CODEX at LiveInYourHead, Geneva ( 07.10-28.10.11) by Estelle Nabeyrat

 

Installation view.

Everything in the world exists to end up in a book. (1)

Codex was an exhibition and a series of three public presentations that took place last October in the outdoor gallery of the Head Geneva (School of Art and Design, Geneva). Codex had both one and many objects and goals; the main one was “books,” as the title suggests, but rather than creating a specific approach in the field of art, the space presented a broad sampling of how books, emptied of their content, could be represented or used as an image, as a frame, an object, a concept, a document… Thus, although Codex functioned mostly as a répertoire, the apparent standardization of its references could be reconsidered by a more accurate approach of its content.

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Simon Starling The Inaccessible Poem, Fondazione Merz, Torino, by Martha Kirszenbaum

Simon Starling "1,1,2" 2011. Photo Paolo Pellion.

The Inaccessible Poem is an exhibition conceived by Turner-Prize winner British artist Simon Starling. It is Starling’s first initiative in Italy, taking place at Fondazione Merz in Turin, a 1930s industrial building housing the collection of works by one of Arte Povera’s major figures, Mario Merz. The institution regularly stages exhibitions based on the research and dialog between Merz and other artists. For The Inaccessible Poem, Simon Starling takes on the role of the curator and space designer, provoking an unexpectedly poetic encounter between the two artists, distinct from one another in both generation and practice, next to which are presented selected works by Argentinean artists Faivovich & Goldberg, and Scottish amateur astronomers James Nasmyth and James Carpenter.

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IVO by Melissa Marotto

Som Faves, 2009

Physical theater artist, Ivo Dimchev (1976, BG), is a master performer – undeniably confident, inventive, operatic, charismatic, controversial and erotic.  Dimchev incorporates props in his work, sings, wears wigs and arranges the material in a transformative manner, like a radio tuning in and out of frequencies. In his latest work, “X-On”, he creates a vortex that fumbles with the mind of the audience, shouldering potential outrage as it entertains.  Each segment of this evening-length work is the birth of a new idea, a thread of thought that is frayed, curious and undecided when it flips to the next scene. Despite the non-literal fashion of his material, the work shows continuity and thematic consistency.

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MEDITAÇÃO, TRANSE at Galeria Mendes Wood, São Paulo (27.08-24.09.2011) by Marta Mestre

Ryan McNamara, "The Latest in Blood an Guts" 2009

MEDITAÇÃO, TRANSE is a group show that has just opened in Mendes Wood, one of the most interesting young galleries of Jardins, a neighborhood of São Paulo. Founded in 2009 with a careful selection of artists– from the Brazilian Tunga to the Catalan Daniel Steegmann– Mendes Wood presents a program, which according to the gallerists, “examines (…) regional differences and individual identities,” seeking to promote, “collaborative and cosmopolitan debates.”

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IT’S KINDA MAGIC – Hextacy, with Anna Særnblom and Charlie Roberts (28.10 – 6.11 2011) by Geir Haraldseth

Halloween was just around the corner and Tidens Krav, one of the many artist-run spaces in Oslo, invited the good people of the city to Hextacy, an exhibition by Anna Særnblom and Charlie Roberts, two artists based in Oslo. The two have previously collaborated as members of Freedom, an alternative country outfit, and now as Chopgang. The impromptu rap group performed at the opening of the exhibition, which might be dubbed a collaboration, but also a battle.

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JON RAFMAN interviewed by AIDS 3D (Daniel Keller and Nik Kosmas)

9-Eyes.com, ongoing

Aids3d: As an artist you’ve got a lot of different things going on. Do you think it’s important as an artist to have a seemingly cohesive body of work, or at least some kind of delineation between different sub-practices. Could you outline some structure that organizes your practice as a whole?

Jon Rafman: What ties my practice together is not so much a particular style, form, or material but an underlying perception of contemporary experience and a desire to convey this understanding. One theme that I am continually interested in is the way technology seems to bring us closer to each other while simultaneously estranging us from ourselves. Another one is the quest to marry opposites or at least have conversations between them, the past and the present, the romantic and the ironic, even though these conversations often end in total clashes. All my work tends to combines irony, humor and melancholy.

Objective Confess at Golden Gallery, Chicago (23.09-5.11.2011) by Alaina Claire Feldman

Still from 'Adorno/Bueller,' 2010-11

This fall, Chicago’s Golden Gallery presents Objective Confess, the first solo exhibition by artist Anthea Behm. The works in this exhibition situate the historical relations of modern art and the modern museum, the conceptual vicissitudes of art history and visual studies, oppositions of high and low, elite and popular and the recent controversies of intellectual property somewhere between cultural theorist Theodor Adorno and roguish teenage film character Ferris Bueller.

