Mittwoch, 4. Mai 2011
Dienstag, 3. Mai 2011
Samstag, 2. April 2011
Montag, 28. März 2011
Freitag, 25. März 2011
Montag, 14. März 2011
I met Sacramento-born storyboard artist and co-owner of ANKA Gallery Chad Glass at one of the Stephen Mitchell's Elysee Wednesday meetings at Caffe Primo at Sunset Plaza. Since I love to play the piano and currently don't have one Chad Glass caught my attention when he showed us drawings of an abandoned piano that he had seen sitting on the corner of a street. Therefore, we started communicating over FACEBOOK through which following conversation came up.
Chad Glass: You seem to like art and artistic things, what is some of your favorite types of artwork? Are you an artist?
Simone Kussatz: I'm a journalist who writes about art. I'm also a creative person. I feel good, if I take pictures and if I do a painting here and there or put things together like in a collage, but I'm not an artist the way we define artists in Germany, which is someone who does this on a professional basis and makes a living from it. But then I'm a writer and I do this on a professional basis and some people consider writers to be artists. My favorite type of art? That's not an easy question. I can tell you what I don't like. I don't like kitch and tacky things. I don't like sexually provocative or aggressive art, exploiting the body. That doesn't mean I don't like nudity, but it needs to be shown in a certain way. I'm someone who appreciates subtleness, depth and art that has some kind of a higher meaning - perhaps a humanitarian element. I like to see emotions and the human condition in general. If it's relevant to world events, I like that too. I don't know... it needs to intrigue me.
Chad Glass: I draw storyboards here in LA and have an art gallery in Portland, Oregon. I co-own it and founded it. I also show my own work there. It is here: http://www.ankagallery.com/
Simone Kussatz: Thank you... I'll look it up. I liked the abandoned piano you had drawn and showed at Stephen Mitchell's Elysee on Wednesdays.
Chad Glass: Thanks. Those drawings mean a lot to me and are highly symbolic.
Simone Kussatz: Can you say a bit more about that? In which way are they symbolic?
Chad Glass: It is death. It is a musical instrument that will never make music again. Its physical body was destroyed and it passed into another form, into a pile of wood several weeks thereafter.
Simone Kussatz: very nice. I can completely relate to that.
Chad Glass: If you've ever seen someone die there is a beauty in it as well as an ugliness. The piano was beautiful in its last days, with its insides exposed, the beautiful craftsmanship, the amazing work and sculptural forms of its mechanisms. But is was at once ugly in its death throes and destruction. The forces destroying it were hostile to it and to life. Life itself is brutal and this physical world is hostile.
Simone Kussatz: I've not watched someone taking his or her last breath, but I've seen my grandfather before the stages of death, and my little brother when he was dead. And the idea of an autopsy after death, cutting one's body open and looking at all the organs, makes me now think about the inside of the piano you drew. An autopsy is a last look at our amazing machine and the mechanism that takes care of us - the brain that sends us all the messages how to move our arms and legs, etc, the heart that pumps the blood to the lungs. And then all of a sudden this machine stops working and withers. It's difficult to find sense in it. Therefore I could not agree more with you about life being brutal and the physical world being hostile, trying to cover up these facts and feelings by bombarding us with superficiality.
Glass Well: Yes the body is a machine, a shell. When it is dying and is then dead the idea of it being only a vessel is very clear. It is unequivocal. Whatever was "in it" is definitely not there anymore.
Simone Kussatz: Thank you for our conversation. Shall the piano be a symbol for all the people who lost their lives during the tsunami. An image of a beach with abandoned pianos comes to my mind... what a quiet and long and sad sound.
Chad Glass: That is a very beautiful and lushly melancholic image. Thank you.
Simone Kussatz: I forwarded my link to my friend and colleague, art critic Peter Frank.. This was his response: "Vielen Dank! I like his drawings, both for subject and for form...."
Chad Glass: Simone, I continue my gratitude and thanks for your article about my drawings. I am grateful for your attention in this matter.
Simone Kussatz: And thank you for creating something that has personal meaning to me... thinking about abandoned pianos, makes me now also think about abandoned people and abandoned talents. I love to see your drawing also as an image of an abandoned soul... and in that also lies beauty and ugliness..
