13.05.2017 - 26.11.2017
Axel Vervoordt and Daniela Ferretti present Intuition at the Palazzo Fortuny
for the 2017 Venice Art Biennale.

Palazzo Fortuny, San Marco 3958-San Beneto, Venice
13 May – 26 November 2017
Angel Vergara  | Straatman: Acts & Paintings

Angel Vergara | Straatman: Acts & Paintings

03.09.2017 - 07.10.2017
Angel Vergara  | Straatman: Acts & Paintings

03.09.2017 – 07.10.2017 at Axel Vervoordt Gallery Kanaal

Gallery: Open Wed-Sat: 13:30-17:30

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All performances are in collaboration with Inspiratum.

Performances schedule:

Sunday 03/09 
Kanaal - Opening at 11am, performance at 12pm
Angel Vergara + Mireille Capelle & Marc Tooten

Saturday 16/09
Middelheim / Middelheim Art Festival –  between 5pm and 8pm.
Angel Vergara 

Saturday 30/09
Kanaal - 4pm
Angel Vergara + Joel Benzakin

“ … I mainly wanted to create some kind of mobile studio, to live inside of the canvas, to be the theme, the act, and the canvas. I was thinking about Velasquez' Las Meniñas or Courbet’s Atelier.”
(Angel Vergara)

Axel Vervoordt Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Angel Vergara in which the artist continues his exploration into the power of the visual image. The exhibition features several large canvases coated with smeared charcoal that are the result of an on-going series of performances by his alter ego, “Straatman”.

Straatman works in public while hidden beneath a white sheet, a concept that both attracts and keeps the viewer at a distance. The artist — performing and creating in anonymity — places himself in the centre, but remains protected. Not being able to see well what is going on outside of his shelter, Straatman is inspired by his muted senses and imagination. He sketches on canvas whatever he can hear or observe around him, which is a way to give the audience a spontaneous participatory part in the creation process.

By turning into Straatman, Vergara appears like a living sculpture. The painter is literally within the white canvas, which he uses as a movable studio that he can carry around wherever he wants to go. Straatman is a character, a tool, and a work of art. The sketches later serve as a basis for a more elaborate and finished work.

The canvases at this exhibition were originally completely black. During his performance, Straatman moves and sketches, rubbing the black surface off the canvas. While he moulds his drawing, he simultaneously stains the white sheet of his ghost-like figure in the process.

Straatman first appeared in front of the Belgian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1988. Ever since, he has been popping up in various places from Antwerp to Tokyo, both announced and by surprise. Leading up to this exhibition, Straatman turned up in several locations around Antwerp throughout the month of August 2017. During his performances, Straatman lies down, stands, crawls, sits, and stretches. The curious audience passes him by, inspecting the artist who appears as an anonymous white figure mysteriously creating his canvases.
Tsuyoshi Maekawa

Tsuyoshi Maekawa

19.09.2017 - 07.11.2017
Artist Talk:
Tsuyoshi Maekawa in conversation with Boris Vervoordt.
19.9.2017,  6pm at The Library Duddells

Opening 19.9.2017 7-8pm, in presence of the artist.
Axel Vervoordt Gallery

Axel Vervoordt Gallery Hong Kong is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Tsuyoshi Maekawa (born 1936, Osaka). This exhibition features works from the late 1970s, which represent the significant shift from the artist’s vigorous colour-based work to delicate fabric-based expressions. The 1970s can be seen as a preparatory period in which he discovered a new style and unique ways to explore pictorial spaces in painting.

Maekawa was a prominent member of the Gutai Art Association, which he joined in 1962. Gutai was at the forefront in developing new styles of art in the 1950s, and many of the Gutai artists adopted a variety of approaches to expand the concept of painting and performance. Maekawa was keenly aware of the creative issues that faced painting at that time. He was among one of the younger members who further expanded the scope of the medium from two dimensions into three dimensions, and his early works were praised for their primitive power. Nonetheless, it’s necessary to examine later developments in the artist’s practice to truly grasp the essence of his art.

Maekawa creates by freely manipulating pieces of burlap, by sewing the material into complex waveforms, and by pouring paint over the surface. An abstract image is created that transcends the flatness of traditional paintings. It’s important to stress that Maekawa focussed on materiality as a method of pictorial expression , and that he chose to use burlap — and other fabrics as well later on — for its material qualities.

In order to support the concept of originality — the founding principle of Gutai — Maekawa put a lot of effort into achieving a level of innovation by adopting new means of expression that centred on pleated fabric. So in the 1960s he started to combine the coarse texture of burlap with pleats in spiral-shaped lines. With all these traces of construction visibly on the surface, the creation process became revealed, exuding a primitive sense of power.

