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Friday, 20 November 2009

Letter from the Curator - Amelie Art Gallery, Beijing

I received this yesterday from Amelie Art Gallery in Beijing. I really liked the images, and the letter to the curator as well, so I thought that I would share this with you. Especially, as the opening line two lines are so poignant for anyone working in the creative industries –we all have moments of genius and then sometimes…nothing at all! How the imagination works. Anyway, I thought this was a lovely way to discuss this exhibition. I hope you enjoy reading the letter.

Letter from the Curator

Dear Ruizhao,

I hear that you’ve hit another creative block. This comes as no surprise to me. Much of any professional artist’s time is spent dealing with setbacks. Your predicament shows that your painting has not grown to formulaic over the past few years, and that you still face each artwork with sincerity. I am very happy to see this. You love fishing. You once told me that the fish and the mythical dragon are very much alike –swim through waters of untold depths in complete silence. You spend much of your free time refining your fishing techniques, and working on strange problems such as how to release a fish after catching it and how to tell its age from its scales.

That is why I proposed Notes on Fishing as an art project. I hoped that it would allow you to bring together your creative experiments and spiritual growth from the past few years. You painted images of a young boy alone at night in the water with a fish, coming home in the evening with a fishing pole, or sitting in a room…I see a bit of you in them. Your fishing experiences (such as your observations of the inconsistencies of fishermen by the pond, your encounter with a wild boar one night on Wild Boar Island, etc.) have imbued your paintings with fascinating and mysterious airs. I agree with your view that an artist’s process of creative maturation is like a pendulum, wherein the larger the amplitude (the larger the breadth of experimentation), the more powerful it will become when it stabilizes. Notes on Fishing calls to mind the daily clashes of ideas in your artistic experiments: you in your studio with the big wooden boxes from Jingdezhen, carefully pulling the half-finished sculptures from their reed wrapping; you were wearing that robe, and at the height of discussion, tearing up your sketch; you writing the words “freedom” and “power” on the wall with an ink brush…

Fishing is such a strange activity. It is the convergence of patience-stretched wisdom and serendipity, with unpredictable results. Perhaps a lifetime of squatting will amount to nothing, or perhaps an inspiring surprise will leap from the water just as hope is fading. The goal of fishing is clear, but one can never depend on the outcome. The best fishermen like Jiang Ziya*, that legendary fisherman of old, are profound figures. For you, fishing lies somewhere between an act of life and the practice of inaction, an allusion to the creative state: hesitation, meditation, patience.

Through Notes on Fishing, I have seen your probing of the essential questions of artistic creativity through pondering the “Tao of fishing”. Why does an artist paint? Why is he enamored with unreal, mysterious things? Fishing becomes a metaphor for artistic creation, even the meaning of life. In these times, when the great sages are long gone, and the keys to thought have grown covered in rust, Notes on Fishing reflects the spiritual conundrum that a young artist faces here and now.

You’re never satisfied with your paintings, and you make repeated changes on the canvas in a single-minded pursuit of spiritual dignity in colors, brushstrokes and facial expressions, swinging from mood to mood. You shouldn’t worry about being perplexed like that. People only have self-contradictions and hesitation when they have a lot going on in their minds, and this is necessary for spiritual growth. Only through deep immersion in them will you make surprising discoveries. The profound nature of fishing lies in the process. One does not have to come home with a bucket full of fish to be a success. Now I realize that falling into your own trap is the key to unlocking yourself. Every artist is like a fisherman. In the flow of vulgar life, he chooses to be an observer. He is never washed away in the waves, and remains in lonely self-doubt. What matters is that you persevere in your belief that in these constantly changing times, painting is a quest for those “mystical traces” that transcend thought, and that this is an irreplaceable and sacred endeavor. For this you need extreme wisdom and tenacity; you need to swallow the drudgery of fishing with a smile.

It looks like we won’t be able to go to Vietnam together, though I’ve always wanted to go. I’m scrawling out this letter to you under the lamplight, and thinking that right now you’re probably under the stars in Jingdezhen, writing, pondering wooden architectural structures of ancient times, or reading ghost stories from “Liao Zhai” (Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio, Qing Dynasty), doing spiritual fishing in the midst of internal chaos. I hope you can maintain this precious vigor.

Think about it, in another ten years, our sharp mental worlds might recede; I hope that your thoughts on the riverbank are always free and unrestrained.

Take care,

Tony Chang

Notes on Fishing-Paintings & Sculpture in 2006-2009
Liu RuiZhao Solo Exhibition
14 November –30 December 2009
Amelie Gallery, Beijing
Curator: Tony Chang


All images (c) Liu RuiZhao

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Lorenzo Quinn’s Give & Take III unveiled in Berkeley Square, London

Lorenzo Quinn’s monumental bronze sculpture Give & Take III, measuring almost four metres high, was unveiled on Wednesday in Berkeley Square, London. The piece, which will be resident in the square for the next six months, forms part of Lorenzo’s major new solo exhibition, Equilibrium, which opened at Mayfair’s Halcyon Gallery, 24 Bruton Street, on Wednesday. Give and Take III will spend six months on public display in Berkeley Square until May 2010.

Celebrating the opening of this important show, Halcyon Gallery will host a "Meet the Artist" day on Saturday 21 November, with Lorenzo Quinn discussing the inspiration for his new work, his poetry and his vision. This is a chance to meet one of today's finest sculptors.

