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Focus on : The yBa's

The words yBa stand for Young British Artists, a movement that grew out of the "go go 80's" of the last century when Maggie Thatcher slipped and fell in China, just a few years prior to that fateful night in Beijing and Londo nwas the hot bed for money, power, art ...

source: Tate Gallery, London - Glossary of Contemporary Art.

Young British Artists (YBA)

In the late 1980s British art entered what was quickly recognised as a new and excitingly distinctive phase, the era of what became known as the YBAs - the Young British Artists. Young British Art can be seen to have a convenient starting point in the exhibition Freeze organised, while he was still a student at Goldsmiths College in London in 1988, by Damien Hirst, who became the most celebrated, or notorious, of the YBAs. Goldsmiths, which was attended by many of the YBAs, and numbered Michael Craig Martin among its most influential teachers, had been for some years fostering new forms of creativity through its courses that, for example, abolished the traditional separation of the media of art. The label YBA turned out to be a powerful brand and marketing tool, but of course it concealed huge diversity. Nevertheless certain broad trends both formal and thematic can be discerned. Formally, the era is marked by a complete openness towards the materials and processes with which art can be made and the form that it can take. Leading artists have preserved dead animals (Damien Hirst), crushed found objects with a steamroller (Cornelia Parker), appropriated objects from medical history (Christine Borland), presented her own bed as art (Tracey Emin) made sculpture from fresh food, cigarettes, or women's tights (Sarah Lucas), made extensive use of film, video and photography, used drawing and printmaking in every conceivable way, increasingly developed the concept of the installation (a multi-part work occupying a single space), and not least, refreshed and revitalised the art of painting.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old April 6th, 2005, 02:04 Thread Starter
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DAMIEN HIRST


Damien Hirst (British, born 1965), Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind, earlier Installation. (Photo: Reuters)

Damien Hirst was born in Bristol, England in 1965 and attended Goldsmiths College from 1986 to 1989. He was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1992, and won the award when he was nominated again in 1995. His works were selected on the basis of his exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Saatchi Gallery, and his touring show which opened at the Serpentine Gallery.

The impulses driving Damien Hirst's work stem from dilemmas inherent in human life: 'I am aware of mental contradictions in everything, like: I am going to die and I want to live for ever. I can't escape the fact and I can't let go of the desire'. The materials he uses often shock, but he says he 'uses shock almost as a formal element … not so much to thrust his work in the public eye … but rather to make aspects of life and death visible'.


Damien Hirst (British, born 1965), Mother and Child, Divided, 1993 [Winner, Turner Prize, 1995]
Steel, GRP composites, glass, silicone sealants, cow, calf, formaldehyde solution. Dimensions variable; Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo]

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GILLIAN WEARING


Gillian Wearing (British, born 1963), 10-16, 1997 [Winner 1997 Turner Prize]
Single channel video artwork in colour with sound, Tate Gallery, London


Gillian Wearing was born in Birmingham, England in 1963. Between 1985 and 1990 she studied at Chelsea School of Art and then Goldsmiths College. She won the Turner Prize in 1997, for the sustained development of her work as seen at the Henry Moore Studio and with her video work 10:16, shown at the Chisenhale Gallery.

Using photographs and video, Gillian Wearing has collaborated with members of the public, young and old, to produce work that yields insights, both funny and disturbing, into the complexities of everyday life. Her work often highlights the friction between public and private, between individual impulse and established norms of behavior. In 1992 she began a series called Signs…, photos of people holding placards on which they had spontaneously written what they were thinking or feeling when Wearing approached them in the street.

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CHRIS OFILI


Chris Ofili (british, born ), No Woman, No Cry, 1998 [Winner, 1998 Turner Prize]
Acrylic, oil and mixed media on canvas, 243.8 x 182.8 cm, Tate. Purchased 1999


Chris Ofili was born in Manchester, England in 1968. From 1988 to 1991 he attended Chelsea School of Art, and continued his studies at the Royal College of Art until 1993. He won the Turner Prize in 1998 for his 'inventiveness, exuberance, humour and technical richness in painting,' as seen in his exhibitions held at Southhampton City Art Gallery, and in Sensation at the Royal Academy.

Chris Ofili says 'the way I work comes out of experimentation, but it also comes out of a love of painting, a love affair with painting.' He mixes a wide range of cultural references, from the Bible to pornographic magazines, from 1970s comics to the work of artists such as William Blake. He also experiments outside the traditional confines of oil paint, introducing things like elephant dung into his work; he enjoys the tension between the beautiful paint surfaces and the perceived ugliness of the dung.