Chad Glass: Excellent, it is all of that.
Dienstag, 1. Februar 2011
Interview with Manjari Sharma conducted over the phone: Los Angeles - Mumbai
The New York city based photographer Manjari Sharma is one of the artists that is currently represented at Kopeikin Gallery in Culver City along with American photographer Steve Fitch. Born in Mumbai, the 31-year-old Sharma just returned from Santander in Spain, where she was invited to coordinate the photo entries for Espacio Nudage - a multi disciplined event, dedicated to emerging talent in design. Trained in India and the US, Sharma’s work has been published in numerous international and national magazines and newspapers, including the Times of India, Geo magazine and PDN (Photo District News). Her work has also been used on a Pinguin book cover. In addition she helped to research a National Geographic Project based in India, was a guest at India’s CNBC, and a 2009 winner of the Strand photo contest in New York.
Simone Kussatz: In both of your series, “Shower” and “Water”, of which some of your works are currently exhibited at Kopeikin Gallery water plays a key role. Can you tell us more about that?
Manjari Sharma: Both those projects were photographed six months apart. Both were not planned, but it was hindsight that made me do them. As far as the Shower series is concerned, to begin with, it's very rare that one has a window in a bathroom in New York City. So at first, it was a formal and visual thing as I saw this light coming through and felt fascinated what it did to my marble walls in the bathroom. The water falling down on my subjects is what transformed this project.
In Indian culture the water of the Ganges River has a great significance. The holy water as it is said, washes away your sins. The project was about inviting people to come into my shower but interestingly as people showered it almost felt as if it were a confessional. As soon as the water hit their faces and bodies, they started to relax and would often discuss intimate things like relationships with their parents, love lives and moments of their childhood, or life lessons that you wouldn't share at a bar or another public place. In a strange unplanned way the water series in a way was a macro look at the relationship of people with the water and the shower series was a micro look at the same.
Kussatz: Did you tell your subjects in which pose to get?
Sharma: Sometimes it was a natural capture and sometimes I had them do over a pose I just noticed they naturally have.
Kussatz: In your shower series you have people of different ethnicities? Was there any particular purpose for that?
Sharma: I’ve always felt very drawn to multicultural people. Once the project became clear to me, I wanted to capture that personal relationship between people and water and to showcase that to people from all over the world, so that they can relate to that.
Kussatz: Your “Water” series was made on the beaches in Rio de Janeiro. They were shot from this great angle. Were you in a helicopter or standing on top of a mountain?
Sharma: No, I was shooting them from the 17th floor of a hotel room looking at a private beach. And then there were these men standing in a very isolating position. I can’t swim and felt intrigued by looking at people feeling so comfortable in water.
Kussatz: So they actually didn’t know you were shooting them?
Sharma: No, they had no idea. But you can’t see their faces. It’s more about the form from a distance.
Kussatz: I like the pastel colors. Can you say more about that?
Sharma: I've changed the color palette with Photoshop. I wanted them to have a simpler palette so as to not let the details distract the viewer from the concept.
Kussatz: Did you have a particular reason to shoot in Brazil?
Sharma: No. I was just traveling. I was a bride’s maid at my friend’s wedding. As an artist you have to be prepared to make your art wherever you are. And when the moment strikes you want to be ready to use your tool.
Kussatz: I truly enjoyed your work and also found some beautiful images in your portfolio. I think it’s important to put light on emerging artists. I was wondering who influenced you artistically?
Manjari: I was influenced by a variety of artists. If you look at art your whole life you don’t know what kicked in. But I would say mostly by Irving Penn, but also by Greg Miller. I was his assistant for one year. He’s really great at the relationship with his subjects.
Kussatz: Thank you very much for our conversation. I look forward to meeting you in person for the closing reception at Kopeikin Gallery on February 12th.
Published in Whitehotmagazine February 2011.
Copyright (c) Simone Kussatz
Copyright (c) Simone Kussatz
Photos: Courtesy of the artist
Photos: Courtesy of the artist
Dienstag, 25. Januar 2011
Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect, Visionary at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) Pacific Design Center
However, some might ponder why the works of a composer would be exhibited in museums such as the Drawing Center in New York, the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal and now at MOCA Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles rather than in symphony halls? Or why, instead of looking at sketches, there wouldn't be more outdoor performances such as last year's performance of "Persepolis" in the Los Angeles State Historical Park?
