22.10.15 – 25.10.15
with Saâdane Afif and Ivan Seal

South Gallery, 1st floor, booth 1.G09

FIAC_SA&IS_2015.jpg SaadaneAfif-BlackSpirit-web.jpg IvanSeal-thedealer-web.jpg


At FIAC 2015 RaebervonStenglin will present new paintings by the British-born, Berlin-based artist Ivan Seal especially made for the fair, in savvy interplay with French artist Saâdane Afif’s porcelain vases, which are part of «The Fairytale Recordings» series.

Ivan Seal (*1973) paints objects — not directly from life and not directly from documentation, but paintings of objects nonetheless. The object depicted by Seal often begins with references to particular personal memories, aesthetic histories or cultural stereotypes. However through the action of painting — one Seal feels harnessed by associative improvisation — the object is free to move through different manifestations before the endpoint of “finished painting”. Frequently the original intent, stimulus or object is transformed and morphed into something quite different and consequently conducive to multiple interpretations. Here lies the intent of the paintings: to present some “thing” which can create in itself plural meanings and opportunities for interpretation and discussion.

One recent starting point for Seal’s paintings has been the memory of and subsequent research on porcelain ornaments. Figurines became fashionable in the latter half of the 17th Century, remaining in vogue through to the 18th century and onwards. Yet what first turned Seal on to figurines was the memory of what decorated his parents’ and grandparents’ houses in his childhood. These figurines, observed either with the fantastical imagination of a child or under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs by the teenage Seal, have become a blossoming starting point for paintings. What also has become apparent is the ability to create narratives with objects and figurines. This has led Seal’s work of late to use the paintings of objects as small singular vignettes. These stories without beginnings or ends shift the depicted objects into platforms for relating the viewer’s own tales and the larger narrative of what we as humans are like and how we interact.

Art, in Saâdane Afif’s (*1970) highly reflexive practice, becomes words, music and movement, metamorphosing from one art form into another with the help of talented collaborators. Inviting writers to respond to physical artworks, and musicians and actors to respond to their texts, Afif transposes the visual into other senses, projecting the imaginary essence of a piece through the interpretations of others. His work completes a full circle, turning lyrics formed in response to previous pieces, by way of performance and porcelain, into sculpture, and in doing so sealing the process.

The starting points for «The Fairytale Recordings» are eight earlier works from which writers — Tom Morton, Lili Reynaud Dewar, Mick Peter, Ina Blom and Tacita Dean — have created lyrics to reflect their spirits. Their titles are poetic, invoking dark magic: Ghost, Black Hole and Vice De Forme (A Duel of Warriors) for instance. From these, Afif has worked with the operatic actress Katharina Schrade, turning each text into a performance in which the words are part spoken, part enacted, thus creating a transmission of the text that ends with it being spoken into a special vase which is then sealed consigning the verse to eternity. Afif employed the world-famous Munich Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg to make the vases. Each bears a different figurine on its lid depicting Schrade in the pose that she will begin each performance with and the recording information for each work — a reference number, the title of the song and the date. Afif’s collaborators are each important — the writers, actress, her costume designers StarStyling Berlin, and the vase manufacturers —chosen to imbue his piece with their particular savoir-faire. The idea for the work harks back to pre-Edison notions of sound recording, to literary conceits encountered in works by pre-Enlightenment writers such as François Rabelais which imagined the possibility of freezing the spoken word, and to the animist principle that non-human entities might embody spiritual life-force.

Saâdane Afif was born in 1970 in Vendôme, France. He is the recipient of the 8th Meurice Prize for contemporary art, presenting the project ‘Das Ende der Welt’ (2015) and the recipient of the Prix Marcel Duchamp, presenting the exhibition, ANTHOLOGIE DE L’ HUMOUR NOIR (2010). A selection of recent solo exhibitions include ‘Das Ende der Welt, Artistic Interventions Round I’, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Berlin (both 2015); ‘LÀ-BAS’, Kunsthaus Glarus, Glarus; ‘From the collection: Saâdane Afif Technical Specifications’, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Lichtenstein (both 2014); ‘Blue Time, Blue Time, Blue Time...’, Institut d’art contemporain, Lyon (2013); ‘The Fairytale Recordings’, RaebervonStenglin, Zurich; ‘The Fairytale Recordings’, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (both 2011) and ‘Feedback’, EACC Espai d’Art Contemporani de Castello, Valencia (2009). Recent group shows include ‘Atopolis’, Manège de Sury, Mons; ‘DO DISTURB!’, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (both 2015); ‘Threads: Fantasmagoria about Distance’, 10th Biennale Kaunas, Kaunas and ‘Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art’, VDNKh pavilion #1, Moscow (both 2015); ‘Carrefour / Meeting Point. The Marrakech Biennale and beyond’, Ifa Gallery Berlin, Berlin; ‘NOTYETSEENINBERLIN’ Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin (both 2015); ‘Where Are We Now?’, Marrakech Biennale, Marrakech; ‘The Crime Was Almost Perfect’, Witte de With, Rotterdam (both 2014) and ‘What would Thomas Bernhard do’, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2013). Afif lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Ivan Seal was born in 1973 in Manchester, UK. A selection of recent solo exhibitions include ‘Ivan Seal | Showroom’, RaebervonStenglin, Zurich; ‘Ivan Seal’, Carl Freedman Gallery, London (both 2015); ‘Ivan Seal’, RaebervonStenglin, Zurich (2013); ‘In Here Stands It’, Spike Island, Bristol (2012); ‘the object hurts the space’, RaebervonStenglin, Zurich (2011) and ‘I Learn by Osmosis’, CEAAC, Strasbourg (2010). Recent group shows include ‘Magnetic Leakage Fluxes. An international group exhibition’, The Brno House of Arts, Brno; ‘The Painter Of Modern Life’, Anton Kern Gallery, New York (both 2015); ‘Mean what you see’, Daniel Marzona, Berlin; ‘A Tea In Three Cities’, ArtOne, Hong Kong (both 2014); ‘ANYONE FOR CRICKET’, Kunstverein Horn, Horn; ‘Poster 6&6’ Eden 16, Zurich (both 2013); ‘Changing States of Matter’, BRAND NEW GALLERY, Milano (2012) and ‘Splendid Isolation’, Nationalmuseum Berlin, Berlin (2011). Seal lives and works in Berlin, Germany.


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