Arne Quinze was born in 1971 in Belgium and lives and works in Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium. In the eighties he began working as a graffiti artist but he never finished an official art education. Quinze creates large and small sculptures, drawings, paintings, and large-scale installations. Smaller works, sketches, and drawings are the basis and research for his large installations. Recurring fundamentals in his oeuvre are the use of multiple types of wood, including salvaged wood; electrical colors in fluorescent paint; and themes referring to social interaction, communication, and urbanism. Since a while he’s doing research towards large steel installations. In every culture Quinze comes across, he unravels physical processes, drawing inspiration for his oeuvre, and is fueled by overwhelming optimism. Every new creative breed captures his research and study on interaction, and urban movement expressing the continuously evolution of human beings and their surroundings. Besides building architectural sculptures, he creates complex art pieces and video installations inscribing his vision in society of how people see themselves and society. Works as Bidonvilles, Stilthouses, Chaos and My Home My House My Stilthouse, My Secret Garden have been shown on several exhibitions. (Source: http://arnequinze.com/)
Lucas Samaras ( (b. 1936, Kastoria, Macedonia, Greece) is considered a wizard, and among artists he’s an elusive legend: a loner, eccentric, master of unusual media, and visionary who has avoided classification. He’s a solitary worker who has remained outside of movements, trends, or cliques, making work that is always original, provocative, and surprising. Over the years, Samaras has created drawings, furniture, jewelry, paintings, photographs, sculpture and room-sized installation using a variety of material including beads, chicken wire, clay, Cor-ten steel, fabric, mirrors, pastel, pencil, pins, plaster and oil. He has often made himself the subject of his own work, using his own image to push the boundaries of physical and psychological transformation. He has interviewed himself, photographed himself, sculpted himself, and decorated himself and, in doing so, he has always seemed to be a work in progress. Samaras is not necessarily a narcissist; he is an intrepid self-investigator and he has made acareer out of mutating his own image and likeness. (Source: http://www.interviewmagazine.com/ and http://www.pacegallery.com/)
All images from: http://www.pacegallery.com/
Richard Anuszkiewicz (born 1930, Erie, Pennsylvania, US) was one of the founders and foremost exponents of Op Art, a movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Victor Vasarely in France and Bridget Riley in England were his primary international counterparts. In 1964, Life magazine called him “one of the new wizards of Op”. More recently, while reflecting on a New York City gallery show of Anuszkiewicz’s from 2000, the New York Times art critic Holland Cotter described Anuszkiewicz’s paintings by stating, “The drama — and that feels like the right word — is in the subtle chemistry of complementary colors, which makes the geometry glow as if light were leaking out from behind it.”
Considered a major force in the Op Art movement, Anuszkiewicz is concerned with the optical changes that occur when different high-intensity colors are applied to the same geometric configurations. Most of his work comprises visual investigations of formal structural and color effects, many of them nested square forms similar to the work of his mentor Josef Albers. In his series, “Homage to the Square,” Albers experimented with juxtapositions of color, and Anuszkiewicz developed these concepts further. Anuszkiewicz has continued to produce works in the Op Art style over the last few decades.
My work is of an experimental nature and has centered on an investigation into the effects of complementary colors of full intensity when juxtaposed and the optical changes that occur as a result, and a study of the dynamic effect of the whole under changing conditions of light, and the effect of light on color. (Source: http://www.richardanuszkiewicz.com/, from a statement by the artist for the exhibition “Americans 1963″ at the Museum of the Modern Art)
Humour, sensation, maximum impact; internationally renowned artist Florentijn Hofman (Delfzijl, the Netherlands - 1977) does not settle for less. His sculptures are large, very large, and are bound to make an impression. Take Rubber Duck (2007) for example: a gigantic 26-metre-high yellow rubber duck. It is an inflatable, based on the standard model that children from all four corners of the world are familiar with. The impressive rubber duck travels the world and pops up in many different cities: from Auckland and São Paulo to Osaka. A very positive artistic statement that immediately connects people to their childhood. Another example is Fat Monkey (São Paulo, 2010), a huge monkey tied together from 10,000 brightly coloured flipflops, the Brazilian shoe par excellence. The monkey is lying stretched out in the park, where his 15-metre length makes passers-by stop dead in their tracks.
