Salman Al Najem’s work is a dialogue that questions issues related to important parts of the human experience. Salman aims to redirect humankind’s attention from mortal desires, fascination with material wealth and luxury, mediocrity, vanity and environmental corruption. In an optimistic manner his works aim to illuminate the importance of self mastery, spiritual connectivity, mindful-sensitivity, righteousness, virtuosity and environmental sustainability.
In Salman Al Najem’s “Suicide & Redemption” series, painted images allude to portray Al Najem’s internal frustrations and experiences in the Arab Peninsula’s new age, by creating works he considers to be contemporary Islamic Art. Al Najem’s practice and style, imaginaries are conjured from blackness, designating timely subjects to both the culmination of all light, wisdom and consciousness, as well as the lack of perception which ultimately leads to indulgence, ignorance and darkness. Through his own life, the series simulates a process of redemption through real and unearthly experiences articulating the artists’ trajectory of re-emergence from the obscurity between light (knowledge and reclamation) and gloom (helplessness and uncertainty).
The exhibition ‘Suicide & Redemption’ aims to take the viewer on the journey of a person who at a young age contemplates the idea of living, tries to find reason of why we live life. His sensitive connection to the negative, allows him to study how those around him choose to live. Al Najem affirms through his works, that the person lets go of cultural and dogmatic constraints and values. In a place of liberation the person finds his unique connection with the divine, and commits to the death he thought he sought.
The obscure entrapment manifests within the layers of each painting, projecting the expansion of new age experiences and its tensions with traditional beliefs and social application of religion in the Arab Gulf region.
Each piece is composed of anatomical, metaphysical and culturally celebratory icons expressing the corruption and hypocrisy of knowledge in our time and the folding of socio-cultural and psychological evolutions of culture social application of religion in the region.
Delving into a mystical and growing inner awareness of life and death as reflected in daily events and symbolism, Al Najem presents an anti-narrative concerning money, time, mortality, idolism, dogma, fantasy and mortality.
The Japanese emerging artist based in Tokyo has a notable background in architecture and design from her study at the Musashino Art University that impacted her aesthetic. Focused on the harmony of light and humans, Hitomi Sato finds inspiration in the observation of everyday unexpected beauty produced by organic elements crossing one another by sheer chance. The unveiling of rays of light touching asphalt, or the interaction between the natural laws of the weather and high-tech are all examples of the optic play she integrates in her immersive and harmonious artworks.
As she discusses her creation process, and her vision of the future of contemporary art and technology, Hitomi Sato expands on the role of the spectator’s intervention in achieving the release of resonances of one’s inner world and memories.
ArtPremium: What is the role of light in your artworks ?
Hitomi Sato“I treat the light as a medium. When we see the environment we see it through the light, which means that, as time goes by, it looks different, it changes, and you feel the time difference. But at that point, when we see the environment, we do not just see it—our body starts reacting and integrating into the particular environment. When you go back to daily life, there is so much information surrounding you that this body reaction doesn’t happen because the body is getting stiff. So what I am trying to do with the light is to release the tension of that stiff body, and I am trying to find out what is the best way to do it.”
The core essence of her art reveals itself in the tangibility and multi-sensorial experience. The temporal and spatial holistic approach in her Sense of Field (2016) work, a glimmering walkway packed with optic fibre-like radiant light film is telling of the artist’s interactive play with both the viewer and the artwork. “The audience has to feel”, and this sparking of body memory is the realisation of how the observer’s body will change when immersing itself into her optic and spatial illusion. Light, and especially natural light, has a polymorphic effect, and Hitomi Sato stresses on the freedom to choose the meaning we may find in the internal and physical involvement with the art piece, as a unique interaction, each time different.
Your installations immerse the viewer in your works while involving movement and touch. What is the role of the body in engaging ourselves with art?
Hitomi Sato : “Body involvement is very interesting because this happens without my intention in creating any particular object. There is no message in my art; I’d rather say that my art’s function is to nurture the mind and body of the observer, so that they can really define or feel their relationship between the inner and outer. Art is not just for the eyes, it is interesting for us, the creators, to make the audience understand that there are many ways to appreciate it using the five senses of the human body, including smelling, touching… The human body is great because it is not only the sight and the eyes which detect the walls surrounding you, the whole body is reacting to what they see and feel.”
What kind of colours do you usually tend to integrate and associate with light?
Hitomi Sato“My primary interest is in light, colour comes next. First of all, I am focusing on the light, and when I start focusing on the changes or metamorphose, then I think about the colour as a very subtle addition. I take great care when I choose the colours because, for me, it must be transparent, clear, and clean. I will not just use primary colours, but rather a subtle colour, which is closer to the light, to the sunlight.”
As a cascade of colorful panels hung from her installation Heart Washing Room, Hitomi Sato’s meticulous and elegant work engage with the landscape or urban architecture surrounding the artwork, taking into account the rhythm associated with the constant growing of a city or the dichotomic framework between order and disorder. As she explores the relationship between human beings and nature, her art forms a bridge between the outside and the inside, as a means to enhance the sense of feel. In Light of Temple that Sato created in a Buddhist temple out of an exquisite light phenomenon, she intents to recreate the serenity of being in a hut and feeling nature’s special beauty.
