Object Salon exhibition was curated by Thomas Beale, Kathy Grayson, Nadim Julien Samman, Emily Speers Mears, Anya Stonelake/White Space Gallery. For every Object Salon, five curators each select artists to present a three-dimensional work that adheres to the size and weight requirements of international airline carry-on luggage.
Another year, another Frieze Art Fair: “Did you see Pinault in the tent last night?”-“Oh yes, chatting with Damien”….Talk of Larry and Charles, Jay and Roman…“Who’s that shadowy-looking Russian gent?…”Brad and Angelina have just flown in from Malibu”…Glasses tinkle, corks pop, ice swirls, and business cards slip into breast pockets…”See you in Miami!” : Gargantuan sculptures line the promenade. Big paintings hung on bigger walls… “Can I take this home right now?”…”Now boarding. Has this bag been in your possession since you packed it? Anything flammable, liquid, perishable?”…”It’s oversize. Sorry, just the rules…”
Two curators from the original Object Salon are joined by three from London to present a diverse sample of the small-format sculpture being created by contemporary artists. This edition of Object Salon is organised to coincide with Frieze, playfully engaging with both the salon-style presentation of international art fairs and the nomadic, international community of artists, dealers and collectors who travel from around the globe to participate in these events.
Contemporary art practices are diverse, however, monumental sculpture or installation is increasingly commanding attention from the press and art-viewing public. Apart from rare exceptions such as Hirst’s skull, modestly-scaled and hand-made creations are playing second fiddle to mega-objects. The curators feel that this is a shame. Their selection will make it clear that smaller sculptures offer more than enough to ‘take on board’.
This is the second Object Salon. The first took place at Honey Space in New York, coinciding with the International Armory Fair (March of 2008). It was conceived by American artist and curator Thomas Beale. One of his curatorial collaborators from that show, Kathy Grayson, will also participate in this edition, along with the London based curators Nadim Samman, Emily Speers Mears and Anya Stonelake.
Cui Fei. Read by Touch —1998, 2005-2006. Cui Fei is a Chinese artist who lives and works in New York City. Cui’s work fuses found forms of the natural world with the visual iconography of written language.
FNO (Gluklya & Tsaplya). Tramp’s overcoat, 2006. Gluklya & Tsaplya are St Petersburg based artists. “This is an overcoat of a tramp. We found it in the rubbish while taking a walk around the historical centre of St Petersburg. Russians don’t like tramps since they provoke fear and disgust. We decided that people need to exercise patience in order to stop feeling this way. Out of the solidarity with the tramp we patiently performed the impossibly boring task of embroidery. On the lining of the overcoat we embroidered the adventures of the tramps soul and his eventful life of suffering.”
Hackett (USA). Untitled (Suitcase bomb), 2005. Hackett is the founder of the Brooklyn-based collective The MadagascarInstitute, a group that hasproduced over-the-top unlicensed pyrotechnical & theatrical street interventions for the past 9 years. Hackett additionally creates his own work, which is consistently smart, funny, and scary. His contribution to the exhibition Untitled (Suitcase Bomb)is an actual, functional bomb. All that is required is a telephone call to trigger the detonation.
Midori Harima. Skull, 2007. Midori Harima is a Japanese artist currently living and working in New York City. Midori’s work is deftly created from layered Xerox photocopies, which she sources from found images on the internet. Her work reveals an ongoing concern with our mediated experience of reality in contemporary culture, and the emotional disconnect affected by this situation.
Misaki Kawai. Wild Bear, 2008. Misaki Kawai is a Japanese artist living and working in New York. She has shown her work extensively during the past decade with major exhibitions in important institutions including the ICA in Boston and PS1 in New York.
Hilary Koob-Sassen. 1/8th slice of Filletville, a model of life in time. Hilary Koob-Sassen is a London based artist. His work ‘1/8th slice of Filletville, a model of life in time’, “organizes the life processes and all living and artificial structures as a landscape. Steatite, the stone used for the carving of this Filletville, has historically been used for representing gods and mythical characters, due to its capacity to hold highly detailed carving. This representation of life and artifice in time follows the aesthetics of these devotional carvings to portray biological life itself as a faith structure”.
Irina Drozd. Mirror and flies. 2008. Installation. Irina works as a monumental painter and installation artist. Her exhibited installation entitled “Mirror and flies” is concerned with perception of physical beauty, pride and self-obsession. As she puts it in her statement: “Pride is one of the deadly sins. Physical beauty is ephemeral, old age, death, decay, flies are predestined for the bodily. The attempts to prolong youth, lethal surgery, suicides of ageing beautiful men and women, the struggle with nature, are all predestined to defeat and death”.
