As the international tour of the last Gilbert & George retrospective (2007–2009) did not include Berlin, Arndt & Partner are now presenting a solo exhibition of the celebrity artist duo in its gallery rooms behind the Hamburger Bahnhof. It is the first Gilbert & George solo show in Berlin for 14 years. The exhibition features a selection of 20 large-scale pieces from the Jack Freak Pictures, the largest Gilbert & George group of pictures to date. The thrust of the content is given by the colors and shapes of the Union Jack flag that dominate the bulk of the pictures as well as the recurring motive of medals, emblems and trees. In the Jack Freak Pictures the artist duo explores aspects of nationhood and of the sentient individual in the nets of society. In his essay published in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition the British writer Michael Bracewell describes these pictures as “the most iconic, philosophically astute and visually violent works that Gilbert & George have ever created…” On view 16 June through 18 September, 2009.
Gilbert & George, who met as students of sculpture at St. Martin’s School of Art in London 42 years ago, embarked on a joint artistic career that was to encompass a wide range of media from drawing to video and their trademark pictures. Further, the pair revolutionized the concept of sculpture by presenting themselves as “living sculptures” dressed in the quintessentially British tailored suit, shirt and tie. But it was their monumental trademark pictures composed of a gridlike array of smaller images which they began to create in the early 70s that first brought them international fame. Figures, cityscapes, symbols, plants, bodily fluids, excrements and text interlock in pictorial messages as visually powerful as their content is provocative. The pictures, which started out in black and white and later assumed increasingly luminous, bold colors, generally also depict portraits of the artists themselves and seize on taboo subjects like sexuality, race, religion and national identity with a brash and fearless candor.
The Jack Freak Pictures again feature the bodies and/or faces of the artists. In these compositions, their bodies function as stylized representatives of the individual in society, whose relationship to social norms and categories, to national, religious and sexual identification processes is relentlessly explored and commented upon. Departing from their earlier oeuvre, some of their new pictures split the raw images into much smaller fragments before merging them into new forms. The result is a fascinating kaleidoscopic mix of the monstrously grotesque with an intricate ornamental structure reminiscent of sacred art. In ever new variations, Gilbert & George order the signs and fragments of social life they find in their neighborhood – the multicultural East End of London –, where solidarity and friendship are as visible as intolerance and marginalization.
Gilbert & George
Gilbert, born in 1943 in the Ladin Dolomites, Italy, studied at the Wolkenstein School of Art in South Tyrol, the Hallein School of Art in Austria and the Munich Academy of Fine Arts before coming to London and enrolling at St Martin’s School of Art. George, born in 1942 in Devon, England, studied at the Dartington Hall College of Art, the Oxford Art School and St. Martin’s School of Art, where he met Gilbert in Anthony Caro’s sculpture class in 1967. They have lived and worked together in London ever since.
The duo has accumulated a long list of international distinctions and exhibitions at major institutions. They were awarded the Turner Prize in 1986, a prize they had already been nominated for two years earlier, and represented the UK at the 51st Venice Biennial in 2005. Solo exhibitions of their art have been held at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1971 and 1996), the Guggenheim Museum, New York (1985), Wiener Secession, Vienna (1992), the National Art Gallery, Beijing (1993), the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris (1997), the Kunstmuseum Bonn (1999), the Serpentine Gallery, London (2002), and the Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht (2006). Their second retrospective, which toured museums including the Tate Modern, London (2007), and the Haus der Kunst, Munich (2007), was on show at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, until the beginning of the year.
Visit Arndt & Partner at : http://www.arndt-partner.de/
With SUMO, the Helmut Newton Foundation presents what might just be the most spectacular and expensive photography book project ever. Ten years ago, publisher Benedikt Taschen persuaded Helmut Newton to agree to produce a gigantic book with a print run of 10,000 copies, all signed by the photographer. Accompanied by a custom-made book holder by Philippe Starck, the book found its way into the homes of well-heeled buyers. Now, for the first time, its 394 photographs will go on display to mark the 10th anniversary of a photography publication that today is a much sought-after collector’s item. To accompany this presentation, Taschen will publish a smaller and revised version of the book for the regular book market.
