Landscape between the lines
Reading Between the Lines is a semi-transparent church in Borgloon, in the agricultural region Haspengouw, created by duo Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh. The church is part of the Z-OUT project of Z33, an ambitious program of public art that will generate various projects across the Flemish region of Limburg over the next 5 years. Depending on the perspective of the beholder, the church may be perceived as a full mass or seemingly dissolve into the landscape. At 10 meters high, it is composed of 100 thin sheets and 2,000 columns of steel. With a staggered, stacked construction, the exterior landscape is visible through the 'walls' of the church. In this way, the church is simultaneously both present and absent. Read the full article.
Tomás Saraceno: Cloud Cities
Cloud Cities—a giant installation, which occupies the main exhibition hall at the Hamburger Bahnof, Berlin—is built for effect. A filigree of flying spheres caught in a maze of cobwebs, the show is reminiscent of both Buckminster Fuller's domes and Alex Raymond's hanging gardens. Some spheres harbor plants, some are grouped together into Weaire–Phelan structures, and others stand alone, big enough for the visitor to enter. Drawing its visual strength from the polarity between the airborne bubbles and the dark, dystopian, net that ensnares them, Tomás Saraceno's installation blurs the distinction between the geometrical and the organic. The same pattern is reproduced in all levels of the structure, from its micro to its macro components, forming what one can call a neo-platonic cosmic schema. Read the full article.
Letter from Venice
The four new 'para-pavilions' set up by Bice Curiger at the Biennale are small exhibitions within the exhibition itself, moments of sharper dialogue among works of art trying to escape the paratactic rhythm typical of the Biennale, midway between architecture and sculpture. These four structures, distributed through the Giardini and the Arsenale, are sculptures that are sized so that they redefine the space, but there are works within them in smaller sizes: they incarnate an idea of hospitality that borders on the parasitical. Curiger invited Monika Sosnowska (from Poland), Song Dong (from China), Oscar Tuazon (from the USA) and Franz West (from Austria) to design four sculptures that could be used to house works by other artists. Read the full article.
From Cattelan to Madre. Who is afraid of Art?
With the Cattelan exhibition open (at last) after all the shilly-shallying, it is time to look at the controversial relationship between city government and art, certain short-sighted politicians. Decades have passed since the city staged an artistic operation of such international resonance, and at virtually zero cost. The project for the huge Carrara-marble hand with all the fingers except the middle one cut off in a most irreverent gesture, directed at the temple of Finance immediately after the huge worldwide financial crisis, sent the Mayor of Milan, Letizia Moratti, into overdrive along with her centre-right council. In the Neapolitan city, censorship has fallen on the Madre museum, a rare outpost of culture and civilization in a southern Italy consumed by sick politics. In Italy, contemporary art still instills fear, far, far more so than literature, the press or films. Read the full article.
Punta della Dogana: In Praise of Doubt
A new exhibit at the François Pinault collection at the Punta della Dogana, Venice, with the emblematic title In Praise of Doubt. Sixty new and historical works by twenty international artists propose doubt in its most essential dimension. The characters in the play are all superstars of the contemporary art milieu: Donald Judd, Maurizio Cattelan, Subodh Gupta, Jeff Koons, Bruce Nauman, and Charles Ray just to name a few. Like previous shows, this one was curated by Caroline Bourgeois who has chosen to propose doubt starting with space itself. Each artist enjoys his or her own space, or room, with the exception of the first, where different untitled pieces follow one another. During the presentation of In Praise of Doubt, Bourgeois wanted to clarify that, in conceiving the show, she chose to work on the "complementarity" of extremes. Read the full article.