BRUNO CATALANO/MODUS GALLERY

Bruno Catalano/ Modus gallery

Bruno Catalano  MODUS GALLERY

Bruno Catalano nació en Marruecos en 1960, y se vio obligado al exilio, junto con su familia en 1975. El escultor empieza una nueva vida en Marseille, guardando en mente el dolor de alejarse de sus raíces y su cultura . El artista descubre su pasión por la escultura a través las obras de Rodin, Giacometti y Cesar, a los 30 años, después de haber sido marinero y electricista.

Los viajeros parecen estar flotando en el aire, suspendidos en el tiempo y en el espacio. Encontramos un contraste marcado entre la densidad del metal y la ligereza de estos viajeros , llevando siempre con ellos una maleta.

Los vacíos presentes en las obras nos evocan el sentimiento de dejar una parte de uno en el país de origen cuando nos vemos confrontados a dejar nuestras tierras. Las texturas de desgarre son diferentes para cada obra, lo cual las vuelve de cierta manera únicas.

Estos viajeros son el reflejo de la vida del artista que debió afrontar el exilio , a través sus obras nos refleja su sentimiento de desprendimiento.

En sus obras siempre están presenten personajes con miradas penetrantes, que se dirigen a lugares desconocidos, sabiendo lo que dejan pero no lo que encontraran en tierras lejanas.

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Bruno Catalano/ Modus gallery

 

BRUNO CATALANO/MODUS GALLERY

Bruno Catalano/Modus Gallery

Par Modus Gallery

Bruno Catalano est né au Maroc en 1960, il est contraint à l’exile avec sa famille en 1975. Il débute ainsi une nouvelle vie à Marseille, tout en gardant en mémoire la douleur du déracinement de son pays natal. L’artiste découvre sa passion pour la sculpture, à travers des artistes tels que Rodin, Giacometti, César, à l’âge de 30 ans, après d’avoir eu un parcours assez atypique : celui de marin dans un premier temps, puis celui d’électricien.

Un effet de flottement se crée dans ces voyageurs, suspendus dans l’espace et le temps. On retrouve un contraste entre la pesanteur de la matière et la légèreté perçue de ces voyageurs, transportant toujours un bagage avec eux.

L’insertion du vide est présente pour nous transmettre le sentiment de déracinement, en laissant une partie de soit dans le pays d’origine. Les déchirures sont différentes pour chacune des œuvres, ce qui les rend uniques.

Ces voyageurs sont le reflet de la vie de l’artiste qui s’est vu confronté à l’exil, à travers ces œuvres il représente le sentiment de détachement.

Nous trouvons toujours des personnages aux regards pénétrants, se dirigeant vers un endroit inconnu, conscient du chemin déjà parcouru, mais pas du futur incertain qui les attend dans des terres lointaines.

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Bruno Catalano/Modus Gallery

Bruno Catalano nació en Marruecos en 1960, y se vio obligado al exilio, junto con su familia en 1975. El escultor empieza una nueva vida en Marseille, guardando en mente el dolor de alejarse de sus raíces y su cultura . El artista descubre su pasión por la escultura a través las obras de Rodin, Giacometti y Cesar, a los 30 años, después de haber sido marinero y electricista.

Los viajeros parecen estar flotando en el aire, suspendidos en el tiempo y en el espacio. Encontramos un contraste marcado entre la densidad del metal y la ligereza de estos viajeros , llevando siempre con ellos una maleta.

Los vacíos presentes en las obras nos evocan el sentimiento de desprendimiento ,dejando parte de uno en el país de origen cuando nos vemos confrontados a dejar nuestras tierras. Las texturas creadas por el desgarre son diferentes para cada obra, lo cual las vuelve de cierta manera únicas.

Estos viajeros son el reflejo de la vida del artista que debió afrontar el exilio , a través sus obras nos refleja su sentimiento de desprendimiento.

En sus obras siempre están presenten personajes con miradas penetrantes, que se dirigen a lugares desconocidos, sabiendo lo que dejan pero no lo que encontraran en tierras lejanas.

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Bruno Catalano/Modus Gallery

JESUS CURIA/MODUS GALLERY

Jesús Curiá / Modus gallery

Par Modus Art Gallery

 

L’artiste espagnol travaille depuis plus de 25 ans la sculpture, où il nous invite à nous glisser dans un monde onirique. Le travail de Jesus Curia nous transmet une sensation de paisibilité, de profondeur et d’un équilibre certain. Un univers parallèle apparait devant nous, où des personnages hybride, avec une morphologie humaine à laquelle vient s’ajouter fréquemment des lignes droites et des formes géométriques. Sa sensibilité à l’espace et le monde qui nous entoure, lui permet de façonner ces œuvres d’une manière harmonieuse, en créant très souvent le sentiment de suspension des personnages dans le vide.

Les colonnes de Jesus Curia se caractérisent par le contraste qui se crée à partir de la pesanteur du bronze et la représentation de légèreté des sujets.

Nous retrouvons ainsi des enfants suspendus dans l’espace par un fil invisible, ou par une main bienveillante les empêchant de tomber. Plongés dans le jeu et l’amusement, ces enfants forment une colonne montante vers le ciel, avec une gravité inexistante. La douceur et la poésie sont au rendez-vous avec une œuvre qui nous invite à un voyage lointain dans des terres inexplorées.

Chaque colonne est unique, l’interaction et la position des personnages étant organisée de façon différente à chaque fois par les soins de l’artiste. La patine, qui varie également, vient sublimer ces êtres naïfs en constant équilibre.

 

 

 

 

Jesus Curia/ Modus gallery

ALEJANDRO CARPINTERO/Modus gallery

UN MONDE DE COULEURS

Par José Luis Corretjé

Alejandro Carpintero/ Modus Gallery

« La peinture permet au peintre de créer un vaste monde intérieur. Elle t'amène à penser pendant toute la journée à des formes, des couleurs et des compositions. Cela remplit ton quotidien. » Il travaille notamment sur des portraits féminins « Les combinaisons de couleurs et de lumières dans les visages car tu te rends compte que cela dépend de la façon dont elles se reflètent, une personne belle peut se transformer ainsi en monstre.

Alejandro met en valeur la crise actuelle du marché de l’art, qui est selon lui une pierre angulaire pour la liberté des artistes face au joug des tendances et les choix qui s’opèrent depuis les galeries d’art. « Beaucoup de peintres de ma génération, ont fait pendant ces quatre dernières années leurs meilleurs œuvres. D’ailleurs si j’avais de l’argent j’achèterai leurs œuvres. Sur un long terme ça doit être un bon business. »

DE HOCKNEY A HOPPER

Sa source d’inspiration provient essentiellement de musiciens, plus que de peintres : « Car cela génère des ambiances ». Cependant il a une grande admiration pour David Hockney ainsi que pour Hopper, le génie américain.

