ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 8/25/2017

Back in Print! Bauhaus 1919-1933

DATE 8/24/2017

KAWS: transgressing the borders between art and society

DATE 8/23/2017

Michael Auping on cartoons, abstraction and KAWS

DATE 8/22/2017

'KAWS: Where the End Starts' available at last!

DATE 8/21/2017

New edition of Stan Brakhage's epic 'Metaphors on Vision'

DATE 8/19/2017

Engagingly seedy and colorful: Fred Herzog's Vancouver

DATE 8/16/2017

Albert Elm's enigmatic 'What Sort of Life Is This'

DATE 8/12/2017

Back in stock! Andy Warhol: Prints

DATE 8/11/2017

Peter Schjeldahl on Peter Cain, 1997

DATE 8/10/2017

Back to School

DATE 8/10/2017

Collier Schorr on Peter Cain

DATE 8/9/2017

Bristling with post-Freudian electricity: Anne Collier: Women with Cameras (Anonymous)

DATE 8/8/2017

Michael Williams and the truth about painting

DATE 8/7/2017

A remarkable feat of facsimile publishing: Lee Lozano: Private Book 2

DATE 8/6/2017

In honor of the Newport Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall

DATE 8/5/2017

Kitchen textile designer Marguerita Mergentime featured on Food 52!

DATE 8/4/2017

Dayanita Singh's poetic mini-museum

DATE 8/3/2017

A museum, a book and an object. Dayanita Singh: Museum Bhavan

DATE 8/2/2017

"Not just anyone makes a good pisser"

DATE 8/1/2017

AUTOPHOTO and the old-fashioned idea of freedom

DATE 7/31/2017

Emil Nolde's wild Grotesques

DATE 7/30/2017

Christine Osinski: Summer Days Staten Island, Young Man Pulling a Go Cart

DATE 7/29/2017

Calling all flaneurs, cosmopolitans and bon vivants!

DATE 7/28/2017

Summer Reading: Midnight: The Tempest Essays by Molly Nesbit

DATE 7/27/2017

Retuning perceptions in 'Fred Sandback: Vertical Constructions'

DATE 7/26/2017

Nonchalant flirting with oblivion: Ray Johnson

DATE 7/25/2017

Philip Guston's Nixon Drawings have never been more relevant

DATE 7/24/2017

A book for our times: Philip Guston: Nixon Drawings

DATE 7/23/2017

Tom Bianchi: Fire Island Pines, Polaroids 1975-1983

DATE 7/22/2017

Tom Bianchi's 70s photos of the Gay Community in Fire Island Pines

DATE 7/21/2017

Exactly what's the deal with Russia, again?

DATE 7/21/2017

Hauser & Wirth LA Presents 'Master of Go' Summer Reading Group

DATE 7/21/2017

Hauser & Wirth LA Presents 'In the Deep' Summer Reading Group

DATE 7/21/2017

Fire Island Pines in its infancy and its heyday

DATE 7/20/2017

Oozing with potency: Margaret Hooks' Tina Modotti Biography

DATE 7/19/2017

"Disagreements must be intensified and their gaps must be widened."

DATE 7/19/2017

Cooking from the CCCP COOK BOOK

DATE 7/18/2017

A beautiful new book on Japanese artist Jiro Takamatsu

DATE 7/17/2017

Enough room to play: Craft Becomes Modern: The Bauhaus in the Making

DATE 7/16/2017

Between utopia and industrial culture: Craft Becomes Modern

DATE 7/15/2017

Exceptional architecture in 'Francis Kéré: Radically Simple'

DATE 7/14/2017

Marriage of the Minds in Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb: Slant Rhymes

DATE 7/13/2017

Poetry meets photography in 'Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb: Slant Rhymes'

DATE 7/12/2017

USPS Celebrates Andrew Wyeth's world - the way he wanted it

DATE 7/11/2017

USPS Celebrates Andrew Wyeth with Forever Stamps

DATE 7/11/2017

'Studio: Remembering Chris Marker' Event at Metrograph

DATE 7/10/2017

The torment of the loner, the distress of the seeker beset by visions: Egon Schiele

DATE 7/9/2017

Even magic is doomed to pass: Egon Schiele

DATE 7/8/2017

Relive turn-of-the-century Paris in the postcards of Eugène Atget

DATE 7/8/2017

The deceptive simplicity of Women in Trees

DATE 7/8/2017

SUMMER BOOK SALE - SAVE UP TO 70% (click HERE to see more!)


