Lucy + Jorge Orta
Pascale Marthine Tayou
On show Etel Adnan, poet, short story writer, essayist, and artist, with "San Gimignano". Ai Weiwei's "Ordos" features sculptures, installations, videos and photographs. Anish Kapoor presents in this ideal space his monumental sculptures. Michelangelo Pistoletto lists 100 imagined exhibition projects written during the month of October that same year for his solo show "100 mostre nel mese di ottobre, 1976". Sophie Wettnall deals with the intimate and the relationship of women to outdoor space. The Spheres project brings together several international galleries.
GALLERIA CONTINUA has the honor of presenting the works of Etel Adnan, following her first solo exhibition at the gallery in San Gimignano (Italy). Poet, short story writer, essayist, and artist, Etel Adnan is a major figure in contemporary culture. Born in Beirut in 1925 to a Syrian Muslim father and a Greek Christian mother, Adnan grew up among the landscapes of Lebanon and Syria before moving to France for a time, and then to the majestic plains of America. Considered one of the most important representatives of the Arab intellectual diaspora, Adnan is also a pioneer of women’s rights.
Her first paintings date from 1958, the year she moved to the San Francisco of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Snyder in order to teach philosophy at the University of California. Deeply in love with nature and its original symbiosis with our existence, Adnan exhibited landscapes without human figures for her participation in dOCUMENTA (13). Seeking to represent only the physical beauty of the universe and the intense bond of love she has with it, the artist executed her paintings with clear, confident strokes. The colors scarcely nuance one another such that it seems they have always been present. Adnan asks, “Do colors have the power to break the Time barrier, and carry us into outer spaces, not only those made of miles and distances, but those of the accumulated experiences of life since its beginning or unbeginning?” At GALLERIA CONTINUA / les Moulins, Etel Adnan will show alabaster folding screens she is using for the first time.
During her time in San Gimignano, the artist drew nourishment from the surrounding landscapes, recording her memories in Japanese notebooks—drawing and describing the countryside in India ink. These drawings were resin cast in alabaster and finally inscribed and engraved by Tuscan artisans to be exhibited in a room bathed in autumnal light at the end of October, beside the Grand Morin river. The folding screens, much like the great cosmopolitan woman herself, have traveled back from Italy to find themselves in the French countryside, bringing the two rural realities to intersect. The crystalline, striated fractures in the alabaster allow the light to penetrate the stone’s thickness more easily, giving it a semi-transparent quality and illuminating the alabaster with a honey yellow color. The stone’s heavy presence is thus attenuated by its apparent fragility. The landscapes that Etel Adnan contemplates on her travels are inscribed on the stone in black ink, like a metaphysical presence of nature.
GALLERIA CONTINUA / Les Moulins is pleased to present a solo show by Ai Weiwei. The exhibition features sculptures, installations, videos and photographs. Recent works, some previously unshown and others on display for the first time in Italy, offer viewers an opportunity to learn more about one of the most important figures in contemporary culture, emphasizing the versatility of the artist and the cornerstones of his art: deferential respect for the Chinese tradition, combined with a great ability to project himself into modernity and an unflagging social and political awareness. A multifaceted artist and a man who is a bundle of contradictions, a great deal has been written, in every conceivable language, about the life of Ai Weiwei—from the suffering experienced by his family to his open clashes with the Chinese government and the way in which he has succeeded in redeeming his father through his work and through the pursuit of intellectual liberty. The aim of the exhibition is to focus on Ai Weiwei in all his complexity, a man for whom art is a way of life, bound up inextricably with the political and social circumstances of his time, a humanist artist with great intellectual faith in the capacity of human beings to contribute with their every gesture to the betterment of society. Ai Weiwei expresses this optimism on various fronts, ranging from art to architecture, and from literature to documentary film, social media activities and public protests. However the different fields of action all share a single and all- encompassing objective: to free individual expression from all forms of imposition in order to encourage reciprocal exchange and sharing among individuals. Ai Weiwei dwells on communication and social meanings in order to give fresh voice to a nation rendered mute by the ideology of the masses and by social utopianism, which renders thought uniform and denies the possibility of a critical approach to life.
