Issue 67 64 DECEMBER april 2013 2012
Contains 5% nathaniel mellors; 3% sam gilliam and rashid Johnson; 27% Pantone 811; 1 band of italian writers
Berlin the f inal instalme nt of ou r thre e - part guide to the cit y â€™s art sce ne
Wolfgang Tillmans the world through m y le ns
Design www.artreview.com Cover.indd 1
A s pecial focus on the re l ationship b e twe e n design and art, fe at uring Mau rizio Catte l an , K arl Lage rfe ld, Konstantin Grcic and man y more
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Ha u s e r & W ir t H
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BC (3935), 2012 Collage, paint, BleaCh, glue, faBriC on wood 320 × 243.8 × 5.1 Cm / 126 × 96 × 2 in photo: roBert wedemeyer
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Dieter rOtH BJÖrN rOtH 23 JaNuary — 13 april 2013 iNauGural eXHiBitiON ON 18tH street 511 West 18tH street NeW yOrk Ny 10011 WWW.HauserWirtH.cOm
Björn roth / oddur roth / Einar roth roth nEw York Bar, 2013 MixEd MEdia installation with vidEo 231 × 382 × 1470 cM / 91 × 150 3/8 × 578 3/4 in Photo: GEnEviEvE hanson
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TONY CRAGG ACCURATE FIGURE 25 APRIL - 25 MAY 2013
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Marcel Dzama Puppets, Pawns, and Prophets 6 April â€“ 11 May 2013
David Zwirner 24 Grafton Street London W1S 4EZ 020 3538 3165 davidzwirner.com
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3 March — 6 April 2013 11 Road 12 / Mahmoud Sedky, Cairo
27 March — 4 May 2013 52–54 Bell Street, London
Lisson Gallery and Beirut present
The Magic of the State
Ryan Gander Goldin+Senneby Rana Hamadeh Anja Kirschner and David Panos Liz Magic Laser Christodoulos Panayiotou Lili Reynaud-Dewar
beirutbeirut.org Christodoulos Panayiotou, The Invention of Antiquity, 2012
Opening exhibition Apr 18—Aug 4
Imran Qureshi Artist of the Year 2013 at the new
Unter den Linden 13/15 10117 Berlin Daily, 10 am— 8 pm; Mondays, admission free deutsche-bank-kunsthalle.com
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Sam Gilliam Hard-Edge Paintings 1963–1966 curated by Rashid Johnson March 28 — May 11, 2013
email@example.com www.davidkordanskygallery.com T: 310.558.3030 F: 310.558.3060 Sam Gilliam Theme of Five I (detail), 1965, acrylic on canvas, 70 × 83 inches (177.8 × 210.8 cm)
DAVID KORDANSKY 13
MAX WIGRAM GALLERY
MUSTAFA HULUSI THE GOLDEN AGE
15th March - 4th May 2013
BARNABY HOSKING CONTEMPLATING DUALITY 15th March - 4th May 2013
106 New Bond Street, London W1S 1DN www.maxwigram.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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Contents 1 Magazine Start.indd 15
Writer / Photographer / Artist
Contributors A New Reference Dictionary
They made this The language of art in plain English
Now See This 24 34 Now Buy This 40 Now Hear This Comic Strip 50 54 Great Critics and Their Ideas 56 Other People and Their Ideas
April shows, from Sharjah to Middlesbrough A selection of objects you don’t yet know you need Reports from the magazine’s correspondents in London, New York, Montevideo, Paris and Rome, plus Kraftwerk at Tate Modern and art on the catwalks The Postie Always Rings Thrice Augustine of Hippo The Carnegie International
Martin Herbert ArtReview’s editors ArtReview’s columnists
61 62 72 76 80 90
Photo maker Guerrilla novelists Curated by Rashid Johnson The final in our three-part series: Mitte & Kreuzberg Comedy, polar bears and kinetic art
Martin Herbert Stewart Home Mark Rappolt Raimar Stange / Andrea Stappert Jacob Fabricius
Featured Wolfgang Tillmans Wu Ming Sam Gilliam City Focus: Berlin Nathaniel Mellors
Warren and Gary Pleece Matthew Collings Tom Eccles
97 Designed 98 1968 & Beyond The importance of furniture 109 Standard Thinking Seven design manifestos 120 Karl Lagerfeld Eye of the storm
Maurizio Cattelan & Dakis Joannou / Pierpaolo Ferrari Introduced by Hettie Judah Hettie Judah
131 Reviewed 132 Exhibitions 158 Books 162 Off the Record
Larne Abse Gogarty J.J. Charlesworth Helen Sumpter Gabriel Coxhead Rebecca Geldard Ben Street Oliver Basciano James Clegg David Everitt Howe Brienne Walsh Jonathan T.D. Neil Siona Wilson Joshua Mack Andrew Berardini Liam Considine Raimar Stange Barbara Casavecchia Johanne Nordby Wernø Violaine Boutet de Monvel Keith Patrick Luke Clancy Sam Steverlynck Aoife Rosenmeyer John Quin Iona Whittaker Martin Herbert Mark Rappolt Stewart Home Oliver Basciano Chris Sharp Helen Sumpter Gallery Girl
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Film in Space BANK Keith Tyson A House of Leaves Mat Collishaw Stuart Whipps Judith Lauand Andy Holden Black Cake Martin Soto Climent Julian Schnabel Sabine Hornig Christopher K. Ho Richard Jackson Connor Everts Omer Fast The Cthulhu Club Nina Beier Julie Mehretu Heimo Zobernig Mick Wilson Thomas Helbig, Victor Man, Helmut Stallaerts Time Harun Farocki Liu Xiaodong After Art The Golden Age of DC Comics The Books That Shaped Art History Not an Essay / Instant-flex 718 The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s) Various Small Books Tell everyone you’re Marina
Zhang Xiaogang 508 and 510 West 25th Street New York March 29 â€“ April 27, 2013
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Editor Mark Rappolt Executive Editor David Terrien Senior Editor, Web Editor Helen Sumpter Design Pedro Cid ProenĂ§a Allon Kaye Associate Editors J.J. Charlesworth Martin Herbert Jonathan T.D. Neil Assistant Editor Oliver Basciano email@example.com
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On the cover Wolfgang Tillmans Self-portrait, 2012 Reprographics by PHMEDIA. Copyright of all editorial content in the UK and abroad is held by the publishers, ArtReview Ltd. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden save with the written permission of the publishers. ArtReview cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage to unsolicited material. ArtReview, ISSN 1745-9303, is published nine times a year by ArtReview Ltd. USA agent: IMS Clevett Worldwide, 19 Route 10 East, Bldg 2 Unit 24, Succasunna, NJ 07876. Periodicals Postage Paid at Folcroft, PA. Postmaster: Send address changes to: ArtReview, IMS NY c/o Julie Dorlot, 100 Walnut Street, Door #1, Champlain, NY 12919, T: 1 518 298 3212
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Contributors Martin Herbert is an associate editor at ArtReview and an inveterate moonlighter for other publications. His monograph on Mark Wallinger was published in 2011 by Thames & Hudson, and a book of essays, The Uncertainty Principle, is slated for publication later this year by Sternberg Press. For this issue he went to Kreuzberg, Berlin, to interview Wolfgang Tillmans. For further reading, he recommends Tillmans’s Neue Welt (2012) and, for compareand-contrast purposes, the same artist’s Abstract Pictures (2011). Hettie Judah is a writer and editor specialising in fashion, art and design. When not writing for ArtReview, she works closely with MoMu, the fashion museum in Antwerp. She is currently creating an app and website covering 500 years of fashion and costume in Antwerp, onto which she’s managed to sneak video footage of Gordon Matta-Clark’s Office Baroque (1977). She recently edited and wrote the introduction to Pattern: 100 Fashion Designers, 10 Curators (Phaidon, 2013). This month she starts a regular column on how ideas from art filter through into the real world. She also interviewed Karl Lagerfeld and commissioned and edited seven designers’ manifestos for ArtReview’s annual special focus on design. For further reading she recommends boning up on Kandinsky and the Bauhaus, two subjects Lagerfeld is passionate about.
Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari are artists. In 2010 they founded TOILETPAPER, an image-based magazine published and distributed by Damiani Editore. In May 2012 TOILETPAPER was exhibited on the High Line billboard in New York. In the same year images taken from the first six issues were published in an anthology, together with selected narrative texts, that was reviewed in The New York Times’s Top 10 Photo Books of 2012. Cattelan and Ferrari are now working on the eighth issue, to be released in June 2013. This month Cattelan speaks to Dakis Joannou, with Ferrari shooting the accompanying photos. Johanne Nordby Wernø is a writer, critic and curator. Born in 1980, she spent her twenties writing on music, then on art, and is today an assistant editor for the online arts magazine Kunstkritikk. In addition to writing for ArtReview – mostly from her native Oslo – she writes for Artforum and Artforum.com. In September, this freelancer’s life will end as she becomes director of the Young Artists Society (UKS) in Oslo. Her interests include writing fiction. For this issue she reviewed Nina Beier’s solo exhibiton at Standard (Oslo). For further reading, she recommends the texts written by Joanna Fiduccia, Mihnea Mircan and Chris Sharp for the artist’s project Trauerspiel, Repertoire, Morphological Mimicry and Mympathetic Magic, and Text (2010).
Contributing Editors Tyler Coburn, Brian Dillon, Hettie Judah, Joshua Mack, Laura McLean-Ferris, Christopher Mooney, Niru Ratnam, Chris Sharp Contributing Writers Larne Abse Gogarty, Andrew Berardini, Violaine Boutet de Monvel, Neal Brown, Barbara Casavecchia, Maurizio Cattelan, Luke Clancy, James Clegg, Matthew Collings, Liam Considine, Gabriel Coxhead, Marie Darrieussecq, Tom Eccles, David Everitt Howe, Jacob Fabricius, Rebecca Geldard, Gallery Girl, Paul Gravett, Jonathan Grossmalerman, Stewart Home, Sam Jacob, Johanne Nordby Wernø, Keith Patrick, John Quin, Aoife Rosenmeyer, Raimar Stange, Sam Steverlynck, Ben Street, Christian ViverosFauné, Brienne Walsh, Mike Watson, Iona Whittaker, Siona Wilson Contributing Artists / Photographers / Illustrators Pierpaolo Ferrari, Viktor Hachmang, Zebedee Helm, Warren and Gary Pleece, Andrea Stappert
Maurizio Cattelan photo: Pierpaolo Ferrari. Pierpaolo Ferrari photo: Matteo Ferrari, courtesy Case da Abitare
Jacob Fabricius is curator and director of Kunsthal Charlottenborg. He lives and works in Copenhagen. This month he interviews Nathaniel Mellors.
27 March â€” 9 June 2013
Photography: Mark Borthwick, Styling: Bernadette Van-Huy. For Made in USA #2, 2000
2000 Wasted Years The Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH www.ica.org.uk 020 7930 3647
With thanks to the Bernadette Corporation Exhibition Supporters Group. An Artists Space, New York exhibition, in co-production with Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
The ICA is a registered charity, number: 236848
Yy yab-yum to youth, fountain of
yab-yum Common symbol in Buddhist art, representing the male deity in sexual union with a female consort. Yab-yum iconography and the maitrī practice of Kāmamudrā engenders cognition of the upaya doctrine of interpenetration. yacht Locus status object for art collectors unable to afford a ship. yakshas Nature spirits who are custodians of hidden treasures. Their origin was among the early indigenous peoples of Hampstead, where they were given homage as tutelary deities of a district, pond or well. They continued to flourish during the Islington dynasty. Includes feminine fertility deities and mother goddesses, as well as Nagas and Naginis (male and female serpent deities). Nagas and Naginis dominate cultural organisations and are honoured with gifts and sacrifices, as they may be either beneficent or malevolent. Yale Center for British Art See mellons, bucket, cucumber. Yama Hindu lord of the underworld and judge of the dead. See dead critic. yashmak A veil for women to cover their faces in public, with a split for the eyes. In contemporary art the yashmak is sometimes referenced in a universal locus multiplicity locus continuum between the sexual and the spiritual in certain textile usage multiplicity strategies. The slash, split, gash, cut and slit may be introduced to create a void or hole in fabric or canvas. Theorised as the split crotch panties syndrome. YAVIS Acronym for ‘young, attractive, verbal, intelligent and successful’ (William Schofield, 1964). Mental health professionals tend to favour clients with these traits. Because of art criticism’s close relationship with the mental health community, and the truism that both psychotherapists and art critics yearn for power (including sexual power), authorities assume the YAVIS locus is similar for both. YBA cunt Text abbreviation for the rhetorical question ‘why be a…?’. Often followed by the offensive word ‘cunt’. For example: ‘fuck up joe u fuckin prick! he hant dun fuk all rong 2 u so y b a cunt! tell u wot yea joe u wanna fite wit him ur gonna ave 2 get thru me! n no he ant gonna hide’ (anonymous, bebo.com). See Saatchi Gallery. year The art year is arranged within the calendar year according to a strict issuing of periodic press releases. Critics give careful, close readings to many thousands of these a week. yeehaw Critical term. yellow A beautiful colour that may cause happiness, as well as cowardice and deceit. In paintings, yellowing is a tendency on the part of binding media or varnish to discolour in tonal degradations, and usually occurs when linseed oil is included. In religious art the yellow teeth of a sexually predatory priest represent divinity and illuminated truth.
yoga (art) Visual practice characterised by excited circular forms, undulations and sugared colour. yoke The locus attribute symbol of obedience. yoni The female genital organs. The yoni has magical qualities, and is often revered for its power to bring life. Women may heal the sick or scare away storms, devils or evil misfortune simply by exposing their genitals. Contemporary art provides many proxy variants of this function, made by both female and male artists. Yoruba Among the oldest and most influential of all African cultures, whose classical period created religious art of high spiritual significance. In the early twentieth century artists appropriated the appearance of African religious relics, including Yoruban art. This was more for stylistic appearance than the religious content, which remains hidden in the modernist work. Authorities expect the ancestral spirits and souls appropriated in unauthorised usages to eventually seek release, in an immense reordering of divine spiritual truth. Young Contemporaries An important series of exhibitions by British art students. In 1974 the name was changed to New Contemporaries. Young, Edward (1683–1765) Author of Conjectures on Original Composition (1759) and Night Thoughts (1742–5). Important critical influence on punk rock. youth An emphasis on art made by very young artists has resulted in record prices being paid at auction for baby artist art. youth culture Study of cultural and subcultural locus accountings of young people that may be either normative or nonnormative, and classified by ethnicity, gender, class, etc. youth, fountain of Eternal youth is a gift sought in myth and legend. European painting iconography shows frail old people, often carried, dipped into a urinal, and leaving as youthful and naked. NEAL BROWN
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Now See This
Ten exhibitions you don’t want to miss in March By Martin Herbert Urs Fischer LA MOCA, Los Angeles 21 April – 19 August Paris Photo Los Angeles Paramount Pictures Studios, Los Angeles 26–28 April Marilyn Minter Regen Projects, Los Angeles 6 April – 11 May Claes Oldenburg MoMA, New York 14 April – 5 August Nicolas Party The Modern Institute, Glasgow 6 April – 8 May Alistair Frost BolteLange, Zurich to 11 May Martine Aballéa Art: Concept, Paris 13 April – 18 May Fernanda Gomes Alison Jacques, London 19 April – 17 May Eija-Liisa Ahtila KIASMA, Helsinki 19 April – 1 September Annette Messager, Alina Szapocznikow Isabella Czarnowska, Berlin 26 April – 29 June
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URS FISCHER Untitled (Bread House), 2004–5, bread, bread crumbs, wood, polyurethane foam, silicone, acrylic paint, screws, tape, rugs, theatre spotlights, 406 x 372 x 421 cm. The Brant Foundation, Greenwich. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York
Last year, when LA MOCA’s turn towards populism was bringing art lovers out in hives, the institution’s director, Jeffrey Deitch, took a break from green-lighting James Dean shows curated by James Franco to be photographed for The New York Times, standing in front of an Urs Fischer Problem Painting. This was evidently a teaser ad, since the Swiss provocateur now has a show under Deitch’s rafters. And maybe if anyone can balance twirling turnstiles with actual intelligence, it’s Fischer, whose first major retrospective is curated by Tate Modern’s Jessica Morgan. His last decade’s prankish, entropic production will be filleted across the 6,000m2 of MOCA’s two venues: bring on the melting-wax candle sculptures, multiauthored clay pieces and maybe Untitled Bread House (2004–5), Fischer’s sourdough alpine cabin, a once-proud edifice crumbling and turning to stinky crumbs as it goes. Or perhaps MOCA won’t want to show that.
Now See This
KATY GRANNAN (see Paris photo lOS aNGELES) Anonymous, Bakersfield, 2011/2012, archival pigment print on cotton rag paper mounted to Plexiglas, signed and dated verso in ink, 140 x 104 cm (image, sheet and mount), 147 x 111 cm (frame). © the artist. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
NEW YORK STREET (see Paris photo lOS aNGELES) Courtesy Paramount Pictures Studios, Los Angeles
Blissfully unafraid of pop culture also is Paris Photo Los Angeles, touching down this month at Paramount Pictures. The fair’s bigger galleries are presenting solo shows in ‘sets’ in the studios’ replica of New York City, while emerging galleries
marilyn minter Last Splash, 2012, enamel on metal, 274 x 457 cm. © the artist. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles
hawk their wares on one colossal soundstage and moving-image works screen on another. Down the road at Regen Projects, meanwhile, Marilyn Minter will likely be doing something glossy and photo-related too, though surely more antagonistic, even if blunt critiques aren’t her style. Minter is forever both in-yourface and ambivalent, whether in her late-1960s photographs of her drug-addicted mother, the 80s Porn Grids paintings based on hardcore pornography or her later, reputationrehabilitating photo-derived paintings of heavily lipsticked lips overflowing with pearls (ie, the sex references remained). Of late she’s pursued sumptuous awkwardness through paintings featuring stiletto heels, lips, gold teeth and tongues, and unclothed children swimming in mercurial liquid. The disquiet of these works is that a) they’re liable to seduce anyone, willingly or not, and b) they picture children already inducted into an obsession with glamour and luxury, one that continues to objectify women as a side effect and that Minter, in her art, is less directly lambasting than pointedly, queasily possessing. ArtReview
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F U T U R E g R E A T S 2 0
ArtReview and EFG International are proud to present the first in a series of six specially commissioned poster projects featuring unique artworks created by artists following their selection as 2013 Future Greats. Each artwork is reproduced in ArtReview and is available as a full-size limitededition poster in subscriber copies of the magazine.
Poster series: No 1
Benedict Drew selected by Martin Herbert
Drew’s multiroom installation The Persuaders (2012) leads one from eerily cheery anthropomorphic faces, made from protractors and cut-out stars placed on old-school overhead projectors, past lumpen and queasy sculpted figures, the sound of Clangers-ish whistles and synth blurts, towards a five-minute HD instructional video designed to guide breathing. Beginning fairly dreamily, the film steadily accelerates – intercut with short text injunctions and gnarly noise with synchronised blasts of urban imagery – until, if you follow its advice, you are hyperventilating. In the HD video Phase III (2012) Drew constructs a miasma of ominous, Hubble-like abstractions in which clay forms are digitally manipulated, finally settling on a recalcitrant lump of clay, animated and intertitled in ways that express a generalised resistance. It’s comic yet fiercely lucid regarding the liminal zone between physicality and the digital, and the domineering instrumentalisation of technology, reality and illusion.
International Practitioners of the craft of private banking
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Claes Oldenburg 7-Up, 1961, enamel on plaster-soaked cloth on wire, 141 x 100 x 14 cm). Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. Photo: Lee Stalsworth. © 1961 the artist
Heavy lipstick is something Claes Oldenburg knows all about: his feminised weaponry Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks (1969–74), originally installed at Yale and made of steel, aluminium and fibreglass, must weigh plenty. MoMA, though, via an offshoot of the Oldenburg retrospective at MUMOK, Vienna, is concentrating on an earlier phase in the Pop maestro’s career – formative installations The Street (1960), a gnarly New York environment evoked via cardboard, burlap and newspaper objects, including human figures, cars and traffic barricades, and The Store (1961–4), painted plaster sculptures of commercial artefacts, from cakes and toffee apples to rib-eye steaks to cigarettes and lingerie. These date from when Oldenburg, proposing an equivalence between merchandise and art, and copying Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas (cough), bypassed the gallery system to sell from his own little storefront. In 1961 you could buy a Big Sandwich for $149.98.
Certain works by Nicolas Party could be taken for Store offcuts: the Lausanne-born, Glasgow-based artist’s handpainted stone sculptures of watermelons, apples and pieces of meat, for example. The reference won’t be accidental, since Party’s work – self-described as operating in a modified still life lineage that includes Chardin, Matisse, Morandi and Hockney – hardly hides his influences. Where his bright, colourful aesthetic innovates, it’s within combinatory formats: the former graffiti artist paints on the walls and on furniture in the context of ‘dinner performances’ (intended, his show titles suggest, for elephants and dogs), in a practice that constantly displaces its focus: in nods to art history and auteur cuisine, in issues of medium and whether the show is merely the aftermath of, well, a party.
Dinner for 24 Elephants, 2 September 2011 (installation view). Photo: Keith Hunter. Courtesy the artist and the Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow
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In fact, one could superficially pair Party up with Alistair Frost, given his propensity to make art involving cocktail glasses. The bonhomie in Frost’s clean, white-grounded linear paintings (and occasional sculptures), though, is deceptive. The British artist’s work, handmade if decreasingly expressive, is rooted in digital plenitude, turning online clip art into traditional formats, and has lately involved brief bursts of pop music in the gallery and accompanying cut-and-pasted online texts on how to make an interesting painting. The sense of the venerable medium becoming just one small and degraded voice in a clamour of readymade content is patent: after pondering which, if it matters to you, you might need a drink… Back to the bottles, then. Martine Aballéa, too, thinks art should involve drinks: the Paris-based artist has selfdesigned cocktails (grey and opaque, she says, yet people swig them down) and foodstuffs when not building faux hotel interiors, nightclubs, passageways and tea parlours. In her environments and films and photographs of environments, always evacuated of protagonists, she sets up props and cues for narratives – chairs dappled with psychedelic abstractions, lakesides hand-tinted in unreal colours, moody corridors – that tend to have explicators reaching for their copies of Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space (1958). To describe their lucid, smartly stagy atmospheres another way: ‘There is always too much to be said, even if the most necessary is silence. A full
Alistair frost Out of Office Auto Reply, 2012 (installation view, Christian Andersen, Copenhagen). Courtesy the artist and Mary Mary, Glasgow
fernanda gomes Untitled, 2006, pencil, thread, 11 x 1 cm. Photo: Pat Kilgore. © the artist. Courtesy the artist, Alison Jacques Gallery, London, and Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo
Haroon Mirza Untitled Song Featuring Untitled Works by James Clarkson (detail), 2012. Photo Stuart Whipps. Courtesy the artist and Spike Island, Bristol
silence. Switch to visual language, to think with visions of concrete things. Leave words out of it...’ Those, though, aren’t Aballéa’s or Bachelard’s words, but the words of Fernanda Gomes. The fiftysomething Rio-based artist, when not brushing language off her shoulder (we’ll stop after 92 more words, don’t worry), plunders the quotidian, prestidigitating with cigarette ends, coins, string, teabags, newspapers, etc. What matters in it is ultra-quiet showiness – how right-seeming and tensile one can make, say, a pencil sharpened at both ends, dangling from a string, or a rough wooden cube balanced on a plaster-smeared brick. Though internationally acclaimed, she’s shown in London but once before, years ago: Alison Jacques, who already represents the estates of Lygia Clark, Ana Mendieta and Hélio Oiticica, has clearly – one might say cannily – gone Brazil nuts.
martine aballéa Celui qui m’a oubliée, 2013, c-print, 90 x 60 cm. Courtesy the artist and Art: Concept, Paris
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Now See This
Words can hardly be left out of Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s practice. The Finnish artist’s meticulous films, concerned with human interactions from intimacy to murder, originate in writing and ask what narrative can be, nodding to philosophical quandaries as they go. Her part-scripted 53-minute Where Is Where? (2008), for example, involves a massacre in the French–Algerian war during the 1950s and a reprisal killing among French and Algerian boys, shifting into the present as a poet and the figure of Death try to understand the bloodletting. Parallel Worlds, touring from the Moderna Museet, features several other recent films, including The Annunciation (2010), shot partly in a Southern Finland nature reserve, involving trained animals and contemporising the Gospel story. Here Ahtila’s conceptual driver was biologist Jakob von Uexküll’s quantum physics-like notion (in his lovely A Stroll Through the World of Animals and Men, 1934) that living beings inhabit different yet coexistent phenomenal worlds, which for her launches an exploration of miracles and subjective perception. Annette Messager and Alina Szapocznikow pair up logically: the two were in touch from the point, during the mid-1960s, when the latter moved to Paris from Poland; both would bloom into subversives undermining received ideas about women’s roles and women’s bodies; and both, in their sculptural practices, would reduce the body to resilient, expressive fragments. Messager, of course, would go on to be lauded,
to be a French equivalent to Mike Kelley thanks to her theatricalised explorations of childhood trauma and the psychic pressures of assigned roles. Szapocznikow, 17 years her elder, would become more equivalent to Eva Hesse: one of recent art’s great what-ifs, dying in 1973 of tubercular cancer after also suffering breast cancer (which inspired her Tumour sculptures). Messager’s and Szapocznikow’s works have been shown together in group shows, but not, I think, together like this. A swirl of emotions, both for what was said and what wasn’t, seems inevitable.
Horizontal, 2011, 6-channel projected installation, 16:9/1:1.78, Dolby Digital 5.1, no dialogue, 6 min. © 2011 Crystal Eye – Kristallisilmä Oy, Helsinki. Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York & Paris
Annette messager Hotel/Fiction, 2010, metal, nets, 305 x 225 cm. © Courtesy Galerie Isabella Czarnowska, Berlin
Alina Szapocznikow Vowel, 1962, sandstone, lost wax bronze cast, 49 x 55 x 32 cm. © Courtesy Galerie Isabella Czarnowska, Berlin, P. Stanislawski/ADAGP, Paris
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The pick of things you didn’t know you really needed By ArtReview
A rather lovely edition by Becky Beasley: a cast of a gherkin that was grown from seed by the artist. There are multiple references embedded in the work, from Tristram Shandy to Jewish cuisine, but after the aforementioned overindulgence of wine, food and fashion, the artist’s note that she ‘encourages them to be regularly handled through domestic use in some way’ has left our mind running riot as to what one could possibly do with a cold knobbly brass cylinder.
Red, red wine We pride ourselves on being quite the oenophiles here at ArtReview, which is why we like this collaboration between Michelangelo Pistoletto and winemakers Ornellaia (it’s not just because the limited-edition run of wine, for which the artist has designed the labels, comes in supersize measures). Sporting mirrored livery in silkscreened gold and ivory, eight of the 111 bottles will be auctioned off in aid of London’s Royal Opera House on 16 May. Pistoletto notes a similarity between art and wine: ‘Neither of them has a practical function, but both are indubitably powerful in activating the human spirit.’ Yeah, we know the feeling; ArtReview’s spirits are activated more often than not. vendemmiadartista.it
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Right, so you’re gonna want some food with your wine, aren’t you? To soak up the alcohol contained in a bottle that size. Well, how about some Sophie Calle plates to eat off? The artist, together with high-profile peers such as Jeff Koons, Nabil Nahas and David Salle, has designed a collection of tableware for porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud. Calle’s design relays in one abruptly ending sentence the story of how she shared a meal with an artist who made similar work to hers. Bon appétit!
Dressed like Barbara Word of advice: don’t drink Pistoletto’s red wine in this getup. If you’re anything like us, you’ll end up looking like a newlywed’s sheet in medieval Europe. Which would be a shame, as we quite like the outfit, part of designer Peter Jensen’s new collection that takes inspiration from Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures. peterjensen.co.uk
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In wealth management as in art, insight comes from nding new perspectives. A good idea can come from anywhere — you just have to know how and where to look. Which is why UBS supports the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative and other art engagements around the world. Each provides an opportunity to look for new ideas and perspectives in art, an approach we often take in wealth management. We believe in the power of the insights we gain from our global research, guiding us to breakthrough ideas that were once hard to identify. And these insights allow us to offer a unique perspective to our clients, helping us to guide them through financial complexity. And until we’ve looked beyond for an even better understanding…
We will not rest www.ubs.com/guggenheim © UBS 2013. All rights reserved.
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Fans of Brazil As Brazil’s art scene hits some sort of commercial maturity – with European and North American galleries eager to get in on the action – SP-Arte has comfortably gone up a league in international art fair hierarchy. So pack your thong and sandals and join the likes of White Cube and David Zwirner, as well as smaller outfits from across Latin America (including Riobased Laura Marsiaj, who will be showing the work, pictured, of Portuguese artist Isaque Pinheiro) for four days from 4 April.
HUO is this? In this context we don’t have much to say about Rosemarie Trockel except that we like her work very, very much. And who wouldn’t want to have a portrait of a young Hans Ulrich Obrist on his wall?
Price on request
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Cowabunga Which artist is green, fights crime and lives in the sewers of New York? Teenage Mutant Richard Tuttle. Not our joke, we found it on Facebook. The revered artist, who frankly deserves better than being the butt of a weak pun, has created this lovely, messy sculpture, titled Parx, using handcast cotton pulp from which dyed paper strips protrude. Available in an edition of 14 from Universal Limited Art Editions. ulae.com
top right: Isaque Pinheiro, Pede Vento, 2011. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Laura Marsiaj, Rio de Janeiro
Going for a song What we can say for certain is that we’re really big fans of Massachusetts-based small press the Song Cave, publisher of onepoem books bound in uniform, smartly designed covers, together with quarterly poetry journal Sea Ranch. And if we weren’t going to gush before, we got this response to an email to coeditor Ben Estes enquiring about a new fundraising Snowman print by Josh Smith (edition of 50): ‘We know we could sell these for much more than $100, but want to offer something that just about anybody can afford.’ Amazing.
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são paulo international art fair april 03–07 pavilhão da bienal / parque ibirapuera
over 120 Galleries curatorial lab dialoGues exhibitions book releases maGazines artist’s books
for more information, please visit our new website www.sp-arte.com
detail of the work: gustavo rezende, maxwell vindo 4, 2012; photo: everton ballardin; courtesy galeria marilia razuk.
the brazilian ministry of culture presents
an_sparte2013_artreview_05.indd 2 SPARTE.indd 38
01/03/13 11:14 18/03/2013 10:49
Together as one Curated by Alma Zevi
TIM SHEWARD PROJECTS
29th March - 27th April
Wed-Sat 10-6 and by appointment
52A Great Suffolk st. London SE1 0BL www.timshewardprojects.com T.+44(0)7538 841681
New Work Scotland Programme Shona Macnaughton | Tom Varley Project Room: James Bell 22 – 28 Cockburn Street Edinburgh EH1 1NY ++44 (0)131 220 1260 firstname.lastname@example.org www.collectivegallery.net
Image: Shona Macnaughton, Every Translator is a Traitor, video still, 2013.
The magazine’s correspondents speak their mind J.J. Charlesworth, London Are you experienced? Joshua Mack, New York Expansion, consolidation John Quin, Montevideo The sweet smell of art funding Marie Darrieussecq, Paris The Museum of Everything Oliver Basciano, London Off-Space no. 11: The Institute of Jamais Vu Jonathan Grossmalerman, New York Crime and punishment Mike Watson, Rome The Italian brain drain Hettie Judah, Art and the Real World Art couture – body art for the digital age Sam Jacob, Design Kraftwerk’s future-nostalgia Paul Gravett, Comics Warren and Gary Pleece
There’s a poster on the platform at Barbican underground station, my stop now when I head to ArtReview’s fancy new offices. The poster is for the Hayward Gallery’s current exhibition, Light Show, with an upbeat, punning quote from The Independent newspaper: ‘Hayward Gallery trips the light switch fantastic!’ On the show’s website, a YouTube clip previews the show’s glowing array of artworks that use artificial light, and a warning banner declares that ‘Light Show is extremely popular and tickets are selling out daily. You should expect to queue upon arrival and advance booking is strongly recommended.’ Light Show comes hard on the heels of Rain Room, by digital art/design outfit Random International, at the Barbican’s Curve Gallery – an installation of digitally controlled rain that, with some slick motion-sensor technology, allows visitors to walk through a downpour without getting wet. The show attracted 77,000 people and extended its opening hours on the last weekend to cope with what were often eight-hour queues. It’s one of those strange phenomena of austerity Britain that in London the big venues are attracting ever bigger crowds. Tate Modern recently announced that it had 5.3 million visitors in 2012, the highest annual attendance in its history, up 9.5 percent on the previous year. Sure, you can count the Damien Hirst show and that Olympics stuff,
and the bad weather that meant people didn’t go to outdoor attractions, apparently, but even the venerable Tate Britain managed a 4.3 percent uptick on 2011, so go figure. Regardless of one - off occurrences and the British weather, it’s still the case that the style of exhibitionmaking in public institutions is changing. Aside from the familiar pumped-up blockbuster shows (from the Hirst retrospective to the current Manet portrait show at the Royal Academy), the most striking development is the turn to a more overt ‘experience art’. One major aspect of this is the relentless rise of performance art as the darling of public gallery curators, a development now fully institutionalised in London with the inauguration of Tate Modern’s Tanks spaces, with their commitment to live, performance and movingimage art, and the roaring success of last year’s Tino Sehgal Turbine Hall commission. But ‘experience art’ goes further than the belated recognition of performance art; immersive, sensory, interactive installations and exhibitions like Light Show or Rain Room point to a shift in the curatorial agenda of public art galleries. It’s not just driven by the need to get bums on seats or feet through the door in hard times. (Although that doesn’t hurt: while curators and artists huffily insist that this performance-art business is very expensive to stage, it remains the case that experiential and time-based events have become a growth area for ticketed programming at big art venues.) Rather, what this shift signals, more than anything, is the reinvention of the public gallery as a venue for a new, less specialist and more distracted public; as one person queuing for Rain Room told the London Evening Standard, ‘I waited at H&M when Jimmy Choo was launching a new line, so I thought I’d give it a go for a more cultural cause.’ The problem isn’t with the public or the curators necessarily – after all, why wouldn’t you want to bring all types of artwork to people’s attention? The problem is that big public institutions are becoming increasingly proactive in driving a cultural market for art that reflects their predicament as big public institutions – namely, that they should justify their existence by pointing to the fact that the public ‘likes’ what they do enough to turn up in big numbers.
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Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation, 1965–2013. Photo: Linda Nylind. © the artist/DACS, Cruz-Diez Foundation
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J.J. Charlesworth, London Are you experienced?
Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation, 1965–2013 (installation view, Light Show, Hayward Gallery, London, 2013). Photo: Linda Nylind. © the artist/DACS, Cruz-Diez Foundation
Underlying this is an anxiety among art institutions that, actually, the public might not really ‘get’ what goes on ‘out there’, in the ‘real’ artworld of commercial galleries, art fairs and small nonprofit operations. So in failing to make sense of what’s going on ‘out there’ for their public, big public venues are turning themselves into the main attraction. Of course, it might truly be that event-performance-experience art is where art is headed. Yet if so, there’s still a major question of power at stake. When large institutions monopolise culture at the expense of small initiatives and informal economies, and when their cultural agenda is defined more by their interests than by those of the culture they are supposed to be representing, art runs the risk of becoming more hierarchical and more homogeneous, less polyphonic, less risky – and less free.
Joshua Mack, New York Expansion, consolidation
One Monday in January, at a preview of the new Hauser & Wirth gallery on West 18th Street in Chelsea, two technicians in overalls cast busts of the late Swiss artist Dieter Roth from chocolate melting in deep pots in the centre of the exhibition space. Several dozen finished figures – some made from coloured sugar – were stacked on round, layer-cakelike displays. Roth, who often employed rotting cheese and decaying sausage (among other comestibles) in his work, is the subject of the gallery’s inaugural show.
