Dada, Surréalisme et au-delà

On 21 October in Paris, Sotheby’s offered for sale the collection of Dr. Arthur Brandt, whose passion and appreciation for Dada and Surrealism is reflected in this auction. Highlights include numerous works by Marcel Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters as well as a major work by Francis Picabia and others by Yves Tanguy, Man Ray, and Max Ernst.

The auction has now ended, with a grand total of €21.5 million.

All right then. Let’s take a look at Dada, Surréalisme et au-delà, particularly at the two out of several works of  Marcel Duchamp. Above is his “L.H.O.O.R”. Quoting Wikipedia:

In 1919, Duchamp made a parody of the Mona Lisa by adorning a cheap reproduction of the painting with a mustache and goatee. To this he added the inscription L.H.O.O.Q., a phonetic game which, when read out loud in French quickly sounds like “Elle a chaud au cul”. This can be translated as “She has a hot ass”, implying that the woman in the painting is in a state of sexual excitement and availability. It may also have been intended as a Freudian joke, referring to Leonardo da Vinci‘s alleged homosexuality. Duchamp gave a “loose” translation of L.H.O.O.Q. as “there is fire down below” in a late interview with Arturo Schwarz. According to Rhonda Roland Shearer, the apparent Mona Lisa reproduction is in fact a copy modeled partly on Duchamp’s own face.[33] Research published by Shearer also speculates that Duchamp himself may have created some of the objects which he claimed to be “found objects”.

On October 21, L.H.O.O.Q fetched a whooping 631,500 euros. Gasp.

Dada artists are known for their use of ready-made objects — everyday objects that could be bought and presented as art with little manipulation by the artist. The use of the ready-made forced questions about artistic creativity and the very definition of art and its purpose in society.

Indeed, L.H.O.O.Q manifests remarkably little manipulation by the artist upon the ready-made object — a cheap print of La Joconde! Just harping.

Boîte-en-valise, yet another Duchamp, is a portable museum containing 68 of his most famous works, either reproduced or miniaturised, has been sold  for €319,500.

Dada was the first conceptual art movement where the focus of the artists was not on crafting aesthetically pleasing objects but on making works that often upended bourgeois sensibilities and that generated difficult questions about society, the role of the artist, and the purpose of art.

And what a remarkably cheap and time-and-effort-consuming method to achieve such a noble goal! Makes me, a skeptic lacking of appreciation for Dadaism, wonder if Dadaists themselves defined their intentions while “crafting their art”.  Numerous art critics say yes and more:

So intent were members of Dada on opposing all norms of bourgeois culture that the group was barely in favor of itself: “Dada is anti-Dada,” they often cried.

The video clip below features the entire Collection Arthur Brandt : Dada, Surréalisme et au-delà, courtesy of Sotheby’s site:

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Meet The Sculptor: Luo Li Rong

Luo Li Rong is a Chinese artist born in 1980 who settled in Belgium. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Beijing. Once she graduated, she joined the studio of Zon Jiabao, which allowed her to refine her figurative style. Luo Li Rong produces realistic sculptures that convey the beauty and grace of the human body. Her life-size creations feature women in motion. They strike elegant poses that elongate their bodies with a seemingly windswept appearance; their hair and clothing look as though they’re being moved by a gentle breeze. This creates a compelling dichotomy; while there is an impressive dedication to realism.
Rong is careful to detail each delicate fold of the skin. There’s also a fantastical element to her work, as her characters reside on clouds and hold raindrops in their hands.Работа художницы и скульптора Луо Ли РонгРабота художницы и скульптора Луо Ли Ронг

The artist, by her own admission, is greatly inspired by Renaissance and Baroque sculpting techniques. The veiled marble sculptures of a renown Italian, Giovanni Strazza (1818-1875), might as well be among the works that influenced this talented young sculptor.

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This statue was executed in flawless Carrera marble by the renowned Italian sculptor Giovanni Strazza (1818-1875) in Rome. 

 

Creative Pyrotechnics in Paris

Thus far, my blog has 2 earlier posts about the antics of the radical political performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky, with enticing titles Flaming Testicles and Tastefully Nailed Testicles, both named in reference to Pavlensky’s favorite creative media — his own scrotum. That’s right, Pavlensky gained notoriety for anti-Kremlin stunts including nailing his scrotum to the Red Square cobblestones, as well as slicing off part of his ear and sewing his mouth shut. This isn’t for nothing he is known internationally as the “Russian scrotum artist.”

Pavlensky spent 18 months in pretrial detention after he doused a large wooden door at the FSB headquarters on Moscow’s Lubyanka Square with gasoline and set it on fire in November 2015. He was released in June 2016 and ordered to pay a hefty fine, which he refused to do.

