ArtRooms presentation video. Courtesy ArtRooms, Lorenzo Stabile and the artists.
January is usually blue, but not in the Visual Arts. It is red. It is the beginning of the year and starts with a big bang: Art Fairs, top quality exhibitions, talks, performances... Everybody wants to welcome the New Year in the best possible way. The unstoppable energy, vibrancy, hunger for new ideas and re-interpretations of old ones makes the third week of January red.
The London Art Fair, 21-25 January, has invited the Pallant House Gallery, in Chichester. It is one of the finest collections of British Art. Simon Martin, Artistic Director, will curate a unique exhibition, The Figure in Modern British Art. The display will explore how different artists in Britain approached the human figure, from Walter Sickert's celebrated Jack Ashore depicting a nude female and clothed man in a charged bedroom interior, and the languid Post-Impressionist Bathers by the Pond by the Bloomsbury artist Duncan Grant; to the abstracted figures of Henry Moore, Wyndham Lewis and Graham Sutherland, and works by David Bomberg, Lucian Freud and their contemporaries. Other artists included in the exhibition led the post-war revival of figurative painting in British art schools. Furthermore, the Fair will present some of the most exciting Galleries of Modern and Contemporary today. Special mention deserves the Art Projects and Photo50 that perfectly complements the Fair with a strong programme of talks. Art of Angel in the nearby station of Angel is worth a visit.
Amelia Stein, White Stable. Courtesy of Oliver Sears Gallery
A new Fair has emerged to energise such intense week: ArtRooms2015. It is an innovative concept of art exhibition that offers independent artists and galleries the opportunity to exhibit their artworks in an intimate dimension. The unique setting of a luxury hotel room becomes a pioneering way to access art. The first edition of ArtRooms will take place from the 24th to the 26th of January at the Melià White House Hotel in Regent's Park. The fair includes an exceptional program of events and workshops and galleries such as: Amstel Art with works by Warhol and Lichtenstein, Reissue Korea with a great selection of Korean artists, Le Dame Art Gallery specialised in Italian and Contemporary Art and The Cult House presenting the avant-guard in London. A highlight is the exhibition curated by Miguel Mallol, a series of 8 rare oil portraits by Gaspare Manos exhibited in 2013 at the Museum of Modern Art in Minsk. He has also shown at the Palazzo Duodo during the Venice Biennale 2013.
"We trust that galleries exhibiting at the London Art Fair will also be interested in discovering "our" talented artists"says Cristina Cellini Antonini, Founder of ARTROOMS 2015 and Co-director together with Chiara Canal at Le Dame Art Gallery. The fair will represent as well a great opportunity to raise funds for the Charity Partner Bow Arts Trust, during the Gala Dinner there will be an auction with pieces of art being donated by exhibiting artists.
Gaspar Manos, Nelson Mandela. Courtesy the artist.
Parasol unit, in East London, has just open a superb survey of the highly respected, albeit rather young, artist Katie Moran with paintings already in the Tate Collection, Zabludowicz Collection and Walker Arts Centre. Her gallery, Modern Art in Clekerwell, opens on Thursday a new show by the American artist David Altmejd. In 2007 he represented Canada at the Venice Biennale. This exhibition is comprised of a number of enigmatic and surreal head-like sculptures, as if witnessing a sci-fiction movie, that stand on tables and plinths.
David Altmejd, Young Mother. Courtesy the artist and Modern Art.
Virgile Ittah & Kai Yoda will transform the Hus Gallery, in Mayfair, into an immersive and sensory environment. Visitors are encouraged to touch the objects on display and to move freely throughout the installation. The Middle East Ayyam Gallery, also in Mayfair, will present landscapes by the Syrian painter Thaier Helal in his first exhibition in the UK. Ronchini Gallery, based in Mayfair, has organised a show by the Italian Arte Povera artist Pier Paolo Calzolari. It will focus on drawings, studies and projects that will span the course of Calzolari's career from the early 1960s to the present and give an overview of many of Calzolari's signature concepts, offering insight into the artist's ongoing interest in light, matter and time. Finally, do not miss the Serpentine Galleries with a Latino Fiesta / German Seriousness combo for a great fun afternoon in Hyde Park before it ends mid February.