AT FIRST SIGHT

ERIN DUNIGAN | DATE 8/20/2010

Belkis Ayón: Nkame
Captivating Mystery

When I first learned about Belkis Ayón: Nkame in our weekly editorial acquisitions meetings my interest was immediately piqued; and the more I read about the Cuban artist the more I was sucked into the captivating mystery of her work and life. Belkis Ayón committed suicide in 1999 at the age of 32, sending ripples through the art world and shocking family and friends who had detected no outward signs of depression in the successful young artist. Ayón’s sudden death proves to be just as enigmatic as her art.
The artist’s meteoric rise coincided with the harshest years of Cuba's post-Soviet economic crisis. As a result, she developed a practice that made use of the limited materials at her disposal. Ayón was skilled in the art of print-making, lithography, serigraphy and collography, and frequently experimented with the application of paper scraps, sandpaper, gesso and even carborundum to her surfaces. She tended to work in a range of grays, blacks and whites creating vibrant and highly-textured images that all but leap off the picture plane. Though her compositions are aesthetically powerful, the most compelling aspect of Ayón’s work is her macabre subject matter.
Belkis Ayon
In this overwhelming 312-page catalogue raisonné (which includes a DVD companion with additional essays, images and even archival video footage), readers can trace the gradual shift in Ayón’s work from prosaic scenes of city life, portraits and household interiors to her consuming fascination with Afro-Cuban religious iconography, specifically that of the Abakua.
Belkis Ayon
The Abakua are an all-male secret society, a combination of both Christian and African traditions, which first made its appearance in Cuba around 1836. The origins of the brotherhood can be traced back to southern Nigeria and their beliefs were likely brought to Cuba’s port cities by African slaves. The Abakua function as a mutual-aid organization and are known for rituals and ceremonies full of theatricality and drama (such as drumming, dancing and chanting in their own secret language). In their initiation rites members are sworn to secrecy, perhaps explaining why the Abakua have remained hermetic for nearly two centuries and are considered one of the most misunderstood contemporary Afro-Cuban religions.
Belkis Ayon
While Abakuan symbolism plays a predominant, and at times, ominous role in Ayón’s engravings, the artist was also incredibly drawn to the tragic figure of Sikan, a central and recurring character in many of her tableaus. In Abakuan lore the African princess Sikan plays an Eve-like role, wherein she is folds to temptation and is punished for her disobedience. Unlike Eve, Sikan is killed for her indiscretion and her death marks both the beginning of the Abakuan brotherhood, as well as the beginning of the female ban on joining the society.
Belkis Ayon
Ayón’s striking images are dominated by alien-like beings portrayed without facial features, aside from piercing almond-shaped eyes contorted to express their intense emotions. Art historian Cristina Figueroa describes the effect, "These figures can look at you but cannot speak. So you have to interpret what they're trying to say through their eyes." She goes on to postulate that the absence of the mouth in Ayón’s figures illustrates the secrecy of the members of the Abakua. These shadowy spirits are depicted performing ritual acts or simply surrounded by mysterious symbols and iconography. A narrative seems to be present in many cases but shrouded by layers of meaning that cannot easily deciphered. They are both haunting and absolutely enchanting!
Belkis Ayon
The mythology surrounding Belkis Ayón and her art may never truly be understood, but the impact that she left on the world will endure. Since her death the Cuban government has declared a patrimony on her work, prohibiting it from leaving the country. And in the artist’s lifetime her art was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, NY and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among other notable institutions.
Belkis Ayon
Belkis Ayon
Belkis Ayon
Turner publications affirms Ayón’s legacy with this thorough and heartfelt tribute to the artist’s life and work. And it is worth noting that the Project Director for this catalogue is Dr. Katia Ayón (Belkis’s sister) who in the introduction writes: “…Thus it is confirmed that art is, among many things, a sort of life after life, or the most effective weapon to confront death. The reminiscences of a person are something else. Belkis was accustomed to dealing with myths, and her own myth grows between her friends, colleagues and students who loved her… a token of such affection can also be found in these pages.”

Belkis Ayón: Nkame

Belkis Ayón: Nkame

TURNER
Hbk, 9.5 x 12.25 in. / 312 pgs / 400 color / Data CD.

DATE 8/23/2015

Xanti Schawinsky

Xanti Schawinsky

DATE 7/31/2015

Axel Hoedt

Axel Hoedt

DATE 9/11/2014

New York Is ...

New York Is ...

DATE 5/13/2014

Libuse Niklová

Libuse Niklová


ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
75 Broad Street, Suite 630
New York NY 10004
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2017 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com