performed at a classical concert, with no
warning to the audience. This intervention was described as “anarchic” by one
of the musicians involved. A baritone horn player herself, Bunyard laughs: “I
like to think of myself as setting up the parameters for a work and then
unleashing it in order for it to be experienced and participated in.”
Jesc Bunyard will be
showing two film works at Digital Graffiti, Alys Beach, Florida, 4-6 June 2015.
She is a finalist in their juried art competition
She will also be
showing some of her film works at the Wysing Arts Centre annual art and music
festival, Space-Time: The Multiverse, on 5 September 2015
Sleepless: The Bed in History and
21er Haus, Vienna
30 January – 7 June 2015
Seeing that the
21er Haus, Vienna, was putting on an exhibition about the bed in history and
contemporary art, thoughts immediately arose of Tracey Emin’s notorious My Bed
(1998), but since that is currently on display as part of a BP Spotlight at
Tate Britain, London, I was curious as to who else might have used this
familiar and everyday motif in their work. Pretty much everyone, it seems. This
tightly curated and fascinating exhibition brings together nearly 200 pieces,
from an erotic fresco from Pompeii in the first century AD, displayed in front
of a brothel, to, indeed, another of Tracey Emin’s beds (To Meet My Past, 2002),
quite different from her previously Saatchi-owned exemplar, a beautifully appliqued
and embroidered four-poster bed, remembering herself as a little girl, afraid
of the dark.
The exhibition is
broken down thematically, beginning with birth and moving through love,
loneliness, illness, death, violence, politics, myth and the anthropomorphic.
Each section is introduced by an informative and contextualising information
board, and then the works are left to speak for themselves, opening up cross-cultural,
cross-temporal and cross-spatial conversations.