Leslie Rankow Fine Arts


Airport please! heading to Seoul for the photojournalist exhibitions of Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Decisiive Moment
photographs by Henri Cartier Bresson

I think just about everyone needs a mental health break these days, and with Covid restrictions still putting a damper on our social lives, the art museums in Seoul have been a nice momentary escape from the ongoing chaos that has rampaged through 2022… Momotherose blog, Seoul, Korea

HCB in America
Magnum Photos

From 26 September 2019 to 2 February 2020

The exhibition “Henri Cartier-Bresson : The Decisive Moment” is on display at the Seoul Art Center Hangaram Design Museum, Seoul, from 26 September 2019 to 2 February 2020, in collaboration with Magnum Photos and the Fondation HCB.

Although HCB is known to have been an avid traveler, the essence of his work remained steadfastly Parisian. Indeed, it was in Paris, after studying painting alongside André Lhote in the Montparnasse quarter during the late 1920s, that HCB took up photography: “the first photographs I saw were those of Atget and Keretsz,” he notes. He secured, over time, his own distinctive photographic style, one inscribed in “a realm of imagination but modelled after life” (l’imaginaire d’après nature).

Henri Cartier Bresson

Endlessly roaming through the streets of Paris, HCB snatched away fleeting scenes, at their decisive moment. In these same streets, he would witness the unfolding of significant historical events such as the Liberation of Paris in August 1944 or the student riots of May 1968, while also commissioned by newspapers and magazines to cover various events such as the “six days of Paris” cycle race in November 1957 for the French periodical, Paris Match.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

It was also in Paris that, during the thirties, his encounters with Robert Capa and David Seymour blossomed into friendships, which proved decisive to his lifework. Shortly after the three friends launched the Magnum Photo Agency, in 1947, HCB undertook a three-year journey through the Far East. His photographs taken mostly in India and China, would soon appear in magazines across the world, including Life, Illustrated, and Paris Match. Some of them quickly acquired iconic status, marking a crowning moment in HCB’s career.

Magnum Photos


This exhibition, whose starting point is the book Paris à vue d’oeil, edited by Lothar Schirmer in 1994, is not a sociological study, but is oriented towards what a man, who considered “photography as lying somewhere between the art of the pickpocket and that of the funambulist,” thought was most important: “the flânerie of the gaze in a state of total and willing openness.”


The Hangaram Art Museum is a modern art museum located at the Seoul Arts Center. It is situated at the center’s left wing and it was specifically designed as a large open space to accommodate large-scale artworks and art installations. The museum has exhibition halls, an art library and an art shop. As the museum is part of the Seoul Arts Center complex, the center’s many arts programs are often hosted at the Hangaram Art Museum. A design market takes place at the museum as well.

This year will mark the 70th anniversary of when the famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, penned the book “The Decisive Moment” or “Images a la Sauvette” (Images on the Run) in 1952. The Decisive Moment will be on view at the Hangaram Art Museum (2406 Nambusunhwan-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul) from June 10th, 2022 to October 22nd, 2022.


Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (Verve, 1952), cover © Collections Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

From June 10 to October 2, 2022

Initated by the French publisher Tériade, the project of the famous publication Images à la Sauvette was finally realized on October 1952 as a French-American co-edition, with the contribution of Matisse and the American publishers Simon and Schuster. The latter chose The Decisive Moment as the title of the American version, and unintentionally imposed the motto which would define Cartier-Bresson’s work.

Since its publication in 1952, Images à la Sauvette has received an overwhelming success. It is considered as “a Bible for photographers” according to Robert Capa’s words. The innovative design of the publication stroke the art world with its refine format, the heliogravure quality and the strength of the image sequences. The publication reveals the inherent duality of Cartier-Bresson’s work between the photographer’s intimate interpretation and his documentary approach.

The exhibition presents a selection of vintage prints as well as many archive documents related to the adventure of this book, up to its its recent reprint in facsimile by Steidl.

Fondation Cartier-Bresson
Paris, France


79 rue des archives, Paris

For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. In order to give a “meaning” to the world, one has to feel involved in what one frames through the viewfinder. This attitude requires concentration, discipline of mind, sensitivity, and a sense of geometry. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression.

To take a photograph is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in a face of fleeing reality. It is at that moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.

To take a photograph means to recognize, simultaneously and within a fraction of a second‚ both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning.

It is putting one‚ head, one‚ eye, and one‚ heart on the same axis. 

Established by Henri Cartier-Bresson, his wife Martine Franck, and their daughter Mélanie, the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation opened its doors in May 2003. It now preserves Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martine Franck’s archives. Privately owned and recognized as being of public interest, the Foundation is now one of the most prestigious institutions in Paris.

Fondation Cartier-Bresson, Paris


  • To preserve the independence and legacy of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martine Franck’s work.
  • To retain an exceptional body of work in France.
  • To show – via exhibitions – the “highlights” of the collection and the work of other photographers, painters, sculptors, and illustrators.
  • To enable researchers to carry out their studies with more ease.
  • To provide support to new photographic projects by organizing, every two years, the HCB Award with an international jury.
  • To open up a debate on photography by organizing conferences, round-table discussions and screenings.

Henri Cartier-Bresson


Henri Cartier-Bresson was born on August 22, 1908 in Chanteloup, France. A pioneer in photojournalism, Cartier-Bresson wandered around the world with his camera, becoming totally immersed in his current environment. Considered one of the major artists of the 20th century, he covered many of the world biggest events from the Spanish Civil War to the French uprisings in 1968. “I adore shooting photographs,” he’d later note. “It’s like being a hunter. But some hunters are vegetarians—which is my relationship to photography.” In short, as his frustrated editors would soon discover, Cartier-Bresson preferred taking shots rather than making prints and showing his work.

HCB was a pioneer of photojournalism who took pictures taken on the streets with a small film camera and turned them into art. Cartier-Bresson, who was studying painting as a child, began his career in photography in the early 1930s when he encountered the works of photographers Eugene Atget and Man Ray. The camera was an extension of his eyes, and his way of working was to capture authenticity based on intuition and instinct. He, who said, “I am more interested in life than photography”, opposes any artificiality and instead of excluding directing, flash and photo cropping, the shutter is released only when the subject is perfectly arranged inform and reveals its essence, pressed. Therefore, the world of his work, which contains aesthetic perfection and everyday humanism at the same time, can be condensed into one word: ‘decisive moment’ in his works, we find a keen but warm gaze that looks at life and at the world.


Magnum Photos is an international photographic cooperative  owned by its photographer-members, with offices in New York City, Paris, London and Tokyo. It was founded in Paris in 1947 by Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Ridge and William Vandivert, Rita Vandivert and Maria Eisner. Its photographers retain all copyrights to their own work.Magnum is owned by its photographers, who act as shareholders. Each full member of Magnum has a vote in proposals made at a meeting held once a year, called the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Photographers with the status of contributor or correspondent are represented by Magnum but have no voting rights. Full members can choose to become contributors after 23 years of membership; this status gives them increased liberty to work outside Magnum, at the cost of their voting rights.

In February 2010, Magnum announced that Michael Dell’s venture capital firm MSD Capital  had acquired a collection of nearly 200,000 original press prints of images taken by Magnum photographers. It had formed a partnership with the  Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas At Austin to preserve, catalog, and make photographs available to the general public.  In September 2013 it was announced MSD Capital donated the collection to the Ransom Center.A preliminary inventory is available for researchers who wish to use the collection.

