Saturday, June 23, 2007

The beginning of the catch-up

A quick post from my hotel in Sorento, sun-burnt after a day trip to Positano on the Amalfi coast (what's that...? It's cold in Melbourne...? sorry)

Since I last posted I've been to The Netherlands, back to Estonia, back to Rome, to Florence, attended a repousse workshop in Tuscany, to London, to Birmingham and Edinburgh and now the south of Italy. On arrival in London I found out that the Damien Hirst exhibition had had so much press that to go and see the skull was 'booked out'. That's right, folks. You have to book to go and see it. So I didn't.

To Amsterdam: I came upon a fabulous design store called 'The Frozen Fountain' on my way to visit some jewellery galleries and I thought I'd share some images of things which caught my eye.

The Frozen Fountain.JPG

The Frozen Fountain.JPG

I liked the eclectic mix. Quite unlike the design stores of Melbourne.

DSC02545The Frozen Fountain.JPG.JPG

I liked how they displayed their textiles.

Ted Noten sculpture.JPG

you'd be forgiven for thinking I was obsessed with Ted Noten (that's his work above), given the amount of times he's mentioned on this blog, but I'm not. Really. Ok, yes, I bought his book from this store... And yes, I did buy one of his brooches, but that's where it ends.

Jurgen Bey 'Tree Trunk Bench'.JPG

Jergen Bey 'Tree Trunk Bench' 11,000 euro

And my very favourite...

Tejo Remy 'Rag Chair'.JPG

The Tejo Remy 'Rag Chair' 2,630 euro.

And so, 5 more sleeps and then I'm home. More catch up on my return


Sunday, June 10, 2007

You don't know what you've got til it's gone

I've departed the land of free wireless internet and now have to pay exhorbitant amounts to just check emails let alone blog! Since I last posted I've had a fascinating trip to Amsterdam and now I'm in Florence. Hopefully I'll get a chance to fill you all in soon


Monday, June 04, 2007

Look what I get to see...

On exhibition at White Cube while I'm visiting the UK.

Damien Hurst - skull

Damien Hirst - Skull
platinum, diamonds, human teeth.

Damien Hirst, the Ted Noten of Visual Arts.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Last Days of Tallinn #2

From the graduation exhibition of the Estonian Academy of the Arts. Of course my students' work was the best but I've already posted images here so I'll show something else which caught my eye...

Ksenia Jedomskihh - VICE VERSA NIKOLAI

Ksenia Jedomskihh - VICE VERSA NIKOLAI

It's work by Ksenia Jedomskihh called 'Vice Versa Nikolai'. She graduated from fashion design.

I don't know if it's the reference to Eastern European bling...

Ksenia Jedomskihh - VICE VERSA NIKOLAI.JPG

or the ordnance...

Ksenia Jedomskihh - VICE VERSA NIKOLAI

or the 80's references...

Ksenia Jedomskihh - VICE VERSA NIKOLAI

but whatever it is, I love it. And the backsides are pretty good too...

Ksenia Jedomskihh - VICE VERSA NIKOLAI

Ksenia Jedomskihh - VICE VERSA NIKOLAI


Last days of Tallinn #1

It was raining in Tallinn...

rainy tallinn.JPG

but the art performance went ahead...


I'm not sure what it was about but the performer was carrying a (stuffed and dirty) swan and had plastic lobsters hanging off his dacks. He was leading us to an exhibition opening and on the way asked passers by if they could wipe the rain from his glasses.

could you wipe the rain from my glasses?

The exhibition was a group show of artists who had taken part in a 'conceptual drawing' workshop. Needless to say, there was little drawing. It was very interesting and it was exhibited in a squat near to my apartment. This particular building had apparently been used by the KGB during soviet times as a place to 'interview' certain persons and afterwards became a squat inhabited by artists. It's now to be demolished or renovated by a developer and the artists (some of whom lived in the building) all responded to aspects of the building's history.

chair art.JPG

Unfortunately I couldn't find the names of the artists (or the performer) and the invite is in Estonian so if any of my Estonian readers want to contact me with details I'll add them here.

The image above was of a work exhibited in the roof of the building. I was nervous entering the roof as it was dark and it stank and the beams were all charred! but it was worth it. The images below are also part of the work but I had to use flash which destroys the atmosphere created by the darkness of the space.



