SLEEK 31 XX | XY

Page 1

Magazine for art and fashion

An issue about genetic predispositions and what we make of them. Featuring exclusive contributions by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Kris Van Assche, Ming Wong and others. D: 9,50€, A: 11€, CH: 18CHF, I: 12€, F: 12€, Autumn ESP: 12€, BENELUX: 11,20€, DK: 110DKR, 2011 UK: £9,50, USA/others: US$ 15

Autumn 2011


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sleek N°31 XX / X Y

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CONTRIBUTORS Dan Attoe, Annelie Augustin, Maxime Ballesteros, Sarah Bolen, Genesis

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Auf den Flügeln eines Parfums


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Content

132

18 Imprint 22 Editorial 24 Contributors 26 Index 28 Shortcuts 46 sleek Edition 51 Subscribe

Y Men?

A special contribution by Kris Van Assche

54

142

Mad Men A woman in a suit? Yes. A man in a dress? Er…

148

52

64

Do men wear menswear?

Ming Wong conquers a Turkish transgender diva

1 question, 7 male designers

132

164

54

Equitable Man

Front Row The season’s most outstanding shows

Bjørn Venø sets the record straight

58

172

58

100

See / Say Genesis Breyer P-Orridge meets Patti Smith

186 186

Parental Guidance

XX  /  XY

Artistic talent: nature or nurture?

Gender – nature’s biggest mistake

120

195

52

The Breed Fashion photography by Daniel Schröder

20

The toughest job in the world

186

72

Fashion photography by Mark Kean

A Mother’s Work

Never trust a photo in the family album

Glenn O’Brien and Genesis P-Orridge on the trials and errors of masculinity

Twin Sets

164

Wife Swap

Genesis & Gentleman

120

172

148

180

64

100

180

Bülent Wongsoy

72

Inventory: 196 Berlin People 204 Berlin Places 210 Studio Visit 214 The Collector – A serialized novel 216 The Further Chronicles of Anthony Haden-Guest 220 Further Reading 226 Preview

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sleek N°31 XX / X Y

English

orion datum

Editorial

deutsch

Things used to be so simple: there was man and there was woman. We Früher war alles ganz einfach, es gab Mann und Frau. Heute gibt es still have man and woman today but you don’t always know which auch Mann und Frau, aber man weiß nicht immer, wer wer ist, und one’s which, and sometimes man and woman aren’t even sure them- manchmal wissen Mann und Frau das selber nicht so genau. Es gab selves. Of course there have always been people who couldn’t be pi- auch früher übrigens schon Menschen, die sich geschlechtlich nicht geonholed as one sex or the other, but they didn’t use to make such eindeutig zuordnen ließen, aber die machten kein solches Getue dara thing about it. They’d make a career out of it instead, as a mutant um wie heute, sondern einen Job daraus, als Mutantenattraktion auf fairground attraction or a shaman. dem Jahrmarkt oder als Schamane. We at sleek, however, think it’s important that we should continue Für uns bei sleek ist es allerdings sehr wichtig, daß Mann und to be able to tell men and women apart – not necessarily because Frau auch weiterhin unterscheidbar sind – nicht unbedingt, weil dimedia agencies differentiate target groups by the sex, we don’t have verse Institutionen nach männlichen und weiblichen Zielgruppen to worry about such things simply because our readership seems to unterscheiden, denn das kann uns insofern ziemlich egal sein, als wir have a healthy male to female ratio (that’s assuming our readers are eine geschlechtlich fast ausgewogene Leserschaft haben (dabei müsstating their sex correctly, as least according to their own perception). sen wir natürlich davon ausgehen, daß unsere Leser ihr Geschlecht No, it’s important because otherwise we could forget about the theme zumindest ihrem Empfinden nach korrekt angeben). Nein, es ist uns of this issue. »XX« and »XY«, after all, stand for the chromosomatic wichtig, weil wir sonst das Thema dieser Ausgabe hätten vergessen determination of the sexes in humans, and in most cases this can be können. »XX« und »XY« stehen schließlich für die chromosomale Beclearly determined. stimmung des Geschlechts beim Menschen, und das läßt sich bei fast Ok, so a fair amount can happen between the moment of con- allen Menschen biologisch eindeutig als weiblich oder männlich festception and the end of a full life, and this, stellen. Zwar kann von der Befruchtung bis of course, is what makes things so fascinatzum zuende gelebten Menschen so einiges ing, but without norms there can be no durcheinandergeraten, und gerade das ist exceptions. As long as there is still fun to natürlich das Faszinierende an der Sache, be had swapping roles in the world of genaber ohne Normen lassen sich eben keine der definition, or in our lack of orientation Abweichungen davon ausmachen. Solange therein, we should make sure that a blurwir also im Bereich Geschlechterdefinition ring of boundaries doesn’t get the upper noch Spaß am Rollentausch haben oder an hand – and in case you’re thinking this is a unserer Orientierungslosigkeit verzweifeln reactionary attempt to wing-clip individual wollen, sollten wir darauf achten, daß unfreedoms, go ahead and try bringing up ser Umfeld einen klar als Mann und Frau your child gender-free. zu definierenden Prozentsatz nicht unter And by the way, while working on this schreitet – und kommen Sie uns jetzt nicht issue we came to the realization that every mit dem Vorwurf, wir würden mit dieser person is happiest when they are able to Photo © Maxime Ballesteros. Shirt by By Malene Birger, vest and jacket by Denham the Jeanmaker. Forderung ein reaktionäres und die indiviaccept what they are, both genetically and duelle Freiheit beschneidendes Rollenversexually. Even if this statement sounds like a limp platitude and our tol- ständnis beweisen, Sie werden schon noch sehen, wo das hinführt mit erance, hypocritical and superficial, we’re sticking to our guns. Whether Ihrem Versuch, Ihr Kind geschlechtsneutral aufzuziehen. you’re a man or a woman, or neither nor, we don’t give a monkey’s. Im übrigen haben wir bei der Arbeit an dieser Ausgabe festgeThe point is that you’re out there – and we have a reason to continue stellt, daß jene Menschen am glücklichsten sind, die sich genetisch making this magazine. Wishing you all the best from the sleek DNA, und sexuell als das akzeptieren, was sie sind. Und auch, wenn Ihnen diese Aussage platitüdenhaft und unsere Toleranz scheinheilig und oberflächlich erscheint, wir bleiben dabei: Ob Mann oder Frau oder Yours, keins davon ist uns egal, Hauptsache Sie sind. Damit wir auch weiterhin einen Grund haben, dieses Magazin zu machen. XY Mit besten Grüßen von der sleek-DNA, Ihre XX 22

neu: orion mit unverschämt großem datum. Selbst vis-à-vis am andern Ufer der Spree sieht man jetzt, ob die Tantiemen fällig sind oder man wieder arbeiten muss. Daher heißt das neue Datum Fernsehdatum. Der patentierte NOMOS-Mechanismus ließ die ganze Uhr leicht wachsen. So wirkt sie noch flacher, schöner – und unverschämt elegant. 1800 Euro. Augsburg: Bauer & Bauer; Bamberg: Triebel; Berlin: Christ KaDeWe, Lorenz; Bonn: Hild; Braunschweig: Jauns; Darmstadt: Techel; Dortmund: Rüschenbeck; Dresden: Leicht; Düsseldorf: Blome; Hamburg: Becker; Koblenz: Hofacker; Köln: Berghoff, Kaufhold; Ludwigsburg: Hunke; Lübeck: Mahlberg; München: Bucherer, Fridrich, Kiefer; Münster: Oeding-Erdel; Stuttgart: Pietsch; Hieber; Ulm: Scheuble; Wiesbaden: Stoess. Und überall bei Wempe. www.nomos-store.com und www.nomos-glashuette.com


sleek N°31 XX / X Y

peugeot.de

Contributors NEID

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Lady Jaye fell in love in 1993. They soon began to take the notion of the »other half« to new extremes, altering their appearances with plastic surgery, hormones and matching breast implants. Their art is in museums and collections worldwide, and despite Lady Jaye’s »dropping her body« in 2007, they continue to collaborate on new works. For this issue, they discussed gender issues with Glenn O’Brien and created collage works inspired by Patti Smith’s statement of pithy ennui: »As far as I’m concerned, being any gender is a drag«.

Mark Kean Scottish born and London based photographer Mark Kean gets his inspiration from characters and likes to transport a story behind an image. His work can be found in magazines such as I-D and Wonderland. For sleek, he shot a story playing on the idea of fashion as a unifying element, a way to highlight similarities in types and emotional bonds between people. Together with stylist Katy Lassen, they delivered an exceptional casting of models, who had never met before and yet give the impression of being one big happy family.

Ming Wong Berlin-based artist Ming Wong weaves layers of cinematic language, social structure, identity and introspection into his own retelling of world cinema. His most recent work is based on Bülent Ersoy, a flamboyant transgender diva and classical Turkish singer only seemingly easy to imitate. For sleek, Wong produced a fashion spread in Istanbul, offering glimpses into Ersoy’s various incarnations, each exemplified by different styles, from straight men’s suits to over-the-top show dresses – but this is serious stuff and is not to be confused with dressing up.

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Photo© Gilles Uzan.

Daniel Schröder Ha mbu rg-ba sed photog rapher Da n iel Schröder originally trained to be a stage make-up artist. But no fear, as a photographer he doesn’t Photoshop his models beyond recognition, he just likes to tweak the colours a bit. For this issue, he shot a spread inspired by the Amish (those churchy folks who dropped out of contemporary culture a while ago), hinting at the incestuous undercurrents in closed communities. The styling, however, delivered by our very own Isabelle Thiry, is more than contemporary.

Photo© Anja Teske.

Francesca Gavin Francesca Gavin is a writer and curator based in London. Her latest book 100 New Artists is out now. She is also the visual arts editor of Dazed & Confused, the art editor of Twin and a contributing editor at AnOther magazine. Furthermore, she contributes to publications from Vogue and TimeOut to Art Review and Elle. Oh, and as the curator of the Soho House Group, she’s responsible for the art at their venues worldwide. And she still found the time to have a chat with Glenn O’Brien and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge about whatever it means to be a man.

Alice Pfeiffer Alice Pfeiffer is a Paris-based writer who contributes to a number of publications including The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Dazed&Confused and Interview. After completing an MA in Gender Studies at the London School of Economics and surviving a number of internships, she is now on a global quest for off-kilter and second-hand sophistication. For sleek, she turned her attentions towards the evolution of menswear, which of late has been more than slightly shifting towards its feminine side…

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sleek N°31 XX / X Y

Index subscr ibe! See p .5

1o

Don’t miss the

.sleekmag.com ww

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Su c

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Jil Sander, www.jilsander.com, Loews, +49 89 21937910

agnès b., www.agnesb.com

Joop!, www.joop.com, Loews, +49 89 21937910

American Apparel, www.americanapparel.net, +49 211 3854090

Kaviar Gauche, www.kaviargauche.com, Prag Pr, +49 30 46776028

Ashish, www.ashish.co.uk, Village Press Pr, +44 207 4907394

Kilian Kerner, www.kiliankerner.de, Silk Pr, +49 30 84710830

Betty Jackson, www.bettyjackson.com, +44 207 6026023

Kyle Hopkins, www.bengtfashion.com

Boss Black, www.hugoboss.com, Network PR, +49 89 20001180

Lanvin, www.lanvin.com, +33 1 44713335

Burberry Prorsum, www.burberry.com, Loews, +49 89 21937910

Louise Amstrup, www.louise-amstrup.com, Haynes Pr, +44 207 2519003

Cabinet, www.cabinetstudios.co.uk, +44 14 6068 237 Calvin Klein Collection, www.calvinklein.com, Loews, +49 89 21937910

MNO

Celine, www.celine.com, +33 1 55890792

Mango, www.mango.com, Schöller & von Rehlingen Pr, +49 40 45018316

Chloé, www.chloe.com, +33 1 44943333

Markus Lupfer, www.markuslupfer.com, Silk Pr, +49 30 84710830

Comme des Garçons, www.comme-des-garcons.com, +33 1 47036090

Marni, www.marni-international.com, Karla Otto, +39 02 6556981

Converse, www.converse.com, Schröder und Schömbs, +49 30 3499640

Missoni, www.missioni.com, +39 02 6556981

Cooperative Designs, www.cooperative-designs.com, Village Press Pr,

Miu Miu, www.miumiu.com, Loews, +49 89 21937910

+44 207 4907394

Neil Barret, www.neilbarret.com, +39 02424111211

COS, www.cosstores.com, Loews, +49 89 21937910

Nsha, www.nsha.com, Haynes Pr, +44 20 7251 9003

DEF

PRS

Dimitri, www.bydimitri.com, Häberlein & Mauerer, +49 89 38108102

Paul Smith, www.paulsmith.co.uk, +33 1 42841530

Dior Homme, www.diorhomme.com, Antje Campe-Thieling,

Paule Ka, www.pauleka.fr, +33 1 40290306

+49 40 41468140

Prada, www.prada.com, Loews, +49 89 21937910

Dr. Martens, www.drmartens.com Dries van Noten, www.driesvannoten.be, +33 1 42744407

Pringle of Scotland, www.pringlescotland.com, Nicole Weber Communications, +49 40 4149480

Edun, www.edun.com, +1 353 1617 4516

Raf Simons, www.rafsimons.com, Pr Consulting Paris, +33 1 73541950

Elif Cıgızoglu, www.elifcigizoglu.com

Sportmax, www.sportmax.it, Schrader Consult, + 49 89 46134540

Elke Kramer, www.elkekramer.com, Pfeffer Pr, +44 207 7296788

Stella McCartney, www.stellamccartney.com, +44 207 518 3111

Falke, www.falke.com, +49 525157118 Felipe Oliveira Baptista, www.felipeoliveirabaptista.com, Relative Mo Pr,

TUV

+33 1 44779360

Tanju Babacan, www.tanjubabacan.com Tiger of Sweden, www.tigerofsweden.com, Silk Relations, +49 30 84710830

GHI

Transparenze, www.mytights.com

Görtz, www.goertz-corporate.de, +49 40 33300428

Underground, www.underground-england.co.uk, Blow Pr,

H&M, www.h&m.com, +49 40 30393723

+44 20 7436 9449

Hannibal, www.hannibal.com, Absolution Pr,+49 89 54889617

Viktor & Rolf, www.viktor-rolf.com, Staff International, +33 1 71936000

Hermès, www.hermes.com, +33 1 40174706 House of Holland, www.houseofholland.co.uk, The Communications Store, +442079385048

WXYZ Weekday, www.weekday.com, Agency V, +49 30 42019200 William Richard Green, www.williamrichardgreen.com, Material Pr,

JKL

+44 20 7383 4970

J. JS LEE, www.jsleelondon.com, +44 788 600 6796

Wood Wood, www.woodwood.com, Agency V, +49 30 42019200

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THE RIGHT TO bE REal


Shortcuts

sleek N°31 XX / X Y

Shortcuts

Switcheroo!

A gender-bending, sex-aligning, role-playing, genetically mutated and chromosome-laden accumulation of neutrally queer and naturally nurturing things to get you straight (or whichever way you prefer) into this issue’s theme.

Imagine if you and your partner could borrow each others’ clothes – and we’re not just talking about girls borrowing their boyfriend’s baggy jeans and band T-shirt, or wearing his button down white shirt as a dress in feigned nonchalance. The stuff same-sex partners have been enjoying for years is now being explored by heterosexual pairs. Or at least the ones approached by Vancouver-based photographer Hana Pesut. Her ongoing series »Switcheroo« brings the garmentswitching message to the couples of the world with results that are both hilarious and great fun to look at – but ultimately we feel heteros should stick to their own-sex wardrobe.

Hana Pesut, Ben & Kate, 2011.

Hana Pesut, Hana & Brett, 2011. From the series »Switcheroo«, ongoing series. More can be viewed at www.sincerelyhana.com.

Hana Pesut, Rico & Fran, 2011.

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Unisexual Infiltration

Fig. 1

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Fig.3

Fig. 4

Fig. 1 Military-boot-inspired, yes, boots, by, yes, Converse. Surprised? And they’re unisex too. Bosey Boots, AW 2011. www.converse.com Fig. 2 No need to steal the BF’s boxers anymore, thanks to these beauties by Yasmine Eslami. But they are unisex, and might actually look good on him too... www.yasmine-eslami.com Fig. 3 With clients that include the über-icon of masculinity, Steve McQueen, Wrangler has become an iconic brand itself and remains ever true to its philosophy of »7 Icons« (it takes 7 details to create the perfect pair of jeans). Photo © William Claxton. www.wrangler.com Fig. 4 Zeha’s Urban Classic Chelsea Boot. One for men, one for women. No, not unisex. Find out which one’s for you at www.zeha-berlin.de

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Shortcuts

Exactitudes

With a shared interest in the dress codes of various social groups, photographer Ari Versluis and profiler Ellie Uyttenbroek have spent the last 16 years documenting the numerous identities of our diverse society. Starting out in Rotterdam, they have since moved on to other cities around the world, documenting Capuccino Girls

in Milan and Leathermen in Rotterdam to Pin Ups in London or Rockers in Beijing (see also p. 224). Exactitudes, 92. Pin-Ups – London 2008, 2008 (left), and Exactitudes, 130. Cool Cafe – Milano 2011, 2011. www.exactitudes.com


Shortcuts

sleek N°31 XX / X Y

The Beauty for the Beast

Bridal Alarm

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Fig. 1 and 2 Those of you who can’t grow a moustache do not despair: studioRUIG, www.studioruig.com, offers them straight and simple, whereas Demitasse Jewelry offers more sophisticated versions such as the Nietzsche, or the Freddy (Mercury). www.store.demitassejewelry.com Fig. 3 No. 5 is the most famous Chanel fragrance of all time and has become the essence of femininity worldwide. No. 19 might not have caused such a stir – but still waters run deep, and the depth of this one is worth discovering. Fig. 4 Henrik Vibskov’s fragrances are not based on the wearer’s sex, but the type – not the wearer’s type though, Vibskov is referring to cities. Type B, C, and D = Berlin, Copenhagen, Damascus. Fig. 5 Science, Nature, Man, Mother… all intertwined in the genetic structure of design. K. Brunini Jewels, DNA collection. www.kbrunini.com Fig. 6 Probably the most essential unisex fragrance line in the world: Hermès, Hermessence Collection. Fig. 7 and 8 Make up created explicitly for male skin, but female skin will surely soak it up a treat: Concealer by The Men Pen, www.themenpen.com, and Face and Body Bronzer by 4VOO. www.4voo.com

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Fig. 1 Despite the growing divorce rate many people still consider their wedding day the most memorable moment of their lives. An online project calls on people to share their wedding moments with the world, and as the collection shows, some things never change… See www.oldnewborrowedblue.photonet.org.uk. Pictured: Karen McQuaid, My Parents, 1970s. Courtesy The Photographers’ Gallery, London. Fig. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 The wedding dress still holds a special place in many a collection. Alexander McQueen (2) continues to grab most of the attention since THE Wedding; Givenchy (3) proposes this season’s sexiest versions; Yves Saint Laurent’s (4) is church or register-office-compatible; Chanel (5) mixes ancient Greece with Futurism; and Maison Martin Margiela (6) offers no wedding dress, but this might well pass as a wedding outfit – for both bride and groom.

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sleek N°31 XX / X Y

The evolution of homo urbanus

In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population were city-dwellers; homo sapiens has evolved into homo urbanus. In the future, human history will be urban history. It’s high time we rethought the ways in which we shape city environments and how, in turn, city living affects our lives. The BMW Guggenheim Lab is an interactive think tank that offers the framework for precisely this type of inquiry. Part research project, part community centre, the lightweight mobile structure on the Lower East Side, designed by Atelier Bow-Wow, hosts lectures, film screenings, meditation sessions, and a group game called Urbanology that allows participants to be city planners for a day. Scheduled to travel to nine major cities, all prime examples of rocketing urban evolution, next in line are Berlin and Mumbai. www.bmwguggenheimlab.org

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The XX and The XY

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Fig. 8b

Fig. 7 Fig. 3 Fig. 1 An exhibition presenting fashion photographs from an era when a woman was still a woman – and men were not even dressmen, let alone models: »Vanity Fair«, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, 21 October 2011 – 12 February, 2012. Pictured: Erwin Blumenfeld, Décollté, 1953. © The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld. Fig. 2 Alina Szapocznikow’s first major survey show outside of her homeland Poland will celebrate an artist who for years has been described as »one of the greatest rediscoveries of our time«. »Alina Szapocznikow. Sculpture Undone«
, Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, until 8 January, 2012. Alina Szapocznikow, Dessert II, 1970-1971, and Alina Szapocznikow in Carrara at work on Grandes ventres (Big Bellies), photo: Roger Gain for Elle, 1968. © VG Bild-Kunst. Fig. 3 Claude Cahun was one the first female artists to delve into gender issues. A major exhibition of her work can be seen at Jeu de Paume, Paris, until 25 September, 2011. Claude Cahun, Self-portrait, 1929. Silver gelatin print, 14 × 9 cm. © Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris/Parisienne de Photographie. Fig. 4 A famous German feminist once said that high heels were invented by a man so women couldn’t run away. Well, these ones were certainly made by a man, but we’d call them an homage to feminism. Yoan Capote, Top Feminist, 2008. Height: 245 cm. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

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Fig. 5 Yes, size does matter. But there’s um, a natural limit, and too big is giving »erection problems« an entirely new meaning. Yoan Capote, Erección, 2002. Wood, 52 × 210 × 105 cm. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Fig. 6 This is not what you think it is. In any case, it’s made of – ceramic. And is decently sized at 25 × 10 × 4 cm. Atelier Ted Noten, Pump It Up! Messin’ Around With Willie. www.tednoten.com Fig. 7 Think what you like about the saying on this poster by Ioana Nemes (from the »Monthly Evaluations« series, 2007) but the truly great thing about the work is that it was included in the first ever exhibition on gender issues in Romania earlier this year (titled »Desire is War«), where homosexuality is still considered outside of the norm. Courtesy Kilobase Bucharest. Fig. 8 Piotr Nathan weaves an intricate fabric of myths, Eros, transience, creation and history into his work. And he’s not afraid of being explicit in any way. Piotr Nathan, Der Fall des Herkules (The Fall of Hercules), 2011, and from Der Verwunschene Garten. © t he artist, courtesy Laura Mars Grp. © VG Bild-Kunst. See also Nathan’s exhibition »Heute nur das Licht gemalt«, Laura Mars Grp., Berlin, until 1 October, 2011.

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sleek N°31 XX / X Y

Asking for it

CHRIS MARTIN

22. OktOber 2011 – 15. Januar 2012

Staring into the Sun

Chris Martin, East River Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2005 Courtesy of Chris Martin, KOW BERLIN, und Mitchel-Innes & Nash, New York I Foto: Donna Alberico

A worldwide movement of »slut demos« recently commented on a statement by a Canadian police officer that women were »asking for it« when dressing »slutty«, meaning they were provoking sexual harassment or even rape. Alex Brew turns the tables in a way, by asking men in public places to undress somewhere around the corner, in a semi-private environment, and pose for her camera. There’s still an exploitative element to using nude models, and it’s certainly still fairly taboo when it’s men getting naked for women, so Brew is a rare exception, which makes her work appear more aggressive than it actually is. Alex Brew, from the series »Asking For It«, 2007 - 2008, and self-portrait, femme taking liberties, 2011.

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Grabbeplatz 4 I 402 13 DüsselDorf www. kunsthalle-duesseldorf.de Die Kunsthalle Düsseldorf wird gefördert durch

Ständiger Partner der Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

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Shortcuts

sleek N°31 XX / X Y

The genesis of mobility

Let’s get mathematical, girls!

the case for more than thirty years now. I’m amazed, however, that mathematicians never ask themselves the social questions implied by the fact that their immediate surroundings are male-dominated. The evaluation of research themes and style of writing is male. It would be interesting to measure to what extent this is discriminating. You are considered a leading figure in Mathematical Finance. As a woman, you are a rare species in a male-dominated environment. Are there any advantages or disadvantages to your status? NEK: I was always well received in the banking circles. They respected the fact that a woman could achieve so much. I didn’t know anything about finance, but I worked hard and, above all, I listened to traders and how they perceived risk. I never thought of maths as the solution to their problems. In that sense, I was being more modest than your standard mathematician. I just tried to find out what maths had to offer. I try to convey this approach to my students as well, it has liberated me from the constraints of the mathematic community, and I feel freer to perform. I’ve learned a lot from this new orientation, mostly on how to »talk maths« with non-mathematicians. sleek:

An upcoming exhibition at Fondation Cartier in Paris titled »Mathematics: A Beautiful Elsewhere« (starting 21 October, 2011) brings together artists and mathematicians in an attempt to explore the creative and artistic genius inherent to the field of mathematics, a rather male-dominated discipline. We’ve interviewed Nicole El Karoui, an internationally acclaimed mathematician and the exhibition’s only female participant, about possible reasons for this. sleek: That boys should be better at maths than girls has long been dismissed as a cliché, yet to date no woman has received any international awards for mathematical achievements, such as the Abel Prize or the Fields Medal. Is there a difference between boys and girls after all? Nicole El Karoui: Socially and culturally speaking, there’s certainly a difference. In what ways they’re different from one other per se I don’t think can be measured nor is it important to find out. However, you see a huge difference in the confidence with which boys and girls approach this discipline. Girls confront notions suggesting that they’re less competent, or that men will find them unattractive if they excel in this field. For me, it was very difficult to engage in a scientific career which girls were advised not to pursue, even though we fared better than our fellow male students. In fact I chose a teaching career because I lacked confidence in my performance as researcher. Luckily I found my calling in Probability in the field of Applied Mathematics. The main difficulty women face, however, is balancing career and family. As a mother of five, I know. I have seen many brilliant colleagues give up promising careers around the age of 30 to 35 because they couldn’t keep fighting on so many fronts simultaneously. Getting nominated for an award by the age of 40 (the age limit for the Fields Medal) is simply more difficult for women.

In the development of a new car model there are usually only a couple of years between the first draft and realisation. With their F 125!, Mercedes-Benz is now proposing a model which looks much further ahead. It’s supposed to be so advanced that it will still be considered avant-garde in 2025. But the truly surprising idea behind the F 125! is that it proposes an evolution which runs contrarian to the common notion that cars should become smaller in order to be eco-friendly. The F 125! will be big and luxurious and still cater to environmentalism, to prove that luxury and eco-friendliness need not be adversaries.

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sleek: Cognitive and brain sciences suggest that men and women think differently. When looking at your students, can you confirm this observation? NEK: As I said, I can’t tell whether the differences are structural or cultural. I’m currently teaching in two very selective programmes, and my classes seldom have more than 15 percent women. This has been

The title of the upcoming exhibition, »Mathematics: A Beautiful Elsewhere«, implies that this discipline is very difficult to capture. It is ultimately an abstract entity unlike art, which is about creating something visible and physically existent. What connections do you see between maths and art? NEK: The beauty of maths lies in its abstract nature. It’s elusive. The freedom in the act of creating a concept or proving an equation is where maths and art meet. The goal of maths is in fact an aesthetic one, only there’s less of an audience to appreciate it. For me, the art closest to maths is music, especially when it plays in my head. sleek:

sleek: Do you feel emotionally connected with mathematics? Do you have

a favourite number or a favourite mathematical phenomenon? I don’t have a favourite number, except for maybe zero, because it seems to me that its enigma is inexhaustible. Unpredictable phenomena remain a great mystery and my passion even after 40 years of working with mathematics. NEK:

sleek: Has mathematics taught you anything about yourself or about how

to lead your life? Can maths help us understand why 1+1 = 2 so rarely holds true when it comes to human relationships? NEK: Maths has taught me to never accept approximations and never take anything for granted. In the highly codified, abstract world of maths, 1+1=2 holds true, but the real world is fortunately more complex than that, and seldom reducible to rules. Finances have shown me that returning to the real world can be sweet. Constantly questioning everything can be tiring for the people around you, but my need to discover is insatiable. »Mathématiques, un dépaysement soudain«, Fondation Cartier, Paris, 21 October, 2011 – 19 February, 2012 43


sleek N°31 XX / X Y

Throwing herself at men

Marc Anthony Using her body as a human projectile, Lilly McElroy challenges personal boundaries that apply not only to herself but also to unsuspecting male victims in her vicinity. She literally hurls herself at men she meets in bars and a friend/photographer captures her in mid-flight. The project plays on the notion that women are still hesitant to make the first step in dating because they fear to come across as »desperate«. But if women were more active, we bet more than just a few men would be pleasantly surprised. Lilly McElroy, all images from the series »I Throw Myself At Men«, 2006. 30 × 40 inches. www.lillymcelroy.com

44 Gasstra ss e 2 2 2 7 6 1 Hambur G t 0 4 0 8 9 0 7 7 4 7 www.marcant Hony.de


sleek N°31 XX / X Y

sleek Edition

THE RETURN OF JEN RAY! Letting your hair grow usually has a bit of a »back to nature« whiff about it (think hippies and liberated women’s armpits) – to us, it’s »back to Jen Ray«. In 2005 the Berlin-based artist, known for her brilliant and uncanny illustrations, created a T-shirt edition for sleek, which was available for a limited time only. But since you, dear readers, never seem to stop asking about them, and since we keep seeing people about in rags that faintly resemble the splendidly hairy T’s they once were, Jen Ray decided to have mercy on you and reissue this edition. So, if you want to let some extra hair grow without having to sacrifice personal hygiene, you know what to do:

sleek edition Jen Ray

Organisation: Expo Management GmbH · Rosenweg 4 · 24113 Molfsee · Germany

Men’s T-shirt (S, M, L), edition of 96 Women’s T-shirt (S, M, L), edition of 69 (T-shirt: »Sheer Jersey Summer T« by American Apparel. It’s loose fitting, but girls between sizes might want to opt for the larger one)

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each (shipping within Europe included / €   12,- worldwide) To order, send an email to edition@sleekmag.com

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sleek N°31 XX / X Y

Shortcuts

Wedding-Eve Party

The »Polterabend«, celebrated on the eve of a wedding, is a German custom which is only hesitantly being adopted by non-Germas, maybe because it’s a rather violent affair. Guests are expected to bring armfulls of crockery and smash them in front of the bride’s house, leaving huge piles of broken shards which supposedly brings good luck and secure the couple’s happiness. Some porcelain is so beautiful we wouldn’t smash it for the greatest happiness on earth, but there’s an undeniable beauty in shards. One vase in a series by German porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal plays on the theme to beauteous effect. To find your personal luck, please go to page 51. 48

Photographer  Attila Hartwig All items from the series »Phases«, »Pixo«, and »Guilloche« by Rosenthal. www.rosenthal.de

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Art|42|Basel|15–19|6|11

sleek N°31 XX / X Y

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Domestic remedy

Photo© Attila Hartwig.

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R. Penck | Giuseppe Penone | Manfred Pernice | Raymond Pettibon | Elizabeth Peyton | Susan Philipsz | Francis Picabia | Pablo Picasso | Jack Pierson | Michelangelo Pistoletto | Jaume Plensa | Serge Poliakoff | Sigmar Polke | Jackson Pollock | Seth Price | Richard Prince | Q | Marc Quinn | R | Tal R | Walid Raad | Arnulf Rainer | Robert Rauschenberg | Man Ray | Tobias Rehberger | Ad Reinhardt | Anselm Reyle | Jason Rhoades | Gerhard Richter | Bridget Riley | Jean-Paul Riopelle | Pipilotti Rist | Alexander Rodchenko | Ugo Rondinone | Dieter Roth | Mark Rothko | Glen Rubsamen | Ulrich Rückriem | Allen Ruppersberg | Ed Ruscha | Robert Ryman | S | Michael Sailstorfer | Anri Sala | David Salle | Wilhelm Sasnal | Antonio Saura | Egon Schiele | Markus Schinwald | Julian Schnabel | Gregor Schneider | Thomas Schütte | Kurt Schwitters | Sean Scully | Tino Sehgal | Richard Serra | Joel Shapiro | Jim Shaw | Cindy Sherman | David Shrigley | Stephen Shore | Santiago Sierra | Roman Signer | Andreas Slominski | David Smith | Pierre Soulages | Simon Starling | Frank Stella | Rudolf Stingel | Jessica Stockholder | Thomas Struth | Sturtevant | Catherine Sullivan | Hiroshi Sugimoto | T | Vibeke Tandberg | Yves Tanguy | Antoni Tàpies | Sam Taylor Wood | Diana Thater | Paul Thek | Frank Thiel | Wolfgang Tillmans | Jean Tinguely | Rirkrit Tiravanija | Mark Tobey | Niele Toroni | Rosemarie Trockel | Tatiana Trouvé | Tunga | Gavin Turk | James Turrell | Richard Tuttle | Luc Tuymans | Cy Twombly | Keith Tyson | U | Günther Uecker | Lee Ufan | Günter Umberg | Juan Uslé | V | Michel Verjux | Francesco Vezzoli | Not Vital | Danh Vo | Alexej Von Jawlensky | W | Kara Walker | Jeff Wall | Mark Wallinger | Wang Guangyi | Wang Jianwei | Andy Warhol | Lawrence Weiner | James Welling | Tom Wesselmann | Franz West | Pae White | Rachel Whiteread | TJ Wilcox | Christopher Williams | Wols | Christopher Wool | Erwin Wurm | X | Sislej Xhafa | Y | Yan Pei-Ming | Yang Fudong | Z | Zhang Enli | Zheng Guogu | Andrea Zittel | Heimo Zobernig | Gilberto Zorio | And more than 2,500 other artists | Index May 2011 Art Unlimited | Art Parcours | Art Film | Art Basel Conversations | Art Salon | Art Magazines Catalog order | Tel. +49 711 44 05 204, Fax +49 711 44 05 220, www.hatjecantz.de

When people quarrel, they sometimes throw things to emphasise their point, and a flower vase is a common object of choice. Once they’ve cooled down, they regret the outburst but the damage is done, the vase is broken… This vase by Rosenthal, from the »Phases« series, looks like it’s been shattered already – and mended. It will remind you to think twice before you resort to violence, thus bringing peace to your home, together with a copy of sleek. When you subscribe, that is. If you live with a partner, you might want to take out a subscription for two…

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Wenn Paare sich so richtig streiten, werfen sie manchmal mit Gegenständen nach dem Partner, und Vasen scheinen als Wurfobjekt besonders beliebt. Ist der Ärger verraucht, bleibt ein Scherbenhaufen. Diese Vase hier aus der Serie »Phases« von Rosenthal sieht so aus, als sei sie bereits geworfen worden – und repariert. Sie wird Sie daran erinnern, sich beim nächsten Ausbruch zurückzuhalten und bringt deshalb Frieden in Ihr Heim – zusammen mit der nächsten Ausgabe von sleek, wenn Sie jetzt abonnieren. Sollten Sie mit jemandem zusammenleben, wollen Sie vielleicht lieber zwei Abos abschließen. Nur so ein Gedanke.

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sleek N°31 XX / X Y

Do Men wear Menswear?

Do men wear menswear?