For one thing there has always been a strong link between the visual arts and music. Russian painter, Wassily Kandinsky, who was himself an accomplished musician, used color in a highly theoretical way associating tone with timbre, hue with pitch and saturation with the volume of sound. The German writer, Wolfgang von Goethe, once described architecture as frozen music. And Xenakis who used the aural curved surfaces of his first major composition "Metastaseis" as an inspiration for the curved walls of the Philips Pavilion, could have not embodied Goethe's metaphor more literally.
Furthermore, music notation has mostly been hand-rendered, like calligraphy. In Western tradition, there are the five lines of the staff, which look like a grid, with dots representing pitches (high and low) and other configurations symbolizing durations. This per se can be visually beautiful. However, what makes Xenakis' sketches unique is that he was not drawing sound in the common manner, but was working through strategies to apply physics and mathematics as a way to organize sound, using set theory, group and game theory, probability theory, in particular stochastic processes, which he then graphically plotted out. His multi-media works presented on paper often contain tiny handwritten notes in various languages - Greek, French and English - and different ink-colors.
The exhibit at MOCA Pacific Design Center, curated by Sharon Kanach and Carey Lovelace, is compromised of two parts. On the ground floor, the exhibit's narrative begins with the early years of Xenakis, including a family photograph of him with his two brothers and uncle in 1933, Xenakis as a Greek resistance fighter in 1944, a picture of Xenakis at Le Corbusier's studio in Paris, photographs and studies of the Philips Pavilion and the Dominican Monastery of Sainte Marie de la Tourette, a typewritten letter by Le Corbusier to Xenakis stating that Xenakis's services were no longer needed, after the two had a dispute when Le Corbusier neglected to mention Xenakis' assistance in the Philips Pavilion. There are also studies for his first compositions "Metastaseis" and "Pithoprakta".
On the second level the exhibit continues with the hand-drawn double-vector matrix for "Achorripsis", which Xenakis used to illustrate a lecture in 1964 as a Ford Fellow in Berlin. It also features studies for "Terretektorh", "Erikhthon" and "Cendrées", including pages of orchestral scores, a DVD of drawings and calculations for "Pithoprakta" with a musical performance by the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg conducted by Arturo Tamayo. On top there is a virtual presentation of "Poème Électronique", provided by the Virtual Reality & Multi-Media Park in Torino, Italy. One can also see a film with Xenakis working on "Polytope de Cluny" and a video from the collection of the Herb Alpert School of music showing a lecture about music with Xenakis at Mills College. Furthermore, there are studies and photographs of "Polytope de Mycènes", "Polytope de Cluny", "Polytope de Persepolis," and "Polytope de Montréal", as well as various programs for the different events. The exhibit concludes with some of Xenakis unrealized projects, such as his studies for "Cosmic city", "the Reynolds House" and "Cité de la Musique."
Along with the exhibit comes a catalogue (written by Ivan Hewett, Carey Lovelace, Sharon Kanach) with a moving memoir by Mâkhi Xenakis, describing the days with her father in Corsica. Therefore, the exhibit does not only portray Xenakis as the remarkable artist, but also the remarkable human being, who fought against the Nazis and the British and survived many hardships, including the death of his mother at age five, imprisonment, severe physical injury, a life in exile and rejection by the Parisian musical elite - Nadia Boulanger, Darius Milhaud and Arthur Honegger. Yet, he never stopped immersing himself into interdisciplinary studies, from Plato to archaeology, to find his own answers. The exhibit and catalogue also focus on the two people who tremendously impacted Xenakis' career - Swiss architect Le Corbusier and French composer Oliver Messiaen, who told him "You are almost thirty. You have the fortune of being Greek, an architect, and of having studied special mathematics. Take advantage of those things. Do them in your music."
In that sense the exhibit succeeds in getting to the essence of the person Iannis Xenakis, someone who was a lateral thinker, someone who was always "thinking outside the box."
Copyright ©Simone Kussatz
Photos: Courtesy of MOCA Pacific Design Center