February 5, 2014 - art-agenda - Reviews: Nina Beier, Liz Glynn, Akram Zaatari, and more
February 5, 2014

Reviews: Nina Beier, Liz Glynn, Akram Zaatari, and more

Geta Brătescu, Cartea Fragmentelor, Aesop series, 1969–2002. Mixed media on paper, 25.5 x 22.5 cm. Image courtesy of Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo. Photo by Edouard Fraipont.

January Round up

“If it does not work, I will close it next month.” That’s what Luisa Strina thought to herself back in 1974, when she opened a gallery in São Paulo. Galeria Luisa Strina was one of the first commercial spaces in the country, at a time when “the Brazilian art market was virtually nonexistent.” In the intervening four decades, the gallery has been central to the development of both a local and national scene, as well as to that scene’s recognition internationally. Fernanda Lopes tells this story in her review of the gallery’s fortieth anniversary exhibition, “Secret Codes,” curated by Agustín Pérez Rubio. 

Without a doubt there are moments in the histories of particular art scenes in which the fortuitous opening of a space or the coming together of a handful of key protagonists in retrospect seems to represent the precise moment “when it all began.” In the coming month, two art-agenda contributors, Sarah Rifky and Adam Kleinman, report on the establishment of new commercial spaces in Cairo and Ciudad Juárez respectively. They grapple with what kind of impact—for good or for ill—these initiatives might have on the local contemporary art scene, and the possibilities for developing a public around such spaces. Will these new galleries go down in history as catalytic forces or be quickly forgotten? As the São Paulo example shows, only time will tell. 

Recently on art-agenda

“The Body Issue” at Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles
January 14–February 15, 2014
This group exhibition at Hannah Hoffman Gallery, a newcomer in Los Angeles, presents one work each by nine photographers. Curated by sculptor Frank Benson, Kevin McGarry deems it “the über-show for crisp, conceptually oblique portraiture.”

Nina Beier’s “Office Nature Nobody Pattern” at Croy Nielsen, Berlin
January 10–February 28, 2014
Ana Teixeira Pinto describes Nina Beier’s recent solo show in Berlin as “a portrayal of the ‘office unconscious’” that “plays with the unequivocal literalness of psychoanalytic symbols.” Connecting the works is the “violence of sublation, whereby all nature gets devoured and then spewed out as stock photography and chintzy prints, online search algorithms, and cubicle-friendly plants.” 

Liz Glynn’s “On the Possibility of Salvage” at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
January 10–February 8, 2014
Ginny Kollak finds that Los Angeles artist Liz Glynn’s New York solo debut is an exhibition that “exemplifies the artist’s careful balance between humor and pathos, politics and poetry.” The ensemble of works on view provides evidence of a practice that explores “how insecurity informs which objects are valued, desired, and saved.” 

“Secret Codes” at Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo
December 17, 2013–February 22, 2014
When Luisa Strina opened her São Paulo gallery in 1974, it was one of Brazil’s first, writes Fernanda Lopes. Intended to highlight “the historical significance” of the gallery over the past four decades, this exhibition makes “a compelling argument for the diversity of Conceptual art production and its importance for the interrelation of art and politics in Brazil.”

Yngve Holen’s “Original Spare Part” at Modern Art, London
January 10–February 8, 2014
Anna Gritz visits Modern Art’s interim gallery space, an eighteenth-century townhouse in London’s Fitzrovia district, where Berlin-based Yngve Holen “continues his investigation of the physical and psychological makeup of commodities” in his first solo show with the gallery. 

“Burn These Eyes Captain, and Throw Them in the Sea!!”
November 15, 2013–February 8, 2014
This international group exhibition brings together works in traditional media with objects appropriated from the domestic domain in Rodeo’s apartment-cum-gallery space. Equal parts “uncomfortable, familiar, and intimate,” the show proves to be “a timely statement on the condition of materiality now,” writes Merve Unsal.

Thea Djordjadze’s “Oxymoron Grey” at kaufmann repetto, Milan
November 21, 2013–February 1, 2014
Like “indecipherable, profane relics,” the works that populate Thea Djordjadze’s second solo exhibition with kaufmann repetto occupy an oxymoronic space “between painting and sculpture, completeness and fragmentation, materiality and pure energy.” Federico Florian finds in the works a lucid consideration of the material nature of memory. 

Akram Zaatari’s “On Photography People and Modern Times” at Thomas Dane Gallery, London
November 27, 2013–February 1, 2014
In his latest exhibition, artist Akram Zaatari presents and manipulates materials selected from the archives of the Arab Image Foundation, offering “a way of reading images collectively by looking at the lives and motivations of the photographers who made them.” This practice, writes Shama Khanna, “casts the archive of Arab histories into a continuous state of becoming.”

John Sparagana’s “Crowds & Powder” at Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago
December 13, 2013–January 25, 2014
“Crowds & Powder,” John Sparagana’s recent series of photographic collages, features crowds and protesters as they are represented in contemporary news media. Daniel Tucker reflects on how these images serve “as manipulated evidence of legitimacy, potential, and control that stands in for and tells the stories of political events.”

Eric Baudelaire’s “The Anabasis & The Ugly One” at Galerie Greta Meert, Brussels
November 15, 2013–January 25, 2014
Adam Kleinman considers the literary, revolutionary, and art historical antecedents that inform two recent films by artist Eric Baudelaire. Incorporating personal and political narratives and focusing on members of the militant Japanese Red Army, the films address the possibility of communicating radical ideology through filmmaking.

Natalie Czech’s “I Cannot Repeat What I Hear” at Capitain Petzel, Berlin
November 23, 2013–January 25, 2014
Diverging from “strict photographic formalisms” that support “the modernist idea of a given genre’s imperative to immanent progress,” Natalie Czech’s first exhibition at Capitain Petzel, Kerstin Stakemeier writes, “is an exemplary case of thought rendered in the medium of photography.”

2013 Carnegie International
October 5, 2013–March 16, 2014
Jonathan Griffin reports that the recent edition of the Carnegie International is an exhibition “both deeply rooted in its historical and geographical situation, and expansive in its purview.” Incorporating “stridently singular and sometimes marginal or eccentric voices,” it cogently engages “discussions around broader social and communal issues.”

Coming soon: reviews of Kilian Rüthemann at RaebervonStenglin, Zürich; Alexandre Singh at Sprüth Magers, London; a report on the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh; “Bad Conscience” at Metro Pictures, New York; and many more. 

Art-agenda’s exhibition announcement service distributes press information on select international exhibitions of contemporary art. 

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