His son, Björn, who worked with his father and has carried on the family business, was smoking in a side room where he and his crew had cobbled together a functioning bar from scrap wood. The bar is one of three site-specific artworks intended as permanent installations; the others are a set of white traffic lines painted on the floor of a public corridor by Mary Heilmann, and multicoloured stripes by Martin Creed that wallpaper the entryway. “They didn’t need to do this from the money side,” someone who works closely with the gallery said, referring
to the new digs. As he pointed out, Hauser & Wirth already has a townhouse off Madison Avenue uptown; several substantial spaces in London, one in a former bank building on Piccadilly; and a branch in Zurich. They did it for their artists: “Everyone wants to show in New York,” he continued. “There aren’t many giant spaces like this.” At 2,300m2, it is giant, even by the standards of the converted taxi garages common in Chelsea – the venue was once the Roxy, a roller rink and disco. It is beautiful: edged with a reveal, the walls seem to float between the poured concrete floor and the exposed steel trusses of the vaulted ceiling. And it indeed seems both a commitment to the artists Hauser & Wirth shows and a vote of confidence in New York as a creative centre. Other recent events are not so encouraging: four days earlier, on 17 January, Chris D’Amelio announced that he was closing his critically respected gallery in Chelsea after 16 years in business to become a partner of David Zwirner. ‘If you’re a midsized, respected gallery, even a highly respected mid-sized gallery,’ D’Amelio said in an interview on the website GalleristNY, ‘you’re always at this precipice. To get to the other side can be hard.’ Zwirner, coincidentally, was completing his own building project: 2,800m2 of new construction on 20th Street, a block north of his existing premises, a string of three galleries dubbed the Zwirnerplex by various wags. In the light of D’Amelio’s move, such expansions seem less a mark of New York’s artistic bona fides than an indication of art’s role in a network of mobile capital and a sign of what’s needed to compete as the market reconfigures towards the high end. There is no trickledown here. Although D’Amelio ‘has done what he can to find new homes for his artists’, it’s not a question of his commitment or decency. Rather the pressures on midmarket galleries and the consolidation of business in the hands of big players that his closing evinces suggests that – barring the kind of alternative Zwirner offered – the process of placing his artists will be tough. Overhearing the comment that Hauser & Wirth’s new space was for its artists, one guest quipped, “Artists who can afford to fill a space like this. Everyone else lives in Brooklyn.” ArtReview
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‘But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.’ James Joyce, ‘An Encounter’ (1914) We sink beer called Patricia and then meet a lady called Patricia about a show themed around the South. That’s South as in Sur – the Spanish for south and the title too of the seminal South American literary journal (published between 1931 and 1992), founded by Argentine writer Victoria Ocampo (1890–1979). As it famously did on the covers of Sur, an arrow is now pointing our direction: down towards an art spree on the River Plate, the first biennale to be held in Montevideo. In it, the clichés of the Oriental versus Occidental weltanschauung are scuttled in favour of the view from the South and how a cast of Northerners perceives the world below the equator. At the Spanish Cultural Centre (CCE) we meet artist and curator Patricia Bentancur, our beneficent Victoria Ocampo and guide for the day. The spaces the curators have occupied in the Ciudad Vieja barrio are fantastical, and a reflection on both Montevideo’s financial successes of a hundred years ago and current economic woes: in crisis, banking sees its buildings converted into an arena in which artists question capital. If we are witnessing, as art historian Benjamin Buchloh has recently written, ‘the total permeation of the cultural sphere by the economic operations of finance capital and its 42
attendant ethos and social structures’, then what better place to ironise ‘business art’ than in a bank itself? Buchloh’s notions of countermemory and counter-spectacle are well in evidence here. Take for example the work of Martín Sastre in the main venue of the biennale, the enormous great hall of the Bank of the Republic. Sastre is a young provocateur flaunting his video U from Uruguay (2012). This captures him prancing, to a samba soundtrack, on the top of bank counters. The voiceover reveals this film to be an advert for U – a perfume created, apparently, from the garden of José Mujica. That perfume being the smell of the first national art fund. Mujica is the splendidly geezerish president of Uruguay who spent two years imprisoned in the bottom of a well for his guerrilla actions during the 1970s. A VW Beetle, it is said, is his only asset. But nowadays those revolutionary Tupamaros have a platinum card and they plan to cash in on art by funding the biennale. We are a far cry from the North and its art-funding woes. Reinforcing the glaring truism that the South really is more colourful, we find in Vivek Vilasini’s video Housing Dreams (2011) Keralan villas painted variously in the kind of neo-geo colours last used by Peter Halley: pistachio-greens and gloopy Angel Delight-pinks that contrast gratifyingly with clementine roofs and ultramarine balconies. Down the road is the beautiful dusty confine that is the church of St Francis of Assisi. The soundwork here of Paulo Vivacqua’s installation Pastores (2012) is one part Susan Philipsz, one part ambient Kompakt. The Zabala annex of the Republic Bank around the corner is where the videoworks are projected. Christian Jankowski’s The Eye of Dubai (2012) finds the artist blindfolded and transported to the Emirate. In one scary Beuysian moment, a real cheetah paws him. It may be that the blind Jankowski likes Dubai, but will Dubai and its pet wildcats like him? Julian Rosefeldt’s Lonely Planet (2006) is a hilarious travelogue featuring a hyperborean hippy backpacking around the new India of call centres and Bollywood. The Varanasi locals kill themselves laughing at his displacement. He’s not alone in his loneliness. Darren Almond’s Arctic Pull (2003) recasts the artist as a more southerly Captain
Oates struggling into the gloom of the whiteout beyond. But as with Joyce’s encounter, danger lurks amid new sensations. Cuidado! In the South, he, you and I might be gone sometime…
Marie Darrieussecq, Paris The Museum of Everything
The Museum of Everything is a nomadic institution. Following on from appearances at London’s Tate Modern (as part of 2010’s No Soul for Sale event), the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli in Turin, as well as the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow, it arrived in Paris, in a former school hired by a patron in the uptown area of Boulevard Raspail. It has been a big success with the public, and the press is, as they say, unanimous in its praise. The Museum of Everything presents artists who are ‘unconventional, self-taught and most often unknown’. The place looks like an antimuseum, with its ‘handwritten’ signage, its skilfully unskilled lettering and its overall feeling of provisionality and eccentricity. The first room is dedicated to Henry Darger and his ‘Vivian Girls’. These hermaphroditic nymphettes
have already been on show in Paris – indeed, Darger’s estate is represented by a gallery – so I had to ask myself whether his œuvre, which is fascinating but well commented upon, can be part of something called ‘outsider’ art, or whether the great digestive tract of criticism has done its pedagogic work in cataloguing Darger as he deserves: as one of the great artists of the twentieth century. The works that follow – the panels of the reverend Jesse Howard, the townscapes of Willem van Genk, the machines of Jean Perdrizet, the dolls of Calvin and Ruby Black, and many others – are lesser known and often interesting, but that is not the question. The setting is lazy: objects classically distanced from the public, often under glass and accompanied by nervous guards. I’m not much amused by the signs warning ‘No photography – Penalty = death’, any more than by
Exhibition #1.1, 2013, The Museum of Everything, Chalet Society, Paris. Photo: Nicolas Krief. © The Museum of Everything, London
John Quin, Montevideo The sweet smell of art funding
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I’m in North London, one of around 20 people sitting down to a meal of chilli con carne. A Frenchman named Fabrice is playing the harmonica. Exuberantly. And it’s all part of an informal, slightly anarchic dinner at the nonprofit Institute of Jamais Vu. Of which, incidentally, the majority of my fellow diners can claim to be directors. They can also claim the shortest journey home once dinner is over – their bedrooms are just beyond the vast kitchen-cum-sitting-room-cumworkshop we’re eating in now. There are 16 directors, all still on undergraduate courses at various art schools around the capital. Having sought out this warehouse space in 2011, they have built an impressively slick gallery at its centre. You can circumnavigate the exhibition space via its external walls. In doing so you walk past the domestic clutter you would imagine a household of this size accumulating. Inside the gallery, however, the six-by-fourmetre exhibition space is clean and bright, the three-metre-high white walls trendily floating a couple of centimetres from the grey-painted floor. Its residents refer to it as a spaceship, an extraterrestrial white cube that’s landed in a student warehouse. Fabrice Azzolin, an artist and professor at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Nantes Métropole, is in town to have a look at the space
prior to his show there in May. “It’s not really a show,” he tells me. “More, we will just hang out, talk, run workshops, you know, stuff like that.” These forthcoming investigations into communality and shared space, together with the current exhibition of work by British artist John Henry Newton and an upcoming programme of talks, mark a departure from the previous run of formally configured shows – there have been ten over the past two years – and in some way address the manner in which the space is run. Newton’s exhibition places a stepladder belonging to the house in the centre of the space, over which a T-shirt has been draped, as if hung out to dry. On the far wall is the kitchen’s spice rack, which the artist has borrowed in exchange for one of his own works. Tired pots of dried herbs, mustard powder, two brands of lasagne sheets and a dusty, almost empty bottle of olive oil sit on the rack, collectively highlighting the stark contrast between the two environments housed under the same roof. Dreamed up in conversations about the lack of affordable living accommodation – let alone studio and exhibition space – for art students in London, the Institute of Jamais Vu was made real when its instigators decided to pool their resources and search out the barest, rawest, largest live/work space they could find. Each
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from left: Jonathan Grossmalerman, Christian Viveros-Fauné
Oliver Basciano, London Off-Space no 11: The Institute of Jamais Vu, London
Courtesy the Institute of Jamais Vu, London
those fixing the fine at €1,000. And surely it’s one or the other… Billed as an ‘alternative museum’, the Museum of Everything sets up a level of expectation, presenting itself as a gently hippyish asylum. But it is a museum, full stop. As for its audience, this Sunday afternoon it is the usual bourgeois bohemians – arty, very Zadig & Voltaire, typical Parisian families with three children – like me. We’re not coming from the fringes of reason, nor of art, nor of the economy. Can a museum describe itself as ‘outsider’ when its audience is so uniform? ‘It’s better to work here than at the Musée d’Orsay’: this provocative poster, which I saw in the cafeteria at the Museum of Everything, reminds me of an unfortunate recent episode in which the Musée d’Orsay turned away – on the grounds of their ‘unpleasant smell’ – a family accompanied by a social worker. But at the Museum of Everything the distance between works and visitors is just as immense. The necessary questioning of the gap between folly and reason, order and marginality, has no place here; indeed the distance between those poles is more obviously present than is assumed by the setup. The Halle Saint Pierre, near Montmartre and, since 1986, home to a museum dedicated to art brut, does a very good job of being museumlike without seeming to be ‘cool’. Translated from the French by ArtReview
from left: Jonathan Grossmalerman, Christian Viveros-Fauné
director proposes, in turn, an exhibitor, and the prospective invitee’s merits are then discussed by the group. The sense of this system functioning on an egalitarian basis extends to the organisation’s financial structure: each director pays an equal share of the gallery’s running costs – a budget topped up occasionally through applications made to various bursaries. Last year the group banded together to take a consignment of work by previously exhibited artists to Art Platform – Los Angeles, a commercial art fair. One of the directors, Tom Bennett, tells me that this venture was an attempt to give fluidity to the institution’s role, locating and testing its structures in a commercial environment as a means of experiencing and questioning that side of the artworld from within. Though the group is reaching the end of its studies, Bennett notes that there is none of the sadness of leaving student days behind; as a collective, the Institute of Jamais Vu will continue with crits, discussions and exhibitions long after its members complete their final academic year.
Jonathan Grossmalerman, New York Crime and punishment
I am not a naive man! I knew when I was invited to participate in a panel discussion entitled ‘Misery, Desire and Punishing the Crime of Painting’ that it would be no cakewalk, but I have to admit that even I never expected the intellectual mugging that would take place at the hands of that diminutive Irish critic Christian Viveros-Fauné. Oh, sure, the papers had a fun time with it, calling me ‘slack-jawed’ and writing that I seemed ‘slow-witted’ and ‘visibly flustered’, but did they ever stop to think that maybe it was because I was absolutely flabbergasted! Hmmm? Maybe it was because the last thing I expected when I walked into NYU’s Center for Women’s Studies (a learning centre, no less!) was that I was about to be mocked as a ‘garlic eater’, ‘sneak thief’, and ‘aper of his betters’. Did that ever cross those journalists’ minds? I mean, how was I to prepare for this incredible lapse in professionalism? To be called a ‘syphilitic criminal babbler’, ‘dainty cake’, ‘shit-a-bed’, ‘sly cheat’ and ‘hovel-dweller’? How does anyone prepare for that? Most of which was really uncalled for. It was like a bad dream I couldn’t wake up from. Only much more boring. I’d like to take this opportunity to refute some of Mr. Viveros-Fauné’s more outrageous claims. Firstly, I am not, as was inferred by my grotesque colleague, the mastermind behind the ‘Grossmalerman Loop’, an intricate and highly illegal financial scheme that’s too complicated to go into here but includes contemporary art exchanged for illegally harvested organs which are then traded for ‘blood diamonds’ and ‘bushmeat’, which in turn are traded for humans, guns and ecstasy, and then, finally, cash. The scheme is named after me due to some sort of misunderstanding stemming from a particularly violent studio visit I somehow survived. I am not sure how the two are connected, but I may have mentioned it to a
dealer who knows some people, and the rest is history. And Mr. Viveros-Fauné! I am not ‘in bed with’ the dreaded Mad Boer Slovo! While I may have ‘dined’ with him on a few occasions, I couldn’t make out a thing he said due to his hideously flattened vowels. If we are in some dark business together, it’s only because I was trying to be affable. Perhaps I smiled and nodded at the wrong time. Are you happy? And I am not responsible for the gangland style murder of Sergei Botkin, art critic for Moskovsky Komsomoletz, in retaliation for his terrible review of my career retrospective at MuCoAMo. The museum board there was unconventional to say the least, and I’m surprised their curators didn’t murder me! Russia’s a different culture and you can’t go pinning Western values on them willy-nilly. (Fascinating place, though. You really should go.) Also, I can state confidently that ‘each daub of my brush’ is most certainly not ‘a stab at the heart of all that is good and right!’ I only agreed with you at the time because I hadn’t worked out our parameters. I’m still not sure what they are! Good and right? In relationship to what? And if my paintings are ‘thinly conceived’
and ‘exploitative and violent’, and if my ‘paint handling suggests the competence of a drunk nine-yearold’ or that I ‘wield my brush like a dull axe in the hands of a palsied executioner withdrawing from heroin’, or if it’s true that my artistic output represents ‘a one-man cultural holocaust’, then why does it do so well at auction? Hmmmm? Are you suggesting that all the captains of industry who pay outrageous sums to enjoy my work in the comfort of their own home or office are somehow morally deficient? It’s as though you think there’s something wrong with the way the world works! Is that it, Mr Viveros-Fauné? Doesn’t feel so good to be in the hot seat now, does it, Mr Viveros-Fauné? Hah! Tumbled your game, didn’t I?! It certainly feels good to have the last word.
economic crisis, directed by Annalisa Piras and coauthored and narrated by Bill Emmott, on the basis that it expressed a political bias and would have constituted inappropriate material for a national museum to show close to election time. This form of censorship would have been slightly more forgivable if the Fondazione MAXXI wasn’t currently run by a government-appointed administrator with no background in the arts. Giovanna Melandri was appointed as caretaker following the resignation of Pio Baldi, the museum’s first president, in a funding standoff with the government (in fact, Baldi had somehow kept the museum afloat, despite meagre government contributions, with a promising, if not over-inspiring, programme). It is this kind of cronyism that confounds the young and ambitious in Italy, leading the most talented to seek work abroad, a point specifically made in the last section of Girlfriend in a Coma, a film premised on the idea that Italy – the girlfriend – is asleep, if not mortally wounded. In Rome things looked very positive about two years ago, with the newly opened MAXXI and the MACRO’s newly refurbished Via Nizza site. The Nomas Foundation (set up
by Stefano and Raffaella Sciarretta, and aimed at supporting and promoting contemporary research in art) had been open two years, Federica Schiavo Gallery (a commercial gallery with a roster of international artists) a little over one year and Fondazione Giuliani (which exhibits work by a range of younger contemporary international artists) a few months. More recently Frutta gallery has emerged and Gallery Apart has made public its plan to move from Rome centre to the edgier Testaccio, taking on bigger premises and developing a more international list of artists. For sure, things are moving in the right direction, yet the often-made promise of a thriving new scene here (or indeed, in Naples, Turin or Milan) fails to manifest fast enough for the young. Consequently, generation after generation is faced with the tough decision of whether or not to leave what is in many ways rather a homely spot. On a personal level, it is sad to see so many friends take flight, and at an accelerating rate over the last months. For Italy it is a pitiful indictment. As Nicol Vizioli – an Italian photographer living in London, and interviewed as part of Girlfriend in a Coma – hints, in many ways what is
Illustration: Viktor Hachmang
What has become of Italy, the postbunga bunga nation? Trying to forecast papal or general election results (both of which, by the time this column is read, will be known to the reader) is pointless, not because it is impossible to know who will win, but because it will likely make little difference in a country in which change only ever serves to maintain
the status quo. Take that general election: even with all votes counted and the results announced, no one has a clear mandate to govern. Italy remains directionless, ‘ungovernable’. The fact that over 50 percent of votes have gone to a media magnate (the seemingly – to the rest of the world – unelectable Berlusconi, 30.7 percent) and a media icon (comedian Beppe Grillo, with his grass roots ‘Five Star Movement’, 23.8 percent) shows just how cynical the Italian electorate has become. Whatever will be cobbled together in these next few days and weeks – as I write, Pier Luigi Bersani (leader of the centre left, with 31.6 percent of the votes, the most of any single grouping, but far short of a majority), Berlusconi and Grillo are all taking time out to reflect – confidence here is at an all-time low. This is reflected in the art scene, which closely reflects the political and economic crisis. Few here feel that art is supported at the grassroots level, with public funding close to nonexistent and most public institutions run by politicians and their lackeys. The MAXXI, in Rome, recently made a big mistake in cancelling the scheduled 13 February premiere of Girlfriend in a Coma (2012), a film exploring Italy’s moral, political and
Now Hear This
this page, from top: Christian Dior Haute Couture A/W 2012, Look #31, 3/4 length yellow duchess satin evening dress with sterling ruby sp178 shadow print; Christian Dior Haute Couture A/W 2012, Look #32, 3/4 length fuchsia duchess satin evening dress with sterling ruby sp28 shadow print
Mike Watson, Rome The Italian brain drain
this page, from top: Christian Dior Haute Couture A/W 2012, Look #31, 3/4 length yellow duchess satin evening dress with sterling ruby sp178 shadow print; Christian Dior Haute Couture A/W 2012, Look #32, 3/4 length fuchsia duchess satin evening dress with sterling ruby sp28 shadow print
needed is for these exiles to band together, return and fight for what could be a great country (disregarding all negative nationalistic sentiments thrown up by the conjoining of the words ‘great’ and ‘country’). Girlfriend in a Coma is far from a perfect film. In many ways it is too simplistic, focusing on a few narrow issues while ignoring the fact that other nations have huge problems: given a similar budget, one could easily make a film called Evil Undead Stepmother Who Won’t Stop Meddling in Other People’s Affairs about England, which wouldn’t fail to convince. Further, it has very few female commentators, given that one of the main gripes of the film is the wasting of female talent in Italy. It is also likely to back up the stereotypes that foreigners hold about Italy. Yet it does reinforce the fact that there is something left to fight for here, and it won’t likely be fought for from abroad. Above all, it seems insanity for creative minds to leave such a beautiful and inspirational strip of land to the people who are running it ragged with waste and heritage mismanagement, corruption and apathy.
Hettie Judah, Art and the Real World Art couture – body art for the digital age
In rooms lined with a million flowers, slipped between crisply tailored frocks in textured black and grey, four silhouettes from last summer’s Dior haute couture collection stood apart, like a chemical spill in clean water. Toxic-waste tones of green and roiling crimson suppurated between horizontal bands across bodices and skirts, spatted with illusory drips of paint. The dresses and coats were sewn from bespoke silks printed by
Bucol, France’s most specialised producer; a tribute by Dior designer Raf Simons to the spray paintings of Sterling Ruby. This is not the first time that Simons and Ruby have been united in cloth – in 2009 the American artist was invited to bleach his way across the denim used for the Belgian designer’s eponymous menswear range. At the time, Ruby described the process as one in which Raf called
on him ‘in order to degrade the material’. For Simons, a designer recently associated with impeccably structured, pared-back refinement, Ruby’s Anti Print 3 (Finish Architecture, Kill Minimalism, Long Live the Amorphous Law) (2005) must have read like a personal call to revolution; an invitation to reinvestigate his fascination with youth culture during his pre-Jil Sander years and subvert perfection with the mucky thrills of clotted wax, dripped paint and bleach. While Simons had the world’s finest silk houses on hand to weave fashion from art, refinements in digital printing have opened up the world of imagery for use in garments. Unlike traditional prints and jacquard patterns, digital printing is fast and flexible; it has no need for repeats, no limit on colours, no maximum length and no minimum order. It has also provided new routes for collaboration between designers and the visual artists they admire. After the Brazilian designer Pedro Lourenço was taken on a visit to Kon Trubkovich’s New York studio, he approached the artist about using some images for his collections. “From the get-go, the idea of using my artwork seemed irrational,” says Trubkovich, “like the high-fashion equivalent of throwing an image onto a T-shirt. So we decided to work together to make original prints.” The results became the core of last season’s collection: warped plaids, ghostly distortion and oversize, staticflecked pictures of horses. The rather ephemeral nature of fashion, the very different critical response and the chance to make contact with an audience beyond the artworld made the collaboration liberating for Trubkovich, but not in a way that has affected his work directly. He was interested to see his frozen screenshots reanimated on a living body, injecting some illusion of life and depth into the arrested twodimensional images, but judges that if he tried to bring this sculptural, kinetic quality off the catwalk and into his studio work, it would become “a cliché”. Linder Sterling, who has collaborated on a number of collections with the British designer Richard Nicoll since 2009, considers the migration of her collages onto clothing to be a further, exciting hijacking of the image, “an opportunity to let these found images of women come full circle”. Her collaged
photographs of female nudes and flowers were digitally printed onto dresses that in turn hid the wearer’s nude body. Sterling and Nicoll placed images of her collages on a fluid crêpe de Chine dress shape that he calls Stella – the arms and torso of the original body positioned to coincide with that of the body beneath the thin cloth. Inspired by her work with Nicoll, Sterling approached another British designer, Pam Hogg, to create costumes for her performance work The Ultimate Form, on show next month at the Hepworth Wakefield. The all-encompassing costumes for the performance, which are printed with textures of botanical and natural forms, recall the nudes in Sterling’s collages, which are also beset by rampant flora. As well as fresh inspiration from the human body, Sterling is interested in the new, more ‘democratic’ audience that her involvement with the fashion world has brought. Not only coverage in Grazia, but women who collect the Stella dresses, “whereas they can’t afford – or are not interested in – collecting art.”
Kraftwerk’s singular sono-visual world. A chance for us to experience, through cardboard 3D specs – as though we were the audience pictured on the cover of The Society of the Spectacle (1967) – the totalised aesthetics of the influential German band. Aesthetics are the way things look and feel, the way they sound and taste too. They are the sensorial effect
Now Hear This
Warren and Gary Pleece, The Postie Always Rings Thrice (detail), 2013
“Boing! Boom! Tschak!” And with that, Kraftwerk, dressed in their Tronesque outfits, step from behind their neon-outlined consoles, away from the giant 3D projection screen and off the Tate Modern stage. Their show, framed by its high-culture, nonentertainment venue, is a performance rather than a gig. Isolated in the space of the Turbine Hall, it’s a concentrated display of
futuristic and nostalgic. It’s a world forged in the early 1970s, right on the border between the industrial and postindustrial, in the midst of swirling economic crises, dawning environmental awareness and electronic networked culture. Think of their subjects now: trains are deregulated, privatised monopolies, robots are drones, space is no longer the limit of human endeavour but a field for commercial activity, digital blankness is now inhabited by social networks, Europe Endless has hit its economic and political limits. The purity of the Tour de France is overshadowed by Lance Armstrong’s shenanigans. The digitisation of music has created a boom for Mumford & Sons-type faux folk. Kraftwerk also helped give birth to the postindustrial. It and a handful of other musicians proved that the total, cross-disciplinary potential of an idea could sustain itself in the media ecology of the late twentieth century. Perhaps then it’s bands that provided the template for the postindustrial idea of a brand: value located not in the factory, not in production or work, but in the complete, immersive aesthetic sensation. Part of the sadness inherent in Kraftwerk is its lament for a technoutopia that we only ever briefly touched, in the beauty of Skylab, the sublime scale of the autobahn, the discipline of work. In an era when these moments seem far behind us, Kraftwerk gives us a way of looking back at the future we never knew. In the place of the world Kraftwerk described, we have a world where production is increasingly dominated by aesthetic production. If Apple’s rise is based on anything, it’s the total work of art, the triumph of image, the seamless relationship between aesthetics and lifestyle, bound up in hyperstyled containers that are simply assemblies of other products, other people’s code, other companies’ chips and bits. Maybe the futurism of Kraftwerk was always a lament for the future, for the future that we could have had but turned away from. Maybe somewhere in its own self-obsessed exactness, its own obsessions with image, sound and the modern world, with describing its idea of the modern world with such fullness, Kraftwerk made the future it dreamed of less possible.
Kraftwerk, Tate Modern, London, 2013. © Peter Boettcher/Kraftwerk/Sprüth Magers, London & Berlin
Sam Jacob, Design Kraftwerk’s future-nostalgia
of the surface of things. But being a surface doesn’t mean being shallow. Aesthetics are an expression of how things can be in the world, a kind of reportage on the contemporary condition; a nonverbal description of the world we are in right now, or perhaps the world we are about to enter. Aesthetics articulate the feelings, the tendencies, of the contemporary, the things that are on the tip of our cultural tongue. They solidify the shapes of things that we can only touch in the dark; they bring them out into the light where, at last, we can see where we are, or what it is that we’ve become. Aesthetics are a nondisciplinary project: as much part of car design as of painting, of food as of sculpture, of sound as of language. And they’re at their most powerful, most persuasive and most descriptive when they become a total experience. Perhaps music’s greatest appeal is its ability to manufacture an aesthetic gesamtkunstwerk. Bands can – through graphics, video, sound, fashion, music, the way one moves, the way one speaks – synthesise what seems like a fully rendered, complete world. In Kraftwerk’s case, it’s a distillation of Rhineland-ish industrial production, a landscape of logistics and transportation, framed through constructivist aesthetics and Magritte’s antibohemian attitude to the role of the artist, all delivered through pioneering electronic sounds. It’s a world that is both
Warren and Gary Pleece, The Postie Always Rings Thrice (detail), 2013
Paul Gravett, comics Warren and Gary Pleece (see overleaf)
‘You’d think in such a large building, there’d be something interesting going on…’ This thought comes from a bored sniper stuck on a stakeout in Montague Terrace, London. His target lives there, a maverick scientific genius whose revolutionary inventions so threaten ‘the interests of enterprise’ that a corporate cartel has hired a hitman to bump him off. The curtains
part and the show begins as neighbour spies on neighbour, peering into other flats and other lives. To all outward appearances these tenants are ordinary enough, but there is more going on behind closed doors and beneath the surface. Montague Terrace originated as a self-penned track from singersongwriter Scott Walker’s debut solo album in 1967, which inspired two Brighton-based brothers, Warren and Gary Pleece, to imagine it as a crumbling 1930s apartment block, the ideal setting to dream up all kinds of darkly humorous tales of its diverse occupants. In the first of these, which appeared in the sixth and final issue of their self-published comics showcase Velocity in 1991, Matt Johnson is a former New Labour spin doctor who ends up consorting with criminals in his campaign to legalise a new but potentially deadly drug for sufferers of Asperger’s syndrome. When his own mother-in-law dies after taking it, Johnson becomes ‘the first person to be flogged live on national television before the National Lottery draw’. Reduced to a paranoid drug pedlar, Johnson sinks still lower when he is wrongly accused of an elderly tenant’s murder. Last year brought the republication of this inaugural Montague Terrace story in the Pleece brothers’ themed collection The Great Unwashed (Escape Books). Meanwhile, in 2009 they began serialising fresh episodes on the collective webcomics site act-i-vate. “Hungry to rekindle the creative spirit of Velocity,” Warren recalls, “we came back to the original idea because there was loads of potential for dozens of stories all glued together with the crumbling mortar of this one decrepit building.” In 2010 he adapted four of these tales for the Hypercomics exhibition at the Pump House Gallery, in London’s Battersea Park. The ground floor gallery became a flat in Montague Terrace, allowing visitors
to press a door buzzer and choose which tenant’s flat to peek into through the curtains via animated sequences. All of the online comics will be compiled into a cleverly interwoven print graphic novel from Jonathan Cape in April. Though the Montague Terrace narrative is set in London, Gary Pleece explains that it is as inspired by Brighton and its characters as anywhere else. “It’s based on mine and Warren’s experiences of living in flats across Brighton, being as close as a paper-thin wall to some people, but all you hear are sounds, you catch snippets and glances in hallways, hear muffled noises, arguments and sex. Your mind runs away and you end up with lives lived how we imagine them to be – who knows how close it is to the truth.” Listen closely and you’ll hear the repetitive strains of fictional 1960s pop single The Dwarf Elephant rise from the hovel of forgotten crooner Paul Gregory, who plays it over and over but never drowns his regrets, one of which shows up on his doorstep. From another flat can be overheard the conversations between magician Mystical Marvin, blacklisted for ‘gross magical incompetence’, and his talking rabbit, Marvo. A loud zzztttch-pop of a fuse blowing betrays the self-styled ‘Puppeteer ’, masterminding more global disasters, while the clicking of Morse code signals senior citizen Beatrice Greene, codename Babushka, contacting her network of agents. You might also catch a blocked author flinging his laptop across the room, or a door being forced at the home of Iraqi refugees. Montague Terrace harbours secrets of its own. From the book’s opening dialogue-free pages, clues are planted to the building’s unconventional origins, as it rises up on the site of a mysterious memorial statue. Pay attention and you may spot a distinctly odd symbol on the
plans by architect Edward Loonkins (a pun on Edwin Lutyens). The Pleece brothers provide an introductory tour overleaf from long-serving postman Ralphy. Join him on his rounds and listen in on his troubled monologue about ‘the old girl’ and her decidedly quirky lodgers.
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Warren and Gary Pleece, The Postie Always Rings Thrice, 2013
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Time Will Tell
Commissioned & Curated by Meadow Arts At National Trust’s Croft Castle Herefordshire 9th Mar - 3rd Nov 2013 www.meadowarts.org
Moore Rodin: Exhibition in Moore’s gallery and landscape. 29 March–27 October 2013: Wednesday–Sunday & Bank Holidays Perry Green, Hertfordshire www.henry-moore.org Charity No. 271370
Mon 6th May join The House of Fairy Tales Artchaeologists in a free day of surreal adventure and mysterious making
Exhibition organised in collaboration with the musée Rodin, Paris
MOSTYN’s new programme of exhibitions
27 April – 7 July 2013
27 April – 7 July 2013
27 April – 14 July 2013
Uprisings: Alek O.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Aurélien Froment, Jeppe Hein, Július Koller, Rivane Neuenschwander and you, the viewer. 12 Vaughan Street Llandudno LL30 1AB Wales UK
Supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
+44 (0)1492 879 201 mostyn.org
18–21 April Contemporary Art Fair www.artbrussels.be Brussels Expo Open daily 12 – 7pm 10 Chancery Lane | Adn | Aeroplastics | Algus Greenspon | A.L.I.C.E. | Aliceday | Alma | Annex 14 | Anyspace | A Palazzo | Avlskarl | Albert Baronian | Hannah Barry | Johan Berggren | Bernier/Eliades | Blancpain | Bodson - Emelinckx | Borzo | Bourouina | Thomas Brambilla | Brand New Gallery | Jean Brolly | Sandy Brown | Callicoon Fine Arts | Cardi | Carroll / Fletcher | Marta Cervera | Bernard Ceysson | Chambers Fine Art | Cherry and Martin | Chez Valentin | C L E A R I N G | Continua | Crèvecoeur | CRG | Croy Nielsen | Cruise & Callas | Crystal | Heike Curtze | D+T Project | Jeanroch Dard | Patrick De Brock | Monica De Cardenas | Hadrien de Montferrand | De Zwarte Panter | Dependance | DEWEER | Umberto Di Marino | Eric Dupont | Max Estrella | Feizi | Fifty One | Thomas Fischer | Fitzroy | Fluxia | Forsblom | Foxy Production | Fruit and Flower Deli | James Fuentes | GDM | Gentili | Geukens & De Vil | Gladstone | Laurent Godin | Marian Goodman | Gowen | Grimm | Grimmuseum | The Hole | Honor Fraser | Hopstreet | Nettie Horn | Horton | Pippy Houldsworth | Xavier Hufkens | Hunt Kastner | In Situ Fabienne Leclerc | Invernizzi | Rodolphe Janssen | Jeanne-Bucher / Jaeger Bucher | JGM | Jousse Entreprise | Kalfayan | Parisa Kind | Krinzinger | Krome | Susanna Kulli | Lautom | Gebr. Lehmann | Lelong | Leme | Elaine Levy Project | Javier Lopez | Patricia Low | M+B | Maes & Matthys | Mai 36 | Ron Mandos | Marlborough Fine Art | Martos | Maruani & Noirhomme | Maskara | Mario Mauroner | Max Mayer | Mario Mazzoli | Greta Meert | Meessen De Clercq | Marion Meyer | Mihai Nicodim | moniquemeloche | MOT International | Motive | Horrach Moya | Mulier Mulier | Nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder | Neue Alte Brucke | Nev Istanbul | NoguerasBlanchard | Nosbaum & Reding | Nathalie Obadia | Office Baroque | On Stellar Rays | Other Criteria | Odile Ouizeman | P420 | Alberta Pane | The Paragon Press | Perrotin | Tatjana Pieters | Elisa Platteau | Jerome Poggi | Polka | Profile | Projektraum Viktor Bucher | Prometeo | Quadrado Azul | Raum mit Licht | Almine Rech | Michel Rein | Ricou | Gabriel Rolt | Rossicontemporary | Rotwand | Lia Rumma | S.A.L.E.S. | Sophie Scheidecker | Karsten Schubert | Senda | André Simoens | Stephane Simoens | Filomena Soares | Société | Sorry We’Re Closed | Michel Soskine | Pietro Sparta | SpazioA | Steinek | Stieglitz19 | Super Window Project | Micheline Szwajcer | Suzanne Tarasieve | Team | Daniel Templon | Torri | Florent Tosin | Transit | Triangle Bleu | Triple V | Tucci Russo | Steve Turner | Rachel Uffner | Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois | Van de Weghe | Isabelle Van Den Eynde | van der Mieden | Tim Van Laere | Samuel Vanhoegaerden | Axel Vervoordt | VidalCuglietta | Nadja Vilenne | Voice | Tanja Wagner | waterside contemporary | Wilkinson | Xippas | Zink | Martin Van Zomeren
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Great Critics and Their Ideas Interview by Matthew Collings
No 21: St Augustine St Augustine was one of the Christian Fathers. His particular synthesis of Greek philosophy and many strands of early Christian theology resulted in the concept of grace and faith as the only possibilities for human freedom. He died in Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, in Algeria) in 430 AD.
Other People and Their Ideas Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers & Tina Kukielski Interview by Tom Eccles
ARTREVIEW You are famous for your doctrine of original sin. Do you think sin still exists? We never hear about it in the artworld. ST AUGUSTINE I think it exists in magazines like October and Texte zur Kunst. They describe a fallen world, fallen human beings, who can only be redeemed through faith and good deeds, through seeking out critical art and genuflecting before it, and shunning bourgeois art, or if they are confronted by it, cursing it and casting it out. Did you see Michael Krebber’s exhibition at Maureen Paley in February this year? A Yes. He is a saint. His critical saintliness in that show was particularly good, I thought, because there was so little of it. It was a show that did what it did with a light touch. You didn’t go in there and feel told off. You saw somebody trying to explore how something can exist: he disassembled and reassembled the institution of painting. All the individual paintings, with their weightless squiggles of easy colour, worked as a single coherent entity. He forced you to think about – because he made you see them – the features of the gallery: its pillars, the floor and so on. He’s an artist who knows he can’t convey anything that’s meaningful by painting a single statement on a canvas. But if he gives you fragmentation, maybe he can do it: if you can be bothered to look. You can see how that collection of paintings
and their arrangement in the gallery space, especially with one of them lying face-up on a tablelike plinth, might have something meaningful to convey that is like what would have happened in the past in a single work. He transformed the gallery into a painting, not by literally painting it, but by visually activating it. I think owning one of those works would be to own only a sign of what happened. So as well as everything else he’s doing, he’s making owning art absurd. The whole thing is an effective statement, done with panache, about painting’s impossibility. It’s part of October’s and Texte zur Kunst’s sense of sin that painting is dead and over. So you’re not saying that it’s blissful colour and line? A It’s more that they are obvious rather than blissful, but they are carefully deployed so the space they’re in becomes important. The space is a gallery of a certain kind in the system we all know and are aware of, but usually don’t know how to see as a system while we’re seeing things like colour and line – so a political/social dimension is opened up, which would be edited out otherwise. Is there sin in Tate Modern? A It’s trying to combat it. They have their big themes that tell the visitor what kind of experience he or she is having when looking at the permanent collection of objects, whether it’s the theme of the dream or construction, and so on. And the objects might be modern art or contemporary art. But
Vittore Carpaccio, Saint Augustine in His Study, 1507. Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni. © 2013. Photo: Scala, Florence
Great Critics and Their Ideas St Augustine Interview by Matthew Collings
Great Critics and Their Ideas
always the particular choice of the contemporary artworks – these objects that appear to come from some vast hangar filled with ephemera and to be on a constant turnaround, coming and going; perhaps even getting regularly reconstituted in a workshop somewhere, so they are entirely remade according to changing winds of fashion – tells you about evil. For example the evil of Euro-American domination: if you go round Tate Modern at the moment, you’re highly aware that you’re seeing things from all over the world, a sort of social geography, the concerns of some people in Warsaw, say, or Soweto, or Lima, illustrated by cumbersome but worthy installations, maybe featuring photos, or the staged leftovers of some event that have been carefully packaged and shipped. But Merlin Carpenter made a show at Reena Spaulings recently that reconstructed the Tate café as a literal three-dimensional object, and another one at Simon Lee that pictured the café in a hurriedly scrawled style in paint on canvas, on an enormous scale but deliberately emphasising lightness and emptiness, and he explains these shows by saying he hates Tate Modern. A
He detests its evil, yes.
while actually behaving more or less the same as the sinful artists worshipping consumerism whose depravity the saintly ones are supposed to be criticising. She is a bit depraved herself with her eternal grinning for the camera and turning up at art fashion events. Was there a lot of art in your time? A In the fifth century? Yes. It was a time of transition from pagan to Christian art. There was immense wealth. Formerly it supported mosaic decorations, frescos and sculptures, all with narrative content to do with a multitude of nature gods, which told you about the power of earthly rulers. So a Roman landowner, for example, in what is now Algeria, where I was born, would commission a giant floor mosaic picturing a god of the sea, with lobster claw horns and a seaweed beard, showing the bounty of the ocean, which by extension showed the goodness and bounty of the landowner. And then in the Pantheon, in Rome, you’d find pillared alcoves
Vittore Carpaccio, Saint Augustine in His Study, 1507. Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni. © 2013. Photo: Scala, Florence
Not enough, it seems.
What’s so bad about it? A It makes everything the same, and takes away its message of resistance, replacing it with a neoliberal business message. An artist who is a saint cannot take a corporate structure seriously as the institution that confers meaning and legitimacy. Is Benjamin Buchloh evil or good? A Good. He writes in a style that you can’t understand if you’re only used to bourgeois meaning. And Isabelle Graw: the editor of Texte zur Kunst? A Very good, but confused, she cannot control all the saints she looks after, so they don’t slip into merely obeying the outward forms of piety
What about statues? A Statues had been voluptuous. Whatever other meanings they might have had, they exalted the sensual dimension. Their very form, which imitated and elevated the human body’s rounded physicality, was a sensual blast. For Christianity this was a sinful imbalance, body over spirit, so statues didn’t exist in these basilica environments. Gradually they stopped existing at all, because Christianity, which under the emperor Constantine became the new leading religion, was within a century the only one – its precepts the hegemonic worldview – and so statues were violently attacked as demons. They were destroyed. But museums are full of them.
A n artist w ho is a saint cannot take a corporate struct ure seriously as t h e institution t h at c on f ers meaning and legitimacy
But you said it fights evil. A
name of God. The art’s first function of course was decoration. It enhanced the building in such a way that as soon as you entered, you knew you were in the presence of power.
set at regular intervals, housing statues of the gods. After the Roman emperors turned Christian, this kind of thing was joined by art featuring exactly the same imagery found in the pagan era, but now with a new narrative meaning, a Christian one, with its important interlinking of the Old and New Testaments. So Abraham sacrificing Isaac, or Moses striking a rock to cause water to gush out features in the same frame as Jesus up in heaven surrounded by angels. Jesus and the angels towering above the worshipper on a ceiling mosaic in a newly built Christian basilica would be faced by an image placed at an equally elevated position, depicting the emperor and his retainers. And all around both scenarios would be scenes from Genesis. And then twirling around every single object and figure would be decorative patterns, usually carrying some kind of signlike meaning, telling you about the names of saints, or coded references to the
A Those ones had the good luck to be buried, because of earthquakes or other disasters. They are only a tiny fraction of what used to exist. For a long time representational art in the Christian parts of the world was flat and signlike. But it had a sensual dimension in any case, because of its colour and patterns. Mosaic was the most expensive form and therefore the one the powerful preferred: it was knockout visual stuff. But it is complicated to explain how this sensuality played and was rationalised. Think of it as worldly but put to the service of the unworldly. But obedience happens in a peculiarly Christian way. Art spells out hierarchical meaning, God at the top. Previously, the pagan gods were depicted in sculpted form, and these forms were actually gifts to the gods, their loveliness was intended to delight them, so divinity, which was polymorphous, might bother to pay attention to mere humans. The forms of Christian art come out of this tradition but it has a whole other set
of meanings, it uses whatever serves them and discards what doesn’t, so although ‘delight’ is happening, it is not the old human/divine transaction but a new kind to do with sin and redemption, and the afterlife: that’s what it means for art to evolve. It doesn’t get better, but it alters according to changing social priorities. I saw a lot of plants and trees in a mosaic on a Mediterranean holiday once. A Yes, in Christian art nature has the same complication as human physical sensuality; after all, they are the same thing. But in any case, nature is everywhere in these mosaics, going crazy: tendrils, branches, flowers, animals, rocks, mountains and sea – this overwhelming abundance. But it’s represented schematically, as so many signs, like an early kind of Minimalism, a very linear visual language. The imagery is stripped down because it’s telling you about heavenly essence. Of course, the art doesn’t really originate in heaven. It’s an adaptation from non-Christian visual traditions, which involve wordly imitation. These mosaic trees and flowers and sheep are the sights we all know, they are part of our everyday life if we were alive 2,000 years ago. It’s a question of how the sights are read, how the meanings are understood. The same thing goes for contemporary art in Maureen Paley or Tate Modern: it only has meaning because it can be read in a certain way, and the way of reading comes from the way society is set up. It’s interesting that Krebber is involved in a practice, blessed by Texte zur Kunst, that asks you to consider hegemony, which we usually expect to be hidden, whereas Christian art pours down hegemonic meaning in an inescapable radiant golden visual explosion. Next month: Hilma af Klint communes with the spirit-being known as Gregor
Other People and Their Ideas Interview by Tom Eccles
No 5: Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers & Tina Kukielski
Tom Eccles Last December at Miami Basel you had an announcement party of sorts in a rather rough-and-ready Veterans of Foreign Wars club. The venue was a real Vets bar. It certainly wasn’t business as usual. I don’t think the Whitney would ever have held an event there, Biennial or not. Was that what you wanted to convey? Daniel Baumann We wanted to invite people to a place where we could enjoy ourselves and lose control instead of having to represent and confirm. Dan Byers Also, because there are three of us, this exhibition contains three different attitudes or approaches, and to accommodate that, and actually to make it interesting, we’ve been very open in our thinking and the way we behave in Pittsburgh and in the museum. The show, and our process, 56
Great_Critics_Tom eccles.indd 56
is definitely about specificity, but it’s also inclusive and heterogeneous – in Miami, all were welcome, it was a good mix. Tina Kukielski The VFW carried Yuengling. We come from Pittsburgh. No contest. It actually reminded me of the kind of thing we would do in Glasgow 20-plus years ago. Glasgow and Pittsburgh are quite similar, really. Could you speak about how the city has influenced the evolution of the exhibition? From what I’ve read so far, your practice as curators, rolling out the project over time, has become a kind of extended dialogue with the local arts community. DBy I think we’re really just trying to be present. We’ve been doing a lot of travel internationally, but spending as much time as possible in the city as well, and trying to make a dialogue between art people in Pittsburgh, and
from left: 2013 Carnegie International curators Dan Byers, Tina Kukielski and Daniel Baumann. Photo: Ben Hernstrom
First organised at the behest of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie on 5 November 1896 in Pittsburgh, the Carnegie International is the oldest North American exhibition of international contemporary art. The 2013 edition has three curators: Baumann is director of the Adolf Wölfli Foundation, Basel; Byers is the Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and Kukielski, before coming to the Carnegie, was senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney in New York, where she led the museum’s project series.
Other People and Their Ideas
the artists and other visitors who come to town. The character of Pittsburgh is pretty rich and unique, and the best thing we can do is to have artists leave with a really positive impression of the place and what can be done there. Early on Daniel thought we should rent an apartment/event space, so we’ve had this great apartment going for almost two years – we can do parties, dinners, talks, performances, small shows (and artists stay there), without the frame of a 120-year-old museum mediating everything (a frame that will be present in the exhibition, but in the run-up to the show takes a back seat to the kind of energy and strange one-off things we can do on a domestic scale with what’s at hand). And, actually, that energy will come back in certain ways into the show itself…
from left: 2013 Carnegie International curators Dan Byers, Tina Kukielski and Daniel Baumann. Photo: Ben Hernstrom
What do the artists that you’ve invited to the Carnegie think of Pittsburgh? Have they been involved in the apartment events? Are any of them working directly with the city and its inhabitants? TK When we began working together early in 2011, I recall a moment of concern when I finally did the math and realised that we had almost three years to plan the exhibition. That felt like a really long time, and I think we were all a bit nervous about that gap, both as curators who were used to faster turnarounds, but also as people who wanted to be responsive to the world, and Pittsburgh as a place. Pittsburgh is a city of neighbourhoods, each with their own distinct character. Daniel and I were newcomers to the city, and with Dan, we all had to find a way to balance the travel abroad with the weekends back at the camp. The intention of the apartment in Lawrenceville was to find a practical way to try out some ideas together as a team, with our curatorial assistants too, and to get to know our new neighbours. We left notes in all the neighbours’ mailboxes when the Apartment Talks began officially in August 2011, and we’ve been collecting emails and hosting regular
events every month since. At one point I was referring to that as our beta phase. In the next few months, as we get closer to the onsite rollout of several projects at the museum, we’ll bring the activity and interest we were incubating in Lawrenceville over to the museum. DBa About 50 years ago, Pittsburgh was among the biggest cities in the US. It is still fairly bourgeois, provincial too. It is rough and very hilly, but it has a great and interesting past – and is optimistically trying to reinvent itself. If you grew up in a city like this, you may not like coming to Pittsburgh at all; if you come from the outside, it is a fascinating place that grows on you. You move through an urban landscape about which you read in newspapers when they talk about ‘shrinking cities’, etc. So doing a show like the Carnegie International is particularly attractive, because you
with some memorable works). Should we hope for something a little rougher, like the Veterans of Foreign Wars club in Miami? DBa Working with Wölfi’s oeuvre certainly influences and constantly refreshes my view on art history, the institution and their narratives. I see a lot of quite boring art entering into the collections and the canon while outstanding works are kept outside. They simply don’t fit and represent too much of a problem, if not a thread, to any curator and art historian engaged in an institutional career. With Tina and Dan we share an interest in what may seem eccentric or dissonant, we like being challenged by art and we don’t mind losing control once in a while. These are some of the reasons we started to implement the 2013 Carnegie International by building a playground outside of the Carnegie Museum of
I f you g r e w u p i n a c i t y l i ke t h i s, you may not like coming to Pittsburgh at all ; i f you c om e f rom t h e ou t si de, it is a fascinating place that grows on you get the feeling that it makes sense, that it actually is something special, not just another show. Therefore we develop the exhibition out of the museum, its history, the city of Pittsburgh and the life there. Yet not everything has to come out of this relationship; we don’t reduce art to site-specificity. It has its own life that we love and are challenged by, intellectually and physically. Coming from Glasgow, I quite like going to Pittsburgh! Daniel, you come from Basel, I believe, and direct the Adolf Wölfi Foundation at the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern. Wölfli was incarcerated in a mental asylum and one of the first artists to be labelled as part of the art brut ‘movement’. You come from a centre of the artworld, but you obviously have an interest in the role of the outsider. While established by Andrew Carnegie to exhibit ‘the Old Masters of tomorrow’, in recent years the International has been pretty much a roster of well-known names (albeit
Art. The show opens on 5 October, the playground already in late April. So yes, our show may be rougher, more playful too, but still serious and sexy and probably not too much obsessed with the stars of tomorrow, today or yesterday. Tina, you’re from New York and worked at the Whitney Museum. What methodologies have you brought to the Carnegie? Have the three of you an agreed approach or are there moments of tension (productive of course)? But where do you disagree?
TK Being around the curators’ table at the Whitney – even as a junior curator – taught me how to argue for a point of view. I wasn’t always successful, but from that experience, I appreciate that everything is a conversation. I do believe that decision-making in a small-team environment doesn’t lead to watereddown consensus, but better ideas with better outcomes. Early on, I overheard a well-known curator say that when curating, ‘three’s a crowd’. I disagree. It is a matter of having respect for my colleagues. We are fortunate in that we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. We decided very early on that we would make all the decisions together. What we didn’t know was that decisions would be just as easily made at the hotel bar at midnight as at the conference table, so you don’t want to be the one to go to bed early! Of course, we disagree and poke fun. The challenge is convincing the others when you’re quite sure you’re right, and I think we’ve come to understand and appreciate each other’s pressure points over time. This is one benefit of having a long lead-time. In the first six months we were still feeling the waters. Today it’s more rapid-fire. DBa Yes, more rapid-fire. But when you are the guy who is fired at, you first defend, or feel bad or go ‘hmmm…’. Then on the way home, you think about it. The next day you come back and fight for it – or you simply agree that the other one was right. So we are our first public, but not to please each other, but to make the show better. DBy It’s tough to get through the three of us! But it’s incredible what the necessity for actual, honest explanation and advocacy can do – there are very few assumptions of inherent quality or seriousness among the three us (I think there are only a few shared sacred cows), and I hope that this process of discussion removes an artist from their easily defined context to see them anew. What’s the biggest challenge you face organising an ‘international survey’ today?
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DBy I think the biggest challenge is not to do a survey, which implies a necessarily broad census-taking that captures peaks not valleys (and conjures the featureless roundups of midcentury big American museum shows – Recent Painting and Sculpture from France, Italy and Germany for instance). Luckily we’re small (33 artists), so we can’t cover every base, and in being small we are specific about comparisons and juxtapositions – it is explicitly a group exhibition that mixes artworks by different artists. But we did want to give representation to places – like Iran – where less is known in this country about life there. Artists are from cities in Asia, South America, the Middle East, Europe and various parts of North America. Works that evoke the specificities of the country or city they are made in are equal to, and often the same as, works ‘about’ the weirdness of form, of experimentation, historical circumstance and psychological or sexual experience… We’re not Borders (if that’s still a thing!). We’re more like Caliban Books, the best place between the Alleghenies and the Mississippi for all manner of rare, exquisite finds for Pittsburgh prices.
Ou r show m ay be roug h e r , more playful too, bu t s t i l l se r iou s a n d se xy a n d proba bly not to o m uc h ob se s sed w i t h the stars of tomorrow, today or yesterday
For good or bad, what exhibitions over the past few years have influenced your curatorial approach? You’ve obviously spent much of your time researching artists around the globe. Are there organisations or new exhibition or presentational models that you’ve incorporated into the structure of the project? A simple question might be why do you think people go to exhibitions today? DBa The artworks are the point of departure; what they say, expose or risk and how they do it. This is one of the reasons why we renounced a title and a theme so that we don’t fall into the illustration trap. It’s some adventure there, but some really interesting common threads became visible. We think they have very much
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to do with our time. There are places that inspire us. In my case it is the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, the Modern Institute in Glasgow, Ooga Booga in Los Angeles, AP News in Zurich or the Museum of Everything in London. I admire the way they are engaged in and with a place, their international mindset and how they try things out. Getting surprised is one of the best things that can happen, so a show like last year’s Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was another inspiration. DBy Organising this exhibition, one can’t help but respond to past iterations of the International in some way. And in fact, many of the Pittsburghers in our audience will be understanding and experiencing this exhibition in the context of the past few (or ten!) Carnegie Internationals they’ve seen. But I agree with Daniel, in that there are institutions, more than exhibitions, that have influenced my thinking (maybe because the Carnegie International is almost an institution within an institution). Places I’ve been thinking about: Midway Contemporary Art in Minneapolis, Trafó in Budapest, Raven Row in London, Peep-Hole in Milan, Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong, Museum of Art Ein Harod (Israel), the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa (Japan) and the sort of temporary institution of Khaled Horani’s Picasso in Palestine project. Like Daniel’s list, each of these places is deeply embedded in their city, and create very direct, unexpected encounters with art. TK One of our biggest challenges in organising an international survey – and perhaps this is specific to the Carnegie as opposed to Venice, let’s say – is what is happening to museums today. Museums are undergoing a transformation as new uses, new modes and new means of production and distribution insist on a redefinition of institutional character and behaviour. We believe in the idea that the museum can be a hub for new information and a new means of communication. To answer your other question, I think this is why people go to see exhibitions. One of our biggest challenges is to not fall into some of the same traps of the past.
Interestingly we have found that the Carnegie’s collection is a warehouse of past experiences – both successes and failures – all in a direct and concise form, and we learn a lot from having this collection surrounding us. This is one way we deal with the instability of the contemporary international survey during a moment of widespread transformation. The exhibitions and institutions mentioned by Dan and Daniel are equally important in this process. It all sounds fascinating and extremely congenial. But what nags at me (more than the refusal to name any artists in the show) is the fact that I have no idea what’s at stake in the next Carnegie from what you’ve said so far. Isn’t the purpose of these large projects to either open up new horizons, or present definitional enclosures? Arguments, so to speak? Your reference points are certainly tantalising – but what does it add up to? I can’t tell. DBy, DBa, TK The ambition is to find a new way to do a show that has been around for over a hundred years. The decision is to break up an exhibition that has traditionally been a heroic list of names into a conversation among parts. This means a challenge to the universalism put forward by brand-name biennials. This means bringing together 33 artists from 19 countries, exhibiting a collection, exploring play and playgrounds, and actually engaging Pittsburgh. The 2013 Carnegie International brings art that is meaningful to our lives, that changes our views on history and that provokes knowledge, laughter, irreverence and pleasure. This is modest and terribly ambitious. There is no easy packaging for this. This is an aggregation and calls for an empowered audience. This is our claim. We are yours and we are you. The 2013 Carnegie International takes place at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, 5 October 2013 – 16 March 2014. For more information on events in the run-up to the International, see ci13.cmoa.org
Other People and Their Ideas
Wafaa Bilal, Ashes Series: Chair, 50”x40”, archival inkjet, 2003-2013. Courtesy of the artist.
Global Futures Forum 2013
10 YEARS ON Art and Everyday Life in Iraq and Iran
10am - 5pm, 7th - 8th June 2013 The Mosaic Rooms, Kensington, London SW5 0SW www.southampton.ac.uk/wrc/globalfuturesforum2013
Hosted by Winchester Centre for Global Futures in association with Ibraaz (www.ibraaz.org)
Lod, Israel (previously Al-Lydd, Palestine)
Dor Guez — 40 Days 12/04/13—31/05/13 Exhibition open Tues—Sat 11am—6pm FREE The Mosaic Rooms 226 Cromwell Road, London, SW5 0SW www.mosaicrooms.org Contemporary Culture from the Arab World
Visual Arts: Projects / Events / Exhibitions
Carol Bove ‘The Foamy Saliva of a Horse’ 20 April – 29 June 2013 21 Woodlands Terrace Glasgow, G3 6DF www.thecommonguild.org.uk
Carol Bove ‘ The Foamy Saliva of a Horse’, 2011 found metal, bronze, driftwood, sea shells, peacock feathers, steel, gold chain, silver chain, foam, styrofoam
© Carol Bove Courtesy of Maccarone, New York & David Zwirner, New York Photo by Lorenzo Vitturi
ArtReview Advert (Kris).indd 1
Galeria Habana 60
Features 62 Profile: Wolfgang Tillmans
a family of avid amateur photographer s, the aura of finished work , the other side of L ampedu sa, a low threshold of approachability, the ac cumul ation of individual s
72 Profile: Wu Ming
(they don’t allow photos of themselve s to be published), a strategic allegiance with Venice ’s Ottoman enemy, irked free-jazz diehards, the gleam in Wu Ming 1’s eye
76 Interview: Sam Gilliam Rashid Johnson
abstraction and hard -edged geometry, an artwork confused with a drop cloth, following your own de sire s
80 City Focus: Berlin Part 3 of 3
A noble neighbourhood that ha s simply bec ome too expensive, the new Hackbarth’s, the old headquarter s of the S ocialist Unit y Part y of Germany, two promising g alleries
90 Interview: Nathaniel Mellors
a potentially endle ss stream of epis ode s, a hybrid playwright-poetalchemist-artist, a kind of innocent- savant, the family ’s Irish g ardener
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Wolfgang Tillmans By Martin Herbert
this page: Buenos Aires, 2010 facing page: Blacks, 2011
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When ArtReview visited Wolfgang Tillmans recently in his labyrinthine studio in Kreuzberg, Berlin, we found an artist toggling between looking forward and looking back. On the one hand, Tillmans – first photographic artist to win the Turner Prize, nonpareil expander of his medium’s horizons and reach in recent years, etc – was fresh from the triumph of Neue Welt. This years-in-the-making project (showcased both in a 2012 exhibition at the Kunsthalle Zurich and a lavish Taschen book) serves as a surgical inquiry into how, in diverse ways, the world has changed, 20 years after Tillmans began photographing it: cue, for him, a global itinerary of lightning trips, toting a newly adopted digital camera, to everywhere from basement garages in Tasmania
to bustling Indian streets, silvery Far Eastern malls to titanic rubbish dumps. On the other hand, he was preparing – alongside a museum exhibition in Lima – his current large show for K21 in Düsseldorf. In an office filled with a big model of that space, its size necessary for the artist to perfect the intricate scalar shifts of his installs, Tillmans talked about his recent past and a more distant one – starting with his plans to include, at K21, some illuminating work from his teenage years… MARTIN HERBERT When did you first get a camera of your own? Wolfgang Tillmans Not until I was twenty. I come from a family of avid amateur photographers – my father, my grandparents – and so that medium felt completely precluded for me. Maybe that’s why I didn’t initially put my photographs directly on the wall and only explored found photos, mechanical pictures. Look at these [points out Edinburgh Builders a, b and c (1987) on worktable]. With my mother’s little Rangefinder camera, I photographed a builder working on the opposite house – so the queer gaze is subtly already there [laughs] – and progressively enlarged it across several photocopies so it becomes just a distribution of surface pattern. It’s a kind of noise, but it comes across as super-specific. I still don’t know what this random-or-not information means, but it’s always been of great interest to me. The lucky thing was that I discovered these photocopies as ‘originals’. They had the aura of finished work, yet I didn’t have to paint or draw it. Maybe that was in keeping with me liking electronic music, too – the idea that you can do something expressive without an expressive hand, I was fortunate to have that at an early age. A photocopy is just a sheet of paper, but something happens and it becomes of value, of aesthetic charge. This issue of transformation has never gone away in your work, has it? WT: I’m always interested in the question of when something becomes something, or not, and how do we know? I observe it all the time. One person becomes a dear friend, the other not; this pair of old jeans your mother thinks is rubbish and wants to throw away, and to you it’s your favourite piece of clothing. There’s different attributions of value at different times and stages in one’s life, different people have different vantage points – and this is what Truth Study Center [his ongoing installation project, first shown at Maureen Paley, London, in 2005, intermingling astral photography, newspaper clippings emphasising various types of intolerance, and much more] was concerned with. All of these people claiming to know ‘what it is’, and almost, one could say, an immodesty in assessing value – in not asking ‘where did my evaluation come from, and when did I start ArtReview
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this page from top: Silver 92, 2012; Silver 94, 2012; Silver 97, 2012 facing page: Freischwimmer 230, 2012
thinking about that?’ And I would also like to know what things are, but I also want always to acknowledge that even though I want clear answers, they always evolve over time. And so now you’ve just looked back over 20 years, comparing then and now, for Neue Welt. How did this start? WT: Part of what determined the locations was an interest in borders. At the end of 2008 I went to [the Sicilian island of ] Lampedusa and a month later to Israel and travelled all over the borders of Israel, and then on the same trip – though not directly, of course, to Tunisia, to go to the other side of Lampedusa. As so often happens, though, when you backtrack, the seeds of the work lie further back. There’s one photograph in Neue Welt called Growth and that’s from 2004. I had an interest in going against the aesthetic that I’ve become known for, and at first – for a show at Andrea Rosen in 2007 – I thought of making deliberately ugly pictures, but that isn’t an interesting pursuit in itself. Only two years after I started Neue Welt did it become clear that 64
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this was the biggest thing I’ve been working on since the Abstract Pictures. When you gathered those together in a book, you also included works like Edinburgh Builders: again, the starting point was earlier – your work doesn’t divide neatly into sections. But from 1998 you did spend a decade focusing on abstraction
I f I feel there isn’ t enough of something, t h en t h at, in a way, constitutes the rea son for me to do somet h ing abou t it
– the galaxial scanned-and-enlarged darkroom luminograms Freischswimmer and Blushes; the lysergic lumino- and photogram Mental Pictures; bent and crumpled Lighter photo-objects; the series of photographs of curling photographic paper, Paper Drop, to name but a few. W T : Dealing with materiality was a way of dealing with changed contexts in the photographic world. At the end of the 1990s what I felt was needed was this slowdown of picture consumption – which of course seems funny to think about back then, because now there’s an insane speed of picture consumption. But I already felt people were getting careless with it. I wanted to go against that and mess with expectations of what one would see and how one would read this piece of photographic paper. Since 1998, this talking about the photograph as an object has been such a strong focus for me. I’m doing what I do for myself, but of course I’m always doing it in the context of the world it exists in, so if I feel there isn’t enough of something, then that, in a way, constitutes the reason for me to do something about it.
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For Neue Welt you began using a digital camera for the first time, and set out on deliberately short trips around the world, to these border zones. It’s a project full of rocketing contrasts: in one section of the book, we zoom between car headlights – that you’ve identified as having a new cruelly sharklike design template – to a creamy abstraction, to a boy running down a shantytown street, to a pin-sharp night sky. In a conversation with Beatrix Ruf published in the book, you said, ‘Essentially this is about humanism.’ What did you mean? WT: It’s a big word, but I guess what I meant with it is that I don’t want to create a distance between myself and the world that I depict and the viewer. With this triangle one can so easily put up distance and gaps and steps between the three; I find a low threshold of approachability between them more interesting than to build in distance or difference. At the same time, and this
M y PhOTO g R A Ph y BE g A N T h ROug h u SI Ng THE fIRsT dIgITAl PHoTo coPIER is crucial, I’m fully aware that there is difference, that there are huge differences in access, wealth… The difficulty with Neue Welt – which in itself I couldn’t write down as the agenda – was to be open-ended but at the same time come up with specific results that speak about specificity in the most nonprescribed, unplanned way, because if you go somewhere with an idea in mind, you will only find that idea. And if you make drifting the subject, then you also maybe end up with just that, without focus. So there are specific interests
this page from top: spreads from Neue Welt, 2012, Taschen facing page from left: Headlight (f), 2012; Spores, 2012
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[in it]. I’m always reading and following what goes on, and there are certain markers that I find are significant and telling points.
conjunction with the display that was made by that design office – all those wishes and desires to design.
How does a project like this relate, then, to, say, ethnography?
WT: Yes, or all sorts of things to do with markets and marketing and the transfer of goods. And you feel like a lot of this is available on the surface? Because it seems this project is tied to surfaces: you’re deliberately skimming the surface of a place, and leaving when it becomes familiar, and what you’re picking up are articulate surfaces. WT: Yes. Content inscribes itself into surfaces so eloquently, because a surface that is not purely made by nature is usually the result of layers of many people’s interactions with it. With architecture, cityscapes, I’m always fascinated by the layering of different architects, generations of what they thought is right; and with shop displays, what that shop assistant thought in
WT: I guess an ethnographer identifies a subject to study, and they want internal coherence and it’s led by an external demonstration of difference. And I wasn’t led by pure expectation of difference, but nor was I led by a romantic longing for what all this human family shares. I guess that was the biggest personal human growth I got from this: learning to accept the similarity and, at the same time, total differentness of people and places. On the one
hand we’re extremely the same, and at the same time we are insurmountably different. You said in one previous conversation, ‘This is actually really like a laboratory for studying the world in many of its facets and visual manifestations.’ I’m slightly uncertain how much emphasis to put on the idea of ‘the world as subject’ in your work. Neue Welt would suggest there’s that kind of whole-grasping ambition at work. Is that the scale you think on? WT: Undeniably yes, but with a huge disclaimer attached: that it’s an impossible task, and if taken too seriously it could be laden with hubris. But it would also be coy if I said, oh, I’m not dealing with it. I am, because how could I not – because that would mean my fascination would drop off at a point, and my fascination is kind of limitless. It’s not greedy, it’s not trying to piss on every territory, but I mean – economics and economic activity, for example: how important is that to what goes on in almost every aspect of human life? ArtReview
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these pages, from top: installation views of Wolfgang Tillmans exhibitions at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2012, Museo de Arte del Banco de la RepĂşblica, BogotĂĄ, 2012, and Kunsthalle Zurich, 2012
M y approac h to photography a s a medium h as always been t h at I wanted to approx imate what it feels like to lo ok through my eyes
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As you’ve made this marker of 20 years of work, do you feel your vision – your actual ability to look – has changed in that time? WT: Maybe what I would call the ability to name and discern what my vision records, that has possibly improved. I hope so. Because there is what we choose to see and what we are able to see, and then there’s a lot of things that people don’t choose not to see, but simply aren’t able to see. I hope I’ve stayed attentive. This term, attentive, is the most crucial in my life, in a way. The way we look, that is how we decide to act in this world, and that is then also how society as a whole acts, if you see societies always as an addition, an accumulation of individuals.
How much of a difference has working digitally made to you? WT: My photography began through using the first digital photocopier, which you saw in those Xeroxes. I happened to come across that in 1986, and understood the possibilities it allowed for making pictures. And then I bought, obviously, an analogue camera and then in 1992 used a large-format Canon copier to make the largeformat inkjet prints. So I stayed purely analogue, technically, until 2009 in regard to how the image generation is made, where the image dots come from. That’s always been onto film, and in a way I’m still analogue now because I use the [digital camera’s] sensor really as a film, ArtReview
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and I never move pixels around. And I think that’s important because people nowadays just expect that something has been altered in pictures. I find that a bit disturbing. So this is about truth… WT: Yes. In my work various ways of transfer, meaning printing, are possible, because this is how an idea becomes form, in a way. But the world as it passes through the lens and is projected onto film or sensor – I find that shouldn’t be tampered with. Because the world already allows for so much absurdity, so many wild conjunctions of events and objects, it would be crazy to think that’s not enough. By not doing retouching additions in my work, I insist that what you see somehow was in front of the lens. I want people to trust this as a basic given. That makes it somehow more powerful than all the pixels I can move around. Then the attraction of digital is on the level of resolution? WT: Yes. I had found my photographic truth in the grain and information level of 100 ASA fine-grain film. Which I read somewhere carries as much information as a 14-megapixel sensor. So until there were digital portable light cameras that could have 14 megapixels, I thought the idea of going digital was stupid anyway. My approach to photography as a medium has always been that I wanted to approximate what it feels like to look through my eyes, and that seemed very much achieved with 35mm. What was attractive to me about digital cameras of this full-format generation is the extreme variety in speed: that you can set it from 100 ASA to, now, 25,000 ASA. And it really makes certain pictures possible that were impossible before.
For example? WT: The starry skies. They seem not of a particular time, but if you are in the know, you know this picture is very improbable. Ten years ago you wouldn’t have been able to take this picture, without manipulation. Because after five, seven, eight seconds, stars show up as a line, because of the earth’s rotation. So you’d have to put the camera on a countermovement, but then the ground would be blurry. For me to take a picture of the northern sky, an astro-photograph, from a flying aircraft, with no movement, that’s such a crazy idea. So I’m glad I went to digital of my own free will, because then a year later Fuji discontinued the fine-grain film that I used. It seems you’re also more interested in issues of scale now. In the sense that you have these really large enlargements that are pin-sharp as well… WT: The scale-shift issue has been going on since my first show at Daniel Buchholz, 20 years ago, but what has changed, and really been a challenge for me, is that you can look as close at the large pictures as you want and there’s no dissolution. And that I find is of huge significance – in cultural history, possibly. I don’t want to sound immodest because it’s also something that was given to me by the camera maker, but some of these new pictures – or all of them, in a way – contain more information than the mind can possibly remember. So any super-fine paintings from 1500 with fur that looks super-real, they are still not as fine as these pictures, which are at the same time photographed from the vantage point of my eye, which is always interested in the nonhierarchical point of view. So whereas in the past a 10 x 8 photograph always somehow had to be taken from a privileged point of view, there is somehow a coming together of, on the one hand, this very human perspective and glance, with this precision. It’s something I find personally still perplexing, like: what is going on here? It’s a bit scary. And interestingly, now I’ve gone digital, there’s no digital medium that can show these pictures in their full quality. So it’s still analogue in the end: you still have to go to the one-off, the print… WT: There’s no screen that has the depth of information. And so it becomes very much about standing in front of this print, and having the spatial relation and movement around it. So I kind of have great faith in the picture: it hasn’t gone away. Fortunately. Work by Wolfgang Tillmans is on show at K21, Düsseldorf, until 7 July and at Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI) until 16 June. Neue Welt is available in a limited portfolio edition (signed and numbered) from Taschen
facing page: Astro Crusto, a, 2012
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Wu Ming is a collective of cultural activists based in Bologna. They are best known for their novels, but they also write nonfiction and are involved with music too. Wu Ming means ‘anonymous’ in Chinese and was chosen because the group is opposed to the cult of celebrity authors. Although they do book promotion tours, they don’t allow photos of themselves to be published. Verso is about to issue their fifth collectively penned novel, Altai, in English. The narrator of Altai is Emanuele De Zante, a sixteenth-century Venetian spycatcher who finds himself accused of being a double agent. De Zante goes on the run, and after rediscovering his abandoned Jewish identity, he makes a strategic allegiance with Venice’s Ottoman enemy in the hope of establishing a Jewish homeland. The historical setting is accurate and parallels various geopolitical conflicts in the world today. After flying in from London, I met Wu Ming 1 and Wu Ming 4 at the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna; also present was Riccardo Balli, a breakbeat DJ and record producer. I’ve known all of them since the 1990s through various underground cultural-cumAutonomous and anonymous in Red Bologna, political projects. Wu Ming 2 wasn’t due to join the meeting, a group of four guerrilla novelists, writing under but I had been expecting Wu Ming 5. Wu Ming 1 apologised the collective nom de plume Wu Ming, mix for the absence – Wu Ming 5’s punk band Nabat were playing historical fact with a touch of fiction to provide a gig in Spain. Music is important to the entire collective, a complex commentary on the present and I noticed that Wu Ming 1 had the latest issue of Musica Jazz magazine in his hand. His book New Thing (2004), and By Stewart Home the CD compilation The Old New Thing: A Free Jazz Anthology (2007), testify to his passion for musicians such as Albert Ayler and Sun Ra. He told me that his CD irked free-jazz diehards because of the way it was mixed, and he was clearly very happy about this. When I mentioned Altai, Wu Ming 1 laughed: “The translations take so long to appear! We haven’t talked about that book for years. It’s from 2009. We’ll have to speak about it again when we go to London for the UK publication.” After a little more conversation, both Wu Mings seemed to have rekindled their interest in their old work and asked me if I understood the parallels between the historical world Altai deals with and the political situation today. I told them this wasn’t a problem for me, but I quickly gave up trying to disentangle their fiction from historical fact, because the two were so closely interwoven. There was a gleam in Wu Ming 1’s eye when he replied: “That’s because we worked the fiction into tiny historical cracks.” The Wu Mings went on to tell me that they’re both happy with the reception of their collectively written novels in England and France. They stressed that the literary and political elements are of equal importance, and they clearly don’t like it when their books are discussed purely
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facing page: Wu Ming’s ‘official’ portrait this page: Bologna. Photo: Steffen Brinkmann
in terms of one or the other. Wu Ming 4 was particularly unhappy about a translation of his solo novel Stella del Mattino (Star of the Morning, 2008 – not available in English) being promoted as metafiction. The book may feature a number of famous English-language writers as characters, but it also has a political content the Wu Mings don’t want ignored. When we moved on to a café a few streets away from the museum, Wu Ming 1 suggested I might want to drink tea. When I opted for a double espresso, DJ Balli (AKA Sonic Belligerence), who’d clocked that this was what I’d been drinking in the museum café, observed strong coffee was a common addiction in British counterculture. He went on to describe how when he was on tour with English noise musician Nomex, his DJ partner would drink a dozen double espressos a day. His anecdote about a figure we’d all known in the 1990s led us back to the underground culture from which Wu Ming emerged. There are currently four members in the Wu Ming collective; there were once five, but
Wu Ming 3 left the group in 2008. Prior to Wu Ming, the collective were key players in the Luther Blissett Project (LBP). Luther Blissett was a name taken from an English footballer (who played for AC Milan), and starting in 1994 it was used by hundreds of cultural activists to play pranks on the capitalist media. The main purpose of the LBP might be summarised as the creation of a folk hero for the Internet age, so that its precarious workers could recognise each other and organise themselves. Before they became Wu Ming, in 2000, the group authored the bestselling novel Q (1999) as Luther Blissett. Altai resurrects a character from Q and moves the narrative forward historically. Altai was the first book the collective wrote after the departure of Wu Ming 3, and in order to move forward and deal with this change, they returned to their roots. Even after making the bestseller lists with their books, Wu Ming remain close to old friends and comrades who aren’t known outside various underground scenes. The ease with which DJ Balli interacts with them demonstrates ArtReview
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this. Back in the 1990s Balli ran the Association of Autonomous Astronauts Bologna (for an independent proletarian space exploration programme), which had close links to the LBP. When Wu Ming 4 had to leave, Wu Ming 1 and DJ Balli took me on a tour of Bologna bars. At each boozer, Wu Ming 1 greeted numerous friends, while as we walked he gave me a potted history of Bologna based on the buildings we passed. He pointed out the juvenile prison, and observed that it is particularly cruel that the inmates should have to listen to people having a good time in city centre bars while they are locked up inside it. While we drifted we also managed to discuss Italian mondo and crime movies of the 1960s and 70s. When I mentioned the way Altai addresses technology, Wu Ming 1 explained how much research the sections dealing with the recoil on cannons required, a subject no one in the collective had any knowledge of when they started work on the book. That said, it’s also evident that this interest in historical technology and its impact on past political struggles is meant to resonate with technological changes today. Likewise, passages that continue the collective’s interest in the development of print technology and clandestine publishing first depicted in Q, reverberate poignantly with the contemporary switch towards eBooks. Wu Ming 1 mentioned that the collective are about to release an eBook of the best of their blog at €4 per download. He also stressed the material is still available for free online in unedited form. The collective also give away their novels as free downloads, but do suggest that people make donations if they want Wu Ming to be able to produce more fiction. When I said I was impressed that their blog had become one of the most successful websites in Italy, Wu Ming 1 shrugged his 74
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shoulders: “It’s a mechanical effect, a lot of people have stopped blogging and hardly anyone is writing seriously about the financial and political crisis. Since we do, people read what we have to say.” And while Wu Ming 1 doesn’t say it, you could also make the same observation about Altai and the collective’s other books. Like great science fiction, Wu Ming’s historical thrillers are always also about the present.