MauPal, The Flying Pope. Courtesy the artist and Le Dame...
Mikhail Baryshnikov, a Russian dancer who defected to the West in 1974, moves through dance as Alice in Wonderland through the mirror. Firstly as a dancer, often cited as one of the three best dancers in history with Nijinsky and Nureyev; secondly as a choreographer and artistic director; and, finally, as a photographer. Baryshnikov enjoys a special place to document movement and energy in a way that the viewer gets a second chance to appreciate what is missed in such rapid gestures. Bold and colourful to the point of almost abstraction in some photographs where the figures morphs into another entity.
Untitled #2. Courtesy Mikhail Baryshnikov and ContiniArtUK
The exhibition titled: Dancing Away, currently in the ContiniArtUK Gallery in Bond Street, Mayfair, London, until the 31st of January, is a serene invitation to rediscover the physical aspect of dance. Through the use of a technique known as long exposure photography, which involves opening the camera shutter for a long duration of time, thus exposing the lens to more light. The result records the transition through several positions that takes place while dancing. The viewer becomes a diver who keeps immersing themselves in and out of a work of stunning beauty. It is impossible not to.
Dr Diego Giolitti, one of the ContiniArtUK directors, has kindly agreed to respond to the following questions:
1. Can you tell us a bit about ContiniArtUk Gallery's background and about yourself?
ContiniArtUK was opened in May 2014 and is owned by Cristian Contini, the son of Italian gallery owner Stefano Contini. The gallery is set over two floors in Mayfair, Central London and exhibits both contemporary and modern art. The Dancing Away exhibition will be shown alongside a permanent collection of works from artists represented by ContiniArtUK. Artists include Mario Arlati, Fernando Botero, Teresa Emanuele, Enzo Fior, Enrico Ghinato, Robert Indiana, Julio Larraz, Helidon Xhixha, and Igor Mitoraj.
I am a specialist in emerging art markets, with a focus on Iranian, Middle Eastern and Russian contemporary art. I studied at the University of Venice, specialising in Persian Studies as well as at the University of Cambridge with a PhD focusing on Iranian contemporary art and gender. I have worked as a lecturer at SOAS in London, at the University of Cambridge and at the University Ca'Foscari in Venice. I am also an experienced gallery director, having worked in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Paris, and my native Venice.
2. How did you start having a working relationship with Baryshnikov?
Mikhail Baryshnikov has previously collaborated with Stefano Contini in Italy. Cristian and I thought of asking Baryshnikov to exhibit his work in London (for the first time) as soon as the gallery opened in May. We knew how much the UK loved Baryshnikov and the fact that we were already acquainted with his amazing photographic work made the choice a natural one. Baryshnikov was very enthusiastic with the idea and since the very beginning has given us his full support.
3. Where did the title of the exhibition Dancing Away come from?
The title was chosen by Baryshnikov. His exhibitions all have very similar titles: Dance this way, Dancing away. His main goal is to translate the importance of capturing the sense of movement in his photographic work.
Untitled #12. Courtesy Mikhail Baryshnikov and ContiniArtUK
4. Baryshnikov was very generous in paying homage to pioneers photographers in the Dance field such as: Alexey Brodovitch, Paul Himmel and Irving Penn. In which ways you can see their influences in his works?
Baryshnikov definitely studied and was inspired by these masters of photography (he has practised photography and studied the subject for more than 20 years). But in my own opinion Baryshnikov has absorbed and digested previous works in the field and found his own way. What is interesting in his approach to photography is that, like no other, he has been able to translate his trained mind, advanced awareness of the body, and almost mystical perception of movement into a two-dimensional work of art.
5. Photographs taken by one of the most respected dancers and choreographers in the world provide us with a privileged insight in the world of dance, specially movement and energy. What do you think the viewer can learn from this exhibition?
What I am most impressed by is Baryshnikov's embracement of the world of dance as a whole. He is not focusing only on the elite world of classical ballet - Baryshnikov's message is that dance has no colour or cultural entity, but is the expression of the soul no matter where you are from. None of his photos are staged, they portray actual performances or have been taken from the streets of Rio or on a beach in Hawaii.