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UNCOMMON PEOPLE by Francesco Tenaglia

In the year 1995, the Sheffield-born and London-based pop band Pulp conquered the UK charts with their first major hit after a struggle for notoriety that had lasted fifteen years: “Common People” was the story a rich art student that wanted to take a tour within the lifestyle of the working class (“I want to live like common people / I want to do whatever common people do” hence the title) and have sex with the narrator (“I want to sleep with common people like you”) who gradually goes from delivering tips for the girl to help her accomplish her goal to ridiculing her patronizing intent. “Common People” became an instant classic throughout pop music connoisseurs worldwide: a tune about sexual anxieties, class rage and social immobility sang over a repetitive ever climaxing wall of sound more reminiscent of German experimental psychedelic music of the ’70s than of the nostalgic simplification of the ’60s rock operated by the other popular bands in the coeval Brit-Pop scene. Their success was driven also by their front-man: Jarvis Cocker a hyper-articulate and self-aware, tall and emaciated man with a stand out inclination for ’70s fashion style. Jarvis was given even more media attention (even by tabloids) the following year when he invaded the stage of the BRIT Awards while Michael Jackson was performing his “Earth Song” as a form of protest against the messianic pose of the American entertainer. Owen Hatherley, blogger; author of the Militant Modernism and of A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain  wrote Uncommon, an analytical reflection on the cultural contribution of this extraordinary band, and shared some thoughts with us.

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All I Can See is the Management at Gasworks, London (7.10 – 11.12.2011) by Anja Isabel Schneider

Clockwise: Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Co-Operative Explanatory Capabilities... (2010); KP Brehmer, Soul and Feelings of a Worker (1978-1980); Allan Sekula, School is a Factory (1978-80). Photograph by Matthew Booth

All I Can See is the Management, Gaswork’s current exhibition brings together works that explore the concerns of labor politics from the 1970s until today. In addition, the show underlines the continuously fading boundaries between life and work, as poignantly illustrated in the September issue of last year’s Texte zur Kunst. ‘Life at work’ takes over the journal’s cover, functioning as both title and visual poem. Multiplied in a chain, these words feed into a geometric pattern, evoking an assembly line. While the reading is two-fold, the words’ tactile quality is underlined. ‘Life at work’ is something that one may actually feel…. Extending on the show’s title All I Can See…, it thus seems relevant to focus on the notion of ‘feeling’ which informs several works on view in the exhibition. Undoubtedly, the exhibition’s theme resonates powerfully within today’s social, political and economic debates, as well as within the artworld in general.1

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Metamorphosis Amiss by Melissa Marotto

Preparatio Mortis. Photo by Achille Le Pera.

Jan Fabre (b. Antwerp, BE 1958) is a visual artist who has also made a big name for himself as a contemporary dance choreographer. Shown this summer at ImPulsTanz, Vienna International Dance Festival (AT), “Preparatio Mortis” (2010) was a visual spectacle, as one would expect given Fabre’s background.  Unfortunately, however, the dance vocabulary was common and the sentimentality of the piece felt superficial. Fresh flowers flooded the stage; soloist Annabelle Chambon lay on top of a tomb, hidden under a blanket of flowers.  The music, composed by organist Bernard Foccroulle, former opera director at De Munt/La Monnaie (Brussels, BE), was a perfect match ceremoniously serenading Chambon from her grave.

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CARNET DE VOYAGE – FROM ISTANBUL TO BEIRUT September 2011, by Margarida Mendes

When arriving to Istanbul I was immediately overcome by the city’s endlessly layered soundscapes, its mixture of prayer calls with fun park synth sounds, and its faded golden turquoise glowing light. One can only react with awe to the intensity that this city, which exists on the border of Europe and Asia, has to offer.

In new Constantinople, the mosaics have been replaced by LED lights but the spirit of trade never disappeared. There seems to be no possible sense of inaction, even though people notoriously reserve time for contemplation. Emerging from every corner and alley, a trolley, or small kiosk offers a new product or service of exchange, each more inventive than the last, inciting you to reconsider the intervening spontaneity and direct interaction that humans may have, as well as the hierarchized conditions of labor, which have become formatted by Western subjectification. While in Istanbul, I kept on thinking that the endless amount of electronic material being sold in shops and waiting to be welded into new circuits and causal diagrams, was a metaphor for a socio-cultural state, which at least in this massive metropole, seemed to have the openness to adopt and re-invent itself before new demands, in an endlessly mutating architecture.

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CURATING FOR EXAMPLE On radio and transient curatorial practice in Colombia, Morocco and elsewhere. by Natalia Valencia

 

Sitting in an improvised radio station in a modernist apartment in Medellín this past August, Colombian curator Juan A. Gaitán, Moroccan curator Abdellah Karroum and myself started a conversation that was recorded with an unfit microphone, an omnidirectional device that captured every sound in the room, instead of just our voices. The curators had bought this microphone without much technical advice or knowledge and were dealing with its characteristics in an experimental way. In a sense, this use of the microphone was maybe emblematic of the whole experience that they were staging in the MDE11 Encuentro de Medellin event. Their method, like the microphone, was effective, but allowed for much unpredictable information to show up in the background. As curators, they had to decide whether that information would be considered as noise or as ambient sound.