Thus, greatly inspired by the Japanese culture, she mentions the sunpou寸法(measurement) specific to the Japanese strict way of making regulated or customized actions, sharing the time, or judging collectively materials and things. The thorough Japanese control, patterns, keeping a distance is analogous to the fusuma, the Japanese sliding doors made of paper, whose primary function is to shut down the outside world while still being able to feel the slightest change of the environment, light or sound. Feeling this blurry and flexible limit between the inner energies and the external nature is what Hitomi Sato renews in her artworks.
Organic elements often play a role in your installations or objects. How do you establish relations between the natural environment and the universe through the human senses—also regarding the Komorebi effect?
“I am always interested in the human being. As you live, there is an accumulation of customs, for example common sense, which comes from all the information accumulated in one’s life. What I like to try is to release those elements from the human body and mind, and let the audience or observer be free from it. What I personally think about the modern world is that we are losing the archetype—the original, basic or fundamental things are now broken up. We lost the focal point and the point of reliance.
I am trying to evoke the primitive memories of the human being by causing the vibration which can connect us to the primitive or the cosmos. When you see the shimmering water or the komorebi—the light pouring through the tree leaves—we feel that it is such a lovely landscape. Yet, that kind of feeling started from the old archetypical memory, which maybe the primitive people also had. That, I think, is the vibration and the repetition of light and nature.”
ArtPremium: Through the influence of design you also use ordinary or plain materials in your different works. How do you integrate nature and design in your work? Is it a way to reconnect everyday objects with immaterial or spiritual senses?
Hitomi Sato“I think the process of making my art is more important, and especially regarding the materials. I am always trying to see things purely so that the materials shouldn’t be seen as materials. For example, if you take the example of acrylic, we sort of have a presumed concept that this thing is transparent and hard, but I intentionally tried to break that prejudice, just like the primitive people who have never seen acrylic before. So my main function and main concern is to deconstruct the already constructed concept and way of seeing.”
Hitomi Sato first studied architecture, without aiming to become an architect as she was more concerned about the performance space, the philosophical aspect of degeneration,“ how one piece a wall will affect the human being, and his mind and body,” and the Japanese unique way of sensing time and space. She continued her study in a graduate school with a major in science of design, where she studied basic theories of design and the Bauhaus. Her minimalistic design and various works have been exhibited in numerous countries since 2012, from a Wall exhibition in Bologna, Italy, to a project in Melbourne, Australia around the tea ceremony. Her more recent works are collaborations between architecture and art, as well as the study of the ever-present intricate relationship between individuals and nature. While exploring the three fields of art, architecture, and design, Hitomi Sato’s aesthetical aspiration is now to show the audience how to touch the light and to depict the morning sun.
Water & Ashes for Creative (R)Evolution: Art in the HK Protests
Kacey Wong, The Shield (performance), 2019
The exhibition in Paris is inspired by the plethora of recent creations by various artists and the Hong Kong public during the recent protests against police violence and authoritarianism. The leaderless movement and its fluid, innovative tactics in Hong Kong have impressed the world. The unwritten guiding principle of this decentralised movement, ‘Be Water’, was inspired by the legendary martial artist Bruce Lee’s philosophy, ‘Be formless, shapeless, like water…Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.’
Badiucao, Bruce Lee Lennon Wall (b), 2019
The majority of the artists contributing to the exhibition are from Hong Kong. Witnessing the struggle and suffering of the people in their hometown, they turned to art as their way of expression. In face of Hong Kong’s dwindling liberty, they are determined not to be silenced. Such determination echoes a popular quote among protesters from Jack London, renowned novelist, journalist and social activist, ‘I would rather be ashes than dust! …The function of man is to live, not to exist.’
Revolving around the fluidity of the movement and the resolute determination of protesters, Water and Ashes brings Hong Kong’s fight for freedom and democracy to Paris through a variety of mediums. Some artists and their works were directly involved in the protests—either performed live in protest areas, or as protest materials or interactive art, from Victoria Park to Hong Kong International Airport. Others, through poetry, photography, digital paintings and illustrations, present their perspectives and express their emotions as they watch their city burn. The exhibition also features works of a French artist and an American artist, testimony to fact that ideas are not only bulletproof but also go beyond boundaries.
Harcourt Romanticist, Our Vantage, 2019
What’s the drive for the explosion of creativity among the Hong Kong public and protesters? The relationship between resistance, consciousness, life, and creativity is at the heart of this exhibition’s philosophy. Resistance is something visible in protests while it is the major invisible force underlying the development of contemporary art—which is about resistance of what the traditions or authorities deem normal, matched with an insistence on thinking and expressing freely and out of the box. Therefore, resistance is about questioning the existing order. While the authorities accuse the Hong Kong protesters of instigating chaos in society, the real question is, ‘order is certainly contingent, but in relation to what’? Order is a constructed and fluid concept, which evolves and is criticised, challenged and modified throughout our human history. Questioning as well as a subversion of order, embedded with our creativity, does not imply a necessary antagonism between order and chaos, between norms and anomie; rather, it ensures our society to be free and open, enabling a genuine diversity of cultures and social orders.
