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5 Japanese Artists You Should Know
With the excitement of the Summer Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 still fresh in our memory and the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 just around the corner, Japan is still on our minds. Unfortunately, we were not able to cheer live for our favorite athletes or to get lost in translation on Tokyo’s vibrant streets, but nothing stops us from discovering more about the unique Japanese history, culture, and art.
Because of its long isolation as an island nation, Japan’s history overflows with one-of-a-kind perspectives and unique cultural forms. That independent streak makes Japanese art an always exciting realm of new experiences and fresh ideas.
Over the 20th century, Japanese artists also began leading the pop art blend of mainstream fare with a critical artistic lens, while often embedding a rich mixture of themes and nods to historical legacy.
Despite Japan’s incredible cultural output, many people around the world are not nearly as familiar with artists from the nation as they should be.
Below, we’ve put together a list of five Japanese artists you should know. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and it’s in no particular order. This is a quick stroll through Japanese visual art, something to get you started on your own journey of discovery.
1. Mariko Mori
Mariko Mori (1967) is an artist known for work in many fields, including: sculpture, digital art, and photography. Her oeuvre is filled with futuristic visions embedded with a profound influence from Japanese history.
Her work plays with imaginative worlds and space-age forms, and the end result is always ethereal and mysterious.
Some of Mori’s pieces are particularly sweeping in scope. Primal Rhythm saw her place sculptures in a bay, standing above the water in haunting silence. One, Sun Pillar, is a transparent sculpture that juts out of a large rock. Beside it in the water is Moon Stone, an orb that changes its color depending on the tide.
While the shapes and material appear futuristic, they collaborate with the natural environment. It’s both beautiful and poignant, and it gives us an opportunity to rethink the way we interact with the world around us.
Mori’s profile has steadily risen since the 1990s, and for good reason. She continues to explore new methods while staying true to the conceptual depth and attention to form that have made her work an integral part of contemporary art.
2. Yuko Mohri
Copyright Yuko Mohri
Yuko Mohri (1980) is an installation artist who recombines items from our day-to-day life into what she calls “ecosystems.”
These installations often seem perilously balanced. Mohri includes sound and narrative as well, often telling stories through Rube Goldberg-like contraptions.
In Moré Moré (Leaky), the artist made visual riffs on the use of buckets and plastic to catch leaking rain water that she saw in a subway station.
Many of her pieces focus on the relationship between the human built world and the natural world. But the work is never overly ponderous. Often, the installations create a sense of fun.
3. Takashi Murakami
Copyright Takashi Murakami
Takashi Murakami (1962) is one of the most controversial artists in the contemporary scene. His anime-influenced sculpture and design have become the center of massive debates in the art world. Plus, his forays into commercial work have made him more popular than ever among fashionistas while angering art world purists.
Murakami describes his style as “superflat,” a term he also used for postwar Japanese culture as a whole. Aesthetically, the term refers to Japan’s legacy of 2D art with little use of perspective. But societally, it points to the reduction of class influence on Japan. Today, Murakami asserts, the differences between high and low culture have flattened out into a single plane.
Murakami has done everything from an anime-character sculpture show at Versaille, album covers for the likes of Kanye West, and hypebeast fashion crossover designs with Supreme.
His flower motif is world famous, appearing on Louis Vuitton bags and jewelry worn by hip hop artists. It’s become a kind of calling card for the rebel.
Today, he devotes a large amount of his time cultivating the careers of young Japanese artists while still making art that destroys our notion of high and low culture.
4. Yoshitomo Nara
Yoshitomo Nara (1959) is a sculptor and painter who creates images of childhood with an unsettling undercurrent of horror. His subject matter is very consistent, but it is through this steady stream of similar images that he’s been able to communicate so effectively.
His characters, children with cartoonishly large eyes, are often engaged in naughty behavior, a rebelliousness that matches the artist’s own. Nara constantly subverts the nostalgia of childhood while still evoking it. The effect is a strange blend of the cute and concerning.
Nara is closely associated with another member of this list, Murakami, as both a contemporary and as a fellow traveller in the superflat school. But while Murakami is in a pitched battle between the high and low, Nara is much more focused on the expression of genuine human emotion.
