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contemporary mosaic

31

Jan
2015

4 Comments

In Uncategorized

By Nancie

“Power To The People”: Carrie Reichardt’s Mosaic Intervention on the Facade of the V&A

On 31, Jan 2015 | 4 Comments | In Uncategorized | By Nancie

Carrie Reichardt & The Treatment Rooms "Power to the People" (2014)

Carrie Reichardt & The Treatment Rooms Collective “Power to the People” (2014)  Quote by Berthldt Brecht   Photo courtesy of the artist

Having broken through the modern mosaic barrier at the Victoria and Albert Museum with a four-wheeled, two-ton protest against the death penalty, (Entering Through the Gift Shop: Carrie Reichardt’s “Tiki Love Truck” at the V&A” ), craftivist Carrie Reichardt was given the extraordinary opportunity to expand her role in the museum’s ground-breaking Disobedient Objects exhibit (July 25, 2014 – February 1, 2015) with a project that would transform the front of that venerable institution.

Carrie Reichardt & The Treatment Rooms Collective "Disobedient Mosaic Intervention" (2014)

Carrie Reichardt & The Treatment Rooms Collective “The Disobedient Mosaic Intervention” (2014)  Photo courtesy of the artist

Asked by the V&A’s Director and Curators to create something “playful, provocative and sincere”, Reichardt designed a full-frontal installation comprising two panels and the risers of the steps leading up to the front doors of the museum.

It was a brilliant stroke by the V&A, really.  Some exhibits are promoted with banners. Others with posters. With Reichardt’s mosaics, the Disobedient Objects exhibit literally spilled out of the galleries and onto the museum’s front steps. According to Curator Catherine Flood, the final visitor figures were 417,000 making Disobedient Objects the most visited exhibition at the V&A since “Britain Can Make It” in 1946.

While many of objects inside the exhibit were artifacts, The Disobedient Mosaic Intervention was artful political activism live.

Carrie Reichardt and The Treatment Rooms Collective “History Is A Weapon” (2014)

The design of the two panels was a collaborative process that included the curators for Disobedient Objects, Gavin Grindon and Catherine Flood, each of whom selected a quote for one of the panels.

Carrie Reichardt & The Treatment Rooms "Power to the People" (2014)

Carrie Reichardt & The Treatment Rooms “Power to the People” (2014)

Reichardt’s use of digital transfers to create custom tiles for each of her mosaics is at the core of her activist aesthetic. She blends the profane and prosaic to enormous effect in these two panels. The British pound note with the visage of the Queen fills the visor of a baton-wielding riot policeman, surveillance cameras loom and England’s ubiquitous poppies bloom.  At the bottom of each panel, a “groundswell” of protest from the people; at the top energy based on the conflict below radiates outward.

Disobedient Objects

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo: Melanie Watts

Photo: Melanie Watts

Carrie_Reichard_Power_To_The_People_Detail2We love Reichardt’s idea to use the risers on the steps of the museum to display some of her favorite quotes. The format immediately calls to mind how ticker tapes and thin strips of paper attached to carrier pigeons were once used to transmit urgent news about disasters, conflicts and possibilities.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

“Think for yourself – act for others” is what has driven Carrie Reichardt to take her message of art as empowerment to disenfranchised communities in Mexico, Chile, Romania and into the marginal neighborhoods of the UK. Kudos to the V&A for giving this artist and the Treatment Rooms Collective the opportunity to turn the facade of the museum into a modern day “Speakers Corner” as part of their Disobedient Objects exhibit.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 7.26.16 AM

Mosaic Intervention at the V&A (2014)  Made by the Treatment Rooms Collective: Luke Allen, Gary Drostle, Mark Drostle, Eoghan Ebrill, Linda Griffiths, Gabrielle Harvey-Smith, Liam Heyhow, Peter Henham, Kevin O’Donohue, Carrie Reichardt, Thayen Rich, Sian Wonnish Smith, Cerdic Thomas, Liam Thomas, Karen Wydler, Mark Wydler.

Video of Reichard’s presentation on the Intervention at The British Association for Modern Mosaic’s 2015 Forum

RESOURCES:

Video walk-through of the Disobedient Objects Exhibit with Curator Gavin Grindon

  • February 2016 interview by Rosie Osborne on Free Spirit Homes here

19

Jan
2015

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In Uncategorized

By Nancie

Entering Through The Gift Shop: Carrie Reichardt’s “Tiki Love Truck” in the V&A’s “Disobedient Objects”

On 19, Jan 2015 | No Comments | In Uncategorized | By Nancie

Photo:  Catherine Flood V&A

Photo: Catherine Flood, Victoria and Albert Museum

In October of 2012, we were part of a lively debate at the British Association for Modern Mosaic’s annual symposium about what it would take to get contemporary mosaic art into the hallowed halls of the Art Establishment – meaning institutions very much like the venue for that meeting – the venerable Victoria and Albert Museum.

