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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

Greta Stroeh

[Jean] (Peter Wilhelm)

(b Strassburg, Germany [now Strasbourg, France], Sept 16, 1886; d Basle, Switzerland, June 7, 1966).

French sculptor, painter, collagist, printmaker, and poet of German birth. The son of a German father and French Alsatian mother, he developed a cosmopolitan outlook from an early age and as a mature artist maintained close contact with the avant-garde throughout Europe. He was a pioneer of abstract art and one of the founders of Dada in Zurich, but he also participated actively in both Surrealism and Constructivism. While he prefigured junk art and the Fluxus movement in his incorporation of waste material, it was through his investigation of biomorphism and of chance and accident that he proved especially influential on later 20th-century art in liberating unconscious creative forces.

Following a brief period at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Strasbourg (1900–01), Arp received instruction from 1901 from a friend and neighbour, the painter and printmaker Georges Ritleng (1875–1972). He then attended the Kunstschule in Weimar (1904–7) and the Académie Julian in Paris (...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Vila Nova de Gaia, Jan 17, 1923; d 2002).

Portuguese painter, graphic artist, critic and art administrator . In 1947 he was a founder-member of the Grupo Surrealista de Lisboa, with which he exhibited in 1949. By 1952 he was one of the few remaining members of the original group still involved in Surrealism. That year he held a large exhibition with two other artists, showing Occultations, photographs in which parts of the images were masked by overpainting. At the time he was more interested in the process of image-making, in the unconscious genesis of images and their internal rhythms, than in the result as an aesthetic object. From the mid-1950s, Azevedo’s paintings were almost entirely abstract and gestural, with greater overt affinities to lyrical abstraction than to automatism, for example Painting (1961; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). While in smaller works he often returned to the Surrealist use of collaged photographs introducing an element of shock or surprise, in his paintings there is an overriding interest in morphological dissolution and mutation, which remains lyrical rather than violent....

Article

(Gruenwald, Alfred Emanuel Ferdinand]

(b Stettin, Pomerania [now Szczecin, Poland], Oct 9, 1892; d nr Chamonix, France, 17 or Aug 18, 1927).

German collagist, draughtsman, writer and publisher. Although he came from an upper middle-class family, after serving as a volunteer in World War I he became a pacifist and a supporter of democratic socialism on Soviet lines. In 1918 he began a political career as a committee member of the mid-Rhine district of the Independent Social-Democratic Party, a Marxist party that had split from the Social-Democratic Party of Germany. The short-lived journal he edited, Der Ventilator, which published six issues in Cologne in February and March 1919, was a satirical magazine directed against the Social Democrat government in Berlin.

Having discovered the work of de Chirico and come under the influence of Dada, in autumn 1919 Baargeld became an opponent of tradition and convention in art as well, setting himself particularly against Expressionism. In November 1919 he and Max Ernst, who together can be said to have founded the Cologne branch of ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Nigeria, 1963).

Nigerian photographer, film maker, installation artist and writer active in Scotland. He studied Chemical Engineering at Strathclyde University, Glasgow (1981–85), before completing an MA in Media, Fine Art, Theory and Practice at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1996–8). Bamgboyé’s earliest work was photographic: The Lighthouse series (1989; see 1998 book, p. 65) initiated his interest in the representation of black masculinity by depicting his own naked body in often theatrical contortions, amid mundane domestic rooms; the frames of the photographs are attached to coat hangers, underlining the theme of domesticity and pointing to his interest in the changeable character of subjectivity. These themes were further explored in films, which he began to make in 1993: Spells for Beginners (1994; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 74) explores the breakdown of his long-term relationship with a woman through a broken mix of confessional dialogue and fleeting images of their home. The installation of which this film is a part takes the form of an ordinary living room and is typical of Bamgboyé’s technique of adumbrating his imagery with sculptural motifs that emphasize his themes. In other films he explored the issue of migration: ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Turin, Dec 16, 1940; d Rome, April 1994).

Italian conceptual artist and writer. According to his own mythologized account, his fascination with the qualities of ordinary materials began during childhood. Although the extent of any orthodox artistic training remains unrecorded, by 1964 he was making objects and silhouette paintings of familiar items, influenced by such Turinese contemporaries as Michelangelo Pistoletto and Mario Merz. His first one-man show (1967; Turin, Gal. Stein) included large objects made from materials such as corrugated cardboard, whose very ordinariness undermined orthodox notions of art. From the outset he participated in Arte Povera exhibitions and Happenings, in which a generation of Italian conceptual artists reinvented a world then in political turmoil. Boetti’s self-reflexive brand of Arte Povera was typified by his notional ‘twinning’: by cutting a second image of himself into a photographic self-portrait (Twins, 1968; see 1986–7 exh. cat., p. 19) and by inserting ‘e’ (‘and’) between his names, stimulating a dialectic exchange between these two selves. Boetti’s major project of the 1970s was ...

