F is for Friday: Pavel Sinev

Sinev_Pavel_13

Garten Kunst – coiled garden hose sculpture

Always fascinated by up and coming contemporary sculptors, Bulgarian artist Pavel Sinev certainly fits the bill – young, european and original, he has the knack for taking ordinary materials and transforming them into recognizable objects that easily stand on their own merit. As realist media goes, it reminds one of the sculptural work of conceptualist Marcel Duchamp and Subodh Gupta, both of whom elevated the ready-made into art. Given enough time, Sinev may achieve their notoriety.

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E-Gitarre – a truly electric guitar

Tightly coiling a single length of electrical cable into the desired shape, Sinev’s electro-art sculptures are held together with the help of zip ties. Ranging from the mundane pop bottle, vases of flowers and pairs of shoes to the more “social-statement” driven works like religious figures, Cleopatra in a gas mask and children’s toys, the artist succeeds in upending the viewer’s notion of what these everyday items should look like but more importantly, what we are used to seeing.

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Ich speile nicht mehr mit … Played with no more

It is no small feat to achieve a precision of line and accuracy of form with basically what amounts to limited materials, two hands and an idea – that the artist is as prolific as his catalogue demonstrates is impressive.  This may be one to watch…

For more electro-art visit:

Pavel Sinev sculpture slideshow
More of Sinev’s work

F is for Friday: Electro-Art

skull

pavel sinev, 2012 – coiled electrical cable sculpture
OR – what could have been this afternoon

Those who have been reading for awhile may remember that a few months ago Across the Bored was embroiled in the marvelous Miss Z’s room reno which entailed not only repainting but much of an upgrade stylistically in the furniture department. With the general ambience settled into a cool blue zen vibe and minimal “stuff” to clutter what was to become a fresh start on many fronts, it has for the most part and as much as can be expected from the age of the occupant, remained relatively intact – except for one little detail.
In our haste to not paint over the halogen light fixture, it was removed without any thought about which wire would eventually have to be reconnected to which. Now on most days we are a bit of a stickler about organization whether it appears outwardly so or not, and if we had been working alone little bits of coloured tape would have been attached to the respective wires so we would know what was what – but, someone was rushing us and it just didn’t happen… the plan was to replace said ceiling light with something more befitting the new improved space but 4 months, 8 hardware/big-box stores and at least that many debates about style later, no new lamp.
Winter days in this part of the country can be grey at best and the floor lamp and mood lighting just weren’t cutting it so a drastic decision had to be made – the halogen would go back up until a new source of illumination was found. Anyone who has ever played this domestic game will tell you that taking a fixture down is infinitely easier than getting it back up – the first is usually a one-person operation whereas the second involves 4 hands, a step ladder, much cursing and minimal visibility. Miss Z being suspiciously unavailable for reinstallation purposes, we were forced to ask the Professor for help…
Not a good idea.
We usually do anything house/tool/craft/repair-related alone.
With good reason.

Lucky the breakers were off – let there be light….

Perhaps more on art and electricity next week.

F is for Friday: Daniel Spoerri

kichka's breakfastevery picture tells a story, don’t it – Rod Stewart

On the death of his father in 1942, Romanian-born Daniel Isaac Feinstein fled to Switzerland with his family where he was adopted by his uncle Théophile Spoerri. He spent the 1950s gaining extensive experience in every aspect of the theatre and through this involvement and his organization of banquets, festivals and exhibitions, Spoerri met some of the great Surrealists of the day. It must have given him the impetus to move to and settle in Paris in 1959 where shortly thereafter he became a founder-member of Nouveau réalisme. 1960 found the artist producing the first of his tableaux pièges (snare pictures such as Kichka’s Breakfast above) where objects in chance positions on tabletops, in drawers or on furniture were glued onto the surface upon which they rested exactly as they were found. The resulting realistic still-life sculptures were displayed vertically on a wall like a conventional picture and the objects they contained appeared to defy gravity.

restaurant de la city galerie

RESTAURANT DE LA CITY GALERIE, ZURICH, 1965, DANIEL SPOERRI

Spoerri’s use of the mundane fragments of daily life, letting chance and the randomness of use dictate their placement, became more elaborate with time. An overwhelming interest with food as art was furthered through his opening in Dusseldorf of the Restaurant Spoerri (1968) which was decorated with 15 years of the artist’s correspondence and served an unusual menu of exotic meats. A daily inspiration for later works, here the preparation of a meal and its consumption by “customers” in effect transformed the first stage of the  creative process into one in which he relinquished control of the artistic piece- its final immortalization as thought-provoking installation clearly illustrates the connectivity between artist, art and consumer through one of man’s most basic and often communal functions – that of eating. Spoerri’s gastronomic interests were not limited to his own work – he founded the Eat Art Gallery located above his restaurant (1970) which presented solo shows of temporary works made from food by such artists as Joseph Beuys, Richard Lindner, Ben, and the Nouveaux Réalistes Arman, César and Niki de Saint Phalle.

