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[click to enlarge]

could someone in vienna please go to this at MAK for me? (marita and alex?)

or even better, could someone in vienna please ship me over so i can see the show? [and pop in and see marita and alex]

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les expositions dans paris

now that i’ve had time to come back down to earth, i have a bit of time to tell you about some of the great shows and galleries i saw while i was in paris.

last time i was there (in 2007), i was quite surprised that finding independent, funky, contemporary art stuff was a bit more difficult than i thought. granted, i was right at the end of 6 months overseas, had €40 for 5 days and was hangin’ out with dear friends, but still.

anyway, this time around i knew where to look, it seems, ‘cos i saw some fantastic stuff and happened upon some wicked galleries, shows and museums – more than i had time to check out.

marian goodmantino sehgal

a chorus of “welcome to this… situation” was the first thing that was said to me, as i stepped through the doors of marian goodman gallery on rue du temple. i was so fuckin’ excited ‘cos i rarely happen upon performance and/or situationist works. plus, where better to happen upon it than france.

the gallery space was ‘occupied’ by a group of artists/performers, all discussing political and social issues (as far as my bad phrasebook french would allow me to understand). as a new conversation started, or a new person entered the space, the ‘circle’ would rotate in the other direction. all the members adhered to a particular way of moving – slowly – as a rejection of the ‘fast paced’ attitude to contemporary life.

i had a lovely moment when a little way into my stay there, one of the artists addressed me, in english, saying how much she delighted in seeing my initial (excited) reaction to their situation and that it must be a lovely way to approach life, open to all kinds of surprises. it is and all i said was thank you. although, had i been able to speak with them, i would have probably let her know that some of my joy was borne of a particular interest in situationism, rather than a pure, unbridled openness to life. that i’ve probably got running at 65%, which i guess isn’t too bad 😀

cite de l’architecture et la partrimoine

this was a great find. after really enjoying the AzW in Vienna, i decided to actively seek some architecture galleries/spaces this time around. i hit the jackpot with cite chaillot. i was there for about 4 hours, visiting the temporary exhibits, permanent collection, staring out the window at the amazing view and really looking at the endless galleries of models and plans. plus i got to check out the 1:1 recreation of le corbusier’s housing scheme appartment. the one that worked/failed/worked – depending on your viewpoint. heh.

the temporary collections included the impressive collection of lacaton & vassal, the display of (what felt like) a thousand models of the venice biennale pavillion/awards, generocity, which included some really impressive and innovative models. my personal favourite – BLOCK: a block of wax atop a block of lead, with a ‘ramp’ scraped out the top of the wax, as the ‘transformation of a bunker’ (I didn’t make a note of the intended outcome, sorry)

there was also an interesting display on facades/skins/exterior techonological advancements, called peau (skin) as well as their permanent collection

not to mention the absolutely divine view from the modern architecture hall. i thought the view from the pompidou was ace, but this shat all over that. especially at about 4pm on a winter’s afternoon with the sun glinting of the fleche d’or of saint-michel and all of paris bathed in that pinky white light. phew! lucky i didn’t have a camera with me …

palais de tokyo. again. (bangin’ on about it)

Chambre à louer sur le toit du Palais de Tokyo

i know i already talked about the palais de tokyo, but i keep thinking about it as an art space. and when talking about it the other day, i spoke of it as finding a wide audience because the space itself being the lowest common denominator, not the shows or the audience being LCD to appeal to as many people as possible.

it had so many points of access that appealed to a wide variety of needs and ways of engaging, without being patronising: food (fancy restaurant), alcohol (bar), books, things to see and touch and listen to (the shop with the music listening station), self-obsession/identity (photoautomat), a range of entry prices and a wide opening time frame.

anyways, i just had to mention the space again. especially as i’m shortly going to give nicholas bourriard (who was instrumental to establishing the place) a drubbing for his altermodern show at the tate. who ever says i’m imbalanced is wrong 🙂

oh, and i have to add how much i lusted after hotel everland (above), which is the fantastic work on top of the gallery at the moment. being auctioned off on ebay for a cool €1000 per night. phew!

la galerie des galeries – ludivine caillard.