Article

Hilary Gresty

(b Sheffield, July 24, 1941).

English conceptual artist, writer and photographer. He studied painting at the Royal College of Art from 1962 to 1965 and philosophy and fine art at Yale University from 1965 to 1967. From the late 1960s he adhered to Conceptual art using combinations of photographic images and printed texts to examine the relationship between apparent and implicit meaning. In his ...

Article

Sophie Howarth

(b Córdoba, 1955; d Córdoba, Nov 2, 1993).

Spanish draughtsman, painter, sculptor, installation artist, performance artist and writer. In both his art and writing Espaliú, who studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Seville, was influenced by the existentialist philosophy of the French writer Jean Genet (1910–86). His works of the mid-1980s included drawings of masks and faces and a series of hollow leather sculptures known as Saints. Later, Espaliú’s works all related to his identity and experience as a homosexual and, eventually, to his HIV-positive status; he was to die of AIDS-related illnesses while still in his late thirties, and a strong sense of his frailty and imminent mortality marks his mature work. Several sculptures from 1992 involved steel cages used as metaphors for both confinement and protection. These include Untitled (1992; Seville, La Máquina Española, see 1994 London exh. cat.), an installation made originally for the Hospital de la Venerable Orden III in Madrid. As illness made Espaliú weaker and more dependent on others, he embarked on a project entitled ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Turin, Nov 20, 1936; d Milan, June 23, 2007).

Italian sculptor, conceptual artist and writer. He frequented artistic circles in Udine in the mid-1950s. In 1958 Fabro saw Lucio Fontana’s contribution to the Venice Biennale and the following year moved to Milan, where he discovered the work of Yves Klein and Francesco Lo Savio and was closely associated with Piero Manzoni and Enrico Castellani. Their investigations of matter and space influenced Fabro’s idea of the artist as a facilitator of experiences without preconceived categories. After tentative early works, he embarked upon austere pieces that encapsulated phenomenological problems, such as The Hole (1963; artist’s col.), a mirror with the reflective coating partially scraped away. While the scraping mimicked the techniques of Art informel, the fusion of reflection and the recession, seen through the suspended glass, was indebted to Duchamp. His first one-man show (1965; Milan, Gal. Vismara) combined mirror pieces with the Spatial Lines, which demarcated their environment with tubular metal (e.g. ...

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Sauve, Gard, Jan 17, 1926; d les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, nr Périgueux, Dec 2, 1987).

French performance artist, conceptual artist and writer. He studied economics and science at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1948 to 1951, but he was self-taught as an artist. Having first worked as a playwright during the second half of the 1950s, in 1960 he presented the first of his performances incorporating poetry. By 1962 he was involved with the Fluxus movement; sharing his fellow artists’ distaste for marketable art objects, he not only continued to create performances and other ephemeral works but also involved himself in conceptual gestures such as the foundation of a ‘République Géniale’. He made films and videos, sent enigmatic objects through the post as a form of correspondence art and worked against traditional ideas about the individuality of the artist by working collaboratively with others: in 1964 he and Joachim Pfeufer created the Poïpoïdrome, a group researching ‘permanent creation’ and the ‘principle of equivalence’, and in ...

Article

Renato Barilli

(b Rosario, Santa Fé, Feb 19, 1899; d Comabbio, nr Varese, Sept 7, 1968).

Italian painter, sculptor and theorist of Argentine birth. He moved with his family to Milan in 1905 but followed his father back to Buenos Aires in 1922 and there established his own sculpture studio in 1924. On settling again in Milan he trained from 1928 to 1930 at the Accademia di Brera, where he was taught by the sculptor Adolfo Wildt; Wildt’s devotion to the solemn and monumental plasticity of the Novecento Italiano group epitomized the qualities against which Fontana was to react in his own work. Fontana’s sculpture The Harpooner (gilded plaster, h. 1.73 m, 1934; Milan, Renzo Zavanella priv. col., see 1987 exh. cat., p. 118) is typical of his work of this period, with a dynamic nervousness in the thin shape of the weapon poised to deliver a final blow and in the coarse and formless plinth. Soon afterwards, together with other northern Italian artists such as Fausto Melotti, Fontana abandoned any lingering Novecento elements in favour of a strict and coherent form of abstraction. In ...

