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ARTSLANT INTERVIEWS

Digging into Architecture and Design, Kasper Akhøj Uncovers Filters for History  
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2/8/16 Posted 2/8/16

Rotterdam, February 2016: They’ve popped up at different occasions, ranging from Wiels Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels to the Abstract Myths show at Nest in The Hague, and they are now on display at Ellen de Bruijne Projects in Amsterdam: Kasper Akhøj’s photographs of the villa Irish architect Eileen Gray built in Roquebrune Cap Martin in 1929. They appear timeless: elegant black and white photographs shot in medium format showing the interior of a modernist icon. We see the dining room in a dismal state, the result of decades of ne... [more]

Jen Ray: “Beware of people who think women are goddesses. That's bullshit.”  
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1/12/16 Posted 1/12/16

American artist Jen Ray’s work focuses on depictions of women in all their majesty: her intricately apocalyptic paintings portray landscapes filled with fierce, glamorous warrior commanders, motorcycle-helmeted bodyguards, and rock-climbing adventuresses in feathered neckpieces. Equally dramatic, fantastical, and fairytale, they show women in a variety of guises, from powerful commander to obedient foot soldier, from tenderly nursing the wounded to plotting Machiavellian destruction. Ray&rs... [more]

Zina Saro-Wiwa on Art and Authentic Storytelling in the Niger Delta  
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12/14/15 Posted 12/14/15

Zina Saro-Wiwa is a British-Nigerian artist and filmmaker whose body of work includes video installations, experimental films, and documentaries, including the widely acclaimed This Is My Africa (2009). Prior to developing her artistic practice, she was known for her work as a BBC journalist and a presenter for BBC Two's flagship arts magazine program, The Culture Show. She is the founder of the alt-Nollywood movement—kicked off with her films Phyllis and The Deliverance of Comfort (both 2010)... [more]

Shame, Narcissism, and Online Empathy: Ann Hirsch's Multiple Selves  
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11/24/15 Posted 11/24/15

I recently saw a rare screening in London of Chick Strands' 1979 film Soft Fictions, considered the seminal work of the experimental Californian filmaker. It's an incredible piece, prescient in its style and approach to female representation. It mixes documentary, poetry, truth, and reality, never presenting either victims or victors, but instead the stories told by these female subjects give the idea that "ecstasy is knowing exactly who you are and still not caring." Though Ann Hirsch, who is also base... [more]

Ed Fornieles: Postcapitalism, Networks, and Tenderness  
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11/10/15 Posted 11/10/15

Since 2010, when I first met Ed Fornieles, I've watched the artist somewhat like a private eye sitting in a greasy spoon cafe with eye holes cut out of a newspaper—at a safe hermetic distance. I went to my first ever performance night in London that he had curated at Paradise Row, and watched a man pour cornflakes and milk all over the floor. I read all the online tabloid furore over his debauched Animal House project and his former relationship with a British film star. From afar, he oft... [more]

Citing Decolonial Theory, Moffat Takadiwa Transforms Debris into Art  
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11/2/15 Posted 11/2/15

In Moffat Takadiwa’s work, the remnants of consumer goods—bright colored bits of plastic and metal, fragmented, emptied of their promise and their contents—make their way into shapes, shrouds, and clusters, into mandala-like patterns of consumption and waste. Spray tops, bottle caps, plastic lids, laptop keys: the detritus of late capitalism accumulated into strands, shapes, and forms, now hang from gallery walls. There’s a neat logic to this transformation of debris into... [more]

Cecily Brown Discusses Style, Insecurities, and Knowing When a Painting Is Finished  
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9/29/15 Posted 9/28/15

Berlin, September 2015: The boisterous commotion of a packed opening dimmed to a murmur as the door to the back office slid closed, leaving Cecily Brown and me a brief escape from her current Berlin solo exhibition at Contemporary Fine Arts. Both jetlagged, having departed JFK only 24 hours earlier, we were grateful for the momentary calm. Often pigeonholed as what the artist herself facetiously refers to as some type of “fifth generation Abstract Expressionist,” London-born New Yo... [more]

Innovating Tradition: Faig Ahmed Talks Carpets and Community from His Baku Studio  
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8/17/15 Posted 8/17/15

Faig Ahmed shares his Baku studio with what he refers to as his “Tribe,” a group of young artists who split materials, bookshelves, and even food, in a communal setting. In 2011, the painter Aida Mahmudova and a group of local artists including Ahmed, founded YARAT as a platform for contemporary art in Azerbaijan. Along with a 2,000-square-meter flagship space neighboring the recently built European Games stadium, and the social enterprise space YAY Gallery, YARAT offers both established and emergi... [more]

