Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hocus Pocus

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Susan Lee-Chun - The Suz in da' House

The merging of all three “Suz” into a single entity is to fuse art and artist to form a brand or new authentic identity. As a real brand and "corporate mission," The Suz is about bringing more to the table than the typical experience, it's "faux real authentic." Intrigued by the economy of the experience, The Suz will organize activities catered and devised to render an “authentic” experience incorporating installation, video, and performance. These multi-media projects are produced to challenge the boundaries between art, artist, and audience. Also, their symbolic presence as an authentically fake/real company, in the work is the catalyst to the development of a new series of experience-based projects devised to address the notions of authenticity, identity, and perceptions.

For the exhibition at MARTE, The Suz will be presenting a fabricated set that will consist of a custom designed (faux) kitchen, specifically constructed to accommodate a cooking show hosted by Sue in front of a live audience. This premiere episode and demo will feature the making of a special "faux real" Asian dish.

An excerpt about the cooking show:

Sue, raised in the southern region of the United States, will colorfully detail how to create an "authentic" Asian dish. Her travels to all over the United States of America has taught her what it takes to make the quintessential Asian dish, just like the ones you have at your local Chinese restaurant. She may even share an ancient Chinese secret- a special ingredient only produced by The Suz.

Emilio Chapela - Spectacular... but empty

It has become frequent to discover a lot of attempts in art (some of them desperate and others really intelligent) to amaze us, like if we were watching a fireworks spectacle. Art is becoming big, shinny, glossy, noisy and very expensive to produce. But most of all, it is becoming spectacular.

Spectacular… but empty, it is a piece that both takes part in the game of the spectacle, and criticize it. It makes a circular comment in such a way that it contradicts itself: It says clear and loud: This is spectacular! And at the same time it says (silently), but it is empty too. But don’t be confused: I love Spectacular art! For Raul Zamudio-Taylor Spectacular... but empty (2008) by Emilio Chapela “it is an ironic allusion to Guy Debord’s important situationist book titled the Society of the Spectacle published in 1967”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

About Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus is an activity adapted from a series of successful fundraising art events in the United States organized by museums and artists with the purpose of raising funds for organizations dedicated to promoting contemporary art.

This event consists of a lottery of donated works of art by national and international contemporary artists who are participants in areas such as painting, sculpture, photography, video, etc.

Tickets for this lottery will be distributed exclusively by MARTE Contemporáneo to potential young collectors who will attend the event themselves or will send a representative. The tickets will cost $100 and will be valid for two persons. Each ticket will be numbered and will be placed in a raffle box. Ticket holders will be able to choose their preferred work of art as their number is randomly being called.

The donating artists plus one will be able to attend the event with the purpose of interacting and meeting personally with the young collectors who are present at the event.


Hocus Pocus is an event in which the artists and MARTE Contemporáneo unite to promote contemporary art in El Salvador.

MARTE Contemporáneo’s role is to serve as a link between artists and potential young collectors in order to motivate these young people to interact with the museum and to become involved in the contemporary arts, while at the same time creating an extensive database for future events.

The artist's role is not limited to donating a single work of art. This donation turns them into participating members of MARTE Contemporáneo who can offer ideas and opinions for future events to the members of the board. Their role is also to train the eye of the collectors and make them aware o new tendencies in contemporary art.


Create a meeting between young collectors and contemporary artists.

Motivate artists to create elaborate works with innovative and original characteristics through traditional or alternative mediums in the form of a high quality work.

The works can be parts of s series or unique.

Three works will be selected by a jury made of expert international and national curators based on its quality. The artist of the first of these three works selected will be awarded with a personal exhibition at the Galeria 1-2-3, (date to be defined) one of the most recognized galleries in the country. The winners will not be announced until all the participants have chosen a work of art.


Participating artists (both national and international) must have previously been invited by MARTE Contemporáneo to donate one work of art per artist.

They can be unique works or editions (in such cases the edition must be numbered).

The work will be 100% donated. If it is a part of a series the rest of the edition may remain as the artist’s property. The works must arrive at MARTE in proper presentation and ready to be exhibited.


Each artist and young participant will receive a catalog at the beginning of the event for reference purposes. The catalog will contain images of all the work exhibited along with the author, the technique, the date and the dimensions.

Each artist who donates an art work will receive a one year free pass for one person to the museum.

The artist of the winning art work who will exhibit at Galeria 1-2-3 will also have a personal catalogue of his or her exhibition made for the public.

Each art work will be authenticated.


All works must be turned in at MARTE by September 30 from 9:00a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The date of the event is scheduled for Thursday, October 9 2008 at Teatro Presidente’s lobby at 8:30 p.m.

That same day the winners of the event will be announced and the yearly passes will be distributed to the artists.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Dream of the Stans

In conjunction with Asian Contemporary Art Week 2008, Winkleman Gallery is extremely pleased to present I Dream of the Stans, an exhibition of new video by leading contemporary artists in Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Co-curated by independent curator Leeza Ahmady, Murat Orozobekov, and Edward Winkleman, the exhibition surveys the range of powerful new works emerging from this often overlooked region of the world. Since the incredible critical acclaim that greeted the first Central Asian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005, contemporary artists from Afghanistan and the former Soviet Republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan have drawn an increasing amount of attention from Western curators, museums and galleries. Most of the newfound attention centers on the remarkably strong single- and multi-channel video works produced in the region, a fact often attributed to the region’s centuries-old traditions of storytelling, street theater, and weaving.