Soon thereafter, in May 2016, France granted Pavlensky and his partner Oksana Shalygina political asylum.Pyotr Pavlenski (right) and his partner, Oksana Shalygina, in Paris in JanuaryThe couple claimed they fled Russia with their two daughters to escape a false sexual assault case against them. Pavlensky and Shalygina, who both advocate for open relationships, dismissed the allegations, claiming that their relationship with an alleged victim was consensual. However, a Moscow actress had accused them of raping her. They maintain that she filed her complaint under the orders of the Russian security services. If found guilty, the couple could be jailed for up to 10 years. Whatever.

Paris welcomed them with open arms, while Russians, particularly law and order authorities, breathed sigh of relieve — brazen provocateurs became a tremendous pain in their collective hinds.

Early Monday morning, Pavlensky, so-called “mind, balls and conscience” of Putin’s Russia, was arrested in Paris after setting fire to the doors of the Bank of France.In a statement made to Divergence Images Pavlensky explained that “bankers have taken the place of the monarchs” and called for a great French revolution. The ‘performance’ caused the bank to shut down on Monday, according to a note attached to the door. Piotr Pavlenski incendie la Banque de France, Place de la Bastille“Igniting the Bank of France shows the truth the authorities forced us to forget. The Bastille was destroyed by rebels as a symbol of despotism and power. There, they built another hotbed of slavery, which betrays the revolutionists and sponsors a bandit Versailles. The Bank of France took over the Bastille, bankers became monarchs,”  Pavlensky reportedly said in a statement, posted by Femen.
 

Meet The Sculptor: Chen Wenling

http://moimir.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/QQ%E6%88%AA%E5%9B%BE201203222254441.jpgChen Wenling is a contemporary Chinese Neo-Realist artist. His works are surreal, often grotesque sculptures, often executed in bright monochrome colors.

chinese sculpture.PNG His aim is to examine and convey the rapid rise of consumerism in modern-day China.  http://moimir.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/30_09_2009_0525556001254306014_chen-wenling.jpgHe shot to artistic fame with his Red Memory series (2001-07): more than 100 emaciated figures of naked boys at play, all covered in shiny red car duco.http://moimir.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/%D0%BC%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%87%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8.jpgThe artist works mostly in fiberglass, a new technological direction in the art of sculpture. The material is light and relatively cheap.http://moimir.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/chen-wenling_god-of-materialism1.jpgAmong the recurring characters in Chen’s work are pig-like humanoids and obese demons, all of which the artist deploys to create his biting social satire. Smashed against the wall is infamous “demon”, financier Bernard Madoff:http://moimir.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/emergency_escape_chen_wenling_008.jpgChen Wenling was born in 1969 in Quanzhou, China, studid at Xiamen Academy of Art. In rapid succession came international critical and commercial success. His work is exhibited both within China (the Guangzhou Art Museum, the Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art) and abroad (Basel, Switzerland). In 1999, Chen won the Venice Biennale’s top prize, the prestigious Golden Lion. He continues to exhibit around the world and lives and works in Beijing, China.

 

Meet The Artist: Ceslovas Cesnakevicius

Ceslovas Cesnakevicius is 30 year old artist from Lithuania. He creates really unusual digital artwork.  His photos are so simple and at the same time so incredibly thought-provoking.

The artist has been careful for a decade to take shoots with the intention to create little surreal worlds. Each one of them, ethereal and fragile, with a story behind.

Cesnakevicius explains that his works are small pieces of his biography. Images which refer to artists like Magritte. Clean digital manipulations, which can be mistaken with oils.

See more of this artist’s works here.

 

Meet The Artist: Joel Rea

Joel Rea, 32-year-old artist from Australia, works in an unusual genre, combining photorealism with surrealism.
He paints portraits and landscapes, animals and the ocean and it seems that there is no such theme on the basis of which he could not create his picture.Joel prefers to work with canvas and oil, perfecting every smallest detail.

“It is very easy to smile when you win, but for me the most interesting thing is exactly what people do in the darkest hours of their lives, because it is at such moments that you show up as a person,” says the artist.

Мееt The Sculptor: Isabel Miramontes

Born in Spain and influenced by the Celtic Origins of her village, the bronze works of Isabel MIRAMONTES have both a primitive and essential quality to them.

Her recognizable androgynous figures express a narrative of quiet certitude and the inevitable struggle of everyday man, his obstacles and triumphs.

The figures bear the weight of humanity, astonishingly defying their bronze origins with a definite fluidity of movement and a spiritual density omnipresent in her work.

Highly schooled and celebrated artist, Isabel MIRAMONTES resides in Belgium where she was raised and attended the Institute Sainte Marie and Saint Gilles.

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Allez Viens

Isabel is known for her bronze works, and does both commissioned monumental works, as well as small to midsize more accessible works as found on display at the Canfin Gallery. 

(Most of the narrative for this post and some of the images came from the Canfin Gallery’s site.)

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Extase

Isabel’s works reside in both public and private collections.

