Irene Kung's Dream-like Photos Taking inspiration from everything that surrounds us, Irene Kung creates haunting photographs that inspire a pause for reflection and meditation. The Swiss photographer transforms urban spaces and buildings in cities across the world, as she takes snapshots where tourist take pictures but turns these daytime shots into night. She also separates her subjects from any surroundings, and illuminating them in such a way that adds the dream-like quality. When asked what concepts she aims to emphasize her images, she answers:

Silence and immobility. To stop and see, feel, think and dream. I aim to respond to people’s inner being at this time when our world is rushing towards decline. The void. Unfilled space, the darkness around the subject is more important than the subject itself. Today there is too much of everything around us, and I concentrate on elimination and the creation of voids. Empty space offers the chance of giving time a dimension.

Kung works with Michael Goedhuis Gallery in London and Valentina Bonomo in Rome.

Sculptures behind the Renaissance

When you think of the great Renaissance works, one tends to focus on oil paintings and the painters. But without the sculptors who paved the way, we would have no Botticelli, Leonardo or Raphael. Renaissance really began in a few decades at the beginning of the 15th century in Florence, and a superb exhibition "The Springtime of the Renaissance" at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence maps out this artistic revolution and brings together a treasure-studded retrospective of sculpture through Western art's most important era. Speaking of the exhibition, curator Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi says "the exhibition aims to show that the origin of this revolution, which lasted two centuries, was sculpture."

Works by masters including Donatello and Masaccio, Brunelleschi and Paolo Uccello have been loaned for the unprecedented show, with works coming from collections including the Louvre in Paris, the Bargello Museum in Florence, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Bode-Museum in Berlin, the Metropolitan in New York and the National Gallery in Washington.

Donatello, "Madonna Pazzi" circa 1420 marble, 74.5 x 73 x 6.5 cm Bode-Museum, Berlin

Amongst the loans is the Cortona sarcophagus, carved with Amazon warriors and plunging centaurs, that Brunelleschi is said to have walked all the way from Florence to see. The Bode-Museum lent a magnificent work by Donatello known as the "Madonna Pazzi" -- a marble statue used to create molds that were then used to cast copies in bronze. Speaking of this work, Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi says:

"These moulds in terracotta or stucco were not that costly so that any store or convent could afford the statues in Florence and elsewhere. This allowed the aesthetic revolution to spread, including outside of Italy."

Copies of the molds were made especially for the exhibition and put on display where visitors are encouraged to touch them.

Congratulations are due to the three institutions behind this show: the Louvre and the Bargello Museum, both of which have amazing permanent holdings, and Palazzo Strozzi. The exhibition ends in Florence on 18th of August, and will travel to the Louvre in September, on view until 6th of January 2014. So plenty of chance to see it.

Old Masters Boom in Singapore

It seems like there is an Old Master paintings boom in Singapore! First it was the announcement that highlights from the world famous Princely Collection of Liechtenstein, normally housed in the Liechtenstein Palaces, are going on exhibit at the National Museum of Singapore, which opened on 26th of June. Singapore is already the fourth stop for the collections' Asia tour, which have included Tokyo, Kochi and Kyoto. Further exhibitions in Beijing’s National Museum and the China Art Museum in Shanghai are planned to starting in the autumn.

Dr Johann Kraftner during the press preview of the Liechtenstein exhibition at the National Museum of Art, Singapore

Although these loan exhibitions are to promote the LGT Bank (owned by the princely House of Liechtenstein) in Asia, it certainly serves a great cultural purpose. The show is curated by Dr. Johann Kraftner, the family's art advisor and director of its two museums in Vienna, and brings together by masterworks including Raphael, Rubens, Canaletto and Pieter Brueghel the Younger.

Canaletto, "Venice: The Piazza San Marco, Looking West from the North End of the Piazzetta" Oil on canvas 65 x 95 cm Princely Collection of Liechtenstein, Vienna

The Canaletto on view was sold to the coll ection through the London-based Old Master dealer Derek Johns, who recently started a new venture in Singapore as well. Together with his Singapore-based partner Chng Hock Huat, and joining forces with Monaco-based dealer Marietta Vinci-Corsini (widow of the famous dealer Piero Corsini who passed away in 2001) Derek Johns has set up Emperor Fine Art in Singapore, giving the opportunity to see European Old Master paintings within the Asian region.

Chng Hock Huat and Derek Johns in front of "Holy Family" by Andrea del Sarto

Johns and Corsini selected a group of paintings from their gallery stock to send to Singapore and held their first official week of events which cleverly corresponded with the opening of the Liechtenstein exhibition on 26th of June.

Add all this information on to the fact that just a month ago, the Singaporean government announced that the Pinacothèque de Paris is to bring Old Masters and Modern art in a pop-up space from September during the renovations to its main building in Paris. Owned and run by the Modigliani scholar Marc Restellini, the Pinacothèque first opened in 2007, and since 2011 has been displaying a collection of masterpieces from Van Dyck, Monet and Modigliani to Picasso and Pollock; all works on loan from private or public collections.

Singaporeans are getting a series of events and exhibitions highlighting Old Masters! Exhibitions are a great way to educate and expose audiences to such works, which is even better news for the dealers as they hope that after viewing and admiring the Old Master treasures on display, the Asian audience will be more inclined to start collecting them too.