In 2020, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art held a retrospective of Nara’s work spanning 36 years. The major event has helped boost his recognition outside of Japan. A well-earned honor
5. Yasumasa Mormura
Copyright Yasumasa Mormura
Yasumasa Mormura(1951) is a master of parody and humorous counterfeiting. But while many of his pieces are great fun, his career has an undercurrent of serious critique at its heart.
Mormura’s pieces appropriate the great works of Western art and other iconic images, inserting his own photography into them. The works are strangely shocking. We are so used to the Mona Lisa, we feel at home within its frame. And then to see it changed into a self portrait of Mormura himself turns everything on its head.
It’s a confrontation with the dominance of Western culture throughout the world. It subverts not only our expectation of a given painting, but our expectation of Western art as the source of all great masterpieces. In this way, Mormura is something of a punk rock artist.
His themes of identity and imperialism are incredibly relevant to our times. That is why, late in his career, Mormura is still able to command attention for his important work.
Asian art is more popular than ever, and collecting them is a fascinating hobby that can enrich your life through beauty, culture and education. Learn why you should start collecting Asian Art today.
10 Contemporary Asian Artists You Should Know
The world of contemporary art is a vast and ever-evolving landscape, with artists from different corners of the globe making their mark on the artistic discourse. Despite its size and wealth of artistic talent, the art of Asia remains largely unexplored for many people around the world. In this article, we explore the works of nine talented contemporary Asian artists who have been instrumental in shaping the art scene, challenging conventions, and offering fresh perspectives. From traditional mediums to innovative techniques, these artists showcase the rich diversity and cultural vibrancy of Asia's art scene. Yayoi Kusama (Japan) Kusama has been an institution of the contemporary art scene since the 1960s. Her work in pop-art and performance art over the years are now the stuff of legend. Her installations are particularly popular. She often works with red and white polka dot motifs in her installations (like at the Singapore Biennale in 2006 and at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art).More recently, she created an Infinity Room—a dark, mirror-covered enclosure with hanging lights that appear to go on forever. Through her signature use of repetitive patterns and vibrant colors, Kusama explores themes of infinity, self-obliteration, and the interplay between the individual and the cosmos. Her immersive installations, such as "Infinity Mirror Rooms," invite viewers to delve into their own introspection and experience the boundless nature of existence. Kusama’s career has spanned fashion, film, painting, performance, and even writing. Nam June Paik (South Korea) Nam June Paik is a highly influential and pioneering contemporary Korean artist who is often regarded as the "father of video art." Born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1932, Paik's groundbreaking work has left an indelible mark on the art world, merging technology, performance, and popular culture in innovative and thought-provoking ways. Paik’s work encapsulates the second half of the 20th century. Much of it involved creating sculptures and installation pieces using manipulated television sets and embracing themes of communication and the rapid expanse of technology. Maybe his most notable achievement is TV Buddha (a series beginning in 1974). In this, a statue of the Buddha watches a small television that displays a live feed of the statue itself. Bharti Kher (India) Bharti Kher, an Indian-born artist, explores themes of identity, gender, and mythology in her multidisciplinary practice. Known for her distinctive use of bindis (forehead decorations), Kher's works often incorporate found objects and traditional Indian iconography. Her thought-provoking sculptures and installations challenge societal norms and invite contemplation on the role of women in Indian culture. The artist's works have been exhibited internationally and have garnered critical acclaim. Her powerful and visually arresting pieces have been showcased in prominent institutions and galleries, including the Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Bharti Kher's contributions to contemporary art have made a significant impact, both in India and on the global stage. Through her compelling and thought-provoking works, she continues to push boundaries, challenge conventions, and provoke dialogue about the complexities of identity and culture in our interconnected world. Ai Weiwei (China) Ai is an influential contemporary artist and political activist. His work, connected to the Excessevist movement, includes video, sculpture and installation. One of his most popular pieces is Sunflower Seeds (2010). It was made for the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. It is made up of one hundred million porcelain sunflower seeds—all handcrafted to perfection. The seeds were spread to fill the 1,000 square meter area and stacked up to 10 centimeters high. Through various mediums, including sculpture, photography, and installation, Ai Weiwei addresses issues such as human rights, freedom of expression, and the role of the individual in society. His thought-provoking artworks challenge authority and shed light on the complexities of contemporary Chinese society. His political advocacy for democracy and human rights in his home country has made him a controversial figure there. Sopheap Pich (Cambodia) Sopheap Pich is a celebrated contemporary artist from Cambodia whose works combine sculpture, installation, and