hotel encore, by french installation artist caillard, was in the amazing space on level 1 at galeries lafayette. for the australians, imagine a hot contemporary white-cube-ish space in myer. it really was awesome and the show was a combination of flavours: knitted forms, including one of my favourites for self-centered reasons, red dress – a knitted cover for a tree (red knitting is kinda close to my heart at the moment). plus some great video/collage works which show the sexualised poses of make-up/fashion models copping the money shot from tubes of make-up and cosmetics. it’s pretty hott.

le plateau [centre for contemporary art]: notorious

i raced up to plateau belleville on my last full day in paris, to check out this group show, only to have the gallery not open until 2pm. d’oh! so i went and saw a bunch of other stuff, then came back, skating in 10 minutes before closing. great show. really awesome theme using hitchcock’s film ‘notorious’ as the departure point and a whole bunch of ‘noir’ kind of works. the image above is a still from a german film by keren cytter (of which i understood the dialogue auf Deutsch better than the subtitles allez français), playing with the idea of imagined vs real violence/murder. i attempted something similar a few years ago and did a pretty crap job of it, so it was great to see a good outcome of it.

the spinning light/spotlight was fun as well – circled the room so that you got to appear as hitchcock in his credit sequences. the space was pretty cool too – quite a way from the hip’n’groovy part of town, but worth the ‘trek’.

xippas galerie
well, what i thought was xippas, turns out was not. however, xippas is at 108, rue Viellie du Temple. the space looks amazing online.

yvon lambert
Bu-ut, in looking for xippas, I went to another space on Vielle du Temple, Yvon Lambert, which had an exhibition of works by a new love of mine, Lawrence Weiner, 1/2 empty, 1/2 full; as well as a stack of publications that i coveted. There was also a fantastic quote from Mr Weiner, which i didn’t get a chance to properly transcribe, but it went something like..
“Public art has two roles, to honour alienation and to create for the people a place in the sun”

… or along those lines anyway. my notes:
Public art has two roles
– alienation
– place in the sun.


There was also a small project space, where the conceptual artist, Giulio Paulino had a work, which looked at perspective – reminiscent of Ferini. The gallerie was invigilated by a couple of hipster cuties, with the cliche skinny jeans, ernest conversation and rollies cigarettes. i got shy really quickly. heh.

hotel/passage de retz
the time i was there, the passage du retz didn’t have an exhibition on, but is still a cool space and has some great production work for sale, including a very Sticky-esque french love letter dispenser for €2 per piece. of course i bought one – it was so close to valentines day (which i spent with about 400 others on a plane, or in a queue for luggage), it would have been criminal not to.

Galerie Karsten Greve, on paper

in the same area, in the marais, off rue debelleyme, there were loads of commercial spaces i discovered, mostly ho-hum kind of shows, except one with an exhibition of works on paper, brilliantly titled on paper. featuring beautiful drawings and prints by Louise Bourgeois, Joseph Albers, crazy mask-like drawings by Alexander Gorlizki and the beautiful rolls of Pierrette Bloch (above).

i also have to fill you in on the show at hotel du monnaie – david lachapelle, my time at the pompidou [x 2] and a cute little show with black’n’white cubes in a little street on Rue Pecquay, near the Pompidou/Hotel du Ville. But I’m a bit tired, and i think this post is long enough already.

image credits:
Architecture gallery by Gaston Bergeret
View from Cite du l’architecture et du patrimoine by le-haboo from flickr
Nightmare, 2007, Keren Cytter from Le Plateau site.
Untitled, Pierette Block from Galerie Karsten Greve – Paris

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some amazing shows

i’ve been to see more shows in the last 3 days than i have in the last 3 months. it’s like mainlining nicotine after being a social smoker – full-fuckin-on. but ace. totally ace.

there are a few stand-out shows for me so far and i just need to rave about them for a bit.

andreas golder, white cube.

more specifically, the sculptural work that is splattered on the carpet on the top floor of hoxton square gallery. it is pretty impressive and quite revolting, in a delicious way. i think if it wasn’t installed in a grey room, with lower lighting – after a pretty innocuous show downstairs, it might not be so memorable for me. but it was and it was. the detail and the gore is great – never has a partly flagellated skeletal form looked quite so luscious.

conceptual models, tate modern.

i’ve been holding off on seeing the rothko, thanks to dear friends giving me free tickets, etc, etc. so when i went the other day, it was really to check out some of the other free shows. conceptual models is one of the most awesome shows i’ve seen in ages. i know that sounds like quite a big call, but for me it really nailed it. it was large enough to get a bit of a scope of the theme (artists working with/within architectural frameworks and ideas), was a theme that i totally dig, because i’m a self-centered gal and love seeing shows about work i make; and was still tight enough to not feel completely swamped by filler and/or overkill.

