10. Coffee and Sponge

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Artist of the Month is back in its special January 2014 edition! It’s been a while since I wrote introducing an artist I admire and respect, and to compensate I have not one, as it’s usual, but three personae in this month’s series. I introduce a playwright / multidisciplinary artist Jennifer Farmer, artist, performer and photographer Samuel Overington and last but not least, Coffee and Sponge – composed in collaboration by these two talented creatives. Are you with me?…

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I come to their studio near Unit 3 Projects gallery in London which is airy and light flooded. Both artists have their own independent creative practice, but also work together in a fresh and unique way. They create pieces that are both epic and intimate, permanent and transient and all this together with public. This cross art form company was founded in 2010 and it mixes up and plays around with many mediums, adapting from project to project. I associate with them the evocative tools, actions and unusual materials connected to their art such as spices, rice, drawing instruments, eating, poetry and performance, dance and tomatoes; I can’t wait to tell you more – let’s celebrate and look at ‘expressions extraordinaire’ by Coffee and Sponge!

 

EATING OUR WORDS

Illustrational image. Photo by Silvia Krupinska.
Illustrational image. Photo by Silvia Krupinska.

I’ve had a pleasure to take part in the première of the performance in the Eating Our Words series in June 2011, at The Old Police Station, SE14 6LG, London, in CEL(L)EBRATE GOOD TIMES- PERFORMANCE NIGHT with many different artists! C+S performance was advertised like this: ‘With a corridor as a canvas, Coffee+Sponge première their work EATING OUR WORDS, where layers of flesh, memories and food bear witness to our existence. Marking on, around and with our bodies using as materials the raw ingredients from our past and future, invites people to share their stories about food with Coffee and Sponge.’

I picked a box of ground cinnamon and described a personal cinnamon story, (it all started for me, through loving it in the Strudel my grandmother would bake). Coffee and Sponge in exchange told me one of their powder-food-based-stories, while they dusted each other with the brown powder and drew on their bodies with fingers. (Some images on Coffee and Sponge Facebook page.)

As a note I’d like to add, that the site of The Old Police Station (the cell areas for prisoners in fact) added this weird accent to the performance, as some viewers would sit in the cells and poke their heads out to observe. This was only one of the places where Eating Our Words was performed, and I’m sure that each of the sites have their own atmosphere that adds to the art.

 

EAT LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING  

Eat like No one's Watching poster. © Coffee and SpongeEat like No one’s Watching poster. © Coffee and Sponge

EAT LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING,

like there are no rules,

like there are no manners,

like there are no consequences,

like there are no judgements,

like no one’s watching…..

…Is a widely toured performance by Coffee and Sponge shown live at the UK’s finest festivals such as Hot August Fringe Festival, Supernormal Festival and PLAYGROUP Festival, including an international residency in Hartberg, Austria. Coffee and Sponge created a black velvet booth or they call it ‘Luxury Banquet Chamber’, where they placed a tasty variety of foods, starting from cream cakes, sweets, cereal box still in its box, to burgers and other moreish snacks, and this foodie experience, one at the time, people could enjoy and literally ‘Eat like No one Was Watching‘ for as long as they wanted. No one was looking in deed, and whoever entered had a total freedom and privacy of choosing what they wanted. There was a vanity table at the end, with a hand-wash, some mints and a hand cream, to take away any left overs from one’s face and hands and soothe those hands. This mind-blowing performance has stayed undocumented, to preserve and protect it’s quality and total honesty about it. More about projects here.

 

WALTZING TOMATOES 

© Coffee and Sponge
© Coffee and Sponge

This is a ground breaking film and performance by Coffee and Sponge, produced as their top project in 2013. They (in short) dance around with tomatoes between their touch points of their nude bodies. It has developed from their drawing salon, dancing with tomatoes and from then on it was performed life. As Jennifer (Coffee) told me, it was for them a very visual, emotional and fulfilling piece to create. I also asked about the importance of wearing costumes / or not in this case. And they told me that they use their naked  bodies as canvas. Everything else is a costume, hence raising more problems if wearing one. If they do wear a certain costume, it in deed is very specific and well thought through. This film was premièred at On Site in Unit 3 Projects in London, during the open studios On Site. I must mention Coffee and Sponge’s participation in exhibition CONTENT at ATHICA (Athens Institute for Contemporary Art), USA from September 7th, 2013 – October 26th, 2013 . This was curated by Darin Beasley, who approached them and commissioned them for this piece to be finished in it’s final form, the film.

My introduction to this creative duo (whom I’ve known for a few years now) is coming to an end. I’ve picked up some tips on this amazing research of their work myself. Samuel (Sponge) told me, for him it is ‘all about learning to trust simplicity’. Their ideas carry that simple element. They have a sense of beauty and connectivity with the world and themselves, which is original and refreshing. I’m very much looking forward to Coffee and Sponge performances in 2014, but one thing you can be sure of. There will be spice, there will be movement and there always will be silent theatrical atmosphere in their work. Follow their work and subscribe to their newsletters here and tell me, If I’m wrong.