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Alejandro Carpintero/ Modus Art Gallery

BRUNO CATALANO / MODUS GALLERY

BRUNO CATALANO SCULPTURES

by Communications

Bruno Catalano / Modus Gallery

Lorsque l’on rencontre un voyageur de Bruno Catalano, nous ne pouvons qu’être émerveillés par la présence de chacune de ses sculptures. Les petites, comme les monumentales, présentent la même force, la même vie. Elles sont partout. De Paris à Genève, en passant par Barcelone et Marseille. Les capitales, les unes après les autres, font l’acquisition de leur voyageur emblématique.

Symbole du voyage, de l’Homme, de la vie, ils nous parlent. L’expression qui s’en dégage nous permettent, à tous, sans exception, de nous identifier, de nous comparer. Le vide, la cassure présente dans la sculpture, n’est pas à comprendre dans son manque, dans son vide, mais plutôt dans un plein à ajouter, à combler. Les voyageurs de Bruno Catalano sont chacun d’entre nous. Ils représentent notre parcours, notre voyage. Notre vie.

Émotions et sensations s’entre-mêlent lorsque l’on fait face à un l’un des voyageurs de Bruno Catalano. Chacun d’entre-eux dégage une émotion. Il touche notre sensibilité et matérialise un ressenti. Le matériau noble qu’est le bronze, travaillé puis patiné, offre une impression de stabilité, de sûreté qui répond à la posture de chacun de voyageur qui est créé. Les pieds ancrés au sol, le regard dirigé vers l’horizon, ils avancent, sans hésiter. En marche, on les sent sûrs, fidèles, mais surtout, déterminés. Ils ne faillissent pas et leur route semble toute tracée. Chacun peut y imaginer un chemin personnel, un but, un dessein.

Nous sommes fiers de pouvoir vous présenter quelques voyageurs de Bruno Catalano dans notre galerie d’art moderne et contemporain. Art Thema représente à l’année, sur Bruxelles, les sculptures de l’artiste et ne peut que vous encourager à venir les découvrir, afin de vous imprégner de la somptuosité de ses créations. De la plus petite à la plus grande, elles sont belles, puissantes et n’attendent que votre regard et votre histoire pour avancer.

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Bruno Catalano / Modus Art Gallery

BRUNO CATALANO / MODUS GALLERY

D'AIR ET DE BRONZE BY CONNEXIONSS

By Jilda Hacikoglu

Bruno Catalano / Modus Gallery

Avril 2016 –Venise : sous les arcades prestigieuses de la Piazza San Marco, la Galerie Ravagnan occupe une minuscule vitrine devant laquelle on s’attarde. Initialement venue sur les recommandations d’un ami pour voir les toiles d’un certain artiste, j’ai finalement accroché aux sculptures d’un autre qui se trouvait là.

Cette voyageuse aux traits légèrement asiatiques qui se fond dans l’horizon particulier de Venise fascine. A la fois sur la carte de la galerie invitant à découvrir l’univers de Bruno Catalano (photo) et sur place, dans la galerie où elle se trouve de pied en cap, en bronze et en air, à défaut de chair et d’os.

La regarder de dos, depuis l’intérieur de la galerie, sur fond de piazza gorgée de touristes visibles depuis la vitrine, saisit. Littéralement.

Pendant notre admiration qui amène des questions, la dame de la galerie nous éclaire aimablement sur Bruno Catalano, même si elle voit bien que nous n’achèterons aucune de ces sculptures. Elle est là pour vendre certes, mais cela ne l’empêche pas de convenir avec nous combien ces sculptures ont belle place au milieu du monde et des gens.

L’histoire de Bruno Catalano et de ces voyageurs déchirés est infiniment belle aussi, parce que réjouissante. Cette série de voyageurs incomplets est née par hasard, après les tentatives échouées d’un autodidacte artisan sur une représentation du Cyrano en 2004. Il travaille tout de même sur ce raté-là, et l’œuvre prend tout à coup sens dans cette incomplétude spectaculaire.

Rappelant par là même que les ratés ne sont jamais uniquement ce qu’ils semblent être sur le coup, mais bien souvent un pas de plus de vers la suite. Les « vertus de l’échec » en somme, que le philosophe pédagogue Charles Pépin avait rappelé exactement en ces termes l’an dernierTournez autour, observez, autant que vous le pouvez. Comme les mobiles de Calder qui redessinent un espace pourtant identique en se mouvant, les Wayfarers de Catalano traversent les lieux à l’image de tous les voyageurs : les seuls éléments complets de ces personnages sont leur valise pleine, leur tête et leur pieds, pour le voyage. Le reste de leur personne a disparu, arraché de leur point de départ, laissant un vide prêt à accueillir l’endroit où ils se trouvent.  

Se détacher peut alors devenir problématique.  Ah ?

Cela ne vous évoque rien ?

Vous-même peut-être ?

Bon.

Tous les voyageurs du monde, plus ou moins heureux de destin, sont présents dans ces bronzes édifiants. Les voyageurs de leur propre vie s’y reconnaissent aussi, sur le chemin de la perte ou de la reconstruction.

Où l’on comprend mieux la citation de Camus en ouverture du site de ce sculpteur emballant :

« Jamais je n’avais senti, si avant,

à la fois mon détachement de moi-même et ma présence au monde.»

Elle est extraite d’un des premiers textes de l’auteur nobélisé, empli de son amour basique, puissant et sensuel, pour la vie malgré tous ses absurdes : Noces.

La suite de la citation de ce philosophe de l’absurde n’est pas moins fabuleuse.

Et jamais je n’ai senti, si avant, à la fois mon détachement de moi-même et ma présence au monde… Il est des lieux où meurt l’esprit pour que naisse une vérité qui est sa négation même.

Tous ces justes passeurs évoquent une nature sacrée, indéchiffrable, habitant tout humain d’où qu’il soit, où qu’il aille, et qui quand il cherche au milieu de ses errances, forge cet inconnue nature avec autant d’intensité si ce n’est plus, qu’en restant sur place.

Bon voyage.

 https://connexionss.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/dair-et-de-bronze-bruno-catalano/

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Bruno Catalano / Modus Art Gallery 

SNIK INTERVIEW / MODUS GALLERY

SNIK INTERVIEW BY STREET ART UNITED STATES 

by Sami Wakim

Snik / Modus Gallery

Initially inspired by the Graffiti scene, Snik has been working with stencil and spray can for 10 years now. Constantly pushing the boundaries, this artist duo has developed a unique style which is equally captivating on walls as it in on canvas. Staying true to their form, Snik hand cuts up to nine layers at a time, working with different mediums, techniques, paints and varnishes. Regardless of size, the level of detail is insane, and use of colours and forms, inspirational. Showing in Galleries, shows and forums across the globe, they had their inaugural solo show in 2011, and now has a serious following of admirers and collectors worldwide.

