Page 1


9 June - 19 August #rรถdastenkonsthall


Three untold stories 9 June - 19 August 2018 Curator Mariangela Méndez Prencke We depend on language to make contact, to share experiences. We also turn to language in our struggle to both describe and understand the world we live in. But sometimes there are no words… and other forms of expression are called upon. The works by Carlos Amorales, Erkan Özgen and Carla Zaccagnini, gather around silences, at the point where we sense the limits of language and the urge to tell a story differently begins. Carlos Amorales presents Life in the Folds, an installation centred in an undecipherable alphabet; an alphabet with which to question how we produce meaning, and a language that carries the remarkable potential to decide anew how to communicate with each other. In the installation this alphabet is used to tell the story of an immigrant family that arrives to a hostile village. In Erkan Özgen’s video Wonderland, Muhammed, a 13-year old boy, tells us with his body and a multitude of gestures, what cannot be expressed in words, the story of the traumatic experiences he had in the war and in escaping the war. Carla Zaccagnini’s installation Elements of Beauty: A Tea Set is Never Only a Tea Set reanimates the stories of the attacks on works of art made in the struggle for women’s suffrage in 1913. The destruction of images was implemented when the frustration for not being heard in their pledge for justice reached a limit. The work explores the power of gestures and images over words, and of words over images. These works suggest there are other forms of communicating that produce horizons of meaning which our ordinary language cannot even anticipate. They propose that what is grasped with the imagination, is not anything that can be said with sentences. The whole body and being plays a part in the activity of expressing and resonating, for communication is by no means a job for the voice or the written word alone. A gesture is precisely that, a silence that can answer cleanly for our words.

ABOUT THE WORKS 2nd floor, The Annex CARLOS AMORALES The Eye-Me-Not, 2015 Film with sound, 50 min. Screens every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 5pm. 2nd floor, The Cathedral CARLOS AMORALES Life in the Folds, 2017 Set of music scores on paper. Alphabet of ceramic ocarinas forming a poem, placed over printed tables. Film with 8-channel sound. 13 min. Life in the Folds is an installation centred in a seemingly undecipherable alphabet; an alphabet generated to question how we produce meaning, an alphabet that carries the remarkable prospect to decide anew how to communicate with each other. This unknown alphabet has its origins in Carlos Amorales’s Liquid Archive, an extensive collection of images that the artist gathered from various sources over the span of ten years, transforming them - through making cut-outs or superimpositions - into abstract elements. These abstract elements may be understood as a sort of graphic toolbox with which to produce new images. For Life in the Folds Amorales then developed a typography, a new alphabet, departing from shapes found in Liquid Archive. The characters of this new alphabet were in turn transformed into musical instruments, ocarinas1. As each instrument does produce a sound, a note, the characters of the invented alphabet turned from graphic to phonetic, making it possible as well to write musical scores with them. Furthermore, the characters were combined to construct distinguishable figures such as houses, animals, persons, and landscapes. Finally, all these elements were put to work in the making of an animated film. The 13-minute film tells the story of a family of immigrants that arrive to a hostile village. Upon their arrival, a rumour about them is spread, 1

Ocarinas are small flutes made of ceramics, largely utilized in the American continent long before European colonization

With Life in the Folds, Carlos Amorales encourages us to experience life through the concept of abstraction. It invites us to undo our own habitual reality under the effect of other constructions, other grammars, like art or music. All the elements of the installation work together to recuperate the capacity to vibrate with our body, to be affected directly there with our emotions but in resonance with knowledge, with the understanding we have of the world with all its suffering. Life in the Folds borrows its title from the 1949 novel of the same name by the French-Belgian writer Henri Michaux. For Amorales, the title evokes an image that is about being between things: “between the pages of a book or a newspaper, between countries and cultures, between opposed ideologies, between oneself and the other. This ‘being between’ has been the focus of my artistic exploration whether taken literally or as visual language, placed like a membrane between conflicting contexts”. CARLOS AMORALES studied in Amsterdam at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (1996–97) and Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten (1992–95). He has participated in artistic residencies at the Atelier Calder in Saché (2012) and MAC/VAL, Vitry-sur-Seine in France (2011), and as part of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship program in Washington, D.C. (2010). Some of his most recent solo exhibitions were at MAMM-Museo de Arte Moderno (Medellín); Bellas Artes Projects Outpost (Manila); Turku Art Museum, Turku); Turner Contemporary (Margate); Philadelphia Museum of Art, (Philadelphia); Museo Tamayo (Mexico City); MAC/VAL (Vitry-sur-seine); Fridericianum (Kassel); Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin); and Creative Time, as part of the screening The 59th Minute in Times Square, New York (2004). He has represented Mexico at the 57th Venice Biennial with the project Life in the Folds (2017). His work has been part other biennials such as the 10th Shanghai Biennale, China (2015); 2nd and 8th Berlin Biennial (2001 and 2014); Sharjah Biennial 11, United Arab Emirates (2013); The 12th and 10th Bienal de la Habana, Cuba (2015 and 2009); 5th SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul, South Korea (2008); and 2nd Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art (2007). Carlos Amorales lives and works in Mexico City.

