Every month, ikono shines a spotlight on a leading contemporary artist and presents selected works in a series of video clips.

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This month, ikono invites you to join us in observing the natural environment through the fascinating viewpoint of Dutch artist Misha de Ridder.

Sometimes natural phenomena can become so estranged and mysterious, that we are inclined to describe them as unreal realities. It might be the extraordinary shape of a tree, a mountain, a shadow, a cloud or the mirroring reflection of nature in a lake, but it is foremost the unfamiliarity of the natural aesthetics of reality. Misha de Ridder’s works can be seen as attempts to capture these temporary phenomena and atmospheres of nature within the medium of photography and film. By seeking for the absence of human intervention, by waiting for the climax of the temporal aesthetic and by pushing the camera to its technical limits De Ridder’s works become both exotic reports as autonomous artificial worlds.

Misha de Ridder (1971, Alkmaar, The Netherlands) lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. De Ridder exhibited amongst others at Galerie Juliètte Jongma, Layr Wuestenhagen Contemporary, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Foam photography museum Amsterdam and The Museum of the City of New York.

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This July, we are excited to present the works of Moroccan artist Hassan Darsi. We chose three videos, open to interpretation, and powerfully influenced by the artist’s life, experiences and environment which aim to investigate collective clashes in a figurative sense.

We condensed the first two videos, The Running Man I. Half Moon (2009) and The Running Man II. Rue de L’enfer (2012), into one. By using a split screen, we allow the viewers to compare two films which complement one another. The artist, dressed in red and green (the colors of the national flag), runs in a seemingly abandoned and unfinished property, and through the streets of Casablanca, without any apparent purpose. This infinite run is indisputably denouncing the malfunctions of the Moroccan urban reality, which is often governed by the failures of business insatiability.

The second video, Or d’Afrique (2008), explores one of Hassan Darsi’s ongoing themes: gilding, or the process of applying gold leaf or gold paint to a surface. Inspired by some golden household wallpaper he found in an artisan’s shop next to his studio, Darsi conceived a video work investigating social processes connected to contemporary Moroccan society. These self-adhesive rolls were originally used for precision ornamental decoration in the style of hand-painted leafing. Darsi then applied this wallpaper to the concrete blocks of a jetty along the shore of Casablanca. Despite the sea wash, the intervention lasted for some months, making the shiny blocks stand out among the others. At the end of the project, the artist collected the cutout leftovers he used and decorated his office with them, while also developing a series of abstract artworks on paper.

Hassan Darsi has lived and worked in Morocco since the end of the 1980s, after attending the School of Visual Arts and Visual Mons in Belgium. In 1995 he founded “La Source du Lion”, an association and cultural space hosting contemporary art events in Casablanca and abroad. Darsi has exhibited in art centres, museums and biennials worldwide. His works has been shown in Senegal, South Africa, Lebanon, Spain, France, Germany, United States, Czechoslovakia, The Netherlands, Belgium and in Morocco. Darsi’s work also features prominently in a number of private collections, and his works can be found in the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, the MC2A Gallery in Bordeaux, the Artothèque of Schiedam in the Netherlands, and at the Ministry of Finance in Morocco.

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This month ikono is proud to present three films by German video artist Birthe Blauth. Her conceptual work looks at the individual and explores the contingent relationship between the single and the space. Blauth’s art is extremely meditative and limpid, but close scrutiny lets the viewer grasp the true complexity of its message. Her visual work helps to vary the perception of the difference between fiction and reality, questioning the border between the two. Her art expands and diversifies amongst installation, video, sound, text and performances.

Birthe Blauth, who was born in Munich, owns a M.A. and doctorate in Chinese Studies, Ethnology and European Art History at Ludwig-Maximilians-University. Her specialist areas are iconography, mythology, religious ethnology. Blauth has been internationally shown and her work has been honoured by the Haus der Kunst award in Munich as well as the support of the Prinzregent Luitpold Stiftung, the Region of Upper Bavaria and the City of Munich. The artist currently lives and works in Munich and New York.

 

Birthe Blauth on ikonoTV:

Guarded Parking Marrakesh, 2003

In this film the action is imperceptible, yet the change unmistakable. During the 7 minutes course of the video 43 people and objects disappear – unnoticed. The video is in the collection of the Artmuseum Bonn.