Tiki Love Truck Carrie Reichardt

Photo: Catherine Flood, Victoria and Albert Museum

Photo: Catherine Flood V&A

Photo: Catherine Flood, Victoria and Albert

Almost  two years later, “renegade potter” and craftivist Carrie Reichardt’s two-ton mosaic protest against the death penalty, The Tiki Love Truck, literally went right through the front door AND the gift shop and then over the opus criminale mosaic floors of the V&A to become a highlight of the museum’s groundbreaking exhibit Disobedient Objects (July 20, 2014-February 1, 2015).

Carrie Reichardt "Tiki Love Truck" (2007) Designed by Carrie Reichardt and Thayen Rich. Death mask by ick Reyolds. Made by Carrie Reichardt and the Treatment Rooms Collective.

Carrie Reichardt “Tiki Love Truck” (2007) Designed by Carrie Reichardt and Thayen Rich. Death mask by Nick Reyolds. Made by Carrie Reichardt and the Treatment Rooms Collective.  Photo:  © Victoria and Albert Museum

"Disobedient Objects"  Photo courtesy V&A

“Disobedient Objects”   Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum

Disobedient Objects is “the first exhibition to explore objects of art and design from around the world that have been created by grassroots social movements as tools of social change.” Curated by Catherine Flood and Gavin Grindon, the collection of 99 objects includes Suffragette teapots, hand-sewn Chilean wall hangings commemorating missing loved ones, and life-size puppets by the radical Vermont Bread and Puppets Theater.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Tiki Love Truck’s appearance in Manchester Art Car Parade, 2007. Photo courtesy of the artist.

In 2007, Reichardt was commissioned by Walk the Plank to create mosaic The Tiki Love Truck for an art car parade in Manchester. The work’s purpose changed radically when Reichardt received word that John Joe ‘Ash’ Amador, an inmate in a Texas prison Reichardt with whom Reichardt had been corresponding with for years, was scheduled to be executed. Amador asked Reichardt to witness the event and Reichardt subsequently travelled to Texas from London bringing with her sculptor Nick Reynolds. With the approval and assistance of the family, Reynolds made a death mask of Amador.

Death mask of John Joe "Ash" Amador made by Nick Reynolds.  Photo:  Wanranya Jangwangkorn

Death mask of John Joe “Ash” Amador made by Nick Reynolds. Photo: Wanranya Jangwangkorn

Upon returning to the UK, Reichardt dedicated the Love Truck to Amador, giving the mask pride of place on the front of the work. The artist continues to advocate strongly against the death penalty and solitary confinement of prisoners in the US.

Photo:  Pete Riches

Photo: Pete Riches

Between October 31 and November 2nd, Reichardt turned the Tiki Love Truck into a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Shrine dedicated to the memory of her mother, Jill Richards, Luis Ramirez, Herman Wallace, John “Ash” Amador, and Khristian Oliver. With the disappearance of the 43 students in September in Iguala, Mexico, the shrine was given a second, more urgent focus.

Carrie Reichardt (front)  Photo: Pete Riches

Carrie Reichardt (front) Photo: Pete Riches

Photo: Pete Riches

Photo: Pete Riches

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Carrie_Reichard_truck_Dayofthedead_4_Pete_Riches

Photo: Pete Riches

As we write this article, it is Martin Luther King Day here in the US, and we are reminded of this quote:

The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.

Disobedient Objects has proven to be a great success for the V&A – blasting away at its image of being “England’s Attic” by showcasing works of great heart, creativity and ingenuity that are potent demands for change and, in the process, garnering strong critical acclaim for the effort (below).  It is not surprising that Disobedient Objects is already slated for at least one additional international showing at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum October 30 2015 through February 14, 2016.

And Reichardt? Well, after getting through the front door of the V&A, she was asked by the curators to mosaic it. We’ll be back later this week with Reichardt’s award-winning Intervention.

Until then,

Nancie

UPDATE: According to Curator Catherine Flood, the final visitor figures for Disobedient Objects was 417,000 making it the most visited exhibition at the V&A since “Britain Can Make It” in 1946.

Resources:

  •  February 2016 interview by Rosie Osborne on Free Spirit Home here

07

Jan
2015

8 Comments

In Uncategorized

By Nancie

A Modern Mosaic Menagerie: Aneme Mosaico’s Zoological Studies In Stone

On 07, Jan 2015 | 8 Comments | In Uncategorized | By Nancie

Aneme.Mosaico_Panthera Pardus_37,5x28,5 cm_2014

Aneme Mosaico “Panthera Pardus” (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

We want them all. The Leopard. The Hippo. The Bear. The Llama . . . We want the whole zoological catalogue in stone by Melissa Moliterno and Andrea Poma of Aneme Mosaico.

Mosaic Menagerie

Animals have always been the subject of mosaics.

Lod Mosaic, Israel. Central panel. Circa 300 ac

Lod Mosaic, Israel. Central panel. Circa 300 ac

But, Aneme Mosaico’s enchanting images were something completely new to us. Their fresh, unique approach to the subject matter immediately brought to mind the exquisite watercolor illustrations of the 1700s and 1800s.