In addition to SUMO, Mark Arbeit, George Holz and Just Loomis will be presented at the Helmut Newton Foundation with their photography under the title “Three boys from Pasadena”. In the late 70s, they were students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and later became assistants of Helmut Newton.
In recent years, the photo book has attracted particular appreciation, not least of all through Martin Parr’s “The Photobook: A History” that examines some quite unusual photographic publications. A growing number of collectors have turned to this new field, and some photo books can fetch sums that are dazzling. At photo fairs from Paris to New York, photo book dealers appear in increasing frequency with especially valuable publications in tow.
One of the most outstanding photo books of the last decade is Helmut Newton’s SUMO, which appeared in 1999 in poster format with 464 pages and considerable weight. It was Benedikt Taschen who convinced the photographer to this publishing feat; it proved to be a smash hit. Philippe Starck crafted the metal stand for this extraordinary publication that appeared in an edition of 10,000 copies, all personally signed by Newton. The sales price matches the format and exclusivity of the photo book, and has found its way into the hands of only the best-endowed Newton enthusiasts. The limited availability contributed to the book’s legendary status, the contents remained mostly unknown.
The some 400 photographs in the book, many of which were published here for the first time, capture the essence of Newton’s work. His first and award-winning photo book in 1976, “White Women,” was followed by numerous publications with decidedly descriptive titles, such as 1981’s “Big Nudes,” whose circulation of over 100,000 copies to date has been Newton’s most successful book; or “World Without Men” from 1984. At irregular intervals between 1987 and 1995, Helmut Newton published his own magazine and showcase for his newest images, “Helmut Newton’s Illustrated.”
But it was with SUMO that the Newton/Taschen team topped them all in the field of photo books. Such monumental tomes already existed in the history of books and bookmaking, but these were bibles, books of hours and atlases, followed later – in the second half of the 19th century – by illustrated travelogues with inserts of original large format prints.
This presentation of the corpus of images comprising SUMO traces the book’s unique history. All of the book’s pictures appear 1:1 as framed pages; additionally, there is a selection of original photographs, in black & white and color. Still other prints document the book’s own elaborate production and glamorous presentation. Newton’s fashion and nude photography, portraiture as well as advertising images hang side by side in equal standing. Some of these images can be found in other Newton publications, while others premiered in the book and may only now for the first time be seen on exhibit.
This “best of” selection overlooks not a single aspect of Newton’s opus. His portraits are intensely individual: Debra Winger returns our gaze while her half-hidden face fills the frame; David Bowie stoically bares his chest on the beach at Monte Carlo; and Liz Taylor bathes in the pool for Newton’s camera, a green parrot perched on her finger. Helmut Newton visually escorted the exclusive and eccentric lives of the rich and beautiful including all of its eroticism and gluttony. While doing so, he both served and questioned the clichés at the same time.
In order to understand both his work and the vehement reactions it often evoked, one should try to imagine the cultural tenor and the dominant public conventions at the time of their publication. It is only then that the controversy and provocation of many photographs fully emerges. In the early 1970s for example, his portrayal of two women passionately kissing – the one naked, the other in a tuxedo – was seen as a direct affront on social mores. It is since these times that Helmut Newton became known for his insertion of subtle as well as radical nudity into his fashion and product photography.
Finding the borders and overstepping them belong to the trademark of the photographer who scorns in constant battle the established notions of “good taste”. With his close-up reduction of a black stiletto heel, or the bulging fingers of a woman’s hand reaching greedily for dollar bills, Newton succeeded in producing symbolic images beyond compare. Helmut Newton’s seminal work remains singular and nonpareil. It is at the very latest while perusing SUMO that one realizes just how many icons of photographic history the photographer has indeed created.
As with previous exhibitions at the Helmut Newton Foundation, the work of Newton’s companions will be presented in parallel to SUMO. Mark Arbeit, George Holz and Just Loomis were students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, when they met Newton in the late 1970s; later they would assist him regularly.
Some of Mark Arbeit’s pictures are formally quite unusual. In his photo-technical experiments with deconstructed Polaroids enlarged onto photo paper, he reveals the other, flip side of the photographic image and its creation. Here and in his collages with African tribal art, Arbeit makes reference to experimental phases in the history of nude photography, for example in Surrealism. In another series, he portrays nudes in Parisian artist ateliers. The painters themselves are absent, represented only through their works on the easels and walls. The nudes in the studio medially paraphrase the paintings through their presence.