Airport, please! heading to London for two favorite experiences: Theaster Gates at the Serpentine Gallery

Serpentine Pavilion
Regents Park, London

Two of the LRFA  blog’s favorite habits in the city of London have coalesced prompting a flight to my second favorite city. Walking through Regent’s Park past the Queen’s Rose Garden to see the just opened Black Chapel, the commission the compelling artist, Theaster Gates, realized for the Serpentine Pavilion.

Designed by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates, the Serpentine Pavilion 2022 Black Chapel draws inspiration from many of the architectural typologies that ground the artist’s practice.The structure, realised with the support of Adjaye Associates, references the bottle kilns of Stoke-on-Trent, the beehive kilns of the Western United States, San Pietro and the Roman tempiettos, and traditional African structures, such as the Musgum mud huts of Cameroon, and the Kasubi Tombs of Kampala, Uganda. The Pavilion’s circularity and volume echo the sacred forms of Hungarian round churches and the ring shouts, voodoo circles and roda de capoeira witnessed in the sacred practices of the African diaspora.

Black Chapel is a site for contemplation and convening, set within the grounds of Serpentine in Kensington Gardens. The structure’s central oculus emanates a single source of light to create a sanctuary for reflection, refuge and conviviality. The project mirrors the artist’s ongoing engagement with ‘the vessel’ in his studio practice, and with space-making through his celebrated urban regeneration projects.

Drawn to the meditative environment of the Rothko Chapel – which holds fourteen paintings by American artist Mark Rothko in Houston, Texas – Gates has produced a series of new tar paintings specially for Black Chapel. Creating a space that reflects the artist’s hand and sensibilities, seven paintings hang from the interior. In these works, Gates honours his father’s craft as a roofer by using roofing strategies including torch down, a method which requires an open flame to heat material and affix it to a surface.

Theaster Gates: The Question of Clay

Gates’s Serpentine Pavilion 2022 Black Chapel is part of The Question of Clay, a multi-institution project by Theaster Gates taking place in 2021-22 across the Whitechapel Gallery, Serpentine and V&A. The project seeks to investigate the making, labour and production of clay as well as its collecting history, through exhibitions, performance and live interventions with the aim of generating new knowledge, meaning and connections about the material.

Black Vessel
Theaster Gates
Gagosian Gallery

Theaster Gates

A mix of black culture and legacy and the artist’s own practice, he is represented  by the prestigious global Gagosian Gallery. Gates’s first solo exhibition Black Vessel took place in New York at Gagosian, 555 West 24th Street from October 10, 2020- January 23, 2021

I always find myself returning to the vessel. It is part of the intellectual life force of my practice and it precedes all other forms of making.
—Theaster Gates

Gates’s oeuvre is among the most conceptually and materially rich in contemporary art, anchored equally in the canons of art history, the racial ideology of the Black diaspora, and the artist’s own personal history. Through an art practice predicated on cultural reclamation and social empowerment, Gates exchanges and recharges objects and ideas, proposing the artwork as a communicating vessel or sacred reliquary of recollected histories, critical vitality, and shared experience. Traversing a broad range of formal approaches such as painting, sculpture, sound, and performance, as well as the processes of salvaging, archiving, and place making, he delivers penetrating social commentary on labor, material, spiritual capital, and commodity within a close examination of the urban condition.

Grief and Grievance
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

The Brick Reliquaries (2020) are Gates’s latest sculptural experiments. By firing bricks with a strong manganese content to an excessive 2300°F, the known properties of the materials are transformed into the mysteries of heat-based sculpture. In some instances, the material loses its specificity when pushed to such limits; in others, the carbide shelves inside the kiln fuse with the bricks and other sculptural elements that rest on them, becoming host to material transformation.


From February through July, this exhibit coincided with an outstanding exhibit at the the New Museum  “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America,”  originally conceived by Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019) for the New Museum, and presented with curatorial support from advisors Naomi Beckwith, Massimiliano Gioni, Glenn Ligon, and Mark Nash. “Grief and Grievance” was intended to be an intergenerational exhibition, bringing together thirty-seven artists working in a variety of mediums who have addressed the concept of mourning, commemoration, and loss as a direct response to the national emergency of racist violence experienced by Black communities across America. The exhibition  further considers the intertwined phenomena of Black grief and a politically orchestrated white grievance, as each structures and defines contemporary American social and political life. “Grief and Grievance” includes works encompassing video, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, sound, and performance made in the last decade, along with several key historical works and a series of new commissions created in response to the concept of the exhibition.

Grieve and Grievance
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART: Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America

In 2018, the New Museum invited Okwui Enwezor to organize “Grief and Grievance.” Around that time, Enwezor was also developing a series of public talks for the Alain LeRoy Locke Lectures at Harvard University focused on the intersection of Black mourning and white nationalism in American life as articulated in the work of contemporary Black American artists. The argument put forth in this series–which he unfortunately was unable to deliver–informed the ideas Enwezor would use as the basis for “Grief and Grievance.” Between the fall of 2018 and March 2019, Enwezor tirelessly worked on “Grief and Grievance,” drafting his thesis for the exhibition, compiling lists of artists and artworks, selecting the catalogue contributors, and speaking with many of the invited artists. In January 2019, Enwezor asked the artist Glenn Ligon to serve as an advisor to the exhibition. Given the advanced state of planning and the importance of the exhibition, following Enwezor’s death on March 15, 2019, and with the support of his estate and of many of his friends and collaborators, the New Museum established an advisory team, comprised of longtime collaborators and friends of Enwezor including Glenn Ligon; Mark Nash, Professor at the University of California in Santa Cruz, and co-curator of many of Enwezor’s projects, including The Short Century and Documenta 11; and Naomi Beckwith, the Manilow Senior Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, whom Enwezor had chosen as one of the jurors of his 2015 Venice Biennale. With the assistance of Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director at the New Museum, this curatorial advisory group worked together to realize and interpret Enwezor’s vision for “Grief and Grievance.” The curatorial advisors and the New Museum also see this exhibition as a tribute to Enwezor’s work and legacy.

Okwui Enwezor

Since he began work on the project, Enwezor had expressed a desire to open the exhibition in proximity to the American presidential election, as a powerful response to a crisis in American democracy and as a clear indictment of Donald Trump’s  politics. Although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the opening of the exhibition, the works included in the exhibition speak powerfully to America’s past, present, and future.



Taxi please, close to home, summer in the city, at Madison Square Park to see the Christine Iglesias installation: Landscape and Memory

Landscape and Memory
Christine Iglesias


On June 3. 2022. the Annual Symposium of the Madison Park Conservancy met to explore the topic of Unearthing Public Art. From his first earthwork, Michael Heizer. the grandfather of all earth works, brought the childhood fascination of ‘playing in the sand’ to entirely new levels. His large-scale sculptures, set in specific environments so as to create dialogue with the land, helped pioneer Earth or Land Art, a distinctly American art movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. This precedent has been explored by a multitude of land artists, who have brought attention to our ecological wealth in the course of their practice its ethic of environmental restoration, preservation, and consciousness. Like Earth Day, Earth art is very much a product of its time.


