PRINT December 2014

Christine Macel

Hélio Oiticica, Cosmococa CC2 Onobject, 1973/2014, two-channel slide projection, sound, urethane foam, fabric. Installation view, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2014.

1 BRAZILIAN MODERNISM Two thousand fourteen was the year of the great modernist Brazilian trio of Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, and Mira Schendel, each granted his or her own retrospective. The Oiticica exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (curated by César Oiticica Filho and Rachael Thomas), had the advantage of being conceived with Oiticica Filho, who visibly transmitted the spirit of his uncle into a joyful exhibition design that encouraged direct access to, and manipulation of, the artist’s colorful objects and environments. This interactive element was also central to the Clark exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (curated by Connie Butler and Luis Pérez-Oramas with Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães and Beatriz Rabelo Olivetti), which provided a long-overdue international-level homage, tracing the full arc of Clark’s career as a major figure in abstraction and Neo-concretism who went on to invent relational art in Paris in the 1960s before exploding through the boundaries of art into therapeutic experience.

2 MARIA BARTUSZOVÁ (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, WARSAW; CURATED BY MARTA DZIEWÁNSKA AND GABRIELA GARLATYOVÁ) The Slovak artist, who died in 1996, is finally receiving true recognition with this inaugural retrospective, which places her among the great sculptors of the second half of the twentieth century. Her sensual and vulnerable works—elegant plaster monochromes suspended and bound with string, breaking open like eggs and organically bubbling up from flat planes—take your breath away.

3 MIRA SCHENDEL (TATE MODERN, LONDON; CURATED BY TANYA BARSON) Another first international retrospective (the third of this year’s Brazilian triumvirate) promoted the philosophical and intellectual sources that give life to Schendel’s deeply probing and existential oeuvre of geometric abstraction—whether language, the book format, or mathematical systems—and in the process displayed many astonishing works, some never before seen.

Co-organized with the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo in association with the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal.

4 “MOALLAQAT” (JEDDAH ARTS 21, 39, JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA; CURATED BY AYA ALIREZA AND RANEEM FARSI) This was the first significant contemporary art exhibition mounted in Saudi Arabia, and it came about thanks to the vision of Hamza Serafi and the energy of the show’s enlightened curators. Alongside the work of influential artist Ahmed Mater, the show revealed ambitious pieces by promising young artists such as Nasser Al-Salem and Dana Awartani.

5 RASHEED ARAEEN (SHARJAH ART FOUNDATION; CURATED BY SHEIKHA HOOR AL-QASIMI) Tracing more than half a century of artistic adventures undertaken by Araeen, a Pakistani-born, London-based artist who’s also well known as the founding editor of the journal Third Text, this exhibition presented a major oeuvre of performative Minimalism, with works that can be manipulated by the public, adding an obligatory international chapter to the history of the movement.

Michele Ciacciofera, Untitled, 2014, ceramic, 8 5/8 × 5 1/2 × 3 1/8". From the series “Odio l’indifferenza” (I Hate Indifference), 2013–14.

6 HEIDI BUCHER (SWISS INSTITUTE, NEW YORK; CURATED BY SIMON CASTETS) Initially presented in Paris, the New York iteration of this exhibition, which featured the work of the Swiss artist (1926–1993), introduced additional pieces as part of an elegant installation highlighting Bucher’s impressive and at times haunting latex molds of objects and architectures.

Co-organized with the Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris.

7 MICHELE CIACCIOFERA (MOVIMENTO ORTIGIA ARTE, PALAZZO MONTALTO, SYRACUSE, ITALY; CURATED BY MARCELLA DAMIGELLA AND ORNELLA FAZZINA) Ceramics, found stones, bricks, and old painted tiles placed on weathered tables in a room of a fourteenth-century palace were put in dialogue with several ink drawings on gilded cardboard—which evinced a delicate sensibility at once archaic and contemporary. A little gem.

8 “ANGE LECCIA: THE SEA NEVER WITHDRAWS” (PALAIS DE TOKYO, PARIS; CURATED BY CHLOÉ FRICOUT) Leccia magnificently filmed the Mediterranean Sea while hanging from a cliff, and the resulting footage was shown here on four large screens. The foam comes and goes on a black-sand beach, delineating a kind of endless sine wave and immersing the viewer in a state of hypnotic fascination.

9 OLIVER BEER (MUSÉE D’ART CONTEMPORAIN DE LYON; CURATED BY THIERRY RASPAIL WITH ISABELLE BERTOLOTTI) This young English artist, trained as a composer, creates performances, films, and installations that explore the interactions between architectural space and the human voice. An extension of this aesthetic line of inquiry, Beer’s show “Rabbit Hole” was at once conceptual, sensorial, and a surreal disorientation of place, particularly its real objects (guns, pipes, pencils) cut in half and embedded in the wall to appear like flat drawings.

10 TAREK ATOUI, I/E (JARDIN DU CARROUSEL, PARIS, OCTOBER 24 AND 26, 2013) I/E is a movable sonic feast involving a shipping container transformed into a collaborative space and sound studio (using software created by Atoui), with each performance tuned to the container’s current location. For one of these concerts, not far from the Arc du Carrousel, Atoui realized, along with fellow musicians Kazuyuki Kishino and Uriel Barthélémi, a performance dripping in electronic noise and improvisatory free-jazz exuberance.

Presented by the Foire International d’Art Contemporain and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris.

Christine Macel is Chief Curator at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. In 2013, she organized Anri Sala’s Ravel Ravel Unravel for the French Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. She is currently preparing “What We Call Love, from Surrealism to now” at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, opening in September 2015.