All this talking about sponge and coffee made me somehow hungry, so I’m off to the shops to buy some, with hope you enjoyed my post.

All the best, Silvia.

 

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9. Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny – Silvia Krupinska’s Artist of the Month for Colourful Radio.

I’ve an enormous pleasure to introduce to you this month’s Artist of the Month, Slovakian-born, Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny. I came across his work at the Exhibition Road Show in London this month. He’d exhibited his charismatic architectural sculpture, The Agreement, which like many of his other pieces, was produced with help of beesThis high profile event was full of arty big numbers and pop-up performances. Read more about The Exhibition Road Show here.

When I talked to Libertíny about his work, what struck me was the extend of his ideas in his art. The energy of his pieces isn’t just floating on top for me, I feel there is all rounded in-depth elemental balance present. The strong concept, experimental and skilful laborious qualities, manifest themselves in the objects with an aura of originality and respect. You guest right! I’m keen on his work, hence he’s my Artist of the Month!

Tomáš Libertíny next to his work The Agreement. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Libertíny was born in Slovakia in 1979. In 1999, he enrolled in the Industrial Design Department at the Technical University in Slovakia. In 2001, he was awarded George Soros’s Open Society Institute Scholarship to study at The University of Washington in Seattle, where he explored painting and sculpture. Shortly afterwards, he continued his study at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in painting and conceptual design. Libertiny received his MFA in 2006 Design Academy Eindhoven. In fall of 2007, he found his studio in Rotterdam where he is focused on exploring design strategies in art and science. In 2009 he was awarded The Designer of The Future during Art Basel. His works have recently been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and Cincinatti Art Museum. Libertíny is also a frequent speaker at conferences and a visiting lecturer. (source:  http://www.tomaslibertiny.com )

Tomáš Libertíny, The Agreement. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Agreement is a fusion of artist’s planned and precise architectural structure with the several elements from the world of nature, where the main part play thousands of bees. Made in some stages, the bees and their queen had settled and lived on the structure, building what they know best, the honey-comb. This living piece was absolutely amazing to walk around for me, at The Exhibition Road Show. I felt like I was watching a theatrical performance behind the glass. I also appreciated that the well-being of the bees was considered. They had the choice to stay or go, leaving the structure through a hole, and other features included the air-conditioning of the unit. That way, the piece hadn’t become destructive, but quite the contrary. I know that this unique collaboration with bees didn’t come by chance. I discussed it with the author, and quite clearly he had became an expert not only in art, architecture and design elements but also in bee-behaviour and their pre-given, instinctive actions for survival and life creation.

Tomáš Libertíny, The Paper Vase, 2007
Paper, Woodglue, 30 x 25 x 25 cm. Photo courtesy of the artist.

It’s another example of Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny’s work. It is made by layering square sheets of paper with wood-glue and pressing those into a something looking like a paper brick, thick paper square. The thick paper-wood-glue square object is attached into a spinning wood-turning machine, and it spins it very fast. It is shaped, shaved and filed into a vase, with help of chisels, sand paper… Very important thing is that each sheet has a print of a tree on it. As the shaving of the paper come down, reducing the thickness in some places, the pixels of the trees on the papers become exposed, and they create the decoration. The decoration is exposed on the exterior and embedded in the interior on each sheet, symbol of the deeper inner meaning. The act of repetition of elements, repetition of tasks and manipulation of the material creates a meaningful elegant and sensual object. The artist told me, that this is a symbol of spiritual and philosophical element in his work. Time consuming, labouring process of making of the object helps to create a relationship with the maker, observer…

I see the full circle of a tree in all the stages of the transformation, and in the final result. In my research about Libertíny, I came across this phrase, defining his work and studio: ” Intellectual investigations – elegant presentations.” I couldn’t agree more, looking at The Paper Vase!

I’ll be introducing Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny’s work live in my slot Artist of the Month on Thursday, 23rd August at 12.10, featured as a part of Rosemary Laryea‘s  Art and Culture Show on Colourful Radio. Amongst other things, I’ll describe another Libertíny’s piece The Vessel #1, which I saw in FUMI gallery in London. Join us here on this link, or listen to it here later, as a recording. Thanks.

Tomáš Libertíny, The Vessel #1, 2011
beeswax, glass, alumnium, 86 x 86 x 86 cm (cabinet), 50 x 35 x 35 cm (vessel),
Photo René Spitz.

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8. Anne Bevan – Silvia Krupinska’s Artist of the Month for Colourful Radio.

Nova by Anne Bevan, Photo by Michael Wolchover. (source http://www.annebevan.co.uk/nova2.html)

On my search for my next Artist of the Month, I’ve known that the marine life and exploration of it in the underwater sculptures of spectacular Jason DeCaires Taylor  is a theme I want to get back to. What I didn’t know, was that connection with the sea will come so soon in my next artist! As it normally happens, I tend to come across my Artist of the Month on my walks in London. I was passing Royal British Sculptors Society; I’ve never visited their exhibitions before, but always wanted to. My eye caught a flyer outside. Round looking, texturized object seemed irresistible to me. I made a note in my diary, with a name. It was Edinburgh based  Anne Bevan and her Ghost. 