 

Heidiland, 2007

Merging a mountain landscape of Munich artist Sonja Weber with excerpts of her own video artworks Poppyfield (2003) and La Strada (2005), this video of Birthe Blauth represents a fantastic and playful history of a mountain landscape with quotations from the history of art.
 Cloaked in the darkness of Adam Elsheimer’s night scene Escape to Egypt (1609), the mountain emerges at the dawn of a bright winter’s day. When evening sets in, its dramatic glow gradually turns into a sea of bubbling red lava. From this emerges the scene of Albrecht Altdorfer’s Battle of Alexander (1528-1529), which slowly transforms into a carpet of bright red poppies. When a yellow sandstorm blows up, bringing to mind the atmosphere of a Mark Rothko work. The storm subsides to reveal a highway leading into the mountains.

 

Trapped, 2011

The video explores the transient and the vain efforts of human beings to explore and push beyond their limits. Somebody is exploring an invisible barrier by touching it with his fingers. He leaves more and more fingerprints in the process. The longer the person tries to establish the nature of their confines, the more enclosed they become. Finally, the surface is completely covered in fingerprints and the hands can no longer be seen.

This work can be seen as an allegory of our lives. It also represents our efforts to escape our confines. Efforts that are doomed to failure.

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This month ikono presents a choice of films by Hans Schabus, an outstanding artist from Austria, who represented his home country at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Schabus works with spaces and their perception, transforming them to his own liking in a very precise way: He flooded a gallery, transported a bridge from Austria to Germany, and his seemingly pointless film journeys and mind-boggling tunneling works have received praise and attention from all over the world.

Born in Watschig/Kaernten in 1970, Hans Schabus studied under sculptor Bruno Gironcoli at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he is still living and working. His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout Europe as well as in the USA, Mexiko and Sri Lanka. For his films he often works together with his brother, the filmmaker Robert Schabus.

 

Hans Schabus on ikonoTV

The films of Hans Schabus selected by ikono cover the artist’s highlights from 2000 until today, representing three of his main artistic aspects:

The artist’s sedulous effort and failure is addressed in Atelier (2010) and Echo (2009). In Atelier Hans Schabus works with his own studio space, which played a role in his earlier works already, restaging the finale of Sam Peckinpah’s western classic The Wild Bunch (1969). Echo is observing a man on the run through the mucky wetlands of the Danube. The protagonist keeps falling into the mud, but continues trying to escape from something or someone the viewer never gets to see.

Phantasmagoric journeys through the secret places of everyday life are the themes of Passagier (2000), Western (2002) and Astronaut (2003). For Passagier Schabus built an elaborate railway for a toy train with a camera being led through the hidden spaces behind the walls of the studio. In Western Schabus is rowing a sailing boat through the same dirty Viennese sewer seen in the film classic The Third Man (1949), while in Astronaut he is digging a shaft in the floor of his studio, filling up the room with soil before exploring the dark world he has created with his own hands.

Laßnitz (2012), with 78 minutes the longest of Schabus’ films to be on view on ikono, deals with the aesthetic transformation of a certain object by decontextualizing and displacing it. The original proposal simply read: »The work’s title is the name of the river, which was originally crossed by the railway bridge.«This abandoned bridge is sent on a 1000 miles long journey from Austria to the village Ohne in Germany, where Schabus declared it to be a sculpture from now on.

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ikono is proud to highlight the multi-disciplinary projects of Kite & Laslett, a young British artist duo experimenting on the border of installation, sound, performance and video. Kite & Laslett interactively explore the phenomenological perception of architecture and space in large-scale settings, providing the audience with a kinaesthetic experience by incorporating light, acoustic and dynamic elements into their artistic environments.

Throughout the month of April, ikono presents a series of six of the artists’ videos, among them La Cura, a performative intervention with Studio Toogood, held at the National Museum of Science & Technology in Milan in 2012, and two productions originally presented in Berlin: Orbit, 2012, which was part of an evening event at Postbahnhof, and Panoptic, 2012, a mobile installation situated physically outside and acoustically inside the former Women’s prison in Kantstraße.

Sebastian Kite and Will Laslett established their cooperation during their final studies in architecture at Westminster School of Architecture in London, from where they graduated in 2010. Since then they create public installations and participatory events all over Europe, including exhibitions in London, Milan, Berlin or Rennes. Kite & Laslett are currently living and working in London.

