Reboot – Antwerp MoMu – mode museum/ FOMU

Antwerp is a fashion tourist destination and MoMu, one of its’ major landmarks.  An exhibition of the work of Olivier Theyskens, She walks in Beauty captures the evolution of a very original aesthetic. You can see his influence on or a poetic aesthetic in the work of Antwerp designer, Ann Demeulemeester.  Works are poetic and ones done even twenty years ago, retain their originality.

If you take a walk along the river, you will find Antwerp Foto Museum, where there’s a great exhibition, Ai Weiwei – Mirror which is both funny and serious. Also a very insightful exhibition, Ebifananyi – Andrea Stultiens Andrea Stultiens  with work based in Africa.

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Blog reboot – Antwerp and beyond.

Rebooting this blog on a trip to Europe after doing an art blog for the past year.

Antwerp is home to the Antwerp Six, Belgium’s most influential avant grade fashion designers. It’s also a city that has everything that a larger city has but without the hassle, with  a population of around half a million inhabitants. It has street cars and is flat and is easy to walk around. When walking around at night you can come across these random video projections about refugees!

 

The river is a surprise in a raw, industrial way. The food is great – quite French but also mid-European. The Stadsschouwburg Antwerpen is a dramatic, looking affair designed by Studio Associato Secchi-Vigano (Milan, Italy). They also have a Zaha Hadid designed Port Authority building overhanging the river which isn’t covered here. The Photo Museum has some great exhibits.

 

At the Galleries-April

With The National 2017, New Australian Art, at three venues, there’s a lot going on. Not just the National but some other great exhibitions as well.

Fiona Hall, Gateless Gate, at Roslyn Oxley, 12 April – 13 May 2017.

This is a very intense show comprising different media – bronze sculptures, glass, cuckoo clocks, long case clocks, water colours, installations, photographs. Syria is the over riding theme. There are numerous interpretations and meticulous cataloguing of the multifarious dimensions of the impact of this conflict and its’ drivers. This is very Fiona Hall – you enter into her world. Rather than a series of separate conversations this is one big one with several participants involved. It is a consuming, spooky and draining experience.

Jonny Niesche, Love-light and Nicola Smith, A whole Night, at Sarah Cottier, 20 April – 20 May 2017.

No wonder Jonny Niesche and Nicola Smith are such a relief. Niesche’s immersive colourfield work is mesmerising and calming. Nicola’s takes on black and white movies are as immersive as films. Serial images play out in different scenarios, emotively evoking moments lost, forgotten.

Around the galleries – February

There are two great shows across the road from each other in the Trumper Park gallery area of Paddington.

Matthys Gerber at Sarah Cottier Gallery 10 February – 11 March 2017.

Back in the 1980’s, Nederlands born,  Sydney resident, Matthys Gerber was doing massive paintings of babies’ faces that charismatically dominated rooms. He’s still doing confronting postmodernist work except with more clarity. This is a great exhibition of looking though and out of templates into, merging photography with abstraction and expressionism.

Tamara Dean at Martin Brown Contemporary – 2-26 February 2016. Instinctual

A soothing and poignant escape into landscapes and rituals, glimpses into lives of some very free people immersed in these landscapes. Reflections, bird tattoos flying on bodies, sky-peering. Questions arise from of these constructed photographic views of what, where, why and how the people are in these places; floating, walking, giving themselves to  the space and places that Tamara evokes.

 

More of Melbourne, 2017

No matter how often you go to Melbourne there is always more to discover. This may be  a cliche for any city but it’s may also be an indicator of a healthy one; there’s always change and growth happening.

Here’s some recent discoveries during the 2017 Australian Open Tennis Championship. At the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) there’s a challenging show of Viktor & Rolf’s work and a seductive mirrored piece in the main foyer.

Beach in Barrangaroo Cutting

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Go to the beach where you’ll be burnt to a crisp?  During the Sydney Festival you can go to a sandless, cool and refreshing Beach under the shade of the sandstone cutting at Barangaroo. The 800 mm deep water is an installation made from 1.1 million refreshing white recycled polyethylene balls. Snarkitecture, a New York-based art and architecture collaborative practice are the brains and creative force behind this major free event. Last year there was Ephemeral City which was in the same location and very hard to beat, but this is really fun and you can really throw yourself into it and find it very hard to get out. Whilst there are no life savers there are a lot of helping hands and selfies galore.

