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Article

Chika Okeke

(b Ikot Ide Etukudo, 1940).

Nigerian sculptor. He had no formal artistic training, although in the early 1960s he experimented in clay and, later, cement. He was apprenticed to a bricklayer, and in 1972 he established his own sculpture studio. That year he exhibited figures of Nigerian soldiers and governors in the Uyo Division Festival of Art and won several prizes. Drawing on popular culture and on the funerary traditions of Ibibio and other Cross River cultures, he created the polychromatic cement monuments on which his reputation was built. He worked from photographs to model life-size, commemorative portraits, creating naturalistic images that portray a sense of the individual through careful attention to detail and the use of enamel pigments. He also produced generic full- or half-length portraits depicting different ages and physical types, from which customers selected the one best suited to their needs. In these, especially, he reflected contemporary fashion in the same manner as popular studio photographers, as can be seen in his portraid of a ...

Article

Pamela Elizabeth Grimaud

(b Tunis, Feb 2, 1935).

French fashion designer, of Tunisian birth. Alaïa is renowned for his ‘second skin’ fashions and masterful cutting techniques (see fig.). Christened the ‘King of Cling’ by fashion journalists, Alaïa rose to prominence in the 1980s following years of realizing commissions for a loyal and select clientele. His designs are modern, overtly feminine in their celebration of the female form and, in Alaïa’s own words: ‘not sexy, voluptuous’. Alaïa’s sculpted fashions have been known to render other designers’ fashions unwearable—they simply feel too large in comparison.

Born in southern Tunisia, Alaïa was raised by his maternal grandparents and at the age of 15 undertook the study of sculpture. Realizing soon after that sculpture was not his calling, and serendipitously passing a dressmaker’s window on his way to classes, he saw a sign for an assistant. He was hired for the task of finishing hems at five francs apiece. Alaïa rose quickly to become a favourite of Tunisian high society, copying for the local clientele the work of the great ...

Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

In 

Article

Michael Dunn

(b Auckland, May 7, 1943).

New Zealand painter. She studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland, from 1960 to 1963 and subsequently travelled extensively in the USA and Europe. Her paintings are abstractions with a basis in nature, to which she alludes in her titles. An early and enduring influence on her work were the colour paintings of Helen Frankenthaler. Albrecht’s painting is distinguished by its strong colouring and feeling. Among her most important works are her Hemisphere paintings from a series begun in 1981, in which the canvases are semi-circular. An example is the Fire and the Rose (1984; Wanganui, Sarjeant A.G.). Since 1989 Albrecht has been working on an oval format and has introduced a deeper, more reflective tone to her paintings. Her work is represented in public art galleries in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and in private collections worldwide.

After Nature: Gretchen Albrecht. A Survey: 23 Years (exh. cat., ed. ...

Article

Enrique Larrañaga

[James]

(b Caracas, Sept 14, 1932).

Venezuelan architect. After finishing elementary and middle school in Caracas, Alcock attended St. Edmund’s College (1946–1949) and University of Cambridge School of Chemistry (1949–1952), both in England. Back in Caracas, he enrolled in the architecture faculty of the Universidad Central de Venezuela, graduating in 1959. While a student, he worked for Venezuelan architect Alejandro Pietri (1924–1992) and Brazilian landscapist Roberto Burle-Marx (1909–1994) on various landscape architecture projects.

With José Miguel Galia (1919–2009), who had been his tutor at school, Alcock founded Galia & Alcock, Arquitectos Asociados (1959–1962). For Galia, a respected Uruguayan architect who had been working in Venezuela since 1948, architecture should at once respond to a building’s function climate and incorporate technological innovations thus operating as an assemblage of materiality and location that celebrates and intensifies both. Among the projects Galia and Alcock designed together, those for public spaces in both urban and natural environments were the most celebrated, particularly the Macuto Beachfront (...

Article

M. Dolores Jiménez-Blanco

(b Madrid, 1942).

