Journal of Art and Thought

24.03.2017

Lola Massieu.
Abstract restlessness at CAAM

Curator: Mari Carmen Rodríguez

Among the highlights of the fall-winter season at Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM), the retrospective of Canarian artist Lola Massieu (Gran Canaria, 1921-2007), curated by Mari Carmen Rodríguez, reviews the best works of the artist’s production and suggest an open and generous reading of her work:

The works of Lola Massieu stem from a restlessness, a disquiet, an inaccessible force that drives the start of the search. The first breath surges from the depths of her being, purifying itself as it passes beyond the corporeal and takes shape on the void of the medium. Here she examines and orders it, dealing with chaos by layers, watching over and refining it, giving unrecognisable shape to something that cannot be expressed in words.

Lola Massieu began her academic training with her uncle, Nicolás Massieu Matos, starting with the classic genres of painting: still life, portrait and landscape. She abstracted the bases and refined objects, renouncing figurative references until she reached an abstraction in tune with constructivism. These were the series of works she produced in the 1970s, when she connected with the second wave of American abstract expressionists, European artists and the Spanish informalist movement.

Her paintings in the seventies were wrought from resin, oil and surrealist decalcomania in works hinting at disturbing, desolate and uncertain spaces. In the next decade her artistic activity evolved as she incorporated new materials such as gold plating, giving form to the transcendent and reproducing architectural and iconographic elements formerly reserved to the sacred.

She later combined thickly outlined geometrical shapes with drip painting, a technique that confuses directionality in the weave of the artwork. This was the period of the large series Un mundo en descomposición, (A world in decomposition) Manzana podrida (Rotten apple) and childhood memories, when she took a more active stance in denouncing a society with few values.

Lola Massieu continued to paint until the end of her life, during more than 50 years of creation and experimentation in the field of pictorial abstraction, evolving in her creative space and testing new materials and techniques: bitumen, gold leaf, decalcomania and scraping.

An innovator and a rebel, Lola Massieu was full of life and self confidence. She was an unprecedented abstract painter, faithful in her commitment to painting and the formal difficulties posed by the plastic arts. Lola returns to herself in a process that takes her from what she has assimilated to her personal poetics thorough deconstruction of the visible, making her one of the key 20th century Canary Islands artists.

Apart from her own creative process, she became a busy art activist, helping to form art groups such as Espacio and Espiral, and collaborating with other groups. She taught artists and was a craftswoman, decorator and restorer. She also defended women’s right to equality in a complex personal and social context. Her attitude undermined the stereotypes of the time about female artists, who were gaining visibility on the art scene in the 1960s.

Throughout her life, she managed to balance passion and reflection, constantly taking risks. Lola received prizes and awards, as well as silence.

She lived and created with a generous spirit. As she herself said, her work is what lasts. Almost ten years after her death, we are witness to this.

ATL#58_LolaMassieu_Pintura_1963_MIxedMediaOnCanvas_120x110cm_GobiernoDeCanariasColeection_PhotoCristinaDeniz

30.10.2016

XIII International Biennial of Cuenca, Ecuador.

Curators: Dan Cameron and Cristián G. Gallegos
November 25, 2016 to February 5, 2017

The Biennial of Cuenca, Ecuador, which began as an event devoted solely to painting, has continued its process of consolidation into a forum open to all expressions of contemporary art. With this premise, the Biennial has taken firm steps toward a renewed cultural policy committed to principles of artistic integration that do not limit themselves to holding great international exhibitions every two years, but that arrange ongoing educational and theoretical programs in order to promote an effective introduction to contemporary artistic manifestations for all segments of the community.

For the XIII edition, opening on November 25th, the Biennial has selected the experienced and well-known American curator Dan Cameron to direct the main exhibitions, and the Chilean curator Cristián G. Gallegos to oversee the educational programs.

