RIBOCA1

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art is a new art event in 2018 calendar. This Biennial is developed from the ground by a friend of mine, Agniya, who did an amazing job of bringing together exciting curator, artists and gathering solid art crowd.

During the Frieze Week a creative team of RIBOCA came to London to announce the concept of the Biennial – “Everything was forever, until was no more”. The concept reflects on ever-changing world around us, even things that seem so solid and fundamental.

Many historic buildings will come to live on 2nd of June to house artworks made not only by artists from Baltic states but also international creators. This is an amazing chance to introduce Riga’s cultural, historical and socio-political context and its surrounds.

So clear calendar for June and book your trip!

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Public Art in Ireland

Dublin 

We spent only one day in Dublin and the weather was more suitable for drinking whiskey than walking so we did not come across many art objects. We saw some sculptures here and there, but I left the city under impression that there are not many art decorations in the city.

 

Killarney

Killarney is a luxury tourist area and there are many sculptures and decorations in the area. Different size sculptures, wall sculptures, nice shops and pubs with decorations.

I came across great photography gallery with Irish landscapes, I loved the pictures and the how the canvases are without frames and the images continue on the sides.

Galleries and Public Spaces

Commercial Art market slowly integrates into our everyday lives. It is now common that art galleries use commercial spaces such as restaurants and hotels to display their artworks. What is in it for both parties?

Obviously, by displaying artworks outside commercial gallery space, artists, artworks and galleries get better exposure to the public. Artworks are seen by hundred of people visiting the premises. Furthermore when the art piece is displayed against white wall of a commercial gallery customers can struggle imagining it in their homes; when they see the piece in the interior of a hotel room, artwork might looks more appealing. However, there are downsides of displaying artworks in public spaces because the attitude toward the artwork may be defined by the reputation of the restaurant/hotel/bar etc. So galleries should carefully select where to display artworks.

Public place are getting prestige and decoration. Terms with galleries may vary, but usually  these places get a very good terms. The only downside I can think of is if their customers damage the artwork, but this occasion should be agreed beforehand.

The example of such collaboration is Neo Bankside, property development, has Emily Young‘s sculptures from Bowman Gallery, displayed around the houses. Emily is a British boss artist who started her career as a painter and then found her style in sculpturing. Her sculptures are displayed around the houses, next to trendy restaurants and most importantly next to Tate Modern. So this is an amazing exposure for the artist, being seen not only by residents of the buildings, customers of the restaurants but most importantly by Tate visitors.

From my point of view, this collaboration between galleries and commercial spaces is a great phenomenon for the public. They get to learn and admire different artists and be surrounded by beauty.

Winter Lights

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When you are walking in Canary Wharf, commercial centre of London, you get the feeling like you are in New York or Singapore. Concrete Jungles, shopping centres, restaurants, bars and bright lights. This winter bright lights became even brighter!

Winter Lights is a lighting exhibitions with 31 artworks commissioned by international artists. The display is on for a short time only, and, I am afraid, it is coming to an end on 27th of January.. I only visited it yesterday, we did not finish it in one go (the main part of the exhibition is on the lower third floor and is open from 4 to 9pm), so we came back again today. If you are reading it and it is still before 9pm PLEASE go! It is amazing!

Canary Wharf is a magical place to have a walk in the evening anyways, the ice skating ring is beautiful and trees are decorated during all winter. But large scale lighting installations make it even better!

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Inside lighting installations are interactive and are shaped by humans involvement. Some light screens recreate the shape of whoever is standing in front of the camera, one installation changes its lights and music according to how you shape it. One installation consist of 30,000 LEDs and their movement is triggered by brains activity. It is also a perfect place to practice your photography skills and play with exposure, many photographers spent hours trying to capture a perfect shot.

It is a beautiful collaboration of art and technology, do not miss it! And it is completely free, can’t wait to go next year!

Reykjavik Public Art

During winter holidays I had the most amazing winter trip to Iceland. We started off with Reykjavik and then travelled abound – visited The Golden Circle tourist spots, explored Southern Iceland around Vik, visited the biggest glacier in Iceland, the second biggest glacier in Icelands, the third.. You got it, layers of ice, I mean, it is in the name. And finally we returned back to the capital with a stop Borgarnes. The nature was nothing like I have ever seen before. In some parts surrounding were so unusual, as I  am imagining walking on Mars would be. It was very tricky to see Northern Lights due to constantly changing weather: sunshine, rain, hail and snow in random order changing every 5-10 minutes.

Art-wise, Reykjavik is filled with sculptures and street art. It is a small city but you have a great variety of art decorating the streets. From classical sculptures to avant-garde , in variety of sizes.

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Even the airport has small decorative touches which made it very cosy.