Dreaming of becoming a professional cyclist, the young Paul Smith had little interest in fashion as he cycled back and forth to his job at a clothing warehouse. A serious accident changed everything, giving rise to a new passion for fashion and a multi-decade career that culminated in knighthood. Smith carves out a look that combines the best of traditional English attire with unusual, witty details. »Menswear is more of an evolution«, says the man who put candy striped boxer shorts on the fashion map. »Women’s fashion changes quite radically because it’s very much about short-long-big-bohemian-party-trends, whereas men’s is just a slow wheel that keeps on turning. It’s about the width of a shoulder, the height of a lapel-notch – it’s a lot more subtle.«

Interviews by Elisa Tudor

Beau Brummell is considered the originator of menswear as we know it. From the inner circles of King George IV, he propagated the stylistic reign of British tailoring. Understatement replaced opulence as the bon ton, if only on the surface (Brummell claimed he took five hours to dress, and recommended that boots be polished with champagne). While Brummell may have liberated men from embroidered stockings and ruffled sleeves, he is also the reason why menswear got rather caught in a rut, having a hard time moving beyond the modern man’s suit and tie. But what does donning a manly accoutrement mean today, when the suit has been deconstructed to the umptienth degree, and man stockings (mockings?) are making a comeback? sleek spoke to some of the industry’s most distinctive male designers, whose approaches to fashion couldn’t be more diverse, to find out where menswear is moving.

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The French master of eye popping, mind blowing and bordering-onwearable riffs on culture icons from Kermit the Frog to Saint-Exupéry is the designer of choice for lovers of eccentric extravagance; he even designed rainbow covered liturgical get-ups for Jean Paul II and 5,500 of his clergymen – and they actually wore them. But Castelbajac confesses that if he ever did a menswear line, it would be – are you sitting down – traditional: »I got tailor made suits for my sons when they were young, which they’ve now had remade to fit them as adults. What I’m trying to say is that I’m utterly disappointed with the fast food mentality of fashion. We constantly want something new, but we forget that our old clothes leave a mark on younger designers who would later reinterpret them.« He names Johnny Cash as a style icon: »He was a sensitive man who wasn’t afraid to show his emotions. I think I’ll only wear black from now on.«

Photo© Louis Marie de Castelbajac.

Photo© Wolfgang Tillmans. Photo© Jean Baptiste Mondino.

Lutz re-appropriates patterns of classic menswear items and readjusts them to the female body. Femininity and masculinity are completely intertwined, the rigid silhouettes showing hints of flowing curves. Does that make the Lutz-clad lady a cross-dresser? »Fashion is like role-playing. Until not so long ago, men couldn’t be bothered with their appearances. Today, it’s unthinkable for men to be badly dressed! Women, on the other hand, were forced into clothing that restricted them for centuries. You’re doing women a huge favour if you base your designs on a wearable, functional concept, as has always been the case with men.« And what does he have to say about menswear? »Men seem to be increasingly criticised by women. They’re afraid of their own masculinity. It’s very abstract!«

Ethnology and technology, spirituality and bodybuilding – you name it, Walter Van Beirendonck has drawn inspiration from it. From macho hairy chest prints on shirts to purple suits and rainbow ponchos, this boisterous member of the Antwerp Six has dressed men in just about anything, and to great critical acclaim. The gender question, as far as he’s concerned, is more passé than a rhinestone on a padded shoulder: »The main difference between a man and a woman is physical only. In the end, creativity is about variety. This topic is over.« But in over three decades in the fashion industry, he must have noticed some movement? »Menswear used to be judged by fashion people only. Now that we have a wider audience, aesthetic boundaries have been pushed forward. Men are much more aware of fashion, not necessarily dressing up, but they want to look good. Menswear has become more visible.«

Henrik Vibskov is not just a fashion designer, he’s also a drummer, object designer, book author, and recently added »perfumer« to his list of creative activities. Needless to say, he makes no distinction between male and female but focuses on »types«. In the Vibskov universe, we are all equal and lines are mostly unisex. Why can’t it be like that outside his universe too? »There’s definitely a blurring of lines and dress codes, but the world is quite a conservative place. I think it will take a long time before people become less fixated on the differences between the clothing, and just focus on the clothes themselves. It’s still taboo for a man to wear a dress.« His personal style rests on a few basics: »Hat, jacket, pants, cigarette, coffee«, he says – but we know it’s all about knee-high socks really.

Photo© Nabil Azadi.

Boris Bidjan Saberi was the talk of the town last menswear season in Paris. Like an alchemist labouring over his precious concoctions, Saberi experiments with aluminium, plastic, resin and even blood to make surprisingly wearable garments. If necessity is the mother of invention, then Saberi clearly feels there’s a great need for something new: »The ›gender topic‹ is boring in that it was discussed too much in recent years. For me, a new interpretation of ›the archetypical man‹ is more challenging at the moment than the genderless look of androgyny.« Any ideas about how this elusive archetype might look? »It’s about raw sensuousness.« Does that mean suits are about to become a thing of the past? »Well, sometimes we have to go to a wedding, right...?« Seems tying the knot is less outdated than androgyny.

Best known for their print designs, Mark Eley and his »better half« Wakako, otherwise known as Eley Kishimoto, leave their mark on just about anything, from clothing to wallpaper and even motorcycles. With each new design venture exposing them to a wider audience, we wonder how Mark Eley understands manliness. »Honestly, ›manly‹ is about being physically strong, mentally together, healthy and passionate. It’s about shaking things up and keeping it together and not running away«, he says. But when it comes to putting on a manly outer shell, Eley is sceptical: »It used to be and may well become important again, but at this precise moment in time I have no relationship to it. My wardrobe has not changed for over 20 years... Always the same, tired and worn, utilitarian, comfortable and never smart.« 53


Front row

sleek N°31 xx / x y

Front Row The season’s most outstanding shows at a glance!

Tsumori Chisato

Karen Walker

Who said growing up kills the imagination? Parting with her childlike wonderworlds, Chisato now finds inspiration in more sophisticated subjects like Northern Lights (colour blocks) and Surrealism (trompe l’oeil prints) while mixing elegance (Twenties) with humour (Seventies).

Inspired by working-class nightclubs in the North of England, Karen Walker puts a razor-sharp edge to her otherwise rosy frocks. Tough cookies with a soft spot for industrialism will find the 90s touch a handsome solution to mixing pretty with punk, beanie hats included.

From the 2011 Autumn collection.

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www.tsumorichisato.com

www.karenwalker.com

From the 2011 Autumn collection.

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Front row

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Miharayasuhiro

Yigal Azrouël

In an apparent nod to Oscar Wilde’s deadpan irony, Mihara Yasuhiro’s latest collection dissolves Victorian boarding school rigidity with knits that trail off into rags, asymmetric lapels that double as scarves and photorealistic prints that poke fun at artisan knits.

This autumn, the Azrouël woman is every bit the dandy. The debonair looks are premised on cropped trousers in bright colours, paired with oversized knits, bib blouses, tuxedo riffs, and huge, grandad tweed overcoats that are sure to be the season’s most covetable cosy staples.

From the 2011 Autumn collection.

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www.miharayasuhiro.jp

www.yigal-azrouel.com

From the 2011 Autumn collection.

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See / Say Genesis Breyer P-Orridge meets Patti Smith

English

Deutsch

Patti Smith, gender blurring queen of post-punk, broke all the rules when in the late 70s, she challenged prevalent notions of gender in the male-dominated world of rock ’n’ roll. In interviews, the androgynous Smith repeatedly expresses her disdain for gender-based categorisations, and this is nicely nutshelled in the quote illustrated in the following pages. For the translation of her words into images, sleek approached none other than Breyer P-Orridge, the pandrogynous artist uniting the two beings Lady Jaye Breyer and Genesis P-Orridge. The pair made it their life’s mission to subvert being »either / or« into being both genders at once. The collages were inspired by Smith’s memoirs Just Kids that capture her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe when they were both young and unknown. Their love transcended strict gender conventions – just like the one lived by Lady Jaye Breyer and Genesis POrridge. For Smith and Mapplethorpe, Venus the blue star, which they watched on their walks at night, became the emblem of their love and the star also found its way into the collages of Breyer P-Orridge, who claim their work is dedicated to the production of »ULTRALOVE« arts.

Patti Smith waren geschlechtsspezifische Verhaltensmuster ziemlich egal. Die Post-Punk-Ikone brach alle Regeln, als sie in die männlich dominierte Welt des Rock ‘n’ Roll einbrach. Immer wieder wehrte sie in Interviews Fragen nach ihrem weiblichen Rollenverständnis ab, weil sie sich weder festlegen lassen noch am diesbezüglichen Diskurs teilnehmen wollte. Das Leitzitat dieser Ausgabe bringt ihre Haltung auf den Punkt. Für dessen bildliche Umsetzung haben wir eine Persönlichkeit gewinnen können, die sich geschlechtlich ebenfalls nie hat festlegen lassen. Genesis P-Orridge und seine Frau Lady Jaye Breyer planten einst ihre Verschmelzung zu einem dritten Wesen, um die Entweder / Oder-Einteilung im Geschlechtsbereich auszuhebeln. Genesis Breyer P-Orridge ließ sich für seine Collagen von Smiths Memoiren Just Kids inspirieren, in denen die Musikerin von ihrer Beziehung mit Robert Mapplethorpe in jungen Jahren berichtet, eine Beziehung, die gängige Konventionen geschlechtlicher Orientierung überschritt – genau wie die von Lady Jaye und Genesis. Smith und Mapplethorpe erkoren Venus, den blauen Stern, zum Symbol ihrer Liebe. Ein Symbol, das auch Breyer P-Orridge, nach eigener Auskunft Erschaffer von »Ultralove«-Kunst, in ihren Collagen aufgreiften...

© The Artist Lady Jaye and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Special thanks to Laure Leber for use of her portraits.

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Genesis & Gentleman

In order to discuss what it means to be a man today, sleek invited two experts on the trials and tribulations of masculinity: Glenn O’Brien and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Wann ist ein Mann ein Mann? Wissen wir auch nicht. Deshalb haben wir zwei Experten in Sachen Männlichkeit zum Gespräch gebeten: Glenn O’Brien und Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.

Interview by Francesca Gavin Photography by Paul Mpagi Sepuya Deutsch

Deutsch

The changing boundaries and definitions of gender is something close to the heart of Glenn O’Brien and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge alike. ExInterview editor, TV presenter and Warhol affiliate O’Brien’s latest book How To Be a Man is a manual on »style and behaviour for the modern gentleman«, hinting at modes of masculinity for an audience looking for sartorial and social advice. Performance artist, musician and Throbbing Gristle maestro P-Orridge has made a career out of breaking all set notions of gender. He underwent dramatic plastic surgery with his wife Lady Jaye in an attempt to turn them into a united pandrogynous figure. Speaking of himself as »we«, he has continued this project after her death in 2007; it is the subject of a new cult documentary, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. Although they used to move in the same circles, O’Brien and P-Orridge only met for the first time for this interview, at P-Orridge’s Lower East Side apartment.

Fragen nach der Bestimmung geschlechtlicher Identität liegen Glenn O’Brien und Genesis Breyer P-Orridge gleichermaßen am Herzen. Das jüngste Buch des Ex-Interview-Herausgebers, Stilkolumnisten, TV-Moderators und Warhol-Weggefährten O’Brien trägt den Titel How To Be A Man und richtet sich als »Handbuch für den modernen Gentleman« an ein in punkto Kleiderschrank und gesellschaftliches Auftreten hilfebedürftiges Publikum. Und Performancekünstler, Musiker und Throbbing Gristle-Maestro P-Orridge hat sich die Aufhebung geschlechtlicher Unterschiede zur Lebensaufgabe gemacht. Er unterzog sich dramatischen plastischen Operationen im Versuch, sich gemeinsam mit seiner Frau Lady Jaye in ein drittes, ein pandrogynes Wesen zu verwandeln und führt dieses Projekt auch nach deren Tod vor vier Jahren fort – nicht zuletzt, indem er fortwährend von sich selbst als »wir« spricht. Eine auf diesem Projekt basierende Filmdokumentation, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, tourt zurzeit Filmfestivals weltweit und gilt jetzt schon als Kultfilm. Obwohl sie sich in denselben Kreisen zu bewegen pflegten, brachte die Einladung zu diesem Interview in POrridges Wohnung in der Lower East Side beide erstmals in direkten Kontakt miteinander.

sleek: Let’s dive right in and talk about redefining the connections between

creativity, gender and identity. Glenn, you’ve written a book titled How To Be a Man. Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: Have you? I didn’t know that. Glenn O’Brien: Yeah. Actually the title is a bit of a joke. GP-O: I wish someone had told me that. GO’B: I thought the title would make women want to buy it. GP-O: And did it work? Probably did. Do you think we live in a time where the idea of how to be male or female is confused enough to warrant a guide book? GO’B: I think men are really confused, more confused than women about what they’re supposed to be today. There’s a lot of pressure on men to confirm a certain image but they are a bit clueless as to how it should look. Maybe it has to do with parents not educating boys the way they used to. sleek:

Your childhood, Genesis, trained you to be a certain type of man and you rebelled against that completely. GP-O: Nearly 100 percent. I went to this school in England that considered its students the future leaders of Britain. I was a scholarship boy, and the others were from privileged families, diplomats’ sons, aristocracy, industrialists. When I needed to get boots to play Rugby I got them from a thrift store. When one of the boys in my class got his driving license he got a Rolls Royce – to have something to go to sleek:

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sleek: Lassen Sie uns direkt zur Sache kommen, zugegenermaßen ein ziemlich ausuferndes Thema. Kreativität, Geschlecht, Identität, wie hängt das alles zusammen? Glenn, Sie haben ein Buch mit dem Titel How To Be a Man geschrieben. Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: Hast Du? Wußte ich garnichts von. Glenn O’Brien: Ja. Der Titel ist aber eher als Witz gemeint. GP-O: Das hätte man mir echt mal früher sagen können. GO’B: Ich dachte, der Titel würde vielleicht Frauen zum Kauf animieren. GP-O: Und, hat’s funktioniert? Bestimmt.

Leben wir in einer Zeit, in der das Verständnis von ›männlich‹ so diffus geworden ist, daß Männer eine Gebrauchsanweisung brauchen? GO’B: Ich glaube, Männer sind wirklich stark verunsichert darüber – mehr als Frauen –, was sie heute darstellen sollen. Sie stehen unter dem Druck, ein bestimmtes Bild zu erfüllen, aber sie haben keine Ahnung, wie das aussehen soll. Vielleicht hat es damit zu tun, daß Eltern ihre Jungs nicht mehr so erziehen wie früher. sleek:

sleek: In Ihrer Kindheit, Genesis, wurden Sie dazu erzogen, ein bestimmtes

Männlichkeitsideal zu erfüllen, aber Sie haben dagegen rebelliert. 65


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the golf club at weekends. I lived in a house with three generations of women, my grandmother, my mother and my sister. Father was always travelling with work. It only recently dawned on me that this could’ve had something to do with being in such a split situation – a completely feminised home setting and this ridiculous masculine daytime. When I was in the army cadets they trained me to be a sniper. No joke, I was a first class sniper with a 303. Interestingly the targets were American soldiers. This was 1964-68, so obviously we weren’t going to Vietnam, which was good news. Do you think that the culture of the 1970s that you both emerged in encouraged a way out, by redefining the idea of gender and identity? GP-O: I remember vividly in 1962 or ’63 in Piccadilly Station Manchester, one day I heard the tinkling of bells and turned and looked, and there were these really high-end mods with their girlfriends. The men were wearing eye-shadow and mascara and their hair was all teased back in these bouffants, and one of them had a little bell around his neck that tinkled… This feminised guy to me was an incredibly erotic and liberating image. I wanted to be a beatnik and write poetry, and I was there at the beginning of the whole beat music, the Beatles and the Hollies, and then the Stones. I remember when they went on the Palladium show on English television, all camped up, wearing their girlfriends’ clothes basically. GO’B: When the Stones came to America they went on the Ed Sullivan show, and I think it really changed the country. Mick was really camping it up. They had said he couldn’t sing the lyrics ›Let’s spend the night together‹, so he was singing ›Let’s spend some time together‹, rolling his eyes. The father of a friend of mine destroyed all his Rolling Stones records after seeing the Ed Sullivan show. sleek:

You both live in New York now, allegedly an exceptionally openminded place where they’ve just legalized gay marriage. So has it all become very liberal these days? GP-O: Well, we might not be so popular for saying this but we don’t really understand why people would actually want the right to get married and basically emulate something that’s been so oppressive. Maybe we came from the wrong part of the 60s, but we were involved with gay lib street theatre and drag as a political act and so on, and this just seems like an empty victory on so many levels. Half of all marriages fail anyway, and it’s no guarantee of any deeper love, it seems almost a petty diversion from what the real issues might be in terms of oppression and bigotry and hypocrisy and hate crimes of all types – to be dealt with a bit more openly and actively. GO’B: That’s what I thought at first, you know, ›Just wait until you get sued for half your money and start paying alimony‹, but then I remember, when the AIDS crisis was at its worst you had people dying in hospital and their lovers would come in and they had no rights, so it’s really about having the same legal rights as heterosexuals. GP-O: That bit I understand absolutely. Are you married? GO’B: Yep. GP-O: Congratulations. GO’B: Third time. I’m genetically programmed to marry. sleek:

Genesis, can you talk about your relationship with Lady Jaye? She was a wild child. Ran away from a Catholic home at 14 to live in a squat in Alphabet City, put herself through nursing college by becoming a dominatrix, which is how we met at our mutual friend Terence Sellers’ dungeon on West 23rd Street. A notorious building where Glenn also did the cable TV show.

sleek: GP-O:

sleek:

In the dungeon?

GO’B: In the same building. Terence wrote a book called The Correct Sadist,

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Total. Ich ging auf eine Schule in England, wo die Schüler zur künftigen Führungselite des Landes erzogen wurden. Ich hatte ein Stipendium, und die anderen kamen aus privilegierten Familien, waren Diplomatensöhne, Adelige, Industriellenkinder. Wenn ich Rugbystiefel brauchte, ging ich zum Trödelladen. Wenn die Jungs in meiner Klasse den Führerschein machten, bekamen sie einen Rolls Royce – um am Wochenende zum Golfclub fahren zu können. Ich lebte in einem Haushalt mit drei Generationen Frauen, meiner Großmutter, meiner Mutter und meiner Schwester. Vater war wegen der Arbeit immer unterwegs. Erst kürzlich ist mir aufgegangen, wie stark mich dieses gegensätzliche Umfeld geprägt haben könnte – ein komplett weibliches Zuhause und auf der anderen Seite dieses lächerliche Männlichkeitsgebahren. Als ich bei den Armeekadetten war, wurde ich zum Scharfschützen ausgebildet. Kein Witz, ich war ein erstklassischer Schütze mit meiner 303. Interessanterweise schossen wir auf Attrappen von amerikanischen Soldaten. Das war 1964 - 68, offenkundig mußten wir also glücklicherweise nicht nach Vietnam.

GP-O:

Sie wuchsen in den sechziger und siebziger Jahren auf. Bot nicht das kulturelle Geschehen Möglichkeiten zum Ausbruch aus gesetzten Geschlechterrollen? GP-O: Ich erinnere mich noch ganz genau an diesen einen Tag, 1962 oder ’63 war das, ich war am Bahnhof Piccadilly Station in Manchester und höre auf einmal ein helles Klingeln, drehe mich um und sehe diese wahnsinnig schicken Mods mit ihren Freundinnen. Die Männer mit Lidschatten und Mascara, die Haare so nach hinten aufgetürmt. Und einer von ihnen trug ein kleines Glöckchen um den Hals… Dieser feminin gestylte Mann wirkte auf mich unglaublich erotisch, das war ein so befreiendes Bild. Ich wollte ein Beatnik sein und Gedichte schreiben, war ja auch dabei, als es mit der Beat-Musik losging, die Beatles, die Hollies, und dann die Stones. Ich erinnere mich, als sie in der Palladium Show im Fernsehen auftraten, total tuntig, die haben einfach die Klamotten ihrer Freundinnen angezogen. GO’B: Als die Stones nach Amerika kamen, traten sie in der Ed Sullivan Show auf, und ich glaube, das hat das Land wirklich verändert. Mick war so richtig aufgedonnert. Er durfte die Songzeile ›Let’s spend the night together‹ nicht singen, also sang er stattdessen ›Let’s spend some time together‹ und rollte dabei die Augen. Der Vater von einem Freund von mir zerstörte all seine Platten von den Rolling Stones, nachdem er den Auftritt gesehen hatte. sleek:

Sie beide leben heute in New York, in einem als sehr tolerant geltenden Umfeld, wo seit kurzem sogar die Schwulen-Ehe legal ist. Ist also alles ganz liberal geworden? GP-O: Also, vielleicht machen wir uns nicht gerade sonderlich beliebt mit dieser Meinung, aber wir verstehen wirklich nicht, warum Schwule unbedingt das Recht zu heiraten erkämpfen und sich freiwillig in so ein unterdrückendes System begeben wollen. Vielleicht haben wir etwas falsch gemacht, aber wir haben jedenfalls in den Sechzigern die Schwulenbefreiung als politischen Akt verstanden, und dieses Eheding erscheint uns wie ein leerer Sieg. Die Hälfte aller Ehen scheitert sowieso, eine Heirat ist doch keine Garantie für tiefe Liebe. Es erscheint uns fast wie eine triviale Ablenkung von den wirklich wichtigen Fragen, Unterdrückung, Bigotterie, Heuchelei und Haßverbrechen aller Art – um damit nicht offener und aktiver umgehen zu müssen. GO’B: Mein erster Gedanke war auch erstmal, ›wartet nur ab, bis Ihr um die Hälfte Eures Vermögen verklagt werdet und Unterhalt zahlen müßt‹, aber dann habe ich mich an die Zeit erinnert, als die Aids-Krise ihren Höhepunkt erreichte. Die Leute starben im Krankenhaus, und ihre Partner hatten keinerlei Rechte. Und darum geht es letztlich, um die gesetzliche Gleichstellung. GP-O: Diesen Aspekt verstehe ich total. Bist Du verheiratet? sleek:

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Jawohl. Gratulation. GO’B: Zum dritten Mal. Ich bin genetisch aufs Heiraten programmiert. GO’B: GP-O:

Genesis, würden Sie von ihrer Beziehung mit Lady Jaye erzählen? Sie war ein wildes Kind. Riß mit 14 von ihrem katholischen Zuhause aus und wohnte mit Hausbesetzern in Alphabet City. Sie hat das Geld für ihre Ausbildung zur Krankenschwester als Domina verdient, und so haben wir uns auch kennengelernt, im Dungeon unserer gemeinsamen Freundin Terence Sellers in der West 23rd Street. Ein berüchtigtes Gebäude. Glenn hat da auch seine Fernsehsendung gemacht. sleek: GP-O:

sleek:

In einem SM-Keller?

GO’B: Nicht ganz. Terence hatte ein Buch geschrieben, The

and I edited the book whilst sitting in the telephone-answering room of the dungeon, which was an interesting experience. GP-O: That’s where we met, myself and Lady Jaye. I’d been out for three

nights high on pharmaceutical ecstasy and eventually came back to Terence’s dungeon and crashed on the floor and just put a white sheet over me and went to sleep and woke up hearing noises. The dungeon was still completely dark but the door was ajar and I saw this girl with a perfect Brian Jones mod bob and original 60s outfit, holding a cigarette very elegantly. She started to gradually undress and get ready to be a dominatrix, and changed into this incredible fetish outfit, and something happened to me that had never happened before. I found myself saying out loud, ›If I can be with that person for the rest of my life that’s all I ever want‹. She was being told, ›Don’t go in there, it’s one of Terence’s friends from England and he’s bad news, he’s a real sicko.‹ She was thinking, ›Mmm, sounds like my kind of guy!‹ Well, we fell madly in love and got married 1995 in California. She wore skin tight leather with a leather biker vest with nothing underneath and drew on a moustache. I wore a white lace dress. We both had been performance artists. We both pushed against every limit we felt. We began merging our personalities as a fun thing to do – dressing the same and starting to do the same sort of body language and make up. We were thinking about Burroughs and Gysin and their book The Third Mind, and we thought maybe that could be taken even further to create a third being physically, at least conceptually, and call it the pandrogyne. So the two of us combined would be the two halves of this being. That’s when we started thinking about cosmetic surgery. GO’B: There’s a really interesting little essay by Cocteau. He says that an angel is literally from the word ›angle‹, and that an angel is a being that is created from the intersection of two humans. It’s a really interesting idea. 68

Correct Sadist, und ich habe das Buch lektoriert, im Telefonzimmer vom Dungeon. Eine interessante Erfahrung. GP-O: Jedenfalls haben wir uns da kennengelernt, ich und Lady Jaye. Ich war drei Nächte lang unterwegs gewesen, high auf Ecstasy, und bin im Dungeon auf dem Boden eingeschlafen. Als ich aufwachte, war der Dungeon noch vollkommen dunkel, aber die Tür zum Nebenzimmer war nur angelehnt, und da stand dieses Mädchen mit einem Bob, im Sechziger Jahre-Outfit, Zigarette in der Hand, sehr elegant. Dann zog sie sich aus und ihr Dominakostüm an, ein irres Fetisch-Outfit, und auf eimal überkam mich etwas, wie ich es noch nie zuvor erlebt hatte, und ich sprach laut zu mir: ›Wenn ich bis zum Ende meines Lebens mit dieser Person zusammen sein kann, soll das mein einziger Wunsch sein.‹ Man hatte sie gewarnt, ›geh’ da bloß nicht rein, da ist einer von Terences Freunden aus England drin, total kranker Typ‹, und sie dachte sich, ›Hm, ganz nach meinem Geschmack!‹ Nun ja, wir verliebten uns wahnsinnig, und 1995 haben wir in Kalifornien geheiratet. Sie trug hautenges Leder und eine Biker-Weste mit nichts drunter und einen angemaltem Schnurrbart. Ich trug ein weißes Spitzenkleid. Wir waren beide Performancekünstler, beide gingen wir gegen jede Grenze an, die sich uns entgegenstellt. Als wir anfingen, unsere Persönlichkeiten zu verschmelzen, war es zum Spaß. Wir haben einfach gleiche Outfits getragen, uns ähnlich geschminkt. Dann dachten wir an Burroughs und Gysin und deren Buch The Third Mind, und überlegten uns, ob man das nicht weiterführen und ein drittes körperliches, ein pandrogynes Wesen erschaffen könnte, zumindest konzeptuell, wobei jeder von uns eine Hälfte dieses dritten Wesens sein würde. Von da war es dann nicht mehr weit zur plastischen Chirurgie. GO’B: Es gibt ein interessantes Kurzessay von Cocteau. Er schreibt darin, daß das Wort Engel von angulus [lat. Winkel] abgeleitet ist, und daß ein Engel ein aus der Überkreuzung zweier Menschen geschaffenes Wesen ist. Ein wirklich interessanter Gedanke. GP-O: Klingt logisch für mich. Uns ist aufgefallen, daß fast alle Religionen besagen, daß ein Gott männlich und weiblich sein muß – ein göttlicher Hermaphrodit… Das paßt natürlich auch zu Warhol – von wegen die Kunst ist der Superstar, die Person ist das Werk. Das hat mich ganz bestimmt dabei beeinflußt, Genesis P-Orridge zu erschaffen, die Person als Kunstwerk. Und es bringt mich auch zu dem Gedanken, daß die Ehe Teil des Programms ist, mehr und mehr wie der andere zu werden. Teil der Kostümierung, wenn man so will. Ihr Buch, Glenn, behandelt vor allem ästhetische Fragen. Drückt sich Männlichkeit rein durch das Äußere, also in der Kostümierung aus? GO’B: Die Leute denken immer, es gäbe Regeln, wie man sich zu kleiden hat. Aber ich finde, man muß sein Aussehen als Ausdruck der eigenen Persönlichkeit betrachten, das ist wie eine eigene Kunstform. Der Dandyismus hat mich fasziniert, weil er einer politischen Haltung entsprach. Beau Brummell war ein faszinierender Charakter. Zu einer sleek:

Makes total sense to me. We noticed that nearly all religions, if you dig deep enough, say that if there’s a god it must be male and female – a divine hermaphrodite… Of course it goes with Warhol – the art is the superstar, the person is the work. Definitely that had an influence on me creating Genesis P-Orridge, the person who is the artwork. It also makes me think that marriage is part of the agenda of becoming more and more like each other. Part of the whole costume if you like.

GP-O:

sleek: Your book, Glenn, focuses on the aesthetics of masculinity. Is masculinity expressed purely through the aesthetics, the idea of a costume? GO’B: People always want to know what the rules are. I say that you should think of your appearance as an expression of your personality, and it’s like a little art form in itself. I got interested in the idea of dandyism because it was really a political thing. Beau Brummell was a fascinating character. In a period where men were wearing gold and ribbons and really outlandish things, he invented a very stark outfit like the modern suit. It was about expressing the body, think of those slender trousers, and you could see which ›side‹ he was dressed on. It made him famous, maybe he was the first celebrity. The Prince of Wales who became king was his biggest fan. He would come over and watch Brummel getting dressed in the morning. It was about the transition from royalty and the idea of nobility to the idea of personality as the leader of society. Dandyism was a revolutionary concept, Baudelaire wrote essays on it. I think if you really want to change our culture you have to think about how you look. I remember how exciting it was to be a hippie and you’d see other hippies and give them the peace sign and you’d be afraid to drive into Philadelphia because you knew the cops were going to come after you. It was a visual manifestation of what was inside of you – and I think that’s something we’re kind of out of touch with. GP-O: If you had long hair in Britain, you knew you could arrive in any town and if there was somebody with long hair around then they’d probably let you sleep on the floor and give you some food. It only lasted a couple of years. GO’B: Right. By 1974 the cops had long hair. GP-O: We’ve become very fascinated again with the idea of how to recognise people who to some degree will think like you or disagree with the same things that you do. How is it going to work as the economies crumble and things become chaotic? That’s why we’ve been taking a few tips off the bikers and selling these patches through our website, because there’s nothing more intimidating to the reigning powers than when they think there’s a tribe and they don’t know what it’s about. It drives them crazy. It’s an important aspect of rebellion at any given time.

Are you calling for a return to politicised dress? GO’B: I think people need to realise that style is not fashion. When I look back at what people think of as Punk Rock and New Wave, everybody looked fantastic. The idea that anyone would buy anything from a designer – nobody got their look from somebody else, they created it and I think that’s what people need to get back to and that they should stop believing in fashion advertising. sleek:

Where else can one turn to for interesting new definitions of what masculinity is now? By the way, it feels very strange talking about masculinity all the time when the interviewer is a woman. GP-O: So am I sometimes. sleek:

Two for the price of one! Wouldn’t it be better to have two of everything if you could? GO’B: I was saying the other night, now that gay marriage is legal shouldn’t we be able to have two?! sleek: GP-O:

Zeit, als Männer Gold und Schleifchen und andere haarsträubende Sachen trugen, erfand er ein so strenges Outfit wie den modernen Anzug. Es ging darum, dem Körper Ausdruck zu verleihen, denken Sie nur an diese schmalen Hosenbeine. Sei Stil machte ihn berühmt, vielleicht war er der erste Promi der Welt. Der Prinz von Wales, der spätere König, war sein größter Fan. Er besuchte Brummell öfters und schaute ihm morgens beim Ankleiden zu. Darin liegt ein gesellschaftlicher Wandel, der Übergang vom Königtum zum Bürgertum, vom Adel zur Persönlichkeit als gesellschaftliches Führungselement. Der Dandyismus war ein revolutionäres Konzept, sogar Baudelaire hat Essays darüber geschrieben. Wenn wir unsere Kultur wirklich verändern wollen, müssen wir darüber nachdenken, wie wir aussehen wollen. Ich erinnere mich, wie aufregend es damals war, ein Hippie zu sein. Wenn man andere Hippies traf, hat man sie mit dem Friedenszeichen gegrüßt, und wir hatten Angst, mit dem Auto nach Philadelphia reinzufahren, weil wir wußten, daß die Bullen uns anhalten würden. Es ging um eine Sichtbarmachung der eigenen Haltung – und ich glaube, das ist ein Bezug, den wir heute irgendwie verloren haben. GP-O: Wenn man in England lange Haare hatte, war klar, egal wo man hinkam, wenn’s da jemanden gab, der auch lange Haare hatte, dann konnte man bei dem auf dem Boden schlafen und was zu essen kriegen. Die Zeiten waren aber leider schnell wieder vorbei. GO’B: Stimmt. Ab 1974 hatten auch die Bullen lange Haare. GP-O: Seit kurzem denken wir wieder verstärkt darüber nach, wie man Leute erkennt, die ähnlich denken oder gegen dieselben Dinge sind wie man selbst. Wie kann das funktionieren, wo die Wirtschaft überall zusammenbricht und die Dinge chaotisch werden? Darum verkaufen auf unserer Webseite auch diese Aufnäher, die aussehen wie Abzeichen von Motorradgangs. Nichts verstört Regierungsmächte so sehr, als wenn sie glauben, daß es da eine Bewegung gibt, von der sie nicht wissen, was ihre Ziele sind. Das macht sie verrückt. Es ist ein Ausdruck von Rebellion, das ist immer wichtig, egal zu welcher Zeit. sleek:

Also Kleidungstil als politische Aussage?

GO’B: Die Leute müssen kapieren, daß Stil nicht gleich Mode ist. Wenn

ich an das zurückdenke, was man unter Punk Rock und New Wave verstand, die Leute sahen damals alle fantastisch aus. Die Idee, daß man sich seine gesamte Garderobe von Designern kauft, das gab es damals nicht, niemand hat seinen Look von jemand anderem gehabt, jeder hat seinen eigenen kreiert, und ich glaube, dahin müssen die Leute zurückfinden – sie sollen endlich aufhören, an die Werbung oder ein Modediktat zu glauben. sleek: Wo kann man sich denn heute inspirieren lassen auf der Suche nach

einer neuen Definition von Männlichkeit? Übrigens ein komisches Gefühl, in diesem Interview als Frau die ganze Zeit über Männlichkeit zu reden. GP-O: Ich bin doch auch manchmal eine Frau. sleek:

Stimmt, Zwei in Eins!

GP-O: Wäre es nicht besser, alles zweimal zu haben, wenn man könnte?