In 2003, Ai Weiwei designed and realized his Fake Design Studio (which in Chinese reads as “fu-ke”, “fuck”), where he would subsequently plan, in his capacity as architect, a large series of spaces for galleries, studios and art centres, transforming a small unknown village between the fourth and fifth ring road to the north-east of the city into one of the most popular artists’ neighbourhoods in Beijing. Galleria Continua is showing 258 Fake, a titanic work of documentation consisting of 7,677 photos taken between 2003 and 2011, which record the artist’s everyday life: work, encounters, moments of leisure, political and social engagement. For Ai Weiwei, photography is an advanced archive tool but also an alienating and dangerous medium because of its inability to express reality in an unconditioned and objective way. Documentation and archiving are fundamental, recurrent practices forming an underlying thread in Ai Weiwei’s work and career. The artist uses documentation to restore a name and a temporal and historic place to things and people, affirming their dignity and value. This can be seen in Changan Boulevard, which records the life of a constantly changing city and of the people who live there. Armed with a video camera, Ai Weiwei spent a whole winter driving around in a van along every street of the 4th, 3rd and 2nd ring, including Chang’An Boulevard, the immensely long Avenue of Eternal Peace, which starts in rural areas and villages and runs through the centre of the capital, the political district and the neighbourhoods with Beijing’s most magnificent buildings, museums and hotels, finally arriving at the Iron and Steel Works (regarded in the past as the symbol of socialist industry). At measured points along the way, the artist shot single frames of one minute each. The final edited work consists of 608 such segments, lasting a total of 10 hours, 13 minutes.
Ai Weiwei’s role as a dissident artist became clearly defined in 2008, when a violent earthquake devastated the province of Sichuan, causing the death of 70,000 people. Accompanied by a group of volunteers recruited on the web via his blog, Ai Weiwei embarked on a project to investigate the causes of the catastrophe. The results of his inquiries cast light on the poor quality of the public buildings (hospitals, factories, schools), which collapsed like houses of cards. The artist published on line a list of the names of 5,826 children who died under the rubble of the so-called tofu constructions. His act of denunciation made a strong impact on public opinion, drawing an immediate response from the Chinese police, who closed down his blog. Nonetheless, Ai Weiwei managed to get round the censorship, continuing to support his campaigns on the web through Twitter. The exhibition features a series of works linked to this sad chapter in Chinese history. Rebar 49 is a sculpture comprising three iron rings, used for reinforced concrete in the construction of civil buildings—one of the 150 originals deformed by the earthquake that Ai Weiwei collected in Sichuan, and two replicas. The work is a forceful condemnation of the Chinese government, but also a monument to those who were never found. Brain Inflation is an MRI showing the brain haemorrhage suffered by the artist at the hands of the Chengdu police in August 2009. Marble Helmet, a marble sculpture, is a replica of a worker’s hard hat, of the kind used by the workers who tried to save the lives of earthquake victims in the days after the disaster.Around the end of the 1990s, Ai Weiwei began to work on the decontextualization and reconfiguration of ancient furniture, which resulted in a series of works destined to become a distinctive feature of his output. Using tables and architectural elements dating to the Ming and Qing dynasties, a legacy of the sophisticated Chinese craft tradition, the artist started a process of deconstruction and assemblage, adopting the ancient, and now largely forgotten, assembly technique of the Tang dynasty (618–907). The object, stripped of its original use, acquires new form and new significance. More recent works are articulated in architectural forms that are closer to solid geometry, from the cube to Platonic solids. There are two examples in the show, F-Size and Untitled.
Ai Weiwei’s enthusiasm for the ancient craft traditions of China is also reflected in his interest in porcelain. Exported around the world, it is perhaps the art form that best represents Chinese culture. Since 2004, the artist has explored this material with increasing closeness and depth. The themes that inspire his ceramics are less austere than the works in wood, and fit perfectly with the light, fragile and sophisticated nature of the material. In the exhibition there is Oil Spills, blown-up blots of oil that allude to the theme of consumerism, and Bubble of Twenty Five, 25 unequal-sized bubbles of porcelain situated in the garden of the gallery. The bubbles were produced in the ancient kilns of Jingdezhen (historically the capital of imperial ceramics), and reflect the surrounding landscape spherically and to infinity.
Rounding off the exhibition are several installations of great visual impact. Situated in the stalls area of the gallery is Ordos 100 Models, a large architectural model designed for Inner Mongolia, which once again saw Ai Weiwei working with the architects Herzog & De Meuron, for whom he had previously acted as a consultant on the Olympic stadium in Beijing. One hundred architects from 27 different nations were selected to design 100 villas, each measuring 1,000 square metres. The maquette and the prints on the walls document the design phase, and the film, Ordos 100, the three on-site inspections for the finalization of the designs, which, however, have not yet been realized. The stage and the gallery’s tower space house Stacked and Very Yao, variations on a symbolically rich subject already explored by the artist in the past. Ai Weiwei uses the bicycle as an iconic object: the principal means of transport in China—“Forever” (Yong Jiu Pai) is the most common bicycle brand in the country—it represents the lives of millions of Chinese citizens; what’s more, with its chain and sprocket mechanism, it somehow depicts the matrix of the labour force: the people. These installations also spotlight the more conceptual aspects of Ai Weiwei’s work; on the one hand, the activation of a process of abstraction whereby the object becomes the symbol-structure of nothing, on the other, the realization of the work as a metaphor of the fabrication of power.