Spanish painter, sculptor and printmaker. After studying at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes in Madrid he came under the influence of Pop art during a stay in London in 1965. On settling again in Madrid in that year he began to concentrate on images of movement, as in the screenprint Story of the Man Who Falls I, for which he was awarded a prize at the Kraków Biennale in 1966. He continued to explore movement through serial forms and stereotyped images in plexiglass constructions such as the Changeable Movement series (1967) and from 1968 used computers as part of this process. These interests led to sculptures and paintings titled Transformable Movements, which he presented in association with aleatoric music.

Alexanco became increasingly involved with performance and collaborated with the Spanish composer Luis de Pablo (b 1930) on Soledad interrumpida (1971) and Historia natural...

Article

Kevin Mulhearn

(b Johannesburg, 1959).

South African sculptor and installation and multimedia artist. Though Alexander trained as a sculptor at the University of the Witwatersrand, earning a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 1982 and a Masters in 1988, she nevertheless pursued a variety of artistic disciplines, regularly employing photomontage and sometimes using video in her practice. While working towards her Masters’ degree, she produced Butcher Boys (1985–6), an iconic work from this contentious era in South African history. The sculptural tableau presents three monstrous, grey nude male figures built from plaster over a gauze core and glazed with oil paint. Seated casually on a bench, their heads strikingly combine human and animal forms, with twisting horns and sealed-up mouths. While Butcher Boys, like many of the artist’s works, responded to its socio-historical context, Alexander typically has not produced explicitly political work or supplied interpretive statements, preferring pieces to remain open-ended in their meanings....

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Panama City, Sept 5, 1949).

Panamian painter. A graduate of the University of Panama’s Architecture School, he became a full time painter following his first solo exhibition in 1979. From 1980 to 1983 he studied at the Art Students League in New York, his only formal training as an artist. Alfaro is best known for his beautifully rendered oil paintings but has also produced drawings, pastels and three-dimensional pieces. His first images were portraits of young women surrounded by surreal elements or in dream settings. From 1983 he painted humorous images of traditional or religious subjects such as church processions, as well as portraits of imaginary ecclesiastical figures and war heroes; capitalizing on Panama’s strong Catholic tradition. Alfaro even invented his own saints, including the Virgin of All Secrets (1986; see colour pl. I, fig.). By 1990, his compositions became increasingly baroque, crowded with human figures in often menacing natural environments that suggest abundant iconographic, literary and historical interpretations. Towards the end of the decade, Alfaro began to isolate and increasingly distort his models, achieving an expressive deformation characteristic of his disturbing view of humanity and personal vision of surrealism....

Article

Nizan Shaked

(b Buffalo, NY, May 9, 1968).

American painter and draftsman. She studied English and Studio Art at Williams College, Williamstown, MA, graduating with a BA in 1991. Shortly thereafter, she attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York, and completed her MFA in 1994 at Washington University, St Louis. Ali became known for her painting series Greenheads, in which round-headed characters perform choreographed activities against flat, light-blue backgrounds. These cartoon-styled allegories of American history and culture examine the sublimated or overt aggression inherent in activities such as team sports, ceremonies, military training, court marshaling and lynching. Referencing folk art or hieroglyphs, Untitled (Greenheads) (gouache on paper, 1998) depicts a sequence of disputes between uniformed characters and injured figures in athletic apparel. As with most of Ali’s oeuvre, the gestures and expressions of the figures communicate a sense of violent intensity, while the exact nature of the interaction remains enigmatic. Addressing the power dynamics of race, religion and gender, her scenarios respond to personal experience as well as local or world events, yet do not serve to represent them directly. Correspondingly, the single figures that appear in her later drawings and paintings display what initially seem to be specific ethnic tributes or dress codes, subsequently revealed to be invented and constructed by Ali. As it remains up to the viewer to interpret who these characters are or what may distinguish them as individuals, the perspective and biases of the viewer become part of the artwork’s meaning. The young, green-faced character in ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[‛Alī Wijdān; Wijdan]

(b Baghdad, Aug 29, 1939).

