Atla(s)now: The Age of Decentralisation The Atla(s)now project for the Marrakech Biennale will build upon and extend the exploration of its founding concepts – the decentralization and dissemination of art, and of its contents and containers – with a work that will turn the Biennale into a vehicle for the spreading of art on the ground. During the opening week, an Atlas(s)now bus, conceived as a traveling laboratory, will leave from Marrakech offering workshops and talks to its guests on the way to Imlil. Once at Imlil a local guide will take guests through the sites where the works by artists Angelo Bellobono (New York/Rome), Andrea Nacciarriti (Milan/Turin) and current artist in residence Adam Vackar (Prague) will be exhibited as part of the Atlas(s)now spread-out museum. Once the tour has been concluded guests will be driven back to Marrakech. In conjunction with this project Atlas(s)now will also be collaborating with Fondation Dar Bellarj to host a multimedia documentary exhibition of the Atlas(s)now project which will be shown at Dar Bellarj Foundation. Together Dar Bellarj and Atlas(s)now will also be organising workshops and trips for the residents of the Medina. The bus will leave every morning between February 27th and March 2nd at 10 am from Place Riad Laarouss, in front of the Pharmacie Populaire, and will be back in Marrakech around 5 pm. Seats are limited. The project is curated by Angelo Bellobono, Alessandro Facente and Aniko Boehler. Opening: 2 March 2014, 17h00 - 20h00 Exhibition Dates: 26 February - 31 March 2014 Hours: 10h00 - 17h00 Location: Dar Bellarj Foundation, 9–7 Toualate Zaouiate Lahdar, Medina (next to Madrasa Ben Youssef)
New scientific research undertaken by V&A experts has uncovered tantalising details beneath the paint layers of Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli (c.1470-5), which has been in the Museum’s collection for over a century. The findings dispel a longstanding myth that its former owner, the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, added the sitter’s vibrant red hair and sheds new light on Botticelli’s artistic technique. This painting provides the starting point for the V&A’s major spring exhibition, Botticelli Reimagined, which will show how the Pre-Raphaelites rediscovered the then long-forgotten Florentine master and how artists and designers have responded to his work ever since. Rossetti purchased the Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli from Christie’s in 1867 for a modest £20, paying an additional £4 to have it cleaned. A letter to his secretary Charles Augustus Howell dated 1 April 1867 – three days after Rossetti acquired the painting – explains: "I have been restoring the headdress, but don’t mean to tell.” The figure’s reddish-blonde hair was previously considered the most likely area of Rossetti’s ‘restoration’. By removing a layer of thick, discoloured varnish, probably added in the mid-19th century, conservators have revealed the original paint layers are less altered than previously thought. Medium analysis confirms that tempera was used throughout and show that the red hair was painted by Botticelli. The analysis also reveals that retouching across the face and white cap is the most probable site of Rossetti’s work. Mark Evans, Co-Curator of the exhibition at the V&A, said: “In recent decades, technology has deepened our understanding of historic paintings immeasurably. Removing the discoloured varnish has reinvigorated Botticelli’s luminous colours and given the Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli, and her much-debated red hair, a new lease of life. We are especially delighted to be able to show together for the first time in the exhibition the Botticelli paintings owned by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and John Ruskin.” Using infrared reflectography – a technique used to look through paint layers and reveal details not visible to the naked eye – V&A conservators have also discovered how Botticelli designed and painted the portrait. He used incised lines to mark architectural elements, such as the pillars and window sill and to correctly render the perspective. Botticelli used liquid sketching to plan the costume, followed by a broad wash of paint containing carbon to shade the volumes of the form. The paint layers also show changes Botticelli made to the height of Smeralda’s left forearm and the addition of the cloth in her hand. The painting was bequeathed to the V&A in 1901 by Constantine Alexander Ionides – a prolific art collector and patron of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, to whom the painter had sold it in 1880. The Italian inscription on the window sill identifies the sitter as Smeralda Bandinelli, wife of Viviano Bandinelli and grandmother of the 16th-century sculptor Baccio Bandinelli, who would have been in her early 30s at the time. The inscription was probably added by her descendant Baccio Bandinelli in the 17th century. Botticelli Reimagined is jointly organised by the V&A and the Gemäldegalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
