Tag Archives: contemporary art

Artist spotlight: Clement Bedel

French artist Clement Bedel transports us into an oneiric space and time. He does it through the vivid realism of his enormous painted canvases. The environments, in which spectators feel immersed, oscillate between the real and the fantastic.

The world he represents is a sort of hybrid. These places invites us to reflect on the direction the earth is going: from the indifference to war refugees, to the carelessness towards the overconsumption, the environmental disasters and the consequent climate change.

Clement began his artistic career making videos and installations. Only in recent years, after moving to Serbia, he began to paint. His interest was born with the admiration for Max Ernst’s surrealism.

As in a dream in which we can’t run, his figures seem trapped in a melancholy context. He explained: “The occupants of these landscapes are, in their German romantic passivity, the recipient of the Weltschmertz, the word used to express the feeling of one carrying on himself the weight of the world”. The figures are often lonely; they are impersonal, faceless and could be identified with anyone.

The architecture he paints does not have a logical, structural sense. The environments are upside down and also work if we look at the painting in reverse. The water gushes from undefined sides and it is not clear where we are. There is not a central point of attention, but our gaze runs from one side to the other because of the peculiar perspective.

For the series of paintings he started visiting and taking pictures of abandoned factories. From this material he developed his imagination in compositions of various elements. Today he is excited about working in the space of Pilotenkueche, which was also a factory in the past.

His first painting was darker and gloomy, people were dying. While the last series called Shimmering through reality is more ironic and cynical, there are bright, strong colors and fluid movements, as in the painting with the multicolor swirl symbolize the amount of plastic in the ocean.

The abundance of nature is the personification of light in constant fight with destruction. The nature in his paintings is the metaphor of an anchor of survival. Will the human be able to take care of its precious resources?

Clement does not want to do something dramatic or depressing; this is not a dystopian view of the world. It is certainly the end of an era, but with nature constantly reborn. Nature remains alive as well as human constructions: he considered both strong elements.

This project of painting is constantly evolving and changing according to what he sees and the news he is reading. In his new series, started at Pilotenkueche, he paints the new symbolic element of the agave: it grows strong and resistant without the need for excessive water and invests all the energy in its flower, but after two months it dies. This flower is the metaphor of the point where humanity arrived today. We have grown very quickly, taking all nature’s energy, but we are running out of resources. We are destroying what gives us life.

written by Silvia Zandomeneghi


See Clement’s work in the upcoming exhibitions

HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM

open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9


Curator Spotlight: Colette Patterson

Colette is interested in exploring spaces and ecologies of care as curatorial methodologies. Halfway through her Master’s degree in Curating at Goldsmiths University, she has worked in the Arts and has been working in galleries, art spaces and artist-led initiatives.

Colette’s main interest lies in the exploration of radical space and ecology of care as curatorial methodologies. Her practice works as a social and political actor for reimagining and cultural questioning, political and social dichotomies. As an emerging curator, she is gravitating towards art in London that allows her to understand the artistic environment. 

Colette is co-founder of DICE festival, an artist- led festival of chance opportunities in London, where with her team she curates 3 nights of performances with 7 artists per night. She crosses a range of mediums, body based work, live art, comedy, sketches, “adembra”. With all that background and experiences, she believes that adding more substance to her practice work, which was missing before. 

Colette’s previous project was about exploring the universe of tenderness, exploring intimacies and edges of collapse, dialogues about process, stages of unconscious/ conscious action, how and what inhabits these places of exchange. The project was about exploring the perceptions, asking what is urgent in a strategy of tenderness. 

“I would like to see artists interact with space more and more, and it is one of the things that I am focusing on. My approach of curating is also to foster more dialogue. For this reason, I’m happy to see that today’s art gallery’s programmes are more a mix of established artists, new artists and spaces as well. I think universities should take more time to consider that kind of approach and topic because it is relevant”. 

With this Pilotenkueche, Colette is working in very close connection to the artists. She listens to their ideas and looks at their concepts, and then tries to join all their work into a curatorial concept

I am trying to expand the notion of curating regarding my methodology. Whether with the way of apprehending the artistic approaches but also with the kind of argumentation and the reflection on the works of artists. In this same logic of dialogue, consultation with them, I would like to make a good contribution not only to the artists but to art in general.

“I think there’s a deep truth in all human life that when we share our stories with others, we learn about ourselves in the act of sharing with others,”

Spaces, art, artists, communities, it’s time to evoke not only emotions but strong relationships.


Hungry Dungeon Friends

Saturday 24 August
Curatorial Tour by Colette Patterson
performance by 
Tom Alexander Austin

open 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig


Artist Spotlight: Michella Perera

Sri Lankan born Irish artist Michella Perera explores the edgy co-dependent relationship between the fictional representation of a culture and the tourist industry. Under the radiant traditional garments and embroideries lie the fetishization and mystification of oriental tourism in Western ideology. The fascination of “the exotic” generates the mythical portrayal within their understandings and preconception. The resulting image and objects that signify the culture become icons in which the original context and historical value are reduced. She stated that the phenomenon ironically juxtaposes the belief of cultural tourism: to acquire knowledge and appreciation of another country through traveling. Tourism is however based on the attraction of the mystified and the fetishized, and highly depends on it. The bewitched process is thus inescapable.

