Serpentine Pavilion 2018

Serpentine Pavilion 2018, designed by Frida Escobedo, Serpentine Gallery, London (15 June – 7 October 2018) © Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura, Photography © 2018 Iwan Baan1.jpg
 
Serpentine

Serpentine Pavilion 2018 review

Unveiling a concrete tapestry in a garden..

by Tiziana Maggio

This summer a dark fence is going to stand in the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens. On Tuesday 12th June, the new Serpentine Pavilion 2018 opened to the public giving at a first view very little of itself away, if not just two textured overlapping rectangles. In fact, as soon as I arrived my partner of adventures Roro stated: ‘It looks like a prison’.

However, from a closer look the structure reveals to be formed by undulated roofing tiles stacked together and romantically woven on to steel poles which welcome us in a courtyard-like space with a shallow triangular pool covered by a curved mirrored canopy. Also we realised that the two nested rectangular spaces are wisely placed parallel to the Serpentine Gallery one and the Prime Meridian of Greenwich the other. 

I have to say that after the tree-inspired Pavilion created last year by Diébédo Francis Kéré, this black textured walls are everything but unwelcoming or rough: in fact with a cafe, chairs and light and breeze filtering through the decorative tiles, they will offer for the next four months a relaxing and intimate place to recover from the either rainy or hot city’s buzz and enjoy a calendar filled of art events.

Plus, the distorted images reflected by the ceiling and the water highlight how simple materials like cement can create complex pieces of tapestries. The Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, who was mingling around at the opening, invites us to enjoy the water and a cool splash for our suffering soles in the hopefully warm days of this London’s summer. 

Establishing her practice in 2006, she led several projects in her country, London, California and Lisbon. After Zaha Hadid inaugural Pavillion in 2000, Frida is the second solo woman to be chosen for the Serpentine Gallery’s annual commission. Also, at 38 years old, she is the youngest architect of any of her predecessors achieving the prestigious leading role, becoming the 18th architect selected to design the Pavilion.

‘My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the expression of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms’ stated Escobedo.

Serpentine Director Hans-Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel explained that Escobedo’s Pavilion is “a beautiful harmony of Mexican and British influences” and an ‘architecture for everyone which promises to be a space of reflection and encounter”. In fact the young architect wanted to reinterpret the permeable “celosia”, a type of breeze wall which is a common element in the Mexican residential properties to get some restorative and cool siesta-times, creating a very precious British reference for us.

Go: the Pavilion is always worth a detour from your running around.

Don’t go: if you prefer your sofa, couch potato!

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

Giorgio di Palma

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A ceramist to watch out for: Interview with Giorgio di Palma, who is pushing ceramic forward

Just one heartfelt advice: remember his name. For his disruptive approach to the ceramic, we could define him the Damien Hirst of this craft, but actually to be more precise, Giorgio is like Damien before getting his god-like attitude and marketing power. In fact from his workshop in a tiny centre in the south of Italy, Giorgio is revolutionising his art.

 

Class 1981, he studied Archeology to then actually started working as IT technician. However, after few years he finally decided to listen to his true passion, the ceramic craft, and follow his call back home in the small town of Grottaglie, which actually is historically well known for its century old ceramic tradition. It is not a coincidence then that since he moved back home in 2010, Giorgio has been producing an incredible collection of ceramic art which are starting to attract interior designers and art collectors’ interests. His artistic statement is all about a personal and ironic approach: ‘I work my own way, without focusing on the technique, and I always avoid giving my objects a real function. I produce ceramic items which are not needed. In an era of excess and wastefulness, my aim is to create objects fallen into disuse, useless, but impossible to leave behind. They will outlive us, because now they are made of terracotta, hence immortal. Through a special time machine called ceramics I enjoy transforming the useless into the eternal and consecrating the moment.’

I have got to know Giorgio primarily via email and it immediately transpires how down to heart and committed this artist is.

Do you have a mentor in your professional and personal life?

In my life I have always been surrounded by people who inspired me, hence I don’t think I have ever had only one mentor. I might sound pretentious but I believe in myself so much that I could call myself the Giorgio di Palma’s mentor. This does not mean that I believe I can do anything I want.