Edward Lear "Kob Antelope" 1837  Photo via internet

Edward Lear “Kob Antelope” (1837) Watercolor Photo via internet

And indeed, according to the duo . . .

“Our works are based on the careful study of the materials and colors, on the the ability to synthesize ancient mosaic techniques with the zoological catalogues of the 19th century.”

"Dama-Dama" (2014) 1385 x 1165 cm.

“Dama-Dama” (2014)  37.5 x 28.5 cm

Moliterno (Cosenza, Italy 1988) and Poma (Parese, Italy, 1989) met while studying at the Ravenna Fine Arts Academy in Italy. They have both shown extensively, with Poma taking the prestigious Experimental Prize at GAEM 2013 for his innovative work Impressioni. We found this work to be a highlight of RavennaMosaico 2013. (Previous story on MAN here.)

Andrea Poma "Impressioni" 2013  90 x 130 cm  Glass.

Andrea Poma “Impressioni” 2013 90 x 130 cm Glass.

Andrea Pomoa "Impressioni" Detail  Photo: NTMP

Andrea Pomoa “Impressioni” Detail Photo: NTMP

Their collaboration in creating these glorious critters began in 2013. In 2014, they presented this body of work as Animalario in an exhibition in Ravenna. (You will want to click twice to see the large versions of these photos.)

Llama Glama (2014) 375 x 285 cm

Llama Glama (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

“Pictures and stones, cement and blank papers are mixed, becoming a single entity. Our materials are chosen according to the shape, to their veining and to their composition. They are no longer regular tesserae, but anatomical ones; stones that become cheeks, paws, and ears.”

"Ursus Arctos" (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

“Ursus Arctos” (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

"Hippopotamus Amphibius" (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

“Hippopotamus Amphibius” (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

"Canis Lupus" (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

“Canis Lupus” (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

Aneme.Mosaico_Canis Lupus_Particolare

"Loxodonta Africana" (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm.

“Loxodonta Africana” (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm.

CavalloFacebook

“Cavallo” (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

"Diceros Bicornis" (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

“Diceros Bicornis” (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

Yes, and just when you thought these works couldn’t get any more delightful, there is the panda.

"Ailurpoda Melanoleuca" (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

“Ailurpoda Melanoleuca” (2014) 37.5 x 28.5 cm

Aneme Mosaico is offering these beautiful mosaics for 250Euro. We are not sure how many are left after the holidays and there are other, smaller works of birds that are equally spectacular. Please contact the artists at aneme.mosaico@gmail.com with your questions. (We should probably make it clear that MAN has no financial arrangement with Aneme Mosaico at all.)

Enjoy – Nancie

21

Nov
2014

One Comment

In Uncategorized

By Nancie

Prix Picassiette 2014 Winners Announced

On 21, Nov 2014 | One Comment | In Uncategorized | By Nancie

1st Prize, Professional Category:  Karen Ami (USA) "Dialogues"

1st Prize Professional   Karen Ami (USA) “Dialogues”

Chartres les 3Rs, the organization which produces the biennial Les Recontres des Internationales de Mosaïque de Chartres (International Mosaic Encounters in Chartres), has announced the winners of the 2014 Prix Picassiette Prizes. With its self-selecting categories of Professional, Amateur Initiés (Advanced), Amateur and Youth & Groups, the event is a marvelous mash-up that places accomplished masters next to enthusiastic newcomers in the sublimely beautiful Chapelle du Lycée Fulbert.

Photo: Stefan Wolters

Photo: Stefan Wolters

This year, the Prix was supplemented by two satellite exhibits: Selected works by members of the British Association for Modern Mosaic (BAMM) and a tribute to the incomparable Ines Morigi Berti of Ravenna at Chapelle Saint-Éman which runs through January 18.  Sadly, Morigi Berti, who was a revered teacher and famed mosaicist, passed away at the age of 100 on October 26th.

Ines Morigi Berti

Ines Morigi Berti (1914 – 2014)

The Association is an extraordinarily unique organization whose 3Rs stand for Rénovar,Restaurer,Réhabiliter (Renovate, Restore, Rehabilitate). Founder Patrick Macquaire and the 3R staff are dedicated to carrying on the mosaic tradition of “The Father” of picassiette, Raymond Isidore (1900-1964) and creating an economic revival for the Chartres area. Earlier this month, Macquire spoke at BAMM’s annual Forum about the exhibition and his organization – you can see a video of his presentation here.

We thank Marquaire for providing us with the professional images of the winners seen here and send a special shout-out to the talented Stefan Wolters for his “atmospheric” photographic contributions.