Building of Royal British Society of Sculptors, South Kensington, London. (Source their website)

I entered the exhibition space of RBS in South Kensington. Things Unspoken (Thu, 24/05/2012 – Fri, 13/07/2012, 12 noon – 17.30) is the exhibition of two artists Andrea Roe and Anne Bevan, curated by Jane Warrilow. Both artists have presented their ideas in separate ways.  Andrea Roe’s work examines the nature of human and animal biology, behaviour, communication and interaction within specific ecological contexts and Anne Bevan’s work has often been concerned with water, the sea, and the idea of ‘making the invisible visible’. I was amazed by Bevan’s works, which seems to speak to me, that’s why I focus on her today! Originality of her ideas has been refreshing and inspiring. All works in Things Unspoken are presented immaculately and I strongly recommend you see the show running until 13/07/2012. Call the gallery for more T:+44 (0)20 7373 8615 or visit their website. I talked to Anne Bevan on Skype about her work and processes.

Artist Anne Bevan.

She is a cheerful, enthusiastic, and easy to talk to person. Anne Bevan is originally from Orkney where she continues to have strong links. She is based in Edinburgh and is a lecturer in the School of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art. Bevan is artistically exploring hidden or invisible aspects of the environment, environmental themes (as inseparable part of everyday life), either under the ground, in the water or on the tidal edge through mediums of sculpture, video installations and photography. She told me she is interested in prototypes and models, metamorphoses of the natural movement, experiments with the textures and surfaces, explorations of new and undiscovered life, or the one which has been forgotten.

I’ll start with her work in Things Unspoken exhibition, Ghost – 3D enlarged acrylic print of planktonic foraminifer, which was made using a CT scan. It’s a single-celled organism, which forms part of the marine zoo-plankton. These can be found deep in the sea, in the sand and sedimentary rocks, as its particles. I learnt that Bevan has been able to 3D scan this particle with some help of the scientists at the University of Edinburgh. She also worked with 3D plaster and clay models of these organisms, accessing research collections of the Natural History Museum in London. From her experience, as she told me, working with the Museums and scientists is incredibly helpful, as the research centres are more than happy to assist. She finds exchange of interdisciplinary ideas and elements in collaborations very rewarding and challenging.

Ghost by Anne Bevan, Ian Butler. Photo by Michael Wolchover.

Bevan is in my mind a queen of collaboration. She doesn’t so much focus on working with other artists, but works with above mentioned scientists (Dr Kate Darling), engineers, designers, furniture makers, writers (Janice Galloway), musicians and performer artists, scientific glass blowers and so on. She loves to use different kinds of materials, and collaborating with the wide range of professionals helps her to bring out the full potential of those to perfection. It’s about a dialog between the people, as Bevan sees it.

Moon Pool by Anne Bevan, photo by Michael Wolchover.

Moon Pool (2 m diametre) is another Anne Bevan’s work I’m fascinated by! This public artwork was commission in Tyrebagger Forest, Abendeershire, Scotland, 2002. The ‘pool’ is surrounded by lines of poetry from the writer Janice Galloway, which from a distance, merge to form a water mark or tide line.

Moon Pool (detail) by Anne Bevan, photo by Michael Wolchover.

Process: Anne Bevan tried to make cast of water and the waves. This rather challenging thought has developed, as the best way to do this was by casting the sand directly, which is an imprint, mark of the water in many ways! I just love the originality of approaching this process! Bevan told me, that when they were trying to cast the sand, firstly by using plaster (in four pieces), the conditions had to be perfect. The low tide, the wind,  it all took some time to settle and shape and finally was just right for the process to begin. I couldn’t resist asking for a photograph, when she told me that at the end of the casting, the weather has taken a bad turn, and big storm and lightening with thunder arrived! Imagine how exciting it must have been! After a few stages of casting process were finished, finally the bronze sculpture was made and positioned in the forest. I’d love to see this work in its own natural setting. Meanwhile, have a look at the photos…

Anne Bevan and her helpers casting the sand in plaster for Moon Pool, caught in the dark storm and flashes of lightning in the sky. The cast is in four pieces.

Undercover (2000) was her solo exhibition at The Fruit Market Gallery in Edinburgh. The project that at first jumped out from the other works for me with its intensity of the objects’ blue colour. However, more I asked about it, more I realized I love it not only visually, but conceptually as well. I asked Anne Bevan, what are those blue wooden looking objects on top of wooden stands? To my surprize, they were jesmonite casts of old wooden water pipes! The whole Undercover project is about themes of water and where it comes from, water something we all probably take for granted is full of secrets. The new plastic water pipes these days come in blue, hence the choice of the colour for the art-works. Did you know all water pipes used to be made out of wood in pre-Victorian times?

Uncovered pipes by Anne Bevan, Photo by Michael Wolchover.

Listen to  my monthly slot featured as a part of Rosemary Laryea‘s  Art and Culture Show on Colourful Radio on Thursday, 28th June 2012 at 12.10pm, where I will introduce the amazing work of Anne Bevan and find out even more.