Hofman’s sculptures often originate from everyday objects. A straightforward paper boat, a pictogram of an industrial zone or mass-produced little toy figures can all serve as sources. They are all ready-mades, selected by Hofman for the beauty of their forms. Subsequently he crafts these into clear and iconic images; cartoonish blow-ups of reality that alienate and unsettle through their sheer size and use of materials. Nevertheless they are immediately identifiable and have an instant appeal. Inflatables, window stickers, agricultural plastic sheeting: for Hofman any material is suitable for turning into art. The skin of Big Yellow Rabbit (Örebro, 2011) for example consisted of thousands of Swedish shingles. A wooden frame was covered in reed for Muskrat (2004). For Look-out Rabbit (2011) he screwed together many wooden planks and for Fat Monkey he used the aforementioned flip-flops. Hofman’s projects are often very labour-intensive. Gravity is being defied though by his love of materials and craft. (Source: http://www.florentijnhofman.nl/)
Stéphane Thidet (born 1974 in Paris, lives in Paris and works at Aubervilliers) is a French artist who takes regular, everyday objects and transforms them into absurd, fantastical, slightly disorienting installation pieces.
[The] state of harmony is often brought into question in my work; a fairground tower lies on the ground, confetti becomes the cinders after a party, and a shelter is eaten away from the inside. The comfortable familiarity of these elements is combined with a degree of fear, a fragilization. Ultimately, I create situations that fail to deliver their promise. (…) My productions often function like traps, a combination of attraction and repulsion. The billiard-table offers a landscape and invites contemplation, but the whole thing is elephantine, and in a way monstrous on account of its excessive deformity. This precisely is the important point to my mind; to start out from what is an a priori reassuring situation, and propose a complete reversal by operating very simply through displacement, deformity of alteration. (Source: http://www.stephanethidet.com/)
Always, my interest in popular forms was not to glorify them—because I really dislike popular culture in most cases. I think it’s garbage, but that’s the culture I live in and that’s the culture people speak. […] So all I can really do now is work with this dominant culture and flay it, rip it apart, reconfigure it, expose it.
Widely acknowledged as an artist who defined his era, Mike Kelley (1954 in Wayne, Michigan –2012) created a stunning and protean legacy that encompasses painting, sculpture, works on paper, installation, performance, music, video, photography, collaborative works and critical texts. Kelley’s work ranges from highly symbolic and ritualistic performance pieces to arrangements of stuffed-animal sculptures, to wall-size drawings, to multi-room installations that restage institutional environments (schools, offices, zoos), to extended collaborations with artists such as Paul McCarthy, Tony Oursler, and the band Sonic Youth. A critic and curator, Kelley writes for art and music journals and has organized numerous exhibitions incorporating his own work, work by fellow artists, and non-art objects that exemplify aspects of nostalgia, the grotesque, and the uncanny. His work questions the legitimacy of “normative” values and systems of authority, and attacks the sanctity of cultural attitudes toward family, religion, sexuality, art history, and education. (Source: http://www.stedelijk.nl/ and http://www.pbs.org/)
Prior to creating the Arenas, stuffed animals played an integral role in Kelley’s oeuvre. He sought to explore the commodification of gifted craft objects and the question of how one repays the “gift”. In an interview with John Miller from 1992, Kelley states, “Basically, gift giving is like indentured slavery or something. There’s no price, so you don’t know how much you owe. The commodity is emotion. What’s being bought and sold is emotion.” Kelley takes the emotion one step further with this series by stripping the nostalgia of these childhood toys and confronting the “real emotion” and making people look at these toys as objects in the present tense. They are man-made, and project the intent of the maker, not the child who owned the object. (Source: http://www.skarstedt.com/)
Before Superman’s home planet Krypton was destroyed and the hero forced to start his life on Earth, the villainous Brainiac stole Krypton’s capital, the city of Kandor, and shrunk it inside a bottle. Though thrilled to find intact proof of his past, Superman was for the longest time tragically unable to restore it to full size and kept it in his polar Fortress of Solitude as a mnemonic symbol of his destroyed homeland, an emblem of nostalgia for a place he never knew. Inspired by Superman’s bottled city, Kelley searched 50 years of Kandor’s comic book appearances to find a wide range of visual interpretations. In Kandors, Kelley explores the variety that can grow in a never-ending, multi-authored narrative such as Superman’s. Peering into the glass bottles we see that the utopian, idealized nature of Kandor is made all the more poignant by its inaccessibility, the futuristic city only alive by virtue of its surrounding glass cage. In the exhibit, this is accentuated by the fact that the stylized bottles are all hooked up to well-used gas canisters, like memories on life support. (Source: http://whitehotmagazine.com/)