Ai Weiwei was born in Beijing in 1957. He moved to New York in 1981, but returned to Beijing in 1993, and he still lives and works there today. His works have been shown around the world, and he has had solo exhibitions at GALLERIA CONTINUA / San Gimignano, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., and the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, in 2012; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Somerset House, London, the Kunsthaus, Bregenz, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, the Asia Society, New York, the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, and the Pulitzer Fountain, New York, in 2011; Stiftung DKM, Duisburg, the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, the Arcadia University Gallery, Glenside, and the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London, in 2010; the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Haus der Kunst, Munich, and the Three Shadows Photography Art Center, Beijing, in 2009; the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Cambelltown Arts Center, Sydney, and the Groninger Museum, Groningen, in 2008. Collective shows to which he has contributed include the São Paulo Biennial and the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010; Documenta 12 at Kassel and an exhibition at Tate Liverpool in 2007. Ai Weiwei was invited to exhibit in the German Pavilion of the 55th Venice Biennale.
GALLERIA CONTINUA / Les Moulins is pleased to present the British artist Anish Kapoor’s first exhibition at the industrial site of the Moulin de Sainte Marie. The space of the old paper mill, where diverse materials from steel to brick to concrete sit side by side, seems tailor-made to hold Kapoor’s monumental sculptures. The curved contours of these severe and refined sculptures are elaborated in the large orthogonal spaces of the central building.
Anish Kapoor’s work at the Moulin de Sainte-Marie operates along the lines of a dialogue. The site’s raw materials are echoed by an almost powdery weathering steel whose rusty color underscores the subtle curves high above the visitor, these curves themselves contrasting with the strong vertical, horizontal, and oblique lines of the industrial architecture. While their design already makes inherent reference to the world of industry, the towering metallic structures here work in tandem with it. The visitor finds himself at the heart of a spectacular play on scale that enables an experience of the space and materials. Opening onto themselves, the steel works conjure a sort of dark, indistinct abyss. At the threshold of the cavity, it is as though the spectator is inhaled into the piece. The visitor’s gaze, his sense of hearing, his body, and his mind converge in the contemplation of this deep interior, which is both the catalyst and the receptacle for his meditation. Anish Kapoor’s sculptures oscillate between two states: between an object whose proportions and spatial placement we gaze on admiringly and the basis for a sensitive, contemplative experience.
Born in Mumbai, India in 1954, Anish Kapoor has lived and worked in London since 1973. Recognized as one of the most important artists worldwide, his works have been exhibited in world-class institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the CAPC in Bordeaux, the Prada Foundation in Milan, and the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi. On the occasion of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, he designed the 115 meter-tall Orbit tower with engineer Cecil Balmond, which is the largest public art project ever to be realized in the United Kingdom. In 2011, Anish Kapoor created Leviathan, a special project for Monumenta at the Grand Palais in Paris. Anish Kapoor was awarded the Primo Duemila prize at the Venice Biennale in 1990 and received the prestigious Turner Prize in 1991. Elected Member of the Royal Academy in 1999, he was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2003.
100 mostre nel mese di ottobre, 1976
After the resounding success of Year 1: Earthly Paradise, a retrospective at the Louvre featuring historic works of Arte Povera, GALLERIA CONTINUA is pleased to welcome Michelangelo Pistoletto and his 100 mostre nel mese di ottobre, 1976 (« 100 exhibitions in the month of October 1976 »). This exhibition springs from a text of the same name written by the artist and published by the Galleria Giorgio Persano in 1976—a book listing 100 imagined exhibition projects written during the month of October that same year. While the artist favored the book as his medium of choice for this work in the 1970s, this book is now scattered throughout the rooms of the old paper mill and the artist’s words now transform themselves and become visible to the visitor capable of believing in an epiphany of the Word.
While GALLERIA CONTINUA / San Gimignano inaugurated a solo exhibition by Michelangelo Pistoletto in which certain pieces described in this text were first realized last September, GALLERIA CONTINUA / Les Moulins almost simultaneously undertook this same journey, continuing this unconventional narration. The industrial space becomes a cube for the artist—it transforms into the ideal space where he imagines each exhibition—an imaginary cube where interior and exterior become complementary receptacles for ideas. The artist writes: “Space divided horizontally by a surface with a hole to peek one’s head through to see the top section.” These words describe work 84/100, the piece that opens the exhibition at Les Moulins: a small room whose ceiling has been lowered and in which an opening has been made, a space to be worn like a garment, the body dressing itself in the architecture that surrounds it thanks to the constrained position where an unexpected vision is revealed.
