Figures Collection

FIGURES

COLLECTION


Photography by Leni Smoragdova


Artist: Leni Smoragdova (@smoragdova) saatchiart.com/ng.leni


Women in Abstraction

Luxury fashion online retailer Mytheresa is honoured to be a sponsor of the “Women in Abstraction” exhibition, to support and give recognition to female artists around the globe.

The “Women in Abstraction” exhibition, which should be presented at the Centre Pompidou from May 19th to August 23th 2021, offers a new take on the history of abstraction- from its origins to the 1980s- and brings together the specific contributions of around one hundred and ten “women artists”.

Luxury fashion online retailer Mytheresa is honoured to be a sponsor of the “Women in Abstraction” exhibition, to support and give recognition to female artists around the globe.

The “Women in Abstraction” exhibition, which will be presented at the Centre Pompidou from May 19th to August 23th 2021, offers a new take on the history of abstraction- from its origins to the 1980s- and brings together the specific contributions of around one hundred and ten “women artists”.

Christine Macel, Chief Curator, and Karolina Lewandowska, Curator for Photography, revisit this history, and highlight the processes that made these “women artists” invisible through a chronological survey combining fine arts, dance, photography, film and decorative arts. Echoing the French exhibition title (“Elles font l’abstraction”, i.e., “They/She make(s) abstraction”), the artists are presented as full-edged actors and co- reators of modernism and its a aftermath in their own right.

“Women in abstraction is an exhibition that aims to show how female artists have been major actors and co-creators of modernity and its a aftermath, how much they have contributed to the multidisciplinarity of abstraction and thus break the cloak of invisibility that still covers many of their key contributions ”, commented Christine Macel, Chief Curator.

The exhibition shows the decisive turning points that marked the history of Abstraction and questions its aesthetic canons without redefining a new one. It also goes beyond the idea of a history of art conceived as a succession of purely pioneering practices. By giving “women artists” a new place in this history, the exhibition demonstrates its complexity and diversity.

American Artist Lynda Benglis realizing a project commissioned by the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island 1969.

Centre Pompidou will host the exhibition “Women in Abstraction”, sponsored by luxury fashion retailer Mytheresa.

First of all, it makes an unprecedented foray into the 19th century with the rediscovery of Georgiana Hough- ton’s work from the 1860s, undermining the chronological origins of abstraction by tracing it back to its spiritualist roots. It then shines a spotlight on key figures through mini monographs highlighting artists who have been little shown in Europe or unfairly eclipsed. It focuses particularly on the specific educational, social and institutional contexts that surrounded and encouraged or, conversely, hindered the recognition of “women artists”. The exhibition reveals why many “women artists” did not necessarily seek recognition. It considers the positions of the artists themselves, with all their complexities and paradoxes. Some, like Sonia Delaunay-Terk, adopted a non-gendered position while others, like Judy Chicago, laid claim to a feminine art.

This female version of history challenges the limitation of the study of abstraction to painting alone, which is one of the reasons why many women have been excluded, as the specific modernist approach rejected the spiritualist, ornamental and performative dimensions of abstraction. The perspective is also a global one that includes the modernities of Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, not to men on the African-American artists whose multiple voices only benefited from certain visibility from the early 1970s onwards to tell their story with sever-al voices and reach beyond the Western canon. The scenography includes documentary spaces devoted to founding exhibitions, key women actors of abstraction and celebrated critics, particularly within the feminist struggles of the 1970s and their postmodern interpretation.

The “Women in Abstraction” exhibition also raises several questions. The first concerns the very term of the subject: what exactly is abstraction? Another deals with the causes of the specific processes that made women invisible in the history of abstraction that still prevails today. Can we continue to isolate “women artists” in a separate history when we would like this history to be polyvocal and non-gendered? Lastly, the exhibition establishes the artists’ specific contributions, whether pioneers or not, but in all cases stakeholders in this particular, original and unique history.

The “Women in Abstraction” exhibition will be presented at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain, from October 22nd 2021 to February 27th 2022 with the collaboration of Curator Lekha Hileman Waitoller. Based on the collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne, another version will open in April 2022 at the Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum in Shanghai, China.