Richard Wentworth studied at Hornsey College of Art, London, from 1965, and worked with Henry Moore in 1967. He also studied at the Royal College of Art, London (1968–70). With artists such as Bill Woodrow and Tony Cragg, Wentworth shared an interest in the unexpected correlation of found objects and industrial materials. He was drawn to imaginative displacements of common objects presented within a high art context (e.g. lightbulbs cased in wire baskets, garden implements slotted in office furniture). The titles of Wentworth’s works, sometimes drawn from children’s tales, are as enigmatic as his constructions. (Source: http://www.tate.org.uk/)
Wentworth’s sculpture takes as its subject the semantics of the everyday world, taking readymade and frequently incongruous objects and arranging them in a fashion that forces us to recognise the drama inherent in that which we too easily dismiss as routine. His photography captures the unusual or counter-intuitive behaviour of things, treating the (generally urban) landscape as consisting of readymade works that merit the same attention as more traditional art objects. The effect might be compared to having a film of dirt removed from one’s eyes: it is often said by his students that, after talking to him, one begins to ‘see the world as a Wentworth’, meaning that one suddenly has a heightened awareness of the position of objects in one’s environment, and a refreshed curiosity in how they came to be there and how we might interpret them. (Source: http://www.thewhitereview.org/)
Antoni Tàpies (b. 1923, Barcelona, Spain – d. 2012, Barcelona, Spain) has for six decades refined a visual language inspired by a wide range of sources that coalesce into a complex fusion of materials, gestures, and symbols. Tàpies was a towering presence in 20th century art, coming to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s, exhibiting regularly in the artistic crucibles of New York, Paris and Barcelona alongside peers such as Alberto Burri, Joseph Beuys, Yves Klein and Robert Rauschenberg. His explorations of Surrealist imagery early in his career served as the foundation for an ongoing investigation of the nature of physical objects and their materiality. Tàpies’ work embodies his extensive personal experience and history, as well as that of his native Spain and specifically Catalonia.
As Tàpies’ use of tangible materials for making art emphasize physical transformation, spiritual transformation is evoked through signs and symbols drawn from Eastern and Western cultures. Tàpies pioneered the use of sand or earth and other unusual materials in his paintings, creating a form of alchemical magic that connects the base matter of life and the body with the unseen, metaphysical realm. Language was always an important element in Tàpies’ practice. Repeated ciphers, enigmatic sketches and notations are scored, carved and etched into the paintings’ rough surfaces resulting in shrouded, potential resonances. Tàpies has participated in three Venice Biennale exhibitions (1952, 1954, 1958) prior to being selected to represent Spain at the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993, during which he was presented with the Biennale’s Award for Painting. (Source: http://www.pacegallery.com/ and http://www.timothytaylorgallery.com/)
Hailed simultaneously as a provocateur, prankster, and tragic poet of our times, Maurizio Cattelan (born 1960, Padova, Italy) has created some of the most unforgettable images in recent contemporary art. His source materials range widely, from popular culture, history, and organized religion to a meditation on the self that is at once humorous and profound. Working in a vein that can be described as hyperrealist, Cattelan creates unsettlingly veristic sculptures that reveal contradictions at the core of today’s society. While bold and irreverent, the work is also deadly serious in its scathing critique of authority and the abuse of power.
Death stalks the artist’s psyche and creeps into all manifestations of his production. With All (2007), he created what he described as a “monument to death,” a sculpture that would commemorate its unrelenting presence. Derived from ubiquitous media imagery of fallen bodies, and carved from traditional marble, the nine shrouded figures appear as victims of some unnamed trauma, silently recalling the unconscionable realities of our present-day world.
Among Cattelan’s most startling projects is a cycle of lifelike waxworks that portray and contest iconic authority figures. The most incendiary of these works comprise La Nona Ora (The ninth hour, 1999), his notorious sculpture of Pope John Paul II felled by a meteorite, and Him (2001), a rendering of Adolf Hitler in the scale of a young boy, kneeling preposterously in a pose of supplication. Also included is the sculpture Frank and Jamie (2002), in which two New York City policemen are turned upside down and propped against a wall in a posture that has been interpreted as a visual parallel to the sense of vulnerability that permeated the country in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A more overtly elegiac scene is constructed by Now (2004), an effigy of a serene and barefoot John F. Kennedy lying in state, a martyr to a shattered American idealism seen from the perspective of a disillusioned present. (Source: http://www.guggenheim.org/)
Fascinated by assembling objects from model kits as a child, Michael Johansson (born 1975 in Trollhättan, Sweden) puts the qualities from daily life objects in opposition to their field of application. He transforms everyday objects into models of themselves.
“Real life Tetris” installations see other people’s unwanted objects methodically and painstakingly packed together into neat, colour co-ordinated blocks.