Saturday, June 9, 2018

Epic Tales from Ancient India and Moon Gold take you to Wonderspaces

by Patricia Frischer

When you are watching a video, you can press pause and time stops. I felt that way about the Epic Tales from Ancient India from the the Spreckles Organ Pavilion illuminated like a mini Taj Majal to the low padded settees with their elaborate fabrics at the entrance of SDMA. I could imagine artisans documenting the Lord Vishnu's life with tiny one haired paint brushes sitting cross legged in splendid tile lined studios. But it is the intricate compositions that have always impressed me about these works. Anything goes as they disregard perspective and the laws of physics. That visual freedom still looks fresh and inspiring even if you don't know the stories of churning  oceans of milk and the various incarnations of demons and gods.  

The San Diego Museum of Art's Epic Tales from Ancient India exhibition opens on June 9, and features more than 90 works of art from the Museum's world-renowned Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, and offers the unique opportunity to experience South Asian paintings in their original narrative context by explaining the classics of literature that the works illustrate. The exhibition is returning home to San Diego after nearly two years on the road; it previously toured at the Princeton University Art Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art.

The four corners of the entrance hall invite a conversation.

Performance on the opening night. 

Museum staff embellish this serene space with gentle sitar music piped into the galleries

Moon Gold by Nancy Lorenz

I also have the power to re-arrange time and although I saw the following Nancy Lorenz exhibition before I walked into the Epic tales from India, it actually seem more appropriate to see it as a continuation of that show. Small touches of gold in the Indian illuminations explode from her works. This time the Asian influence is from lacquered and gilded Japanese artifacts. Jute, cardboard, burlap, wood  are the substrates that show through and silver and platinum join gold for these opulent and decorative works that look like they could adorn a palace.  

 AND even though I started my evening of openings with Wonderspaces, it ends this blog because it continues the theme of decorative and over the top with lots of flash and tricks. I am showing only a few still photos here, but follow my instagram account patriciafrischer to see videos of many of these art works. This is the second presentation from Wonderspaces, a team still figuring out how to continue with new idea of paying for a visual arts experience when you do not have a museum setting. Although they want to try to get a permanent space, the Pier is another short term space for them as they work hard to make a quality presentation.

Wonderspaces returns to San Diego again With Creative License from June 8 through August at the 1140 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101 at the B Street Pier.   $14 to $24. 

Body Paint by Memo Akten
The colors changes in reaction to the moves of the audience

Black Balloons by Tadao Cern
A room with black balls over of the ceiling and the floor. 

Submergence by Squidsoup

A room filled with strings of hanging light that turned on and off making patterns and creating movement.

Inside the Breath by Stefano Ogliari Badessi
A large Mylar-like apostrophe shaped inflated space that you could go inside as you see below.

Akousmaflore by Scenocosme

Gently touch the real leaves from these hanging baskets to hear different sounds that are harmonic and create a mood of joy in the room.  

Magnetic Field by VOID
The creepy room is filled with what looks like aluminum cleaning pads that have been stretched out. The are all responding to some sort of magnets hidden in the walls or in mounds on the floor, so everything is moving very slightly. The effect is unsettling as if they are growing, maybe even ready to get together to  attack!

Volumen by Filip Roca

This still from a wall full of screens  with coordinated movement all in black and white was mesmerizing.

To Do by Illegal Art
We loved this entire wall of pink and yellow post it notes the spell out TO DO. You were invited to write and note and leave it. 
Other works on display included:
The Corridor by Toby Dye
Impulse by Martin Messier
Hoshi by Nonotak Studio
Never Ends by Bengfang
Levitate by Everyware

The Border by Carolin Waniztek

Most of these works have an interactive element, you walk through into them and the works surround you or there is virtual reality or you touch and get a reaction.  Nothing is simply 2-dimensional or static. That is the Wonderspaces vision and brand. 

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