Madison Square is a  public square  formed by the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street  in the New York City. The square was named for James Madison,  our fourth President. The focus of the square is Madison Square Park, a 6.2-acre (2.5-hectare) public park, which is bounded on the east by Madison Avenue (which starts at the park’s southeast corner at 23rd Street); on the south by 23rd Street; on the north by 26th Street; and on the west by Fifth Avenue and Broadway as they cross.

Madison Park, New York City


Christine Iglesias





Cristina Iglesias was born in San Sebastián, Spain in 1956. Although American in spirit, the Earth Works movement has been adopted globally and one of the LRFA blog’s favorite artists in this category is Cristina Iglesias. Iglesias works with a wide range of materials, including steel, water, glass, bronze, bamboo, straw. She commenced a degree in Chemical Sciences at Universidad del País Vasco in 1976 before out in 1978 to practise ceramics and drawing in Barcelona. In 1980, she moved to London to study Sculpture at the Chelsea College of Art in London where she met her husband, the brilliant sculptor who stunned the art world  with his figural installation at the Tate’s Turbine Hall, Juan Muñoz and other artists such as Anish Kapoor. She currently lives and works in Torrelodones, Madrid.


JUAN MUNOZ: Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum

Throughout her career, Iglesias has defined a unique sculptural vocabulary, building immersive and experiential environments that reference and unite architecture, literature and culturally site-specific influences. Through a language of constructed and natural forms rendered in various materials and ranging from suspended pavilions, latticed panels, passageways, and mazes, to walls imbued with texts and structural and vegetative forms, she poetically redefines space by confounding interior and exterior, organic and artifice, combining industrial materials with natural elements to produce unexpected new sensory sites for the viewer. Such is the case with landscape and memory.

Madison Square Park Iglesias: Landscape and Memory



Her work has been shown recently in solo exhibitions at Centro Botín, Santander, Spain (2018); Musée de Grenoble, France (2016); BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels, Belgium (2014); a large retrospective at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid Spain (2013); and at Casa Franças, Rio de Janeiro (2013). Earlier solo shows have been exhibited at the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro, Milan (2009); Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2006); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2003); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2003); Museu Serralves, Fundaçao Serralves, Oporto (2002); Guggenheim New York (1997); and Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (1999).

Iglesias has participated in a number of international exhibitions and public commissions and has represented Spain at the 1986 and 1993 Venice Biennales and at the Sydney Biennale in 2012. Recent public commissions include Forgotten Streams at Bloomberg Headquarters in London (2017) and the enormous permanent public commission, Tres Aguas – a Project for Toledo, Toledo,Spain (2014). In 2020 she was awarded the Royal Academy Architecture Prize, London.

Tres Aguas- a project for Toledo



Currently she exhibits in the States at the prestigious Marian Goodman gallery, New York, https://www.mariangoodman.com/artists/47-cristina-iglesias/


The installation, entitled Landscape and Memory evokes the Park’s Buried Topography With Large-Scale Bronze Sculptures Set into Lawn, Flowing with Water.

Madison Square Park, New York No Mad

There is a poignancy to the work to which the LRFA blog reacts deeply, to its simplicity and to the depth of its symbolism. When visiting the site at 23rd Street and Broadway, consider the forgotten terrains and geographic history of New York City in a new public art installation at Madison Square Park, marking her first major temporary public art project in the United States. Landscape and Memory places five bronze sculptural pools, flowing with water, into the park’s Oval Lawn, harkening back to when the Cedar Creek coursed across the land where the park stands today. Building on Iglesias’ practice of unearthing the forgotten and excavating natural history, Landscape and Memory resurfaces in the imaginations of contemporary viewers the now-invisible force of this ancient waterway. In the hustle and bustle of 23rd street, Iglesias has created a beautiful respite from our anxieties, and in our post-pandemic culture, an oasis of poetry, peace and fresh air in the middle of New York.

Water Window Walls

On view from June 1 through December 4, 2022, Landscape and Memory is complemented by a slate of interdisclipinary public programs, free and open to the public. Presented within and responding to the work, these include a summer music series curated with Carnegie Hall as well as performance programming organized in conjunction with The Kitchen. Cristina Iglesias is also the keynote speaker for the Conservancy’s annual public art symposium, held on Friday, June 3, 2022. This year’s program investigates the role of public art in shedding new light on buried histories, both metaphorically and physically.


Christine Iglesias
Landscape and Memory




Airport, please! heading to Arles to see Requiem, Lee Ufan’s exhibition in Alycamps, a heritage site in Arles, France

Lee Ufan

LEE UFAN in Arles, France

On this occasion of the opening of the Lee Ufan Arles permanent exhibition, the LRFA blog is delighted to travel to Alycamps, one of the main heritage sites of the city of Arles,  to see Requiem, an important set of 14 new works,  created by the curator, Alfred Pacquement.  Lee Ufan is the Korean minimalist painter and sculptor artist and academic, honored by the government of Japan for having “contributed to the development of contemporary art in Japan”.

Lee Ufan has respectfully invested these ancestral places by displaying his sculptures and paintings in the famous alley of sarcophagi that dot this city of the dead and in the Saint-Honorat church, an unfinished Romanesque building that concludes the tour.

From April 2022, Lee Ufan Arles, a permanent exhibition center for Lee Ufan’s paintings and sculptures, is accessible to the public in the Hotel Vernon in the heart of the city of Arles.This private mansion, built between the 16th and 18th centuries, was acquired by the Lee Ufan Foundation to become the venue for a presentation of the artist’s work in the same way as those already open in Naoshima (Japan) and in Busan (South Korea).

Lee Ufan
Guggenheim Museum, New York

LEE UFAN: Marking Infinity  at The Guggenheim Museum

In September 2011, Lee Ufan’s work impacted New York with an extraordinary exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum, an introduction for many to this artist. Marking Infinity presents the work of artist-philosopher Lee Ufan, charting his creation of a visual, conceptual, and theoretical terrain that has radically expanded the possibilities for painting and sculpture since the 1960s. Lee is acclaimed for an innovative body of work that revolves around the notion of encounter—seeing the bare existence of what is actually before us and focusing on “the world as it is.”

Lee Ufan

LEE UFAN: biography

Lee was born in southern Korea in 1936 and witnessed the political convulsions that beset the Korean peninsula from the Japanese occupation to the Korean War, which left the country divided in 1953. He studied painting at the College of Fine Arts at Seoul National University and soon moved to Japan, where he earned a degree in philosophy. Over the last 40 years, he has lived and worked in Korea, Japan, and France, becoming a transnational artist in a postmodern world before those terms were current. “The dynamics of distance have made me what I am,” he remarks.

Lee Ufan
Relatum – Stage
by the Serpentine, London

In the late 1960s, in an artistic environment emphasizing ideas of system, structure, and process, Lee emerged as the theoretical leader of the Mono-ha (literally, “School of Things”), a Japanese movement that arose amid the collapse of colonial world orders, antiauthoritarian protests, and the rise of critiques of modernity. Lee’s sculptures, presenting dispersed arrangements of stones together with industrial materials like steel plates, rubber sheets, and glass panes, recast the object as a network of relations based on parity among the viewer, materials, and site. Lee was a pivotal figure in the Korean tansaekhwa (monochrome painting) school, which offered a fresh approach to minimalist abstraction by presenting repetitive gestural marks as bodily records of time’s perpetual passage. Deeply versed in modern philosophy and Asian metaphysics, Lee has coupled his artistic practice with a prodigious body of critical and philosophical writings, which provide the quotations that appear throughout this exhibition.