Further on, one can read: “Buy four mirrors from four different mirror dealers. Each will have its back painted a different color. Paint four walls the respective color of each mirror. Affix each mirror to the wall with its corresponding color, with the reflective surface turned toward the wall. The mirrors are centered on each wall and sit on the floor, leaning at a slight angle.” This statement for work 50/100 introduces one of the artist’s favorite materials. The mirror in Michelangelo Pistoletto’s work welcomes and constitutes an image of the world, humanity, and society, as well as a cosmic image. Here, the visible and its opposite are confronted, giving both a physical and a metaphysical dimension to the work.
The mirror and its revealing qualities reappear in Il Grande Pozzo in the twists and turns of the Labyrinth (Labirinto e Grande Pozzo, 1963-2013), an historic piece that evokes Arte Povera and that enables the history of the Le Moulin paper mill to manifest through its use of cardboard. In works 87/100 and 99/100, the stimulation produced by the site’s living presence becomes real and each element that composes them is the result of a contingent necessity. This is also the case for the old machine room, where the work Mirror Cages at once becomes both content and container of the exhibition space.
Over the summer of 1993, the artist began a new phase in his work with Segno Arte, a form created by the intersection of two triangles within which a human body can be perfectly inscribed, with arms raised and legs spread. Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, the work underscores the harmonious proportions of the human body. This sign can be found in certain of the works exhibited here, inviting each individual to have his own sign, as the artist says, like a key to open the door to art. The exhibition comes to a close in the Moulin de Sainte-Marie’s open spaces with an questioning by the monumental cage Spazio Libero (Free Space), work 90/100 from the 100 mostre nel mese di ottobre. Realized by inmates of the San Vittore de Milan prison in 1999, and already shown at the Tuileries Garden in Paris for the 2008 edition of the FIAC, it presents itself as an inverted free space, where it is rather the inaccessible interior of the cage that houses freedom, while we are on the outside. Michelangelo Pistoletto was born in 1933, in Biella, Italy. His first solo exhibitions took place in Turin, in 1955 and 1960. His works from the second half of the 1960s were recognized as having a certain filiation with Arte Povera, and he is now considered one of the most important European artists alive. His works have been exhibited in world-class institutions such as the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the MoMA in New York, the MAC in Lyon, the Louvre in Paris, and the Tate Gallery in London, and many of his pieces belong to the most prestigious collections. In 1998, he created the Cittadellarte foundation in his hometown of Biella as a realization of his artistic reflection Progetto Arte: a space filled with creative energy directed toward areas of research where art, education, economics, ecology, and politics intersect, in the aim of developing dynamic relationships between all disciplines.
Femme sans ombre. Hommage à Shirîn Malek-Mansour
GALLERIA CONTINUA / Les Moulins is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Sophie Whettnall, Femme sans ombre. Hommage à Shirîn Malek-Mansour. Commenting on her film Shadow Boxing, a video that presents the relationships of implicit violence between a man and a woman in a boxing gym, Robert Storr concluded his review by saying, “simple things are often best.” Born in Brussels in 1973, Sophie Wettnall works in video, photography, installations, and performance. Her work deals with the intimate and the relationship of women to outdoor space, the visible and the secret, and presence and emptiness. The shift from one state to another—from dependence to insubordination—weaves itself throughout her work. The problematics of duality and alterity enable her to put these notions into action.
Winner of the prestigious Prix de la Jeune Peinture belge in 1999, Sophie Whettnall exhibits her work internationally. In 2005, she covered the exhibition space of the Casa Velasquez in Madrid with red snow. She was chosen by Daniel Buren to take part in L’Emprise du lieu at the Domaine Pommery in 2007. That same year, Whettnall showed at the 52nd Venice Biennale, curated by Robert Storr, as well as at the CGAG in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. In 2012, the Joan Miró Foundation held a solo exhibition of her work and her videos were shown at the Belgian pavilion of the Shanghai World Expo.
The works exhibited at Le Moulin this fall are of an enlightened sobriety, and the artist refocuses her visual language through this economy. Twelve sculptures erected in the gallery’s industrial rooms are surrounded by wooden panels painted in black ink. In the room next door, a triptych projection shows a procession of women in a verdant landscape. An assemblage of wooden planks as thin as leaves of white paper constitute the work Femme sans ombre (« Woman without a Shadow »), after the eponymous opera by Richard Strauss. The panels are placed on the ground and against the walls, elementary and resonant with the raw space of Le Moulin. The pictorial research into shadow and light leads to abstraction.
