All posts tagged: Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand

Andreas Mühe 安德里亚斯·穆埃

Pathos as Distance / By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand / Shown at Whitestone Gallery in Hong Kong, Pathos as Distance by Andreas Mühe is a survey of the artist’s work, comprising 30 photographs taken from 2004 to 2018. The East German-born photographer, who grew up in the last decade of the Cold War in a still divided Germany, creates images that portray the present through the lens of history using temporal distance to invoke pathos in a contemporary society suffering from historical amnesia. Mühe displays a fascination with power, pomp and grandeur, photographing monumental buildings, politicians, celebrities and rock stars, and even the German chancellor Angela Merkel. But he also dives into his country’s own history, subverting the totalitarian aesthetics and discourses of power that he draws on. The first photographs encountered in the exhibition are four self-portraits of the artist from the series Mühe Kopf (2018). Resembling album covers by German rock band Rammstein, with whom the artist has worked, the white, sculpted clay faces stare at the viewer with piercing blue, ceramic eyes. They are a form of vanitas, …

McArthur Binion

Hand: Work: II / Lehmann Maupin and Massimo de Carlo / Hong Kong / May 22 – July 6 / Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand / After decades of being overlooked, 73-year-old American artist McArthur Binion is having a moment. With a spate of recent exhibitions, notably his inclusion in the 2017 Venice Biennale Viva Arte Viva and a 2018 solo exhibition at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Detroit, this past month the artist has also celebrated the opening of several solo exhibitions in Asia. One at Lehmann Maupin Seoul was preceded by Hand:Work:II, a two-gallery show spread out across Massimo de Carlo and Lehmann Maupin in Hong Kong’s Pedder Building.  In the late 1970s Binion found himself at the centre of the dizzying, meteoric art scene in Soho, New York, hanging out with artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dan Flavin and Sol LeWitt. Binion’s works are seemingly cut from the same mould as the two minimalist figureheads; they appear minimalist from a distance, but up close reveal themselves as something entirely different. Using oil stick, Binion draws vertical and horizontal lines in a grid over …

Chen Danqing

By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand / Shanghai-born artist Chen Danqing was only 14 when he started painting Mao propaganda posters in the 1970s. “I painted more than 100 portraits of Chairman Mao on the street walls in Shanghai and its suburbs and also on factory iron sheets,” he says. “During that time, there were millions of amateur and professional painters in China who painted millions of portraits of Mao Zedong.” Sent to live in the countryside in Jiangxi province for five years as part of a nationwide programme of forced collectivisation during the Cultural Revolution, Chen painted what was prescribed in the socialist realist style. The posters were part of a progression in a career that would eventually earn him accolades as a painter in China. After the Cultural Revolution he was admitted to the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1980 and staying on to teach until he moved to New York City a couple of years later. It was during this period that he painted his series of seven Tibetan paintings, which would …

Various artists

Contagious Cities: Far Away Too Close / Tai Kwun Contemporary / Hong Kong / Jan 26 – Apr 21 / Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand / In 2003, the SARS outbreak led to a shutdown of Hong Kong. The virus infected 1,755 people in the city, killing 299. Fear of the epidemic led many, mainly expats, to flee. Those who didn’t leave avoided public spaces. A housing estate was put under quarantine, public transport and public areas were deserted, and schools were closed. At the height of the SARS crisis, iconic Hong Kong actor and singer Leslie Cheung jumped to his death from Central’s Mandarin Oriental hotel, adding to the trauma, gloom and anxiety that were already consuming the city. The crisis impacted Hong Kong physically, psychologically and economically, and like epidemics before, it shaped the city and its habits, policies and people. Contagious Cities: Faraway Too Close at Tai Kwun Contemporary, a group show with works by 10 local and international artists, attempts to explore the psychological and emotional dimensions of disease and contagion. Presented by the Wellcome Trust, a biomedical institution …

Kader Attia

Heroes Heridos / Lehmann Maupin / Hong Kong / Nov 1 – Dec 22 / By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand / It is perhaps fitting that French-born Algerian artist Kader Attia is based in Berlin, a city of scars. A city where the ruins of a wall that once divided it are still visible; a city in which the atrocities committed during wars and by two repressive regimes are memorialised; where the architecture of communism and fascism stand side by side, sometimes pockmarked with bullet holes. It is a city where the scars are on display so that you are in constant confrontation with history and memory, and never able to forget the past.  And so it is with Attia’s work. Working across diverse media and forms – photography, film, collage, sculpture, drawing and installation – the artist has built up a two-decade career defined by rigorous research. Through his work he critiques power and hierarchical structures by examining the scars, trauma and injury inflicted by colonial and imperial powers on non-western cultures. Exploring the relationship between non-western cultures and western thought, he regularly …