conceptual art to explore themes of memory, history, and the relationship between humans and the natural world. Born in Battambang, Cambodia, in 1971, Pich experienced the devastating effects of the Khmer Rouge regime, which greatly influenced his artistic practice.Pich uses highly selective materials (like rattan, bamboo, dye, glue, and metal) to connect with his Cambodian heritage. These traditional materials are transformed into intricate sculptures that are both captivating and ephemeral. Pich's art is deeply rooted in his personal experiences and the history of Cambodia. He often incorporates materials deeply connected to Cambodian culture, such as rattan, bamboo, and found objects, into his sculptures and installations. Through his work, Pich explores the complexities of memory, displacement, and the process of healing in the aftermath of war. As the most internationally recognizable Cambodian artist, his work is an important porthole into a culture that is emerging as a major player in the artworld. Han Sai Por (Singapore) Han is a sculptor with a naturalist’s heart. Many of her best known pieces are stone installations crafted to plant forms—mimicking the look and feel of seeds and fruits. But she is also renowned for her geometric work that carefully replicates a logical thought process through visual exploration. Han Sai Por's artistic practice is deeply rooted in her fascination with organic forms found in nature, such as rocks, trees, and water. Her sculptures often incorporate materials like stone, bronze, and wood, which she meticulously carves, shapes, and manipulates to create abstract yet evocative forms. Her works reflect her deep understanding of the inherent beauty and energy present in the natural world. One of Han Sai Por's notable series is the "Rock Series," where she explores the diverse textures, patterns, and qualities of rocks. Through her skillful manipulation of materials, she captures the essence of rocks, conveying their solidity, weight, and geological history. Her sculptures, which range from small, handheld pieces to monumental installations, celebrate the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature. The Tropical Leaf, Installation outside One Raffles Quay, Singapore Her work appears in public spaces throughout the world, making her art some of the most viewed on the planet, though many people might not recognize that they have walked by, touched and appreciated her work. David Medalla (Philippines) David Medalla, a Filipino artist, was born in Manila in 1942 and has made significant contributions to the international art world. As a multidisciplinary artist, Medalla has explored various mediums, including sculpture, installation, performance art, and painting, throughout his career. His experimental and boundary-pushing approach to art has garnered recognition and acclaim. Medalla was one of the major Filipino voices in contemporary art. And he built that voice using a tremendous range of disciplines, including: sculpture, painting, installation, and more. Medalla's early works were influenced by the Fluxus movement, a global network of artists that emerged in the 1960s. He became associated with the movement and participated in Fluxus events and exhibitions, collaborating with renowned artists such as Yoko Ono and John Cage. Medalla's works often incorporated ephemeral materials and explored concepts of process, transformation, and audience participation. He began his career creating performance art that brought him to prominence and connected him to key artists in Europe. Later, he co-founded the Signal Gallery in London where he spent time working with an international group of artists. He also helped fund and support revolutions as the chairman of Artists for Democracy. One of Medalla's most famous works is "A Stitch in Time" (1968), an ongoing participatory performance piece that involves visitors threading and weaving a collective tapestry. The artwork symbolizes the interconnectivity of individuals and the shared experiences that shape our world. Rirkrit Tiravanija (Thailand) TRirkrit Tiravanija is a highly regarded contemporary artist originally from Argentina but of Thai descent. Born in Buenos Aires in 1961, Tiravanija is known for his influential contributions to the field of relational aesthetics, a concept that emphasizes social interaction and participation as integral components of an artwork.. Tiravanija is a contemporary artist who uses concepts from architecture to reinvent to engage with that central question: how to live? He often creates rooms or entire buildings that reformat the way people cook and eat food or engage in leisure activities. In Untitled 1999 (a replication of the artist’s own apartment in the East Village), participants in the exhibition lived inside it while it was being shown. Tiravanija's works often explore themes of community, cultural exchange, and globalization. He draws inspiration from his Thai heritage and frequently incorporates elements of Thai culture into his installations. His artwork serves as a platform for dialogue, fostering connections and understanding among diverse audiences. Beyond his installations, Tiravanija has also created multimedia works, including video, photography, and text-based pieces. He often collaborates with other artists and musicians, further emphasizing the communal aspect of his art and expanding the possibilities for creative expression. Tiravanija's influential contributions to contemporary art have earned him numerous accolades and exhibitions in prestigious galleries and museums worldwide. He has participated in major international art events such as the Venice Biennale and Documenta, solidifying his position as a significant figure in the global art scene. Tiravanija’s continuously playful insight into our lives makes his work exciting and always