Lee Ufan

Marking Infinity is organized to reflect Lee’s method of working in iterative series and spans the 1960s to the present. Whether brush marks on canvas or stones placed just so on the ground, his markings in space elicit momentary, open-ended situations that engage the viewer viscerally. His distilled gestures, manifesting an extraordinary ethics of restraint, create an emptiness that is paradoxically generative and vivid. Relatum (formerly Phenomena and Perception A, 1969) presents three rocks laid on a latex band marked as a measuring tape. The weight of the rocks causes the band to stretch and buckle, disrupting the system of measurement it codes and reminding us of the capriciousness of rational truth: what you see is a result of where you stand.

Since his early Mono-ha period, Lee has restricted his choice of sculptural materials to steel plates and stones, focusing on their precise conceptual and spatial juxtaposition. The steel plate—hard, heavy, solid—is made to build things in the modern world; the stone, in its natural as-is state, “belongs to an unknown world” beyond the self and outside modernity, evoking “the other” or “externality.”

Lee Ufan
Relatum – Stage
by the Serpentine, London

Arranging the plates in precise relationships to the stones, Lee’s Relatum series (1968– ) presents a durational form of coexistence between the made and the not made, the material and the immaterial elements of our surroundings. The series title is a philosophical term denoting terms, objects, or events between which a relation exists. In Lee’s mind, the occasion of the site-specific work and the network of dynamics it triggers is more important than the object per se, and we the viewer enter the scene as an equal part of the whole.

The show concludes on Tower Level 7 with an installation of Lee’s Dialogue painting series (2006– ). Lee has created a site-specific installation placing a single, broad, viscous stroke of paint on each of three adjacent walls of the empty room.Dialogue–space (2011) sets up a rhythm that exposes and enlivens the emptiness of the space, creating what Lee calls “an open site of power in which things and space interact vividly.”

Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art

Lee Ufan
Pace Gallery
East Hampton, NY


Pace is pleased to present an exhibition of new and recent work by Lee Ufan at its East Hampton gallery. Many of the featured works in the presentation—which runs from July 22 to August 8, 2021, and highlights three paintings alongside three watercolors—were created at the artist’s studio in Kamakura, Japan amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant worldwide disruptions.

In a contemplative essay penned in April 2020, when shutdowns were instituted in many countries around the world, Lee wrote to his global audience, “Presently I am secluded at home, absorbed in thought and gazing at the outdoors. While I abhor the new coronavirus, I am digesting the message it brought. The virus is artistic in that the fear and confusion caused by its incomprehensible nature makes the world look new.”

Lee Ufan
Pace Gallery
East Hampton, NY

The upcoming presentation foregrounds Lee’s distinct approach to color and space in his paintings. Lee has said that one of his aims as an artist is to create highly abstract works that eschew realism and legible representation. As the artist put it in a 2018 interview on the occasion of his solo exhibition at Pace’s New York space, “If I make one stroke, there is suddenly a resonance in that space. I need to find the right place for that resonance … I hope viewers experience a moment where they can transcend themselves through the work.” This exhibition exemplifies the artist’s interest in inspiring viewers of his work to see the world in new ways.

Lee Ufan
Pace Gallery, New York

Stronger for Life ! a finalist for FILM THREAT

To my friends and to the PS community who have supported Stronger for Life,

I am very pleased to update you on some great news!

Stronger for Life is nominated for an award by FILM THREAT/Award This! Nominees were selected from over 2,000 indie films reviewed by Film Threat in 2021. Along with 6 other nominees, we are nominated in the category: Socially Relevant Documentary. The awards will take place in Santa Ana CA on May 21st – we’ll keep you posted!

Film Threat words:
“Stronger for Life documents the rise of Ilaria Montagnani in the fitness world and the shattering diagnosis that almost destroyed her. Several interviewees, including Ilaria’s mother, brother, doctors, and acquaintances, attest to Montagnani’s drive and tenacity. In addition, the woman herself is forthright about her life in fitness and emotionally candid when discussing her fight against cancer and subsequent mastectomy.”

I started this documentary when I was first diagnosed with cancer, not knowing what the future would hold for me. I am very lucky and everyday I feel blessed and thankful that I am here and healthy. My journey made me realize how incredibly fragile we are and how much strength we have inside ourselves. And how much all the years of training and physical work would help me fight my battle, mentally and physically.

Figures crossed, we’ll be back to you on May 21st.

Thank you for your support of Ilaria’s documentary and of my frequent pleas.

love, Leslie

Leslie Rankow


Executive Director

Taxi please! heading to Greenwich, CT for the David Salle Show

David Salle
Plank Pose, 2012
oil and acrylic on linen
20 x 30 inches

In these times even a quick car trip to Greenwich seems like an excursion, fresh air, outdoors, no masks, adventure, free at last. As a long-time fan and follower of the work of David Salle, for the LRFA blog, news of his retrospective exhibition at the Brant Foundation was irresistible.

David Salle


Born in 1952 in Oklahoma, David Salle grew up in Wichita, Kansas. In 1970, he was part of the foundational class at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where he studied with John Baldessari. After earning a BFA in 1973 and an MFA in 1975, both from CalArts, Salle moved to New York, where he has lived since.

Tree of Life #6, 2020

Like many artists of his Post-modern generation, David Salle initially drew inspiration for his rich visual vocabulary from existing pictures, often from the worlds of film, advertising and graphic communication. He sought out images that, as he put it in a 1981 interview, “understand us.” Distinct from others of his generation, the mainspring of Salle’s imagery has always been his own photography, the carefully staged and lit scenes that appear in his paintings like telexes from the unconscious. Since the mid-80s, his paintings have continued to expand their emphasis on dynamic, relational composition.

Frost Free, 2018 oil and acrylic on linen

A typical Salle painting is one in which the viewer’s eye is kept moving; the structure and placement of images create internal rhythms that pulse with energy. Salle’s paintings often contain allusions to artists of the past – from Velázquez and Bernini, to Picasso, Giacometti, and Magritte, as well as to American art both post and pre-war. However, a catalog of references can be misleading; sources do not a painting make. The meaning of Salle’s paintings lies in the way images are contextualized and presented, with the poetry of their juxtaposition, and, more than anything, with how they are painted.

The new works are more in the genre of comic books, using humorous images rather than the dense dramatic  earlier ones that are evocative and sexual, refer to film montage, and often feature his muse/mistress, Karen Armitage.

Shooting, 1995

Salle’s paintings have been shown in museums and galleries worldwide for over 35 years. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Whitney Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MoMA Vienna; Menil Collection, Houston; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; the Kestner Geselshaft, Hannover; the Guggenheim Bilbao. He was the subject of solo exhibitions at the Dallas Contemporary in 2015 and the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo in Málaga, Spain in 2016. He has participated in major international expositions including Documenta 7 (1982), Venice Biennale (1982 and 1993), Whitney Biennial (1983, 1985, and 1991), Paris Biennale (1985), and Carnegie International (1985).