Daniel Spoerri has continued to be involved in numerous activities from the Musée sentimental (Paris, Pompidou, 1979), with similar displays in Germany and Switzerland, teaching a course in multi-media at the Fachhochschule für Kunst und Design in Cologne to the most recent cultivation of Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri in Tuscany.

Find out more about:

Daniel Spoerri
Spoerri’s An AnecdotedTopography of Chance
Unearthing the Picture Trap video
New Realism

F is for Friday: New Realism

variant spoerri

VARIANT D’UN PETIT DEJEUNER, 1965, DANIEL SPOERRI
OR – MY HOUSE ON ANY GIVEN MORNING OF THE WEEK

Malingering procrastination often has constructive results as evidenced by a partial clean-out of the kitchen over the last few days. Clutter experts suggest that the hearth of the home, that one room where we gather to prepare and give sustenance in the most human of gestures, is the best place to start when attempting to cut down down on the overwhelming amount of stuff we have collected for far too long. At least 9 hours, 7 drawers and three cupboards later, we disagree. The kitchen is the one place where it is actually the hardest to get rid of things – past the due-date salad seasonings and unidentifiable spice packets aside, there are a whole host of items passed down mother to mother (mostly for baking or prettily presenting) that have made several moves and still haven’t seen much action but are not finding their way into the get-rid-of pile without a fight. Madeleine pans for when we are feeling Proustian, glass pickle dishes with separations because Granny knew that condiments really are that cool, escargot plates – the last snail encountered was in the garden and now lives 4 doors down – will we ever use any of it? Miss Z won’t be having any of “that old crap” and laments the fact that the dinner plates and glasses have switched places “now that (she) just got her friends trained where everything was”. They are not the only ones who will be surprised… and we are not finished.

We often joke between ourselves that prolific artists probably had someone to take care of them, do the meaningless, trivial things of our waking hours like laundry, replacing the toilet paper roll or picking the dog-hair covered cheerio out of the hall carpet. This very stuff of life is, to a whole cadre of artists, material for their next project. Pop artists in the 1960s made it their mission to reimagine traditionally accepted subjects using radical techniques, to transform household objects and the commonplace into fine art. The master of making a complicated statement out of what might seem as simple as dishes on a table is Daniel Spoerri – one of the founders of the New Realist movement and creator of incredible snare-pictures, he proves that sometimes a group of random objects read in their entirety tell a larger, meaningful story.

One wonders what twisted plot is behind all that paraphernalia sitting on our kitchen counter.

Discover more on Daniel Spoerri next week…

F is for Friday: Ilya Repin

Sadko

Where choice cannot be swayed by desire

Commissioned by the future Tsar Alexander III, the natural and supernatural worlds become one in Ilya Repin’s Sadko, a rich pageant of Russian orientalism depicting a scene from the Novgorod epic poem of the same name. Loosely following the Orpheus tale but in an underwater setting, the emphasis here is on the minstrel-merchant presented with a bevy of beautiful potential brides ranging from the siren, the supplicant, the aristocrat, the eager to the numerous faceless fit for any European salon of the period – his gaze is fixed on the peasant girl Chernava standing on the shore who presents her back to him with an almost rebuffing demeanour.  The canvas itself is slick, containing all the mythic elements necessary to fuel a collective vision of a submerged kingdom – inquisitive fish, phosphorescent creatures, lithe kelp floating amid the bubbles and ruins, right down to the cold clay sea bed. At the time of its execution, Repin was at the Imperial Academy of Arts in France and perhaps longing for his native soil had written, “The idea expresses my true state and perhaps the state of our as-of-yet still Russian art.”  Fantasy and mythological subjects were, unfortunately for the viewer, not to be pursued. Repin turned his prolific talents to the more realistic portrayal of events transpiring in his homeland and the immortalization through portraiture of some of Russia’s great political and cultural figures.