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Glissade

The artist’s work is pure movement, even if it’s an “animated” chair or bench. Unusual forms, elongated spirals and horizontal strips, which seem to wrap around the figure, show an inner confusion. Every figure is amazingly plastic and poetic.

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Chemin de Vie

“Isabel Miramontes feels that art calms the torments of life, and she freely
miramontes
reinvents them using her own artistic language. Her line is that of the wind, timelessly expanding and contracting to form her unique sculptural style. She does not like superfluous expression. To Miramontes, man and medium intermingle, becoming emotions and forgotten sensations which create art in its purest sense.”

 

 

Smoldering Stone: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Скульптура_Джан-Лоренцо-Бернини_Blessed-Ludovica-Albertoni-1671–74_02.jpgContinued from previous post.

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Self-portrait of Bernini, 1623

Passion is like a tornado, its frenzied whirlwind is felt in Bernini’s every sculpture. Bernini’s marble breezes passion, feeling known to him only so well.

He had a mistress, you see. She was a beautiful married woman named Constance. Some well-wisher told Bernini that Constance was cheating on him with his brother Luigi, no less. Furious, overcome with jealousy, Bernini informed everyone that he was leaving town for a few days. By the day’s end he showed up at Constance’s house. The rumor, unfortunately, turned out to be true.

Betrayed, enraged, Bernini would have killed his own brother, but the guards arrived and prevented murder about to occur. Then he sent his servant to exact an awful punishment on his cheating lover. The servant cut Constance’s face with a knife, ruining the woman’s beauty forever.

The year was of Our Lord 1640. By his late teens, Bernini had already established himself

Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1665, painted by Giovanni Battista Gaulli.

as a prodigious artist. He received his first major commissions from rapacious art lover Cardinal Scipione Borghese. The early works executed for the Cardinal won Bernini such acclaim that praise and accolades began to pour in. In 1621, Bernini was knighted, and in 1629, he was named the Official Architect of Saint Peters, one of the highest honors an artist could wish for. The artist frequented papal and royal circles, and was fervently admired even outside of Italy.

Thus punishment for all his crimes was far from harsh — Bernini had to pay a modest fine. And then the pontiff, who considered the sculptor to be his friend, sentenced him to… marriage to the most beautiful girl in Rome.

However, the dark streak wasn’t over. In 1646, the bell tower Bernini created for the façade of St. Peter’s had to be demolished after it developed worrisome cracks, and the shame of this failure proved almost too much for the artist to bear: contemporary sources say Bernini took to his bed and fasted almost to the point of death.

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Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. 1647-52

Then Bernini created The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, and immediately revived his career. It was a success that started a new era in Bernini’s artistic life and popularity that lasted until his death in 1680.

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Blessed Ludovica Albertoni. 1671-73

Indeed, “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” and “Blessed Ludovica Albertoni” are the two masterpieces that did not allow Bernini to fade into obscurity in the declining years, as happened with many great ones.
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A wild and miraculous cocktail it was, mix of carnal passion and spiritual desire. Look at these young nuns, not at all burdened with asceticism, and you will understand why Bernini was kindly treated, despite his criminal episode and epic failures.

Cold Stone, Hot Sex: Gian Lorenzo Bernini

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Gian Lorenzo Bernini,  also Gianlorenzo or Giovanni Lorenzo (7 December 1598 – 28 November 1680), an Italian sculptor and architect, loved sex, was very fond of sex, and was one of greatest admirers of carnal pleasures.
At the age of 16 he created a masterpiece that emanates passion — The Rape of Proserpina (1621-22). It’s hard to believe that the hot, full-bodied passion marble is the work of a sixteen-year-old boy!Скульптура_Джан-Лоренцо-Бернини_Похищение-Прозерпины-1621-22_02.jpgNo, not a boy, but a man. A man who knew about the power of passion and how impossible it is to contain. Proserpine seems to fly upwards, trying to escape from the strong embrace of Pluto, and the fingers of God of Underworld cling to her young flesh. No one could make stone convey soft skin, curling hair, or crinkling fabrics the way Bernini could.  Related image

Bernini was 26 when he created Apollo and Daphne.  The technique of the caught moment reaches perfection.Apollo & Daphne September 2a.jpg
Apollo is consumed by desire, but Daphne appealed to the gods, “Destroy the beauty that has injured me, or change the body that destroys my life.”  Gods obliged, and the maiden was turned into a tree. Скульптура_Джан-Лоренцо-Бернини_Аполлон-и-Дафна-1622–25_02.jpg

A real passion born of love is always a movement, it is a whirlwind that captures the body. Passion is like a tornado, and its frenzied movement is felt in Bernini’s masterpiece. The chase is over, the movement fades. Daphne’s feet grow into the ground, hands turn into twigs, and Apollo slows his run at a loss, feeling in his left hand not the desired flesh, but a rough tree bark.

(to be continued…)