In addition to his contract celebrity portraiture that includes the likes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Madonna, George Holz also looks to the female form, naked and life-sized, in interiors or natural settings. Some of his more stylized images evoke stills from early Fritz Lang films, while others are strictly unaccessorized – such as his photograph of Rachele, reclining poolside in Hollywood. The reciprocal sexual attraction often evident in his images evokes a pastoral affinity reaching towards a mystical fusion of man and nature. What captures Holz’s eye here is timeless, natural nudity, occasionally cast by refined shadows varying subtly across the body’s surfaces.
Just Loomis opts for a direct and unadorned look at American everyday life. In black & white and color, we see the faces of young waitresses, skateboarders or passers-by looking back at us, uninvolved and unaffected. Independent projects that have emerged from his magazine work in fashion and beauty, such as his documentations of the fashion industry backstage or images from on the road, are now on display at the Helmut Newton Foundation. Hardly anything seems staged – these are intensely visual encounters with strangers. Timeless and yet contemporary, the portraits of Just Loomis play with the beauty and the banality of the moment.
Daniel Tchetchik, one of the top Israeli Photographers, and a favourite of mine, is pushing it hard for his upcoming “Still Winter” exhibition. The opening will take place on Thursday September 18, 2008 – @20:00 at Raw Art Gallery. Daniel will show some of his recent work and a new video art. The exhibition will be accompanied with a great catalog. So, if you are in Tel Aviv between September 18th and October 31st – be sure to stop by. I can tell you that the outcome of his hard work is extremely impressive!
Stay tuned for further information about the exhibition and from the opening night.
Tami Amit is pushing it hard for her upcoming “Motion Pictures” exhibition. The opening will take place on Thursday March 27, 2008 – 20:00 at Raw Art Gallery. At the same opening night, we will hold in the gallery, a special event for the realese of her eagerly anticipated artist book.
I can tell you that the outcome of her hard work is extremely impressive!
Stay tuned for further information about the exhibition and book.
Daniel Tchetchik Will Participate In A New Group Exhibition At The Pyramida Center For Contemporary Art
Daniel Tchetchik will participate in a new group exhibition “NOWHERE”at the Pyramida Center for Contemporary Art in Haifa, from 15 March through 12 April, 2008. The exhibition is curated by Avraham Eilat and Yaakov Hefetz.
Here is a first look at our ‘under construction’ space at Fresh Paint. Additional images will follow soon.
Hope to see you there!
Finally, there is an English version website for the art fair, so check it out and do come and say hi while you are at the fair!
All you guys that requested invitations for the openening night, they are supposed to arrive soon… Stay tuned…
Fresh Paint is a new and first of its kind Israeli art fair, that will host the works of up-and-coming independent Israeli artists alongside presentations of Israel’s top contemporary art galleries.
Raw Art Gallery will paricipate in the fair and will show some new works by: Daniel Tchetchik, Shirley Kanyon, Eran Volkovsky, Uri Dotan, Tami Amit, Ido Shemi, Adam Sher and James Unsworth.
Whether you are new or established collector this is the place to be to discover and buy paintings, drawings, sculptures, video and photography from distinguished galleries – all priced up to 5000$, and from some 60 individual Israeli artists.
The fair will take place in Tel Aviv, between 6-8 March 2008.
If you want to be our guest for the preview night – March 5, 2008, drop us a line (with your email address and home address) either through the blog or through Raw Art Gallery website, and we will be happy to send you an invitation.
Additional news on the fair will follow soon.
Kippi has created for us a great new video of the exhibition by Uri Dotan and Avraham Pesso at the Raw Art Gallery.
Thursday, October 18th 2007, at 20:00 we will open the GREAT new exhibition by Uri Dotan and Avraham Pesso.
If you are in Tel Aviv you have to pay a visit! Truly remarkable!
For further information please visit our gallery website, and while visiting there register to get occasionally art information and more… Check back soon to get our newsletter! And do keep sending ALL fedback and comments!
Kipi thanks for your help!