Le Grand Bleu

Le Grand Bleu

Hilde van Mas and FJBAUR transform WURST into a living sculpture at the interface of art and fashion in a photographic-sculptural-textile way. The body is set in a deep blue, watery and heavenly at the same time: LE GRAND BLEU as a calm, level-headed person who advocates acceptance, openness and freedom and lives it. WURST is the neoneo-humanistic figure, climbs the sculpture podium and enters into dialogue with Michelangelo’s David, as a marble icon of humanism and human freedom. The blue skin and the textile applications as an abstract, painterly pole cover the living body; an oscillation between art and life, material and transcendent comes into effect. WURST is the soaring blue being draped by flowing threads of color, and also the mask-like hybrid creature between the worlds. No polarizing black and white, but open, free, large blue

Artist: Conchita / TOM / WURST (@conchitawurst)

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Photography: Hilde van Mas (@hildevanmas)

Art Pieces & Outfit: FJ Baur (@fjbaur)

Styling: Julia Philippitsch (@jpheg)

HMUA: Sarah Bzoch (@sarah.bzoch)

Art Text: Barbara Steininger (@barbara.steininger)

Photography Assistant: Bogdan Zhvalevskiy (@addi_tph)

Location: F6 Studio (@f6theopenfactory)

Videography: Emil Scheichenbauer (@zehnzwanzig)


Lucente

“When we look at the world, we do it with the awareness of carrying out an action towards what’s in front of us. For this reason we travel, visit museums and even return to the same places sometime after.

What we are looking at stops before us with a call, asking for an undetermined waiting time that comes with a simple assumption: we can’t have enough of it.

Being in that room, on that beach or sitting on that bench right at that moment is both the result of a decision that led to a circumstance but also to a circumstance that flowed into an action. For some reason, obvious or not, we are there, listening. The way in which this happens is dictated by personal variables that push us to take a stand and to play a role, for which we have a conscious view of what is happening before us, trivially the flow of things, while forgetting everything that’s behind us. It may happen for a very long time or just for a second, but it happens all the time.

But how’s the world behind us? Who is watching us while we are living that moment? How does the visual field appear with us in the middle? These are the thoughts that come to mind while I’m shooting, portraying someone who is aware of what is in front of him but has no consciousness of what he’s producing by being there, in that exact moment. It is as if, in his distraction, he’s unconsciously posing, waiting to create radiant scenes with the surrounding environment of life that soon then runs away, with its own thoughts in motion.

Then the landscape transforms itself and takes away the presence of my model, as if it had no more memory. Maybe it will wait for others, ready to adopt a new and unique role that I won’t be able to shoot.”


Photography: Giulia De Marchi (@giulia.demarchi) giuliademarchi.com


Vulcano

“If you visit Sicily, you cannot leave without visiting the volcano. Etna is, like all active volcanoes, (in fact, even more due to its unique majesty) the meeting point between black and white, heaven and hell, beauty and terror.

Only those who have at least one window facing Etna can truly understand the primordial situation that it creates: today we are here because She allows us to do so. Here in this magical place where very little is needed to overturn the equilibrium. The locals (and even more the visitors) are very small and that’s how I wanted to picture them: like curious non-entities made of colours, smells and sensations of a land that boils from within.

Even more than any other photograph I made, the human element here is truly just a silhouette, a figure wandering around. I see them starting their walk with a promise to themselves to make, this time, a mystical journey and they end up, perhaps, talking of everyday things. Isn’t this what follows a moment of spirituality? Descending into everyday life while observing the climate and the landscape?

In this same way I imagine the inhabitants: the same ones which have at least one window facing Etna and meditate on those silhouettes that wander around, perhaps I consider them a little naïve for being there and just thinking of who knows what. But in the end, it makes no difference whether the thoughts at stake are deep or not, mystical or futile. It only matters the Volcano with its black and scorching earth.”


Photography: Giulia De Marchi (@giulia.demarchi) giuliademarchi.com


Nekros

NEKROS

Photography | Marco Gehlhar & Alice Fassi

The project “Nekros” was carried out in different sites through Greece, in particular on the island of Milos.

The Greek word “Nekros” , as employed in Omero’s Odissey, has two different connotations , meaning “corpse “ but also “defunct”, the latter representing something that has a life – after life itself. Something very much alive or at least vital although in a very different way from life as we think of it.

Once disowned and forgotten an object loses its purpose, letting itself go to be engulfed by the embrace of nature. – Abandoned – they abandon themselves to the flow of things, finding a new balance. It is the end of an existence, or a return to before “being”, a release from the the fatigue of meaning.

A sense of peace emanates from this loss of purpose. Buildings, vehicles and everyday objects sleep silently, camouflaged in nature as if wanting to go unnoticed, yet striking in their armony with the environment as if becoming a monument to a lost memory.