12/03/2013 15:22 Nostalgia Future Past-artwork.indd 1
A pioneer of colour field painting speaks about being curated by Rashid Johnson By Mark Rappolt
So, here’s a thing. There’s a painter who during the mid-1960s starts doing radical things with his materials and medium. Having created a series of works that explore abstraction and hard-edged geometry, he pushes his experiments to a new level. He begins treating the canvas as a flexible rather than fixed surface for painting on. He’s one of the first artists to introduce the idea of paint spreading beyond the canvas and, starting in 1968, of canvases working independently of the stretcher – hung from a variety of other supports and interacting with the architecture of the exhibition space. He’s creating art that pushes formal ideas of restructuring and re-forming. And ultimately he’s pushing painting into realms that touch on what others might call sculpture and more contemporary folks installation art. In short, he’s an artist ahead of his time. So much so that during the early 1980s, one of his draped canvases, commissioned for a state office building in Atlanta, was nearly thrown out
this page, from top: Helles, 1965, acrylic on canvas, 183 x 184 cm, photo: Stephen Frietch; 65, 1965, acrylic on canvas, 141 x 142 cm, photo: Stephen Frietch facing page: Blue Let, 1965, acrylic on canvas, 181 x 119 cm, photo: Brandon Webster
this page: Ourhouse Episode 1: Games, 2010, HD video
by workers before it was installed – they had thought it was merely a drop cloth left behind by decorators. Given all that, you’ll be surprised to know that this artist, Sam Gilliam, is not more of a household name (in the kind of household, of course, in which art is an everyday topic of conversation), sitting alongside other artists who have made great leaps – Robert Rauschenberg, for instance. He’s celebrated as one of the leading lights among the artists associated with the Washington Color School (a grouping that took its name from a 1965 exhibition of painting at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, in DC, and included artists such as Kenneth Noland and Gene Davis) and as a pioneer of American colour field painting. But mainly by those in the know. Oh yeah, one more fact about Gilliam. You don’t need to know it to appreciate his works and you wouldn’t necessarily guess it by looking at his works, but it can be useful when it comes to understanding their context and history: Gilliam is African American. And this month David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles is putting on a show of a group of Gilliam’s works made between 1963 and 66. It’s curated by another, younger African-American artist, Rashid Johnson. “Sam and I share race, first thing, but that’s not the reason for the show,” Johnson is quick to point out when asked about what brought the two artists together. “Sam and a few other artists affected me early through their ability to build bodies of work through projects and processes,” he continues, mentioning in particular the ways in which the older artist made him think about “the opportunities for gesture in abstraction, an expressionist palette and ways of approaching a surface”. It’s natural, when one artist curates a show of another artist’s work, for the viewer to try and locate something of the curator in the work of the curated, but this show promises to operate in a more subtle manner. Johnson, of course, is among the most prominent contemporary American artists. His work, which began with photography and has expanded to incorporate video, audio, sculpture and installation, frequently grouped under the umbrella label of post-black conceptualism, often incorporates specific references (from stacks of books by African-American authors or about AfricanAmerican identity, musical or pop-cultural references in the titles of works – the Cosmic Slop series, for example, whose title is borrowed from a 1973 Funkadelic album – or the connotations of the branding technique he deploys in a series of works executed on wood-panelled floors) to African-American history (homages to other artists included) and its contribution to pop culture. Where Gilliam’s work projected its message through the (sometimes extreme) manipulation of form that linked to cultural issues that existed outside the work, Johnson’s tends to fuse formal experiments with a direct
this page: Red Stretch, 1965, acrylic on canvas, 239 x 125 cm, photo: Stephen Frietch
this page, from left: Ode, 1966, acrylic on canvas, 226 x 213 cm, photo: Stephen Frietch; Black Break, 1966, acrylic on canvas, 229 x 144 cm, photo: Stephen Frietch all images: Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles
delivery of content (whether it’s the inclusion of those carefully selected books in a sculpture, or a work such as I Talk White, 2003, a photograph of the title written out in white moisturising lotion). “We’re both on the same page,” says Gilliam, “but we develop work in different directions – we’re from different generations. How he stands in his generation and his approaches are different from mine.” “There are black artists who tend to work with the message involved,” he continues, discussing artists of a later generation. “They are able to do something I was not – to keep the political in the front. I may have made a big mistake by not looking closer earlier – they’re in the news and you want to know what they’re doing.” But there’s no doubt that Gilliam’s efforts to expand the scope and range of both his medium – letting the formal aspects of work that is both apparently and essentially
abstract be shaped by external elements – and the environment in which it is viewed opened up a territory that artists such as Johnson could explore. “I followed in Sam’s footsteps when I had a show in Magdeburg, Germany [Sharpening My Oyster Knife, Kunstmuseum Magdeburg, 2008],” Johnson explains. “Sam had been there earlier [Of Fireflies and Ferris Wheels, 1997] and I dug into the catalogue – the destruction and removal of the stretcher was a really important evolution. A lot of artists’ work owes him a great debt.” On the one hand there is clearly a sense that Johnson is conscious of what he calls “the level of access for black artists” half a century ago and wanting to address this imbalance; and Gilliam’s strength of purpose and optimism about the outcome of his works is clearly something he admires. On the other hand he describes a far more selfish motivation for getting involved: “I’m
interested in seeing how people respond to the things I like,” he says. While Gilliam concedes that “there’s a lot that’s not been said about the times we’ve been through” (not just for artists of colour, he points out, but for women artists, too), he’s more phlegmatic about the past: “When you choose a career in art or the life of an artist,” he points out, “you put yourself in a position where there’s a likelihood of not much success.” And what does he hope people take away from the show? “To see the work and see the context, to look at it as painting and approach the painting as something that at the time was very far out. That’s what it takes to follow your own desires or thinking and be optimistic.” Sam Gilliam: Hard-Edge Paintings 1963–66, curated by Rashid Johnson, is on show at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, 28 March – 11 May ArtReview
City Focus: Berlin The last in a three-part series
Mitte and Kreuzberg Part 3:
Walking through Mitte, an art critic reflects on the past 20 years of Berlin’s booming contemporary art scene and compares the spirit of ‘then’ to the spirit of ‘now’… By Raimar Stange Photography by Andrea Stappert 80
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this page, from top: Olaf Nicolai; Nicolai in his studio facing page: Hackbarth’s
It’s late February, and I’m walking through the last of the melting snow on the way to Hackbarth’s, a bar/café in Berlin’s Mitte borough, to meet the artist Olaf Nicolai. I reminisce: until the beginning of the 1990s, Cologne was the indisputable centre of the (West) German art scene; then Berlin replaced Cologne. The metropolis along the Spree River quickly developed into an influential art mecca, and not just for Germany. The art hype began in Mitte shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989: here, properties from GDR times waited unoccupied in a state of uncertain ownership, and clever artists and gallerists knew how to take advantage of this. We all know what happened next. Since rents and the cost of living were both low, young creatives from every sector – fashion designers as well as advertising graphicdesigners, new-media nerds as well as techno musicians and artists from every branch – arrived in droves from around the world. I turn onto Auguststrasse. Back then, galleries, offspaces like Dust and Sparwasser, and many artists’ ateliers were set up with lightning speed to the left and right of this street, and within just a few years this area became the new centre of the Western artworld. At last I arrive at Hackbarth’s, where Nicolai – a Documenta X participant raised in the GDR before the fall of the Berlin Wall – is already waiting. “Until the beginning of the 90s,” he recollects, “there was only one place to go in the area around Auguststrasse – Friedrich Loock’s Galerie Wohnmaschine. With Margarinefabrik around the corner, Galerie Eigen + Art within sight and Cookies basically in the basement next door, life slowly came to an otherwise dead area. Today there’s no longer any trace left of Wohnmaschine and the ventures are now just businesses.” Nicolai himself had an atelier on Auguststrasse from 1993 onwards; he moved east to Prenzlauer Berg in 2000. Hackbarth’s was a popular meeting place for artists during the 90s; there you would meet international artists like Rineke Dijkstra and Angela Bulloch, who moved to Berlin later on, as well as the then still unknown Peter Friedl or Thomas Demand, to ArtReview
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this page, from top: courtyard behind Neugerriemschneider gallery; Galerie Eigen + Art’s Gerd Harry ‘Judy’ Lybke facing page, from top: Kunst-Werke entrance; Kunst-Werke chief curator Ellen Blumenstein; Kunst-Werke courtyard with Dan Graham’s Café Bravo (foreground, 1998) and Carsten Höller’s Valerio II slide (background, 1998)
name just a few. Douglas Gordon often dropped by during his DAAD Fellowship and I frequently had coffee there with the (then still very young) Viennese artist Markus Schinwald, who was living in Berlin at that time. And no wonder Hackbarth’s was so popular with the artists; nearly all of the then-important galleries of the city were just a stone’s throw away: Klosterfelde from Hamburg, Contemporary Fine Arts, the newly founded Galerie Mehdi Chouakri, Eigen + Art from Leipzig and Galerie NEU. In the middle of the decade the galleries Schipper & Krome from Cologne and Neugerriemschneider were added to the list. The gallery scene was relatively manageable during the 1990s, with about a dozen galleries in Mitte and about 40 in the whole city. Today there are almost 600. Venues like Neugerriemschneider and Eigen + Art had a significant influence on the art of the 90s. Extremely successful artists like Olafur Eliasson, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Elizabeth Peyton, Franz Ackermann and Michel Majerus started their international careers at Neugerriemschneider. Eigen + Art, meanwhile, was represented by five of its artists at Documenta X in 1997: Olaf and Carsten Nicolai, Jörg Herold, Christine Hill and Jana Milev. Later
the gallery could claim the questionable credit of successfully promoting the ‘Leipzig School’. Today there are comparatively few galleries left around Auguststrasse; the noble neighbourhood has simply become too expensive, especially since the Berlin galleries, spoiled by success, always want to have bigger spaces. So where you once found galleries, you now find boutiques and restaurants – gentrification eats its children. But Kamm, Christian Nagel, Neugerriemschneider and Eigen + Art didn’t move to Berlin’s more recently fashionable gallery districts – Potsdamer Strasse or Wedding. Neugerriemschneider codirector Tim Neuger explains to me why they stayed in Mitte: “We feel comfortable here in the middle of the city centre and in what are for us optimal spaces. In addition, important institutions like the Hamburger Bahnhof, the Kunst-Werke and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein are not far from here. And we also appreciate the proximity to colleagues like Eigen + Art and Sprüth Magers as well as to the private exhibitions spaces of Karen and Christian Boros, and Erika Hoffmann. So why move?” Eigen + Art just thoroughly renovated its gallery and now also has a second space in ArtReview
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right: Harun Farocki, 2012 (installation view). Photo: Jens Ziehe. © the artist. Courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin far right: Mary Heilmann, Home Sweet Home, 2010 (installation view). Photo: Jens Ziehe. © the artist. Courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin below: Andreas Siekmann, Verhandlungen unter Zeitdruck Aus: Faustpfand, Treuhand und dieunsichtbare Hand, 2005–8 (installation view). Photo: Jens Ziehe. © the artist. Courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin
right: Key of Return, 2012 (installation view, 7th Berlin Biennale, Kunst-Werke). Photo: Artur Żmijewski far right: Breaking the News, 2012 (installation view, 7th Berlin Biennale, Kunst-Werke). Photo: Marcin Kaliński
far left: Carsten Nicolai, Tired Light, 2008 (installation view). Photo: Uwe Walter. Courtesy Galerie Eigen + Art, Leipzig & Berlin left: Christine Hill, Revolution Fleamarket, 2008 (installation view). Photo: Uwe Walter. Courtesy Galerie Eigen + Art, Leipzig & Berlin
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far left: Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled (Freedom Cannot Be Simulated), 2012. Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy the artist and Neugerriemschneider, Berlin left: Elizabeth Peyton, 2010 (installation view, Wallstrasse 85, Berlin). Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy Neugerriemschneider, Berlin
right: Franz Ackermann, No Roof But The Sky, 2010 (installation view). Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy Neugerriemschneider, Berlin far right: David Horvitz, At Night They Leave Their Century, 2013 (installation view). Courtesy the artist and Chert, Berlin
far left: Berlin.Status 1, 2012 (installation view, K端nstlerhaus Bethanien). Photo: David Brandt left: Klaus H辰hner-Springm端hl, 2013 (installation view, K端nstlerhaus Bethanien). Photo: David Brandt
right: Arno Brandlhuber, Archipel, 2012 (installation view, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein). Photo: Jens Ziehe far right: Julieta Aranda, Multifamiliar, 2012 (installation view, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein). Photo: Jens Ziehe
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next show, with works by the Swiss artist Ursula Biemann, is being put together. “Art has boomed tremendously in the last 20 years,” says Babias, “albeit as part of the lifestyle industry. Institutions are stuck in a precarious situation in which art has turned into an entertainment, an event and a way of producing an image, yet we still have to be mindful of social relevance and aesthetic worth. And we have to organise our programme in accordance with this balancing act.” With regard to the situation of the gallery scene surrounding him, where the galleries don’t necessarily make a lot of money, he explains: “It’s a fallacy to believe that the majority of galleries located in Berlin are in a position to do big business and decisively to promote the commercialisation of the art scene. The majority of galleries reside somewhere in the zone between offspace, producer’s gallery and sales gallery. A variety has evolved here that I find quite exciting.” ***
the former Jewish Girls’ School, the gallery and restaurant complex, established in 2012; unfortunately most of the other galleries there are hardly worth mentioning. And it’s worth saying that the explosive growth of galleries in Berlin hasn’t exactly led to an improvement in the scene’s artistic quality. However, the scene in Mitte has certainly become more chic. You no longer meet up in the homey Hackbarth’s but in the stately Soho House, an equally impressive and elegant ‘club for creatives’ on Torstrasse. The building has a turbulent history behind it: it was once a Jewish department store, which was seized by the National Socialists during the Third Reich, and in GDR times it served as, among other things, the headquarters of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. Besides the galleries, there were and are a number of important exhibition venues in Mitte such as Kunst-Werke (founded in 1991), the (former train station) Hamburger Bahnhof and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (in operation since 1969). And they are still doing good work. Last year Artur Żmijewski and Joanna Warsza, the curators of the seventh Berlin Biennale (at Kunst-Werke), succeeded in productively provoking the established art scene. In the face of the financial crisis and social inequality, climate change and neonationalism, the Biennale, through project-based work, explored the meaning of art and its potential to influence politics. On the other hand, the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein – which now resides on Chausseestrasse – has long been known for incorporating explicitly political art into its programme. I’m meeting with the current director, Marius Babias, in his office, which is one floor above the exhibition spaces, where the
this page, from top: Soho House; Neuer Berliner Kunstverein director Marius Babias facing page: SO 36
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When attention drifted away from Mitte, it focused on Kreuzberg. The latter was, besides Charlottenburg, the cultural centre of Berlin during the 1970s and 80s. Today the neighbourhood is one area among many for art in Berlin; there is no longer a centre. For example, from 1973 onwards the Künstlerhaus Bethanien was located in Kreuzberg, on the legendary Mariannenplatz (the subject of a 1982 song by cult left-wing rock band Ton Steine Scherben). There, 20 artists with fellowships worked in a former hospital every year. Since 2010, Bethanien has been located in a spacious building on Kohlfurter Strasse: certainly beneficial for the Künstlerhaus in that the larger and more modern exhibition spaces benefit the fellows’ presentations. Meanwhile, the New Society for Visual Arts, Berlin’s second largest art association (after the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein), hosts its exhibitions right around the corner, across from which is the legendary punk club SO 36. Martin Kippenberger himself was responsible for the artistic programme here at the end of the 1970s, when avant-garde performers such as the Red Crayola and Lydia Lunch visited, as well as trendy though rather conventional punks. Yet the ambitious balancing of high and low art failed. The local punk scene denounced Kippenberger’s concept as ‘glitterati art’ and ‘consumption shit’, and the artist had to throw in the towel. By the 1990s, SO 36 no longer played a role in the crossover of art and music. Techno was popular; punk had seen better days. Concerts are still held in SO 36, but there are fewer galleries in Kreuzberg. However, two years ago Galerie Barbara Weiss moved from Potsdamer Strasse to Kreuzberg (more precisely to Kohlfurter Strasse), practically next door to the Bethanien. There she has caused a stir with exhibitions by, among others, Harun Farocki, Andreas Siekmann and Mary Heilmann. But why did she move here? “Because I wanted to be in
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this page, from top: K端nstlerhaus Bethanien; Barbara Weiss in her gallery; SO 36
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from top: installation view of Ian Hamilton Finlay’s exhibition at Nolan Judin gallery; gallerist Juerg Judin in his home, a converted petrol station
a location that had not really been established as a place for art since the postwar era,” the gallerist replies. “During the 80s the autonomous [left-wing, anarchist] scene had settled nearby, whereas up until today the local environment is still being built and transformed, and therefore a strong dynamic is always felt. This blend of the existing intellectual and international climate, the idyll of the nearby riversides (eg, Maybach) and, at the same time, the area as a social hotspot really spoke and appealed to me right away.” Recently, Skalitzer Strasse has drawn attention to itself with two promising galleries opening there: Chert and Silberkuppe.
The latter is located in a former gatehouse and is managed by the artist and writer Dominic Eichler together with Michel Ziegler. Chert is a stone’s throw away in a back courtyard; in the same courtyard is the art bookshop Motto. Not only can you buy books, catalogues and editions here, but Motto also hosts monthly events such as concerts, discussions and readings. For example, British artist Dave Allen presented his last record here, various art magazines, like Frieze d/e, Spike and Camera Austria, have launched issues, and artists such as Tobias Zielony and Olaf Nicolai have been invited for discussions. Exhibitions are also designed together with Chert. Discussing and buying art no longer contradict each other at Motto and Chert. And it’s precisely such intelligent and unconventional initiatives that keep Berlin’s art system alive – as opposed to the big annual events such as Gallery Weekend or the abc art fair. So I leave Hackbarth’s, get on the number 8 subway line and ride from Alexanderplatz to Kreuzberg to a catalogue presentation at Motto. Translated from the German by Emily Luski
this page: art bookstore Motto
Berlin Gallery Weekend 2013, with simultaneous openings by 51 galleries over three days and nights, takes place 26–28 April
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Jacob Fabricius When and how did you begin the films that make up Ourhouse (2010–)?
Nathaniel Mellors Mix a childhood spent in front of the TV with the British industrial music scene and an MA in sculpture: an artist describes the origins of his medieval-tinged mutant soap opera Ourhouse Interview by Jacob Fabricius
this page: The 7 Ages of Britain Teaser, 2010, HD video
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Nathaniel Mellors The initial idea was to come up with a scenario that could work for a mutant TV series – a kind of hybrid conceptual artwork and TV show. It came out of a longstanding preoccupation with TV that I had been exploring in various potentially inappropriate ways (in video installation and sculpture) since I was student. I grew up watching a lot of great British and American TV, and in my teens, before art school, I was involved with various local music scenes. So as I ‘learnt’ art – which is a peculiar process – I found myself pulling away, trying to collapse and expand the logic of certain artforms (some of which felt like they had become quite rule-bound) with ideas that I could run with almost unconsciously. And looking back, these more unconscious ideas tended to be steeped in the influence of TV and music, particularly the sensibility of British industrial music. Cinema comes in more consciously – I think – later on. Coming out of my MA in sculpture I was working with a ‘total installation’ form with a lot of fragmented video projection and improvised sculpture and sound, filming strange video narratives with friends – mixing up actors and nonprofessional performers. The process developed and I found a kind of methodology in it. And then I made more of a commitment to writing, at first because I wanted the dynamics and potential I had found in the installations I had made – in works like Profondo Viola (2004) and Hateball (2005) – to occur in the films. At a certain point I thought I should try and approach the form not as a kind of deconstructive exercise but as a ‘closed text’. I started to feel that deconstruction could, in some ways, be a default position for an artist – deconstructing the forms of the day – and that to make something that could hold its own relative to its inspirations I perhaps needed to more thoroughly generate something formally distinct, from the bottom up. Maybe I needed to go backwards to go forwards. I was looking at a lot of Pasolini as this was developing. There was a specific opportunity, too – in 2009 Jonty Claypole, a producer at the BBC, invited me to make a short work for BBC1, to kick off the final episode of David Dimbleby’s The Seven Ages of Britain series. The show is a potted history of British culture, and the final episode covers the entire twentieth century. So I made The 7 Ages of Britain Teaser (2010), an artwork about broadcasting and history featuring David Dimbleby performing with a highly naturalistic silicon prosthesis of his own face. Gwendoline Christie (‘The Operator’) and Johnny Vivash (‘Kadmus’) play two crap deities who are battling for control of this Dimbleby face – they think they can ‘control the Modern age’ through the icon. This was my first experience of working in TV.
I’d been making work inspired by TV and then I was able to make a work that took TV as its subject and was also broadcast to several million people. The work has the production values of BBC TV but it’s also resolutely an artwork – Dimbleby describes the status of the work itself within the work – which makes it even stranger: it’s a hybrid. There’s a seed there that I wanted to grow and grow. I was already working repeatedly with excellent actors – my friends Gwendoline, Johnny and David Birkin – and suddenly I wanted to do a lot more work with this BBC crew – the DP, Ben Wheeler (who was shooting Peep Show for Channel 4 and The Thick of It for BBC2), the actors and I all felt a really good connection. So I went off and thought it would be great to have a scenario that could generate a potentially endless stream of episodes, like in a soap opera or long-running drama – something like Twin Peaks. Then this very sculptural but literary image occurred to me – a person that eats books at the centre of a story. This person is not recognisable as human by the other characters. It is referred to as ‘The Object’. It’s a kind of device – the books ‘The Object’ eats, half-digests and regurgitates influence the story. It’s a fleshy, human printer engaged in the grotesque egestion of a literal ‘neverending story’. I came up with this core idea for the Ourhouse scenario and then I asked my friend Dan Fox to help me with the character and story development – because he’s so good a writer and editor, very precise where I am very messy. We did that for six months and then I wrote the first set of scripts – about 70 pages or so – in a few weeks. The first three episodes of Ourhouse emerged, with two animatronic ‘Ourhouse’ sculptures for exhibition at De Hallen Haarlem in September 2010 – Xander Karskens commissioned the work for De Hallen with Tom Morton and Lisa Le Feuvre for British Art Show 7. That helped keep me on track during quite an intense period of work. Could you describe what you were looking for in a few of the main characters? NM: It’s sort of soap-opera or sitcom cliché – it’s a dysfunctional family unit. There were a couple of things that felt key – the ‘Daddy’ character ‘Charles-Maddox Wilson’ (played by Richard Bremmer) is a man of the late 1960s/early 70s – he sees himself as a hybrid playwright-poetalchemist-artist. But really he’s an eccentric of enormous hereditary wealth, and he has created ‘Ourhouse’, this giant, sprawling property of ambiguous geography – it sort of grows and shrinks like it’s part of his mind. It’s TARDIS-like. He has these two sons – Truson (played by Birkin) and Faxon (played by Benedict Hopper), one a biological son and the other adopted – and a young wife, Annalise ‘Babydoll’ Wilson (played by Christie). He does not appreciate his biological son, Truson, enough, although Truson has semimagical powers – he’s a kind of savant, an innocent-savant. He fetishises
this page: Ourhouse Episode 1: Games, 2010, HD video
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his adopted son and fails to recognise the intelligence of his wife. He’s a self-absorbed man, and we wanted him to represent the idea of failed radicalism, ideologies of individualistic liberation from the late 1960s failing through the reality of middle-class economic growth. There’s another character that’s very important too – ‘Bobby Jobby’, Robert Jobson (played by Vivash), who is the family’s Irish gardener. He is at the bottom of the Ourhouse family structure, a relative outsider – which gives a lot of narrative possibilities. There’s a point in the story where
I’d been making work inspired by TV and then I was able to make a work that took TV as its subject and was also broadcast to several million people the family identify Bobby as the source of their problems. But Bobby is a good man – a potential hero. So I wanted to use these familiar forms and structures and then excavate them and fill them with different content – for lots of reasons. Maybe it’s an awkward thing, but I like that active quality of something not sitting too comfortably in its form. I’m happy that it works in its own way. The films draw on many genres, including horror, slapstick, sitcom, theatre – what am I forgetting? – and it’s amazing how your narrative, language, setting and costumes seem both medieval and contemporary, even sci-fi… NM: That started in an earlier work – Giantbum (2009) – which is a play in which some medieval explorers are lost in the bowels of a giant. The characters are wearing modern sportswear but with a medieval feel – the coprophagic ‘Father’ wears Puma. There are lots of childish puns in Giantbum – mostly in the verbose script – but I put some into the visuals: Puma = Pooma = Poo Ma = Poo More. Ourhouse Episode 3: The Cure of Folly (2011) is the ‘medieval’ episode, and the medieval characters in this episode are again wearing cheap contemporary sportswear mixed with some medieval elements – like Addison’s knee-high leather boots, or the leafy crown of ‘The Hek’. I pick the specific items of sportswear quite carefully, looking for items that I feel work within this hybrid schema. Adidas & Yoshi Yamamoto’s Y3 is a kind of high-end version – futuristic clothing with medieval cuts! It’s not overtly retro at all, I love it. But I also think this mixture of cheap contemporary sportswear and historical costume detailing reflects certain
this page: Ourhouse Episode 2: Class, 2010–11. HD video
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class divisions. My central narrative device, the character called ‘The Object’, has this glistening new sportswear look – it is wearing a white tracksuit and big baseball boots. One starting point for this was the idea that he was some kind of avenging angel – like the underclass, who wear a lot of cheap sportswear – rearing up against a bourgeois culture with a more knowing, historicised approach to clothing. The original version of ‘The Object’ was going to be this filthy tramp, all covered in shit and straw, that the family don’t recognise as human. But that seemed too literal, so it became this more distinct-butmysterious thing, less easy to decipher, with its own language of sportswear, baseball boots and watches. And then the ‘medievalists’ – they appear and their sportswear links them back to ‘The Object’. I wanted that to give a sense of a pattern without confirmation or clarification. Mysticism seems to be embedded in the films and how you write – a Kubrick-like mysticism… But they somehow also remind me of Molière’s satirical plays. Do you recognise that? NM: I think the idea of spending time putting something together from the bottom up, writing a script with its own interior logic and working through those ideas in different ways with collaborators who really know the work and get into the method… it’s very consciously put together – it’s a lot of effort – there’s a big technical side – which for me enables an incorporation of chance and accident in a way that begins to feel organic. I think systematising these almost oppositional processes can be related to mysticism. It’s a question of embedding things that keep on generating meaning, creating forms that resist total interpretation. Kubrick seems to be all about that. He exemplifies the discipline of mysticism. The work keeps giving. I think that many people would feel that by comparison my work looks cheap, confusing, pretentious… I don’t really compare my work to historical writers because I make this material for a different format. And I like that in making art I can decide what the rules are. I tend to naturally make links across things and make things up. I think you can write Theatre of the Absurd from a schooling in Saturday morning kids TV. Like Tiswas vs Beckett. “Have you seen Happy Days?” “No, but I’ve seen happy days.” But I do really love what Terry Southern was doing in the 1960s – Dr Strangelove and The Magic Christian. I like a lot of absurdist writing – Spike Milligan’s Goon Show scripts are amazing, and his play The Bed Sitting Room. I love Rabelais, Georges Bataille and Ed McBain. But none of these things are in mind when I’m writing. They might influence initial scenarios. The scenario of Ourhouse is influenced by Pasolini’s Teorema and the scenario of Giantbum is loosely influenced by Gargantua & Pantagruel, but the things I go on to make are sufficiently different enough from any starting
this page: Ourhouse Episode 3: The Cure of Folly, 2011, HD video
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points that people have been able to criticise me for even citing them. Like if a games designer talks about Shakespeare it might seem strange to a few people, but what should a form draw on to develop anyway? Super Mario World is a mock epic, and it requires no explanation. I’m often surprised by the extent to which people seem to want to unconsciously preserve artforms.
facing page: Astro Crusto, a, 2012
What is the perfect Pasolini cinematic moment for you? NM: The butterfly-eating scene at the beginning of Porcile (1968) left a permanent impression on me; that was the first Pasolini film I saw. It’s a perfect ensemble of Marxist ideology intercut with the mythic/prehistoric via cannibalism and pig-fucking. But I think that with Pasolini, in my opinion, perfection is in the dynamic and visionary whole of it – the whole of Pasolini’s achievements are a kind of apotheosis of completely integrated artistic, poetic and intellectual activity. He’s the perfect model. Language – or should I say the British language? – and its tradition of satirical dark humour is important… NM: I think that humour has a naturally dark tint to it. I think it can be natural for humour to become unfunny as an inherent manifestation of its function – it’s there to deal with the weird shit; it is our irrational organ. I gave a talk last year at the Hayward Gallery for their Wide Open School called ‘Notes on Brown Humour’, about the idea of humour as an internal organ which helps us to process the potentially physically compromising effects of language. The basic idea was that language is a projection from the body outwards, while humour is an internal moderator of its effects. And laughter is a bodily emission – an emission of a waste product through the mouth. I’m very interested in the seriousness of humour and a specific form of not-very-funny funny that can have a destabilising effect on the viewer. Would you rather be a polar bear or a phasmid (also known as a stick insect)? NM: A polar bear. Have power – be at the top of the food chain but end up estranged due to convulsions in other people’s eco-cultural history. Drown. Most of your films are made in Britain and with British actors and collaborators. Recently you have been spending time in LA – home of Hollywood and ‘Porn Valley’. Will that change your approach and production? Will you embrace America or stick to your own British tradition?
this page: Ourhouse Episode 4: Internal Problems, 2010, HD video
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NM: I’d like to hybridise it. I’d like to bring my actors here and insert new American actors. Maybe the British actors will be very confused by the American ones – that could be part of a script.
How do the animatronics fit into your filmworks? NM: It’s more like they come out of the filmworks. They come out of the scripts – I see them as one strand of different forms of studio practice in which I have been working out ideas in the scripts. So the first animatronics I made in 2008 were part of Giantbum and cast from the face of Vivash’s character ‘The Father’, the coprophagic priest. This character had a mechanical trajectory in the story – that of aspiring suicide-cult-leader using fear to control a frightened and isolated group of people – so we cast his face and made him into this uncanny, three-headed animatronic that talks and sings about ‘freedom’. The idea of a kind of mechanical trinity made sense for that work and so it became the third stage of that script. The talking-singing sculpture was sited at the end of the installation, but it sang about freedom and chanted the word ‘exit’ – I saw it as a kind of life-after-death for the story, character and script. I also had the idea that kinetic art was so unpopular, so ugly and unstylish, that there might be room to do something interesting, particularly having the original script at the heart of the work
this page: Ourhouse E3 feat. Bad Copy, 2012 (installation view, Matt’s Gallery, London). Photo: Peter White all works: Courtesy the artist, Matt’s Gallery, London, Monitor, Rome, and Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdam
as a counterpoint to the visual spectacle. I like the idea of a script providing a base for a visual rationale. I hoped that using my own scripts and films as a starting point for strange forms of studio-based art production could be a way
I thi n k you ca n w r ite Th e at re of th e A bsurd f rom a schooli ng i n Saturday morning kids T V. L ike T i s was vs Beckett.
NM: The craft thing is interesting to me – it was ghettoised for a long time. But now, because we have this endemic consumer culture of reconsumption, things that are less known and unfashionable become unfashionably desirable and then they become unfashionably fashionable and then they become just fashionable. All the subcultural marrow gets sucked out. The recent Ken Price show at LACMA in LA was good. It’s LA-cool, but it retains an awkwardness and humour. This is really appealing to me, this sense of awkwardness and humour. Sometimes it verges on ugliness, but I wouldn’t summarise it as that – it’s a resistant quality that can’t be reduced to visual tropes. It resists stylisation. I find this quality in a lot of the Chicago Imagists’s work – wonderful work. It’s interesting to see who this cultural recycling does and doesn’t work for – certain figures and movements seem intrinsically resistant. Look at an awkward figure like George E. Ohr, for example – he is a founding father of American Modernism and is broadly unappreciated, probably because he has been placed in this craft ghetto that you mention. He’s a seminal figure, but historically he’s an oxbow lake. And now ceramics are fashionable but he’s still unknown. It strikes me that the artworld periodically fixates on a particular look – in the last decade we’ve had the look of music; the look of narrative; the look of craft (including ceramics); the look of the digital. It’s interesting to me how the environment, like the fashion world, needs a new theme to fixate on – but how primarily visual the environment remains. If you put in something more awkward, it’s processed to this visual level. I’ve seen a lot of artists staging the appearance of literature in their work. It’s fascinating and weird. I can’t separate myself from this cultural pandemic, but I do try to address it in the work.
“H ave you see n H a p py D ays?” “No, but I’ ve seen happy days” to buck the slurry of visual art history. I wanted to write myself somewhere else and then use the writing as a kind of secret formula for visual development. Obviously solipsism is a risk with this approach. Writing is in itself quite a hermetic process. Since making the animatronics I’ve also made photograms and paintings with my collaborator Chris Bloor. Both approaches evolved with their own particular formal logic, which we have evolved out of ideas in the scripts. It’s hermetic franchising. You are right, kinetic sculptures are not on everybody’s lips these days. Do you think it is the craft element that makes them less desirable to make, collect and maintain?
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AR: Design April sees ArtReview turn its eye to design. In this second annual focus, we look at design as both a discrete discipline and as a discipline that is engaged in a constant dialogue with the world of art. This year we’ve invited contributions from industrial designers, artists, collectors and fashion designers. In doing this, we aim to explore the ways in which design can respond to, inform and perhaps even shape today’s changing political and social circumstances, as well as the ways in which the ideas and issues circulating in contemporary art filter out into debates and objects in the wider world.
