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M ariana Castillo Deball Never odd or even, Book, 2011 Tangram Table 02 (photo by Laura Gianetti)

never odd or even





Ar t i s t s Rosa Barba Erik Beltrán Nanna Debois Buhl & Brendan Fernandes Mariana Castillo Deball Simon Evans Peter Fischli | David Weiss János Fodor Lise Harlev Ferdinand KRIWET Ján M ancˇuška Tris Vonna-Mitchell C iprian Mures¸ an Henrik Olesen Adam Pendleton Pablo Pijnappel Sebastián Romo Dmitry Vilensky (Chto Delat?) Phillip Zach

P ublisher Solvej Helweg Ovesen C oncept e-book Andrea Nicolò, Solvej Helweg Ovesen G r aphic design Andrea Nicolò www.andreanicolo.com

Cu r a t o r Solvej Helweg Ovesen Dir e c t o r G r i m m u s e u m Enrico Centonze As s i s t a n t C u r a t o r, G r immuseum Mario Margani E x h i b i t i o n C o o r d i n a tor at Solvej O vesen Cu r a t o r i a l P r o j e c t s f or G r immuseum and M u s e u m o f C o n t e m p orary Art, Roskilde: Mette Woller Doc u m e n t a t i o n , p h o to Laura Gianetti www.lauragianetti.com D i r e c t o r M u s e u m o f Contemporary Art Ro s k i l d e Sanne Kofod Olsen A s s i s t a n t C u r a t o r, Museum of Co n t e m p o r a r y A r t , R o skilde Mette Truberg Te c h n i c a l D i r e c t o r, M useum of Co n t e m p o r a r y A r t , R o skilde Enrico Passetti

D ocumentation, photo Laura Gianetti Documentation, film Never odd or even per for man ce Christopher Hewitt D ocumentation, film Machine Vision S eeker s Hagen Döcke P r eface Enrico Centonze, Sanne Kofod Olsen Authors, interviews: Mariana Castillo Deball, János Fodor, Mario Margani, Solvej Helweg Ovesen, Pablo Pijnappel & Mette Woller Editor Solvej Helweg Ovesen A ssisting editor Mette Woller English la nguage proof reading Carrie Hampel D istr ibutio n Grimmuseum www.grimmuseum.com Museum of Contemporary Art Roskilde www.samtidskunst.dk Solvej Ovesen Curatorial Projects www.solvejovesen.com C ontact Grimmuseum: Fichtestrasse 2, 10967 Berlin – DE www.grimmuseum.com




Preface Sanne Kofod Olsen

Pablo Pijnappel — Quirijn 2011

Interview by Mette Woller

Text by Enrico Centonze,

09-012 Never odd or even — an introduction Text by Solvej Helweg Ovesen

János Fodor — a written conversation Interview by Mario Margani

014-027 097-103

Photos video


Machine Vision Seeker

029-069 Mariana Castillo Deball, Solvej Helweg Ovesen — The Exhibition Never odd or even Interview by Mette Woller video


Ingo Niermann's Performance

Museum of Contemporary Art: Stændertorvet 1, 4000 Roskilde – DK www.samtidskunst.dk Solvej Helweg Ovesen, Atelier Werk, Schwedterstrasse 36A, 10435 Berlin - DE solvej.ovesen@gmail.com www.solvejovesen.comnever odd or even






and curators working with us are co-authors of our identity. Grimmuseum fo-

Contemporary Art in Roskilde.

ever odd or even curated by Solvej Helweg Ovesen is an exhibition that reflects the goals of the Grimmuseum.

t is our great pleasure to host the exhibition Never odd or even at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde this Winter, 2012.

Histories unfold to build an expanded meaning, in which sense the

museum is like a book containing many stories, ideas and mediums; all artists

The exhibition Never odd or even is a collaboration between freelance

curator Solvej Helweg Ovesen, the Grimmuseum in Berlin, and the Museum of

cuses on an interdisciplinary approach of promoting performance, sound, and visual art, much like the profile of Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde.

In 2010 Solvej Helweg Ovesen approached me with the suggestion of co-producing this exhibition with the Grimmuseum in Berlin. It seemed an

A co-production with the Museum of Contemporary Art made this

obvious thing to do considering the similar orientation of the Museum of Con-

exhibition project and the publishing of the II Volume of Never odd or even

temporary Art and the Grimmuseum in our common focus on conceptual prac-

possible, an experience that has allowed two institutions to share the joy of

tices, performance and sound art.

language and text in interdisciplinary approaches.

However, what I found most intriguing was the concept of the exhibi-

The co-existence of viewers, artists and artworks generates a univer-

tion, and most particularly the collaboration between curator and artist: cura-

sal space for individual reflection. In many ways the exhibition is interactive,

tor Solvej Helweg Ovesen has borrowed the exhibition title from a pre-existing

in which way Grimmuseum invites its viewers to co-author their own per-

work of art from Mariana Castillo Deball, which is also a significant and signify-

spective of our collective history.

ing part of the exhibition. In some ways, this work —the book by Mariana Cas-

Berlin, January 2012

tillo Deball— is a passage to the process of the exhibition, while it’s concept also unfolds the curatorial concept. The exhibition is both an invitation to the

Enrico Centonze

viewer to write a story through the narrative of their experience of the exhi-

Founder and Director of Grimmuseum

bition, and in the same way, to participate in the art works as written stories themselves. Everything has a story. Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to Solvej Helweg Ovesen for including the Museum of Contemporary Art in this exciting collaboration, to Mariana Castillo Deball for offering to produce volume II of the Never odd or even book, to all the participating artists, as well as Enrico Centonze from the Grimmuseum, and to all co-workers who have contributed to this exhibition production. Roskilde, January 2012 Sanne Kofod Olsen, Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde never odd or even


Never odd or even — an introduction

SebastiĂĄn Romo

Limite! (det.) 082004 (photo by Laura Gianetti)

never odd or even

Text by Solvej Helweg Ovesen



The Never odd or even e-book has been published on

stories by filling in both the gaps left open by the artists and in the

the occasion of the exhibition Never odd or even that

spaces between their works. Imaginary space is rendered tangible

took place in Berlin Grimmuseum from the 1st of Oc-

through text and movement. Artworks appear as wall texts and text

tober till the 20 of November, 2011, and will now take place in

installations, as well as projected, spoken, enacted and filmed prose

the Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde from the 14 of Janu-

in a way that activates the architectural space to amplify the mean-

ary till the 8 of April, 2012. For these wonderful opportunities to

ing of the words and the worlds inside them.




present the exhibition I would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to the participating artists, especially Mariana Castillo Deball, who

The point of departure of the exhibition and it’s title come

inspired the exhibition title with her artwork Never odd or even,

from the legendary book and performance project, Never odd or

and to the museum directors, Enrico Centonze and Sanne Kofod,

even, 2005 - 2011, by Berlin-based artist, Mariana Castillo De-

as well as their teams, thanks to whom the exhibition and the new

ball (Mexico, 1975). Her project consists of ‘a book of unwritten

Volume of Never odd or even by Deball could be printed and co-

books’—30 book covers designed by creative producers selected by

produced. This exciting collaboration between two institutions in

the artist and published as one book. A new edition of the Never

Berlin and Roskilde, both so passionately committed to present-

odd or even book has been invented and published for this exhibi-

ing and documenting sound art, performance and conceptual art,

tion (by Bom dia boa tarde boa noite). The imagined content of

have been valuable supporting structures for this exhibition and in

these ‘unwritten books’ was and will be performed during the ex-

the idea of inspiring visitors ‘to becoming the exhibition’s devoted

hibition by well-known authors, poets, and artists like Ingo Nier-


mann, Cia Rinne, and Jens Blendstrup.

Never odd or even is a text-spaced exhibition that unfolds

The present Never odd or even e-book evokes and explores

in mental and architectural chapters through perspectives created

the celebration of the precision of language and expression, reading,

by textual artworks. The artworks presented derive from Concrete

the historical transformation of images to signs and alphabets, and

Poetry, Dadaist and Futurist Manifestos, as well as techniques of

words to images in the exhibited artworks. Never odd or even is a

mind mapping. The exhibition structure is inspired by the format

slow exhibition with manifold performative elements —clearly best

of a book or perhaps more specifically a ‘walk-in’ anthology on

documented with a combination of photos, text and video, which

a human-scale, formatted in spatial chapters that, in effect, invite

is of course what makes the format of an e-book so inviting. The

the visitors to become co-authors, as their imaginations co-produce

book presents a comprehensive interview with myself and Mariana


solvej helweg ovesen

never odd or even


Castillo Deball by Mette Woller contextualising the Never odd or even exhibition and originating artwork, as well as the Never odd or even performance video documentation in which Ingo Niermann reads from the Ronald Reagan biography: Where is the rest of me? Furthermore Mette Woller interviewed Pablo Pijnappel, a most articulate author and filmmaker, whose film Quirijn appears in the exhibition, and who here investigates the pleasures of laziness, and defying the daily pressure to perform. Finally the book presents a written conversation between Mario Margani and participating artist János Fodor about his sci-fi archaeology of alphabets as it appears in his sculptures and visuals. 