Justin Wong, I See You, 2019
Consciousness is indispensable not only in any social changes, but also in creativity. As consciousness corresponds exactly to the living being’s power of choice and is coextensive with the fringe of possible action that surrounds the real action, consciousness is synonymous with invention and with freedom.
Philosopher Henri Bergson equates life with creation while creativity is central to life for Gilles Deleuze as what he called ‘becoming’. Thus, while political movement may be traumatic, the creativity out of this batter for freedom is leading to transformation of the social and art scenes. The exhibition is an initial attempt to witness such creative evolution, if not revolution.
Tommy Fung, Hungry Ghost Festival, 2019
Alcohol Salon, Hong Kong
Alice Kahei Yu, Hong Kong
Chan Sai Lok, Hong Kong
Diana Wege, United States
Fung Kin Fan, Hong Kong
Harcourt Romanticist, Hong Kong
Hector Bouhier, France
Him Lo, Hong Kong
Justin Wong, Hong Kong
Kacey Wong, Hong Kong
Lumli Lumlong, Hong Kong
Nicola Longobardi, Hong Kong
RC Team, Hong Kong
Tommy Fung, Hong Kong
Vivian Ho, Hong Kong
Water and Ashes for Creative (R)Evolution 3-7 December 2019 DOC, 26 rue du Dr Potain, 75019 Paris, France Vernissage | 3 December 2019, 6:30-9:30pm
Through her use of poetic and profound subject matter, Laura Berson is on a quest to figure out her position in the world in relation to the elements that surround us.
Specialising in portrait and landscape photography and having won multiple awards, Berson has a professional background as an actress, screenwriter, and filmmaker. Her work focuses on the treatment of pictorial and cinematographic light, in which she refers to the dramatic use of light explored by the Dutch and Flemish painters from the seventeenth and early eighteenth century as a source of inspiration. Her artistic practice explores how the body, mind and nature are all interconnected. There is an ever-present element of nature in her work that is related to macro- and micro-organisms, things we do not see, but things that exist, and how everything is connected yet somewhat disconnected at the same time. She tries to express all that she doesn’t know, what she feels as a human being and her perception of the world, in order to find the essence of something. Her conceptualised artistic practice allows her to play on forms by expressing the infinitely large and infinitely small.
From the series “Efni”, 2018, C-print. Courtesy of the artist.
Berson began practising photography at age 19, and it is through her sensitivity and softness that she is inclined to approaching themes around the body of women, mixing eroticism and fantasy, and conveying a subtle world in which strength and fragility are two sides of the same coin. Her landscapes are often a purified attempt to transcribe an architectural universe in which Man is erased by its smallness.
By orchestrating light and staging, she gives free reign to her sensibility and seeks to transcribe reality into a dreamlike and reassuring image. To dive out of everyday life allows her to better understand her positioning in the world from an objective point of view. Berson’s influence is varied, ranging from elements of the universe, nature, the environment, to how all of these overlap with one another in order to form a more complex system. Our position in the world and the footprint we leave on the environment are themes that are also explored, as well as how our bodies respond to illness. She is particularly attached to show that which we do not see, stating that some illnesses are not visible to the human eye at first glance, yet that doesn’t mean that the pain one is enduring does not exist, and to explore these ideas in an empathetic manner.
In 2013, she directed a documentary on identity and its relationship to art after having worked on various short films and clips as chief camera operator and assistant. Berson worked briefly in the fashion industry where she notes that we are all transcribing to unattainable ideals of what is considered the perfect body, or image, and that we are conditioned to think in certain ways through exploitation of these images. She felt a misconnection in the treatment of human beings, which led her to feel as though the industry was meaningless and sanitised. The true essence of what is meant to be human is lost, so in her work she tries to portray women (and human beings in general) as they really are, depicting them as imperfect while she steers away from stereotypes, showcasing their sensitivity and strength.
In October 2014 Berson recalls, “I came across an article about women who are sold as slaves in Iraq and Syria. It shocked me, even if this practice is not new. In early January 2015, I learned in a dreadful document from the Iraqi news agency Iraqinews (reported by the Parisian) of the prices these women are sold for, and how they are atrociously reduced to slavery. The novelty for me was that the sale price of these women was made public, official, written in black and white, and the older the woman, the less her worth. It’s as if they were advertised in some form of catalogue, except that the items are not clothes or furniture, but women of all ages. They are sold with a thirty-four-page “manual” on elaborate rape, like a product’s purchase notice. It’s easy to imagine for an object, much less for a human being. This instrumentalisation deeply shocked me”.
In response to this article, she presented a photo exhibition Ici et Maintenant at the Maison de la Mixité in Paris, alongside the association Ni Putes Ni Soumises. Inaugurated on 25th of November 2015, a day of struggle of violence against women, Ici et Maintenant showcases portraits of women and girls in light of the inhumane acts of certain cultures that still practice modern-day slavery. They are all depicted in the same fashion against a black background, where the women are dressed in a simple black T-shirt with a slate around their necks on which appears a price, and from time to time, a word. Their faces express a feeling of sadness, sorrow, despair, anger or incomprehension, symbolising the fact that women far too often have their identity stripped to a mere number and are treated as objects in society, and are considered inferior to that of men. The images in this series are presented as if it were someone you knew, to heighten the emotional attachment to the inexplicable ways, in which women are still treated in society today within certain cultures.