Hayv Kahraman_ Disembodied 6_2012

The human body, with its cultural, political and sexual inscriptions, is the inspiration and origin of Hayv Kahraman’s artistic work, characterized by a stylistic and thematic hybridity. Wood, rawhide and ornamental patterns, effectively accentuated by translucent oil paint, are the materials used in her artworks that find their cradle within the traditions of the Islamic and European art. Subjects and objects are graceful, but disembodied and fragmented, female figures, narrating the stories of their daily challenges, mainly connected to locate their identity within a society that oscillates between traditions, political threads and fragmented geography.

Kahraman, born in Baghdad/Iraq in 1981, studied at the Accademia di Arte e Design in Florence/Italy and at the University of Umea/Sweden. Her work has been seen internationally in solo and group exhibitions and is part of some of the most important collections world-widely, amongst them Mathaf – Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha/Qatar, The Saatchi Gallery, London/UK, or The Rubell Family Collection, Miami/USA. Kahraman currently lives and works in Oakland/USA.

sabella

Steve Sabella, born in Jerusalem in 1975, is a Berlin based artist who uses photography and photographic installation as his principle modes of expression. He is the holder of the Ellen Auerbach Award (2008) granted by the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, and was one of the commissioned artists for the inauguration of MATHAF – Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha where he presented a critical installation entitled ‘Settlement – Six Israelis & One Palestinian’.

Sabella’s artwork has been collected by the British Museum in London, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Ars Aevi museum in Sarajevo and by leading collectors in the Middle East including Cuadro Fine Art in Dubai, Salsali Private Museum and Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah.

The subject of several TV documentaries and short films, Sabella’s work has been reviewed on an international scale. He was recently invited as a speaker for TEDx Marrakech, where he gave the talk “Dare to Question my Name or Where I come from” and a monograph is currently being prepared in collaboration with the Akademie der Künste, reviewing his life and artistic career from the early 1990s.

 

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Each month, ikono features the work of one exceptional artist, broadcasting his or her artwork on television for an international audience.

Acclaimed artist Adeela Suleman is presented as our artist of the month. Born in Karachi, Suleman studied sculpture at the Indus Valley School of Art and completed a Masters degree in international relations at the University of Karachi. She has participated in group and solo exhibitions worldwide, including Gallery Rhotas 2 in Lahore, Canvas Gallery in Karachi, Aicon Gallery in New York and International Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Bologna. The artist currently lives and works in Karachi and teaches at her alma mater. Along with three films on her recent works, ikonoMENASA presents her student’s work – the graduating class of 2010 from the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture: Aisha Kanwal Rajar, Cyra Ali, Nidha Tariq, Sammer Sultan and Tashna Salim.

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ikono’s November Artist of the Month, Elisabetta Di Sopra is an Italian video artist working and living in Venice. After completing her first degree in painting she began her Masters in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Her videos and installations intend to investigate the most sensitive dynamics of the daily dimensions of life, expressing the hidden narratives within everyday life. Behind the clean and minimal style of Elisabetta’s videos, lays a hidden density of thought and a unique approach to research. Most of them are focused on the female body viewed as an embodiment of memory. The theme of motherhood plays a crucial role in Elisabetta’s videos. As a digression from this topic, all of her works speak to ideas of humanity, commenting on the cyclical movement of everything that exists on a scale greater than the individual, continuously renewing itself. The imagery is tied to the repeated sense of being reabsorbed into the cycle of life and death.

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For October 2012, the Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel will be our featured artist.

With a talent for drawing, he became a student of the architects Friedrich and David Gilly, father and son, with whom he learned to appreciate technical accuracy and from whom he received classical influence. Unable to practice his profession as an architect during Napoleon’s occupation of Prussia, he dedicated himself instead to oil painting, engraving, furniture building and even opera scenery such as “The Magic Flute”. In 1810, Schinkel began work for the Deputation for Architecture of Berlin, of which he became the director only a short time later. One of his first complete projects, the New Guard House, was constructed between 1816 and 1818 and can be interpreted as an aesthetic statement. He also designed buildings in Prussia across an area spanning from the Dutch border to Königsberg. His theoretical work, left behind in numerous sketches, is no less important. Through his extensive body of work, Karl Friedrich Schinkel made a considerable impact on the history of both visual and applied arts.