Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva

  • diary May 31, 2016

    Formosa and Function

    “THAT’S HOW YOU DO BUSINESS,” cheered Wei-Wei Wang, director of the inaugural Formosa 101 art fair. Dealer Tong Walton had managed, within a minute of our encounter, to add me on WeChat and send along a PDF of Liu Xia’s dark-humored paintings while talking up a storm. Although business—or at least the VIP itinerary—wasn’t quite on par with other fairs of its size, Formosa generated some remarkable solo presentations from its thirty-two invited galleries. “With Art Taipei’s quality declining, we wanted to create a competitive fair in Taiwan,” explained Formosa 101 founder Richard Chang. But

  • picks May 10, 2016

    Yeh Shih-Chiang

    Yeh Shih-Chiang’s brushstrokes are arresting despite the deliberate simplicity of their compositions. The exhibition features twenty-eight of the artist’s large, tranquil landscapes painted in the last two decades of his life. Yeh used both ink and oil on paper and canvas, and many works are painted to the extreme edge of their surfaces, acting as windows into his world. He traveled to Taipei from Southern China in 1949 but never made it back. Estranged from the city, he learned to play the zither and created a Chan Buddhism–influenced body of work that resonated with his antiestablishment

  • diary March 26, 2016

    Fantastic Four

    “LAST TIME I CAME TO HONG KONG I was sixteen, and that was in 1961,” recalled the Indian artist Nalini Malani last Sunday. “I had just finished high school, so my mother wanted to reward me with a trip, but nowhere too far. She said: Here is a ticket, I have friends there you can stay with.” It took fifty-five years for another auspicious occasion to return. But what an occasion it was. Three hundred of us were about to be seated in the Grand Ballroom of the Conrad Hotel for Asia Society’s gala honoring Malani as well as Cai Guo-Qiang and Yoshitomo Nara—also celebrating the august and essential

  • diary March 19, 2016

    More or Less

    “IT’S A GREAT IDEA to repurpose a parking lot,” said one of the guests filling the lifts that serviced the Link Carpark in Makati, where the fourth edition of Art Fair Philippines opened last month. “But couldn’t they have invested in a grander entrance?”

    On the sixth floor, we were greeted by nascent VIP queues and air-kisses from those who had already snatched their passes and made it inside. On the seventh floor, Nick Buckley Wood from Pearl Lam Hong Kong was running late for the airport and swiftly scanning the more than forty galleries and project spaces. “I came for that opera thing last

  • picks March 16, 2016

    Michael Lin

    Three monumental floral-patterned murals, Autumn Gold, Deep Ravine, and Dragon’s Fury (all works 2015), together with Untitled Gathering, Manila, a sitting area with 240 similarly painted stools, fashion one of Michael Lin’s patent architectural canvases-cum-retreats. It is a quiet oasis amid an ungentrified neighborhood known for its density and grittiness. While lounging in the generous reds, yellows, and greens of the Taiwanese textile-inspired frescoes of oversize blossoms, viewers might see one of fifteen for-hire pedicabs refurbished with equally vibrant tarps that occasionally pass through

  • diary January 30, 2016

    Stage and Screen

    LAST WEEK in Singapore the flow of the art was as inconsistent as the tropical downbursts. The slew of events and exhibitions—including the sixth edition of Art Stage Singapore—evoked mushrooms sprung up after the rain: hard to spot but fun to hunt and with a dizzying array of potential effects.