Quinn’s works are internationally acclaimed. Major commissions include the United Nations, the Vatican and a sculpture for Bacardi to honour the hometown of its founder in Sitges, Spain. His cultural influence has been recognised in an iconic advert for Absolut Vodka, entitled Absolut Lorenzo, part of a campaign featuring celebrated international artists. Quinn has received widespread success in the highly regarded Middle Eastern art market. Highlights include his iconic sculpture Rise Through Education in Doha, Qatar (2005) and a new commission to create an Olympic Tower, to be unveiled in Doha in 2010.

For Equilibrium, Quinn has created new pieces including What Came First?, Love and Home Sweet Home. What Came First? depicts male and female forms, each within an egg-shaped marble hemisphere, displaying the sculptor’s rich figurative symbolism at its finest.

The Love series of kinetic sculptures features paired hands, a recurring theme in Quinn’s work, representing the four stages of a relationship. Hypnotic and graceful, the works evoke the hands of strolling lovers. Considered the greatest challenge for an artist depicting the human form, for Quinn hands convey the intimacy of human interaction in a simple, powerful way.

In Home Sweet Home, he uses the female form cocooned in barbed wire to represent the claustrophobia and isolation of victims of domestic abuse. Quinn and his wife are active in their work for charities supporting victims of domestic abuse.

Accompanied by his most popular works such as Adam and Eve, Force of Nature and the massive Hand of God, Equilibrium presents an oeuvre of work mature in style and demonstrative of Quinn’s visceral empathy and technical accomplishment.

Poetry, family and society all feed into the creative process of his work and the immediate emotional response his works produce mirror this heart-felt input. Quinn said: “My inspiration comes from the everyday life, books or poems that I read, from my encounters with people and from my own experiences; sculpture is a part of who I am. I feel honoured and proud to be working with Halcyon Gallery to put together this major exhibition and to share my work with the world.”

Paul Green, President of Halcyon Gallery commented: “This exhibition is a culmination of our decade-long partnership with Lorenzo Quinn, and Equilibrium is validation of his growing status. We are also delighted that his celebrated piece ‘Give and Take III’ will be accessible to all Berkeley Square visitors until May 2010.”

For further information on Quinn or the "Meet the Artist" session visit www.halcyongallery.com

Images Credits:
Lorenzo Quinn unveils Give & Take III in Berkeley Square(By Getty)
Lorenzo Quinn's Give & Take III in Berkeley Square
Finding Love, Lorenzo Quinn
Love (2m), Lorenzo Quinn

Lorenzo Quinn’s monumental bronze sculpture Give & Take III, measuring almost four metres high, was unveiled today in Berkeley Square. The piece, which will be resident in the square for the next six months, forms part of Lorenzo’s major new solo exhibition, Equilibrium, which opens at Mayfair’s Halcyon Gallery, 24 Bruton Street, today.

See New Works of Art For Free

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2009 showcases some of the best new talent to hit the gallery walls this year. The artists were selected independently by six prominent figures from the art world: two artists,two collectors, two critics.

Among the selectors this year were collectors Peter Bowles and Lawrence Llewelyn
Bowen; Financial Times Art Critic Jackie Wullschlager; Keeper of the Word and
Image Department at the V&A, Julius Bryant; Royal Academician, Gus Cummins and
artist Lincoln Seligman.

Each selector has curated one section of the exhibition, drawing their own selection from works submitted by the public and the works of artists they have personally invited to exhibit.

The uniqueness of having each work chosen by an eminent individual, unlike in a group selected show, has earned the exhibition an excellent reputation among art lovers and collectors alike. The works of lesser-known artists are given the opportunity to hang alongside the work of more established artists helping to connect hundreds of new artists with new audiences.

ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2009 at the Mall Galleries, London SW1
Until 22nd November 2009. Admission Free.

Image credits: (c) the artists
Fujii, Atsuko - Asparagus with red string
Kessling, Kate - Thirty-Six-Guineas

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Malcolm Middleton's New Tour

Sorry, I know that I've been silent for the past few days. I've been busy with our deadline, and in fact, I am busy now, but I wanted to take a few minutes to write this. I am a HUGE Malcolm Middleton fan. It reminds me of our very first office, I listened to him over and over again, finding new things with each turn.

We'll Mr Middleton is back this winter with a series of intimate evenings. Malcolm will perform a collection of comforting wintry acoustic songs about love, hate, death, and other stuff.

A unique voice among the dirge of singer-songwriters, Malcolm Middleton balances a fragile mix of self-doubt, humour and wry observations on the human condition. Few current singer songwriters can claim to be as prolific – or as focused – as Middleton in the past five years, averaging a release a year.

Prone to self-deprecation - listen to any given lyric for proof - Middleton issued a statement saying Waxing Gibbous would likely be his last solo album for a while. Needless to say, reports of his creative death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

“I am not giving up music, retiring, dying, stopping song-writing, or becoming optimistic, content or anything else along these lines. All I've said is that I'd like to try some other musical projects before I return to doing more solo albums in the future. I fancy a change and I need something new. I want to do an instrumental acoustic guitar album, some electronic music, some collaborations, maybe start a new band, produce someone else etc,” he says.

It will be interesting to see what's next for MM.

Anyway, if he's at a venue near you, I'd pop down. Really, I would.


Tue 24 LONDON Bush Hall
Wed 25 BRIGHTON Hanbury Club
Thu 26 NORWICH Arts Centre
Sat 28 EXETER Phoenix Voodoo Lounge
Sun 29 OXFORD Jericho
Mon 30 CARDIFF Barfly


Tue 01 CAMBRIDGE Junction 2
Wed 02 BRISTOL Thekla
Mon 07 NEWCASTLE Cluny 2
Tue 08 YORK Basement
Wed 09 WAKEFIELD The Hop
Thu 10 GLASGOW Oran Mor


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