Article

Stephen T. Driscoll

Scottish royal centre in Perthshire, which reached its zenith in the late Pictish period (8th–9th centuries ad) and is the source of an assemblage of high quality ecclesiastical sculpture. Occupying the fertile heart of Strathearn, Forteviot has been more or less in continuous use as a ceremonial centre since the 3rd millennium bc and is the focus of élite burials from the Early Bronze Age (c. 1900 bc) through to the Pictish era. Cinead mac Alpín (Kenneth mac Alpine), the king traditionally identified with the foundation of the Gaelic kingdom of the Scots, died at the palacium (palace) of Forteviot in ad 858. It was eclipsed as a royal centre by Scone in ad 906, but remained a significant royal estate until the 13th century.

The only surviving fabric of the palace is a unique monolithic arch, presumably a chancel arch, carved with three moustached Picts in classical dress flanking a crucifix (now in the Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh). Fragments of at least four additional sandstone crosses indicate the presence of a major church, perhaps a monastery. The celebrated Dupplin Cross (now in Dunning Church) originally overlooked Forteviot from the north. This monolithic, free-standing cross (2.5 m tall) bears a Latin inscription naming Constantine son of Fergus, King of the Picts (...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Woking, Surrey, Sept 29, 1944).

English writer, installation artist and sculptor. He studied at Guildford School of Arts and Crafts (1960–65) and at the Royal Academy Schools, London (1965–8). Furlong has come to be known above all for his work with recorded sound, yet his earliest pieces had a more traditional notion of sculptural form and appeared to emerge out of the Constructivist tradition. Construction of a System (1967–8; see 1969 exh. cat.) is a wall-mounted box containing wires and electrical components that suggest the insides of a machine. In 1973 he founded Audio Arts, a tape-based magazine project, which proved formative to his career. It grew out of his fascination with the new technology of the cassette recorder, which he used to record interviews and more informal dialogues with other artists, conducted both by himself and others. In some sense this documentary project remained separate from Furlong’s work as an artist, but sometimes the two were combined, as in ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Newport, Wales, April 5, 1942).

British film maker, painter, writer, draughtsman, curator and installation artist. He was brought up in Walthamstow, London, studying design at Walthamstow School of Art between 1960 and 1964. After he left college he decided that he would go into the film industry and worked as a film journalist and an editing assistant before getting a job at the Crown Film Unit in 1965. He spent the next 11 years as an editor at the unit making short public information films. He continued to paint, with an increasing preoccupation being the classification and numbering of objects and events, as in Computer Vocabulary (1968; see 1998 exh. cat., pl. 12). In the mid-1960s he began to make short experimental films that often incorporated these ideas, as in A Walk Through H (1978) that includes shots of his paintings used as maps and landscapes. In the 1980s he gained a large new audience with his feature films, which continued to use painterly tableaux and intricate classification, as in ...

Article

(b ’s Hertogenbosch, June 23, 1928).

Dutch painter, conceptual artist and writer. He trained as a painter at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in ’s Hertogenbosch and at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. In 1956 he settled in ’s Hertogenbosch as a painter. During that same year he was given an exhibition at Galerie Swart in Amsterdam. He stopped painting in 1967 when he was given a grant for research into the perception of light, time and space. He made a study of electro-acoustics, images and sound, and produced work for television, including Art is Only for Beginners (1969–70). During 1970 he worked on geographic space-relations (e.g. drilling a hole in his living room ‘to New Zealand’ and interchanging the soil with some from the other side of the earth). In 1972 he built an open-air studio. From 1973 to 1974 he experimented with time and investigated the energy used in breathing, feeding and recycling, and in ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Chorley, Lancs, Oct 18, 1964).

English conceptual artist, curator and writer. He studied Fine Art at Newcastle Polytechnic (1984–7). Strongly influenced by the tradition of text-based conceptual art, he depended consistently on literary sources, treating texts as ready-mades to create what he describes as ‘found conceptual art’. A keen reader of detective novels, in the early 1990s he began to make work by isolating comments about artists from crime or romance genre fiction. The installation Total Despair (exh. London, Frith Street Gal., 1995) involved mounting all the pages of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Despair in a grid and crossing out all the words except those of an artist who complains about his lack of success. Evolving out of this came a project to commission artists to produce pictures from descriptions of abstract paintings featured in crime novels; Chris Ofili and Peter Doig both participated in this venture, the results of which were exhibited in London at the Anthony Wilkinson Gallery in ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b New York, Sept 24, 1955).