Brant Foundation
Greenwich, CT


Founded by Peter M. Brant in 1996, The Brant Foundation has a mission to promote education and appreciation of contemporary art and design, by making works available to institutions and individuals for scholarly study and examination.

The Brant Foundation’s loan program, established in 1996, plays a crucial role in our mission to promote education and appreciation of contemporary art. The Foundation’s lending program increases public accessibility to the collection’s paramount pieces – broadening visibility to contemporary works critical to the history of art and its scholarship. Each year, the Foundation lends artwork to exhibiting venues worldwide, proudly supporting artists and art institutions around the globe. Please contact Allison Brandt for more information about their loan program.

Additionally, The Brant Foundation offers a multitude of ongoing programs and events aimed to enhance and enrich the public’s experience with contemporary art. These programs are designed to facilitate art education, foster creative and scholarly development, and provide unique opportunities for anyone with an interest in contemporary art. to learn more about The Brant Foundation’s educational programs.

David Salle Installation
Brant Foundation

The Brant Foundation, designed by Richard Gluckman, opened its doors in Greenwich, CT in 2009 and presents two long-term exhibitions each year, curated primarily from the collection. The collection is remarkable in that scores of artists are represented in depth, including works from the earliest period of their practice through their most recent works.

The structure at 941 North St. was originally built in 1909 as a cold-storage barn, part of the vast E.C. Conyers estate.

“The building was originally made from stones sourced from local farm fields. I felt it was important to preserve the turn-of-the-century architecture and great character of the building, while also breathing new life into it, first as a polo club, and now as an art study center,” says Peter Brant, Founder of The Brant Foundation Art Study Center.


Peter Brant

FOUNDER, Peter Brant

Peter Brant is an entrepreneur, manufacturing executive, publisher, philanthropist, sportsman and art collector, whose eclectic mix of personal interests and commercial ventures have resulted in achievements in business, philanthropy and the arts.

Born in 1947, Mr. Brant’s wide-ranging career, has taken him on a journey from growing up in Queens, N.Y. to his current home in Greenwich, Conn.

Peter Brant is the chairman and chief executive officer of White Birch Paper, whose predecessor business his father co-founded in the 1940s. In 2008, Mr. Brant bought out his partner in the company. In 2010, after a sharp downturn in demand for newsprint, he guided the enterprise through a major restructuring that has positioned it for the future. Today the company, which is based in Greenwich, Conn., remains among the largest newsprint manufacturers in North America, operating four pulp and paper mills in Canada and the United States.

David Salle
King Kong. 1983

Airport, please! heading to London to experience the obsessive vision of infinity with Yayoi Kusama at Tate Modern

Yayoi Kusama
Tate Modern
London, UK


The nine decades of Yayoi Kusama’s  life have taken her from rural Japan to the New York art scene to contemporary Tokyo, in a career in which she has continuously innovated and re-invented her style. Well-known for her repeating dot patterns, her art encompasses an astonishing variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film, performance and immersive installation.  It ranges from works on paper featuring intense semi-abstract imagery, to soft sculpture known as ‘Accumulations’, to her ‘Infinity Net’ paintings, made up of carefully repeated arcs of paint built up into large patterns. Since 1977 Kusama has lived voluntarily in a psychiatric institution, and much of her work has been marked with obsessiveness and a desire to escape from psychological trauma. In an attempt to share her experiences, she creates installations that immerse the viewer in her obsessive vision of endless dots and nets or infinitely mirrored space.

Infinity Room
Yayoi Kusama

At the centre of the art world in the 1960s, she came into contact with artists including Donald Judd, Andy Warhol, Joseph Cornell, and Claus Oldenberg influencing many along the way. She has traded on her identity as an ‘outsider’ in many contexts – as a female artist in a male-dominated society, as a Japanese person in the Western art world, and as a victim of her own neurotic and obsessional symptoms. After achieving fame and notoriety with groundbreaking art happenings  and events, she returned to her country of birth and is now Japan’s most prominent contemporary artist.

The post-covid world has opened us up to the fragility of mental well-being, to isolation, and minor insanity and to obsession, worrying about the present and the future, the job market. Kusama has spent her entire life in a post-covid world.

Yayoi Kusama

This is a varied, spectacular exhibition of a truly unique artist. There has never been an exhibition of this size of her work in the UK and this is an unmissable opportunity for both Kusama fans and those new to her work. This is a time of intense confinement and self-absorption. The opportunity to wrap oneself up in Kusama’s infinity nets and time travel in her infinity rooms is particularly seductive.


Yayoi Kusama’s (b. 1929) work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: Pop art and Minimalism. Her highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures, which allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes.

Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Kusama’s work has been featured widely in both solo and group presentations. She presented her first solo show in her native Japan in 1952. In the mid-1960s, she established herself in New York as an important avant-garde artist by staging groundbreaking and influential happenings, events, and exhibitions. Her work gained renewed widespread recognition in the late 1980s following a number of international solo exhibitions, including shows at the Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, both of which took place in 1989. She represented Japan in 1993 at the 45th Venice Biennale, to much critical acclaim. In 1998, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, co-organized Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958–1968, which toured to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1998-1999), and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1999).

Louis Vuitton Commission Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, Spain

More recently, in 2011 to 2012, her work was the subject of a large- scale retrospective that traveled to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. From 2012 through 2015, three major museum solo presentations of the artist’s work simultaneously traveled to major museums throughout Japan, Asia, and Central and South America. In 2015, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark, organized a comprehensive overview of Kusama’s practice that traveled to Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Helsinki Art Museum. In 2017-2019, a major survey of the artist’s work, Infinity Mirrors, was presented at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Seattle Art Museum; The Broad, Los Angeles; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia. Yayoi Kusama: Life Is the Heart of the Rainbow, which marked the first large-scale exhibition of Kusama’s work presented in Southeast Asia, opened at the National Gallery of Singapore in 2017 and traveled to the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Jakarta.

Infinity Room

Kusama has been represented by David Zwirner since 2013. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition in 2013 with the artist, titled I Who Have Arrived in Heaven, spanned all three spaces at West 19th Street in New York. Her second gallery solo show was held at David Zwirner, New York, in 2015. Subsequent solo shows of the artist’s work at David Zwirner, New York, include Give Me Love in 2015; Festival of Life, concurrently presented with Infinity Nets, in 2017; and EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE in 2019. In 2021, David Zwirner, Victoria Miro, and Ota Fine Arts jointly presented I WANT YOUR TEARS TO FLOW WITH THE WORDS I WROTE in London, Tokyo, and New York.

The first comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work was on view at Gropius Bau, Berlin in 2021, and is currently on view at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art until April 23, 2022. KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature was on view at The New York Botanical Garden in 2021. Tate Modern, London, is presenting Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms through June 12, 2022.

Yayoi Kusama Museum Japan

Yayoi Kusama Museum, a museum dedicated to the artist’s work, opened October 1, 2017, in Tokyo with the inaugural exhibition Creation is a Solitary Pursuit, Love is What Brings You Closer to Art. In 2021, Midway between Mystery and Symbol: Yayoi Kusama’s Monochrome, the museum’s eighth exhibition devoted to her work, was on view.

Work by the artist is held in museum collections worldwide, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; among numerous others. Kusama lives and works in Tokyo.

