USA - BETTINA WERNER
Bettina Werner, The Salt Queen, is an international acclaimed artist, born in Milan, Italy in 1965, she is now a new American citizen. She was discovered as an upcoming artistic starlet by a prestigious New York Gallery when she arrived in the United States in 1989. Bettina Werner is a pioneer who invented the first use of colorized salt as an art medium in the history of Art.
Her innovative salt artworks are crystallized salt textures, with brilliant colors, created with sophisticated movements, dynamic artistic flow and a radiant cosmic surface. The mystery of salt and its beautiful crystalline quality attracted the artist while studying at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. In the early 80’s, she developed her complex textured colorized technique of creating art using vibrantly pigmented salt crystals.
Bettina Werner’s artworks reside in prestigious Art collections, fine homes and premier office spaces all over the world. Her artwork have been exhibited in Museum and galleries extensively in Europe, Russia and the United States, including: The Whitney Museum, The Puskin Museum, The Detroit Institute of Art, Portofino Museum, The Chase Manhattan Bank, The Barrick Museum, The Collection of Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, The Collection of Martin Margulies of Miami and The Collection of NicosVernicos of Athens. Bettina Werner has been featured in art text books throughout Europe such as Arte del Novecento by Mirolla/Zucconi, through the prestigious Italian publishing house Mondadori Università 2002 and Arte Moderna by Giulio Carlo Argan/Achille Bonito Oliva, an art textbook used throughout Italy’s Schools.
Her recent 25 Year Retrospective, at 7 World Trade Center, in a 40,000 square foot pristine space, overlooking “ground zero”, represented Bettina Werner’s crowning achievement in her career with a spectacular panoramic view of New York City skyline.
In the year 2002, she established The Salt Queen Foundation, a non-profit educational institution. Its goals include the celebration of artists whose free imagination is uniquely expressed through the use of innovative techniques and unusual materials.
Reviews and features on her work have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Art in America, Elle, Architectural Digest, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, ArtNews, Elle Decor, GQ, Flash Art, Hamptons Magazine, New York Post, L’Espresso, Il Corriere della Sera and many more publications.
Text by Miriam Mirolla
USA - OLGA LAH
I am interested in building monumental, site-specific installations from the accumulation and repetition of commonplace materials. I invite a behavioral reorientation to the material and to the context that my work inhabits, thereby bringing into focus new connections within an environment. A new behavioral and perceptual orientation on many levels suggests a new critical adjustment to the familiarity of our surroundings. I am ultimately seeking a precarious transcendence in my work, questioning the nature of reality.
Text by the artist
Switzerland - FRANCO CARLONI
A symbol of our contemporaneity, of the evil of modern society and its disarming impotence, the work entitled Medusa (Jellyfish) reflects the real being of the artist.
All Carloni’s work denotes his extremely introspective character. A great scholar and inventor of patents in the field of motor racing, engineering and ecology for over thirty years, he approaches art with sensitivity, with the attention that he often does not express in words. Aware of the peculiarities of human nature and of the reality of a world that is becoming more and more fragile, he reads the magnificent gift of nature and at the same time the danger of its supremacy.
In Medusa the lower part aims to represent modern society composed of human beings who, from the moment of their birth, live unknowingly and deservedly under an irrefutable and untouchable power.
The jellyfish enables us to perceive a direct and symbolic feeling of powerlessness against the system… For more than half a century human beings have fallen precipitously into a cycle of self-destruction, but no “man” dares correct or modify the system, the interests of the world always prevail over those of the individual, whatever the cost… Populations, now reduced to simple spectators, realise or simply admit that it would be enough to bring everything out into the open to get rid of it, just like the dangerous and poisonous jellyfish which, if exposed to the rays and heat of the sun, naturally melts.
Text by Serena Mormino
Taiwan R.O.C. - KAO TSAN-HSING
Kao Tsan-Hsing’s sculptural pieces of iron and stainless steel have considerably enriched and widened the horizon of Taiwanese art in a period when three-dimensional artistic creation, as opposed to oil and traditional ink painting, were only just beginning to regain a foothold after WW II.
After graduating from Taiwan’s first sculpture department at the National Taiwan University of Arts in 1969, Kao completely dedicated himself to researching the possibilities of iron and steel, those emblematic materials of industrial production and their interplay between volume, scale, mass, color, and their technical processing such as casting, forging, or welding. The result is a perfect mastery of the stylistic balance between the sheer weight of the material and an organic, tangible, and smooth lightness, and also between the graduations of surface texture and color.
Since 1990, confronting global ecological change, Kao infuses into his previously abstract sculpture with social content. Human figures emerge and environmental issues are launched. In his ecological work of around 2004, Kao accomplished a major body of “green” pieces that are both elusive and subtle.
His ready-made materials, waste iron and steel, are subjected to a transformation from their original hard massive weight into its opposite, into something light, fragile, delicate and dissolvable. These simulations of green grasses are of anthropomorphic nature, as shown at the Rhapsody in Green exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2013. Inanimate, yet seemingly possessing a living spirit, these industrial materials - turned - artworks raise the question whether they can have a say in our present global eco-crisis.
In Ecocline, his sculptural exhibit for OPEN, Kao has created a narrative piece full of playfulness. Subjecting the material to a wide range of transformations, he succeeds in imbuing the huge sculpture of over 60 kilograms with a sense of lightness and delicacy - were it not for those green grasses hanging in the air which point to a state of displacement and convey a sense of uneasiness.
Text by Yang Wen-I
Switzerland - TAMARA BIALECKA
The idea for Eye in the well came from a dream on New Year’s Day of 1993... “When I arrived in N.Y. from Milan I went directly to the Limelight disco, a deconsecrated church, to dance. There I took two Ecstasy tablets and I danced till 5 a.m. I got into a cage that they lifted up and it was a fantastic experience to dance seeing the multitude of people on every floor, and the pulpit where the priest once officiated during Mass now full of people, and the DJ alternating techno music with Bach.
Then I took a taxi and went to Brooklyn to see Manhattan in the first lights of dawn.
The Greek taxi-driver took me to a special place, full of iron sculptures in the open air. The temperature must have been about -5°C, there was a strong wind and ice on the ground and I was wearing a long black imitation fur coat that was in fashion at the time. I let myself be carried along by the wind and I ‘skied’ on the ice in my black lacing-up boots, that were to be my only shoes when I went to live in Brooklyn. I let myself be carried along by the wind with my arms open like a sail in that expanse of ice, looking at the thousand lights of Manhattan at dawn. I asked the taxi-driver to take me to an after-hour bar in Manhattan. So I went to The Tunnel. Fantastic. More ecstasy and then a private party on the Lower East Side.
In the evening of 1st January, when I looked at myself in the mirror in the bathroom of the loft where the party was still going on, I noticed that my pupils had grown so big that they totally covered the blue of my irises.
In that moment I thought of deep things, as deep as the sea and as the universe.
In that moment I thought of birth, death, the moon, the sky and again the universe.
In that moment I thought of combining water, the symbol of birth, with the deep dark of black holes, of the unknown, of the mystery of man, of his brain which is a universe in its own right, much of it still unknown to us.
While I was indulging in these dissertations someone knocked at the door and awoke me out of my reverie.
Once they asked Serrano in an interview, ‘What has changed in your life since you became famous?’. He replied, ‘I’m glad I no longer have to sell drugs to survive’.
If some day someone asked me the same question I would reply, I’m glad I no longer have to sell myself to survive…”
Text by the artist