London Art Biennale: Where art history meets the avant-garde

london-art-biennaleThe London Art Biennale 2015 was a wonderful celebration of contemporary art held at the Chelsea Old Town Hall from the 20th to the 25th January. The exhibition brought together over 140 artists from 40 different nations and diverse forms of art. The artworks in the show ranged from paintings and sculptures to digital art and installations. It is also worth referring that the exhibited artists represent the current art scene and their artworks are related to the modern society and philosophy of the daily life.
Furthermore, it is essential to mention that the show was organized by the Chianciano Art Museum in collaboration with the one of the most famous and successful galleries in London, the Gagliardi Gallery, established on the prestigious King's Road for over 35 years. We are waiting for the next London Biennale at 2017! Until then, the following lines aim to illustrate the spirit of the Biennale derived from some of the selected artists of the show.


Mari Bueno lives and works in Brazil. She is one of the most fundamental artists in the contemporary art world. Bueno is specialized in Sacred Art and through her artworks portrays the characteristics of the Amazon region and the indigenous issues. Furthermore, Bueno's art pieces remind murals which encapsulate the features of her artistic method. As a muralist and specialist in the so-called Liturgical art, the artist combines the ancient-like and aboriginal style of her artistic expression. The Gold of the Future presents the specific techniques of her artistic temperament: the portrait of the Amazon region in a muralist technique and the depiction of this on canvas renders the art piece one of the monumental artworks of the exhibition.


michael-coulsonMichael Coulson lives and works in the United Kingdom. His artistic practice is reminiscent of the visitor the monumental pieces of Abstract Expressionism. The variety of colours is harmonized on canvas which demonstrate his unique technique. The usage of colour and the combination of different nuances are predominant in his art pieces. Especially, in Union Frack yellow colour is pervasive throughout the canvas and the interaction with the other colours (red, blue, black) renders the painting an exceptional artwork, equivalent to Abstract Expressionism masterpieces. Coulson’s artwork gives a sense of alteration and diversity in the atmosphere of the show.


kostas-korovilas Kostas Korovilas artworks comprise the music and poetry which are expressed through the intense and powerful colours that the artist uses. His art pieces remind poetic allegories which demonstrate the infinite of the soul through and beyond the world. Especially, Korovilas’ piece The Slaughtered incorporates the artist’s technique which combines the practice of a painting with the daily clothing usage. The artist portrays a white male shirt imbued with the ‘blood’ like red colour which attracts viewer’s eye from the first sight. The provocative and innovative artwork was installed close to the entrance of the exhibition space and appealed to visitor’s attention rendered the artwork one of the exceptional pieces of the organization.



Beatrice Cofield’s paintings is 
like an instrumental piece. Her art is a kind of music and the delicate figures on the paintings illustrate the harmony of the music and the energy of the colour at the same time. Especially, the Rhythms of Life combines the two forms of art together: the exceptional female figures slip and touch each other like the notes in the musical piece. The selection of the colour gives to the painting a sense of equilibrium between the real and unreal, the dream and the substance which enriches the artwork with emotion and serenity. The title of the artwork incorporates the rhythmical movements of the female figures which remind mythological creatures of the ancient ages. Cofield’s artwork offers to viewer a peaceful refuge and an alternative option into the exhibition space.
daniela-grifoniDaniela Grifoni describes her creative practice as similar to that of a writer who synthesizes a text. The artist’s technique comprises the so-called ‘magmatism term’ which renders the artwork unique and innovative in the contemporary art world. Especially, the artwork Danza Surreale portrays the purity of the materials along with the infinite consciousness of the artist’s aesthetic point of view. Moreover, the agreement of black, white, purple and gold colour enhances the painting with a sense of spirituality, theatricality and pathos which are the characteristics in Grifoni’s art piece. It is worth referring that Grifoni’s method is compatible with the spontaneous creation of the historical avant-garde pieces which are oscillated between the surrealistic and realistic attitudes. Grifoni’s piece captures visitor’s eye and releases the human senses.
Brigitte Saugstad’s sculptures were essential and vital for the process of the exhibition. She transforms figures into her ceramic art that is reminiscent of the childlike innocence and mature wisdom at the same time. She prefers to provoke an effect of thoughtless-awareness which release the visitor from the established norms of watching a piece of art. This freedom that Saugstad offers to viewer is compatible to the exhibition’s dual aim: the selection of the exhibits and the installation of these pieces in the exhibition space were not intended to direct the viewer to follow a specific route in the show. However, the artworks tended to render the viewer an active participant of the exhibition that signifies the sublime of the organization. Considering Saugstad’s ceramic artifacts (Ice Princess ‘I won!’ and Blossom Spheres series) the harmonic movement of the reclining figure and the beauty of the blossomed ceramic flowers constitute the artworks indispensable part of the exhibition.


Polina Simou’s art meets the philosophical enquiry and personal experience through the relationship among art, science, technology and philosophy. Metakosmos is not only a painting on canvas but also a piece that incorporates the convergence of biotechnology with the human nature. Artist’s intention is to demonstrate on canvas the grandeur of science with the usage of powerful and expressive synthesis of colour which balances between the real and the surreal of the modern life. Bear in mind that for the better visual approach of the art piece the combination between art and science function as catalyst in order to capture viewer’s attention before the piece.
One of the most interesting pieces of art was made by the artistic duo of the show. Linda and Theodore Shinkle presents for the Biennale the artwork named Night Vision, created by metalagram which is a multi-layered artistic process by the artists. It is worth mentioning that the duo use this specific technique to depict the photographs that they took by themselves applied them in a classic expertise, self-teaching and scientific method which combines the artistic part as well. Night Vision constitutes a conceptual artwork which combines the 2D technique within the illusionistic and the alternant landscape where the seasons and the light of day interact each other.


Lidia Vitkovskaya’s sculpture is one the significant art pieces of the Biennale. The story behind the reclining female figure is reminiscent of Crucified Christ. However, the artist wants to signify the dominance of male appearance in the modern society and how this prevalence effects against women’s prohibition and allowance in a male established society. The title of the artwork 2011 is related to the meaning of the installation: the net is the element where the woman is captured by the anarchronistic ideologies from the predominant norms of behaviour.
alexander-leeAlexander Lee’s artwork is one of the few drawings of the Art Biennale. The art piece captures the viewer’s eye even it is in black and white picture and the nuances of pencil are obvious to the eye. However, Old Stockholm  has a great perspective technique which depicts the coast of Stockholm in an innovative and unique artistic method. Lee’s artistic technique seems to be detailed and specific in the representation of the human figures, the building, the river and the boats as well. The drawing is similar to a black and white photograph and is extremely difficult for the viewer to recognize if this is a photo or a painting. Thus, Lee wants to challenge visitor between these two artistic forms and he achieves his goal because with the first sight the artwork seems to be a photo much more than drawing. He ‘plays’ with audience’s eye and attention to the different artistic expressions.