With time I have learnt that in every craft and industry there are experts that could be my teachers and mentors. Hence if I want to make marinated anchovies I will ask for my mother’s instructions and if I want to create a complex ceramic piece, I will ask my father for some advice.

Who is a living artist you admire and you would collect?

My house and studio are full of art made by artists I was lucky enough to meet and get to know closely. I need to know the artist personally in order for me to collect his pieces, in fact behind every piece I have, there is a story to tell. Hence I would say I collect stories, not art.

What can you not stand in the art world?

I have to say I cannot stand the art world as a whole. I never wanted to call myself ‘artist’ and I always avoided the path of art galleries-collectors-price politics. 

Some of my pieces are displayed in museums where a wider audience can see them and enjoy them. However, I usually sell in my studio and in few selected shops: my buyers can be either the kid who needs to buy a gift for his aunt and the person who falls in love with a unique original piece.

What’s your biggest achievement so far in life and career?

Maybe my biggest one has been to came back and make a living in my hometown Grottaglie, in Southern Italy.

Are you interested in Italian politics?

Fundamentally no. I voted just three times in my life and I deeply regretted each time. I believe citizens can’t really decide on complex topics like vaccines, Euro, etc..There are designated people with specific expertise who know what and how to decide on those matters. We should just convince them to do that. Instead on ethical choice, rather economic-political matters, citizens should decide.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I see myself ‘escaping’ from Italy often but also having Grottaglie as a base for me to come back.Like his ceramic lollipop and balloons, Giorgio is a straightforward and extremely enjoyable artist who can surprise you with a genuine approach that will definitely further his career in the directions of being internationally collected and unanimously acclaimed.

Photo London 2018

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‘Photo London 2018-savvy’: who and what to look out for this year 

by Tiziana Maggio

Look Lateral reporting from the opening night on the artists and galleries to discover this year.

At its fourth edition, the UK photography event of the year opened with a preview yesterday Thursday and promised to wow its visitors until May 20th at Somerset House in in the heart of London. After a very successful third edition, the fair is in fact coming back this year with more than 100 national and international specialist galleries and publishers from 18 countries and establishing itself as a must for all art and prints hunters and lovers.

Magnum Photos at stand G6 is presenting a selection of prints, from the contemporary to the classic, from Bieke Depoorter, Alex Majoli, Matt Black, to Jim Goldberg, Carolyn Drake and  Mikhael Subotzky. In particular with the last one, well-renowned for being an innovative creator, the visitors can actively be captured by the gigantic images. By just downloading the Avara application on their devices or borrowing an available iPad, they can direct them at the print and an Augmented Reality (AR) will bring the still photo alive, showing what was happening during the shoot.

We recommend getting lost in the Discovery section, curated by art consultant Tristan Lund and hosting 22 emerging galleries and artists in a newly expanded dedicated space. First Chinese gallery in the Discovery, ON/Gallery from Beijing is presenting works by Shen Wei, which have a oneiric allure in their glossy fashion-magazine with a photo-journal’s authenticity. Rubber Factory (New York) is instead bringing an america allure with Pacifico Silano’ works where from few very measured details the viewer is free to guess an untold story of images.

Also this year Photo London is hosting a compelling talk-programme, installations, book signings and two awards, Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers’ Award and the MACK First Book Award. As it happens for the most popular fairs, also this fair is magnetising an increasing number of satellite events all over London: from Peckham 24 to Offprint at the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, lovers of this medium will be ensured to have a busy weekend.

Before leaving, we stopped for a Japanese sake at the ‘Lip bar’ hosted by Hamiltons Gallery, which we recumbent and not just for the liquor. Replicating Bar Kuro in Shinjuku where the Tokyo’s independent photographer Daido Moriyama, recognised as one of the few living modern masters photographer from Japan, used to go for many years, this intimate special installation allows visitors to enter in a travel capsule where they can get closer to Daido’s oeuvre. It cannot be missed!

Go: to feed your mental database with the most solid reference for prints and to feel part of the always more demanding photography community.

Don’t go: if you don’t like the overwhelming Louvre’s effect.