I Dream of the Stans brings together works by seven of the area’s most important artists (and teams) including Vyacheslav Akhunov, Rahraw Omarzad, Almagul Menlibayeva, Jamshed Khalilov, Gulnara Kasmalieva & Muratbek Djumaliev, Said Atabekov, and Julia Tikhonova & Rustam Khalfin.

Known for elaborate multi-channel video installations (including a 5-channel piece recently commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago), the husband-wife team Muratbek Djumaliev & Gulnara Kasmalieva (Kyrgyzstan) present their 2006 single-channel piece Something About Contemporary Nomadism, in which a steady stream of seemingly bored airline passengers passing through security blithely submit to what would be seen as highly invasive personal searches in other settings. Guards with rubber gloves pat them down, touching their inner legs and backs and chests, while the passengers seem to hardly notice.

In Vyacheslav Akhunov’s (Uzbekistan) video Cleaner the artist is seen meticulously cleaning the surfaces of various British national monuments in London with his toothbrush. Akhunov was well known by his peers as the “official anti-official artist” during the Soviet era, but now continues to tackle ideas of cultural superiority, be it intellectual, spiritual or political. In his videos, the subjects often repeat certain actions or gestures in a kind of circular pattern; from bottom to top, one point to another, or just going round and about - all reminiscent of various forms of Sufi meditations. In Cleaner Akhunov reminds us that perhaps our sacredly guarded ideas about culture and its production needs some form of cleansing. He is keen on broadening defined notions and unburdening established authorities by exploring conflicts, which are derivative of culture that in itself is subjective.

Rustam Khalfin (born in Uzbekistan and resident of Kazakhstan), as follower of Russian historical avant-garde and both teacher and theorist of trends in contemporary art and culture, has played an integral role in training younger artists. In his collaboration video with Julia Tikhonova, entitled Northern Barbarians, Part II: Love Races, a young couple is making love, nude on horseback, while riding across some desolate woods. Inspired by two series of watercolors from the 18th and 19th centuries (found in the book of “Chinese Eros”) the love scenes are re-interpreted. The term “Northern Barbarians” is a reference the name the ancient Chinese called the wild wanderers they were grateful to have the Great Wall of China separate them from. The video is the reconstruction of an ancient way of making love in a region highly connected to its nomadic past and spirit. Considered a masterpiece, the work exemplifies how Khalfin’s painterly mind is matched by his conceptual vigor for contextual criticism.

Two internationally exhibiting artists also from Kazakhstan, Almagul Menlibayeva and Said Atabekov, address the processes for change and reform in Central Asia with a focus on Asian continental ties and mentality. Said Atabekov is a founding member of the influential collaborative “Kizil Traktor” (Red Tractor). In his video Neon Paradise, the artist is dressed in his signature dervish outfit made of an odd mixture of absurd objects, materials and props, including an old Soviet-military jug for water. He is seen sitting like an aberration kneeled in a kind of a prayer position repeatedly bowing his head down towards an automatic double glass door that continues to open and shut as he moves. It is not clear whether the doors open into a corporate building, modern super market, or university. What is clear is that in this noble open-ended manner the artist is deconstructing contemporary realities such as economic and environmental decadence and other technologically driven mass global deliriums.

Almagul Menlibayeva is known as an experimental artist working simultaneously in a variety of media such as painting, performances, installations and videos. Her gorgeously landscaped and peopled videos translate the various dimensions of what she wishes to express about beauty, decor, ritual and spiritual practices. Her primary concern with women and their role in pre -Soviet, pre-Islamic, and even shamanistic and dervish origins is exemplified in her video Jihad.

Rahraw Omarzad, an artist and professor at Kabul University, established the Center for Contemporary Art Afghanistan (CCAA). He is the conceptual author of the video work Opening in collaboration with his students and members of CCAA. Through CCAA, Omarzad has been actively working with young artists in an effort to foster their sense of independence and individuality. Re-education is therefore a pressing; not only in re-thinking art and its making but in rendering visible the various truths that are buried beneath the piles of media-manufactured issues facing Afghanistan. In this video, a dark screen and a loud consistent banging sound slowly opens to a woman’s sparkling eyes under her “Chadori”. Someone from the outside cuts open a layer of fabric in front of the veiled women, but instead of seeking to come out or to cut off her veil with the scissors, she opts to embroider a beautiful and colorful floral design around the opening with her sensually jeweled and painted hands. The work is a poetic gesture towards woman’s creative role in the world as assigned to her by nature and how the subjects of freedom and limitation are relative to internal attitudes, regardless of how dire the external façade.

Jamshed Khalilov represented Tajikistan at the Central Asian Pavilion in Venice in 2007. In his charming piece Bus Stop, each image in a series of photographs of the often highly decorated structures providing shelter for commuters throughout Central Asian countries seems to pause momentarily and then whisk off to the side, as if mimicking the stop-and-start motions of a bus along its route. Often blending Soviet motifs with more ancient and/or Islamic architectural themes and patterns, each of the bus stops is a unique artistic statement even as it serves a public purpose. Sometimes fantastical (one is shaped like the traditional hat worn by natives), sometimes simply beautiful, these now nostalgic structures stand out as oases of expression along the otherwise often desolate roads they punctuate.