engaging on a personal level. Shooshie Sulaiman (Malaysia) Born in Kuala Lumpur, Sulaiman's works encompass a diverse range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, installation, and multimedia art. Known for her thought-provoking exploration of identity, history, and cultural heritage, Sulaiman's art carries a powerful narrative that challenges and engages viewers. Sulaiman is an artist who sets a critical eye to today’s culture and the way it both produces and views art. Her oeuvre includes installation, architecture, writing, and drawing. Many of her pieces In the Kedai Runcit No.12 (Sundry Shop No.12, 2011) installation, she created a Malaysian general store that sold food and art side-by-side, completely recontextualizing both. It highlights the importance of art as a nutritious activity, as well as highlighting its current status as a mere commodity. Sulaiman’s inventive and always growing catalogue of provocative work make her one of the contemporary Asian artists you should know. Conclusion: The ten contemporary Asian artists highlighted in this article represent a mere fraction of the vibrant artistic talent emerging from the region. Through their unique perspectives, innovative techniques, and thought-provoking themes, they challenge traditional boundaries, question societal norms, and invite viewers to reconsider their perceptions. These artists contribute to the global art scene, enriching it with the cultural diversity and depth of the Asian artistic landscape. As they continue to create, these visionary artists pave the way for further exploration and appreciation of contemporary Asian art.
5 Tips for Buying Art Online: What You Need to Know
Online sales is the fastest-growing part of the art market. And if you are reading this article, chances are you are curious to join in the excitement. It makes sense to buy art online, after all, we buy everything online now. From toaster ovens to holiday decorations to books, we’ve become accustomed to ordering things we want on the internet and then waiting for that exciting moment when the delivery hits our doorstep. But before you dive in and start buying art online, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Below, we’ll cover the five essential tips for buying art online. Then, you’ll be ready to fill your home with beautiful work! 1. Choose a Space If you are looking to buy a fine art print or painting, you likely already have a space in mind. Maybe you want it to go over the fireplace in the den or fit on the wall in your kitchen. If the room in question has a sleek, modern appeal, an exaggerated landscape might not be what you are looking for. Just think about the colors and the style. You don’t want to hang your new masterpiece only to find that it clashes with your sofa! Knowing where the art will go leads into the next point. 2. Get the Size Right When it comes to art buying, size matters. That means you need to pull out the tape measure from your junk drawer and write down the dimensions of the space on your wall you are looking to cover. Now, the painting you buy doesn’t have to fit these dimensions exactly, but it does need to have enough room. On the flip side, you don’t want to go too small, that can end up looking awkward. If you are looking to buy art for a wall that is wide open, you won’t have to limit yourself too much to the dimensions. But you will still want to make sure that the painting can hold its own in the space. Some of the online galleries such as RtistiQ, also offer IOS and Android mobile Apps, which feature Augemented Reality as a functionality to project and preview the Artwork of choice on your wall directly to both see the fitment as well as how it would look alongside the aesthetics presented by the room. (Note: Remember the orientation of a work of art when checking it’s dimensions. This might seem too obvious to mention, but people have purchased artwork only to find that it fits the space — but only if you turn it sideways!) 3. Set a Budget, No Really Once you have a clear idea of the size and style, you need to set a budget. Maybe this goes without saying, but you need to be realistic about what you can afford. On the other hand, you also need to be realistic about what you can get for your money. Don’t sell yourself short, but don’t overextend yourself. Artwork range from as low as 50 dollars from the relatively unknown Artists to hundreds of thousands from the more established artists. Yes it is the reality that people have started to trust online platforms selling quailty artworks to spend more hundred thousand for buying artwork online. Online Art galleries offer specific periods to check the Artwork and accept returns on a fully refundable manner. Check out these beautiful affordable artworks on RtistiQ at less than thousand dollars, which do not pinch your pockets. 4. Take the Time to Research (And Ask Questions) When you hear the word “research,” your eyes might start to glaze over. You might feel a yawn coming on. Is it time for a nap? But the good news about researching art is that it is a lot of fun. It means you get to look at many great paintings and reflect on what you like about them and how they would fit in your home or office. Regularly doing this will give you a better idea of the styles you like, the prices you can expect, and the work available in your budget. While you are researching, feel free to reach out to artists you like and online stores. Ask questions! But you can get stuck in the research mode forever. At some point, you need to make a decision. And that leads us to our next point. 