Outside Reykjavik sculptures appear randomly. Some small villages so not have anything at all, but in the middle of nowhere you bump into sculpture. For example at the oldest lighthouse in Iceland, on the west from Reykjavik we unexpectedly saw this penguin sculpture. There was nothing in miles from that lighthouse and that penguin.

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This sculpture of two men is placed by Geysir park, which is a part of Golden Circle.

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Art is not the first thing that comes to your mind when talking about Iceland, but it definitely adds to the environment and culture!

Sculpture Park

Sculpture park is open to the public and free to visit in Regents Park, it opened at the same time as Frieze and unlike Frieze Sculpture Park is open until 8th of January. Usually Sculpture Park is open only during the fair however this year it is part of cultural calendar. There are 19 large multimedia sculptures and they are displayed by international galleries. Here is the full list of galleries for these years sculptures.

Nairy Baghramian
Treat, 2016
Marian Goodman Gallery

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Fernando Casasempere
Second Skin, 2016
Parafin

Lynn Chadwick
Stranger III, 1959
Blain|Southern

Jose Dávila
Joint Effort, 2016
Travesia Cuatro Gallery

Jean Dubuffet
Tour aux récits, (after maquette dated 19 July 1973) 1973
Waddington Custot Galleries

Zeng Fanzhi
Untitled, 2016
ShanghART Gallery

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Barry Flanagan
Drummer, 1996
Waddington Custot Galleries

Ed Herring
Zinc-plated wood, 1969
Richard Saltoun Gallery

Henry Krokatsis
Kabin, 2016
Vigo Gallery

Claude Lalanne
Le Chou de Milan, 2016
Ben Brown Fine Arts

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Goshka Macuga
International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation, Configuration 11, Last Man, 2016
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle

Eddie Martinez
half stepping hot stepper, 2016
Timothy Taylor

Matthew Monahan
Neptune (Rescue), 2016
Massimo De Carlo

Renato Nicolodi
Omnium Memoria I, 2016
Axel Vervoordt Gallery

Mikayel Ohanjanyan
Senza Titolo, 2016
Tornabuoni Art

Claes Oldenburg
Fagend Study, 1975
Luxembourg & Dayan

Eduardo Paolozzi
Trishula, 1966 Kalasan, 1973–4
Bowman Sculpture

Huang Rui
Women, 2006–12
Boers-Li Gallery

Conrad Shawcross
Monolith (optic), 2016
Victoria Miro

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Public Art in Munich

Oktoberfest is a massive attraction and people are travelling from all over the world to try delicious beer and become a part of national celebration. I was very busy drinking beer but on my way from the hotel to the Oktoberfest park with the pavilions I came across different sculptures.

I noticed many bronze animal sculptures and they had some body parts shinier than others, I assume that it’s because people are rubbing them for luck.

Many beautiful fountains are decorated with sculptures.

One of the best places to find public art in Munich is the subway. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to check it out myself but I heard many positive reviews. In Munich subway stations are the platforms for collaboration of government with artists, architects and designers. Since 1980s it was the place for artistic expression of contemporary creators. The best lines to explore are U1 and U2.

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Next time I am in Munich I will definitely spend less time on beer and more time on exploring the artistic side of the city.

Thumbs Up!

Fourths plinth on Trafalgar Square is a real phenomenon – for those who do not know a bit of history would help. Trafalgar Square is the heart of London and major tourist attraction. There is a huge 52 meters height monument commemorating Admiral Harario Nelson standing in the centre of the square. There are four lion statues placed at the bottom of the column, children love climbing them! Two beautiful fountains also decorate the square. On the perimeter of the square there are four plinths, three out four display 19th century statues however the forth one remained empty. The funds run out before the last statue was completed.

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Since 2005 the plinth has been occupied by contemporary art sculptures selected by the Mayor of London’s Culture Team. There are many proposals submitted each year and only six are selected for the next stage. The mini-versions are presented to the public and then the committee decides which one of the six is going to be commissioned.

This years artist who gets to display his work in such special place is David Shrigley, British visual artist. His sculpture is called “Really Good” and it is a 7 meters tall bronze fist with thumbs up sign. Shrigley hopes that this sculpture will make a world a better place and “thumbs up” will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Mayor of London was present during opening few days ago and he spoke very highly about it, he said that: “What it represents is so important – optimism, positivity, the best of us. This sculpture is so important showing Londoners…tourists…that London is open”

It is definitely a shift from a downtrodden horse by stock market to a massive thumbs up! I am very excited about a new piece of art on public display and I surely hope that it will make people smile and will indeed become self-fulfilling prophecy.

French Riviera

French love their public spaces, large squares, promenades, wide streets, cities are designed for long walks and time outdoors. No matter how large or small cities are they all have stunning art decorating public spaces. Art is in form of installations, sculptures, fountains and elements of architecture. You can find both: contemporary and historic art pieces, so you can find something for every taste.