Ich habe neulich gesagt, sollten wir nicht, jetzt, wo die schwule Ehe legal ist, zwei gleichzeitig haben dürfen?! GP-O: Genau! Mir wird natürlich dauernd die Frage gestellt, ›haben Sie noch einen Penis?‹ Und ich sage dann, ›Warum, spielt das eine Rolle?‹ Aber wenn wir könnten, hätten wir ganz sicher beides. GO’B: Was mir in den letzten 30 Jahren aufgefallen ist, wahrscheinlich als eine Folge der Schwulenbefreiung, sind diese Jungs, so anfang zwanzig, von denen man einfach nicht sagen kann, ob sie hetero sind oder schwul. Verhaltenscodes und Stereotypen sind verschwunden, es ist alles ganz undurchsichtig geworden. GP-O: Wir haben zum Beispiel bemerkt, daß sich die Sexanzeigen in der Village Voice früher nur von biologischen Frauen an heterosexuelle GO’B:

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Yeah! You know the common question I get asked of course is, ›Have you still got a penis?‹ and I say, ›Why, does it matter?‹ But if we could we’d have one of each for sure. GO’B: One of the things I’ve observed in the last 30 years, I guess as a consequence of gay liberation, those kids you see who are like 22 you don’t know if they’re straight or gay. It’s wiped out codified behaviour and stereotypes. It’s more mysterious. GP-O: We’ve noticed that, for example, in the Village Voice sex ads for a long time it was almost always biological female girls offering sex for heterosexual guys. Slowly but surely over the last ten to fifteen years it’s become something like 60 percent she-males. Yet the clientele are still almost all heterosexual. So what does that mean in terms of the evolution of the species, their desires, and their potential future? Burroughs once said to me, ›This is your task: how do you short circuit control?‹ Talking with Jaye about this we thought, maybe control is actually DNA. Burroughs was so much into cutting things up, and if you cut up the body and then redesign it, you deny DNA’s power to say what you’ll look like. And instead of it being about clothing, you could say, ›Let’s grow fur, or feathers‹. GO’B: Be careful here Gen, because you’re playing into the hands of the Republicans because they’ll say, ›If we give them gay marriages then they’ll want to marry their pets!‹ GP-O: Are the Republicans somewhat afraid of tinkering with the gene pool? Weird to think that where it used to be underground LSD labs we’re going to have to have underground genetic labs. GO’B: I think straight guys like transvestites or transsexuals because they grew up watching Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak and these exaggerated forms of femininity and they got turned on by it, but women aren’t like that, so the most feminine out there are men, because for them it’s an art. They put everything into it and that’s very rare among women. GP-O: For us it’s 24 / 7, even without Jaye’s body here physically continuing. We’ve been travelling the world with that movie, it’s won nine prizes and been sold out everywhere. Something is going on, people are reassigning the way they imagine gender and they’re comfortable with it. They see a movie about me and Jaye starting to have surgery to look more and more like each other and declaring that we are one being in two halves, and they come out crying because it’s a wonderful love story. Back then, at the dungeon I worked as a telephone girl under the name Lady Sarah, to see what I was passing as and what we could get away with, and we actually did quite a few sessions with heterosexual men who thought that I was a biological woman dominatrix, sometimes with me and Jaye together. It was hilarious and hard not to giggle, you know it’s a pretty ridiculous situation already and then we wondered what would happen if we suddenly said, ›Do you know you’re being fucked with a dildo by a man, technically?‹ They would probably freak about and go, ›That’s not what I paid for!‹ Problem is that we did it together with Jaye for so long that it would be too emotional to do it without her, which is a real drag because I really could do with the money. Perhaps we’ll get over it when the bills start coming. So maybe you’ll hear about Lady Sarah the cruel English mistress again. Because of course the story was that I was an English school mistress from public school, and I can be very convincing, especially with the caning. GO’B: I have a friend who’s a writer, he grew up and went to school in England and he said that at the beginning of term they gave a speech to the boys because they didn’t want them to go into town and have sex with the town girls, so they told them, ›For God’s sake, if you absolutely must have sex, have it with a boy!‹ GP-O: That’s Britain! Lad culture. GP-O:

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Männer gerichtet haben. Langsam aber sicher hat sich das im Laufe der letzten 15 Jahre geändert, und jetzt sind es zu 60 Prozent Transen. Aber die Kundschaft besteht immer noch größtenteils aus Heteros. Was also bedeutet das für die Entwicklung von Sexualität, für die Evolution, die Zukunft? Burroughs sagte einmal zu mir, ›Deine Aufgabe lautet, Kontrolle außer Kraft zu setzen.‹ Im Gespräch mit Jaye überlegten wir uns, daß man Kontrolle vielleicht mit DNA übersetzen könnte. Bei Burroughs ging es ja immer darum, alles zu zerschneiden und neu zusammenzusetzen. Wenn man seinen Körper zerschneidet und umgestaltet, verweigert man der DNA ihre Macht zu bestimmen, wie man aussieht. Und anstelle von Kleidung könnte man sich einfach Fell oder Federn wachsen lassen. GO’B: Vorsicht hier, Gen, damit spielst Du den Republikanern in die Hände. Denn die werden sagen, ›wenn wir ihnen erst die schwule Ehe erlauben, dann wollen sie als nächstes noch ihre Haustiere heiraten!‹ GP-O: Die Republikaner haben wohl Angst vor Spielchen im Genpool. Eine komische Vorstellung, früher hatten wir versteckte LSD-Labore, vielleicht werden wir bald versteckte Genlabore haben. GO’B: Ich glaube übrigens, daß heterosexuelle Männer Transvestiten oder Transsexuelle deshalb so toll finden, weil sie mit den Filmen von Marilyn Monroe oder Kim Novak, also diesen übertriebenen Darstellungen des Weiblichen, aufgewachsen sind. Darauf fahren sie ab, aber Frauen sind in Wirklichkeit garnicht so. Die weiblichsten Frauen, die es gibt, sind stattdessen Männer, weil sie das Frausein als Kunstform zelebrieren. Sie widmen sich der Vervollkommnung der Weiblichkeit, was bei Frauen sehr selten ist. GP-O: Also wir selbst beschäftigen uns rund um die Uhr damit. Auch wenn Jayes Körper nicht mehr physisch präsent ist. Wir sind mit diesem Film um die Welt gereist, überall bekommt er Preise, die Vorstellungen sind ausverkauft. Irgendwas passiert gerade, die Leute öffnen sich für neue Geschlechterperspektiven, sie fühlen sich wohl damit. Sie sehen einen Film, in dem ich und Jaye uns operieren lassen, damit wir mehr und mehr wie einander aussehen, und in dem wir erklären, daß wir die zwei Hälften eines Ganzen sind, und sie kommen aus dem Kino und weinen, weil es eine so wunderschöne Liebesgeschichte ist. Früher im Dungeon habe ich auch mal Telefondienst gemacht. Mein Name war Lady Sarah. Wir wollten dann einfach mal ausprobieren, als was ich durchgehen würde und haben ein paar Sessions mit heterosexuellen Männern gemacht, die dachten, daß ich eine biologisch weibliche Domina war. Manchmal auch mit Jaye zusammen. Es war extrem komisch und schwierig, dabei nicht zu kichern. Die Situation ist an sich schon ziemlich lächerlich, und dann mußten wir immer daran denken, was passieren würde, wenn wir plötzlich sagen würden: ›Ist Dir eigentlich klar, daß der Dildo, mit dem Du es gerade besorgt bekommst, technisch gesehen von einem Mann bedient wird?‹ Die Männer wären bestimmt ausgeflippt und hätten gesagt, ›das ist aber nicht das, wofür ich bezahlt habe!‹ Das Problem ist, daß Jaye und ich es so lange gemeinsam gemacht haben, daß es jetzt zu emotional für mich wäre, es allein zu machen. Wirklich schade, das Geld könnten wir nämlich ganz gut gebrauchen. Vielleicht kommen wir darüber weg, wenn wir den Konstostand sehen. Vielleicht wird man also irgendwann wieder von Lady Sarah, der grausamen englischen Lehrerin, hören. Weil, die Geschichte war natürlich, daß ich eine englische Privatschullehrerin war. Ich war ziemlich überzeugend, besonders mit dem Rohrstock. GO’B: Ich habe einen Freund, einen Schriftsteller, der in England zur Schule gegangen ist. Am Anfang des Schuljahres hielt man den Jungs einen Vortrag, weil man nicht wollte, daß sie in den nächsten Ort gingen und mit den Landmädchen Sex hatten. Also riet man ihnen: ›Wenn Ihr um Himmels Willen schon unbedingt Sex haben müßt, dann macht es wenigstens mit einem Jungen!‹ GP-O: Typisch England eben! Burschenkultur. 71


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Text by Annika von Taube

It was perhaps a mistake that Nature created the different sexes. Thank God (?) art has found ways to get around it. Unterschiedliche Geschlechter auszubilden war ein ganz großer Fehler von der Natur. Gott (?) sei Dank kann die Kunst ihn beheben.

Gary Schneider, Tumor Supressor

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Gene on Chromosomes 11, from the series »Genetic Self-Portrait«, 1997. 4 gelatin silver prints, 78.7 × 7 3.7 cm each. Photo © the artist, courtesy Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston.

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Paul Mccarthy English

deutsch

Science tells us that the majority of the world’s population have either XX or XY chromosomes, making them male or female. And the world’s most successful religions are also familiar with the concept of man and woman. Christianity, for example, boasts of having invented them, although this has no scientific backing and, as such, has fuelled debate and acrimony for centuries, none of which actually gets us anywhere, not even the statement on the T-shirt worn by an overweight woman I saw sitting at a one-armed bandit in Vegas, declaring »Evolution is Bad Religion«. The evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould delivered more constructive arguments in 1997 with his NOMA theory of »non-overlapping magesteria«, which suggested that science should take care of the facts and religion, the morals. A sensible solution, were it not for the problem that science seems unable to prove some of even the most basic things (like where do the X and Y gonosomes that determine the sexes come from?), and that religion can only exist by presenting claims as facts (God created Eve from Adam’s rib). Every time human beings need answers, they like to abandon reality for religion, drugs, suicide – or art. Although when it comes to the sexual revolution, the latter probably offers the best answers. Whatever sex was given to us by God or Nature, all that matters is that we can do what we like with it. Nature has always served art as a source of inspiration, but art does not simply depict nature anymore, it recreates it. Nature has become art; and art, the new nature. Thanks to developments in modern medicine, people today can use their own bodies as a site of creativity, undergoing almost complete sex changes. Thomas Beatie is today’s answer to Mary and her immaculate conception (p. 76). He used to be called Tracy and was biologically-speaking a woman, but after a superficial sex change, he was able to become a male and female mother rolled into one. And today’s Adam and Eve are called Buck and Allanah (p. 77), although he was formerly a she and a model, and she was a porn-star he. Both have held onto their initial sex organs, which makes them a paragon of sexual equality in a relationship. Not that these examples are intended to support the common assumption that gender-bending is a post-modern invention. On the contrary, in view of all the fuss we make about gender awakening these days, the relaxed attitude taken towards it by some ancient cultures is astonishing. The sworn virgins in Albania, for example (p. 92), don’t get their knickers in a twist about forswearing womanhood at a young age for a life of celibacy, and taking the duties of a man when there’s a lack of them, such as becoming the head of the family. Of course you could argue that in a proper democratic society any woman can take on the role of a man without having to actually become one, but if a woman wants to be a woman, why on earth would she want to take on a man’s role? Seriously though, plenty of women who get annoyed at being subjected to societal constraints on women, demand more space for them but at the same time seem to want get around the problem by surrendering their own femininity. And a woman who’s not a woman has just as many identity issues as one who fulfils the role dictated to her. There are women who think that turning their back on femininity has done emancipation more bad than good. I can’t think of any of their names right now but I will say this: only about a tenth of all Hollywood screenplays are written by women, and a directorial Oscar went to a woman for the first time last year – and to Kathryn Bigelow, who is known for filming fairly man-oriented material. And yet the success of Hollywood in the early days was built on the diva, the feminine ideal personified, which in the 1930s, at least, was embodied by strong, independent women such as Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. So why

Daß die Mehrheit der menschlichen Weltbevölkerung entweder XXoder XY-Chromosomenträger und somit weiblich oder männlich ist, gilt als wissenschaftlich unbestritten. Auch die erfolgreichen Religionen dieser Welt kennen das Konzept von Mann und Frau, die christliche zum Beispiel rühmt sich sogar dessen Erfindung, was allerdings von der Wissenschaft nicht anerkannt wird und seit Jahrhunderten zu Streitereien führt, die uns alle nicht weiterbringen, auch nicht die Frau, die ich mal in einem Hotelkasino in Las Vegas am Spielautomaten sitzen sah: sie war stark übergewichtig und trug ein T-Shirt mit der Aufschrift »Evolution is Bad Religion«. Konstruktiver argumentierte 1997 der Evolutionsbiologe Stephen Jay Gould, als er mit seiner »Noma«-Theorie das Prinzip der Aufgabenteilung vorschlug, nach welchem sich die Wissenschaften zukünftig um die Fakten kümmern sollten und die Religion um die Moral. Eine vernünftige Lösung, wäre da nicht das Problem, daß die Wissenschaft selbst Grundlegendes häufig nicht faktisch einwandfrei belegen kann (wie entstanden die Gonosomen X und Y zur Ausbildung der unterschiedlichen Geschlechter?), und daß die Religion nur deshalb existieren kann, weil sie Behauptungen als Tatsachen darstellt (Gott schuf Eva aus der Rippe Adams). Immer wenn er keine Antworten findet, flüchtet sich der Mensch gern aus der Realität, in die Religion, Drogen, Freitod – oder in die Kunst. Wobei in bezug auf die Geschlechterevolution gerade diese die beste Antwort parat hat: Ob einem das Geschlecht von Gott oder der Natur gegeben wurde, ist doch völlig egal – wichtig ist nur, daß man es

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Gary Schneider, Sperm, from the series »Genetic Self-Portrait«, 1997. Gelatin silver print, 21.6 × 16.5 cm. Photo © the artist, courtesy Howard Yezerski Gallery, Boston. Embarking on an investigation into his own DNA, Schneider created a diagnostic genetic self-portrait – a unique body of work in the most literal sense, and the images are fascinating. But they are devoid of any means to identify Schneider, the artist, the human being. His work proves that no matter how far we go in decoding our genetic origin, it will never provide the answer to who we are. Here’s hopin’.

Paul McCarthy, Apple Heads on Swiss Cheese, 1997/ 99. Fibreglass, silicone, 370 × 190 × 150 cm, and 370 × 153 × 150 cm. Hauser & Wirth Collection, Switzerland. Photo © Stefan Altenburger. Ever since Eve ate the apple, she – not Adam – has been held responsible for them getting kicked out of paradise. But Adam certainly had a sexual organ too, which makes us wonder whether it was eating the apple or the sight of his thing that awakened Eve’s sexuality. And in case you didn’t know, »applehead« is another term for »bell-end«.

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marc Quinn

Marc Quinn, Thomas Beatie, 2009. Marble, 251 × 84 × 70 cm. © t he artist, courtesy White Cube, London. Photo © Roger Wooldridge.

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selber bestimmen kann. Die Kunst hat sich von der Natur emanzipiert, indem sie diese nicht einfach mehr nur abbildet, sondern sie erschafft. Natur ist zu Kunst geworden, Kunst die neue Natur. In einem Schöpfungsakt an sich selbst kann der Mensch heute dank medizinischer Fortschritte nahezu vollständige Geschlechtsumwandlungen vollziehen. Maria und die unbefleckte Empfängnis, das ist heute Thomas Beatie. Der früher Tracy hieß, biologisch eine Frau war und, weil er nur eine äußerliche Geschlechtsumwandlung vollzog, als Mann Mutter werden konnte und Vater zugleich. Und Adam und Eva heißen heute Buck und Allanah (S. 77), wobei er früher eine Sie war und Model und sie ein Er und Pornodarsteller. Beide besitzen noch ihre primären Geschlechtsorgane, was sie zum perfekten Symbol partnerschaftlicher Gleichberechtigung macht. Diese Beispiele sollen übrigens nicht die allgemeine Annahme bestätigen, Gender Bending sei eine Erfindung der Postmoderne. Angesichts der Aufgeregtheit, mit der wir uns unserer geschlechtlichen Bewußtseinswerdung widmen, ist die Entspanntheit, mit der gerade in alten Kulturkreisen damit umgegangen wird, verblüffend. Die Schwurjungfrauen in Albanien etwa (S. 92) machen kein Auf hebens darum, daß sie in jungen Jahren dem Frausein abschworen, um zukünftig zum Wohle der Gemeinschaft als Mann im Zölibat zu leben. Natürlich ließe sich dazu einwenden, in einer wahrhaft demokratischen Gesellschaft könne eine Frau eine Männerrolle einnehmen, auch ohne sich dafür zum Mann machen zu müssen, aber wenn eine Frau eine Frau sein will, was will sie dann überhaupt in einer Männerrolle? Frauen, die sich darüber aufregen, daß sie sich gesellschaftlichen Rollenzwängen ausgesetzt sehen, fordern zwar mehr Raum für die Frau, scheinen häufig aber diesen Zwängen durch die Aufgabe der eigenen Weiblichkeit entgehen zu wollen. Und eine Frau, die keine ist, obwohl sie eine ist, hat doch genauso ein Identitätsproblem wie eine, die sich einem überkommenen Rollenvorbild fügt. Es gibt ja Frauen, die der Meinung sind, daß die Abkehr von der Weiblichkeit der Emanzipation eher geschadet als genutzt habe. Dazu folgende Beobachtung: Nur etwa ein Zehntel aller Drehbücher von Hollywoodfilmen stammt von Frauen, und der erste Regie-Oscar an eine Frau wurde erst letztes Jahr vergeben – übrigens mit Kathryn Bigelow an eine Frau, die für eher männlich orientierte Stoffe bekannt ist. Dabei beruht der Erfolg von Hollywood in seinen Anfängen auf dem Konzept der Diva, dem personifizierten Ideal von Weiblichkeit, das vor allem in den dreißiger Jahren von starken, unabhängigen Frauen wie Greta Garbo und Marlene Dietrich verkörpert wurde. Warum haben es die Frauen in Hollywood nicht geschafft, den Laden an sich zu reißen? Und warum malt ein New Yorker Künstler eine prähistorische Szene mit einer Frau und einem Mann (S. 79), der ihr in bezug auf seinen Evolutionsstand vom Affen zum Menschen nicht das Wasser reichen kann, dafür aber das Feuer, das er scheinbar gerade erfunden hat? Bevor ich mich zu dilettantischen Schußfolgerungen hinreißen lasse, zurück in die Gegenwart: Auch in der ach so liberalen Kunstwelt sind weibliche Künstler benachteiligt. Egal, bei welcher der führenden internationalen Galerien Sie nachschauen, ein Blick auf die Künstlerliste zeigt ein erhebliches Ungleichgewicht zwischen männlichen und weiblichen Künstlern zugunsten der ersteren Sorte. Dabei kann nicht einmal ein bewußter Selektionsprozeß unterstellt werden, denn Galerien geht es nicht darum, wes Geschlecht ein Künstler ist, sondern ob er gut verkauft. Künstler werden von Galeristen fast nie als explizit männlich oder weiblich kommuniziert, und wenn ihre Arbeit so wahrgenommen wird, dann liegt das an ihnen selbst. Daß zwar der abfällig gebrauchte Begriff »Frauenkunst« oder »girls’ art« kursiert, nicht aber das männliche Pendant, ist dem Umstand zu verdanken, daß natürlich

Marc Quinn, Buck and Allanah, 2009. Orbital-sanded and flap-wheeled lacquered bronze, 167 × 105 × 45 cm. © t he artist, courtesy White Cube, London. Photo © Roger Wooldridge.

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Alexis Rockman haven’t women in Hollywood managed to grab hold of the reins? And why would a New York artist paint a prehistoric scene featuring a charming couple (p. 79) where, in reference to the evolutionary progression from ape to man, Mr. Hirsute is not holding up candle to his lady-friend, but offering her a light, presumably having just discovered it? But before I allow myself to get drawn into making any more dilettantish conclusions, let’s get back to the now. Discrimination against women exists, even in the oh-so-liberal art world. Wherever you look, the lists of artists in the big international galleries weigh heavily in favour of the male sex. But this cannot be put down to a conscious selection process because galleries are not interested in the sex of the artist, but only in whether or not they sell. Gallerists almost never explicitly market their artists as male or female, and if the work is understood as such, it’s because the artists wanted it that way. The reason you hear people using the derogatory term »women’s art« and not its male equivalent, comes from the fact that art also had to work its way through the women’s movement – and is still doing so, to much rolling of the eyes at best, despite the fact that in the 1970s, this artistic direction brought forward such international success stories as Louise Bourgeois, Lynda Benglis, Valie Export and Cindy Sherman. Today, however, Feminist Art is considered as about necessary as your appendix: you either never notice it, or it needs to be removed. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that young women artists don’t approach the issue with the self-irony and sensuousness of their abovementioned and illustrious forbears – who, by the way, are all considered feminist artists without being reduced to that label. Perhaps it also has to do with women’s failure to embrace the principle of upwardly mobile sleeping in the art world. Men would probably have no qualms about such things, quite the opposite in fact, if the opportunity would present itself, i.e. if there were more high-ranking women about who needed nudging. More likely, though, the issue is just »over«, and when I read that an all-women artist group in Berlin has »voluntarily put itself in the career-damaging corner of women’s art« I can only say: I hope self-fulfilling prophecy works for you, girls. Recent developments, it should be said, provide plenty of grounds for optimism: in the past decade in Berlin alone new galleries are being overwhelmingly opened by women, and at least half of these will have a chance to establish themselves internationally in the longer term – taking with them a healthy mix of male / female artists. Perhaps it’s just a question of a bit more time before these women help correct the balance at least in terms of numbers (value being another thing entirely), but it is not utopian to imagine that this is achievable within a generation. And perhaps one day the question of why art history never produced any great women artists will be a thing of the past (Linda Nochlin’s essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? from 1971 was considered groundbreaking in its day because it argued for a feminist art herstoriography, when today almost every month sees an anthology with »women artists« in its title). But enough about women now. Although feminism and female emancipation is automatically bound up with men. Imagine that male artists would spend as much time dealing with gender as their female counterparts, that there was an art movement called Masculinist Art, that male gallery assistants would get upset about being called »gallerinos« and new galleries were only started up by women – that would be equality! But then feminism would be done out of a job. Say what you like, the point is that anyone today who is not happy with their sex has no grounds for complaint – they just have to turn themselves into a work of art. 78

auch die Kunst sich irgendwann mal an der Frauenbefreiung abgearbeitet hat – und teilweise bis heute noch nicht fertig damit ist, was im besten Fall genervtes Augenrollen hervorruft, obwohl das Thema sogar eine eigene Kunstrichtung begründet hat, die in den siebziger Jahren so international erfolgreiche Künstlerinnen wie Louise Bourgeois, Lynda Benglis, Valie Export oder Cindy Sherman hervorbrachte. Heute allerdings gilt Feminist Art als Blinddarm der Kunstproduktion, etwas, das entweder nicht auffällt oder entfernt werden sollte. Vielleicht liegt es daran, daß junge Künstlerinnen nicht mit der Sorte Selbstironie und Sinnlichkeit an das Thema herangehen wie die obengenannten – die im übrigen alle als feministische Künstlerinnen gelten, ohne auf diese Bezeichnung reduziert zu werden. Vielleicht liegt es auch daran, daß auch in der Kunstwelt zuwenig Frauen die Vorteile des Prinzips Hochschlafen erkennen. Männer würden sich wahrscheinlich ohne jegliche Skrupel und liebend gern hochschlafen, wenn sie denn die Gelegenheit, also weibliche Chefs hätten. Wahrscheinlicher aber ist, daß das Thema einfach wirklich »durch« ist, und wenn ich auf der Webseite einer weiblichen Künstlergruppe aus Berlin lese, daß man sich »freiwillig in die karriereschädliche Ecke der Frauenkunst« begeben habe, dann kann ich nur sagen, hoffentlich klappt es mit der selbsterfüllenden Prophezeiung für Euch, Mädels. Die jüngste Entwicklung gibt nämlich mehr als nur Anlaß zur Hoffnung: Allein in Berlin sind Galerieneugründungen von Frauen seit etwa zehn Jahren überproportional vertreten, von denen bestimmt die Hälfte die Chance hat, sich langfristig international zu etablieren – und ihre Künstlerlisten weisen ein ausgewogenes Mischverhältnis auf. Vielleicht braucht es nur noch etwas Zeit, bis das Wirken dieser Frauen auch den Künstlerinnen zur Gleichgewichtung verhilft, aber die Prognose, daß es in spätestens einer Generation soweit sein wird, ist sicher nicht utopisch. Und vielleicht wird sich damit eines Tages auch die Frage erledigt haben, warum die Kunstgeschichte keine großen weiblichen Namen hervorgebracht hat (der Essay Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? von Linda Nochlin galt zu seinem Erscheinen 1971 noch als bahnbrechend, weil er eine feministische Kunstgeschichtsschreibung propagierte, heute erscheint fast monatlich eine Anthologie mit »Women Artists« im Titel). Und damit genug von den Frauen. Wobei, Feminismus und weibliche Emanzipation haben ja automatisch auch mit Männern zu tun. Stellen wir uns vor, männliche Künstler würden sich im selben Maße mit ihrer Geschlechteridentität beschäftigen wie weibliche, es gäbe eine Kunstrichtung namens Masculinist Art, männliche Galerieassistenten würden sich darüber aufregen, daß sie als »Gallerinos« bezeichnet und neue Galerien nur noch von Frauen gegründet werden – das wäre die wahre Gleichberechtigung! Nur hätte der Feminismus dann keine Daseinsberechtigung mehr. Wie auch immer, wer heute mit seinem Geschlecht nicht klarkommt, hat keinen Grund mehr zur Beschwerde – sondern wird einfach zur Kunstperson.

Alexis Rockman, Romantic Attachments, 2007. Oil and wax on wood panel, 305 × 2 43.8 cm. © VG Bild-Kunst. Rockman’s ideologically loaded painting combines symbolic references to nature and science, masculinity and femininity. Obviously at this stage of human evolution the female is more advanced, but it is the male who brings enlightenment – which balances the situation, suggesting that a couple of thousand years ago man and woman had a clearer understanding of equality than today. One thing hasn’t changed though: women (at least the ones who smoke) still like men to give them a light.

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Santiago Sierra

Santiago Sierra, The Penetrated, October 12, 2008. El Torax, Terrassa, Spain. © t he artist and Lisson Gallery, London. © VG Bild-Kunst. Couples, forming various combinations of gender and race, engage in sexual acts of anal penetration (eight in total). The large space, the linear arrangement, the mirrors multiplying the performers, highlighting their anonymity, kill any feeling of pleasure or sensuality. Designed as a political commentary, the performance took place on Columbus Day, the day the Spanish conquered the Americas. And anal penetration has a lot to do with dominance and submission…

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Zackary Drucker And A.L. Steiner

Zackary Drucker and A.L. Steiner, Before and After, 2009 - ongoing. C-prints, dimensions variable. A.L. Steiner is known for her witty art world mischief celebrating queer culture, like Community Action Center, a 69 (geddit?) minute long »sociosexual« video piece that most would label »porn«. In 2009, she paired up with performance artist / s witch queen Zackary Drucker, whose works explores under-recognized aspects of queer history while simultaneously inscribing her own experience and position within it. Both use the body to illicit desire, judgement, and voyeuristic shame from the viewer.

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Jake and Dinos Chapman

Jake and Dinos Chapman, details from Tragic Anatomies, 1996. Mixed media, dimensions variable. © t he artists, courtesy White Cube, London. Protecting children’s innocence is one of the things closest to a parent’s heart. But why? They’re only going to lose it one day anyway, and isn’t it better to prepare them rather than trying to keep anything dirty off the radar? Otherwise they might end up sexually disoriented or properly fucked up. Remember, when looking for explanations for sexual offenders’ crimes, profilers always look to their childhood first.

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Leigh Ledare

Leigh Ledare, Mom Reflecting, 2003. C-print, 35.6 × 27.9 cm (left); and Mom and Catch 22, 2002. C-print, 89 × 59 cm. © t he artist and Office Baroque Gallery, Antwerp. When Ledare’s photos of his mother having sex with mostly much younger men were first made public, they caused a public outcry. How dare he exploit his mother like this! But it was actually her idea, not his. Parents generally create their offspring by having sex. They might still continue to have sex when they’re done reproducing, just for the fun of it – but to their kids parents have to be sexless beings.

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Leigh Bowery

Leigh Bowery, Session VII / L ook 37, 1994. Digital C-print, 121.9 × 121.9 cm (this page); Session VII / L ook 37, 1994. Digital C-print, 152.4 × 1 21.92 cm. Leigh Bowery was obsessed with birthing. Other than the elegant abstraction of this theme in the picture above, his original »Birth« performance was a messy affair, with a very »pregnant« Bowery giving birth to Nicola Bateman, his long time companion and later wife. At a signal, Nicola would slither out of a harness strapped to his body, covered in »blood«, lubricants and strings of sausages, as Bowery wailed and screeched in a grotesque parody of childbirth.

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Pilvi Takala

Pilvi Takala, video stills from Amusement Park, 2001. Courtesy Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdam. Takala has managed to capture one of the sweetest scenes of sexual awakening ever made public. At an amusement park, two young girls run off to the toilet where they start touching tongues, naïvely at first, just for the fun of it, but then for a split second there’s a moment of awkwardness, followed by astonishment, wonder – and finally, the realisation that what just happened crossed a line and created a strange sensation neither girl can quite fathom.

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Bea Nettles

Bea Nettles, Feminine, Masculine, 1987. Polaroid Polapan, 61 × 50.8 cm. © t he artist. If one is not born a woman but becomes one, as Simone de Beauvoir famously argued, maybe it’s time to inquire whether the same also applies to the opposite gender. Cultural expectations and social conditioning may have just as much to do with our sexual identities as the simple fact of our biological sex. And since the body can be changed to realign with one’s perceived sexual identity anyways, this question is more relevant than ever.

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Cass Bird

Cass Bird, Twins, from the series »Immaculates«, 2005. Bird’s ambivalent portraits – of families with lesbian, gay or transgender parents, or of androgynous-looking individuals – are as tender as they are intrepid. What makes them disturbing is that they shift what is considered socially »normal«, such as the love for one’s parents or breastfeeding, into the realm of the extreme. The sight of mothers breastfeeding has become an accepted sight in public – but suckling 3-year olds?

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Cass Bird, I Look Just Like My Daddy, 2003.

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Risk Hazekamp

Cass Bird, I Look Just Like My Mommy, 2003.

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Risk Hazekamp, Easy Rider, 2009. Analogue colour photograph, 50 × 60 cm. Collaboration with Dennis Hopper and Jina Brenneman. Hollywood has always been a reliable provider of male role models, and the »bad boy« category has fared the best. The film Easy Rider was a novelty in that it didn’t have to construct any image – its producers and actors lived it. Forty years after the film’s release, artist Hazekamp, whose work explores clichéd aspects of gender representations, poses as Peter Fonda’s Captain America with Dennis Hopper as the Easy Rider himself.

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Alix Lambert and jill peters

Alix Lambert, still from the film He, She, He, 2010. Right: Jill Peters, Haki, 2010. Digital C-print, 68.6 × 45.7 cm. With portrait photographs and a film, Alix Lambert and Jill Peters remind us that gender bending from role-swapping to transsexuality is no big deal in some parts of the world. Focusing on the Sworn Virgins of Albania (women who act like men), and the Fa’afafine of Samoa (the other way round), the project shows that not conforming to gender norms in some societies is far from absurd and is even considered necessary for a prosperous community.

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Daniela Comani

Daniela Comani, from the series »Eine glückliche Ehe (A happy marriage)«, 2003 - 2 011. Piezo print on photo rag, 50 × 6 0 cm each. © VG Bild-Kunst. Opposites attract but like will to like, and the latter has proven more successful in maintaining relationships over time. Taking the roles of both husband and wife, Comani creates typical moments in a presumably durable marriage. The images convey a feeling of absolute trust and intimacy, but they also point to the one problem that befalls especially harmonious relationships: how to maintain the spark.

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Geoffrey Chadsey

Geoffrey Chadsey, Vestigial Velasquez, 2010. Watercolour pencil on Mylar, 101.6 × 96.5 cm. Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York / Electric Works, San Francisco. Chadsey’s mostly young male subjects are often insecure and hardly what you’d describe as lookers. And yet they exude a certain inner strength because of their willingness to lay open their struggles and insecurities regarding sexual orientation and physical appearance. This drawing’s title quotes the famous Spanish court painter – the first to paint subjects previously considered unworthy of portrayal, such as the court jesters.

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Mark Morrisroe

Brice Dellsperger

Mark Morrisroe, Untitled, c. 1983; Untitled [Pat], c. 1982; Untitled [Self-Portrait], c. 1985; Untitled [Kacie], c. 1984; Untitled [Lynelle], c. 1985; Untitled [Lynelle], c. 1985; Untitled [Pia], c. 1984 (from top left). All images Polaroid (T-665, and T-108), 8.5 ×  10.7/10.7 ×  8 .5 cm each. © The Estate of Mark Morrisroe. The Estate of Mark Morrisroe (Ringier Collection) at Fotomuseum Winterthur. For an overview of Morrisroe’s work see the monograph Mark Morrisroe, JRP Ringier, 2010. Fascinated with the role-playing and gender-bending youths of the Boston art and punk scene in the late 70s and 80s, Morrisroe took on his own second identity as a down-on-her-luck drag queen named Sweet Raspberry and was later identified as Boston’s first punk. His photos don’t just record those times, as an artist he managed to fuse documentary-style immediacy and artistic abstraction.

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Brice Dellsperger, Appearance of Nina Hagen on the Eyes Wide Shut set, Babelsberg, summer 2007. Model: Jean-Luc Verna. Brice Dellsperger re-enacts scenes from cinema classics while scrambling gender. His rendition of Stanley Kubrick’s final movie shows Verna playing every single character, from the antiseptic protagonist down to the call girls at the masked orgy held by the all-male cult. Seeing Verna double as Nina Hagen gives the punk rocker / t alk-show guest some of her long lost edge back.

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Benjamin A. Huseby

Benjamin A. Huseby and Lars Laumann, from the film You Can’t Pretend To Be Somebody Else – You Already Are, 2009 / 2 011. There’s nothing noble or subtle let alone sublime about a tranny, you would think – but this image begs to differ. The scenery and lighting evoke an arcadia where three individuals have gathered to rest and contemplate, undisturbed by any need to defend themselves against a world of social norms and regulations – and as artificial as the composition itself may be, the impression is of protagonists who feel no need to play a role.

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The Breed

by Daniel Schröder

Erik wears turtleneck and trousers by Dior Homme. Val wears dress by Chloé, shirt by Wood Wood, lambskin coat by Acne, and tights by Falke. Hampus wears turtleneck by COS, shirt by Hannibal, trousers by Markus Lupfer, and coat by Acne. All hats vintage.


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The Breed

Hampus wears white shirt and jacket by agnès b, waistcoat by Acne, trousers by Jil Sander, and shoes by Raf Simons. Erik wears felt sweater and trousers by Raf Simons, and shoes by Burberry Prorsum. Both hats vintage.

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The Breed

Erik wears T-shirt and trousers by Jil Sander, and turtleneck, collar and hat vintage.

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The Breed

Erik wears trousers by COS, and hat vintage. Val wears patent leather top by Paule Ka, sweater by Acne, and skirt and collar vintage.

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The Breed

Erik wears shirt, trousers and jacket by Lanvin. Val wears dress by Jil Sander, turtleneck by Falke, and hat vintage. Hampus wears pullover and trousers by Prada.

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The Breed

Hampus wears turtleneck and trousers by COS, padded T-shirt by Jil Sander, shoes by Raf Simons, and hat vintage.

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The Breed

Val wears pullover, skirt, coat and belt by Paule Ka, and shirt by Wood Wood. Right: Val wears dress by Prada, turtleneck by Falke, neck scarf by agnès b., and shoes Cox by Görtz. Erik wears shirt by Tiger of Sweden, turtleneck and collar by Lanvin, neoprene T-shirt and trousers by COS, and shoes by Burberry Prorsum. Hampus wears knitted jacket, turtleneck and trousers by Hermès, shirt by Lanvin, pullover by Calvin Klein Collection, and shoes by Raf Simons.