Let me first say that I am fascinated about the way you create your art. Although, I don’t really know anything about you, could you explain who you are, where you´re from and how did you get started in the street art scene?
Snik was originally started by myself (nik), back in 2005. I had always been a keen artist, but never really viewed it as something that could get me from place to place doing what I loved. Over the years people have shown an interest, and invited me to places all over the world to paint, which has been incredible. As the years have gone on, I have always tried to go bigger and better with each piece, I feel, constant progression and improvement are the things that help to keep me on my toes. About 4 years ago I met my other half, and we began to paint bigger walls together. Having 2 people on board meant we can cut bigger stencils quicker, and paint larger walls that one person with a stencil couldn’t, so it’s been a huge help to become a duo. Some people don’t know that, we have never really pushed, as I don’t think it matters so much. When you view art you never question how many people, just the nature of it and how it makes you feel.

Do you have a formal education?
We have both been to college, but neither studied Art. It was never helpful for either of us in the direction we were heading.

Your art is multilayered and complex. Could you describe the development process of your artwork?
I think stencil work is a form of OCD. To sit for hours on end, cutting small pieces of card from bigger pieces of card, it’s not a standard method of art, but a more precise and exact craft. The way we try to balance this, is by painting very quickly, and very rough and ready. Every canvas we paint is painted the same way it would be done on the street, drips, smudges, mess and mistakes are all a part of it. The tightness of the stencil is only a balance to the freedom of the painting.

How much does your art affect or influence your everyday life and are there any role models or artists who inspired you?
Everything we do is art related. There isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t read up on a recent paint event, or check out a recent gallery show. That being said, we are very separate in the fact that we live in the countryside, and not a city. We don’t get caught up in a scene as such, but obviously are inspired by just how much incredible art is being produced all around the world right now.

How do you go about creating your street art? How do you choose a street/environment?
Normally we will cut the stencil, then source a spot. It can be a quick thing, or can take a while. Stencils can be restricting in your size and surface you have to work with, but this can also be the challenge to it. Spray paint works on anything, so it’s all down to how you use a stencil, and how you approach the aesthetic of the area.

Has your style developed throughout the years?
I would say so yes. The stencil cutting is a lot more free, and as each new piece is produced, there are new lessons learnt. The use of lighting has always been a big influence in the work, shadows especially effect the final outcome. As mentioned before, the use of the stencil can be restricting, so it’s important for us to work around this, and make the final piece more relaxed and natural, as stencils can sometimes be very stiff and harsh in final appearance.

How do you feel about the role of the Internet and social media in making your work more accessible to the public?
The internet has revolutionized the way people view artwork now, in every sense. Some street pieces only last a day, but once it’s online, it is pretty much there forever. The same goes for any little post we may put about a new stencil, or a test spray. For those who don’t have gallery connections, or good hook ups for walls, it’s a great way to get yourself out there and get noticed. We always enjoy painting street as much as possible, but it’s just not always possible for us to get every single new piece onto a wall straight away, so we get into the studio and produce a work to showcase the new cuts this way instead. But in the back of our minds we always want every piece to eventually make it to a wall.

Which countries have you visited to paint so far and where did you like it best?
We have visited France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, and Spain. Each one is incredible in its on way, it would be impossible to select a favourite, as every paint trip has so many great memories. The meeting of new people is definitely one of the best points about what we do, and it’s what we enjoy the most.

Is there a message in your art?
maybe there is, maybe there isn’t.

Street art is still considered vandalism, how is it for you to go out and paint in the street? Did you ever have any problems with the law?
When I started in 2005, I used to enjoy going out and doing paste ups, little 1 or 2 layer stencils. It was a fun rush, but of course it created friction with authority, and was never going to end well. As we grew older and developed, the illegal thing lost an interest, mainly because our stencils evolved into such technical works that to rush them in 30 minutes would be a really poor looking final piece, and not the sort of thing we want to produce. It’s really rare that we do a full illegal piece, and even if we do we don’t advertise it, for obvious reasons.

What have been your most challenging and rewarding piece of work thus far?
The most challenging piece was the Winged-Fire (pictured above) piece we painted in our home town last year. It was only an 8 layer stencil at around 7 foot tall, but each layer was 5 different colours. So to get the cuts natural, and the blends working took a very long time, and a lot of stress. It helped to push us a lot to progress in the direction we have, so It is definitely one that sticks in our mind.

What do you do when you are not creating art? What are your hobbies?
Dog walking. Wine drinking.

What’s next for you? What shows or projects do you have planned?
We have a big year planned, but you’ll have to keep an eye on our social media for info.

Any words of advice for aspiring new artists?
Don’t stop. Always wear a spray mask.

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Snik / Modus Art Gallery

MERSUKA DOPAZO & TERESA CALDERON INTERVIEW BY ARTZEALOUS / MODUS GALLERY

A Chat with Collage Queens: Mersuka Dopazo & Teresa Calderón

by Caitlin Confort

Mersuka Dopazo & Teresa Calderón / Modus Gallery

Dividing their studio time between Madrid and Bali, the Spanish artists collaborate on large-scale collages created from paper gathered from all over the world. As Dopazo explains, her papers are always handmade and natural, chiefly rice-based. They are bought directly from the craftsman and are sourced from locations like Thailand, Kathmandu, India and Italy. Often densely patterned, the artists layer the papers together, as unexpected connections formed between clashing textures and motifs.

Art Zealous stole a few moments with Mersuka Dopazo to about chat collages, travel, & technique.

How do you two know each other?

MD: We met in Bali 5 years ago through a common friend. I was working on a very big canvas (7 meters by two) and invited Teresa to paint on it with me. It was like love at first sight. From this night on, we started to paint together for hours and hours. The following day it was 10 hours non-stop. We also had our kids painting with us, and it was just a magical experience. They had the total freedom of painting on our big canvases, and then we worked on top of what they did. That’s how our journey together started.

Where is your favorite place to travel and collect materials?

MD: I like to travel a lot, mainly to countries where you really can find things and material made by artisans. I frequently travel to India, Indonesia, Melanesia, Nepal – I was there just two months ago, and I found the most beautiful papers.

As for other sources of material, we have Teresa. Since she is a fashion designer, so she is also crazy about fabrics and textures. Some materials we use are designed by her, so often we use her drawings and patterns for clothes in our work – they have an extraordinary effect when made into art.

You see your works as a ‘travelogue from unexpected territory.’ What are packing essentials when you’re puttering around the world?

MD: I don’t really have packing essentials because sometimes I decide to travel without even having a plane ticket! I just head to the airport and go. I am not a planner; I just go for it. Although I must say, I never leave the house without my lipstick!

Where do you draw inspiration from?

MD: Inspiration comes from every detail that we see every day. People on the street, mainly women – their clothes, shoes, the way they move – also hands and napkins (especially paper ones). We love observing people from different parts of the world – their culture, their food, their colors – any place can be a potential source of inspiration. We just keep moving.

