Focus on Art


Time to monetize corporate collections

Time to monetize corporate collections

By Sonia Stubblebine

Due to the crisis and uncertainty that British Airways faces because of the coronavirus pandemic, the company puts its renowned art collection for sale

The British Airways collection include works of prominent artists such as Anish Kapoor, Tracey Emin and Chris Ofili, with some of the works being valued for more than £1m.
The British Airways collection presents works of mostly British artists and focused initially on artists early in their careers. The collection significantly increased in its value over the last decades. It was created thanks to the help of London-based curators Artwise, who worked with British Airways for 17 years until 2012. During this time period over 1,500 works were purchased for the airline company. These artworks were displayed in firm’s Waterside headquarters near Heathrow and walls of its executive lounges. The most valuable piece of the collection is believed to be by artist Bridget Riley – it is expected to raise millions for the airline.
The sales are going to be organized with the help of Sotheby’s Auction House. The main objective that British Airways is holding for the current sales is to save as many work places as possible and to keep their stuff.
Due to the lockdown and cancelation of all the flights, the airline sector has major changes and faces one of the largest crisis in its entire history, calling for brave ways to solve present and upcoming issues. Today, due to the black swan event, majority of companies are facing radical changes and losses, needing to monetize all their assets in the most effective and quick way. FIMART by Look Lateral is a perfect solution for monetizing corporate art collections, providing companies with liquidity and allowing most of the companies to survive and live till the better times.
Influence of COVID-19 on the Art Market

Influence of COVID-19 on the Art Market

By Sonia Stubblebine

The impact of COVID-19 is visible in various spheres and art market is not an exception. It forced various institutions to adapt and change their behavior online, aiming to not only keep but even raise interest of their audiences online

Art galleries have shown high adaptability to the extreme and unpredictable situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the physical spaces were forced to close down, cultural institutions and galleries invited art enthusiasts to follow them online. This change significantly contributed and speeded up the digitalization of the cultural sector, accumulating and increasing visibility of certain institutions and created an interest to visit the places after the lockdown.
COVID-19

Art Basel’s March 2020 Online Viewing Room, featuring a work from exhibitor Fergus McCAffrey’s exhibition “Japan Is America.” Courtesy of Art Basel

There is vast majority of ways how art venues and institutions responded to COVID-19. Some used virtual programs aiming to establish a stronger dialogue with the public, others communicated with their audience with artist-curated newsletters and weekly screenings (often via Instagram). Galleria Continua serves rather an interesting example, presenting series of #ContinuaStaffPicks. Gallery is posting an artwork which was chosen by member of #GalleriaContinua family, mostly the works that are particularly touching or significant for the each staff member.
COVID-19

Gu Dexin, ‘2006-09-02’ (2006), Installation: 5 tons of apples, plaster walls, bulldozer, variable dimensions. Installation view Galleria Continua, Les Moulins 2014 by Oak Taylor-Smith

Often by changing their websites and social media platforms, organizations made sure that art in these turbulent times remain significant serving a function of a positive and changing force. After the global pandemic some of venues start opening, starting from China. One of the fine examples is Beijing’s 798 Art District which re-opens in an orderly manner. Some of the exhibitions there are dedicate to the experience and journey of artists during COVID-19 pandemic, presenting unique and unprecedented moment in history and art history overall.
COVID-19

A Revive in Art poster from Times Art Museum in Beijing

Role of Look Lateral raises within this situation of global pandemic, which brought crisis and even further digitalization of the cultural sector. Galleries and art institutions are currently striving towards online visibility and searching for additional opportunities of selling online. Look Lateral can be a number 1 choice for increasing the sales together with reclaiming new liquidity while maintaining the right to sell the physical artwork.
Auction Houses during COVID-19

Auction Houses during COVID-19

By Sonia Stubblebine

The Coronavirus Pandemic continues to cross events off the art calendar: Christie’s auction house has announced its decision to give up its large evening sales in New York City