Kusama’s pumpkin sculpture


As we head into a perilous war with Russia, we yearn for a perfect space in which to feel safe. Her exhibits command queues around the block in Chelsea, waiting for the  opportunity to immerse themselves in her latest psychotic world  on exhibit at David Zwirner.

Airport, please! heads to Dubai to visit Galerie Perrotin’s opening of another new space in the Middle East

Galerie Perrotin Dubai

Emmanuel Perrotin founded his first gallery in 1990 at the age of twenty-one. He has worked closely with his impressive  roster of international artists, some for more than twenty-five years, to help fulfill their ambitious projects. Perrotin has galleries in Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, and Shanghai, totaling approximately 7,500 square meters (80,500 square feet) of exhibition space across its ten locations.

Located since 2005 in an eighteenth-century mansion, Perrotin has three gallery spaces totaling approximately 1,600 square meters (17,000 sq. ft.) in the Marais district of Paris. Two years after it opened, the original Paris gallery expanded into its space on Impasse Saint-Claude. In 2014, Perrotin opened a 700-square-meter (7,500 sq. ft.) showroom known as the Salle de Bal, in a former ballroom in the Hôtel d’Ecquevilly, a seventeenth-century hôtel particulier. In June 2020, Perrotin opens a space totaling 70 square meters (750 sq. ft.) on Avenue Matignon in the west of Paris.

In 2021, a new gallery dedicated to secondary market will take a five-storey townhouse, (4,090 square feet, 380 sq. m.) located 8 avenue Matignon nearby Christie’s and Sotheby’s.


In all, the Paris gallery spaces amount to 29,600 square feet (2,750 sq. m.).

Emmanuel Perrotin


In May of 2012, Perrotin opened its Hong Kong gallery on the seventeenth floor of 50 Connaught Road Central (650 sq. m./approx. 7,000 sq. ft.), overlooking Victoria Harbour. In 2020, the Hong Kong gallery moved across the harbor to K11 ATELIER Victoria Dockside on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront.

Galerie Perrotin New York, upper east side

From 2013 to 2016, Perrotin New York was housed in a historic building on the Upper East Side’s iconic Madison Avenue. After three successful years there, the gallery expanded in April of 2017 to a 2,300-square-meter (25,000 sq. ft.) space, relocating to 130 Orchard Street in New York’s most dynamic arts neighborhood, the Lower East Side. Perrotin New York includes a bookshop featuring unique editions and books published by the gallery.

Galerie Perrotin Seoul

In 2016, Perrotin inaugurated a 240-square-meter (2,600 sq. ft.) space in Seoul. Perrotin Seoul is located in the heart of Jongno-gu district, the city’s museum and gallery district, in close proximity to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and Daelim Museum and just in front of the Blue House, the official residence of the President, and Gyeongbok Palace.

Galerie Perrotin Tokyo

In June of 2017, Perrotin opened a space in Tokyo on the ground floor of the Piramide Building. The gallery is located in the center of the Roppongi area, a vibrant cultural neighborhood that is home to a large number of museums, including the Mori Art Museum, Suntory Museum of Art, and National Art Center, as well as many well-established galleries. In 2019, the gallery expanded to a 230 square meter (2,500 sq. ft.) space. In 2019 the gallery expanded, and it now totals 230 square meters (2,500 sq. ft.) of exhibition space in Tokyo.

Galerie Perrotin Shanghai

In 2018, Perrotin launched a gallery in Shanghai, in the heart of the city’s Bund quarter. Perrotin Shanghai occupies the top floor of a historic three-story brick building known as the Amber Building, a former warehouse built in 1937, used by the Central Bank of China during the Republican period. Totaling 1,300 square meters (14,000 sq. ft.), the gallery space includes a mezzanine and several exhibition rooms. In keeping with the building’s modernist elegance, original 1930s elements have been preserved, including the wooden beam ceiling, which is 6 meters (20 ft.) in height.

Perrotin participates in more than twenty art fairs each year, including Art Basel (Basel, Miami, Hong Kong); Frieze (London, New York, Los Angeles); FIAC (Paris); the Dallas Art Fair; Expo Chicago; ART021 and West Bund Art & Design (Shanghai); the Armory Show and TEFAF (New York); and artgenève (Geneva).

The gallery has expanded its mission in recent years, most notably through the production of thoughtful editorial content, such as podcast and video, as well as developing a programmatic calendar, which includes panel discussions, education workshops for children, and concerts.

The gallery also publishes catalogues, editions, and goodies, available in its bookstores.

Galerie Perrotin Dubai

Perrotin is pleased to announce the opening of a new gallery in Dubai in 2022. It is interesting to mark the geographical locations of his galleries as they are hot spots for new collectors and new pockets of wealth.

Now established in seven cities—Paris, Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Dubai—the gallery continues to expand its reach with the opening of this new permanent address in the Middle East.

Perrotin Dubai will be operated by both Perrotin Primary Market and Perrotin Secondary Market, founded by Tom-David Bastok, Dylan Lessel and Emmanuel Perrotin.

The gallery is located in the DIFC, the heart of Dubai, not far from Christie’s, Sotheby’s and other galleries, and close to many of the city’s best restaurants and landmarks.

The new 100-square-meter space will present primary market works by artists represented by the gallery alongside secondary market works, a recently launched and successful business that continues to grow.

As the war in the Ukraine grows, the world morphs into a new political shape, threatened by Putin’s actions and by American sanctions. The LRFA blog wants to explore the new Middle East, courtesy of the vision of Emmanuel Perrotin and his galleries in this very wealthy  part of the world.

Airport, please! heads to Tate St. Ives for exhibition of vietnamese artist/filmmaker Thao Nguyen Phan’s reflection on the Mekong River

Thao Nguyễn Phan First Rain, Brise Soleil. Tate St. Ives. UK

Thao Nguyen Phan is an internationally renowned artist/filmmaker celebrated for her poetic, multi-layered artworks that explore the historical and ecological issues facing her homeland Vietnam, while speaking to broader ideas around tradition, ideology, ritual and environmental change. In our post-pandemic era, the effect of ecological indifference has peaked as we see and experience the devastation by fire of California forests and tycoons sweeping across the South, as well as social issues as we experience the devastation of the Omicron virus on the population. The loss of friends, family and loved ones, the double-masked fear of contracting the virus, has created a never before experience of social distancing that leaves us isolated and afraid. Thus, in its own way, the work of Thao Nguyen Phan resonates with each of us.

Thao Nguyen Phan

Phan’s mesmerising work intertwines mythology and folklore with urgent issues around industrialisation, food security and the environment. The threat posed by the destruction and excessive consumption of Earth’s resources is a recurring theme across her practice.

Through storytelling, and the mixing of official and unofficial histories, her work often amplifies narratives that are less well documented, or in some cases obscured.

This exhibition will bring together a selection of Phan’s videos, paintings and sculptures from the past five years, alongside new work exhibited for the first time. This includes First Rain, Brise Soleil (2021–ongoing), a major new multi-channel film commission, and an accompanying series of paintings.


