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#303 July – August – September 2015

In this issue we delve into the appropriationist, realist and photorealist tendencies that characterize the practices of several emerging figurative painters. In 1972, Harald Szeemann’s Documenta 5 challenged the mass media’s agency over factual representation. Titled “Questioning Reality – Pictorial Worlds Today,” the exhibition provided what is perhaps the most exhaustive account of pictorial photorealism. Today, the pervasiveness of the internet and the progressive erosion of the “concrete” through the emergence of virtual realities suggests a theoretical update to the notion of realism in painting. These manifold realities animate the work of painters, providing subject matter but also informing their pictorial language in terms of technique and style. The “pictorial worlds” narrated by Szeemann have developed into a “co-reality” in which the real and the virtual co-exist within and upon the painting itself. The “co-reality” of the painting suggests that the question of reality in contemporary art production is no longer limited to the depiction of everyday existence, but necessarily deals with strategies of image-making on the canvas.

 

In four roundtables — involving painters Sascha Braunig, Jordan Casteel, Leidy Churchman, Van Hanos,Jamian Juliano-Villani, Tomasz Kowalski, Birgit Megerle, Alan Michael,Greg Parma Smith, Nolan Simonand Avery K. Singerand hosted by Lauren Cornell, Michele D’Aurizio, Eli Dinerand Martha Kirszenbaum— we discuss different levels of cohesion between the imaginary and the actuality of painting. We raise questions related to subject matter and contemporary image culture; labor, technique and connoisseurship; the “gendered” gaze; and, finally, the role of technology in “producing” reality. Alongside the roundtables, we envision an alternative history of photorealism through a series of essays examining individual paintings by lesser-known figures associated with this tendency. Here, Marco Tagliafierro, Eva Kenny, Eric Golo Stone,Mohammad Salemy, William J. Simmonsand Philip Tinariexplore works by, respectively, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Franz Gertsch, Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, Lisa Ruyter, Betty Tompkinsand Wang Xingwei. These painters, each in their own specific way, address photorealist conventions while inviting a reconsideration of the historical premises of the genre.

 

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In this issue we delve into the appropriationist, realist and photorealist tendencies that characterize the practices of several emerging figurative painters. In 1972, Harald Szeemann’s Documenta 5 challenged the mass media’s agency over factual representation. Titled “Questioning Reality – Pictorial Worlds Today,” the exhibition provided what is perhaps the most exhaustive account of pictorial photorealism. Today, the pervasiveness of the internet and the progressive erosion of the “concrete” through the emergence of virtual realities suggests a theoretical update to the notion of realism in painting. These manifold realities animate the work of painters, providing subject matter but also informing their pictorial language in terms of technique and style. The “pictorial worlds” narrated by Szeemann have developed into a “co-reality” in which the real and the virtual co-exist within and upon the painting itself. The “co-reality” of the painting suggests that the question of reality in contemporary art production is no longer limited to the depiction of everyday existence, but necessarily deals with strategies of image-making on the canvas.

 

In four roundtables — involving painters Sascha Braunig, Jordan Casteel, Leidy Churchman, Van Hanos,Jamian Juliano-Villani, Tomasz Kowalski, Birgit Megerle, Alan Michael,Greg Parma Smith, Nolan Simonand Avery K. Singerand hosted by Lauren Cornell, Michele D’Aurizio, Eli Dinerand Martha Kirszenbaum— we discuss different levels of cohesion between the imaginary and the actuality of painting. We raise questions related to subject matter and contemporary image culture; labor, technique and connoisseurship; the “gendered” gaze; and, finally, the role of technology in “producing” reality. Alongside the roundtables, we envision an alternative history of photorealism through a series of essays examining individual paintings by lesser-known figures associated with this tendency. Here, Marco Tagliafierro, Eva Kenny, Eric Golo Stone,Mohammad Salemy, William J. Simmonsand Philip Tinariexplore works by, respectively, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Franz Gertsch, Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, Lisa Ruyter, Betty Tompkinsand Wang Xingwei. These painters, each in their own specific way, address photorealist conventions while inviting a reconsideration of the historical premises of the genre.

 

Also, in this issue:

“Tom’s House”, a visual project by Marie Angeletti.

In Arena:

Ralph Rugoff on the 13th Biennale de Lyon; Max Schumann on Printed Matter, New York; Abdelmonem Alserkal on the Alserkal Avenue, Dubai; Ccru’s Writings 1997–2003; Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Susan Cianciolo, New York; Matías Piñeiro, Buenos Aires; Alessio Antoniolli on Gasworks, London; Leo Xu, Shanghai; Bart De Baere, Defne Ayas and Nicolaus Schafhausen on the 6th Moscow Biennale; Alex Waterman and Will Holder’s Yes, But Is It Edible?

And in Reviews:

“All the World’s Futures”and National Pavilionsat the 56th Venice Biennale; Jutta Koetherat Bortolami, New York; Rey Akdoganat Miguel Abreu, New York; Loretta Fahrenholz at Midway, Minneapolis; Emanuel Rossettiat Karma International, Los Angeles; Peter Saulat David Kordansky, Los Angeles;Viola Yeşiltaçat Boatos Fine Arts, Sao Paulo; Hilary Lloydat Sadie Coles HQ, London; Bojan Šarčevićat BQ, Berlin; Cindie Cheungat Flotowstrasse 11, Berlin; “Love for Three Oranges”at Gladstone, Brussels; Marcel Broodthaersat La Monnaie, Paris; Le Corbusierat Centre Pompidou, Paris; Vaclav Pozarekat Francesca Pia, Zürich; Lara Favarettoat MAXXI, Rome; Dóra Maurerat Vintage Gallery, Budapest; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Susanta Mandalat Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi; Liu Shiyuanat White Space, Beijing; Leung Chi Woat OCAT, Shenzhen.