Saturday, June 30, 2018

Square the Block

Square the Block (2009) is a major architectural intervention, which has been installed on the corner of one of the London School of Economics’ most prominent buildings. The sculpture appears to an abstraction of the corner that both mimics and subtly subverts the existing façade of the building. The stonework looks as if it has been jumbled and crumpled up, then just reattached to the building. It deliberately upsets the perception of the building from something quietly solid and dignified into something unsettling and fallible.
The corner of the building was actually originally chamfered, this allowed Richald Wilson to construct elements that projected from it. Then to construct the artwork, the artist, working with engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, created copies of a number five-storey vertical slices from the neighbouring buildings. Moulds were taken from these and the resultant casting fixed to a three-dimensional aluminium truss , which was six storeys in height and approximately triangular. The pieces of the sculpture were constructed from a water-based acrylic composite: Jesmonite. This was selected because it was economical to produce, light enough to be carried by the existing building structure and had a close visual match to the Portland stone cladding. The completed sculpture assembled on the ground and the complete piece lifted into place. It was hung on the side of the building from the fifth floor only and tied back to the building at second and sixth floors for stability.
The sculpture makes no architectural and functional sense other than matching the cornice work and completing the corner. Its position means that it is sometimes unnoticed, overlooked and therefore the moment of incongruity and recognition is often delayed and thus amplified. It is an intervention that both mimics and subtly subverts the existing facade of the building.

Inhabiting a Grudge

My father and I were discussing increasing construction and diminishing public space in Beirut and, in particular, access to the seafront in the Manara neighbourhood. Suddenly, he asked if I had ever noticed al-Ba`sa (in English: The Grudge). “Which grudge?” I answered. “I thought we were speaking about buildings.” The "Grudge,” he tells me, “is a house—or maybe a wall—built to block the sea view of some residents. It is a building located in Beirut’s Manara area, just by the old lighthouse. It was constructed in the mid-1900s and might just be the thinnest inhabitable building in the world.” I was slightly taken aback by the name, and the fact that I—an urban planner and architect who often walked in the area—had no clue what my father was talking about. Rather than ask for more information and appear clueless, I decided to investigate the so-called “Grudge” myself at the first opportunity.

By Sandra Rihani

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Η αμφισβήτηση του τελάρου και η θέση του «ερωτότοιχου» στη μεταπολεμική αφαίρεση (Β΄ Μέρος)

Στο πρώτο μέρος του κειμένου αναφέρθηκα στην εικαστική αφετηρία του λογοπαίγνιου του «ερωτότοιχου», τον οποίο χρησιμοποιεί ο Lacan για να καταγράψει το αδιέξοδο μιας σχέσης βασισμένης στη διαφορά των δυο φύλων, συνδυάζοντας την ηχητική και λεκτική ομοιότητα του «έρωτα» (l' amour) και του «τοίχου» (le mur) στη χρήση της γαλλικής γλώσσας. Ήδη από τη δεκαετία του 1950 η προτίμηση του «τοίχου» έναντι του τελάρου εντοπίζεται στη γλώσσα κάποιων καλλιτεχνικών εργαστηρίων. Αυτή η μετατόπιση συνετέλεσε για πολλά χρονιά στην αμυντική θέση της ιδέας της μεγάλης ζωγραφικής προτρέποντάς την να κατανοηθεί ως μια διευρυμένη γλυπτική.
Όμως ο τοίχος μεταβάλλεται  στην ύστερη εικαστική νεωτερικότητα, συμβαδίζοντας με την πορεία των εφαρμογών μιας αρχιτεκτονικής που τα τελευταία χρόνια εστιάζει στην υπέρβαση της «αταραξίας» της λιθόκτιστης μάζας μέσα από τη χρήση κυρίως ελαφρύτερων και διαφανών υλικών.[1] Διόλου τυχαία, οι μαζικές σχεδιαστικές εφαρμογές των υλικών που επιφέρουν την αντανάκλαση και τον αντικατοπτρισμό συνδυάζονται άψογα με τις αρχές της πανοπτικής εποπτείας, τις οποίες φαίνεται να υποστηρίζει η πλειοψηφία μέσω των κοινωνικών δικτύων και με τη μόνιμη χρήση του κινητού τηλεφώνου από κάθε ανθρωπότυπο.  
Έτσι λοιπόν ο τοίχος περνάει σ’ ένα επόμενο στάδιο και, διευκολύνοντας το εποπτικό βλέμμα, μετατρέπεται σε καθρέφτη αλλά και σε μια διαφανή επιφάνεια, συνεισφέροντας ταυτόχρονα στην ισοπέδωση των άλλοτε σταθερών και «νοσταλγικών» χαρακτηριστικών και βιωμάτων μιας απόρθητης αρχιτεκτονικής των συμπαγών τοίχων.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Curating Exhibitions : Views from the Artist's Perspective

