At Chiostro Del Bramante in Rome this weekend there is an exhibition entitled Love. The artistic line up looked like a “Who’s who” of modern artists. It being the week of the 14th February the world is going mad on mushy lovey stuff for St Valentine’s Day.
The exhibition was, however, far from being mushy with a couple of exceptions like the pink carpet in one room. It opened with the work of the American pop artist Tom Wesslemann. He was born in 1931 and died at the age of 73. But his work was as fresh as if it had being painted/constructed yesterday. These are two different constructions entitled “smoker”. I loved his work
The next work I was impressed with was that of Marc Quinn. Given that he was in college with Damien Hurst and Tracy Emin he seems to have produced quite conventional work…. This is a detail of one of his exhibits, which I liked. I perhaps should add the whole sculpture as the people involved in the Kiss are handicapped in body.
There was two huge canvases by the two Georges which I found vaguely interesting especially when I looked closely. They are packed with detail. The detail below is from the second canvas.
I loved Tracy Emin’s neons. Today these are commonplace. My neighbour here in France does this type of work. But they were original when she did them. They are hard to capture on photograph.
Andy Warhol was represented with one Marlyn image in a light box which was interesting.
There were many artists whose work I have not included in this review, mostly because I did not like or sometimes understand them.
But one whose work was mind altering was that of Yayoi Kusama It was a box of mirrors lit with yellow lanterns. Everywhere you looked your image and those of the lanterns were multiplied. It was fascinating.
The Charlotten Palace on Nyhaven in Copenhagen is a very beautiful building in a famously pretty area of Copenhagen. For this exhibition the side of the building, which stretches along the port, was covered in jute sacks by Ibrahim Mahama. He
is an artist born and working with Ghana. His installation works using Jute sacks (reappropriated material he has purchased from markets, which were first cocoa sacks and then coal sacks) are the result of his investigation of the conditions of supply and demand in African markets. Torn, patched, stamped with PRODUCT OF GHANA, and written over with owners’ names, the bags are variously marred, marked, and transformed. These installations are displayed in Ghanaian markets as well as galleries, thus defying the artifacts’ intrinsic value system. Ibrahim uses the coal sacks as a device to explore process, material, value, and meaning. He creates an artistic vision out of a commonplace material, repurposing them and exhibiting them in the very marketplaces from which they came. (1)
The result is extraordinary. The weather during my visit was grey and damp which added to the brooding nature of the sacking covered building. I photographed the building from the outside, close-up and from the inside out.
A close up view of the sacks
There were a number of other artists exhibiting in the Charlottenborg. Tita Salina and Irwan Ahmet are Indonesian. They create work mostly in cities with participation of those around them. They had a number of video installations at Charlottenborg. One concerned Salina’s protest against creating another island in the harbour area of Jakarta which would have jeprodised the livlihoods of the local fishermen. Salina collected rubbish from the harbour and created an island with this which was pushed out into the sea. She was filmed from above. I took snapshots from the screen to try to give some idea of the project.
The complete video can be seen on YouTube
This is a video of an interview with the artists on the occasion of the Singapore Biennial.