Tag Archives: photo

New toys of a dirty boy – Eric Fischl

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A gifted boy with dirty imagination is back.

Eric Fischl (b. 1948, NY) has apparently abandoned his flamboyant yuppies and bad boys lost in their hedonistic activities on daddies’ yachts and in flashy apartments. Or rather – he grew up with them, since the new characters of his painted stories are middle- aged couples, lost again, yet in thoughts more than in purely sensual stimulants.

In 2002 the painter has staged and directed few episodes of a very contemporary drama, he hired actors and then extensively photographed them in a home-like setting; then he painted a series of works based on their performance there. So-called “Krefeld Project” (from then name of a place in Germany) has been accomplished.

As the portrayed relationship goes deeper and stranger, so the paint on the surface of canvas dissolves and disintegrates. Identity of the examined individuals goes to pieces (or rather – layers) with it. They are every-and-any-of-us, white, heterosexual, ‘normal’, inhabiting a modern-looking, comfortable space.

Yet, there is that unsettling, heavy air that lingers, much like in D. Lynch’s movies. Sexually charged atmosphere is rendered beautifully in peachy, golden light; a viewer is faced with everyday scenes of great intimacy… But it’s hardly yet another “Casablanca” – nobody is going to make a life-saving sacrifice here. A couple plays enjoyable roles in their cushy world, just like many of us do. They may stay this way for years or leave each other next day, to find another apartment with fresh towels and soft robes, to create a new illusion of communication and sense with another human being. Like many of us – middle-class, Caucasian, modern – would do…

Leaving all these complex (always highly individualized) readings of Fischl’s work, there is no way to miss his technical mastery (best appreciated, obviously, in details), which he had managed to gain over the years and displays in his recent paintings. He virtually doesn’t ‘paint’ mechanically speaking – he seems to project his thoughts seamlessly on canvas, like dreams project upon consciousness without any conscious effort or even a will. Fluid yet fractured, complex yet straightforward, intimate yet sunk in itself – the life, the world, the people of our age. We – our – selves… A lesson from a grown-up dirty boy?

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One can appreciate E. Fischl paintings from the “Krefeld Project” in the National Museum of Krakow, Poland till the end of August 2009. To see my article on the exhibition there: here. To see more detailed photos and descriptions: here.


“First step…” – Western Contemporary Art in Poland

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Phillip Taaffe, Artificial Paradise (Loculus), detail,  2008, oil on linen

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Miquel Barcelo, Des Meduses, detail, 2000, mixed media on canvas

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Eric Fischl, The Bed. The Chair. Touched, detail, 2001, oil on canvas

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Andreas Slominski, Untitled, 1993-94, bike/plastic bags

Well, this exhibition may serve perfectly those who know, how the bipolar disposition works.

One moment – one is proud and full of gratitude, tasting great art in an unexpected setting… only to go mad in the next second, when realizing some obvious organizational and curatorial flaws.

“First step… Towards a Collection of Western Contemporary Art” in the National Museum in Krakow (Cracow) is the show of ambition and potential with some recent works (mainly paintings, photos and prints) by  Nobuyoshi Araki, Miquel Barceló, Francesco Clemente, Eric Fischl, Mike Kelley, David LaChapelle, Sherrie Levine, Andreas Slominski, Philip Taaffe and Andy Warhol on a display. On the other hand it is, indeed, ‘the first step’ , which had to be done in order to learn how to walk.

Creators deserved credit for overcoming many practical and theoretical problems – it’s still not as easy as it should be – to borrow and even temporary import artworks to Poland, red tape and financial reasons are the main obstacles. And theoretically speaking – it’s all in the title – Polish art lovers had to leave for Paris, London and New York in order to see contemporary art in a compendium, in moments – to… see it at all… Some sort of an  ideological attitude, then lack of the proper connections and even specifically driven individuals made that ‘first step’  difficult to be accomplished.

But it’s been finally done. With the choice of artists, which, unfortunately, looks accidental – one cannot help thinking – that whatever was comparatively easy available – has been put on a list, and then – on a display. Sherrie Levine’s conceptual sculptures and Andy Warhol’s prints – all from early 80s look outdated and out-of -place next to Eric Fischl’s or Philip Taafee’s recent paintings from the last decade. Francesco Clemente is represented by a series of moderately interesting pastel drawings only, mentioned Warhol by his hardly revolutionary prints/collages taken from one private collection. On the overall, one faces an acute sense of hunger, of an insufficiently experienced encounter, aesthetically and historically speaking.