This year instead of a series of auctions there will be one broadcasted live from several cities. Christie’s will merge its online and offline opportunities and organize four auction sessions in various locations around the globe that will be broadcasted live. They will be held on July 10th in Hong Kong, Paris, London and New York and will combine Impressionism, Modernism, Post-war and Contemporary art and Design. In each city the auction will be conducted by its own auctioneer. All four auction sessions will be broadcasted live. These online auctions will engage wide majority of collectors from all over the world, offering them not only a first-hand experience but also an interactive show.
Auction

Rockefeller Sales at Christie’s 2018

Online sales attracted many new clients. Auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s report that 30% to 35% of recent online buyers participated in online art auctions for the first time. Experts believe that one of the reasons for the increased amount of new buyers is clients’ desire to brighten and diverse their quarantine time and experience.
Auction

Canvas of Yoshitomo Nara at Sotheby’s Auction Sales. Photo by Kelvin Luk

Having tangible experience of purchasing artworks after seeing them in real life or attending offline auction sales will remain significant in Post-Covid Era.
Auction

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Sales in London

We believe the art world will be even more digitalized in the future, but those essential and memorable experiences of travelling and attending auction sales together with social element of meeting other collectors and interacting with art professionals will high likely remain and keep their positions.
New Normal: AI curates Bucharest Biennial

New Normal: AI curates Bucharest Biennial

By Sonia Stubblebine

Next curator of 2020 Bucharest Biennial has no concern regarding delay of the Biennial because it is a robot

The chief curator of the 2022 Bucharest Biennial is an artificial intelligence program called Jarvis, created by studio Spinnwerk in Vienna. The name Jarvis comes from fictional AI in the “Iron Man” film (2008) and comics called J.A.R.V.I.S (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System).
Bucharest Biennial

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/ Iron Man and J.A.R.V.I.S. Artificial Intelligence in a scene from the film “Iron Man” (2008). Directed by Jon Favreau

The 10th Bucharest Biennial will take place on May 19–July 17 of 2022. The Biennial will exist in virtual reality, in the Spinnwerk VR gallery and is planned to be accessible worldwide. It will be easy access to those having VR headset while for others organizers will provide VR equipment in cities of Vienna and Bucharest.
Bucharest Biennial

Curator Ben Russell with a robot at the Science Museum in London. Courtesy of Jack Taylor/Getty Images

AI program Jarvis is supposed to use data provided by galleries and art institutions for the process of selecting artists. Jarvis will create short concepts for the Bucharest Biennial, later using it as a base for the further curatorial choices. “At the end of the process Jarvis will select several participants/artists/creators for the biennial based on his knowledge,” stated Razvan Ion, founder of Spinnwerk founder.
Bucharest Biennial

The Armar-6 humanoid demonstration at the CeBIT 2018 tech fair in Hanover, Germany, on 11 June 2018. Photo: Getty Images

While the 9th Bucharest Biennial 2020 has a theme “Farewell to Research” and is curated by Henk Slager, the 10th Bucharest Biennial (2022) will be the first ever in the world to be curated by artificial intelligence, presenting a truly unique moment in the history of art and curatorship.
Christmas Present of €1m. or “Still Life” from Picasso

Christmas Present of €1m. or “Still Life” from Picasso

By Sonia Stubblebine

Italian accountant Claudia Borgogno from Ventimiglia won the lottery, thus becoming an owner of a “Still Life” by Pablo Picasso which is worth more than €1m.

Participating in this lottery was idea of Claudia’s son Lorenzo, who purchased two tickets in lottery as a Christmas present for his mother. He described the experience of staying together in lockdown in Italy during coronavirus pandemic, as an “awful period of time” which was rather changed by this lottery win of Pablo Picasso’s painting.
Picasso

“Still Life” (1921) by Pablo Picasso

This kind of present was possible thanks to the auction house Christie’s which organized this raffle in Paris. The charitable event aiming towards fundraising for Care charity, had been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It finally took place, where that ticket was picked out in an electronic draw. Altogether 51,140 tickets were sold online for €100 ($109) each, raising in total €5.1m.
Picasso

