PLANET ART: The Best Art From Around the World for February 2013

PLANET ART: The Best Art From Around the World for February 2013

PLANET ART is a monthly column where our editors from around the world pick the most notable works of art on view in their region. (To view all of this month's works, click on the slideshow.)

AUSTRALIA

 

TextaQueen, “Family Tree (self-portrait),” 2013
Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

Australian artist Textaqueen is renowned for using the humble felt-tip marker (a “texta” in Australia) to boldly re-interpret the tradition of the salon nude.  Textaqueen’s “Family Tree (self-portrait)” is currently on show at Sydney gallery Sullivan+Strumpf along with images from her new body of work, “Unknown Artist,” which explores the artist’s own evolution and identity (a non-Indigenous person of colour) through largely fictional, metaphorical inner narratives —Nicholas Forrest, BLOUIN ARTINFO Australia

BRAZIL

“Abre-alas,” 2013
A Gentil Carioca Gallery, Rio de Janeiro

“Abre Alas” is the name of the allegoric car that marks the beginning of every samba school’s parade. It is also the name of the project that since 2005 the gallery A Gentil Carioca opens every year on the eve of Brazil’s carnival, offering space for young artists from all over Brazil. Curated by Daniela Castro, Alexandre Sá, and João Modé, this ninth edition brings together  17 artists, highlighting the work of Bruno Baptistelli, Frederico Filippi, Gustavo Torrezan, and RG Faleiros.  —Fernanda Lopes, BLOUIN ARTINFO Brazil

CANADA

Raymond Boisjoly, “an other cos­mos: dis­ag­gre­ga­tion,” 2012
Power Plant, Toronto / Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver

Although Vancouver-based Raymond Boisjoly's collages are cut into graphic forms taken from Northwest Coast First Nations art, the relationship between that symbology, the source of the photos (the Hubble space telescope), and the artist himself remains unclear. But ambiguity is a strength here, allowing traditional images to be repurposed in a nuanced way. It's not about outer space, it's not about Aboriginal art —but it carries the richness of both. (Boisjoly's work can be seen at the Power Plant in Toronto as part of “Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop, and Aboriginal Culture” until May 5th, and at Catriona Jeffries Gallery in Vancouver, this March.) —Benjamin Bruneau, BLOUIN ARTINFO Canada

CHINA

Liu Xinyi, “Global News,” 2013
Aike-Dellarco, Shanghai

Born in Hangzhou in 1982, Liu Xinyi is less interested in personality cults than in the gamesmanship of international diplomacy. Modeled on graphics made by state broadcaster CCTV, “Global News” creates a weather report that uses images from feature films to, in Liu's words, “imply political positions and territorial rights.” —Sam Gaskin, BLOUIN ARTINFO China

GERMANY

Douglas Gordon, “Sharpening Fantasy,” 2012
Blain Southern, Berlin

Save a slow motion pan over the Moroccan city of Tangier, Douglas Gordon’s latest film, “Sharpening Fantasy,” is devoid of context. Shown in concert with the Berlinale, that initial tinge of almost orientalist stage-setting is superceded by a black backdrop which shows weathered, veiny hands, passing across the installation’s screens with Zen-like fluidity — the hands of local knife grinders. Throughout the maze-like configurations of screens in the gallery, all looping the film at staggered intervals, the sound of seabirds mixes with that of metal against stone, suggesting the tools Gordon has wrested from his laborer’s hands. —Alexander Forbes, ARTINFO Germany

MEXICO

Héctor Falcón, “Taken,” 2013
Galería Enrique Guerrero, Mexico City

The Mexican artist returns to canvas after a period of using his own body as medium (he’s had his navel removed and tattooed with the word “unborn” and tinted his own skin orange through a carrot juice-based diet) with “Taken.” Through precise circular cuts, Falcón creates a collection of juxtaposed canvases and books that are transformed into multi-layered sculptures; each layer uncovering a new reality within the piece and making the cuts a unifying force between them. —Aline Cerdán, BLOUIN ARTINFO Mexico