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Hampus wears T-shirt and trousers by Burberry Prorsum, turtleneck vintage, and shoes by Raf Simons. Val wears turtleneck and jumpsuit by Chloé. Erik wears jacket and trousers by JOOP!.

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The Breed

Photographer  Daniel Schröder Fashion editor  Isabelle Thiry Models  Val at AM Model Management, Erik at Mega Model Agency, Hampus at Unique Models and maximilian Hair and Make up  Gregor Makris at bigoudi using Aveda Photographer’s assistant  Christian Schildmacher Fashion editor’s assistant  Josepha Rodriguez Production  Nu Projects Deutschland Support Paris  Uli Semmler Retouching  Primate Postproduction

Hampus wears turtleneck by Falke, longsleeve by Weekday, shirt by Hannibal, and boxer shorts by H&M. Val wears shirt and skirt by Miu Miu, shoes Cox by Görtz, tights by Falke, and hat vintage.

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Twinsets

by Mark Kean

Photographer  MARK KEAN Fashion editor  KATY LASSEN Hair  SOICHI INAGAKI using Bumble and bumble Make up  THOMAS DE KLUYVER at D+V using Mac Cosmetics Models  AXEL and JONAS at Elite, MAJA at Next, RACHEL, DARYA and CHARLIE TIMMS at Premier, BILLIE and MATT P. at Select, SASCHA, EVANGELINE, THAIS and HANNA at Storm Photographer’s assistant  ROSIE APPLES

Jonas (left) wears shirt by Marni. Matt P. (right) wears jumper by Neil Barrett.

Fashion editor’s assistants  CLARA OLOWOOKERE, PHILLIP SMITH Hair assistant  MICHIKO YOSHIDA Make up assistants  MEGUMI and MICHELLE GATARIC Retouching  INDIA MAY and JOHN HEMPSTEAD Special thanks to  Casey at ProVision studios

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Twinsets

Billie (left) wears jumper by Paul Smith, sweater vest by Edun, skirt by House of Holland, shoes by Cooperative Designs, and socks by Betty Jackson. Hannah (right) wears sweater by Sportmax, and skirt by American Apparel.

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Thais wears shirt, jumper and trousers by Ashish. Axel wears long sleeve by American Apparel, T-shirt by Paul Smith, trousers by William Richard Green, and shoes by Underground.

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Twinsets

Charlie wears shirt and trousers by Prada, socks by Transparenze seen at MyTights, and shoes by COS. Darya wears dress and boots by Prada, and rollneck by Paul Smith.

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Twinsets

Maja (left) wears jacket and trousers by Stella McCartney, and sleeveless rollneck by American Apparel. Rachel (right) wears coat by Stella McCartney and rollneck dress by Betty Jackson.

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Maja wears shirt by Nsha, and collar by Cabinet.

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Twinsets

Billie wears top by J.JS Lee, and bone ring by Kyle Hopkins seen at BENGT.

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Maja (left) wears coat by Miu Miu, shirt by J.JS LEE, shoes by Underground, and socks by Falke. Billie (center) wears coat by Dior Homme, shirt by Neil Barrett, shoes by Underground, and socks by Falke. Rachel wears coat by Louise Amstrup, shirt by Sportmax, boots by Oliver Spencer, and socks by Falke.

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Twinsets

Sascha wears jacket and trousers by Comme des Garçons, shirt by Paul Smith, and necklace worn as bracelet by Elke Kramer. Evangeline wears camisole, jacket and trousers by Dries van Noten, necklace worn as bracelet by Elke Kramer, and shirt stylist’s own.

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Evangeline wears dress by Betty Jackson, and cardigan by Missoni. Sascha wears top and trousers by Edun, jumper by Missoni, and necklace worn as bracelet by Elke Kramer.

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Y men?

by Kris van Assche

Text by Elisa Tudor

The most interesting thing about Kris Van Assche? That nothing he did at the start of his career pointed towards what he is today: a fashion designer who, with his own line and his work for Dior Homme, seems effortlessly to have found a new way of defining manliness in fashion. In the archives of the Antwerp Fashion Museum, where documents from the Royal Academy of the Arts are collecting dust, we find evidence of Van Assche’s early work. The Belgian designer studied at this renowned institution for four years, and documentation of his first shows reveals that he was a surrealist before turning to minimalism. We see rainbow-coloured dresses floating down the runway to the voice of Dolly Parton, we see a glorification of the Eurovision Song Contest, we see Madonna and Margaret Thatcher as style icons and muses. How could all this possibly connect with what Van Assche produces today? Maybe it’s because he wasn’t afraid to visualize his wildest fantasies back then that he seems so sure of his vision today.

Photographer  Alessandro Dal Buoni Fashion editor  Mauricio Nardi Hair  Joseph Pujalte Make up  Carole Colombani Models  Chris Beek at Success, Victor Nylander at Ford All clothes by  KRISVANASSCHE

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Y men? Twix

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Mad Men

Givenchy SS 2012

Text by Alice Pfeiffer

A woman in a suit? Yes. A man in a dress? Er… Incorporating female attributes such as skirts or handbags, the latest menswear collections explore the instability of gender roles. Frau im Anzug? Klassiker. Mann im Kleid? Haha. Männermode ist neuerdings auffällig weiblich orientiert – Handtäschchen gefällig, Jungs? – und vollzieht damit eine Entwicklung, welche die Frauenmode schon hinter sich hat.

Comme des Garçons SS 2012

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Givenchy SS 2012

ENGLISH

deutsch

»I think I’ll never get over the testosterone under the makeup of bands like Kiss and the New York Dolls when I was young. High heels and leather seemed to exaggerate their virility. In an almost violently joyful Fuck You way«, says Rick Owens, when asked about how to stay manly in a dress. Sheer cashmeres, mink collars, and most recently, an entire line of male dresses, radically contrasted by muscular, rough-aroundthe-edges male models: »Prince of Darkness« Owens is also a master gender bender. Neither androgynous nor cross-dressing, his designs propose a new, hybrid masculinity – one simultaneously deconstructed and reinforced via an appropriation of »female« artefacts. Owens isn’t alone in this movement of interlaced sartorial and gender interrogation. The current explosion of menswear appears to be intricately bound up in a quest for male emancipation. If »one isn’t born but becomes a woman«, as Simone de Beauvoir famously wrote, the same certainly applies to a man – and an extra inch on heels and off hemlines becomes the anthem of a struggle against society’s seemingly unshakable norms. »One of the leading trends in fashion today is a pronounced interest in menswear«, said fashion sociologist José Teunissen, author of The New Man (2010). »Just as women borrowed from the male wardrobe throughout the 20th century, men are now reassessing their

»Bands wie Kiss oder die New York Dolls hatten jede Menge Testosteron unterm Make-up. Die engen Lederklamotten und hohen Absätze machten sie nur noch männlicher, es war ein krasses Statement und unterstrich ihre ›Leckt mich doch‹-Haltung«, entgegnet Rick Owens auf die Frage, wie sich ein Mann im Kleid seine Männlichkeit bewahrt. Die jüngsten Männerkollektionen zeigen halbdurchsichtige Leibchen, Nerzkrägen, Täschchen und jede Menge Röcke und Kleider – allerdings an muskulösen, kantigen und längst nicht immer androgyn wirkenden Models, und Owens, der »Prince of Darkness«, macht da keine Ausnahme. Seine Models sind Männer, seine Röcke sind weit und lang – Owens steht für eine neue, hybride Maskulinität, die mittels »weiblicher« Artefakte im gleichen Zug dekonstruiert und bekräftigt wird, und er steht damit nicht allein. Drückt sich in den gegenwärtigen Umwälzungen im Männermodebereich eine Suche nach männlicher Emanzipation aus? »Man wird nicht als Frau geboren, man wird es«, schrieb Simone de Beauvoir bekanntermaßen, und warum sollte für den Mann etwas anderes gelten. Zwei Zentimeter mehr am Absatz und weniger am Saum werden zur Waffe im Kampf gegen festgefahrene Normen. »Einer der führenden Trends in der heutigen Mode ist ein großes Interesse an Männermode«, sagt José Teunissen, Soziologe mit 143


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Photo© Axl Jansen.

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Christoph Lemaire SS 2012

boundaries.« From the Lacroix male-collection-only relaunch (sans Christian alas), and Finnish designer Laitinen dropping its women’s line to focus solely on menswear, or an ever-expanding men’s fashionweek calendar, the growth is undeniable. Yet today’s hailed catwalks seem to be pushing aside archetypes (»the Rocker«, »Serge Gainsbourg«), opting instead for a multi-layered, contradictory masculinity as a quiet mode of rebellion. Forget Jean-Paul Gaultier’s skirts – all it takes is a wide collar or a shirt of questionable length to reveal the instability of gender roles. From Christophe Lemaire and his floral jumpsuits, to Raf Simmons’ 60s style A-line pastel coats fit for Anna Karina, or Thom Browne’s froufrou carrot trousers: one glimpse at the last men’s season and the list is endless. Both practical and delicate, contemporary women’s clothes seems to offer a novel language to men. Take Acne’s latest men’s collection: critics cackled endlessly about the handbags worn by the majority of the models, paired with simple lines, earth tones and a spattering of coloured, curved lapels. A puzzling masculinity? To Jonny Johansson, there’s no need to over-intellectualize things: »Why can’t a man wear a bag? I’m not sure where this idea comes from, but there’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t,« he says, adding, »I wear bags like this for the simple fact that they’re very practical.« Practically and ideologically speaking, this reflects a need to open up barriers between genders, accept their porosity, and propose a dialogue. »I would like to know who decided that heels and skirts are for women and not for men?« asks Rad Hourani, whose unisex line is especially groundbreaking on a male body. Male cleavages, high heels and wrap-over tops have suddenly appeared on men (ok, granted, men 144

Alexis Mabille SS 2012

22/4 SS 2012

Forschungsschwerpunkt Mode und Autor des Buches The New Man (2010). »Genauso wie Frauen sich im Lauf des 20. Jahrhunderts zunehmend in der Männergarderobe bedient haben, tun es nun die Männer und loten damit ihre Grenzen aus.« Von der Wiederaufnahme der Lacroix-Männerlinie (leider sans Christian) über das Einfrieren der Damenlinie beim finnischen Designer Laitinen, der sich nur noch den Männern widmen will, bis zu explodierenden Schauenplänen der Männermodewochen – das Wachstum ist unauf haltsam. Anders als früher geht es aber nicht mehr darum, bestimmte Archetypen (»Rocker«, »Serge Gainsbourg«) zu präsentieren, sondern ein vielschichtiges, sogar widersprüchliches Bild von Männlichkeit. Man muß dabei nicht gleich mit Röcken kommen, es reicht bereits ein breiter Kragen oder ein Hemd von fragwürdiger Länge, um die Instabilität der Geschlechterrollen bloßzulegen. Man denke an Christophe Lemaire und seine geblümten Einteiler, an Raf Simons’ pastellfarbene Sechziger Jahre-Mäntel in A-Form, wie gemacht für Anna Karina, oder an Thom Brownes aufgeputzte Karottenhosen, das ist alles praktisch und grazil in einem und spricht eine neue Sprache, an die wir uns werden gewöhnen müssen. Über die neuen Handtaschen bei Acne zerrissen sich Modekritiker noch das Maul oder rätselten über eine möglicherweise versteckte Symbolik. Für Designer Jonny Johansson besteht allerdings kein Bedarf, die Dinge zu intellektuell anzugehen: »Warum soll ein Mann keine Tasche tragen? Ich weiß nicht genau, woher die Abneigung dagegen kommt, aber ich sehe absolut keinen Grund, der dagegen spräche«, sagt er und fügt an: »Ich trage Taschen wie diese hier aus dem einfachen Grund, weil sie sehr praktisch sind.« Grundsätzlich läßt die aktuelle Entwicklung vermuten, daß die Durch-

Acne SS 2012

Acne AW 2011

in fashion, but that’s a start), but more interestingly, these didn’t carry a sexual liberation discourse but rather a broader demand for the decategorization of social life. »As a society, we’ve been extremely programmed. Even the most ›advanced‹ societies are very limited in the way they define themselves. The way I do things without gender or season – it applies to everything in life«, he says. »Every piece of clothing invariably carries a meaning. Fashion has a dual role of reflecting and supporting a struggle«, says Sacha Walckhoff, Lacroix’s new creative director. One glimpse at women’s history will confirm this: »Look at Schiaparelli’s handyman’s outfit for women or Marlene Dietrich’s trousers. Throughout history, clothes have been a mode of revolt and empowerment.« In no way can one claim a parallel between women’s liberation in the 60s – accompanied by much trouser-suit wearing and bra-burning – to what men appear to be going through today. Yes, women’s oppression worldwide, to this day, is undeniable, but »being a boy isn’t easy or natural either«, says Walckhoff, whose latest collection consists of male suits, contrasted by splashes of sequins, embroidery, and bare chests. »As a designer, you become aware that gender is a game, something you play with and re-invent throughout your entire life. This is the very essence of my job.« This echoes gender theorist Judith Butler’s claim that gender is »performative«, that it is born at the moment of its performance, for which there is no »original to imitate«. »Gender is a construction that one puts on, as one puts on clothes in the morning«, she wrote in Gender Trouble (Routledge, 1989). While much gender studies focuses on the female condition – and justifiably so, the world has yet to reach proper gender equality – men’s

Thierry Mugler AW 2011

lässigkeit von Geschlechterdefinitionen von XX wie XY akzeptiert und ein Dialog angestrebt wird. »Ich würde gern wissen, wer entschieden hat, daß Stilettos und Röcke für Frauen sind und nicht für Männer«, sagt etwa Rad Hourani, dessen Entwürfe als Unisex-Linie verstanden werden sollen, wenn sie auch am männlichen Körper noch ungewohnt wirken. Aber tiefe Ausschnitte, High Heels und Wickeltops werden mittlerweile tatsächlich getragen und nicht nur auf Schauen gezeigt, und auch wenn die Vorreiter zum Inner Circle der Modewelt gehören, kann man annehmen, daß es hier nicht um die Geschlechtsbefreiung von Einzelnen geht, sondern um einen sehr viel grundsätzlichen Bedarf, das gesellschaftliche Leben zu entkategorisieren. »Was wir tragen, enthält eine Aussage. Mode vertritt eine duale Rolle, indem sie einen Kampf sowohl reflektiert als auch unterstützt«, sagt Sacha Walckhoff, der neue Kreativdirektor bei Lacroix. Ein Blick auf die Geschichte der Frauenmode bestätigt das: »Schauen Sie sich Schiaparellis Handwerker-Kluft für Frauen an oder Marlene Dietrichs Hosen. Mode war schon immer Gegenstand von Rebellion und Ermächtigung.« Nun kann man die Frauenbewegung der Sechziger – begleitet von unzähligen Hosenanzügen und verbrannten BHs – und das, was Männer heute durchmachen, nicht vergleichen, und daß die weibliche Emanzipation noch nicht erfolgreich abgeschlossen ist, läßt sich nicht abstreiten, aber »ein Junge zu sein, ist ebenfalls nicht leicht oder natürlich«, sagt Walckhoff, dessen aktuelle Kollektion aus mit Pailletten, Stickereien und nackten Oberkörpern kontrastierten Herrenanzügen besteht. »Als Designer wird man sich bewußt, daß das Geschlecht etwas ist, mit dem man spielt und das man sein ganzes Leben hindurch neu erfindet. Das ist der Kern meiner Arbeit.« Hier 145


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Photo© Marcio Madeira.

Photo© Olivier Claisse.

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Rick Owens SS 2012

condition is an increasing source of academic interest. From Men’s Theory courses at the London School of Economics’ Gender Institute to Men’s Studies at Columbia, New York, the artificial and sometimes rough process of becoming a boy and a man is increasingly being accounted for. Like Hourani’s claim, this isn’t a sexual quest but a social one – one that contemporary fashion is exploring and increasingly allowing. This is not to be mistaken for metrosexuality – the gadgety marketing incentive that promoted not femininity among men, but an ultra-consumerism which women are encouraged to crave (think Carrie Bradshaw on steroids), and offered so-called liberation via the credit card. What is happening today seems to go beyond the purchase of a »guyliner« or a »manbag«, and is suggesting a more subtle, less David Beckham-esque shift, applicable to a wider range of men. Look at the designers playing with gender codes – Givenchy, Thom Browne, Christophe Lemaire – these aren’t provocateurs; on the contrary, these brands are aimed at, well, straight men, and classically masculine ones. The fashion houses that are now offering sheer tank tops and heeled boots, target an audience that wouldn’t be caught dead in skirts and stockings but feels a lilac ensemble or a Peter Pan collar is acceptable. But these pieces are neither feminine, nor unisex, i.e. for an imaginary uniform body, but re-appropriated for a male figure and everyday needs. The challenge lies into importing elements from the female wardrobe while being fully conscious of the physical difference between the sexes, in other words, erasing some boundaries while recognizing others. Skirts might come and go, but boobs and ballsacks are here to stay. »A truly unisex product is impossible«, says Stephanie Hahn, founder and designer of the brand 22 / 4, that offers 146

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klingt die Auffassung von Judith Butler an, das Geschlecht sei »performativ«. Der Meinung der Geschlechterforscherin zufolge entstehe es im Augenblick des Handelns und kenne keine Vorlage, die es nachahmen könne. »Das Geschlecht ist ein Konstrukt, etwas, das man genauso anlegt wie morgens die Kleidung«, schreibt sie in Das Unbehagen der Geschlechter (Gender Trouble, 1989). Während sich die Geschlechterforschung bisher hauptsächlich mit der weiblichen Seite beschäftigt hat, rückt zunehmend auch der Mann ins Interesse der Wissenschaft. Das Gender Institute der London School of Economics bietet Kurse zum Thema Männerforschung, die Columbia University in New York gleich einen eigenen Studiengang, und dabei wird eines klar: daß auch ein Mann sich finden und gegen als selbstverständlich geltende Rollenmuster ankämpfen muß. Wie in der Wissenschaft geht es auch in der Mode nicht um eine sexuelle Neudefinition, sondern eine gesellschaftliche Einordnung; das hat nichts mit dem Begriff Metrosexualität zu tun – ein Begriff, der übrigens eher als Marketingwerkzeug erfunden wurde und nicht als Versuch, das Weibliche im Manne zu untersuchen, und der eher auf weibliche Kauf kraft schielte und der Branche in der Tat zu einem Konsumschub verhalf. Die jüngste Entwicklung scheint über den Kauf eines »Guyliners« oder einer »Manbag« hinauszugehen und einen subtileren, weniger David Beckham-lastigen Wandel vorzuschlagen, und sie richtet sich an eine viel größere Bandbreite von Männertypen. Designer, die heute mit Geschlechtercodes spielen – Givenchy, Thom Browne, Christophe Lemaire –, sind keine Provokateure. Im Gegenteil, diese Marken sprechen gutsituierte, heterosexuelle und klassisch-maskuline Männer an. Die Modehäuser, die derzeit durchsichtige

Raf Simons SS 2012

identical lines for men and women, but with adjustment to the sexes’ undeniably different shapes. »A lot of people think that we just use one pattern for one model but that’s impossible. The difference between a mens and a womenswear pattern is enormous. If you try to use one cut you will fail.« While the demand for men and women is increasingly similar, it’ll never be identical, says Hahn. Women’s clothes have long become a hybrid between stereotypical femininity and masculinity – dealing with the former through the inclusion of the latter. Today, it seems the same is occurring in menswear: »A similar piece that works for both genders shows an emancipation of both genders.« In other words, a boy with a handbag is like a girl in a button shirt: mutually beneficial and downright modern.

Julius SS 2012

Tanktops und Absatzstiefel anbieten, zielen auf ein Publikum, das nie im Leben Röcke oder Nylonstrümpfe anziehen würde, aber ein fliederfarbenes Ensemble oder einen Peter Pan-Kragen trotzdem tragbar findet. Die neuen Kollektionen sind weder feminin noch Unisex, sondern neu abgestimmt auf den männlichen Körper und seine Bedürfnisse. Die Herausforderung besteht darin, Elemente der weiblichen Garderobe zu importieren und sich dabei der körperlichen Unterschiede zwischen den Geschlechtern bewußt zu bleiben, also Grenzen auf der einen Seite aufzulösen, auf der anderen Seite anzuerkennen. Die Mode ist wandelbar, Geschlechtsmerkmale nicht unbedingt. »Ein wirkliches Unisexprodukt gibt es nicht«, sagt Stephanie Hahn, Gründerin und Designerin des Labels 22 / 4, die identische Linien für Männer und Frauen anbietet, welche allerdings an die unbestreitbar unterschiedlichen Körperformen der Geschlechter angepaßt sind. »Viele Leute denken, daß wir für die jeweiligen Entwürfe einfach denselben Schnitt verwenden, aber das ist unmöglich, man muß für Frauen und Männer komplett unterschiedlich schneidern.« Während die Nachfrage bei Männern und Frauen sich zunehmend ähnelt, wird sich die Mode doch niemals völlig gleichen, glaubt Hahn. Frauenmode ist schon seit langem ein Hybrid aus weiblichen und männlichen Elementen und zeigt, wie Weiblichkeit durch die Einbeziehung von Männlichkeit überarbeitet wird. Es scheint so, als passierte jetzt dasselbe in der Männermode: »Ein ähnliches Stück, das für beide Geschlechter paßt, bezeugt die Emanzipation beider Geschlechter.« Mit anderen Worten, ein Mann mit einer Handtasche ist wie eine Frau in einem Anzughemd: für beide Seiten ein Gewinn und absolut zeitgemäß. 147


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Bülent Wongsoy

by Ming Wong

Artist  Ming Wong Photographer  Pelin Öker Fashion editors  Gizem Akgönül, Lorena Maza Hair  Özgür Çobanlı Make up  Seher Sander at Studio Ruj Production manager  Ece Bulut Production assistants  Duygu İzdeş, Tümay Tüzüner Location  Klub Karaoke, Istanbul Special thanks to  Erkan Kurtuluş and Eda Alpman

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Bülent Wongsoy

Suit and silk blouse by Boss Black.

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Dress by Elif Cıgızoglu.

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Dress by Elif Cıgızoglu.

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Jumpsuit by Kaviar Gauche, sunglasses by Prada, necklace by Mango, hat, belt and scarf stylist’s own.

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Dress by Tanju Babacan.

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Bülent Wongsoy

Bülent Wongsoy With her trademark deep fake tan, big hair, and sequined fishtail dresses Bülent Ersoy would be easy to mimic, but the Turkish transgender diva won’t let anyone claim her. Artist Ming Wong has found a way nonetheless. Zuviel Solarium, zuviel Haarspray, zuviel Pailletten am Kleid, zu laut, zu schräg, zu anders – Bülent Ersoy wäre eine leichte Beute für Parodisten, aber die türkische Transsexuellendiva läßt sich von niemandem vereinnahmen. Der Künstler Ming Wong hat es trotzdem geschafft. Text by Hili Perlson

English

Deutsch

In her country, Bülent Ersoy is a household name. A classical Turkish singer and transgender megastar, her turbulent career has spanned several regime changes and personal incarnations and made her a symbol for tolerance in Turkey. The diva, however, rejects any kind of political associations, or any other group trying to claim her as their idol. She is Bülent Ersoy, what else do you need? Ming Wong first became aware of Ersoy while researching Turkish cinema. In all of his work, the Singapore-born artist creates miscast remakes of key scenes from cinematic classics, mostly by post-war filmmakers. »But I specifically look for films of that ilk where a character goes through an identity crisis, a life-changing experience«, he tells me in his Berlin studio, where we meet to discuss his new project, Biji Diva! (Kurdish for viva la diva). Soft spoken and contemplative, Wong chronicles Ersoy’s bumpy life story to me while flipping through pictures of the flamboyant superstar that he’s collected for his research. As a young man in the 1970s, Ersoy became famous as a singer and actor; his renditions of classical Turkish music being the main feature of all his movies. In 1980, Ersoy underwent sex reassignment surgery in London and continued her career as a female film star. She posed in skimpy clothes for the eager media and enjoyed her new self. But the fun was short-lived: an impending regime upheaval was to change everything. In the midst of that period, she went on to make a strange film about her own life, The End of Fame, which ends with an apology to the Turkish people. It’s an enigmatic film, and one of a kind in movie history. In the film, the drama starts when a little boy recognizes Ersoy on the street and asks his mother, »Is Bülent Ersoy a man or a woman?« The camera swiftly switches to a close up of Ersoy’s devastated face. Her burgeoning identity crisis has her seeking professional help, and so the film is constructed as a series of flashbacks, narrated by its star from the psychiatrist’s couch. With real magazine clippings, footage from her other films and an ending that shows newspaper frontpage reports of Ersoy’s apology to the Turkish people, The End of Fame is a peculiar mash-up of reality and fiction. Wong plays me scenes from the film on his computer. We pause at a take where Ersoy explains that, an only child, she was named after a soccer player. I ask Wong whether he finds it curious that Ersoy kept her male name. »She was already so famous, why start over with a new name?«, he asks back, half joking, half revealing how immersed he is in the diva’s way of thinking. The film must be regarded in light of the political turmoil in Turkey: in 1980, Kenan Evren led a coup d’état, and Bülent Ersoy suddenly found herself subject to sanctions by the military regime. In a crackdown on »social deviance«, Ersoy’s public performances were banned, along with those of other transsexual and transgendered people. Ersoy tried to petition in court that the ban should not apply to

In ihrer Heimat ist Bülent Ersoy bekannter als Michael Jackson. Der transsexuelle Showstar mit einem Faible für traditionelles türkisches Liedgut hat mehrere Regierungswechsel und Persönlichkeitswandlungen überlebt und gilt heute in der Türkei als Symbol für Toleranz. Dabei legt die Diva Wert auf ihre Unabhängigkeit und läßt sich grundsätzlich nicht als Werbefigur einspannen, egal ob für politische, gesellschaftliche oder kommerzielle Zwecke. Sie ist Bülent Ersoy, was braucht man mehr? Ming Wong entdeckte Ersoy, als er sich mit der Geschichte des türkischen Kinos befaßte. In seiner Arbeit stellt der in Singapur geborene Künstler Schlüsselszenen von Kinoklassikern aus der Nachkriegszeit nach, allerdings mit bewußt fehlbesetzen Rollen. »Ich suche besonders nach Filmen, in denen eine Figur eine Identitätskrise, einen lebensverändernden Moment durchmacht«, erzählt er mir in seinem Berliner Atelier, wo wir über sein neues Projekt Biji Diva! (Kurdisch für »Viva la Diva«) sprechen. Selber ein ruhiger und bedächtiger Typ, erzählt mir Wong die bewegte Lebensgeschichte des flamboyanten Superstars anhand von Photos, die er im Lauf seiner Recherche gesammelt hat. In den siebziger Jahren wurde der junge Ersoy als Sänger und Schauspieler bekannt, wobei seine Interpretationen traditioneller türkischer Musik in all seinen Filmen die Hauptrolle spielten. 1980 unterzog sich Ersoy dann in London einer operativen Geschlechtsumwandlung und führte seine Karriere als Filmstar fort, nur eben als Frau. In knappen Kleidchen posierte sie für die äußerst interessierte Presse und erfreute sich an ihrem neuen Selbst. Doch der Spaß währte nicht lang: ein bevorstehender Regimeumbruch sollte alles ändern. In jener Zeit entstand The End of Fame, ein seltsamer Film über ihr eigenes Leben. Im Film beginnt das Drama mit einem kleinen Jungen, der Ersoy auf der Straße erkennt und seine Mutter fragt: »Ist Bülent Ersoy eigentlich ein Mann oder eine Frau?« Prompt zoomt die Kamera auf Ersoys erschüttertes Gesicht. Zur Bewältigung einer beginnenden Identitätskrise sucht sie sich professionelle Hilfe – die Sitzungen beim Psychiater bilden die narrative Klammer des Films. Dieser Kunstgriff, dazu reale Presseartikel, Ausschnitte aus früheren Filmen und – am Ende des Films – Zeitungsschlagzeilen, die über Ersoys Entschuldigung beim türkischen Volk berichten, machen The End of Fame zu einem merkwürdigen Zwitter aus Realität und Fiktion. Wong zeigt mir einige Filmszenen auf seinem Computer. Wir halten an einer Stelle an, an der Ersoy erzählt, daß er, ein Einzelkind, nach einem Fußballspieler benannt wurde. Ich frage Wong, ob er es nicht komisch findet, daß Ersoy trotz der Geschlechtsumwandlung ihren männlichen Namen beibehalten hat. »Sie war doch schon so bekannt, warum also mit einem neuen Namen nochmal von vorn anfangen?«, erwidert er mit leisem Schmunzeln – und beweist, wie tief er sich selbst schon in das Wesen der Diva hineingedacht hat.

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Ming Wong, video still from Biji Diva!, 2011.

her because she was a woman, but the authorities wouldn’t recognize her as such. To be a woman, they argued, you had to have a womb. So, unable to perform in public, Ersoy left for Germany after a failed suicide attempt, and continued making films and cutting albums for the Turkish market in exile. In 1988, the Turkish Civil Code was finally revised so that people who had completed sex reassignment surgery could apply for documents that legally recognized their new sex – a pink ID for female, blue for male. The new liberal government invited Ersoy to return to Turkey and offered her a pink card. It was a magnificent comeback; she became a national hero overnight and was now more popular as a woman than she’d ever been as a man. Today Ersoy is semi-retired. She is still in the public eye though, usually due to involvement in some scandalous affair. She was a judge on the Turkish reality show »Popstar Alaturka« and married one of the contestants, 20 years her junior. But a far more grievous scandal broke in 2008 when, during a live telecast of »Popstar«, she spoke out against Turkey’s incursion into Northern Iraq to fight the Kurds. If she were a mother, she said, she would not send her sons to war. »It was very powerful, she went on and on about how she could never be a mother, but she wouldn’t want her son to come back home in a coffin«, remembers Wong. This passionate performance established her status as The Mother. She was prosecuted for criticizing compulsory military service, but was pronounced not guilty. With the research material laid open, we look at the rough sketches for Wong’s new video work, in which he’ll perform songs from Ersoy’s repertoire. »Just like the way Bülent uses her own documentary footage in her films, I wanted material from my live performances for my piece.« One of the performances was filmed recently at Berlin’s House of World Cultures. »I differentiated four phases in Bülent Ersoy’s life for my video piece«, Wong tells me, »Boy Bülent, her early rise to fame, then Trans Bülent, which includes her life in exile, followed by Woman Bülent, the time succeeding her glorious return to Turkey, and finally, Mother Bülent. I act the first three stages, but for Mother Bülent, I asked my mom to perform. I knew she could sing it, plus she

Der Film ist vor dem Hintergrund der politischen Unruhen in der Türkei zu betrachten. 1980 führte General Kenan Evren einen Staatsstreich durch, und plötzlich sah sich Bülent Ersoy Sanktionen von Seiten des Militärregimes ausgesetzt. Im Rahmen brutaler Maßregelungen gegen »gesellschaftliche Abweichungen« wurden die öffentlichen Auftritte von Ersoy sowie allen anderen transsexuellen und sonstwie nicht gesellschaftskonformen Künstler verboten. Ersoy versuchte vor Gericht mit dem Argument, doch eine Frau zu sein, die Aufhebung des Verbots zu erwirken, doch die Autoritäten erkannten sie nicht als solche an. Um wirklich eine Frau zu sein, so ihr Gegenargument, bräuchte man eine Gebärmutter. Vom öffentlichen Leben ausgeschlossen, zog Ersoy nach einem fehlgeschlagenen Selbstmordversuch nach Deutschland, von wo aus sie weiterhin Filme und Alben für den türkischen Markt produzierte. Im Jahr 1988 wurde das türkische Bürgerrecht überarbeitet; Menschen, die sich einer Geschlechtsumwandlung unterzogen hatten, konnten nun Papiere beantragen, die ihr neues Geschlecht rechtmäßig anerkannten – in Form eines rosa Ausweises für Frauen und eines blauen für Männer. Die neue liberale Regierung lud Ersoy ein, in die Türkei zurückzukehren, rosa Ausweis inklusive. Es war ein großartiges Comeback, Ersoy wurde zur Nationalheldin erhoben und als Frau noch beliebter, als sie als Mann je gewesen war. Heute ist Ersoy halbwegs im Ruhestand. Und trotzdem steht sie nach wie vor im Licht der Öffentlichkeit – meistens aufgrund irgendeiner skandalösen Affäre. Sie war Jurymitglied der türkischen CastingShow »Popstar Alaturka« und heiratete einen zwanzig Jahre jüngeren Kandidaten. Doch ein weitaus schwerwiegender Skandal brach aus, als sie sich 2008 in einer Live-Übertragung von »Popstar« gegen den türkischen Einfall gegen die Kurden im Nordirak aussprach. Wenn sie eine Mutter wäre, so sagte sie, würde sie sich weigern, ihre Söhne in den Krieg zu schicken. »Es war sehr eindrucksvoll, sie redete sich in Rage darüber, daß sie zwar niemals Mutter sein könnte, es aber nicht ertragen könnte, wenn ihre Söhne im Sarg zurückkehrten«, erinnert sich Wong. Dieser leidenschaftliche Auftritt bescherte ihr den Beinamen »Die Mutter«. Wegen ihrer Kritik an der Pflicht zum Militärdienst wurde sie zwar gerichtlich belangt, jedoch nicht schuldig gesprochen. 161


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looks like me – when I put a wig on, that is. She’s a big karaoke fan, so singing was not a problem. She didn’t even have to learn the Turkish. She’s that good.« Immersing himself in the role of Ersoy required intensive preparation. To perform, Wong had to first learn how to sing – »I’m a bad singer«, he claims – then how to sing in Turkish, and finally, how to sing classical Turkish music, which is a genre all of its own. »I always cast actors to play roles that are very different from themselves, in gender, age, nationality or whatever. I’m interested in the struggle of becoming. I show the mistakes, the imperfections and frictions, they’re crucial to my work.« By now, Wong can read Turkish and understand its syntax and grammar. He worked with a teacher at the conservatory in Istanbul to perfect his enunciation of the lyrics. While in Istanbul, Wong also produced the fashion spread for sleek. It shows glimpses of each of the four incarnations of Bülent Ersoy, including the over-the-top dresses and make-up of her present self. »We used clothes from her favourite Turkish designers, some really outrageous outfits, like the dress made completely out of peacock feathers. As Boy Bülent, I’m wearing this beautiful men’s suit, but with high heels.« We look at the pictures and I compliment Wong on his acting abilities, but wonder whether putting on characters is his tool for exploring his own identity. »Not exactly«, he tells me, »I’m shy, so when I channel other personalities, it’s not me – It’s me trying to be them. The clothes and make-up help me to become someone else. But it’s not acting, I’m not like Meryl Streep ›becoming‹ a character. I can never completely lose myself in the character, I’m too self-conscious. But this is exactly the tension that I’m working with. I am always Ming Wong doing a character.« It all started when Wong worked as a theatre playwright in Singapore. He became interested in the processes actors go through when playing different characters – especially in a country like Singapore, where there are four official languages and a number of ethnic groups. »One thing actors are subjected to is type-casting, so I got interested in that, or rather, in miscasting. When I started using myself in my work, I decided that my own ›typecasting‹ shouldn’t be a liability, but an advantage. I should be able to be anybody!« His reaction to types, not just in terms of colour, but also gender, age, nationality and even body type, was to develop an artistic strategy that allows him to become everybody. The first time Wong directed himself was for a piece about Singaporean cinema where he played 16 different characters – all miscast, needless to say. »There’s a small window when I can make a film while I’m still an outsider to a specific cultural experience. There has to be a certain barrier.« The work based on Fassbinder’s Petra von Kant could have only been made at a particular time in Wong’s life when he was planning to move to Germany, though he jokes that it might be interesting to do Petra again and compare versions. »In Biji Diva!, you’ll be able to see that the singing gets better each time I perform.« In this new work, not only the language, but also the singing was a barrier. When that barrier is no longer there, Wong has to move on, accumulating new layers to his identity with each work. »Part of me has become Turkish. And German. And Italian. I’m from Singapore, but what does that mean? It’s a location, not a culturally specific thing. When I was younger, I wanted to explore my Chinese heritage, I wanted to have a grand narrative to fall back on, but there were so many other aspects to my identity, and which one’s stronger?« Part of the joy of starting a new project is the styling. We look at Wong’s wig collection and he discloses some of his professional secrets: »It’s all very low budget. I made some of the wigs myself out of two cheap ones to get the necessary volume. A glue gun is key.« And the make-up? It comes from a jumbo make-up box which Wong bought in the Indian market in Singapore for 5 dollars. »For black and white 162

