Friday, July 15, 2011

The Life and Death of Marina Abramović - 9 - 16 July 2011 The Lowry

Manchester International Festival and Teatro Real Madrid present the world premiere of a startling new piece for the stage: The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, a biography of the godmother of performance art, re-imagined by visionary director Robert Wilson.
The show features scenes from Abramović’s life and career, from her Serbian childhood to her work as a performance artist. Featuring original and traditional music, including songs written and performed by the incomparable Antony (Antony & The Johnsons), this ground-breaking show brings together the worlds of theatre, art and music to thrilling effect.
The Life and Death of Marina Abramović is a once in a generation cultural event, starring Marina Abramović, Willem Dafoe and an international cast of actors and performance artists.
This is the first Robert Wilson production to be seen in the UK since The Temptation of St. Anthony in 2005.
We are pleased to welcome Robert Wilson to the Festival for his first UK show in five years, and to bring Marina and Antony back to Manchester following their appearances here in 2009. 'The Life and Death of Marina Abramović’ is a good expression of what MIF was created for – new work made by some of the world’s leading artists.’ Alex Poots, Festival Director

The opera art form needs to develop new ways forward for the future. This could mean, of course, new composers but also projects developed by great visual artists, actors or singers who do not necessarily need to be opera singers. For sure, Antony, for example, brings a lyricism that in conjunction with Bob Wilson and Marina Abramović will make this production a real opera, just as Monteverdi would have loved.

Gerard Mortier, Artistic Director, Teatro Real Madrid

Tatsuo Miyajima: Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust @ UCCA - Beijing

Tatsuo Miyajima: Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

For leading Japanese contemporary artist Tatsuo Miyajima, numbers are both figurative and abstract, symbolizing a vast realm of existential possibilities, the eternal nature of space and time, and the infinite cycle of life, death and rebirth. His core artistic concepts ("Keep Changing", "Connect with All", and "Goes on forever") are derived from Buddhist philosophy, while his methods and materiel (LED counters, computers, electrical circuits, projection video) are informed by the latest technologies.

Anish Kapoor Pulls China Exhibition

Anish Kapoor Pulls China Exhibition

China Exhibition Cancelled As Protest To Ai Weiwei Detention

The Britain sculptor Anish Kapoor known for his monumental mirror finished public works has cancelled an upcoming exhibition at the National Museum of China, Beijing. The statement comes as a protest against the Chinese government’s detention of Ai Weiwei, the dissident artist and social critic who has been in custody for the last two months since he was arrested and detained by the Chinese authorities..
Kapoor had been asked by the British Council to compile an exhibition for the National Museum in Tiananmen Square as part of the “UK Now” festival later next year. A spokeswoman for Mr. Kapoor, who was scheduled to travel to Beijing to get the process rolling, announced that the plans had been canceled. British Council chief executive Martin Davidson said he was hopeful that the project would go ahead."It is through cultural exchange that we best demonstrate the benefits of free artistic expression and build supportive links between people in the UK and China".
Mr. Kapoor has been a frequent critic against Mr. Ai’s detention and dedicated a recent public work in Paris to him. Ai, a constant thorn in the side of Chinese authorities, was detained in Beijing on April 3 as he tried to board a flight to Hong Kong and remains under house arrest. He is under investigation for "economic crimes" and relatives of the artist say they do not know where he is although his family have been allowed a short meeting to verify his well being.

The Lisson Gallery in London who represent both Ai Weiwei and Anish Kapoor stated that "it would send mixed messages to China" if Kapoor agreed to a cultural exchange at this time. Kapoor has been an outspoken critic of Mr Ai's arrest. On 10 May, when he opened his Leviathan installation at the Grand Palais in Paris, he dedicated it to the Chinese artist, describing his detention as “barbaric”. Once Kapoor had spoken out, it was realised that his participation in the “UK Now” festival would be difficult. A British Council spokeswoman stressed that the exhibition proposal had been at “a very early stage, and until he had seen the space we could not have proceeded”.

