From the series Stop, 2001, by Peter Piller

Stop by Archiv Peter Piller at Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery, London.

John Platypus – September 2011

Stop” by Archiv Peter Piller is an interesting exhibition at the Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery, Mayfair. The German artist Peter Piller spent 10 years of his life working in an advertisement agency called Carat, inHamburg, cataloguing regional newspapers. As picture editor he managed literally thousands of images published by German regional newspapers.

The idea of using images taken from newspapers – scanned and then elaborated for printing in large dimension – is unusual and therefore intriguing. Peter Piller do not use captions giving a new life to these pictures that were aggregated following a thematic order e.g. accidents, people receiving flower gift for their birthday and police searching.

The ‘Background Colours’ series was photographed by Peter Piller himself and it represents small colourful views of particulars from strip clubs just after having being used.

The Brancolini Grimaldi exhibition also displays one of his most celebrated project ‘Von Erde schöner’ (More Beautiful from Above) of aerial images – not recycled – depicting homes in the German countryside and sorted out in a group. 

Von Erde schoner by Peter Piller

These were given to Piller by a company that was hoping to sell the prints back to the homeowners. The business was a failure, so Peter Piller subsequently archived and categorised the images into unusual selections such as homes that were built next to graveyards, homes with swimming pools, homes with tents erected in the garden and homes with red bed linen hanging from windows.

This particular combination of recycled images and barely new photographs is captivating and in the meantime confusing, as the firsts obviously have not good definition when the seconds are high-quality prints. It should be maybe worth to clearly distinguish the two productions enhancing the approach at the work of the German artist.

However, the Brancolini Grimaldi exhibition reveals another fine artist with great ideas. Peter Piller has shaped from these plain images a typology of German suburbia that for a short moment appeared on the pages of local newspapers to immediately dissolve. When viewing these different disparate groups of images you become aware of the important role photography plays in defining social beliefs and customs.

Also the concept of recycling images to bring them to a new life is very descriptive of our contemporary society and in particular of the German one which is so keen to environmental and naturalistic culture.

Peter Piller was born in Fritzlar in the former West Germany in 1968. He also lived in Kassel, Idar-Oberstein and Würzburg. He studied at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, and from 1997 he worked in the media agency Carat, cataloguing regional newspapers. Since 2005 he has taught at Hochschule für Grafik and Buchkunst (Academy of Visual Arts), Leipzig where in 2006 he was appointed Professor of Photography. Piller was awarded the 2006 Bâlose Art Prize presented at the Art Statement of Art Basel for his project Unresolved Cases, and in 2004 he received the Ars Viva Award from by the Federation of German Industries. In 2007 Christoph Keller Editions and JRP Ringier published a 348-page book entitled Archiv Peter Piller: Zeitung that featured many of the newspapers images that Piller has collected and catalogued. A 320-page book of the project Von Erde schöner (More Beautiful from Above) was published by Revolver in 2004 that included 313 colour prints. He has had many one-person exhibitions and recently had a large survey exhibition of his work at the Kunstverein Braunschweig. Peter Piller build is Archiv Peter Piller that currently contains roughly 12.000 photographs. He lives and works in Hamburg and has been awarded and exhibited many times.

Showing from 2nd September 2011 until the 1st October 2011, at the Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery, 43-44 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JJ.

Video installation of Glyndebourne by Sophy Rickett © Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery, London.
Sophy Rickett – “Auditorium and selected works” at Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery.

“Video installation shot in Glyndebourne”

Jack Newhouse – July 2011

Sophy Rickett likes dimension, light and the artistic side of them. The exhibition “Auditorium and selected works”, at Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery, Mayfair, London, presents a video installation and some of her earlier works.

‘Auditorium’ is a video installation made in collaboration with Ed Hughes. It is shot at the opera house in Glyndebourne, Sussex, and it focuses particularly on stage mechanics and lighting. The video uses subtle and reduced movements to emphasise lights and shadows of the building. ‘Landscape’ an early series from her, also on display at Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery, uses a similar theme but in outdoor environment.

The focal point of Sophy Rickett work is the movement of the light, its up-and-down, and the effects the contraction and the expansion of the luminosity produces which goes together with the up -and-down of the mechanics of the opera house backstage. It reminds nature cycles, birth-death, seasons, natural phenomenon movements such as seawater, wind or night and day, and of course light and shadow. But also connected with human body: stand up -sit down, walking with a young straight back or old-curved, with an additional subtle, sexual but hidden hint.

But Sophy Rickett has a very special interest also in dimensions and in rendering the tri -dimensional reality with the available bi-dimensional media. This is a timeless art issue as the lack of technology allows artists to express using bi-dimensional means, such as video or prints, when real life is in three dimensions. Rickett work highlights the flatness of video and of photographs.

As part of the Sophy Rickett production “Auditorium and selected works” is offbeat. The artist, in fact, explores new trends in contemporary photography which, instead, follows a realist approach.

