Artists and their work

Daniel Buren is a renowned french artist, famous for his use of vertical and regular stripes in a variety of different ways and on different supports. Having a strong political and social opinion, his work, or rather the way he choses to exhibit it, is an illustration of it. In the book from 1998 Au Sujet De… (« About..»), a written interview of the artist with Jérôme Sans, he explains deeply his way of thinking around his work, its evolution and the contemporary society in which his art is taking place. When questioning his relationship to architecture is his creations, the artist answers : ‘‘ Being interested in context, it is normal to consider architecture in a first place. Architecture is complex, we know that it isn’t something anonymous and without signification. Architecture is built in order to answer a generally precise function and that pre-exists the construction. « Changing » the architecture of a space is changing its meaning, its story…, it’s indicating many things from the spirit of the space that aren’t only related to the formal’’. 

Buren uses the word architecture several times, enhancing its importance. We understand that his not writing about his own truth, but a truth that is general, and he includes us to this opinion by saying that ‘we know’. He also manages to write about objects (architecture, his work, etc…) as if they had their own life and that he wasn’t really owning his artwork. ‘’The Cabanes Eclatées do not reverse the question of the in situ, they complicate it, make it more complex’’. The sentence becomes more and more precise, Buren is adding content as he is writing in order to make sure that he is expressing exactly what he is thinking. He therefore invented words and expressions, describing particular processes in his work. The most famous one, in situ, is now commonly used to describe with Buren’s own words; ‘‘really simply and mainly, a work not only related to the place where it is, but also a work entirely made in this place.’’

 

Excentriques, travail in situ, 2012, Daniel Buren

Cabane éclatée n°6: les damiers, 1985, Daniel Buren

Richard Serra is an american artist, well known for his exhibition The Matter of Time (1994-2005), where huge steel structures are taking place in the Arcelor-Mittal Gallery here at the Guggenheim in Bilbao. In a written conversation with Phong Bui, for the book Richard Serra Rolled and Forged, the artist talks about his relationship to art and about a new collection of works. ‘‘All the sculptures are based on measuring yourself against a horizontal or planar elevation more or less on eye level. For example, the biggest piece, Elevations, Repetitions, deals with different heights in a relational movement to an open field and the relationship between these differing elevations’’. The way Serra explains his work is really factual. A lot of his writing is focusing on his artwork, on his own reflection and production, but a lot less about the context, even though many of his works gain importance thanks to the space in which it is situated. ‘‘My development has been up to this point fairly logical and sequential. But it’s crucial for me to pay attention to how the work develops and maintain a critical and fresh dialogue with what it is that I’m doing and what I’m intending to do (…)’’. Unlike Buren, we feel that Serra is having a more personal relationship to his art, that he is seeing in it all the work and thoughts he has put in it. 

The Matter Of Time, 1994-2005, Richard Serra

The Hours Of The Day, 1990, Collection Elevations, Repetitions, Richard Serra

The Squash, Anthea Hamilton

 

The Squash (22 March 2018 – 7 October 2018), Anthea Hamilton

For a duration of more than six months, from March 2018 until October, the floor of the Duveen Galeries at Tate Britain is recovered with white square shaped tiles, separated/glued together with black tiling joins, creating a grid all over the surface. The feeling when first entering this space is unexpected. If the viewer has already been to the Tate Britain, he will be surprised by this new flooring, and probably at first wonder : ‘’It did not look like this last time I was here, did it?’’ If the viewer is new to this gallery, he would probably be thinking that there is an odd mix between this cold and regular, cheap flooring, and the classic architecture of this space. What is intriguing with this installation, is that even if it doesn’t feel right, it still perfectly fits in between the walls of the gallery as the tiles are sized in order to, and it also takes part in the scenography of the space. Cubic blocks are rising up from the surface every now and there, also covered with tiles and creating different shapes of different heights. Some become chairs or benches, some others are pedestals on which bronze sculptures are showcased.

But the most intriguing in this space, is the presence of a man dressed as a squash. He is evolving in this surrounding that has been created for him, as his stage, where he is free to do whatever he wants. The idea for this performance, called The Squash, comes from a photograph that the artist, Anthea Hamilton, once saw in a book, where a man dressed as a squash was posing. Anthea Hamilton explores through her work the composition of surrealistic scenes, often by displaying a performance in a certain environment. She’s referring a lot to the history of arts thanks to sculptures, videos and installations, where the viewer is included in the composition.

  

Pelagos (1946), Barabara Hepworth

Pelagos (1946) is a sculpture by the artist Barbara Hepworth, used, as most of her artwork, as a communication tool. Here, the sculpture is inspired by shells, and is designed as an organic abstraction of the surrounding environment. It also depicts the the abstract idea of a space within a space.