Wayan Novi: Caring For Life – International Artist Profile – Eva Wong Nava

Landscape of Memories

Art Porters Singapore

Catalogue for Wayan Novi’s 2018 solo exhibition at Art Porters in Singapore.

Art Porters Singapore, Landscape of Memories, exhibition catalogue, 2018

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Pe Lang

Pe Lang

Galerie Denise René

Pe Lang 2018

Galerie Denise René, Pe Lang, 2018

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Cruz-Diez Art Foundation 10 Years

Cruz-Diez Art Foundation 10 Years

Cruz-Diez Art Foundation

This book was published on the occassion of the 10th anniversary of the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation, December 2015.

Cruz-Diez Art Foundation, Cruz-Diez Art Foundation 10 Years, December, 2015

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Cruz-Diez: Color Espacial

Color Espacial

Carlos Cruz-Diez

Carlos Cruz-Diez: Color Espacial brings to light the eponymous ephemeral exhibition presented at Centro Cultural Niemeyer in Avilés (Spain) from September 26, 2014 to May 31, 2015.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Color Espacial, Cruz-Diez Art Foundation, 2015

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Catch on the Fly

Catch on the Fly

Thinking the Outside [Notes on the nomad cartography of Fernando Prats] by Fernando Castro Flórez

“Fernando Prats is the perfect example of an artist who is capable of keeping the marvelous paths of painting open”

Fernando Castro Flórez, Catch on the Fly, essay, 2009

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Ailleurs

Ailleurs (“Somewhere Else”)

Paul Ardenne, Gilles A Tiberghien

“Fernando Prats is a secular alchemist. Just as the Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang has renewed painting with his use of gunpowder as pigment, so prats also “paints” in an unprecedented manner, with smoke…Prats then allows Nature to paint for him. He arranges his smoke-blackened papers in a corner of the countryside, and lets the vagaries of the local weather and the specificities of the site- be it a coastal area, a desert or an earthquake zone- do the rest. The paper becomes the record of the natural life of the artist’s chosen location, the imprint of a superhuman activity and the palimpset of dunamis, the constant work and progress of Nature.”

For its 14th exhibition, the Espace culturel Louis Vuitton is offering a new variation on the theme of travel and choosing to reveal the “Somewhere Else” of eighteen so-called “expeditionist” artists.

A growing number of artists are choosing this framework: relocating creation in order to define it differently, setting out, installing the work of art or producing it outside of its conventional environment.

The nature of the expedition to which these artists devote themselves may vary widely. In this movement, in this encounter with new spaces and other humans — sometimes distant, sometimes near, but always “other” — the artist finds the opportunity for a singular creation that is primarily characterised by its offset nature.

Fernando Prats, Ailleurs, 2011

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Gran Sur

Gran Sur

Paul Ardenne, Fernando Castro, Justo Pastor Mellado and Fernando Prats

“Fernando Prats’ project is, in all senses, an epic and poetic journey in which he insists on art as a journey in pursuit of the unknown, in which it is still possible to escape from banality and literalism. Gran Sur was inspired by Ernest Shackleton’s newspaper advert for recruits for his fateful Antarctic expedition: “Men wanted for hazardous journey, low wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honour and recognition in case of success”. Through a compendium of photographs and archival materials, Prats’ installation, recorded in this volume, draws out the implications of the blackly humorous advert to resonate with larger experiences of migration and dangerous travel. Fernando Prats (Santiago de Chile, 1967) is representing Chile at the 2011 Venice Biennale.”

Paul Ardenne, Fernando Castro, Justo Pastor Mellado and Fernando Prats, Gran Sur, Distributed Art Pub Incorporated, 2011

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Sensorial Geometries

Sensorial Geometries

Foreword

By Adriana Alvarez-Nichol
Vice President, Hong Kong Art Gallery Association
Founder and Director, Puerta Roja Limited

Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Op Art, the international art movement that used optical illusions and geometric patterns to produce effects that both confuse and stimulate the eye. Op and Kinetic Art were launched with Le Mouvement, a group exhibition at the iconic Galerie Denise René in Paris in 1955, but it was first formally recognised after the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA) presented the seminal show; The Responsive Eye in 1965. The eye-catching, imaginative and vertigo-inducing paintings and sculptures swept the art world and enamoured viewers and the media.