Sophy Rickett is born in London (22 September 1970). Between 1990 and 1993, Rickett studied for a BA (Hons) in Photography at London College of Communication, London. Rickett’s work came to prominence in the late 90s, following her graduation from The Royal College of Art, London in the Summer of 1999.

One of her earliest works, Vauxhall Bridge, depicted Rickett urinating standing up while attired in expensive feminine clothes, against the backdrop of Terry Farrell’s iconic SIS building at Vauxhall Cross. It was reviewed in Creative Camera magazine in 1996. Some people saw the “Pissing Women” series as a satire of male behaviour, though many did not know the women were genuinely urinating. Sophy Rickett stated in the interview “this was something I did,” and the photographs were not manipulated.

One of her earliest works, ‘Vauxhall Bridge’, was a shocking series depicting Rickett herself urinating standing up while attired in high-priced feminine clothes. Sophy Rickett has been awarded many times. Her works are present in collections and museums worldwide including, Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Government Art Collection (UK), Musee des Beaux-Arts (Nantes, France), Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK) and MART (Trento, Italy).

She has been part of solo and group exhibitions in venues worldwide renowned including La Biennale di Venezia (Venezia, Italy), Nichido Contemporary Art (Tokyo, Japan), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Courtauld Institute (London, UK), Galleria Civica, Modena (Modena, Italy), Museum der bildenden Künste (Leipzig, Germany), Estorick Collection (London, UK) Il Museo di Trento (Trento, Italy), Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK), Kunsthalle Münster (Münster, Germany) and Musee des Beaux-Arts (Nantes, France).

‘Auditorium’ was commissioned by Photoworks, Glyndebourne Education and De La Warr Pavilion to Sophy Rickett and it is showing at Brancolini Grimaldi Gallery, Mayfair, London, from 7th July to 27th August 2011.

Salvador Dalì at Art MoorHouse, London co. Wikipedia

 

“Dalì and the City” exhibition at Moor House

John Platypus – May 2011 

“an icon of the twentieth century art”

Moor House is hosting the refined exhibition “Dalí and the City”. Ongoing until the 30th June 2011, it has an interesting point of view about the famous Catalan artist. Moor House is a large office building in Moorgate, London, designed by Sir Norman Foster.

While in the square in front of the edifice the anti -cuts protests are ongoing, inside the building this stunning exhibition displays pieces of Dalí rarely seen in the UK.

A tall bronze statue – Alice in Wonderland,’ height 480 cm – opens the exhibition located outside of the building just in front of the entrance. Conceived in 1977 it is the most important piece of the exhibition and it has never been seen in the UK.

Indoor a broad array of sculptures, prints and original collages is present. Sculptures are interesting for their subjects, namely the “Melting Watch” a recurrent theme in Dalí’s body of works, who was so much obsessed by watches that in his autobiography “La vie secrete” (1942) said: “The mechanical object was become my worst enemy, and as for watches, they would have to be soft or not to be at all!.”

Dalí was fascinated by the occult and the subconscious. Therefore, the artist designed an entire Tarot Card series from which there are five of them on display, very original works created in a mixed medium of collage, gouache and watercolour on board.

This exhibition displays two pieces from the series ‘Memoires du Surrealism’ (1971). It was created by Dalí in the last years of his life looking back to his career and producing this series of twelve etching on lithographs.

Also on show pieces from the etching series ‘Flora Suite’ that blends Surrealism and flowers. Finally the ‘Anniversary Series’ that brings together several techniques such as stamp-signed, mixed media lithograph, serigraph and l’eau fort, and pieces are representing the same theme of the sculptures.

Dalí was a gifted draftsman with unique skills. His extensive artistic repertoire includes film, sculpture, jewellery and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media. Salvador Dalí is an icon of the twentieth century art. He was born in Catalonia on 11th May 1904 and his real name was Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol. He claimed that his ancestors were descended from the Moors – so that Moor House sounds appropriate for an exhibition, isn’t it?

Salvador Dalí had a troubled private life. He believed to be the reincarnation of his dead brother. His mother death in 1921 was the greatest blow in his life and, after the event happened, his father married the sister of his mother. Salvador Dalí liked this marriage, because he had a great love and respect for his aunt.

In 1922, Dalí moved to Madrid and studied at the Academia de San Fernando. He already drew attention as an eccentric man inspired by English Aesthetes of the 19th century. He became close friends with Pepín Bello and Luis Buñuel. The friendship with Federico García Lorca, instead, had a strong element of mutual passion, but Dalí rejected the poet’s sexual advances. However, Dalí was noticed for his paintings, experimenting with Cubism. He was expelled from the Academia (1926), shortly before his final exams, when he stated that no one on the faculty was competent enough to examine him.

The 1929 was a key year for Dalí. He collaborated with surrealist film director Luis Buñuel on the short film ‘Un Chien Andalou’ (An Andalusian Dog). In the same year, Dalí officially joined the Surrealist group in Paris, and was hailed for his paranoiac-critical method of accessing the subconscious for greater artistic creativity.