Jordanian painter and art patron. She studied history at Beirut University College (formerly Beirut College for Women), receiving a BA in 1961. In 1993 she took a PhD in Islamic Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. After serving in the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representing her country at United Nations meetings in Geneva and New York, Ali founded the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan in 1979 and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in 1980 (see Jordan, Hashemite Kingdom of). In 1988 she organized in Amman the Third International Seminar on Islamic Art, entitled ‘Problems of Art Education in the Islamic World’, and in 1989 she organized the exhibition Contemporary Art from the Islamic World at the Barbican Centre, London. In 2001 she founded the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Jordan, and has received numerous awards in recognition of her work in the arts....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Troutbeck Bridge, Westmoreland, 1951).

English sculptor and draughtsman. He studied at Lancaster College of Art (1968–71) and Central School of Art, London (1971–4), initially training as a ceramicist. He came to prominence in the 1980s in the context of a movement sometimes referred to as ‘New British Sculpture’, which included such artists as Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon and Anthony Gormley. A visit to Greece in the early 1970s fired his interest in Platonic ideas, which began to enter into his work at the end of the decade. Allington was particularly intrigued by the notion that the world is a reflection of a higher ideal; the conjunction of this theme with strategies and ideas drawn from the conceptual and environmental art of the period produced a humorous and almost satirical quality in his art that was to prove lasting. Another abiding concern with the contrast between ideal symbols and real sculptural forms is demonstrated in ...

Article

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(James)

(b Wigan, Oct 30, 1971).

English sculptor and film maker. He graduated from Winchester School of Art in 1993 and in 1995 had his first solo exhibition in London, showing a single work, KN120, which consisted of a large ceiling fan installed under London’s Westway and wired to his studio. He was awarded the ICA/Toshiba Art & Innovation Prize in 1996. For the exhibition Something Else (London, Exmouth Market, 1996), Almond displayed A Real Time Piece, a video-projected live satellite broadcast from his West London studio to the exhibition venue. His absence from the studio was highlighted by the amplified time-keeping of an industrial flip-clock. He repeated this procedure on 7 May 1997 for the installation HMP Pentonville (London, ICA), this time broadcasting live from an empty cell in Pentonville Prison to a gallery space. Both these works indicate his preoccupation with questions of time and endurance. Fan (wood, plastic, micro-processors, paints and motors, approx. diam. 4.5 m, ...

Article

Yasuko Furuichi

Alternative spaces have stimulated and disrupted bureaucratic and static environments that stem from situations unique to Asian countries. As opposed to the definition provided in the Euro-American model in which alternative spaces are positioned against the mainstream, alternative spaces in this discussion are a group of contemporary art spaces which can be loosely identified as artist-run and independent curator-run spaces that do not have direct support from the state and government bodies in general. These spaces provide exhibition venues for national and international artists, develop educational programmes, raise the profile of curatorial methods and publish art magazines. In addition, the staff of alternative spaces can provide foreign curators with the latest local information, whereas in the past, certain curators were able to monopolize negotiations between arts professionals and local artists. Some of these alternative spaces have since attained privileged positions that have also exposed them to criticism.

Since 2000 these alternative spaces, many of which are artist-run, have founded non-profit organizations and transformed their activities and organizational structures. Because these spaces are financially dependent on grants from foreign cultural institutions or their national governments, they have difficulty securing long-term funds and management. While the flexibility and agility of these organizations risks their survival, the priority is in creating a space for young artists and curators to pursue experimental activities, rather than maintaining the status quo or becoming part of the establishment. The activities particular to alternative spaces are not necessarily a counter movement against mainstream arts activities; they may be more accurately described as a means of survival for new art....