Trained as a painter, Phan is a multimedia artist whose practice encompasses video, painting and installation. Drawing from literature, philosophy and daily life, Phan observes ambiguous issues in social conventions and history. She started working in film when she began her MFA in Chicago. Phan exhibits internationally, with solo and group exhibitions including Tate St Ives, (Cornwall, UK, 2022); Chisenhale gallery (London, 2020); WIELS (Brussels, 2020); Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai, 2019); Lyon Biennale (Lyon, 2019); Sharjah Biennial (Sharjah Art Foundation, 2019); Gemäldegalerie (Berlin, 2018); Dhaka Art Summit (2018); Para Site (Hong Kong, 2018); Factory Contemporary Art Centre (Ho Chi Minh City, 2017); Nha San Collective (Hanoi, 2017); and Bétonsalon (Paris, 2016), among others. She was shortlisted for the 2019 Hugo Boss Asia Art Award. In addition to her work as a multimedia artist, she is co-founder of the collective Art Labor, which explores cross disciplinary practices and develops art projects that benefit the local community.

Thao Nguyen Phan is expanding her “theatrical fields”, including what she calls performance gesture and moving images. Phan is a 2016-2017 Rolex Protégée, mentored by internationally acclaimed, New York-based, performance and video artist, Joan Jonas. Thao Nguyen Phan lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is the recipient of the Han Nefkens Foundation – LOOP Video Art Award 2018. Tate St Ives is her first solo museum exhibition in the UK.

Tate St. Ives



Tate St Ives is a public art gallery in St Ives, Cornwall, England, exhibiting work by modern British artists with links to the St Ives area. The Tate also took over management of another museum in the town, the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, The exhibition will intertwine folklore and myth with urgent issues around the rural, industrialisation, food security, and the environment. The artworks consist of videos, silk paintings and mixed media work. A new film First Rain/BriseSoleil and series of paintings will be specially created for the exhibition.

Thao Nguyen Phan lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is the recipient of the Han Nefkens Foundation – LOOP Video Art Award 2018. This is her first solo museum exhibition in the UK.


Thao Nguyễn Phan
Becoming Alluvium

26 September 2020 – 13 December 2020

Chisenhale Gallery presents Becoming Alluvium, the first solo exhibition in a UK institution by Ho Chi Minh City-based artist Thao Nguyen Phan. Working with painting, installation and moving image, Phan’s work explores history and tradition through non-fiction and fictional narratives.

Becoming Alluvium continues Phan’s ongoing research on the Mekong River, which runs through Tibet, China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Composed of two elements – a single channel film work and a series of lacquer and silk paintings – the works simultaneously explore real and imaginary worlds.

Thao Nguyễn Phan
Tate St. Ives

This newly commissioned video work is structured around three chapters telling stories of destruction, reincarnation and renewal, centered around the ebb and flow of the Mekong River. Combining self-shot footage, animation and found imagery, the work weaves narratives concerning industrialisation, food security and ecological sustainability with folklore and myth.

An accompanying series of paintings titled Perpetual Brightness, made in collaboration with artist Truong Cong Tung, further explore the cultural, agricultural and economic significance of the river. The watercolour on silk paintings depict characters in various states – from insects playing musical instruments to a young boy caressing an endangered Irrawaddy dolphin. Presented in frames made with Vietnamese lacquer, eggshell and silver leaf, the series tell stories of the past, present and future of the Mekong River and its inhabitants.

thao Nguyễn Phan
Monsoon Melody

Phan’s new commission builds on previous works Tropical Siesta (2017) and Mute Grain (2019), which collectively address Phan’s urgent call to awaken from a ‘state of collective amnesia’ in relation to the threat posed by excessive consumption of Earth’s resources.

Mekong River

Becoming Alluvium is produced and commissioned by Han Nefkens Foundation in collaboration with: Joan Miró Foundation, Barcelona; WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; and Chisenhale Gallery. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated publication, co-published by the exhibition partners, the Han Nefkens Foundation and Mousse Publishing.

Thao Nguyễn Phan

Becoming Alluvium is Phan’s most recent work: a single-channel colour film continuing her research into the Mekong River and the cultures that it nurtures. Through allegory, it explores the environmental and social changes caused by the expansion of agriculture, by overfishing and the economic migration of farmers to urban areas. “The Mekong civilization can be summarized in terms of materiality – the river of wet rice civilization – and in terms of spirituality – the river of Buddhism,” explains Phan. “However,” she continues, “unlike the teachings of compassion and mindfulness that are taught by Buddha, in reality, the land through which the Mekong flows experiences extreme turbulence and conflict […]. In recent decades, human intervention on the river body has been so violent that it has forever transformed the nature of its flow and the fate of its inhabitants.”

Despite its non-chronological narrative and associative logic, Phan’s film can be divided into three main chapters. The first opens with a citation from The Gardener by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, published in 1913, which speak of the unity of the human and natural universe. The film recounts the collapse of a dam that caused the death of many villagers downstream, including two teenager brothers. “They reconcile in their next life, in which the older brother reincarnates as the Irrawaddy dolphin, and the little brother as the water hyacinth,” says Phan. “Both are iconic,” she continues, “the Irrawaddy dolphin being a beloved fish of the Mekong, the water hyacinth being a notorious invasive plant.” The work manifests her belief in the moving image as a “cascade of reincarnations,” influenced by her upbringing in a traditional Vietnamese family, where Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism co-exist alongside a multitude of local deities.

 The second chapter of the film combines images of people navigating the Mekong as they go about their daily lives, with a voiceover reading from L’Amant [The Lover] by the French author Marguerite Duras. This is an autobiographical novel published in 1984 that recounts Duras’ coming-of-age in French Indochina (present-day Vietnam). This chapter of Phan’s film is the most documentary in its visual language, yet through its lyrical tone manages to mix the epic with the everyday; for example, combining images of rubbish heaps with reflections on waste from Italian author Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel Le città invisibili [Invisible Cities]. By citing such writers, Phan taps into a rich literary tradition of philosophical travelogues and imagined or (mis)remembered stories of far-flung lands.

SOFT WATER HARD STONE 2021 Triennial at the New Museum


The title of the 2021 Triennial, “Soft Water Hard Stone,” is taken from a Brazilian proverb, versions of which are found across cultures:

The proverb can be said to have two meanings: if one persists long enough, the desired effect can eventually be achieved; and time can destroy even the most perceptibly solid materials. The title speaks to ideas of resilience and perseverance, and the impact that an insistent yet discrete gesture can have in time. It also provides a metaphor for resistance, as water—a constantly flowing and transient material—is capable of eventually dissolving stone—a substance associated with permanence, but also composed of tiny particles that can collapse under pressure.

In this moment of profound change, where structures that were once thought to be stable are disintegrating or on the edge of collapse, the 2021 Triennial recognizes artists re-envisioning traditional models, materials, and techniques beyond established paradigms. Their works exalt states of transformation, calling attention to the malleability of structures, porous and unstable surfaces, and the fluid and adaptable potential of both technological and organic mediums. Throughout the exhibition, artists address the regenerative potential of the natural world and our inseparable relationship to it, and grapple with entrenched legacies of colonialism, displacement, and violence. Their works look back at overlooked histories and artistic traditions, while at the same time look forward toward the creative potential that might give dysfunctional or discarded remains new life. It is through their reconfigurations and reimaginings that we are reminded of not only our temporality, but also our adaptability— fundamental characteristics we share, and that keep us human.

The LRFA blog has always appreciated the influence and appreciation of Asian culture in our 21st Century world. In the face of impending war with the Ukraine, learning to be still and accepting fate with grace are two virtues, difficult to achieve, may be welcome traits  in these uncertain times.