5. Buy What You Love Now you’ve narrowed down your decision. You know where you want your work of art to go, roughly the size it needs to be, the style you like, maybe even the artist you want to buy from. You have your eye set on a few options that all fit into your budget. All you need to do is buy one. And when you are buying art, you should always end up going with the one you love. If you don’t know what that means, you might not have found it yet. It’s the one that calls out to you, that just has to be yours. This is a work of art that you will share your living or workspace with for years. It’s important that you go with the one that your heart really desires. If you do listen to your heart, you’ll find the perfect painting or fine art print waiting at your doorstep. Additional References Check out these additional Articles on how to choose artworks for the specific space of interest Choosing Art for Different Rooms - Gives an snap-shot view about how to choose works for different parts of your home Choosing Art for Living Room - Give a more comprehensive view about selecting the right works for your living room based on the Aesthetics and personality you would like to present. Author: Jonathan M Clark
5 Surrealist Female Artists from Around the World
Surrealism painting is an amazing genre. It stormed the art world in the early 20th century, upending our notions of what could be painted and what the source of an artwork could be. Using the bizarre imagery from dreams, surrealists set the stage for a new force in all the visual arts — from painting to film, from literature to even music. The style revolutionized how we create. As with any groundbreaking movement, women made up a large portion of the best and most popular surrealist artists. Unfortunately, most people with a casual understanding of the field only know about Salvador Dali. Let’s set things right and celebrate some amazing women surrealists from around the world. Kay Sage Tomorrow is Never (1955) by Kay Sage The American Kay Sage’s (1898 to 1963) work falls on the dark side of the surrealist realm. Her pieces are brooding, desolate, and strange in the way that nightmare landscapes are strange. In other words, her work is incredible. Her paintings frequently make use of architectural motifs, often in a state of decay. She often used landscapes to define a large space, with dreary cloud cover to create an atmosphere of dread. While she was relatively well known during her lifetime, she never quite reached the heights that her work deserves. There is some renewal of interest in her today, and we hope that it continues. Her contribution to the surrealist movement should never be forgotten. Leonora Carrington The Giantess (1947) by Leonora Carrington Leonora Carrington (1917 to 2011) was born in the UK, though her later life in Mexico has made her legacy split by the Atlantic Ocean. Carrington was a prolific painter whose career marched on across seven decades. Over that time, her output included painting, sculpture, and writing. Many of her paintings draw from mythology, with an eerie starkness that brings a certain tinge of terror to her canvases. The contemporary art market has moved Carrington paintings for huge sums of money, like the $1.5 million price that The Giantess (pictured above) garnered in 2009. While in Mexico, she not only thrived as an artist but also as a political activist, helping to found the women’s liberation movement there in the 70s. JeeYoung Lee Love Seek (2014) by JeeYoung Lee JeeYoung Lee (born 1983) is an artist from South Korea. Her work is a contemporary play on surrealist imagery. Her process usually involves creating elaborate sets in her studio. She then photographs these dreamscapes, usually using herself as the model. Lee’s work is captivating and freeing to witness. The bizarre merges with the candy colored to create a trademark style. It’s also refreshing to see what artists can do by combining surrealism with photography. By bringing in reality through the camera, the effect of the strangeness is all the more poignant. While still fairly young, Lee has already achieved a high level of notoriety and exhibited internationally. Her name will no doubt continue to rise in the art world, as she has so much more time to produce great surrealist art. Portia Zvavahera Arising From the Unknown (2019) by Portia Zvavahera Portia Zvavahera (born 1985) was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she lives today. Her work takes some influence from her homeland, and her imagery is often taken from her dreams — a cornerstone of surrealism. Zvavahera’s brushwork and printmaking are brought together on canvases that express deeply human challenges, all while reveling in otherworldly settings. Her use of bold colors and striking composition wring out a great level of emotion in her work. Her paintings are widely celebrated around the world. She appears in international shows, in both solo and group exhibitions, and she has emerged as one of the most important contemporary voices in the art world. Remedios Varo Useless Science or the Alchemist (1955) by Remedios Varo Remedios Varo (1908 to 1963) was born in Spain, though her career took her across the world. She participated in the first wave of surrealism, helping to lay the groundwork for all the generations to come. While her painting is forward thinking in some respects, she took a great deal of influence from Renaissance art. Many of her paintings are highly allegorical, balanced in composition, and painted with many techniques borrowed from Renaissance masters. This gives her work a high level of continuity with the history of European art, despite her surrealist content. By the time of her death in the early 60s, Varo’s influence had spread far and wide. Her 1971 retrospective in Mexico City drew larger crowds than a similar event for Diego Rivera. That level of popularity is well deserved, as she left behind a stunning legacy of artwork. Passionate about Surrealism? Discover our curated collection of Surrealism paintings. This collection is perfect for art lovers who are looking to decorate their homes/offices.
