Cathryn Drake

  • Helidon Gjergji, Trapa Natans Scutariensis, 2018, acrylic, soft drinks, and ink on wall, 9' 10“ × 32' 5 3⁄4” × 3 1⁄4". Installation view. Photo: Lazar Pejovic.

    Helidon Gjergji

    For the exhibition “SHKODAR Lake,” curated by Ana Ivanović, Albanian artist Helidon Gjergji created a sort of museum of unnatural history in the Gallery Atelier Dado—a studio given to Montenegrin artist Miodrag Đurić (1933–2010), known as Dado, in the late 1980s to lure him back from France. While Dado’s intention to make the space an anti-museum went unfulfilled, Gjergji reflected it in an immersive diorama of interpretive wall paintings accompanied by vitrines containing deceptive artifacts that illustrate the elusiveness of existence.The exhibition title was a hybrid of Skadar and Shkodër

  • Loukia Alavanou, New Horizons—Pilot, 2018, VR video, color, sound, 9 minutes.

    Loukia Alavanou

    The hallmark of Loukia Alavanou’s work is the collaging of sounds and images—anything from photographs and disembodied cartoon characters to newsreel and film-noir clips—into incongruous compositions that expose the mechanics of the media in constructing history and manipulating our perception of reality. Her show “Towards New Horizons,” curated by iLiana Fokianaki, presented four exemplary videos, produced between 2005 and 2013, alongside a new installation.

    Alavanou’s virtual reality installation New Horizons—Pilot, 2018, is a stereoscopic counterpoint to the future predicted by

  • Vibeke Tandberg, Candypool (detail), 2017, plaster, slate, wood, felt, dimensions variable. From Lorck Schive Kunstpris.

    Lorck Schive Kunstpris

    Each of the four artists nominated for the third edition of the Lorck Schive Kunstpris, Norway’s biggest art prize, produced installations for an exhibition that evinced their distinct stylistic sensibilities, coalescing into portrayals of personal and collective histories while imparting a sense of romanticism derailed. Mattias Härenstam’s Begrensning (Limitation; all works 2017) consisted of a birch tree being dragged around the perimeter of a strikingly antiseptic, even anesthetic modernist space, a trail of leaves tracing the path of its nearly imperceptible progress and inexorable deterioration.

  • Left: Fondazione Morra Greco's Alessia Volpe and Maurizio Morra Greco at Europeo di Mattozzi. Right: Fondazione Prada's Chiara Costa and Andrea Goffo with Fondazione Morra's Raffaella Morra and Claudio Catanese.
    diary December 24, 2017

    Divine Comedy

    ARRIVING IN NAPLES for the late-November opening of “Pompei@Madre: Materia Archeologica,” curated by Massimo Osanna, director of the Pompeii Archaeological Park, and Andrea Viliani, director of the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (Museo MADRE), I hit the ground running and did not stop before hopping the northbound train for Rome a few days later.

    The official opening was attended by a number of politicians, including Dario Franceschini, the minister of culture, who declared it the best show of the year. Juxtaposing pieces from the permanent collection and artworks by Betty Woodman, Mark

  • Left: Artist Emeric Lhuisset. Right: Artist Conor Rogers.
    diary June 14, 2017

    Mediterranean See

    THE ITALIAN REGION OF PUGLIA is where the eighteenth edition of the Mediterranea Young Artists Biennale kicked off, its theme a perennial and problematic formula: “History + Conflict + Dream + Failure = Home.” The shows and performances, in Tirana and Durrës, Albania, present the work of 230 young artists and performers, aged eighteen to thirty-four, from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Mediterranean diaspora. It is fitting that the biennial is located this time in Albania, a nascent country with an elusive national identity.

    The biennial’s inaugural conference took place on the periphery

  • Andreas Angelidakis, Antonio Negri, and Paul B. Preciado at the opening of the Public Programs of Documenta 14 at Parko Eleftherias, September 14, 2016. Photo: Stathis Mamalakis.
    slant February 10, 2017

    On the Ground: Athens

    ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE MOMENT: Greece is at the center of a convulsion in global capitalism. Athens, the birthplace of democratic ideals, experienced one of the earliest documented economic crises in the Western world, in the fifth century BCE. Even now, as an early warning sign of things to come for the European Union—and the epicenter of the biggest refugee crisis in history—Greece is a natural case study. Adding to the fracas is the inauguration this April of one of the world’s largest art exhibitions, Documenta 14: “Learning from Athens (Working Title),” directed by Adam Szymczyk.