Professional 

  • 1st Prize:  Karen Ami (USA)  Dialogues (above)
  • 2nd Prize:  Ariane Blanquet (France)  Moon
  • 3rd Prize:  Delphine Legal Quemener (France)  Pierre and Patience
  • Special Mention:  Dugald MacInnes (UK)  Fragile Earth
2nd Place Professional Category:  Ariane Blanquet (France) "Moon"

Ariane Blanquet (France) “Moon”

3rd Prize Professional Cateogry:  Delphine Legal Quemener (France) "Pierre and Patience"

Delphine Legal Quemener (France) “Pierre and Patience”

Special Distinction Professional Category: Dugald MacInnes  (UK) "Fragile Earth"

Dugald MacInnes (UK) “Fragile Earth”

Amateurs Initiés (Advanced)

Elisabeth Foucher (France) “Le Poinconneur des Lilas”

  • 1st Prize:  Elisabeth Foucher (France)  Le Poinçonneur de Lilas 
  • 2nd Prize:  Annie Dunlop (France)  Contraste 
  • 3rd Prize:  Angela Sanders (UK)   Ice 
  • Special Mention:  Monique Duteil (France)   Ko 
  • Special Mention: Marie-Odile Laurent (France)   La Poule Aux Ouefs D’Or Musifs 
AI-DUNLOP-ANNIE

Annie Dunlop (France) “Contrast”

2nd Prize Amateurs Initiés: Angela Sanders "Ice"

Angela Sanders (UK) “Ice”

Special Mention Amateurs Initiés:  Monique Duteil "Ko"

Monique Duteil (France)  “Ko”

Special Mention Amateur Initiés: Marie-Odile Laurent "La Poule Aux Oeufs D'Or Musifs"

Marie-Odile Laurent (France) “La Poule Aux Oeufs D’Or Musifs”

Amateurs

1st Place Amateur Category - Dina Angistriotu (Belgium) "Mur Non Entrevant"

Dina Angistriotu (Belgium) “Mur Non Entrevant”

  •  1st Prize:  Dina Angistriotu (Belgium)  Mur Non Entravant
  • 2nd Prize:  Joelle Laudy (France)  Le Migrateur
  • 3rd Prize:  Rosa Coupe (France)  Clin d’Oeil a La Belle Dame Ancestrale Dominant La Beauce 
  • Special Mention:  Marianne Fiette (France)  Zebres Urbains 
2nd Prize  Amateur Category:  Joelle Laudy (France) "Le Migrateur"

Joelle Laudy (France) “Le Migrateur”

3rd Prize, Amateur Category:  Rosa Coupe (France) "Clin d'Oeil a La Belle Dame Ancestrale Dominant La Beauce"

Rosa Coupe (France) “Clin d’Oeil a La Belle Dame Ancestrale Dominant La Beauce”

Special Distinction Amateur Category:  Marianne Fiette (France)  "Zebres Urbains"

Marianne Fiette (France) “Zebres Urbains”

Public Vote

1st Prize Public Vote:  Christine Dalibert (France) "Vague"

Christine Dalibert (France) “Vague”

  • 1st Prize:  Christine Dalibert (France) “Vague”
  • 2nd Prize:  Gary Drostle (UK) “Shrapnel 1914 – War Is A Gun With A Worker At Each End”
  • 3rd Prize:  François Thibault (France)  “Autoportrait D’Apres Van Gogh”
  • Special Mention: Nathalie Vin (UK) “Multiverse”
PRO-DROSTLE-Gary

Gary Drostle (UK) “Shrapnel 1914 – War Is A Gun With A Worker At Each End”

Francois Thibault (France) "Autoportrait d'Apres Van Gogh (Self Portrait After Van Gogh)"

Francois Thibault (France) “Autoportrait d’Apres Van Gogh (Self Portrait After Van Gogh)”

Nathalie Vin (UK) "Multiverse"

Nathalie Vin (UK) “Multiverse”

Youth and Groups

Centre Accuel de Jour Dyzeure "La Femme A La Fleur, Homage A Pablo Picasso"

Centre Accuel de Jour Dyzeure (France) “La Femme A La Fleur, Homage A Pablo Picasso”

  • 1st Prize:   Centre d’Accueil De Jour D’Yzeure Envol   La Femme A La Fleur, Hommage A Pablo Picasso
  • 2nd Prize:  Le colectif “Projet Theodora” D’Albi-Mosaïque Projet Theodora
  • 3rd Prize (tie):  A.I.P.E.I. Empro Edelweiss  Empreinte
  • 3rd Prize (tie):  Espace de Proximite Cite Marcel Cochin RomainVille  L’Asteromainville
The Collective Projet Theodora D'Albi-Mosaïque  "Projet Theodora"

The Collective Projet Theodora D’Albi-Mosaïque (France) “Projet Theodora”

A.I.P.E.I. Empro Edelweiss "Empreinte"

A.I.P.E.I. Empro Edelweiss (France)  “Empreinte”

G-Espace de Proximité cité Marcel Cochin

Espace de Proximité Cité Marcel Cochin Romainville (France)  “L’Asteromainville”

Fulbert Prizes

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Association 3R and the 18th anniversary of Les Recontres des Internationales de Mosaïque de Chartres, the jurors gave prizes to two ground-breaking mosaic artists, Giovanna Galli and Gerard Brand, for their noteworthy bodies of work and personal contributions to the development of mosaic.

