Some artists use their art to put up a facade for the world; others seek to bear themselves whole. The art of Tracey Emin – who has a remarkable exhibition of new work at the White Cube Bermondsey, London – undoubtedly falls into the latter category. The title, A Fortnight of Tears, has apparently been rolling around in the artist’s head for fifteen years, distilled by the recent death of her mother, but first kindled by a relationship breakup in her thirties when, she explains, “I was crying for the loss of my future. Then when my mum died, I was crying for my past.” [Read more…]
To say that a work of art holds up a mirror to the world is to recognise an attempt by the artist at portraying the truth. “See what the world really looks like” is the message. Art like this – that seeks to show us the reality of things – does so by parodying, exposing, lampooning and taunting. It invites you to peer into the fracture it has opened up, and when you do so, it’s like standing beside the artist and peering in together. With Jeff Koons it’s always a bit trickier. You sense that he too is holding up a mirror, but what kind of fracture is he asking you to peer into? One that, when the light reaches the depths, you see Koons’ own smile gleaming back at you? [Read more…]
Atsuko Tanaka was a pioneering Japanese artist. She was born in Osaka in 1932, and lived until the age of 74. She died in 2005 in the historic city of Nara.
Tanaka may claim a place among the forerunners of performance art. Before Alan Kaprow organized any “happenings” in New York, Tanaka was taking part in the Gutai group, an experimental postwar Japanese art movement founded by a group of young artists in Ashiya in 1954. The aims of the Gutai group were to reinvent the art-scene in post-war Japan, seeking new and radical means to sever links with the recent past. The art historian Yve-Alain Bois has said that “the activities of the Gutai group in the mid 1950s constitute one of the most important moments of post-war Japanese culture”. [Read more…]