The artist and the series “Ici & Maintenant”, 2015, C-Print
Her work shares an interest in the investigation of identity and the place that each individual occupies in the world in relation to space, body, and consciousness. In her series Percipere, she experiments with a metaphysical doubt in a concrete way. The images pose certain questions, such as whether the body is connected to the mind, and reflect an impression of a world without meaning. The basis of the project lies in the way in which reality is constructed; a process in which our five senses intervene, and in a disorganised manner, cause our perception to change. This phenomenon referred to as derealisation, which simply put, is a disorder in which we perceive the self and the environment in a strange way. She raises this sense of not belonging to the world and the need to find a balance between these two points.
From the series “Le mythe d’Endomètre”, 2018, C-Print. Courtesy of the artist.
Berson was heavily influenced by the contemplative slowness of the film ‘The Sacrifice’ by Russian director Tarkovsky in her series Zhertva. She reflects this ambiance in her work through an ever-present solemn element, and tries to transcribe this feeling of loneliness that is felt in the film, with the main character being on a quest for the meaning of life surrounded by elements of nature which are always present but in unusual ways. It explores how everything is connected yet somewhat disconnected at the same time, and how our relationship to the body and our relationship to the world are deeply intertwined. She articulates a physical space and a lived space, with our experiences of life being both concretely and culturally constructed within our environment, and poses the question as to how the body is built in relation to the space we inhabit in the world.
Berson’s photographic practice is identified as a search for the essence of something, an identity we can prescribe to, in relation to that which we are surrounded by, in which multiple realities are possible. She invites the viewer to explore the sensitivities to her varied subject matters in an ethereal manner.
For his solo exhibition show, WHAT MY I’S HAVE SEEN, Koby Martin, Ghanaian-born painter, (b.1988) based in London, is collaborating with both The Who Gallery and Disturbing London for his most personal and intimate exhibition to date.
After revealing to his audience his most innermost thoughts about the tragic death of this Father through his previous show ASIAMAH, Koby will be continuing to divulge the depths of his mind to visually portray, through the medium of painting, a very humanistic outlook on his own life.
He is dealing with darker themes of depression, turmoil, and uncertainty in balancing contrast to the theme of hope and light. He is able to capture and reach out to his audience on a fundamentally primitive level denoting his ability to depict the vulnerable and emotional state of the human mind.
His unique styles have brought him to the attention of the British art scene as well as numerous commercial audiences through his collaboration with notable brands such as Mercedes- Benz.
Dancing with fear
WHAT MY I’S HAVE SEEN November 28- December 1, 2019 The Who Gallery, London, UK
How is art transcending the artist’s historical and physical creative action? Dutch artist Berend Strik’s ongoing project Deciphering the Artist’s mind is the unfinished travel initiated in 2012 around past and present art memory, taking form in an immense body of photography artworks.
Since the visit of Manhattan studio of Marcel Duchamp, Strik has been taking for photography subjects these particular private places, where the energies and vibrations of the creative process suddenly reveal their history through the eyes of the Dutch artist. Photographing parts of the studio architectural space, Strik prints his work and adds multi-layered narratives through colored textiles stitched on the surface, composing a completely transformed work. Informative, interpretative, a tribute to influential figures, his three-dimensional photographs are like a mise en abyme, the capture of an exclusive moment of exchange between Strik and the different artists while conveying a personal theoretical reflexion on art.
Deciphering the Artist Mind – Studio W.D.K.
The international artists of each 68 studios visited by Berend Strik, – be them contemporaries or renowned past art history figures, like the studios of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, John Baldessari, Martha Rosler, and others – are dimly present in the works at a phantasmagoric level. He demonstrates the intemporality of the creator’s soul, absent from the studio but still existing in the dialogue he establishes with the electrifying resonance of the studios’ creation memory.
Revolving his problematics around the myths of art creation, he endeavors to converse with the genius consecutively coming into being, artwork after artwork, in an intimate physical setting. The magic of the studio appropriated by the photograph is thus an endless investigation of the artistic mind projected into reality, and the seemingly impossible quest to conjure up the artists’ essence.
Deciphering the Artist Mind – Studio W.D.K.
In the continuity of the ambitious photography project, Berend Strik is pursuing the project with a book Deciphering the Artist’s mind designed by the internationally famous Dutch graphic designer Queen of Books Irma Boom. Promising to be a “real oeuvre d’art”, the illustrations of the book associated with Berend Strik texts and with Marja Bloem will offer new narratives and a complementary outlook to his artwork. Completed with a conversation of Berend Strik with selected artists, the book will be published in spring 2020.
Corinne Timsit and Berend Strik are announcing their collaboration on current and future projects.
Berend Strik was born in Nijmegen, The Netherlands in 1960, and lives and works in Amsterdam. He has exhibited in numerous art galleries, solo exhibition shows, and major art institutions (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Tilton Gallery: New York, 5th Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon…) and is present in large collections (The Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Museum de Lakenhal, Leiden and Haags Gemeente Museum, S’Gravenhage).