Giovanna Galli (France)

Giovanna Galli (France)

Gerard Brand (France)

Gerard Brand (France)

Photo: Stefan Wolters

Visitors in the exhibit   Photo: Stefan Wolters

Photo:  Stefan Wolters

Photo: Stefan Wolters

Photo:  Stefan Wolters

BAMM Exhibit presentations     Photo: Stefan Wolters

Photo:  Stefan Wolters

Photo: Stefan Wolters

Photo:   Stefan Wolters

Photo: Stefan Wolters

Photo:  Stefan Wolters

Photo: Stefan Wolters

Photo Stefan Wolters

Photo:   Stefan Wolters

Photo Stefan Wolters

Photo:  Stefan Wolters

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07

Nov
2014

3 Comments

In Uncategorized

By Nancie

BAMM’s Mosaic of the Year 2014: Tessa Hunkin & the Hackney Mosaic Project Change A Community With Art

On 07, Nov 2014 | 3 Comments | In Uncategorized | By Nancie

The Romans would have approved.

Tessa_Hunkin_Varieties_PeakingDog_PhotoTH

The British Association for Modern Mosaic (BAMM) recently announced that Tessa Hunkin and The Hackney Mosaic Project have received the Mosaic of the Year Award for a stunning body of work that encompasses two public installations in London; Shepherdess Walk and Hoxton Varieties.

(For full view of images, please click to enlarge)

"Shepherdess Walk" Full view with all panels and pavements  Photo:  Lillian Sizemore

“Shepherdess Walk” Full view with all panels and pavements   Commissioned by Hackney Council    Photo: Lillian Sizemore

Shepherdess Walk detail    Photo courtesy Lillian Sizemore

Shepherdess Walk detail Photo courtesy Lillian Sizemore

"Hoxton Varieties" (2012) Tessa Hunkin & The Hackney Mosaic Project  Photo courtesy of the artist

“Hoxton Varieties” (2014) Tessa Hunkin & The Hackney Mosaic Project  Commissioned by Sainsbury’s     Photo courtesy of the artist

"Hoxton Varieties" Detail  Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

“Hoxton Varieties” Detail Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

The Jury, which consisted of Dr. Will Wooten, Lecturer in Roman Art at Kings College, Norma Vondee, President of BAMM, and your editor, was in total unison in the decision to shine a a spotlight on a series of works that are not only visually brilliant – they have changed lives.

Dr. Wooten:  A Tour de force in the continued refinement of a modern visual vocabulary for figurative mosaic art.

Tessa Hunkin & The Hackney Mosaic Project "Shepherdess Walk: Autumn Winter" (2012)

Tessa Hunkin & The Hackney Mosaic Project “Shepherdess Walk: Autumn Winter” (2012)     Photo courtesy of the artist

Norma Vondee:  Evergreen mosaic master at her height; relentless clarification, determination, curiosity, finish and humanity.

Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

"Shepherdess Walk" Detail  Photo courtesy Lillian Sizemore

“Shepherdess Walk” Detail Photo courtesy Lillian Sizemore

Nancie Mills Pipgras:  Brilliant modernization of an ancient aesthetic.  Clear, concise, joy-filled imagery made by volunteers.  Art that has changed a neighborhood.

Hunkin, an accomplished mosaic maker and author, acted as the designer of the projects, a role the Romans called the pictor imaginarius.  Her love and appreciation for the critical design components of ancient mosaics has created a lively, modern aesthetic that delights and resonates. Hunkin’s Hoxton pups are the obvious direct descendants of the hounds of the 1st Century AD.

"Hoxton Varieites" Detail  Photo courtesy of the artist

“Hoxton Varieites” Detail Photo courtesy of the artist

Hare Hunting 1st Century AD

Hare Hunting 1st Century AD   Photo via Wikipedia

Equally impressive to the jurors was the fact that these mosaics were all made by volunteers. The Hackney Mosaic Project is comprised of local community members and clients of Lifeline, an organization devoted to helping people recover from drug and alcohol addiction.  These are mosaics made by the people for the people – and they are of astonishing quality.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

"Shepherdess Walk" Detail  Photo courtesy Lillian Sizemore

“Shepherdess Walk” Detail Photo courtesy Lillian Sizemore

 

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

"Hoxton Varieties" Detail  Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

“Hoxton Varieties” Detail Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

Signatures of the makers are always included prominently in the design of the mosaics.

Photo courtesy Lillian Sizemore

Photo courtesy Lillian Sizemore

Just this week, Hunkin and The Hackney Mosaic Project unveiled their most recent accomplishment – The Hackney Downs Park Pavilion. British comedian Russell Brand positively nails the spirit of the project in this impromptu dedication.

