The Dia Art Foundation

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
As you may noticed summer is coming. Wanna do something cool and educational? Go to the Dia Art Foundation. It's definitely more interesting than wandering at Central Park...

Founded in 1974, the Dia Art Foundation is a nonprofit institution which is renowned for imitating, supporting, presenting and preserving contemporary art projects. Dia:Beacon is named in honor of Louise and Leonard Riggio and presents one of the world's most distinguished collections of contemporary art. Works of art presented in the museum have been made by a focused group of the most significant artists in the last half century such as Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, Fred Sandback, John Chamberlain, Joseph Beuys, Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois, Dan Flavin...

I personally was so impressed by works made by Fred Sandback who was a minimalist conceptual-based artist sculptor best known for his yarn sculptures - which you can see here at the foundation. His works define edges of virtual shapes whom the rest of the form has to be perceived by the viewer's brain. Installations made by Robert Smithson are also amazing. Best known for his provocative earthwork The Spiral Jetty, this american artist is also known for the major role taken by mirrors in his works. As he said: "Mirror in a sense is both the physical mirror and the reflection" it is "a concept and an abstraction"... a displacement "of properties".

Have a nice, funny and cultural week end...  


Philippe Perrin, artist

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
I am very glad to introduce to you Philippe Perrin who is a fantastic French artist, most known for his sculptures of monumental scale weapons, handcuffs, knifes, razorblades, American punches... Expanding everyday objects gives them a new meaning, another interpretation and it's even stronger when it comes to weapons. His references are provided by the gangsta aesthetic but also by the classic literature and romantic poetry. He perfectly knows how to be provocative, cynical, and manipulative while remaining charming and seductive.

Dear Philippe, the MEP (European House of Photography) is going to host a retrospective of your works. Could you please tell us about this exhibition and explain to us how you have wanted organize it?

First, it's not a retrospective but rather a synthesis - an inventory on photography in my work since 1986. A retrospective would freeze in time a life still full of excitement. Moreover, it would have taken all the surrounding neighborhood if we had wanted to install my sculptures retrospectively.
Remember that it's the European House of Photography, which as its name suggests is focused on that medium. This exhibition is a path between objects, sculptures, drawings, soundtracks and video; a selection that is built around a selection of photographs from 1986 to today.

This exhibiton is entitled "Haut et Court" ("High and Short")? Is it a direct reference to the installation that you made in 1997?

Yes but it's also a reference to the Western films dear to our childhood, a tribute to Louis Mandrin (a French highway robber pre-revolutionary), to thugs and other infamous criminals that make up my personal pantheon, from Caravaggio to Francois Villon, Arthur Cravan or Jacques Mesrine. And then in the French art scene, in which one attempts to hang out people who, like me, stand out from the group, metaphor was obvious.

Expending weapons gives them weight; they are bigger than humans. Weapons refer to war, violence, cruelty... but ultimately they are the reflection of our society, aren't they? 

It's both a seductive object and an infant image, and in the same time what we see everyday on the TV or in the streets. The artist is just the mirror that reflects his own vision of life and society in which he lives. That's, in any case, my only possible definition of art. Art reflects filtered or selected images to give people something to think or offer them another vision. I am just a distorting mirror that magnifies reality to unveil it to the others.

You are a polymorphic artist whose work is particularly characteristic. Is there any movement to which one you feel connected by the approach, the subject, the creative process?

I don't belong to any group and I don't have any label. I am not in any too-easily-identifiable category. I have friends who are artists and very different from each others such as Wim Delvoye and Jacques Villegle, people for whom I have some respect like Robert Longo. The list is important: musicians from everywhere, movies directors, gangsters, etc. But I don't belong to any group. It's not even a choice. It's like that.

Your first pieces of art are deployed around Arthur Cravan, poet and boxer (so do you), nephew of Oscar Wilde. He was a dandy and that's what one says about you. How could you define a post-modern dandy and do you consider yourself as one of them?

Definition of a dandy is a man who takes care of his manners, his presentation and who has wit. I take care of my bad manners, my presentation is just what I give to be seen by others and my wit is twisted. A kind of dandyism, probably, but I feel so far from all those who wander in boulevard Saint Germain in Paris and for whom appearance is the only goal and who give so much trouble to take care of their manners without having any wit. The word "dandy" has been stolen, it has become almost pejorative.
A dandy? A highwayman? A highway"dandy"?

Only when one is on the precipice can we ask the basics questions: Who am I? Where am I? What should I do? Am I being sincere and honest? Yes. Definitely yes. At least I try to be like that. Especially, I try to be a man... to become a man. We must lead ourselves, force ourselves not to feel dizzy, stay between the attraction/abstraction of the vacuum and the relation to the matter, become a North America Indian and climb barefoot on the steel girders of the New York sky-scrapers. I voluntarily walk on the razor's edge, like a drunken tightrope walker, facing the abyss, especially without a net, above all, without cheating. This is my way of being and my only way of thinking, transmitting. I do it for myself, I do it for the others... Each exhibition is like a little death, each work of art is a new birth...

Dear Philippe, thank you so much!! I am so sad I missed the opening! I wish you all the best and for those who are in Paris: you must visit his show...