Personally, collage is my favorite type of art form; I love how the raw materials reflect our memories and experiences. What is your favorite part about collaging?

MD: For us collaging is also our favorite type of art, it gives you the possibility of using anything that is special to you to create a piece of art. I have approached many people on the streets, bought clothes just for the purpose of ripping them up, and stolen napkins and coasters – and used all of these pieces to collage. In our work you can see a huge variety of fabrics, drawings, papers and many materials that we find suddenly in unexpected places, that’s the beauty of it. Every piece is unique, not only because of the design but because of the unique materials that go into it. Sometimes I have spent fortunes in one metre of fabric, just for the purpose of using 5cm. But I tell you, that 5 cm can change everything!

Collaging gives you the opportunity of working with many layers and the option to change the artwork as you go along. It’s very rewarding when it turns out right!

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

MD: We have so many ideas accumulated, and there are many things we want to explore. We love to create new themes and techniques and sometimes we need to stop ourselves from innovating too much. Now we are working on different themes at the same time like exploring people and women. We are now creating our own papers with rice and drawings to use in our work.

 

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Mersuka Dopazo & Teresa Calderón / Modus Art Gallery

JAVIER LEÓN PÉREZ / MODUS GALLERY

WHEN ART BECOMES A MANTRA

Javier León Pérez / Modus Gallery

After exhibiting successfully his works across Asia, where collectors from the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong have acquired their abstract landscapes, Sevillian Javier León Pérez has just inaugurated Horarium, his first individual exhibition in Hong Kong, in Puerta Roja galley, the first and only gallery specialized in Latin American and Spanish art.

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Born in Seville, Javier León Pérez conceives his working process as a daily ritual. An endless repetition of small elements that interweave, covering the surface of his works and that, somehow, acts as a mantra. These powerful black and white patterns create velvety textures which slowly lead the viewer to a complete aesthetic sensory experience.

Horarium reflects on the concept of time as a mental construct. In this project the idea of ast, present and future are overlapping concepts that are conjugated in different ways on the surface of each painting, inviting the viewer to enter a space-time of sensorial experience.

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"The title of this project, Horarium, is taken from the liturgical books of Hours. It is a diary that organized days and months through a cycle of the different liturgical rites and prayers," says Leon Perez. He adds: "For me, it represents a formula of organization and temporal order of the human behavior. I consider the process of my artworks as a daily ritual, just like in the books of Hours. Maybe this is a way to connect with universal cyclic rhythms.”

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Javier León Pérez / Modus Art Gallery

BRUNO CATALANO BY ANNE MAITRE / MODUS GALLERY

Bruno Catalano / Modus Gallery

« Jamais je n’avais senti, si avant, à la fois mon détachement de moi-même et ma présence au monde.»

Albert Camus

Une valise, un homme. Il s'en empare, et se lance vers l'inconnu. Voyage volontaire vers un horizon qu'on embrasse et qu'on voudrait infini, ou voyage forcé, contraint par l'exil et la souffrance, en quête de liberté et guidé par la survie. Le voyageur de Bruno Catalano est cet homme laissé à lui même, un homme propulsé dans l'infini du temps et de l'espace. Sa maison n'est plus qu'une valise et son être, progressivement, se dépouillera de tout ce qu'il croyait indispensable, de tout son moi si savamment construit par nos sociétés. Il n'est plus l'homme d'un monde, mais l'homme dans le monde, encore empreint de sa culture mais devenu fragile face à l'immensité. Sa quête ne se fera pas sans dommages. Homme defragmenté, déstabilisé, dépouillé de ses repères, il marche vers son salut autant que vers sa perte. Tout sera désormais a réinventer. Ce voyageur s'échappe de lui même, à la rencontre de sa terre inconnue.

Artisan sculpteur, ainsi qu’il se définit lui-même, Bruno Catalano a débuté sa carrière en 1990.

Le thème universel du voyage l’a toujours inspiré. Depuis ses premiers travaux à l’argile, des centaines de voyageurs sont nés de ses mains. Les moteurs principaux de sa création sont l’exil et le détachement. Il exprime l’idée d’une humanité nomade, fière dans le malheur, en quête perpétuelle de lendemains meilleurs.

Ses hommes en lambeaux, marchant contre l’adversité, porteurs de valises qui semblent contenir le monde, ses personnages en mouvement, troués, touchent les novices comme les plus initiés. Il essaie par ce concept de s’adresser aux hommes d’aujourd’hui quel que soit leur âge, poussé par ce besoin d’évasion, persuadés de trouver ailleurs le bonheur qu’ils n’ont pas réussi à atteindre.

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Bruno Catalano / Modus Art Gallery

BRUNO CATALANO BY BRUSHWORD ART SPACE / MODUS GALLERY

LES VOYAGEURS, WHO ARE THEY?

Bruno Catalano / Modus Gallery

Originally trained as an electrician, Bruno first encountered sculpture in a clay class with Françoise Hamel in Marseille. The artistic influence of Italian sculptor Bruno Lucchesi gave further inspiration in the young sculptor’s fingers. The idea for his allusive travelers (Les Voyageurs) was born from a mistake on a sculpture of Cyrano, which prompted him to dig a hollow in his chest – thus turning the painful realization of a mistake into the birth of a new path. In 2005, Bruno Catalano produced his first exhibition of torn travelers in Paris, which was an instant success.

 

 

 

 

 

Aesthetically, these pieces are simply mesmerizing. Wounded travelers, torn between this world and another, they move quietly, leaving a sense of uneasiness in the viewers’ minds. Contrary to what we might expect, these travelers are not anonymous. They are often artists, starting with Vincent Van Gogh recognizable by his red beard. Often made as a two-piece structure, they represent a mosaic of each individual, turn between two worlds, suggesting a surreal, levitating presence which is not really here, but not really anywhere.  With the present day relevance of displacement of humanity, Catalano’s sculptures strike a very personal and relevant not, challenging the viewer’s perception. Enigmatic and full of emotion, they make us see the world of as a poetic journey – and always with baggage.

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Bruno Catalano / Modus Art Gallery

JOSHUA JENSEN-NAGLE BY TORONTO LIFE / MODUS GALLERY

Joshua Jensen-Nagle’s dreamy echoes of the golden age

Joshua Jensen-Nagle / Modus Gallery

Every generation idealizes one that came before—just ask Gil Pender from Midnight in Paris. Another case in point: the Instagram phenomenon. With a quick point and tap, anyone with an iPhone can create hyper-stylized, retro-shabby art photography that looks straight out of the ’70s. The breezy, warm-toned photos that crowd Facebook feeds and Pinterest boards are pretty but soulless—their desperate artificiality shines through the soft-lit patina. New Jersey-born photographer Joshua Jensen-Nagle embraces the romantic nostalgia of the Instagram generation—but he also brings a fine art sensibility to his lush images.

