“100 Painters of Tomorrow” authored by Kurt Beers, Director of Beers Contemporary and published by Thames & Hudson, is the result of a major new project to find the 100 most exciting, up-and-coming painters at work today. This publication introduces and presents the work of a global cast of painters selected by an international panel featuring some of the most prominent names in contemporary art (including the painter Cecily Brown, curators Tony Godfrey, Yuko Hasegawa and Gregor Muir, and writer-critics Suzanne Hudson, Barry Schwabsky and Philip Tinari) offering an intelligent snapshot of the best new talent in painting from across the world, gathered through an open call for submission that drew over 4300. Also included in the book are painters from the Baltics, Scandinavia and Russia, namely: Matilda Enegren from Finland, Tonje Moe from Norway, Peter Linde Busk from Denmark, Anna Ring from Sweden, Kristina Alisauskaite from Lithuania, Kaido Ole from Estonia, and Yelena Popova from Russia.
Finnish artist Matilda Enegren. Evening watercolor, 2013
Kurt Beers, author of “100 Painters of Tomorrow”, reveals: “We were thrilled up until the very end of reviewing the submissions, not only about their quality, but also about geographic trends and how broadly the net was cast, which was reflected by the over 4300 submissions representing more than 105 different countries – so, quite literally, over half of the world.” Beers was gracious enough to answer a few questions for Arterritory.com's express interview.
Norwegian artist Tonje Moe. Lifting The Veil, 2012
“An intelligent, wide-ranging and exhilarating survey of largely unknown talents…” is how “100 Painters of Tomorrow” has been described. But what does “unknown talent” mean in today’s global art world? How it is possible to study the field of hidden talents?
I don't know if 'study' is the correct term here, because that suggests something quantifiable, and the book never intended to complete an objective survey of contemporary emerging painting; it did, however, intend to present a type of overview - a sampling - of what is happening at a grassroots level, internationally, in the studios, away from the hierarchy of the institution. It’s meant to celebrate and inquire. To present questions instead of answers. And I think it has succeeded massively in presenting a diverse range of underexposed talent working around the world.
Lithuanian artist Kristina Alisauskaite. Mask, 2014
For decades there have been debates about painting being a dying medium. How does this book cover painting as a medium and as a practice?
I have always thought this a silly argument. It’s cyclical. Two centuries old. The overwhelming reality is that if you ask anyone in the arts, they will almost inevitably lead to the conclusion that painting is more alive and well today than ever. Of course, there are its detractors, but there always will be. I think the very evidence that some people desire to maintain this argument is grounds enough to show that painting is relevant. If it were not, then why would we be arguing over it? Painting's prevalence, importance, and impact threatens many of the other discourses because of its sustaining relevance. I think the book shows that today, in paint, there still remains some of the most exciting art happening. I feel like that’s undeniable.
Estonian artist Kaido Ole. Still Life with Man Playing Home, 2013
What kind of contemporary painting trends can be seen in this book?
The very lack of a pattern is what I find exciting. We have figurative, abstract, painting-off-the-canvas, even performance. However, overwhelmingly, the book presents painting as a rather straightforward practice (that being paint on support - the most traditional presentation). But the very jarring differences from page to page – from artist to artist, this demonstrates the sheer number of talented artists working in all sorts of modes. I find it very exciting to know that an artist like, say, Madeline Von Foerster, is redefining Dutch Still Life with very contemporary means. Ryan Mosley is a narrator, like a folk-artist done-up on a grand scale. Jirapat Tatsanaboom and Akira Izekoe and Pawel Sliwinski bring in an element of their culture that, for us, seems quite interesting, quite unnerving, but so compelling. The work in the books and the styles and idioms at work simply go on and on.
The book features high-quality reproductions of each artist’s work, plus short texts including biographical information and quotations from the artists themselves that provide personal insights into their thinking and practice.
There will be two launchings for this book – one in London and another in New York. Both will be accompanied with an exhibition. The London launch will be at Christie's on October 30, followed by an exhibition from November 27 through New Year's Day at Beers Contemporary gallery. The event in New York will be held at a lovely, large space at 23 Warren Street in Tribeca, opening November 6, and with the accompanying exhibition running through December 6. Details can be found at www.100paintersoftomorrow.com