Leslie Rankow Fine Arts


Category: Uncategorized

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.

Airport, please! heading to Tokyo to Fergus McCaffrey’s exhibition Seven/Seven The Fraught Landscape

Fergus Mc Caffrey Gallery
Tokyo, Japan

This exhibition serves as a conceptual sequel to Fergus McCaffrey’s historic 2019 New York exhibition, Japan Is America. Continuing Japan Is America’s exploration of the Japanese-American creative exchange, Seven/Seven furthers this transatlantic narrative, applying a cinematic lens to the joint cultural landscape, taking its title from Akira Kurasawa’s Japanese epic Seven Samurai (1954), and the iconic Western film by John Sturges The Magnificent Seven (1960) that followed suit.


Seven Samurai

Focusing on a selection of works made by artists predominantly from 1985 to 2021, Seven/Seven considers the ways in which conscience and self-assertion manifests core concerns for both Eastern and Western contemporary artists. Departing from the archetypes of the epic and the Western, Seven/Seven contemplates the transformative process by which a sequence of static images becomes a moving film; presenting works that engage with the dynamism, drama, and individualistic nature of these genres by artists whose committed path to their craft and vision is the stuff of which epics are made.The dozen or more artists whose work is presented throughout Seven/Seven represent widely aesthetically varied perspectives on the social, political and artistic milieus of both Japan and the United States. Seven/Seven is both historical and contemporary, while remaining rooted in filmic concepts—drawing important, urgent connections between today’s most compelling Japanese and American artists.

Ed Ruscha
Japan is America, 2020


In this  post-pandemic era of social distancing and divisive cultural distinctions, Seven/Seven reflects the similarities and differences between the two cultures.

Artists include: Cecily Brown, Anna Conway, Milford Graves, David Hammons, Tatsuo Ikeda, Tomoke Konoike, Shigeko Kubota, Hiroshi Nakamura, Richard Nonas, Ed Ruscha, Shoji Ueda, Joseph Olisaemeka Wilson, with special screenings of Francesca Gabbiani and MAGO (screening dates to be announced)

Tokyo Gallery
Installation of exhibit


Founded in 2006, Fergus McCaffrey is internationally recognized for its groundbreaking role in promoting the work of post-war Japanese artists, as well as a quality roster of select contemporary European and American artists. Fergus McCaffrey has been instrumental in introducing post-war Japanese art to a Western market: Gutai artists Sadamasa Motonaga, Kazuo Shiraga and Toshio Yoshida; Hi-Red-Center members Jiro Takamatsu and Natsuyuki Nakanishi; and Noriyuki Haraguchi and Hitoshi Nomura from the Mono-Ha era. The gallery also exhibits the work of emerging and seminal Western artists, including Anna Conway, Jack Early, Marcia Hafif, Birgit Jürgenssen, Richard Nonas, Sigmar Polke, Carol Rama, William Scott, and Andy Warhol. Fergus McCaffrey, Tokyo opened in May of 2018.

Fergus McCaffrey
St. Bart’s

Located in New York on West 26th Street, Tokyo  in Minato-Ku, and St. Bart’s, the gallery offers impeccable examples of works that support his knowledge and depth of interest in select European and American artists.


Several of Seven/Seven’s artists explicitly comment on the historical— political—relationship between Japan and the United States in their work. To contextualize this contemporary framework—embedded in the historical, social DNA of both countries—outlined in this decades-spanning cross-cultural presentation, the exhibition begins with the politically engaged work of postwar Japanese artists, Tatsuo Ikeda and Hiroshi Nakamura.

Anne Conway
Mrs. Lance Cpl. shane too and Mrs. Staff sgt

Tatsuo Ikeda’s Untitled, 1957, comes out of a body of work— showing swollen, mutated animal and human figures—that the artist created in response to U.S. nuclear bomb tests in the Pacific, as well as the rapid reindustrialization of Japan in the post-nuclear era. His painting Toy World, 1967, part of a series of the same name created between 1966 and 1970, mounts a surrealist critique of changes in Japanese society following the signing of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, which occurred in 1960, despite widespread protests. Likewise, Japanese artist Hiroshi Nakamura’s work is also deeply politically involved. Although Nakamura was trained in social realism techniques as a “reportage” painter, the paintings included in Seven/Seven, such as Drip, 1974, and Cyclope girls orgy, 1969, represent much more surrealist and pop culture-inspired interpretations of the fraught climate of postwar Japan.