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Wir schauen uns das Rohmaterial zu Wongs neuster Videoarbeit an, in der er Songs aus Ersoys Repertoire aufführen wird. »Genauso, wie Bülent in ihren Filmen ihr eigenes Doku-Material benutzt, wollte auch ich für mein Werk Material von meinen Live-Auftritten.« Für diesen Zweck wurde seine Performance kürzlich im Berliner Haus der Kulturen der Welt gefilmt. »Für meine Videoarbeit habe ich Bülent Ersoys Leben in vier Phasen eingeteilt«, erklärt Wong. »Boy Bülent, seinen frühen Aufstieg zum Ruhm, dann Trans Bülent, wozu auch ihr Leben im Exil gehört, dann Woman Bülent, also die Zeit nach ihrer ruhmreichen Rückkehr in die Türkei, und schließlich Mutter Bülent. Ich spiele die ersten drei Phasen, und meine Mutter spielt Mutter Bülent. Sie sieht mir sehr ähnlich – jedenfalls wenn ich eine Perücke trage. Außerdem ist sie ein großer Karaoke-Fan, sie kann toll singen, und sie mußte nicht einmal die türkischen Worte lernen, so gut ist sie.« In die Rolle von Ersoy einzutauchen erforderte intensive Vorbereitung. Um live auftreten zu können, mußte Wong zunächst überhaupt einmal Singen lernen (»ich bin ganz schlecht«, behauptet er bescheiden), dann, auf Türkisch zu singen, und schließlich noch, auf traditionell türkische Art zu singen, was ein ganz eigenes Genre ist. »Ich wähle immer Schauspieler für Rollen aus, die ihnen nach Geschlecht, Alter, Nationalität oder was auch immer eigentlich nicht entsprechen. Mich interessiert das Mühsame an einem Werdensprozess, die Fehler, die Reibungsmomente – das ist ein ganz zentraler Aspekt meiner Arbeit.« Mittlerweile kann Wong Türkisch lesen und verstehen. Ein Lehrer am Konservatorium in Istanbul brachte ihm die richtige Aussprache der Liedtexte bei. Während seines Istanbul-Aufenthaltes hat Wong übrigens auch die Modestrecke für sleek produziert, die Einblicke in die vier Lebensphasen und das jeweils dafür typische Styling von Bülent Ersoy gibt. »Wir haben Kleider ihrer türkischen Lieblingsdesigner ausgewählt. Manche davon sind wirklich unglaublich, wie das Kleid aus Pfauenfedern. Als Boy Bülent trage ich diese wunderschönen Herrenanzüge. Aber mit hohen Absätzen.« Wir schauen uns Photos an, und ich lobe Wongs schauspielerisches Talent, frage mich aber, ob das Rollenspielen wohl auch eine Möglichkeit zur Erkundung seiner eigenen Identität für ihn darstellt. »Nicht wirklich«, antwortet er, »ich bin schüchtern. Wenn ich also andere Persönlichkeiten darstelle, bin das nicht ich selbst – sondern ich bei dem Versuch, jemand anderes zu werden. Die Kleider und die Schminke helfen mir dabei. Aber es ist nicht wirklich Schauspielerei, jedenfalls nicht so, wie wenn Meryl Streep sich in eine Figur ›verwandelt‹. Ich kann mich niemals vollkommen in der Rolle verlieren, dazu bin ich nicht frei genug. Aber das ist genau das Spannungsverhältnis, mit dem ich arbeite. Ich bin immer Ming Wong, der eine Rolle spielt.« Das alles begann, als Wong noch in Singapur Theaterstücke schrieb. Er fing an, sich für schauspielerische Wandlungsprozesse bei der Erarbeitung einer Rolle zu interessieren – gerade in Singapur, wo es vier offizielle Sprachen gibt und eine Vielzahl verschiedener Volksgruppen, ein spannendes Thema. »Ein Aspekt, dem Schauspieler unterliegen, ist die Festschreibung auf und Besetzung nach bestimmten Typen. Das hat mich interessiert, oder vielmehr, die Fehlbesetzung. Als ich anfing, selbst in meinen Werken aufzutreten, entschied ich, daß meine eigene ›Festschreibung‹ keine Belastung, sondern ein Vorteil sein sollte. Ich wollte jeden spielen können!« Wong beschloß, eine künstlerische Strategie zu entwickeln, die ihm erlaubte, alle möglichen Personen darzustellen, unabhängig von Hautfarbe, Geschlecht, Alter, Nationalität oder Körperbau. Bei Wongs Regiedebut handelt es sich um ein Stück über das Singapurische Kino, in dem er 16 verschiedene Rollen spielt – von denen natürlich keine einzige auf ihn paßt. »Das Zeitfenster, in dem ich im Hinblick auf einen bestimmten kulturellen Zusammenhang noch ein Außenseiter bin, ist klein. Aber ich brauche diesen Abstand, eine Hürde, für meine Rollen.« Die Rolle von Fassbinders Petra von Kant konnte Wong nur in einem bestimmten

Ming Wong performing Biji Diva! with his mother at the »In Transit« festival, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, June 2011.

films it’s fine, but I found out that in colour it can get messy. Still, I’ve recently returned to using it.« As in all his other video installations, Wong makes slight changes to the original title to set his miscast adaptation within a contemporary reading and make it accessible. When the Kurds tried to adopt Ersoy as a symbol after her antiwar proclamations on TV, she gave a press conference making it clear once more that she didn’t represent anyone but herself. »She never spoke up for gay, queer or transgender rights either«, Wong adds. »So I decided to create a vehicle, the Bülent that you can embrace and identify with, Bülent Wongsoy.« Interestingly, the letter »W« doesn’t exist in the Turkish alphabet. »If you have a ›W‹ in your name you can’t spell it. So ›Wongsoy‹ is something that can’t exist. It’s a political statement.« For the live performances, Wong found musicians who played with Ersoy when she lived in exile in Germany. »In a way, I think they understood my work. I explained it to them in parts, so as not to shock them. In the beginning they must have thought I was crazy. I found them through my singing teacher in Istanbul, and it turns out their club is just down the street from my Berlin studio. It came full circle.« We jump to a scene in Wong’s video marking Ersoy’s glorious return to Turkey. We see Wong on a boat coming down the Golden Horn in Istanbul; he is singing a song of celebration in a hot red dress. The next scene is the one recorded live in Berlin, with Wong’s mother as Mother Bülent and himself as Boy Bülent singing a duet. »After that performance, Turkish employees came up to me. They were touched. People who know the original material have a different level of appreciation than people who see it for the first time. It’s an extra layer available only to them.« I wonder how Bülent Ersoy would react if she ever saw Wong’s piece. »She will probably hear about it, we have to show it in Istanbul of course«, he answers. »I almost approached her once, after one of her shows, but I was too shy.«

Lebensmoment spielen, nämlich als er plante, nach Deutschland zu ziehen, aber noch kein Deutsch konnte. Trotzdem scherzt er, daß es spannend sein könnte, die Petra noch einmal zu spielen und dann die beiden Versionen miteinander zu vergleichen. »In Biji Diva! kann man sehen, daß der Gesang mit jedem meiner Auftritte besser wird.« Hier stellten nicht nur die Sprache, sondern auch das Singen eine Hürde da. Wenn diese Hürde nicht länger existiert, ist Wongs Arbeit getan. Aber er nimmt aus jedem Werk etwas mit: »Ein Teil von mir ist türkisch geworden. Und deutsch. Und italienisch. Ich komme aus Singapur, aber was bedeutet das? Es ist nur ein Ort, kein kulturell spezifisches Phänomen. Als ich jünger war, wollte ich meine chinesische Herkunft erkunden, suchte nach einer großartigen Geschichte, auf die ich mich stützen konnte, aber es gab noch so viele andere Aspekte meiner Identität, und welcher ist der stärkste?« Mit einem neuen Projekt zu beginnen macht immer Spaß, und das hat auch mit den Kostümen und Styling zu tun. Wir schauen uns Wongs Perückensammlung an, und er verrät ein paar Berufsgeheimnisse: »Das alles darf nicht viel kosten. Manchmal bastle ich deshalb aus zwei billigen Perücken eine neue, damit ich das nötige Volumen bekomme. Ohne Heißklebepistole geht gar nichts.« Und das Make-up? Das kommt aus einer Jumbo-Schminkbox, die Wong auf dem indischen Markt von Singapur für fünf Dollar gekauft hat. »Funktioniert gut bei Schwarz-Weiß-Filmen, aber ich habe gemerkt, daß es bei Farbe unschön wirken kann. Trotzdem arbeite ich seit kurzem wieder damit.« Wie bei allen seinen Videoarbeiten verändert Wong die Originaltitel leicht. Damit überführt er seine fehlbesetzten Adaptionen in einen zeitgenössischen Kontext und macht sie für Neuinterpretationen zugänglich. Als die Kurden sich bemühten, Ersoy nach ihren Antikriegsäußerungen im Fernsehen als Symbolfigur für ihre Sache zu gewinnen, gab sie eine Pressekonferenz, um wie schon so oft klarzustellen, daß sie niemanden außer sich selbst repräsentierte. »Sie hat sich auch niemals für die Rechte von Schwulen oder Transsexuellen ausgesprochen«, fügt Wong hinzu. »Darum habe ich entschieden, eine Art Instrument zu schaffen: die Bülent, die man vereinnahmen und mit der man sich identifizieren kann – Bülent Wongsoy.« Interessanterweise existiert der Buchstabe »W« im türkischen Alphabet nicht. Das »B« wird als »W« ausgesprochen. »Ein ›W‹ im Namen, das geht nicht, das kann man weder buchstabieren noch aussprechen. ›Wongsoy‹ kann also garnicht existieren. Es ist ein politisches Statement.« Für seine Live-Auftritte fand Wong Musiker, die schon mit Ersoy aufgetreten waren, als sie im deutschen Exil lebte. »Ich glaube, am Anfang haben sie mich für verrückt gehalten, aber ich habe ihnen ganz vorsichtig eröffnet, was ich vorhabe, um sie nicht zu schockieren. Mein Gesangslehrer in Istanbul hat sie mir empfohlen, und dann hat sich herausgestellt, daß sie immer im Club um die Ecke von meinem Berliner Atelier auftreten. Damit schloß sich der Kreis.« Wir springen zu einer Szene in Wongs Video, die von Ersoys ruhmreicher Rückkehr in die Türkei handelt. Zu sehen ist Wong in einem wallenden roten Gewand, wie er auf einem Boot in Istanbul am Goldenen Horn entlangfährt und singt, ein erhabener Moment. Die nächste Szene zeigt die Performance in Berlin: Wongs Mutter als Mother Bülent und Wong selbst als Boy Bülent singen gemeinsam im Duett. »Nach dem Auftritt kamen türkische Angestellte zu mir. Sie waren ganz gerührt. Leute, die das Original kennen, schätzen die Arbeit auf einem anderen Niveau, sie sehen viel mehr als Leute, die das alles zum ersten mal sehen.« Ich frage, wie Bülent Ersoy wohl reagieren würde, wenn sie jemals von Wongs Werk erführe. »Sie wird es wahrscheinlich mitbekommen. Wir planen selbstverständlich, das Werk in Istanbul zu zeigen«, antwortet er. »Einmal hätte ich mich fast getraut, sie anzusprechen, das war nach einer ihrer Shows. Aber dann war ich doch zu schüchtern.« 163


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Equitable Man

Male artists seldom examine gender identities like their female counterparts. Bjørn Venø is not only the exception to that rule, he also seems to have more fun exploring the gender question than some of them… Männliche Künstler setzen sich nur selten auf die gleiche Weise mit Geschlechteridentität auseinander wie ihre weiblichen Gegenüber. Bjørn Venø ist nicht nur die Ausnahme dieser Regel, sondern scheint dabei auch um einiges mehr Spaß zu haben als die Frauen.

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Equitable Man

Anomaly, Chapter II, The Paradigm, 2007. Previous page: The Landing, Chapter I, »Sirkel«, 2006. All images Bjørn Venø, from the series »MANN«, ongoing since 2006. Giclée print, 90 x 127 cm each.

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As a woman artist, you’re inevitably confronted with the following conundrum: while your art may or may not deal with female identity, gender roles, and your body, it will invariably be interpreted as such. You may not be doing anything to invite categorisation as a »female artist« but there’s little you can do to avoid it. Don’t try to address this issue in your art, though, or you’ll be pushed ever deeper into that proverbial box. What seems to be an art world dead-end and a deep-seated and blinkered way of evaluating and signifying creative production finds a surprisingly egalitarian detour in the work of (male) artist Bjørn Venø. In the introduction to his series of self-portraits, titled »MANN«, Venø asks why male artists seldom examine their identities like their female counterparts, citing Claude Cahun, Cindy Sherman and Tracy Emin as examples (this observation applying mostly to heterosexual men, let it be said). After all, he argues, boys don’t have it any easier than girls: the social expectations on males, like physical strength,

Künstlerinnen stehen unausweichlich vor folgendem Dilemma: egal ob ihre Kunst weibliche Identität oder den eigenen Körper zum Thema macht oder nicht, sie wird unabänderlich so interpretiert. Selbst wenn man alles andere als »weibliche« Kunst macht, kann man als Frau nur wenig gegen diese Kategorisierung tun. Im Gegenteil, Künstlerinnen, die sich damit auseinandersetzen, werden gerne erst recht im Bereich »Frauenkunst« verortet. Während sich so manche Künstlerin in eine Sackgasse gedrängt und mit einer engstirnigen Lesart ihrer Kunst konfrontiert sehen mag, präsentiert der norwegische Künstler Bjørn Venø, gewissermaßen als Gleichstellungsbeauftragter und stellvertretend für die männliche Künstlerschaft, das männliche Pendant geschlechtsspezifischer Sinnsuche – freiwillig, und auf explizite, aber leichtfüßige Art. In der Einführung zu seiner Serie von Selbstporträts mit dem Titel »MANN« fragt Venø, warum männliche Künstler sich nur selten auf die gleiche Weise mit ihrer Identität befassen wie weibliche (wobei diese Beobachtung sich wohl eher auf heterosexuelle Männer

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The Fight for the Huts, Chapter I, »Sirkel«, 2006.

financial success and sexual competence can be devastatingly difficult to meet, and thanks to the discrepancy between the ideal and the lived experience boys will almost inevitably experience failure. Venø’s ongoing body of work is comprised of several chapters and explores not only the predicament of men in contemporary society, but seems to look beyond the possible impact of the feminist movement on male self-image. In particular his archaic images evoking biblical connotations seem to suggest that men’s insecurity surrounding the definition of male behaviour is not the product of society, but a problem that came into this world with the evolution of man.

beschränkt), darunter durchaus berühmte Künstlerinnen wie Claude Cahun, Cindy Sherman oder Tracy Emin. Schließlich, so meint er, hätten es Jungs kein bißchen leichter als Mädchen: die Erwartungen, welche die Gesellschaft an Männer richte – bezüglich Körperkraft, finanziellen Erfolgs und sexueller Potenz zum Beispiel –, seien kaum zu erfüllen; Ideal und Wirklichkeit seien so schwierig in Einklang zu bringen, daß Männern ein Gefühl des Scheiterns kaum erspart bliebe. Venøs Serie, die bisher vier Kapitel umfaßt, untersucht nicht nur das Dilemma von Männern in der heutigen Gesellschaft, sondern scheint über die Auseinandersetzung mit der möglichen Wirkung der Frauenbewegung auf das männliche Selbstbild hinauszugehen. Besonders seine archaischen, biblisch konnotierten Darstellungen legen die These nahe, daß die Unsicherheit der Männer in Bezug auf die Definition männlichen Verhaltens nicht das Produkt der Gesellschaft ist, sondern eine Problematik, die dem Mann schon mit seiner Entstehung in die Wiege gelegt wurde. 167


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Déjà vu, Chapter II, »The Paradigm«, 2007.

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Echo, Chapter II, »The Paradigm«, 2007.

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Equitable Man

The Apparition, Chapter I, »Sirkel«, 2006.

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A Mother’s Work

The following photos depict everyday life in a low-income small town in 1940s American Southwest. It is populated exclusively by women, at a time when patriarchal structures made it impossible for a family to function without a father. Do these photos depict reality? No. And yet they offer an accurate picture of the extent of a mother’s role… Die Photos auf den folgenden Seiten zeigen das Alltagsleben in einer verarmten, US-amerikanischen Kleinstadt, die ausschließlich von Frauen bewohnt wird – und das in den vierziger Jahren, zu einer Zeit, als Familien ohne Vater nichts galten. Zeigen diese Photos wirklich, wie es war? Nein. Trotzdem liefern sie ein Bild davon, was Muttersein bedeutet. Text by Emilie Trice Photography by Debbie Grossman

All images Debbie Grossman, from the series »My Pie Town«, 2010, inkjet print, 35.6 × 2 6.7 cm, or 26.7 × 35.6 cm. Courtesy the artist. Anne Hesse, homesteader.

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I was twelve years old when my parents informed me of their imminent separation. It was Halloween. I don’t remember exactly how they told me, nor can I recall how I reacted. I don’t believe I was wearing a costume, as that would probably have made the situation (which was a – if not the – defining moment of my adolescence) significantly less obscure in my memory. As it happened, the entire conflagration of events leading up to their announcement has more or less receded behind the heavy veil of childhood trauma. And I’ve learned recently that this selective memory is a condition typical among children of divorce, an industry standard within the business of marriage, if you will. My father essentially quit, and the business closed. And I can’t remember how or why it happened. And this – I’ve read – is »normal«. What I can remember is what transpired immediately following my parents’ divorce declaration, and what took place in the nine years thereafter, which was spent arguing over the terms of their settlement. »When your father comes to pick you up, don’t let him in the house«, my mother would remind me before heading off to either culinary school or one of her two menial jobs as a prep cook for some fancy restaurant downtown. »Don’t let him take anything. Especially the books.« So I would have standoffs at the front door. With my father. When I was fourteen. »Mom says you can’t come in the house«, I would say, deadpan, not sure if this constituted some form of betrayal. I just did what I was told. What was clear, even then, was that mom had sacrificed for this marriage, for this family. She had married instead of attending graduate school. She had let friendships slide in favour of accompanying my father on his antiquing trips, to auctions or fairs, to benefits with his law firm or for his »historical preservation society«, whatever he wanted. He set the agenda. Her life revolved around his, and then mine,

Ich war zwölf Jahre alt, als mir meine Eltern eröffneten, daß sie sich scheiden lassen würden. Es war Halloween. Ich erinnere mich nicht genau, wie sie es mir beibrachten oder wie ich darauf reagierte. Ich glaube nicht, daß ich ein Kostüm trug. An das Kostüm hätte ich mich sicher genau erinnert, und damit auch an jenen Moment, der meine Jugend am stärksten geprägt hat. Ich erinnere mich auch nicht daran, was dazu führte, daß meine Eltern sich zu diesem Schritt entschlossen; mein Kindheitstrauma liegt unter einem Schleier des Vergessens begraben. Kürzlich las ich irgendwo, daß die selektive Erinnerung ein ganz typisches Phänomen bei Scheidungskindern sei – Scheidungskinder gelten ja mittlerweile gewissermaßen als standardmäßig anfallende Verluste im Ehegeschäft. Mein Vater stieg irgendwann aus diesem Geschäft aus, und ich habe keinerlei Erinnerung daran, wie oder warum dies geschah – aber wenn ich der Lektüre glauben will, gilt das als »normal«. Sehr wohl erinnern kann ich mich aber an das, was direkt auf die Eröffnung meiner Eltern folgte und neun Jahre lang anhielt: nämlich wie meine Eltern sich über die Folgen ihrer Scheidung stritten. »Wenn Dein Vater Dich abholen kommt, laß’ ihn ja nicht ins Haus, hörst Du?«, erinnerte mich meine Mutter auf dem Sprung zum Kochkurs oder zu einem ihrer zwei schlechtbezahlten Jobs als Köchin in irgendwelchen schicken Restaurants. »Paß’ auf, daß er nichts mitnimmt, insbesondere keine Bücher!« Also fand ich mich in unangenehmen Situationen an der Haustür wieder. Mit meinem Vater. Mit vierzehn. »Mama hat gesagt, Du darfst nicht reinkommen«, wiederholte ich artig wie befohlen, aber unsicher, ob ich damit nicht eine Art Verrat beging. Es war offensichtlich, daß meine Mutter für diese Ehe, für diese Familie, Verluste hingenommen hatte. Sie hatte geheiratet, anstatt ihren Uniabschluß zu machen. Sie hatte Freundschaften schleifen lassen, um meinen Vater auf seinen Reisen zu begleiten, auf Auktionen und 173


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Nell Leathers, homesteader, shooting hawks which have been carrying away her chickens. Opposite page: Main Street, Pie Town.

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as she had been taught a proper wife’s life should. The marriage lasted 22 years. It was a good run, but when it ended, she had no career, no bankable skills and no social network. She was 47 years old. And yet mom had always been in charge, in whatever capacity was available to her. She was president of the Parent-Teacher Association. She was the leader of my Girl Scout troop. She drove me and my friends to saxophone lessons, soccer practice, basketball practice, softball practice. She took me to tennis lessons, piano lessons, singing lessons, and art classes at Carnegie University. She pushed me into a million different extracurricular activities, in the desperate hope that one would secure my future as an independent woman. »Don’t end up like me«, she would say. I promised her I wouldn’t. It strikes me as meaningful that during this time my best friends were primarily the children of epic divorces. In comparison with their melodramas, I had faired the best. My father hadn’t cheated, hadn’t impregnated his secretary, or his nurse or anyone else in the time that he was married to my mother. There had been no physical or psychological abuse on either side. My mother had more or less picked up the pieces and carried on, in her way. She didn’t badmouth my father. She treated him like an employee who had quit. She reacted to the announcement that he was leaving by immediately returning to school and going back to work. She would wake up at 6am, drive downtown for class and then leave at 4pm for one of her two jobs, usually finishing around midnight and returning home when I was already asleep. I didn’t see her for about two years. She was busy rebuilding her life, which in turn she assumed would secure mine. She

Messen, auf Wohlstätigkeitsveranstaltungen seiner Kanzlei oder seines Vereins zur Erhaltung historischer Stätten oder was auch immer. Er gab den Ton an. Ihr Leben drehte sich zuerst um seines, dann um meines. Ganz wie sie gelernt hatte, daß es sich für eine gute Ehefrau gehört. Die Ehe hielt 22 Jahre. Es lief lange gut, und dann war es vorbei. Sie hatte keinen Beruf, kein Bankkonto und kein soziales Netzwerk. Sie war 47 Jahre alt. Und trotzdem, Mutter kümmerte sich nach der Scheidung um alles, so gut sie konnte. Sie war die Vorsitzende des Eltern-Lehrer-Vereins. Sie war die Anführerin meiner Pfadfinderinnengruppe. Sie fuhr mich und meine Freundinnen zum Saxophonunterricht, zum Fußball- und Basketballtraining. Sie fuhr mich zum Tennis-, Klavier- und Gesangsunterricht, sogar zu Kunstkursen an der Carnegie University. Sie hat mich zu einer Million verschiedener Hobbys ermutigt, in der verzweifelten Hoffnung, daß eins davon mir eine Zukunft als unabhängige Frau sichern würde. »Schau’ zu, daß Du nicht so endest wie ich«, sagte sie immer. Und ich versprach es ihr. Es erscheint mir bedeutsam, daß fast alle meiner engen Freunde aus dieser Zeit Eltern erdulden mußten, die sich durch langwierige Scheidungsprozesse kämpften. Im Vergleich zu den Melodramen, die sich da teilweise abspielten, war es mir noch gut ergangen. Mein Vater war nicht fremdgegangen, er hatte nicht seine Sekretärin oder seine Krankenschwester geschwängert, während er mit meiner Mutter verheiratet war. Von keiner Seite hatte es körperlichen oder psychologischen Mißbrauch gegeben. Als es zuende war, sammelte meine Mutter kommentarlos die Scherben auf und machte weiter. Auf ihre Art. Sie 175


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later took a job as the lunch lady at a prestigious private girls’ school, just like the one she herself had attended. I felt humiliated for her. I know she also felt humiliated at times, but she simply did what needed to be done because, as she would tell me time and time again, »That’s just what mothers do.« I had always thought she meant, »To be a mother is to suffer.« Now I know she was really saying, »To be a mother is to get the job done.« When I think about women and specifically about mothers I am struck by the tenuous balancing act that constitutes their role, or at least the role I was taught constitutes »mother« while growing up in America. If you imagine the traditional Western family unit as a seesaw on the playground, the mother is like the central fulcrum that balances both sides – the father’s and the child’s – while supporting both. It is an exhausting juggling act. Even more so when the father is trying to ride multiple seesaws at once. Still, the notion of the »homemaker« in current society doesn’t seem to carry the same connotations. »Housewife« has become a dirty word: a surrender to the patriarchal construct, a retreat from the feminist front. In a recent New Yorker article, writer Jane Kramer profiled French feminist Elisabeth Badinter, whose »contrarian feminist polemics« dismiss the maternal instinct as a »sometimes cultural construct«. The French weekly Marianne took a poll in the summer of 2010 that assigned Badinter (born 1944), the title of France’s »most influential intellectual«. She quotes the French anthropologist Claude LéviStrauss, stating, »[he] once said that, in an encounter between two cultures, you have to find the right distance in order to really get to know each other.« A mother of three, Badinter continues by saying, »I think the same applies to mothers and children. If you’re a mother, you are either too present or too absent; you can’t win. You have to be a Mozart of maternity to reach the right absence-presence balance.« It seems to me as if the father is not expected to achieve any balance whatsoever. As the provider, traditionally, for the family, the father is given a relatively free reign to secure the family income. That is his responsibility. The revenue earned is re-invested in the family unit, or set aside as college tuition, for example. And the family progresses, together. So what happens when the father decreases (or completely redacts) his investment in the family? That responsibility then falls to the mother, in addition to all the other tasks she’s juggling. Raising children, rearing life so-to-speak, is obviously no small chore, but neither is running a small business. So when the mother becomes the breadwinner and is still the homemaker she’s basically embodying both gender roles, another incredibly difficult balancing act to maintain. Words that spring to mind when contemplating this scenario include the terminology of 176

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redete niemals schlecht über meinen Vater. Sie behandelte ihn wie einen Angestellten, der gekündigt hat. Kurz nach der Trennung nahm sie ihr Studium wieder auf und ging arbeiten. Sie stand um 6 Uhr auf, fuhr in die Stadt zur Uni und ging danach zu einem ihrer Jobs. Wenn sie nachts von der Arbeit nach hause kam, schlief ich meistens längst. Zwei Jahre lang sah ich sie kaum. Sie war damit beschäftigt, ihr Leben wieder aufzubauen, was in ihren Augen auch das meinige sicherstellen sollte. Später hatte sie eine Stelle als Kantinenköchin in einer angesehenen Mädchenprivatschule – als Kind war sie selber auf so eine Schule gegangen. Ich habe mich für sie geschämt. Ich weiß, daß auch sie sich manchmal schämte, aber sie hat einfach getan, was getan werden mußte. Sie sagte immer, »das machen Mütter nunmal.« Ich dachte immer, sie meinte damit: »Eine Mutter zu sein, heißt zu leiden.« Heute verstehe ich, was sie wirklich meinte: »Eine Mutter zu sein heißt, fraglos die Arbeit zu erledigen.« Wenn ich über Frauen, besonders über Mütter nachdenke, fällt mir auf, was für ein Balanceakt ihre Rolle bedeutet. Zumindest dem Rollenverständnis zufolge, mit dem ich als Kind in den USA aufgewachsen bin. Stellt man sich die traditionelle westliche Familie als Spielplatzwippe vor, dann ist die Mutter der zentrale Hebelpunkt, der beide Seiten ausbalanciert – Vater und Kind – und gleichzeitig beide stützt. Das ist anstrengend. Gerade dann, wenn Vater dauernd von der Wippe ab- und wieder aufspringt. Trotzdem ist der Begriff »Hausfrau« in der heutigen Gesellschaft kaum positiv konnotiert. Hausfrau zu sein wird vielmehr verdammt als Unterwerfung unter das patriarchalische Konstrukt, ein Rückzug von der feministischen Front. In einem Artikel im New Yorker stellte Jane Kramer kürzlich die französische Feministin Elisabeth Badinter vor, deren »auf Krawall gebürstete feministische Polemik« den Mutterinstinkt als ein »zumindest partiell kulturelles Konstrukt« hinterfragt. Die französische Wochenzeitschrift Marianne machte im Sommer 2010 eine Umfrage, die Badinter (Jahrgang 1944) zu Frankreichs »einflußreichster Intellektuellen« kürte. Im New YorkerArtikel zitiert Badinter den französischen Anthropologen Claude LéviStrauss mit dessen These, »um sich wirklich kennenzulernen, muß erst das richtige Maß an Distanz gefunden werden.« Badinter, Mutter von drei Kindern, meint dazu: »Ich glaube, das gleiche gilt für Mütter und Kinder. Als Mutter sind Sie entweder über- oder unterpräsent. Man müßte der Mozart der Mutterschaft sein, um das richtige Gleichgewicht hinzubekommen.« Und vom Vater wird bei der ganzen Sache gar keine Form von Balance erwartet, oder wie? Dem Vater wird größtmögliche Freiheit zugebilligt, damit er als traditioneller Versorger das Familieneinkommen sichern kann. Darin besteht seine Verantwortung. Das Einkommen wird wiederum in die Familieneinheit investiert, zum Beispiel für Studiengebühren beiseitegelegt. So kommt die Familie insgesamt voran. Aber was passiert, wenn der Vater seine Beteiligung am Unternehmen Familie kürzt oder sich komplett herauszieht? Dann fällt sein Anteil an der Verantwortung an die Mutter, zusätzlich zu allen anderen Aufgaben, die sie bereits erfüllt. Kinder aufziehen ist keine kleine Aufgabe, genauso wie Geld verdienen. Beide zu erfüllen bedeutet letztlich, beide Geschlechterrollen zu bedienen – was den Balanceakt noch wackliger macht. Das Muttersein läßt sich durchaus mit Begriffen aus dem Hochleistungssport umschreiben: Durchhaltevermögen, Kondition, Ausdauer, Belastbarkeit. Erfolgreich sind jene Mütter, die es schaffen, diese Werte auch an ihre Kinder weiterzugeben – selbst dann, wenn die einstige Familieneinheit zu Bruch gegangen ist. Das Problem in bezug auf die Weitergabe von Wertvorstellungen aber ist, daß diese Werte im alltäglichen Verhalten einer Person erkennbar sein müssen. Nur so kann sie der Nachwuchs selbst erlernen. Die wenigen Frauen, die dem gewachsen sind, sind unglaublich hart im Nehmen. Die Frauen, die ich meine, sind weit entfernt von dem ikonischen Archetyp der Hausfrau der fünfziger Jahre. Sie ähneln vielmehr den Müttern aus »My Pie

The Fae and Doris Caudill family eating dinner in their dugout. Opposite page: Jessie Evans-Whinery, homesteader, with her wife Edith Evans-Whinery and their baby.

professional athletes: endurance, stamina, perseverance, resilience and determination. The successful mothers, including those whose family unit perhaps collapsed around them beyond their control, are the mothers who can instill these same values in their children. The problem with instilling values, however, is that these values have to be evident in one’s daily behavior in order for them to be imitated and, ultimately, learned by one’s offspring. Theory and practice are two very different things. Not a lot of women can pull this off: it’s a constant battle. And that makes for some incredibly tough women and mothers. Far removed from the 1950s iconic housewife archetype that is still, however ironically, synonymous with »homemaker«, the women I am describing are more akin to those mothers depicted in Debbie Grossman’s series »My Pie Town«. These images portray the work of photographer Russell Lee who in 1940 turned his lens to Pie Town, a small settlement of homesteaders on the western border of New Mexico. By digitally manipulating these photos, Grossman has created a world without fathers. Men are entirely absent. There are only children and visibly hardened women captured in these scenes from the American Southwest, originally taken at the tail end of the Great Depression. »Homesteaders«: the label carries greater association with manual labour than with laundry, unlike the term »housewife« or »homemaker«. And these women appear manly in their dress, their posture and their depicted chores. However, these quasi-nostalgic scenes are less removed from modern reality than one might assume.