F erdinand Kriwet Rundscheiben (det.) 1960-63 Offset print, 10 parts Each 60,9 x 58 8,4 x 1,3 cm Edition of 30 Courtesy BQ Galerie, Berlin (photo neverbyodd Lauraor Gianetti) even



 Sebastián Romo Limite! 2004 Museum board Variable dimensions (photo by Laura Gianetti)

H enrik O lesen Portraits/Alphabet (version) 2008/2011 8 digital prints on paper each 29,7 x 21 cm Courtesy Daniel Buchholz, Köln/Berlin (photo by Laura Gianetti)

 Peter Fischli | David Weiss How To Work Better 1991-2000 Screenprint on paper 69,8 x 49,8 cm (unframed) Private collection Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin/London, Matthew Marks Gallery New York, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich. (photo by Laura Gianetti)

never odd or even



 S imon Evans Symptoms of Loneliness 2009 Pen, paper, scotch tape, correction fluid 72 x 99 cm Copyright the artist Private collection, São Paulo (photo by Laura Gianetti)


A dam P endleton Black Dada 2008 Vinyl foil Variable dimensions (photo neverbyodd Lauraor Gianetti) even



 Ján M ancˇuška In Memory, 2006 (10 x 10 x 10 of reality 6/10) 10 xerox copies, framed individually Each 29 x 21cm Courtesy Meyer Riegger, Berlin/Karlsruhe (photo by Laura Gianetti)

Dmitry Vilensky (Chto Delat?) Century of the Manifesto. Play for a few actors 2009 video 8:03 min. Music by Mikhail Krutik (photo by Laura Gianetti)

 János Fodor Monolith (All These Worlds Are Yours Except Europa, Attempt No Landing Here, Use Them Together Use Them In Peace) 2011 Black plexiglas Courtesy Kisterem Gallery, Budapest (photo by Laura Gianetti)


never odd or even

never odd or even


Rosa Barba Machine Vision Seekers 2004 16 mm film, colour, moving projector 6’ 45’’ edition of 1/3 + 1 a.p Courtesy carlier | gebauer, Berlin and Gió Marconi, Milan (photo by Laura Gianetti)


Rosa Barba Machine Vision Seekers 2004 16 mm film, colour, moving projector 6’ 45’’ edition of 1/3 + 1 a.p Courtesy of the Artist and carlier | gebauer, Berlin and Gió Marconi, Milan (video by Hagen Döcke)

never odd or even

never odd or even


Erick Beltrán Die Morelli Zeitzeile 2009 Print on foil (photo by Laura Gianetti)

 Nanna Debois Buhl & Brendan Fernandes In Your Words 2011 HD Video projection 10’ 27’’ loop Animations: Hisao Iharo Sound: Pejk Malinovski Voices: Karen Blixen, Nanna Debois Buhl, Brendan Fernandes, Irungu Mutu (photo by Laura Gianetti)


never odd or even

never odd or even


F erdinand Kriwet Rundscheiben 1960-63 Offset print, 10 parts Each 60,9 x 58 8,4 x 1,3 cm Edition of 30 Courtesy BQ Galerie, Berlin (photo by Laura Gianetti)


never odd or even

never odd or even


 L isa H arlev Dear Hairdresser (det.) 2009 Plexiglass, wood Dimensions variable (photo by Laura Gianetti) P hillip Z ach Untitled (det.) 2011 Vinyl foil Variable dimensions (photo by Laura Gianetti)

C iprian Mures¸ an Dog Luv 2009 Video 30’ 56’’ Courtesy Galeria Plan B, Berlin/Cluj


never odd or even

never odd or even


Mariana Castillo Deball, Solvej Helweg Ovesen — The Exhibition Never odd or even M ariana Castillo Deball Never odd or even, Book, 2011 (photo Š BOM 028DIA BOA TARDE BOA NOITE and Manuel Goller)

never odd or even

Interview by Mette Woller



Solvej, the exhibition Never odd or even is inspired by Mariana Castillo Deball’s book and performance project Never odd or even. When did you see it the first time and in which ways did it inspire you? In other words, what potential did you see in the project? I saw it at her presentation for the 9th Baltic Triennial, BMW (Black Market Worlds), not as a book, but as posters presented on freestanding walls. Never odd or even then became the title of the book project in its current form, which was developed between 2004 and 2006 and published by Revolver. The potential I saw was in the act of giving a kind of imaginary space to other people by inviting them to make a cover of a not yet existing book. The

title Never odd or even has a mystical energy from having the reverse reading effect of a palindrome and because of the ‘in-between’ zone it describes. I think the authors

whose letters can be read both forwards and backwards. The project consists of a compilation of 30 covers of non-

who get invited to make contributions and covers of these im-

existing books for which content is created or imagined

aginary books almost get some of that energy: they suggest, or

through a series of performances. I thought the title Never

take on other stories and they most likely give completely dif-

odd or even was a precise metaphor for a process that goes

ferent input than if they’d written a whole book. I think that’s

back and forth. As a publication composed of non-exist-

my main inspiration as well — the possibility or idea of putting

ing books, it triggers the reader’s imagination, inviting him

your own ‘author’ ego aside and being anonymous by either

or her to lucubrate on its possible contents. In that sense

conceiving a book cover for another author, or writing the text

Never odd or even is always incomplete and needs a dia-

of a book with a title you didn’t invent yourself.

logue in order to exist.

Mariana, how did you come up with the title: Never odd

Is this a way to place it in-between definitions?

or even?

For me, it is important to focus on the trajectories of the dia-

Never odd or even is, as said, a palindrome, a sentence

logue between people rather than seeing it as a product in itself. 

030 met te


mariana c astillo deball

solvej helweg ovesen

M ariana Castillo Deball Never odd or even, Book, 2011 mariana c astillo deball -(photo solvej © BOM helweg DIA BOA ovesen TARDE BOA NOITE and Manuel Goller) 031

Solvej, is what Mariana is saying here related to the choice of using the title for the entire exhibition? I think it’s the idea of a book in a book in a book that is crucial, similar to the idea of ‘mise en abyme’, this kind of endlessness of the project; I mean, it’s infinity. Visually I connected it to the space of Grimmuseum, where one goes deeper and deeper into the space with a view of one door opening after the other. I should also mention that Never odd or even is conceived as a slow exhibition. Almost like a small bookstore where you rediscover the joy of reading. The title is also inspired of a kind of freedom of not having to relate all the artworks directly, but being able to give each of them their own chapter. The authors who enact one of the book covers from Marianas’project Never odd or even can choose any cover and then put a story to it from their imagination, which they present to an audience who is totally unprepared. I hope that the audience in the exhibition gets into a kind of reading/listening mode from where the stories can gain space. What I really love about the connection between the book project and the exhibition is that, in a way, it allows the exhibition to host quite different stories next to each other, and that the artists offer a whole story so that each visitor can decide if they dive completely into that one piece exclusively and spend ages on it, or if they dive into all of them. In terms of curating I don’t think an exhibition always has to support the same narrative. It can be an endless book that might meet further down the interpretive strands, and in that way inspires the chapters of the exhibition.  Sebastián Romo Limite! (det.) 2004


Installation view Grimmuseum (photo neverbyodd Lauraor Gianetti) even

mariana c astillo deball


solvej helweg ovesen


 Sebastián Romo Limite! (det.) 2004 (photo by Laura Gianetti)

tions that are are neither odd nor even and express these psychological nuances, stories and little secrets. If you take the chapter or work, Limite! by Sebastían Romo, you dive into a subjective portrait of Mexico city originally gathered after he came back from a year aboard. He collected a lot of adjectives and words describing the city from different people and put them in a sculptural, three-dimensional crossword. It is like a verbal trajectory of Situationist derivés where people wandered through a city in a spontaneous way and thus rediscovered it. Romo asked people about adjectives describing Mexico City and placed them on a table that sometimes makes sense and sometimes doesn’t — so in a way, it is like a ‘pop’ So in which way are the different stories connected within the exhibition ?

It’s a ‘text-spaced exhibition’,

impression of Mexico City, but still shows the complexity of emotions and ideas of the city at a certain moment.

which means the

artworks are connected through the archaic human desire of expression in verbal and phenomenological forms. It

is an exhibition about the joy of expressing the human inner world to the outer in a precise, not necessarily efficient, but eloquent way.

Is the work by Sebastían Romo then a very literal way of understanding the text-spaced part of the exhibition? In a way it is an opener. For example, János Fodor’s work is a more complex body of work about the alphabet, the anthropological role of signsand how letters originally come from images, to become images again in different ways —

Can you elaborate this a little more? Is it, despite the dif-

for example in advertising and art. Disk is a painting about

ferent stories within the exhibition, still possible to talk about an

the Greek Phaistos Disc from 2nd millennium BC contain-

overall narrative?

ing about 45 un-decodable and unique signs that might be


The narrative is connected to a feeling and related to the way

one of the first alphabets, but researchers can’t break the

Mariana conceived of the Never odd or even project. The ex-

code to find out what the signs on the discs mean. The signs

hibition hosts many chapters about mental states and percep-

look like images of, for example: a fish, but in the moment

never odd or even

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solvej helweg ovesen


they become some abstract letters, they reveal an impor-

nature, program our life and language. There is a surrealistic

tant anthropological transformation, which is what inter-

element in the Rundscheiben, they are definitely dizzying to

ests Fodor. The

exhibition recalls how different linguistic codes come out of signs that come from images like in Concrete Poetry, where the surface becomes the main playground of the typography, which becomes an image and then the individual letter becomes something that we as human beings see as representing a sound. And you also included works from the Concrete Poetry tradition in the 1960s… Ferdinand KRIWET is represented with 10 works that are

read and they don’t focus at all on semantic structure, instead describing the ‘nonsense’ of things he had to do, like travelling around to German provinces as an artist. How is the exhibition related to your curatorial practice in general? You once told me that it’s important for you that the exhibition performs itself; can you explain what you mean by that?