David Hammons


Airport, please! the LRFA blog heads to London for Pace’s exhibition Creating Abstraction of seven international sculptors

Pace Gallery
Hanover Square


Creating Abstraction, a group exhibition that brings together seven female artists whose experimental approach to material and engagement with Modernism has pushed the boundaries of abstraction opens on February 3rd. Airport, please! the LRFA blog is looking forward to visiting Pace’s new gallery in Hanover Square and seeing this thought provoking exhibit co-curated with Carla Chammas, that centers on the idea of multi-disciplinarity as a means of exploring abstraction. In a time of Covid, complicating  travel, communication and personal connecting, the LRFA  blog applauds Pace Gallery for assembling such a diverse and intellectual survey show very much worth a visit.

In bringing together an array of work by these seven artists, Creating Abstraction offers a window into each individual’s complex, layered, radical work as well as the broader context of their practice.



Carla Accardi

On view from 3 February through

12 March, across the full expanse of Pace’s recently opened Hanover Square gallery, Creating Abstraction looks at the ways in which various Modernist movements were disseminated across the world and interpreted by artists from Britain, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Singapore and the United States. This exhibition creates dialogues between the sculptures, paintings, textiles, works on paper, video, photography, and installations of Carla Accardi (1924-2014), Leonor Antunes (b. 1972), Yto Barrada (b. 1971), Saloua Raouda Choucair (1916-2017), Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), Kim Lim (1936-1997) and Louise Nevelson (1899-1988). Despite vastly disparate nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds, there is a shared sensibility between these artists who each found inspiration in Modernism’s non-hierarchical approach to material, and abstraction’s rich capacity for multi-disciplinary experimentation.

Saloua Rouada Choucair

Saloua Raouda Choucair is widely considered the first abstract artist in Lebanon. Inspired by mathematics, architecture and Islamic design and poetry, her pioneering practice encompassed sculpture, painting, drawing, jewellery, and textile. The modular structure of her sculptures, such as Poem (1972-74) or Poem (Ramlet el Beida) (1966/2013), which, like the stanzas of Arabic poetry can stand alone or be presented as a whole, have a particular resonance with the sculptures of Singaporean-British artist, Kim Lim. Lim’s practice, which traversed wood, bronze, marble, stone, fibreglass, aluminium, slate, and ink primarily took the form of sculpture and printmaking. Like Choucair, Lim took immense inspiration from the aesthetics of ancient Eastern art, travelling extensively across the Middle East and Asia throughout her life. In sculptures such as Caryatid (1961) Lim’s elegant fusion of historical sculptural forms with a distinctly Modernist aesthetic is particularly apparent.

Kim Lim

Lim and Choucair’s prints, works on paper and paintings have a shared sensibility with the work of Italian artist Carla Accardi, who’s avant-garde practice paved the way for many twentieth century movements in Italy. Best known for her experiments in sicofoil, a transparent plastic material, Accardi’s sculptures and paintings investigate both the formal and spatial effect of line, shape and gesture. The graphic quality of Accardi’s work such as Fondo Rosso (1959) or Segni Grigi (1986), resonates strongly with Choucair’s dynamic gouache paintings on paper.

Barbara Hepworth

An innovator of the Direct Carving technique and the first sculptor to pierce their forms, Barbara Hepworth is recognized as a master of British Modernism. Though most commonly recognised for her groundbreaking sculptures, which included bronze, stone, wood and string, her practice also encompassed painting, lithograph, collage, and drawing. Three Forms (1971) and Stringed Figure (Curlew) (Maquette) (1956) creates an enchanting dialogue with Louise Nevelson’s sculptures and collages. Unlike Hepworth, Nevelson’s artistic practice was additive, assembling materials found in the streets surrounding her studio to construct sculpture, collage, and installation. By painting the elements of her sculptures entirely black, white, or gold, Nevelson erased their former functions, focusing attention on their form. In Untitled (1971), a monumental monochromatic black sculpture, Nevelson nestles forms within a larger structure akin to a cabinet of curiosities.