If you miss it, don’t worry,  now you can listen to it again here:

Thanks for reading and listening. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to visit the included links to explore further. Have a good day!

Silvia

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7. Jason DeCaires Taylor – Silvia Krupinska’s Artist of the Month for Colourful Radio.

Jason DeCaires Taylor, The Gardener, detail of the face, 2010

It’s the time of the month again, when I introduce a fantastic & talented Artist of the Month to you! Listen to Colourful Radio on Thursday, 17th May 2012 at 12.10pm, where I, in my monthly slot featured as a part of Rosemary Laryea‘s  Art and Culture Show, will introduce amazing work of Jason DeCaires Taylor. If you miss it, don’t worry, you can listen to it again here after. You might ask, why do I choose artists I do? All six previous Artists of the Month have something in their work that directly speaks to me. Sometimes it is the processes they use, another time, I love what’s going on conceptually, but always, it’s more than an aesthetic decision. Today’s seventh artist is Jason DeCaires Taylor. My reasons to choose him had been based on many aspects of his sculptural and photographic  language. One of the most important is the ecological dimension in Taylor’s fascinating under-water, under-sea sculptures!

—————————–Listen to the Artist of the Month above——————————-

He is a British eco-sculptor, photographer, founder and creator of the world’s first underwater sculpture park situated off the coast of Grenada in the West Indies, also a founder and Artistic Director of the Museo Subaquatico de Arte (MUSA) – in Cancun, Mexico.

I talked to Taylor via the internet, he was logged on in Cancun in Mexico, and I in London. For a good half an hour, we discussed some themes of his sculpting processes, I was also curious about the very beginning of producing the cement sculptures. Taylor’s told me, that at the very start, he picked up a standard bag of cement from a local builder’s store and produced hand size sculptures. After that, he took those to the shallow sea, and he’d photograph them from various angles and in different places, to see how they would react to water, and the light. Why I mention this, is to illustrate, that there is always a beginning, there is an idea. Today, Taylor needs to use large cranes, boats and heavy machinery to install his up to 4 ton heavy pieces under the sea!

In case you’re not familiar with Taylor’s work, he tends to make life size human like figures, combining sometime with day to day objects, such as a bicycle, sofa, TV and others, to create the scenes from normal lives, made from *marine-grade cement, installed in unique underwater locations. He uses life models, works with local people and children from the community, and at the same time, he manages to reach the whole world with his skilful photography of the works, that change over the time, under the water. Corals, fish, seaweed, and many other, live on, in and around his sculptures.
The positioning of the works is very well thought through and aims for the diversion of tourists away from the natural coral reefs. Instead, he tries to bring the tourist to the artificial reefs full of sea-life thriving on underwater sculptures. The natural reefs are inevitably disappearing due to many reasons, global warming, the human intervention, natural disasters, however the scientists don’t exactly know why they are lost under our eyes. His increasingly important artificial reefs are hugely popular, and those are Taylor’s way of saying, passing on the message and hope, that the young generation has to stop our old ways of thinking, and needs to help the nature, or some of it (with part of us with it) will be gone forever. Taylor’s sculptures are predicted to last hundreds of years! Who knows how our next generation will find them? How many species will grow on them?

Listener, latest project of Jason DeCaires Taylor and Marine Biologist Heather Spence of The BioMusic Research Group at the University of North Carolina and pupils from Cancun Community College, is fitted with a revolutionary NOAA-designed hydrophone, which when submerged is recording and collecting live sound data from the reef environment. Source: http://www.underwatersculpture.com

I had the honour to talk to Taylor about his latest work,  being one of the first broadcasters to hear it from the creator himself, was a true privilege. In fact, our interview was supposed to happen the previous evening, 8th May. It had been moved to 9th, due to good conditions to install his three new pieces, which had been cancelled previously 40 times! It shows you how difficult and challenging installations can get under the ‘weightless’ outdoor, underwater conditions. Wind, sea, the weight of sculptures and a human aspect of installing work play a massive role. The sculptures brougth down to the bottom of the sea on 8th May, were Listener (see the image above), Angel and Last Supper. Angel is a figurative sculpture of a woman with the implanted recycled live fan corals. Those were found poped up washed out on the shores after a storm. This is a form of recycling, I haven’t seen before, creating a kinetic sculpture, where its wings move, flow under the sea in the streams. Last Supper, as described by the artist, is a table with food, plates, half eaten fish, fruit, bringing overfishing to our attention, and focuses on urgency for the positive change, if it’s not too late…

Silent Evolution, Jason DeCaires Taylor, Depth 8m, MUSA Collection, Cancun/Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Source: http://www.underwatersculpture.com

I’m going to share a trick I’ve heard from Taylor. When he adds the textures to his concrete sculptures, it’s his way of bringing the dimensions in his work. Imagining, what the piece can change into, under the sea, when the corals can attach and grow on the surface. Smoother it is, least likely something will attach, so, Taylor told me, he leaves the faces smooth as possible, however head, body and other are good for coral hair, sea-weed clothes and plants around the figure to grow.

