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Art

Looking Back

Looking Forward

We invited 20 artists who have been on the cover of frieze to nominate a contemporary artist whose work inspires them

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Till Gerhard
By Richard Prince
Cover artist, issue 1, 1991

I like Till Gerhard. What do you want me to say? I’m tired and want to go sleep. And dream about Marshall McLuhan. And maybe wake up, lie in bed and stare at one of Till’s paintings in front of me … and go blank and not think and die a little bit and feel perfect.

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Till Gerhard is based in Hamburg, Germany. He recently organized a group show at Galleri Loyal in Malmö, Sweden, and his solo exhibition ‘The Future of Yesterday’, at The Goma in Madrid, Spain, runs from 8 September until 22 October.


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Doug Rickard
By Paul Graham
Cover artist, issue 4, 1992
Photography 2.0. The digital revolution. Everything and nothing has changed: everything has changed because a billion images are right there on the Internet to assimilate, adapt, manipulate and realign. Nothing has changed because many great photographers still engage the world and struggle with the same problems of what/how/where their images lie. One interesting artist navigating this paradigm is Doug Rickard in his book and exhibition ‘A New American Picture’ (2010), where images of American inner cities from Google Street View are re-evaluated and repurposed, all without the artist ever leaving his room. Knowing and smart, yet dumb and innocent, it references Walker Evans’s great ‘American Photographs’ (1938), but presents auto-photos, taken by a machine without thought or intent. It is unarguably a powerful piece of work, and the fresh possibility of the artist as hyper-aware data-miner becomes apparent.

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Doug Rickard lives in Sacramento, USA. This year he has had solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco. His work was also shown in ‘Les Rencontres d’Arles’, France; Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco; and the Head On Photo Festival, Depot II Gallery, Sydney, Australia. Last year he was included in ‘Anonymous America: Photography and Cinema’ at Le Bal, Paris.


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Ian Dawson
By Gavin Turk
Cover artist, issue 13, 1993
Ian Dawson’s work is exploratory, playful and has a kind of raw power. I once watched him work tirelessly for about five days with children to make a boat out of glitter, household junk, vegetation and bonding plaster – it was awe-inspiring.

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Ian Dawson lives and works in London, UK. He is co-curating a group show titled ‘Two and a Half to Three’, which will open at Pangolin, London, on 21 September. He is currently working on a book, Making Contemporary Sculpture, that explores the studio practice of a number of artists including Fiona Banner, Anna Barriball, David Batchelor, Sara MacKillop, Goshka Macuga and Keith Tyson.


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Elizabeth Price 
By Susan Hiller
Cover artist, issue 23, 1995

In the films of Elizabeth Price, material objects – abject, obscene or elegant – perform as our representatives. In User Group Disco (2009), a sequence of household utensils appears portentously out of the gloom, framed by startling bursts of texts and pounding music. The camera circles and swoops to reveal a grotesque array of bar ashtrays and mugs. Big pink bosoms thrust, ceramic legs open wide. ‘Walk into the shreds of flames / they will not bite into your flesh / you will understand that you too / are a mere appearance / dreamt by another.’

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Elizabeth Price is based in London, UK. Her work is included in ‘British Art Show 7’. She recently screened her new film, Choir (2011), at the Chisenhale Gallery, London, which was also exhibited in collaboration with artists Tom O’Sullivan and Joanne Tatham as part of ‘A Direct Experience in Local Time’, a public art project organized by Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, UK, in August.


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Kira Muratova
By Adam Chodzko
Cover artist, issue 31, 1996

Watching Kira Muratova’s films catalyzes many peculiar feelings in me, but one of them is embarrassment; most contemporary art is collectively dithering, trying to find the language that Muratova has been singularly developing for years – yet she has been largely ignored. Her films can be read as photographs, sound pieces, installations, performances and interventions. Experiencing her work feels like being a lodger in a stranger’s house whose family’s dysfunction is triggered by our presence and yet is also totally oblivious to it. There is no shame. It’s a hermetic world yet one that also plays with, subverts and is wounded by its own contingency with prevailing political ideology. Nothing remains ‘appropriate’ for long in Muratova’s films.

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Kira Muratova is a Ukrainian film director, screenwriter and actress. In a career spanning more than 50 years, she has directed 19 feature films and won numerous awards including the Silver Bear: Special Jury Prize at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival for The Asthenic Syndrome in 1990.


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David Brian Smith
By Tracey Emin
Cover artist, issue 34, 1997

I have a David Brian Smith painting. It is crazy to look at: a thousand different colours and a solitary figure surrounded by sheep. When I first saw the figure I saw it as a shepherd, but other times I see the Grim Reaper. The painting takes on the mood that I feel; this is why I like his work.

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David Brian Smith lives and works in London, UK. His work has recently been included in shows at the Saatchi Gallery and Carl Freedman Gallery in London, and at the Atelierhaus Baumstrasse in Munich, Germany. His exhibition with Oliver Perkins at Galerie VidalCuglietta, Brussels, Belgium, opens 10 September.


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Paolo Soleri
By Doug Aitken
Cover artist, issue 39, 1998

Paolo Soleri is 92 years old but when I met him recently and interviewed him at Arcosanti in Arizona his thoughts and concepts were so very relevant – an untapped source and amazingly young. Young is in the mind, not the body.

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Paolo Soleri is an architect who lives in Scottsdale, USA. His urban strategy of ‘Arcology’, which combines architecture and ecology, has been under construction since 1970 at the Urban Laboratory of Arcosanti, Arizona. His most recent proposal, Lean Linear Arterial Arcology, is ‘a suggestion that may trigger a positive change in how we develop the human habitat in harmony with the environment’.


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Marte Eknæs
By Wolfgang Tillmans
Cover artist, issue 48, 1999

Marte Eknæs’s sculptures are arrangements of reflective and transparent surfaces. She’s interested in the oscillation between exclusion and intensified incorporation that we’re all subjected to in urban environments. Often directly placed on the floor, her sculptures and installations leave me with a sense of suspense; they’re half shop-front mimicry and half haute-Modernism.

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Marte Eknæs is based in Berlin, Germany. Over the last 18 months her work has been exhibited at the Bonner Kunstverein, Germany; Kunsthall Oslo, Norway; and Kaleidoscope Project Space, Milan, Italy. Her work will be on show at Between Bridges, London, UK, from 23 September and will be included in the Norwegian Sculpture Biennial, Oslo, in October.


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Sophie Michael
By Eva Rothschild
Cover artist, issue 55, 2000

Sophie Michael’s films are like a visual hide-and-seek. Her work brings together sculpture and film in such a way that ordinary objects are transformed for us by the minutely directed specificity of her looking. The reels unfold kaleidoscopically before the eye, looping through analogue sequences of manipulated light and glimpsed environments that are both confused and familiar yet all shot through with an acute awareness of the nostalgia we attach to both formats and objects. 

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Sophie Michael is an artist based in London, UK. Her work has been included in shows at 19 Sirdar Road, London; Outpost Gallery, Norwich, UK; and the 36th Toronto International Film Festival, Canada. She is a student at the Royal Academy Schools in London, UK.


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Andy Holden 
By Mark Leckey
Cover artist, issue 62, 2001

Andy Holden is a cottage industry in Bedfordshire. He wills himself to inhabit that oblivious state in a Tex Avery cartoon when the character continues walking beyond the cliff edge. The moment when all that’s preventing his fall is the belief that something firm exists beneath his feet.

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Andy Holden is based in Bedfordshire, UK. He has recently had shows at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK, and Tate Britain, London. He has forthcoming exhibitions at the Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece, and is the recipient of the Stanley Picker Fellowship at Kingston University, UK.


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Angelo Plessas 
By Pae White
Cover artist, issue 66, 2002

Angelo Plessas’s art is infinitely non-hierarchical; it doesn’t require a studio to produce it and anyone, anywhere can view it at any time. Its value doesn’t change with scale – the same piece could be the size of a football or fit on the screen of a smart phone. Each work resists the concept of completion and its edges are ever-elusive, but within this relentless cacophony of a 2.0 framework are poignant discussions about closeness and intimacy. This is how I like to view the work: when I am alone, perhaps in a hotel, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, unable to sleep.

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Angelo Plessas is an artist based in Athens, Greece. This year his work has been shown at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, and the Triennale of Milan, Italy. His work is currently on show at the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale and will be included in the forthcoming 3rd Athens Biennale.


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Bruce Lacey
By Jeremy Deller
Cover artist, issue 72, 2003

Despite leaving college only 57 years ago, Bruce Lacey has notched up an improbable yet impressive body of work as a painter, performer, hunt saboteur, filmmaker, apprentice shaman, musician and inventor. Next year he will have a much-deserved mid-career retrospective at the Camden Arts Centre, London. He’s the living, breathing real thing.

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Bruce Lacey lives in Norfolk, UK. A major retrospective of his life and art was held at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, in 1996. His 60-year career will be celebrated in an exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, London, next year. He performs regularly at the Norwich Arts Centre, UK.


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Harrell Fletcher
By Louise Lawler
Cover artist, issue 85, 2004

I think the work of Harrell Fletcher should be more visible. I admire the breadth, intensity and attempted normalcy of his involvement.

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Harrell Fletcher is based in Portland, USA. Recent projects include the People’s Biennial, co-curated with Jens Hoffmann, and ‘The Sound We Make Together’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Forthcoming projects include Yearbook, a collaboration with Adam Moser at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and Travis Souza’s Walk Through California, a Capp Street Project in conjunction with the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, USA.


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Cayetano Ferrer
By Sharon Lockhart
Cover artist, issue 95, 2005

I’ve always felt a connection to artists whose work involved a generous amount of research. Cayetano Ferrer is one such artist. In fact, he has taken the idea of research a step further by letting it define both the form and authorship of his work. Books, and proposals for projects in the form of books, have replaced the objects themselves. For example, his most recent project is a proposal for a museum dedicated to Saul Borisov, a little-known artist who lived in one of the first Modernist buildings in Mexico, a home designed by the architect Juan O’Gorman. The house, which is next door to the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Studio Museum, will soon be taken over by that institution and emptied of any traces of its original owner. Ferrer spent a month in the house photographing Borisov’s tapestries and scanning his slides for the first monograph on the artist’s work. In addition, he has proposed rebuilding the house as a ‘visualization of the proposal’ for a museum of the artist. In the case of the project’s realization, Ferrer would not want to be considered as an artist in the exhibition but, rather, as an exhibition designer. What I find most fascinating about Ferrer’s practice is its slippery nature. It questions authorship and the document in new and interesting ways, with
the artist appearing at the fringes of the work, slipping into the spotlight and then disappearing as a chameleon does at the first sign of danger.

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Cayetano Ferrer is based in Los Angeles, USA. His work was recently included in ‘The New Verisimilitude’, at M+B Gallery in LA, and ‘Forced Perspective’ at Mayerei Gallery in Karlsruhe, Germany. Forthcoming shows in 2012 include solo exhibitions at Anthony Greaney in Boston, and China Art Objects, LA.


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Valentin Carron 
By Fischli/Weiss
Cover artists, issue 102, 2006

In Valentin Carron’s work, massive mock-ups of heavy signifiers emerge as true fakes, deprived of their real weight.

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Valentin Carron lives in Geneva, Switzerland. He has had solo shows at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; Kunstverein Solothurn, Switzerland; and Kunst- und Kulturzentrum Montabaur, Germany. His work was included in ‘Tranches de Savoir’ (Slices of Knowledge) at the French Embassy, New York, earlier this year.


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Samuil Stoyanov
By Nedko Solakov
Cover artist, issue 110, 2007

Samuil Stoyanov lives in the city of Dobrich, in the top-right corner of Bulgaria – it’s not a great place for art. Last time I spoke with him, he was worried that the director of the municipal art gallery wouldn’t let him do one of his projects, 10 meters Art (2011) which comprises a ten-metre stack of paintings from the gallery’s collection tied together with a long red belt. ‘She is afraid that the paintings might get damaged, but I will keep asking her,’ he told me. I am sure that he will manage to do it – if not in Dobrich then somewhere else – because Samuil is one of the few artists I know who is entirely committed to his work, which means neither chasing a career nor a daily solving of purely ‘artistic’ problems. He lives with his work; in some peculiar way it comes out of his personality, out of his body. Experiencing his best pieces makes me feel like a child who is about to open a present or is about to steal the most delicious nuts decorating a cake prepared for his grandmother’s guests, which can only be found in a room where he is not supposed to enter. It is a very nice feeling; it’s warm and cozy and smells of other (friendly) worlds.

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Samuil Stoyanov lives in Dobrich, Bulgaria. He is shortlisted for the Gaudenz B. Ruf Award 2011.


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Nico Krebs and Taiyo Onorato
By Shirana Shahbazi
Cover artist, issue 113, 2008

Nico Krebs and Taiyo Onorato have long impressed me with their precise yet playful work, which is full of analogue subtleties, and this at a time when photography on film increasingly seems absurd. Back to the future with an artistic signature style – not something to be taken for granted in photographic works. The interaction of installation, photography, concept and aesthetics on equal terms makes this work as beautiful as it is intelligent.

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Nico Krebs and Taiyo Onorato live in Berlin, Germany. Their work is currently on view at ‘Un’Espressione Geografica’ (A Geographical Expression) at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy, and Kunsthalle Mainz, Germany.


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Sara Ramo
By Rivane Neuenschwander
Cover artist, issue 122, 2009

Sara Ramo works with everyday scenes and items. Once displaced from their original context and reconfigured into unforeseen circumstances, they bring a new meaning to what is around us, and to our very existence. By contrasting order and disorder, emptiness and fullness, presence and absence, and by juxtaposing fact with fantasy, rules with the empirical, obsession with synthesis, Ramo encourages the visitor to question the mental and physical space in which we live and the values ​​attributed to our knowledge about everything. Be it in videos, photographs or rooms, Ramo arranges and rearranges things and everyday situations in a disconcerting manner, undermining the apparent order of things and often approaching the absurd and the fantastic, without wandering far from the mundane. Household objects, for example, can take on an almost supernatural aura, challenging our control and establishing disorder as a condition for minimal sanity.

Ramo’s imagery presents a very particular universe, recalling individual aspects of childhood, such as games, fairy tales, encyclopaedias, but also, and above all, a melancholy that lurks behind the play and the make-believe. As we are shown a new universe, Ramo resizes the perception we have of our own reality, which is so difficult to escape and reinvent.

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Sara Ramo lives between Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and Madrid, Spain. Recent solo shows include ‘
Simetrías’ (Symmettries) at Galeria Estrany de la Mota, Barcelona, and ‘A Grande Ilusão’ (The Grand Illusion) at Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, Brazil.

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Julika Gittner 
By Emily Wardill
Cover artist, issue 133, 2010

When Julika Gittner does her performances – in which she dresses up as a potato and pulses sculpture, dances to techno and talks about economics through supermarket produce – or her cabaret nights in a pub in east London (which mix the weird theatre of the Olympic bid with the very real rubble it creates), I am always in awe of how I have never before seen anything like its humanity, risky confidence and dirty-laugh factor.

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Julika Gittner is an artist, architect and curator based in London, UK. Her work has been included recently in shows at Banner Repeater, London; the Islington Mill, Salford; S1, Sheffield; Flat Time House, London; and the Himalaya Art Museum, Shanghai, China.


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Hannah Sawtell 
By Charles Atlas
Cover artist, issue 139, 2011

Hannah Sawtell’s work is informed by her vision of an excess of production – both physical objects and mediated images – leading
to entropy. Her wall structures, floor pieces and free-standing objects re-purpose various ready-made industrial materials in thought-provoking, often witty combinations. In her videos she collates found audio and still images from digital sources to make compelling, dystopian ‘songs’ that evoke the everyday surrealism of our 21st century media environment.

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Hannah Sawtell lives in London, UK. Her work has recently been in shows at SculptureCenter, New York, USA; ‘Outrageous Fortune: Artists Remake the Tarot’ (Hayward Touring); Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea; Vilma Gold; and Cell Project Space, London.


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