Jensen-Nagle uses toy and pinhole cameras and hand-treats his prints with gold leaf and splattered paint. The photos of the “Quiet Reminiscence” series were taken in Europe with vintage Polaroid film. The distorted dimensions and filters of the film give the photos their texture; after developing the film, Jensen-Nagle scanned them into large archival inkjet prints and mounted them on Plexiglas.

While Instagram photos might look like your mom’s old beach shots, Jensen-Nagle’s wonderful pieces channel French Impressionist paintings. Even though we know they’re not authentic, the gauzy, blurred images feel as though they were discovered in a box lying around someone’s attic—they capture still waters, stately buildings and cast iron streetlights, evoking imagined memories of 19th-century grand tours. Jensen-Nagle’s dreamy photos are equipped with a wondrous ability: they transport their subjects and their viewers back to an elusive (and illusory) golden age.

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Joshua Jensen-Nagle / Modus Art Gallery

BRUNO CATALANO BY NORDESPACES / MODUS GALLERY

L’HOMME ET SA VALISE

Bruno Catalano / Modus Gallery

Le thème du voyage, de l’ailleurs, du mouvement est largement présent dans la littérature, dans la musique, dans les arts de manière générale.

Bruno Catalano, artiste sculpteur a créé une série d’œuvres originales, tant par la technique qu’il a utilisée que par le pouvoir de suggestion ou la force qui s’en dégagent : les Voyageurs. Œuvre d’art remarquable et remarquée, la Série Voyageurs touche d’abord l’esprit par sa beauté intrinsèque. Mais si le sculpteur touche notre sensibilité c’est aussi à notre intelligence qu’il s’adresse.

Un bon professeur m’avait enseigné à vivre par séquence : l’approche semble d’abord compliquée parce qu’elle consiste à se concentrer sur la séquence de vie en évitant de la relier à d’autres pans de notre existence. Je m’en sers de temps à autre et toujours lors de mes voyages.  A l’instant même où l’avion décolle, il faut savoir se détacher de sa réalité solidement construite et abandonner son personnage comme certains animaux abandonnent une peau devenue inutile : puisque les mécanismes et les habitudes n’ont plus lieu d’être, tous les sens doivent être en éveil sans entrave. Observez, écoutez, sentez, parce que désormais vous n’êtes plus cette personne connue de ses voisins ou de ses collègues : en voyage, vous êtes une personne nouvelle, et donc fragile face à l’univers avec tant d’inconnu.

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Le voyageur de Bruno Catalano est un homme laissé à lui-même, à sa fragilité, mais aussi aux possibles : tout son univers et son être sont enfermés dans la valise qu’il emporte avec lui – comme ce fut mon cas autrefois, au tout début de ce siècle, avec ma vieille valise, débarquant en France dans un inconnu total. Les sculptures font écho à l’œuvre dessinée de Shaun Tan « Là où vont nos pères » (Editions Dargaud) mais aussi à ce mouvement qui anime tous les voyageurs qui cherchent cet ailleurs mais partent pour revenir.

Le voyageur de Bruno Catalano marche vers son salut autant que vers sa perte. Bien évidemment Bruno Catalano s’inspire de sa propre expérience d’exil et de sa recherche de vie nouvelle. Sa quête ne se fera apparemment pas sans dommages, sans abandon, sans déchirure. Ses personnages semblent pulvérisés par la vie. Il leur reste leur cœur et leur « bagage » auquel ils s’agrippent, seuls ou parfois à deux, puisque l’ingénierie de l’œuvre en a besoin de maintenir la structure mais pas seulement… Décidément, la symbolique est forte.

Je reviens à Hegel : « D’une façon générale, le but de l’art consiste à rendre accessible à l’intuition ce qui existe dans l’esprit humain, […] C’est ainsi que l’art renseigne l’homme sur l’humain, …». C’est aussi le propre d’un beau voyage, serais-je tentée de rajouter. A chacun son voyage : voulu, forcé, rêvé… vers le soleil, vers le froid, vers autrui, vers la culture et l’histoire, vers des paysages et des villes au-delà de l’horizon.

Aujourd’hui, les Voyageurs de Bruno Catalano font partie des plus prestigieuses collections privées en France comme à l’étranger et présentées dans les galeries de Paris, New York, Singapour, Cannes, Venise.

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Bruno Catalano / Modus Art Gallery

JAVIER LEON PEREZ / MODUS GALLERY

PATTERNS AND GEOMETRY

Javier Leon Perez / Modus Gallery

Since he was a child, Javier Léon (Sevilla, 1978) felt a strong attraction to art. After studying as a graphic designer, he worked in a studio for a while but he soon realized that it wasn’t his calling as his true passion was for art. He enrolled in fine arts and he eventually achieved a Master’s degree in arts, at the Complutense University in Madrid. It was during his academic years that he explored new media and techniques and he developed his unique style, an hybrid between sculpture and painting.When asked what kind of value does his artwork generate, the artist answers:

I don’t know that for sure. It’s probably something that can’t be weighed, measured or determined. My artworks act like some kind of an emotions catalyst that somehow attract and infect the viewer, completely captivating him.”

His working process is a sort of a daily ritual, just like a mantra; an endless repetition of tiny inter-wined elements that little by little cover the canvas unsealing the artwork. What strikes the viewer the most is the texture, the colors which reflect natural forms and evoke natural geometries and patterns.

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Javier Leon Perez / Modus Art Gallery

ADAM LUPTON / MODUS GALLERY

ADAM LUPTON'S ATTEMPT TO CAPTURE PASSING TIME TROUGH DISORIENTING PERSPECTIVES

Adam Lupton / Modus Gallery

Despite the meticulous control and calculated perspectives, Canadian artist Adam Lupton’s oil paintings are constantly fidgeting. They mostly feature youth in various incarnations in a blur of motion represented as simultaneous frames, or with different layers of paint exposed. This jitteriness is revealed both through substance, by showing the layers of material creation, or through time, as the viewer pans multiple freeze-frames overlaid on top of each other. What stands still throughout all his work is an obsession with time and chaos, and the individual’s navigation of the two in the constant present.

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Adam Lupton / Modus Art Gallery 

Adam Lupton / Modus Art Gallery 

BRUNO CATALANO / MODUS GALLERY

BRUNO CATALANO | SURREALIST SCULPTURE

 

Bruno Catalano / Modus gallery

BRUNO CATALANO , KHOURIBGA, 1960 IS A FRENCH SCULPTOR,most renown for creating sculptures of figures with substantial sections missing.

In 1982 he started working at the Société Nationale maritime Corse Méditerranée. He stayed there 4 years until 1986.He cites his experience as a sailor as central to his inspiration.