Miguel Chevalier Digital Supernova at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez
Chevalier will be exhibiting a new generative virtual reality installation. Thirty different colored networks of light, combine with beautiful pictures explosions of massive stars and supernova remnant, develop one after the other. For this monumental creation between art and science, Miguel Chevalier worked with astrophysicist Fabio Acero, a specialist in supernova remnant to create a virtual reality projection that brings viewers outside of their reality and transcend the walls of the church to the projected astral heavens above.
In part with the Siècle Soulages, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez will present the large-scale art installation of renowned digital artist— Miguel Chevalier. The exhibition titled Digital Supernova, will be on view from August 8-18 on the vaults, ogives, and transepts of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez in Rodez, France— an exhibition from a larger program of events celebrating 100 years of the artist Pierre Soulages. Chevalier previously showed another installation Pixels Noir in April at the Soulages Museum as another event of this program.
The installation combines not only Chevalier’s recognizable generative realities and light networks but also brings viewers into this virtual world through the music of Jacopo Baboni Schilingi, Adam Bernadac, and for the opening — Frédéric Deschamps. A long collaborator, Schilingi has worked hand in hand on numerous installs by Chevalier. Combining visual visions and fantasies with music audiences are brought into the seemingly endless astral realms of Chevalier’ universe in the gothic structures of the cathedral.
Installation View of Digital Supernova at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez.
Enthusiasts of Chevalier may find Digital Supernova reminiscent of his 2015 installations Complex Meshes and Dear World… Yours, Cambridge installation in Durham Cathedral and King’s College Chapel in England. It seems Chevalier, following his theme of expansion and generation developed the original idea further in this upcoming presentation. Viewers be in awe of the astral projections and then find themselves noticing the intricacies of Chevalier’s displays with the light networks they are projected through— adding complexity and depth.
Chevalier has long been influenced by patterns, networks, and systems that reveal themselves through nature. This is evident through installations such as Extra-Natural and Trans-Nature. Arguably most representative of this theme could be Fractal Flowers a giant virtual garden that evolves to ad infinitum. Chevalier refers to this work as a garden which show his constant reflection and reference back to nature. This balance between nature and computer generation are what give Chevalier his distinct aspect of surrealism. Showing us the realities and systems of nature through computer generation, Chevalier acts as a figurative translator. His works are able to serve as evidence of reality explaining these systems and fundamentally meta. Digital Supernova shows us the extents to Chevaliers interests in nature and generative worlds on a new, astronomic level .
Digital Supernova August 8-18, 2019 Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rodez, Rodez, France
Carlos W. Desrosiers: The Experience, an immersive exhibition in Paris
“When a piece is done, it always feels like a complete song to me.
There is no more instruments, notes, or tones needed.“
Carlos W. Desrosiers’ upcoming exhibition from June 23 to July 31 at VOS Paris challenges the status quo of exhibiting art on limited formulated canvas. The American self-taught artist from New York presents The Experience, revealing his original 9 paintings from his “What you see” The collection splashing out from their core basis and becoming materially alive in the entire space.
Liberated from its frame, the vitality of the painting invades the room on various supports, which results in an augmented viewing experience. Like independent phenomenons emerging from the original work of his paintings, his ‘Figures’ take up space on the windows or walls. Fragments are hanged to the ceiling, while three-dimensional sculptural unities become autonomous living organisms. The jumping off point art piece multiplies itself through an explosion into other lives in the exhibition.
Through an organic body of work of installations, photographs, signed multiples, or prints, the artist cultivates his aesthetic of vibrant colors surge. He incorporates writings and natural elements as energies that assist the work in the creative process.
The exhibition is accompanied by music as a means to awaken awareness for the vibrations of the art. The artist becomes aware of the completion of the work when it resonates wholly, as both music and art can touch a higher frequency. The colors tones he applies frenetically, like music notes dancing on the drawings, interact with what is true to the soul, and trigger all the senses.
On the main original canvas, the thick layers of paint are the essence of his “panning technique”, a process usually associated with audio recording. Infinitely adjustable and rotative, his works exceed the fixed gaze and suggest an expansive view and endless possibilities of interpretations.
The Experience is thus incredibly immersive and takes the individual into the heart of the latter’s self universe. Moving forms devoid of a figurative depiction, his collection of paintings morphs depending on what resonates to the viewer’s subconscious. Carlos W. Desrosiers is adamant about knowing what people perceive in his abstract landscapes, unfolding what is beyond our past and life experiences. He always seeks to manifest a different reality with innovative perspectives, and to truly engage with the everyday curious onlooker, stating that his work is “a clear mirror of self for the observer.”
Carlos W. Desrosiers’ artistic expression hinges indeed upon this notion of movement and collective subconscious. His genius resides in his creative power and spiritual overview, his belief that every object of the world possesses innate wisdom. Before considering himself as an artist 6 years ago, he had an inner desire to transfer his knowledge of the mind and “the esoteric and healing power of men” into a tangible way to awaken humanity.
Very passionate about all healing techniques including Taoism, self-development, and kinesiology, he was impacted from a young age by the “healing world” as his father is a naturopathic doctor. His thirst for knowledge, the consciousness of his self-awakening paved the way for the discovery of his real duty as an artist, and each crafted piece revealed him new techniques.