French Riviera was a popular destination for many artists in 19th and 20th centuries. Seascapes and landscapes are very inspiring and many artist captured them in their works. You can see art everywhere – in museums, in public spaces and even in hotel lobbies. Some hotels have great art collections and their lobbies look like museum halls.

South of France is different from the North, it has much more colours. Buildings are painted in warm pastel colours with contrast window-blinds. Climate is amazing and sun makes everything shine.

In this post I will share photos and thoughts on public art in different cities of French Rivera. Throughput French Riviera architecture is pretty similar and there are some similar art pieces. However each city has its own identity and style.

Nice

Nice is the biggest city in south of France, it has historic centre and modern parts, it has many parks and a promenade alongside the beach. The Massena square is famous for contemporary art pieces – seven luminous human sculptures on poles. This installation was created by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa and is called “Conversation in Nice”. Seven figures represent all the continents and how people are communicating and living with each other. Unfortunately I only have day photos but at night these sculptures light up with different bright colours. There are many opinions about these sculptures but they are so integrated in the landscape that it is impossible to imagine Nice without them!

There are many large scale sculptures in Nice, there are very conceptual and surprisingly big. There are less colourful and cutting-edge contemporary sculptures in Nice, or I just have not come across them much.

Airport Nice Cote D’Azure deserves a special mention, there are some interesting artworks inside the airport.. So that is the first thing you see when you arrive or it is the last chance to admire french art before you go.

Cannes

Main promenade along the coast is a perfect place for evening walks: Ferris wheel, ice cream tracks, sweet stands and small stands with souvenirs. There is a square with plenty of improvised art booths by local artists and it looks like an open air art gallery. Diversity of style as and techniques is amazing! I am very picky about abstract art but some of the artworks really caught my eye. Even if you are not shopping for art, it very entertaining to wonder from stand to stand and admire different textures, views and styles. You can also talk to the artists because usually they are presenting everything themselves and occasionally paint or sculpt on the spot.

 

 

For those of you with sweet tooth, french artist Laurence Jenkell strewed French coast with giant candies. These sculptures are crafted in different sizes and from different materials like plexiglass and marble. Candies spread all the way from Monaco to St Tropez, you can see it out in the street or in hotel lobbies, there is one sculpture with French and EU flags as candies wrappings is displayed in Nice airport.

Public Art is not everything that south of France has to offer. French Riviera is filled with art museums. Chagall’s museum and Matisse’s villa museum in Nice, Picasso museum in Antibes, latest Renoir’s home in Cagnes-sur-Mer, national museum of Fernand Leger in Biot and many more. You can easily spend days exploring art.. Cote D’Azur is a magical place with fantastic views, so many artist are still coming there searching for inspiration.

 

Art in Monaco

Monte-Carlo

Monaco is luxury. Do not get me started on yachts, sports cars, restaurants, clubs and bars.. It is also very pleasant to walk and enjoy picturesque views. Monte-Carlo is very clean and beautiful: plenty of green spaces, promenades and beautiful buildings. Since this is an Art blog rather than Travel Blog, I would focus on the public art that I came across in Monte-Carlo while travelling.

Public Art is very diverse. You can find artworks in variety of colours, materials, sizes and from different time periods. Monte Carlo combines historic and contemporary glass-based buildings and it looks organic.

Monte Carlo casino is the main landmark of Monaco and its most recognised and iconic buildings. It is THE casino featured in Bond’s movies, Ocean’s Twelve and even animated movies Cars 2 and Madagascar 3! The building is a masterpiece itself but I was captured by steel sculpture in front of it. This is “Mirror Sky” by British artist Anish Kapoor. His style is quite recognisable and he has created many sculptures for public display, including huge sculpture for Olympic Games in London a few years ago. This 2.5 meter piece reflects the image upside down to the viewer. To my taste, such contemporary polished steel peice  looks stunning with a 19th century building on the background.

There are some artworks that are very specific to Monaco and highlight Monegasque culture. For example there is a bronze Race car sculpture to celebrate Formula 1 track which spreads across Monaco.

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Along the back of Grimaldi Forum there is a sculpture path from Footballers footprints, which is called “The Champions Promenade”. Each sculpture is a bronze panel with name, date, footprints and signature on it of an exceptional football player. In fact, it is a prize and only once winner is selected each year and his footprints get added to the promenade.

 

Even a sign board is decorated with beautifully carved bronze frame!

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Monaco is very artistically rich. Although the country is tiny, only 2.02 square kilometres, it has a huge variety of museums and galleries. They even have Stamp and Coins museum! Art Market is also busy in Monaco, there are some annual art fairs, like European Art Fair, which passed in July and an upcoming art fair Art Monaco in October.