I would like an exhibition to perform itself instead of merely illustrating a theme, which means that it should invite exactly those actions from artist and viewers, that it means to reflect, in this case, the joy of language and text.

called Rundscheiben, which means ‘roundels’ — boards with words spiralling into the centre made between 1960-63. They are from a moment when he, as well as many other Concreteas well as Visual- Poetry artists from all around the world, left the idea of having to create a narrative behind. He gave up semantic responsibility as an author and began presenting text in typographic streams or verbal disorder that implied a kind of ‘Dadaistic lack’ of adherence to societal conventions. The visual part presented sounds in the way they are performed — such as absurd noises, conscious stuttering, animal sounds repeated incessantly, or just taking intonations to an extreme in a way — mimicking the way that society, economy, machines, passing time, and human alienation from  F erdinand Kriwet Rundscheiben 1960-63 Offset print, 10 parts Each 60,9 x 58 8,4 x 1,3 cm Edition of 30 Courtesy BQ Galerie, Berlin (photo by Laura Gianetti)


never odd or even

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solvej helweg ovesen


Other exhibitions, I curated to perform danger or become

Symptoms of Loneliness it’s about getting a psychological state

dangerous as in Quicksand at De Appel, Amsterdam 2004, or

out on paper like a mind-map, and Pablo Pijnappel’s film is a

to make the viewer consider a life strategy instead of merely a

biography, where a central protagonist Quirijn, after whom the

lifestyle as in Life Policies in ZDB, Lisbon 2002, and finally to

work is titled, has decided not to work and perform in his life, in

perform a radical turn on an art scene to open its’ eyes to other

the sense of a typical everyday way, as we understand perform-

the show, or rather, the outcome that the show provokes. The

makes a very calm portrait of Berlin as a city, but also of this guy. For me it is a statement against having to perform in a special way that particularly neo-liberalism requires you to do. The whole text

subtitle of the exhibition is a “text-spaced exhibition”, as I men-

part of that work is the artist’s imagination of what’s going on

tioned before. This means that you are invited to go completely

in the mind of someone who doesn’t want to perform; who has

kinds of art, geographically, as in U-TURN Quadrennial for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen 2008. For this exhibition to be successful it should make people forget that they are reading at all – that would be the optimal indirect performance of

into the text as expression, to space-out in it if you like, even physically. It also means that the combination of space and text

ance by having to deliver something. Pijnappel

a more elaborate, maybe philosophical approach to life. So the

works are quite different, but they create some-

meets your emotions and senses or activates them in a way to go deeper into the matter. The visual and the aesthetic aspects of the texts are very important, and in a way —though I did not formulate this in any press release — I was really interested in the transformation of the viewer into a reader and the suggestion of a reading mood and mode. I was thinking a lot about how you can create different experiences of depth in exhibitions, which is connected with time and connected with human stories that are somehow psychological. So, for example, Henrik Olesen’s work in the exhibition, Portraits/Alphabet, is for him about examining different concepts of the body and the attempts to control it via language ‘machines’, and he presents them almost like a deconstructive sound art work. With Simon Evan's work  H enrik O lesen Portraits/Alphabet (version) (det.) 2008/2011 (photo by Laura Gianetti)


never odd or even

mariana c astillo deball


solvej helweg ovesen


You also once told me that you do not want exhibition themes to be merely illustrative. What do you mean by that? I always wanted exhibitions to do what they claim to be. My point is about this very used word: performative. I definitely respect artists and audience very much, and I think the moment that the audience feel they are co-creating a show instead of just reading it, they are definitely much more engaged in the content, which isn’t something that always happens. In this sense, the installation setting and the way the invi-

In order to be the lungs of the city, an exhibition needs to be an atmospheric place for for example contemplation, and here the way complex matters attain physical representation is what makes the difference between whether the audience is actually absorbed, or just running through. tation to the viewer is made, are both really important.

thing like a value of slowness. They are earnest and precise in their formulation and expression. Is this based on a desire to create a ‘breathing hole’ or ‘hole of escapism’ within the world? In this case, yes, indeed — but I can also appreciate a violent exhibition or a fast exhibition, which I have also cu-

Have you done exhibitions before that are based on or inspired by an artist’s work?

rated, but it’s more that the exhibition performs or invites

Not directly as such, although every day I keep trying to per-

a certain performance that could be spiritually, socially

ceive what is happening in the world through art. But I’m deep-

or intellectually relevant. I do think quite a lot about the

ly fascinated by your, Mariana, interest in history, in creating

viewer in that sense. I don’t know if I’m always successful,

mental and cultural genealogies and exploring other people’s

and in the end it’s always about the artworks and whether

minds. It’s a deeply personal thing to suggest a book cover and

they are interesting.

being able to do it anonymously even makes it more personal in a way. It means that you can suggest whatever you’re won-

 S imon Evans , Symptoms of Loneliness, 2009, Pen, paper, scotch tape, correction fluid 72 x 99 cm Copyright the artist Private collection, São Paulo (photo by never 040 Laura Gianetti) odd or even

mariana c astillo deball


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dering about and put it out there for someone else to write —

Polish science fiction writer, Stanislaw Lem, also influenced

imagine if you asked everybody on earth, how many of them

the project. His book A Perfect Vacuum consists of a compi-

would have ideas for books? The Never odd or even book

lation of introductions and prologues of non-existing books.

covers aren’t about the topics you usually find on the shelf.

Most of the time we describe books that are impossible to

You properly wouldn’t get such imaginative or crazy ideas for

write, because they are infinite, too ambitious, invisible, or

books, if you emphasized the value of authorship instead of

written by a machine. They are impossible tasks that I find re-

the extravagant pleasure of anonymously generating the idea

ally interesting: describing a work of literature made by some-

of a subject for a book without having to write it.

one who doesn’t exist or made in an impossible manner. So in that sense the project Never odd or even started as an idea

Mariana, how has your love of books informed your practice specifically?

to invite people to contribute with stories that are, in many ways, unfinished, impossible or absurd. Within this invitation

For many years I have been very influenced by literature, and

I think people submit things they otherwise would never have

especially the group Oulipo (Workshop for Potential Lit-

submitted, because they are anthropologists, writers or schol-

erature) who are mathematicians and writers, exploring the

ars who usually deliver a complete novel, a paper, or a body

possibilities of incorporating mathematical structures in liter-

of work, but in this case it’s something very brief and concise,

ary works. Each piece is generated from a constraint, which

where often contributors invent an alter ego, erasing their own

means a rule, method, procedure, or structure. So within these

name. In this way they can take all the risks they want.

constrictions there are certain rules that modify language and result in crazy experiments, for example Georges Perec wrote the novel La Disparition, without the letter E. Some of the

works they wouldn’t normally do?

rules created by Oulipo are very difficult to pursue, so hard in

Well, I think it has to do with the sort of economy we live

fact, that the author’s intentions disappear, becoming a writ-

in nowadays, especially in the creative world, where you are

ing apparatus driven by language. I was really interested in

constantly producing ideas and proposals that so often never

this group when I started working on the Never odd or even

see the light of day.

project, which is also based on a constraint: to invite a group of writers, artists and intellectuals to create the cover of a book that doesn’t exist.


And why do you think that the authors are inspired to do

never odd or even

Many people I know, including anthropologists, historians, writers and scientists, have many projects they will never finish, because the economy is based on the

mariana c astillo deball


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constant delivery of proposals, and from all these proposals they are maybe able to bring one or two to an end product, and often the final result is not what you actually imagined anyway. In my own experience, I’m often in love or attached to certain ideas that never happened, because they have freshness due to their in-existence. I think that many disciplines can identify with this project, because you can just present it as

fession, because you can bring things in from many different fields and still be an artist. If I had studied mathematics and started working with a historian they would say “hey come on, this is not really your job, you’re straying off the track. Come back to us.” With art I can work with different methodologies and bring them together. And how did you get to know so many authors, designers and playwrights etc.?

an invitation, and at the same time it looks like an existing

In the new volume of the Never odd or even book, I invited

book, but actually it isn’t, it is just a dust jacket.

many writers I admired and read books of, but didn’t know personally. And I often work with people from different dis-

What interests you about working with people from different disciplines?

ciplines who I collaborate with on a regular basis on diverse projects. It was a funny activity with the Never odd or even

I think it started when I was in High school. I was going

project because they were invited to do a cover of a non-

to study either mathematics, philosophy or art. I had a very

existing book and had so many ideas. Most of the people I

good mathematics teacher, who said to me “you need to study

invited said: “yeah, but I have so many things I’d like to do. I

mathematics, because it’s the only way you will learn how

can’t choose.” As I said, there are many unfinished stories.

to think. If you study philosophy, you will receive plenty of knowledge, but you will not be able to make something out of

You once said: ”I am a bit like the person who hands out

it. If you study art, you are just going to get lost in inventing

flyers in the street, to repair your fridge or other stuff. I just

things, which are absurd and useless. But if you study math-

distribute”. Is Never odd or even about appropriated authorship

ematics you will learn to build systems of thought, which can

or about letting chance play a role in your artistic oeuvre, or

be applied to other disciplines and ways of thinking”. In the

is it for you more a social thing involving different people in

end I didn’t study mathematics, I studied art and I chose to

different parts of the process, so that we speak more of a social

study art because it was the only way I could bring together

sculpture that’s already been going on for years?

all the things I like. In that sense art is a very generous pro-


never odd or even

The project is an experiment in collaboration in that sense.

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M ariana Castillo Deball Never odd or even, Book, 2011 (photo 046Š BOM DIA BOA TARDE BOA NOITE and Manuel Goller)

never odd or even



I was trying to create a situation in which the notions of agency and principal swap from one person to another, resulting in a chain reaction. In this manner each book cover is neither attached

And is it okay for you if people don’t get that information? Some might and some might not…. Each book cover is an invitation.

to the patron, nor the author, nor to the reader who imagines

That’s right. I really like the blue cover with the couple that

its content. Around each book cover there is a kind of force

meet where both their relatives are part of their body and fig-

field, which is the potential territory of the project. With

ure as ghosts by Alejandro Jodorowsky. There is a lot of nar-

Never odd or even the author has agency while doing a book

rative; I mean it has a strong psychological content in terms of

cover, but at the same time he or she allows other people to

how people from your past influence your person and how

elaborate on it. So I’m interested in this chain of events that

they show up again when you are in an intimate relationship.

complete a story, because I don’t believe that anyone is able

The cover already performed, “Where is the rest of me?”, is

to produce something on their own. We are always depend-

also very intriguing. It was originally the cover of an autobiog-

ing on others, on the world, on what we eat, on where we are

raphy by Ronald Reagan and this also provokes some thought

and it’s a reminder that we are not alone, that we need others,

about the relation between fiction and reality. The German au-

in order to complete our sentences.

thor Ingo Niermann, who presented the book, took his point of departure from a war film that Ronald Reagan really acted

What are the book covers about? And are other topics

in, where he woke up from a bad dream after both his legs had

and information chosen when the ‘authors’ are able to remain

been amputated, asking: “Where is the rest of me?” It was the


author, Niermann, who extended Reagan’s’ biography with his

There is a lot of information hidden in the covers that depends

presumed thoughts of today’s’ issues such as the ‘Occupy Wall

on the authors that have contributed. They have their own

Street’ demonstrations and economic crises. In a way Niermann

agendas and their own books that they could never write but

imagined what a biography written by a ‘ghost writer’ would

always wanted to. For example, the cover Pour un tombeau

sound like. As for himself, Niermann simultaneously got the

de Martine Roiseux – the author wanted to do a tribute to

chance to explore his own interest in Phantom Limbs and the

someone who was not very well known and who had just

question of what ‘a whole subjectivity or person’ means. The

passed away.

covers meet the authors’ unconscious or their projects that are, let say, half a meter outside of the brain.


never odd or even

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I think Ingo said it was kind of a blind date. Because you

one way or the other. Can you tell us about the special kind of

don’t even know who you’re dealing with, and who actually

typography you have developed, the way you have played with

wrote the book cover when you decide to work with it.

order, and your role as “chapter manager”?