What freedom

what freedom!

Repin’s fascination with the sea is still present in the canvas above painted almost thirty years later: much had changed in Russia, with its worldview shifting from one of Empire to Nationalism, the overriding pre-revolutionary atmosphere enveloping the common man is clear in its components. There is no land in sight, the horizon is vague and one can feel the weighty power of the ocean buffeting the figures.  He embraces the experience while she clings to notions of propriety with one hand on her hat and the other gripping his hand for reassurance. The choice of subject is perhaps an unconscious visual addendum to the Sadko saga – not a true fairy-tale ending but one moment of pure, childlike joy in which the couple are free from the stifling control of state ideology.

As Fan and Stephen Jan Parker write in their book Russia on Canvas, “Western art historians and critics have minimized Repin’s achievements and contributions either because his very “national” identity has not been grasped, or because – and this is most likely – Repin was neither a technical innovator nor the creator of a school of painting. Moreover, he was a realist and not a modernist. Yet in the esteem of both prerevolutionary and Soviet Russia, Repin occupies a position alongside Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, Musorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. He was and is Russia’s foremost national artist, whose oeuvre adheres to the requisities for national art as proposed by the noted painter and art historian Igor Grabar: it must reflect the spirit of the people, expressing their thoughts and aspirations; it must excite; and it must be understandable to the people”.

Discover more at:

Ilya Repin – The Complete Works
Sadko in the Underwater Kingdom
Rimsky-Korsakov: Sadko (opera): Overture
Sadko – the film

F is for Friday: Russian Realism

the duel

The hour of fate has struck at last    The poet stops and silently his pistol drops
alexander pushkin – Eugene Onegin

Oddly enough, it was facebook that led us back to the prodigious catalogue of work by Russian Realist Ilya Repin.  Unreasonable amounts of snow earlier this week rivalled any slavic winter making the roads impassable and muffling the sounds of the city with a white hush. We found ourselves tucked up in bed chatting and glancing occasionally at Miss Z’s laptop screen while she caught up with friends post-NYE. While scrolling through the endless status updates and randomly vague grammatically-incorrect comments, the image above jumped out from a timeline header – as out of place as freesia in February.

Anyone born in a cold climate knows exactly what this work feels like – trees stripped bare of their leafy protection, icicles lengthening with each frigid passing night, every breath drawn sharp and crystalline no matter how many layers we are swaddled in. The duel between Onegin and Lensky, where social considerations outweigh rational thought and end badly, are not that far removed from the constructs of our own age where we are, despite our best efforts, unprotected.

Discover more on Ilya Repin next week…

F is for Friday: Behind the apple


son of man 1964

Everything we see hides another thing,
we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.

Magritte

We have a joke that runs something like “what happened in the 80s, stayed in the 80s” not because of the nature of the events that transpired but rather because there seem to be huge blocks of time that lie hidden by what came after.  For many, it was a continuation of the hard-hitting party scene of the late 1970s where weekends began on Wednesdays. Certainly, it was a knock-down drag’em out decade for living large in the most conspicuous ways possible but underneath the silk and sequins was the attempt to make a place for oneself in a world that was expanding faster than most could keep up.

Surrealism held a strange fascination for the up and comers – in those years, a plethora of counterfeits by famous artists circulated in the most unexpected places. There was a generation of eager collectors – just a little too young to have gotten mired in the mud of Woodstock, they had found sources of income (legal or not) that brought heavy benefits; the stock market was booming and flush with cash, they wanted to acquire those trappings – good Italian suits, then hard to find luxury brands, fast cars and art – that would give them an aura of class and refinement. Unfortunately, and not for lack of trying, most of them didn’t know the difference between sh*t and shinola.

It was too good to be true in so many ways – young budgets with an eye on the future, and a taste for art that wasn’t suitable for hanging in their parents’ dining rooms, were wise investing in better quality, limited-edition traceable prints by artists like Leonor Fini and Saul Steinberg. We bought what we liked, whether it was on canvas or paper, sculpted out of iron or old tin cans – our aesthetic a tangible addition to the layers that we built up around our personas.  Whether it is worth anything today is a story for another time…

For more skewed views have a look at:

René Magritte
Salvador Dali
Surrealism
Abstract Expressionism