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

Glasgow International 2018

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Glasgow International 2018, what a fair!     The short post-guide: Glasgow International finishes and this is our take.

by Tiziana Maggio

After almost three very busy weeks, the free GI festival finished yesterday, on a very fortunate combination of the Bank holiday weekend and temperatures reaching a high of 22 degrees. Glaswegians and fair visitors in fact have made the most of this warm weekend visiting and enjoying the festival fully for the last few days.

From artists’ studios through to major museums, several locations across the city were involved, including the Forth and Clyde Canal and Glasgow’s network of subway stations and carriages. The art-hunters started every day touring from the city centre hub of Trongate 103 in the Merchant City where they could grab a coffee and GI map and plan their art walk and even bike tours leading to Tramway, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvin Hall and the Gallery of Modern Art and many other locations.

As the director Parry said ‘I got the Subway this morning and came out at St Enoch and the whole floor of the station was covered in these vinyl artworks. They have transformed the space while not being overpowering. It lets everyone get on with their thing while being very beautiful.’

The performance and works displayed by Yon Afro Collective- YAC (Najma Abukar, Layla Roxanne Hill, Rhea Lewis, Sekai Machache, and Adebusola Debora Ramsay) appeared one of the post-brexit most significant events of this Biennial. Hosted by Govanhill Baths Community Trust and titled (Re)imagining Self and Raising Consciousness of Existence through Alternative Space and (Re)imagined Place, it very effectively pointed the attention on the lives of women of colour in Scotland narrating stories often ignored and and how the Black Other is viewed.

Each YAC artist self founded the event and explored the topic through their media and craft, from paintings, photography to sculpture and text exploring the challenges of women of colour living in different socio-political environments.

Planning already the next fair, the director Parry said he wants to increase access. “Within England, across Europe and internationally, Glasgow is really respected in terms of the artwork on show. And while there are a lot of people who know and love the festival, I think the biggest thing for us to do is to reach and invite as many people as possible to come and discover the amazing work being made here.”

We can definitely say that also this year the festival has again succeeded in drawing a wider attention on the city vibrant artistic production and in positioning the Scottish artistic power-house in the centre of the international art plethora.

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

Glasgow International 2018

 
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Glasgow International 2018: How knew Glasgow could be the city to go for contemporary art too!?

20 Apr 2018 - 7 May 2018

by Tiziana Maggio

The international biennial opened last week its eighth edition and it is already showing an ambitious programme under the direction of Richard Parry: more than 80 events, 45 group shows, 40 solo exhibitions, pop-up performances, talks in conventional venues and unusual locations too. They are popping all across Glasgow, placing the art and the city itself among the most talked-about for the next two weeks internationally. How knew?

In the last ten years actually, the Scottish festival has been featuring hundreds of contemporary visual art by established and emerging Scottish and international artists and site-specific exhibitions, becoming soon a not-to-be-missed event in the international calendar of most art fair connoisseurs. Formerly the curator of the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, Parry in fact says ‘Glasgow has a contemporary art scene to rival that of any city in the world and Glasgow International has played an increasingly significant role since its inception over a decade ago.’

Combining art by more than 260 artists from 33 countries, this year the event is showcasing exhibitions reflecting on critical topics like politics, identity, fatherhood, race, queer feminist photography. It appears like an important sign of the current times, where it is impossible to not reflect topics that have been so drastically redefined and discussed recently. In this Scotland’s hyper art-fair, this is surprisingly made by biblical figures, dragons and elephants!

Highlights will see a major new group exhibition at the Gallery Of Modern Art (GoMA) and solo exhibitions by international artists including Esther Ferrer, Urs Fischer, the group of black female artists from Cape Town iQhiya Collective as well as commissions by two Turner Prize winners, Lubaina Himid with Breaking in, Breaking out, Breaking up, Breaking down in the main hall of the Kelvingrove and Mark Leckey, the ‘artist of the YouTube generation’ with Nobodaddy (after William Blake’s poem). 