some of the great works i loved included some white langlands & bell (my new favourite artists) models of ivrea, also known as olivetti-city damian ortega‘s skin works: cow-hide modernist housing plans, strung up like carcasses; ephemeral modelling work, cedric, by koo-jeong, a and thomas demand‘s tavern – sets and photos of the site of (i ♥ thomas demand). they were just the absolute highlights, but there wasn’t really a work in there that i didn’t love.

unfortunately, there was nothing but the suggestion of looking it up on the internet to take home with me. not even a room list/publication thing like there usually is. i was a bit disappointed about that, but thankfully the list of works is on the tate site.

hussein chalayan, design museum.

i had been looking forward to seeing this exhibition for a while – i bought advanced tickets from oz, that’s how excited i’ve been about it. and i didn’t even really know that much about the designer before then, but i just knew it would be a good show.

and how.

the works are fantastic – chalayan is into multi-disciplinary design and story-telling is a major aspect of his collection. and that collaborative/wholistic approach has been taken into the exhibition design too – done by an architectural firm, the whole experience is amazing and a little blade-runner-esque (do all good architects like blade-runner). each room is a difference ‘illustration’ – fig. A-R of the fashion work, but is an installation in itself. chalayan also does fantastic films, several of which are showing at the museum, including one featuring the amazing tilda swinton. born in cyprus, working in london, chalayan’s work, and especially this show, has the feel of exactly those two places – absolute high-density innovation and sparse romanticism. in fact, there was something about the show that reminded me of australian artist hussein valamanesh.

if you’re in london between now and may, and have even a passing interest or understanding of fashion/design, go see this show. it’s brilliant.

UPDATE: great essay on ortega’s skins here

image credits:
andres golder, surgite mortui venite ad judicium, from the white cube site.
thomas demand, tavern, from the telegraph website

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oh, no ho, so ho, oh.

yesterday was like a protein bar of 6 months of living in london, squished into 1 day, plus a sprinkling of life in melbourne.

it started off with a whirlwind tour of a bunch of galleries in and around soho/noho, a wonder through the streets of soho, coffee at flat white, yoghurt peanuts from berwick st market and then a soothing soak into the permanent collection of the national gallery.

the commercial gallery shows i saw were a right mixture of fantastic, challenging and downright shit. there also seemed to be an over-riding arrogance about a whole lot of the shows and, typically, almost all of them male. something which the countesses would probably have something to say about.

mummery + schnelle: merlin james – paintings.
this was first show i saw for the morning and by god was it crap. the paintings of horses and bodies were sub-foundation-year and the archive and collection of drawings out the back, by charchoune were kind of interesting, but given absolutely no context. blunt, sorry. but it’s true.

david roberts art foundation, fitzrovia – alastair mackie; not waving but drowning
this show was amazing: a few large, key sculptural works, linked with taxidermy, dead animals and the parts we use: a dolls house from wasp and hornets nest, a loom with fabric woven from mouse hair, and a pile of mice skeletons, used to make the fabric. gruesome, but valuable reminder about using animals for our purpose and blurring the lines of grotesque and functional.

this gallery also reminded me that the commercial gallery scene in london is full of snooty bitches. it’s 1000 times worse than the worst day at anna schwartz. like no ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’ and just plain ignoring you when you ask a question. thankfully i remembered to not take it personally and just have some pity for the poor fuckers who believe that they’re on some higher caste.

alison jacques: jon pylypchuck – just sit back and recount the violence of one year
my first impression of the show was a bit of ho-hum, thanks to the very boy-art installation in the middle of the floor. however, the paintings and drawings were awesome. not necessarily for their form, but as narratives of hilariously dark and cynical conversations between fucked up characters. my personal favourites:

“chase your dreams, baby boy”
“let’s even if up, fuck faces”


