Our third show Contemporary Masters features some of the most prominent contemporary artists there are. The 14 artists are leading names within their mediums, and they are eagerly collected and showcased around the world. In the case of these painters and sculptors the masterpieces they create simply reflect the masters they themselves are.
The pop up galleries are an ongoing collaboration between Katinka Traaseth of Art Walk and the internationally spread and acclaimed Opera Galleries, founded in Paris by Gilles Dyan in 1994. Together they offer collectors and art devotees a diversity of art from all the corners of the globe. The pop up concept indicates the galleries stay on for a limited time only, making the art experience, and its location, fleeting and even more valuable.
A true master, and celebrity through his iconic art, is Damien Hirst. He is recognized as the most prominent member of the group Young British Artists, who dominated the UK art world in the 90s. Death is a central theme in Hirst's work, evident through his bedazzled sculls, and dead animals preserved in formaldehyde and put on display. His reoccurring butterflies are also known to embody the soul in some cultures; in others they represent freedom and life. Spinning, circular paintings as well as «spot»-paintings are also a part of his famous repertoire. Hirst is a record setting artist - his past includes both a visitors-record at The Tate Modern, and a sales-record at a one-artist auction, bringing in nearly 200 million dollars.
Another iconic artist is the man behind LOVE and HOPE, the sculptures famous across the world, recognized for their timelessness and brilliance. Robert Indiana has been a part of the pop art movement in New York since the mid-50s, so his name and fame has been long in the making. He is considered a pioneer in assemblage art and hard-edge abstraction. Language and American identity are themes that manifest in Indiana's work, often through versions of different signs. His take on LOVE, and the way he transcribes the powerful word into various mediums, has become nothing less than an icon of the 20th century.
David Mach and Niki Saint Phalle are sculptors renowned for their choice of materials. They form their magnificent conceptions in unexpected ways. Mach's main occupation is unstruck matches, or mass-produced, found objects in general. They are what his work is conceived from. He creates sculptures, collages, and large-scale installations out of industrial hand-downs. Employing things from teddy bears to clippings to car tires.
De Saint-Phalle is a creator of voluptuous beings. Often women, as their role is a theme she addresses. She has used wire netting, papier-mâché and polyester in making life-size dolls, and during the 60s she shot at her paintings (through jars of paint) for artistic effect, instead of using a common brush. This French artist is a creative architect, to say the least. Today de Saint-Phalle makes colorful, bold and curvy figures, from mosaic and porcelain.
Mark Quinn and Colin Christian are two very different sculptors, yet they have the myth of human perfection as a common meeting point. Quinn reports on the distanced relationships we tend to have with our bodies, through his angelic white sculptures. He focuses on the conflict between natural and cultural expectations, and the power this embraces. Quinn is known for his marble-cast amputees, his frozen and blood-decorated self-portrait, and more recently his rendering of Kate Moss in an impossible position. Christian resides on a more youthful bank of the modeling-scale. He started out making latex clothing and later commercial sculptures. Today his confections are original art works, inspired by anime, pin-up, cartoons, and sci-fi. Using silicone, a tricky but precise material, he drives the perfection of fiction figures into realistic shape.
The painters Robert Combas and Antonio Segui share an expression of extreme detail and vivid color. Spectators loose themselves in the intense universe intricately put to canvas by these artists. Combas is considered a leading European contemporary artist. The Frenchman paints anything he can find, in an all-consuming manner. The love for women and the power of battles are themes he circles back to, always through blasts of color and vigorous brushstrokes. He is one of the most collected artists in France. Segui uses his art as a satiric reflection of present time. Through humor, contrasts and broad color-use he creates worlds where every individual stands out and has a purpose. And every painting is as amusing as its message.
Peter Klasen and Wang Guangyi are also from the school of power through color. Both their styles follow the pop art path, yet their subjects are quite diverse. Klasen is co-founder of «Figurative Narrative», underlining his devotion to the figurative image. He is a collagist, with a strong focus on the contrast between our linear technological existence and the sensuality of a female body. Function versus desire is tested through Klasen's work. Guangyi was a child when the Chinese Cultural Revolution started. Inspired, provoked, and awakened by this he soon became a primary avant-garde artist in his country. His imagery is political and ideological, reaching its communicative goal through primary coloring, consumer-branding and deep contrast in subjects.
The portraitists Julian Opie and Fernando Botero make innocent interpretations of faces, in very different ways. Opie turns to the viewer so they can interoperate their own version of the work in front of them. He makes this very clear by reducing detail to a minimum. Black outlines, flat patches of color and dark circles for eyes leave the rest up to the audience - means for a subjective perception served on a silver platter. Botero studied the work of renaissance masters, and this is evident in his joyous accounts. After experimenting with proportions he landed on his love of voluptuous forms, which he uncannily embraces for both his sculptures and paintings. His family portraits, landscapes, circus-themes and guerrilla war-images, though extremely different in nature, are all captured in his stylized, mellow and curvy way.
Two very special artists, who both manage to create something unforeseen, are the French masters Fabrice Hyber and André Brasilier. Hyber is an artist of hybrids. He blends drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, and video, using the most bewildering materials. His themes echo nature and our roots, in a confounding yet still scientific fashion. Brasilier on his brilliant hand has found a way of combining figurative and abstract expressions. His subtle images are lyrical in their ease, and soothing in their pictorial honesty. Even though his lines are flowing, he is consumed with a just portrayal of the human form. Horses, landscapes, and women, rendered in seamless harmony, summarize his themes.
Text: Julia Margaux Ciarlo
Location11, square mérimée, 06400 Cannes, France
Monday - Saturday: 11:00 - 21:00
Sunday: 16:00 - 20:00