The thematic concept that guides this Biennial, as formulated by Cameron, is that of Impermanencia: Mutable Art in a Materialistic Society. As the curator explains it:

Impermanencia proposes to bring together a geographically and stylistically diverse group of artists who share an interest in mirroring the frailties and follies of human existence relative to our fundamentally fleeting existence. In doing so, the exhibition recognizes that the challenges of art-making, as compared to some of the greater obstacles in human existence, might seem minor and trivial for those not aware of its high stakes, in much the way that our species likely appears insignificant when measured against the entirety of the surrounding cosmos. And yet we make and appreciate art for profound and primordial reasons, which sometimes include the wish to have one’s name spoken long after one is no longer alive — but perhaps it is the art of the ineffable, the defenseless, and the transitory that speaks most eloquently to our condition as temporary, transient packets of gradually dispersing energy inside a cold, ever-expanding universe. In its emphasis on the viewer’s internal responsiveness to the works on view, the XIII Biennial of Cuenca also subtly challenges certain preconditions of ownership with respect to works of art, which in the final analysis are more the patrimony of all humankind than a single museum, state, or individual.

LIST OF ARTISTS
Ignasi Aballí (Spain)
María José Argenzio (Ecuador)
Kader Attia (France-Algeria-Germany)
Kelver Ax (Ecuador)
Francisca Benítez (Chile-USA)
Cao Fei (China)
Pablo Cardoso (Ecuador)
Aslı Çavuşoğlu (Turkey)
Alejandro Cesarco (Uruguay-USA)
Luis Chenche (Ecuador)
Tiffany Chung (Vietnam)
Elias Crespin (Venezuela-France)
Hugo Crosthwaite (Mexico)
Alexandra Cuesta (Ecuador-USA)
Danica Dakic (Bosnia Herzegovina-Germany)
Elena Damiani (Peru)
Óscar de las Flores (El Salvador-Canada)
Fidel Eljuri (Ecuador)
Cevdet Erek (Turkey)
Leandro Erlich (Argentina)
Bruna Esposito (Italy)
Tony Feher (USA)
Gianfranco Foschino (Chile)
Shaun Gladwell (Australia)
Adriana González (Paraguay)
Natalia González Requena (Bolivia)
Ramiro Gomez (USA)
Sebastián Gordín (Argentina)
Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens (Canada)
Lucia Koch/Al Borde (Brazil-Ecuador)
Miler Lagos (Colombia)
Juan Carlos León (Ecuador)
Hew Locke (Guyana)
Los Carpinteros (Cuba-Spain)
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Canada-Mexico)
José Carlos Martinat (Peru)
Janeth Méndez (Ecuador)
Yucef Merhi (Venezuela-Ecuador)
Kristen Morgin (USA)
Henrique Oliveira (Brazil)
Marcel Pinas (Surinam)
Raha Raissnia (Iran-USA)
Pablo Rasgado (Mexico)
Óscar Santillán (Ecuador-Netherlands)
Karina Aguilera Skvirsky (Ecuador-USA)
Damián Sinchi (Ecuador)
Shinique Smith (USA)
Oswaldo Terreros (Ecuador)
Adán Vallecillo (Honduras)

04.04.2016

NEW EXHIBITION PROGRAM AT CAAM

The recently appointed Director of Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM), Orlando Britto Jinorio, has announced the museum’s new exhibition program, as well as those of the two other art centres under his directorship: CAAM-San Antonio Abad and the San Martín Contemporary Cultural Centre. The programs, as Britto Jinorio said in his presentation, will continue CAAM’s focus on the “tri-continental axis”–the foundational principle of CAAM—highlighting arts and cultural activities in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. At the same time, the programs will devote special attention to exploring the works and developments of different generations of artists from the Canary Islands.