When first meditating on art history, he felt an immediate connection with Jackson Pollock’s artistic splattering as an intuitively free and uncontrollable process. What Carlos W. Desrosiers calls his “subconscious reprogramming” techniques takes on form in the painting act through losing control of his hands, leaving the physical element and unlocking his hidden potential.
“Beautiful images emerge out of the erratic and out of the chaos”
With parents coming from Haiti to America, Carlos W. Desrosiers was born in New York City in 1988. While not having an economically privileged background, Desrosiers worked at a golf course for 12 years only to later be emerged into the world of Rap music as an A&R manager at the age of 17. Developing a strong rapport with artist and working on different projects and albums, Desrosiers quickly became a key component to artists and their recording process. He has been evolving in the highest spheres of the Rap/Trap music industry, being very close to top renowned artists like Rihanna, Travis Scott, and Migos.
He created in 2012 his first body of art still in progress named “What You See Collection Private Experience” including over 20 artworks exhibited at Art Basel Miami and at The Fearless Artist Art Basel Pop Up Gallery in December 2015. His “Living abstract” body of artworks and murals were shown in Lower East Side Manhattan, New York City in February 2016.
The Experience by Carlos W. Desrosiers From 23 June to 31 July 2019 VOS Paris 21 avenue Kleber 75016 Paris
Bringing together historical narratives of the West and the Middle East and to demonstrate the cultural richness of Bahrain, Mayasa Al Sowaidi will be presenting her series“Art of Tea” in collaboration with Corinne Timsit Art Advisory (CT2A). More than 20artworks will be exhibited in this exploration of the theme of tea, its transcendence and essence through its transformation as a tool for artistic creation and expression.
Mayasa Al Sowaidi builds metaphorical bridges between the art of ceremonial tea-tasting and aesthetical and visual art. Artifact of everyday life, tea is nevertheless one of the most fundamental products of globalization, historically significant and culturally important as a ritual experience, also spiritual, creating social unity.
“Tea is a drink of rich heritage. Just as a collage relies on the recycling of used materials, so the tea leaves were given another chance at immortality, by affixing them onto a canvas for us to taste in another form, to sip art differently.”
Like papyrus or parchments, the tea leaves are fully integrated on the eroded canvas, colored in imitation of the brewing water. Tea bags are covered by recurring motifs of static birds anchored on branches, or keys and locks images. They reveal themselves as symbols of freedom to reach in our materialistic world of over-consumption, as human beings or ‘non-beings’ reduced to numbers.
Mayasa Al Sowaidi had also been part of the Bahrain Art Week 2018 at the Grand Palais, showcasing many artists of the Bahrain art scene, growing with emerging talents and artistic energy. Far from misconceptions, the important position of women artists in Bahrain is not new, regarding the cultural and unique specificity of the island country globally renowned for its natural pearl production. While men went fishing for months to find pearls, the country’s responsibility was left to the female population who still hold today a great power in the society.
Not solely a self-taught painter, Mayasa Al Sowaidi also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Bahrain and is currently completing her doctorate – with her research paper focusing on emotional intelligence – at the Management School of Grenoble, France.
The artist explores in her artistic practice since 2005 her own freedom of expression and creativity, and the notions of harmony, balance, and order as components of her apparent fragile collages. Her pieces reflect her skills as a writer as well as that of an artist, each telling a unique story.
Currently exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Federico Herrero has taken over the two-story entrance of the MCA space, with his Alphabet project – a recurring motif of communicative and playful patches of colours from the wall to the reflection of coloured lights on the ground.
After a 10 months joint collaboration with the museum through an impressive mural installation, the occasion for an immersion into the colours and the vibrations of the room will soon be ending. Until May 5 2019 the international Costa Rican artist invites the visitor to penetrate the new environment created with enticing pastel colour blocks reminiscent of the flora and fauna of Herrero‘s tropical birthplace.
Observable from the painted windows of the atrium, the city’s buildings are covered and transformed with the artist bright blue, yellow, orange filters. The swift change of season in Chicago allows for a continuously mutable exploration of the relationship between nature and public urban culture, between art and social life.
Born in 1978 in the midst of the natural density of San Jose, Herrero was influenced by graffiti and urban art, media, and everyday city art but also recalls color field painters and Central America muralist tradition. From his first notoriety at the 2001 Venice Biennale as a young artist, his artwork gradually progressed into more abstract and less figurative forms. The artist has developed his oeuvre from canvas paintings to mural and monumental pieces, usually breaking free from the wall space, challenging usual space restrictions like grounds, corners, ceilings, and windows, in his artistic expression of a chaotic and joyful landscape.
Although his paintings first appear as patterns of geometrical drawings or as the mental forms of a mapping process, his idea of linguistic chromatic shapes in the Alphabet exhibition comes across as the perception of living, “jumping from place to place” pigments, crossing boundaries and giving new life and vividness to the environment. He uses a conventional painting technique to produce a multicolored and visual sign language in order to engagingly interact with the architecture and the city of Chicago- directly through formal colours.
One of the world’s largest museum, the MCA was founded in 1967 and offers inventive displays for new contemporary artists, with a permanent collection including more than 2,000 works. The current installation is organized by MCA Associate Curator José Esparza and Pamela Alper Associate Curator.