Landscapes, portraits—the artist works here on a lost, or essentialized, identity, painting the twin silhouette of an absence in black ink, reducing a world into vibrant black spots whose repetition invokes a state of meditative contemplation. In the same room are Les Porteuses (« The Carriers »), baskets in various forms perched on slender wooden and metal bases that create elegant silhouettes of African women in a hieratic monochrome. In their silent march, the base becomes a pedestal, and the basket a metonymy for the world whose weight is borne by the carrier.
The video features Burkinabés parading in a sea of tall grass. Projected on three screens that encompass three times in the procession, the film depicts the humanity of a simple, atemporal ritual action. Nature in space, formal gestures, and the sketch created by the wood—a loop of invariant stories like the origin of worlds.
ATHR Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai, India
Mor.Charpentier, Paris, France
IBRAHIM ABUMSMAR, SAMI AL TURKI, HAZEM HARB, AHMED MATER (ATHR Gallery) FABIEN CHARUAU, NIKHIL CHOPRA, HETAIN PATEL, SAHEJ RAHAL (Chatterjee & Lal) LARA ALMARCEGUI, VOLUSPA JARPA, LILIANA PORTER (Mor.Charpentier)
The Spheres project brings together several international galleries seeking to unite their various energies to create a unique common exhibition experience at Le Moulin. GALLERIA CONTINUA is pleased to invite the galleries ATHR Gallery, Chatterjee & Lal, and Mor·Charpentier for the sixth edition of Spheres, welcoming 11 artists to its site at Boissy-le-Châtel. Spheres is also an opportunity to discover, or to rediscover, long-term projects by Kader Attia, Daniel Buren, Loris Cecchini, Chen Zhen, Leandro Erlich, Carlos Garaicoa, Kendell Geers, Antony Gormley, Zhanna Kadyrova, Moataz Nasr, Lucy + Jorge Orta, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Sislej Xhafa, Julia Cottin (Galerie Eva Hober, SPHERES 5) and Ceal Floyer (Esther Shipper, SPHERES 3).
Since its inauguration at Boissy-le-Châtel in 2007, GALLERIA CONTINUA / Les Moulins has confirmed its desire to invest itself in unexpected territories and to welcome artists of international stature. In this spirit, the doors of Le Moulin are open to welcome artists from all continents thanks to the participation of important art galleries. This year, new spheres are forming. Through them, we come to encounter contemporary work from the Arab world thanks to the participation of the ATHR Gallery, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as well as that of the dynamic Indian gallery Chatterjee & Lal, based in Mumbai. Another sphere within the same globe leads us to Latin America, thanks to the participation of Mor·Charpentier. These combined energies generate an ongoing dialogue between local and global spheres. In June 2012, GALLERIA CONTINUA opened its new site, Le Moulin de Sainte-Marie. Half a mile from Le Moulin de Boissy-le-Châtel, Le Moulin de Sainte-Marie is a pioneering art space project that constitutes a veritable rebirth of a post- industrial site in the Parisian countryside. It is already the privileged setting for monumental in situ works such as Daniel Buren’s Vitrage pour Sainte-Marie, travail in situ, mai 2012, and Sislej Xhafa’s Silvio.
Previous galleries invited for SPHERES : Air de Paris (Paris), Chemould Prescott Road (Mumbai), White Cube (London), Chantal Crousel (Paris), Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg / Le Cap), Hauser & Wirth (London, Zurich), In Situ / Fabienne Leclerc (Paris), Johann König (Berlin), Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna), Yvon Lambert (Paris), Magazzino (Rome), Kamel Mennour (Paris), Mor.Charpentier, (Paris), Almine Rech (Brussels, Paris), Thaddaeus Ropac (Paris, Salzbourg), Esther Schipper (Berlin) et la galerie Xippas (Paris, Geneva, Athenes, Montevideo). Art foundations invited for SPHERES 5 : CITTADELLARTE (Biella), Dar al-Ma’mûn (Marrakesh), Depart Foundation (Rome), Izolyatsia (Donetzk), SAM Art Projects (Paris).
Opening : Saturday 26 of October
GALLERIA CONTINUA / Le Moulin FRANCIA
46 rue de la Ferté Gaucher 77169 Boissy-le-Châtel (Seine-et-Marne)
Hours: wed-sun 12-19 or by appointment