ARTICLES ON ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
From Gond Art to Jangarh Kalam: The Legacy of Jangarh Singh Shyam lives on!
A pioneering artist, Jangarh Singh Shyam redefined the Pardhan-Gond school of art. His signature style which was later named after him saw the evolution of Gond art from a ritualistic pictorial art made on the walls and floors to a more sophisticated menagerie of dots and dashes. This re-interpretation of the Gond art came to be famously known as Jangarh Kalam. Belonging to the Pardhan Gond community from the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the artist was considered a cultural prodigy in his native village Patnagarh being an excellent flutist and painter. In 1981, the artist was invited by the legendary J. Swaminathan to work as an artist at Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal. It was at Bharat Bhavan, one of the country's most prestigious museums of tribal and contemporary Indian art, Jangarh Singh Shyam grew as an artist as his creative practice underwent sweeping changes. Mentored by Swaminathan, Shyam’s inheritance in traditional music and storytelling blossomed into a distinctive style of image-making, imparting his paintings a rare life force and energy. As his popularity grew, Shyam found himself amidst the changing contemporary Indian art scene that was becoming more global in its outlook and more inclusive in its representation. It was for the first time we saw that the historically marginalized gained momentum and ground in the narrative space of the country. The artist gained major recognition when he participated in the Magiciens de la terre exhibition held at Centre Pompidou, Paris in 1989, and in Jyotindra Jain’s Other Masters exhibition at the Crafts Museum, New Delhi in 1998. The artist was also commissioned to paint the interiors of Vidhan Bhavan, the Legislative Assembly of Madhya Pradesh, and the dome of Bharat Bhavan. Posthumously, his painting Landscape with Spider (1988) was sold for a record price of $31,250 at Sotheby's New York auction in 2010, marking a first for an adivasi (vernacular) artist. Gleaning from the vast repertoire of tales, ballads, folklore, and fantasies of the Pardhan-Gond community, Shyam fabricated them into his visual narrative, thus bringing the ancient myths and stories to life. As he sought inspiration from the past and the present, the rural and the urban, the real and the imagined, a new visual vocabulary emerged that gave concrete shapes and forms to his community’s myths, legends, fables, tattoos, and music, which were, till then, hidden from the ‘mainstream’ society. It marked a paradigmatic shift in contemporary Indian art when the artist started using canvases, acrylic, oil and pen instead of the traditional charcoal, coloured soil, plant sap, leaves, cow dung, limestone powder, etc. This effective adaptation of the new media, tools and newer themes resulted in unforeseen results and inspired a generation of Gond artists to learn from Jangarh Singh Shyam. Jangarh Kalam, or Jangarh Singh Shyam’s personal rendition of the Pardhan Gond art instilled a creative energy that surged with the emergence of individuality and personal style in a traditionally collective society where artmaking was a group endeavour. In Jangarh Kalam, the images are transcribed from oral narratives that take shape as birds, flying snakes, or growing trees, floating to the rhythm of the music in diverse innovative variations. From enchanted woodlands to aero planes, indigenous deities, childhood stories, and animals, Shyam used colourful dots and peripheral contours of radiating lines to create these unique shapes and patterns reverberating with movement, fluidity, and power. In a tragic turn of events, the visionary artist took his own life at the age of 39 while he was on an international art residency at the Mithila Museum, Japan. While the artist died young, he inspired a legion of young men and women from his community who