Claudia Borgogno with “Still Life” (1921) by Pablo Picasso

Proceeds from these lottery are going for a good cause, providing water for villagers in Madagascar and Cameroon. The previous owner is the billionaire art collector as well as one of the biggest collector of Picasso David Nahmad who will receive 900,000 euros of the collected money. The rest of the sum will go to charities. This “Still Life” was the smallest of 300 works by Picasso that Nahmad owns, having dimensions of 23cm by 46cm and depicting a newspaper and a glass of absinthe on a wooden table.
Picasso

Claudia Borgogno is unpacking her “Still Life” from Pablo Picasso

“This coronavirus crisis has made it clear how important it is to wash your hands, and that can only be done with clear water,” the organizer of the sale Ms Cochin stated. By selling only one Picasso it was possible to contribute and make a change in villages and schools in Cameroon and Madagascar.
Handling the crisis in 2020: tokenizing Mona Lisa

Handling the crisis in 2020: tokenizing Mona Lisa

By Sonia Stubblebine

Covid-19 has plunged all sectors in major crisis including cultural one – the wild idea of the way how France can offset its losses from the shutdown came to French businessmen and CEO of Fabernovel Stéphane Distinguin. France should “sell the family jewellery” told Distinguin to Usbek & Rica Magazine

He proposed a radical and unprecedented idea of selling the most famous painting in the world – Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Gioconda embodies classicism more than any other painting that one can think of. This step of selling such an iconic painting reveals French’ willingness for exchanging old for new and heritage for possible creation. Located in Louvre since 1793 this painting gained popularity and visibility that have never been achieved by any other piece of art. This artwork of 79.4 centimeters high and 53.4 centimeters wide can be recognized by anyone and have attracted millions on visitors every year to Louvre.
Apart from the wild idea of selling Mona Lisa itself, the price that Stéphane Distinguin gave to Mona Lisa leaves one even in a deeper state of shock – Gioconda was estimated by him for at least €50 billion. Various critics and journalists have stated that the price is definitely overestimated, even far-fetched although no significant arguments have been provided in the media yet. The spectacular and in a certain way unbelievable price came from various factors. First of all, other paintings by Leonardo da Vinci have been sold in recent years with extremely high prices as well. The “Salvator Mundi” was sold for $450 Million and ended up on the yacht of a Saudi prince. Another example could be found by Italian idea of loaning “Vitruvian Man” against a deposit of one billion euros in 2019. Another pivotal factor that could determine painting’s value could be the income that Mona Lisa provided to the Louvre and overall to France annually. Direct together with indirect revenues could be calculated – thus, ending up in a colossal sum. According to Stéphane Distinguin’s calculations, Mona Lisa attracted about 30,000 visitors daily in 2019, forming 7 million visitors per year. Apart from understanding how significant Mona Lisa is for French tourism, these facts reveal that one painting generates 1,500 euros of expenditure on average per tourist (direct and indirect expenditures), thus, forming at least €3 billion per year.
In the process of selling “Mona Lisa” technology can play an essential role, bringing new possibilities and various advantages. Consideration of “tokenizing” Mona Lisa was proposed by Stéphane Distinguin –the term of “tokenizing” an asset refers to the process of using a blockhain token that digitally represents a real tradable asset. The tokens, a virtual representation of such information or assets, can be stored on the blockchain and potentially bought or sold. By “tokenizing” one is creating financial products having that underlying asset. Tokenization will bring various legal and technical advantages: it would allow France and the Louvre to retain control and the capacity to exploit the painting. In case of traditional way of selling Mona Lisa would have left the Louvre which would definitely influence her reputation and significantly lower her status. Gioconda and Louvre “work” together and part of the value of this masterpiece is in its “context”. “Tokenizing” this artwork might provide a perfect solution, leaving France with one and only Mona Lisa together with monetizing the masterpiece.
Luigi Ghirri: frameless landscapes

Luigi Ghirri: frameless landscapes

By Chiara Rizzolo

The Triennale museum takes us on a photographic journey across Italian landscapes and architecture made familiar by Ghirri’s liturgical rite for the genius loci.
The landscape of architecture but also, the architecture of landscape