Ilya Gaponov & Kirill Koteshov. Last Supper. Installation, 2008. Ilya Gaponov & Kirill Koteshov are Siberian born painters. They grew up near the coal mines, now a major subject of their work along with lost traditions of Russian spiritual art. For this exhibition they created a small-scale installation “Last Supper”. For the artists this image of Christ portrayed on a burned piece of wood, like a decaying church relic, represent loss of cultural identity, total destruction of orthodox mythology and ancient traditions.
Andrey Gorbunov. The Holy Grail. Installation, 2008. Andrey Gorbunov is an artist and drawing tutor at the St Petersburg Fine Art and Design Academy. In Russia the old wooden trowel is an ancient symbol of humility. In the installation created for Object Salon it repeatedly rotates, creating a semi-transparent silhouette of the Holy Grail. It mixes life and death, turning it into red blood stain, which is able to clean our sins.
Vica Ilushkina. Fingerprints. Unique handmade silkscreen, 2008. Vica Ilushkina is an installation artist. Her Fingerprints, on semi-transparent silk cloth, deal with notions of remembrance of human life.
Konstantin Novikov. The Yesterday’s Sound of the Jingle Bell (The Fir-tree). Installation, 2008. Konstantin Novikov is St Petersburg based sculptor. His barbed wire Fir Tree contrasts the epic of Christmas festivities – the party around the Christmas tree – and limitation of freedom.
Ivan Plush. Eternal power, Installation, 2008. Ivan Plush works as a monumental painter and installation artist. For Object Salon he created a sculptural installation – State Machine. Religion of the State Machine has been historically regarded as a great power of influence on people and world events.
Maxim Svishev. Our Mashas. Installation, 2008. Maxim Svishev is an installation artist from St Petersburg working with video and animation. His cartoon characters are popular instances of young Russian glamour girls and trash street types. Naturally, they are called Masha. For Object salon he created an open flea-market-style suitcase with cut out Matrushka-like female figures inside.
Kala Newman. One Person Fold-out Suitcase Space, 2007. Caged Squirle, 2008. Kala Newman is a London based artist. “My spaces function as stage sets. The one person fold out suitcase space plays with the ideas of privacy, portability/flexibility but also imprisonment, as the space is only just big enough for one (small) per-son to stand in”.
Kembra Pfahler. Innocuous sweet little girl of karen black doll holding her personalized luggage key, 2008. Kembra Pfahler is an artist and rock musician, best known as the painted lead singer of The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, a theatrical death rock band she co-founded in 1990. In her art and music, Kembra follows the philosophy of availabism—making the best of what’s available. Kembra has shown her visual art at Deitch Projects in New York and was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial.
Babak Radboy. Underwood Triptych, 2008. Babak Radboy is born in Tehran Iran, lives in New York City. “The idea is for you to send me an installation shot of the area of the gallery where my work would be installed— I would use this image to digitally insert my work into the space and this collage would be used in the printed material which accompanies the show. The printed material would then be made available in the space where my installation is pictured in lieu of the art work”.
Andrew Ranville. Untitled (Small perch or footbridge [portable]), 2008. Andrew Ranville is a London based artist. “Using sculpture, installation, photography and film my work attempts to describe a personal form of psychogeographic study – the relation of one’s own body to the space it inhabits, interacts with, and navigates”.
Allison Read Smith. Dead Bird, 2008. Allison Read Smith is a sculptor and the director of exhibitions at Gagosian Gallery in New York. Her piece in the exhibition, “Dead Bird”, is part of a rubber family that she been creating for the past year.
Josh Tonsfeldt. Untitled, 2008. A recent MFA graduate of Columbia University, Josh’s work stems from his upbringing in the rural middle. American state of Missouri, and often involves playful and yet serious interventions in the natural world.
Vadis Turner. 18 Minutes, 2007. Vadis Turner’s (USA) work is created by hand in the tradition of the craft practices of Southern American women, while expressing the more liberated sensibilities of her generation. Her piece “18 minutes”, embroidered on a vintage handkerchief, took her exactly 18 minutes to create.
Thomas Beale. Diamond in Mind, 2005. Thomas Beale is a New York based sculptor who works primarily with found natural materials. His pieces, created from hundreds or thousands of individually cut and fit units, are fundamentally concentrations of energy, both natural and human. Thomas conceived and organized the first Object Salon, presented at Honey Space in New York, a no-profit exhibition space he also runs.