In terms of introducing the element of chance in writing and jumping topics and chapters, I think of Raymond Roussel, who wrote the novel Impressions of Africa, where he invented several writing procedures, or constraints. His method was like an onion: You have the different rings of an onion and in each ring there is a story and then he could go in and out of this onion throughout the novel, breaking up the linear narrative. It’s completely

The icons are based on the Chinese game tangram, a puzzle that starts from a square composed of seven pieces with different shapes. The puzzle can form an infinite number of figurative and abstract icons. For the Never odd or even publication, I wrote an index with a sentence and a tangram icon corresponding to each book cover.

Augusto Monterroso wrote what claims to be the shortest short story in the world, which is: “When he woke up the di-

crazy, but the idea that you are going into different narrative

nosaur was still there.” I really like it, because there is so much

fields throughout the book is really interesting. In that sense,

in this sentence. In the context of Never odd or even, I made a

literature is very generous because you have infinite possi-

‘Reductio ad absurdum’ experiment, first the book’s format is

bilities for creating spaces and going into different language

reduced to its cover, then to a sentence (in other words: a title),


ending up as an icon that I then made on the main cover referring to the book. The icon I made for each book is a constella-

When I looked in the book I found myself trying to figure out which one of the little descriptions on the back cover

tion of the tangram shapes I mentioned above from which the presentation table for the books is also made.

matched-up with which of the covers. In some way, I was trying to figure out if there was any kind of system. On my way, I

I also realised that you reversed some of the words, like

stumbled across how you have played with some of the titles by

the title: The Girl from the Farm you reversed to: The Farm from

either swapping the words so they get new layers of meaning, or

the Girl.

by turning them into questions. I think it is inherent in human

Ahh, but this was decided by the author of this specific book

nature that we try to organise the world in everything we do in

cover. So on the front it says The Girl from the Farm, but on


never odd or even

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M ariana Castillo Deball Never odd or even, Book, 2011 (photo 052Š BOM DIA BOA TARDE BOA NOITE and Manuel Goller)

never odd or even



 

Sophie Golz, Ingo Niernamm Never odd or even performance (photo by Laura Gianetti)

Ingo Niernamm Never odd or even performance (video by Christopher Hewitt)

Ana Teixeira Pinto, Armando Andrade Tudela Never odd or even performance

Mariana Castillo Deball (photo by Laura Gianetti)

(photo by Laura Gianetti)


never odd or even



the spine it says The Farm from the Girl and on the front the

undifferentiated territory, immersed in a moment in which the

author is Gertrude Dix, but on spine the author is Aubrey

cohesion of the individual disappears.

Beardsley — and the publishing house is TIT FOR TAT.

Estrangement is therefore the result of a meticulous gaze cast onto things, discovering aspects never before seen. In this sense,


estrangement does not imply a distanced attitude, but rather a continual and active observation of the surroundings.

You seem to be obsessed with crazy narratives — of changing the order of things. Can you explain a bit about your interest in narratives?

For me, the construction of narratives is not a simple linear process; it is an epileptic process in which the membranes of the individual and the transit of indigenous and alien elements are continually negotiated. Italo Calvino refers to

to your ideas of the narrative within the exhibition, Solvej. What

this movement when he speaks of the author as a ‘spasmod-

role does the use of language and text play in the exhibition?

ic machine’ that attempts to reconcile chance and determinism in a single mechanism. This

‘spasmodic machine’ is formed of a system of relationships among things that aspire to become a map – a catalogue

The notion of the ‘spasmodic machine’ seems to correspond

Yes, the ‘chapters’ or artworks in the show have a wild way of relating and communicating and the combined result is uncontrollable. I In this exhibition it’s about presenting someone who actually took care of his or her story when it was

or encyclopaedia of the possible – attempting to liberate itself

‘born’ into the world and you can feel this carefulness in the

from the density of facts and in opposition to them to con-

passion and care for the language, which then actually makes

struct a cognitive tangle, a personal equation. I talk about estrangement, as I have been thinking about it a lot lately. The notion of the stranger refers to an individual who has experienced a process of exclusion and is different from, or alien to, a particular circumstance. On the other hand, the notion of estrangement recalls a gaze that becomes diluted in an


I think that estrangement makes us conscious of the way we create narratives, discourses, and histories; it alerts us to the opposition between the fragmentary nature of knowledge and its inherent tendency toward completion.

never odd or even

you forget that you are reading. Much

text is written as fast as possible for example in emails, text messages and facebook announcements, all in the spirit of stress, whereas the joy of slow and deliberated articulation is what I am interested in. I also appreciate the whole seductive

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side of it and how artworks can expand your worldview. I often interpret the world through artworks

you would come to the fact that there would be a big exhibi-

— I gain knowledge that helps me navigate my way in the

it completely rejected efficiency, but on the other hand it was

world much like I do from newspapers. I agree with what

working both with seduction and secrecy as a value. I think

Mariana is saying about how you should be careful about

that’s when I learned what I thought could be the vision of

how to represent either a fictional world or what we call the

the future where less information is more, sounds cliché but

‘real’ world. We get so many efficient press releases and so

I really believe in it. I mean to get more of the information

much news that is more fictional than artworks sometimes

that you really search for or have more time for the things

and it’s super hard to pay attention to it, to invest empathy or

you sense are important. I also think it is the competition of

to be impressed, which often leaves us numb.

attention we need to reduce – at least for our selves.

Yeah, I agree, I think we need to be quite careful nowadays in

Do you both think that this tendency towards efficiency is

the way we play with language and not to become driven by ef-

due to the fact that success is still measured by how many people

ficiency. If you are driven by efficiency then everything becomes

experience or see an exhibition?

For sure, one of the shows that inspired me the most is, as I

Basically, the idea of efficiency is that the faster you tell people about your artwork or exhibition, like a one-liner, the more you think you’ll sell the product and that more people might see it. But that’s, I think, definitely not the case anymore. There is a difference between looking and seeing.

mentioned: BMW, (Black Market Worlds), that just gave like

Looking over it, meaning that you can say you have been there,

a weird name on a card, and then because the curators ex-

that you can tick it off in your calendar, and maybe other people

pected that you would find your own way to the informa-

noticed you were there. Having seen an exhibition means that

tion, if you really wanted it — since everyone googles every-

you have understood it. And in a kind of larger extension of this

thing anyway. So the word was just Ultimere.com and then

discourse are the phenomena, that when we have downloaded

you could go to a mind-map on the internet, where there

an e-book or when we have copied a compendium, we have

were these weird fictitious artwork descriptions and then

‘consumed’ it and performing becomes a question of quantity.

so boring, so direct, so much the same. In order to preserve difference you need to pull back and slow down somehow. Do you think that there is a way you could play with that efficiency of language, the language of for example press releases?


tion, but the exhibition itself had lots of titles and, in a way,

never odd or even

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M ariana Castillo Deball Never odd or even, Book, 2011 (photo 060Š BOM DIA BOA TARDE BOA NOITE and Manuel Goller)

never odd or even



It makes me think of the Spanish writer, Enrique Vila-Matas. I have read his book BARTLEBY & CO where he talks about writers who stopped writing at a certain point in their careers.

Yes, instead of something being fragile, disabled or stupid, it shows how it can be a weapon to say “I would prefer not to.”

Maybe they just wrote one book or one page, so it is a collection of biographies of all these people who decided to stop writing.

That is also what the film Quirijn by Pablo Pijnappel is about.

It is inspired by the novel Bartleby by Herman Melville, where

The main protagonist Quirijn is a guy who actually lives out

the main character Bartleby is working in an office doing pa-

the practice that you are talking about, Mariana, I’m curious if

perwork. Bartleby never leaves the office. So one day the boss

he read Bartleby, but I think, Quirijn manages to study at the

comes in and says, “Hey you need to leave, you need to go and

art academy for 10 years without producing more than one

sleep somewhere else.” And Bartleby replies, “I would prefer

artwork —a shower cabin for his own use. Pijnappel knows

not to.” “But why are you doing this?” “I would prefer not to”.

Quirijn and says that he is a really low-maintenance friend.

That’s the only sentence he pronounces in the whole novel “I

Being low maintenance as a person also means that you don’t

would prefer not to”. So in Enrique-Vila-Matas’ BARTLEBY

depend on other people so much for their evaluation of your

& CO, Bartleby becomes a metaphor for these writers who sud-


denly decide to stop writing for many different reasons. He also presents the Mexican writer Juan Rulfo . He only wrote two fantastic books and when people interview him asking why he stopped writing, he answers, “Well because my uncle who told me all these stories died, so I have no more stories to tell”. (Laughs)

We are coming back to the resistance of performing or just being, if that is possible, I mean, imagine a whole life without deadlines and without the idea that you have to convince other people in all kind of ways. The high performance lifestyle in itself has become a machine that is not convincing. That’s the point. Bartleby, who has been a topic for the last decade in the arts,

inspires many nowadays. Yet it takes quite a lot to step back I really like these examples because they are examples of the

and not even try and convince the viewer. I think a lot of insti-

power of rejection.

tutions feel they are forced to explain the artworks really fast, because the viewer doesn’t have time to really see the artwork

Being able to ‘choose not to’ instead of always having to

artwork means anyway, because it can often be more like ask-

‘choose to’?


or understand it. I don’t know exactly what understanding an

never odd or even

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ing the viewer existential questions and considering the exis-

same copy. Each reader leaves their own traces and marks:

tential questions as some people do or did in church, making

a piece of paper used to separate the pages, a note, a train

you think or associate about things that touched you, but have

ticket; all become unresolved texts, hinting at something to

not been digested. There is also the element of hedonism in

be disclosed. The discovery of such traces creates an open-

the film, because Quirijn is a healthy guy in a kind of healthy

ing, occupying an intermediate space.

body, so he’s sleeping enough and he is not exploiting himself, but the other way around. Everyone needs purposelessness, escapism or hedonism in some degree, I believe.