In August Dalí met his muse and future wife Gala. Born the 7thSeptember 1894 in Tartarstan (Russia) as Elena Ivanova Diakonova, she was ten years older than him. Gala at that time was married to surrealist poet Paul Éluard, they met while in Switzerlandand get married in 1917. Gala detested motherhood, mistreating their daughter Cécile (born 1918) for all of her life. With Éluard, Gala became involved in the Surrealist movement and was an inspiration for many artists including Éluard, Louis Aragon, Max Ernst and André Breton. She, Éluard and Ernst spent three years in a ménage à trois, from 1924-27.

After living together since 1929, Dalí and Gala married in a civil ceremony in 1934, and remarried in a Catholic ceremony in 1958. Because of his phobia of female genitalia, Dalí was said to be a virgin when they first met. She was a muse for Dalí and acted as his agent. Gala had a strong sex drive and throughout her life had numerous extramarital affairs – including Paul Éluard and even after their divorce – encouraged by Dalí who was a practitioner of candaulism. Gala loved young artists, and in her late seventies had a relationship with rock singer Jeff Fenholt, covering him with gifts, who later became a televangelist.

Also in 1929 Dalí‘s relationship with his father broke up. Don Salvador Dalí strongly condemned the relationship with Gala and the Surrealist connections. Don Salvador was fuming when his son exhibited a drawing with a provocative inscription: “Sometimes, I spit for fun on my mother’s portrait.” Dalí refused to retract and was violently thrown out of his paternal home. His father would disinherit him, and told him never set foot in Cadaquès again. The following summer, Dalí and Gala rented a small fisherman’s cabin at Port Lligat that over the years gradually will become his much beloved villa.

Later in 1934, Dalí was subjected to a “trial”, in which he was formally expelled from the Surrealist group because he refused to explicitly denounce fascism. To this, Dalí retorted, “I myself am surrealism.”

Because of the World War II, in 1940 Dalí and Gala moved to the United States, where they lived for eight years. After the move, Dalí returned to the practice of Catholicism.

From 1949, Dalí spent his remaining years back in Catalonia, but he was much criticised because Spain was ruled by Franco. Dalí’s post–World War II period confirms its talent and an interest in optical illusions, science, and religion. He became an increasingly devout Catholic. Between 1941 and 1970, Dalí produced a collection of 39 extraordinary jewels. Also in 1969, he created the Chupa Chups logo.

Salvador Dali and Amanda Lear

In 1965 in a club in Paris, Dalí met Amada Lear. He was roughly 40 years her senior. She was already modeling and rapidly became a muse for him. Lear’s early life is unclear, including her birth date, her gender, her parents, and the location of upbringing. Lear’s alleged transsexual background has been much mentioned.

Dalí was hit by her look but also saw a kindred spirit in her. Lear has described their close and unusual relationship as:“Dalí was my teacher… Surrealism was a good school for me. Listening to Dalí talk was better than going to any art school.” She accompanied him and his wife on trips around the world and took part and posed for Dalí’s work.

Lear remained Dalí’s confidante, protégée and mistress all through the Sixties and Seventies. However, she was also romantically linked to Brian Jones, which resulted in the ironic Rolling Stones track “Miss Amanda Jones”, and had several affairs with artists and personalities. In 1979 she married French bisexual aristocrat Alain-Philippe Malagnac d’Argens de Villèle, just three weeks after the couple first met in Paris. He was the former lover turned adopted son of diplomat and controversial gay novelist Roger Peyrefitte.

Dalí and Gala strongly disapproved the relationship with Malagnac, who had a bad reputation in Parisian high society and even attempted to persuade Lear to annul the marriage. As a consequence, and also as Lear’s successful career, they began drifting apart. Still sporadically kept in touch through the mid-Eighties, especially after Gala died in 1982, Lear only very briefly visited Dalí in 1988 and then shortly before he died.Malagnac became a successful art dealer and was married to Lear for twenty-one years, until his premature passing in 2000.

In 1980, Dalí’s health deteriorated. In 1982 King Juan Carlos conferred to Dalí the title of Marquis of Dalí de Púbol. Gala died in Port Lligat in the 10th June 1982. After Gala’s death, Dalí lost much of his will to live. He moved to the castle in Púbol, which he had bought for Gala and was the site of her death. In November 1988, Dalí entered the hospital with heart failure, and on 23rd January 1989 died. He is buried in the crypt of his Teatro Museo in Figueres. The location is across the street from the church of Sant Pere, where he had his baptism, first communion, and funeral, and is three blocks from the house where he was born.

Dalí was a highly imaginative person with an eccentric behaviour for which he was sometimes better known than his artwork. A cause of this he was attacked his entire life, was object of extremely harsh polemics and probably exorcised by an Italian priest. However, his notoriety did not stop to grow and nowadays Dalí is recognised as one of the most important artists of all time.

The exhibition is organised by Modern Masters Gallery and sponsored by Equiduct and The Dalí Universe.

At the Art MoorHouse, 120 London Wall, City, EC2Y 5ET, until the 30th June 2011.