I hope I caught your attention, as Jason DeCaires Taylor truly deserves to be looked at properly! You can see his works internationally. In United Kingdom see his art in Canterbury, Kent. Alluvia is a sculpture consisting of two female figures, cast in cement and recycled glass resin. Positioned within sight of the Westgate Bridge and its adjoining gardens. Inverted solitude is a lone figure suspended upside down beneath a floating platform in The National Diving and Activities Centre, Chepstow, UK. If you are in New York, a major solo exhibition of Taylor’s work will start on Jun 30 — Jul 28, 2012 in Jonathan Levine Gallery, including some of his photo-prints, sculptures preserved in resin and the latest video. To see his work as it should be you must dive down to observe them either at Grenada, Cancun and other locations. 

Thanks for reading! Listen to Silvia Krupinska’s Artist of the Month, 17th May, 12.10, come back to this site if you miss it, and have a good look around Jason DeCaires Taylor’s website http://www.underwatersculpture.com/

(*much more durable cement, ph neutral, with additives for better flow, suitable for harsh environments, developed with scientists.)

Cheers

Silvia

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6. Artist of the Month for Colourful Radio – Shan Hur.

Shan Hur, Circle on the wall, No Format Space, 2012

I’m very excited I can introduce my next ‘Artist of the Month’, award winning Korean artist living in London, Shan Hur. I see Hur as an sculptor with a unique artistic vision. He uses concrete, wood, fine porcelain, musical instruments, basketball, and other objects, that become part of his structures – pillars, cracks in the walls, broken pillars… His outstanding sculptural installations are mostly temporary works, not in their existence, but in their position. They are moved in the space, and adapted as inseparable part of it, and when the show is over, they are moved out and kept carefully crated for next installation. (Yes, I’m talking a whole pillar being moved, a whole wall uninstalled!) They are partly inspired by neutral spaces we walk by daily, such as building sites, architectural features and places undergoing some form of a transition and partly by Hur’s background and childhood, his sense of belonging and position.

Shan Hur is a little bit of a hero to me. I think it takes a lot of confidence, to install a pillar in the space, where at first sight it looks like it belongs there, standing almost unnoticed. However after further examination of it, it simply transforms the way how we look at art, space and both combined. I admire Hur’s work, because it somehow directly speaks to me in the language that is confident and well established. His works are skilful and impeccably planned, with no space for error.

(Source, Shan Hur website.)

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 Shan Hur, Broken Pillar, Gazelli Art House, Bodhi, 2012

His work is mysterious and playful. Fragments of fairy-tales, archeology and history are strongly resonating when studying his pieces, but first you must find them. It doesn’t take long before you notice, something is not quite right. Alarmingly a pillar you are standing next to turns in to art. Is it perhaps broken? You may ask, but soon realizing, that a beautiful porcelain vase is set in the pillar! How is that possible?! More signs of action is on the floor, in a form of some rubble. Are these remaining  pieces left there on purpose, while the creator had been trying to excavate this treasure vase out of the pillar? Is he coming back? It makes you question a lot of things, especially the process of how these works are made. (Don’t be tempted to take a crumble of the concrete on the floor back home, it is part of the work!) I was referencing  an artwork called ‘Broken Pillar’ 2012, Gazelli Art House exhibition ‘Bodhi’ that closes April 19, 2012 in Dover Street, London, where I discovered Hur’s art. 

                                          Shan Hur, segment of Broken Pillar, Gazelli Art House, Bodhi, April 2012

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I found out many interesting things about his artistic vision, background to his creative soul and he also answered some questions about production of his pieces, while talking to me at No Format space, during exhibition The Function of the Oblique – Part 1, in South East London. If you are curious, you can listen to find out much more about his inspirations in my live introduction of Hur and his work on Thursday, 19th April at 12.10pm on Colourful Radio. My monthly slot features as a part of Rosemary Laryea‘s “Art and Culture Show”. If you miss it, don’t worry, you can listen to it again here, just below. I’m certainly looking forward to it! Thanks for reading and listening, and I’ll be back next month with another ‘Silvia Krupinska’s Artists of the Month’!

Shan Hur, Silvia Krupinska in front of Circle on the wall, No Format, April 2012

To find out more about the artist, visit his website for details of awards, exhibitions and his artist statement. Full page of images of his works are available to look at as well.  http://www.shanhur.com/

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5.  Artist of the Month for Colourful Radio – Carne Griffiths and his EDEN, March 2012.

Surrounded by many kinds of flowers, I find myself imagining what would happen, if The Stone Space gallery turned into a jungle with flowers and wild animals, birds singing in the branches of trees and I can vividly (in my imagination) even hear the sound of a gentle stream…It is EDEN by Artist & Illustrator Carne Griffiths.