It has also been reported that ,Chinese artist and curator Wang Jun was released from police custody last week, after being detained for referencing Ai Weiwei in an arts festival he helped organize. Upon his released Wang was given instructions by Chinese police to “keep your name off the Internet, move to another part of town, and do not talk to anyone but yourself.” Hours later, Wang divulged the details of his arrest to a foreign journalist, noting that he no longer had any means to support himself. The festival which included a vacant white wall with Ai’s name, was shut down less than twenty-four hours after opening. “I know nothing good can come of this,” said Wang about defying the police’s instructions. International supporters of the pro-democracy movement in China have other thoughts.

Heinz Mack. Licht Raum Farbe - Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Heinz Mack. Licht – Raum – Farbe

18. März - 10. Juli 2011

Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Heinz Mack ist Mitbegründer der ZERO-Bewegung und hat als Maler, Lichtkünstler und Bildhauer die Kunst seit den späten 1950er-Jahren nachhaltig beeinflusst. Sein 80. Geburtstag und seine Wiederentdeckung durch die Kunstwelt sind Anlass für die Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, ihm eine Hommage zu widmen.

Die Ausstellung präsentiert rund 130 Werke, entstanden von 1953 bis heute, und hebt die Kontinuität des utopischen Kunstgedankens bei Heinz Mack hervor, in dessen Arbeiten die Wahrnehmung von Licht, Raum und Farbe eine zentrale Rolle spielen. Sein Werk verbindet auf experimentelle Weise Kunst und Umwelt, Poetisches und Profanes, Philosophie und Physik – aus ihm spricht das stetige Bestreben, traditionelle Formen der Kunst neu zu interpretieren und neue Techniken in einem künstlerischen Kontext zu erproben.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Between Worlds - Rachel Spence The Financial Times

Between worlds
By Rachel Spence

Published: July 8 2011 14:41
Last updated: July 8 2011 14:41

At the Venice Biennale there are tanks that roar, machines that rattle and paintings that perplex. Ideas prevail over images. Concepts over creations. Overall, it is art that demands explanation rather than contemplation, a situation exacerbated by the sheer volume of work on display.

No one could fail to be struck by the contrast between the official exhibitions and Tra, the show at Palazzo Fortuny. The Biennale pummels the senses; Palazzo Fortuny soothes them. Here, the presiding anima is not a curator steeped in critical theory but Axel Vervoordt, a Belgian art dealer, interior designer and collector whose flair for display is as crucial to his exhibition’s success as the objects themselves.
It is six years since Vervoordt first proposed to the municipality of Venice that he could mount shows in this magnificent gothic palace, which at that point had been closed for decades due to disrepair, in exchange for financial contributions to its renovation.
Critics argue that Vervoordt’s involvement compromises the Fortuny’s status as a public museum. Although the show is the fruit of a collaboration between Vervoordt and three other curators (Rosa Martinez, Francesco Poli and Fortuny director Daniela Ferretti) and many pieces are loans, it is undeniably also a showcase for the Belgian’s own collection – several works in it are for sale on his company’s website.
He could not have found a more appropriate vitrine. With its high-ceilinged galleries bathed in slanted blocks of light, the four-storey medieval palace is one of the city’s most evocative spaces. Unlike more moribund Venetian residences, Palazzo Fortuny still pulses with the energy of its eponymous owner, Mariano, who lived and worked here for the first half of the 20th century. Born in Spain, the dressmaker, set designer and painter was blind to boundaries between ancient and modern. The pleated bias-cut dresses that were his most famous inventions were reinterpretations of ancient Greek styles. He loved to copy old masters but was equally given to painting scenes from Wagnerian operas.
Fortuny’s creations, including his sumptuous gilded fabrics that now drape the walls, are permanently displayed on the palace’s first floor to give it the air of a fin-de-siècle home. It is the perfect arena for Vervoordt, who skilfully leavens the decadence with works drawn from across centuries and cultures.