Catalano was acquainted with sculpting in 1981 in Marseille where he enrolled in Françoise Hamel’s modeling classes. After two years of education, he opened his own art practise in 1985 and secured an oven in which he would bake his first clay figure. Later Catalano began to make big bronze sculptures. His first works were compact and conventional but the later series become increasingly expressive.[5] In 2004 a flaw in one of his characters – a depiction of Cyrano – prompted him to dig and hollow out the chest. A new path of work ensues. An exhibition took place in Marseille in September 2013, to celebrate its status as the European Capital of Culture with ten life-size sculptures exhibited at the port of Marseille.

Nel mio lavoro, sono alla ricerca del movimento e dell’espressione dei sentimenti; faccio emergere dall’inerzia nuove forme e riesco a levigarle fino a dare loro nuova vita. Proveniente dal Marocco anche io ho viaggiato con valigie piene di ricordi che rappresento cosi spesso nei miei lavori. Non contengono solo immagini ma anche vissuto, i miei desideri: le mie origini in movimento” – Bruno Catalano

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Bruno catalano / Modus Gallery

Bruno Catalano / Modus Gallery

Bruno Catalano / Modus Gallery

BRUNO CATALANO / ART GOTHIQUE / MODUS GALLERY

Bruno catalano / Modus Gallery

Sculpteur français né en 1960, Bruno Catalano admire l'art depuis sa jeunesse, et débute sa carrière de sculpteur avec un remarquable talent en 1990.

Jouissant d'une renommée nationale et internationale, les sculptures de Bruno Catalano font partie des collections de grandes sociétés et des grandes collections privées et publiques dans le monde. Elles sont exposée en France, Angleterre, en
Chine, en Belgique, en Suisse, et aux États Unis.

Source et site officiel : http://www.brunocatalano.com/sculpture- … telier.php

Personnellement, je souhaite mettre l'accent sur sa dernière série Les Voyageurs que je trouve aussi originale que réussie.

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Bruno catalano / ModusGallery

Bruno catalano / Modus Art Gallery 

Bruno catalano / Modus Art Gallery 

 ILHWA KIM / MODUS GALLERY

CONTEMPORARY KOREAN ART: TANSAEKHWA AND THE URGENCY OF METHOD

Ilhwa Kim / Modus Gallery

Joan Kee has written a seminal book entitled The book  Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method.considers Tansaekhwa, one of the most important artistic movements in contemporary art history – yet one that has been significantly over-looked. Tansaekhwa, or Korean monochromatic painting, references a loose grouping of Korean artists who, starting in the mid 1960s, started to manipulate the materials of painting to create mostly large abstract paintings executed in white, black, brown, and other neutral colours.  During the 1970s and 80s, works by artists such as Park Seobo, Ha Chonghyun, Kwon Young-woo and Lee Ufan, came to be seen by critics, curators and artists as representing contemporary Korean art, and more widely contemporary Asian art. Kee’s book provides an informative and clear explanation for the context and characteristics that define Tansaekhwa; but equally it encourages further investigation of this intriguing and important facet of art history. 

Joan Kee holds the first university position in North America specifically created for the study of modern and contemporary art in Asia. Kee is an assistant professor of art history at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Since the late 1990s, she has written widely on East and Southeast Asian art for such publications as ArtforumArt BulletinArt HistoryOxford Art JournalThird Text, and the catalogue for the Korean Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale. 

First, before we start discussing the book, a bit about you.  You originally set out to be a lawyer and in fact hold a degree from Harvard Law School- but you then decided to study art history and earned a PhD in art history from NYU. Why the change of direction?

My undergraduate degree is in art history and I had always meant to pursue an academic career in the field; however, one of my university professors very wisely pointed out that it was perhaps a good thing to work for a while in an entirely different field. The inherently interdisciplinary nature of law offered a lot of different ways of thinking about various subjects and how those subjects relate to one another.  In many ways, the study of law is about spotting narrative gaps, contradictions, and logical inconsistencies that are central to how we understand a particular subject.

You have a second book project underway already and I understand its provisionally titled What Art Has To Say About The Law. So this will be a literary meeting of your legal experience and your art historical study?

It was brought about by a desire to think of how art history and legal studies play off of each other in mutually productive ways. Legal studies overwhelmingly treat the art-law relationship as a function of selling, buying, creating and exhibiting artworks. Histories of contemporary art in turn have ascribed to artists and artworks the role of victim: what has the law done to art, or rather, what has the law not done to art? Inherent in these studies is a tendency to insist that artworks contain some kind of hidden meaning, an assumption leading viewers to erroneously, or even wrongfully assign to artists motives unsupported by the actual experience of interacting with a particular work. Analogous is the tendency of many histories of modern and contemporary art to treat the law as a monolithic apparatus of control often complicit with an ethically questionable politics. Such assumptions ignore the matrix of contradictions, debates, and processes by which laws are made, exercised, and changed.

My first book actually helped me start thinking more intensively about the art-law relationship as a large part of it concerns how artists living under martial law in 1970s Korea used materials to compromise, or otherwise elude the restrictions and demands imposed on culture by an authoritarian state. I argued that they were able to work with and beyond numerous limitations on the freedoms of expression and assembly at that time because of their understanding of painting and the kinds of demands it made of its viewers. The current project on art and law looks at the relationship between law and visual art is a primary example of the fundamental tensions defining society, particularly in the U.S. from the early 1970s to the late 1980s. During this time, courts intensified their scrutiny of artistic content while the so-called “culture wars” of the Reagan years saw radical changes in legal doctrines of property, contract, and definitions of identity. The magnitude and speed at which these changes took place instilled in many artists a sense of obligation to respond the force and scale of law’s operation. What these responses were will make up a large portion of the new book; another portion will look at how methods used in humanistic disciplines productively affect other systems of thinking in ways that directly benefit society at large. How does the experience of interacting with these works enable the possibility of imagining more concretely the links between the built environment, politics, and material forms in ways that offer us ways of thinking what obligations must be fulfilled to better achieve a more just society?

Your current book looks at Tansaekhwa - the first contemporary Korean artistic movement to be actively promoted internationally. When and why did you decide to write a book on this subject? 

First and foremost, that they are intriguing works that represent a major contribution to an expanded history of abstraction. One of the major dimensions of this contribution is how certain Tansaekhwa artists grapple with the particular challenges set forth from having been trained in ink painting. Take for example, work by Kwon Young-woo, who was among the first postwar Korean artists to major in ink painting at university.  Some time in the early 1960s, he decided to get rid of his ink and brush and instead use his fingernails, palms, and even elbows to tear directly into the paper used for traditional ink painting -- the result is something akin to process-based works in the West, but at the same time utterly different. Another example is Lee Ufan, who paints using mineral pigments ordinarily found in 'Japanese painting' as well as canvas - an unusual combination of materials that raise the issue of so-called traditional media's place in contemporary art. 

This title of the book references the phrase “the urgency of method”. Perhaps you could discuss the reference to 'method' as a means of explaining the movement?