Town«, einer Photoserie der Künstlerin Debbie Grossman. Ihre Bilder basieren auf einer Serie des Photographen Russell Lee, der 1940 den Alltag der Siedler von Pie Town dokumentierte, einem Nest irgendwo in New Mexico. Mittels digitaler Manipulation hat Grossman daraus eine Welt ohne Väter geschaffen, Männer sind vollkommen abwesend. Die Szenen aus dem amerikanischen Alltag gegen Ende der Great Depression zeigen einzig Kinder und sichtlich gehärtete Frauen. »Siedler« – im Gegensatz zum Begriff »Hausfrau« ruft dieses Wort eher Assoziationen mit körperlicher Arbeit denn mit Wäschewaschen wach. Und in der Tat erscheinen diese Frauen männlich in ihrer Kleidung, ihrer Körperhaltung und bei der Verrichtung ihrer Tätigkeiten. Nostalgische Szenen, manipuliert dazu, aber weniger von der Wirklichkeit entfernt als man denkt. Die Siedlung ist nämlich eine passende Metapher für das moderne Vorstadthaus (oder die Stadtwohnung), das Headquarter der Familie. Und dieses wird traditionell von der Mutter, der Matriarchin, geführt. Sie ist der Hebel des Familiengeschäfts. Das Geld wird vom Vater heimgebracht, aber die Mutter verteilt es entsprechend, damit alle Familienmitglieder ihre Ziele zum Wohle des gesamten Verbunds erreichen können. Bis dieser aufgelöst wird. Trotz rasant anwachsender Scheidungsraten macht Elisabeth Badinter in der westlichen Gesellschaft gegenwärtig eine kultartige Bewegung aus, die sie »Mutterschaftsfundamentalismus« nennt. Dabei verzichten Frauen freiwillig auf eine Karriere in der Berufswelt und wählen als ihre »Karriere« die Familie. Badinter findet, daß diese »Rückkehr zur naturgegebenen Rolle der Mutterschaft« (so die Ver177


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The homestead remains a fitting metaphor for the modern suburban house (or urban apartment). It is the headquarters, the hub of operations. And it is, or has been traditionally, run by the mother, the matriarch. She is the fulcrum of her family business. The money is brought in by the father and distributed among the children in order to achieve shared family goals. Until it’s not. Still, even in the face of soaring divorce rates, Elisabeth Badinter claims that there is a current trend in Western society, a cult-like movement she terms »motherhood fundamentalism«, in which women are forgoing careers in the work-world and choosing the »career« of raising a family. Badinter insists that this »return to the nature of motherhood«, as its proponents describe it, is actually an »identity crisis« that is undermining years of feminist development and political gains in relation to gender equality. She calls it »a movement dressed in the guise of a modern, moral cause that worships all things natural.« However, in the New Yorker profile, she states that her argument »isn’t against motherhood, it’s against the ›nature‹ of fundamentalists, who say that a child needs only its mother. It’s the ›only‹ that alarms me.« And therein lies the point. Mothers are inherently both feminine and masculine paragons for their children. They intrinsically embody both roles and set examples for future generations. The New Yorker profile also discusses the significant role that Badinter’s father played in her intellectual development. My question is: would she still have the same opinion of mothers had her own father abandoned her? The »family« is essentially a mother’s stock portfolio. She makes consistent investments or deposits in her portfolio for the future security of her children, especially when the father is absent. These are certainly not always financial contributions. They can and often do take other, less material, forms. A perfect example is Bridget. Bridget was a friend of my mother’s before my parents’ divorce. She was already separated or divorced, I can’t recall. But I was set up on play dates with her children, as she was one of my mother’s only friends while she was still married. I never met the father, but I was often at Bridget’s house while growing up. She had a son and a daughter, both my age. They were strange kids but we had fun together, dressing up like super heroes and running around the gently landscaped forests of Pittsburgh suburbia. Bridget’s son, Andrew, was always a bit of an introvert but his mother encouraged him and, since money was tight, she helped him start a small business delivering bagels to the neighbours at a modest mark-up while he was still a kid. Today, he’s 30 years old. He is also the founder and current CEO of Groupon, widely hailed as the fastest growing company in history. According to a report featured in Forbes Magazine, and subsequently in the Wall Street Journal, Groupon is »projecting that the company is on pace to make US $ 1 billion in sales faster than any other business, ever.« Google is reported to have offered US $ 5.3 billion to acquire Groupon, but the offer was turned down. Groupon’s 2011 projected revenues are estimated between 3 - 4 billion, so I guess you could say that the future of Bridget’s family is secure. She performed her role(s) successfully. But her work still isn’t done. A mother’s work is never done.

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A Mother’s Work

fechter dieser Bewegung) in Wirklichkeit eine »Identitätskrise« darstelle, welche jahrelange feministische Bemühungen und politische Fortschritte in bezug auf die Gleichberechtigung der Geschlechter untergrabe und spricht von einer »Bewegung, die vorgibt, modern und moralisch orientiert zu sein, indem sie alles ›Natürliche‹ anbetet.« Sie erklärt weiter, daß sie selber nicht gegen die Mutterschaft an sich eingestellt sei, sondern etwas gegen jene Fundamentalisten habe, die propagieren, ein Kind bräuchte nur und nichts als seine Mutter. Sie sagt, »dieses ›nur‹ alarmiert mich.« Und damit hat sie recht. Moderne Mütter sind nämlich weibliche und männliche Vorbilder für ihre Kinder. Sie verkörpern beide Rollen und sind damit Beispiel für zukünftige Generationen. Der New Yorker erwähnt allerdings auch die wichtige Rolle, die Badinters Vater in Bezug auf ihre intellektuelle Entwicklung einnahm. Ich wüßte gern, ob sie die gleichen Ansichten bezüglich der Mutterrolle verträte, hätte ihr Vater die Familie verlassen. Die »Familie« ist für eine Mutter im wesentlichen wie ein Unternehmen, in das sie zugunsten der Zukunft ihrer Kinder investiert (selbstredend nicht nur finanzieller Art), insbesondere, wenn der Vater fehlt. Das perfekte Beispiel dafür ist Bridget. Bridget ist eine Freundin meiner Mutter aus der Zeit vor ihrer Scheidung und war bereits getrennt oder geschieden, genau erinnere ich mich nicht. Aber ich traf mich oft mit ihren Kindern zum Spielen, da sie eine der wenigen Freundinnen war, die meine Mutter hatte. Den Vater habe ich nie kennengelernt, aber ich war oft bei Bridget zu Hause. Sie hatte einen Sohn und eine Tochter, beide in meinem Alter. Sie waren ein bisschen merkwürdig, aber wir hatten Spaß zusammen und sind als Superhelden verkleidet durch den Wald getobt. Bridgets Sohn Andrew war immer ein bisschen introvertiert, aber seine Mutter brachte ihn dazu – weil das Geld ja knapp war –, noch als Junge eine kleine Firma zu gründen, einen Lieferservice für Bagels, mit dem er sich sein Taschengeld verdiente. Heute ist Andrew 30 Jahre alt und der Gründer und Geschäftsführer von Groupon, einem Unternehmen, das zurzeit als wachstumsintensivstes Unternehmen der Geschichte bejubelt wird. Laut Forbes Magazine und Wall Street Journal ist Groupon »auf dem Weg zu Verkaufszahlen in Höhe von einer Milliarde US-Dollar und damit das schnellstwachsende Unternehmen aller Zeiten.« Google soll 5,3 Milliarden Dollar für Groupon geboten haben, das Angebot wurde aber abgelehnt. Die geschätzten Einnahmen für 2011 liegen zwischen 3 und 4 Milliarden. Man kann also davon ausgehen, daß die Zukunft von Bridgets Familie gesichert ist. Sie hat ihre Rolle(n) mit Erfolg gemeistert. Aber ihre Arbeit ist noch nicht getan. Eine Mutter hört nie auf, Mutter zu sein.

»Swing your partner« square dance. Opposite page: Mildred Anthony, standing by mounted animals which she killed.

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Donna Plant, August 21st, 2005. All images Trish Morrissey, from the series »Front«, 2005 - 0 7. C-print, 80 × 101.6 cm. Commissioned by Impressions Gallery, Bradford. Courtesy the artist and Elaine Levy Project, Brussels.

wife swap

Hayley Coles, June 17th 2006.

Swapping roles with women in their family holiday pictures, Trish Morrissey uses her camera to remind us that the family idyll is not always what it seems. Die Photographin Trish Morrissey ist auf sehr vielen Familienphotos zu sehen, von Familien, die nicht ihre sind, und warnt damit: innige Familienbande können auch gespielt sein. 180

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wife swap

Sylvia Westbrook, August 2nd, 2005.

Katy McDonnell, October 5th, 2007.

English

deutsch

Imagine leafing through your family album and finding a strange photograph taken on a family holiday, long before your parents owned a digital camera. Everyone’s smiling, enjoying a perfect day on the beach. But a strange woman that no one recognises has infiltrated the idyllic scene, ousting your mother. Who is she, why is she there? And what’s happened to mum? In her series »Front«, Irish photographer Trish Morrissey swaps roles with random women she approaches on the beach, taking their place in the family group, and »fronting« as mother, wife or friend. What you get is a standard, even slightly boring, family picture – at first glance, that is. The suggestive ease with which Morrissey slips into these roles is uncanny, and the fact that the women replaced by Morrissey are the ones behind the camera commemorating their own interchangeability is unnerving to say the least. Is swapping clothes really all it takes to assume the façade of a figure so central to the nuclear unit? On closer inspection it becomes clear that the photos have been shot with a 4 × 5 format camera, anything but easy to manoeuver on

Stellen Sie sich vor, Sie blättern durch ein Familienphotoalbum und stoßen auf ein merkwürdiges Photo von einem Familienurlaub am Strand. Es ist lange her, aber Sie erinnern sich noch ganz genau, es war ein schöner Tag und alle waren glücklich. Nur was macht diese fremde Frau da im Bild, die gehört doch gar nicht dazu? Und wo ist eigentlich Ihre Mutter? Für ihre Serie »Front« betreibt die irische Photographin Trish Morrissey eine Art Frauentausch. Sie bittet Familien am Strand, den Platz eines weiblichen Familienmitglieds – meistens der Mutter – einnehmen zu dürfen, welche dann ein Bild schießt. Das Resultat: ein typisches, fast langweiliges Erinnerungsphoto – allerdings nur auf den ersten Blick. Die Leichtigkeit, mit der sich Morrissey in die Rolle von fremden Frauen begibt und in deren Familie einfügt, ist genauso unheimlich wie die Tatsache, daß das eigentliche Familienmitglied hinter der Kamera seine eigene Austauschbarkeit festhält. Reicht es wirklich, einfach nur in die Kleider der anderen zu schlüpfen, um ihren Platz auszufüllen, einen Platz, der von so zentraler Bedeutung für das familiäre Gesamtgefüge ist?

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the beach. The images are in fact highly performative constructs operating within the realm of the fake. Here, the medium of photography is explored – and subsequently exposed – as a tool for constructing and manipulating narratives. The photographs penetrate the sanctity of the family cell, but unlike the simulacra of smiling families we see in advertisements and that our eyes are trained to unveil as fake, the families in Morrissey’s photographs are actual accomplices in a nightmarish joke. After studying them a bit longer, the images start to exude an air of awkwardness, a husband’s tense body language or a child’s uncomfortable squirming. And this is where »Front« ultimately reinstates the value of genetic and emotional family ties.

Bei näherer Betrachtung wird deutlich, daß die Photos keinesfalls Schnappschüsse sind, sondern mit einer nicht gerade strandtauglichen Mittelformatkamera aufgenommen wurden. Und spätestens mit dieser Entdeckung fällt dem Betrachter auf, daß es sich hier um künstliche Konstrukte handelt. Wie so oft wird auch hier das scheinbar dokumentarische Medium Photographie als Manipulationswerkzeug entlarvt. Die Photos stellen das Ideal der intakten Familie infrage, aber anders als in typischen Werbemotiven von glücklichen Muttis, Vatis und produktgenährten Kindern, die wir natürlich als geschauspielert wahrnehmen, beteiligen sich die Familienmitglieder alle freiwillig an Morrisseys Schwindel. Hier und da allerdings tauchen Zweifel an der uneingeschränkten Zustimmung auf: da ist der Ehemann, der seinen Arm etwas zu verkrampft um seine »neue« Frau legt, oder das Kleinkind, das sich mit seinen Ärmchen abwehrend gegen ihren Körper stemmt. Es ist diesen kleinen Zeichen zu verdanken, daß es der Serie ihrem hinterfragenden Anspruch zum Trotz letztlich doch gelingt, die genetische und emotionale Bedeutung von Familienbanden zu bestätigen. 183


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Chloe Gwynne, May 30th, 2005.

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Racheal Hobson, September 2nd, 2007.

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Parental guidance

By Ana Finel Honigman

Deutsch

English

Most people are mutts – compelling combinations of their parents’ genes. Yet sometimes two pugs produce a perfectly executed third pug, and sometimes two pugs mate and mysteriously create a Great Dane. Similarly, artistic talent can seem arbitrarily ascribed within families. Here a litter of artists discuss the relationship between their familial origin and their artistic interests and abilities. Accepting a child’s artistic interest is an act of faith for most parents. Parental responses to their children’s artistic aspirations are often clouded by concern over the precarious nature of artistic success and the real risk of frustration and failure. Art’s obscure and abstract vocabulary can also alienate protective parents. Ultimately though, interesting art is always an expression of the artist’s identity. And artists, like the rest of us, have their characters crafted at home. The participating artists are Dan Attoe, Delia Brown, Dan Colen, Sue de Beer, Maria Marshall and Jordan Wolfson. Although their practices and interests vary, these artists have all achieved enough success to make any parent proud.

Die meisten Menschen sind Promenadenmischungen – naturgegebene Kombinationen der elterlichen Gene. Allerdings geht zum Beispiel aus der Paarung zweier Möpse zwar meistens ein ganz und gar perfekt definierter dritter Mops hervor – manchmal aber mysteriöserweise eine Deutsche Dogge. So ähnlich ist es auch mit künstlerischem Talent, das sich mitunter ziemlich willkürlich in einem ansonsten kunstfernen Stammbaum zeigt. Das Verhältnis von familiärem Ursprung und künstlerischen Neigungen zu erforschen, wird vielleicht keine wissenschaftlich validen Ergebnisse hervorbringen, ist uns aber trotzdem einen Beitrag wert. Das künstlerische Interesse eines Kindes zu akzeptieren beruht meist auf einem Vertrauensakt seitens der Eltern. Elterliche Reaktionen auf die künstlerischen Ambitionen der eigenen Kinder sind oft überschattet von Sorgen über die prekäre Natur des Künstlerdasein sowie das Risiko von Frustration und Scheitern. Bei allzu unsicheren Eltern kann zudem das abstrakte Vokabular der Kunst für Unverständnis und Entfremdung sorgen. Schlußendlich aber spricht interessante Kunst immer auch für die Identität eines Künstlers. Und wie bei jedem Mensch wird diese auch bei Künstlern zuhause geformt. Die Künstler, die sich unseren Fragen nach ihrer Herkunft stellen, sind Dan Attoe, Delia Brown, Dan Colen, Sue de Beer, Maria Marshall und Jordan Wolfson. Ihre Interessen und die Art ihrer künstlerischen Praxis könnte nicht unterschiedlicher sein, aber alle eint ein künstlerischer Erfolg, der ihre Eltern mit Stolz erfüllt.

MARIA MARSHALL Maria Marshall undermines maternity’s clichés with disarming videos of her kids Raphael and Jacob. When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Cooker for example features footage of her two-year old son, digitally altered to show him smoking a cigarette.

Maria Marshall untergräbt Mutterschaftsklischees mit entwaffnenden Videos ihrer Söhne Raphael und Jacob. When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Cooker zeigt zum Beispiel ihren Zweijährigen, wie er – dank digitaler Bearbeitung – eine Zigarette raucht.

Do you feel that you inherited your talent or artistic inclinations from your parents? Maria Marshall: Absolutely. My mother was a painter. Lucian Freud type figurative painting. She didn’t pursue it, but she had - she has - a talent for sure, one that I admire, and I am not easily moved. My father has an inspiring mind and musical ear. So I guess you add up the sum of both parts and you get me.

sleek:

sleek:

sleek:

How do your parents respond to your work?

MM: They are both very supportive and disappointed in their own ways.

Is artistic talent nature or nurture? By way of an answer, six artists ponder the source of their existence – their parents. Ist künstlerisches Talent eine Frage der Gene oder der Erziehung? Auf der Suche nach Antworten sinnen sechs Künstler über die Wurzeln ihrer Existenz – ihre Eltern.

My father is obsessed with success. Success can be defined in so many different ways. I don’t believe that I would ever be able to satisfy his expectations; he always wants more, more, more. My mother on the other hand is the eternal optimist and when the going gets tough, she always looks on the bright side. She only ever displays disappointment for a second or two. She married my father at 16 so I guess we have all been railroaded by his obsession with success. sleek: Do you discuss your process or planned projects with them? Do you show them finished pieces? MM: Sometimes I ask for their help. They are both in a feature I recently made. They are both incredibly charismatic. I also made a film with my grandmother who will be 100 next week. My father helped think up the questions. Somehow we are all in it together.

How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to become a professional artist?

sleek: Maria Marshall’s parents, Odette and Sam Marshall with children, 1970.

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Haben Sie Ihre künstlerischen Neigungen von Ihren Eltern geerbt? Absolut. Meine Mutter war Malerin. Figurative Malerei, ein bisschen wie Lucian Freud. Obwohl sie irgendwann aufgehört hat, hatte sie – hat sie – ganz sicher Talent. Eines, das ich bewundere, und das will etwas heißen bei mir, wenn ich so etwas sage. Mein Vater hat einen inspirierenden Geist und musikalisches Gehör. Wenn man die Summe dieser Teile addiert, komme als Ergebnis ich dabei heraus.

Maria Marshall:

Wie reagieren Ihre Eltern auf Ihre Arbeiten? Sie unterstützen mich, sind aber auch jeweils auf ihre Art enttäuscht. Mein Vater ist erfolgsbesessen. Erfolg läßt sich so unterschiedlich definieren, aber ich glaube nicht, daß ich jemals seine Erwartungen erfüllen könnte; er will immer mehr, mehr, mehr. Meine Mutter auf der anderen Seite ist die ewige Optimistin, wenn’s mal nicht so gut läuft, bleibt sie trotzdem hoffnungsvoll. Wenn sie jemals Enttäuschung zeigt, dann dauert das nie länger als ein, zwei Sekunden. Als sie meinen Vater geheiratet hat, war sie 16. Wir alle standen eigentlich immer unter dem Druck seiner Erfolgsbesessenheit. sleek: MM:

Sprechen Sie mit ihnen über Ihre Arbeit, zeigen Sie ihnen Ihre Werke? MM: Manchmal bitte ich sie um Hilfe. Sie spielen beide in einem Film mit, den ich kürzlich gedreht habe. Beide haben ein unglaubliches Charisma. Ich habe auch einen Film mit meiner Oma gedreht, die wird nächste Woche 100. Mein Vater hat mir dabei geholfen. Irgendwie gehören wir da alle gemeinsam dazu. sleek:

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MM: I used to paint in oils at my mother’s studio, which was on the way from school. She was a mature student at art college. I was 10, or 11. I used to run and dance. Like running and dancing, art started there and never ended. No one questioned it. Maybe they thought it was ok for a girl…

In what ways are your parents creative? MM: They both have a great eye and like beautiful things. My father recently sang in my brother’s band.

haben Ihre Eltern reagiert, als Sie ihnen gesagt haben, daß Sie von Beruf Künstlerin werden wollen? MM: Meine Mutter hat als Erwachsene noch mal Kunst studiert, ihr Atelier lag auf meinem Schulweg. Ich habe da früher mit Ölfarben gemalt, da war ich vielleicht 10 oder 11. Ich bin früher auch gelaufen und habe getanzt. Mit der Kunst war es wie mit dem Laufen und Tanzen, das hat irgendwann angefangen und halt bis heute nicht aufgehört. Niemand hat das je infrage gestellt. Vielleicht dachten sie, für ein Mädchen sei das schon in Ordnung.

sleek: How would you respond if your children wanted to become artists?

sleek:

I wouldn’t fight it. But their father is an anaesthetist, so they have a flair for science. At the moment they are doing everything: design and technology, science and geography, and the younger one is doing drama. So we’ll see. Environmental Science could be the way forward, who knows. It’s topical. It’s a strange time to grow up, with the price tag of education weighing heavily around their necks, with global warming and non-transparent governments. They are conscious objectors, how do they want to voice this?

MM: Beide haben ein tolles Auge und lieben schöne Dinge. Vor kurzem

sleek:

MM:

sleek: Wie

and building materials around, and when I was fourteen they got me a set of acrylic paints and some watercolour paper. sleek:

How do your parents respond to your work?

DA: In many ways, it’s still a mystery to me how they feel about it. They

don’t talk about my work much, and when they do it’s to criticize my »foul mouth«. I think they like some of it though, and appreciate the time I put into it. For the most part, art and the art world are alien places to my parents who have only been to a few museums in their life, and only a couple of shows I was in during college.

Inwiefern sind Ihre Eltern kreativ?

hat mein Vater in der Band von meinem Bruder gesungen. Wie würden Sie darauf reagieren, wenn Ihre Kinder Künstler werden wollten? MM: Ich würde mich dem nicht entgegenstellen. Aber ihr Vater ist Anästhesist, das heißt, sie haben auch ein Gespür für Naturwissenschaft. Im Moment beschäftigen sie sich mit allem möglichen, mit Design und Technik, Wissenschaft und Geografie. Der Jüngere spielt noch dazu Theater. Schauen wir also mal. Umweltwissenschaft wäre vielleicht das Richtige, wer weiß. Es ist eine eigenartige Zeit, in der Kinder heute aufwachsen. Die Kosten für Bildung sind immens hoch, das kann sie unter Druck setzen, dann kommt noch die Erderwärmung dazu und undurchsichtige Regierungen. Sie wachsen mit einer bewußten Protesthaltung auf, wer weiß, wie sie dem eines Tages Ausdruck verleihen wollen? sleek:

früher immer darauf bestanden haben, daß ich mich selbst beschäftige. In meiner Kindheit hatten wir keinen Fernseher, aber dafür ganz viel Material zum Malen und Basteln. Und als ich 14 war, haben sie mir ein Set Acrylfarben und Aquarellpapier geschenkt.

sleek: Do you discuss your process or planned projects with them? Do you show them finished pieces? DA: I’ve explained my process to them, but don’t discuss work with them. Every once in a while they’ll ask what I’m painting, and I’ll give them a brief description of whatever I’m working on at that moment. I show them finished pieces, but not everything.

How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to become a professional artist? DA: I think they were concerned, they wanted me to get more experience with design or something computer based. They felt more secure when I was on track to do something with psychology for sure. sleek:

sleek:

In what ways are your parents creative?

Wie reagieren Ihre Eltern auf Ihre Arbeiten? In vielerlei Hinsicht ist es mir immer noch ein Geheimnis, wie sie darüber denken. Sie sprechen nicht viel über meine Arbeit und wenn doch, dann kritisieren sie meine ›schlimme Sprache‹. Trotzdem glaube ich, manches gefällt ihnen schon, und sie finden auch gut, wieviel Zeit ich in meine Arbeit stecke. Zum größten Teil sind Kunst und die Kunstwelt jedenfalls fremde Welten für meine Eltern. In ihrem ganzen Leben haben sie nur wenige Museen besucht und nur sehr wenige von den Ausstellungen, an denen ich während des Studiums teilgenommen habe. sleek: DA:

Sprechen Sie mit ihnen über Ihre Arbeit, zeigen Sie ihnen Ihre Werke? DA: Ich habe ihnen schon meinen Arbeitsprozess erklärt, aber über Werke spreche ich nicht mit ihnen. Ab und zu fragen sie mich, woran ich gerade male und ich gebe ihnen eine kurze Beschreibung von was immer ich gerade mache. Ich zeige ihnen fertige Arbeiten, aber nicht alles. sleek:

sleek: Wie

DA: My mom likes to knit and make handmade greeting cards. My dad

takes photos and does Sudoku. How would you respond if your children wanted to be artists? If my daughter wanted to be an artist I’d be supportive, but I’d also require that she work different jobs, so she could understand basic things about business and the work ethic, and have something to fall back on if being an artist didn’t work out. She probably will have some interest in art, at ten months she’s already very interested in my paintings – she looks at them for a while and points and makes funny sounds sleek:

haben Ihre Eltern reagiert, als Sie ihnen gesagt haben, daß Sie von Beruf Künstler werden wollen? DA: Ich glaube, sie waren besorgt. Sie wollten, daß ich was Computerbasiertes oder was mit Design ausprobiere. Sie waren auf jeden Fall etwas erleichtert, als ich dann was mit Psychologie machen wollte.

DA:

Mom, Dad and Dan Attoe, 1975.

DAN ATTOE Dan Attoe, whose poetic and unnerving paintings and light sculptures often reference his upbringing in tiny rural towns, is contemplating a fresh awareness of genetics since he became a first-time father this year. Do you feel that you inherited your talent or artistic inclinations from your parents? Dan Attoe: Neither of my parents is an artist or has a background in art. My father was a forester and now monitors sleep studies at a hospital, and my mom has a degree in journalism but worked as a librarian in several of the small towns we lived in. Both have artistic tendencies though – my dad always took photographs, and my mom has always enjoyed knitting and handicrafts. I can point to several inherited traits from each of them that are integral to my work. From my dad I got an appreciation of landscape, wildlife, a sense of place, and a steady work ethic. From my mother I got an attention to detail, and an interest in culture and literature. Another thing that’s fundamental to why I’m a painter now that I can attribute to my parents is that they were adamant about raising me to entertain myself – for much of my childhood we didn’t have a TV but we had plenty of drawing

Dan Attoes gleichsam poetischen wie zermürbenden Bilder und Lichtskulpturen verweisen oft auf das Leben in den Provinzdörfern, in denen er aufgewachsen ist. Seit er dieses Jahr zum ersten Mal selbst Vater geworden ist, hat er ein genetisches Bewußtsein entwickelt.

Inwiefern sind Ihre Eltern kreativ? Meine Mutter strickt gern und bastelt Grußkarten. Mein Vater macht Photos und spielt Sudoku.

sleek: DA:

sleek: Wie würden Sie darauf reagieren, wenn Ihre Kinder Künstler werden wollten? DA: Wenn meine Tochter Künstlerin werden wollte, würde ich das unterstützen, aber verlangen, daß sie verschiedene Jobs ausprobiert, einfach um zu lernen, was Arbeit bedeutet, und auch, um etwas zu haben, auf das sie zurückgreifen kann, wenn das Künstlerdasein scheitern sollte. Wahrscheinlich wird sie ein gewisses Interesse an Kunst haben – mit zehn Monaten ist sie bereits sehr an meinen Bildern interessiert. Sie betrachtet sie eine zeitlang, zeigt dann auf irgendetwas und macht dazu lustige Geräusche.

sleek:

188

Haben Sie Ihre künstlerischen Neigungen von Ihren Eltern geerbt? Meine Eltern sind beide keine Künstler und haben auch keinen künstlerischen Hintergrund. Mein Vater war früher Förster und überwacht heute Schlafstudien in einem Krankenhaus. Meine Mutter hat einen Abschluß in Journalismus, arbeitete aber als Bibliothekarin in jener Sorte Kleinstadt, in der wir früher gewohnt haben. Trotzdem haben beide künstlerische Neigungen – mein Vater hat immer photographiert und meine Mutter Handarbeiten gemacht, zum Beispiel gestrickt. Ich kann einige von ihnen ererbte Züge auflisten, die für meine Arbeit wichtig sind. Von meinem Vater habe ich meine Liebe zu Landschaft und Tieren, einen Sinn für Orte und eine stabile Arbeitsmoral. Von meiner Mutter habe ich Detailgenauigkeit sowie mein Interesse an Kultur und Literatur. Noch etwas, daß mit meinen Eltern zu tun hat, und fundamental für mein Künstlersein ist: daß sie sleek:

Dan Attoe:

Delia Brown’s parents: Rick Brown, at an anti-War rally in San Francisco, 1970, and Marianne Parker Brown, at home in Berkeley, 1970.

Delia Brown Delia Brown’s painterly subjects include a breed of pampered young rich women who might eventually have children as chic accessories, and photorealistic images of bourgeois mothers and children in staid suburban family environments.

Delia Brown malt häufig junge, reiche Frauen, von denen man schon ahnt, daß sie ihre zukünftigen Kinder eher wie schicke Accessoires behandeln werden, oder gesetzte Vorstadtmütter und ihre Kinder. 189


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Parental guidance

Do you feel that you inherited your talent or artistic inclinations from your parents? Delia Brown: Not really. sleek:

sleek:

Haben Sie Ihre künstlerischen Neigungen von Ihren Eltern geerbt? Nicht wirklich.

Delia Brown:

Wie reagieren Ihre Eltern auf Ihre Arbeiten? Auf der einen Seite sind sie stolz auf mich – sehr stolz. Auf der anderen Seite wundern sie sich: was sollen eigentlich diese Themen? Woher hat sie das bloß? Sie haben lange gebraucht, um zu verstehen, daß es in meiner Arbeit um Katharsis geht, um den Rausch materieller Exzesse und um Läuterung – um inneren Konflikt. Diese Deutungsebene ist ihnen lange komplett verborgen geblieben, erstmal waren sie von den Bildern einfach nur geschockt. Ihre eigene Tochter, so »arty« und dekadent – das zeigt nicht die Wertvorstellungen, nach denen sie mich erzogen haben.

sleek:

How do your parents respond to your work? DB: On the one hand they’re proud of me – very proud. On the other, they’re like, what is this subject matter about? How did she get these values? It’s taken them a long time to understand that my work is about catharsis – about bingeing and purging on material excess – and internal conflict. I think the subtlety of that took them a long time to grasp, because the imagery just freaked them out, their daughter being arty and decadent – those aren’t the values they raised me on. sleek:

sleek: Do you discuss your process or planned projects with them? Do you show them finished pieces? DB: I discuss it with them sometimes. We’re really close – I live a block away from them now, so we have dinner together a couple times a week.

How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to become a professional artist? DB: My dad says he knew I was going to be an artist when I was seven. They kept all my artwork from when I was a kid. But when I was finishing high school and wanted to stay in LA and go to Cal Arts and marry my surfer boyfriend, my dad was like: No, if you go to art school you can pay for it yourself. If you want us to put you through college you’re going to get a liberal arts degree. I don’t know if that’s because he was afraid my choices would be too limited by studying only art, or if he just wanted me to know more about the world through different disciplines.

DB:

Sprechen Sie mit ihnen über Ihre Arbeit, zeigen Sie ihnen Ihre Werke? DB: Manchmal rede ich mit ihnen darüber. Wir stehen uns sehr nahe. Ich wohne gleich um die Ecke, deshalb treffen wir uns ein paarmal pro Woche zum Abendessen. sleek:

sleek:

sleek:

In what ways are your parents creative?

sleek: Wie

haben Ihre Eltern reagiert, als Sie ihnen gesagt haben, daß Sie von Beruf Künstlerin werden wollen? DB: Mein Vater behauptet, er wußte schon, als ich sieben war, daß ich Künstlerin werden würde. Sie haben all meine Kinderbasteleien aufgehoben. Aber als ich mit der Schule fertig war und in Los Angeles bleiben, am Cal Arts studieren und einen Surfer heiraten wollte, meinte mein Vater: Wenn Du auf die Kunsthochschule gehen willst, dann mußt Du das selbst bezahlen. Wenn Du willst, daß wir für dein Studium bezahlen, kannst Du was mit Geisteswissenschaften machen. Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob das damit zu tun hatte, daß er Angst hatte, ich hätte zu wenig Auswahlmöglichkeiten, wenn ich nur Kunst studiere.

DB: Well my mom is really serious about gardening. Not in a little old

lady tending to her flowers kind of way – she’s into sustainable gardens you can eat. She spends all her time since she retired teaching students at the public schools in LA how to grow vegetables, mulch, etc. She’s like a kind of Jamie Oliver. My dad developed a research system for studying California state healthcare demographics. He’s won some statistics awards for it, and other states are using it as a model. How would you respond if your children wanted to be artists? I’d be like: Do it! But marry a doctor!! My parents forgot to tell me to marry a doctor.

sleek: DB:

Inwiefern sind Ihre Eltern kreativ? Also meine Mutter ist eine richtige Gärtnerin. Aber nicht so wie alte Damen, die ihre Blümchen gießen. Ihr Ding sind nachhaltige Gärten, in denen man richtig ernten kann. Seit sie in Rente ist, verbringt sie ihre gesamte Zeit damit, Schülern in L.A. beizubringen, wie man Gemüse, Mulch usw. anbaut. Sie ist so eine Art Jamie Oliver. Mein Vater hat ein System entwickelt, mit dem sich die Demographie des staatlichen Gesundheitssystems von Kalifornien abbilden läßt. Dafür hat er ein paar Auszeichnungen in Statistik bekommen, und auch andere Bundesstaaten nutzen jetzt dieses Modell.

sleek: DB:

sleek: Wie würden Sie darauf reagieren, wenn Ihre Kinder Künstler werden wollten? DB: Ich würde sagen: Mach’ es! Aber heirate einen Arzt! Meine Eltern haben versäumt mir zu sagen, daß ich einen Arzt heiraten soll.

Dan Colen The significance of ethnic and family identity is often overshadowed in Dan Colen’s scrappy, witty, puckish paintings and sculptures. But a recent gallery exhibition included cheeky references to his Jewish upbringing through the placement of prayer shawls over his erect penis. Do you feel that you inherited your talent or artistic inclinations from your parents? Dan Colen: I’m definitely their child... I’m made up of their DNA. I remember getting dragged around museums when I was young. My father would also check out books from the library almost compul-

Die chaotischen, geistreich-frechen Bilder und Skulpturen von Dan Colen behandeln nur selten das Thema familiärer Identität. Doch kürzlich präsentierte er bei einer Galerieausstellung ziemlich unverfrorene Anspielungen auf seinen jüdischen Hintergrund, zum Beispiel in Form von Gebetsschals, über seinen erigierten Penis drapiert.

sively. Usually books on Cézanne or Picasso or Impressionism. But by the time I was a teenager my dad was becoming more sophisticated or more thoroughly educated. It’s important to know both my parents were from Brooklyn and had no exposure to modern art till they were adults. My dad was a sheltered yeshiva boy. Anyway, I remember him at some point bringing home books on Cy Twombly and Jasper Johns. He talked about how he had read that these were two of the most important artists of our time. He did not understand their work but respected that good art was not always obvious or easy to digest. I remember he looked at those books constantly and read everything he could on those artists. I remember feeling like he had struggled with the work so much that he had come to respect the art historians’ opinions. Some of the works he came to love and appreciate, others he never fell in love with. But he struggled to understand them. That was a great lesson for me, I think of it as one my foundations for making art and looking at art. How do your parents respond to your work? I think they’ve always enjoyed my work. They appreciate some bodies more than others.

entliehen. Am Anfang waren das Bücher über Cézanne, Picasso, Impressionismus, eher einfache Sachen. Aber mit der Zeit wurde mein Vater wählerischer, vielleicht auch geschulter in seinem Blick. Dazu muß man wissen, daß meine Eltern beide aus Brooklyn stammen und erst als Erwachsene zum ersten mal mit Kunst in Berührung kamen. Mein Vater wuchs als Jude streng gläubig und sehr behütet auf. Jedenfalls brachte mein Vater irgendwann Bücher über Cy Twombly und Jasper Johns nach hause und sagte, er habe gelesen, daß dies zwei der bedeutendsten Künstler unserer Zeit seien. Er verstand ihre Arbeiten nicht, aber ihm war bewußt, daß gute Kunst nicht immer leicht zugänglich ist. Also las er alles, was er über diese Künstler finden konnte. Ich erinnere mich, wie ich das Gefühl hatte, daß er so lange mit der Deutung ihrer Arbeiten kämpfte, bis er aufgab und die Thesen von Kunsthistorikern akzeptierte. Manche Kunst liebte und schätzte er, mit anderer wurde er nie warm. Aber er bemühte sich immer, zu verstehen... Das war mir eine gute Lehre... ich denke, darin liegen meine Wurzeln dafür, wie ich selber Kunst mache und Kunst betrachte.

sleek: DC:

sleek:

Wie reagieren Ihre Eltern auf Ihre Arbeiten?

DC: Ich glaube, sie haben immer Spaß an meiner Arbeit gehabt. Man-

che Sachen gefallen ihnen besser als andere. sleek: Do you discuss your process or planned projects with them? Do you

sleek:

190

Dan Colen’s parents, Harriet and Sy Colen, at the end of the 1970s.

