This is a live clip from my mobile during this event. I am happy to report that the return trip to London was as smooth and uneventful as, well, as most of my other flights have ever been.

Sublime Embrace

September 1, 2006

mercury1.jpg  Thought Forms Tony Oursler

If you happen to anywhere near the Art gallery of Hamilton Ontario, you might like to see the current exhibition curated by Shirley Madill: Sublime Embrace: Experiencing Consciousness in Contemporary Art. It looks like a really interesting show, and features work by some of my favorite artists:

Ernesto Neto (Brazil), Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller (Germany, Canada), Bill Viola (USA David Rokeby (Canada), Toni Oursler (USA), , Anish Kapoor and Mark Karasick (Great Britain).
And some that I don’t know at all:

Annika Larsson (Sweden), Barbara Steinman (Canada), James Casebere (USA), Tania Bruguera (Cuba), Katarina Matiasek (Austria), David Hoffos (Canada), Miroslaw Balka (Poland), Robert Longo (USA).

In the description of the show, Madill (at least I presume it is the curator who says this)  says that

it is a concerted exploration of the theme of consciousness in art, bringing together an international spectrum of work that engenders a visceral sensation of conscious experience. Since the nineteenth century, consciousness has been arguably the primary subject of Western art – shifting artists’ goals from direct representation of seen reality to the expression of felt experience. In the past few years this exploration has become much more focused and fueled in part by scientific and technological discoveries.  “

I would be most interested to know whether the viewer does indeed feel a “visceral sensation of conscious experience”, so please let me know if you go and if you have a conscious experience that is different from being awake and walking down the street.

Becoming Light – Bill Viola

September 1, 2006

viola_water2y.jpg Bill Viola Still from The Crossing 1996

The first time I saw Bill Viola’s work was on a quick trip to London, and of all the work I saw that trip, his stuck with me the most. I was amazed by his enormous projections and accompanying sound, and as I wandered through the darkened exhibition space filled with strangers I felt that I could spend hours looking at the sumptuous filmic sequences and still not experience the work fully.

I watched a podcast of a talk that he gave at the Tate as part of his latest show at the Haunch of Venison, Love/Death: The Tristan Isolde Project.  This talk is about an hour long, and Viola discusses how he draws inspiration for his work from Christian mysticism, Zen Buddhism, Sufi poetry and explorations of the spiritual.

After going to see the show at the Haunch of Venison, I was rather disappointed in most of this latest work, as I felt it used symbols of the spiritual rather than creating an environment for the experience of the sublime

techno_buddha1.JPG    technobuddha

globalencoder.JPG  Global Encoder

All images by Nam June Paik appropriated without permission

The Saatchi gallery currently exists only online, and they have cunningly added forums, blogs, chats and the ability for any artist to upload images for the art world to see. Of course there is the perceived cachet of somehow being associated with the Saatchi name, and the site promises to “showcase your work to thousands of visitors every day”. There are currently thousands of artists listed on the site. So, if you wish somehow that you were a London-based artist with London-type opportunities, upload your work. You never know, someone other than just another desperate artist might be perusing the site and be blown away by your talent.

Apparently, according to an article in the Guardian, some dealers are already spending upwards of £100,000 on paintings without seeing them in the flesh.

Perhaps I’m just a cranky cynic, but all this sounds like marketing hype to me. There are so many artists listed, and it takes ages to start looking through the work. Most of the work seems to be painting, painting and more painting, although they have recently started a video section of the site, which is more interesting. For a review see loadedpun

If nothing else, it drives home the point that there are many, many, many artists out there. Perhaps billions, depending on your definition of art.