Corin Hewitt. The Bequest, 2005. Corin Hewitt’s diverse body of work lyrically addresses iconography that is both personal and communal. His contribution to the exhibition, “The Bequest”, invokes a range of interpretations upon the weight of age, wisdom, and the passing of things from one generation to the next. Corin Hewitt (USA) is currently featured in a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York, which is on view until January 2009.
Marlous Borm. Untitled, 2007. Marlous Borm is a Dutch artist, living and working in New York. The work is in the tradition of “sculptural painting”. With the series of “leather pieces”, she has attempted to trap the material onto the surface. This conceptual and methodological approach repositions the materialized canvas in a new, emotional, physical and psychological space. What it does is rupture the classic minimalism (of it’s being), by contextualizing it by following in the same palate of the classic minimalist language.
Ben Jones. Untitled, 2008
Rebecca Mears. Rivers carry water / water falls, 2008. “The cottonbuds/matchsticks are joined together to form something almost like a molecule (but one of my own invention). It is necessary for me that they are repeated and multiplied. The impression is given that an electric current was sent through a pile of cottonbuds/matchsticks and they jumped into these molecular formations; much like iron filings do in response to the pull of a magnet. Within chaos, structures are formed. I am interested in the weight of these objects. The vulnerability of the piled cottonbuds under the g-clamp, the stacked matchsticks and the pull of the g-clamp on the elastic bands. The tension between all of these elements and the balance”.
Leila Peacock. Music of the Spheres, 2008. Leila Peacock works in Berlin. “The inscription on the base of this globe stand reads ‘The Republic of Iraq, Ministry of Education’ and it was found in the abandoned Iraqi embassy in Berlin. This was a teaching tool and one that propagated a vision of the Republic and its relation to the other countries on the globe. When a political regime dissolves so does its concept of the world, this globe stand from Saddam’s era, missing the world, speaks instead of a significant absence. The music of the spheres is a Pythagorean concept that there is a constant harmonious sound generated by the movement of the sun and the stars that is ever present and inaudible, it is a poetic way of imagining a presence in absence. Stringing up the space where the globe once was like and Oud or a Setar, or any other of the myriad of exquisite stringed instruments from the Arabic tradition, enables this abandoned object to sing symbolically of what has been lost and what has always been there”.
Reto Pulfer. Chlopf-Täfu-Liecht-Schacht, 2008. Microphonestand, fabric, pastel on wood, guitar string, pencil on wood. 159 cm (dimensions variable). Reto Pulfer is based in Berlin and Arlesheim, Switzerland. “The piece should be standing at a window, that in case of a sunny day, a sunray can travel directly through the tube on one microphone stand, and put its light on the small drawing on wood of the other microphone stand. Both sculptures are also musical, one has a string, and the other can make a drum-like sound. The fabric belonged to the artist’s grandparents as is the case with traditional ancestral sculptures”.
Jory Rabinovitz. My My, Hey Hey, 2006. Jory Rabinovitz is a New York-based artist and recent graduate of Cooper Union in New York City.
Ben Sansbury. Bored Of It All, 2008. Ben Sansbury is a London based artist. He grew up in Camden and was part of the London skateboard scene. He went on to do a lot of design work from grime record sleeves to addressing the Venice Design Biennial. Of late, he’s had a baby with his wife who designs clothes for Stella McCartney and is working on artwork almost exclusively. High energy, almost 7 ft tall, his father (who’s an Austrian) was a Kippenberger associate.
Juliane Solmsdorf. St. Eve, 2008. Juliane Solmsdorf is an artist from Berlin, based in Paris. She involves the everyday objects to create beautiful and intimate sculptures.“St. Eve“ consists of two church candles and a hairnet. It is a homage to one of my favourite artists, Eva Hesse, and her extraordinary play with objects and materials. „St. Eve“ works like a relic. Its materials could have been part of Eva Hesse´s private world, and they might also easily decompose, like Hesse’s preferred materials”.
Liu Yiqing. Bitch Series (Box number 1), 2006. Liu Yiqing is an artist living in Shanghai. The Bitch Series (Box number 1) was commissioned by largest London based private collection of photographs, Archive of Modern Conflict, as a set of 190 photographs taken by Liu Yiqing and placed inside a small suitcase, which she also decorated. Its an ideal carry on luggage piece for the nomadic jet-setter lifestyle of international collector.
Darren Bader. 2008. broccoli + t-shirt. fake broccoli + t-shirt. , 2008. Darren Bader is interested in quick and random making of an art object, taking inspiration in pop-culture and ready-mades.
White Space Gallery, the curators, and Meryl Smith regret that her piece “Excessory Luggage”, could not be included in this edition of Object Salon, due to the ongoing threat of legal action by Louis Vuitton.