Louise Nevelson

By including both twentieth century artists who were instrumental in the development of abstraction, and contemporary artists – Yto Barrada and Leonor Antunes – Creating Abstraction considers the legacy of Modernism today. Barrada’s work in textile, photography and video speaks at once to the multifaceted, multidisciplinary histories of Modernism and to her own personal landscape. In Velvet collage #6 (2021) Barrada references the hard-edge abstraction and Modernist history of the ‘grid’ while also drawing from her own daily life – the velvet is dyed using homemade pigments forged from the plants in her Tangier studio garden. Similarly, Antunes’s research-based practice actively responds to the histories of overlooked female Modernists, anni #26 I (2020) is a reimagining of Anni Albers’s abstract weavings in glittering brass. Antunes’s installation, indirect lighting (group 2) (2021), which extends from floor to ceiling with ceramic sculptural pieces spiralling in space, echoes the modular sculpture of Choucair, Lim, and Nevelson.

Yto Barrada
Marian Goodman Gallery
New York



Pace is a leading international art gallery representing some of the most influential contemporary artists and estates from the past century, holding decades-long relationships with Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Barbara Hepworth, Agnes Martin, Louise Nevelson, and Mark Rothko. Pace enjoys a unique U.S. heritage spanning East and West coasts through its early support of artists central to the Abstract Expressionist and Light and Space movements.

Leonor Antunes

Since its founding by Arne Glimcher in 1960, Pace has developed a distinguished legacy as an artist-first gallery that mounts seminal historical and contemporary exhibitions. Under the current leadership of President and CEO Marc Glimcher, Pace continues to support its artists and share their visionary work with audiences worldwide by remaining at the forefront of innovation. Now in its seventh decade, the gallery advances its mission through a robust global program—comprising exhibitions, artist projects, public installations, institutional collaborations, performances, and interdisciplinary projects. Pace has a legacy in art bookmaking and has published over five hundred titles in close collaboration with artists, with a focus on original scholarship and on introducing new voices to the art historical canon. The gallery has also spearheaded exploration into the intersection of art and technology through new business models, exhibition interpretation tools, and representation of artists engaging with technology.

Today, Pace has nine locations worldwide including London, Geneva, a strong foothold in Palo Alto, and two galleries in New York—its headquarters at 540 West 25th Street, which welcomed almost 120,000 visitors and programmed 20 shows in its first six months and an adjacent 8,000 sq. ft. exhibition space at 510 West 25th Street. Pace was one of the first international galleries to establish outposts in Asia, where it operates permanent galleries in Asia and the first to Seoul.

Saloua Raouda Choucair,
Trajectory of a Line, 1957-59,


Despite vastly disparate nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds, there is a shared sensibility between these artists who each found inspiration in Modernism’s non-hierarchical approach to material, and abstraction’s rich capacity for multi-disciplinary experimentation.

On view from 3 February – 12 March, across the full expanse of Pace’s recently opened Hanover Square gallery, Creating Abstraction looks at the ways in which various Modernist movements were disseminated across the world and interpreted by artists from Britain, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Portugal, Singapore and the United States. This exhibition creates dialogues between the sculptures, paintings, textiles, works on paper, video, photography, and installations of Carla Accardi (1924-2014), Leonor Antunes (b. 1972), Yto Barrada (b. 1971), Saloua Raouda Choucair (1916-2017), Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975), Kim Lim (1936-1997) and Louise Nevelson (1899-1988).

During a time of intense personal concerns, it is refreshing to see women artists exploring the legacy of Modernism and abstraction in this beautiful exhibition.



Airport, please! to see Jenny Saville’s multi-institutional exhibit Florence, Italy

Through February 20, 2022
Various venues in Florence, Italy

Jenny Saville is the subject of an exhibition project conceived and curated by Sergio Risaliti, director of the Museo Novecento, in collaboration with four other major museums in Florence: the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Museo degli Innocenti, and the Museo di Casa Buonarroti. The multipart exhibition places Saville’s paintings and drawings in dialogue with masterworks of the Italian Renaissance, including some of Michelangelo’s greatest masterpieces, offering a revealing encounter between the contemporary and the historical. Correspondences include the monumentality of Saville’s paintings—a distinctive feature of her figurative language since her early career—as well as her research focused on the body and flesh of her naked subjects.

Jenny Saville has invaded Florence with a sprawling multi-institutional survey, curated by Sergio Risaliti, that places her work in dialogue with the masters of the Italian Renaissance. At the Palazzo Vecchio, for example, the bombastic vortex of armored men and pawing horses in Vasari’s frescoes looks down on her celebrated painting Fulcrum, 1999, here serving as a reminder of the fragility of the body as laid siege to by Covid-19.

