by James Lipovac
This image of a giant Venus Fly trap dwarfing a man in a trench coat standing underneath a menacingly heavy sky was a stand-out at Ghenie’s speculator painting performance at the 56th La Biennale di Venezia in the Romanian Pavilion.
I first came across Adrian Ghenie’s work at Pace in New York in March of 2013. A painter friend of mine encourage me to check out the show. The strength of the work is Ghenie’s ability to harmonize elements of abstract figuration and more realistic interpretations all in the same canvas.
I was excited to see what a fellow painter would do given the chance to represent their own nation, in this case, Romania. In his show “Darwin’s Room” Ghenie uses Darwin, evolution, and survival as themes for his grand brushwork and sheets of oil. He switches between and harmonizes intimate slow moments of finessed detail, larges areas of squeegeed paint, and thick sections of impasto.
His practice is to create a drawing a day. Originally this charge came from writer friend, Héctor Abad. Abad proposed a collaboration where Suárez Londoño would make work to inspire the author’s writing. At the end of each month, Suárez Londoño was to share his drawings with Abad, who would then create a work from these 30 or so drawings. In the end, at least in the story we were told, the output coming in proved too overwhelming for old Héctor, who backed out of his end, even though it seems to us that our guy was doing all the heavy lifting. Still the Labs sends many thanks to Abad for inspiring Suárez Londoño to make these intimate, outstanding, imaginative, tedious, whimsical, and mysterious gems.
Suárez Londoño remained engaged in the rigor of this encyclopedic way of working, and decided to continue making daily work tied to his daily readings, starting with Brian Eno’s A Year with Swollen Appendices. The images pictured here are from his collection “Franz Kafka, Diaries II, 1914-1923”. Our understanding is that there are 365 of these bad boys, all done in 2000, all mixed media, all 13 x 20 cm, and all better than anything you made all year!
Ellen Altfest, born in 1970 in New York, creates modestly scaled, hyerrealistic paintings of still lives, landscapes, and truncated male nudes that are exceptionally labored. All work is done from life, using natural light. Works take months, even years to complete. Futurelab first encountered her work, pictured below, at the 2013 Venice Biennale show, The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by Massimiliano Gioni.
Helmut Newton, Jenny Kapitan, Pension Dorian, 1977, CWC Galerie, Berlin
Helmut Newton, “By-Product of an advertising sitting“, CWC Galerie, Berlin
James Lipovac at Dumbo Arts Festival, Sept. 2011