Is it just me or is contemporary art booming more than anything right now? It seems that there has been much more support from big institutions, galleries and collectors/curators for the young and emerging generation of artists. I also think that the various social media channels (particularly Instagram and Facebook) have made it much easier for emerging artists and illustrators to be discovered and noticed, and that in turn enables them to sell their art online. All of the above also seem to have caused an increase in the number of art fairs and exhibitions globally.
By opening up the doors to access emerging artists’ works, Instagram has paved the way for my interest in contemporary art. For me, my Instagram is my personal visual blog and I use it as means to express my interest in art, fashion, music and design. I like to mix and match the pictures (both created by me and others) to form a nice layout and theme. Following artists made it much easier for me to find cool visuals for my blog and has enabled me to discover galleries and curators with cool Instagram visuals as well.
Enjoying surreal art visualized on a screen is one thing, but viewing it with the naked eye is a whole other experience. I visited various modern museums/galleries all over Europe this summer including the Kunst Werke (KW) Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Nice (MAMAC), and the Istanbul Modern-Berlin.
Berlin, known for its arts (all forms) and culture was my first stop. I was amazed by the city’s mixture of ancient European buildings and the more modern American-influenced architecture. And those coupled with various street art styles gives it a unique charm.
My hunt for contemporary art began in Mitte (mid-town), which is known for its challenging and entertaining art spaces. Although the KW Institute for Contemporary Art seemed old from outside, the interior was modern and minimal (and huge!) but also had a certain industrial feel to it. The gallery was exhibiting “Fire and Forget. On Violence”, an extremely powerful theme that assesses conventional ideas about war and violence, and depicts the weapon as a symbol for power. Artists from all around the world shared their vision on violence’s long-term socio-cultural effects.
My next stop was Nice, the unofficial capital of the Côte d'Azur. Although it tends to be overshadowed by its glamorous neighbor Cannes, and more recently Marseille, it has always been a magnet to artists and its contemporary art scene is continuously growing. I visited Keith Sonnier’s exhibition called “Light Works” in the MAMAC. One of the earlier neon art adopters (since the 1960s), Sonnier explores soft materials including metal gates, fabrics, ribbons found objects to create ethereal and vibrant neon sculptures inspired by his native land Louisiana. The exhibition shows 30+ works of light by the artist from the 1960s to today.
Istanbul was my final stop. I wasn’t surprised to find out there’s an Istanbul Modern museum, as the city has always been a hub for modern art given the large number of art galleries, art fairs and cultural institutions. Founded in 2004, Istanbul Modern occupies an 8000 square meter space on the Bosphorus. Amongst the various exhibitions showing, “Artists in Their Time” was the most appealing. It focuses on how artists place their work and their identity within the concept of time, and it unites artists from different periods, places and disciplines around common themes.
My personal favorite art piece was 80SW/Flying Garden/Air-Port-City (2007) by Tomas Saraceno. Trained as an architect, Saraceno utilizes insights from engineering, aeronautics and materials science in his work. He treats the gallery space as a biosphere where works installed are in close proximity and connected via chords, webbing, elliptical pillows and air to form a solid visualization of his world. Saraceno’s idea for an Air-Port-City is to create habitable platforms made up of cities that float in the air, which change and join together freely like clouds. He visualizes it as an International city, which is also a flying airport that allows citizens of the world to travel across the borders of the world freely. In a way he offers alternative ways of living.
Visiting all three cities and exploring the different kinds of contemporary art not only added some novelty to my Instagram visuals, but more importantly widened my artistic and cultural knowledge and horizons, and inspired me to somehow tap into this field. I cannot wait to share the images on Instagram and other mediums to share my experiences and promote these established and emerging artists from all around the world. Follow me @badgyldini.