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DAMIEN HIRST


Damien Hirst (British, born 1965), Hospital Corridor, 2004, Oil on canvas; 78 x 136-1/2 inches (198.1 x 346.7 cm)

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old April 6th, 2005, 02:13 Thread Starter
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RACHEL WHITEREAD


Rachel Witeread (Briitsh, born 1963), Ether 1990 (foreground), [Winner, Turner Prize, 1991]
Plaster, 109.2 x 87.6 x 203 cm; Š the artist Photo: Tate Photography


Rachel Whiteread was born in London in 1963. Between 1982 and 1987 she trained at Brighton Polytechnic and the Slade School of Art. She was nominated for the Prize in 1991, and she won when shortlisted again in 1993. Whiteread was selected for her 'resonant sculptures of the spaces surrounding domestic objects and rooms,' as seen in her installation works shown at the Chisenhale Gallery, and her work House, publicly exhibited in collaboration with Artangel.



Rachel Witeread (Briitsh, born 1963), House 1993, [winner, Turner Prize, 1993]
Commissioned by Artangel Trust and Beck's (corner of Grove Road and Roman Road,
London E3, destroyed 1994); Š the artist Photo: Tate Photography


Whiteread's work is based on casts taken from commonplace objects, but they have a sense of mystery because she usually casts not the objects themselves, but the spaces above, below, or inside them, giving form to the apparently empty spaces we have inhabited. Soon after she had been shortlisted, Whiteread made House, a cast of the interior of the last remaining house of a late-nineteenth century terrace in the East End of London; this became a focus for debate about contemporary art in the year she won the prize.

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TRACEY EMIN


Tracey Emin (British, born 1963), My Bed 1998 (installation view)
Mattress, bed, linens, pillows, suitcase, ephemera, 79 x 211 x 234; The Saatchi Collection, London


Tracey Emin was born in London, England in 1963. Between 1983 and 1989 she studied at Maidstone College of Art and then attended the Royal College of Art. In 1999 Emin was shortlisted for her works exhibited at Lehmann Maupin and Sagacho Exhibition Space, which showed her 'vibrancy and flair for self-expression' that revealed a 'frank and brutal honesty.'

Tracey Emin makes paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture, as well as working in performance and installation, film, video, embroidery-collage, neon and written text. Critics have noted the wistfulness, poetry, humour and honesty that underpin the harrowing frankness and unreserved sexual revelation of her obsessively confessional works. My Bed, the work shown at the Turner Prize exhibition in 1999, graphically illustrates themes of loss, sickness, fertility, copulation, conception and death - almost the whole human life-cycle in the place where most of us spend our most significant moments.

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SAM TAYLOR-WOOD


Sam Taylor-Wood (British, born 1967), Atlantic, 1997
Three-screen laser disc projection with sound, shot on 16 mm film, dimensions variable
Š Courtesy the artist and Jay Jopling/White Cube (London)


Sam Taylor-Wood works with film, video and photography, producing work which focuses on a range of fundamental human emotions, such as desire, anger, loneliness and boredom. Working with professional actors, amateurs and friends, she loosely orchestrates scenes, often focusing on moments of tension created when opposites collide. Through her work she draws attention to the role of the mass media, especially film, as an echo-chamber for all our expressions and gestures, both original and acquired.

Sam Taylor-Wood was born in London, England in 1967 and graduated from Goldsmiths College in 1990. She was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1998 for her prize-winning presentation at the Venice Biennale, as well as her solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle, Zurich and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Her work was selected because of its 'acutely perceptive explorations of human relationships through photography and film.'

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DAMIEN HIRST


Damien Hirst (British, born 1965), Two Pills, 2004, Oil on canvas; 60 x 40 inches (152.4 x 101.6 cm)

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MONA HATOUM


Mona Hatoum (born 1952 in Beirut, Lebanan; now residing in the UK), Light Sentence, 1992
Mixed media, dimensions variable; Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou



Mona Hatoum was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1952 and came to in London in 1975. She trained at both the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Slade School of Art between 1975 and 1981. She was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1995 for her exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and for her show at the White Cube.

Hatoum began making performance pieces in the early 1980s, but later moved from 'live' work to video, installation and sculpture. She has focused on confrontational themes such as violence, oppression and voyeurism, often making powerful reference to the vulnerability, and resistance, of the human body. She settled in London in 1975, after civil war broke out in Lebanon while she was visiting Britain. Her early work was interpreted in this light, as a metaphor for universal conflict and resistance to oppression.

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CORNELIA PARKER


Cornelia Parker (British, born ), Mass (Colder Darker Matter) 1997,
Charcoal retrieved from a church struck by lightning, Lytle, Texas, USA,366 x 320 x 320cm


Cornelia Parker was born in Cheshire, England in 1965. She studied at Wolverhampton Polytechnic and Reading University from 1975 to 1982. Parker was shortlisted in 1997 for her exhibition at the Chapter Gallery, Avoided Object, which demonstrated her exploration of the secret lives of both ordinary and strange objects.

Cornelia Parker's art has been described as an 'imaginative investigation into the nature of matter'. She tests the physical properties of substances and things, at the same time playing on their public and private symbolic meaning. Her methods of exploration have included suspending, exploding, crushing and stretching. Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View was made by blowing up a garden shed and its contents, and then hanging the scorched and mutilated fragments in a cluster around a single light bulb.