Airport, please! the LRFA blog heads to Norway, to Pierre Huyghe’s mysterious installation at Kistofos

Pierre Huyghe
Second Law
Kistefos, Norway
Pierre Huyghe, Second Law, 2021. Scanned forest, real-time simulation, generative mutations and sounds, intelligent camera, environmental sensors, animals, plants, micro-organisms and materialized mutations: synthetic and biological material aggregate © Pierre Huyghe. Courtesy of the artist; Hauser & Wirth, London; Kistefos. 3D


‘Second Law’ has emerged and will be on view at Kistefos museum this coming summer. ‘Second Law’ is an entity, a milieu, both physical and digital, permeable, continuously shaped by flood waters and modified by what it perceives. It is simultaneously an island and the possibility of what this island could be under alternate conditions of reality. As the world changes according to the mutations of covid, it is fascinating to follow this highly intelligent artist/scientist into a world of his creation. The LRFA blog flies to Oslo, Norway to the forest of Kistefos to see his predictions of our brave new world. Please join me.

The entire site has been scanned, down to its details, and digitized. In the simulated environment, unbound from physical limitations, algorithmic and biological agents intelligences cooperate. A fiction based set of rules is played out by learning machines that continually generate mutations of existing features, such as trees, trash, animals or humans. The mutations change behaviours in real time according to external factors, accelerating their growth with the flood water, and transforming over the years. At times they randomly exit the simulation to manifest themselves physically on the actual island. They sustain or decompose, modifying the island’s appearance and progressively contaminate the existing reality with another possibility of itself. At the far end of the forest stands a screen where an autonomous eye navigates the simulated environment, witnessing its ever-changing nature.


Kistefos is located one hour north-west of Oslo. There are two entrances to the park with parking on both sides. People with reduced mobility are asked to arrive from Entrance South.




Pierre Huyghe, De-extinction, , Film, 19 min, 2014

It is an aquarium. It is an artwork. It is an aquarium. It is an artwork. It is an aquarium inside an artwork. It is an artwork inside an artwork. It is a “creation” in the true sense of the word.

Pierre Huyghe’s aquariums in Hauser & Wirth (13 September – 1 November 2014, London) are live ecosystems enclosed by the artist in glass cubes. Huyghe has installed aquariums, among other places, at the Marian Goodman Gallery in New York in 2011 and more recently, in 2013, at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Since 2005, he has been interested in biology and organism self-development, like in 2008, when he transformed, for a 24-hour period, the Sydney Opera House into a fog-filled arboretum, or in 2010, when he planted a calendar’s worth of flora in Madrid’s Crystal Palace for Reina Sofia, representing different seasons and holidays throughout the year and then letting them battle for ground rights. He stood out in dOCUMENTA XIII (Kassel, 2012), remarking his interest with “presence”, composing in a park an installation that included a real painted dog, a beehive-headed sculpture (with bees, of course), marijuana and poisonous fruits, left to their destiny without any control.

Pierre Huyghe Nympheas Transplant

The biotopes[1] of IN. BORDER. DEEP at Hauser & Wirth, despite their life-independence, have a narrative within. They have been, in fact, transplanted from Monet’s ponds in his garden in Giverny, the one represented in his famous “Nymphéas” paintings. Fabulously, Huyghe’s research went deep into the origin of his living organisms, so that the lighting sequence in the vitrines is programmed according to the variations of the weather in Giverny (speeded and alternated) during the shortest day in 1914, the autumn of 1917 and the entire period from 1914 and 1918, when Monet was there. The audience is witness of events suspended in time. Are the ecosystems mirrors of the past or are they developing in an uncertain future?


It’s always interesting to see how an artist’s ideas can fall flat in one medium but resound in another. Whether due to an uneven mastery of craft or to the particular nature of his efforts of late, French artist Pierre Huyghe is having just this kind of moment with two works recently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Pierre Huyghe                       Untitled (human mask)

Huyghe has long investigated the ways in which nature and humanity both consort with and conspire against one another, and his latest projects — a video and a rooftop installation — are no exception. The difference is that one of these works is terrifically compelling, while the other isn’t in the slightest.

Huyghe shot his video Untitled (Human Mask) in Fukushima, Japan, in 2014, three years after a tsunami touched off the world’s largest nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl. The piece opens with images of the city’s gutted buildings and decimated streets, then quickly cuts to the quiet of an abandoned sake house where we observe a solitary monkey, masked, wigged, and dressed to look like a young girl. For nearly nineteen minutes, we watch the primate sitting, waiting, pacing the confined, creepy space, our eye continually redirected to the visual disruptions between animal body and human costume.

Huyghe isn’t rethinking audience pathos and the performing animal. This isn’t Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar — or even Hollywood’s Doctor Dolittle — but the work’s twisted achievement is the way in which it undermines the emotional expressiveness audiences typically project onto cine-creatures. The monkey’s expressionless white mask and prim uniform disconnect a viewer somewhat from the depressing spectacle of her domestication. Is she happy? Is she sad? Who can tell? Huyghe doesn’t seem at all interested in probing the depths of human barbarity in this case. Rather, his camera remains shortsighted, enamored only with the monkey’s uncanny presence.

If catastrophe teaches one lesson, it’s that time is never on our side. Although the moving image has always shadowboxed this inevitable blow, Huyghe unfortunately taps none of the power of video to develop his ideas and images via their duration. What Untitled (Human Mask) ultimately reveals is standard-issue art world trauma laundering — an act of apocalypse chic. He reduces the whole of the Fukushima disaster to a few short establishing shots, adrenalized by a twitchy editing style and a fashionably cacophonous soundtrack: a soupçon of atrocity tourism to whet a viewer’s palate with the illusion of gravitas

Pierre Huyghe at the Met
Installation, February 11,2022

By contrast, Huyghe’s smart, subtle installation on the Met’s rooftop garden is nothing if not alert to time as the great coconspirator. Here he plays at excavating the primal landscape of the island of Manhattan, removing certain of the Met’s heavy granite roof tiles to create miniature topographies of native stones, thin streams of water, and sprouts of indigenous plants. A sizable piece of schist sits at one end of the roof, while a chunk of lava floats in an aquarium at the other. Swimming inside the tank are a lamprey eel and a few tadpole shrimp, ancient creatures unchanged by evolution’s push forward.

The tank drips into the artist’s manmade landscapes, watering the flora that’s doomed to be pulled sooner or later from its temporary place. Artificial ecosystems always manage to serve as unsettling metaphors for “growth to nowhere,” and this may be Huyghe’s sharpest move of all.

Look up and west from the museum’s roof to gaze over the treetops of Central Park. To the east you’ll see a grand apartment building encased in scaffolding, its restoration under way. To the south, behold the gross overgrowth of the midtown skyline, now dominated by 432 Park Avenue, a Kafkaesque malignancy that promises New Yorkers “the grand experience of estate living — in the sky.” For the moment it’s the tallest building in the neighborhood, but will soon be bested by two others concurrently going up along the same corridor.

This too, you may remind yourself as you look from Huyghe’s weird and witty return to Eden, is all just future rubble.

Met installation
Pierre Huyghe



As we create new worlds, new habits and new ecosystems, post-pandemic, Pierre Huyghe’s haunting installations open the door to a multitude of possibilities.