The open-air theater is a mosaic menagerie with charming bugs and beasties of all shapes and sizes.

Hackney Downs Park Theater    Photo courtesy Norma Vondee

Hackney Downs Park Theater Photo courtesy Norma Vondee

Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

Tessa Hunkin   Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

Tessa Hunkin     Photo courtesy Spitalfieldslife.com

Another joyous, welcoming environment by Tessa Hunkin and The Hackney Mosaic Project has been added to the London landscape – thanks in great part to the Hackney Council which has funded and promoted the projects. What lackluster space will these mighty mosaic collaborators transform next?

RESOURCES

LOCATIONS

  • Shepherdess Walk  Shepherdess Walk, London N1 7JN (Northeast Corner)
  • Hoxton Varieties – Sainsbury’s Local Store, 245 Old Street EC1V 9EY (Corner of Pitfield St)
  • Hackney Downs Park

 

 

26

Sep
2014

4 Comments

In Uncategorized

By Nancie

Creating a New Identity for Mosaic: The GAEM Prize 2013

On 26, Sep 2014 | 4 Comments | In Uncategorized | By Nancie

Even as Ravenna Italy is the eternal steward of mosaic’s Byzantine past, it is also the incubator for the art form’s dynamic future.

This is no more evident than in the Young Artists and Mosaic (GAEM) competition, a biennial contest hosted by the Art Museum of the City of Ravenna (MAR) in conjunction with the international mosaic festival, RavennaMosaico. Invited artists under the age of 40 are asked to create works that “should deal with the constitutive, formal & poetic language of mosaic.” (MAN article on 2011 GAEM here.)

This is where the very nature of mosaic is poked, prodded, and, if successful, expanded.  In 2013, this included the use of nails and felt, an audience-participatory build-your-own-ceramic hamburger and a luscious video of a man and woman painting tesserae on one another – imagine those Byzantine icons coming alive. Even in the crowded traffic-jam of Notte d’Oro last October, we were mesmerized by many of the works and quite honestly flumoxed by others.

Kim Jae Hee "Corea del Sud" (Uncomfortable House) 2010 40 x 40 cm Nails & felt  Photo courtesy MAR

Jae Hee Kim (South Korea) “Corea del Sud” (Uncomfortable House) 2010 40 x 40 cm . Nails & felt    Photo courtesy MAR

Photo courtesy MAR

Photo courtesy MAR

Silvia Naddeo NTMP

Silvia Naddeo “My Panino” 2013. Multimedia. Variable size       Photo: NTMP

Silvia Naddeo "My Panino" 2013 Detail  Photo: MAN

Silvia Naddeo “My Panino” 2013 Detail      Photo: NTMP

Takako Hirai (Japan) won the Traditional Technique Award for her absolutely stunning Vene which appeared to be the construction, destruction, and reassembly of an organic shape that seemed ready to depart from the wall at any second.

Takako Hirai "Vene" 2013  150 x 150 cm. Marble, mortar. Photo: NTMP

Takako Hirai “Vene” 2013 150 x 150 cm. Marble, mortar. Photo: NTMP

Takako_Hirai_Vene_2013_detail_PhotoNTMP

Takako Hirai “Vene” 2013 detail Photo: NTMP

Andrea Poma (Italy) took the Experimental Prize for his brilliant Impressioni – a work which turned the mosaic component of “interstice” on its ear.  Poma used an etched piece of glass to project the shadow of spaces between tesserae onto a wall – as opposed to those shadowy spaces being created by the indentations in a wall covered in mosaic.

Andrea Poma "Impressioni" 2013  90 x 130 cm  Glass.

Andrea Poma “Impressioni” 2013 90 x 130 cm Glass.  Photo courtesy MAR

Andrea Pomoa "Impressioni" Detail  Photo: NTMP

Andrea Poma “Impressioni” Detail             Photo: NTMP

These are not your nonna’s mosaics – to be sure.  They are surprisingly cerebral, engaging and beautiful. But . . . are these musings on an ancient, time-consuming, historically pedantic art form relevant today? Or, as Exhibit Curator Linda Kniffitz puts it:

“Does mosaic still possess an autonomous, expressive power outside of the confines of Ravenna’s strong identity as a custodian of this ancient and highly symbolic art?”

What follows are the thoughtful and illuminating Exhibition catalogue essays by Curator Kniffitz, who is also the Director of the Center for International Documentation of Mosaic at MAR, and her co-curator for the 2013 GAEM, Daniele Torcellini, art critic and professor at the Academy of Fine Art Ravenna and Genoa. They offer knowledgeable, passionate responses to the questions above and in the process touch on art history, criticism, current art world trends, and the nature of art vs craft — all within the context of the glorious possibilities that mosaic has to offer. This is heady stuff for mosaic makers and nerds alike. Take your time and enjoy! – Nancie

Finding an Identity for Mosaic – Linda Kniffitz

When we initiated the GAEM competition in 2011, our intent was to stimulate a discourse on contemporary art in relation to mosaic and in doing so, to create a moment of comparison between makers from different schools and countries. In 2013, we received another set of very positive contributions in terms of both the richness of the visions proposed and the international provenance of the young artists.