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JENNY SAVILLE


Jenny Saville (British, born 1970), Separates, 2001
Color Lithograph, 20 x 30 in., edition of 100


Jenny Saville was born in Cambridge in 1970. She graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1992. Her entire degree show was bought by Charles Saatchi and she later created a new body of work to be displayed in his London gallery. More recently, her exhibiting career has centred on New York. Her early paintings applied modern feminist theory to the traditional genre of the female nude. She has since used her strongly figurative style to address broader issues such as gender and sexual identity.

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DAMIEN HIRST


Damien Hirst (British, born 1965), Autopsy With Brain Out, 2004,
oil on canvas, colln Gagosian Gallery, NYC.

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Chris Ofili's new show opens in New York

An Artist's Gallery of Ideas: Chris Ofili's Watercolors

By CAROL VOGEL / The New York Times
Source: nytimes.com / Published: May 5, 2005

There are no Madonnas in "Chris Ofili: Afro Muses 1995-2005," an exhibition of more than 180 watercolors. Nor is there any elephant dung.

Mr. Ofili's first one-man show in New York may surprise museumgoers who have not seen his work since 1999, when a painting of a black Madonna with a clump of elephant dung on one breast caused an uproar. Denouncing the Ofili work among others as "sick stuff," Rudolph W. Giuliani, then the mayor, threatened to cut off the city subsidy to the Brooklyn Museum, where the painting was featured in "Sensation: Young British Artists From the Saatchi Collection."


Chris Ofili/Courtesy of David Zwirner
One of Chris Ofili's imaginary portraits of women, featured in his show "Afro Muses 1995-2005," at the Studio Museum in Harlem.


Mr. Ofili, 37, says he has put all that behind him. And since that imbroglio, his career has steadily risen: he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale two years ago, and his work has entered the permanent collections of museums like the Tate in London and the Museum of Modern Art.

Yet with "Afro Muses," at the Studio Museum in Harlem, viewers finally get a peek at the way he works and thinks.

For 10 years now, Mr. Ofili has been making watercolors, each about 9Ŋ by 6Ŋ inches and produced in a single sitting. Predominantly heads of men and women, as well as some studies of flowers and birds, they are his way of unlocking ideas that may eventually become full-blown paintings.

"I've always had this intimate relationship with drawing," Mr. Ofili said in an interview at the Studio Museum, surveying dozens of watercolors that were about to be hung on the gallery walls. "They're a springboard."

While his paintings can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to complete, watercolors, he says, are a form of "instant gratification."

Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum, called the exhibition "a curator's dream." Rather than having to approach dozens of different collectors and museums to put the show together, she secured all 181 works from a single source: the artist.

Over the years, Mr. Ofili steadily squirreled the watercolors away in a box in his studio, pulling out this one or that one whenever he was seeking inspiration.

Ms. Golden said nobody knew the collection existed until she went to Mr. Ofili's studio in London two years ago to interview him for a catalog essay on the work that was to be shown in Venice. While discussing the paintings, he began showing her some examples of their genesis - the watercolors.

"That's when my curator's radar went off," Ms. Golden said. "I never imagined he had this corpus of work. He had no plans for them because they had never left his studio."


Photo: Librado Romero/The New York Times
Chris Ofili at the Studio Museum in Harlem during the installation of "Afro Muses 1995-2005," his show of the watercolors he has been privately doing for years.


The works, on view at the Studio Museum through July 3, now fill the main gallery. All the men and women depicted are whimsical in their expressions and their dress. The women, rendered mostly in three-quarter poses, are clad in colorful costumes with richly painted jewelry and somewhat fantastical hairdos. The men are generally shown in profile, some with ornate beards and decorative African-style garb.

As real as they seem, none of these people exist. They all grew out of Mr. Ofili's imagination. Some are inspired by images he spotted in magazines or on television or conjured up from subconscious impressions absorbed on the street or at a party.

Ms. Golden and Mr. Ofili have grouped many of the watercolors in an irregular grid across the gallery. "Since they're mostly people," Ms. Golden said, "we imagined them as a crowd."

The walls have been painted a tan shade Mr. Ofili chose for its calming effect. That hue is repeated in one of the mats in each frame.

On the side walls is a series of faces that Mr. Ofili calls "Harems." Each arrangement consists of one man with as many as four women on each side of him. Asked why he chose the configuration, he said, "They were destined to be together."

There is also a series of women with white lips that he calls "The Unkissed."

"I always loved the idea that lips would blush if kissed," he said. Hanging below the "Unkissed," are five suitors, all bearded and wearing what seems like regal garb. Each has the same face. "They're pretty much the same bearded guy," Mr. Ofili said.

One of the most unusual groups of watercolors in the show, titled "The Gardener," jointly depicts a man surrounded by five colorful birds perched on branches and three blooming flowers.

Asked whether the gardener exists, Mr. Ofili replied, "I'm sure somewhere."


Chris Ofili, A part of "The Gardener."

For me, football is irrationality, tribal, passionate... - Almogāver
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