Crucial to the MOMA exhibition was its focus on the international dialogue amongst artists. An unprecedented global roster of 99 artists from 15 countries were presented. This movement reflected the artists’ desire for collective achievement and dialogue. The incorporation of the viewer himself as a key component of the work, and the straightforward unpretentious representations, made the art inclusive, a universal language of optimism that could reach all.

Such ideas brewed deeply in Latin America and since the 1930’s diverse currents of geometric abstraction were developed by artists, particularly from Argentina and Venezuela. Uninterrupted by the horrors of the war in Europe these artistic expressions blossomed. Fuelled by optimism and idealist notions of progress, South American artists looked to change the world through reason and order. Inspired by science and mathematics, artists developed their own visual expression for their vision of the future.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s several Venezuelan and Argentine artists further explored the phenomenon of human perception through colour and motion with extreme rigour and creativity. These included from Argentina Luis Tomasello, Julio Le Parc, Antonio Asís and Eduardo McEntyre. Their intense use of colour and changing patterns gave their creations an almost sonorous vibrancy that could not be ignored.

After an amazing run, the reception of Op Art started to wane and during the 1970s conceptual art became the next “big thing”. Ideas, instead of formal or visual content, became the new fascination, and observers began to belittle the Geometric and Op Art movements as gimmicky and even shallow.

However, it was the strength of the philosophical ideals at the heart of the artists’ intent that would ensure the movement’s lasting legacy and current revival. Over the last two decades, the development of Geometric Abstraction and Op Art, including the importance of South American artists in its development, has been the subject of a myriad of exhibitions around the world. This year, The Illusive Eye reopened at El Museo del Barrio in New York with a celebration, but also a revision, of the original MOMA show. The exhibition re-establishes the enormous influence of the great artists from the 20th century but also opens the door for us to reevaluate the relevance of the movement to young contemporary artists and for society in the 21st century.

Technology as well as modern materials have undoubtedly opened new paths for contemporary artists to explore new variations of colour theory and optical illusion. Most importantly however, I believe, is that the essence and profound undercurrent of optimism and democratisation of art is more important than ever. Amidst our present troubled era, experimenting with illusion is not a sign of denial but one of hope for the future.

The exhibition Sensorial Geometries at Puerta Roja presents the work of four Argentine artists exploring the universal language of geometric and optical expressions, each with a very individual and personal perspective. The exhibition contrasts the work of 20th century master Luis Tomasello, where economised and minimalist structures are filled with the vibrations of light, with the exuberant and colour-saturated paintings by young talent Mariano Ferrante. Antonio Asís works dazzle and almost confuse with psychedelic intensity, despite the inherent simplicity of the execution. Ventoso, furthers Tomasello’s three-dimensionality and Asís’ optimal illusions by presenting a unique language of sculptural and tactile polymer constructions or “assemblages” that tease and defy the perceptions of the viewer.

The works of these endowed four artists, masters and emerging talent, will create a myriad of sensorial emotions and a memorable sense of belonging, of personal relevance in the viewer. Such were the ideals of the artistic movement from the 1960’s that remain as, or more, relevant today.

Adriana Alvarez-Nichol, Puerta Roja, Sensorial Geometries, 2016

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Weightless Matter

Weightless Matter

Foreword

By Adriana Alvarez-Nichol
Vice President, Hong Kong Art Gallery Association
Founder and Director, Puerta Roja Limited

Over the last seven years Puerta Roja has constantly explored through the work of its stable of Latin American and Spanish artists the use of untraditional art mediums, seldom presenting in its exhibitions traditional canvas painting. With the exhibition Weightless Matter, Puerta Roja further pushes medium boundaries by presenting the work of Gladys Nistor, a dynamic contemporary artist who follows the path of non-objective art to its limits.