The works of artists like Lee Ufan, Kwon Young-woo, Yun Hyongkeun, and Ha Chonghyun foregrounded contemporary art as an idea fundamentally based on a series of beliefs and doubts concerning the role of medium and the viability of notions like tradition and cultural difference. Their promotion as the face of contemporary Korean art in the late 1970s and 1980s also emphasizes the degree to which the idea of 'contemporary Korean art' is itself a method, a means of responding to an international art world based on the recognition of discrete national and cultural differences. Whatever the personal and political antipathies of their makers, the works that comprise some of Tansaekhwa’s most representative examples highlight questions ignored, neglected, or even actively suppressed in mainstream Euromerican histories of postwar art. It raises, for instance, the curious position of ink painting – for artists like Kwon Young-woo and Lee Ufan, ink painting was both an ongoing legacy and a renewable source of material challenges that urged them to more vigorously push the question of abstraction.  Such explorations continue to resonate today, as international contemporary art has paradoxically revealed itself to be both more expansive and less inclusive than ever before.

It’s not surprising, then, that Tansaekhwa’s emergence coincided with the frequency with which the word method, or in Korean (pangbŏp) was used in Korean art criticism during the 1970s and early 1980s. The term first surfaced in the late 1950s, not long after critics like Pang Keun-t’aek and Kim Yŏng-ju tried to puzzle out what a distinctly modern, postwar Korean art might entail. Method was widely circulated, however, in relation to the series of Seoul Method exhibitions that took place from 1977, and which involved a sometimes bafflingly diverse array of artists, from Kwon Young-woo to conceptual artists like Lee Kun-yong. As one of the exhibition series founders, Lee stated that “for an artist to have his or her own method is a question of that artist’s attitude and language.” In one sense, method was thus a call for artists to develop their own approaches in the vacuum of the late 1970s created by the increasing irrelevance of the government-run national salon, the Kukjŏn, as a leading venue for contemporary art, the rise of artists interested in media other than painting and sculpture, and the continuing need to think about the position of art amidst the pressures of so-called “everyday life.” Other artists involved with the Method exhibitions regarded the call to individuation as a push-back against what they saw as the reductive, non-pluralistic tendencies of contemporary Korean art. Above all, the question of method, as described in a 1980 edition of the Seoul Method show, meant having to answer the question “what does our time demand of us?”

The word “method” also brought to the fore questions of interpretation with which critics grappled in the early 1970s, when the international circulation of Korean art, particularly in Japan, posed its own set of challenges. As the first deliberate attempt to brand a distinct identity for contemporary Korean art for international audiences, the story of Tansaekhwa’s emergence forces us to ask questions of “why” and “how”: it is a near certainty that the current wave of international interest in contemporary Korean art will soon fade into comparative indifference unless a case can be made as to why this art matters to the construction of a world art history. The most pressing task lies not in enumerating artworks, individuals, and events, but in outlining the main streams of identification and belief on which the idea of contemporary Korean art depends. That contemporary Korean art should matter, particularly to non-Korean audiences, is most apparent when we regard not only its subjects, but also the idea itself as a method for thinking about one’s place in the world.

The importance of Japan to the movement is expressed in the book. I noted that Lee Ufan, whose work is referenced on the front cover, spent much of his time there. Why was there this Japanese engagement with the movement? 

Mainly because Japan, for most Korean artists, was the nearest and most feasible point of access into the international art world after the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between South Korea and Japan in 1965. We’re talking about a generation that was born during Japan’s occupation of Korea, who were largely fluent in Japanese and acquainted with Japan’s artistic infrastructure. A key player in facilitating this engagement was Lee Ufan, whom many artists credit with helping them show their works in Tokyo. Many Japanese critics and gallerists in their turn saw Tansaekhwa as a useful means of visualizing what they referred to as a discrete “Asian” contemporary art, something I talk about in the book’s fifth chapter. Indeed, one of the most important exhibitions of Tansaekhwa, Five Korean Artists, Five Kinds of White at the Tokyo Gallery, was conceived as part of a larger “Asian art” series by the gallery’s owner, Yamamoto Takashi. Another point of contact is with Taiwan; in 1977, a large exhibition of Korean painting featuring many examples of Tansaekhwa took place at the National History Museum in Taipei. The reception of this exhibition suggests future possibilities for thinking about an interregional history of abstraction.

What relationship is there between Tansaekhwa and Western art movements of the same period?

There are a lot of “false friend” parallels, some of which were based in Tansaekhwa artists actually having seen certain works, such as Yun Hyongkeun having seen and admired the works of Mark Rothko. I’m also intrigued with some of the affinities between the works of artists like Ha Chonghyun and Helio Oititica, a Brazilian artist who grappled with the ambiguous separation between two- and three-dimensionality, or regional patterns of circulation through which the idea of abstract ink painting could be viewed; e.g., tracing lines of affiliation between the Filipino artist Fernando Zobel, the Taiwanese artist Fong Chung Ray and Kwon Young-woo. Such resemblances bring us to the heart of what has been pointed out about Korean, or for that matter, many examples of non-Western, art, that the question of whether to keep or omit one-to-one comparisons between Western and Korean works “stands at the heart” of how to think about modern and contemporary Korean art. On the one hand, certain formal comparisons make it easier to decouple Tansaekhwa works from the rhetorical ends to which they were put in the late 1970s and to relate them instead to a much broader conversation on abstraction. This has the potential of introducing foreign audiences to a more pluralized view of abstraction based on how Tansaekhwa both resembles and diverges from its counterparts elsewhere.

An extract I read in relation to the book stated: “Tansaekhwa made a case for abstraction as a way for viewers to engage productively with the world and its systems.” Perhaps you could expand on this?

One example is to look at various examples of Tansaekhwa through the politics of its time, which in the early 1970s was significantly inflected by the declaration of martial law in South Korea in 1972. Present histories of Korean art misread Tansaekhwa’s fidelity to materials as apolitical. Yet for Tansaekhwa artists to really interrogate the idea of painting was quite a radical thing to do if we remember how so many artists in this authoritarian era bought into representation by doing everything they could to forget that they were, in fact, painters – nothing more, nothing less. Tansaekhwa artists were quite transparent about the scope of action – it was both defined and enabled by the limitations of the painting medium. Protest was never the main point. Nor was it mere production. But by making the process of execution so utterly, even viscerally transparent, Tansaekhwa works shifted the burden of figuring out what’s going on onto the viewer, and in so doing, reconfirmed that you were indeed in possession of your own senses – this was quite an important thing to reconfirm in a deeply authoritarian, repressive era that seemed defined by a state bent on taking everything away from you. It is this reaffirmation of the viewer that made Tansaekhwa political in a time when merely walking slowly through city streets might land you in jail (a point vividly made in 1970 by the collective, The Fourth Group, when some of its members carried a coffin in a slow processional in downtown Seoul).

There seems to be an enormous gap between the amount of art being produced in Korea and the numbers of art history texts and departments on Korean art. How difficult was it to research the book?