Today, Herrero’s wide range of artworks can be seen worldwide from numerous exhibitions in museums or galleries to public installations and he has become one of the major figures in the Latin America contemporary art scene. This October he will be exhibiting at the James Cohan Gallery while his future solo shows will take place in Brazil at the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro in August 2019 and in São Paulo at the Pivô art center in 2020. In his native San José, Herrero will also show his projects at the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica in 2020.
Shai Kremer is an Israeli artist born in 1974. He studied at the Camera Obscura School of Arts in Tel Aviv where he obtained his M.A, later on going to the School of Visual Arts in New York where he obtained his Masters of Fine Arts. His artistic practice spans from landscape photography to more experimental creations such as his series Perception. His work was exhibited in reputable art fairs like Art Basel Miami, Art Chicago, Les Rencontres d’Arles, Paris Photo, The Armory Show, Tseva Tari and more. His work has been nominated to numerous prizes such as the BMW Paris Photo Prize, the Henri Cartier Bresson Award, the HSBC Photography prize, and has won the Photo Folio Review Prize at les Rencontres d’Arles. Furthermore, his works are in prestigious collections like in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Art collection, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Tel Aviv Museum collection, the Musée de la Roche-sur-Yon collection and more.
Atomic Mushroom, 2017
Raida Adon’s work explores women’s condition and concepts such as belonging, border and the limitations of the body. In her videos she recurs to the colour red and black embodying death and femininity. She was born in Acre, Israel in 1972 and assisted the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Her first exhibition was in 1996 at the Artists House in Tel Aviv. Aside from her artistic career, Adon is also an actress working for television, theater and the film industry. In 2008, she won the Minister of Culture and Education Prize for Palestinian Art and in 2011 the Minister of Education Prize for most prominent Israeli Artist.
Artist Michal Na’aman was born in 1951 at the Kvutzat Kinneret in Israel. Her oeuvre, often described as pertaining to conceptual art, delve in issues such as language and gender. She studied at the art College of Ramat Hasharon and later obtained her Bachelor of Arts at the Tel Aviv University. Her first solo exhibition was called “Vai Hai Oh” at the Yodfat Gallery in Tel Aviv in 1975. She continued to showcase her work all over the world in countries such as the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, England, Italy, and more. She has won several prices and scholarships such as the Meir Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture in 1998, the Jacques and Eugenie O’Hana Prize for a Young Israeli Artist in 1981, the Sandberg Prize for Israeli Art in 2002, the Israeli Prize in the field of visual arts in 2014 and many others. Her work is in museum collections like the Tel Aviv Museum and the Israel Museum among other private collections. Since 2005, she is associate professor at the Midrasha Art School of Art in Kalmania.
Death of the Savior has Arrived, 2006, oil and masking tape on canvas, 130 x 100 cm.
Tanya Preminger is a Russian artist living and teaching in Israel since 1972. She studied at the Surikov Academy Arts where she obtained her M.A in Sculpture. Her grandiose sculptures can be ascribed as land art as they engage organic materials and are to be found on the outdoors. She has participated in numerous residencies like at the Houston University residency program in the United States (2002), the residency program at the Pedvale Art Museum in Latvia (2009) or the Artis Grant for the Setuchi Triennale in Japan among others. Her work has been displayed in numerous international exhibitions in countries such as Argentina, Japan, South Korea, Italy, China, Russia and more.
Death of the Savior has Arrived, 2006, oil and masking tape on canvas, 130 x 100 cm.
Fatma Shanan Dery
Fatma Shanan Dery’s oeuvre focuses on realistic, large scale paintings where she depicts the village of Dreuze in Israel. Born in 1986, she studied at the Oranim College in Israel and with the artist Eli Shamir. She participated in numerous residency programs such as the Home Base Project in Jerusalem in 2014, the ArtPort residency in 2016 and the Peleh Fund Residency in California in 2017. In 2013 she won the Pais Culture Council Grant for her solo exhibition “a single Continuum”, the Artis project grant in 2016, the Haim Shiff Prize for Figurative-Realist art given by the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2016 and more. Among other collection, her work pertains to the Israel Museum collection, the Luna Art Fund in Tel Aviv and New York, the Rivka Saker and Uri Zucker collection and others.
Contemporary Israeli artist Sigalit Landau explores Judaic symbols and Israel’s history. Via her artistic practice, the audience understands and is instructed on the current state of mind of the artistic ecosystem.
Tucked in the far right corner of the image, dressed in motley, specked with black dots is the artist duo Anthony Aziz and Samuel Cucher in clowning disguise as the silent observers in the woven chaos of Aporia. This iconography is a recurring motif to Aziz + Cucher’s work ever since its first appearance in their self-reflective work By Aporia, Pure and Simple in 2012 rather as an answer as artists to the question “how proceed?”. A significant culmination of their 26-year career and their aesthetic, Aziz + Cucher fully assumes their role as fools and as the vehicle to the viewer’s understanding of the truth to the realities of living.