Michella Perera is intrigued by the absurdity within touristic behaviour. “I am interested in shrines,” she says, referencing the particular space where we place items which we have collected from our vacations. The arrangements of her made objects, as if displayed on a shrine, are in flamboyant colours. “There is this expected vibrancy of tourism…. People expected to see colours, but also they tend to dress ‘on-holiday’ with all the colours on them.” In addition, she pointed out the “I’ve been there, I know” attitude, while much knowledge is in fact a generalization or built from preconception. “I got a lot of people saying ‘Namaste’ to me. I don’t speak Hindi, I learn Sinhalese.”

Born in Sri Lanka and having moved to Ireland at the age of ten, she is also on the quest of self-discovery through tourism and binary cultural discomfiture. Confrontations with the sense of in-and-out not only appear in geographical context but also in her own cultural identity. Her appearance is distinctively different from those in Ireland, and at Sri Lanka her posture is clearly one of the tourists. “In Sri Lanka, I don’t particularly read Sinhalese well, so then I have this feeling that you are drawn in and spat back out at the same time.”

Her practice is then “a resolution without a resolution” for this complex sensation. Michella has been in search for the materiality of the language, through learning the origin of letters and understanding it physically. She explained the Latin alphabets are angular due to its origin from stone carving; whereas the medium of Sinhalese was dried leaves. The strokes flow along with the hair of the leaves, ending in letters without angles. She started to make the letters out of clay and carving them into plaster. “It’s just spending time with the letters that I don’t necessarily understand, in the hope that maybe I can understand them more sculpturally, more materially.”

Her work has a strong sense of bodily interconnection. In addition to her exercise in letters, which she playfully refers it as “to physically understand something linguistic without understanding it linguistically,” she works on embroideries and body positions in papier-mâché. The art work is not only a practice for her to comprehend the in-and-out sense, but it also encourages viewers to relate to them through their body, instead of through identification and naming.

Written bu Huai-ya Lin


See Michella’s work in the upcoming exhibitions

HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM
open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9

Artist Spotlight: Christopher Sperandio

“It’s a comedy that makes you want to cry,” says Christopher Sperandio. The distress and injustice of our world are increasingly so absurd that it almost seems comical. Christopher is an American artist with a great enthusiasm for comic books. He has long been working closely with the medium, including several international collaborations. Capsulizing his own art within one mere word as “pissed-off,” his practice in comic illustration – the fierce palette of the print and the action-lead raw narratives – certainly reflects the frustration and the fury of the artist toward the countless and endless, even repetitive, chaos of the society derived from greed, brutality and racism.

Christopher is no stranger to the power of comics. Beneath the naive frivolous nature of the medium lies an explosive energy, and most of all – a political voice. He points out that the aftermath of comics can be just as violent, with cartoonists and comic artists sent to prisons or even murdered. Take for example, the recent Charlie Hebdo Attack, where twelve employees of the French satirical magazine were killed.

Yet the danger is not limited to the confrontation and controversy from free speech, but also as a political tool for the purpose of propaganda. Interested in the history of comics in different countries, Christopher spent a month in Lisbon last summer. Diving into the archives of Portuguese comics, he devoured the considerable amount of Fascist prints with their governmental indoctrination. They were full of beautifully portrayed images such as kids in uniforms singing patriotic songs.

images by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

At the same time, comics are equally influential for positive uses. He mentioned the critical cartoons during the 1968 protest in Paris in which the dreadfulness of capitalism was conveyed through graphics and narratives. Early last year, Christopher curated the exhibition Between Love & Madness: Mexican Comic Art from the 1970s. The title came from one of his comic book collections of original drawings Entre el Amor y la Locura. “That comic is about gaslighting,” he explains. He references the 1944 mystery-thriller Gaslight where the husband manipulates the wife into questioning her own sanity. “That’s what Trump is doing with the American public. He’s gaslighting the American public – telling lies and making the citizens believe things that aren’t true.” Christopher complimented the utilization of comic book form to discuss the psychological manipulation which is still perfectly relevant to contemporary issues in the modern world.