Haben Sie Ihre künstlerischen Neigungen von Ihren Eltern geerbt? Ich bin auf jeden Fall ihr Kind… ich bestehe aus ihrer DNA. Ich erinnere mich an endlose Museumsbesuche als Kind. Und mein Vater hat am laufenden Band Kunstbücher aus der Bibliothek

sleek:

Dan Colen:

show them finished pieces? DC: They see some of the process and I sometimes talk to them about the things I’m struggling with or the things that are exciting me. But in general I most enjoy presenting my work to whatever audience in

Sprechen Sie mit ihnen über Ihre Arbeit, zeigen Sie ihnen Ihre Werke? DC: Sie bekommen Teile des Prozesses mit und manchmal rede ich mit ihnen über die Dinge, bei denen ich gerade feststecke oder die mich sleek:

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Parental guidance

a finished state outside of my studio. That said, I try to share a lot of my process in my finished works. How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to become a professional artist? DC: They’ve always been very, very supportive.

gerade besonders begeistern. Aber normalerweise zeige ich meine Werke – egal welchem Publikum – am liebsten im fertigen Zustand und außerhalb meines Ateliers.

How would you respond if your children wanted to be artists? I would be so proud!

Inwiefern sind Ihre Eltern kreativ?

sleek:

Sleek:

SdB:

SdB: Meine Mutter hat wirklich wunderschöne Portraitphotos gemacht

und meine Stiefmutter tolle falsche Bärte.

sleek:

sleek: Wie

haben Ihre Eltern reagiert, als Sie ihnen gesagt haben, daß Sie von Beruf Künstlerin werden wollen? DC: Sie haben mich immer sehr stark unterstützt.

In what ways are your parents creative? DC: They are both very talented in very different ways. I’ve been lucky in that way... I’ve learned different and equally important things from each of them. What exactly makes an activity a creative one is hard to say.

sleek: Wie würden Sie darauf reagieren, wenn Ihre Kinder Künstler werden wollten? SdB: Ich wäre so stolz!

sleek:

Inwiefern sind Ihre Eltern kreativ? Sie sind beide auf unterschiedliche Weise sehr begabt. In diesem Sinne hatte ich Glück… ich habe verschiedene und zu gleichen Teilen wichtige Dinge von beiden gelernt. Was genau eine Tätigkeit kreativ macht, lässt sich dabei schwer sagen. sleek: DC:

sleek: How would you respond if your

children wanted to be artists? DC: It’s hard to answer this hypothetically. But I’d hope I could be supportive of whatever it was my child might want to pursue.

Wie würden Sie darauf reagieren, wenn Ihre Kinder Künstler werden wollten? DC: Das lässt sich schwer hypothetisch beantworten. Aber ich wünsche mir, dass ich unterstützen würde, für was auch immer sich mein Kind entscheiden würde. sleek:

Sue de Beer’s mother, Lynn Susan de Beer, around 1970.

Sue De Beer Sue de Beer’s art focuses on adolescence, a time when parents and parenting can be equally unpleasant, and her films often dig deeply into horror cinema’s nightmarish metaphors of motherhood. Do you feel that you inherited your talent or artistic inclinations from your parents? Sue de Beer: My mother was a sort of serious amateur photographer and made a few experimental films before her death – she died quite young. I didn’t learn about her films until after I was already making videos and was moved that she had also been interested in film and filmmaking. I have some of her cameras and shot with her Nikon for a long time. My stepmother was a passionate Halloween costume maker and I’m sure some of my love of the grade-school play aesthetic comes from that. My favourite was a garbage bag costume she made for my brother, where she made him into trash with legs.

Sue de Beers Kunst behandelt oft das Thema Pubertät – eine Zeit, in der Eltern haben und Eltern sein gleichsam anstrengend ist –, und ihre Filme liefern häufig Metaphern für das Thema Mutterschaft, die nur von Horrorfilmen inspiriert sein können.

sleek:

How do your parents respond to your work? Proud but a little confused.

sleek: SdB:

Haben Sie Ihre künstlerischen Neigungen von Ihren Eltern geerbt? Meine Mutter war eine Art ernsthafte Amateurphotographin, und vor ihrem Tod hat sie auch ein paar Experimentalfilme gemacht. Sie ist ziemlich früh gestorben. Ich selbst habe von ihren Filmen überhaupt erst erfahren, als ich bereits Videos machte und war sehr bewegt zu erfahren, daß auch sie sich für Film interessiert hat. Ich besitze ein paar von ihren Kameras und habe lange Zeit mit ihrer Nikon photographiert. Meine Stiefmutter hat leidenschaftlich gern Halloweenkostüme genäht, und ich bin mir sicher, das mein Hang zu meiner Grundschultheater-Ästhetik zum Teil daher kommt. Am tollsten fand ich das Mülleimerkostüm, das sie mal für meinen Bruder gebastelt hat – Müll auf Beinen.

sleek:

Sue de Beer:

Wie reagieren Ihre Eltern auf Ihre Arbeiten? SdB: Stolz, aber auch ein bisschen verwirrt. sleek:

sleek: Do you discuss your process or planned projects with them? Do you

show them finished pieces? SdB: They don’t always see what I do. They live far away geographically. Sometimes I call my older sister to talk about my projects. I made a film as a gift for my sister in 2009. She called me when it went on YouTube . How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to become a professional artist? SdB: I had already been expelled from high school, so they were glad, I guess, that I had something that I knew I wanted to do. sleek:

In what ways are your parents creative? My mother took very beautiful portraits. And my stepmother made great fake beards. sleek: SdB:

192

Sprechen Sie mit ihnen über Ihre Arbeit, zeigen Sie ihnen Ihre Werke? SdB: Sie sehen nicht alles, was ich mache. Sie wohnen weit weg. Manchmal rufe ich meine ältere Schwester an und rede mit ihr über meine Projekte. 2009 habe ich meiner Schwester ein Filmgeschenk gemacht. Sie rief mich ganz aufgeregt an, als er auf YouTube zu sehen war. sleek:

sleek: Wie

haben Ihre Eltern reagiert, als Sie ihnen gesagt haben, daß Sie von Beruf Künstlerin werden wollen? SdB: Ich war da schon von der Schule geflogen, und ich glaube, sie waren ganz froh, daß es immerhin überhaupt etwas gab, das ich machen wollte.

JORDAN WOLFSON Jordan Wolfson’s video work does not directly address issues of family but his intellectually supportive upbringing informs his artistic identity. Do you feel you inherited your talent or artistic inclinations from your parents? Jordan Wolfson: No, but my mother’s mother was an artist, as was my father’s father.

Jordan Wolfsons Videokunst beschäftigt sich nicht unmittelbar mit Familienthemen, aber das intellektuell-geprägte Klima seiner Erziehung lässt sich in seiner künstlerischen Identität wiederfinden.

sleek:

sleek:

Haben Sie Ihre künstlerischen Neigungen von Ihren Eltern geerbt?

Jordan Wolfson: Nein, aber die Mutter meiner Mutter und der Vater

meines Vaters waren Künstler.

sleek:

How do your parents respond to your work? They get pretty worried about my choices and think I can be pretentious.

sleek:

JW:

JW: Sie machen sich ziemlich Sorgen über meine Entscheidungen und

sleek: Do you discuss your process or planned projects with them? Do you show them finished pieces? JW: I tell them about it before I start. Then I show it to them once it’s finished. But not in any formal way and I don’t make my work the focus. Usually they will come to a show to see the final work. I don’t really have private screenings.

sleek:

How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to become a professional artist? JW: They were worried but I was so troubled as a teenager that my options were only to get into a good art school rather than a college. I was mediocre academically and I wasn’t passionate about anything except being an artist. In the end my older sister Jessica convinced them to let me go to art school.

Wie reagieren Ihre Eltern auf Ihre Arbeiten?

finden mich manchmal prätentiös. Sprechen Sie mit ihnen über Ihre Arbeit, zeigen Sie ihnen Ihre Werke? JW: Ich erzähle ihnen, bevor ich mit etwas anfange. Dann zeige ich ihnen später die Arbeit. Aber das passiert nicht wirklich offiziell, und ich stelle meine Arbeit dabei auch nicht in den Mittelpunkt. Normalerweise kommen sie zu einer Ausstellung und sehen dort die fertigen Arbeiten. Ich halte keine Privatvorführungen ab.

sleek:

sleek: In what ways are your parents creative? JW: Making jokes and showing love. They cut out New Yorker magazine cartoons and send them to people unsolicited.

JW:

Inwiefern sind Ihre Eltern kreativ? Sie sind gut im Witze machen und Liebe geben. Sie schneiden Cartoons aus dem New Yorker aus und schicken sie wahllos an irgendwelche Leute.

sleek: JW: Jordan Wolfson’s father, Milton Wolfson, 1961.

How would you respond if your children wanted to be artists? I’m not sure. I think it’s about the attitude with which a person approaches what they do. If they were serious then I would support it. But I’d be excited for them to do something else creative. There are many more interesting things than being an artist. Somehow people think it’s heroic, but that’s really just ego.

sleek:

sleek: Wie haben Ihre Eltern reagiert, als Sie ihnen gesagt haben, daß Sie von Beruf Künstlerin werden wollen? JW: Sie haben sich zuerst schon Sorgen gemacht. Aber als Teenager hatte ich so viele Probleme, daß mir eh nur die Möglichkeit blieb, an einer guten Kunsthochschule angenommen zu werden, Unis waren aussichtslos. Ich war ein mittelmäßiger Schüler, und mein einziger leidenschaftlicher Wunsch war, Künstler zu werden. Schließlich hat meine ältere Schwester Jessica meine Eltern dazu überredet, mich auf die Kunsthochschule gehen zu lassen.

sleek: Wie würden Sie darauf reagieren, wenn Ihre Kinder Künstler werden wollten? JW: Weiß nicht genau. Ich denke, es hängt von der Haltung ab, die jemand demgegenüber einnimmt, was er macht. Wenn sie es ernsthaft wollten, würde ich sie darin unterstützen. Aber ich würde mich darüber freuen, wenn sie auf andere Art kreativ werden wollten. Es gibt viel interessantere Möglichkeiten als Kunst. Irgendwie denken die Leute, Künstler zu sein sei heroisch. Aber in Wirklichkeit geht es nur ums Ego.

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GERMAN FASHION DESIGN

© Foto: Jork Weismann, Kollektion Kostas Murkudis AW 1999/2000, Model: Christina Kruse © Foto: Rico Puhlmann, Mode von Gehringer & Glupp, 1960 © Foto: Max von Gumppenberg / Patrick Bienert, Kollektion Kostas Murkudis AW 2010/11, Model: Luca

1946 – 2012

Inv ent ory THE STORY OF GERMAN FASHION LANGUAGE: German / English ISBN: 978-3-942405-26-3 PRICE: 44 € (shipping included)

Berlin People .....................................................................................................196 Berlin Places ....................................................................................................204 Studio Visit ..........................................................................................................210 The collector – A Serialized Novel .................................................214 The Further CHronicles of Anthony Haden-Guest .............218 Further Reading ...........................................................................................220 Preview..................................................................................................................226

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DISTANZ 195


Berlin People

Berlin People sleek’s quarterly shortlist of the individuals whose influence on the German capital’s art and fashion scenes is helping to make it an international hotspot.

Photography by Belaid Le Mharchi

196

Annelie Augustin and Odély teboul

Annelie Augustin and Odély Teboul first met as students at Esmod, Paris, but only started working together some time later when Augustin, who had previously worked for Y3, and Teboul, who finished a stint at Gaultier, wanted to keep busy between jobs. Their side project soon turned into a full collection and Augustin Teboul, into one of the most intriguing labels in the Berlin fashion scene. So far, moving here from Paris has paid off for the French-German design duo, who won the »Start Your Fashion Business Award« for emerging Berlin designers this year. They work and live together in a Neukölln studio – and no, they’re not a couple. Both admit that this symbiosis can be

quite intense; they even invade each other’s subconscious. »For the storyboard of our last collection,« says Teboul, »we wrote down our dreams every morning for three months. Turns out we each appeared in each other’s dreams.« But they wouldn’t want it any other way: »We see fashion as a constant sharing of ideas. That doesn’t just happen nine to five, it’s a constant process«, says Augustin. Their intricate allblack creations, mashing crochet, lace and leather can be considered haute couture, but they like the challenge of producing them as readyto-wear collections. 197


Berlin People

sleek N°31 XX / X Y

Sarah B. Bolen

Originally from Toronto, internationally renowned tattoo artist Sarah Bolen is currently a resident tattooist at AKA, one of Berlin’s leading tattoo studios with a gallery space attached. Not only has tattooing become more socially acceptable in recent years, it has come to be regarded as an artistic genre in its own right and is increasingly featured in the realm of »high art«. Bolen, who calls her style »Americana tattooing with a Victorian twist« and claims to be obsessed with birds, had both sleeves and both sides of her neck done before she turned 22 and still gets a new tattoo each birthday. Recently, she performed her art at the Arratia Beer gallery, where candidates were encouraged 198

to bring their own designs. »It had nothing to do with tattoo art, and some of it was not really tattooable, so I had to change some of the designs, but the concepts behind them all were fantastic«, recalls Bolen, and adds, »I had to really make sure people had thought it through properly, some even wanted tattoos on their hands.« Like any truly professional tattoo artist, Bolen has a strong sense of responsibility towards her clients: »There is a common misconception that tattooists are crazy party people. But in this job you can’t be tired or hung over, and you must be healthy. We are the most boring people I’ve ever met!« Well, this certainly doesn’t hold true for Sarah.

Gaspard Yurkievich

Gaspard Yurkievich launched his first women’s collection in 1998, a year after winning the Festival de Hyères, and quickly became the popular choice for fashion-con urbanites who appreciate his straightforward approach with its unmistakable Parisian seasoning. Yurkievich’s lines have since expanded into menswear, bags and accessories and, of course, his oh-so-popular heels. In early summer, he was invited by the Berlin branch of the fashion school Esmod to head the graduation show jury. »I was very f lattered when they asked me to be ›The President‹ of the jury«, he laughs, »But seriously, I’m getting older, and as a designer, it’s interesting for me to see what the younger gen-

eration is up to.« Yurkievich compares it to a wondrous appliance that enables you to take snapshots of a generation, tell-all Polaroids that lay open their ideas and inf luences. »I find that students today are a lot less naïve.« But isn’t complaining about a loss of innocence something that every generation says about the next? »I’m not saying that everything was better back then. I wish I had all the possibilities of the internet and the social networks when I was starting out.« To succeed as a fashion designer, Yurkievich points out, one has to understand the cut between creativity and industry. For better or worse, this has become clearer. 199


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Were the walls too white for your taste? All my friends joke that when they leave, they will always have stuck something on them. I like printed images, I don’t surf the internet for imagery. In fact, I’m really bad with computers. I don’t like the immediacy of it, there’s no mystique to the process of discovery. sleek:

Vaginal Davis:

But you’re considered one of the world’s first bloggers, you have an enormous readership and major publications have written about your blog, »Speaking from the Diaphragm«. VD: I started it back in the 90s, as my diary. I had no idea what blogging was. Then someone told me that what I was doing was actually a blog. I would write an entry by hand, then type it and send it to my web master from an internet café. I’m very lo-tech. sleek:

You’re a very busy woman, what’s next on your agenda? Communist Bigamist, directed by my fellow CHEAP art collective member Susanne Sachße, who you might remember from Bruce LaBruce’s film, Raspberry Reich. It’s inspired by the 1953 Hollywood film The Bigamist, directed by Ida Lupino. Lupino was one of the few female directors in Hollywood’s golden era and she played in her own movie, too. There are many intertwined layers in the play: Susanne plays Ida, but she’s also Ruth Fischer, Germany’s first lady communist, while I’m both myself and American activist Angela Davis. And both our characters are married to communism, the bigamist. sleek:

VD: I’m currently working on a theatre piece, The

We’ll probably have to see it to understand it, but in essence this is what you do best – morphing gender, class and race, low and high culture, camp and politics. In fact, you embody it. VD: I’m intersex, born with both female and male genitalia, so I’m a strange hybrid creature. I’m also part German, quarter Jewish, my father was born in Mexico and my mother is French Creole. People would always stare at me, so I figured I might as well just be on stage! sleek:

sleek: You’ve been embraced by academia, teaching performance at Berlin’s Weißensee University, Frankfurt’s Städlschule, Princeton, Vassar, Columbia and most recently, Malmö. Next stop is Goldsmiths College. Is teaching more gratifying than performing? VD: I love teaching. I invest a lot of time and get very involved. I’m not a dogmatic person. I mean, the students get a syllabus and everything but it’s more a ›salon‹ style of teaching. I make hour-long studio visits and do a lot of gentle nudging. These visits get intense. We talk for hours, get emotional and cry. I’m like the Big Black Mama and everyone wants to nurse at my breast, get that chocolate milk! sleek: What advice to you have for students who want to become perform-

Vaginal Davis

Larger than life performance artist and music icon, Vaginal Davis was probably the only person in her native city of Los Angeles to go everywhere on a bicycle way back in the 90s. She finally moved to the more bike-friendly city of Berlin almost six years ago, where her work with the art, music, film and action collective CHEAP became her key focus. Davis’ overwhelming creative output – as a visual artist, as a writer and most prominently, on stage – has become a staple of Berlin’s queer subculture as well as its more mainstream theatre and stage venues. 200

Her apartment is located in the heart of Schöneberg’s »Rote Insel«, the historic neighbourhood that was once home to such luminaries as Marlene Dietrich and Albert Einstein. A fitting address for Davis, who has covered the walls of her home with colourful magazine clippings of faces and genitals, scribbles, sketches and notes from friends accumulated over the years – an ever-growing collage.

ance artists? VD: I usually remain in touch well beyond the seminars, and collaborate with former students on new projects. It’s important to be connected to youth, you know, being a woman of a certain age… It keeps me young and vibrant. I’m never going to have any children of my own – but I can be the mentor. However, I do not encourage anyone to be a performer. Not everyone is meant to be on stage, you know! There’s nothing I hate more than Karaoke. I’m a little dictatorial like that. So you’re the anti-Beuys? Not everyone’s an artist… No, no, no!

sleek: VD:

sleek:

What makes a good performance artist in your opinion?

VD: To me Josephine Baker, aside from being the first black internation-

Interview by Hili Perlson

al superstar, was also a performance artist through and through. She

created her own biography, her own mythology, she was sensational! And she sought to mix all races by adopting a so-called ›rainbow tribe‹ of children. She was a little cuckoo too, but who isn’t? Considering where she came from. I can relate to that. sleek: Your work is specifically focused on gender issues. Do race and class always play a role, too? VD: I have a slight disdain for the wealthy but you can’t help that when you grow up poor. I stream my underlying urge to ›kill the rich‹ to the stage instead. If you choose to work with me you have to know where I’m from. I’m a sweetheart, I’ll give you my last pantyhose, or the bra off my back, but I can get down and I can throw down. Let me tell you, when a black girl takes off her earrings, you know she’s ready to fight! sleek: Would you say that the new piece is a non-violent, keep-your-earrings-on answer to current economic trends in European politics? VD: It’s a political piece but it’s not dogmatic. It’s playful and whimsical, and hopefully will make you think. Europe is going backwards. Susanne Sachße lost her agent after she appeared in Raspberry Reich because of the real sex scenes! And politically, it’s disconcerting that people have such short memories. History will repeat itself.

That’s a bleak outlook. Oh yeah, I believe we’ll create our own Armageddon. I don’t understand why people want to have babies when there are already so many unwanted children out there. Just adopt, why overpopulate the planet? My mom was an actress, she didn’t want to be a mother and a wife, but women had less of a choice at the time. But today? People say the human race will ebb then and I say ›great!‹ Maybe something less damaging to the planet will arise. A new species will take over. Here’s to the new species! sleek: VD:

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Photo © Nick Ash.

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Marcelo Burlon Although Marcelo Burlon was all over town at the last Berlin fashion week, he claims he didn’t come here for fashion. In fact, he came to live out his love for music and DJ at such diverse locations as the Soto store, King Size Bar and Soho House. »Berlin to me is not the place to discover new designers, it’s not about fashion at all. I have friends here, I love the city’s attitude and atmosphere, the street culture. Living here would suit my lifestyle extremely well – but I could never make a living here, there are no clients.« One of Europe’s most important communicators in fashion, Burlon has worked with all major high fashion brands, and doesn’t see a market for them here: »If you can afford these brands, you don’t go shopping for them in Berlin. In fact, 202

I’ve found something positive about this: I can still get all the pieces from my favourite designers when they are long sold out elsewhere. Which says a lot about the situation.« Burlon is based in Milan but can be found working all over the world. Upcoming projects include a photo shoot for GQ Mexico (as a photographer, he’s represented by Artlist Paris), DJing in Ibiza and in San Francisco with Devendra Banhart, throwing a party in New York, creating music for runway shows, curating for the Lane Crawford stores in Bejing and Shanghai, directing a video for Fiat 500 by Gucci… Here’s hoping he’ll have a reason to come and work in Berlin some day.

Moises Micha & carlos couturier / hôtel americano / New York City

madebyoriginals.com A project by Design Hotels™


Berlin Places

© Valeska Hageney | Art Agency Berlin.

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Infinite expansion Not that Berlin had no space left for showing art, but an exhibition venue that comes with a built-in option to expand makes an interesting concept nonetheless. The REH Kunst space is housed in a so-called »Raumerweiterungshalle«, a moveable, variable architectural structure developed in the former GDR, made of 8 segments which can be telescoped or folded to create a space from 2 to 16 metres long. Needless to say, artists exhibiting here have to respond to the specifics of the space. Next in line is Konstantino Dregos (3 September – 2 October, 2011).

Berlin Places

REH Kunst, Kopenhagener Str. 17. Thu-Sun 1 - 6pm. www.reh-kunst.de

Photo© Amy Binding

Berlin has become a state of mind that is not confined to a geographic location. Acknowledging the globalisation of this phenomenon, we present Berlin places in Berlin and elsewhere.

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More than a side glance at silk

A cathedral of abundance

While the pun in this exhibition’s title, »Seidenblicke«, only works in German, the show itself, dedicated to the iconic Hermès carré silk scarves and on view inside the foyer at the KaDeWe department store, eschews the limits of verbal communication and takes the viewer into the realm of fantasy. Brought to life by artist and designer Hilton McConnico, who also designed the Hermès store in Tokyo, the exhibition conjures up little universes inspired by the resplendently intricate designs of the scarves, which have become covetable collectors items. Fortunately the exhibition opening coincided with the re-opening of the Hermès boutique on the Ku’damm.

When Andreas Murkudis recently followed the westward caravan of galleries from Mitte to Potsdamer Straße, no one seemed surprised. His imposing new store is the only commercial store around, but then Murkudis has always liked to leave the paths well trodden. Visiting his former premises always felt more like entering a mini-museum than a retail store. The new space feels more like a cathedral of lavishness, with an interior (by local architects Pierre Jorge Gonzalez and Judith Haase) that balances lofty architecture and minimalist product presentation. The intimacy is gone, but the wares are still selected by the Murkudis eye, discerning as ever.

»Seidenblicke«, Kaufhaus des Westens, Tauentzienstr. 21 - 24. Until 5 October, 2011.

Potsdamer Str. 77 - 87. www.andreasmurkudis.com

Get the message

Seventh Heaven

Fashion designers Kyle Callanan and Jen Gilpin met in Berlin, founded the label Don’t Shoot The Messengers and have been delivering their message loud and clear ever since. With seductive combinations of leather and silk as the base note of each of their collections, DSTM’s attitude effortlessly treads the fine line between elegance and sexiness. Sculptural contours and masses of black make DSTM one of Berlin’s most exciting labels. The boutique also offers a fine selection of accessories to complement their clothes – read killer pumps and luscious silk scarves by French label Milleneufcentquatrevingtquatre.

The concept of the concept store has been applied to an inflationary extent in Berlin recently, but Seventh genuinely deserves that moniker. It is filled with extraordinary hand picked treasures and limited edition curiosities from every corner of the world. The only thing you can’t take home with you is the taxidermied beast in the basement. You might not know that you need that exquisitely crafted knife by Laguiole, that ultrasoft cashmere sweater by Dedem or that coral sculpture by Klaus Dupont before you see it, so you may want to think twice before entering the store – don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Don’t Shoot the Messengers , Rückerstr. 10. Mon - Sat 1 - 8pm.

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Andreas Murkudis,

Photo© Thorsten Klapsch.

HErmès,

Seventh , Gormannstr. 7. Tue - Sat 11  - 2 pm and 3  - 7 pm and by appointment.

www.seventhberlin.com

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DIE KULTIVIERUNG DIEBISCHER FREUDE

Sarah Moon, Teresa Stewart for Issey Miyake, 1995. Courtesy the artist.

Grotesque Dandyism

Fashion and media

Take Gentlemen’s bespoke tailoring à la Savile Row, throw in a touch of Sleepy Hollow gothic and you get the sartorial eclecticism of Dandy of the Grotesque. Meticulous attention to detail makes each made-to-measure suit an original that corresponds with the wearer’s personality. Cut by the masterful hands of Israeli designer Itamar Zechoval, the suits have even found their way to the father of grotesque dandyism, Marilyn Manson. The dapper ready-to-wear collections are avant-garde but affordable, and the store boasts a surprisingly wide variety of men’s accessories. Styled like a gentlemen’s club, whiskey and cigar tastings at the store complete the dandy experience.

Drawing from the Berlin art library’s collection of fashion-related images spanning more than a century, this exhibition reveals the diversification of fashion images in editorial and commercial campaigns over the past 30 years. Presenting works by iconic photographers from Helmut Newton, Michel Comte and Sarah Moon but also a vast number of less known contributors, the exhibition shows how heavily the fashion industry relies on media, and that fashion is essentially a visual discipline – the most elaborate verbal description of a dress would never make us want to buy it.

Dandy of the Grotesque , Gormannstr. 17 b. Just ring the bell, Itamar claims he’s almost always there. Or make an appointment at +49 172 8345333.

»Visions & Fashion. Bilder der Mode 1980 | 2010«, Arts Library, Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz, until 9 October, 2011.

Die diebische Elster von Gioachino Rossini, frei interpretiert und inspiriert durch reizvolle Glanzpunkte in begehrlichstem Weiß-Porzellan aller Epochen.

Size does matter Talking about spaces in Berlin is almost synonymous with talking about space. Berlin visitors often can’t believe it when they hear about the ridiculously purse-friendly rents here. Well, folks, real estate is rocketing and before long we’ll all be living and working in the mousehole-sized dumps New Yorkers are used to. But while it lasts, Berlin visitors should marvel at the abundance of space – and take the opportunity to stretch their legs in the rooms at Soho House, where suites are a minimum of 100 sq metres in size (that’s about five average-sized apartments in Paris).

Soho House Berlin , Torstr. 1. www.sohohouseberlin.com

OBJEKTE DER BEGIERDE SEIT 1763

208 tel. +49 (0)30 390 090

www.kpm-berlin.com


Studio Visit

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Studio Visit You want to discover new artists? Then this one’s for you. We at sleek take you where no external market hype will confuse you: directly to the artists’ studios. In each issue we present three artists we think stand out with consistent quality and content. It’s up to you to make a studio visit – but with this section, you’ll never have a reason to complain that you should have bought XY’s art before XY became so famous and expensive…

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Clockwise from top left: Latent Measures (Component no.1), 2010. Mixed media, 220 × 150 × 4 00 cm (courtesy Hannah Barry Gallery, London)/ B ody Bag, 2010. Gelatine, pigment, 80 × 50 × 6 0 cm/  Wallpiece no. 1, 2011. Plaster, clothing / Manon Awst and Benjamin Walther in their studio. Photo © Maxime Ballesteros / Work in Progress, 2009. Ice, mixed media / L atent Measures (Component no.11), 2011. Mixed media.

Awst & Walther That the whole is greater than the sum of its parts can be seen in the artistic production of husband-and-wife team Manon Awst and Benjamin Walther. Dresden-born Walther worked as a theatre director, while Manon Awst, who hails from Wales, studied architecture at Cambridge University. In their collaborative sculptures, performances and paintings, they explore power dynamics, ephemeral states and the divides between mental and physical self-perception. Funnelled into

their work is a distinct approach to the exhibition space as a stage, a room for projection and for constructing narratives. They explore ways in which space impacts the body, physically and psychologically, through installations that are shown in conjunction with performance. While sculpture traditionally is made to last, Awst & Walther work with materials such as gelatine, ice or even fruit, making sculptures that are touched by the passing of time. 211


Studio Visit

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Clockwise from top left: Der Sucher, 2010. Crumpled inkjet prints, candle, dimensions variable/ o.T. (Untitled), 2010. Mirror, clear varnish, 70 × 50 cm/ Hannes Gruber at his studio. Photo © Maxime Ballesteros/ S chwarzes Schiff (black ship), 2010/ red I, 2010. Mixed media, dimensions variable.

Clockwise from top left: Bonn, 2010. MDF, Styrofoam, 192 × 64 × 344 cm/ Ohne Titel (Untitled), 2011. Wood, plaster, acrylic, 92 × 32 × 36 cm/ Markus Zimmermann in his studio. Photo © Maxime Ballesteros/ Untitled (inside view), 2009. Mixed media, 32 × 7.5 × 28.5/ Left: Inside view of Bonn. Right: Untitled (outside view).

Hannes Gruber

Markus Zimmermann

After a six-year break from exhibiting, Hannes Gruber re-introduced himself to the art scene with a performance resembling a job interview – suit, nametag and all – making a humorous and no-frills comment on the market mentality of the art world. His body of work, which consists of numerous site-specific installations with manipulated found objects, deals with notions of cost, value production, and the banality of everyday life. Oscillating between earnestness and irony, Gruber seeks 212

to achieve a new pseudo-innocence through art. An installation called Softcleandream I involved covering an uneven floor with 150 litres of the cheapest liquid household detergent, available in »Green Apple« and »Rose«, drawing attention to their unbearable, chemical stench and fluorescent, toxic colours. Beyond materiality, Gruber also deflates the value of romanticised notions, as in a series on maritime-themed paintings, with plenty of nods to art history.

Markus Zimmermann is an architect of the viewer’s eye. His constructions are wonders of space that, however small, can expand into infinity. Take his cardboard boxes or used ring-binders, crappy-looking enough from the outside, but a gaze through a peephole reveals a world of awe and wonder, likening the viewer to a scientist gazing into new universes under a microscope. Made of the cheapest materials, such as the plastic inlays you find in chocolate boxes, these

scenarios, lit by whatever light comes through the hole as well as specially placed cracks, are not complex in construction but they spur the imagination to see mind-blowing things, from prehistoric landscapes to futurist cathedrals. Lately, Zimmermann has started to expand his works into real space, creating walk-in boxes, and he has embarked on a new challenge: how to make the inside and outside of a space visible at the same time. 213


Serialized novel – Part VII

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The Collector is a novel set in the 21st century heyday of the art world. Max Decker is an artist living in Berlin who never touches the brush or the chisel. He likes to think that his work is about resistance, but can he resist the charms of a young American collector, Nico von Stroheim? Ruth, his girlfriend, and Louise, a former fling, stand in-between, pulling all the strings in this cautionary tale about the disastrous results of being too connected. In hindsight, this novel may make you second-guess everyone you know – especially the bad apples. Published for the first time in serialized form in sleek magazine, The Collector is, by far, the best guide yet to the undercurrents of the contemporary art world.

The Collector A Serialized novel by April Lamm

Part VII: We’re still at Art Basel and Max is all a muddle about his relationship to Nico and uncertain he wants to meet her poodle-hair mother, especially now. Louise has handed him a riddle: “Tiger, tiger burning bright, ask the Lion whom he slept with last night.” Meanwhile, he’s still unsure of whether or not he “slept” with Sheena last night or if he just slept with her, or if it was Sheena at all. In any case, Sheena’s about to introduce him to a gallerist whose name connotes more than just a gallery. 214

- Were you really naked all the time? Those were not Max’s first words to Larry Gagosian, that much he knew of the known knowns to himself if not to others. - Do I really want to show with Larry Gagosian? This was the question forming an invisible wall between him and the man standing almost in front of him. He would have asked Ruth had she been there, right there, right now, right next to him, that much he knew of the known unknowns. Was Larry really interested in showing Max? Did he think Max’s work was worth showing? What were Larry’s criteria for choosing an artist anyway? These were the unknown unknowns. In Max’s eyes, getting a show with Larry was a shortcut to Easy Street: endless production funds for artworks that would be placed in the best collections. Max Decker’s Didada sold at Sotheby’s for gazillions. But if a question had formed an invisible wall, then it was a discussion Max had had with Ruth late one night at Bar 3, not too long ago in Berlin, that formed the muddy trenches: - Ok, so if an artist is offered a show with Larry Gagosian, does he show there? - Ruthie… - What? I’m serious. - Why wouldn’t an artist show there? - Maybe because it’s not about making money but about having your existence, your work be what you want it to be and not dictated by some need to create a series of works, which bores you… Producing one after the other, like a factory. Socks, socks, and more socks. This time argyle camouflage. - Warhol did it, but he did it as a commentary… - So the question is, if they were given the opportunity to actually sell works but it would mean that they would have to sacrifice content or their own desire… - Wait, why would they have to sacrifice content? - Cause they’d have to produce works that actually could be sold. Richard Prince’s Nurses for instance. That painting would be just as good if there were only one in existence, but because one sells for X millions on auction, it makes sense that the artist produce a series of Nurses which can be sold by the dealer thereafter at a higher price. - Its value having increased with the demand. - Not that the demand is greater but that the product itself has a higher value after it was deemed to be worth six figures by the auction public. - A public, which is to say, at least two people. - Right. That’s nuts. - Two people can create an astronomical value for a painting. - Totally nuts. An 8000-euro painting turns into one that is worth 600,000 because of the demand created by two people. Two! - And one of them is Larry Gagosian. - So wouldn’t it be easy for Larry to convince someone to bid against him to create an artificially high value placed on any particular artist that he might be dealing with or plans to show? - Exactly! But it’s not just Larry. There’s a whole ring of players out there. - But let’s not get into that. The point is, your artworks could be overvalued based on the desire of one person who can create a hype. - Once one work gets sold and it’s headline-breaking news, the rest falls into place. The world loves the sensational easy buck. - And everyone’s then interested in getting in on the game. Collectors always want whatever other collectors have already. Buy a work from a dealer for 50,000 with the promise of turning it over on auction for 500,000 in two years’ time, let’s say hypothetically.