Marina Abramovic at the MoMa

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
This exhibition is fantastic!! For those who haven't seen this show, you know what to do next week. And for those who aren't in NY, I feel sorry because you're going to miss one of the most impressive exhibition that I've ever seen... For the first time in my life I don't know what to think about an exhibition. The Marina Abramovic exhibition makes you cry, makes you happy, makes you uncomfortable, makes you laugh, makes you sad... For those who may don't know her, she is a New York based Serbian and Yougoslavian performance artist. She is an avant-garde artist whose work explores the limits of the body and the possibilities of the mind. The interest of her work is also the interaction and the relationship between the public and the artist.

The following picture shows us the first performance that you can see at the MoMa. Marina Abramovic is sitting at a table and waits for someone from the public to come up and sit in front of her. They aren't allowed to speak, to eat, to drink, to move... They have to stay one in front of the other and look themselves in the eyes. That's extremely  perturbing because you feel the tension between both and you wonder what they are thinking about...  Here she pushes the physical limits of her body since she doesn't move, she doesn't eat, she doesn't drink... but also the mental ones because she looks a stranger in the eyes for a while or for a few hours, the stranger is the one who decides the length of its passage.

The exhibition continues on the sixth floor and traces her prolific career by showing us approximately fifty works made during the past four decades. This retrospective is as sonorous as visual: videos of her performances, as well as photographs, are shown. In the first room is presented a reminiscence of one of her most impressive performance that she made in 1974. She was standing at a table on which one you could see 72 objects from our daily life such as a candle, a spoon, a perfume but also a gun, a scalpel, a box of razorblades... And one could use at her as desired. The table is shown here, with all the pictures related to the performance!

The other room is more about her collaboration with Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen), a German performance artist. Their collaboration was based on the exploration of the ego and the artistic identity. They acted like twins, they completely trusted each other and they formed their own collective being called "The Other", a two-headed body. The main subject of most of their performances are the physical resistance of the body but also the mental one. "Relation in Time" is a performance during which one they were tied together by their hair, not moving for 16 hours! The performance titled "Point of Contact" consists in the fact that they were standing in front of each other, looking into each other's eyes and pointing at each other, avoiding touching...

Considered as the grandmother of the performance art, she is undoubtedly one of the greatest artist of our century. While some of her performances have been stopped by the police because they were judged too disturbing they are now totally allowed and well known.
And who has never dreamed to move from a room to another one between two naked people?!...


Hermaphroditism and transsexualism

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
Hermaphroditism and transsexualism in the arts; what interesting subjects... There are two different types of hermaphroditism: physical and psychic. Extremely rare in humans, a simultaneous hermaphrodite is an adult organism that has both male and female sexual organs. Incompatible with the biological gender binary, he/she usually can later change into the alternate sex. "Hermaphroditic" has been replaced by "Intersexual" in medicine. A psychic hermaphrodite is someone who feels both male and female but who only has the genitals of one sex. Most often a psychic hermaphrodite goes to the surgery...

Regarding the origins of the greek myth, Hermaphroditus, a remarkably handsome boy, was the son of Hermes and Aphrodite. The Naiad Salmacis fell in love with him and tried to seduce him but she was rejected. She surprised him when he thought she was gone, kissed him, held him in her arms and asked the gods never separate them. Her wish had been granted and he had been transformed into an androgynous deity by union with her. The most famous example of "its" representation has been made in marble by Borghese and is shown at the Louvre in Paris.

If there is an artist that we could be describe as a psychic hermaphrodite, this is Pierre Molinier, a French artist who lived in the first part of the 20th century. Andre Breton and the Surrealists were interested by all of his paintings which were very sensual, erotic and matched with their idea of a "convulsive beauty". But when Molinier has started creating his own photomontages, much more erotic and esoteric, the Surrealists didn't followed him anymore. When he imagined himself as a hermaphroditic shaman he animated groups of young androgynous people. Most often his photographs were self-portraits of himself as a woman. On this picture, he represented himself as "the" shaman with fake boobs, high heels, mask and his erect penis. Focusing on using his body as a model, we can say that he is a precursor of body art and has probably inspired many artists such as Cindy Sherman.

As for those who have been operated on, they are magnificently represented by the photographs made by Nan Goldin, an American artist. She started her first solo show by showing her photographic journeys among the city's gay and transsexual communities. Through her pictures, she shows us another side of the transsexual communities. Most of the time, they are photographed in their own place, in intimate situations. Most often presented in the form a slide show, her pictures are a kind of personal diary which would be public. But the icon of transsexuals is still Amanda Lepore whom real name is Armand and who was diagnosed as transgender. She is an amazing model, fashion icon, performer and one of David Lachapelle's muses...

Love, sexuality, eroticism, mixture of genders...will always be a source of inspiration for artists.
Especially with the video and the digital photograph since they can give free rein to their imagination...
Even if sometimes we just don't get it!!


Banks Violette at the Gladstone gallery

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
Even if the exhibition is almost ended, I wanted to write about Banks Violette's work!
Based in New York, he has taken as starting points death metal, ritual murder and teenage suicide and his work is often related to the New Gothic Art movement. From graphite drawings to sculptural installations, he plumbs the simultaneous degradation and accretion of meaning.

Most of the time he uses, as you can see on this picture, glossy black and ghostly white materials. He gives to his installations a dramatical, theatrical aspect: black wall seems to melt against the reflection of the light made by this impressive chandelier composed of multiple fluorescent tubes which make us thinking about Dan Flavin.

Wake up it's time to go, galleries just opened!