Mumbler of the Year


Parallel: Old and New

Mumbler of the Year

Today we will each feature two of our favorite artists – one living and one dead. In the old masters section, we will share with you our favorite works by Gustav Klimt and Henri Matisse. In the contemporary section, we will switch continent and gender and put Audrey Kawasaki and Yayoi Kusama under the spotlight.

oldMumbler of the Year
Mumbler of the Year

Gelati: I was mesmerized by Gustav Klimt‘s art the first time I saw it in Vienna. What I like about his works is that they are always in a dreamy-state. I also admire the style and techniques that he used (e.g., gold technique), which were revolutionary during his time. Klimt was one of the most influential exponents of Art Nouveau, the movement which spread throughout Europe in the late 19th century. His works inspired many artists, including Audrey Kawasaki, whom I will introduce in the next section.

The first image is my favorite artwork of his, probably also his most renowned work, The Kiss. There’s just something very intimate and genuine about the embrace of the couple in the painting. Some say the couple in the painting are Klimt himself and his life companion – Emilie Flöge. The latter painting is from his early work; it is a portrait of Klimt’s nice, Helene Klimt. I picked this one because Klimt’s work is usually associated with eroticism and often times the women in his paintings were prostitutes, but the portrait of Helene Klimt is pure and loving (yet the dreamy factor still remains).

Chisa: I have many favourite artists for many reasons, but Henri Matisse is a definite stand out from the rest. Needless to say, I love colour. During that time many artists used dark colours, such as: black, brown and grey but he was influenced by the Impressionists (like Van Gogh and Monet) and preferred to use bright, bold colours; which you can see in the first painting. If you took art history, you would definitely recognize this painting, The Dessert Harmony in Red, look how flat this painting looks! It gave a huge shock to the painting world and he was called Fauve which meant Wild Beast (he liked that nickname)! His work continued to lead the Fauvism movement but later in the career he was very ill, making it very difficult for him to paint. He used different art medium like paper cut-outs (second image: La Gerbe) and continued to amaze the world with his usage of colours and shapes.

newMumbler of the Year
Mumbler of the Year

Gelati: I have been following Audrey Kawasaki ever since my high school years. The connecting factor between Klimt and Kawasaki for me is that their works are both erotically charged in a whimsical state. Her style can be categorized as a fusion of Art Nouveau and Japanese manga. The combination of her style and her technique (oil paintings painted directly onto wood panels) really made her artworks distinctive, if not hyponotizing. I first discovered Kawasaki through Kozyndan’s blog (Kozyndan is an artist duo whom I’ve admired for many, many years). Following her for so many years allowed me to see her transformation in art and how her career has taken off.

The first painting is titled She Entwined (2010); I like how well the wood panel blended with the artwork. The second painting, Blue Girls, came from one of her earlier works in 2005. The girls in her paintings look somewhat naive and innocent, yet there is something mysterious about them.

If you are interested in seeing more of Kawasaki’s work, please go to her website. If you happen to be in Miami Beach, she will have her solo exhibition at SCOPE art fair from Dec 3-8.

Chisa: Yayoi Kusama is one of the most famous Japanese artist of this century (in my opinion). Her work is full of colours (of course!) and has repetitive motifs of dots, net and organic shapes. Kusama, herself is an iconic figure with her funky outfit and her super bright red hair. She is a multimedia artist that creates painting, sculpture, video and installation. You might recognize her signature polk-a-dot design that collaborated with Louis Vuitton few years ago. The window display in New York was simply mind blowing – you should check them out here. I don’t have much space to post more photos (since Gelati only posted two haha) but her paintings are just as mind blowing as her installation. I watched a documentary of Yayoi Kusama a while ago and I was so amazed watching her paint a large canvas without any draft or sketch. She was so free and her level of concentration was out of this world. Kusama looked like she was going to collapse any second after painting the artwork.

Okay, I know this is starting to get long but I really have to introduce my favourite work by her: The Obliteration Room. It is an installation where she created an Australian inspired room and painted everything white. Then in the course of two weeks children were given colourful stickers to stick anywhere they wanted. And the result… just A M A Z I N G.

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