Walking through the Jack Shainman Gallery booth feels like walking through Congo, India, South Africa and more within just a few short steps. The gallery has created an eclectic mix of works originating in different parts of the world, and the results are stunning. We focused our conversation with Elisabeth Sann, an Associate Director at Jack Shainman gallery on two specific artworks.
El Anatsui‘s Wet is no regular tapestry – there is no weaving with common thread in Anatsui’s works. Instead the colorful warps and wefts in this artwork are actually constructed of discarded bottle tops, strung together to make a map-like pattern. In this sculpture, the focus seems to be more on the painterly techniques and less on his usual recto-linear blocks of color. The colors almost blend into one another, and on closer inspection they reveal themselves – the pinks, violets, oranges and blues. Anatsui gives an altogether new significance to the materials, discarded and abandoned by civilization as trash.
The second artwork by Richard Mosse drew us in and almost made us immerse ourselves in it (not the least because of the inviting blue water amid a sea of people). Titled Beaucoups of Blues, North Kivu, Eastern Congo, this large-scale photograph was shot in Congo on Kodak’s AEROCHROME III Infrared film (initially used by the US Air Force to conduct aerial surveillance) and is a part of Mosse’s “Infra” series. The film was designed to pick up chlorophyl, the element that gives plants their green color, as a bright shade of fuchsia-pink and suddenly the familiar landscapes turn into surreal vistas where the mountains are a dynamic range of reds, oranges and pinks.
Walk towards this photograph on the wall of the Jack Shainman Gallery booth at The Armory Show, and prepared to let the lush Congo hills and forestry to create an alternate universe for your mind
Both artists have been drawing accolades. The Brooklyn Museum is currently exhibiting the Ghana-born El Anatsui’s works, and Richard Mosse is scheduled to represent the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2013.
Video interview transcript on page 2