For more information, please visit ContiniArtUK website on www.continiartuk.com
Untitled #32. Courtesy Mikhail Baryshnikov and...
Debut Contemporary, its artists and Barry Martin and Klara Taussig-Cecmanova as co-curators with Samir Ceric, the gallery's director, decided to join forces to raise funds and awareness for the Harrison's Fund Charity. Located in 82 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London, the show will continue...
In 2004, when everybody wanted to be in Mayfair and Fitzrovia, Ziba Ardalan, born in Iran, whose career was developed between the US and Switzerland, arrived from New York and decided to found a contemporary art organization in the far end of the cosy central London. A Victorian furniture factory, which were the studio of the Turner Prize nominee Peter Doig by that time, has become the home of one of the best places in London to experience contemporary art made today. Acclaimed artists such as Charles Avery, who represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale, or Leah Capaldi, who performed at the Serpentine Galleries last summer and described Ardalan as her "fairy godmother", exhibited at Parasol unit first.
Shinro Ohtake, 'Time Memory 28' (detail), 2014. 220.5 x 300.5 x 10.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Take Ninagawa, Tokyo
The current show by Shinro Ohtake ends on the 12th of December. Ohtake, one the leading artists in Japan, moves easily from drawing to video, from installation to sculpture, but his collage works, be it on a panel, be it on three-dimensional objects, are perhaps his strongest form. He has the sharp ability to absorb elements of the contemporary Japanese society and spit it out into a journey of discovery and learning when admiring his works.
Katy Moran, 'Joe's in Town', 2012, acrylic, paper, leather and collage on board, 55.2 x 87.6 cm. Courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneopolis, Justin Smith Purchase Fund 2013.
The next exhibition by the London-based painter Katy Moran, which opens on the 15th of January, is a rediscovery of a traditional medium such as painting. Although abstract at first glance, Moran portrays figures that requires a closer look and an interesting narrative, invented by the viewer and therefore unique, unravels. Her paintings are beautifully fluid and like a good painter plays with the subconscious on a different level.
Ziba Ardalan, founder and curator of Parasol unit, kindly agreed to respond to the following questions:
1. Can you tell us a bit about Parasol unit? Where did the name come from? And why in Hackney?
I wanted to give it a general name and not the name of a specific person. This place is about making people welcome. I thought of 'umbrella', because it encompasses various activities we do here, but it seemed a bit sad, so I opted for 'Parasol'. It is positive and radiant but all by itself misses something, so when a friend suggested 'unit', it clicked. The two words somehow complement each other perfectly and express what this foundation is about: promoting contemporary art for the public benefit, a welcoming residency for artists in the summer and an important educational element. Hackney reminded me of SoHo in New York in the 70s before it became fashionable as it is happening now here.2. What is your background? What was your PhD about?
I think I was born as a curator, although I first studied Physical Chemistry and did post-doctoral works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Somehow there was always a creative side and an analytical side in me. So, after two years of working in scientific research, I decided to move from science to art. Scientists and artists are quite similar, because intuition is a crucial part of their work. This has always been very important to me as a curator - when selecting artists and their works for an exhibition or the timing of their exhibition. Anyhow in the early 1980s I went to Columbia University, NY, to study and gained a Masters degree in Art History. This was followed by attending the Independent Study Programme (ISP) for Curating and where I had Vicente Todolí, the former director of the Tate Modern, as a classmate. In 1984, I curated a show about the American painter, Winslow Homer, who started in the late nineteenth Century as a genre painter and moved to almost abstraction in the early 1900s. Homer's works were all over East Coast of America, so I had to travel to small museums and private collections to convince them to lend works to the exhibition - it was a great experience for a first time curator.
3. At the last charity auction, artists such as: Antony Gormley, Isaac Julien and Yinka Shonibare were very complimentary about Parasol unit. How do you feel about it? What do you think it is the reason?