Unassuming and ethereal, a peacock is captured in its full virility, in a moment of majestic sexual dominance surrounded at the same time by ritualistic ruins and modern urbanisation. Within a barren field, a bed of dandelions sprouted in the midst of figures screaming in silent, excruciating pain as if writhed by some other-worldly, imposing force. Five sheep look on as people hurry on with their nylon bags in search for a better settlement. The beasts’ docile innocence starkly contrasts with the ignorance of the selfie-takers. This is the aesthetic of violence prevalent in Anthony Aziz’s and Samuel Cucher’s tapestries – hypocrisy in our modern way of living, corruption of our natural habitat.
In Aziz + Cucher (A+C)’s Some People Tapestry Cycle (2014-2016), digital images taken from the duo’s travels to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, and countries within the Balkans are electronically woven by their collaborators Magnolia Editions into Jacquard tapestries. The symbolic meanings to be studied in the featured animals, the Renaissance composition, and its employment to depict battlefields remain faithful to the historical functions of tapestry. Yet, in a stroke of genius, A+C’s artistic report on the current belligerent sentiments gives the medium a contemporary revitalisation, moving a topic so blatantly political onto the stage of an Absurdist theatre.
The violence in A+C’s work stems from the uncanny; it is the sight of familiar objects put in extraordinary circumstances. Considering A+C’s audience, they are the people who frequent the contemporary art milieu. Therefore, when we see building cranes in the background and ceremonial carvings on the wall in The Visitor, the peculiar positions that the figures are in with bags on their heads in The Road or limp bodies lying on the ground in Some People, our associative brains recall the horrific imageries perpetuated in the news. The effect of anxiety or even agoraphobia that plagues every single person in our globalised society does not require the artists to be specific like their predecessors, Paolo Uccello’s The Battle of San Romano (1440) comes to mind, but rather this question of land, home and humanity is mythicised and becomes universal in their tapestry.
Retrospectively, the evolution of A+C’s previous photographic and video oeuvre constructs a condition unique to their way of shaping the uncanny. Fairly early on in their first collaboration, Faith, Honor and Beauty (1992) evokes a strong sense of malevolence in how society views the human body. We see the subjects as the canon of beauty, yet there is a chilling impression to the photographs because the figures are without their sexual organs. The confrontation towards censorship in art, which was extremely polemical during the 90s culture wars in the United States, using literal self-censorship in their work was the first step A+C took to question the origins of our fears. From the dissolution of the body to the eeriness of the mechanical flesh in Plasmorphica (1997) and in Chimera (1998), to the architectural abstraction in Interiors (1999-2000), and again to the ecstasy, hallucinatory imagery in Synaptic Bliss (2003-05) and Scenapse (2007-2013),we see a trajectory against figuration or even anthropocentrism.
However, a turning point came in 2006 in the form of the Israeli-Hezbollah War. With family ties in both Israel and Lebanon, the sense of ridicule and helplessness in the present complicated political realities gave impetus to A+C’s donning of the garb of jesters. While the duo confesses the self-deprecating image of the costumes, the interpretation runs deeper. The quintessential Shakespearean fool is a device, a motor that goes beyond giving comic relief to tragedies, but instead rendering deeply complex and traumatic scenes more understandable in their metaphorical resemblance to reality. The physical intervention of the A+C clowns, the artists’ departure from abstraction, and their subsequent change in the support of expression to tapestry in 2014 mark the duo’s questioning of the nature of power and the value of humanity sitting on this house of cards.
The unique tactility and the almost relief sensation in A+C’s design metamorphoses the moment captured in their digital images into sequences of movements.
This effective medium defines itself between the closeness and the distance with the viewer. The unique tactility and the almost relief sensation in A+C’s design metamorphoses the moment captured in their digital images into sequences of movements. The solemnity yet mystic fleeting fragility of the textile adds to the fear of contact dictated by the unspoken decorum in exhibitions and the romance of art. It is in itself essentially a symbol of the empty shell of power woven centuries after centuries.
Look closely at the tapestry Aporia, there is a severe expression of anxiety in the work’s narration: jet fighters across the tinged blue sky, scenes of struggle in the foreground, and undescriptive flags and gibberish signs waving in mid air. The centralised triangle with the male figure in a worker’s jumpsuit and a surgical mask as the apex of the tension and in the composition is unceremoniously skewed by the two odd figures on the right. The artists, as clowns, have the function of exposition in this storyline. They are not a physical demonstration of the silliness of the conflict, but rather a statement of truth, of the existence of such a conflict, the essence of which comes from us, the viewers looking at our reality in the third person perspective, from us looking at these figures as aliens and that we are aliens to them as well. While fools are a most unostentatious character in a play with a most pitiful ambition, it is through this pretense that A+C achieve catharsis in their personal tragedies and through which we, the viewers, recognise the cynicism of our phenomenal world.
In our post-reality consciousness, all acts are political. Such is a great point of contention in the realm of the arts. In a moment of consideration, contemporary art can oscillate between propaganda and a reflection over calm waters. Ever since their first project together, Aziz + Cucher never cease to position their art in the current cultural and collective psyche, yet the relentless sensation of sterility muffles all conspicuous or personal commentary. Their ongoing tapestry series presents an even more eloquent demonstration of an abject anxiety under our warring times. The tapestry medium, from its historical to contemporary usages and manifestations, transmutes the inherent stirrings of the human soul into lasting forms.