Talks on Painting

A program of talks about painting, the way it is made, the way we look at it, and the way we use language to address it. Curator Jurriaan Benschop speaks with experts from different fields about the exhibition ‘A Grammar of Gestures’ in Athens.

“Kourd Evening Art Talks” does not take the form a formal discussion, but it engages everyone is approaching the exhibition from another point of view and create a safe space for the lovers of art to gather and exchange ideas.

9.4.22 SHIFTING SHAPES with Andreas Ragnar Kassapis painter. A shared feature of the works in the exhibition A Grammar of Gestures is the dynamics of shapes, the tendency of forms to flip and change appearance while you are looking at them. The artists seem to focus on creating pictures that are not fixed in meaning, but remain open to different readings and ways of seeing.

10.4.22 PAINTING IN THE DIGITAL AGE with Alexandros Voutsas, photographer. Within the landscape of contemporary arts and life, how does painting contribute to the conversation? What specifics does it bring to the table? The stream of digital images and information, on our phones and other screens, has created a new context and changing habits of looking. How does painting relate to the current reality of digital image production and consumption?

11.4.22 CONTENT IS A GLIMPSE with Marita Gerarchaki, clinical psychologist. What kind of responses do we have when looking at a painting? Is there an immediate recognition of what it is about? Is it even possible to speak about ‘content’ in painting? The discussion starts with a quote from abstract expressionist painter Willem de Kooning from the 1960’s, who stated that “content is a glimpse, an encounter like a flash.”

14.4.22 PAINTING AS A TIME BASED ART with David Benforado, painter. What if we think of painting as a time based art? As an art that took many moments to be made, and many layers for its meaning to surface? An art that unfolds only when you give it a second look and a third and see how it changes? While paintings are usually presented as static objects on the wall, time plays an important role in its production and reception.

15.4.22 GLOBAL LANGUAGE, LOCAL ROOTS with Theodora Koumoundourou, art consultant. In the exhibition five painters with different backgrounds come together. They share a common language, which creates a dialogue between their respective positions. Yet their work is rooted in different cultural contexts. How does that come out?

All talks start at 7.30 pm at Kourd Gallery, Kassianis 2 in Athens. Entrance is free. The exhibition A Grammar of Gestures is on view till 18 March 2022. Image Jurriaan Benschop (l) in conversation with painter Andreas Ragnar Kassapis (r) on 9 april.

Book Launch at ‘Publics’ Helsinki

On March 3rd, 2020 Jurriaan will be at ‘Publics’ in Helsinki for a talk about his book ‘Salt in the Wound. Encountering Contemporary Artists across Europe.” It starts at 6 pm and the entrance is free. This evening he will discuss the work of Anish Kapoor, Miroslaw Balka, Paula Rego, Luc Tuymans, Sean Scully and Janis Avotins, all featured in the book. How is their respective work related to the place where they grew up and work, to its history and (cultural) landscape?

Visit website Publics

Nikos Aslanidis in Emsdetten, Germany

Nikos Aslanidis can hardly be called a pleaser. His paintings can look rather grim, leading us into dark ages, showing people in the battle of life. The question coming up while visiting his exhibition in Emsdetten is how much of our own era, and our own lives, is reflected in the paintings. The artist’s goal is to make timeless painting, and he is not worried about ‘being contemporary’ or introducing props that refer to current issues. Yet, the situations depicted aren’t that far from home. Timeless means here, that it also suits our time. In each painting there is a figure engaged in some kind of work or activity, as can be figured from titles like The Gardener, The Alchemist or The Hunter. The good news is that Aslanidis presents his vision always with an understanding of order, with nuance and also with beauty. As a painter he seems to find a task in making situations of life presentable and worth looking at with curiosity or wonder, no matter how uncomfortable or tense they are.

The Thessaloniki based artist has his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany, ‘Corpora’ at the Emsdettner Kunstverein up till 15 March 2020. Jurriaan Benschop will introduce the work of the artist at the opening on 2 February 2020.

Lecture Rethink Painting at HBK Essen

On December 3rd, 2019, Jurriaan Benschop will be at the HBK Essen, Germany, for a talk in the series ‘Rethink Painting’, initiated by Nicola Stäglich and Sabine Bartelsheim. He will discuss the work of some contemporary painters, among them Kaido Ole, Bernard Frize, Bridget Riley, Janis Avotins, Béatrice Dreux and Paula Rego. Included will be reflections on the question How to write/speak about painting in the current era of stylistic pluralism? View details and announcement HBK here

Book Launch in Riga

On June 5th, 2019, Salt in the Wound was presented in the Latvian capital Riga with a talk and discussion at Careva Gallery. With this event the gallery launched its art book store in the city centre, at Kalku Iela 24.

One of the chapters of Salt in the Wound is conceived in Latvia, as I was a resident at the International Writers and Translators House in Ventspils. From there I started to explore the Latvian landscape, history and habits, and the cultural environment. The result can be read in ‘Notes from Latvia,’ which recalls, among others, a meeting with painter Janis Avotins in his studio in Riga.

“‘Art shouldn’t be sentimal,’ Avotins says – partly because we’re talking about the relationship between his work and the history of Latvia. The figures he paints are based on photographs from magazines of the Russian era. At his studio I see folders full of neatly ordered cuttings, all images from a time gone by, the time in which he was born. He is interested in the postures of the people in the photographs, not in the individuals themselves. Or, you could say, he looks at the way people are specifically not individuals.” (fragment from ‘Notes from Latvia’).

Next Book launch: University of South Carolina Aiken, 30 Sept. 2019

Talks in Los Angeles

In October I’ll be in the Los Angeles area for talks and studio visits at Otis, ArtCenter and LCAD. There are two public talks scheduled:

Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA ,  11 October 2018, 11.15 am

Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, CA,  17 October 2018, 5 pm