Carlos Amorales - Life in the Folds, 2017 (installation shot, Venice Biennale)

with the fatal outcome of the family being lynched and murdered. In the story, there are no elements that define any specific place or a culture. An unknown language, of which we can only grasp the most basic breathing, prevents us from identifying any possible nationality or cultural belonging, suggesting it can happen anywhere.

3rd floor CARLA ZACCAGNINI Elements of Beauty: A Tea Set is Never Only a Tea Set, 2014 Wall painting and audio guide. 29 tracks, total time 58 min. The long-term project of Carla Zaccagnini, Elements of Beauty — to be expanded with a second chapter in our fall exhibition — has its point of departure in the chronicles of a series of attacks on artworks, made between April 1913 and July 1914, by members of the Women Social and Political Union (WSPU), the militant association for women’s suffrage, in their quest for rights, justice and equality for women. In the words of the artist, the story is as follows: “On March 10th, 1914 at 11 am, Mary Richardson entered the National Gallery in London and stood in front of the painting by Velázquez known as Venus at the Mirror, maybe not for the first time. She looked at it for a few minutes before letting the cleaver she had hidden up her sleeve slide into her hand. She then slashed the canvas several times. The first blow broke the protection glass and called the attention of guards and visitors, the following ones has to be quick and resulted in seven clean cuts on the painting area that represents the goddesses’ naked back. She didn’t struggle as the museum guard and the police officer stopped her and took her to the police station. Following this incident, WSPU, of which she was a member, made public a short text in which Richardson compares the destruction of the painting to the incarceration of Emmeline Pankhurst, and states “Justice is an element of beauty as much as colour and outline on canvas”. Elements of Beauty — whose title is inspired by Richardson’s significant comparison of justice with artistic beauty — includes a book with gathered newspaper clippings about the attacks to art works performed by this group of women; 29 empty frames painted directly on the wall, marking the exact sizes of the artworks attacked in museums and galleries; an audio guide that tell us historical facts giving context to these actions. Elements of Beauty prompts us to move out of the complacency of contemplation and to lend our ears to seldom told stories. The voice in the audio guide becomes evocative, leading us to create a new image in our mind.

An image that emerges from the frustration of an absence and perhaps does not resemble the attacked painting, but a new one informed by our own understanding of the story, charged with new values that would have remained invisible or unknown to us otherwise. For the artist, these gestures and actions of the militant suffragettes, their struggle for justice and the urgency of their demands, ”remains irretrievably engraved in these paintings.” Carla Zaccagnini is interested in our desire to communicate through images, the incongruences between images and words, and the differences between looking and seeing. Art museums present us with paintings that inform our view of the past, we have been taught to read history through them but our gaze is never neutral, but complicit, ideological, cultural, affective and sentimental. This is why in Elements of Beauty we are left without images. This absence, this silence of the pictures, frustrating as it is, is what makes it possible for us to form a new image of history and hear the silenced stories. After all, was not language given to us to free things from their images? CARLA ZACCAGNINI, completed her Masters in Poéticas Visuais at the Universidade de São Paulo in 2004, and is now Professor of Conceptual and Contextual Practices at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. She has taken part in group shows at LACMA (Los Angeles); Guggenheim Museum (New York); Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid); Malmö Konstmuseum (Malmö); MAM (São Paulo), among others. Some of her most recent solo shows were at Van Abbemuseum (Eindoven); Firstsite (Colchester); MASP (São Paulo). She has been in residency at 18th Street (Santa Monica), Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin) and IASPIS (Stockholm), among others. Her work has been featured in the compendiums Cream 3 and Art Cities of the Future, and she is represented by Galeria Vermelho (São Paulo). Carla Zaccagnini lives and works in Malmö and São Paulo.

4th floor ERKAN ÖZGEN Wonderland, 2016 Video installation with sound, 3.54 min. Wonderland is a 4-minute video where Muhammed, a 13-year old boy who is deaf and mute tells the story of how he escaped the war. Without words but with gestures, facial expressions and his whole body, he narrates the atrocities that the ISIS militias committed against members of his family and neighbours during the siege of Kobanî, the hometown of Muhammed. The Syrian city of Kobanî, in Southwestern Kurdistan, became a centre of attention in the news because of the 107

days-long resistance against disproportionately heavy attacks of ISIS that started in September 2014.

Erkan Özgen - Wonderland, 2016 (film still)