RUSSIA

0331c, “Fence,” 2013
XL Gallery, Moscow

Russia’s artist of the month is Moscow-based street artist 0331?, who succeeds brilliantly in transplanting the street into the space of a gallery. His solo exhibition “Fence” (“Zabor”) at XL Gallery sees him creating a series of 133 tiny  painted porcelain figurines, each in the form of a typical concrete barrier (thousands of such partitions run through the entire territory of Russia and other former Soviet republics). Each is covered with replicas of the graffiti that o331c has observed in the streets: works by contemporary street artists, fly-by-night taggers, and ordinary people alike who use these walls as the space for self-expression or propaganda. —Anastasia Barysheva, BLOUIN ARTINFO Russia

SINGAPORE

Boo Junfeng, “Mirror,” 2013
Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

Two soldiers get lost in a forest, one from Singapore's current armed forces and one from the now-defunct Malayan Communist Party. Time and place collapse in Singaporean filmmaker Boo's enigmatic two-channel video, a meditation on memory, history and how the past and present can meet in unexpected ways. Compelling from start to finish. —Adeline Chia, BLOUIN ARTINFO Southeast Asia

Robert Zhao Renhui, “Eskimo Wolf Trap Often Included In Sermons,” 2013 
Gillman Barracks, Singapore 

Zhao brings a welcome Arctic blast to tropical Singapore with his show, “The Glacier Study Group,” which offers faux-scientific documentation of an expedition to the North Pole. The stand out work involves an installation of a blood-stained knife thrust into a flat bed of ice, with an accompanying text that tells a tale of cold menace. —Adeline Chia, BLOUIN ARTINFO Southeast Asia

SOUTH KOREA

Chang Sung Eun, “Black Sponge,” 2012
Arario Gallery Cheongdam, Seoul

South Korean artist Chang Sung Eun makes use of the human body as a measuring tool for the surrounding world in her “Spatial Measure” series. From the streets of Paris to the rooftops of her native country, Chang’s photographs force the viewers to reexamine their environment. Her most recent additions to the series, seen in Arario’s “Maden Pictures” show, add a darker element, as her subjects — once groups of people humorously squeezed into a given area — are abandoned and eerily inhabit a space on their own. —Ines Min, BLOUIN ARTINFO Korea

UNITED KINGDOM

B?la Kolá?ová,“Biography of a Snap Fastener IV (Black Epidemic),” 1982
Raven Row, London

The work of the recently rediscovered Czech artist B?la Kolá?ová (1923-2010) is a fascinating take on abstraction. Her compositions are not only informed, but very often constituted by materials relating to the everyday female experience. Her “Biography of a Snap Fastener” is kinetic, geometric, and highly abstract. Yet it also seems to conjure up two planets, two eggs about to be fertilized, as well as the very mundane, mend-and-make-do reality of life in the Eastern Bloc. The Raven Row show gathers works realized with razor blades, make-up, tools, and costume jewelry. In each, Kolá?ová demonstrates her absolute command of a truly imaginative mind. —Coline Milliard, BLOUIN ARTINFO U.K.

Peles Empire, “Formation 9 and 10,” 2013
Cell Project, London

For their first London solo show, German duo Peles Empire have pushed their ongoing concerns with reproduction and the oscillation between the two and three-dimensional to new heights. They continue to work with their primary source material — pictures of the various rooms in a Transylvanian castle — but tackle the materiality of the image as never before. In the exhibition’s last room, the wallpaper has been compressed in a thick layer, as if saturated by the information it contains. On the opposite wall, a series of black-and-white spears stands as an intriguing arms-and-armors gallery. —Coline Milliard, BLOUIN ARTINFO U.K.

UNITED STATES

Despina Stokou, “bulletproof,” 2013
Derek Eller Gallery, New York

Evoking Basquiat in the chaos and verbosity of her scrawled, painted, and collaged text compositions, Greek artist Despina Stokou skewers the art world's practiced grandiloquence with a mix of humor — as in a transcribed conversation about Martin Creed — cynicism, and outright anger that remains legible even when the words overlap, have been worn away, or furiously obliterated. Benjamin Sutton, BLOUIN ARTINFO U.S.