“Carne Griffiths’ artwork is born from love of drawing and the journey of creating an image on the page. Working primarily with calligraphy ink, graphite and liquids, such as tea brandy, vodka and whisky he draws and then manipulates the drawn line. After graduating from Maidstone college of art Griffiths served an apprenticeship and worked as a gold wire embroidery designer for 12 years, hence floral pattern, repetition and flow play a large part in his work.” (source http://www.carnegriffiths.com/ )

His love of flowers and passion for drawing is evident in Griffiths’ work quite clearly. Images of lengthy stems and lively emotion-full leaves speak for themselves. The colours and the lines of inks and tea, or other not so common “dyes” of paper are flowing on the surface as they own it, still with their gentle presence and unseen modesty. I talked to the artist on a few occasions, as I was studying his work and approaches for my next introduction – Artist of the Month. You can hear my live introduction of Griffiths’ work on Thursday, 15th March at 12.10pm on Colourful Radio. My slot features as a part of Rosemary Laryea‘s “Art and Culture Show”. If you miss it, don’t worry, you can listen here again here.

I talked to Carne Griffiths during one of his events in Debut Contemporary Gallery in Notthing Hill, where he revealed to me how he works.

On one of my pop up visits to The Stone Space in Leytonstone, which is my local gallery, I couldn’t help but ask Carne more about EDEN. Please note, the exhibition is now finished, however the panels with Griffiths’ drawings have been moved in the next door space the Slate Gallery, only a few meters down.

I was pleased that I could get to know Carne even better, visiting his East London art studio. I found out that spinach is Carne’s favourite vegetable. I found out, that he would like to move to New Zealand and he would only need 3 bare essentials to take with him, he couldn’t live without. Apart from his wife, Claire and a passport he picked his art materials, such as pens and paper, another necessity is the music, which is his great facilitator …

Carne talked with great passion about automatic drawing, which I’m going to include in this citation, as I feel it was one of those things that need to be shared.

“I’ve developed this kind of hand writing that doesn’t read anything. I think part of it is muscle memory. It is a form of art making for me. It is almost therapeutic, meditative, when I write like that. I keep these sketchbooks, where I used to draw in them in this style. I don’t any more, because I try them to feed in my work as part of my practice. I have them all at home and sometimes I go through them, which I enjoy like I’d enjoy going through someone else’s work. I have this love for how different people draw. Especially when someone says to me, that they can’t draw. I instantly I want to see how they draw. I think it is amazing, because I could never make the same marks, they are all individual.”

You can click here to discover one of the sketchbooks from 1996.

The unique quality of Griffiths’ drawing skills, his using of tea, alcohol, and other liquids to stain the paper differentiate him from the crowd. The art by him is loved all over the world. He is a successful artist not only artistically but also commercially. It has been a pleasure to get to know him. If you got inspired and would like to find out more about Griffiths’ portraiture works or you want to explore anything else, please visit his website http://www.carnegriffiths.com/

Choke, 2011 by Carne Griffiths, detail

Thanks for reading. S.

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4. Artist of the Month for Colourful Radio – Nicola Anthony and the Edible Art Movement.

I was pleased I could visit a studio of an artist and an art writer who I’ve been following for some time. The perfect opportunity came when I attended Fabelist’s Imprint Festival in Serpentine’s Gallery project space. I was captivated by a performance/art installation organized by invited Edible Art Movement – “Sing for your Supper – Draw for your Dinner”. I’ll talk about this in more detail later on in this article, but first I’d like to introduce Nicola Anthony. I’ll be introducing her in two ways really. Here in my blog and live on Colourful Radio on 16th Feb. at 12.10pm in my “Silvia Krupinska’s Artist of the Month”. My slot features as a part of Rosemary Laryea‘s “Art and Culture Show”. Now you can listen to the 15 min recording of the slot on Colourful Radio below –

Anthony herself exhibited at the Imprint Festival and also took part in the mentioned performance. I could copy and paste her very well written and polished Artist Statement, but I’m not going to do that. I’d like to give you my personal perspective on her work and her studio.

As I entered Anthony’s studio in cultured and busy Southwark, I could smell traces of resin in the air. It was a good sign of a busy and experimental studio, which I fully expected. I’ve known Anthony for a few months, nevertheless I never talked to her about her work in much detail, nor visited her creative hub before.

The walls are covered with textural drawings, lines, words, texts and cut-outs from magazines and papers. Under her window on the right is a desk, where she writes her art reviews and other works. The wall on the opposite side is very well lit. It’s a photography corner with two amazing glass and resin glass sculptures. There are works in progress on the floor and leaning on the walls, but the whole space is very organized and planned. The remaining wall, as I came in on my right, is full of date drawings, other textures and generally paper works dominate.

Artist Nicola Anthony in her art studio, 13.2.2012

Have you ever seen the drawings done entirely with text or dates? If not, you might like to look at these experimental pieces that Nicola Anthony produced.

Mneme, drawing, Nicola Anthony
Detail 1 -‘Arbitrage’, N.Anthony – collage drawing

These are a couple of 2D examples of Anthony’s work. I personally love their texture and originality. However my personal favourites are Anthony’s 3D sculptural glass and glass resin pieces. The shape, ideas and technical finish of those are to me some of the reasons, why she deserves to be admired. Here are a couple of her small studio examples of the 3D works – which followed by this sculpture.

N. Anthony, Green Glass Sculpture, 13.2.2012
N. Anthony, White Glass Sculpture, 13.2.2012

Before I have to move on to the amazing Edible Art Movement and it’s installation, I would like to recommend you a visit of Anthony’s website and her blog. Do follow her, she has always something informative to say, with her art and and also with her articles! I and the artist herself would appreciate any comments regarding this post or her work. Thanks.