These interruptions suspend the continuous accumulation of knowledge and force us to enter a new time that has been cut from its original moorings. For one moment the database structure of the library and the

As mentioned, The Never odd or even project consists of a

narrative experience of reading come together.

book of non-written books — 30 book covers. In another book

Based on this idea of the reader’s traces, I asked artists, de-

project you did, The Invisible Collection, some of the books start

signers, writers and theoreticians to develop a piece. Each

on page 147 and finish on page 162. Some were almost empty.

contributor was asked to produce a nomad text, a loose page

And most of them didn’t have a cover, as if they’d fallen out of

to be inserted into library books. Each contributor was also

other books or compilations. What is it about the absence (of

responsible for their own strategy of distribution within the

information) that interests you? Sometimes absence draws at-

library: whether it was made for a particular section, a partic-

tention to what is not there, thus making it more present in a

ular selection of books, a specific page, or if it was to be given

way. But do you think the brain is able to skip chapters and still

to all the readers on one day, etc. All the inserts were printed

make sense of the whole thing? Is there a chance that the project

and distributed according to the contributor’s instructions in

appears hermetic more than open ended?

the public libraries in Berlin, Paris and New York. There is

When I started, I was mainly writing and producing artist’s

no way of tracing the final outcome of the action; the inserts

publications, but I wanted to find a way that I could also ac-

should be found by accident.

tivate a space and bring in a performative element. In 2003,


I did the project Interlude: The reader’s traces, an interven-

And what is your interest in leaving traces?

tion in public libraries in Berlin, New York and Paris. I was

The project contains ten different pieces that allowed me, as

interested in how a library functions as a public space. Books

the official distributor of the project, to explore the libraries

in libraries are public items; many different people read the

and disrupt them in a variety of forms and to observe phe-

never odd or even

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nomena that otherwise would have passed unnoticed.

the moment of being placed in a volume, it becomes unique,

Harry Mathews made a handwritten love letter to be inserted

it cannot be searched for, and is only accessible by accident.

in The principles of quantum theory, Peter Piller selected a

This fact puts an accent on the paths that lead the reader from

single photograph from a large archive, showing a photo of a

one text to another and to how much chance is responsible

house taken from the sky, for books about architecture, town

for these connections.

development and paranormal phenomenon; Dario Gamboni

Apart from the gathered documentation there is no other

gathered three quotations that relate to chance, something

way to follow the reaction or the actual consequences of this

an active turn to chance; Ian Monk took one of his working

intention was to open a space in people’s imagination, to make them expect

notes to be distributed in pages 45; Enrique Vila-Matas wrote

the possibility of finding a trace or simply to consider the

a tale about a lost and irreplaceable text; Manuel Raeder used

reactions of other readers.

like a forgotten page-marker that could then be reused, giving

vast and secret gesture, the

unexposed photography as a bookmark for the short story


by Jorge Luis Borges The Book of Sand; Steve Rushton wrote

Solvej, what does it mean to you if people don’t see the rela-

The tale of the talking ape and the talking baby, and as an ex-

tion between the work of Mariana’s project and the rest of the ex-

tra story for the Thousand and one nights; I gathered a series

hibition: How does it branch off into the rest of the exhibition?

of photographs associated to an archaeology of modernism

I think the Never odd or even art project is more clearly pre-

from the Bauhaus building in Dessau; Raimundas Malasaus-

sented in this exhibition than before, where all the books are

kas submitted an apparently random list of acknowledg-

now lying on the tangram table that Mariana designed with the

ments; Paul Elliman made leather bookmarks to bear in mind

covers around antique books, so you are really focused on the

the books from where Frankensein’s creature learned to read

covers as potential books. Since the exhibition bears the title I

and Hubert Czerepok used the last scene from Antonioni’s

guess some visitors will try to find the link, but I don’t think

film Zabrinski Point for a screen saver to be installed in the

everybody needs to know that the exhibition is conceptually


inspired by this book in order to enjoy the atmosphere or dive

After finishing the project, I realized that it functioned in the

into the individual artworks. The individual artworks are actu-

inverse way to common publishing strategies. Firstly, each

ally curious enough on their own as well, which is what the

insert is dependent, in the sense that it is made to disturb

visitors of the exhibition in Berlin convinced me of — most

other texts, to be a parasite on them, but at the same time, in

visitors stayed for hours and came back several times.

never odd or even

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It is a moderately sized group show so I don’t intend to over-

the end of the joke or not?” Therefore it’s a way to activate

estimate the role of a small exhibition, but it is about the hu-

the imagination of the viewer, but I’m not trying to confuse

man ability to express what’s on your mind and the different

people — not at all.

forms at hand that can include a high level of complexity —

It was also a pleasure for me to work with Solvej to see how

like mind-maps for example. Never odd or even is about the

she uses the idea of the book as a metaphor for something

theatrical skill that all humans have to express their interior

else, which is completely different, with her own references,

externally and about how they do it. It is about the relief you

so again it was a reading that lead to another thing, which was

can feel when you bring a matter to external perception. And

a very gratifying experience for me. 

about co-authoring, so the form you give the story, the form you give the sign, the text, and that all of that together is telling us a lot about ourselves as humans, sides of our inner world that are beyond the symbolic, but that we as an audience, easily sense. I experienced that many got confused about how the covers are wrapped around the already existing, antique books, as Solvej mentions. I think you once said that you like this confusing part of the project, Mariana? I’m not interested in confusing people, but I am interested in metaphors and how the reader can make up their own story. So in a way Never odd or even is a very simple way of doing that, because it is just a cover of a book, where you read the title and maybe realise that it doesn’t really exist, which due to the questions that arise about who made it etc., maybe leads to the beginning of building up a story. So it’s just a target, or a way to start a history. It is like when someone starts telling you a joke and you ask yourself: “Do I know


never odd or even

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Pablo Pijnappel — Quirijn 2011

Pablo P ijnappel Quirijn 2011 16 mm projection 15:00 min. 2/5 + 2 AP Courtesy of the artist and Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam 070

never odd or even

Interview by Mette Woller



I still can’t really get a firm grip on words, they remain like slippery bars of soap or cumbersome wooden blocks that I drop from my hands and stumble upon clumsily. It is only on paper or on my laptop screen after an exhilarating chase, that I sometimes manage to pin them down with my pencil or squash them flat with my fingertips.

value words and language as fundamentals of coexistence with other people, and therefore survival. To know the local language, to know the right thing to say (i.e. savoir-faire), to understand the right key word, is what makes the difference between outsider and friend, rejection and seduction, ignorance and insight. The world of the words is communication, while the world of images is a more personal world. Because of the linguistic confusion those comings and goings brought me as a child, I was left very much in my imagination, in ‘a world of my own’. Making art was an attempt to materialise this world, but in art school I realised that it could only be successfully bridged to the other in combination with language, which holds a common meaning to all. Images are always fleeting and idiosyncratic until they are pinned down with language — I guess I just somewhat contradicted the quote from my book above, but what I mean to say is that images have a very established meaning in my head, even

The above excerpt is from your autobiographical book A Vision

subconsciously, but to others they are enigmatic until I cir-

in Time published to coincide with the exhibition Fontenay-aux-

cumscribe their approximate meaning with language; but a

Roses at carlier|gebauer and Juliette Jongma this year. Can you

language as a common set of codes is also elusive until one

elaborate your slippery relationship with words? How has lan-

masters it.

guage and the written word come into play in your practice?


I guess words became very present in my life exactly because

In your work Quirijn, which is part of the Never odd or even ex-

of their ‘absence’. With my constant comings and goings

hibition, we follow the life of your Dutch friend Quirijn drifting

through many countries since I was a child (Paris, Rio, New

around against a backdrop of Berlin. The story seems to follow

York, Amsterdam, Berlin), I was excluded from the world

a narrative, however incomplete, that is fragmented and looped.

of words every time I moved. Because of that I learned to

Although the story doesn’t appear to be based on a rollercoaster

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pablo pijnappel


of dramatic pathos, it nevertheless offers exiting moments: We are told that you are looking for your friend Quirijn without revealing how or whether you find him, while images, text and time sometimes become parallel worlds. Can you tell about your interest in narrative and about never concluding a complete picture? I think each of us perceives each narrative differently — there are some people that can’t follow narratives at all — because of our history, or the associations we make and so on. To present an incomplete story is to get close to the substratum of a narrative, something that contains the basic elements for anyone to complete a story in their own mind, which in turn emphasises the particularity of interpretation. It’s also a way of giving the viewer the role of an investigator who has to put the


evidence together and draw conclusions — while everything

How is the use of the black ‘gaps’ — the frames between the film

somehow remains very elusive and volatile. Nothing can be

sequences, consisting of a black screen with white text — related

pinned down for certain, like trying to complete a puzzle in-

to this?

side a bus driving in a very bumpy road, the pieces continue

The constant use of ‘gaps’ in my work has the function of

to jump from one place to the other, the picture remains for-

making ‘splices’ that fragment the narrative and give the

ever incomplete... That’s how we witness real day events as

viewers cues to use their own ‘interior world’ to complete

they unfold before our eyes.

that segment. Something also gets inverted there: instead of

never odd or even

pablo pijnappel

Pablo P ijnappel Quirijn 2011 , 16 mm projection , 15:00 min. , 2/5 + 2 AP Courtesy of the artist and Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam (photo by Laura 075Gianetti)

the text help giving meaning to the images, the images help

many ways, he capitalises on time by not pursuing what most

the viewer get a grip on the text, much like illustrations in

people desire — to keep up with the pace of modern society

children’s book. By the end of the viewing, many gaps and

(for instance). He has no problem in waiting for a letter to ar-

fragments later, once the narrative is somewhat rendered as

rive because in the meantime, he might read a book, go for a

a whole in someone’s mind, the story is as much the viewer’s

stroll or contemplate the clouds. He found a way of defying

as it is mine.

the pressure of our high-tech capitalist society and staying true to his own rhythm.