    Szymczyk proposed

  • Faig Ahmed, Bakirə (Virgin), 2016, wool carpet, 118 1/8 × 59".

    Faig Ahmed

    To enter Faig Ahmed’s exhibition “Nə var, Odur” (It Is What It Is), you had to pass through Aramızdakı pərdə (Curtain In-between, all works 2016), a threshold of diaphanous drapes embellished with gold embroidery. Inside, you encountered exiting visitors as ghostly apparitions gradually emerging from behind the layers until they were suddenly right in front of you. This transformation reverberated throughout the show as a metaphor for the veiled mechanisms of control that serve to cohere (and divide) communities while conferring a tribal identity.

    Azman (The Biggest), a hierarchical battalion of

  • Paolo Colombo, Untitled (Working Table 1), 2016, ink-jet print, 6.5 x 5".
    picks November 18, 2016

    Paolo Colombo

    An exhibition of watercolors and photographs by Paolo Colombo portrays an intimate and mysterious cosmos populated by everyday objects (all works untitled and 2016). Several photographs capture artifacts on the artist’s worktable—tiny shells, pottery shards, and beach stones—imbued with the significance of personal talismans. Three photos of plastic Greek baskets embellished with floral motifs, collected by Colombo in the 1970s, look as precious as china against luminous marble backgrounds.

    In the paintings, simple geometric shapes or flat forms of birds and human hands interrupt fields of color

  • View of “Zoë Paul: Solitude and Village,” 2016. From left: <>, 2016; au, 2016; Untitled, 2016.

    Zoë Paul

    Zoë Paul’s solo exhibition “Solitude and Village” embodied a harmonious universe where the divine resides within the domestic, the individual alongside the collective. Like a cross between a cult temple and a midcentury living room, the space was arrayed with seven disembodied clay heads supported by architectural platforms, the walls covered in frescoes of giant nudes engaging in sexual acts or relaxing in solitary poses, each painted in expressive strokes of natural clay and whitewash. The stylized sculptures recalled Modern Primitivism; the arrangement of the irregularly shaped plinths, topped

  • Left: Endless Party in front of Studio Theater. Right: Artists Edka Jarzab, Cara Benedetto, and Helena Malewska. (Except where noted, all photos: Cathryn Drake)
    diary October 10, 2016

    Endless Love

    LAST TIME I SAW WARSAW, a decade ago, the Palace of Culture and Science was a colossal ruin with darkened windows, an unwanted reminder of the grim Communist past towering over the city center. Now restored and full of life—with three museums, a multiplex cinema, four theaters, a swimming pool, an accredited university, and an auditorium that has hosted Miss World—it keeps company with a slew of new high-rises. Stalin’s “gift” to Poland, a plump babushka version of the Empire State building, was the epicenter of the sixth Warsaw Gallery Weekend as well as the setting of the newly inaugurated

  • Mahdi Fleifel, A World Not Ours, 2012, digital film, color, sound, 1 hour 23 minutes.
    picks September 05, 2016

    “A World Not Ours”

    The exhibition “A World Not Ours” reflects on the powerful concept of a homeland. For The Persecuted, 2015, asylum seekers captured on the move by photojournalist Yannis Behrakis are presented as newspaper clippings with headlines announcing one tragedy after another, alongside a slide show of lush, emotional portraits. By contrast, Giorgos Moutafis’s black-and-white photos of refugees in limbo for Europa, Europa, 2016—taken with a disposable camera and displayed in light boxes—take on the soft, romantic sheen of a remote past like family portraits.

    In Marina Gioti’s video Saint Marina, 2016,

  • Artists David Horvitz and Camille Henrot, curator Milovan Farronato, and artist Sven Sachsalber. (All photos: Cathryn Drake)
    diary August 05, 2016

    Another Day in Paradise

    THE WAY TO THE AEOLIAN ISLAND OF STROMBOLI—little more than the cone of a volatile volcano emerging from the Sicilian sea—is fraught with uncertainty (and often nausea), and once there you feel tugged between extreme attraction and alienation. In this intimate and explosive context, Fiorucci Art Trust’s sixth Volcano Extravaganza, “I Will Go Where I Don’t Belong,” orchestrated by artist Camille Henrot and curator Milovan Farronato, offered a fertile framework for contemplating the depths of the soul (or at least a fun excuse to hang out in paradise).

    The weeklong program of exhibitions, film