“Humour can reach across gaps whether it’s class, race or other kind of social boundaries. Humour has a political dimension to it. It can be quite useful in destroying tyrants.” The artist who previously published a copy about Trump, describing him in comical term as “a straight-up villain,” is currently working on his new comic book, tackling on the concern of automation. Seeing the videos of Boston Dynamic robots, he questioned the possibility of the exploitation – robots deployed as a military or police force instead of for health-care purposes. “It sounds a bit like science fiction,” he continued “but it fills me with dread seeing the videos. These things literally feel like zombies, with no pity and no feelings. They are animated but not alive.”

written by Huai-ya Lin

images supplied by artist


See Christopher’s work in the upcoming exhibitions

HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM
open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9

In Progress: Elsewhere a Blue Line……

Where is elsewhere? What does a ghost look like? Who defines a narrative? The artists of Pilotenkueche’s 39th round invite you to abandon inhibitions and trust in the absurd, to find a new line of narrative. Join us for the opening of Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone to see what’s been cooking in the ‘Pilot’s Kitchen’. 

The Pilotenkueche residency is not just a space of creative production, but a laboratory for cultural exchange. The artists of this round have taken many different routes to Leipzig, with artists arriving from Cambodia, China, Montreal, and the Texas-Mexico border, to name just a few. As the studios have transformed from empty white boxes to inspiration-filled tanks, the conversations surrounding the works in production have become equally laden with thought. Since arriving, the artists have organized weekly discussion groups, workshops, and art theory reading sessions. The positivity of group exchange can be felt in the spring air of the studios and subsequently echoes through each of the works produced for the upcoming exhibition. 

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Our cultural understanding is often based on the narrative in which we are told, a narrative that in turn can define an age. But what if we find the narrative that surrounds us does not fit with the way we see the world? Then get off the blue line and head elsewhere! The labyrinthine basement of the Kunstkraftwerk, a brand new venue for Pilotenkueche, will become the stage for the upcoming exhibition. No artworks will hang directly on the old brick walls, yet every corner holds something to be discovered. When stepping into a maze, we don’t reject wrong turns or dead ends, but instead, awaken a sense of curiosity through our disorientation. Each artwork on show offers its own narrative, but only you can define the route in which to find it.

Written by: Clementine Butler-Gallie


Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
35mm Filmworkshop with Jos Diegel Sun 19 June  2PM-4PM
Curatorial tour with Clementine Butler-Galle: Sat 1 June 11.30AM-12.30PM
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig


Meet the curator: Clementine Butler-Gallie

Upon her arrival to Berlin, Clementine visited the ancient sculpture of Nefertiti. At once fascinated by the former Egyptian Queen, she would return to see it time and time again. Unearthed by a German archaeological company in 1924, the bust currently resides in Berlin’s Neues Museum. Up to this day, Egypt has demanded its repatriation – and to no avail. Now the statue stands as a symbol of colonialism, German cultural heritage and a commercial icon through its subsequent reproduction. From an art history perspective, this led her to contemplate enduring controversies surrounding issues of ownership and the westernisation of an image.  

She started to compile a personal archive of images and data, culminating in an overwhelming urge to showcase her findings. In 2016, she co-founded East of Elsewhere; a curatorial venture which began hosting independent exhibitions in the living room of her east Berlin apartment. After successfully curating their first salon, the collective would advertise their spare room for international artist residencies in exchange for a final exhibition at the end of their stay. They began hosting projects on behalf of artist-friends, including an emergency exhibition in retaliation to the growing momentum of the far-right AFD political party pre-German election. She said that it was all about ‘having that space’to exhibit and ‘using what we had in order to react to what was happening around us’.


photos by PILOTENKUECHE

Clementine studied history of art at Glasgow University and Christies Education, before working as a Gallery Assistant in London for two years. However, seduced by Berlin’s thriving contemporary art scene and experimental ethos, she decided to book a twenty pound flight with the intent to work more intimately with artists on a collaborative basis. ‘The gallery in London were a real family to me’, she says, but resolves that the art world in Britain’s cultural capital is naturally very commercially driven and somewhat elitist. She unapologetically admits that this posed a conflict with her romanticised notion of the artist, deriving from adolescent obsessions with the likes of the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, the Bloomsbury Set, and their bohemian ways. Berlin’s cheap rent, along with its wealth of unused buildings left more room for creative output and artistic exchange. It was a scene of raw potential… an avant-garde wonderland.

Clementine continues to host exhibitions, talks and workshops ‘elsewhere’; including most recently a collaborative series in an old bank on London’s Brompton Road. She’s now based in Saxony’s boomtown, Leipzig. She’s eager to indulge herself in the city’s growing art scene with its recent influx of artists and emerging wealth of undiscovered spaces. Taking on Pilotenkueche as the next curator of the program, she’s particularly excited for the first group exhibition, which will be held in the basement of an old power-plant at Kunstkraftwerk.

Curatorially, she is looking forward to embracing the challenges that come with presenting multiple artworks beyond white walls. She’s particularly interested in exploring ideas of interior and exterior space and challenging traditional conceptualisations of the exhibition form. She doesn’t view narrative as singular or linear and hates to see an exhibition as the final product, but rather a laboratory where dialogues unfold… a testing ground for development and experimentation.

written by Ellisha Walkden

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Clementine will be curating the following shows for Pilotenkueche International Art Program

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Fri 31 May 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig


Wrestling with Impermanence

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced