this issue contains
>> Miwa Yanagi at Hara Museum Tokyo/ Not Vital at Kunstraum Salzburg
>> Art Award for Tamara Grcic / Deutsche Bank's Art Calender 2006

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The Incredible Tale of the Innocent Old Lady and the Heartless Young Girl:
Miwa Yanagi at the Hara Museum in Tokyo

Miwa Yanagi, Gretel, 2004
Deutsche Bank Collection, ©Miwa Yanagi

Last year, she attracted attention at the Deutsche Guggenheim with her artificially aged "grandmothers" and the cool hostesses of her series Elevator Girls: since then, the young Japanese art photographer Miwa Yanagi has embarked on a world career. Her works have already been exhibited in Dusseldorf, Moscow, and Shanghai; now, Tokyo’s Hara Museum is presenting Yanagi’s latest series of works in a solo show titled The Incredible Tale of the Innocent Old Lady and the Heartless Young Girl. At the center of the exhibition is the work Fairy Tales , a photographic series that concentrates on stories of girls who encounter old, wise, and sometimes eerie old women of the kind to be found in Grimm’s Fairy Tales or the contemporary short story Erendira by the Colombian Gabriel García Márquez.

Miwa Yanagi, Erendira, 2004
Deutsche Bank Collection, ©Miwa Yanagi

Yanagi’s oeuvre is based on her observations of Japanese society. Women, outward appearances, and labels form the heart of her works, which address uniforms and disguises, groups and allegiances – as well as the liberation from them. For her 2004 series Fairy Tales , Yanagi limited herself to classical black and white photography, in contrast to her earlier, digitally manipulated photographs. As in her Grandmothers series shown at the Deutsche Guggenheim, she once again implements special effects and make-up to allow young women to slip into the roles of old ladies. The fantastic dream scenarios and hermetic rooms she creates to stage her dramas are anything but mere illustrations of traditional stories and myths.

Miwa Yanagi, Red Riding Hood, 2004
Deutsche Bank Collection, ©Miwa Yanagi

Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Gretel , and Rapunzel – each of them make an appearance, albeit under strange circumstances: Red Riding Hood embraces her grandmother in the slit belly of the killed wolf, while Gretel bites the wrinkly hand stretched out to her in the dark cage. It becomes abundantly clear that behind their wrinkled masks, the young women behave like cruel puppeteers visibly relishing their reversed role. Here, the evil stepmothers and witches that torture young girls in classical tales find rivals equal to their task. Thus, in Yanagi’s Sleeping Beauty, the girl grabs her spindle and attacks an old woman sitting at the spinning wheel. Subversively, Yanagi’s oppressive and surreal scenarios probe layers of individual and collective consciousness. At the same time, their fairy-tale female creatures also embody a paradox. That is the moral of Yanagi’s modern tales – there is a young girl lurking in every old woman, and an old woman in every young girl.

Miwa Yanagi – Hara Museum, Tokyo
The Incredible Tale of the Innocent Old Lady and the Heartless Young Girl
8/13/2005 – 11/6/2005

Minimalistically reduced formal language:
Not Vital at the Kunstraum Salzburg

Not Vital, Camel, 2003
Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg, Paris

New drawings and sculptures by the Swiss artist Not Vital can currently be seen at Deutsche Bank’s Kunstraum in Salzburg: Vital, born 1948, is one of the most important sculptors worldwide; his works have been shown in museums such as the Kunsthalle Basel, the Museum of Modern Art , the Guggenheim , or at the 2001 Venice Biennale. Self-taught, Vital developed an oeuvre that is as marked by the archaic formations of the Swiss mountains as the architecture of his new home, New York, or the African desert city of Agadez, which the artist regularly visits. An openness for a variety of cultures characterizes Vital’s art, which combines European motifs with influences from other continents. The resulting works, such as Camel on Skis (1993), come across as being both ambivalent and surreal.
1000 Tears, 2004, schwarzer Marmor, 4 Teile, Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg, Paris A Model for a Water Tower, 2004, schwarzer Marmor, Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg, Paris

After his last one-person exhibition in Paris, the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery is showing a series of works at the Kunstraum Salzburg that are typical for Vital’s minimalist, reduced formal language as well as his approach to costly materials. In Camel (2003), the artist addresses animal motifs. At the same time, the title of the fifteen ceramic pieces refers to their contents: the mortal remains of a camel that has dried out in the sun and has been sliced and incorporated into the sculptures. On a subliminal level, the work refers to burial rites and calls attention to Western civilization’s widespread aversion to death and decay.

Vital’s work continually addresses the unknown and the mysterious: thus, the artist finished off his archaic-looking column 1000 Tears, made in 2004, with the stains of 1,000 tears.

Not Vital – Kunstraum Salzburg
Sculptures and Drawings
8/29 – 10/8/2005