But why indeed should we dedicate a competition to a technique that appears to be so complex and slow compared to the current trends in the visual arts that no longer envisages linearity and narration, but instead reward circularity, contamination and the use of different means of expression?

Does mosaic still possess an autonomous expressive power outside of the confines of Ravenna’s strong identity as a custodian of this ancient and highly symbolic art?

Raffaella Ceccarossi "Emerging" 2013 37 x 140 x 12 cm  Smalti and marble.

Raffaella Ceccarossi “Emerging” 2013 37 x 140 x 12 cm Smalti and marble.   Photo courtesy MAR

In its beginnings, mosaic was associated with the strong political purposes and economic investments (carefully chosen imagery, precious materials, highly specialized artisans, ) that forged it into a supremely stately instrument.  In the last decades of the 19th century, it was rediscovered for its inherently symbolic character in an anti-Impressionist and anti-Naturalist function.  The young art critic George Aurier, in championing the acceptance of Symbolism, spurred the revival of medieval visual art forms like mosaic and mural decoration.

In the 30s, the Futurist painter Gino Severini (whose name is now synonymous with modern mosaic) extolled the virtues of mosaic not for its value as a surface covering, but for its extraordinary capacity to express a synthesis – to condense an entire meaning into a single stylized, highly representative sign.

Luca Barberini "Portraits Collection" 2013  Variable size.  Smalti and marble.

Luca Barberini “Portraits Collection” 2013 Variable size. Smalti and marble.  Photo NTMP

The Exposition of Contemporary Mosaics of 1959 in Ravenna organized by mosaic author and historian Giuseppi Bovini signaled the beginning of a multi-decade long discussion of mosaic and its place as an art form.  In the 1990s, mosaic’s “right to be” within the contemporary artistic landscape was championed by Italian art critic, painter and philosopher Gillo Dorfles who initially defined it as a “super modern medium of expression.” In the end, however, he unfortunately came to look at mosaic solely within the context of artistic “design-object”, a phrase which smacks of refined craft.

Luca Barberini "Portraits Collection" 2013  Variable size. Smalti and marble.

Luca Barberini “Portraits Collection” 2013 Variable size. Smalti and marble.  Photo courtesy MAR

During the last decade, more voices have joined the debate about mosaic’s place from Bruno Bandini to Daniele Astrolog Abadal and to younger critics, in particular those from the Romagna region.

Luca Barberini "Portraits Colection" 2013 Various sizes. Smalti & marble. Photo courtesy MAR

Luca Barberini “Portraits Colection” 2013 Various sizes. Smalti & marble.   Photo courtesy MAR

In the twenty-first century, the time has come to circumvent all of these deliberations and endow mosaic with an identity – a term out of fashion, perhaps, but still useful.  Mosaic needs an identity that must be directed and defined – squeezed for all its worth in order to extract its meaning and possible new directions.  Mosaic possesses visual characteristics which capture attention because they are not accessible with a single glance; in order to really appreciate a mosaic, it is necessary to not only explore the perceived image created in the medium, but the relational properties of the individual pieces that compose the image.

In looking for an identity for mosaic, it is also necessary to clear the field of the production of many famous contemporary artists who may utilize certain elements of mosaic like fragmentation and the recomposition of elements in the construction of an image, but have not consciously chosen to create a mosaic.  English art philosopher and author David Davies  states that it is not possible to appreciate art in a purely perceptive way disassociated from any contextual knowledge.  This is especially important if the implementation is mosaic.  An artist is obviously free to express an inspiration in whatever technique he wishes thus affirming his autonomy. But, if he decides to use a technique like mosaic, he chooses an approach that has some specific characteristics that drive the work such as the synthesis and simplification of the sign, the fragmentation and recomposition of constituent elements.

Mosaïzm "Gallaxizm" 2013  250 x 250 x 250 cm. Multimedia installation.

Mosaïzm “Gallaxizm” 2013 250 x 250 x 250 cm. Multimedia installation.  Photo courtesy MAR

All of these characteristics of mosaic can be expressed in many forms; can depart from the use of inert materials, can embrace installations and even video art.  A shadow projected onto a wall from a sheet of etched glass offers the shapes of shimmering tiles.  Drops of silicone, each laden with its own microstory, executes a larger narrative in the course of the tesserae.  The installation of lights in a dark room provokes the same awe that grasped ancient visitors to the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia.

Mosaïzm "Gallaxiam" 2013 Detail  Photo courtesy MAR

Mosaïzm “Gallaxiam” 2013 Detail Photo courtesy MAR

From a different perspective, the unconventional use of mosaic tiles to create a table of fast food that transforms the surface-observer into a product developing-maker.

These are all examples of a centuries-long journey begun with enamels, mortars and scaffolding; mosaic reinventing itself in shapes and instruments always new; it would be ill-advised to attempt an inventory.