    In July, the city-state came under criticism from international human rights groups after sixteen-year-old blogger Amos Yee was sentenced to four weeks of detention for posting collaged videos of Singapore’s recently deceased founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. That thought lingered in my mind on Tuesday at

  • diary November 09, 2015

    Gimme Mori

    UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES the Tokyo art world favors discretion over the spotlight. But it’s not every day that Takashi Murakami opens a show like “The 500 Arhats” at the Mori Art Museum, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Tokyo in fourteen years and the Japanese debut of his titular opus, a three-hundred-foot-long painting first shown in Qatar in 2012. Could an enduring global phenomenon like Murakami pull the same weight at home as he does abroad? we wondered. The stakes seemed high and the show galvanized an unusually ebullient art week that happened to begin with the second edition of

  • picks October 30, 2015


    With a strange but formal elegance, “Trio” pairs recent acrylic-on-paper works by Nalini Malani with collages, photographs, and a video, all made between 1967 and 1996, by the late artists Nancy Spero and Ana Mendieta. Their commonality resides in the inward focus of their artistic strategies and simultaneous public engagement with feminism and politics. Each artist employs a similar aesthetic: an intriguing repertoire of figurative imagery and mythical creatures in a natural, ocher-dominated or black-and-white palette.

    In a digitized version of Silueta Sangrienta (Bleeding Silhouette), 1975,

  • picks August 06, 2015

    “Can The Museum Be A Garden?”

    This generous exhibition, which features works of thirty-six artists using sound, paper, video, photography, installation, and painting, ponders whether a museum can be a garden, by taking elements commonly found outdoors and inviting them inside. Covering two floors joined by a nearly hidden narrow stairway hosting the disturbing yet fascinating feminist sound piece Birdcalls, 1972–81, by Louise Lawler, where she mocks art-market gender inequity by twisting the enunciation of famous male artists’ names into birds whistles, the works filter the natural world by following their own art-historical

  • picks July 06, 2015

    Sérgio Costa

    In “Sampling Strata,” Lisbon-based artist Sérgio Costa presents a geological and naturally inspired series of works that could in fact be categorized as a reflection of extreme perceptions. On the lower floor of the gallery are his clouds paintings, a series of five similar oil and enamel canvases of vapor-like gray masses on dark backgrounds, all possessing rather emotional titles such as Fucking Haziness!, Eventually, and Mindless into the Cloudburst Overhead, all 2015. These words express a dynamic, violent desperation that is not entirely represented, in spite of the works’ gloomy palette,

  • picks June 29, 2015


    When Jean Dubuffet coined the term art brut, he did so out of reverence for those outsiders of the art world whose authenticity drew as much from their asocial behavior or mental illness as from their resolve to put all they had into their artwork. This gathering of work from the abcd collection—presented with Mario Del Curto’s photo portraits of the artists—would almost be too didactic, but with fervor comes momentum, and across many mediums, from the tribulations of Henry Darger’s watercolors of little girls, to Judith Scott’s lumpy fiber compositions hanging low above the floor, to Koji

  • diary June 29, 2015

    Making a Scene

    COINCIDING WITH THE FINAL WEEKEND of Art Basel, the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space took over the Czech city’s historic center. Organized around the three themes of Music, Weather, and Politics, the thirteenth edition focused on the “social function” of scenography, and featured more than sixty participating countries, with street performances, talks, exhibitions in Baroque interiors, sound walks, and boat rides down the Vltava River. There were easily as many perspectives as there were nations. “The world is not global as everyone is trying to tell us. It’s local,” said Sodja

  • diary June 11, 2015

    In the Loop

    TWO EVENINGS before the vernissage of the thirteenth edition of the moving-image fair Loop, I strolled down the streets of sunny Barcelona toward the galleries for the soft launch to the week’s festivities. At ProjecteSD, crowds had gathered for the opening of “Close-Cropped Tales,” and I grabbed an Estrella beer and talked to gallery founder Silvia Dauder and curator Anne-Laure Chamboissier about the constraints of collecting and storing video art. “Imagine what it’s like for sound!” said Conrado Uribe, the artistic director of the citywide festival, also called Loop, that runs parallel to the