This was in one of the rooms downstairs...

thunder room.JPG

It would occassionally emit low thunderous sounds which were appropriate for the rainy day and it created quite an ominous atmosphere which seemed appropriate for the future of the building.


Addendum... that previous post. I while checking out Hillary Pfeiffer's website I found that she has a blog too. It's cool, go check it out.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Fiskars Village

While in Finland, I visited Fiskars Village.


It's very picturesque. It's also the ancestral home of Fiskars Ironworks. You know, the scissors.

Fiskars scissors

When Fiskars needed more room and moved out, the artisan squatters arrived.

the forging machine.JPG
This guy is working in the forge and that machine is a 'pounding stamper' (that's a davername) it must be to blacksmiths what the electric rolling mills are to jewellers.

The village is full of artist's studios, craft shops and galleries. It's an hour and a half from Helsinki and it's very beautiful and seemingly very well run and everything is of an extremely high standard. I was really impressed by the 2 group shows that were on in the two big galleries: 'Points of View' at the Copper Smithy and 'Transparent' at the Granary.

exhibition space.JPG
The Copper Smithy

entrance to the granary.JPG
The Granary

A work that really caught my eye was a collaboration between Hilary Pfeifer and Christian Bannister. It was exhibited in 'Points of View'. Hilary Pfeifer came to Fiskars as an artist-in-residence and brought with her a selection of music on her iPod, chosen for her by Christian Bannister, to listen to while she worked. This was the result...

Hilary Pfeifer and Christian Bannister collaboration.JPG

It's a section of a long wall work and unfortunately the image doesn't reproduce the colours well. When she returned home she gave the piece to Christian because she "wanted to hear what it sounded like". Christian then created a sound work as a response to Hilary's wall work and she then made another series of objects as a response to his second recording.

Hilary Pfeifer and Christian Bannister collaboration.JPG.JPG

Both recordings could be heard on headphones near the artworks. I love collaborations, particularly when artists respond to each others work.

I also saw this fantastic product in one of the shops...

great product.JPG
porcelain milk jugs! (sorry, I couldn't find the name of the designer)

And here are some close ups of the old mill which is constructed from 'slag bricks' I guess they're a bi-product of the steel making process but they're quite beautiful.

slag bricks at Fiskars mill.JPG

slag bricks at Fiskars mill.JPG

And so, the end of my stay is nigh. I'm outta here next Friday, boo hoo. It's so hard to say goodbye.

Finland, Finland, Finland (sing it, like Monty Python)

Last weekend I went to Helsinki.

what does this say?.JPG
I have no idea what that says.

The highlight was a trip to Kiasma, the Museum of Contemporary Art.

light well.JPG
some nice architecture. And some more...

(just showing off my photography skills really)

There were a couple of excellent exhibitions on and I particularly loved 'Wind from the East – Perspectives on Asian Contemporary Art'. I actually felt a certain connectedness to the works and it was more than just a geographical link. Perhaps it's because, in Australia, we are exposed to work from Asian countries. Or maybe it's because I'm more aware of the issues which affect artists in Asia than those in Europe, but the connection is something which I haven't experienced with most of the European art I've been seeing.

Eko Nugroho: Enough is Enough (installation).JPG
This is an installation by Indonesian artist, Eko Nugroho called 'Enough is Enough'.

Eko Nugroho: Enough is Enough (installation).JPG
The view from the other end of the gallery.

The pieces that you see attached to the wall are machine embroidered fabric (I think. Shula? If they're done by hand then I'm even more impressed).

Eko Nugroho: Enough is Enough (installation).JPG

Eko Nugroho: Enough is Enough (installation).JPG

Eko Nugroho: Enough is Enough (installation).JPG

I also really enjoyed the video work of Yang Zhenzhong (China)

Yang Zhenzhong: Rice Corns (video).JPG
'922 Rice Corns'

and (whispering) I don't usually enjoy video art, and can rarely sit through the full length of works. But I sat and watched this 2 times over and it's simply a rooster and a chicken pecking rice corns while 2 voices count (in Chinese - a male voice for the rooster and a female voice for the hen) to 922 as each piece of rice is pecked and eaten. The numbers bottom left count up the hen's corns and the numbers bottom right, the rooster's. The total is in the middle