Our travels take us to Shanghai, China, where we catch up with photographer, Zhang An 张安.
Zhang An is a prodigious photographer living in the world of the abstract.
Runner 场务：Liu 小刘
Camera Assistant：Lijia Xu 徐立加 Tenghui Ma马鹏辉 Zhengjun Li李振军 Lingjie Yi尹凌杰 Yikun Cao曹亚坤
Equipment 器材：Chuanye Rental 川页租赁
Firelei Báez: I Consider Myself a Filter
"My work is built for human senses." Dominican-American artist Firelei Báez shares a closer look into her artworks and practice. Through vibrant colours and repurposed found maps, Báez explores themes of memory and history with references to her Caribbean origin. "I think the best thing is to just consider myself a filter."
Firelei Báez has been fascinated with art since early childhood when observing her older sister's – in Báez's own words – "masterful" drawing skills: "I have been stuck since that point with art. And it's just this thing that… It makes me feel alive. And it's been a point of refuge since I was a very young child." Not only was it the skills themselves that interested her, but she was also intrigued by her heritage and history: "I was interested in how my individual story tied to the rest of the world," she says and continues: "I would be creating in a way that would connect me to my family."
A reoccurring figure in the oeuvre of Firelei Báez is the folkloric, mythical "ciguapa". It's a creature from the same place in the Caribbean that Báez is from. It's described best as a female trickster. "There are two constants about her. One is that her feet are backwards," Báez explains: "And that she has a long, lustrous mane of hair." Although there was often a negative connotation to the ciguapa, Báez also saw certain freedom in her, as the ciguapa is almost traceless: "If you follow her footsteps, you are going in the wrong direction," she says and asks: "What are the risks and what are the gains of belonging or not belonging?"
Many of Firelei Báez's works are painted on old, found pages. It can be from books or maps thrown out for various reasons. There is a particular vandalism to the act of painting on top of, for example, a blueprint of the Lee Monument. But Báez gives the violence an undeniable beauty with vibrant colours and depictions of shiny, black hair or juicy-looking fruits. "I think if I just gave violence, it's very easy to just look away," she says. "That is our biggest power at the moment. Who do we give our attention to?" she asks and continues: "I'm fully capable of making a juicy, beautiful painting that is just all pleasure. And that's good. But that only sustains for a short period of time. I'm interested in giving something that is generous enough to make it linger in your mind afterwards."
When talking about the quality of an artwork, Báez shares the following thoughts: "A dead painting, for me, is one that leaves you uncurious. And that doesn't draw you or doesn't stay with you when you leave its presence," Firelei Báez reflects. "One that is active and effective is one that either bothers you enough to think about it some more. Or that excites you into thinking something new. That's where the maker has left a part of themselves that is still enacting."
Firelei Báez (b. 1981) is a Dominican-American artist who lives and works in New York. In her monumental paintings and installations, she creates images bursting with colours and symbols based on her Caribbean heritage, featuring folktales, colonial occupation, revolution and divided societies. Báez received an M.F.A. from Hunter College, a B.F.A. from the Cooper Union's School of Art, and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been presented in significant international exhibitions, including the inaugural installation at the ICA Watershed, Boston (2021), and the Milk of Dreams at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022). Recent solo presentations of Báez's work include exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; and Pérez Art Museum Miami. Báez's work is held in many public collections: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo; Pérez Art Museum Miami; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Sindika Dokolo Foundation, Luanda, Angola; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Eli Rezkallah: Dare Greatly
A short documentary about the journey of Lebanese artist Eli Rezkallah and the making of Plastik - turning it from a local publication into a global phenomenon.
Mona Hatoum – 'Nothing Is a Finished Project'
Mona Hatoum creates a challenging vision of our world, exposing its contradictions and complexities. TateShots visited the artist during the install of her first major survey at Tate Modern, covering 35 years from her early radical performances and video pieces, to sculptures and large-scale installations. The artist talks about her practice, her materials and the artwork on display.
Juergen Teller on How to Be a Radical Photographer
Photographer of Celine, Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood campaigns (among many), Juergen Teller’s inimitable style has made him one of the fashion industry’s most sought-after talents. But what are the challenges and opportunities for photographers today, and how can the industry better encourage young talent?
Lebanese designer Salim Azzam celebrates homegrown culture, women
Lebanese designer Salim Azzam, loved by Jordan’s Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, started his brand to revive the skills of the artisans in Mount Lebanon and give them international exposure.
Louise Bourgeois About her Art
Louise Bourgeois wasn’t an actress but at the highest level, the Arts correspond. See how her point of view can also inform acting and other art forms.
Born in Paris on December 25, 1911 Louise Bourgeois studied mathematics at the Sorbonne before studying Art. She also went to École des Beaux-Arts, École du Louvre and many other academies as well as directly in numerous artists studios. After opening her own studio she married and moved to New York where she kept refining and developing her art.
Louise Bourgeois work deals with how the unconscious impacts the physical, the emotional, the psychological. Here is what she said about “Maman”, one of her most famous series of sculptures:
"The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother."
— Louise Bourgeois
José Neves: Moving Fashion Forward with Technology
In this episode of Talks at GS, José Neves, founder and CEO of online luxury retail platform Farfetch, discusses how he used his background in technology to respond to a need in the fashion industry by creating a digital marketplace for emerging and established brands.
Beauty and a sense of hope are central to Mous Lamrabat's work. His photographs are absurd and surrealistic, at times subtly provocative, always colourful and fun. Lamrabat makes playful reference to icons from the fashion world and mixes symbols of popular culture and North African culture. He teams traditional apparel with striking props to create his unique visual universe.
Mous Lamrabat was born in Temsaman in the Rif mountains and grew up in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. He is a renowned fashion photographer whose clients include Numero Magazine and Vogue.
Soly Cissé is one of the most renowned artists in Senegal. With his monumental expressionist paintings and sculptures he’s a huge success in his country and in the international world of contemporary arts. During the couple of hours we spent with him, he showed us around in the studio in his backyard.
Born in 1971 in Ziguinchor, Senegal. He lives and works in Keur Massar, Senegal. Once graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Dakar in 2001, Kassou Seydou took part in a two years residencies in Joal-Fadiouth, place of birth of Léopold Sedar Senghor, organized by the association ‘‘Portes et passages du retour’’. Starting from the observation that all things are scripts and that a script is a distorted line, Kassou Seydou conceptualizes it through a reproduction of constant circular shapes. Poetic and similar to narration, the work of this Senegalese painter unveils his view of an altered and much more complex world : Kassou Seydou exposes a disordered world using a warm color scheme and lively characters.
Editor Mimma Viglezio interviews entrepreneur Dame Natalie Massenet, British-American fashion entrepreneur and former journalist, who founded the designer fashion portal Net-a-Porter.