The Conceptual Entrepreneur: Martine Syms in Conversation  
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8/3/15 Posted 8/3/15

Officially, Martine Syms is an LA-based conceptual entrepreneur, and one whose concepts have already proliferated quite far given her young career. Perhaps her participation in the Walker Art Center's Intangibles pop-up shop offers the most literal evidence to back this title: customers can purchase a voicemail recording by Syms's fictional band Maya Angelou for $10. In many ways, though, Syms defies categorization and moves fluidly among formats and mediums in the service of examining, and gi... [more]

Random International: Art & Technology's Magical Realists  
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7/14/15 Posted 7/14/15

Random International is an arts collective founded by Florian Ortkrass, Hannes Koch, and Stuart Wood currently based in London. They exploded onto the international art stage in 2012 with their extremely popular Rain Room, a work that was supremely Instagrammable, but also illucidated the magical realism that the marriage of art and technology can produce. After extremely successful installations at the Barbican in London and MoMA PS1, Rain Room is set to occupy LACMA in November 2015. We got the chance... [more]

From the Salvage Yard to the Shopping Mall: Rachel Higgins' Logistical Aesthetics  
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6/30/15 Posted 6/30/15

New York City, June 2015: I remember despising the revamped, restyled strip malls that proliferated in the late 1990s, replacing dilapidated 1960s-era kitsch elegance with chunky stucco postmodern monotony in various shades of taupe, terracotta, and teal. These non-places had names conjured from corporate boardrooms—“The Shoppes at Villa Terraces,” “Sycamore Plaza Town Centre” and the like—a nomenclature almost offensive in its disavowal of history and specificity... [more]

Laure Prouvost Talks Art School, Getting By, and Taking Film Beyond the Screen  
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6/1/15 Posted 6/1/15

Oberhausen, May 2015: The world of experimental and avant-garde film and video is relatively intimate, its natives comparatively few. A visit to Oberhausen Kurzfilmtage, Europe’s premiere short and experimental film platform, is a step into that world; it's a place populated once a year by an international cadre with a passion for moving image's oldest and most cutting edge format. Where else can you can you drink in a late night bar confident in the knowledge that any of the other 100+ pa... [more]

Interview: Frances Stark on Art and Hip Hop  
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5/19/15 Posted 5/19/15

Over a cappuccino in the lobby of Hotel Savoia Jolanda in Venice, Frances Stark sat in a flower-print sun dress with spaghetti straps. It was the preview week of the 56th Venice Biennale and familiar faces came in and out of the hotel. She greeted friends with a warm smile, while showing pictures of her 12-year-old son on her iPhone. Upon first glance, L.A.-based Stark could pass for any other suburban mom—but sit down with her for a coffee and you’ll believe the opposite. As the winner o... [more]

"The Other Side of the Fair": In Conversation with Samara Golden  
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5/12/15 Posted 5/12/15

Samara Golden draws you in and shuts you out. Sewing, stuffing, and cutting materials of personal industriousness—fabrics, pantyhose, found thriftwares, cosmetology heads—the props in her motley sets splay out against all manner of reflective surfaces, situating some version of you inside her bendy armatures of time, place, and movie-inflected memory. M.C. Escher meets Miami Vice, the campy slickness melting into your own face as seen in a broken mirror, a slab of reflective polystyrene... [more]

Sean Lynch on Researching Rumors and His Venice Biennale Presentation  
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4/27/15 Posted 4/27/15

Venice is a city of many hidden stories: the labors of conquests buried in damp passageways, the dreams of crusaders and merchants obscured behind masks, forgotten stories in moldering letters, in dark-browed statues guarding doorways, and treasures of spice and silk sunk deep in the Venetian Lagoon. But there are hidden stories everywhere on God’s good green earth, not just in cities steeped in literature and teeming with ghosts. Sean Lynch finds such stories, researching rumors and urb... [more]

Interview with Hito Steyerl: "The medium is an information filter"  
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4/7/15 Posted 4/7/15

Amsterdam, April 2015: “If you want to know what art looks like in 2014, go and see Hito Steyerl’s satirical video installations,” Ben Luke of the Evening Standard wrote last year when reviewing Steyerl’s show at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. And right he is. Few artists have the Zeitgeist by the balls the way the German artist does. Her video works deal with technological evolution, the production and reproduction of images, and the power relations invol... [more]


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