Beginning in May 2016 and running until the beginning of 2017, the new program will present Kaleidoscope and Puzzles, an exhibition showcasing a selection of works by Latin American artists from the collection of the Contemporary Art Museum of Castilla y León (MUSAC). Next, inaugurating the fall season, the museum will premier the presentation in Spain of the works of Algerian artist Zoulikha Bouabdellah (pictured), who has played with cultural dualities and imbalances, as well as cultural fusion and the ability to transcend borders.  At the same time, CAAM will organize a retrospective exhibition of Lola Massieu, one of the main artists of the twentieth century in the Canary Islands, and it will also pay homage to the late Clara Muñoz, one of the most talented critics and curators in Las Palmas, who until recently contributed regularly to Atlántica.

CAAM-San Antonio Abad begins its new program in June with the work of Amira Parree, an Egyptian artist and activist, who reflects on personal conscience, questioning identity and social issues. In September, the centre will be hosting the works of Spanish artist Yolanda Domínguez, who is mostly engaged with social conditions related to gender and consumption.

The San Martín Centre, which features artists from the Canary Islands, will present during summer 2016 a selection of the photographic works of Gran Canaria artist Nacho González, in the context of the 25th anniversary of the Canary Islands International Jazz and More Festival. The Centre will also hold a retrospective of the work of José Rosario Godoy, and will celebrate the centenary of the birth of the Canary Islander writer and artist Pino Ojeda. The San Martín Centre will also organize The Colors of Wine, an exhibition that includes the works of artists Tato Gonçalves y Cristobal Guerra.

01.03.2016

MARRAKECH BIENNALE 6 CURATED BY REEM FADA

MB6 is curated by Reem Fadda, associate curator of Middle Eastern Art for the Abu Dhabi Project at Guggenheim, New York. The curatorial concept of this year’s Biennale is indicated in the designated title for the event: NOT NEW NOW. It aims to provide an intellectual framework uniting multiple arenas of art and culture by viewing them through the lens of the location and history of the city of Marrakech. It builds on a longstanding history of pan-Afro-Arab unity by critically investigating sociopolitical projects, cultural partnerships, and art movements that have given rise to many shared artistic tendencies.

The heritage sites of Marrakech will invoke these moments of intersection through a wealth of site-specific commissions and installations by a group of international artists, especially from Africa, the Arab world, and their diasporas. Performances, displays of archives, film programmes, seminars, lectures, and conferences will provide a dynamic structure that will examine and cement these cultural commonalities and relationships. This is in line with the aspirations of the foundations of the Biennale, as expressed by its president, Amine Kabbaj: “The key to the Biennale’s future success lies partly in the city’s location. We lie on a crossroads between the Western world, the Islamic world, and the African world.”

ARTIST LIST: Talal AFIFI • Tarek ATOUI • Yto BARRADA • Farid BELKAHIA • Omar BERRADA • Dineo Seshee BOPAPE • Ahmed BOUANANI • Touda BOUANANI • Mohamed CHABÂA • Manthia DIAWARA • Melvin EDWARDS • Khalil EL GHRIB • Ali ESSAFI • Sam GILLIAM • David HAMMONS • Mohssin HARRAKI • Sandi HILAL and Alessandro PETTI • Bouchra KHALILI • Salma LAHLOU • Fatima-Zahra LAKRISSA • Al LOVING • Djibril Diop MAMBÉTY • Mohammed MELEHI • Oscar MURILLO • THE OTOLITH GROUP • Sara OUHADDOU • Eric VAN HOVE • Haig AIVAZIAN • El ANATSUI • Isak BERBIC • Saba INNAB • Radhika KHIMJI • Rachid KORAICHI • Jumana MANNA • Ahmed MATER • Megumi MATSUBARA • Radouan MRIZIGA • Fatiha ZEMMOURI • Dana AWARTANI • Mona HATOUM • Mohamed MOURABITI • Khalil RABAH • Adrián VILLAR ROJAS • Kader ATTIA • SUPERFLEX • Khaled MALAS • Rayyane TABET • Naeem MOHAIEMEN

03.03.2016

SIXTY-FIVE ARTISTS SELECTED FOR DAK’ART BIENNALE

More than sixty artists from twenty-four countries have been selected for Dak’art, the twelfth edition of the Biennale of Contemporary African Art in Dakar, Senegal, which is scheduled to take place from May 3 to June 3, 2016. The selected artists come from nineteen countries from across the continent – Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Morocco, Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Congo, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Sudan, Madagascar, Algeria, and Burundi – as well as from five countries of the diaspora – the US, France, Italy, Bahamas, and Portugal.