This Australian exclusive event is free for all ages between 10:00am – 5:00pm Tuesdays to Sundays (closed Mondays). Last admission for free entry is at 3:30pm. On until 29 January 2017.

Around the galleries – November

On exhibition at  Sarah Cottier Gallery are two artists whose work are both ephemeral and transcendental, Koji Ryui‘s ‘A-UN’ and ‘Singing Vessels’ series and Sandra Selig ‘Air Pieces’. The experience of coming across Ryui’s work is like entering into a room full of antiquities which is filled with the sounds of Tibetan singing bowls. Tiny unglazed ceramic heads with mouths open (A) or closed (UN) play silent songs to each other. The rawness of the clay contrasts with the eclectic placement of scraps of playful, random materials like Christmas tinsel. A central table displays upturned glasses with bowls and vases or vessels with rods used to create the singing of the bowls. The sound is another layer that transforms these everyday objects into something else. Though separate, the two installations work together also as a binary.

Sandra Selig work has architectural and space-making qualities about it. The rectangular field of suspended rods play with light and movement. With the cut our figure grounds in yellow and red on the wall, again there is a binary contrast at work here.

Exhibition on at Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney, 18th November – 17th December 2016.

Customs House spirographs of colour

When you see layers of multi-coloured ribbons streaming and layering down from above the first thought that comes to mind is ‘Spirograph’. Apparently ‘Spirograph’ is still available to draw those gyrating patterns with but Megan Geckler Studio’s version in Customs House for Art & About is like a 3D version of it. It takes up the volume of the central atrium descending from the ceiling and spreading out onto a frame above ground level. Each pice of tape is critically positioned to create subtlety layers of graduating colours and rhythms.

As you move around the piece you sense a rainbow of  movement. With the light coming though from glass ceiling there an ethereal lightness to it all and a wonderful sense of space.”The end result resembles an updated three-dimensional version of string art that shares the seemingly kinetic territory of the Op Art and Light+Space movements. These site-specific projects are also strongly influenced by minimalism, but retain a sense of play and delight”.(From Megan heckler studio website).

On 17 November 2016- 30 April 2017

Tatsuo Miyajima at the Museum of Contemporary Art

This is a magical exhibition of digital numbers – floating, swimming, clicking, transforming – in every imaginable  permutation. Tatsuo Miyajima  “Connect with Everything”includes sculptures, installations, water ponds, windows and rooms by one of  Japan’s leading contemporary artists.  Watching the train go round the huge pile of coal with its flickering numbers embedded in it is quite mesmerising and references the people cargo trains of Nazi Germany. The room with a ceiling of suspended lights/numbers with cushions to lie in and gaze at the constellations is ethereal. Using a basic building block of digital numbers he creates digital sketches about time, place, space, past , present and future.

 

Latest at the galleries

Robyn Stacey’s intriguing photographic compositions at Still’s Gallery Dark Wonder, comprise the outer worlds of rooms being projected into the rooms themselves. Using camera obscura, Stacey transforms and adds alternate dimensions to these spaces. They appear almost to flesh out the characters of the people whose rooms they relate to.                  8 October to 5 November 2016

At Martin Brown Contemporary, it is refreshing to see work from quite a different perspective. This is Vietnamese, Pham Luc‘s first exhibition in Sydney. He is one of Vietnam’s most important modern artists. Showing with him (but not shown here) is Savanhdary Vongpoothorn based on retelling of the Ramayana set in Laos rather than the Ganga. Till October 23, 2016

Jamie North‘s exhibition at Sarah Cottier Gallery, that just finished uses his now recognisable materials and ideas. He typically uses industrial waste materials with native Australian flora to create worlds within worlds.

At the group show at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, the artists are covering a lot of ground.From the rejuxaposed found object pieces by Bill Culbert and Jim Lambie to Dale Franks’s luminescent billboard-sized pieces, there is a lot to be absorbed in. What artists can do with plastic bottles, bicycle wheels and potato bags are spatially and aesthetically intriguing pieces. Till 14 October, 2016.