Critical Issues – Daniele Torcellini

How could I handle a critical text on mosaic works in Ravenna in 2013?  The subject of the discourse is inherently difficult.

The mosaic.  Poised between ancient glories, romanticism and modernisms that reopened a road, a contemporaneity discontinuous but conceptually expanding. Even the place is not immune to difficulties. Ravenna. The privileged location; sensitive, yes, a natural observatory. But, it obscures a hazard; a codification of mosaic that does not represent all the possibilities of the mosaic. And then, broadening the field of vision, a centre emerges clearly unresolved. the mosaic, or rather, the works that are done in mosaic by those who make mosaics, or even some of an extreme derivation, choices, are almost lacking a critical approach in a systematic, recognized code.

Laura Carraro “Breath” 2013 123 x 40 cm. Stone, marble, tile, silicone tubing, PVC, inverted mirror. Photo courtesy MAR

Except for a few, and even good, isolated voices, the absence is felt of a trend in which my text will be received, making it primed for the likeminded or hardened against ideas not shared. There is no lack of theory – Filiberto Menna in The Criticism of Criticism, 1980, would be a good starting point – but of critical practice. A debate that allows collecting ideas, proposals, suggestions – that takes stock of the situation, that contextualizes, that defines the playing field, that interprets and evaluates and asks itself about its role.

Laura Carraro "Breath" 2013 Detail   Photo: NTMP

Laura Carraro “Breath” 2013 Detail Photo: NTMP

To break the ice, I would like to emphasize how in this contemporary world – wherein technical boundaries are now weak, where things overrun into each other without discrimination, the admixtures kept under watch by the critics and the markets – the choice to oxidize one’s expressive aspirations around an idea – fixed, self-limiting, of dubious association as it is considered – and often wrongly – that the mosaic appears both brave (a dip back into the tank of liquid contemporaneity as a springboard for something that is not old-school and not even vintage), and not very significant in terms of the results achieved (“today you can say anything any way” is the opinion of some). But, it is a choice, that of the mosaic, which in the end appears beyond the distinctions between the liberal arts and mechanical arts – artistic techniques and decorative techniques – with all the related hierarchies of values. A visual, aesthetic and expressive and perhaps even scientific search for meaning, can be made with mosaic as with any other medium or combination of media.

Matylda Tracewska "Untitled" 60 x 48 cm. Marble and paint.

Matylda Tracewska “Untitled” 60 x 48 cm. Marble, paint.  Photo courtesy MAR

One the role of the medium, even in its relation mostly to physics – of the environment in which a phenomenon plays out – my reflection would find a stopping point.  The medium determines the result; it circumscribes the possibilities, insinuates itself under the skin of the message (it is the message, as Marshall McLuhan suggested, adding that the content of a medium is another medium).

Matilda Tracewska "Untitled" detail  Photo:  NTMP

Matilda Tracewska “Untitled” detail Photo: NTMP

And mosaic as a medium – an artistic medium – has specific characteristics that define it clearly, that trace a story and articulate a closeness, that, after all, allows moving well, more or less easily, inside them, generating waste, deviance, obsessions that are the key to reading a present and active vision. So – Hamlet’s question is raised – is it necessary that the text take a turn to a “critique of the mosaic” tout court?  No.  I would say not.  I would try to avoid a “critique of the mosaic”. I would prefer to remain in the area of a critique of visual art, however, that knows how to direct its attention to what is created in mosaic, recovering in the same medium the parameters which are the basis of discourse.

Elena Prosperi "Wakan-Tanka" 2013  60 x 198 cm  Tiffany glass, glass metal leaf, stones, feathers.

Elena Prosperi “Wakan-Tanka” 2013 60 x 198 cm Tiffany glass, glass metal leaf, stones, feathers.

But, this way I find myself in a flash adopting an approach of medium specificity, of an old-fashioned modernist? In debt to the views of Clement Greenberg? An approach pre-postmedial? That’s not done. I could also frame the multiple experiences that today revolve around the mosaic in the conceptual category far more fresh in coinage of metamodernism – recklessly running the risk that it appears little more than a banner with a dusting of novelty – insubstantial. So, the two theorists of the metamodernism movement, Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker, lucidly surmise the present on the pages of metamodernism.com: “The metamodern structure of feeling evokes an oscillation between a modern desire for sense and a postmodern doubt about the sense of it all, between a modern sincerity and a postmodern irony […] between control and commons and craftsmanship and conceptualism and pragmatism and utopianism. Indeed, metamodernism is an oscillation.”

Benedetta Galli "We Are The 99" 2013 140 x 200 cm  Photos and silicone on canvas.

Benedetta Galli “We Are The 99” 2013 140 x 200 cm Photos and silicone on canvas.  Photo courtesy MAR.

Benedetta Galli "We Are The 99" Detail   Photo courtesy MAR

Benedetta Galli “We Are The 99” Detail Photo co