The second part of this blog article, as you know from the beginning will be dedicated to the Edible Art Movement. This is a definition of the movement I found on one of their sites:

“The Edible Art Movement (‘EAM’) was founded in the early 1920s by a group of experimental artists, intellectuals, poets and philosophers drawn together by a shared passion for food and art.
Members sought to subvert conventional ideas of what food and art should be whilst at all times seeking to create incr-edible art. Their overarching philosophy may be summed up in their motto, recited at the start of every meeting: “We Art what we Eat”.”

My understanding of the movement is that a group of creative people put on events, that celebrate food in more than “to be eaten” sense. They underline food as a way of artistic expression, food often being the art and a catalist between the art and the audience by engaging the visitors fully in the process. The EAM underline the textures, shapes and other unsual characters of food, which might be unnoticed in an everyday life. As an example I’d like to show you a video I did, while taking part in the recent installation done in Serpentine’s Centre of Possible Studies, in the Fabelist’s Imprint Festival – “Sing for your Supper – Draw for your Dinner”.

If you liked to hear more about events and exhibitions that EAM put on, you can register to be on their mailing list here. For more visit EAM Facebook page or their website. Thanks for reading my blog, and come back again!

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3. Artist of the Month – Patrick StPaul.

I hope you had a great holiday and the New Years Eve! Have a successful 2012 dear friends. After taking a break in December, this month I’d like to introduce another fantastic artist. I’ve chosen Patrick StPaul. You can listen to the soundtrack from my Colourful Radio slot at the end of this article. Here is a short video intro before I go on writing about my meeting with the artist.

Like I say in the introduction video, I’ve met Patrick StPaul during The Other Art Fair in  London. He was one  of the artists presenting his work at the fair, and I was impressed by his art and his presentation of his stand. He had a number of installations positioned within a box, in a frame, under some glass domes, on a shelf or just by them selves. His work is very capturing and thought provoking. It consists of combinations of animal objects, bones, glass jars and little specimens in them and all of those are tightly connecting with StPaul’s exploration of history, nature and their dialog with the chosen objects. I felt there are many layers to his art, and with those StPaul is telling us a story. He is a sculptor, mixed media artist, story teller and a magician in my view. On the left is an example of one of his works from The Other Art Fair and below is my first interview and meeting with StPaul.

Patrick StPaul is one of those artists you can’t get bored around. His way of describing his art and his creative processes involves a set of interesting stories, often directly about his ancestors such as grandmother or grandfather, who was a pilot. There is a theatrical element in his sculptural installations, which acts as a helping tool to tell a particular story. The atmosphere around Stpaul’s work is often described by a question: Are those real? I can assure you, that yes, they are. My visit of his studio was comparable to a museum of animal skeletons and other peculiar objects. One of my favourites was a stuffed yellow chick! I think you can imagine what I’m trying to say better, after watching this little tour around StPaul’s art studio. Ready?

I think you might have guessed that I admire StPauls work. I’ll be following his career and exhibitions to come, you can do the same by following him on facebook too, or if you haven’t caught his website earlier, check it out here again or read his blog. Before I go today, I have a few images from our meeting to share with you and shortly after the live presentation on Colourful Radio, I’ll update this article with the soundtrack from it. See you soon again and thanks so much for following my blog and my next “Artist of the Month” – Patrick StPaul! All the best. Silvia

A soundtrack from the Colourful Radio from Jan 5th, where I introduced Patrick StPaul live in my monthly “Silvia  Krupinska’s Artist Of the Month”  hosted by fantastic Rosemary Laryea, during her “Life and Culture show”.

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2.Artist of the Month – David Roux Fouillet.

I met with David Roux-Fouillet at the Andipa Contemporary, in 162 Walton Street in London. After seeing his show called Morphoses, I made up my mind that he was the perfect person for me to talk about in discussion with amazing and award winning Rosemary Laryea on “Silvia Krupinska’s Artist of the Month” slot on Colourful Radio (on Nov 24th 2011 at 12.10 pm). I absolutely love his work, and I have to admit he is one of the most talented designers/artists I’ve met. If you missed the live slot, you can listen to it again here.

David Roux-Fouillet Biography

David was born in 1978, of Danish and French parentage. He received his first training from the Engelsholm Hojskole in Bredsten, Denmark, where he studied jewellery design, glass blowing and graphic design. This was followed by a degree in jewellery and object design at the Haute Ecole d’Art and de Design in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was awarded the Marsee prize in 2003. This was followed by an invitation to participate in the KUAD Artist Residency at the Kyoto University of Art and Design in 2004, where he studied fashion and space design. His most recent degree was a Masters at the RCA in London, where he studied Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery. During this period, Roux-Fouillet was nominated for the Arts Foundation Product Design Fellowship, was commissioned to create an installation for the London flagship store of Harry Winston, and was awarded the
Conran Award and Theo Fennell Award for Overall Excellence from the Royal College of Art.