1968 and All That, p. 98 by Maurizio Cattelan and Dakis Joannou The Italian artist and the Greek supercollector discuss the latter’s collection of design artefacts created in or around the pivotal year of 1968 by members of Italy’s Radical Design movement. Does any of it mean anything today? Standard Thinking, p. 109 How do design systems shape our lives? Responses in the form of manifestos by BLESS, De Designpolitie, Mushon Zer-Aviv and Galia Offri, Konstantin Grcic, Paul Cocksedge, Christien Meindertsma, Rosenbaum Karl Lagerfeld, p. 120 by Hettie Judah Fashion designer, book publisher, artist – Karl Lagerfeld’s practice and interests span a multitude of disciplines. ArtReview catches up with him to discuss how one thing leads to another, and how art influences design
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Democracy of Misunderstanding: 1968 and Beyond Maurizio Cattelan in conversation with Dakis Joannou Concept and images by TOILETPAPER
A short time ago, artist Maurizio Cattelan, photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, a team of collaborators and collector Dakis Joannou could be found on the Greek island of Corfu and at the Joannou residence in Athens. They were attempting to recapture the radical spirit of 1968 and arguing that it is still relevant today. TOILETPAPER magazine, in collaboration with the DESTE Foundation, is preparing a special publication to be released in June by Damiani Editore. The volume will focus on the Joannou Design Collection: a collection of furniture and objects created in or around 1968 by important architects and artists of the Italian Radical Design movement. Cattelan sat down with Joannou amid artefacts from the era to discuss the possibility that ‘the year that rocked the world’ is alive and well.
MAURIZIO CATTELAN I feel ‘a spectre haunting the established order’, as the old saying goes. Do you feel a tension here between the dead and the living 1968? DAKIS JOANNOU I want to believe that it is more like a benevolent haunting. Nineteen sixty-eight was a very important year, one that is often viewed as a historical object that is buried and gone, but I think of it more like a black hole, a time–space of inﬁnite density. The events of that time worked as a threshold: things were diﬀerent afterward, processes were changed forever. The spectre of 68 needs to be met with the utmost respect.
D J I believe once one declares oneself a ‘revolutionary’, one is not revolutionary any longer. Revolution is not a goal in itself. MC It sounds like you mean revolution comes out of the ordinary. D J It comes out of subverting, shifting the ordinary, messing with its parameters. MC How do you deﬁne revolution? D J I like the answer someone gave about pornography: ‘I don’t need to deﬁne it; I know it when I see it.’
MC So you do not agree with Daniel Cohn-Bendit’s call, ‘Forget 68’. MC How is collecting objects related to the spirit of the 1960s? D J I think he was calling for more attention to be paid to the real spirit of 1968, which still thrives. For many years, young D J In the 1960s, artists, architects and designers engaged people were burdened by its long shadow. They declared, with objects and mass consumption in radical new ways. The ‘Forget 68, 86 is better’, and they had a point. Revolution is Superarchitecture movement denounced the architecture that diﬃcult and every generation struggles with it on their terms. was becoming irrelevant in favour of an architecture that was a fundamental condition of life. These architects were able MC Do you claim the spirit of 68 for yourself? to communicate their ideas, both as meaningful theory and
facing page, from left: Dakis Joannou and Maurizio Cattelan with a Chriﬆian Germanaz Half and Half chair (1968). Collection DESTE Foundation, Athens. Photo: Pierpaolo Ferrari
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Design through spectacular practice. They challenged and reinvented objects and then tried to reclassify them based on the new relationship that they had formed with the object and with the rest of the world. MC A 68 favourite of mine are the lunar voyagers. As images of earth were being transmitted for the ﬁrst time, society and inventions were changing the very landscape minute by minute. This was a generation that dared to imagine antidesign objects like ‘bombs in living rooms’ and then put them into practice. Nineteen sixty-eight was the ultimate nonbanal moment.
pastoralism, we see the world works like a vast testing ground; like an open archive of substances and tubes, a new ecology of images. In fact, it may not be that diﬀerent from the famous images of ﬂooded Florence made by Superstudio – to restore things to a primordial state is a temptation… D J I get a little uneasy when you say these things and look around my living room. MC Not to worry. We will recreate objectkind after the deluge, and instead of rocks, we will throw those Libidarch Group Argine chairs behind us.
D J It was deﬁnitely a boiling point, a crisis that bore fruit. It was the time that Marcel Duchamp ‘informally departed’. I remember reading he died in bed, serene and fully dressed. It was the year that Time magazine called the knife-blade year that ‘severed past from future’.
D J Isn’t this close to what you and the team have been doing for days now? I do not think I have witnessed such a mix of respectful and irreverent attitudes. In a strange way it feels as if you treat objects like images, only to reveal their original objecthood. Come to think of it, this could be a good deﬁnition of extraordinary: reaching for the spirit of a certain MC Duchamp’s tombstone is inscribed with the impeccable time through the things that embody it; the works which were irony of that year: ‘Besides, it’s always the others who die.’ shaped by it and also gave voice to it. This is a very important Did you know the grandmaster played chess with a naked point. woman? Nineteen sixty-eight was also about sensuality, seduction, temptation, and connecting the sexual revolution MC The other day you were telling me that you somehow to democracy. missed 1968 in Italy. This must come back to haunt you. DJ If the world was ‘seduced before it was produced’, 1968 ﬂooded it, saturated it with the evidence of this seduction. Changing and sharing the processes was the real focus. And sensuality was a serious game: Jane Fonda as Barbarella made unforgettable half-naked, nongravity loops. Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey featured a bedroom with a view of deep space.
D J Indeed. I left Rome in 1967 when I graduated from the School of Architecture. So you could say I was part of the 1960s preparations but not the actual end-of-the-decade festivities. At the time I was critical of them, I needed time to digest their attitudes and then overthrow the basics of architecture.
MC That’s the crux of the matter. The tumultuous prequel MC Contemporary art picked up on this game. In fact, Dakis, was imprinted on you as desire unfulﬁlled. Your art collection, I can see you delving into the world of tablets and imagine you design, fashion, publishing activities – which are reaching sharing as much as anyone. climactic heights – I’m afraid you are being seduced and seduce back in many forms and guises. D J Isn’t it funny how in order to move closer towards a nonhierarchical ‘world without objects’ we still need to have D J This is a very good definition for collecting, as I the experience of the object ﬁrst? Image making, consuming understand it. It involves responsibility and play in equal and sharing as individuals made us all instant partners in a measure. Most importantly, collecting needs to avoid the broader creative act. Yet there are still only a few who can didactic, to avoid strategy. make this feel like more than petty repetition. MC You say nondidactic, but I think encyclopaedic. I MC You are always on the lookout for those few? Confess! remember those encyclopaedias with gravures and photographs that we used in the pre-Internet days. They were D J Let’s just say, ‘I do not seek. I ﬁnd.’ You are too? not just classiﬁcations or reports on the history and ownership of objects. With the help of images, they recreated the world MC I enjoy the diﬃculties raised by data diﬀusion maybe a they had broken down into words. little too much. D J I know what you mean. Those books included spectacle D J The pain–pleasure principle, suicidal desire, Catholic in a unique way. They reformed nature and were major tools upbringing, all that? for children when growing up. A good, necessary exercise in doubt, which is suspiciously close to your habit of conversing MC It’s beyond Freudian. I ﬁnd it fascinating that everybody via images. acts and looks like a mad scientist in a communal laboratory. If we pause for a moment to reflect on post-68 radical MC The Greek art of conversation as we know it is in danger.
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ArtReview D J Actually you are more into the spirit of conversation than you realise. ‘To seek together’ lies at the root of the Greek word for conversation (syzitisi). Take for instance your brief, weird emails: few or no words and always an attached image that is at once funny and mysterious. An email from you is a good confusion generator. At least that is how I think about it. Object-fuelled too. Your emails are infectious; everybody is tempted to answer by sending their own images, like a message in a bottle. And so the virus spreads. You never talk about these associations. Could they be small exercises, like ﬂexing a muscle before making a book?
D J It is 2013, and if you ask me, the questions are not so diﬀerent and the answers cannot be ﬁxed. Exhibitions still work like visual forms of knowledge, and the retelling continues. We are once again left with debris and failure, and we still need to make something out of it, even if we feel more dismayed. We need to ﬁnd new ways in which art can engage us, even if we become more than a little sacrilegious. Both you and Tino [Sehgal] did it at the Guggenheim in spectacularly diﬀerent yet somehow similar ways. MC Do you think that this leap of faith, as a challenge of the commonsensical, can quickly be exhausted?
MC My lips are sealed in fear of disturbing the ﬂow of things. If a work is left alone, it will eventually reach multiple shores D J Well, the alchemists claimed that nothing is exhausted, with more than one message. Maybe it will be neutralised on and in the case of works like this book and other similar the way, maybe not. One needs to navigate ambiguously, even experiments and processes, I feel it only intensiﬁes. when on a very solid raft, don’t you agree? MC When Roland Barthes spoke of plastic on the eve of D J With comic acknowledgement instead of tragic the 1960s, he did so in mythical terms. Not only did these aﬃrmation. To be able to fall and laugh at oneself after the substances have the ‘names of Greek shepherds (Polystyrene, fall, that is the kind of gravity I prefer. Polyvinyl, Polyethylene)’, they were the product of a kind of alchemy. Plastic was ‘ubiquity made visible’ and somehow MC Did this kind of gravity exist in 1968? Did this gravity became paramount to 1960s sensuality. Plastic furniture and prompt you to collect design objects from that era? a collection of Playboys is the dark secret at the heart of this sensual time-trip. We were shocked to ﬁnd that you and that D J Yes, I think so. Look at these nonfunctional and yet magazine’s avid collector are one and the same. We used your somehow useful objects like Archizoom’s No-Stop City or collection of Playboys as research material, whispered, “Think, Superstudio’s The Continuous Monument and their ﬁlm Life think, think” – a 68 Aretha Franklin classic – and at the same Supersurface. To twist every paradigm, to have a grand sense time vowed that “in lust we trust”. It was a major inspiration of humour is to commit to nonstagnation. Art as a whole is the for the project, thank you very much. paradox of useless labour, a redeﬁnition of function; in other words, a useful uselessness. D J It was funny how the connection with Playboy happened. Speaking in 1968 terms, it felt almost like intergalactic MC Do you think DESTE exhibitions like Cultural Geometry, gravitation. I talked with Beatriz Colomina this past summer Artificial Nature and Post Human dealt with this paradox in during a meeting organised by DESTE and Columbia University the way you have described here? I remember Artificial GSAPP for the joint Collecting Architecture Territories project. Nature opened with the grave question of whether the end She described her Playboy Architecture, 1953–1979 research and of Modernism coincided with the end of nature, and most exhibition, which examines how architecture and design played importantly, with the end of truth. The use of the word ‘truth’ a crucial role in the Playboy fantasy world, and at the same still puzzles me in terms of works in an exhibition context. time, about Playboy’s inﬂuence on the world of architecture. Her ideas on ‘Playboy’s architecture of seduction’ were really D J Artificial Nature was about the creation of a superobject, inspiring. Afterwards I acquired the Playboy issues of that time. a result of human intervention in nature and the triumph I shared them with you, and the rest is, as they say, history, or of will. For Greeks, the word for truth, aletheia, is a rather rather archaeology of the future. complex approach to not forgetting. These exhibitions, which happened throughout the 1980s and 90s, registered how we MC Let’s dig deep into this indeﬁnite time and make an old see, remember and even imagine diﬀerent, complex concepts ArtReview favourite: a Power 5 List of objects as encounters and of representation. The possibility of multiple realities was also epiphanies. posited. I think tensions between European and American perception registered in an interesting way in the process, but D J Aeroplanes, computers, condoms, 1968, HAL 9000 and by 2007, interventionist or idealistic views were just no longer monoliths. possible. The exhibition Fractured Figure at DESTE was about the collapse of systems, ideal futures and utopias. MC Screws, cables, ambiguity, ∞, mad archivists and screwups. MC Jeﬀrey Deitch wrote in the catalogue for Fractured Figure that ‘reality has overtaken simulation’. Back to Black by Amy Winehouse was the song of 2007, but even black is a bit out of focus today.
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D J Obviously ﬁve is limiting, but so is ﬁve million. The vertigo of lists though is something that you feed on, swim in. I often picture you amidst this secret stash of images you have, but do not actually possess. Do lists lead you somewhere?
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this page, bottom: Louis Durot, Spiral Chair (1970). Collection DESTE Foundation, Athens. Preceding pages, from left: Vittorio Introini desk (1969); Gino Marotta, Fiore Artificiale wall piece (1967); Claudio Salocchia, Riflessione lamp (1973); Ettore Sottsass, Asteroid lamp (1968); Cini Boeri, Lampada lamp (no date). All collection DESTE Foundation, Athens
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MC Do they need to? Dakis, my urge is always that of 1989: torno subito (coming back soon).
the relevant supporting evidence as you see, while you are revisiting the collection.
D J You know you can never return. You boldly moved some of the ﬁnest of the design collection to the ﬁelds around the house in Corfu. Contemporary nymphs roamed and chased among Cactus, La Cova, Babilonia, Rare Screen; you created a very un-Arcadian scene. It was a challenge to bring the objects back inside the conﬁnes of a publication, and there is a ﬁne shepherding, a certain ‘domestication’, involved in the process.
MC Let’s also revisit another favourite ArtReview question, which falls within 1968: can art save the planet?
D J I do not know about the planet. Saving it should be the job of those who did the most to destroy it in the ﬁrst place, mainly politicians. Art cannot save the world but it can save you.
MC Believe me, I was just tuning in to their revolt. The whole MC I am afraid many critics will tell you that I am personally team was attentive to their calls. I was helping with the rites. beyond salvation, but I understand the point. Art feels more If I cannot return, then they can never return. and more like a good exercise in loss. Rumour is this is the kind of life gymnastics we have to be good at from now on. D J We welcome them as new, then. Revolt this way is not violent confrontation but another level of encounter. The more D J Well let’s engage with it very professionally, impeccably, I think about it, books, magazines, the kind of publications we like it makes a world of diﬀerence. do are messing with evidence, classiﬁcation and the transcript of the real. MC People will understand this idea differently. It is a democracy of misunderstanding that we are possibly moving MC You seem to have trust issues. into. Maybe this is the ﬂipside of the 1960s. D J Wasn’t that the lesson of both Homer’s Odyssey as well as 1968? ‘The journey is the journeyers’, to quote Pierro Frassinelli of Superstudio’s take on Pessoa: ‘What we see is not what we see but who we are.’ I am revisiting some of
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D J This conversation turns round and bites its tail. That’s a terrible and beautiful image that I can appreciate. MC It is also an image that is deceptively conclusive.
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12/03/2013 18/03/2013 17:07 10:51
Standard Thinking By Hettie Judah
There is something in the creative soul that is rather shy of admitting to working readily within the constraints of a system. To accept the limitations of set standards implies a loss of freedom. When ArtReview invited design studios to contribute ideas on the subject of systems and standardisation, the response was largely a jocular rallying cry for the delights of nonconformity. Studio Rosenbaum reflected on the different philosophies of time measurement that it encountered working with indigenous people in Brazil; Bless proposed a handbag for which shape is dictated by contents rather than the mode of the day; and Mushon Zer-Aviv has pointed up the high level of homogenisation that information must pass through to succeed as a Wikipedia entry. To respond to the standardisation and systems that are essential to industrial design is not, of course, to object to them outright. For his 2009 Design Real exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London, designer Konstantin Grcic exhibited a standard aircraft cargo container, aka Unit Load Device (ULD), pointing out that 90 percent of consumer goods are transported by container at some point. What is notable, however, is not simply the degree to which the commerce in goods currently relies on containers, but the impact they have on the designs that surround us. Where once measurements of reference, when creating items of furniture, were the idealised canonical proportions of the (male) body, today they are more likely to relate to the necessities of cargo. In order to maximise efficiency, the proportions of consumer goods are influenced strongly by the dimensions of the cargo containers they will be transported in and the Euro pallets that they will be loaded on. As a designer, Grcic has experience of this firsthand – a few years ago his studio was working with IKEA, which applies the principle with particular rigour. “Even in the very earliest phase, they run the product through a calculation that shows how it can be broken down into individual elements, how they can flatpack it onto a Euro pallet and whether it would be efficient enough for them,” Grcic explains. Grcic’s project ultimately failed the IKEA efficiency test, but the experience has left him with a great respect and fascination for the system. “I support the idea of these standards; it is important to consider such things. Efficiency has an effect on the carbon footprint of products; on the ecology of everything.”
Universal standards for construction materials, in theory, diminish the need for finished goods to be shipped around the world. Noncommercial projects like Tord Boontje’s Rough and Ready (1998) furniture series and Piet Hein Eek’s Plank Chair (2008) both offer free designs that are easily realisable almost anywhere in the world. Due to common systems of measurement and production, it is possible to construct the designs from similar materials whether you’re in Norway or Indonesia. The latest generation of open-source product design, such as the atFAB range created by Filson and Rohrbacher, takes advantage of the proliferation not only of materials but the standardised modern means of working them, specifically computer-guided routers, laser cutters and waterjets. Customers can access atFAB furniture designs, have the pieces machined locally using digital designs from Filson and Rohrbacher’s website and construct them in situ. In each of these projects the open availability of the design brings with it limitations – the flat, blocky aesthetic of the atFAB designs, or the literally Rough and Ready styling of Boontje’s collection. The system that makes them possible imposes its own limitations (in these cases, aesthetic). ZerAviv makes a similar point about the supposed universality of open systems online – the nature of data will always be shaped, to a greater or lesser extent, by the values of those who construct the system by which it is made available. Looking specifically at the design of the interface created for uploading entries on Wikipedia, he suggests that by default, Wikipedia’s structure not only favours entries by a certain kind of person (those who can survive the ‘hazing ritual’ of the system), it has also been conceived to deal with written rather than visual information, making it a dispiriting platform for artists. Standardisation seems a little more insidious when applied to naturally derived goods – fruits, vegetables and cuts of meat that can be perfectly packed for shipping. The relationship between nature and industrial design is key to the practice of Christien Meindertsma, whose book Pig 05049 (2006) charted the dispersal of a single pig carcass beyond the world of meat into infinitesimally derived components used in products such as paint and decorative figurines. The images of sheep whose wool are used for Meindertsma’s One Sheep Sweater (2010) are a reminder of the natural variety that lies behind an industrial design material – the standard sheep is just as much a mythical beast as the ‘standard’ human as imagined in the garment sizes laid out by fashion retailers.
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Basically all BLESS work is about finding things beyond existing standard measuring, even beyond standard experiencing. The real BLESS item requires the user to be obliged to find new ways of perception and usage beyond the own index of recorded life experiences so far, but it is also a never ending test range of troubleshooting attempts, to find a solution for personal usage where standardized items fail, or to play with standardized settings in just modifying them slightly and extend their formerly pre-fixed usage.
The BLESS N°18 Allroundwear, Flatbag + Belt, 2002 is basically an entire sheep skin that is perforated with little holes. Only at its head, 5 metal hooks are fixed that can hook into the holes. The second object to complete the bag is a classic calf leather belt, also perforated all the way through, so the length of the closed belt can be adjusted easily. The Flatbag allows one to transport even quite a large amount and then serves as a sort of a wrapping paper, defining its outlines. Whatever item needs to be carried must be placed in the middle of the skin. Then the object will be wrapped, like a sandwich from all sides: first the bottom then the side parts will be folded over the bags content. Then the belt is placed on top of the items and is included in the last folding of the top part towards the middle. All will be fixed with the 5 hooks at the top end that look then for a hole somewhere to hold on to. Once the bag is closed, the belt will be closed accordingly, adapting itself to the bag format. The bag adapts like this each time to its content and without content it does not exist as a bag.
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Mushon Zer-Aviv and Galia Offri
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A ULD (Unit Load Device) is a container used to load luggage, freight, and mail on wide-body aircraft and specific narrow-body aircraft. It allows a large quantity of cargo to be bundled into a single unit. ULD containers, also known as cans and pods, are closed containers made of aluminum or combination of aluminum (frame) and Lexan (walls). "Almost all the objects that you can see have at some point been inside a shipping container. In fact, today, 90% of cargo travels by container." www.design-real.com
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One Sheep Sweater Project The one sheep sweater project where sweaters have been knit by a 3d knitting machine that can knit a complete sweater in one run. Each sweater is made from yarn from the wool of one Merino sheep. The whole flock consists of 25 merino sheep – the only merino flock in the Netherlands- that live in a village called Aarle Rixtel in the south of the Netherlands. The process of spinning and knitting was standardized but each sweater was made from a different sheep and variations in color, quality were visible. The quality of the sweaters was visibly linked to the quality of life of the individual sheep.
Christien Mei ndertsma
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Bless Bless, initiated in 1997, is the result of an encounter between two students. Desiree Heiss was born in Freiburg, Germany. She graduated in fashion in 1994 from the University of applied arts in Vienna. She is based in Paris. Ines Kaag was born in Fürth, Germany. She graduated in fashion in 1995 from the University of Arts and Design in Hannover. She is based in Berlin. The two designers escape any calibrated definition of fashion. Faithful to their initial concept of dividing and combining creation between fashion, art, design and architecture, they engage in independent working methods, often initiating collaborations and interactions with friends, customers and other contributors. bless-service.de De Designpolitie A graphic design agency based in Amsterdam, De Designpolitie deals with Dutch design. Its members were brought up in the Dutch design culture and rich tradition of Dutch art, design and tolerance. In keeping with these traditions, they use simple and straightforward methods. Simplicity, boldness and wit are combined with critical analysis and fresh thinking. The final result is always striking, with a clear communicative message. De Designpolitie works for various small and big clients in the nonprofit and commercial sectors, with an emphasis on cultural and social organisations. The agency also initiates exhibitions, festivals, books, lectures and workshops. De Designpolitie consists of a small group of ambitious and talented creatives and was founded by Richard van der Laken and Pepijn Zurburg. designpolitie.nl Mushon Zer-Aviv and Galia Offri Mushon Zer-Aviv is a designer, educator and media activist based in New York and Tel Aviv. His work involves media in public space and public space in media. He is the cocreator of ShiftSpace, an open source layer above any website; YouAreNotHere.org, a tour of Gaza through the streets of Tel Aviv; and multiple government transparency and civic participation initiatives with the Public Knowledge Workshop. mushon.com Galia Offri is an Israeli artist based in Tel Aviv. In 2011 she launched Wikipedia Illustrated at Transmediale Festival in Berlin with Mushon Zer-Aviv. Her work has been exhibited in America, Europe and Israel, and has been published in The New York Times, among other publications. galiaoffri.com
Konstantin Grcic Konstantin Grcic trained as a cabinetmaker at the John Makepeace School (Dorset, England) before studying design at the RCA in London. Since setting up his own practice, Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design (KGID), in Munich in 1991, he has developed furniture, products and lighting for some of the leading companies in the design field, including Authentics, BD Ediciones, ClassiCon, Flos, Magis, Mattiazzi, Muji, Nespresso, Plank, Serafino Zani, ThomasRosenthal and Vitra. Since 2004 he has also created limited-edition pieces for Galerie Kreo in Paris. Many of his products have received international design awards, such as the prestigious Compasso d’Oro for his MAYDAY lamp (Flos) in 2001 and the MYTO chair (Plank) in 2011. Work by Konstantin Grcic forms part of the permanent collections of the world’s most important design museums, including MoMA (New York) and the Pompidou Centre (Paris). konstantin-grcic.com Paul Cocksedge Born in London, Paul Cocksedge took his MA in product design at the Royal College of Art, under Ron Arad. His work has been distinguished by a sense of magic and illusion informed by scientific as well as formal curiosity – his Life 01 lamp was activated by a fresh flower, Watt? by the stroke of a pencil. Paul now lectures and has exhibited around the world, successfully establishing himself as one of Britain’s leading designers. Recent projects include the installation Bourrasque for the 2011 Fête des Lumières in Lyon and the launch of the vinyl Change the Record speaker for smartphones during London Design Week. paulcocksedgestudio.com Christien meindertsma After graduating from the Eindhoven Design Academy in 2003, Rotterdam-based designer Christien Meindertsma started her own design label, Flocks. Her work explores raw materials in thoughtful ways, making simple books and products that lay bare complex and once-hidden processes. Her book Checked Baggage (2003) documented objects confiscated by airport security, and the multiaward winning PIG 05049 (2007) catalogued the products that contained materials derived from a single pig. Recent projects continue to explore the relationship between nature and industry. Her work has been exhibited in MOMA (New York), the V&A (London) and the Cooper-Hewitt design museum (New York). christienmeindertsma.com Rosenbaum Brazil’s studio Rosenbaum, headed by the designer Marcelo Rosenbaum and the architect Adriana Benguela, has operated for over 20 years in the areas of architecture and design. The philosophy of the practice is based on continuous innovation and the creation of values from original ideas. The core of its work is the concept of living expanded beyond the design of physical space and the aesthetics of the object. Rosenbaum’s latest initiative, A Gente Transforma – which translates as ‘We transform’ – is a multilayered and powerful project based on the principles of social design. rosenbaum.com.br
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New York Randall’s Island Park May 10 – 13, 2013 Buy Tickets Now friezenewyork.com
Participating Galleries 303 Gallery, New York Miguel Abreu, New York Air de Paris, Paris The Approach, London Art: Concept, Paris Alfonso Artiaco, Naples Laura Bartlett, London Catherine Bastide, Brussels Elba Benitez, Madrid Peter Blum, New York Boers-Li, Beijing Marianne Boesky, New York Tanya Bonakdar, New York Bortolami, New York The Breeder, Athens Broadway 1602, New York Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York Buchholz, Cologne Gisela Capitain, Cologne carlier|gebauer, Berlin Cheim & Read, New York Mehdi Chouakri, Berlin James Cohan, New York Sadie Coles HQ, London Continua, San Gimignano Pilar Corrias, London Raffaella Cortese, Milan CRG, New York Chantal Crousel, Paris Massimo De Carlo, Milan Elizabeth Dee, New York Dvir, Tel Aviv Eigen + Art, Berlin frank elbaz, Paris FGF, Warsaw Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo Marc Foxx, Los Angeles Fredericks & Freiser, New York Carl Freedman, London Stephen Friedman, London Frith Street, London Gagosian, New York gb agency, Paris Annet Gelink, Amsterdam A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro Goodman, Johannesburg
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Marian Goodman, New York Greene Naftali, New York greengrassi, London Karin Guenther, Hamburg Jack Hanley, New York Harris Lieberman, New York Hauser & Wirth, New York Herald St, London Xavier Hufkens, Brussels Hyundai, Seoul In Situ – Fabienne Leclerc, Paris International Art Objects, Los Angeles Alison Jacques, London Martin Janda, Vienna Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver Casey Kaplan, New York Paul Kasmin, New York kaufmann repetto, Milan Sean Kelly, New York Kerlin, Dublin Anton Kern, New York Peter Kilchmann, Zurich Tina Kim, New York Johann König, Berlin David Kordansky, Los Angeles Andrew Kreps, New York Krinzinger, Vienna Kukje, Seoul L&M Arts, Los Angeles Yvon Lambert, Paris Lehmann Maupin, New York Tanya Leighton, Berlin Lelong, New York Lisson, London Long March Space, Beijing Luhring Augustine, New York McCaffrey Fine Art, New York kamel mennour, Paris Meyer Kainer, Vienna Massimo Minini, Brescia Victoria Miro, London Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London The Modern Institute, Glasgow MOT International, London Murray Guy, New York Taro Nasu, Tokyo Franco Noero, Turin Lorcan O’Neill, Rome Overduin and Kite, Los Angeles Roslyn Oxley9, Sydney Maureen Paley, London Participant Inc, New York Perrotin, Paris Francesca Pia, Zurich
Gregor Podnar, Berlin Praz-Delavallade, Paris Project 88, Mumbai Rampa, Istanbul Almine Rech, Brussels Regen Projects, Los Angeles Regina, Moscow Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris Andrea Rosen, New York Salon 94, New York Esther Schipper, Berlin Sfeir-Semler, Beirut Jack Shainman, New York Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Berlin Standard (Oslo), Oslo Stevenson, Cape Town T293, Naples Team, New York Richard Telles, Los Angeles The Third Line, Dubai Vermelho, São Paulo Susanne Vielmetter, Los Angeles Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen Wallspace, New York Barbara Weiss, Berlin White Columns, New York White Cube, London Wien Lukatsch, Berlin Yale Union, Portland Alex Zachary Peter Currie, New York Zeno X, Antwerp David Zwirner, New York
Focus Altman Siegel, San Francisco Ancient & Modern, London Arratia Beer, Berlin Shane Campbell, Chicago Canada, New York Casas Riegner, Bogotá dépendance, Brussels Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich James Fuentes, New York François Ghebaly, Los Angeles Alexander Gray Associates, New York Grimm, Amsterdam Andreas Huber, Vienna Ibid, London Ivan, Bucharest Juliètte Jongma, Amsterdam Karma International, Zurich Limoncello, London
Kate MacGarry, London Mezzanin, Vienna mother’s tankstation, Dublin Plan B, Cluj Simon Preston, New York ProjecteSD, Barcelona Ramiken Crucible, New York Rodeo, Istanbul Seventeen, London Société, Berlin Untitled, New York Jocelyn Wolff, Paris
Frame 47 Canal, New York Stewart Uoo Ambach & Rice, Los Angeles Pablo Pijnappel Bureau, New York Julia Rommel Carlos/Ishikawa, London Steve Bishop Circus, Berlin Sophie Bueno-Boutellier Clifton Benevento, New York Michael E. Smith Croy Nielsen, Berlin Andy Boot Algus Greenspon, New York Adriana Lara Hopkinson Cundy, Auckland Fiona Connor Ignacio Liprandi, Buenos Aires Adriana Bustos Marcelle Alix, Paris Marie Cool Fabio Balducci Mendes Wood, São Paulo Patricia Leite Misako & Rosen, Tokyo Kaoru Arima Take Ninagawa, Tokyo TurukoYamazaki Real Fine Arts, New York Antek Walczak Sommer & Kohl, Berlin Adrian Lohmüller Simone Subal, New York Frank Heath Supportico Lopez, Berlin J Parker Valentine Whatiftheworld, Cape Town Cameron Platter Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai Liu Chuang
05/03/2013 10:51 12:42 18/03/2013
NADA NEW YORK May 10–12 2013 Basketball City Pier 36 — 299 South St at Montgomery St NADA newartdealers.org nada_ny_2013_artreview_mar_01.indd 1 nada_p119_placed_REVISED.indd 119
3/11/13 2:20 PM 18/03/2013 10:52
Karl Lagerfeld By Hettie Judah
Though pinning him down was no easy matter, an interview with the man at the centre of a fashion whirlwind reveals how books, photography, art criticism, continuous visual stimuli and the presence of muses feed into his prodigious creative output
Karl Lagerfeld has a strong dislike of the analytical process: ‘Analysing kills creativity’, he likes to say. Yet the careful, masklike image that acts as some kind of shield in his endlessly scrutinised life makes him an irresistible subject. Costumed in sunglasses, ponytail and high white collar, Lagerfeld’s day-to-day resembles a grand performance, the fruit of meticulous self-creation and great control. His inscrutability somehow condemns him to face ceaseless questions on the same unchanging subjects: his cat, his diet, the theme of his collections, his hair, his clothes, his opinion of other celebrities, other designers, the content of his iPod, of his cat’s iPod and so on and so forth. To the fashion world, he is a reassuringly constant, and apparently endless, source of fascination. Above the Chanel store in St Moritz, music is pounding and slender women are contemplating delicate rosettes of sashimi. Edward Ruscha, Jr is on the decks, and the 12cm heels of the glossy, be-Chaneled guests belie the thick February snow of the high Swiss Alps. Two hours late for the vernissage of his own show, Karl Lagerfeld slides quietly into the gallery and is encountered by a bank of camera lenses. He shakes every proﬀered hand, smiles, poses, chats, poses some more and gives good quote during almost three hours of interviews in as many
languages. He is surprisingly funny, engaged and patient. In the middle of all this, somewhat overlooked, are artworks – nine monumental sheets of glass into which ceramic pigments have been fused at a heat of 1,000°C. The images on the glass are based on three portraits that Lagerfeld took for his book The Little Black Jacket (2012). Presented here as triptychs, each image is fused into the glass in progressive degrees of rasterisation, becoming, by the third, fractured and abstract. While the process has noble associations (ﬁre etching and fusion is used for church windows), this application is irreverent in the extreme: the subjects are models and a rap artist, the images have already been published and the colours are intentionally synthetic. Karl has gone Pop, albeit expensively so. This is the St Moritz outpost of Galerie Gmurzynska, a Zurich-based establishment with a 50-year pedigree and an important grounding in European abstract art (earlier this year the gallery loaned Tate a number of key works by Kurt Schwitters). Gmurzynska has been showing works by Lagerfeld since 1996, not, they admit, without some criticism, particularly in the early years. Endearingly, he ﬁrst contacted them as a fan: a visitor to their exhibitions and an avid collector of their catalogues. He is passionate about Kandinsky, and did a show with the
gallery inspired by the work of Lyonel Feininger. Although he prefers Feininger’s earlier works, the Bauhaus appetite for a dialogue between multiple artforms, ﬁne and applied, resonates with him “100 percent”, in particular the works of Oskar Schlemmer and Walter Gropius. Lagerfeld’s exhibitions at Gmurzynska are reductively photographic, but that seems a mere excuse for him to experiment with recherché techniques: a rare form of printing using honey and rubber, adapted from a method used by Alphonse Poitevin; giant-format Polaroids; green platinum prints and now ﬁre etching. He explains with some pride that these are the only ﬁre etchings of this size in existence. Naturally, he is interested in the value the complex technique and concomitant rarity of the prints aﬀords. “It’s a little like an haute couture dress,” Lagerfeld admits, though he by no means feels alone in his drive constantly to do things that have not been done before. “It is the dream of everybody in fashion and photography, I suppose.” Lagerfeld’s encounters with art and other visual stimuli happen as part of the great omnivorous cultural whirlwind that travels around him – ever gorging, never satisﬁed, yet leaving him, at the centre, somehow touched but unchanged. At one point he compares himself to a building with a television antenna, receiving information that somehow passes through him.
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“I catch a lot and forget about it,” he says, with a hint of ﬂippancy. Despite the fashion-world addiction to the new and the next thing, not all of his dealings with culture are as disposable as all that. Lagerfeld is surrounded everywhere by books, the result of a mania for print and paper that he says “started the day I could read, and got worse and worse”. He estimates his personal library to now number some 300,000 volumes, most of which are books on art and photography. “I think that it’s very important to be totally informed, to absorb literally everything that is interesting that is going on in the artworld of today and the past,” he says. “It becomes a kind of treasure in your mind.” Lagerfeld’s late arrival in St Moritz comes as a stop-oﬀ after a demanding visit to the Fendi atelier, three days in advance of their show in Milan. His ﬂight back to Paris will take him to Chanel a week before Paris Fashion Week. Somewhere in his peripatetic schedule as creative director of both fashion houses, he must ﬁt in preparations for near-simultaneous product launches under his own label, and the unveiling of a collection he has created for the Brazilian shoe brand Melissa. Books, at this stage in his life, are his primary point of encounter with the artworld; they are fellow travellers for the man who never stops moving. He ingests visual material and art criticism like a kind of brain food, describing the “feeling of richness that art can give you in your mind”. Does it inﬂuence his work as a designer? “Certainly,” he says. “But you have to keep it on another level and still listen to your instincts. You don’t know how your instinct was influenced by it – you cannot and you should not ever analyse it, that’s very dangerous.” In the only instances where art has had an identiﬁable link to his design work – using, for example the colours of Marie Laurencin paintings for Chanel Haute Couture – it has been what he refers to as “mostly not too serious art”. Discussing his work as a designer, he often cites the importance of instinct and emotional response. While he feeds his mind constantly with printed matter, the people around him, their physical forms and personalities, are of equal importance in his creative process. “Without ‘muses’ the process would be very abstract and lifeless,” he says. “They help with an emotional eﬀect. They prevent cold synthesis. They help to give things expressions and form without knowing it. Our consciousness cannot only be aesthetic. I may prefer to see ﬁrst through the medium of art – but a ‘muse’ brings it back to life… They enrich the purely aesthetic part of my work.” A week after St Moritz, in Lagerfeld’s Paris photography studio, waiting again for
from top: Fire Etchings, 2013 (inﬆallation view, Galerie Gmurzynska, St Moritz); Gone with the Wind, 1996, pigmented original deduction after the procedure developed by Alphonse Poitevin, 74 x 51 cm
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Jeff Koons Versailles – ‘Self-Portrait’, 2008, ink jet print on canvas, 123 x 90 cm
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“I think that it’s very important to be totally informed, to absorb literally everything that is interesting that is going on in the artworld of today and the past” him to arrive after a ﬁtting (this time Chanel prêt-à-porter), it is tempting to squint and look at the structure of his aesthetic universe and see in it an echo of a master artist’s atelier from the seventeenth century. Books line the vast chamber, three storeys high, accessed by metal ladders. In the print room, the publisher Gerhard Steidl (with whom Lagerfeld has a close working relationship of many years’ standing) is checking vast sheets of handmade paper impressed with thickly textured ink, preparing them for exhibition in Milan in April. Delicious young creatures sit ready to be called upon to pose or strip for the lens. Technicians, riggers, legal advisers, makeup artists, security guards, assistants and assistants to the assistants wait in a full state of preparation for his arrival. He is not averse to the atelier parallel, although explains that technical complexity ensures that his expansive setup is also part of the modern way of image-making. “I like the idea of the artist’s studio of the seventeenth century,” he agrees. “Van Dyck died at forty-two; he could never have done all he did without his studio, but it is all still ‘his’ work and nobody else’s. Rubens is the same. Both were great sketching artists: Rubens the best of all of them. Today for fashion and photography if you want to do it on a certain scale there has to be a ‘studio’.”