followed him and were mentored by him in the style he created incidentally. Today, many well-known Gond artists including Shyam’s wife and children and those who apprenticed under him continue to work in the Jangarh Kalam tradition keeping it alive and vibrant. Jangarh Singh Shyam, Paysage avec Araignée (Landscape with Spider), 1988 Image courtesy: Sotheby’s Jangarh Singh Shyam, The Seprpent Shesha Holding The Earth on his Hood, ca. late 1980s Collection and image courtesy: Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), Bangalore Jangarh Singh Shyam, Ped, Chidiya Aur Hawaijahaz (Trees, Birds, and an Airplane), 1996 Collection and image courtesy: Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), Bangalore Jangarh Singh Shyam, Phulwari Devi, early 1990s Collection and image courtesy: Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), Bangalore Jangarh Singh Shyam, Untitled, 1989 Collection: FONDATION CARTIER PARIS
CHRISTEL HAAG - UNSTOPPABLE FEMALE ARTISTS
In the one-century life span of abstract art, female abstract painters are not hard to find, to name just a few: Sonia Delaunay (a multidisciplinary artist who achieved success during her lifetime only due to her commercial work, whereas her husband Robert Delaunay was regarded as a serious artist), Lee Krasner (whose contribution to art history has been for a long time overshadowed by her marriage to the abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock), Elaine de Kooning (an accomplished artist, member of the Eighth Street Club in New York City she was mostly known as Mrs. William de Kooning, she dedicated most of her life to supporting her husband’s career), Barbara Hepworth (less recognized than her contemporary and fellow British artist Henry Moore), Françoise Gilot (the French-American artist who never managed to escape the “Picasso’s lover” title) and the list can go on. These talented artists have been less visible, not to say “invisible”, to an art establishment blinded by gender bias. Despite a recent shift in mentality and contemporary culture, female artists are still seen as “less” than their male counterparts. Female abstract painters and women artists, in general, deserve more awareness. Christel Haag is a commercially successful German abstract artist. Her work is very process-orientated. She plays with various contrasting effects on canvas by using an entire arsenal of mark-making in her process. The evolution of her paintings does not follow a predetermined concept. Rather, her works gradually evolve through an intuitive and dynamic process. Despite the gestural process, a coherent painting emerges. Haag finds her inspiration in nature. She translates into marvellous color combinations the beauty and harmony that surrender her. Lot 34 Are we Flying In her own words: "In 2002 I made the decision to give up my career in Public Relations at a university, follow my heart and retrain as an artist. Once I made the decision to open the door to my creative urges, I felt that I had to go back to the beginning to discover who I really am as an artist. It was as if I granted myself the right to be free again, free without boundaries or pre-existing ideas of who I should be as an artist. Over the years my experiences led to my colorful, abstract, dynamic, and gestural style of painting. I always try to go to my creative limits while experimenting and giving my artworks my individual expression. Nature inspires me. The marvellous impressions I take home from my travels. Also, I express in my paintings the mood and feeling of a particular moment in time. It is first and foremost the joy of painting, of colors, of the creative process itself, and of the energy of being that drives my artistic creation." 5 vivid paintings from Haag’s portfolio have been minted as unique NFT digital editions and are sold at auction in our coming event SHE IS UNSTOPPABLE. Browse her art and choose your favourite. Don’t forget to register for the auction. Bidding starts May 14th.