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1. Silvia Krupinska Introducing Artist Jonny Briggs.

Jonny Briggs talking to me, in his studio in Bermondsey. Wednesday October 19th, 2011.

Jonny Briggs in his studio, with his father’s sized up mask. Copyright Silvia Krupinska,

S: What was the first art work, object or anything you associate with it, that you can remember?

J: I remember one time, there was a painting of one of my sisters, I’ve got 4 older sisters, one that was 8 years older than me, she has done a painting which had a private place on the kitchen wall and I used to keep looking at it, and I felt something has opened up, and I thought wow, she’d painted these different object that she thought about and they all linked together, there was an eye ball,  and a carpet, a magic carpet. It was exciting to see the abstraction of positioning.

S: It comes across strongly, since I started to follow your work, something that I definitely noticed, is the love. The love for your sisters, love to your mother and your father. Love for yourself.

J: Yes, I think it’s so true. In particular the love for my dad, which is almost in compensation to our relationship, when it wasn’t so strong…when I wanted to become a female, in my young years. Empathy putting myself in his shoes, a lot of time in the work the double keeps reoccurring.

S: Moving on slightly. I’m interested to find out, whether you have had certain breaking points in your art professional life where you felt that something is changing, that something got just better…?

J: The art foundation, I absolutely loved that. I went to Chelsea College, media pathway. We were the smallest group, and only 6 of us would turn up every day. I’ve developed a great relationship with my tutor, Maxine Mason. She really helped my work, she showed a real interest in my work and me.  David Morgan, really important to me too. Because I was doing work about my parents, and then I’d do something else too, and David would say: “Stick to what you know, make the work what really interests you”.

S: We’ve talked a little bit about the important people in your life. Who are your artistic heroes?

J: In terms of Artists, I really like work of Paul McCarthy, Georgina Star and Paula Rego.

S: You have a good selection of objects to look at, on your website. Are they the first steps to your installations, before you take the photographs?

J: Yes, I’d say there is a bit of that. I’d say all of the work is a bit like doodles. Figuring out what my mind is telling me.  It’s almost like taking a step back, in regards to the photos. The objects help me to discover a new dimension to the work, they give new perspective on it.

S: How about your MA?

J: My MA came at the right time, and really helped to push me, challenge me. We had the fantastic facilities in RCA. I feel the course really benefited me. I began to discover that my visual vocabulary opened up. I found that very exciting, it brought the life back into my work. I feel so close to tutors at RCA, especially Rut Blees Luxemberg.

S: Can we look at the “black corner” refering to “Portal” photograph? (both laugh) We know it was commissioned by Saatchi Gallery, New Sensations. (Jonny Briggs was one of four finalists; there was 20 artists in total exhibiting.)

J: Each of the finalist got £1000 for the work, it helped me to be more ambitious. I wanted to set it in a domestic environment. My mother was crouching in the middle of it. Her eye is the only normal thing (not painted black) in the photo; everything else is glossy black. Usually, it is that abnormal is standing out. In this photograph, it’s different. The only first obvious thing you see is my mum’s unpainted eye, the portal.

S: It is admirable, how much skill is shown in these photographs. Do you enjoy the whole process?

J: I love it, the joy of chasing the idea. I feel like a child when coming up with them. I think it is a very important question for everyone to think. What is my mind telling me here? What can my interest tell me about myself? Which is perhaps has been one of the reasons, why I got into psycho analysis. Writer, Karol Mavor, Art History Professor, Manchester University. I love her books; she transports me to another world.

S: That’s what you do too, to many people that see your paintings, photographs. Sorry I keep mixing up the medium of your works. Your works is always intertwined.

S: It sounds like you’ve had a wonderful childhood in your house, now back living with your parents. Living near the forest, there are lots of animals there? How do you feel about the nature?

J: I love the nature. I took a lot of solace in the trees. We have a great garden, and the woods at the end of it, even my grandmother has a great garden too. Such a fantastic sense of freedom being with the trees. I preferred them so much more, than being in the house. I’d like to say in relation with the woods, when I’d read all this fairy tales, all these books in children’s’ fiction. I’d imagine all the stories in the forest, even now I say, ooh there is the magic tree, ohh, that’s where the fairies are…all the magic is still there.

S: That’s why I really like the “Natural Inside” scene. I can feel strongly from it, your connection with the nature and the magic inside it.

J: I painted a square image with vivid pink, with me in it wearing my father’s mask made from latex. I love pink. It becomes agenda neutral in this particular image.

S: Jonny Thanks so much for all the answers, I hope they didn’t exhaust you too much!

J: Thank you. It was a pleasure.

To win Jonny Briggs signed canvas bag, catalogue of Saatchi Gallery New Sensations Exhibition and a card, email to info@silviakrupinska.com, tweet to @silviakrupinska or message me on Silvia Krupinska Organic Contemporary Sculpture, facebook page with the right answer to questions: What is it? Where does it come from? The first person who get the answers right, gets all. Please only start emailing, contacting me on 20.10.11, after 12.30 pm. No earlier answers will be accepted. Sorry for any inconvenience. Thanks and see the following image.

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