American sculptor, installation artist, draughtsman, photographer, and writer. Horn studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the Yale University School of Art. From 1975 she began to travel frequently to Iceland, whose primordial, unstable landscape influenced her artistic practice.

Always intent to maintain the integrity of her chosen materials, be it solid glass, literature, or the volcanic topography of Iceland, Horn created complex relationships between the viewer and her work. She was less interested in the meaning of the work (the ‘why’ and ‘what’) and more in the interaction of action and being the ‘how’, ultimately creating art that unites both.

Her series of aluminium sculptures, which feature fragments from the writings of Franz Kafka and Emily Dickinson, such as Kafka’s Palindrome (1991–4) or Keys and Cues (1994), are reminiscent of the Minimalist sculptures of Donald Judd and Michael Fried’s famous definition of Minimalist art as ‘literal art’. However, Horn’s ‘literal’ transfer of words onto matter changes the meaning of both the original words and the materials used: taken out of context, the meaning of the original words becomes amalgamated with the meaning embedded in the material. By adding literacy to matter, the sculpture becomes nonliteral, but not devoid of content....

Article

M. N. Sokolov

[Francisko; Fransisko]

(b Vasil’yevka, Saratov region, June 4, 1943).

Russian installation artist and theorist. The son of a Spanish Republican émigré, Infante studied at the Surikov Art Institute in Moscow from 1956 to 1962. From 1962 to 1968 he was a member of the group Dvizheniye (Movement), which elaborated the principles of kinetic art. In 1970, together with his wife, the artist Nonna Goryunova (b 1944), and the designer Valery Osipov (b 1941), he organized his own group, ARGO, which became prominent in the Moscow avant-garde of the period. Characteristic of his work in the 1960s are abstract geometric paintings, blueprints for his subsequent three-dimensional compositions. Underlying these compositions is the notion of the artefact, the handmade object, symbolizing the harmony of art, the technosphere and nature. Although to some extent he continued the traditions of Russian Constructivism, he succeeded in infusing his work with a sense of ideal ecological balance, free from technocratic utopianism. His work comprises series of numerous temporary landscape installations, for example ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Ersekujvar, Hungary, March 21, 1887; d Budapest, July 22, 1967).

Hungarian writer, painter, theorist, collagist, designer, printmaker and draughtsman. His family moved to Budapest in 1904, and, after finishing an apprenticeship as a blacksmith, in 1908 he began publishing stories and poems. In 1909–10 he travelled across Western Europe and spent some time in Paris, becoming acquainted with modern art and anarchist ideas. He published short stories, plays and poems in Budapest and from November 1915 he edited the periodical A Tett (‘The deed’), which was anti-militarist and discussed socialist theories and avant-garde ideas. In summer 1916 he spent time in the Kecskemét artists’ colony with his brother-in-law Béla Uitz and under his influence executed his first ink drawings (e.g. Landscape, 1916; Budapest, N.G.). Progressive young artists and aesthetes grouped themselves around Kassák; after A Tett was banned in September 1916, he started in November a new periodical, MA (‘Today’; see MA group), which he edited with Uitz (to ...

Article

Karel Srp

(b Protivín, Sept 24, 1914; d Prague, Aug 11, 2002).

Czech collagist and poet, active in France. He had a considerable influence on Czech art from the 1940s until the early 1970s and was the main representative of the association of artists known as Group 42. The principal features of his aesthetic ideas are the mythology of urban life and the discovery of the miraculous in the commonplace. He was already at work on collage in 1939 when he exhibited at the Prague Mozart Collection, and he returned to collage in the late 1950s, partly as a result of his interest in Concrete and serial art. He worked out a method of constructing poem-collages based on linking completely different texts, then transferred his experimental efforts to the purely visual sphere, calling his first realization ‘non-verbal poetry’. At first he created collages from glued, randomly juxtaposed objects, including everyday objects that particularly interested him. His most important innovation was, however, his use of reproductions of outstanding paintings and sculptures, making them into numerous and varied formal combinations. By the 1990s he had worked out more than a hundred different collage processes, from which further methods could be derived. He experimented with metalanguage art, with the continuous reassessment of new values and the rediscovery of old values. His creative ideas have helped to bring collage, which before World War II was primarily linked with Cubism and Surrealism, to a new level of expression....