“your name will be the last thing i say when i die”
“i hope you don’t still owe me money when you die”
“watching you two douchebags climb this mounting together is really heart warming”

stuart shave: jonathan meese – casinoz babymetabolismn (put’s mone in your mouth, baby)
this was an impressive exhibition. the large paintings, photocollages covering the windows, drawing on the walls, the manifestos scrawled all over the place and the bronze fucked-up sculptures were all-encompassing. jonathan is kind of a big deal in germany and i can see why. his work has a presence about it and he is certainly focused. i still can’t say whether i liked the work. i have a problem with that level of arrogance and i’m always suspicious about artists spouting the ills of art in the form of art. irony or hypocrisy – either way, both are really irrelevant in terms of communication. i also found his choice of identity somewhat difficult to digest: jesus christ-charles-manson-glenn-from-deicide-albrecht-durer. all people who are deified for their preaching and, well, i wrinkle my nose at that kind of blah-blah-blah.

having said that, his sculptures were fantastic and i have some level of admiration for the sheer determination and ballsiness of his work. and the gallery seems like a really cool new venue – i’m looking forward to seeing what else they’ve got going there.

the approach w1: phillip allen: sloppy cuts no ice
the paintings in this show were actually really unappealing to me. in fact, they were a real turn-off. thankfully, i went downstairs and saw the drawings by the same guy and they were beautiful. i would have even bought some (if i was, you know, loaded). and i ended up having a really sweet chat with the canadian gallery assistant about i’m not here – the movie about bob dylan. conversation, see?

after seeing all those shows, i took a walk down berwick st, for old-times’ sake, where i grabbed some yoghurt-covered peanuts from the berwick st markets (may favourite sweet thing ever) and a coffee from flat white. flat white was my coffee salvation when i was working in berwick st. i could get a great coffee with a twist of oz, on a daily basis. now, i don’t know what’s happened but the place is now so awful. no australians/kiwis, the decor is scarily bourgeoise and the coffee is treacherous. ok, so there are far more treacherous things in the world, but it tasted like fucking dishwashing detergent. i didn’t even finish it (and i only have an espresso). i was so disappointed. not just in the coffee, but how quickly a place like london changes. and how quickly something that was authentic and true and good became gross and mediocre. presumably because someone tried to “capitalise” on it.

thankfully i headed then to the ever-reliable national gallery to pick up where i had left off in october 2007 (i visited a room a week for the 6 months i lived here). i went to the netherlands, 1700 rooms and checked out a slightly disappointing vermeer and a beautiful pieter der hooch painting, which highlighted the perspective of an interior/exterior plane. it was so beautiful composed and the colours of the sunlight courtyard were do divine. of course i had to draw it to do it a complete injustice.

and then i caught up with my dear friend huw, who is doing a PhD on post WWII german music and we encircled covent garden for a bit (i always get lost around there), before gratefully descending on monmouth – the best coffee place in this part of the world for not only kaffeeklatsch, but to right the previous oh-so-wrongs from my earlier flat white visit.

afterwards, we went back to the gallery, open late on wednesdays and hung about in the rubens room, cooing over the baroque master. i love rubens, so i had no problems with salivating over his pudgy knees, soles of feet, dimply bottoms and gnarly fingers. his compositions are so complex and swirly and dramatic, huw and i were completely drawn in.

i’ve been doing some half-arsed investigations into the idea that we’re currently in a neo-baroque period, so i’ll probably spend some more time researching rubens in the coming year.

after huw left, i spent some time trying to sketch out mars protecting pax, then walked to russell square, via china town, before heading back to brixton the long way home (on the 59 bus).

image credit: jonathan meese, stuart shave website

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last day: 15 x 15

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the last day to see My World is 15 x 15 at 374 Gallery in Northcote. If you’ve been having that ‘I should really go check it out’ kind of thoughts, then get up off the couch, log off facebook for 10 minutes and go see it.

And next weekend is the last weekend for Making Sense at Craft Vic. I’ll be giving you similar directions then, so save me the trouble and go see them both tomorrow.

[here is a shitty low-res version of what’s in the red box.. just so you get a sneak peek, prior to your sneak peek]

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2 things i love about the melbourne international arts festival

…so far:

1. this image.

it’s their new branding identity* and i have to say that it’s fucking brilliant.
all i can think of is anish kapoor when i see it, but it’s still brilliant.

2. i’ll be going to see patti smith perform on sunday 12th october!

for those who don’t know, this is particularly special to me as i had a ticket to see her at shepherd’s bush empire in london on the 20th october last year and had to leave the country 4 days beforehand. i still have the unused ticket in my journal as a heartbreaking reminder. i can cross that regret off my list now. eep!

*i pinched it from their site. i hope they don’t mind.

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