In the video, Muhammed articulates for the camera with grand energy and clarity his traumatic experience, and despite the unusual way he narrates these events, his storytelling highlights the obvious ineffability2 of what he went through. His story leaves us alone with the knowledge of our own limitations. That even with all our senses, we are unable to fully comprehend the experiences of others. As viewers, we can only wonder at the story told by Muhammed, imagine or attempt to visualize, but most of us will still lack the needed references to arrive close to an accurate image. This is precisely what Erkan Özgen’s video points at: the impossibility of representing human suffering of this magnitude, especially to those for whom these experiences are resolutely foreign. Muhammed’s story defies description in any language other than his own. It is imbued with the vitality of the survivor, it does not point to an end but a continuation, perhaps even a new hopeful beginning. This is what the title Wonderland proposes: a wonder at what might come, the wish for a more hopeful future. Or like the artist himself has asserted that “against all odds, what Muhammed tells us with his mute tongue, would motivate people to create a strong voice against wars”. ERKAN ÖZGEN graduated in 2000, from the Department of Art Education at Cukurova University in Turkey. Since 1998 he has exhibited in numerous group exhibitions in many countries including Albania, Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Montenegro, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey, UK, and USA. Özgen has participated in residencies in Safe Haven (Helsinki), IASPIS (Malmö) and in the Can Xalant artist exchange program at the Center for Creating and Contemporary Thought in Mataró (Barcelona). In 2008, he received the “Prix Meuly” from the Kunstmuseum (Thun). He has also organized workshops in Beirut, Damascus, Diyarbakir and Enshede. Parallel to his artistic work Erkan is active in the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement. Erkan Özgen lives and works in Diyarbakir.


Ineffability: incapable of being expressed or described in words

PROGRAM OPENING Saturday, 9 June, 12-6pm Welcome to the opening of Out of Words where works by three artists, Carla Zaccagnini, Erkan Özgen and Carlos Amorales come together in depicting silence alongside the boundaries of language. 1PM – The exhibition will be inaugurated with speeches by Director Mia Christersdotter Norman and Curator Mariangela Méndez Prencke.

Carlos Amorales - The Eye-Me-Not, 2015 (film still)

2.30PM – Artist talk between Curator Mariangela Méndez Prencke and the artists Carla Zaccagnini, Erkan Özgen and Carlos Amorales.

FILM SCREENINGS The Eye-Me-Not, Carlos Amorales, 2015, 50 min. Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays 5pm A servant of two European children, in his opium haze, revisits an Inuit myth. The myth tells the story of a man who has become invisible to the eyes of European merchants, with whom he tries to exchange his goods. The film is a collage of visual and conceptual references.

PERFORMATIVE LECTURE Elsewhen, Simon Faithfull Sunday, 12 August, 3pm A performative lecture looking at the history, allure and possible evaporation of the place called Nowhere and imaging a point outside time called Elsewhen. The last piece of the global atlas to be filled-in was the empty white continent of Antarctica. Since this landmass was finally traversed and mapped there now remains no ’Terra Incognita’ left on this planet. Given that the grid of measured time and space on this planet is now complete, this lecture asks: where is Nowhere? and when is Elsewhen?​Simon Faithfull’s practice has been described as an attempt to understand and explore the planet as a sculptural object – to test its limits and report back from its extremities. His performative lectures takes off from his artistic projects. The lecture is in English.

GUIDED TOURS Guided Tours with the Curator Follow alongside Curator Mariangela Méndez Prencke for an in-depth guided tour of the exhibition. Two guided tours will be given in English and one in Spanish. Wednesday, 13 June, 6-7pm (English), Wednesday, 25 July, 6-7pm (Spanish) and Wednesday and 15 August, 6-7pm (English). Introductions Tuesdays – Sundays, 1pm and 4pm Every day the exhibition is open you are welcome to join one of our arts educators for a short introduction of the exhibition. The introduction with take approximately 10 minutes and is included in the entry fee. Guided Tours Saturdays 4-5pm Every Saturday you are welcome to join one of our arts educators for a guided tour of the exhibition. The tour takes approximately one hour.


SUMMER AT RÖDA STEN Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer All summer long here at Röda Sten we will have an outdoor workshop for children and youth. The outdoor workshop is free and will feature different themes, workshops and programs every day. Wednesday Oasis Wednesdays 1 – 8pm A full day that extends into early evening. Workshops, music performances, break battles, and other fun activities with different themes will take place every week!

Thursday Together Thursdays, 1 – 5pm Workshops where all children and youth are welcome. Parents, children, adults, teenagers and kids are welcome to spend Thursdays together with us. Graffiti Saturday Saturdays, 1 – 6pm Every Saturday graffiti is the theme for those aged 12 years and older. You can find us by the legal graffiti wall, Draken. Saturday Workshop Saturdays, 1 – 6pm Workshops where all children and youth are welcome to be creative alongside their parents or adult friends. Soft Sunday Sundays, 1 – 6pm Sundays are when we hang out in deck chairs, paint with watercolour, work with batik and other laid-back, relaxed activities.

The exhibition and Summer at Röda Sten are both closed on Midsummer Eve and Midsummer Day.

With support from

Röda Sten Konsthall would like to thank City of Gothenburg, Kulturrådet, Västra Götalandsregionen Kulturnämnden and Källemo for their kind and generous support.

Out of Words

9.6 - 19.8 2018, Röda Sten Konsthall

Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 12-5pm Wednesday 12-8pm Saturday & Sunday 12-6pm

Exhibition catalogue: Out of Words (2018)  

Exhibition catalogue: Out of Words (9 June-19 August), Röda Sten Konsthall, Göteborg Curator: Mariangela Méndez Prencke

Exhibition catalogue: Out of Words (2018)  

Exhibition catalogue: Out of Words (9 June-19 August), Röda Sten Konsthall, Göteborg Curator: Mariangela Méndez Prencke