"Luciano Benetton, who turns 80 this year, was never one to shy away from controversy. In the late 80s, while most of the world was busy turning away from the AIDS crisis, Benetton, together with iconoclastic photographer Oliviero Toscani, forced people to look death in the eye by advertising his colorful clothing line with scenes of a Christ-like AIDS patient wasting away in a hospital room. Few if any companies—clothing or otherwise—have combined art, social consciousness, and fashion with quite the same brazenness. While the press and public argued over the company's motives, Benetton took his oblique approach to corporate identity and applied it to his second greatest passion: art collecting. But while most collectors equate bigger with better, Benetton's idiosyncratic collection, which has no commercial aspirations, focuses on unknown and under-represented artists from all four corners of the world, whom he commissions, through a network of local curators, to produce work in the very small format of only 10×12 centimeters. The idea for the collection was born when Benetton met Ecuadorian artist Miguel Betancourt, who gave him a tiny canvas in lieu of a business card. Now, eight years and thousands of artworks later, the Imago Mundi project lives as an online archive, a series of catalogs, and traveling exhibitions that showcase Benetton's vision of the world as seen through art. On September 1, the latest exhibition, entitled "Imago Mundi, Map of the New Art," opened at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice, with a display of nearly 7,000 works by artists from more than 40 countries. The artworks are installed in specially designed compartments, grouped by country and positioned according to continent. There are collections from Germany, Sweden, Greece, Cuba, emerging American artists, the Bushmen of the Kalahari, and Australian Aborigines, among many others. At first glance, the image of a hall filled with thousands of paintings neatly installed into modular hanging systems seems overwhelming. Indeed, skepticism could be one's first instinctive approach to Imago Mundi. There's a whiff of naivety (or is it megalomania?) to the desire to catalog the entire world; to archive a united image of something that is defined by multiplicity But delving into the collection's tiny treasures, it soon becomes clear that the vision for the collection has expanded far beyond its simple beginnings. "It's not a collection but rather an idea that keeps evolving" Luciano Benetton told artnet News. "Borders become less important, and the focus gradually shifts. The next project is dedicated to amassing works by artists from the 54 ethnical minorities of China," he added, explaining the broader new approach. Other future plans include a catalog of artists in Kashmir and the Ainu people of northern Japan. What also becomes immediately apparent is how political strife affects artistic expression. The most recent collection dedicated to Syria shows a multi-media installation sourced by the London-based artist Zaher Omareen, who asked 35 Syrian artists—some based in Syria and some elsewhere, including in refugee camps—to send him unedited one-minute videos free of dialogue. The films are screened on mobile phones, which were neatly placed within the miniature canvases. Artists from other countries tackle enduring difficulties. The Tunisian collection looks back at the Arab Spring to question the legacy of the revolution; collections from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Algeria include mostly women artists and explore representations of the body; works from North Korea show an entirely different approach to expression and authorship, with works created in an artist colony where workers specialize in emulating popular styles, European or local. Other collections delight in their ingenuity, with the Swedish and German works in particular speaking to the artist's role in constantly challenging society. And while the collection largely features emerging artists, viewers sometimes stumble upon big names such as David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Christo, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Korakrit Arundachai, Sigalit Landau, Menashe Kadishman and many more, all of whom have contributed to the collection for free. Indeed, many were skeptical at first. Some artists didn't want to work on such small scale, or even criticized the art-as-donation model. But, as the collection started growing and traveling (a smaller version of the show was presented in Venice in 2013, and other shows were staged in Vienna, Dakar, and Rome) bigger and more established artists wanted to donate their creations too. At the end of the hall hangs a huge and marvellous canvas embroidered in North Korea. It's a map of the world stitched with intricate representations of the continents by the animals that inhabit them (perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr. Benetton is an avid collector of maps). It's the complete antithesis to the rest of the collection, and seems almost archaic against the wealth of artistic languages contained beneath. Small as they are, Imago Mundi's artistic miniatures could attest to the need to create a world which we can understand. For Benetton, an entrepreneur whose success is partially beholden to the needs and desires of the market, these works stand for the ability to stop, decelerate, and peer into a micro-cosmos of self-expression. "But as soon as we'll be finished with it, there'll be a new generation of artists and we'll have to start all over again," he says with a smile, and I get the feeling that this thought doesn't bother him at all." By Hili Perlson
follow & like us on
Bench: 102 x 16 /In
Art: [art work wale dimensions]