Then, those who paid for the privilege of photographing artworks get to realize, with all the surprised uneasiness, that it borders impossible to capture some of the works in their full glory. As for an example: P. Taaffe’s mesmerizing “Artificial Paradise” in two uncovers, each at least 4 x 4 m. has been put in a small passage, corridor-like space; to experience these artworks properly, not to mention to document them in this very setting, is a task for a superman. The same relates to the most of the paintings presented in Krakow – it appears like, quite unsurprisingly, the communist designers of the Main Building of the National Museum didn’t allow enough space to comfortably fit in something bigger than folk artifacts.

On the other hand – the biggest rooms has been taken to accommodate another international, simultaneously presented exhibition of American art and design. Who said that quantity over quality in art serves well or even to the acceptable level anyone – curators, visitors, artists and – art above all?

Well done for trying, not so well done for not trying even more. Looking impatiently forward to see further steps of Polish curators towards the Western Contemporary Art.

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All photos by K. Skonieczna. To see more pictures from this exhibition go here


Nan Goldin’s photos – because truth liberates…

La literature m’assura que les hommes existaient depuis longtemps.
La musique m’apprit que leur melancolie les precedait.
La peinture me precisa que les hurlements peuvent etre silencieux.
(…)
Le jour se leve, gris bleu et m’envahit.
Tes yeux aussi e levent et me rencontrant me sortent de l’obscurite.
Ce qui est inter-dit, entre reel and imaginaire, entre ombre et lumiere, cet
espace inoui et regnant, la, dans le creux, dans mon creux, dans ton creux
qui, se rejoignant, forment ce plein qui nous tient.

Je t’aime

Bruno Renou

Literature assures that humans have existed for a long time.
Music teaches that their melancholy precedes them.
Painting makes it clear that screams can be silent.
(…)
Day has risen, grayish blue, and it has flooded me.
Your eyes have risen too to encounter me and release me from darkness.
What cannot be said enters reality and imagination, night and light, it
Expands incredibly and takes a reign, over a void, over my void, over your void
Those hollows, when united compose a wholeness that keeps us together.

Nan Goldin (b. 1953, American) – fine-art and documentary photographer, widely recognized as one of the most influencing and important photographers working today.

Goldin’s work is a class in itself, at the same time – intensely private but with an universal appeal, shamelessly exhibitionist yet fulfilled with tenderness, almost casual in its visual simplicity yet easily betraying its complex, spiritual content.

The artist lives in New York and Paris and it’s there where she has been dancing her boldly personal and miraculous dance of translating ordinary lives of her close friends – passionate homo and heterosexual couples, HIV and abuse victims, bohemian artists and writers into an ultra modern mythological tales of love, passion, sex, death, sorrow, loneliness.

There is a formidable honesty and – because of that – a huge blow of freedom which her photos pulsate with. Couples make love ignoring us completely, then they sink into themselves – and again, we are invited and ignored, naked modern Madonnas with all the imperfections of their bodies gaze towards the viewer with self-assurance which no male photographer was ever able to capture … and so on, and so on…

These images are mesmerizing in their power to convey humanity – that uncanny quality of being-as-a-human (what, on Earth, does it mean actually?), they obey no tabu or cultural savoir vivre , they cross borders and make any conventions, ‘social contracts’, all sort of ‘polite’ , moral rubbish etc. look so ridiculous, that one can wonder – why does it still control our lives?…

They are so beautifully truthful – they will be still in a hundred years… Tales of souls devoured by passions, abandoning themselves for each other yet always alone, completely exposed and completely concealed, courageous and fragile…

P.S.

“Je t’aime” poem written by Goldin’s friend and ‘model’ Bruno Renou appears in fragments, translated by K.S., all photos featured by Nan Goldin.


The world up there

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The World Up There, July 2007

A view from an airplane. Taken about 2.00 am. The moon is visible. I didn’t enhance the colour – it was really that blue up there.

That photo makes me think about freedom and mystery of the world around us.


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