The artistic director of the event, Simon Njami, has stressed that he wants to “restructure the biennial and give to it the dimension it deserves – that is to say, a truly international dimension – and professionalize its teams and structures.” For the artistic director of this pan-African event, there is “a need for rigor and coordination, a need for programming.” He expects that this year’s exhibition, in which Nigeria and Qatar will be guest countries, “will be a huge success that will change many things.”

The international exhibition will be centred around the theme of “re-enchantment.” There will be a component, called “Contours,” that will focus on the city, and a group of guest commissioners (from Indian, Korea, Brazil, Cameroon, Spain, and Italy) who will “come to show us what is happening in their countries.” The program also features several events in the city, including a workshop, expected to last a week or ten days, “to address the lack of critical thinking,” as well as training sessions for cultural mediators and a poster competition.

Njami has announced the organization of a symposium to “try to think of a creation that is non-aligned,” echoing the 1955 conference of non-aligned countries in Bandung (Indonesia), a creation with “the will to do, not to be subjects to the dictates of another.” He continues: “There are dictates of art; there are places that think it is they who will say what is right, and what is wrong. There are even people, far from here, that will tell you what an African artist is and what is not an African artist.”

For this edition, there will be two catalogs – one covering the international exhibition and another focusing on events and the structuring of the program. A book devoted to the conference proceedings will be also published.

ARTIST LIST: SENEGAL: Henri Sagna, Mohamadou Ndoye, Arebenor Omar Yacine Bassene, Mbaye Babacar Diouf • BURKINA: Gouwendmanegre Hippolythe Sama. • USA: Olaniyi Rasheed Akindiya. • FRANCE: Yoyo Gonthier, Dalila Dalleas Bonzar, Yassine Balbzioui, Julien Greuzet, Nabil Boutros, Badr El Hammani, Fatima Mazmouz. • CAMEROON: Maurice Pefura, Annette Mathieue, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Billi Bidjocka. • MAROCCO: Safaa Mazirh, Amira Parree. Leila Alaoui. ITALY: Délio Jasse. • KENYA: William Wambugu, Ingrid & Robert Mwangi/Hutter. Mimi Cherono Ng’ok. • BAHAMAS: Lavar Fredlin Munroe. • MOZAMBIQUE: Kala Euridice Getulio. • GHANA: Nana Poku. • EGYPT: Yara Mekawei, Yasmineel Meleegy, Youssef Limoud, Moataz Nasr, Heba Amin. • SOUTH AFRICA: Bronwgn Katz, Nandipha Makhubalo Lindwe, Simon Gush, Moshekwa Langa, Tracey Rose, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Anne Historical. • NIGERIA: Abdulrazaq Awofeso, Modupeola Fadugba, Victor Ehikhamenor, Folakunle Oshun. • DRC: Moridja Kitenge Banza, Magema Michele, Pume. • ETHIOPIE: Wanja Kimani, Theo Eshetu, Aida Muluneh. • TUNISIA: Héla Ammar Ep Ben Becher, Mouna Karray, Yesmine Ben Khelil, Mouna Jemal Siala, Jellel Gasteli. • PORTUGAL: Monica Sofia. • COTE D’IVOIRE: Franck Fanny (Abd-Bakar), Francois-Xavier Gbré, Gopal Dagnogo, Watts Ouattara. • MALAWI: Samson Kambalu. • SUDAN: Ala Kheir. • MADAGASCAR: Joel Andrianomearisoa. • ALGERIA: Kader Attia. • BURUNDI: Aime Ntakiyica.