Omnia quae sunt, lumina sunt
“All things that are, are lights” ¹



Luighi Ghirri started taking saturated kodachrome snapshots in the early 1970s, pioneering the color photography as a new art form. The idea of a “snapshot aesthetic” had somehow already started spreading in the mid-1960s, but the majority of photographers were still using black-and-white film. It took another decade before William Eggleston – to whom Ghirri has always been likened – and Stephen Shore, to name a few, began adding the sparkle of saturated hues to their works.
Luigi Ghirri, Riviera Romagnola, 1988 - 1989 by Luigi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri, Riviera Romagnola, 1988 – 1989 by Luigi Ghirri

Ghirri’s admiration for Eggleston, in particular, was immediate and strong. The American’s photographs looked completely different from those taken by his contemporaries. As Ghirri said in an interview in 1984, “As soon as I saw Eggleston’s works at the Stadtpark Forum in Gratz, I couldn’t help but feeling a strong emotional ‘uneasiness’. My first reaction was pure wonder. What couldn’t cease to amaze me was Eggleston’s new way to look at things. I was feeling an enchantment I had never experienced before. Those signs and those landscapes I was looking at were not the familiar signs, landscapes, and symbolic objects he used to capture. Rather, they looked kind of blurry, vague, with unusual perspectives.

Far from the urge of sharpness and precision – a common trend in Shore, Meyerowitz and Sternfeld’s photography at the time –, Eggleston was using his camera as a tool to fragment the image, to dissolve our traditional conception of a “pre–fab” world and show a different reality. It’s a formal revoluton: no centre is left to the spectator’s vision and, consequently, light ends up being so omnipresent that it somehow disappears. Originated elsewhere, it simply starts co-exhisting within the space as a “radiant sea”.
Following this philosophy, Luigi Ghirri pursued his attraction to italian landscapes, architecture and its relationship with the surrounding environment. He photographed iconic buildings as well as the local houses along his homeland Emilian fields, both with an equally poetic and liturgical eye. He critically viewed photography as a powerful visual language, the only way to handle human’s tremendous yearning to achieve more and grab a slice of infinite – a desire deeply rooted within all of us. Photographic constructions means the construction of an image.

My aim is not to make PHOTOGRAPHS, but rather CHARTS and MAPS that might at the same time constitute photographs,” writes the photographer on his craft, in his 1973 essay, Fotografie del periodo iniziale.

An old house, a roof, a vanishing decoration, a man sitting against a wall, a desert road, a mediterranean tree: these subjects stand like ‘apparitions’ in full light, reversing Ecclesiastes’ motto Nihil sub sole novum (“There is nothing new under the sun”). Instead, photography reveals there’s nothing old under the sun: we can look at a landscape a hundred times as if it was there for the very first time. Isolated from the reality which surrounds them and presented in a photograph as part of a different discourse, these images become laden with new meaning.
Ghirri’s eye on architecture is widely shown in the the exhibition “The Landscape of Architecture” at Triennale museum in Milan. Running through 26 August 2018 and featuring the fruitful relationship between Ghirri and Lotus International Architecture Magazine, the exhibition displays about 200 original photographs from the magazine archives, together with some work materials.

Divided into three sections – Italian Landscape, Domestic Design, and Architectural Images commissioned by the magazine – this neon-lit environment let us wander among images and quotes from the photographer’s writings, encouraging a personal reading of them both. “The daily encounter with reality, the fictions, the surrogates, the ambiguous, poetic or alienating aspects, all seem to preclude any way out of the labyrinth, the walls of which are ever more illusory… to the point at which we might merge with them… The meaning that I am trying to render through my work is a verification of how it is still possible to desire and face a path of knowledge, to be able finally to distinguish the precise identity of man, things, life, from the image of man, things, and life.” Luigi Ghirri
Attention is the only path towards the ineffable, the only possibile way through mistery. It is the ultimate, higher source of imagination. Reality, knowledge and fairytale somehow intertwine creating new worlds, new symbols, new images-within-the-image. Lined up, all these places (“loci”) recreate a strange sequence made of stones, churches, blue seascapes, country roads, objects. These “impossibile landscapes” – as Ghirri called them –, suddenly become familiar like an old enigma no longer inscrutable and indecipherable, finally solved by the heart.
Luigi Ghirri, 'I Bagni Misteriosi' di Giorgio de Chirico e la Triennale, 1986

