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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....


(b Geneva, June 24, 1948).

Swiss draughtsman, performance artist, painter, and sculptor. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Geneva (1966–7) and at the Glamorgan Summer School, Britain (1969). Armleder is known primarily for his involvement with Fluxus during the 1960s and 1970s, which included performances, installations, and collective activities. He was a member of the Groupe Luc Bois, based in Geneva in 1963. In 1969, with Patrick Lucchini and Claude Rychner, he was a founder-member of the Groupe Ecart, Geneva, from which stemmed the Galerie Ecart (1973) and its associated performance group (1974) and publications. Armleder’s first exhibition was at the Galerie Ecart in 1973, followed in the same year by one at the Palais de l’Athénée, Geneva. The anti-establishment and anti-formalist philosophy of the Fluxus groups continued in Armleder’s mixed-media works of later years, which include the Furniture Sculpture of the 1980s. In works that couple objects (second-hand or new) with abstract paintings executed by Armleder himself, and which often refer ironically to earlier modernist abstract examples, he questioned the context in which art is placed and the notion of authenticity in art. Such concerns continued to appear in his work. Armleder’s ...


Hilary Pyle

(b Dublin, Sept 22, 1943).

Irish painter and printmaker . He studied architecture at Bolton Street Technical School, Dublin, from 1961 to 1964. While acting as assistant to Michael Farrell in 1967, he was introduced to hard-edge abstraction and decided to learn to paint. His natural inclination was towards figurative art, initially in his use of the figure as a silhouette in the Marchers series and subsequently in 3rd May—Goya (1970; Dublin, Hugh Lane Mun. Gal.) and other pastiches of paintings by Poussin, Ingres and Delacroix, in which he filled in the outline with flat colour. Such early works were heavily influenced by photography and by a social or political commitment, reinforced with a striking visual wit. These were followed by paintings satirizing the awakening interest in contemporary art in Dublin, as in Woman with Pierre Soulages (1972; Dublin, Bank of Ireland Col.) in which a figure is shown scrutinizing an abstract canvas.

A visit to Brussels, where Ballagh studied the work of Magritte, led him gradually to model his figures, both in portraits and in quasi-Surrealist autobiographical works, in a Photorealist technique in which he alluded to his artistic preoccupations and to his wife and family. The stylistic features of his paintings lent themselves also to silkscreen prints. He has photographed unusual aspects of Dublin architecture, which he published in book form as ...


Silvia Lucchesi

(b Castelmassa, Rovigo, nr Mantua, Aug 4, 1930).

Italian painter. He began to study painting and sculpture at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1952 and graduated in architecture in 1956. In 1959 he had his first one-man show at the Galerie Kasper in Lausanne in which he exhibited abstract works dominated by energetic gestural lines. In autumn of the same year he founded the magazine Azimut with Piero Manzoni and Vincenzo Agnetti (1926–81). In the magazine they discussed the beginnings and the decline of Art informel and put forward a new objective language with the presentation of works by Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana and others. Azimut expressed the exchange of ideas and information and the lively atmosphere of Milanese artistic circles in the early 1960s. In January 1960 Castellani participated with Manzoni, Klein and artists of the Zero group in the show La nuova concezione artistica, held in Milan at the ...


(b Naples, March 23, 1952).

Italian painter. In 1970 Clemente began studying architecture in Rome at the Università degli Studi ‘La Sapienza’, establishing a studio where he made drawings, many based on childhood memories and dreams (e.g. collection of untitled ink drawings, 1971; Basle, Kstmus.). He became involved in Roman avant-garde art circles and befriended the Italian painter Alighiero Boetti, whose work, together with that of Joseph Beuys and Cy Twombly, was an early influence. Clemente’s first solo exhibition of collages was held at the Galleria Giulia, Rome, in 1971. His interest in the art, folklore and mysticism of India began with yearly visits from 1973 (e.g. Francesco Clemente Pinxit, series of 24 paintings in gouache on handmade paper, 1980–81; Richmond, VA Mus. F.A.). In 1974 he travelled with Boetti to Afghanistan, producing a series of pastel drawings. Clemente came to prominence in the mid-1970s with his intensely subjective, erotic imagery of frequently mutilated body parts, skewed self-portraits and gesturing, ambivalent figures, often depicted in rich colours. He was part of the revolt against formalism and the detached qualities of much conceptual art, which linked him with such painters as ...


Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Tripoli, Libya, 1945).

Libyan painter. He returned to Libya in 1970 after graduating from the Plymouth School of Architecture and Design in England. In 1974 he was appointed consultant to the Festival of Islam in London, and in 1981 he settled in England. He typically uses individual letter forms based on the maghribī style of script typical of North Africa, setting one or two large letters against a richly textured abstract ground with accompanying excerpts from Arabic and world literature that address social and moral issues. His works have been exhibited in more than 60 solo and group exhibitions and can be found in many major museums. Chairman of Muslim Cultural Heritage Center in London, he has also been involved with several other cultural and intellectual institutions there.

A. O. Ermes: Ali Omar Ermes: Art and Ideas: Works on Paper (exh. cat., Oxford, Ashmolean, 1992)A. O. Ermeswith S. Rizvi: Reaching Out: Conversations on Islamic Art with Ali Omar Ermes...


Mark Allen Svede

(b Riapina, Dec 29, 1947).