Jenny Saville
Fulcrum, 1999

Then there are Saville’s encounters with Michelangelo, one of her most significant influences, at the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and the Casa Buonarroti. The spirited chisel marks of the unfinished Pietà Bandini, ca. 1547–55, and the tender strokes of the Madonna col Bambino, ca. 1525, seem to come alive in Saville’s drawings, transported across the centuries by a female hand. Her thunderous studies of pregnant women and children are informed by the her intimate physical, psychological, and emotional experience of motherhood, while her modern-day pietàs, inspired by war photographs, insert the bodies of refugee children in place of the deposed of Christ.

At the Museo del Novecento, there is a focus on Saville’s most recent series of paintings, in which we see her fleshy palette refreshed with bursts of Pop and acidic color. In the portraits of her young subjects, peers of Greta Thunberg or X González, perhaps, gestural skeins of paint dramatize the innocence, dreams, and existential dramas of adolescence. The brushstroke is loose and expressive save for the sitters’ eyes, rendered so exactingly that, in some of the pupils, we glimpse the artist’s reflection, captured in the photographs she shot and used as source material. In these canvases, Saville pays tribute to a new generation coming to consciousness; their inclusion in an exhibition otherwise concerned with her rapport with the past lends them a particular poignancy, especially in this time of creeping nihilism and despair. Some faces are crossed by rainbows, some gaze into the distance, and some look into the camera—suggesting both real people in the here and now and mythic allegories of the future.

Opened on 24 June 2014, the Museo Novecento is dedicated to 20th-century art, presenting a selection of works from the civic collections which focuses on Italian art of the first half of the 20th century.­ Of great value is the Alberto Della Ragione collection, donated to the city of Florence in the aftermath of the 1966 flood, with artworks by Giorgio De Chirico, Filippo De Pisis, Gino Severini, Giorgio Morandi, Mario Mafai, Renato Guttuso, Felice Casorati among others. The museum is completed with the exhibition of the legacy of Ottone Rosai, donated by his widow Francesca Fei and his brother Oreste to the Municipality of Florence. In addition to the permanent collection, the temporary exhibitions and the programme of the Cinema and Conferences Room enrich the activity of the museum with a thematic and multidisciplinary approach. Through its art mediation department the Museum daily arranges educational activities like workshops, guided tours for families, children, teenagers, adults and special audiences.

Jenny Saville
Museo Novecento

Jenny Saville was born on May 7, 1970, in Cambridge. Her parents, both educators, moved Jenny and her brothers and sister frequently from school to school as her father pursued a career as a school administrator. After attending several schools, she finished secondary school at Newark, Nottinghamshire. As a child, Saville’s parents encouraged her to think and work independently. She was first attracted to painting at the age of eight. Her mother recognized her talents early and cleared out a broom closet for Saville to use as her first studio. She cites her uncle, Paul Saville, an artist, art historian, and former head of Liberal Arts at Clare College, as an early influence. He took her to museums, but also to Holland and Italy, in order to expose her to Old Masters as well as modern artists. It was her uncle that encouraged her to pursue an art degree at the Glasgow School of Art.

Early Training
Saville studied at the Glasgow School of Art in the late 1980s, graduating in 1992 with a BFA. She attended the school because of its reputation as a painting school, saying, “Every day you walk up those steps it makes you become an artist.” Without a grant or funding, she worked as a waitress in order to support herself and pay for a studio where she could paint. During her time at Glasgow School of Art, she received a six-month travel scholarship to study in the United States at the University of Cincinnati. Saville recalls seeing “big women and big white bodies in shorts and T-shirts,” an experience that influenced her to take on the un-idealised female nude as the primary focus of her early works. She enjoyed success during her last year at Glasgow School of Art and was selected twice by the National Portrait Gallery before her final graduate exhibition in the summer of 1992. In a rare feat, she sold most of the paintings from the show and an example from the exhibition subsequently appeared on the cover of the Times Saturday Review in September 1992. The cover came to the attention of art collector and advertising executive Charles Saatchi, who sought her out and offered her a contract to paint over the next eighteen months, with a promise to purchase and exhibit any paintings she produced during that time. With little money and a propensity for making large-scale paintings in oil, the contract from Saatchi allowed her to produce work without financial constraints.
Saville was offered an opportunity to return to the USA in 1994. Intrigued by the nature of plastic surgery, a phenomenon that was on the rise in the mid-1990s, she began observing surgeries in the office of a New York plastic surgeon.