Luigi Ghirri, ‘I Bagni Misteriosi’ di Giorgio de Chirico e la Triennale, 1986

¹ J. S. Eriugena (c. 815 – c. 877, theologian, neoplatonist philosopher, and poet)
Leunora Salihu: exploring space

Leunora Salihu: exploring space

By Chiara Rizzolo

A spatial journey with Leunora Salihu, the Kosovian artist abstracting and redefining shapes from everyday life

Leunora Salihu foto Mathias Schormann

Leunora Salihu foto Mathias Schormann

Leunora Salihu (1977, Pristina, Kosovo) is a multifaceted artist combining different industrial and organic materials to explore space through – or maybe, beyond – the physicality of her sculptures.
Every piece – be it a ceramic work or a temporary public installation – challenges the possibilities and limits of movement juxtaposing natural and constructive “form-elements” from industrial, architectural and design fields.

I’m looking for something extraordinary in form and material, paired with the temporal aspects of movement. Condensing such contrasts into a clear image is appealing to me.
Her “Spatialism” explores the classic questions of sculpture, such as the relationship between volume and surrounding space, the dynamism of the whole related to its individual parts and the interplay between sculpture and pedestal. Hereby she creates voluminous objects, often recurring to familiar shapes mimicking human proportions or architectural prototypes of human habitations (like in Haus, 2009) – ranging till the anatomy of insects, hives or nests.
Ceramic, wood, and metal are combined with minute care and tenacity, giving each sculpture not only an original shape but also a consistent “geometry of presence” – and therefore, of distance – in Space.
The poet is a pretender” once wrote Fernando Pessoa referring to the artist’s ability to create a perfect illusion in the eye of the beholder but don’t call her an “illusionist”: her sculptures are meant to be a ‘unicum’, a continuous “transition between an object and its base or between inside and outside” she says. Nothing’s hermetic, nothing’s hidden. For a while, you could say they even defy the commonsense requirement of finiteness.
Every sculpture is an encounter: what the viewer witnesses is a kind of physical presence, a face-to-face interaction turning everyone into an integral part of the work. There’s a timeless, ethereal balance between the austerity of the composition and the light permeability of the objects and this astonishing perception is made possible thanks to the accurate combination of antithetical materials such as wood and metal; plaster and ceramics, resin and clay…
Leunora Salihu’s sculptures create an apparent paradox: at first glance, almost every object seems to be asking for a symbolical, multi-layered interpretation.  But this is misleading, for it denies the intense physical realism of the artist’s creations. If it is still “symbolic truth” that we are to find here, then we still have to start a conversation with the form, which is as meaningful on the small size, though evident on the large.  Salihu’s artworks are exceptional for they spur an audacious human endeavor to embrace space, to fill and understand it from every perspective.
Leunora Salihy - Leunora Salihu, Turm, 2010-2011, Galerie Thomas Schulte

Leunora Salihy – Leunora Salihu, Turm, 2010-2011, Galerie Thomas Schulte

This is the reason why her public installations are meant to be temporary interventions rather than permanent. Everything is designed in such a way that the sculptures do not lose their ethereal aura becoming an ‘invading fetish’. Pressed wood or roofing gently combines with parks and places’s aesthetic, allowing the artwork to remain fully visible (and interacting).
Primoz Bizjak: more than meets the eye

Primoz Bizjak: more than meets the eye

By Chiara Rizzolo

The Slovenian photographer Primoz Bizjak leads us to a sublime journey across the Apuan Alps to unveil the inner light and colors of impermanence

After a childhood spent in the fields behind his house looking for pieces from the First World War, a holy curiosity and a strong need to widen horizons drove a grown up Slovenian transport logistics engineer to finally attend the Fine Art School in Venice and become a photographer. “Now my curiosity is the source of my work” says Primoz Bizjak after several solo and group exhibitions in Italy, Spain, Germany, Slovenia and Canada.
Primoz Bizjak by Ph. Carlos Fernández