In particularly Lecky’s work has been the most much-anticipated and talked about: in the darkness of an empty room at Tramway a morbid figure echoing the pose of Rodin’s Thinker expresses melancholy and solitude. Job, this is its name, seems to be the personification of old sorrows and technologically new inputs coming from surrounding screens and speakers in its body. It is a mystical figures and it is creating an hypnotic space for appreciation.

Alongside the official GI calendar, the buzz is ensured all over the city to visitors, me included, in a quest for other spectacular art and some free teas and whiskey too (!), in fact they will have the opportunity to dive into emerging local art promoted by independent galleries and by the alternative platform Glasgow Why Open House Arts Festival (GYFest).

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

THE EY EXHIBITION: PICASSO 1932 – LOVE, FAME, TRAGEDY London, Tate Modern

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THE EY EXHIBITION: PICASSO 1932 – LOVE, FAME, TRAGEDY London, Tate Modern, 8 March – 9 September 2018

by Tiziana Maggio

Tate Modern recently opened a new exhibition and its curatorial concept immediately caught my curiosity. It is the first ever solo Picasso exhibition at the Tate and the curators are offering a fascinating focus on a specific year in the career of the master: 1932. I decided to pay a visit, along with my friend and artist Christina.

Visitors are afforded a very privileged opportunity to appreciate over 100 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs displayed in a month-by-month journey through Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’. As soon as I enter the first room, I am already ecstatic: 

The Great Depression is about to hit the art market and the Master is in his fifties and at the peak of his success, going around in a chauffeur-driven car and living in grand apartments in Paris with Olga Khokhlova, the Russian ballet dancer and mother of his son.

His talent has reached a new height of sensuality now, mainly inspired by his 17 year old muse and mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, featured in numerous works, from Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, to Nude in a Black Armchair and The Mirror.

At the end of our viewing, I turn to my friend Christina with my elated smile of fulfilment and an unexpected comment breaks my euphoria: ‘Although prolific, he was a narcissistic, macho, lavish, misogynistic, exploitative, over-idolized , male dominatrix of an artist! Sadly this is what Western art society and art educational system still admire and promote…!!’ 

I was speechless. In only one comment, she opened a vortex of thoughts that I couldn’t suppress for days. I rewinded the whole exhibition in my mind several times and in the end I came to a conclusion. If on one hand this exhibition shows us the magnificent artistic peak reached by Picasso, on the other it opens the archives of his love life. This allows us to put them both under the scrutiny of today’s #MeToo sensitivity and there is nothing better than an exhibition that is able to create debate and open discussions.

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

ART BASEL HONG KONG

 
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ART BASEL HONG KONG 2018: a quick guide

by Tiziana Maggio

On March 29th the sixth edition of Art Basel Hong Kong (ABHK) will open its doors at the Hong Kong Convention Centre and we will be there. Some 250 galleries from 32 countries will feature masterpieces and contemporary artworks, attracting artists, dealers and collectors from all over the world, confirming this city as one of the most attractive art destinations and the third-largest art auction market in the world, after New York and London. The  three-day show will offer to visitors seven sections: Galleries, Discoveries, Insights, Encounters, Kabinett, Magazines, Film. Also, as it happens in Miami and Basel, the main fair will also accompanied by concurrent exhibitions and events, like ASIA ONE and ART FUTURES.

We look forward to seeing some multimillion-dollar works: Levy Gorvy Gallery will display the $35 million Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XII from Paul Allen’s private collection, while Lehmann Maupin will have Gilbert & George’s “Beard Junction” and Jeff Koons will wow visitors as usual with the enormous Bluebird Planter and the Swan at David Zwirner Gallery’s booth.Then, if we will be lucky enough, we could also have the chance to encounter the artists themselves, from Tracy Emin to Jeff Koons who will definitely seduce potential buyers’ attention.

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

The Modigliani

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The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier, a personal experience..

By Tiziana Maggio

I have to admit: I’m a bit of an exhibition nerd. When there is a new show in town, I do my research on the artist, on the works displayed, on the curator, on the curator’s statement, on the sponsors, etc.. Yep, I want to be ready to absorb all the knowledge possible from the display and immerse myself in it.

