Here are ten highlights from a wider selection of artworks on show in FIAC’s Online Viewing Rooms, which I think speak to notions of the self, biographies or personal histories both past and present or sites ancient and imagined.
The radiantly colored bodies that fill Cecilia Granara’s canvases often entwine with others or nature.Parisian artist-run gallery Exo Exo are showing her painting Feeling is Seeing Otherwise (2020). A meditative painting of sorts – floating arms caress two opposing heads against a swirl of softly washed greens and yellows.
Maryam Hoseini’s paintings are included in both Deborah Schamoni and Rachel Uffner’s Viewing Rooms. The headless, dismantled and patchwork bodies in With Her Hand on Her Shadow 3 (2019) appear flung, chaotically, across architectural space.
Meanwhile, the lithe figuresin Hardy Hill’s drawings, shown by Neue Alte Brücke, sometimes scarcely appear on the paper’s surface.
JTT in New York are showing Riot II (2021) by Sable Elyse Smith who has turned prison visitation seating into a giant Jacks game piece. Elyse Smith has done similar with other penitentiary furniture, for instance bending tables into an arch, nullifying their austere functionality.
Baseera Khan’s drawing snake skin Column Notes (2021)made this year deconstructs her 2019 show at Simone Subal Gallery, in whose online viewing room this can be seen. Its shows all the elements she used to pattern and obscure vertical columns, often found in classical architecture, with prayer rugs to create the sculptures in her exhibition.
In another way, as a form of reconstruction, Hera Büyüktaşciyan collages piece of marble mosaic on top of images of church ruins in Istanbul for her photographic series Icons for Hidden Stones from 2021, shown by Green Art Gallery.
Melike Kara’s Heraki Border (2021) in Jan Kaps’ Viewing Room, on the other hand, is an oily abstraction of red paint. Although not found on a map, Heraki sounds like it could be a place, or at least alludes to middle eastern geography.
Soft Opening in London are showing several stone pieces by Nevine Mahmoud. dum belle (2021)plays with language as much as form – white marble is carved into a cross between a body part and a kettlebell.
Bel Ami show several small painted panels made by Ben Sakoguchi that lift from the ornate designs of vintage Orange Crate Labels found in California, which he rebrands with moments in art and history. Aces + Artists Brand (1997), for instance, pairs miniature portraits of decorated french ace pilot Charles Nungesser and Marcel Duchamp’s alter ego Rrose Sélavy.
And finally, at Delmes & Zander, George Widener’s Self Portrait (2020) is a complex almanac of dates, numbers, events and Blade Runner references, including the opening line of Roy Batty’s famous monologue “I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe” in Ridley Scott’s film.
Saim Demircan is a curator and writer. He lives and works in New York, and is a Curator-at-Large at Aspen Art Museum. Demircan was the 2017 curatorial resident at Ludlow 38 in NY; the Goethe-Institut’s downtown space in NYC’s Lower East Side where he curated a 12-month program of exhibitions and events including debut US shows by New Noveta and Sidsel Meineche Hansen as well as performances by Steit (Veit Laurent Kurz and Stefan Tcherepnin), keyon gaskin and The Rebel. Between 2012 and 2015, he was curator at Kunstverein München, and in 2016, curator-in-residence at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Germany. Previously, he curated a two-year program of offsite projects as well as a survey of Kai Althoff’s work at Focal Point Gallery in Southend-on-Sea, UK in 2011. He has independently curated shows in London, Berlin, Venice and Vienna, and has lectured and published on numerous artistic practices. His writing regularly appears in periodicals such as Texte zur Kunst, frieze and Art Monthly.