Primoz Bizjak by Ph. Carlos Fernández

Using two old analogical cameras and nocturnal shots revealing colors usually hidden in the night, Primož’s pays a special attention to landscape, to the framing and to every detail. With an eye on abandoned places or places going through a transition, his work is a record of a certain locus in a particular point in time – often, a revealing one. All compositions are front-on and stick to the essential: there’s no room for unusual perspectives – “the students’ stuff” – as he calls it. Underlying all series is the idea of an unmediated directness with the selected subject, heightened by the fact that the works undergo no degree of digital manipulation. “I’m far more interested in the object itself, what’s in front of me, and I try to show it as it is. Much more important for me is the viewpoint, both in terms of form and concept.” His photographs patiently unveil the history of places, their symbolic landmarks as well as their impermanent function. Light is crucial, in this regard, since “it can sometimes help us see the same object in different ways or even reveal things the eye cannot see” – both in term of form and concept. After all, it hasn’t been that long since early childhood explorations: that young boy is still running in the fields or climbing up a mountain to witness the ephemeral, the hidden voice or nature or maybe, just the passing of time.
Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane - Passo della Focolaccia, 2017

Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane – Passo della Focolaccia, 2017

Gregor Podnar Gallery recently hosted “Alpi Apuane”, a series of seven photographs taken between 2014 and late 2017 and dedicated to the vast mountain range in northern Tuscany. It took Bizjak four patient years to find the perfect moment in time revealing what is left behind – or sometimes beyond – Apuan rock walls. His analogue shots features nocturnal images surprising the viewer with a full spectrum of colors normally hidden in daylight. He gradually captured the abandoned quarries and extraction sites, defying heights and ‘no-entry’ signs to unveil what we would never be able to see.
Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane - Antro del Corchia, 2015

Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane – Antro del Corchia, 2015

As a Romantic explorer, the artist captures these “suspended” landscapes abstracting them from both temporal and spatial dimension and freezing them into an atemporal place in history. The viewer’s experience, on the other side, is deeply immersive, almost a religious one. We’re asked to look deeper, to be silent witness of the mountain’s breathe. Maybe this is the ‘Sublime’ feeling well described in the 18th century writings by Joseph Addison and a few other Englishmen who had experienced a journey across the Alps. Sharing the same appreciation of the fearful and irregular forms of nature, what these writers and philosophers also had in common was a strong feeling of “delight that is consistent with reason”: the experience of the journey was at once “a pleasure to the eye as music is to the ear”, but “mingled with Horrours, and sometimes almost with despair”. The very etymology of “Sublime” – from Latin Sublimis (sub, “under” + limen, literally “lintel, threshold, sill”) seems to suggest us a perfect interpretation of Bizjak’s recherche: we’re somehow asked to look carefully at all these nuances, to discover in every detail a glimpse of what lies behind and, at the same time, aspires to reach the peak of an undisclosed height.
Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane - Tre Fiumi, 2015

Primoz Bizjak, Alpi Apuane – Tre Fiumi, 2015

Even a dismissed quarry can be called sublime because it ascends to the heights in a figurative and physical sense, as can every aspect of nature – as long as it has its own grandeur or is able to covey a “spiritual awakening”. Alpi Apuane thus is more than just a Proustian search of lost time. It’s a symbolic recollection of childhood’s curiosity together with adulthood appreciation of the transient impermanent. It’s a journey trhough Memory, an invitation not to forget what belongs to the past, elevating reality to the imaginary, almost mystical level.  
Obliteration is not an option.
Bizjak’s “unmediated intimacy” with the mountain is the way through an Epiphany, a sudden revelation. The micro becomes macro and viceversa: every photograph is a ‘manifestation’, that holy moment when a simple rock or a ray of light against a wall flashes out with its own peculiar meaning and makes us realize we’re maybe smaller than we think but – at the same time – higher.
For more information, visit Gregor Podnar Gallery.