With Modigliani’s exhibition at Tate Modern, I stuck to my routine with all the more passion, given the Italian connection, and my soft spot for the elongated necks of his female portraits. Oh, and then there was also what recently happened with the Modigliani exhibition in Genoa, where police found that 20 of the 21 works displayed were forgeries (no comment). This last event made me think on how sometimes the urge or vanity to curate and organise a blockbuster exhibition can lead to failing results.

So here I am, strolling happily through the beautiful rooms of the Tate, browsing from the sketched Caryatids to the Chinese Terracotta Army-like display of the head sculptures to the reclining nudes on cushions paintings, until I pass by a small room, seemingly empty, but with a long queue and a ‘minimum 30 minutes wait’ sign. It was the The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier room.

Considering my geeky old school approach to exhibitions, I thought ‘No way, I am not going to queue for something artificial and not related to Amedeo!’

However, when I visited the exhibition for the second time, armed with a little more patience and hi-tech curiosity, I queued for the room. After 10 minutes, I was buckled up on a VR headset and immersed in Modigliani’s small Ochre atelier in Paris – his last before passing.

As soon as ‘I was in the studio’, sitting on a virtual chair, I felt the urge to stand up and virtually browse through the paintings I could see, to peek from the window and reach out for the rain. Saying that I was like a little girl in a fantastic gluten-free patisserie is an understatement.

Created by games company Preloaded, the experience is mind-blowingly captivating: with just a look at the virtual indicated objects, the artist’s friends and Tate’s experts will start talking to you, giving immersive insights on his art and life, based on meticulous historical and technical research.

What I have experienced is a full VR immersion into art and history, from humble insights into the artist’s daily life like wine bottles and cans of sardine on the floor to a long lasting testimony of his talent like two of his late works, Jeanne Hébuterne 1919 and Self-Portrait 1919, all in Modigliani’s small and modest space.

When it came to the end, I felt like I had experienced something completely new and empowering, an epiphany almost. This VR experience made me think about the evolution in the exhibition business: from the paper guides, to the audio guide to the VR reality. Also, this technology is definitely answering to the millenials’ needs and lifestyle habits. It’s enriching the traditional exhibition experience moving towards a more holistic gallery offer, where is not just the art to talk about the artists but also his lifestyle and living and working spaces too.

Article published on Look Lateral

The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London, Tate Britain

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The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London,    Tate Britain, London

by Tiziana Maggio

A very familiar story of talented people who had to flee to Britain to escape war in France

In Brexit times, this exhibition is a very useful reminder of how Britain was perceived by some talented people, threatened in their own countries. Britain was the place to be, to emerge and to be appreciated more than anywhere else in Europe at that time.

Nowadays, can we still say the same?

Without getting too political, this exhibition is an incredible collection of great pieces by DeNittis, Monet, Tissot, Sisley, Derain and Legros.

Go: if you want to have the great confirmation that art has always been with no barriers or borders. 

Don’t go: if you think that history doesn’t teach us much.

Robert Rauschenberg Exhibition, Tate Modern

Maggio Art Consultancy London

Robert Rauschenberg Exhibition, Tate Modern, until 2 April 2017

When you studied a little bit of American Contemporary Art but everything feels blurry but exciting, you go to the Robert Rauschenberg Exhibitions.

The interest, the number of mesmerised people visiting and reading and staring then, convince you that you are in the right show.

But then, images become less and less communicative, to you only apparently, and videos of dancers are not able to uplift you from the very much craved white rabbit hole.

Go: To learn at least one name for the American Modern Art movement.

Don't Go: if you need cardboard for your moving and you feel they could have a better use with you instead of at the Tate.

LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair in Berkeley Square, Mayfair

LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, 2016? No, Thank you.

The art displayed at LAPADA 2016 was like your bookshelf: you know your books, you know the story and you know if they are interesting or NOT.

When you are tired of them though, you display some always fashionable Lalique vases, some overpriced African art and vintage diamond rings.

Done! the fee for the stand is almost covered.

Don't go: if you have some gardening to do.

Go: if you missed all the Art Fairs in 2015 and 2016.

Painting by Phil Shaw.  (Same old same old.)