Gladys’ work and its ambiguity of medium and genre, immediately remind us of the seminal 1959 essay “Theory of the Non-Object” by Brazilian poet Ferreira Gullar. In his manifesto, Gullar stated that the path of modernism towards a purer form of art had finally arrived. Starting with the impressionists and culminating with Malevich and Mondrian, the non-object challenged traditional categories and norms of painting and sculpture. Freed from the delimiting structures of frame and pedestal and the limitations of language, the non-object would thus be liberated from “any signification outside the event of its own apparition.” These ideas and those of other artists of the South American Neo-Concrete movement, would be further reviewed in Mónica Amor’s “Theories of the Non object” as the starting point for a broader investigation of the abstract and constructivist art produced in Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela in the second half of the twentieth century. Amor’s focus is on the “crisis of mediums and representation” that triggered both formal innovations and new conceptual understandings of the art object and its relation to the viewer.

In its essence, non-objective art aims to convey a sense of simplicity and purity, seamlessly reaching towards a moral or spiritual dimension. A form of abstraction that, in most instances, follows Plato’s view that geometry is the highest form of beauty and that, by elevating non-traditional materials to an aesthetic level, would eventually bring the rise of minimalist artists such as Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd. And it is precisely that sense of purity and spiritual dimension, the poetry of minimal beauty, that arises when contemplating Gladys Nistor’s creations. When I encountered the artist’s work in Paris, I was at first mystified, but quickly curiosity evolved into a deep sense of reflection on the essence of perception, the blurring lines between matter and light, and our own origin. I was engulfed by the simplicity of the artist’s view of the world. Gladys Nistor’s bodiless work is playful and paradoxical, floating in space, boldly illuminating an imaginary dimension. As Gullar’s non-objects, Nistor’s works “do not intend to describe a negative object nor any other thing that may be opposite to material objects. [It] is a special object through which a synthesis of sensorial and mental experiences is intended to take place. It is a transparent body in terms of phenomenological knowledge: while being entirely perceptible it leaves no trace.”

Nistor precisely balances light and dark in order to release objects from gravitational laws. By constructing intense contrast, the artist distils aesthetics down to their very core. With striking simplicity and intriguing illusion, she leaves the viewer bewildered. Eyes and mind are conflicted to question the mechanisms of both the work and our own perception of it.

Weightless Matter presents the artist’s site-specific new series Objets de Lumière. Every piece is uniquely and intimately tailored to the gallery space. The works leave convention behind by breaking away from frame, canvas and three-dimensionality to fully occupy the environment and to immerse us in their beauty.

Adriana Alvarez-Nichol, Puerta Roja, Weightless Matter, 2017

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Carlos Cruz-Diez: Mastering Colour

Carlos Cruz-Diez: Mastering Colour

Foreword

By Adriana Alvarez-Nichol
Vice President, Hong Kong Art Gallery Association
Founder and Director, Puerta Roja Limited

Since its foundation in 2010, Puerta Roja has strived to bring greater understanding in Asia Pacific of the influence and contribution Latin American artists have had to the development of modern and contemporary art. It could not be more fitting for the gallery to enter its seventh year in Hong Kong by presenting the works of one of the most impactful and dynamic artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Carlos Cruz-Diez arose from the roots of the Kinetic and Op Art movement in South America to become one of its most important voices on the world stage for more than five decades. Carlos Cruz-Diez: Mastering Colour is the first solo exhibition devoted to the artist’s work at a gallery space in Hong Kong.