123 of connection to the finished items made in his name – he prides himself on the skill of his technical drawings. “In my professional sketches for fashion, I don’t want to be conceited, but I’m pretty good,” he says. “I see in three dimensions and I have a technique that I can put it on paper and the people that I work with can read the sketch as if they see the dress.” For someone who prefers handwork to anything else (despite his image adorning iPhone cases, he favours writing letters over phone calls), it is extraordinary how heavily mediated is every thread of the output that appears under his name. Later on, during Paris Fashion Week, Twitter is awash with sketches of a shoe he designed for Melissa with a high heel shaped like an ice-cream cone. He is so prolific that his sketches now communicate not just the technicalities of the designs, but the proof that they are his. In his head there is a clear distinction between his gallery work and fashion work, between his ‘trade’ publications and his art publications, but he can also see evident, felicitous crossover points in his output. His considerable business and design acumen notwithstanding, Lagerfeld admits that he is attracted to the artistic ideal of working without commercial considerations, but at the end of the day he is, at base, a designer: “One should not become too pretentious in that direction. I feel very free and very lucky.”
His mention of sketching is significant – before it ever occurred to him that one might make a living through fashion, he wanted to be an artist, speciﬁcally an illustrator or portrait The Little Black Jacket, an exhibition of artist. The sketch is still his main medium of photographs by Karl Lagerfeld, is on view at communication, but also something that he does Rotonda di Via Besana, Milan, 6–20 April. An compulsively and with great joy, explaining that Authentic Eye, Lagerfeld’s photographic project for he never goes anywhere without a pencil and Cassina, is on view at the Cassina Showroom, Via block of paper. The sketch is his purest point Durini 16, Milan, 9 April – 31 May
top, from left: Die Drei und der Rote Pfoﬆen, 1996, 55 x 50 cm; Lüﬆern aber Schüchtern, 1996. Both: unique pigmented original prints after the procedure developed by Alphonse Poitevin, from the Hommage an Feininger series. above, both: from the Stills series, 1998, green platinum prints, 24 x 19 cm each. All images: Courtesy Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich, St Moritz & Zug
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Khalil Rabah: Pages 7, 8, 9 February 2 – April 20, 2013
311 E Broadway New York NY 10002 www.e-flux.com I 212.619.3356
Khalil Rabah, In this Issue, 2006–2012 (Act III: Molding, Neon, 120 × 400 cm). Photo by George Haddad.
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ArtReview:Asia Ai Wei Wei, photographed by Nick Haymes for the May 2008 issue of ArtReview
Launching this May
Galleries USA Blum & Poe Takashi Murakami: Arhat 13 Apr – 25 May Open 10–6, Tue – Sat 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90034 T +1 310 836 2062 email@example.com blumandpoe.com
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Bortolami Gallery Vertical Club 4–27 Apr Open 10–6, Tue – Sat
James Cohan Gallery Hiraki Sawa: Figment to 27 Apr Open 10–6, Tue – Sat
Lisa Cooley Alan Reid: POEMS, Sans Souci to 28 Apr Open 10–6,Wed– Sun
520 West 20th St New York, NY 10011 T +1 212 727 2050 email@example.com bortolamigallery.com
533 West 26th St New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 714 9500 firstname.lastname@example.org jamescohan.com
107 Norfolk St New York, NY 10002 T +1 212 680 0564 email@example.com lisa-cooley.com
Greene Naftali William Leavitt: Space Junk 4 Apr – 4 May Open 10–6, Tue – Sat
L&M Arts Louise Nevelson: The 70s to 11 May Open 10–5:30, Tue – Sat
526 West 26th St, 8th Floor New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 463 7770 firstname.lastname@example.org greenenaftaligallery.com
660 South Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 T +1 310 821 6400 email@example.com lmgallery.com
Luhring Augustine Charles Atlas, Johannes Kahrs, Reinhard Mucha, Rachel Whiteread to 27 April (Chelsea) to 16 June (Bushwick) Open 10–6, Tues – Sat (Chelsea) Open 10–6, Fri / 12–6, Sat – Sun (Bushwick) 531 West 24th St New York, NY 10011 T +1 212 206 9100 25 Knickerbocker Ave Brooklyn, NY 11237 T +1 718 386 2746 firstname.lastname@example.org luhringaugustine.com
Illustration: Zebedee Helm
Deutsche Bank KunstHalle Imran Qureshi: Artist of the Year 18 Apr – 4 Aug Open 10–8, Mon – Sun Unter den Linden 13/15 10117 Berlin, Germany +49 30 2020930 deutsche-bank-kunsthalle.de balticmill.com
Petzel Gallery Yael Bartana: And Europe Will Be Stunned 4 Apr – 4 May Open 10–6, Tue – Sat
6150 Wilshire Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90048 T +1 323 857 5571 email@example.com marcfoxx.com
456 W 18th St New York, NY 10011 T +1 212 680 9467 firstname.lastname@example.org petzel.com
Mary Boone Gallery Andrew Masullo to 27 Apr Open 10–6, Tue – Fri
Salon 94 Sylvie Fleury: It Might As Well Rain Until September to 27 Apr Open 11–6, Tue – Sat
541 W 24th St New York, NY 10001 T +1 212 752 2929 email@example.com maryboonegallery.com
243 Bowery, New York, NY 10002 T +1 212 9790 001 firstname.lastname@example.org salon94.com
Paula Cooper Gallery Wayne Gonzales 30 Mar – 27 Apr Open 10–6, Tue – Sat
Sean Kelly Gallery Meshes of the Afternoon 29 Mar – 4 May Open 11–6, Tue – Sat (10–6, Sat)
534 W 21st St New York, NY 10011 T +1 212 255 1105 email@example.com paulacoopergallery.com
475 10th Ave New York, NY 10018 T +1 212 239 1181 firstname.lastname@example.org skny.com
521 West 21st St New York, NY 10011 T +1 212 255 1105 email@example.com paulacoopergallery.com
Galerie Kornfeld Franziska Klotz 13 Apr – 18 May Open 10–6, Tue – Sat
The Barbican Geoffrey Farmer: The Surgeon and the Photographer 26 Mar – 28 Jul Open 11–8, Mon – Sun
Fasanenstr. 26 D-10719 Berlin T +49 30 88 922 5890 firstname.lastname@example.org galeriekornfeld.com
Marc Foxx Guido van der Werve: Nummer veertien, home to 20 April Open 11–6, Tue – Sat
Paula Cooper Gallery Justin Matherly: All Industrious People to 27 April Open 10–6, Tue – Sat
Team Gallery Stanley Whitney: Other Colours I Forget 11 Apr – 12 May Open 10–6, Tue – Sun (12–6, Sun) 83 Grand St New York, NY 10013 T +1 212 279 9219 email@example.com teamgal.com
Sprueth Magers George Condo / Joseph Kosuth / Richard Artschwager 26 Apr – 22 Jun Open 11–6, Tue – Sat Oranienburgerstr. 18 D-10178 Berlin T +49 30 2888403 firstname.lastname@example.org spruethmagers.com
New Work Scotland Programme Shona Macnaughton Tom Varly 6 Apr – 5 May Open 11– 5, Tue – Sat
22–28 Cockburn Street Edinburgh EH1 1NY +44 131 220 1260 collectivegallery.net
Barbican Centre, Silk St London EC2Y 8DS T +44 20 7638 4141 barbican.org.uk Rosenfeld Porcini Eduardo Stupía: Reinventing Landscape to 27 Apr Open 11–7, Tue – Sat 37 Rathbone St London W1T 1NZ T + 44 20 7637 1133 rosenfeldporcini.com Art Fair BRAZIL SP-Arte 3–7 Apr Open 2–10 (12–8 Sat, Sun) Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo [Pavilhão da Bienal], Parque do Ibirapuera, Portão 3 São Paulo sp-arte.com Galleries BRAZIL Galeria Baró Lourival Cuquinha: Territórios e Capital – Extinções to 6 Apr Toby Christian / Tulio Pinto 20 Apr – 18 May Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (11–5, Sat) R. Barra Funda, 216 – Santa Cecília, São Paulo, 01152-000 T +55 11 3666 6489 email@example.com barogaleria.com Casa Triângulo Assume Vivid Astro Focus 4 Apr – 18 May Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–5, Sat) R. Pais de Araújo, 77 - Itaim Bibi São Paulo, 04531-090 T +55 11 3167 5621 artspace.org firstname.lastname@example.org casatriangulo.com
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Dan Galeria Gallery Artists to 20 Apr Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–5, Sat) R. Estados Unidos, 1638 - Jardim America, São Paulo, 01427-002 T +55 11 3083 4600 email@example.com dangaleria.com.br Emma Thomas Laerte Ramos to 13 Apr Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (11–5, Sat) Rua Estados Unidos 2205, 01427-002 São Paulo T +55 11 30632149 firstname.lastname@example.org emmathomas.com.br Fortes Vilaça Carlos Bevilacqua: Oceano branco 6 Apr – 4 May Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–6, Sat) Rua Fradique Coutinho 1500 05416-001, São Paulo T +55 11 3032 7066 email@example.com fortesvilaca.com.br
The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects
10–13 May Open 11–6, Fri – Mon (11–4, Mon) Saatchi Gallery Duke of York’s HQ King’s Road, London SW3 4RY +44 844 854 1349 collect2013.org.uk
Galpão Fortes Vilaça Olafur Eliasson: Your Orbit Perspective 3 Apr – 25 May Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–6, Sat) Rua James Holland 71, Barra Funda, 01138-000 São Paulo T +55 11 3392 3942 firstname.lastname@example.org fortesvilaca.com.br Galeria Leme Mauro Piva to Apr 27 Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–6, Sat) Av. Valdemar Ferreira, 130 05501-000, São Paulo T +55 11 3093.8184 email@example.com galerialeme.com Luciana Brito Regina Silveira 1 Apr – 25 May OVO, curated by Cauê Alves 5 Apr – 4 May Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–5, Sat)
Sheffield Institute of Arts Esther Johnson: Wireless Worlds 6 Mar – 21 Apr Open 10–5, Mon – Sun Cantor Building, 153 Arundel Street Sheffield, S1 2NU +114 225 5555 shu.ac.uk/sia/gallery
Mendes Wood Daniel Steegmann Mangrané: Phasmides 2–17 Apr Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–5, Sat) Rua da Consolação 3358, Jardins, 01416 000, São Paulo T +55 11 3081 1735 firstname.lastname@example.org mendeswood.com Galeria Millan Emmanuel Nassar to 20 Apr Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–6, Sat)
R. Gomes de Carvalho, 842 - Itaim Bibi, São Paulo, 04547-003 T +55 11 3842 0634 email@example.com lucianabritogaleria.com.br
R. Fradique Coutinho, 1360 Pinheiros, São Paulo T +55 11 3813 0194 firstname.lastname@example.org galeriamillan.com.br
Luisa Strina Leonore Antunes: Raumplam to 4 May Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–5, Sat)
Nara Roesler Vik Muniz 2 Apr – 4 May Hamish Fulton 2 Apr – 23 Jun Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–5, Sat)
Rua Padre João Manuel, 755 - loja 02, Cerqueira Cesar 01411-001 São Paulo T +55 11 3088 2471 email@example.com galerialuisastrina.com.br Marilia Razuk Flavia Bertinato / Hilal Sami Hilal to 27 Apr Open 10.30–7, Tue – Sat (11–3, Sat) Rua Jeronimo da Veiga 131, Itaim, 04536-000, São Paulo T +55 11 3079 0853 galeriamariliarazuk.com.br
Avenida Europa 655 01449-001 São Paulo T +55 11 3063 2344 firstname.lastname@example.org nararoesler.com.br Oscar Cruz Ramon Martins to 27 Apr Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (10–5, Sat) Rua Clodomiro Amazonas, 526, São Paulo 04537-011 T +55 11 3167 0833 email@example.com galeriaoscarcruz.com
Raquel Arnaud Light and Shadow, curated by Cauê Alves Wolfram Ullrich 1 Apr – 25 May Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (11–4, Sat) Rua Fidalga, 125 – Vila Madalena, 05432–070 São Paulo T +55 11 3083 6322 raquelarnaud.com Galeria Vermelho André Komatsu / Jonathas de Andrade 2–27 Apr Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (11–5, Sat) R. Minas Gerais, 350 – Parque Fernanda, 01244 010, São Paulo T +55 11 3138 1520 firstname.lastname@example.org galeriavermelho.com.br Zipper Galeria João Castilho to 20 April Open 10–7, Tue – Sat (11–5, Sat) Rua Estados Unidos 1494, 01427-001 São Paulo T +55 11 4306 4306 email@example.com zippergaleria.com.br
Somerset House Pick Me Up Graphic Arts festival 18–28 Apr 10–6 Strand, London, WC2R 1LA +44 20 7845 4600 somersethouse.org.uk
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Libby Sellers Gallery Clarke & Reilly: 8 Chairs 14 Mar – 26 Apr 11–6, Tue – Fri (11–4, Sat)
41–42 Berners Street, London W1T 3NB +44 20 3384 8785 libbysellers.com
Schoeni Yang Yongliang: Moonlit Metropolis 19 Apr – 31 May Open 11 – 7, Mon – Sat 27 Hollywood Rd Central, Hong Kong T +852 2869 8802 firstname.lastname@example.org schoeniartgallery.com ShanghART Gallery Art Basel – Hong Kong 23–26 May Bldg 16, 50 Moganshan Rd Putuo District, Shanghai + 86 21 6359 3923 email@example.com shanghartgallery.com
10 Chancery Lane Gallery Sonia Mehra Chawla: The Embryonic Plant and Otherworlds 26 Apr – 3 May Open 10–8, Tue – Sat
ShanghART H-Space Foundational Work 9 Mar – 14 Apr Open 1–6, Mon – Sun
10 Chancery Lane, Soho Central, Hong Kong T +852 2810 0065 firstname.lastname@example.org 10chancerylanegallery.com
Bldg 18, 50 Moganshan Rd Shanghai T +86 21 6276 3275 email@example.com shanghartgallery.com
Galleries JAPAN Tomio Koyama Gallery Laurie Simmons: The Love Doll: Days 9–35 20 Apr – 25 May Open 12–7, Mon – Sat
Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli A passion for Jean Prouvé: From furniture to architecture, the collection of Laurence and Patrick Seguin 6 Apr – 8 Sep Open 10–7, Tue – Sun
1-3-2-7F Kiyosumi, Koto-ku, Tokyo T +81 3 3642 4090 firstname.lastname@example.org tomiokoyamagallery.com
Via Nizza 230/103, 10126 Torino T +39 011 006 2713 email@example.com pinacoteca-agnelli.it
Galleries SOUTH AFRICA
Triennale Design Musem La Sindrome Dell’Influenza 6 Apr – 23 Feb Open 10.30–8.30, Tue – Sun (10.30–11, Thu)
SMAC Art Gallery Oblique 27 Mar – 27 Apr In-Fin Art Building, Cnr Buitengracht & Buitensingel St Cape Town, 8001 T +27 (0)21 422 5100 firstname.lastname@example.org smacgallery.com Design Fair Milan Furniture Fair 9–14 Apr Open 9.30–6.30 Milan Fairgrounds, Rho, Milan cosmit.it
Viale Alemagna 6, 20121 Milan T +39 02 724 341 email@example.com triennaledesignmuseum.org Visionnaire Design Gallery Nina Surel / Domenico Grenci / Paolo Leonardo / Roberto Kusterle: Feminine 9 Apr – 14 May Open 10–7.30, Mon – Sat Piazza Cavour 3, 20121 Milan T +39 02 3651 2554 firstname.lastname@example.org visionnairemilano.com
Design Galleries Carpenters Workshop Paris Atelier Van Lieshout to Apr 27 Open 10–7, Mon – Sat
54, rue de la Verrerie, Marais, 75004 Paris, France T +33 1 42 78 80 92 carpentersworkshopgallery.com
Illustration: Zebedee Helm
David Gill Galleries Campana Brothers: Brazilian Barroque 1 May – 15 Jun Open 10–6, Mon – Sat (11–6, Sat)
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2–4 King Street London SW1Y 6QP T +44 20 3195 6600 davidgillgalleries.com
Designs of the Year 2013 20 Mar – 7 Jul Open 10 – 5.45, Mon – Sun
Design Museum 28 Shad Thames London, SE1 2YD +44 20 7940 8790 designmuseum.org
ISSUE 58: April 2012 Gillian Wearing; Daniel Kehlmann in conversation with Thomas Demand; R. Crumb; Glasgow studio-visit special; PLUS free design supplement AR:D
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issue 61: September 2012 Thomas Houseago; Nancy Holt; CLUI; Marlene Dumas; focus on South Africa; two takes on Documenta 13; PLUS free Brazil supplement AR:BR
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Reviewed Exhibitions/UK Film in Space, Camden Arts Centre, London BANK, MOT International, London Keith Tyson, Pace, London A House of Leaves, David Roberts Art Foundation, London Mat Collishaw, Blain/Southern, London Stuart Whipps, Flat Time House, London Judith Lauand, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London Andy Holden, Collective, Edinburgh
Exhibitions/USA Black Cake, Team Gallery, New York Martin Soto Climent, Clifton Benevento, New York Julian Schnabel, Oko, New York Sabine Hornig, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York Christopher K. Ho, Forever & Today, Inc, New York Richard Jackson, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach Connor Everts, Norton Simon Museum, Los Angeles
Exhibitions/Europe & Rest of the World Omer Fast, Arratia, Beer, Berlin The Cthulhu Club, Gasconade, Milan Nina Beier, Standard (Oslo) Julie Mehretu, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris Heimo Zobernig, Palacio de Velázquez, Madrid Mick Wilson, The Lab, Dublin Thomas Helbig, Victor Man, Helmut Stallaerts, Museum DhondtDhaenens, Deurle Time, Oslo10, Basel Harun Farocki, Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires Liu Xiaodong, Today Art Museum, Beijing
Books After Art, by David Joselit The Golden Age of DC Comics, by Paul Levitz The Books That Shaped Art History, eds Richard Shone and John-Paul Stonard Not an Essay and Instant-flex 718, by Heather Phillipson The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s), by Paul O’Neill Various Small Books, eds Jeff Brouws, Wendy Burton and Hermann Zschiegner
Off the Record Gallery Girl’s American road trip with Julian Assange
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(see Film in Space) Slides, 1971 (installation view, Camden Arts Centre, London, 2012). Photo: Andy Keate
BANK The Banquet Years, 2013 (installation view). Courtesy MOT International, London
Curated by artist-filmmaker Guy Sherwin, this exhibition offers the visitor a comprehensive over view of the aesthetic, conceptual and institutional tendencies within British experimental film and expanded cinema. Though framed by artists – such as William Raban, Malcolm Le Grice and Annabel Nicolson – who developed their practice through the London Film-Makers’ Co-operative (LFMC) during the 1970s, the exhibition also includes younger artists such as Lynn Loo, Emma Hart and Lucy Reynolds. Gender politics runs through the show as a subtheme, with the work of Nicolson providing the pivot upon which this turns. Nicolson’s Slides (1971) is presented as a filmstrip, needing to be hand-wound by the viewer, and a 16mm projection. Slides exemplifies the mediumspecificity of many of the works exhibited; the images are tactile, with intense pools of colour, and bear the marks of being handled, scratched and worked upon. However, it is the room featuring documentation of Nicolson’s performances, films and ephemera relating to the LFMC that brings this exhibition alive. Footage of her expanded cinema performances – often reflective of contemporaneous feminist politics – are displayed on a TV, and leaflets held in binders and vitrines register the establishment of Circles, the women artists’ film and video distribution organisation. Photographs of Nicolson performing Allan Kaprow-esque actions such as sweeping the sea, and her interest in nature and ecology, reveal the breadth of her practice as extending far beyond formalist experimental film. Picking up from Nicolson’s work, Reynolds created Anthology (2012), featuring collaborations with 17 women artists for this exhibition. One of those collaborations, with Lis Rhodes, projects a horizontally split image; the top half is inscribed with white text on black pronouncing, ‘She took the washing from the line’ and ‘She carried the washing to the line’, while the bottom flickers with interchanging statements, including ‘and carried on reading’ or ‘and rolled the line away’. Here, text becomes material to be worked with in recounting feminised tasks, and the sum total of Anthology as a series of simple collaborations builds into an intriguing work.
Fi in lm Sp ac e Film in Space Camden Arts Centre, London 15 December – 24 February
Most of BANK’s work, cheaply made and hard to store, ended up in the skip. What is left are a few works and an archive of the publications and print ephemera, here presented in a long row of display cases, alongside a framed selection of their notorious Fax-Baks, some paintings and a sculpture from their 1998 show Stop shortchanging us. Popular culture is for idiots. We believe in ART, and a few other works. The vitrines lay out the chronology of BANK’s critical reworking of the DIY ethos of the time, as the group invented ever more parodic, histrionic and utopian versions of the artworld’s usual functioning: BANK made artworks, ran their own gallery and curated their own shows – but significantly the group saw these activities as interchangeable, opposed to the professional division of labour that handed power to curators and gallerists. BANK-curated shows were artworks as well as containing the artworks Larne Abse Gogarty of others (such as the seminal Zombie Golf!, where visitors rubbed shoulders with mannequin zombies, staring blankly at the artworks); BANK’s gallery (BANKspace, renamed DOG, then Gallerie Poo Poo) messed with the institutional form of the gallery space, eventually staging a gallery-within-a-gallery programme, punningly titled White3. Everything the ‘proper’ artworld shied away from – vulgarity, sensuality, bad taste, idealism, embarrassing sincerity and talking openly about power – BANK threw back in its face. Most vivid here are the samples of their own tabloid-style newspaper – The BANK – and the Fax-Baks, press releases sent to them from prestigious galleries to which the group added critical annotations, mostly disparaging, which would then be ‘faxed back’ (with marks out of ten) to bewildered and usually incensed gallerists. BANK: The Banquet Years And The BANK, with its lurid ‘shock’ headlines MOT International, London about artworld personalities and politics 10 January – 16 February (‘Galleries “all owned by rich people” shock!’, ‘Ad Man you’re a bad man! – Saatchi slammed by The art group BANK (principally comprising young girl’, ‘ICA complete pile of bollocks John Russell, Simon Bedwell, Milly Thompson shocker!’) turned the artworld’s insiderish gossip and Andrew Williamson, with Dave Burrows and into satirical backchat. This was relational Dinos Demosthenous early on) was one of the aesthetics and institutional critique without the best things in the London art scene of the 1990s. intellectual cuteness and politically correct selfThis spiky, sociable, politically sharp and regard. Everybody hated it. Today, power has arguably drained even extremely funny band of artists flared brightly throughout the middle of that decade, until further away from artists, in an artworld now run divisions and departures reduced the group on a global scale by cultural bureaucrats, monster to a duo (Bedwell and Thompson), who finally gallerists and auteur curators. And while it’s good called it a day in 2003. A decade later, MOT that groups like BANK are feted, bought into International’s revisiting of BANK’s work is timely, museum collections and given their due, it’s time given the group’s significant intervention in the artists took inspiration from their example: strange concatenation of zero-budget adversity because in the end, there’s art, and artists, and and YBA commercial hubris that was 1990s the rest are just parasites. London. BANK’s mix of punk humour, leftist political critique, art theory pisstaking, populist J.J. Charlesworth vulgarity and avant-gardist bloody-mindedness reminds the current, supersleek, professionalised artworld of a moment when artists invented their own cultural context and had the guts to mock the conditions of an official system they saw as driven by liberal, careerist hypocrites.
Raban’s Diagonal (1973) and Sherwin’s Newsprint (1972/2012) are representative of some of the most exciting visual and aural experiments with film of the 1970s, and Steve Farrar’s Good Night Ladies (1999), back-projected in a narrow corridor, demonstrates the shift towards film as installation. In Gallery 3, an elegant, airy space, many of the works are preoccupied with light. Angela Allen and Nicky Hamlyn’s works show the interaction of painting with film, and Simon Payne’s digital experimentation with colour is reminiscent of Gerhard Richter’s 4900 Colours (2007) or a stained glass window. The strength of Film in Space lies in how it succeeds in opening up this rich field of practice – too often segregated into niche venues and institutions – to new audiences.
Ty so n K ei th Keith Tyson: Panta Rhei Pace, London 7 February – 28 March
Most interesting though are the works in which there is a greater disruption of surface, such as The Passage of Time Is Perfumed with Your Presence (2012), a painting of a vase of flowers that appears to be simultaneously mutating and disintegrating, and the smaller and quieter title work Panta Rhei (2012), a found painting of a brown sailboat overlaid with fragmented elements of what appears to be a more contemporary marina scene. In one sense these are also the most difficult works – almost too vulgar and brash in the case of the former example and in danger of appearing too tasteful in the case of the latter. But it’s precisely this jarring friction of styles and histories that give these works their energy, like the result of trying to splice an epic poem with a haiku. Helen Sumpter
The starting point, at least, is simple enough. As with the two previous ‘movements’, the idea is to expand upon a key work in the collection – in this case Pierre Huyghe’s Silent Score (1997–), in which a recording of John Cage’s notoriously silent 4'33" (1952) has been transcribed onto sheet music, so that the unplanned and indiscriminate background noises ironically achieve a kind of prescriptive, canonical status as musical notation. It’s a typical Huyghe piece: extremely arch, yet also opening up to a deeper contemplation of ideas to do with experience and reenactment. From there, though, things quickly become much more convoluted. The theme is ‘the museum as score’; or alternatively, ‘the museum as a stage’ – either way, it certainly involves a lot of consulting the extensive programme notes. And it’s terribly distracting, having to constantly distinguish which of the 30-odd pieces belong to which half of the exhibition. That Bob Law drawing, for instance, depicting empty space; or nearby, the Cold Warreferencing bronze mask by Simon Starling: both part of the temporary display. But the hypnotic film opposite, by Babette Mangolte, of a superslo-mo dancer: one of the interventions (aka, rather portentously, ‘the embedded’). Not that such distinctions much matter, perhaps, when the declared rationale of the exhibition is to create something ‘free, uncertain, non-productive’. In other words, the whole thing’s allowed to be totally nebulous and incoherent. And certainly the strongest strand of works suggest this sense of things not quite cohering, of falling apart or out of sync, of settling into their own, individualistic shape – from Martin Creed’s differentially ticking metronomes (Work No. 180 (Largo, larghetto, adagio, andante, moderato, allegro, presto, e prestissimo), 1995–2004), through Mr III (2010), the fragmented self-portrait that Kris Martin drew without looking at the paper, to Katinka Bock’s twin videos of smoke seeping spookily from an abandoned house (Raus I & Raus II, 2006). And there are some great pieces, too, around the specific theme of anomalous translations and transcriptions – particularly Jonathan Monk’s hilarious, Chinese-whispers chain, Edgware Road (Translation Piece) (2005), in which a Carl Andre quote mutates its way across multilingual London. Yet, overall, the sense is of a show that leads off in too many different directions, that feels stuffed full of too many divergent ideas. It’s hard to conceive, to take just one example, how Lorna Simpson’s pointed deconstructions of race and gender relate to Huyghe’s initial work. Presumably, the original plan was for an exhibition that felt light and open-ended, that conveyed a sense of spontaneity and indeterminacy – a sort of multivalent, free-jazz kind of vibe. Instead, it ends up feeling slightly cold, over-conceptualised, oddly inert, with too many works sadly seeming atomised or adrift.
Le Ho M av us ov es e o em . T f en hir t d
‘Everything flows’ may be the most common translation of the ancient Greek phrase Panta Rhei – the title of this latest exhibition of paintings by Keith Tyson – but the idea of a seamless transition from one thing to another, which the term suggests, seems less appropriate to Tyson’s work than the alternative definition ‘All things are in flux’, with its emphasis on the potentially more unsettling idea of constant change. Perhaps also as much of an overflow as a flow, Tyson’s diverse practice – which stems from an attempt to represent something of the aweinspiring experience of living, in all its complex and overlapping connectivity – has resulted in equally multifaceted series of objects, paintings, drawings and texts that aim to replicate, in an artwork, how the powerful forces of science, nature, politics, philosophy and history interrelate, compete with and influence each other in life. Here, though, unlike previous bodies of work, the unifying element in this selection of 14 paintings (all made in the last three years) is not their containment within a specific structure or system of making but an attempt at a more poetic A House of Leaves. Third Movement David Roberts Art Foundation, London layering of imagery and ideas. In the more abstract and visually fizzing 18 January – 16 February paintings, such as Rhapsody for Random Walks (2010–12), Tyson makes his references obvious. And so to the third and final instalment – or In this work, thin, looping structures resembling ‘movement’, to use the exhibition’s own, tubes, cables or ribbons intertwine with floating, symphonic metaphor – of A House of Leaves, David three-dimensional starlike forms and thicker Roberts Art Foundation’s ambitious, six-monthstrokes of paint in flesh-coloured hues that remind long unveiling of its new premises that’s meant one of images of the networks formed by brain both as a showcase for its collection and as a kind neurons. This idea of a tangled superhighway of deconstruction of the role of the museum. along which information travels is reinforced by Except that, actually, it isn’t really the final the insertion, at different points, of interstate instalment at all, because there’s also going to highway signs. In other paintings, like The 2nd be – in a slightly ungainly shift from musical to Law (Mythic Dad) (2010–12) – the 2nd Law (in literary terminology – a brief ‘epilogue’, featuring relation to thermodynamics at least) also implying various, more permanent interventions to the increasing chaos or change – shiny black bin bags building’s physical structure. Though, in fact, bursting with rubbish hurtle towards a circular most of these ‘epilogue’ works are already central black hole in a starry galaxy. Here it’s the installed – scattered in among the temporary photoreal rendition of the imagery that is explicit, exhibition pieces, yet at the same time officially while the meaning is perhaps a little more meant to be somehow distinct from them. Confused? You certainly will be. obscure. Gabriel Coxhead 134
Keith Tyson The 2nd Law (Mythic Dad), 2010–12. © the artist and Pace, New York, London & Beijing
A House of Leaves. Third Movement 2013 (installation view). Photo: Mark Blower. Courtesy David Roberts Art Foundation, London
Mat Collishaw Sinners, 2012, oil on canvas, 225 x 225 cm. Photo: Matthew Hollow. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Blain/Southern, London & Berlin
Stuart Whipps Setup for the production of a 16mm stop frame animation depicting 192 pages of highlighted and underlined text from books in John Latham’s collection. The animation will be made during the exhibition. 2013, Bolex H16, copy stand, books. Courtesy the artist
St W ua hi rt pp s
M C at ol lis ha w Mat Collishaw: This Is Not an Exit Blain/Southern, London 14 February – 30 March This Is Not an Exit refers to the last line of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel American Psycho (1991), about the aftereffects of the 1980s financial boom on Wall Street. YBA Mat Collishaw, like the American novelist, has earned enough credits to speak convincingly on the trappings of late capitalist society. Alone in the gallery with his new almostphotorealist paintings of what could be narcotic wraps – after the private-view party people have gone – one’s mind is not actually occupied with notions of bad-boy hedonism offered here. Rather, it’s occupied with what has prompted Collishaw to return to painting, having spent most of his career so far reconfiguring the medium’s tropes through comparatively distanced technological means. The exhibition features two series of figurative paintings depicting unfolded sections of paper, of both the plain kind and pages from fashion/men’s magazines, coated in traces of white powder. As promised, there are no pictorial escape routes: each composition could extend indefinitely from its rhomboid or square canvas, while the viral spread of powdered matter draws one from the depth of field created by the painterly illusion of folds and magazine motifs – model limbs and interior details origami’d into nonsensical narrative jigsaws – to the image surface. The melding of different glossy-mag sensibilities brings to mind the question of what separates one sexy sales pitch from another in commercial publishing. Up close, however, they do not look like photographs: each plane appears to break down into squirming, germy swatches of many painted marks. The literary line ‘This is not an exit’ is arguably now as iconic as the exhibition subject territory (the mis- or overuse of substances and imagery) is obvious. The borderline gauche manner in which Collishaw wades into contentious issues or well-fielded debate is exactly what prevents this exhibition (as opposed to Shooting Star, the artist’s 2008 show at Haunch of Venison, with its projections of Victorian child prostitutes) from drowning in the moral mire. The issues here, concerning social and fiscal responsibility, appear little more than a means of bringing one to the picture to engage with painting: the fact of his renewed love for the process and its influence on today’s culture of images. For Collishaw seems
to acknowledge, through much and impressive evidence of painterly homage – from the folds of Jan van Eyck drapery to the muted Giorgio Morandi tones of exquisitely realised grey, lilac and buff sheets of paper – that the way, in terms of how we ‘read’ images, has been paved and repaved. Many of the theories underpinning photoreal painting may already be firmly established, a fact well underlined by the Hayward Gallery’s Painting of Modern Life exhibition back in 2007, but as Collishaw highlights here, it’s not as if we are impervious to the power of the lensderived image as a result. Marshall McLuhan’s 1967 mantra on medium as message remains acutely relevant to the digital present. Collishaw’s nods here to master image-makers affirm the lure of the past in the technologically complex present, all the while alerting one to the fact that the rules of engagement have changed. The skin of a lone disembodied hand waving on one canvas momentarily recalls Richard Hamilton’s silkscreen Swingeing London 67 (1968–9). Yet this is no depiction of the fuzzy newsprint view from a paparazzo’s lens, but one from the postproduction studio, evoking the smooth liquidity of the airbrush and the glossy gloop of modern makeup.
Stuart Whipps: Birth Springs, Death Falls Flat Time House, London 10 January – 10 February
Emblematic of Whipps’s work in the house is a floor-mounted video, a two-second looped film cut from a documentary about Scottish engineer and chemist James ‘Paraffin’ Young, entitled Extract from PARAFFIN YOUNG: Pioneer of Oil, 1937 depicting the replica of Victoria Falls built by Young at his home just outside of Livingstone, Scotland (2013). The pedantic exegesis of Whipps’s titles is a deadpan setup for a project of irresolvable complexity. Young built the replica of the waterfall on his profits from his refinement of mineral oil from shale, with which he also helped finance David Livingstone’s expeditions to Zambia, where Latham was born; Latham, meanwhile, investigated and photographed the West Lothian shale bings (huge cone-shaped mounds of oxidised waste) as part of his placement with the SDA, organised through the Artist Placement Group (APG). The five bings, retitled by Latham Niddrie Woman, are represented in a photograph by Whipps (Five Sisters. A view of the shale bings in West Calder. In 1976 Latham developed a feasibility study for his Scottish Office placement where he reconceived of the shale bings as process-sculptures, 2012). The interconnecting threads between protagonists – Young, Livingstone, Latham, Whipps – are themselves looping, delaying resolution. The photograph A postcard of Victoria Falls leaning against a geological sample from John Latham’s mantelpiece (2012) does what it says on the label, but in Whipps’s conceptual ranginess, the links implied by archival display are capricious, even lyrical, like Latham’s naming of the bings. As a nod to Latham’s 1971 film Encyclopedia Britannica, a stop-motion film of every page of the encyclopaedia’s 32 volumes, Whipps has set up a tabletop animation studio, with books from the house’s collection laid open at pages with passages highlighted by Latham. These passages – pink trails of an active mind, long absent, which hint at an organising system – form the soundtrack for a sequence of projected photographs of objects from Latham’s archive: books, rocks, bricks. The passages, read out of context, form a cut-up narrative of their own, and thus provide a metaphor that binds the varied strands of Whipps’s investigation: that of the archive’s thwarted grab for closure. Ben Street
What does it mean to inhabit another artist’s work? In the case of Stuart Whipps, the first artistin-residence at John Latham’s Flat Time House in Peckham, such inhabitation is both literal and one of almost parasitic intimacy. Whipps’s work, an investigation of Latham’s archive of his own placement with the Scottish Office Development Agency (SDA) from 1975 to 1976, is displayed in the rooms – each one named for a part of the body (‘The Face’, ‘The Brain’, ‘The Hand’) – of the late artist’s home/studio. Yet Whipps’s project, which eschews archival taxonomy in favour of a dispersed and fragmentary mode of display, is itself critical of an archive’s pretentions to completion. Falling short is where the pleasure lies. ArtReview
Ju La dit ua h nd Judith Lauand: The 1950s Stephen Friedman Gallery, London 8 February – 9 March
(1957), which has a warm orange background, inkpenned onto which is a jagged, oscillating circuit, which in turn is housed within a similar circuit, and so on, until it seemingly radiates off the edges of the paper. It is abstract, but undoubtedly there is some notion of energy present in the forms – of something explosive, something exciting, rippling out from the epicentre. Untitled (1955), a turquoise, blocky, weblike composition on black painted board, contains a similar urgency within its aesthetic. The second of the two gallery spaces is given over almost exclusively to works made with black ink on plain paper. Less vividly coloured, these works nonetheless share a formal lineage in their use of straight lines and abstract, freefloating, shapes. They have the appearance of technical or scientific drawings, though the repeated use of diamonds and triangles could summon spiritual connotations. The paintings work independently of the hard historical facts. They have an enjoyably expressive mode to them that, across the decades, still invigorates the contemporary viewer through a self-referential, playful celebration of colour and formalism.