In a text related to the film, you write about how Quirijn per-

It’s maybe interesting to note that some people regard laziness

sists in living like we were still in the 1990s — by not having a

being exactly that: a capitalisation of action. One restrains

cell-phone or a computer, or that he never uses any other forms

themselves from acting on something and procrastinates in-

of technological communication such as email etc. Somehow

stead, but you could also argue that the ‘lazy’ individual is

Quirijn’s Spartan lifestyle and phlegmatic nature is embedded in

actually accumulating his surplus-value of time. Is not a coin-

the pace of the movie and the entire viewing experience, provid-

cidence that Paul La Fargue, son-in-law of Karl-Marx, wrote

ing a kind of breathing hole in time. What are your considera-

the manifesto “The Right to be Lazy” which became vitally

tions in relation to time?

important in creating the eight-hour working day (at a time

Well, in that film I try to illustrate what I perceive in the ‘real’

when a 14-hour day in the factory was commonplace) by de-

Quirijn, (though the film is as about as fictive as a newspaper

fending the right to be idle.

snapshot of a soccer game might be when compared to the


actual 90 minute game that took place in the field). This ‘real’

Does Quirijn’s lifestyle in some way conceal some of your own

Quirijn has a relationship with time that is not marked by

hopes and desires in relation to today’s society? In other words:

goals and achievements; time for him is more of a continuum,

how do your own thoughts and history come into play in the

like a time-illusion instead of an optical-illusion — where in-

intimate narrations you create about your family and friends?

stead of not knowing whether an object is close up or far

I think every work of fiction is somewhat autobiographi-

away, big or small, time seems to be neither long or short,

cal. Hemingway preached to “write about what you know”,

slow or fast... Let me put this another way: Q is by defini-

which is what writers do most of the time: they write about

tion not a capitalist because he doesn’t accumulate capital, he

the city they live in, or the time when they were younger, etc.

only works enough for his subsistence, more or less, while in

That auto-biographical aspect of fiction was not only very

never odd or even

pablo pijnappel


evident with Hemingway, but in modern American literature

later writing under the influence of ‘junk’, the text becoming

at the beginning of the 20th century as a whole: most notably

a translation of that experience; Kerouak defended writing

with Henry Miller, who wrote a trilogy based on his experi-

spontaneously without much mediation, much like an art-

ence in Paris in the 1930s; and then the beatniks in the 50´s;

ist might sketch a street while sitting on a café terrace; and

Borroughs writing about his experiences of taking ‘junk’ and

then later with Charles Boukowisky in the 60’s who, among other things, wrote novels about someone, well, someone just like himself (famous-old-alcoholicwriter), with his infamous fictional pseudonym Henry Chinaski. But somehow nobody likes to put too much emphasis on how much they’ve taken from their own lives in their books, almost as if it would depreciate their creativity by calling the material autobiographical. There is a threshold where simply changing characters names or changing the order of events (something that numerous documentaries, both film and books, do) turn a non-fiction to fiction. It’s an inherent part of my work: this deconstruction of fiction by making ‘documentaries’ that, although they use real names and real places, are more fictive than most novels. Godard often called his films “documentaries of fiction” because he created fictional situations (he often doesn’t use a script), but on some level the situations became real once they’re played out. In my case at least, this way of making ‘documentaries’ 


never odd or even

Pablo P ijnappel Quirijn , 2011 , 16 mm projection 15:00 min. 2/5 + 2 AP Courtesy of the artist and Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam


is something that has happened spontaneously because it’s a

of distortion that occurs when we reccount a narrative from

cheaper way of making fictional films, and perhaps more di-

our internal world with our own personal interpretation ...

rect as well: without always having the mediation of writing

To hear about the French revolution from a friend who’s

a complete script — I just film it and edit it. Which brings

read or heard about it is very different to someone reading

me to why I have been making 16 mm films instead of HD

it out quickly from their i-phone. That’s one of the reasons

videos. The 16mm forces me to have some kind of plan (be-

why the analogue medium fascinates me: this noise produced

cause of the costs involved and the length of each roll, which

from copy to copy until it is rendered into something else,

are sometimes only 3 minutes long), I have to edit the scenes

while each copy remains unique. Our memory does some-

in my head before I even start filming, so in a very Deleuz-

thing similar: whenever we remember something, we create a

ian (or Bergsonian) sense , I have already made the film in

new memory of an existing memory, which might have been

my head before picking up the camera. And voilá, after the

already a memory of a memory... And it is somewhat sad, but

film is developed, my recollection of what I’d shot is turned

at the same time very interesting, that this analogue world is

upside down: with the lapse of time between shooting it, and

already a memory of itself... 


developing and printing rushes, it had already been rendered to fiction in my mind. Besides, the quality of film pushes this cinematic atmosphere into reality that no HD can emulate, it’s very visceral, it’s real cinema making. 1. I refer here to Cinema 1: Image-Movement, where Deleuze quotes Bergson’s Matter

Is the documentation of Quirijn’s life (and his conservation of

and Memory (where he formulates a philosophy of the universe as being constituted of im-

time) a way to preserve him from being lost in memory?

ages ) in order to build his own theory of cinema as a sort of phenomenological device: “‘We


We live in a time where memory is dramatically changing in

take snapshots, as it were, of the passing reality, we have only to string them on a becoming

function and perhaps even in meaning. Things about our past

abstract, uniform and invisible, situated at the back of the apparatus of knowledge. . .

that we might want to forget can forever dwell in the sub-

Perception, intellection, language so proceed in general. Whether we would think becoming

conscious of the internet only to surface later to haunt us.

or express it, or even perceive it, we hardly do anything else than set going a kind of cin-

At the same time collective memory in the physical world is

ematograph inside us.’ Does this mean that for Bergson the cinema is only the projection, the

fading. People have less need to be cultivated because they

reproduction of a constant, universal illusion? As though we had always had cinema without

can google anything at any time, which annihilates the kind

realising it?. . .”

never odd or even

pablo pijnappel


János Fodor — a written conversation

János Fodor Scharfes S 2011 Courtesy Kisterem Gallery, Budapest (photo by 082 Laura Gianetti)

never odd or even

Interview by Mario Margani




The Hungarian Berlin-based artist

The work Disk is a print of the unencrypted Phais-

János Fodor’s (1975) practice encompasses draw-

tos Disk (from II millennium BC), whose alpha-

ing, photography, sculpture, video and painting.

bet, purpose, meaning, dating, manufacture, and

His works deal with topics such as material cul-

in fact even its authenticity, remain widely dis-

ture, mainstream and kitsch, and use languages as a

puted. Fodor uses the MasterCard logo as a shape

point of departure for his artistic production. Fodor

to connect the current financial collapse and

presents objects that raise questions of mystery, in-

incomprehensible financial market mechanisms

terpretation and meaning from examples such as the

with the most discussed example of an indecipher-

Klingon alphabet, the Rosetta Stone and misquoted

able object within the field of Linguistic Anthro-

proverbs, produced through translation and the

pology. In Fodor’s work the phrase “Master the

mix-up of cultures, languages and common sense.

Possibilities” used by the giant of the debit and

The re-contextualization of quotes and archaeo-

credit system in its promotional campaigns, sounds

logical finds shape his works as he utilises quotes

a bit like a hoax.

and interpretations of ancient models to shed light

Fodor’s works in Never odd or even are conceptu-

on modern day practices. Since alphabets, lan-

ally constructed through research in alphabets and

guages and signs often reflect social, cultural and

cultural contexts, each piece itself becoming a ve-

technological changes, texts are excellent instru-

hicle through time and culture.

ments for analysing cultural processes.


never odd or even

j á nos fodor



never odd or even

Jรกnos Fodor, Disk, 2011, Courtesy Courtesy Kisterem Gallery, Budapest (photo by Laura Gianetti)



Behind their elegant and sober appearances, your works in Never odd or even seem to be born of a deep interest in history and popular culture, producing some rather unexpected formal compositions. Why have you chosen to play on boundaries, both between real, forgotten and fictional Alphabets, and between subcultures and mainstream? Texts, like languages themselves, are products of abstraction. Abstracted elements can be positioned more easily into other systems of understanding as separated signs, which opens new dimensions for fiction. My artistic practice is following a micro sampling method of reflecting on diffused elements of cultural history. I try to reinterpret well-known connections by developing new contexts. It’s a way of better understanding the past, or at least of looking at our

In your work Monolith you apply a strategy of re-contextualising

time from a distance. Knowing about the past could help us

a well-known relationship to the Rosetta Stone (from 196 BC, dis-

build a better present. According to the head-hunters of Pa-

covered in 1803), the interpretation of which led to the first de-

pua New Guinea and other indigenous cultures, our future

coding of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Monolith is a plexi duplicate of

is behind us, since we cannot see it, while the past is what we

the shape of the archaeological find, engraved with a sentence

can observe, therefore it’s front of us.

from the sci-fi film 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984, Peter Hyams): “All these worlds are yours except Europa, attempt no

János Fodor


never odd or even


Monolith (All These Worlds Are Yours Except Europa, Attempt No Landing There, Use Them Together Use Them In Peace) 2011, Black plexiglas, Courtesy Kisterem Gallery, Budapest (photo by Laura 089Gianetti)

landing there, use them together, use them in peace”. This was the

form script represents an object that was interpreted in several

message relayed by the computer HAL, a figure in the movie, back

and conflicting ways. In 1960s the cylinder was interpreted as an

to humanity on Earth. Eventually you translate this sentence into

early "human rights charter" by, amongst others, the last Shah

Hungarian runes, which are nowadays experiencing a revival, es-

of Iran. Although the relationships between quotes, objects and

pecially through the web-based Hungarian nationalist subculture.

languages change, Supplement uses the amalgam of archaeol-

What are you expecting from the viewer who faces your Monolith,

ogy, fictional elements and alphabets to shape an ironic clash of

which preserves only the remnants of an archaeological value in

meanings. What relationship do you see between the Cyrus Cyl-

combination with elements of such various origins?

inder and the Klingon alphabet?

I would like to imagine this as layers of possible readings,

It was basically an aesthetic decision; to me the letters of an-

one after the other. It’s not necessary to go all the way to find

cient Sumer have a similar kind of appearance to Klingon.

some kind of final result, it’s more like an invitation to an

I am also interested in looking at political fiction as being a

adventure through cultural heritage. The final context is in-

driving force in the immediate future. In the U.S. more peo-

fluenced by the viewer’s actual time as well. Apart from that,

ple speak Klingon than Russian. This sounds like proof of

artefacts can be objects of contemplation and beauty without

the power of imagination to me. Talking about the UDHR

any previous comments, in the same way that it’s possible to

(Universal Declaration of Human Rights), as I noticed, there

like something without understanding it. I was also attracted

are at least two criticisms of the declaration, one from a con-

by the fact that according to some semi-scientific research,

servative and one from a left wing point of view. In this case

aliens’ language sounds Hungarian.