Alongside contemporaries such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, and Sarah Lucas, Jenny Saville’s work was included in the 1994 Young British Artists III exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, and in the 1997 Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London, which was taken from Saatchi’s collection. Much lauded in the UK, Sensation sparked controversy when it traveled in 1999 to the Brooklyn Museum. Although she was included in these important exhibitions, Saville never considered herself part of the Young British Artists, most of whom worked in mediums other than painting, which she had devoted herself to since an early age.
Mature Period
Despite living and working in the UK, Jenny Saville has shown her work most frequently in New York. She has said that she feels a greater affinity to American painters like Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly, than she does to the more conceptually driven work of her British contemporaries like Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, or Rachel Whiteread. “There’s less guilt about being a painter over there [in the USA].”

In 2003 Saville was returning to London from a trip to Sicily and stopped off in Palermo, Italy. She fell in love with the city and subsequently moved there. She was drawn to the city’s layering of civilizations because it does not belong to any particular moment or individual. She purchased an apartment in a dilapidated 18th-century palazzo that served as a studio and living space. This complexity and layering of history has made its way into her work, particularly in her drawings, where memory, time, and experience overlap and seep into each other.

Current Work
In 2014, Saville moved from Sicily to Oxford, where she currently lives with her partner, Paul McPhail, and their two children. Having children changed the way she works, and Saville speaks of the profound influence her children have had on her painting. Their uninhibited approach to painting and drawing opened up new possibilities for her, allowing her to be freer in her choice of subjects and methods. Although the interest in the representation of bodies has continued, it has expanded to include new references to motherhood, art history, and ancient myth. While she continues to paint with oil, she has also incorporated drawing in charcoal and pastel in order to create layered compositions that would be impossible with the thickly applied oil paint she used in earlier works.

In recent years, her work has taken from earlier precedents in new ways, leading to a series of large-scale drawings in charcoal that make direct references to art history. She was asked by the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford to contribute a series of drawings in response to their 2015 exhibition Titian to Canaletto: Drawing in Venice, which allowed her to use drawing to convey movement and time (rather than the static poses of her earlier paintings). The same year, 2015, she was asked to curate a room for the Royal Academy’s blockbuster exhibition, Rubens and his Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne. With works by other British artists, Cecily Brown and Sarah Lucas, the room also included artists she cites as influences, including Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, and Francis Bacon, along with her monumental work titled Voice of the Shuttle (Philomela).

Jenny Saville
Voice of the Shuttle

The Legacy of Jenny Saville
Saville has demonstrated that figure painting continues to have resonance in contemporary art. Drawing on issues around the body and its representation, Saville has shied away from idealized images of the body. Saville’s paintings have also left their mark on popular culture. In 1994 and 2009, the Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers included her 2005 painting Stare, an image of a seemingly beaten and bloody face, on the cover of Journal for Plague Lovers. Upon release, the cover sparked controversy and was deemed “inappropriate” by UK retailers, who refused to display it, opting instead for a plain paper slipcover.

Linda Nochlin has called her work “post ‘post-painterly’,” referring to Clement Greenberg’s term. The work pushes painterliness “so far over the top that it signifies a kind of disease of the pictorial, a symptom of some deep disturbance in the relation of pigment to canvas.” Saville refers often to the famous quote by Willem de Kooning, “Flesh was the reason oil paint was created.” Her visceral approach – using thick paint on large canvasses – comes from her desire to use paint in a sculptural way. Saville can be credited with updating figurative painting for contemporary art and her unidealized paintings of predominately women’s bodies can also be related to Feminist art and Performance art by innovators such as Mary Kelly, Ana Mendieta, Cindy Sherman, and Carolee Schneemann . Drawing on the history of art in intriguing ways and making use of photography as source material, but not in the way we have come to understand it (such as in the form of photorealism or portraiture), Saville’s paintings and drawings challenge us to think anew about the relevance of painting and what it can and should represent in our contemporary age.


Head to the beautiful city of Florence, for a total submersion in the compelling, challenging vision of Jenny Saville, airport, please!