There has been an international discourse about the relationship among artists, curators, art-historians and the audience. This phenomenon, is a consequence of the huge expansion of the role of the curator in the formulation of a dialogue regarding arts in the social sphere. It is generally admitted, that despite some differences, there is a common condition that artists-curators and curators share: the catholic involvement in the process of making an exhibition which covers and demands many skills. The transformation of the artist-curator to actually a self-entrepreneur happened silently through the years and resulted to a general pre-conception of the artist- curator as a professional individual in the art-world. The guest speakers belong to a generation which activated the contemporary art scene in Greece foremost following their personal motivation to act and express themselves.
The aim is not to make a cartography of the curatorial practices in Greece but to emphasize on par- ticular times, places and gestures.
Moderator : Katerina Nikou
Andreas Angelidakis, Costas Christopoulos, Caroline May, Dimitra Vamiali,  Jannis Varelas, Kostis Velonis

(Talk #9 Art Athina 2018)
Talk: 23.06.2018, 18:00

Η αμφισβήτηση του τελάρου και η θέση του «ερωτότοιχου» στη μεταπολεμική αφαίρεση (Α΄ Μέρος)

«Entre l'homme et l'amour,
Il y a la femme.
Entre l'homme et la femme,
Il y a un monde.
Entre l'homme et le monde,
Il y a un mur.»

Antoine Tudal, Paris en l'an 2000

Όταν ο Lacan το 1971-2, στην τρίτη από μια σειρά διαλέξεων στο παρεκκλήσιο του νοσοκομείου Sainte Anne, αναφερόταν στον «ερωτότοιχο» εμπνεόμενος από τους στίχους  ενός ποιήματος του Antoine Tudal ίσως να μην γνώριζε ότι η χρήση του λογοπαίγνιου είχε εικαστική αφετηρία. Ο Lacan, αναφερόμενος στην ηχητική και λεκτική ομοιότητα του «έρωτα» (l' amour) και του «τοίχου» (le mur) στη χρήση της γαλλικής γλώσσας, χρησιμοποίησε τις στροφές ενός 22χρονου ποιητή, τον οποίο είχε υιοθετήσει ο Nicolas de Staël στην ηλικία των 6 ετών. Ακολουθώντας τον βίο του Nicolas de Staël, μπορεί κάποιος να ισχυριστεί ότι ο «τριφασικός τοίχος» που περιγράφει ο υιοθετημένος γιος του, που αντιστοιχεί στην αγάπη, τη γυναίκα και τον κόσμο, αφορά άμεσα το περιβάλλον στο οποίο μεγάλωσε, με τον πατέρα του να επιμένει στη χρήση μιας απροσπέλαστης τοιχοποιίας στην σχεδιαστική του γραφή.
Συνεπώς, η εμμονή σε έναν τοίχο που στέκεται ως εμπόδιο και αποδιώχνει αντί να ενώνει δεν ανακαλύπτεται στις διαλέξεις του Lacan, στην ψυχαναλυτική φιλολογία του οποίου ο«ερωτότοιχος» βρίσκει τη θέση του στη καταγραφή του αδιέξοδου μιας σχέσης βασισμένης στη διαφορά των δυο φύλων, καθώς ήδη από τη δεκαετία του 1950 η λέξη «τοίχος» εντοπίζεται στη γλώσσα των καλλιτεχνικών εργαστηρίων.