I chose to work with the libertarian criticism that says that ‘The Right to Refuse to Kill’ is painfully missing from the

Another alphabet that can reflect this mix of scientific research

original text. The Star Trek Klingons seemingly personify

and fictional origin is the ‘Klingon alphabet’ that you use in the

a classically rigid and authoritarian culture based on heroic

work Supplement. It is a language developed off gibberish in the

values, and in terms of universality, I thought this peculiar

1980s by the American linguist Mark Okrand for the Star Trek

artwork would maybe even better describe general human

sci-fi series. In your artwork the sentence: “The Right to Refuse

values, since they also reflect individual rights.

to Kill” is engraved in Klingon on a plastic duplicate of another well-known archaeological find, the Cyrus Cylinder (6th cen-

In the 1960s, the Revolution in Iran also tried to claim the im-

tury BC). The ancient clay cylinder with inscriptions in cunei-

portance of the Cyrus Cylinder as a precursor to the UDHR, in


j á nos fodor

never odd or even


Jรกnos Fodor Supplement (The Right To Refuse To Kill) 2011 Courtesy Private Collection, Budapest (photo by Laura Gianetti)


never odd or even

j รก nos fodor


order to associate the figure of the Shah with the monarchy of Persia’s past and with Cyrus in particular. In your piece 1 Picture says more than a 1000 words, we can find the appropriation of the past in the field of advertising. In 1921 the publicist Fred R. Barnard used the title “One look is worth a thousand words” in the advertising trade journal Printer’s Ink to promote the use of images in advertisement on the side of streetcars. In 1927 in another advertisement in the same journal Barnard attributed the phrase “One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words” to an unspecified ‘famous Chinese philosopher’, to give his words added value. For many years later it was believed that the phrase truly came from some Chinese tradition. Why have you decided to represent Barnard statement? From a logical positivist point of view, languages are imperfect tools for description. Poetry can probably go further. In reality, the description of an image could say more than the image itself, but only in the given context. Images are predators for contexts otherwise they’re not much more than illustrations. Art has its own language that is continuously overwritten according to the latest developments in art theory and practice. I found it a bit similar to this static relation to reality. The text in this work is an authentic American proverb, developed by a salesman, whose later intention was to introduce it as a ‘Chinese proverb’ so people would take it more seriously. In some extent this story even recalls the responsibility of the scripturists for me.  János Fodor


1 Picture Says More Than 1000 Words 2008, Mirror Courtesy Kisterem Gallery, Budapest (photo neverbyodd Lauraor Gianetti) even



Your works are deeply rooted in real events or tendencies, but using the process of decontextualisation, they also convey a feeling of extra terrestrial provenance. The Rosetta Stone represents the real monolith of knowledge, without which Egyptian hieroglyphics would have remained an unencrypted and therefore an alien alphabet. The piece Forward to the Past reminds us that the collective imagination of future and past are tightly related. What role might text play in the imagination of the future? Texts are codes, therefore only open to the privileged minorities who are able to decode them. Seeing the expansion of images in communication, I’m expecting the devaluation of written text, and a development of a more complex visual language. It seems that contexts are inexorably becoming more important than texts themselves. Shorter texts are faster messages, and since our attention is on auction, shorter texts could be more effective in describing context. The capability of reading the synonym of recorded knowledge, possibly with math and art, are the only heritages that make us

Artists Rosa Barba Erik Beltrán Nanna Debois Buhl & Brendan Fernandes Mariana Castillo Deball Simon Evans Peter Fischli | David Weiss János Fodor Lise Harlev Ferdinand KRIWET Ján M ancˇuška Tris Vonna-Mitchell Ciprian Mures¸ an Henrik Olesen Adam Pendleton Pablo Pijnappel Sebastián Romo Dmitry Vilensky (Chto Delat?) Phillip Zach

different to animals. 

Text by Solvej Helweg Ovesen (SHO) Mette Woller (MW) 096

never odd or even

Mario Margani (MM)



Rosa Barba (1972, IT-DE) – based in Berlin Machine Vision Seekers (2004) A sci-fi story written by a moving projector on the wall. Almost as if it is seeking its audience, the moving projector aggressively throws words onto the walls, making the surroundings part of a fragmented sci-fi story about 5 people walking through a tunnel and describing the physical and mental sensation. The story is authrored by Rosa Barba and stops when the light hits at the end of the tunnel. The two-dimensional screen is abandoned and images are replaced with text fragments, thus making the script both image and storyteller. Instead of trying to conceal the source of the projected image, Rosa Barba transforms it into the centre of attention, making the sound of its 16mm pulse and mechanical movements part of an enveloping, kinetic, imageless cinema. In this way, Barba uses the materiality of film to go beyond normal cinematographic means. MW

Erick Beltrán (1974, MX) – based in Barcelona Die Morelli Zeitzeile (2009) Individual timelines. What would happen if history were ‘written’ through the comparison of personal timelines based on knowledge collected throughout one’s life? Erick Beltrán’s “Morelli Timeline” constructs a narrative of the total history in his mind, a story in which Adam and the dinosaurs as well as Asterix and Obelix, Christ, the Big Bang, Obama and the artist himself coexist. But a lot of events, places and people are missing. The action of collecting, ordering, mapping and comparing was the foundation of the 19th century Italian


art historian and connoisseur, Giovanni Morelli’s theory, the ‘Morellian’ technique. It consisted in identifying the ‘hand’ of a painter through minor details revealing artists’ conventions of portraying, for example, ears. Interpreting this theory from an anthropological point of view, every single timeline in the world could be different and represent one’s own beliefs, experiences and preferences. MM

Nanna Debois Buhl & Brendan Fernandes Nanna Debois Buhl (1975, DK) – based in New York & Brendan Fernandes (1979, KEN) – based in Toronto and New York In Your Words (2011) A film on the migration of words. Nanna Debois Buhl and Brendan Fernandes link literature, visual art and the need to adapt their own languages to the different home bases (Kenya, Denmark, USA) in a multilingual dialogue with the Danish author Karen Blixen (Out of Africa, 1937). The uninterrupted comparisons and contrasts in the translations of birds name’s and of different expressions for introductions and greetings in Swahili, English and Danish take the shape of an increasing waterfall of words. This turns into a refrain, which bridges gaps between different cultures using the concepts of flying and migrating as metaphors reflecting post-colonialism. Focusing on the elusiveness of the spoken word, the film unfolds themes of identity and underlines the value of difference. At the same time the latter becomes an obstacle or even a boundary whose crossing always entails a loss. MM

never odd or even

Mariana Castillo Deball (1975, MX) – based in Berlin Never odd or even (2011)

– and given a spatially structured ‘residue’ on a map of a set of hands, on a paper. SHO

A book in a book in a book. The point of departure of the exhibition and it’s title comes from the legendary book and performance project, “Never odd or even”, 2005-2011, by the Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball. Her project consists of a book of ‘unwritten books’ – 30 book covers designed by authors, artists, and graphic designers selected by the artist and published as one book. A new edition of the “Never odd or even” book has been invented and published (by “Bom dia boa tarde boa noite”) for this exhibition. The imagined content of these book covers of ‘unwritten books’ will be performed during the exhibition by authors, poets, theoreticians, and artists, who all choose a cover made by another author or designer to present. The installation of this exhibition is inspired by the mise en abyme effect also present in the “Never odd or even” book. SHO

Peter Fischli | David Weiss (1952, CH /1946, CH) – based in Zurich

Simon Evans (1965, UK) – based in Berlin

János Fodor (1975, HU) – based in Berlin

Symptoms of Loneliness (2009)

Monolith (All These Worlds Are Yours Except Europa, Attempt No Landing There, Use Them Together Use Them In Peace) (2011) Supplement (The Right To Refuse To Kill) (2011) Forward To The Past (2011) N. Carolina (2009) 1 Picture Says More Than 1000 Words (2008) Scharfes S (2011) Less (2010) Disk (2011)

Mind mapping. Whatever is on Simon Evans’ mind is often on a map in his artworks. Mental states, personal stories and belongings are ordered on the visual mappings of disparate hospital floor plans, a city, a church, or a set of hands. Symptoms of Loneliness was created as the artist found himself generally alone when he first moved to Berlin. The following symptoms were observed – “The people you end up with stink”, “Saying what I don’t fully believe and expecting you to ignore it”, “Looking for Love in Business (Shop People, People in Art Galleries etc.)” nome

How To Work Better (1991-2000) Instructions. Originally, the ten-point manifesto How To Work Better served as a freestanding signboard in a pottery factory in Thailand (both in Thai and English), photographed by Fischli & Weiss in 1990. “Accept change as inevitable”, “Admit mistakes”, “Say it simple”. Is this all meant seriously? The simplicity and common sense of the text instructions may generate a wry smile of acceptance when we read them. Maybe it’s the longing for tangible facts and rules in our daily work life? The text is hard to disagree with. Seen from a global perspective, the artists hold up a mirror to the peaceful sounding, corporate motivational strategies intended to govern lives and work ethics today. MW

Alphabets and cultural context. Language plays a significant role in Fodor’s


works. Through the observation of kitsch and mass culture he detects associations and accidental occurrences, which are capable of connecting historical moments in the anthropology of writing with today’s examples of sophistication, exaggeration and camp attitude. The silhouette of the Monolith is a plexi-copy of the Rosetta stone, a discovery that opened to the comprehension of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Fodor also quotes a text in old Hungarian runes, which nowadays are living a popular revival that is turning them into an element of ideological nationalist subculture. This constant Postmodern exchangeability of meaning and reference can lead to a watered down and vulgarized verbal culture. Text, context and sign are thus playfully reconnected to past, present and future in this artistic oeuvre. MM

Lise Harlev (1973, DK) – based in Berlin Dear Hairdresser (2009) Typography tells its own story. In the work of Lise Harlev, colourful shapes, signs and forms merge together on what seems to be a meticulously arranged working table. Three letters written from the artist to shop owners using the very conventional, yet world famous Helvetica font, draw attention to their choices of typography on their outdoor signs. Like tickling movements, the personal letters from the artist to the kiosk owner, reverend and hairdresser stress how text becomes both an autonomous image and carrier of message simultaneously and reading and seeing parallel ways of understanding. MW