Very. There’s a lot of really insightful, important criticism but relatively few systematic efforts at historicization. The one exception was the mid-to-late 1970s when you had a spate of efforts to track a history of contemporary Korean art; a notable instance was Kim Yun-su’s History of Contemporary Korean Painting. Published in 1975, it’s a proto-revisionist history of modern Korean painting which tried to explicitly track and evaluate art according to socio-political phenomena. 

More recent scholars have stepped in to fill the gap, and since the early 2000s there’s been a very welcome interest in oral history – welcome, since most of the key players of the Korean art world in the 1950s-1970s are or were in their 70s and 80s. Yet we need a lot more. It’s a race against the clock in many ways. In addition, writing history means much more than gathering relevant factual material. It also demands more than simply putting events in a linear sequence or even about inclusion for the sake of upholding the myth of an expanding art world. The choices made in even the most trivial-seeming acts of interpretation reflect our assumptions about art and its potential for action. Starting points, for example, are crucial. To begin a survey of modern Korean art from 1910, for instance, is to risk having non-Korean readers overlook the particular conditions of modernity in Korea, conditions which far predate Japanese occupation and which can be traced to the mid-to-late 18th century where artists like Kang Se-hwang took as their subject the idea of what it meant to be present, or in short, contemporaneous with one’s own time. Other suggested points of origin include 1953, which leads to a different kind of postwar narrative than has been otherwise assumed in Euroamerican studies of “postwar art,” yet this too risks positioning art as symptomatic, rather than generative, of its context. Possibly a more useful beginning is to start with a close reading of a single work. This would opens up the possibility of constructive failure, in which the impossibility of fully accounting for this work provokes the reader to envision other ways of interpretation, other points of access.

Part of the difficulty is the absence of courses devoted to modern and contemporary Korean art, even at the most elite institutions. It’s absolutely shocking that the national flagship university in Korea (Seoul National University) has not filled the spots left vacant by Kim Youngna and Chung Hyung-min after they assumed the directorships of the National Museum of Korea and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, respectively. Of course, the teaching of modern/contemporary Western art is implicitly regarded as a priority. One only imagines the uproar in the West if, say, a major university in the U.S. were to lack an Americanist. The problem with this lack is that it affects the kind of writing that gets produced; there's a lot of writing now, but very little is historically informed, which compromises the ability of critics to give useful feedback to younger artists. Small wonder that museum curators and gallerists often complain of a dearth of good younger artists -- there needs to be critical feedback for artists and having some understanding of how works now resonate with what's been done previously is an important step.

Many histories of 20th century Korean art lack citations, bibliographies or other scholarly apparatus which can make it difficult to fact-check or cross-reference claims and observations. I ended up creating for myself a searchable database that consisted not only of newspaper and journal articles from roughly 1953 to the present but also images from the National Archives of Korea – luckily, the software for searching image databases is getting better every day. Image searching is going to be a gamechanger for research as will be the current interest in tracking networks of affiliations; already it’s possible to download large data sets and then track which institutions, events, and individuals actually exerted real impact by looking at both the number and the strength of those connections. As the book reflects, the resulting story is sometimes far different than what’s being told in received histories.

How much does ‘nation’ over ‘idea’ hinder the promotion of Korean art?

Ironically, the biggest obstacle in the promotion of Korean art is the endless insistence on putting the 'Korean' before the art. I hear again and again from senior scholars well acquainted with Korea and from newcomers alike that this emphasis often comes across as a kind of institutionalized insecurity. The new Seoul branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art will be a crucial opportunity to reframe a history of modern and contemporary Korean art in such a way that emphasizes what might be called the obstinacy of art.  The works might look similar to their counterparts in the West or in the rest of Asia but when juxtaposed with certain other works can produce very intense experiences of estrangement through which we really have to rethink what we know of movements like abstraction or genres like portraiture. 

The geopolitics of Korea strongly suggest that Korean art (and culture, for that matter) will always be discussed in relation to the art of somewhere else. For decades critics struggled against this, albeit by pinning their hopes to arbitrary discourses of Koreanness that ironically stifled more productive kinds of discussion.  Yet one of the great strengths of Tansaekhwa and other key movements is how the task of its historicization calls us to restructure a world art history beyond the dichotomies of nationalism and internationalism, center and periphery, or the global and local. Making good on this potential is the next step.

What do you hope the book will be a catalyst for?

It's my express hope that the book would appeal to readers who are non-specialists in Asian art. I’m also hoping to see more studies on modern and contemporary Asian art that pay extensive attention to the artwork.In terms of reception so far, I’ve been intrigued by the frequency with which Korean interviewers (either based in Korea or elsewhere) have asked about what I think might be done to promote Korean arts and culture overseas. My take is that contemporary Korean art is not yet 'global' until overseas institutions organize exhibitions of such art without heavy subsidies from Korean state agencies or Korean companies. Along the same lines, can there be an exhibition of postwar or contemporary Korean art without having the theme of national identity foreground the works on display? One of the reasons I wrote this book was because I believe that many examples of Tansaekhwa deserve recognition that isn't essentially bought for them by Korean sources. Fortunately others seem to agree as seen by the growing number of non-Korean institutions and galleries interested in collecting or exhibiting Tansaekhwa works.

What other developments would you like to see?

A huge priority is to invest in the development of archives and translators. I could not have written this book without the resources of the Leeum archive of Korean art or that of Kim Dal-jin, who has spent most of his life gathering materials that would have probably otherwise been lost. With the exception of a very small handful of individuals, Korean-to-English translation in the arts is abysmal. And it really has a negative impact on the promotion of this kind of art, not only for non-Korean speaking researchers but for museum collections and courses, many of which are based on histories riddled with glaring inaccuracies. One of the greatest challenges in writing the book was to double-check basic facts like names, dimensions, dates, titles and the like. At present, the majority of histories of contemporary Korean art comprise a kind of system of misdirection in which inaccuracies and generalizations are repeated to the point where they harden into a consensus that is very, very difficult to budge. For example, even today Tansaekhwa is discussed as "Korean minimalism" despite the fact that Minimalism had almost minimal (pun intended!) impact on the postwar Korean art world and was frequently criticized by art critics in Korea the 1960s and 70s.

Will we see an exhibition relevant to this book?

I’m curating a large-scale exhibition on Tansaekhwa that will open in the fall of 2014 in Los Angeles. Details regarding the venue and dates will soon be released, but it will be the first major show of Tansaekhwa in the U.S., consisting of both works that have never been exhibited outside of Korea and those that were showcased in such seminal exhibitions as Facet of Contemporary Korean Art held in 1977 in Tokyo. The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly book-length catalogue featuring not only an essay, but English translations of key artist interviews as well as numerous archival images that supplement what’s in the book. There is also a strong possibility that many of the works will make their way to Hong Kong as part of a larger show on postwar Korean art. — [O]

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