- Which is an entirely new situation… - Again, that’s another discussion altogether, let’s not go there. The question remains, if offered to show at Larry Gagosian does he say yes? Is it really a good gallery? - It depends on what your definition of a good gallery is, and if the artist has to pay rent. - Let’s say a good gallery provides you with a family of likes, a place where you can experience what you want to experience. - Experience is immaterial violence. - Whoa. Wait a minute. Where’d you come up with that? - I just did, just now…. A pause ensued. They kissed. Pauses like this happened less and less of late, and Max had attributed it to the stress of preparing for Basel. The bar was getting too smoky. It was time to go home. - I mean, how many artists show there? Fifty, a hundred? How much attention can an artist get if he is one in a hundred being shown by the gallerist, how well does he know his dealer, how much of a relationship is there? The discussion continued on the walk home, with both Ruth and Max pushing their bikes through early morning puddles and falling into bed with a series of dangling thoughts in the speech bubbles above their heads. The immaterial experience of conversation. As long as they kept talking, they’d never part. Or so they thought. Everything was happening too quickly that morning. With resolve, Max repeated to himself: I am a multishop kiosk. But he was unsure of why he needed to define himself with an “I am…”. And did he need to be a multishop kiosk in his choice of gallery too? It dawned on him that he need not make a problem out of a situation again. It was a productive problem. If Larry wanted to show his work, he’d make showing at Larry’s gallery the overarching concept of the show. He didn’t know how, but most of his work originated in a question to himself and this one seemed big, vague, messy, smart yet dumb enough to be interesting. Just before Sheena could introduce Max to the famed gallerist, Wayne Borius of Vienna came bumbling between them, extending his hand, which Larry didn’t take. Nervously, Wayne retracted his hand but held it midair like the limp leaves of a bundle of carrots and blurted out: - I wanted to show you a project you would be interested in… Scrambling in his rumpled backpack, he muttered, - I am very corrugated. - Like cardboard, said Max. Wayne misfired words that had been misfiled. His vocabulary was large yet its application misplaced. Wayne made the segue to meeting Larry all the easier. Larry liked jokes. - I meant coordinated. - If you’re coordinated, then I’m the Deutsche Bahn. No one said anything. Larry looked confidently blank yet busy, and Sheena’s intent stare was directed at her phone. No one cared what Wayne was doing. So Max continued: - Benjamin said that the duty of every leftist thinker is not to ride the train of history but to apply the brake. - I don’t know if I dare ask what that might mean? (God, these Germans can be weird.) Oh sorry, it was good to meet you. Max, that’s your name, right? Sorry, but I have to take this call. Coitus interruptus, the vibrating apparatus intervened again. Or did it vibrate at all? Though it might have been a guise, in any case, the first official meeting with Larry Gagosian was called to a close. Max was left standing with Sheena alone. He wanted to ask her, but what? What would he ask? Are you the girl I found in my bed last night? He couldn’t bear it. There was a 50% chance that he was completely wrong. Maybe it wasn’t Sheena. There was a

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small chance indeed that he was one of the few who hadn’t slept with Sheena. - I’m curating a show for Larry and maybe you have something that might fit in. Let’s talk about it later, ok? See you at the Kunsthalle later tonight, right? He calculated that the 30% chance that she was telling the truth was enough to not send him into a complete and utter depression. In the end, he could “show” with Larry without really showing with Larry. No solo show but a group show curated by Sheena. It depressed him. Or rather there was a 70% chance that this depressed him. He wondered if the artist list would be composed entirely of her former bedfellows. Turning the corner, “I’m the Deutsche Bahn” nearly collided with Nico and her mother bending over to read a label. He looked at what they were looking at, a painting of a woman in a grass skirt in a gilded frame. Nico had raved about her mother to Max, her bohemian mother Bibi. “In Nantucket, she’s always naked. Totally naked all the time,” said Nico to him one night under a serious moonlight in Venice, “and my grandmother too.” It was an image completely incongruous to the mother standing now in front of him. She had hair like a doorstop. He couldn’t decide if it were more a wedge or a cube of the tightest curls he’d ever seen. - After Gauguin, said her mother out loud slowly, only she said it in an accent incomprehensible to Max who parroted her back: - Gowjewin? You mean… - Yes, the painter, he does all those Tahiti paintings. We saw them all at the d’Orsay. At least she was able to pronounce the museum name correctly, he thought. She bent back down to look at the label again, her bangles of gold jingle jangling, no doubt in search of the price. But he was already bending over himself to doublecheck the label and they nearly bumped heads (or rather hair-dos). It was an odd exchange that left them with the mutual conception that the person standing opposite was a moron. For the moment she was willing to overlook the fact that this friend of her daughter did not know one of the 20th century’s most important painters – he looked shabby, poor, state-educated – and he was willing to overlook the fact that she could not pronounce Gauguin – she was American, after all. He supposed that this was not the right time to spring the question, - Were you really naked all the time? At every booth they entered, dealers would spring out of their Bertoia chairs, bored by the parade of hoi polloi to attend to the needs of the von Stroheims. The von Stroheims, you see, were part of the nouveau mega-collectors grazing the planet for the new, the emerging. It had been reported that Mrs von Stroheim doled out some three mill a year on (mostly contemporary) art and she didn’t like advice or advisors. She bought according to whim and wind, and trusted mostly the whims of her daughter, who was no small fry in the tiny world of top-dog collectors herself. Following them around for a few hours, he could only hear snippets of their conversations, reactions to artworks that made him cringe: - Look here, Nico, isn’t that just snazzy? She pointed out a square panel covered with mirror tiles, a disco ball that had lost its ball, but wasn’t disco either. - Well, said Max, I guess you could see it that way. I think it rather resembles an ironic grammar of historical form. Nico gave him a look like a semicolon in front of the end of a parenthesis. Max continued: - My approach is quite simple: to think through some of the metaphorical, relational and historical parameters of one of the signal discursive clusters with which work engages. Of course, when he

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needed to speak like this, he never did. It was wasted on an audience of ellipses. Or a parenthesis hugging a question mark? Bingo, he thought, her wedge of curls were manifest question marks spurting out from her skull. This too, he considered best unvoiced and grinned instead. Turning towards a chandelier placed on the floor, Bibi motioned to her daughter an excited yes. We don’t have one that big. This would be great in the foyer. Nico nodded in accord. - He’s an award-winning artist, I’ve met him in Berlin. He’s from Vietnam. But won’t it come into competition with the Calder mobile? Collecting art is a hit or miss game. But when your shopping buffet is Art Basel, it is hard to miss. Despite the platitudes coming out of their mouths, it was hard to deny that the von Stroheim collection was one thing: great. Max chimed in, cheerful, happy to help, when they came across a series of shelves upheld by various decapitated bric-a-brac, - What you are seeing here is more of an archaeology of the self… - An archaeology of the shelf. I like that. - But what I said was “the self.” It has nothing to do with the shelf. Bibi pursed her lips. She gave him a stubbornly mute stare. Max’s thoughts floated again above her hair, which he decided now was more like a shelf, he thought, an empty shelf for flower arrangements and bibelots, not books. The dealer approached them, eager to elaborate. Somehow Max had to figure out how to get Nico to the side, so that he could ask her about the lion, Louise’s riddle. Touching her elbow, he bent towards her quietly. He wanted to show her something. - There are twenty-five worlds out there and I’m wondering if we’re in the same one. - I’m here Max, what is it? - Did you fuck the lion? - Excuse me? - Did you fuck the lion or did you have fun with the lion, I don’t know. Or did the lion fuck you? - What kind of question is that? Are you jealous? - Of course not. - Ok, then why does it matter? - I don’t know where you want to go with this… Her mother’s comments kept coming in from the background like a bad infomercial. - Sumptuous! - Stunning! - Oh, I’m gonna have to indulge myself. It’s got such personal touches! Nico, dahling, come look at what I’ve found for you! It’s the gift of a lifetime, honey. I like it because it’s got such unique characteristics. Isn’t this just the ultimate luxury? Standing in front of a truck-size triptych, Nico rolled her eyes, her emotions unvoiced, which her mother read as criticism. - I wouldn’t worry about its size. You can customize it to your heart’s desire, I’m sure. A group of pale and haggard installers passed by in the aisle wearing t-shirts that read FREE FINNISH LABOUR. They looked tired. This was no work of a leftist hobbyist. It was a productive distortion of the once revolutionary strategies of conceptual art. He could bear it no longer and wanted to find Ruth. He’d made a terrible mistake. He was not a multishop kiosk. He was Grill Loyale. Nico had taken her mother to the side with a look of reproach. - Mom, I would never even consider undermining the aesthetic autonomy of the artist. It’s outrageous that you should suggest so. You’re embarrassing me in front of Max and I want for you to behave. He turned to the champagne cart rolling down the aisles and

asked for 3 glasses. - That will be 48 euro, sir. Max dutifully brought the champagne to the ladies von Stroheim, who were joined now by Mackenzie. Beach blonde and tan without the slightest hint of Miami vice. Mackenzie’s tan conveyed less tan, than terracotta. Enhanced happiness. She was always laughing. Always, that is, when she wasn’t coughing up last night’s fun. At 32, she had the salty voice of a 62 year-old smoker. Mackenzie took up the third glass of champagne and took Max to the side with a vertiginous warning about what Louise told her about what Ruth had done. “Chocolat or choque au lit, as the French Swiss say, eh Max?” Then, without even waiting for a response, an excuse, some form of defense or mystification on his part, she offered him “the rest” of what she found in her purse, a high-tech mood booster. Max refused. He liked to schedule his artificial substances, he said. In the middle of the fair? No. Later. No. Ok. Yes. She slipped it into his hand unnoticed. He spent the rest of the afternoon roaming the hall from one booth to the next, no plan, taking in as much as he could but talking to no one. Buzzed, half-articulated ideas on the tip of his tongue but too paranoid to move it, he kept the cavity encasing it squeezed tight. Coordinated collaboration within the realm of the applied fantastic, maybe that’s my line. When he ran into Mackenzie again, she was still gallivanting about. He could overhear her explaining her unexpected exit from some gala dinner, leaving her place and two others at the round table of six empty. “It was like a Hong-Kong gangster film.” Something about having escaped through the kitchen window with x and x artists trying to escape, among others, Edward Scissorhands sucking up to Moby. Max wished he could be as entertaining as Mackenzie. But her mood booster had rendered him mute. He ducked behind a black curtain. In the dark, no one could watch his determined efforts to relax his clenched teeth forming the frontier between him and embarrassment. A sunrise with subtitles, a donkey in a nondescript terrain, he was unable to concentrate on what he was seeing. He ducked out and then quickly into another blackbox adjacent. A Xerox machine up close, a play of light, nice. But he was not alone. A figure in a baseball cap growled at him, which Max took as a compliment. When the sliver of light was at its strongest, he could faintly make out the source of the growl, the astronaut who’d lost contact with Major Tom. Max had worked as one of her scaredstiff assistants for exactly seven days before getting a stipendium. He’d witnessed the tentative tenure of working for this great artist, whose temperament was legion, her glance leaden. One morning he watched her dismiss an assistant for failing to procure the right toy dinosaur. “That’s a minute newt. Get out.” His happy tank needle indicated nearly empty. He ducked back into the bathroom for another quick dose, then headed out to the center courtyard for some air while checking for messages on his phone. He thumbed, I am a cappuccino latte, but Ruth snuck up behind him before he could press send. - Not all bad comes from bad. - She gets her nails done at the Soho House, he blurted out, then tried to keep his jaw from moving by adopting the thinker pose, forefinger nooked in the crook of his chin, thumb pressed under it, hoping to keep his bloody mouth shut. Scanning the various catered tents rimming the courtyard, Ruth said: - I want a bowl of Captain Crunch. Max’s interim grin was quickly replaced by an absurd attempt at a serious face. Could she tell he was high? He furrowed his brow.

- You cannot very well be a Marxist and be with someone who does that, can you? Ruth seemed absently present. She was there, but she wasn’t saying enough. She pulled her hair out of its ponytail, keeping her steady gaze on the completely forgettable and utterly unremarkable crowd surrounding them. - I don’t think it has anything to do with nail polish. I just think you’d get bored with her fast. - Boredom is not necessarily negative. It’s a… precursor to creativity. Or procreation? Did he just say procreation? There was a 10 percent chance that he didn’t say it. He didn’t want to ask her, fearing he’d give himself away. Surely she thinks I am sober. I hope she thinks I am sober. Jesus. An amused smile curled between them as FREE FINNISH LABOUR walked by. - That’s the second time I’ve seen them today. Do you think people are getting it? - It’s great that someone’s daring to do a work like that. If you can call that work, of course. - […] -Thank you, Ruth. - Thank me? - You were right about not taking the safe route. He felt sober. He sounded sober. But he started to feel his jawline jitter. - I’ve seen way too much high-definition video. Ruth stared at a sparrow jabbing the pavement, not unhappy, quiet. She no longer wanted a confrontation. She was just glad he was there. His emotions felt low-tech, analogue, even though they were spiked. - My dinner. Are you coming? You are, of course, I mean, will you come? Please? Nothing said could express the true remorse coursing through him. Things had gotten out of hand and he seemed unable to control himself. He put his hand around Ruth’s back while being confronted with an unpleasant flashback of the evening with Sheena. His hand was shaking, so he pressed it firmer into her back. But he couldn’t press the image out of his memory. Sheena had been standing next to the buffet table when Max had approached her. Too much prosecco. She had taken a cornichon in her mouth and placed it in his ear. - I’d like to visually thwart what’s going on in my head right now. Ruth agreed but a heavy silence reigned between them. At least for her. She was looking at Mackenzie standing amidst a power throng, enthralled by her stories. The best gossip in Basel, no doubt. For a second, Mackenzie returned Ruth’s stare, nodded and smiled, then returned to her shared conspiracy of “news”. Max’s next sentence broke her out of her paranoid reverie. - You know I met Gagosian today. - And? - And nothing. Thank God. I was looking for you. I met him twice actually. Once in the bathroom. You figure guys like Larry don’t use the fair toilets. It’s like, where’s their private jet bathroom, right? Whatever. I still think that guy shits in a Bentley. Anyway, I got all clammy and weird stuff came out of my mouth. And our Gogo discussion came back into my mind. - We all pay rent to Bill Gates now. - I’ve just decided that I don’t know if I’ll ever be a communist. I don’t know if I can do too much more art fair either. It’s like being on a package holiday. - It’s all too much, though I’ve only been here for the last hour. Let’s go to the river. I was there all afternoon, naked. to be continued...

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The Further Chronicles of Anthony Haden-Guest

sleek N°31 XX / X Y

The Further Chronicles of Anthony Haden-Guest

Crafty Artists English

deutsch

The Powhida show at the Marlborough Gallery, Chelsea, was billed as »the artist’s most ambitious installation to date« but at the opening it was the barest of white cubes imaginable, with two exceptions. The first was a strident canvas that depicted a sunglassed Arena Rock God type, a woman wrapped adoringly around his leg, in the act of releasing a white dove. A wall label gave the title as Powhida (Portrait of a Genius) and identified the artist as Tom Sandford. The second was a small space, cordoned off and guarded by bald-domed muscle. Within this faux VIP space a couple of office sofas faced each other across a glass table on which stood beer cans and a bottle of champagne labelled »Marlborough’s Bacon Bubbly«. A lot of art that’s made these days makes a point of not looking like art but it seldom looks quite this humdrum. Art worlders had been slowly filling the space and forming into Pernod Absinthe sipping clumps until finally a spiffy dark green Mercedes convertible zoomed into the open front of the gallery. Powhida the Genius was in the building. He was book-ended by two not very convincingly adoring paperbook-cover-ready babes and was soon declaiming on the subject of his genius to a bunch of compliant paps and hacks, myself included. »That’s by my paintbrush,« he said of the portrait. The name Tom Sandford was severed, it was turned to face the wall and the genius signed it on the back. He spelled POWHIDA with two Hs. By this time a rumour was trickling around that this »Powhida« was not in fact the artist William Powhida, indeed that William Powhida was most probably not there. Elements had been lifted from the playbook of Salvador Dalí, others from Jeff Koons, specifically from the iconic-narcissist of his early Artforum ad period. Somewhat further down the food chain it borrowed from Mark Kostabi (»my paintbrush«) and, of course, it leaned on Andy Warhol’s recruitment of Alan Midgeley, his not-particularly-lookalike, to mimic him on the college lecture circuit. Such art hoaxes could hardly have been pulled off before Modernism. Who could pretend to be a Raphael, a self-invented Dürer or impersonate a Turner? But »Powhida« was an impersonation, an invention, an imaginary artist. And not the first I have encountered. The party was in Jeff Koons’ studio – yes, the »real« Jeff Koons – and given by David Bowie to celebrate his (short-lived) stint as publisher of Modern Painters, and it was both for the magazine and for a book by the British novelist, William Boyd, entitled Nat Tate: American Artist. Well, I hadn’t heard of this Nat Tate. I looked the book over

Dafür, daß die Powhida-Ausstellung in der Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea als »bisher ambitionsreichste des Künstlers« angekündigt wurde, war der White Cube ganz schön leer, bis auf zwei Ausnahmen: die eine war eine schrille Leinwand, auf der ein sonnenbebrillter Typ von der Sorte Rockstargott eine weiße Taube fliegen läßt, mit dem Titel Powhida (Portrait of a Genius) und von einem gewissen Tom Sandford gemalt, wie ich einem Schild neben dem Werk entnehmen durfte. Die andere war ein abgesperrter Bereich, bewacht von glatzköpfigen Muskelgebirgen, eine Art VIP-Lounge-Imitat, ausgestattet mit zwei Bürosofas und einem Glastisch mit Bierdosen und einer Champagnerflasche von der Marke »Marlborough’s Bacon Bubbly«. Kunst legt heutzutage ja gerne Wert darauf, nicht nach Kunst auszusehen, aber das hier war einfach nur zum Gähnen. Nach und nach trudelten die Kunstweltler ein und hielten ihre Schwätzchen mit Pernod Absinth. Auf einmal bremste ein todschickes Mercedes-Cabrio vor der Galerie. Powhida das Genie war da. Flankiert von zwei Babes, die ihn nicht wirklich überzeugend anhimmelten, begann er mit einem Vortrag über seine Genialität vor einem Haufen artiger Pressefuzzis, mich selbst eingeschlossen. »Das entstammt meinem Pinsel«, sagte er Richtung Leinwand. Der Name Tom Sandford wurde abgerissen und das Bild umgedreht, damit das Genie es auf der Rückseite signieren konnte. »POWHHIDA« schrieb er, mit zwei H. Mittlerweile war durchgesickert, daß es sich bei diesem »Powhida« in Wirklichkeit garnicht um den Künstler William Powhida handelte. Das ganze war vielmehr von Salvador Dalí inspiriert, von Koons, auch Mark Kostabi (»mein Pinsel«) ließ grüßen, und natürlich, wie könnte es anders sein, auch Andy Warhol, der seinen ihm selbst überhaupt nicht ähnlich sehenden Doppelgänger Alan Midgeley schickte, wenn er selber keine Lust hatte. Solche Kunstschwindeleien wären vor der Moderne kaum denkbar gewesen. Wer hätte sich schon als ein Raphael, ein Dürer oder ein Turner ausgeben können? Aber »Powhida« war da, ein erfundener Künstler. Und nicht der erste, auf den ich getroffen bin. Im Atelier von Jeff Koons, – ja, dem »echten« Koons – gab David Bowie einmal eine Party, aus Anlaß seines (kurzlebigen) Ausflugs als Herausgeber von Modern Painters, und wegen eines Buches, Nat Tate: American Artist, geschrieben vom britischen Romancier William Boyd. Von diesem Nat Tate hatte ich noch nie gehört und blätterte das Buch kurz durch. Unglückliches Leben, zerstört sein eigenes Werk, ersäuft sich, Lektüre zum aus dem Fenster springen. Ich wandte mich wieder dem Partygeschehen zu. Über das Buch schien niemand zu sprechen,

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briefly. Miserable life, destroyed his own work, drowned himself. A real downer. I returned to the party. I didn’t hear the book talked about but people don’t often talk about books at book parties. End of story. Well, no. It was a Manhattan-based British reporter, David Usborne of The Independent, who told me that Boyd had made up Nat Tate. According to his published account, Manhattan’s literary world was in a »tizzy,« and I was quoted, »Well, there are so many bad artists that exist, I would much rather hear about a good one who didn’t.« I wouldn’t change a word. I learned about The Three from Adrian Dannatt, a British art writer and a friend. They were former fashion models, who had been on the fringe of the Young British Artists, and had taken note of the media attention. They had become collaborative artists and Dannatt explained that their art was their own press coverage. Great! Had to happen, I thought. Dannatt showed me various art magazines he had got them into, including Parkett. Also they had shown at a London gallery. Fine. I got myself assigned to do a piece for what turned out to be the final issue of Tina Brown’ magazine, Talk. At the insistence of The Three, the interview was by email. It went well. Dannatt called when the piece was in print. »How did you like my hoax?« he asked brightly. He seemed surprised by my rabid fury. »You could say you were in on it?« he suggested. I said that wouldn’t really do. And gloomily called Tina Brown. Expecting fireworks. Any writer who plays a part, whether unscrupulous or gullible, in the dissemination of a hoax, a political hoax, a literary hoax, in fact just about any old hoax, will find themselves facing extreme career turbulence. »Oh, well!« Brown said nonchalantly. Two points. The first is that sometimes in the art world you simply have to assume that an artist is serious. Suppose – I borrow this example from Arthur Danto – somebody learned about monochromes and decided to paint one himself. Is it art? As for conceptual art, it’s a sitting duck for a hoaxer. And Adrian Dannatt – who remains my friend – had shot it. The second is that hoaxing is somehow okay in contemporary art. But why? I decided that because the art has been filled with self-mockery since Dada, much of the world at large has long been comfortable with the notion of an art world filled with tricksters. Earlier this summer there was an opening at Carriage Trade of the work of Henry Codax. For a small gallery, it was well attended. Olivier Mosset was there, the radical Swiss-born abstractionist, but Codax, an artist whose name was not known to me, was a no show. I looked over his work, an installation of handsome, site-specific monochromes. These could almost have been done by Mosset, I told the gallerist, Peter Scott. »I wouldn’t say that is not correct,« Scott said, carefully. Aha! I didn’t ask Mosset a direct question but we chatted about »John Dogg«, the name under which Richard Prince and the late Colin de Land had produced work. So. Nat Tate was an out-and-out fraud, literally a non-entity. As were The Three. But Olivier Mosset is a real and well regarded artist, part of whose project is querying originality. By the time I got to know John Dogg’s work I was aware that he didn’t really exist, but I like the stuff anyway. And William Powhida? »William Powhida, the Genius,« is a fraud, sunglasses, blondes and all, and he is portrayed by a professional actor, Rick Daicey. William Powhida, the Artist, on the other hand, who was absent on a residency in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, during the Marlborough opening, is an artist in his mid thirties, who makes word-and-picture pieces that lacerate the art world. He, believe me, is real. And terrific.

www.anthonyhadenguest.com

aber auf Buchparties spricht man auch nicht wirklich über Bücher. Ein in Manhattan ansäßiger britischer Reporter, David Usborne vom Independent, verriet mir dann, daß Boyd sich Nat Tate ausgedacht hätte. Seinem Artikel zufolge befand sich Manhattans Literaturszene in »heller Aufregung« über das Buch, und ich wurde wie folgt zitiert: »Es gibt ja so viele schlechte Künstler, ich würde viel lieber von einem guten hören, den’s nicht gibt.« Ich hätte es selber nicht besser sagen können. Von The Three erfuhr ich von Adrian Dannatt, einem britischen Kunstkritiker und Freund. Drei ehemalige Models, die sich am Rande der Young British Artists bewegten und anfingen, selber Kunst zu machen. Dannatt erklärte, ihre Kunst bestünde aus ihrer eigenen Medienberichterstattung. Toll! Das mußte ja irgendwann passieren. Dannatt zeigte mir eine Reihe von Artikeln in Kunstzeitschriften, die er lanciert hatte, sogar Parkett war dabei, und sie hatten schon in einer Londoner Galerie ausgestellt. Gut. Ich besorgte mir den Auftrag, einen Artikel für, wie sich herausstellen sollte, die letzte Ausgabe von Tina Browns Magazin Talk zu schreiben. Auf Drängen von The Three fand das Interview per Email statt. Es lief gut. Dannatt rief mich an, als sich der Text gerade im Druck befand. »Wie fandest du meinen Schwindel?«, fragte er gut gelaunt. Er schien überrascht von meiner aufgebrachten Reaktion. »Du kannst ja sagen, daß du eingeweiht warst?« schlug er vor. Sehr witzig. Finster gestimmt rief ich Tina Brown an. In Erwartung eines Donnerwetters. Ein Autor, der, egal ob aus Skrupellosigkeit oder Leichtgläubigkeit, die Verbreitung eines Schwindels unterstützt, muß sich hinsichtlich seiner Karriere auf extreme Turbulenzen gefaßt machen. »Oh. Na ja!«, sagte Brown. Zwei Dinge dazu: Erstens muß man in der Kunstwelt manchmal einfach davon ausgehen können, daß ein Künstler seriös ist. Stellen Sie sich vor – dieses Beispiel kommt von Arthur Danto –, jemand erfährt von der monochromen Malerei und entscheidet daraufhin, selbst so ein Bild zu malen. Ist das Kunst? Konzeptkunst ist des Schwindlers leichte Beute. Und Adrian Dannatt – mit dem ich nach wie vor befreundet bin – schlug zu. Und zweitens gilt Schwindeln im Bereich der zeitgenössischen Kunst als irgendwie in Ordnung. Aber warum? Meine These ist: seit Dada ist die Kunst voller Selbstbetrug, und deshalb hat sich ein Großteil der Welt mit der Annahme abgefunden, daß es in der Kunstwelt von Betrügern wimmelt. Im Frühsommer eröffnete die Galerie Carriage Trade eine Ausstellung mit Werken von Henry Codax. Für eine kleine Galerie war der Abend gut besucht. Olivier Mosset war da, der radikale, abstrakte Schweizer Künstler, aber Codax, ein Künstler, mir namentlich unbekannt, zeigte sich nicht. Ich betrachtete seine Arbeiten, hübsch in situ installierte Monochrome. Die könnten fast von Mosset stammen, sagte ich zum Galerist, Peter Scott. »Ich würde nicht sagen, daß dies nicht korrekt wäre«, entgegnete Scott vorsichtig. Aha! Ich fragte Mosset nicht unmittelbar danach, aber wir unterhielten uns über »John Dogg«, ein Pseudonym, unter dem Richard Prince und der verstorbene Colin de Land Kunst zu machen pflegten. Also. Nat Tate war ausgemachter Betrug, buchstäblich ein Niemand. So wie The Three. Aber Olivier Mosset ist ein real existenter und angesehener Künstler, der in seiner Arbeit den Begriff der Originalität hinterfragt. Und John Dogg? Als ich seine Kunst kennenlernte, wußte ich bereits, daß er als Person nicht wirklich existierte, aber seine Sachen gefielen mir trotzdem. Und William Powhida? »William Powhida, das Genie« ist ein Schwindel, inklusive Sonnenbrille und Blondinen, der von Rick Daicey gespielt wird, einem professionellen Schauspieler. Der Künstler William Powhida aber, der während der Marlborough-Eröffnung wegen eines Künstlerstipendiums in Sheboygan, Wisconsin weilte, produziert Kunst, die wahrgenommen wird und zu Reaktionen provoziert. Er, das können Sie mir glauben, ist echt. Und echt gut. 219


Further reading

sleek N°31 XX / X Y

Further Reading This issue’s book recommendations have been compiled to render academic Gender Studies classes unnecessary. Read them and you will find that no questions on genetic predispositions and what we make of them can ever be answered anyway.

From the book: Hans Bellmer – Louise Bourgeois. Double Sexus, Distanz, Berlin 2010.

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Detail from a work by Daniela Comani (see also page 94). © VG Bild-Kunst.

Hans Bellmer – Louise Bourgeois. Double Sexus, Distanz, Berlin 2010.

Kalliope Karella, Weddings of Style. A Guide to the Ultimate Wedding, Assouline, New York 2004. www.assouline.com.

Double Sexus brings together works by Hans Bellmer and Louise Bourgeois. Although the two never actually met, their bodies of work intersect in fascinating and provocative ways. Both Bellmer and Bourgeois seem to navigate problematic interactions and familial relationships by channelling them into their art. They render the human form in severe shapes and angles, dissecting, inflating and reorganizing limbs and loins in a frighteningly Freudian way. This book, an eponymous archive of a travelling museum show, raises questions about the fluctuating realms of sex and gender. But more than that, it’s mind-melting coitus, like watching art having sex.

Traditionally speaking, nothing brings XX and XY together more than a wedding and the long list of customs that go along with it. Decked out in white, cutting the cake, or throwing rice, you’re taking part in ceremonies that have been around for generations. However, as Kalliope Karella shows us, the details, even down to the choice of desert wine, are what make a wedding special. Karella has compiled 15 weddings of international couples from the highest social echelons and included firsthand accounts, personal photos and tips from the brides themselves. Unfortunately, not all of us can have weddings like those in Karella’s book, which gives the term »dream wedding« another meaning… 221


Further reading

sleek N°31 XX / X Y

Marie Canet, Brice Dellsperger. Body Double, Sternberg Press / Toastink Press, Berlin / Paris 2011.

Walter Pfeiffer, Cherchez la femme!, Edition Patrick Frey, Zürich 2007.

Taking its name from Brian de Palma’s 1984 psychological thriller, Brice Dellsperger’s ongoing series of cinematic remakes, »Body Double«, was started in 1995 and now numbers some 30 films. Together with his performer and muse, the heavily tattooed and pierced Jean-Luc Verna, Dellsperger re-enacts iconic film scenes, faithfully following the original scripts line by line and gesture by gesture, while substituting the cast, mostly with a wig-clad Verna in prosthetic breasts. Modelled after Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon, the first monograph on the Swiss artist’s output invites the reader to explore the camp Dellspergian film factory.

Alexandre Dumas once wrote, »Il y a une femme dans toutes les affaires: aussitôt qu’on me fait un rapport, je dis: ›Cherchez la femme!‹« The phrase »cherchez la femme« later became a trope in detective pulp fiction and pop culture. Walter Pfeiffer’s uncanny images of playfulness and troublemaking show a new perspective on female culpability. Whether as reinterpretations of historically female acts such as applying lipstick, taking a bath or cleaning the house, or as nonsensical imagery that weds whimsical fairytale with gritty reality, these representations of femininity question the depth and artifice of societal standards of sophistication and glamour.

Barbara Davatz, As Time Goes By, Edition Patrick Frey, Zurich

Glenn O’Brien, How To Be a Man: A Guide To Style and Behavior For The Modern Gentleman, Rizzoli, New York 2011.

Robert Crumb, The Book of Genesis According to Robert Crumb, Carlsen Verlag, Hamburg 2009.

Platon, Power Platon, Schirmer / Mosel, Munich 2011.

In the foreword it reads, »Every picture is the record of a relationship. The sum of the pictures is a record of time.« Indeed, we become aware of how the passing of time affects us only through relationships with others, as we see our children grow, our partners age, our parents die… Over the course of 15 years, from 1982 to 1997, Barbara Davatz photographed twelve couples against a blank backdrop: lovers, close friends, relatives and co-workers. Her portraits don’t just expose the ebb and flow of trends and the evolution of self-image and style, they also reveal that we might be free to choose how we want to look and live, but that despite our efforts to appear as individuals, we would be nothing without relationships.

For over thirty years, Glenn O’Brien dispensed wellhoned sartorial and etiquette advice in his GQ Magazine column »The Style Guy«, helping men of all ages on issues as varied and crucial as how to throw the perfect cocktail party or how to have a vice without losing face. This book is the culmination of O’Brien’s career as mentor, penned with his signature wit, sarcasm, and insight. It leaves no question unanswered, advising even on how to leave this world in style, accompanied by Jean-Philippe Delhomme’s suitably elegant illustrations. As Lauren Hutton is quoted in the overture: »Read this book, you’ll be better in bed.«

There is, and probably always will be a good deal of debate about how humans came into existence. But whether you believe in creation, evolution, or aliens coming down and concocting the human race, Robert Crumb has helped simplify things by illustrating one of the most cited creation myths – the Book of Genesis. Though he translates the sacred story into comics, Crumb doesn’t debase or simplify it. In fact, he includes every single word of the original, beautifully rendered in profoundly lifelike characters that help to update one of the world’s oldest stories, and doesn’t shy from all that sex and scandal that made the Bible the world’s number one bestseller.

With this candid, insightful book of portraits, Platon proves that the alpha male (or female, in a few cases) doesn’t come in any particular size or shape. Shot within a twelve-month period in a tiny studio off the floor of the General Assembly at the United Nations, these images function as a fascinating exercise in power. As the mighty political leaders (presidents, prime ministers, kings, dictators…) sit before his lens, Platon gains control over their image. His eye, however, doesn’t judge; he brings out every last detail in these faces, but we don’t detect anything to support the theory that the will to rule comes in the genes.

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Further reading

sleek N°31 XX / X Y

From the book: Maud Lavin, Push Comes to Shove. New Images of Aggressive Women, The MIT Press, London 2010.

From the book: Fred Hüning, Zwei, Peperoni Books, Berlin 2011.

Maud Lavin, Push Comes to Shove. New Images of Aggressive Women, The MIT Press, London 2010.

Ari Versluis / Ellie Uyttenbroek, Exactitudes, 010 Publishers, Rotterdam 2011.

Fred Hüning, Zwei, Peperoni Books, Berlin 2011.

AA Bronson / Peter Hobbs, Queer Spirits, Creative Time and Plug In Editions / J TP Ringier 2011.

Girls, if you’ve ever been called a tomboy or scolded for not acting like a lady, this book might be just for you. Maud Lavin investigates the nuances of women’s aggression – a characteristic historically portrayed as male – in circles of society that range from politics to roller derbies. Her argument reveals the positive and productive results of aggression for both sexes, contributing to a more positive discourse on strong female characters. Aggression is a creative, comedic and erotic force that should be put to good use, so rather than shy away from the roughhousing boys in the yard, women can and should join in on the pushing and shoving.

What started out as an online publishing project of mere personal interest has evolved into an impressive endeavour of international recognition and almost scientific dimensions: Exactitudes. Originally its initiators Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek intended to document the dress codes of specific social groups such as punks, hipsters, leather gays, etc. In the meantime their vision has reached such subtle refinement that they are capable of categorising every single human being, even the ones not consciously following a particular dress code. Regularly updated and extended, the current edition is already the fifth. And there’s no end in sight.

We’ve all heard the saying »love sucks«. Well, Fred Hüning gives us a portrait of love from a very different, very personal angle. In this book of photographs, the second part of a planned trilogy, Hüning captures the cycle of falling in love – how he meets the woman he calls his »Schneekönigin« [snow queen], and how they begin to understand and open up to one other. This visual diary captures poignant, private moments of playfulness and sadness. The title, Zwei [two], is technically speaking not quite correct, as the photographs only show one person, the woman, but the intimacy with which she is portrayed evokes her other half.

AA Bronson joined forces with artist and academic Peter Hobbs to conjure up a tale of five art performances, all titled Invocation of the Queer Spirits, carried out between 2008 and 2010. The invocations, conducted in Banff, New Orleans, Winnipeg, Governors Island and Fire Island, resembled a secret ritual, somewhere between group therapy, ceremonial magic, and a séance intended to invoke the »queer« and marginalized histories of each site. Hobbs’ witty reflections and drawings by Elijah Burgher complement the photographs of the performances, which are highly codified. As Bronson adds: »Those who know the world we have inhibited will recognize the signs along the way.«

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sleek 32, High/Low, Winter 2011: An issue about high expectations and lower east sides and upgrades and downfalls and mountains and valleys. And about drugs and religion, maybe... e–

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christoph morlinghaus, St. John’s Abbey, 2005. C-print, 127 × 152.4 cm.

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