Στην μεταπολεμική αφαίρεση η χρήση του τοίχου, άλλοτε μέσα από την καθαυτό αναπαραγωγή του και άλλοτε μέσα από μια ματεριαλιστική προσέγγιση της ζωγραφικής επιφάνειας, αντικατέστησε εν μέρει την συμβατική επιφάνεια του τελάρου. Αν και σήμερα η αντίληψη που φέρει την ανάγκη αυτής της μετατόπισης μοιάζει παρωχημένη, η ιδέα της μεγάλης ζωγραφικής για πολλά χρόνια βρίσκεται σε αμυντική θέση, κάτι που ίσως οφείλεται και στην ανάγκη να μετατοπιστεί η ζωγραφική και να κατανοηθεί ως μια διευρυμένη γλυπτική.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

You, Therefore

For Robert Philen

You are like me, you will die too, but not today:
you, incommensurate, therefore the hours shine:
if I say to you “To you I say,” you have not been
set to music, or broadcast live on the ghost
radio, may never be an oil painting or
Old Master’s charcoal sketch: you are
a concordance of person, number, voice,
and place, strawberries spread through your name
as if it were budding shrubs, how you remind me
of some spring, the waters as cool and clear
(late rain clings to your leaves, shaken by light wind),
which is where you occur in grassy moonlight:
and you are a lily, an aster, white trillium
or viburnum, by all rights mine, white star
in the meadow sky, the snow still arriving
from its earthwards journeys, here where there is
no snow (I dreamed the snow was you,
when there was snow), you are my right,
have come to be my night (your body takes on
the dimensions of sleep, the shape of sleep
becomes you): and you fall from the sky
with several flowers, words spill from your mouth
in waves, your lips taste like the sea, salt-sweet (trees
and seas have flown away, I call it
loving you): home is nowhere, therefore you,
a kind of dwell and welcome, song after all,
and free of any eden we can name

Reginald Shepherd 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Artists as cryptofinanciers: welcome to the blockchain

Sarah Friend’s Clickmine (2017) satirises clicking games

Art Basel is this year opening its doors to blockchain, the revolutionary technology behind cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether. Art Basel’s Conversations programme includes Blockchain and the Art World, a group discussion on 14 June that features the leading digital artist Simon Denny, among others. On 13 June, a conference called Basel ArtTech+Blockchain Connect, organised by the New Art Academy with Forbes, is taking place at Messe Basel. Much of the focus on blockchain’s application within the cultural sphere has focused on its role in markets—it is, after all, fundamentally a financial creation. Ruth Catlow, the co-director of the London-based art and technology organisation Furtherfield, is one of the authors of a new book, Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain (Torque Editions and Furtherfield). In her introduction, she writes that “one of the most important and hard-to-grasp characteristics of the blockchain is the way it puts finance, or its mechanisms, at the heart of every action in the digital domain”.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Free Verses

    Last night I awoke knew 
    That I should say goodbye now 
    To these verses. That's how it always goes 
    After a few years. They have to get out 
    Into the world. It's not possible to keep them 
    Forever! here under the roof. 
    Poor things. They must set out for town. 
    A few will be allowed to return later. 
    But most of them are still hanging around out there. 
    Who knows what will become of them. Before they 
    Find their peace.

