Art in Print


Photos show a rare glimpse of Gauguin in Tahiti

Paul Gauguins life, especially the years he spent in the South Pacific, has become shrouded in myth and legend, much of it of his own making. But now a Munich art dealer, Daniel Blau, is displaying at a gallery in Paris what he says are the only two known photographs of the artist in French Polynesia, images that — if the identification is confirmed — vividly illuminate Gauguin’s true character.
The photographs, at the Oceanic art specialist Galerie Meyer until Saturday, date from 1896 and show a man with a striking resemblance to the Post-Impressionist painter attending a festive picnic at Point Venus on Tahiti. In one, a group photo of European men and local women, he is shown wearing a wreath of flowers, hugging two girls, kissing one on the cheek and fondling the other. In the other image, he stares challengingly at the camera.
“I’ve seen a lot of photos of white people in the Pacific posing with local girls,” Mr. Blau said. “He behaves so differently. He’s pretty straightforward and is very involved with the viewer. This is an artist who has something to show.”
Mr. Blau’s wife, Maria, first made a connection between Gauguin — whose extroverted personality is extensively documented — and the man shown in the photographs in 2005, when she and her husband saw the photo of him embracing the girls in a small album of Tahiti and Hawaii images they had bought at auction.
“If these two photographs are actually of Paul Gauguin, then they tell us a great deal about his state of mind and his social entourage during the summer of that year,” said Caroline Boyle-Turner, an art historian, who has included the photos in a new book, “Paul Gauguin & the Marquesas: Paradise Found?”
“Gauguin admired and pursued young Polynesian women, as his writings and paintings make clear,” Ms. Boyle-Turner said. “This photograph shows his high spirits, as well as his human side.” Though she found the evidence for the attribution “very convincing,” she acknowledged that it remained a subject of academic discussion.
Via: NY Times

A Nigerian Artist Who Uses the Skin as His Canvas

“A lot of my work is heavily influenced by the culture of my Yoruba heritage,” said Mr. Senbanjo, a Nigerian-born visual artist and musician, in a recent interview at his Brooklyn studio. “I like to see the world in that lens.” His most recognized work, a form of body painting that he calls “the sacred art of the Ori,” draws on those cultural influences and was made famous through its appearance in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” visual album.
An important aspect of Yoruba culture, Ori means “head” or “essence,” and Mr. Senbanjo’s artistic depictions of it have elevated him from Instagram celebrity to appearances at New York art institutions like the Brooklyn Museum and to music festivals like Afropunk. “If you tap into your Ori you can move mountains,” Mr. Senbanjo said.
Drawing from personality traits of deities in Yoruba culture with words as well as patterns, Mr. Senbanjo says he conveys various attributes of the gods onto his subjects’ bodies, based on conversations before painting them. The process requires an average of six to eight hours to complete. Mr. Senbanjo said the triangles he paints on himself are symbolic of a religious trinity: father, son and Holy Ghost, and the idea of stability. “For the Yoruba, as well as in several African cultures, the head is the wellspring of wisdom and seat of divine power,” Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, curator of African art at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, said in an email. With the head also a source for creativity, Dr. Nzewi said Mr. Senbanjo’s work is “pushing the boundaries of indigenous art traditions through recuperation, appropriation and reinvention, and combining them with formal ideas.”

Via: NY Times


Oliver Wainwright's top 10 buildings of 2016

Number one is  Tate Modern Switch House, London, by Herzog & de Meuron. Jutting up behind Giles Gilbert Scott’s stately temple of electricity like an aggressive brick Dalek, the Tate Modern Switch House is one of the strangest buildings to appear in 2016. And its power comes from its refusal to do anything that you might expect.
In an age when public buildings are supposed to be transparent and welcoming, it is opaque and brusque, a forbidding monolith that speaks more of a watchtower than a gallery of modern art. It meets the street not with arms wide open and a friendly smile, but with a fortified bastion wall of brown concrete, like a rammed-earth rampart. The entrance isn’t grand and ceremonial, but takes the form of a low slot around the back, through which visitors shuffle like mice. The structure and materials are just as counterintuitive: the brick walls don’t carry their load, they hang like chainmail, forming a kind of masonry veil draped over the chunky concrete skeleton within, only pierced by arrow-slit windows.
This unsettling tower of Babel is the work of Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, who first brought their light touch to the design of the original Tate Modern in 2000, undertaking the biggest loft conversion ever seen. Sixteen years on, they have matured from restrained floorboard-sanding minimalists to full-blown expressionists, crafting an exhilarating vertical journey of Piranesian spatial power.
Rising from the Stygian underworld of the power station’s former oil tanks, to the panoramic views at the crow’s nest summit, the building leads you through an unfolding sequence of radically different spaces, from little cave-like areas carved out beneath the concrete staircase, to a gaping, 64-metre-long hangar. It all adds up to a tangled knot of riddles – with floors sloping almost imperceptibly, the structural cage expanding to provide seating nooks – that’s as intriguing as the work on show.

Via: The Guardian