Robert Rauschenberg

Vydocks Pace Gallery Hong Kong Sep 19 – Nov 2 Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand The “enfant terrible of the New York school”, as poet Frank O’Hara dubbed Robert Rauschenberg, reshaped 20th-century American art and left behind a boundary-breaking body of work characterised by experimentation and unorthodox use of different media. His early works, made in the 1950s and 60s, featured composites of found objects – bottles, a taxidermy goat head, newspapers, chairs, rubber tyres, photographs – and painting; Rauschenberg referred to them as “combines”. The Vydocks series, created in 1995, are essentially a two-dimensional continuation of the composites of found objects for which the artist was known. The lastseries in which Rauschenberg incorporated silk-screening before shifting into digital processing, the works are a rendezvous of diverse media, a synthesis of painting, photography and drawing. Pace Gallery Hong Kong features eight out of 13 identically sized white sheets of bonded aluminium works – the remainder are still held by the Rauschenberg foundation – sized to human scale so the panels are the height and width of a person’s reach, and the viewer can figuratively get into the paintings. The verticality of …

Gert & Uwe Tobias

By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand During the Ottoman invasion of Wallachia in 1462, Sultan Mehmed II, who had marched into the territory with an army of more than 150,000 troops, entered the small town of Târgoviște in what is today Romania to find a forest of 20,000 Turkish men, women and children, all impaled. The perpetrator: Voivode Vlad III Dracula. The carnage earned the ruler the moniker Vlad “Tepes”, or the Impaler, among the local population. A little further afield in England, his numerous acts of heinous cruelty, and his patronymic, would inspire the creation of Irish writer Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. They also sowed the seeds of inspiration for the work of identical twin brothers and artistic collaborators Gert and Uwe Tobias. Born in Transylvania, Romania to a Saxon family, the artists explore their cultural identity through mythology in their woodblock print paintings, ceramic sculptures, typewriter drawings and watercolours. Having spent their childhood under Nicolae Ceaușescu’s rule, the myths and misconceptions of Vlad Dracul, as he is known in Romania, did not initially colour their youth. There …

Catherine Opie

By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand American photographer Catherine Opie once described herself as a “kind of twisted social documentary photographer”. Born in Sandusky, Ohio, the young Opie picked up a camera at age nine, inspired by the photographs of Lewis Hine, and immediately began photographing friends and her community. Over several decades she has gone from marginalised photographer of the marginalised to a member of the establishment: she had a 2009 retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, is a tenured professor at UCLA and sits on the boards of the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Like Walker Evans before her, and later Robert Mapplethorpe and Diane Arbus, Opie shares an interest in and affection for subcultures, and for individuals and communities overlooked by society. Her early series Being and Having (1991) and Portraits (1993-97) mixed traditional portrait photography with less traditional subjects, depicting her friends in the lesbian and gay community in Los Angeles, transgender women and men, drag queens, and members of the tatted, …

Wolfgang Tillmans

By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand Although his photographs had graced the pages of magazines like iD and Interview magazine, for a couple of decades it was at nightclub Berghain’s Panorama Bar in Berlin that the work of Wolfgang Tillmans really seared itself on my mind. The work in question, Phillip III (1993), depicted a man exposing his anus with his hand. The Panorama Bar, known for its hedonism, where music, dance and sex dissolve into one another and clubbers can party the night away with complete abandon and without judgement, was the perfect venue for his work. What struck me wasn’t that the work was confrontational or provocative – Robert Mapplethorpe paved the way for works of this nature in the late 1970s and 80s, drawing the sting from homoerotic art. Instead it was the unapologetic directness of the work, the raw honesty and frankness of it, that impressed me most. Throughout his three-decade career photographing a diversity of subjects, Tillmans’ has demonstrated a commitment to exploring and depicting truth, blurring the boundaries between art and documentary photography. Music and clubbing …

Rachel Kneebone

Ovid in Exile By Diana d’Arenberg Parmanand British sculptor Rachel Kneebone forges the human condition out of clay. The great meta-narratives of humanity – creation and destruction, life and death, renewal, love, suffering, heaven and hell, the limitations and possibilities of the human body – are all tackled in her sculptures. It is a biblical, monumental endeavour. Aptly named, Kneebone creates architectural structures of white porcelain resembling towers or sculpture-like crypts of small bones, or tangles of roots or vines. The violent entanglement of limbs might be ripped straight out of Dante’s Inferno. She turned porcelain – a material associated with the decorative figurines and tea sets of the bourgeoisie – into the boundary-defying installation 399 Days at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London this year. The colossal sculpture, her largest to date, is a towering, epic explosion of limbs, flowers, spheres and genitalia. Fragments of the human body are intertwined, clambering and cascading down. They recall Rodin’s The Gates of Hell – her work was exhibited alongside the artist’s in 2012 at the Brooklyn Museum – or an erotic Tower of Babel, …