  • picks April 06, 2015

    Poklong Anading

    In this exhibition, Manila-based artist Poklong Anading freely cycles through such mediums as video, sculpture, found objects, and film to record a line, a sound, or a passing thought. His observations of urbanity culminate in a series of freestanding objects. Installed serially yet all unique, five stainless-steel sculptures of incrementally increasing sizes—all titled Homage to Homage and from 2014–15—dominate the main exhibition space. Anading here transforms the provisional into contemplative objects similar in appearance to the makeshift wooden scaffolding often used throughout the city in

  • diary February 24, 2015

    Third Time’s a Charm

    “REMEMBER LAST YEAR, the people dancing on the first night?” asked dealer Edouard Malingue as we stood in a car park in Makati, the wealthiest of the cities composing metro Manila. “Of course I had to come back.”

    For one week earlier this month the car park doubled as the grounds for Art Fair Philippines, at which Malingue was showing Jeremy Everett’s pastel-decayed blanket canvases. Except for a few galleries like Malingue’s who brought non-Filipino artists, the fair mostly surveys the local scene. Highlights included special projects such as Roberto Feleo’s large installation of earth-toned,

  • picks February 03, 2015

    Manuel Ocampo

    Putting aside his well-known colorful palette, Manuel Ocampo’s solo exhibition of twenty somber, sepia works—ranging from pieces made with oil on canvas, ink on paper, and mixed media—appear at once irreverent, funny, and occult. The most remarkable painting—and the biggest, taking up the entire central space of the gallery—is Fashion Update (all works 2014). This depicts a messy yet nearly classically composed otherworldly tableau, emulating the visual effect of etching techniques in a religious scene in the nude, with trees, clouds, and more animistic black-and-white markings of crosses,

  • picks February 02, 2015

    Shio Kusaka and Jonas Wood

    Potter Shio Kusaka and painter Jonas Wood share an obsession with vessels as pictorial tropes. Along with other artistic couples maintaining independent practices—such as painter Madelon Vriesendorp and architect Rem Koolhaas, whose dual visual pursuit of surrealist architectonics is strengthened by both their lines of work—Wood and Kusaka converse with the same muses without the stamp of collaboration. Fresh and hospitable, this exhibition of their work conjures an impression of prolific artistic endeavors in a continuous evolution, all born from their Los Angeles studio.

    Here, the glazes on

  • diary January 27, 2015

    Awards Season

    “I DON’T KNOW if there is anything sexy going on,” Asia Art Archive’s Chantal Wong told me when I bumped into her on a plane bound from Hong Kong to Singapore last Tuesday, though I think she was just being modest. While the rest of us were flying over to catch some of the radiant waves around Art Stage Singapore, Wong was in the small but powerful city-state on a twenty-four-hour award run on behalf of AAA for Best Institution, one of thirteen categories organized by Prudential Eye Awards. (The main recognition went to Japanese collective Chim↑Pom with a prize of $50,000; another went to the

  • picks October 20, 2014

    Robin Rhode

    Contradictions abound when street-art interventions turn up in a gallery space. But South African–born, Berlin-based artist Robin Rhode succeeds in this context, bringing genuine impulsiveness to his first Hong Kong show. Mainly focusing on process, the exhibition, which includes video, photography, and animation, found its rationale on opening night, when Rhode galvanized the huddled crowds with a performance titled Car Wash, in which he drew a car on an empty black wall with chalk. Running back and forth, he embraced a gestural approach, evoking an admixture of capoeira and warm-ups for hip-hop

  • picks August 01, 2014

    Paul Chan

    This twenty-four-room exhibition surveys Paul Chan’s sculptures, videos, animations, drawings, and projections, as well as his often-political ruminations on life and death. Though he appears to keep his art-making and activism mostly separate, here Chan absorbs a multitude of intellectual and otherwise notable sources, such as Henry Darger, Charles Fourier, Diane Arbus, the Marquis de Sade, Samuel Beckett, and even Batman, the Joker, and George W. Bush, with a twist.

    Beginning with one of the earliest works on view, the low-tech colorful animation Happiness (Finally) After 35,000 Years of