10 Most Influential Living Female Artists
Below, we’ve assembled a list of the top 10 most influential female artists alive today. These women have left an incredible mark on the art world, and while their importance to the current scene is important, their impact will no doubt be felt for generations to come. Cindy Sherman Courtesy of Cindy Sherman Cindy Sherman made a name for herself through intricate self-portrait photography. Taking advantage of her skills as a costume maker and make-up artist, Sherman’s early work began exploring identity by using the artist’s body as the canvas. Her work frequently explores the place of women in the media and cultural landscape. Untitled Film Stills (1977-80) saw Sherman dressing as B-movie characters. In Centerfolds (1981), she upended the expectations of the male gaze, presenting complicated female characters where one might expect titillating, sexualized images. Her latest work speaks directly to the tools we use to communicate with each other. She now takes self-portraits using her phone, manipulating the images using multiple “face tuning” apps. The results are provocative and often disturbing. Tracey Emin Courtesy of Tracey Ermin Tracey Emin is no stranger to controversy. Her work is striking and confrontational, as well as deeply autobiographical. Her work reaches across an enormous array of mediums, from drawing, painting, and sculpture to neon text, film, photography, and sewn appliqué. Some of her installations made major waves in the art world. She premiered Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995 (1997) at the Royal Academy of London. The work is a tent that visitors can enter into, and on the walls are appliquéd the names of, you guessed it, everyone the artist had slept with. It serves as a kind of haunted space, especially in the greater context of Ermin’s work that challenges the role that sex plays in the perception of women. She has gone on to be a professor at the Royal Academy of Arts and a prolific, widely influential artist of our time. Yayoi Kusama Courtesy of Wikimedia Yayoi Kusama is an artist working in sculpture and installation, as well as many other mediums. She became a fixture of the 1960’s counterculture, organizing happenings where participants were nude and covered in painted polka dots. Beginning in 1963, Kusama began creating her Infinity Rooms, a series of installations in which the walls of the rooms were covered in mirrors with colorful balls of light hanging at different lengths from the ceiling. The effect is the perception that the room of lights goes on forever. Her public installation work continues to appear across the world, including Brazil, Japan, Singapore, and beyond. Marina Abramović Courtesy of Wikimedia Marina Abramović is likely the most important and influential performance artist of our time. Her newsworthy works have captured the attention of the artworld for decades, and she isn’t done yet. The Artist is Present (2010) saw Abramović sitting at a table at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. Visitors were invited to sit across the table from Abramović. This went on to become the largest performance art exhibit in MoMA’s history. On top of her amazing career as an artist, she is also a philanthropist and a supporter of young artists through her Marina Abramović Institute. Judy Chicago Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum Judy Chicago is a major name in the worlds of both art and feminism, with her career striking a path that unites them. Many of her unique techniques are borrowed from boat building, auto body repair, and similar disciplines — what the artist calls the “macho arts.” The Dinner Party (1979) is likely Chicago’s most important work to date. It shows a dinner table set in a triangle, with 39 places set for female heroes, both real and mythical. The dinner plates are all hand-painted homages to the woman who is seated there. The sprawling ambition and bold statement continue to fascinate and inspire people today. Shirin Neshat Courtesy of Wikimedia Shirin Neshat is an Iranian-born New York artist primarily working in photography, film, and video. Her work often focuses on the dichotomies, both socially constructed and eternal, that make up our world: Isamic and Western culture, male and female, public and private. Her film Women Without Men (2009) received the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. The film, based on the novel by Shahrnush Parsipur, depicts events during the British and American backed coup in Iran that overthrew their democratic government and installed the Shah as monarch in 1953. Vija Celmins Courtesy of SFMoMA Vija Celmins works in paintings and drawings, creating photorealistic pieces. She is celebrated today as one of the leaders in realism, though she pushes her work into almost abstract places by focusing on visual rhythm and the exclusive use of gray tones. Her early breakthrough saw her making exquisite replications of photojournalism, making masterful use of grayscale in her painting. These works highlighted how much of our world view at the time was dictated by black-and-white photographs and disseminated through the media. She has gone on to focus on sweeping visions of natural spaces and events. Much of her current work shows us starry skies, ocean waves, and other large and small scale views of the natural world. Bharti Kher Courtesy of Wikimedia Bharti Kher is an artist working sculpture, installation, and painting. Her work often speaks to realities of inhabiting a body as well as issues around culture. Perhaps her most popular work is The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own (2006). The piece depicts a full-size female elephant collapsed on the ground, covered in the traditional bindi — a mark made on the forehead among followers of Hinduism representing the third eye. By bringing together these two images of India, Kher creates a vivid embodiment of the country. Marlene Dumas Courtesy of Wikimedia Marlene Dumas is an artist working in the Netherlands who is known as one of the first three living women to sell an artwork above the $1 million mark. The notoriety is well deserved. Her work is always in ceaseless exploration of human moods and social conditions. Her paintings often eschew direct representation and instead make suggestions of emotional states. Her work often distorts faces and specifics, driving down into the heart of her subject. She continues to be a major name in the art world today. Dumas’s prolific career continues to challenge viewers and evoke what it means to be alive. Julie Mehretu Courtesy of Forbes Julie Mehretu works in painting, drawing, and printmaking, often focusing on the socio-economic realities of our time. Her meticulous work is precise but ultimately deeply felt, mapping out the psychology of people in the urban environment. Her pieces often take on an enormous scale, often two stories tall. Mehretu describes her mark-making process as one that charts the movements and interactions of people in their own societal context. While her compositions can be overwhelming and grand, when viewers take the time to look at it in detail, they often find surprising narratives emerge.