Photography: Marco Gehlhar (@marcogehlhar), Alice Fassi (@alice.fassi)


Silenzi Buoni

«Silenzi buoni is a dialogue between me and Sarah, I’m investigating Sarah, I’m helping Sarah.
Sarah is suffering from a mild depression and emotion instability, Sarah is ugly,
Sarah is disagreeable, Sarah is lonely.
In this Project I try to show how much she is beautiful, how much beautiful I see her, how much she is beautiful in the reality. How much I love her.
This project takes me away from reality, maybe for respect. I’ve looked away. The respect includes a detached look. Without distance it’s not possible any modesty».

Niccolò Morelli is an artist born in 1999 in Parma, after the cooking school he attends the LABA academy in Florence. He entered in contact with the camera at the age of thirteen and he never left it. His eyes looking at the intimacy and at the private sphere, he searches the synergy of the subject  with the environment, through a photography that seems composed and studied, where nothing is left on case, the details catch the eye and don’t let it go. His subjects are people with a connection with him,  through places and emotion. This intimacy is caught by a compact camera, that allows fast and immediate photography.

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Photographer: Niccolò Morelli (@niccolo.morelli)


This Bird Had Flown

Photography: Leonardo Taddei (@leonardotaddei_)

Editors: Leonardo Taddei & Lotta Bindery (@lotta.bindery)


NY Hates U - Interview with Cavier Coleman by Dash Kolos

Cavier was raised just outside of Detroit by the toughness of the city and the love of his family. His grandmother surrounded him with care and soul food. His mother, the art teacher, introduced him to his calling. His father ingrained in him an impeccable set of values and a winner mentality. Basketball took Cavier across the states and back again, followed by a successful modeling career around the globe. When he found himself in South Africa, he spent 2 years there distilling inspiration and motivation. Then, finally, a little more than a decade ago, New York became his ground.

His work shares collection spaces with the creations of Picasso and Basquiat. And to think, his artistic journey hasn’t even reached its peak yet.

In July 2020, Cavier started on a new, large-scale painting (7x6ft), that he later named Never Drop Your Guard.  He invited me to document this endeavor. I spent 8 days recording every step of the way. The result is a documentary film called “Inside Color” that will be available in 2021.

Until then…

If I had to describe the New York Art scene to someone, anyone, I’d point them to the direction of Cavier Coleman. He is an undeniable embodiment of it; a multilayered, unstoppable force of nature that effortlessly maneuvers between the many artistic disciplines orbiting him in his spacious studio on the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Within an hour, Cavier can effortlessly shift his focus from painting, to tending to his large nursery of plants, and finally closing that hour producing beats and freestyling lyrics with friends. His talent doesn’t just end there. Cavier is also an accomplished photographer and a gifted basketball player. (The Art World should thank all and every circumstance that prevented him from thriving in the NBA.) He is not a perfectionist; he has an open mind and willingness to learn, evolve, grow and change. But he does give the best of him at any given moment, at any given encounter; be it a career related matter or an interaction with a friend. My very first day at his studio, his curt “no’ to my readiness to shoot a portrait of him took me aback. Isn’t it why I am here? It wasn’t till later I realized I had to get to know him better to understand; he was coming from a very beautiful place and that was a perfect example of him only wanting to share his best with the world. He calls himself delicate. I, however, would place him among the strongest people I have ever come across. He is honest and unapologetically himself; a wild creature with a sensitive soul.

Who is Cavier? 

Cavier is a guy that has seen, conquered, and failed, but always stayed focused on his journey. I identify with Art. Initially, I didn’t know what I was going to be, what I was going to do. It was scary. However, my mother was an art teacher, and that’s where the the idea started, even though she had no control of what I was going to be able to become. My father moved to Georgia and that really set a whole new step in my life. Being from the area I was from is very scary. With all that complexity of different upbringings, different family memories, I was able to find myself through all of that. I believe it was something difficult, but I channeled certain things and certain times, and they gave me real presence and real openness to whom I needed to be and whom I am now. It’s not about where you really start, it’s about where you finish. I believe I was able to do that, basing my journey on my curiosity; wanting to figure out the universe and society and how we really should interact with each other.

As I got older, I had two breaths of art. First, I was a model. To be honest, I was able to see myself as a muse to a lot of photographers. In a way, I was able to reflect on myself in the photos. I wasn’t just posing. I was becoming an embodiment of my environment; which led me to picking up the camera. And with that came the visualization and clarity of color, frequencies, lines, composition. And then painting became the primary focus for me. In South Africa, there was the initiation to that calling; which didn’t start with color. I just knew I wanted to make art again. So I did. I started doing charcoal drawings. Eventually, I came back to New York. I was 20 years old. I moved into an apartment in Park Slope and here I am, more than a decade later, still making art.