I am humbled and honoured by those wonderful comments. My passion for art is genuine and I suppose that could be one of the factors artists appreciate. I work very hard to give those artists exhibiting at Parasol unit great exposure and I am willing to take risks when exhibiting lesser known artists. It is very encouraging to continue when I have the support of such talented and successful artists.
4. Can you summarise in three phrases why people should come to see the show by the Japanese artist Shinro Otake before it ends on the 12th of December?
I love the freedom with which Ohtake executes his works, even after having exhibited at prestigious events such as Documenta or Venice Biennale, indeed he carries on as usual. It is a lesson that an artist or a non-artist can apply to their practice, job or even in their daily life: freedom of thoughts. This exhibition shows his creativity and confidence and is a unique opportunity to discover why he is one of the leading Japanese artists.
5. Finally, can you give us an advance of the next exhibition? Why did your team decide to invite Katy Moran?
Although Moran has only ten years of painting practice behind her, I love the innovative way she goes about painting. Moran has absolutely no allegiance to the history of painting and in the process has created a whole new language, particularly in figurative painting.
For more information about Parasol unit, the current exhibition by Shinro Ohtake and the next exhibition by Katy Moran, please visit the website
Rekha Sameer, an artist and curator based in London, and Rashmi Tapadia, founder and owner of LetArtWork Gallery in Pune, decided to select the most interesting art being made in London today and to bring it to India. Both countries enjoy close ties and Sameer and...
The Gospel According to the Other Mary, being the other Mary the composer's mother and other social activist women, composed by John Adams and currently at the English National Opera until the 5th of December, is without doubt the masterpiece of the 21st century. Premiered in concert in 2013, it received a string of superlatives when reviewed, but nothing gets you ready to the immense experience of what the best of talent, second to none, can offer you. As John Berry, ENO artistic director, says:
"Nothing prepared me for the overwhelming dramatic intensity of the music and the profoundly moving storytelling."
Courtesy Richard HubertSmith, the photographer, and ENO
John Adams, one of the leading contemporary music and opera composers, creates humanist and visually stunning pieces that perfectly resonates in an era of discontent and widening social inequality. A highly respected and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 9/11 Memorial piece, Adams concentrates on what it matters with a strong minimalist approach. The baggages are dumped and he is ready to take you for the journey of your life.
Libretto by Peter Sellars after Old and New Testament sources, intertwined with the voices of four extraordinary women: a Native American woman, a Black American woman, a socialist Catholic woman and a Mexican woman all contribute to a rich and dense text rooted in contemporary history. Sellars, a visionary artist, is one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the performing arts in the world. Sellars described the work as an attempt to "set the Passion story in the eternal present, in the tradition of sacred art", and so the narrative continuously attempts to combine the Biblical past with themes and references that remain relevant to a contemporary audience - such a drug addict going cold turkey. The story unfolds from the point of view of Mary Magdalene, her sister Martha and their brother Lazarus.
Courtesy Richard HubertSmith, the photographer, and ENO
Mezzo-soprano, Patricia Bardon, plays the main character of Mary Magdalene with vulnerability, determination and skilful acceptance of the events that unravels such as her brother Lazarus death and resurrection and Jesus crucifixion. Bardon gives a superb performance with ease. A talented star with no ego. Meredith Arwady, contralto, sings with a beautiful and exquisite voice her dilemmas in understanding her sister Mary Magadalene's destiny. Russell Thomas, a tenor playing Lazarus, their brother, is sublime. His voice makes time stop and takes us to a new dimension. One of the undisputed stars of the show is the flex dancer Banks. A visual orgasm. Guaranteed. Banks blends with the music as if it was composed for him. Unexpected, because flex dance is primarily associated with hip hop music. A refreshing surprise in a more classical setting. Finally, Seraphim, a type of celestial being, played by the counter-tenors: Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings and Nathan Medley, adds a layer of storytelling with such airy voices. Conductor Joana Carneiro, currently Principal Conductor of Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa, makes a great debut.
One of the best and most accessible operas ever. Highly recommended.
The Gospel According To The Other Mary opens at the London Coliseum on 21 November 2014 for 6 performances - 21, 25, 27 November and 3, 5 December at 7.30pm and 29 November, 6.30pm. For more information, please visit website:
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