After Gutai’s dissolve in 1972, Maekawa kept the Gutai spirit of doing something that no one had ever done before, and he continued to achieve greater originality in his practice. He tucked seams on the reverse side of the cloth, which created delicate concave lines. By consciously applying subdued hues and as little paint as possible, Maekawa brought out the distinctive roughness of the painting through simplicity. With this new direction, he began to use pin-tuck techniques to produce simple shapes. These works had a totally different appearance from those of the Gutai era.

In the mid-1970s, a huge change occurred in Maekawa’s work. He developed a lighter, more refined style in which he combined cloth with different material qualities like hemp and cotton as his support medium. He also brought out the distinctive features of the fabric without applying too much paint.

In the 1980s, he produced even more delicate, refined works that were highly acclaimed. He received the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum Prize at the 15th Contemporary Art Exhibition of Japan in 1981 and other awards the following year. With esteemed recognition, Maekawa continues to explore possibilities in painting up to the present day.

*Shoichi Hirai, The Quest for Pictorial Spaces: The Art of Tsuyoshi Maekawa, “Maekawa”, 2014, Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation.

For more info on Tsuyoshi Maekawa, click here

General opening hours Hong Kong Gallery:
Wed - Sat, 11am - 7pm
on Tuesday open only on appointment
Frieze Masters - 2017

Frieze Masters - 2017

05.10.2017 - 08.10.2017
Axel Vervoordt Gallery will be exhibiting at Frieze Masters 2017.
Frieze Masters features more than 130 leading modern and historical galleries from around the world, showcasing art from the ancient era and Old Masters to the late 20th century.
El Anatsui – Proximately

El Anatsui – Proximately

10.10.2017 - 13.01.2018
El Anatsui – Proximately
October 10, 2017 – January 13, 2018
Opening October 10, 2017

Axel Vervoordt Gallery is pleased to announce El Anatsui’s exhibition titled, Proximately, consisting of seven new works. Proximately continues the artist’s exploration into the diverse language of his chosen materials. Anatsui uses aluminium bottle caps and the labels of liquor bottles that are stitched together with copper wire to create sculptural installations often mounted to the wall like a three-dimensional draped tapestry. The transformation and reuse of simple, everyday materials draws attention to contemporary ideas about waste, consumption, and recycling, but the artist prefers to imply and suggest meaning rather than enforce it.

El Anatsui (°1944) was born in Ghana and now lives and works between Ghana and Nigeria. Growing up in the 1960s, Anatsui experienced a period of time typified by a profound search for social and personal identity. This search has become a central theme in his work. He investigates the erosion of tradition, as well as its survival and transmission into the future. He has addressed a vast range of social, political and historical concerns, and embraced an equally diverse vocabulary of media and process.

"Art grows out of each particular situation and I believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up…"

The exhibition includes several large-scale sculptures. Anatsui has focused on large tapestry-like metal sculptures made up out of thousands of colourful liquor caps. When local distilleries in Nigeria recycle each other's bottles, the screw caps associated with each brand are discarded in the process. By collecting these materials, and laboriously sewing them together with copper wire, Anatsui's transformative process aims to "subvert the stereotype of metal as a stiff, rigid medium and rather showing it as a soft, pliable, almost sensuous material capable of attaining immense dimensions and being adapted to specific spaces" (Anatsui 2005).

He reworks and rearranges materials and transforms them into something new without them losing their own history. These reconfigured found objects break down the definition of conventional painting and sculpture. The repetitively hand-stitched bottle caps evoke the cultural tradition of handcraft and of a graphical system that is used to form patterns on African textile. The sculptures’ formal language is another key to understanding the aesthetic sensibilities of Anatsui’s work. Elements of colour and the three-dimensional qualities break down the definition of conventional painting and sculpture.

A large, fluid, colourful installation draped over the wall is visually overwhelming. Voluminous, undulated folds and luminous colours invite viewers to touch and walk around the work, viewing it from all angles. The form’s playfulness and the freedom to shape the works before and after installation are reflective of the openness and fluid aspects of Anatsui’s work. Additionally, the repetitively hand-stitched bottle caps evoke the cultural tradition of handcraft. Although the material comes from mass-produced products, there’s no industrial feeling to it. Hints of the touch and craft of human hands are embedded into the work, bringing a sense of emotion and contemplation.
TEFAF Fall 2017

TEFAF Fall 2017

28.10.2017 - 01.11.2017
Axel Vervoordt is particpating at TEFAF Fall 2017

OCTOBER 28 - NOVEMBER 01, 2017
Fine and decorative art from antiquity to 1920