Estonian painter and printmaker. He trained as an architect at the Estonian SSR State Art Institute (1966–71) and became a principal figure in the art community in Soviet-occupied Estonia. As a member of ANK ’64, an artists’ group founded by Tõnis Vint, Lapin acquired nonconformist status as ANK resisted the strictures of Socialist Realism and the official art bureaucracy. In the 1970s he revived a Cubo-Constructivist graphic vocabulary that anticipated the geometric minimalist orientation of many of his Estonian contemporaries, while also paying homage to certain members of the Estonian Artists’ Group of the 1920s. Lapin was also the leader of a student group advocating Pop art. Their name, SOUP ’69, alluded to Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s soup image, but Lapin’s own Pop-influenced works are in a more conceptual vein. Certain text-image paintings recall the art of Ed Ruscha, while Lapin’s Sots art pieces participate in the witty mass-cultural critique instigated by Pop, although his targets were specifically non-capitalist. Perhaps most controversial—and certainly not exhibited widely in Soviet-era Estonia—was Lapin’s ...


Adrian Lewis

(b London, Dec 29, 1945).

English sculptor, painter and printmaker. As a student at Camberwell School of Art, London, from 1962 to 1967 and at the Royal College of Art from 1967 to 1968, he produced representational paintings of modern architectural imagery. These were followed in 1970 by a series of wall hangings made of resin, crayon and fibreglass titled Improved Reductions, for example 1 2 3 4 5 6 … B (1970; London, Tate), in which his painted copy of a sculpture by Anthony Caro was cut into strips and then reassembled into a parabolic shape. Elements of paintings and sculpture were also combined in his Infinity Drawings (e.g. Infinity Drawing (ID/16B/75), 1975; Brit. Council Col.), in which he used a plasterer’s comb to score surfaces painted with aquatec gel mixed with oxidized copper powder. Here the equation of fragmented patterns suggestive of mathematical symbols involves the spectator in games of mental transference....


Sarah Lack

(b Bogotá, Colombia, March 16, 1956).

British painter and sculptor of Colombian birth. She studied at the Academia Arjona, Madrid (1975–7) and the Bath Academy (1978–81). Her paintings and installations are concerned with architecture as a bearer of meaning and as a symbol of stability revealing how the everyday is rapidly changing. Pool Painting at Burrell’s Wharf in London (acrylic on plaster and board, oil on steel, 1991) dematerializes interior architecture into planes of colour. In a collaborative work with the architects McGurn, Logan, Duncan & Opfer, at 9–15 Bellgrove Street (light fittings, glass filters, 1996), Turnbull added other dimensions to architecture that went beyond prescriptive meaning: the glass windows of a stairwell in a Glasgow housing block were transformed into a series of coloured panes of light and reflections at night. Similarly Houses Into Flats (2000) is a series of 28 paintings in acrylic on canvas based on original building plans taken from books, maps and the internet. As an archaeologist reads ancient building plans in order to understand lost civilizations, so Turnbull invites the viewer to analyse the plans. Commenting on the globalization and cyclic nature of modern society, Turnbull alludes to both public and private buildings, from past centuries as well as the present; the varied references have included a 16th century villa, Calcutta Zoo, a North African oasis and an American apartment. Turnbull has received the Pollock-Krainer Foundation award (New York, ...


Marita Sturken

Culture of images and visuality that creates meaning in our world today. This includes media forms such as photography, film, television, and digital media; art media such as painting, drawing, prints, and installations; architecture and design; comic books and graphic novels; fashion design, and other visual forms including the look of urban life itself. It also encompasses such social realms as art, news, popular culture, advertising and consumerism, politics, law, religion, and science and medicine. The term visual culture also refers to the interdisciplinary academic field of study that aims to study and understand the role that images and visuality play in our society; how images, gazes, and looks make meaning socially, culturally, and politically; how images are integrated with other media; and how visuality shapes power, meaning, and identity in contemporary global culture.

The emergence of the concept of visual culture as a means to think about the role of images in culture and as an academic field of study is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in the late 1980s and becoming established by the late 1990s. There were numerous factors that contributed to the idea that images should be understood and analysed across social arenas rather than as separate categories, including the impact of digital media on the circulation of images across social realms, the modern use of images from other social arenas (such as news and advertising) in art, and the cross-referencing of cultural forms displayed in popular culture and art. It was also influenced by the increasingly visible role played by images in political conflict and a general trend toward interdisciplinarity in academia....


Sarah Lack

(b Glasgow, March 31, 1958).

Scottish painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He studied architecture and painting at the Glasgow School of Art (1979–83) and held his first solo exhibitions in Glasgow and London in 1984. His large-scale figurative paintings contextualized by neon, drawing, print, collage and wallpaper are dominated by self-parody and a reflective tone. Weeds in Landscape (oil on canvas, 1989), which depicts a standing male figure looking over the artist’s shoulder, represents the ever-present critic or critical faculty; the artist is never free from subjectivity. In 1990 he introduced the clear colour and unbroken line of neon to his paintings. Gentlemen’s Club (oil on canvas and neon, 1990) shows one man beating another with a club while the neon pun, ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ gleams in pure pink italics beside them. Like the neon, his draughtsmanship displays great clarity and economy of line. The work of Matisse has been a major inspiration to Wiszniewski; ...