‘Lack of communicability’ mixes with the knowledge that only a few adventurous people have ever landed on Rockall and evokes Walter Benjamin’s reflections on the decline of storytelling in his ‘The Storyteller’ (1936): ‘The intelligence that came from afar – whether the spatial kind from foreign countries or the temporal kind of tradition – possessed an authority which gave it validity, even when it was not subject to verification. Information, however, lays claim to prompt verifiability.’ Although I don’t see Holden as a storyteller as such, there is a romantic strand to his work that alludes, in an era of rapid access to information, to ‘intelligence from afar’. Layered coloured plaster sculptures, Slices (2013) and the colourful Bastion of Empire paintings (2012) are also included in the Rockall ‘section’. Reading the paintings as commentary on the multiple international claims on the islet would render them as twee as their genre, but reading them as allusions to ‘intelligence from afar’ sees them hold out for something more ethereal and resistant to closure. Studies for Boulder in Landscape (2009–12) is a series of kitsch landscape paintings with the buoyant, giant ‘boulders’ painted in. Hung so as to face out into the street, they play against commercial galleries selling populist images: they are whimsical but little more. Boulder Films (2008–11), on the other hand, do succeed in doing more to ignite Holden’s original sculptural work, large, relatively rough-hewn wooden orbs planted in some innocuous rural or urban setting. The films, shot with a handheld camera, feature shaky car drives out to the ‘boulders’, the background roar of wind, enthusiastic zooms and occasional scenes of people having fires or raving in the street in front of the somewhat incongruous objects. The pacing is slow in places and there is occasional musical accompaniment leading to more reflective engagement. And this conspires to give the work time to grow in the imagination, to take on a kind of mythical, distant weight. With this you catch sight of an interesting thread. But Folly and Landscape (which also includes a lecture by the artist with his father, renowned ornithologist Peter Holden, about nestmaking) ultimately presents too many avenues that don’t quite come together.
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Judith Lauand’s work could be suffocated by the dry language of art history. The 30 oil, ink and gouache paintings on paper and card shown in this decade-spanning overview have a seductive, visceral immediacy for the viewer; one that easily Oliver Basciano gets lost as the critic addresses their concurrent status as art-historical documents. The facts nonetheless are these: Lauand, now ninety-one, was among the first band of Brazilian artists to embrace Concretism. Concrete art was espoused by Theo van Doesburg during the 1930s and introduced to Latin America by Max Bill via his 1950 exhibition at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, and Lauand was part of Grupo Ruptura (the only female member, alongside the likes of Geraldo de Barros and Luiz Sacilotto), whose rejection of figuration or symbolism in their work was directly influenced by the import. Her work, of which the paintings in this show are typical, exhibits an internal logic to the forms and patterning depicted – they are ‘constructed entirely from purely plastic elements, that is to Andy Holden: Folly and Landscape say planes and colours’, as van Doesburg defined Collective, Edinburgh Concrete art. While at first glance the works in 12 January – 10 February this show seem to share a sensibility of automation that typified much of the work by those artists – Folly and Landscape, the first exhibition in Lygia Pape and Waldemar Cordeiro among them Scotland by Andy Holden, reflects strands of his – who identified themselves as working within practice through recent and new works. The James Clegg Concrete art in this period, when seen up close, central part of the exhibition focuses on Rockall, they clearly reveal individual brushstrokes; in a small islet in the North Atlantic that some Lauand’s case the author is still present in the consider the most remote rock in any of the works. Concreto 151, Acervo 195 and Concreto 143, oceans of the world. As Holden’s exhibition Acervo 194 (both 1959), for example, are made makes clear, this remoteness does not make the up of, respectively, repeated, alternatively rock devoid of information. Bastion of Empire/ orientated L-shapes and triangles, but each shape Heap of Language/An Exercise in Simultaneity is ever so slightly unique. A wavering hand here, (2013), for example, overlays recorded readings an inexact angle there. about aspects of Rockall’s geological, political Lauand does share the sense of postwar and biological characteristics. As with Robert optimism that epitomised work from the avant- Smithson’s A Heap of Language (1966) – albeit garde made during this decade, and it’s a sanguinity through cacophonous audio rather than writing that still resonates, right through to the modern – this work makes language impenetrable through viewer. It can be found in Concreto 69, Acervo 201 accretion. 138
Judith Lauand Concreto 69, Acervo 201, 1957, ink on paper, 30 x 30 cm (framed: 55 x 55 x 3 cm)
Andy Holden The Third Attempt, 2008, plywood, fence paint, timber, 2008. Courtesy the artist
Black Cake 2013 (installation view). Courtesy Team Gallery, New York
Martin Soto Climent Mariposas Migratorias (Migratory Butterflies), 2013 (installation view). Courtesy the artist and Clifton Benevento, New York
Team Gallery’s sprawling, two-venue group exhibition Black Cake takes the cake for the dumbest curatorial premise ever: cake, literally. Specifically, a dense, overly sweet, Gaelic variety called Beltane that, according to anthropologists, was divided into pieces, one for each villager, and whoever received the slice covered in sawdust was pushed into a roaring bonfire. As touching and genuinely interesting as this narrative may be, its implications towards community, togetherness and the workings of society at large don’t translate very well into the show itself. Black Cake looks, more often than not, like a boring, overly tasteful interdisciplinary fair booth. Good taste is in good supply, but it’s the most uninteresting kind. This isn’t to say that there’s no good work here. It just makes little sense grouped together, particularly when shoehorned into Food Channelworthy declarations of relative ‘sweetness’ to which, for example, Cecily Brown’s rich, viscous, post-abstract expressionist painting The Park in the Dark (2012) is reduced in the press materials (where it is taken to ‘illustrate the allusion’ to the black-cake custom). Nor do the spindly, stretchedout, vaguely Egon Schiele-looking figures in Maria Lassnig’s Fraternite (2008) look anything like any cake I’ve eaten. Still, I’m no cake critic (though that would be awesome). Better suited to this fun little baked-goods litmus test is Ruby Sterling’s ACTS/WS ROLLIN (2011), a large block of urethane propped precariously on the edge of a wide pedestal. Tendrils of dense, inky red dye are suspended in the resin. Its pairing with the pedestal’s equally fleshy orange and yellow tones might bring to mind a particularly decadent kind of red velvet cake, while David Scanavino’s Lefty (2013), which comes straight out of Miami Vice, evokes none other than every geriatric’s favourite dinnertheatre finish: Bombe Alaska. That tacky treat’s incongruous ice cream colour scheme of garish pink, yellow and brown is not so far off from Scanavino’s multicolour chessboard floor tiles,
David Everitt Howe
M C ar lim tin en So t to
C ak e Bl ac k Black Cake Team Gallery, New York 10 January – 13 February
though Lefty’s flooring lacks the fun of being doused in rum and lit on fire. As for Sam Anderson’s intricate, carefully crafted sculptural assemblages of paper, wire and ethereal lightboxes, I don’t know what stupid foodstuff to compare them to, but they’re lovely and somewhat sinister simultaneously, with delicate, skinlike sutured forms and bony, canelike wood rods bound torturously with electric tape. As entertaining as it is to write about, ‘sweetness’ as some overarching theme is bound to fail if it’s not tongue-in-cheek and absurd enough, which Black Cake really isn’t. At its most serious – as with Tommy Hartung’s militaristic footage in the videos The Bible Part One: These Words Are Alive and The Bible Part Two: Chapter Two (both 2013), or worse, with Massimo Grimaldi’s slideshows of an emergency hospital in an impoverished region of Sierra Leone – the whole conceit is not just stupid, it’s insulting.
Martin Soto Climent: Mariposas Migratorias (Migratory Butterflies) Clifton Benevento, New York 5 January – 2 March
Soto Climent almost exclusively uses repurposed materials in his practice. The idea is that, from even the most industrial of human waste, art objects can be created. For this exhibition he bought the windshields at a carparts shop in the Bronx. The materials are lent nuance by the frits on their top edges, deep bands of colour that prevent the seal between glass and frame from melting when installed in a vehicle. On the surface of many of them remain crude markings made with mustard yellow and pink wax crayons, denoting price and model. Mariposa (Butterfly) is a wall sculpture consisting of two windshields – one with a deep emerald tint at the top, and other with indigo – connected at their narrowest edges. The gap between them is a body; the spread of their surface, wings. The writing becomes the unique pattern on a new breed of nonorganic butterfly, if you fall for the title. In actuality, it looks like graffiti; the writing serves to add colour to a relatively flat sculpture that, by virtue of its placement on the wall, is deprived of reflected light. The markings are less prominent in Chrysalis (Verde/Green) and Chrysalis (Azul/Blue), two sculptures consisting of two windshields each, which lean side-by-side against a wall. In these works, it is the frits that make the patterns. The rounded, delicate shape of the cocoon is neatly implied by the gentle curves of the layered glass; the works themselves look like riot shields. Upon close examination, fissures abound on the glass. In Mariposa Rota (Broken Butterfly), such imperfections were made by the artist, who cracked the sides of two windshields so that they would take the shape of the 90-degree angle between the wall and the floor. In Enjambre de Mariposas (Swarm of Butterflies), the largest work in the exhibition, 15 windshields are layered on the floor in such a way that they take the shape of a lotus flower. Under the weight, edges towards the centre splinter but do not break. From a distance, however, such flaws in the material disappear. Whether this art, in its mimicry of nature, enlightens in a Kantian sense doesn’t seem to matter much. The sculptures seem content being nothing more than beautiful.
There’s not much to Mariposas Migratorias. Eight large-scale sculptures by Mexican artist Martin Brienne Walsh Soto Climent, constructed entirely out of car windshields of varying shapes and sizes. The overall conceit too obvious: the pieces, bearing names like En Vuelo (In Flight) (all works 2013) and Revoloteo (Flutter), are meant to represent butterflies in various stages of life. Without context, they look like minimalist heaps of glass artfully arranged on the floors and walls of the tiny gallery, as if simplified reincarnations of Robert Smithson’s Map of Broken Glass (Atlantis) (1969). They are quite lovely nevertheless. In the high light of mid-afternoon, the seemingly weightless glass refracts sunlight onto the white walls of the gallery, painting them with other worldly streaks of blue and green.
It’s hard to divorce Julian Schnabel from context. Indeed context is both the curse and blessing that has come to define the artist’s work and career over the last 35 years. That barrel chest! That hair! Those pyjamas! Celeb friends! Montauk! West Village palazzo! Great films! Mary Boone! That hair! Those paintings… Here the exclamation tends to either the terrible or the wonderful, but rarely anything in between. What was it about those paintings that made them so infamous at that moment in New York during the late 1970s and early 1980s when, as so many artists and their critics have noted, the tectonic plates of culture (pun intended) felt like they were cracking up to swallow whole the gains (or losses) of the prior 20 years, not to mention the historical memory of the pre-Second World War avant-gardes? Wasn’t painting dead? Hadn’t its inherent humanism and its private language of subjective investment been shown to be obsolete if not morally bankrupt? And who is this asshole with the hair that isn’t reading Craig Owens and getting in line like everyone else? A few decades on and this language of critique does feel, for better or worse, like it has run out of steam. What better time then to put up some of those notorious early paintings, direct from the painter’s private collection. And who better to organise the affair than Alison Gingeras, house curator to Amalia Dayan and Daniella Luxembourg’s uptown shop, which has underwritten the East Village storefront, Oko, where one work from each of Schnabel’s early series – St Sebastian – Born in 1951 (1975–9), The Patients and the Doctors (1978), Mutant King (1981), Abstract Painting on Blue Velvet (1980) – is on view in two-week stints. Context strikes again. 142
Jonathan T.D. Neil
Sa H bi or ne ni g
Ju Sc lia hn n ab el Julian Schnabel: 1978–1981 Oko, New York 7 February – 30 March
But oh, that painting! Dumb luck – or because the rhetoric matters in such cases, ‘divine providence’ – gave to us to see The Patients and the Doctors, one of the notorious plate paintings that Schnabel exhibited in his first solo show at Mary Boone’s Soho space in 1979. It’s big. So big in Oko’s little space that, like some aesthetic bear hug, you can’t break away from it. Surprisingly, though, it’s less gestural, less expressionist and muscular than all of the history book deflations would have one believe. Breaking the plates and placing all of those ceramic shards must have been a chore. The archaeological implications are not unwarranted, but this is backyard archaeology, the way a twelve-year-old might do it (didn’t you want to play with something called Bondo when you were a kid?). The figures are more drawn than painted, clumsily sketched in over the work’s jagged three-dimensional surface, as if St Sebastian’s body from the prior painting had been jettisoned but the scars retained. And finally, that play between two-dimensions and three, specifically where one of those figures overlaps the work’s two major levels, is facile. And yet, there’s all that context, equally embedded in this painting’s surface, equally part of its work, be it blessing or curse.
Sabine Hornig: Transparent Things Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York 10 January – 23 February
A cast concrete rubbish bin stands in the gallery. Nearby is another sculptural element that looks like an aluminium bus shelter and a threedimensional frame for two polyester-print photographs. There are other objects too. Each one evokes the banal architectural features of Berlin’s streets in ghostly form. Factory-new like minimalist art, their physical presence in the pristine gallery space contrasts with the tattiness of the photographic subjects. For all but one of these photographs Hornig has pointed her camera at a window. Her technical skill generates spatial ambiguities that never fully resolve. The raw infrastructure of the empty store in Untitled (Backlight) (2009) is seen through a flotsam of paper scraps and cellophane tape – fragments of former notices, posters or flyers – stuck to the glass. Is the murky interior of this disused commercial space an effect of light balance or because of smoked plastic sheeting covering the window? Is this a matter of material surface or temporal exposure? It seems impossible to tell; it’s probably both. Thus the metaphysical questions that the press release speaks of have a more material substructure. Within the picture, the irregular opening in the room’s far wall, which gives Untitled (Backlight) its title, makes a ragged oblong hole of high contrast. But a foreground ledge that is closest to, and parallel with, the camera lens offsets the dark/light opposition that defines the interior space. This pictorial zone – where a skull and a dismantled lock sit side by side – is lightbalanced, unlike the commercial interior, and as such we are once more thrown off balance as we struggle to understand the space. Similar effects are generated in the other photographs. Still Life by the Window (2010) shows a pile of hilarious kitsch kids’ toys and cuddly animals. In comedic contrast with the seriousness of the memento mori skull in Untitled (Backlight), this one wears plastic sunglasses and has a trompe l’oeil pizza-slice wallet stuffed between its teeth. From the sublime to the ridiculous, Hornig’s work might indeed provide opportunity for metaphysical reflection, but reflection that is nevertheless grounded in the matter of a living Berlin.
Are the dilapidated commercial sites of Berlin Siona Wilson depicted in Sabine Hornig’s photographs simply the occasion for an exploration of object, image and spatial ambiguity? Does it even matter that Berlin is the locale? That the artist is ‘Berlin-based’ is all we learn from the press release before reading that literary reference and metaphysical questions should be our main concerns. Like the protagonist of Transparent Things, Vladimir Nabokov’s 1972 novel that inspired the series and from which Hornig took her title, we are, it seems, faced with an experience of temporal overlap. Art historian Hans Belting thinks so. And his essay on these works is quoted to support this view. But I couldn’t help thinking about the city and of more material things.
Julian Schnabel The Patients and the Doctors, 1978, oil, plates, Bondo on wood, 244 x 274 x 30 cm. Collection the artist
Sabine Hornig Untitled (Backlight), 2009, c-print mounted behind Perspex, 115 x 133 cm, edition of 6 + 2AP. Photo: Jean Vong. Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
Christopher K. Ho First Black President, 2012, digital print of President Clinton manipulated with early 1990s version of Photoshop, 264 x 264 cm. Photo: Mike Garten. Courtesy the artist and Forever & Today, Inc, New York
Richard Jackson The Laundry Room (Death of Marat), 2009, acrylic paint, metal, wood, linoleum, aqua resin, plastic, fabric, computer, washing machine, 120 x 570 x 570 cm. Photo: Stephan Altenberger Photography, Zurich. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, New York, London & Zurich
R Ja ich ck ar so d n
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But the decency of privileged white people – ie, noblesse oblige – is exclusive, if not exclusionary; its politics, manifest in what goes unsaid, are those of complacency. Nor is this class neurosisfree, as the artist imagines. By dint of money, their dramas have emotional rather than dire economic consequences. While the show also includes a stack of copies of a screenplay Ho wrote for a Dawson’s Creek-style TV pilot that is rife with political aperçus – ‘The 20th century will be remembered as a century of global economic mismanagement’ – and clichéd plot elements – two girls negotiating their identities as daughters of an El Salvadoran plutocrat, a closeted student caught necking with an associate at his dad’s white-shoe law firm, a working-class day student who is really the son of a politically powerful alum – it remains on the benign side of the line between spoof and sarcasm. It never clinches the point that the decency the artist addresses is also indecent because it bolsters its own privilege. Nor does Ho explore his own relationship with the culture of privilege. Although an Asian immigrant, he was raised in an affluent California suburb and educated at Ivy League universities. Christopher K. Ho: Privileged White People He works in their academic forms and conceptual Forever & Today, Inc, New York jargon down to the tongue resting gently in his 11 January – 24 February cheek. Thus he never fully engages his own ambivalence towards his subject. His politics lack Christopher K. Ho’s work examines the moral the personal quality they need to resonate here. economy of contemporary aesthetics with levity – a 2008 show featured a lifesize cast of his dealer Joshua Mack in the buff – and a refreshing absence of the selfrighteousness oozing from most critiques of things like the ‘post-Fordist economy’. His current subject is ‘decency’, an ethics of ‘fidelity, fellowship, honour, and sympathy’, which he considers characteristic of a class of ‘preternaturally well adjusted’ well-to-do young people who came of age during the Clinton administration. The exhibition explores this ethos through its cultural avatars. On view are a Photoshopped portrait of Clinton, titled The First Black President (2012) – astoundingly a meme floated during his tenure – and a shot of the boyish, blond actor James Van Der Beek, star of Dawson’s Creek, a Pollyannaish 1990s TV serial in which underdogs were treated well and the hero accepted the emotional sacrifices that doing the right thing Richard Jackson: Ain’t Painting a Pain Orange County Museum of Art, demanded. In an essay accompanying the show, Ho Newport Beach wonders what the aesthetics of such decency 17 February – 5 May might yield, and he suggests a genre of anodyne, abstract painting practised in Brooklyn by artists Richard Jackson splurts and smears, splotches such as Chris Martin, Dana Frankfort and Roger and splatters, leaving ‘Jack the Dripper’ looking White. While he genuinely seems to admire their like a rank amateur at the art of making a massacre earnestness, what bothers Ho is that the personal with mere paint. For 40 years, enshrined here in honesty of their work, which he sees as ‘free of installations and drawings with coteries of irony and cynicism’, has no real-world follow- remakes of various kinds, Jackson’s existential through. It disappoints after the engaged stances investigations into the meaning and existence of of identity politics and community art during the paint embody the opposite of the cool analysis 1980s and 90s. Paraphrasing the theorist Simon done by Gerhard Richter. The American artist’s Critchley, he concludes that ‘ethics without paintings are viscous and undulating and alive, still wet and sticky. politics is empty’.
Jackson emerged between the pure feeling that was still twinkling in the twilight of the Greenberg regime and the rocks and other hard places presented by a much more literal Minimalism. To him, the problem was how to make paint conceptually meaningful, how to invest it with ideas and new life. With Sisyphean labour and Frankensteinian ingenuity, Jackson left no avenue unpainted. He made paintings with windshield wipers and spun out Vespas, with rifles and washing machines, built canvas rooms containing a hectic abattoir’s amount of pigment, gooed paint through carpets and had it carried by aeroplanes to crash and splatter into walls. At some point, tit-eyed ducks, fake deer asses, imitation dog cocks, Degas’s dancers and other stand-ins got drafted into Jackson’s army, each performing some act of painting on the artist’s behalf. Objects occasionally distract, but not for long, and even most of these get wet. My favourites are the simplest in concept and the most difficult in production: stacks and stacks and stacks of canvases, sometimes like bricks, sometimes in imperfect crisscrossed spheres, sometimes just piled to the ceiling to fill the space, each one mortared to the next with paint. Everything is made and executed by the artist with sheer persistent labour, a dogged determination and endurance that always beats out the competition. Summed up and separated, they might make Jackson the most prolific painter of his generation. But generations are rarely so easily summed up. Jackson found himself looking towards Jasper Johns and Marcel Duchamp, living in the same house as Bruce Nauman and finding friendship in subsequent generations, including Paul McCarthy and Jason Rhoades (these last two messy motherfuckers in their own right, or ‘clusterfuck aestheticists’, to invoke a Jerry Saltzism from way back). The crowd faves are the cleanest, of course. Every review from Jackson’s recent upswing stone-raves about a series of paintings in which the artist paints the canvas of a handful of pictures and then circular-smears them against the wall. Beautiful as they are, they look almost quaintly contained compared to all the other science experiments Jackson performs with paint, the hypotheses endlessly played out with visceral glee: ‘painting lives’. Andrew Berardini
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Everts’s images are less obscene than they are grotesque, which is why it is somewhat surprising that they drew obscenity charges from the Los Angeles District Attorney when they were first exhibited at the Zora Gallery in 1964. Coming between the prosecutions of Wallace Berman and Edward Kienholz, Everts’s trial galvanised the community that was then centred on the Chouinard Art Institute (where Everts taught), the Tamarind lithography studio and the Pasadena Art Museum, where he had a solo exhibition of drawings in 1960 (and which became the Norton Simon in 1975). Though he was eventually acquitted in 1965, Everts suffered a beating from police the following year that damaged the nerves in his drawing hand. One wonders if his dissemination of such a raw, personal vision as a lithographic multiple played a role in provoking law enforcement reactionaries; in any case, their efforts seem only to have confirmed the artistic integrity of a medium emerging from commercial associations, and the Norton Simon is a fitting place for Everts’s contribution to receive its due.
Studies in Desperation: A Suite by Connor Everts Norton Simon Museum, Los Angeles 5 October – 11 February
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Liam Considine From a recent wave of exhibitions and publications, two broad factors have emerged to explain the critical neglect of postwar art in California: the importance of craft, new materials and techniques often obscured intellectual rigour, and a regime of censorship and repression was carried out by district attorneys and police departments (particularly in Southern California) who saw themselves as cultural enforcers. Falling at the intersection of these factors is this show’s striking suite of nine lithographic prints produced at the end of 1963 by Connor Everts, titled Studies in Desperation. Though charged with an existential angst that was, by 1963, losing favour to a cooler sensibility, Everts’s lithographs leverage the affective power of the human body as well as the ability of print techniques to convey the psychic and political turmoil of the era beyond the relative intimacy of drawing and painting. Everts said of his suite, ‘I was thinking about the state of the world and the view of the world from the womb. What if someone looked out from the womb and decided not to be born until it was a better world?’ These comments capture the social implications of Everts’s embodied vision during the era of civil rights, the Kennedy assassination and the onset of the Vietnam War. From the colophon, one Janusfaced figure splits into two, who then grapple and merge with each other until both male and female body parts seem to be cannibalised by a giant face in a print titled Now the Act Is Consummated. In the prints that follow, bones, faces, masks and genitals comingle and contort in a shallow space, offset from one another by dramatic lights and volumetric crosshatching and ribbing. In the final two prints, Dependency, Love of the Lost? and Adjustment Alone as Always, the figures do indeed seem to reinhabit an ovular womb that is not a refuge but repository for a fractured anatomy. 146
Omer Fast Arratia, Beer, Berlin 11 January – 9 February Suddenly there is a camel on a German country road. Followed by a woman in her mid-forties, it runs into a forest and leads the woman to a desertlike hollow, in which dead German soldiers lie. They were likely killed in a massacre during their Afghanistan deployment; in any case the image alludes to the photographic work Dead Troops Talk (1992) by Jeff Wall. Then the woman drives on with her husband to a Northern German train station to pick up her son, a soldier returning from Afghanistan. Such surrealistic flashes are repeatedly inserted into Omer Fast’s film Continuity (2012), first shown at the last Documenta. Furthermore, the artist tells the story of the family’s reunion three times, each time with a different actor for the son and always in a slightly varied manner. One time the young
soldier’s luggage suddenly disappears, another time he sees worms in his dinner, then an eye swims in his red wine glass, lastly his mother gets into bed with him. Might the young man even be a call boy, as the Documenta Guidebook suggests? The events remain in a diffuse suspension; the story, which reveals itself as fiction, oscillates vexingly between staged psychoses and superficial sentimentality. Fast’s film 5000 Feet Is the Best (2011) also tells a story of war; more precisely of the experiences that US Predator drone pilots had before, during and after their deadly work in Afghanistan. To this end, in autumn 2010 Fast held longer discussions in Las Vegas with two pilots who controlled unmanned drones from there. These conversations were then the basis for a staged interview that is the centre of his film. A pilot sitting on a hotel bed responds to questions. The conversation takes place in a distinctly paranoid atmosphere. The pilot continually dodges questions, yet he also speaks about technical details of his work and about psychological problems that torment him after the war. Simulated drone flights over Las Vegas as well as over a huge suburban area are cut between the hotel scenes, as is the story of a man who is obsessed with travelling by train and then actually spends one day as a train driver, albeit without having permission. The seemingly offtopic narrative clearly shows the pilot’s difficulty in speaking too directly and for too long about steering the drone. The pilot has exact knowledge of the consequences of his only seemingly ‘virtual’ mission: the remotely operated view and flight, made possible by technology, has deadly consequences for the people in Afghanistan. What is exciting about this exhibition is that both films are presented together for the first time and that therefore a comparative dialogue between them is possible. Remarkably, Continuity has a hard time holding its own against 5,000 Feet Is the Best. The latter film convinces the viewer through both its formal and material complexity and its analytical poignancy, which emerges from the interplay between fact and fiction. By contrast, Continuity threatens to get stuck in an almost absurd poetry. Although the film is quite oppressive in parts, it hardly generates any insight. Translated from the German by Emily Luski Raimar Stange
Connor Everts Studies in Desperation: Now the Act Is Consummated, 1963, lithograph, edition 4 of 20, 43 x 62 cm. Norton Simon Museum, Los Angeles. ÂŠ the artist
Omer Fast 5000 Feet Is the Best (film still), 2011, digital video, 30 min. Film still: Yonn Thomas. Courtesy GB Agency, Paris, and Arratia, Beer, Berlin
The Cthulhu Club 2013 (installation view, Gasconade Club, Milan)
Nina Beier Heavy Hand, 2013 (installation view). Photo: Vegard Kleven. Courtesy the artist and Standard (Oslo)
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‘What is Great Cthulhu? An arrangement of electrons, like us,’ writes Michel Houellebecq in Against the World, Against Life, his 1991 (trans. 2005) study of horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft. The French writer proclaims himself a fan of Lovecraft’s tiredness with mankind and the founding mythologies of Cthulhu, the ancient squid-headed god lying asleep at the core of the earth, beneath the sea, ready to resurface and take the world. It’s a concrete incarnation of our worst fears of (self-) annihilation: ‘Lovecraft’s terror is rigorously material,’ quips Houellebecq. ‘Perhaps, he confirmed, something is hiding behind the curtain of reality that at times allows itself to be perceived. Something truly vile, in fact.’ A fascination with Cthulhu unites many subcultural worlds: from the writers who continued to expand Lovecraft’s dark cycles, to sci-fi and cyberpunk adepts, Metallica and their fans, role-playing gamers, cartoons. The numbers keep on growing now that we’ve entered the socalled Anthropocene, a new geological epoch in which human activity produces such a massive (and disruptive) impact on Gaia’s ecosystem that all boundaries between natural and artificial are in dire need of reframing. The exhibition summons a clever selection of works that confront material representation with the terrain vague where organic and inorganic, real and virtual, seeing and touching now regularly meet. The primary eye/hand candy is Campo di Grano (Wheat Field, 2003), a large floor-installation by Italian artist Piero Gilardi, an Arte Povera ‘dissident’ now in his seventies. It’s a smart choice, given the artist’s groundbreaking fascination with nature and new technologies: in 1963, Gilardi titled his first exhibition Machines for the Future in homage to the cybernetic society soon to come. During the 1980s, when he reverted to artmaking after a decade of militant political activity, he turned to new media, virtual reality and interactivity, and he’s now running the Parco Arte Vivente in Turin, a project that brings together ‘living art’ and environmental issues.
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Th C e lu C b th ul hu The Cthulhu Club Gasconade, Milan 11 January – 9 February
Campo di Grano belongs to Gilardi’s best-known series, started in 1965, the Tappeti-Natura (NatureCarpets): hyperrealistic reproductions in polyurethane foam of fragments of ‘landscape’, which the public can experience by touching, walking or lying down on. With its bright colours and picture-perfect red poppies and ears of wheat, this lifeless field looks like an avatar. Close by, from the wall hangs Andrei Koschmieder’s Untitled (Radiator Series #2) (2012), a tactile and unnaturally mimetic sculpture of a potted plant on a radiator, rendered in epoxy, corrugated metal and spraypaint. Its fragile leaves are transparent and as thin as film, like images halfway between two- and three-dimensionality. On the floor lies Lupo Borgonovo’s Untitled (2013), an organically shaped sculpture in polyurethane expanding foam that recalls the bone of a giant sea creature landed ashore. Beatrice Brovia presents a postapocalyptic jewel in sawdust, leather and silver (Potlàc VIII, 2012). David Douard’s camp assemblage Sick Saliva (2013) has metal wires protruding from the back of a plasma screen covered in plaster, at whose centre a head seems to resurface from the bottom; it recalls period horror movies where the fright arose from the impossible coexistence between humans and ghosts from other, inner dimensions, like Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist (1982) or David Lynch’s Eraserhead (1977) – whose deranged protagonist, one recalls, used to live among dead plants and watched and listened to the Lady in the Radiator.