What is it like to be an artist in New York in 2020? 

(Chuckles) Well, to be an artist in New York City is… interesting. There is no time when I look back and say, “I didn’t do how I wanted.” I do everything how I want it. And I think New York still gives that lifestyle of being an artist but also having a voice, as long as it comes across in the right way. Being an artist that’s living and thriving here, I want my voice to be very prevalent; to reach the youth, older generation and everyone in the middle. And those things are important. If I could do that, I can carry a different message amongst people to understand that we really are here for one thing and that is to love. To love, to care for each other and actually to heal earth. There are more, more, more and more things that we could be doing, but if we just focus on these powerful things, it will unify us.

Do you think art can exist separate from politics? Are you a political artist? 

Well, that depends on a lane you are trying to create your art in. I decided I wanted to be political. That’s formidable to any popular artist. Artists that are in demand always went the political route because they have the responsibility to deliver to the people and the public. To me, art always followed that way and that rhetoric of being enjoyable, but also being something that is taken seriously. I don’t care what age I am, it’s more of a presentation of what is now. The cold hard fact is that a lot has changed but a lot hasn’t changed, and that’s the balance of equality and inequality in society’s view. So as an artist, my job is to fix the narrative and give perception of things that are not clarified. The version of the art world that I am creating is, more or less, bringing people together; doesn’t matter the color.

How do you feel about being mostly exhibited in white owned galleries, art spaces, collections? Do you think this creates limitations for artists of Color? 

As far as limitations, yes. However, I don’t see obstacles. A person that sees that as an obstacle might not want to walk in a room full of white people. I have. Multiple times. I was lucky enough to be in those rooms and have the conversations and represent myself as a Black man; not sugarcoat who I am—never have I done that. My biggest challenges were actually walking into those rooms feeling less than; not dressed the part. But still being invited, it almost felt like a mockery. But over time it became a battle that I won, considering where I come from. I have had to maneuver, in ways, as a Black man in the art market, because who the fuck would take a young, Black artist seriously? And I wanted to be taken seriously. So I had to walk into those rooms with confidence.

What, in your opinion, does it take to become a successful artist? What is success? 

What I would say it takes to be a successful artist is something that is instilled in an artist and makes them feel successful. It’s not about what society says success is. For instance, if I put pressure on my next sale, maybe I wouldn’t paint it. But I paint for the ideal of figuring out the next subject matter. I paint history for the youth and the next generation. So if I’m not leaving something that is going to be a remanence of the past, I am discrediting art. I can’t be the guy who doesn’t take that responsibility. That is my success.

Where in New York City do you see your art in the future? 

At this point, I’m focusing on getting my work into real prestigious museums. I would love my work to be featured in the galleries in Chelsea. I rather not go into names. I want to be showcased in areas where art is taken seriously; using those platforms to carry the language of the art and attack them strategically. When I say attack, I mean I want to give them a new identity. I want to give them a part of me. Not to change the art world, but to give the art world a different focus; a different voice for certain people; a certain demographic that hasn’t been heard. And I represent a very, very, very diverse collective of people. I speak for not just white, black, hispanic; I speak for artists, I speak for photographers, creatives; I speak for a lot of people. I just want to be able to set a platform that is bringing us together and not separating us.

“Inside Color” (@insidecolorfilm), a film by Dash Kolos, will be available 2021. For more visit (@dashdizzlesdashkolos

To learn more about Cavier Coleman’s art, visit (@cavierart) cavierdreams

Words by Dash Kolos with Ariana and Paul Ulukpo

Photos by Dash Kolos
instagram.com


Rayane in the South West

This is a photographic journey that visits, challenges and exhibits, with a false innocence, the visual standards defining France’s Southwestern culture.

 

Rayane, who had never set foot on the southwestern soil before, was placed in unknown situations, echoing with the precarious social and spatial integration that Maxime, the photographer himself, experienced while growing up.

 

The natural or infrastructural landscapes of the region, the accumulation of artifacts and characters capturing local folklores, opens up a dreamlike journey. Rayane’s thin masculinity, mirroring that of the photographer, serves as a contradictory vessel pacing through the different scenes where the raw forces of the land unravel.

Photography, Art Direction & Fashion : Maxime Michelet (@maxime.michelet)

Model : Rayane Ouïfi (@rayxsal)