Sarah Kirsch

Le concept lefortien du pouvoir comme lieu vide. Paradoxes de la société démocratique moderne

LA DÉMOCRATIE EST L’UNE DES FORMES GOUVERNEMENTALES connues depuis l’émergence de l’histoire politique occidentale avec la cité athénienne du 5e siècle av. J.-C. Si la première expérience faite par les Athéniens la présentait comme un exercice direct du pouvoir par les citoyens, la république moderne institutionnalise ce dernier par le biais de la représentation, chargée d’incarner la volonté générale du peuple. Mais cette description typologique du pouvoir ne permet pas de comprendre l’expérience moderne de la démocratie. Claude Lefort reproche aux philosophes de la modernité de ne pas s’être assez attardés sur le tournant opéré à l’orée du 19e siècle dans la vie politique qui, à ses yeux, n’a pas suivi le schéma linéaire ouvert par les Grecs  La modernité ne s’est pas contentée de rendre le pouvoir au peuple en instaurant la république constitutionnelle et représentative ; elle s’est ouverte à « l’idée d’une société désormais vouée à accueillir l’irreprésentable .

  par Gaëlle Demelemestre

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Unlimited 2018

Kostis Velonis, How to build democracy making rhetorical comments (after Klucis' design for propaganda kiosk, screen and loudspeaker platform, 1922), 2009
6.60 m x 4.50 m x 7.76 m

This year’s edition of Unlimited will consist of 71 large-scale projects, presented by galleries participating in the fair.
Curated for the seventh consecutive year by Gianni Jetzer, Curator-at-Large at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., the sector will feature a wide range of presentations, from seminal pieces from the past to work created especially for Art Basel. Renowned as well as emerging artists will participate, including: Matthew Barney, Yto Barrada, Daniel Buren, Horia Damian, Camille Henrot, Jenny Holzer, Mark Leckey, Lee Ufan, Inge Mahn, Lygia Pape, Jon Rafman, Michael Rakowitz, Nedko Solakov, Martine Syms, Barthélémy Toguo and Yu Hong. Art Basel, whose Lead Partner is UBS, takes place at Messe Basel from June 14 to June 17, 2018.
Unlimited, Art Basel’s unique platform for large-scale projects, provides galleries with the opportunity to showcase installations, monumental sculptures, video projections, wall paintings, photographic series and performance art that transcend the traditional art-fair stand. For Unlimited in 2007, Daniel Buren transformed the escalators leading to the upper floor of Hall 1 into a kinetic sculpture titled ‘Passage de la Couleur, 26 secondes et 14 centièmes’. The work was bought by Messe Schweiz and today forms an integral part of the exhibition hall. With Unlimited this year taking place on the upper floor of Hall 1, Buren’s work from 2007 will form part of the entrance area for this year’s edition. Responding to this earlier work, Unlimited will open with Buren’s ‘Una cosa tira l’altra’, an aerial walkway decorated with stripes similar to those that have been used on the escalator in 2007. The extensive platform made up of scaffolding will create new ways to navigate the space, allowing visitors to view the surrounding works from unique and unexpected points of view.
Further highlights include Polly Apfelbaum’s strips of textile that are combined to form a colorfully woven painting; Rashid Johnson’s tropical enclave containing various unexpected elements from sculptures made with shea butter to video portraits; Katherine Bernhardt’s monumental painting with tropical birds, cuddly robots and cigarette stubs, which at once editorializes and summarizes modern culture and the artist herself; an interactive multimedia installation by Nedko Solakov comprising nine sofas in the shapes of the nine Chinese characters constituting the phrase ‘I miss Socialism, maybe’; and Yu Hong’s large-scale painting depicting a famous Chinese fable widely cited in both modern Chinese art history and Chinese Communist narratives. The work focuses on how the Socialist narrative still perseveres in Chinese society and explores the ways its ideology corresponds to the visual legacy of Soviet Socialist Realist heritage.
Full list of artists presented in Unlimited:

Monday, June 4, 2018

Circus Aedificare

Circus Aedificare is a construction machine that pours a free and unorganized matter around it. The ritual spilling of matter accumulates to the point of constituting an enclosure around it, made of a pure and anarchic accumulation. This absence of constructive economy has for counterpart to obtain an architecture which is exchanged with the field of Painting or Sculpture. In the idea of synthesis of arts, this building succeeded to move the painting dripping method in the field of Architecture. By withdrawing from construction knowledge, it is the density of the material itself that gives shape to the building and its natural distribution.