Nina Beier: Heavy Hand Standard (Oslo) 11 January – 16 February Ten slim granite plinths are arranged around the opening space in a triangular constellation so precise and colour-coordinated it would make a minimalist weep. Most are graced with individual imitation-leather headrests on fragile metal necks and are attentively facing the next room. This quasi-mythological chorus directs visitors into the rest of Nina Beier’s show, her second with Standard (Oslo). Since the first, in 2011, the gallery has
moved into new and larger facilities. The Danish artist has filled both of its main rooms with sculptural installations: clever probings into the mysteries of the signified and its signifier, Beier specialising as usual in issues of representation, an irreverent semiotic quizmaster. Most of the plinths’ headrests belong to car seats, save for one that stems from a massage chair, one from an office chair, while another plinth has no head at all: instead a pair of oversize Mickey Mouse gloves are displayed on the granite support. But are the plinths really mere supports? And if so, in what respect? In contrast to the nine other works in this room, the plinth supporting the gloves is – according to the checklist – not part of the artwork. Thus, one must assume, it is just a display element. And yet it looks identical to those other plinths that are inscribed with artistic value, it is perfectly integrated into the geometry of Beier’s floor triangle and everything appears to have been done to suggest that they’re all aligned and alike in status. On the other hand, even the title, Blood, Sweat and Tears # 01 (all works 2013), gives this work away as a deviant in the company of the nine others, which all belong to the Real Estate series. The floor around Blood Sweat and Tears # 01 is stained with moisture. That’s also the case in the second room, where Blood, Sweat and Tears # 02 awaits. A pair of size 55 sneakers sits by the wall – like the gloves, they look clownish and oversize, but unlike the gloves, they are produced for body parts of that actual size. Like the gloves, they are soaked in artificial body fluids – the sweat and tears of the works’ titles. The same logic (as well as another reference to human body fluids) is present in Smokes, two generous piles of Persian rugs that dominate the room. The uppermost carpet of each stack features blobs of chewing gum, softened by spit and thumbed onto its surface. Again: same, same, but different. For are the twin piles twins after all once you learn that the stains on one derive, pre-chewing, from children’s gum in the shape of cigarettes, while those of the other are of nicotine gum? Besides the rugs, a typical domestic investment, a number of other tokens in this room signify ‘home’. (Or signify signifying home.) Three kitschy flatscreens (Loulou, Potato Potato and Money Money Money), originally manufactured to display an animated fireplace while giving off heat, surround the rugs. Having substituted the fireplace with three other images, the work can be said to point – still by way of synecdoche – to some essential markers of ‘home’. The kitchen (the zero degree of culinary ingredients, a potato, hovers on one screen), the bathroom (a perfume bottle follows) and a sense of financial stability (a generic wallet). The story goes on even in the rugs, which suggest the generational variety of the residents of a ‘home’: it holds both kids’ gum and grownups’ gum. And then there’s the fact that there’s gum in the rug at all… Johanne Nordby Wernø ArtReview
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the rest of the exhibition successfully unfolds successive medium- to small-scale full (I won’t venture to write ‘pure’) abstractions. Without a hot geopolitical allusion to counteract Mehretu’s unquestionable and brilliant inclination towards abstraction – which becomes, here, the sole focus of scrutiny – latent tension is sustained even more strongly in her Mind Breath Drawings. Ready to implode, the more or less crowded clusters of nervous black markings Julie Mehretu: Mind Breath and at the heart of every sheet, which the artist refers Beat Drawings to as ‘characters’, inherently suggest uprising Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris forces within imaginary topographies. Lacking 26 January – 16 March the immediacy of drawing, her five etchings convey the same impression of a confined chaos. Its title referencing late beat poet Allen Ginsberg’s Burnet, who supervised their printing, told me it book Mind Breaths (1977), Julie Mehretu’s first took over a year and a half and up to 30 proofs show at Marian Goodman in Paris fans no less per piece to achieve the series: the result is than 32 pieces of abstraction across the gallery’s astonishing. Perhaps, less like a political activist two floors. It includes the following: a series of than a radiesthesia practitioner – those mediums five etchings realised with master printer Gregory who claim they can detect radiation from human Burnet in New York (Untitled, 2013), an ensemble bodies, and thus find lost people, using a of 16 works on paper (Mind Breath Drawings, pendulum and a map – Mehretu’s genius is to graphite, 2012) and finally a mixed group of 11 transmit into her art the vital energies she discerns drawings and paintings on canvases (all untitled, from the observation of maps or the experience in graphite, acrylic and, except for three, ink, of her own psychogeography. Whatever it is, 2012). Stretching over every single wall in the vast though, her abstract aesthetics comes from an exhibition space (including the front desk), this obsessive practice of drawing, one that evidently rich display somewhat echoes the Ethiopian-born doesn’t need any pretext to flourish. American painter’s aesthetic impulse to cover her surfaces almost entirely (apart from the Violaine Boutet de Monvel edges) with a dense multilayering of restless scrawls and graphic shapes. Here, all these hyperactive hazes are described in the restricted palette of black, and only a few of them burst with sparse and colourful zips. Over the past decade, Mehretu has accrued great critical attention for her large-scale, noisy abstractions, the backgrounds of which systematically offered contextual intrusions of meticulous architectural drawings. These detailed, in perspective or elevation, real urbanscapes that the artist selected for their strong historical or topical interest within contemporary geopolitics. An obvious attempt to break away from the burden of 1960s ‘pure’ formalism (art as an end in itself ), urban mapping allowed her to coalesce abstraction and content into a self-proclaimed investigation of globalism and identity. If the Heimo Zobernig tension between the rigid virtuosity of Palacio de Velázquez, Madrid architectural drawing and the vibrant spontaneity 8 November – 15 April of frenetic scribbling constituted a possibly pertinent metaphor for the lively dissymmetry The main gallery of Madrid’s Palacio de Velázquez of powers between governments and people, the is an expansive, uninterrupted space well suited actual urban references were nevertheless, and to theatrical gestures, but few artists have to say the least, often a bit subsidiary, a pretext succeeded in pulling off quite such an eloquent for opening her truly abstract aesthetics onto a coup de théâtre as Heimo Zobernig. As circumstantial political awareness or a level of demonstrated by the 40-odd elements that make significance beyond old-fashioned Modernism. up this 30-year ‘retrospective’, his practice At Marian Goodman, it’s opportune that only one intersects with architecture, design and theatre painting renders an architectural plan (Al-Manara while flitting with seeming ease between painting, Square in Ramallah, Palestine, which has been sculpture, installation and video. Most of all, for decades the theatre of rousing protestations however, the Austrian artist engages with the against Israeli occupation, but has very little to staging of art, foregrounding not so much what do per se with the overall show in Paris), while is exhibited as how. 150
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In the words of James Brown’s 1970 funk classic, Zobernig’s works are ‘talkin’ loud and sayin’ nothing’. Borrowing from the Robert Indiana school of typographical tweets and, at the other extreme, from the modernist tradition of minimal monochromes, Zobernig treats both work-types as throwaway gestures, easily appropriated and slickly executed, but no more significant than the canvases he leaves blank. We find them hung on scaffolding and curtains (lots of curtains), framed by paper scrolls, propped against walls or assembled as sculpture. Or else only present by their absence, as in his museum-style storage racks that remain conspicuously vacated. And not only paintings. When even the curtains are parodied by video representation, it is clear that Zobernig’s irreverent scavenging regards nothing as sacred. Significantly, all the works here are untitled, the show slipping seamlessly from one installation to the next. In Untitled (1998), stretched canvases of loosely woven jute combine to form an enclosed structure hinting at Richard Deacon’s 1980s aesthetic, while a vast arena of black curtains enshrines nine monochromes executed between 1993 and 2005 (although the dates are extraneous, the works being interchangeable). From 1992, a four-metre cardboard cube richly painted in black gloss references Mecca’s Kaaba and thus Gregor Schneider’s aborted 2005 project for Piazza San Marco in Venice. Mirrored walls in polished aluminium evoke Michelangelo Pistoletto; the metal grids of the painting racks recall Bruce Nauman’s Double Steel Cage Piece (1974). Even the one canvas in which the brushwork lets rip could be a take on Juan Uslé or Bernard Frize. However, Zobernig’s appropriation of contemporary art is at best generic. These are artworld Rorschach tests, inconsequential in themselves but inviting our collusion in contextualising them within the familiar canon; quotations that, like his monochromes, have been whitewashed so that their reading barely bleeds through. Voiding the work leaves only the methodology of display and its context. The iron superstructure of the nineteenth-century exhibition hall and the single partition wall, preserved from the previous exhibition, become as important as the works they enclose. In this theatre in the round where the props are laid bare, we become implicated in the staging, the sleights of hand that vouchsafe the seeming neutrality of the white cube and which here are replaced by relational aesthetics-style user-friendliness, interactivity and DIY: a kind of honest shabbiness that points up the tricks of the trade. This laboratorylike openness draws obvious comparisons with the curatorial modus operandi of the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, except here there is no danger of the institution and its framing upstaging the artist. Zobernig’s deadpan humour has taken over the asylum and, as in Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade (1963), turned it into a site of theatre all his own. Keith Patrick
Julie Mehretu Mind Breath Drawing, 2012, graphite on paper, 56 x 76 cm. Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris & New York
Heimo Zobernig 2012 (installation view, Palacio de Velázquez, Madrid). Photo: Joaquín Cortés/Román Lores. Courtesy Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Mick Wilson Some Songs Are Sung Slower, 2013. Photo: Michael Holly. Courtesy the Lab, Dublin
Victor Man (see Thomas Helbig, Victor Man, Helmut Stallaerts) Untitled (From, If Mind Were All There Was Oil on Canvas, 2009, 60 x 57 cm. Collection AndrĂŠ & Jocelyne GordtsVanthournout
At a moment when so-called International Art English and its handlers are experiencing a hopefully healing cautiousness – provoked by various recent critical assaults on insular art writing – a text-art show sits up particularly sweetly, not least because it offers to describe itself. This is such a show, presided over by two major text-led works as well as a sense that there may indeed be a language of art outside of IAE that could interest writers and readers: and given that we live in the empire of the computer screen, doesn’t that potentially include all of us? If only the artist could attract some attention in the first place, since Some Songs Are Sung Slower is as clamorous and multivoiced as a gay chatroom. Confession: here I’m using guesswork, coupled with evidence: the show’s massive enlargements of Java chat applets from gay chatrooms, wherein characters attempt to clarify their value in monospaced type. ‘wots ur stats?’ enquires wild_dude. ‘drunk, short, fat, difficult and 6.5’, answers our hero. Other attempted contacts are equally and pointedly doomed. The Seminar (2013) is a monochrome text work (in Courier font) projected in a darkened chamber, in which, via lines of writing, a dry, insistent voice recounts the triumphs and failures of a seminar group at the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM), in Dublin, considering the subject of death. This was not terribly well attended, at least at first, we learn, before the rhythmic, changing line of words talks us gently through approaches to approaching extinction in a manner that would intrigue the First Committee of the International Necronautical Society. The art on show elsewhere, covering four years of production, encompasses pop music played at unneighbourly volume and video displayed in an unfriendly, unwinning manner: a tight ring of laptops on the floor. So it remains the texts that seem electrical, charged, the antique resonances of their letter shapes seeming at least as potent as any pixel. Wilson can apparently force any idea into the baldest of quotidian English, to the extent of turning critical theory into a kind of Tales of the City (relocated to inner-city Dublin) soap for My Bin Protest (2012), a supercompressed year of
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Mick Wilson: Some Songs Are Sung Slower The Lab, Dublin 18 January – 9 March
narrative told in 30 poster-based scenes, each offering another narrative turn, another related but self-contained tale, each on its own antique French Revolution-style black and white sheet bearing the crest of a severed head, held by the hair. In this sequence of self-contained moments, we hear the artist and his words formulate the urgency of love, the possibility of society and the rapidity of death, while at the same time living a humane comedy involving waste management and bad manners, in which friendship, poverty, putrefaction and neoliberal urban technocracy embodied in a refuse lorry are the punchlines. On one pertinent poster, the narrator stays awake through the night in an attempt to discover why his bin is not being emptied, only to discover that while the refuse collectors will happily place the container on their vehicle’s lifting apparatus, a radio signal between the bin and the lorry, and the lorry and a central computer – for reasons unfathomable to all the humans around – deems the load unacceptable and deposits it back on the pavement. What is the role of the citizen here, in an urban landscape where we follow the will and the patterns of machines? Are we like that severed head held aloft, ‘living as the already dead?’ the final poster/scene wonders. ‘Who knows,’ emerges a sort of answer from this brilliant bin opera, ‘but what is that smell?’
Thomas Helbig, Victor Man, Helmut Stallaerts: Ein Vages Gefühl des Unbehagens Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle 27 January – 7 April Why do certain words and expressions sound so good in German? Take the title of this show. Its English translation (A Vague Feeling of Unease) is not bad, but the version in Wagner’s language sounds much more expressive. And fitting: though Thomas Helbig is the only German, the practice of the three artists is drenched in a somehow classically German atmosphere of Angst and das Unheimliche.
Helmut Stallaerts’s art, for example, is characterised by oppressiveness and unease. Though the thirty-year-old Belgian also makes scale models, videos and photographs, he’s best known for his paintings of uncanny, somehow archaic scenes often stretching the medium’s boundaries by being painted on the most diverse supports. Puzzle (2009–10), painted on a jigsaw whose pieces are slotted together forcibly, depicts a group of sinister-looking men in uniform, their leader seemingly in the middle. On closer inspection, the latter has a funnel on his head, like a dunce’s cap. It says a lot about the way Stallaerts deals with power, namely the blind faith some people display towards figures of authority. Most of the time he renders notions of power in a subdued way, as in The Opportunist (2011), in whose empty corporate office one discerns the vague outlines of a character with a bowed head. The work is rendered in the artist’s characteristic sallow colours, contributing to the atmosphere of unease. Victor Man’s palette is darker, with green/ blue hues and some of his paintings so black you can hardly see what they represent. Grand Practice (2009), depicting a man dressed as a horse, is set in near-darkness, creating an uncanny, dreamlike feeling that echoes the burlesque masquerade often recurring in Stallaerts’s work. The unease is more explicit in Untitled (From, If Mind Were All There Was) (2009), which portrays a woman being spanked. The perpetrator is cut out of the composition; attention is completely focused on the violent act. Thomas Helbig’s tall sculptures, aptly placed next to Stallaerts’s scale model of an inverted tower carved out of bone, also exude violence. Though the sculptures have a classic base, they start formally, disintegrating towards the top where one can vaguely recognise elements – like a sleeve or a button – of a traditional bust. Helbig is of course also known for his paintings; these have monochrome backgrounds with stains and spots, which the artist physically accentuates by adding strings of paint that he pushes through a syringe. It results in abstract expressionist-like, existentialist works that emphasise the medium’s materiality. The support almost becomes a body of flesh and blood. That is also the case in the work of Stallaerts and Man: Stallaerts’s Josefine (2010) depicts a weightlifter painted on a human skull, while Man’s Ubiquitous You (2008), a portrait of a headless, handless doll, is mounted on a pelt. Medium or style notwithstanding, the works here share a mood of disquiet expressed not only through the subject matter or colour range but also through the way the artists stretch and misemploy their medium. Including Helbig’s work was a clever move, its more abstract character allowing for a moment of rest. In doing so, the curators prevent the show from collapsing under its own weight: a considerable risk for exhibitions with such a loaded theme. Sam Steverlynck ArtReview
Ti m e Time Oslo10, Basel 17 January – 16 March
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Clare Kenny, the artist who curated this exhibition, took its title from John Szarkowski’s text The Photographer’s Eye (1966). ‘Time’ is one of five issues that Szarkowski found key to understanding photography, the others being ‘The Thing Itself ’, ‘The Frame’, ‘The Detail’ and ‘The Vantage Point’. Kenny has already mounted shows around the first two of these last four terms: The Frame was made up of her own work, very large pieces on exposed photographic paper to make generously curling forms in abstract colour that elbow their way into the sculptural realm. In Time, however, photography is scarcely to be found. Nonetheless, works by Manon Bellet, Martin Chramosta, Gabi Deutsch, Sonia Kacem, Sam Porritt and Gitte Schäfer play dare with the very questions of immediacy and authorship that delayed photography’s acceptance into the art canon – to quote Szarkowski, ‘Paintings were made… but photographs, as the man on the street put it, were taken’. Bellet’s modest cyanotypes come closest to the familiar photographic tradition, though the power of other artists’ statements overshadows the delicacy of hers. Chramosta’s canvases are not much larger, but laden with history; Plenair à la Bohémienne (Le Jardin à Czaslav) (Bohemian Outdoors (The Garden in Czaslav), 2010/12) owes its dappling to the weather it endured when mounted on an easel in the titular garden for more than a year; other canvases in the exhibition accrued patinas over decades stored in an attic while in the possession of Miloš Saxl, an artist prosecuted for his oppositional style in what was then Czechoslovakia. Chramosta has not projected onto his canvases, but enables them to gather their own shadowy images. Meanwhile Kacem’s Holy Crap (2013) – a glorious swirl of marble powder, cement, fringing and other shredded detritus on the floor – elevates base materials to update the painter’s form of still life, or ‘dead nature’, as the French call it. Man goes from dust to dust, and Kacem captures this with aplomb.
Porritt’s ink-on-paper triptych Going East (2010) translates time into diagrammatic form; he draws spirelike upward protuberances that indicate travel as they morph from Western Christian outlines to Orthodox or Islamic bulbosity, while the tightly packed looping lines that fill them convey density. Schäfer’s framed reliefs composed from flea-market finds follow the surrealist sculptural tradition of Meret Oppenheim; Zwergenstrauch (Dwarves’ Bush, 2011) is made of lichen packed behind glass, a miniature garden in a material that could have been designed to connote graceful decay, given its ever-faded hue. In another, Melodus (2012), a lock of grey hair embodies the breath, and life, coming from a recorder mouthpiece. Szarkowski views photography as a medium that had emerged ex nihilo, in comparison to the leisurely development of painting. Photographers have had not only to learn what the medium could do, but also to comprehend the complexities specific to it before photography could be deemed successful. When it comes to time, photography can split the second with great visual effect. By selecting these works in response to Szarkowski’s text, Kenny suggests that duration is better expressed in other media, particularly when they borrow from history to capture momentary pauses that are resonant, but transient.
Harun Farocki Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires 2 February – 2 April Harun Farocki is interested in simulacra and this is particularly apposite on the Caminito of La Boca alongside the Fundación Proa. Here kitsch papier-mâché models of Carlos Gardel and the Peróns lean over rickety balconies. A real-life Diego Maradona lookalike gets riled when I sneak a photograph of him. There are five video installations on display. Eye/Machine II (2002) is a double projection that revisits mensch machine/war technology from 1942. Incredible footage only made public in 1991 shows the attack view from cameras mounted on blitzkrieg-era bombs. These experiments are now harnessed benignly in computer game designs but also in a more malignant fashion as with current drone attacks.
Farocki, as a German, explicitly links the Nazi past and its complicity with today’s dehumanised violence. His antiaesthetic take on progress is no Kraftwerk-style hymn to a planet of vision. Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades (2006) features a row of 12 TV sets on the floor. You imagine Farocki considering: how has the lot, the reality, of the poor worker been portrayed in the movies down through the years? Has their image improved? The cinematic shorthand for worker is a mass of them leaving the factory. That’s the reality, says Farocki, that’s all cinema can say about them. Those shufflers from Metropolis (1927) are still schlepping in and out. Farocki makes you squat to view. As you should – do a bit of work. This is not his most subtle piece. Paul Schrader’s more thoughtful, more insightful Blue Collar (1978), unsurprisingly, isn’t featured among the artist’s selections. Serious Games III: Immersion (2009) sees Farocki filming traumatised US servicemen from Iraq reliving their hells with the help of computer VR. The prim professorial psychologists seem indifferent to the ironies around the use of this technology that arguably got these poor grunts into such desperate straits in the first place. Farocki visually quotes Don McCullin’s famous shot of a Vietnam veteran with the thousand-yard stare. Here we see a real-time, real-life vet with his white knuckles reliving his grim memory and gripping a joystick instead of a rifle. The Silver and the Cross (2010) is another two-screen work, this one analysing a painting from 1758 by the Peruvian Gaspar Miguel de Berrío. The projection captures silver mining at the time and is contrasted with footage of the town of Potosí today. What remains, we learn, is the stuff of the rich. Their houses are the only ones still standing. The workers and their houses are dust. The Spanish colonisation, the largescale genocide, is referenced – we remember again that Farocki is German. The nightmare of history is that all we can learn of the past, of the poor masses, is what we see left by the rich. Parallel (2012) is a visual essay on the history of computer-generated images. We get trees and clouds and grapes so real the birds come and peck. We are back to trompe l’oeil and Zeuxis again in this 30-year development from Pong to the hyperreality of Lionel Messi videogames. Maradona versions are now old hat. Farocki, like Hans Haacke, is the artist as pedagogue. His work has a target, and these polemical works aim, as with Lacan’s thinking on the Zeuxis myth, to find what is hidden, to uncover, to score. John Quin
(see Time) Melodus, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Lullin + Ferrari, Zurich
Harun Farocki The Silver and the Cross, 2010, 2 videos, colour, sound, 17 min. ÂŠ Artists Space, New York
Liu Xiaodong Hotan Project, 2012, oil on canvas, 250 x 300 cm
Li X u ia od on g Liu Xiaodong: Hotan Project Today Art Museum, Beijing 13 January – 23 February
A recent interview with Liu threw out the comment that ‘truth in painting does not equal truth in reality’; the artist’s approach is purposefully anthropological – in recent years, travelling to remote or socioeconomically strained regions for periods of months at a time to observe and paint them. The resulting canvases are ‘impressions’ of certain realities, and also (the artist admits) proof that he was actually there. His practice thus encircles an idea of ‘truth’, the nature of which has generated far more discussion than have the actual places or people he visits. Faced with these realistic images, one might ask (as did Christopher Moore in a recent article) where their truth really lies, or adapt a common adage: ‘I saw it in a painting, so it must be true’. It can be easy to accept these works simply as true to life. In fact, they are true not so much to their places of origin as to the artist’s hand and eye. Liu’s paintings finally evoke less journeying to a new location and the delivery of its image to outside viewers than the import of ‘local’ people and scenes into the locale of his own artistic realm. Thus interpreted, these paintings are primarily revelations not of places, or people, but of painting and its ability to address different subjects alike in a firm, consistent language. As such, Liu Xiaodong’s work is without doubt convincing. Iona Whittaker
Just what is it that makes Liu Xiaodong’s painting so different, so appealing? The fifty-year-old artist’s work has been exhibited from Beijing (Hometown Boy at UCCA in 2011) to Graz (where The Process of Painting has just closed at Universalmuseum Joanneum); Parkett this month launched its 91st volume at Leo Koenig, New York, featuring editions by Liu Xiaodong, among others. Now a concise show of large paintings and supporting work occupies Today Art Museum – the results of his Hotan Project in the jade mining region of Xinjiang Province. The exhibition consists, in the first room, of four large paintings and a documentary film about the project (Liu is a ‘process’ painter, documenting the making of his art). The paintings depict miners – three show a group of men at work or posing in a blanched landscape of loose rocks and dust amid which they spend each day digging for jade; the fourth shows a young couple together in similar surroundings. The canvases are each 250 × 300 cm – big, but not so that the figures are quite lifesize. The mode of application is painterly, with large, lively, visible brushmarks to describe the forms of stones, clothing and the approximate expressions of the figures. The impression is direct and lifelike, conveying less a preoccupation with detail than with the overall character of the scene and demeanour of its cast of local labourers. As is Liu’s habit, the works were painted outside and onsite. In another room, a large number of sketches and photographs painted over in places with acrylic evoke the artist’s period of work in Hotan – though these are not especially absorbing. ArtReview
After Art By David Joselit Princeton University Press, $19.99/£13.95 (softcover) Content is so over. That, at least, is David Joselit’s contention in After Art, an emphatically italicised essay filled out with illustrations, bespoke diagrams and profuse endnotes. ‘What now matters most’, he writes, ‘is not the production of new content but its retrieval in intelligible patterns through acts of reframing, capturing, reiterating, and documenting.’ The italics are the author’s, referring back to a list of artistic strategies laid out earlier in the book. Joselit, a Yale professor and critic whose previous writings have assiduously observed the intersection of art and tech, lays his argument out with pedagogic steadiness. Indeed, After Art is based on a series of lectures and, steering a great deal of recent culture production into its dragnet, it’s worth attending to. For Joselit contemporary art and architecture have both, for some time, espoused a data-mining, circulatory, distributive model he calls ‘the Epistemology of Search’, taking existing content 158
and inventively ‘formatting’ it: ‘staging a performative mode of looking through in which the single image and the network are visible at once’. Artists, he argues, do so in manners ranging from first-wave appropriation like Sherrie Levine’s to post-Internet sculptural collaging like Rachel Harrison’s to Pierre Huyghe’s definition of his art as ‘a dynamic chain that passes through different formats’. Relational aesthetics, here, appears as a clear rehearsal of the after-art approach. Architects practice it through parametricism, a computer-modelled concept of form that is ‘no more (and no less) than a disruption in a continuous surface… a continuous field, experiencing pressure from both site and program’. This apparent shift leads Joselit, at midpoint, into some genteel sparring with an interpretative mode of criticism that still demands meaning from the discrete object. He thinks we’d be much better off talking about formats and their open-ended effects, whether in Thomas Hirschhorn’s brutal ‘eruptions of pictures drawn from everywhere’ or the ‘empty platform’ model of Liam Gillick’s installations. For Joselit, though, this isn’t just a change of formalist weather. Art, he writes, ‘has become, for nations such as China, a means of soft diplomacy’. He notes the extraordinary success of Chinese artists in reformatting Western aesthetics; conversely he also argues that Ai Weiwei’s international celebrity expedited his release from prison. It is this vision of art, in its mobility, as politics by other means that feels central to After Art. One of Joselit’s calls is for a freer circulation of world treasures of art, reflecting his view of art as a form of global commons – and one that aims to undo its hoarding by museums – that feels more hopeful than likely. The other is for artists to recognise that ‘connectivity produces power’. Here Joselit finds Ai Weiwei again exemplary in terms of real-world effects, via projects such as his transporting of 1,001 Chinese visitors to Kassel for Documenta 12 in 2007, alongside 1,001 Ming and Qing Dynasty chairs. Reading this, one might think of After Art as expanding thoughts voiced in Retort’s Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (2005), which argued that the image, post-9/11, had become a weapon of war. Joselit seemingly wants it to be a broker of stability and a dissolver of hegemony; he also recognises that, given the ubiquity of circulating images, art is just one channel in the melee, though a potent one since art is ‘the paradigmatic object of globalization – it occupies the vanguard in an economy hungry for authenticity’. As such After Art’s attention-getting title has dual meanings: it refers to Joselit’s view of our current postobject, postmedium, democratised moment, and to where the author sees the action happening: ie, in the contexts art travels through, is shaped by and electrifies. For anyone wanting to practise that formatting, let After Art be your point-bypoint textbook.
The Golden Age of DC Comics (1935–1956) By Paul Levitz Taschen, £34.99/$59.99 (hardcover) The era covered by this 400-plus-page tome, the first of a five-volume series (the silver, bronze, dark and modern ages are to follow), wasn’t simply the heyday of DC comics – with the birth of the publisher’s most iconic characters, such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man – it was also the golden age of the American comic-book industry as a whole. Or to put it even more strongly, the birth of a particularly twentieth-century art form. This is essentially a picture book, but Levitz (a former DC executive) manages to mix in material documenting the way comic-book superheroes muscled their way into broader culture (movies, TV, public information messages, etc) and the way in which that broader culture (via the inclusion of movie and TV stars, political messages, war-era nationalism, etc in comic stories) was reflected in the comic book. Of course, as well as all that there are some classic comic book coverlines: ‘My fingers – ALIVE! And threatening me with – DEATH!’ Kerpow! Mark Rappolt
The Books That Shaped Art History: From Gombrich and Greenberg to Alpers and Krauss Edited by Richard Shone and John-Paul Stonard Thames & Hudson, £24.95 (hardcover) While the main title of this book wears its canonical ambitions on its sleeve, the subtitle is doubly misleading. There are 16 contributions and half of them deal with art historians whose major works were published before those of Gombrich and Greenberg (who appear chronologically in chapters nine and ten) – so it seems the editors and/or publisher felt very few people would be interested in the 60 odd years of art history covered in the first 115 pages of the book. Likewise, 14 of the 16 essays take the work of males as their subject matter and the only two about women are those dedicated to Alpers and Krauss as flagged in the subtitle. That the women are given an equal billing hardly makes up for the gender and ethnic imbalance in the book as a whole (or in art history taken en bloc). Both editors have worked at The Burlington Magazine, and their tome is as much an introduction to that journal as it is to art history. Fifteen of the essays gathered here were first published in The Burlington Magazine, and like that publication they, sit slightly uneasily between academia and connoisseurship. Thus one might wonder if Roger Fry’s book Cezanne a Study of His Development (1927) is included because Fry was a founder and early editor of The Burlington Magazine, rather than due to its standing as a seminal art historical work. The Books That Shaped Art History seems too specialised for a general reader and too schematic for a specialist. Apart from those with an interest in the genealogy of the history of art, it is difficult to imagine someone who will be thrilled by both the chapter on Bernhard Berenson’s The Drawings of the Florentine Painters (1903), which is all about attribution, and the essay dealing with Rosalind Krauss’s The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths (1986), which among other things takes a poststructuralist stance against the fetish of authorship. The treatment of material veers between obsessive detail and overly broad brushstrokes. An example of the latter can be found in the
chapter on The Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution (1973) where historian Alastair Wright mentions that the book’s author, T.J. Clark, was briefly a member of the Situationist International, then writes: ‘…his account of Courbet juggling with meanings parallels in suggestive ways one of the SI’s key models of political activity: détournement. The strategy was simple, and often took art as its object: an already existing painting was altered – painted over, slogans inscribed into its surface, and so forth…’ A footnote points to Asger Jorn’s series of detourned paintings from 1959, but these are not typical of situationist detournement, and particularly not of the period in which Clark encountered the group (mid-1960s). Those Clark was involved with weren’t painters like Jorn, and tended to detourn text, comic strips, pornographic photos and film. And these situationists used the historical precedent of the workers’ councils, also theorised by the likes of Anton Pannekoek and Herman Gorter, as a model of political activity and organisation, far more so than detournement. With its focus on art of the medieval period through to Impressionism and Cubism (and overall fudging of issues connected to class), art history as represented by this anthology appears terminally outdated. At a time when the book is declining in cultural importance and the Internet has transformed the organisation of knowledge, the emphasis on printed texts appears somewhat anachronistic. Today art history might be caricatured as something mostly studied by posh girls who hope to make good marriages and believe it will provide them with polite dinner party conversation. Likewise, Shone and Stonard’s anthology does little to make art history look relevant to our world, or indeed worthwhile, in comparison to the study of curatorship, for example, where students might be anticipating a career rather than a rich husband.
The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s) By Paul O’Neill MIT Press, $24.95/£17.95 (hardcover)
Not an Essay By Heather Phillipson Penned in the Margins, £12.99 (hardcover) Artist Book
Instant-flex 718 By Heather Phillipson Bloodaxe Books, £8.95 (softcover) Falling between prose and poem, Not an Essay, a 64-page fragmentary text published in December last year, addresses Deleuzian ideas surrounding the body as object. Phillipson, whose writing complements her art practice, works through, in a series of not-alwayscomfortable juxtapositions, the idea that our flesh and bones are alienated and indeed separated from the cognitive, social self. Meat is a recurring motif. In her opening pages the writer sets the scene: ‘Try as we might to have a creamy consistency, we are all in pieces. We are all people. People carefully not-looking/ looking at piggy’s torso, the butcher’s window.’ Conversely, further into the text Phillipson paints an image – ‘In the nightclub, people salute biology through pressed-up bodies’ – that asks us to consider ourselves as a collective, amorphous form. The body is discussed both as a ‘thing’ in the world and as a border to it.
The newly released Instant-flex 718, while more accessible and humorous in tone, is formatted as a collection of poems that continue some of these ideas. Titles include ‘Birds in Inflexible Bird Bodies’ and ‘Judder Our Bones Like Dadaist Manifesto’. Phillipson again addresses the social and nonbiological strictures placed on our bodies, including their physical manifestation: from the rules and rituals of eating to the wearing of clothes. The wonderful, rhythmically repetitive ‘Heliocentric Cosmology’ is a giddy portrait of ‘my husband, eating mashed potato’ that spirals out into references to Copernicus and Galileo. ‘German Phenomenology Makes Me Want to Strip and Run Through North London’ and ‘Nudity of Cattle’ posits clothing as an absurd construction, a ‘fashion’ and nothing else. Where Not an Essay has a continuous streak of anger regarding our treatment of meat (both human and nonhuman), the work in Instant-flex 718 infuses a serious subject with a celebratory tone. Oliver Basciano
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Allow me to start this review by modestly stating that this book basically goes on the syllabus. Which one? I am inclined to say all of them, not just those of the curatorial variety, but MFAs as well. For nowhere else have I encountered a more informed, considered and finally cogent reflection on the mutating relationship between curator and artist. Indeed, so cogent is it that many a disgruntled curatorial naysayer is liable to succumb to apostatical bewilderment; my heart goes out to them in advance, because O’Neill’s point, which is admittedly not without its faults, is nevertheless so well argued as to enjoy a kind of Copernican irrefutability. Before parsing his point, however, I should state that this is far from O’Neill’s first foray into the subject. Something of a curatorial activist (theorist and historian), O’Neill has previously edited the excellent collection of interviews and texts in Curating Subjects (2007) and Curating and the Educational Turn (2010) – both potential companions on the above-mentioned syllabus. This prodigiously well researched publication nonetheless represents O’Neill’s most sustained and rewarding effort as sole author. Fluidly divided into three parts, the book consists of: the emergence of curatorial discourse from the late 1960s to the present; biennial culture and the emergence of a globalised curatorial discourse; and curating as a medium of artistic practice (hackles, anyone?). Although O’Neill’s historical remit is primarily from the 1980s onwards, he cannily identifies in part one the origin of the visibility of the curator’s hand in direct proportion to the increasing invisibility of the art in the 1960s. Leaning heavily on Seth Siegelaub and his urinstitutional-critique notion of ‘demystification’ (of the conditions of the presentation of art and its so-called autonomy), O’Neill maps out a condition in which nontraditional forms of artmaking were obliged to rely on innovative forms of curatorial mediation, often deployed in tandem with the development of the art, in order to be seen. This in turn led to an increased visibility of that mediation and, inevitably, to critical engagement with and evaluation of that mediation. This set the ball of curatorial discourse in motion, later officially snowballed by the inauguration of curatorial programmes such as Le Magasin in Grenoble, set up in 1987, and a shift of focus onto curating at the Whitney’s
Independent Study Program the same year, an era which also saw the rise and growing dominance of the group exhibition. Using Jean-Hubert Martin and Mark Francis’s landmark exhibition Magiciens de la Terre (Pompidou, 1989) as its point of departure, part two tackles the rise of the biennial and related discourse in the 1990s. While O’Neill sceptically sees in the biennialisation of the globe a hypertrophic stage of evolution in the self-serving hypervisibility of the curator, he nevertheless lauds the form for its shift away from Westerncentric canons and a more globalised perception of art. Part three sees O’Neill bring home a leitmotif he develops throughout the entirety of the book: ‘curatorship as a distinct medium of practice’; in other words, the exhibition-asmedium. According to an argument that rejects philosopher and critic Adorno’s distinction between producer and organiser, in favour of collapsing the two, O’Neill perceives in the exhibition-as-medium a subjective practice that does not threaten artistic agency so much as it parallels it, ultimately contributing towards ‘emergent forms of collective agency’. When all is said and done, his is a bid for parity, and not dominance, between curator and artist. It seems a plausible and equanimous position, which incidentally takes a bit of heat off curators whose practice has been excoriated as ‘artistic’ (of which I am guilty); my only misgiving here is the potential dilution of artistic agency that said parity entails. Briefly discussing disenfranchised notions of modernist autonomy, which O’Neill does via Berger, does not sufficiently address this potential problem. Let me put it in the form of a question: is there not a very good reason why the myth of the concentration of artistic agency in one figure has persisted for so long? But that is a question, perhaps, for another book.
Various Small Books: Referencing Various Small Books by Ed Ruscha Edited and compiled by Jeff Brouws, Wendy Burton and Hermann Zschiegner MIT Press, $39.95/£27.95 (hardcover) If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, then this book is proof of how high Ed Ruscha’s conceptual photobooks from the 1960s and 70s score in the popularity stakes. In 1962 Ruscha published Twentysix Gasoline Stations, a slim, textfree volume of captioned, peopleless, deadpan black-and-white photos of filling stations on Route 66 between LA and Oklahoma. Ruscha followed this with a succession of similar titles, among them Thirtyfour Parking Lots (1967), Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass, (1968) and Real Estate Opportunities (1970). In doing so Ruscha provided a template for a cheaply produced artist book that has been inspiring various forms of homage, update, tribute, parody and critique ever since. This book collects 90 plus examples, the majority from the last 15 years, by artists, writers, architects, photographers and others, which include Twentysix Abandoned Gasoline Stations (1992), by Jeff Brouws, Various Blank Pages (2009), by Doro Boehme and Eric Baskauskas, and Thirtyfour Parking Lots, Forty Years Later (2007), by Susan Porteous. Not all responses to Ruscha’s books have been favourable – the introductory essay to Various Small Books… highlights how others, artist Jeff Wall in particular, have criticised Ruscha for what they perceived as a visually and politically bland aesthetic. However, presented in chronological order, and each with sample images, content analysis, social and political context, and relationship to Ruscha, this collection provides a fascinating survey of how sometimes it’s precisely the seeming banality of both a subject matter and a format that allows one to read into it so much more. Helen Sumpter
Friday, March 8, 2013 12:33 Subject: off the record Date: Thursday, March 7, 2013 19:27 From: email@example.com To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Conversation: off the record
The week’s editorial meeting was dragging. We wearily contemplated our seventh round of lager-tops in the private room of the Tooting branch of J.J. Moon. Even the spectacle of our leading polemicist columnists playing topless darts with the interns had failed to get the creative juices going. But then the new web editor piped up: “GG! Will us Europeans ever understand American art? Will we ever truly appreciate Alberto Mugrabi? Can we ever understand the significance of Mr Chow turning his hand to painting?” I dropped my dry roasted nuts all over my Roberto Cavalli stretch-leather leggings-style pants as I realised I had no answers. Grabbing my Moncrief perforated leather weekend bag I hotfooted it out of the pub and leaped in the back of a Seat Toledo belonging to Samit Patel of Clerkenwell Cars. “Samit, take me to somebody who understands the complexities of America. I need answers. And also two false passports.” Wordlessly Samit screeched round the back streets of South London. We paused at an Indian restaurant in Wimbledon Park so that Samit could dash in and retrieve a bag of poppadoms and the passports before hammering along to Knightsbridge. Samit gestured at the white stucco-fronted building and I did a commando-roll out of the Toledo, high-fiving a couple of louche-looking security guards as I jumped into my Standing Snake pose. “He’s in the basement,” one of them yelled at me as I ran downstairs. There, Julian Assange didn’t look surprised as I catapulted through the door and onto the antique French sofa on which he was reclining. “Julian. You know all about America. Will we ever understand Dan Colen or Vito Schnabel? Here, chuck this on. We’re off.” With that the six Sotheby’s Art and Business students I had rendezvoused with held the startled Australian down and efficiently changed him into a sober black dress and a surprisingly decent black wig. “No underwear required where we’re going, Julian. Let’s roll!” I bellowed. Ten minutes later, Julian was safely in the boot of the Toledo. We sped to RAF Northolt, the team of Sotheby’s students clearing the way on their stolen motorbikes. Knowing that the great investigative leaker might feel nervous about being led onto a transatlantic flight, I had borrowed one of Sheikh Mansour’s private jets, calling in a favour owed in return for my facilitation of Carlos Tévez’s work permit. Despite this, Assange’s protests and general banging on the boot were growing more noticeable, causing Samit to stop the car on the A40 and do something effective with a cricket bat and a chloroform handkerchief. Seven hours later we were stuck in an enormous queue to get through JFK customs. I realised this wasn’t going to play. Julian was a broken man, and ready to turn himself in. The Sotheby’s students formed a phalanx and we drove rugby-league style to the front, kicking protesting Americans out the way, all of them too fat and unfit to cope with our martial style. “Look,” I said to the obese lady at the immigration control desk, “I’m here with Marina Abramović.” I gestured at Julian, who was weeping openly by now. “And I’ve got a meeting with Jeffrey Deitch.” At the mere mention of the great dealer-curator, the fat lady waved us through with a big smile and a complimentary bucket of buffalo wings. Julian chowed down on a wing and visibly relaxed. I could sense he was returning to his old, playful self as one of the Sotheby’s students guided him to the back of one of the fleet of Lincoln MKZs that Jeffrey had sorted. From here on in it was a straightforward ride to the New Museum, where the conference I had called, ‘Outside, It’s America’, with Jeffrey, Massimiliano, Scott, Matthew and Thea, was to take place. I was thinking that things had turned out well when, without warning, we were rammed from the side by a black Mercedes M-Class. The doors were open and a Teutonic-looking chap with startling blond hair and shades grabbed the activist. It was Klaus. The game was up. Klaus yelled, “It’s time to go to Miami, Julian! And it’s not to see the Rubell Family Collection.” Assange screamed. The Sotheby’s girl wept. I waved at Julian. “Remember, tell everyone you’re Marina!” I shouted as the plucky Australian was bundled into the M-Class. “Don’t worry,” I reassured the Sotheby’s girl, “we’re in America. It’s better for Western civilisation this way.” And with that I pointed the car back to the airport and headed for Blighty. GG
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