Ferdinand KRIWET (1942, DE) – based in Dresden Rundscheiben (1961-1963) Concrete Poetry. Poetry of the surface, the literal sound of the letter and text as image characterize the series Rundscheiben (‘Roundels’, 10 offset prints), by Ferdinand KRIWET. These phonetically functioning text circuits that implode for the eye, free the narration from chronology and allow the reading eye to jump according to visual measures and listen according to the sound of the words and letters. Concrete Poetry is an artistic tradition, where the relation between the visual appearance of the text (the text image) and its content is essential. Artists such as Dieter Roth, Daniel Spoerri, Emmett Williams and Öyvind Fahlström are often credited in regards to the tradition. KRIWET had a breakthrough in the age of 19 for his first book “ROTOR” (1961) written, freed from semantic rules, as one long text without capitals, full stops or commas. Later his artistic invention is the “programmatic poetry” expressed on the extended series of Rundscheiben. SHO

Ján M ancˇuška (1972-2011, SK) In Memory (2006) A space in reality for the projection of memories. Jan Mancˇuška’s oeuvre, which includes film, light and slide projections, theatre plays and paper work focuses on the reception and conception of space and text, on multiplying the role of the author and involving the audience in creating the narrative content. In memory consists of 10 Xerox copies, where the sentence “In Memory thought doesn’t turn to reality itself, but how that reality was never odd or even

recorded.” appears and disappears fragment by fragment. Thus, the artwork performs its content in terms of the textual presentation when activated by the readers’ movement and projection of their own sense of memory. SHO

Ciprian Mures¸ an (1977, RO) – based in Cluj Dog Luv (2009) Discourses corrupting the mind. Literature are translated into images in the work of Ciprian Mures¸an, in which a group of five anthropomorphic dogs recite the history of human cruelty from Ancient Greece to present – in order to better understand their social behaviour. Initially, the members of ‘The Republic Dogmachina’ laugh of the seeming ludicrousness of what their leader, the bulldog ‘Mad Dog’ tells them. The irrational and animal manner of the brutality seems perplexing. However, at the end of the lesson a new awareness of jealousy, fear and bigotry and persuasive convictions influences the dogs’ behaviour. In this way Dog Luv stresses the fragile yet compelling thread between self and the world and how knowledge may corrupt one’s mind and actions when paired with uncertainty and division. MW

Henrik Olesen ((1967, DK) – based in Berlin and Florence Portraits/Alphabet (version) (2008/2011) Body build by language. The print series Portraits/Alphabet is inspired by the idea that power relations and hierarchies of the body exists in the very structure of language. The collages function as portraits of different bodies. Gradually an alphabet nome

and a portrait through body parts, such as “head”, “knee”, “foot”, or “thumb”, “penis” builds up in the series. Parallel to the construction of a language, it breaks it’s own logic. The letter typography come from Olesens’ adaptations of the handwriting of Francis Picabia in his ‘machine-portraits’ (1916-1918). And thus he performs an automation of the subjective. In the ‘machine-portraits’ Picabia portrayed his friends as machines such as Guillaume Apollinaire and Tristan Tzara. SHO

Adam Pendleton (1980, US) – based in New York Black Dada (2008) Black Dada absorbs the rhythm of life. The “Black Dada” manifesto is seductive, profane, critical and bouncing when you read it or Pendleton performs it. “Black Dada” softens the edges of Concrete Poetry and adapts Art history using language to create new sensational or profane images inside the absurdity of the traditional use of Dada language. Pendleton lyrically sings another Dada deriving from the breath of his life, the traditions of soul music and what is considered ‘a matter of fact’. “Black Dada The Black Dada must… The Black Dada must use irrational language. The Black Dada must exploit the logic of identity. The Black Dada’s manifesto is both form and life. can you feel it? does it hurt? is this too soft? do you like it?” SHO


Pablo Pijnappel (1979, FR) – based in Berlin Quirijn (2011) Histories with a small ‘h’. Pablo Pijnappel is interested in the stories people tell about themselves and each other, the adventures of outstanding individuals and biographies mixed with fiction. Often using 16mm film, Pijnappel follows the nomadic life of his own family and friends in a format between a filmed novel and documentary. His latest work follows his friend Quirijn, for whom being lazy or doing nothing (not working, and although educated as an artist, not making one piece of art) is almost a political and philosophical statement, against efficiency, as he hangs around in Berlin. Pijnappel has written the voice over ‘mindset’ for Quirijn (appearing as subtitles) trying to imagine the self-dialogue or self-telling of his friend, the main protagonist in the film. SHO

Sebastián Romo (1973, MEX) – based in Mexico City Limite! (2004) Mexico city build by sensations and ideas. Limite! is a sculptural work, where the cityscape of Mexico city becomes text and text becomes the architecture of subjective views on the city. It is concerned with how one gets reconnected to a city. For years Sebastián Romo has collected words suggested by various inhabitants of Mexico City in order to gather ideas and feelings that shape the perception of the city. After living in New York post September 11th, his coming back to Mexico City inspired a rediscovery of this urban landscape. Each time Limite! is displayed, Romo replaces the old words with new ones or moves them modifying the composition and mir-


roring the changes that take place day by day in Mexico City. Connecting micro and macro worlds, Romo’s sociological research unfolds as a community-based landmark, where the ‘bricks’ carry subjective views. Mexico city is in fact build on a lake thus the metal surface of the installation. MM

Dmitry Vilensky (Chto Delat?) (1964, RU) – based in Skt. Petersborg Century of Manifestos. Play for a few Actors, (2009) Century of Manifestos. Play for a few Actors is a manifesto on the inner logic of the 20th century manifestos presented as a constructivist film collage. Inherently Vilensky’s quotes from the manifestos reveal, amongst other things, his own subjective manifesto – for example against the transformation of reality into art. Dmitry Vilensky is also working with performances as filmmaker and editor of the infamous Russian produced RU/ENG newspaper “Chto Delat? (What is to be done?)” on the political transformation in Russia, and matters of engaged art. SHO

Tris Vonna-M ichell (1982, GB) – based in Stockholm Tris Vonna-Michell is a storyteller and a performer and as part of doing and being so, he photographs. He makes slide photos and has a great passion for this low-tech and tactile photographic medium as well as the projectors themselves. His artworks appear as spoken word performances (live or recorded) accompanied by slideshows. With an insisting rhythm and inspired by concrete poetry as never odd or even

well as streams of urban impressions, VonnaMitchell speaks as a mesmerising oracle of selected internalised subjects. The stories he tells are about urban history e.g. of Detroit, Berlin – of places, events and their creation – often guided or interrupted by lapses into his own associations and childhood memories from Essex, Great Britain.


Phillip Zach (1984, DE) – based in Frankfurt am Main Untitled (2011 and 2012) Displaced quotes. The quote-based intervention by Phillip Zach arises from unused spots and corners, wittingly and ironically subverting contemporary rhetoric and the politics of dividing and sharing exhibition territory or practise. Using these niches between rifts, cracks or the works of others, Zach draws attention to his silver-foil texts quoting a vast range of written matter collected through disparate contexts. Quotes from newspapers and literature as well as his own words compose a corpus of mental cracks in the exhibition walls, which easily leads to interpretive distortions and inserts thoughts in the place of classical art. Text shown in Grimmuseum, Berlin, mirror foil: To tell the truth, I rarely did portraits. Those of my mother and father are now at the Metropolitain Museum, in one of the main painting galleries on the second floor. Well, all of my paintings are now in those galleries in the Metropolitain Museum. What i did was stand them between various canvases in the permanent collection, wherever there was sufficient wall space. Some few overlapped those others, but only at their lower corners, generally. nome

Very likely a certain amount of warp has occurred in mine since, however. From having been leaning for so many years rather than being hung, that would be. Text shown in Museet for Samtidskunst, Roskile, almond coloured shiny foil, red parts in red shiny foil: Meantime that question of things existing only in one's head may still be troubling me slightly, to tell the truth. Moreover, what is really in my head is not a fire, but a painting by Van Gogh of that fire. Which is to say the painting by Van Gogh that one can see if one squints just a little. With all of those swirls, as in The Starry Night. And with anxiety in it, even. Even if a certain amount of anxiety may be simply over the likelihood that the painting will not sell, of course. Although as a matter of fact what has now suddenly happened is that I am not actually seeing the painting itself, but am seeing a reproduction of the painting. In addition to which the reproduction even has a caption, which says that the painting is called The Broken Bottles. And is in the Uffizi. Now obviously there is no painting by Van Gogh called The Broken Bottles in the Uffizi. There is no painting by Van Gogh called The Broken Bottles anywhere, in fact, including even in my head, since as I have said what is in my head is only a reproduction of the painting. MM


Never odd or even curated by

A text spaced exhibition

Solvej Helweg Ovesen

Rosa Barba, Erick Beltrán, Nanna Debois Buhl & Brendan Fernandes, Mariana Castillo Deball, Simon Evans, Peter Fischli | David Weiss, János Fodor, Lise Harlev, Ferdinand KRIWET, Ján Mancˇuška, Ciprian Mures¸an, Henrik Olesen, Adam Pendleton, Pablo Pijnappel, Sebastián Romo, Tris Vonna-Michell, Dmitry Vilensky (Chto Delat?), Phillip Zach with

01. October > 20. November, 2011_Grimmuseum, Berlin, Germany 13. January > 08. April, 2012_Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark

Grimmuseum Fichte Strasse 2 10967, Berlin Germany info@grimmuseum.com www.grimmuseum.com


Museet for Samtidskunst Museum of Contemporary Art Stændertorvet 3A DK-4000 Roskilde info@samtidskunst.dk www.samtidskunst.dk

The exhibition is co-produced by Grimmuseum Berlin and Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark Cover image by Mariana Castillo Deball, Never odd or even, 2011

never odd or even

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Never odd or even ebook  

Never odd or even Storytelling. An e-book against contemporary flatness of language and on the occasion of the exhibition Never odd or even...

Never odd or even ebook  

Never odd or even Storytelling. An e-book against contemporary flatness of language and on the occasion of the exhibition Never odd or even...