‘Kurt Beers, founder and director of BEERS London gallery, discusses his new book '100 Sculptors of Tomorrow' that celebrates and sculpture and opens up the definition of the medium.’
What were some of the surprising things you found when compiling this book?
A lot of found-object art, firstly. A lot of people working in very conscientious, heavily scientific methods that at times would simply boggle my mind. Rachel Ara, Kader Attia, Rachael Champion, Haroon Mirza, Euyoung Hong, or Olaniyi Akindiya… these aren’t artists with ‘technologically’ or complex machinic ideas but rather dense, complex historicities surrounding their work and ethos, that at times proved very difficult to … whittle down, shall we say, into palatable entries. The problem is how to accurately paraphrase what they are doing in a brief write up is very challenging. You don’t ever want to include an artist and then do them a disservice by under-explaining their thought processes. Further, geography plays a large part: I don’t think its surprising that many artists from more ‘privileged’ countries talk about materiality, whereas like Rushdi Anwar (Kurdistan/Iraq), Catalin Badaru (Romania), Haffendi Anuar (Malaysia), Saad Qureshi (Pakistan), Tuan Andrew Nguyen (Vietnam), Beili Liu (China), Serge Attukwei Clottey (Ghana), are concerned with contentious, polemic political ideas and powerful statements. I also found that I ended up loving some things I originally thought I didn’t like. Knowledge is a powerful thing, and suddenly you get an understanding of what this artist is actually talking about, and I would respond differently to it. I think sculpture is a slower burn that painting. A harder sell, but incredibly powerful medium. Virginia Leonard is one powerful example…her work is so poignant and personal… But you’ll have to pick up the book to read about her journey.
HAFFENDI ANUAR (b. 1985, Malaysia) is a multidisciplinary artist working in sculpture, paintings, installations and drawings. Mining art history, technology, nature and regional contexts Anuar creates object-based works that recycle found images and artistic styles from digital and local sources.
His work traces the contemporary mutations that occur in cultural symbols as a result of displacement, digitalisation and commodification. Through the inflated velocity of its digital dispersion and the pixelation of traditional designs and patterns, the resulting object becomes a pseudo-artefact. Its existence is inspired by kitsch decorative pieces and cultural debris, questioning their potential to enter Western economic exchange markets.