Cruz-Diez’ historical relevance is undoubtedly substantiated by the hundreds of international exhibitions, architectural interventions and ephemeral installations he has held. His works are part of more than 60 museums and prominent public collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Tate Modern, the Kunstmuseum Basel and the Centre Georges Pompidou. In Asia Pacific, since1988 when Physichromie Double Face was installed in the Olympic Park in South Korea, the artist has showcased significant public commissions and exhibitions in Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, most notably the touring exhibition Circumstance and Ambiguity of Colour which was presented in the most important museums in China between 2013 and 2014. It is however, the unwavering universal relevance that the artist’s work continues to have in today’s contemporary world and his still very active practice that make this exhibition so pertinent for Hong Kong. At 93, Carlos Cruz-Diez continues his research, bringing it forward to the digital age and pursuing ever more ambitious projects such as his recent monumental installation covering a naval ship for the Liverpool Biennial jointly commissioned by the Tate. Carlos Cruz-Diez, like the colour in his work, is focused on the present, not the past.

In this spirit of the present, the exhibition and this accompanying catalogue introduce some of the most refined recent works by the artist, capturing through these creations over six decades of tireless research into colour, line and perception. Following a thematic, instead of a chronological documentation, the oeuvre specially selected by the artist for Hong Kong, provides a comprehensive insight into the artist’s various areas of investigation. Such investigations have been encapsulated as individual lines of thinking in a number of Series inventively termed by the artist himself.

Large-scale grid structures from his celebrated Physichromie series, which Cruz-Diez began in 1959, seemingly depict a flat surface of vertical bands rendered in a contrasting palette and arranged with mathematical regularity into multiple geometric planes. As the viewer moves around the works, their colour dissolves and radically oscillates from one chromatic range to another, generating new spectrums of colour not present, but based on individual visual perception. Yet behind the spectacle and ethereality of the works lies rigorous scientific research and painstaking method.

Each structure is carefully designed to create what Cruz-Diez calls a “light trap” in a space where a series of colour frames interact and transform each other as they are seen from different angles. Induction Chromatique (1963) and Couleur Additive (1959), can be seen as live experiments that create an infinitely evolutionary situation of additive, reflective, inductive and subtractive colour. The destabilisation of the eye in Cruz-Diez’ work serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it sets out to explore the physical effects of colour on the viewer, transforming his experience of art from passive into active. On the other hand, it encourages the viewer to experience colour as equivocal and continually changing, much as it is experienced in nature.

Environnement Chromointerférent (1964) and Transchomie (1965) directly play with the spectator’s environment and are commonly expressed as spatial installations. Chromointerférent (1964) projections cast vertical lines of different colours onto walls and objects, including the viewer. The lines shift and change, intensifying the sensation of movement and the creation of ‘virtual’ colours not chemically present that emerge and disappear. Transchromies’ coloured transparent strips achieve subtractive combinations that change according to the displacement of the viewer, the intensity of the light, and the surrounding colours.

Through each of these investigations Carlos Cruz-Diez has built a complex structure and distinct language of colour, one that does not rely on instinct or emotion. The result of this rigorous approach is nevertheless an invitation to be part of an experiment that liberates colour from form, an invitation to rediscover it once again, to live it in the present. Carlos Cruz-Diez is, in his own words, an artist of today: “We are the artists of the dawn of the third millennium; a time wherein many ‘notions’ that have underpinned society for centuries are being demolished, modified and replaced by new ones. It is a society of the here and now, events, change and the ephemeral. I believe that for a work of art to be ‘contemporary’ it should transcend ‘traditional aesthetics’ and create an event where dialogue between time and space occurs.”

I am thankful to Robin Peckham for his contribution to this catalogue, an insightful and unique viewpoint into the world of Carlos Cruz-Diez from the perspective of today’s Asia Pacific. Finally, I am eternally grateful to Carlos Cruz-Diez, the team at the Atelier Cruz-Diez, the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation and his loving family, for their support and enthusiasm in the development of this landmark exhibition.

Adriana Alvarez-Nichol, Puerta Roja, Carlos Cruz-Diez: Mastering Colour, 2017

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