Sunday, 25 September 2016

Interview with Douglas Kotwall of the K11 Art Foundation

Interview: Douglas Kotwall

The third-generation heir of one of China’s most influential business families, Adrian Cheng set up the K11 Art Foundation (KAF) in 2010 when he realised the talent of some of the young artists working in Beijing at the time. With the goal of incubating and promoting their potential, as well as bringing big name western artists to China, the foundation has gone from strength to strength, and now has international collaborations with, among others, the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, the Centre Pompidou, the Palais de Tokyo, the Metropolitan Museum and the Serpentine Galleries and ICA in London. The K11 art mall in Shanghai is claimed to be the world’s first art mall. Cheng is said to have spent HK$20m (£1.98m) placing numerous artworks – mostly by local artists – on each floor. The venue also has 19 exhibition panels in a museum in the basement, where exhibitions change every three months. An art village and an associated artist exchange programme are further aspects of the non-profit foundation.

Read this interview here

Interview with Guan Xiao

Interview: Guan Xiao

Guan Xiao (b1983) works mainly in sculpture and video, exploring how ways of seeing are now influenced by the increasing dominance of digital imagery as a source of information. One of the artists championed by the K11 Art Foundation (KAF), Guan recently had a solo show, Flattened Metal, at the ICA, London, which was the second collaboration between the two institutions. The exhibition is to move to the K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, this autumn.

Juxtaposing references from the past, present and future, and weaving visual, audio and textual material together, Guan explores the notion of conversion: “the different ways our inner selves get in touch with the world outside, and the possibilities that objects disintegrate objects (to construct indescribable nothingness)”. She spoke to Studio International via email from China, shortly after the birth of her first child.

Read the interview here

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Interview with Amy Franceschini

Interview: Amy Franceschini

Amy Franceschini (b1970) founded Futurefarmers in 1995 as a design studio and a residency programme, while she was working in corporate America as a designer. Having grown up torn between two ideologies – chemical farming and a more Rudolf Steiner-based approach – her work often initiates dialogue between those with opposing views. Working on projects across the globe, Franceschini and three fellow Futurefarmers are currently involved in Seed Journey, a project based in Oslo, which is travelling to the UK for a residency at Delfina Foundation, London, and Artes Mundi 7 (at the National Museum Cardiff, 21 October 2016 – 26 February 2017), as one of the six nominated artists for the £40,000 prize.

Studio International met with Franceschini at Delfina Foundation to talk about her atypical background, Futurefarmers, and Seed Journey.

Read this interview here

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Interview with Olivia Arthur

Interview: Olivia Arthur

For its seventh edition, Brighton Photo Biennial returns to examine the politics of identity and representation through the lens of fashion and style photography. Three major exhibitions include a European premiere of a show from the USA, alongside two new commissions: one on British youth style; the other exploring sexuality and identity in Mumbai and Brighton.

Olivia Arthur (b1980) is a London-based photographer, who has worked for many years on the East-West cultural divide. As one of the two artists involved in the latter collaborative project, commissioned by Photoworks and Focus Festival Mumbai, and together with Bharat Sikka, she spent time in India working with and photographing LGBTQ and women’s communities, in response to the politics of fashion photography.

Read this interview here 

Interview with Conrad Shawcross about The Optic Cloak

Interview: Conrad Shawcross
The Optic Cloak, Greenwich Peninsula

His largest scale project to date, The Optic Cloak is an architectural intervention, commissioned by Knight Dragon, in which the sculptor Conrad Shawcross has created a 49-metre-tall aluminium cladding for a flue stack, 20 metres wide and 3 metres deep, standing on the roadside on the Greenwich Peninsula. Making use of the Moiré Effect, Shawcross has tessellated together triangular panels, creating a disrupted surface, which allows light through, causing a flux, or undulation, as if the ‘cloak’ were moving. During the evening, the tower will be lit from within, continually redefining the shape of the structure and its surroundings. Inspirations come from such spheres as maritime camouflage, cubism and op art. The Optic Cloak has been designed in collaboration with the architectural practice CF Møller Architects.

Watch this interview here

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Interview with Cyril de Commarque

Interview: Cyril de Commarque

Cyril de Commarque (b1970) believes in the theory of progress acceleration: that we can’t change the technological progress that is going on around us at an exponential rate. But, as a result, changes in society are no longer democratic, he says: they are decided neither by the politicians, nor the people, but happen as a result of mobile phones and social media and who knows what else. “The only space for freedom we can gain is inside ourselves,” de Commarque concludes, remaining adamant of the need to dream of a new utopia, despite its inherent risks.

Having previously worked with architectural projects and social and political subjects, including migration and the evolution of political and geographical borders, de Commarque has spent three years working on Fluxland, converting a 1950s Dutch grain barge into a 25-metre-long, interactive artwork, sound piece and space for debate. The name derives from his interest in borders, but also the Fluxus movement in art, and his belief that art has a function, to reveal to people the necessity of taking action, and not becoming the victim of politics. As part of Totally Thames, the boat will sail up and down the river, attracting audiences, who will hear the battle cries of revolutions and the speeches both of dictators and of peace, emanating from the speakers, and then come closer to see themselves reflected in the mirrored surfaces. This upper part of the barge is constructed out of two polyhedrons – the symbol of melancholia – and will reflect both the river and the onlookers, inviting them to look inside, both the vessel and themselves. As de Commarque says: “You have to go inside of yourself and accept the humility to think: ‘Am I doing the right thing for a better world?’”

Throughout the month, a series of conferences will be hosted on board, in association with Art Review. These will feature other artists, economists, philosophers and a nanotechnologist, all invited to discuss future utopian projects.

• Fluxland will be on the Thames as part of Totally Thames festival until 30 September 2016. For visiting times, visit