Article

Mark Firth and Louis Skoler

Silvery white metal. The third most abundant element in the earth’s crust (after oxygen and silicon), aluminium is found only in the form of its compounds, such as alumina or aluminium oxide. Its name is derived from alumen, the Latin name for alum, and in the 18th century the French word alumine was proposed for the oxide of the metal, then undiscovered. The name aluminium was adopted in the early 19th century and is used world-wide except in the USA, where the spelling is aluminum, and in Italy where alluminio is used. Following the discovery of processes for separating the metal from the oxide, at first experimentally in 1825, then commercially in 1854 and industrially in 1886–8, aluminium rapidly came to be valued as an adaptable material with both functional and decorative properties. Thus in addition to being used in engineering, transport, industrial design and household products, it was also widely adopted in architecture, sculpture and the decorative arts....

Article

Carol Magee

revised by Kimberly Bobier

(b Luanda, 1963).

Angolan sculptor, installation artist, and curator. Alvim began exhibiting internationally in the 1980s, at such shows as Africus, the 1995 Johannesburg Biennale; the 1997 Bienal de Havana; and Dak’Art ’98. His mixed-media pieces are powerful, haunting works through which he explores the memories and scars left by the trauma of growing up in a war-torn country. He generally evokes life in Luanda: displaced peoples, failed hopes, the patchwork organization of the urban space. In his overwhelmingly dark scenes, neon light illuminates found objects surrounded by canvas or metal, often superimposed with photographic images, creating a psychological intensity. Crosses, skulls, and maps predominate in his work of the early 1990s. In 1997 he collaborated with Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa and South African artist Gavin Younge in a project that brought them to Cuito Canaval, a Cuban-Angolan community and former battle site, to comment on the devastating effects of war suffered there. This sojourn resulted in a touring multimedia exhibition ...

Article

Francis Summers

revised by Martin R. Patrick

(b Antwerp, Aug 22, 1959).

Belgian-born interdisciplinary artist, active in Mexico. He studied architecture at the Institut d’Architecture de Tournai in Belgium (1978–83) and at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice (1983–6). Alÿs moved to Mexico in 1987 and his art practice initially concentrated on Mexico City as a laboratory of urban living, often documented in the form of evocative, conceptually layered photographs, sculptures, and videos. In the slide series Ambulantes (Pushing and Pulling) (1992–2002), Alÿs photographed street vendors and workers as they passed by carting a wide variety of goods within a ten-block vicinity of his studio. For his project entitled The Liar, The Copy of the Liar (1997) Alÿs created small images of suited men inspired by the commercial sign painters of Mexico City, and subsequently commissioned from them larger versions in their own styles. In this process Alÿs deferred authorship into a semantic chain. Hovering between the banal and the surreal, these works have an uncanny theme, of individuals observed in situations that defy explanation....

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b São Paulo, 1935).

Brazilian painter and printmaker. After studying engraving in São Paulo, he moved to New York in 1959 to complete his studies at the Pratt Graphic Center, where his contact with international Pop art merged with his own interest in Brazilian popular imagery, for example in the portfolio of woodcuts Mine and Yours (1967). Immediately afterwards he began painting ambiguous and ironic still-lifes collectively titled Brasíliana, which use bananas as symbols of underdevelopment and exploitation, for example BR-1 SP (1970; São Paulo, Pin. Estado) and Bananas (1971; Washington, DC, Mus. Mod. A. Latin America). In 1971 he won a trip abroad in the National Salon of Modern Art (Rio de Janeiro), which took him again to New York between 1972 and 1973. On his return to São Paulo he began the series Battlegrounds, in which he submitted the previously reclining bananas to slashing, torture and putrefaction. Subsequently shapes were reorganized into configurations of an undramatic Surrealism, playful, colourful, tumescent and as firmly rooted as ever in his native Brazil and Latin America....

Article

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Cairo, May 22, 1963).

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (1991). She subsequently moved to New York. She is best known for her canvases in which paint and embroidery are combined to explore themes of love, desire, sexuality, and women’s identity in a patriarchal world. Amer’s use of Embroidery, historically regarded as a genteel female craft, to create images of women fulfilling their sexual desires without inhibition, recalls the provocations and strategies of 1970s Western feminist art. However, her work also reflects her alarm at the incremental curbing of women’s social and political freedoms in her native Egypt following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, especially after the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in ...