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Some activities at Hard Hat: A HR Giger show, a Stephen O’Malley concert and new members. by Jeanne Graff

view of the exhibition, photo by Hard Hat.

 

1971: Giger’s exhibition is held at Bruno Bishofsberger in Zürich. 1979: Ridley Scott’s Alien is released worldwide. Since then: 1.3 teenager out of 7 has a HR Giger Poster in his bedroom. 

Posters, films, photos, sculptures and all kinds of gadgets: HR Giger is the most pop, and certainly the most famous of all Swiss artists working today. His work is undoubtedly important for an entire generation of artists and teenagers, who have placarded HR Giger’s posters on their bedroom walls. With this exhibition, Hard Hat makes its intention to include HR Giger in an historical context, as “late surrealist pop” artist, quite clear. Somewhere between Jim Shaw, Blair Thurman and John Armleder. The works hark back to a specific time, the late ‘60s, when Pop art was shown for the first time in Switzerland by gallery Bruno Bishofsberger, a period when HR Giger– a figure emblematic of the Zürich underground art scene– rubbed shoulders with Andy Wahrol and Roy Lichtenstein. That was long before he left to work for Hollywood.

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Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial) by Fatima Hellberg

Dóra Maurer, Seven Rotations 1–6, 1979

Titles have a stubborn tendency to stick, which is why the desire to call yourself something different is so interesting. A term that increasingly has entered curatorial jargon is that of ‘exhibition maker’. To ‘make’ rather than curate a show seems to hint at a more embodied relationship with labor, even a sense of craft involving the idiosyncrasies or style of the one who makes. Jens Hoffmann is a self-acclaimed exhibition maker, an approach felt throughout Untitled, the 12th Istanbul Biennial curated in collaboration with Adriano Pedrosa. This is by no means visible in the sense of a DIY look or a dialogue with the largely hidden labor that goes into exhibitions, far from it. But it’s present here in a number of carefully crafted statements about the biennial format itself. There is, in short, an undeniable attention to making.

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WILLIAM E. JONES’S HALSTED PLAYS HIMSELF by Aliina Astrova

In The Screwball Asses—an essay originally published anonymously in Félix Guattari’s Recherches in 1973 and reprinted by Semiotext(e) in 2006—Guy Hocquenghem criticizes the gay liberation movement for answering “oppression in the terms of oppression,” the repressed group’s search for acceptance consequently resulting in the fall of the Leftist principles and the eventual conformation to the established heterosexual conventions. A year prior to the essay’s initial publication, notorious American porn director and self-identified artist Fred Halsted completed his iconic feature L.A. Plays Itself, which earned its controversy for explicitly showing fisting in one of its prolonged sequences. The film serves as a starting point for a survey of the director’s ambiguous life conducted by William E. Jones, an admirer of Halsted’s work and himself a director of many experimental films. Set against the backdrop of the rise and fall of the gay liberation movement, Halsted Plays Himself—also published by Semiotext(e)—offers a personified example of the issues discussed in The Screwball Asses.

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ARE YOU WORKING TOO MUCH? by Eva Kenny

E-flux’s new book, Are You Working Too Much? Post-Fordism, Precarity, and the Labor of Art, is a collection of texts from their online and print journal that have, over the past year, dealt with the subject of art as work and art-related workers in the post-Fordist economy.

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CONTINUUM_THE PERCEPTION ZONE Curated by Maria Arusoo at Tallinn Art Hall (25.08—2.10.2011) by Aliina Astrova

Olafur Eliasson Your Uncertain Shadow (colour), 2010. Installation view at Tallinn Art Hall, 2011. Photo: Paul Kuimet

In the context of the post-Duchampian condition identified by the lack of “‘ontological’ difference between making art and displaying art”, Boris Groys defines the role of the curator as a mediator between the public space and the work of art (Politics of Installation, 2010). For him, the word “curate” is “etymologically related to ‘cure': to curate is to cure” the work of art from its inability to assert itself independently in an exhibition context. In the biggest effort to date in introducing conceptual art to Estonian audiences, Maria Arusoo, the curator of Continuum_The Perception Zone, assumes this role with literal precision.

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Alicia Frankovich in conversation with Eleanor Weber

Undisciplined Bodies; an Evening Dissolving Social and Spatial Conventions, 2011at Salon Populaire. photo: Fiona Geuß. Courtesy the artist

 

Having experienced artist Alicia Frankovich’s work live for the first time at her Undisciplined Bodies event at Salon Populaire, Berlin, on 18 May 2011, I later spoke with the New Zealand-born, Berlin-based artist about the ideas behind and around both the event itself and her practice more broadly. We moved from a discussion of unconventional spaces of art, to ideas of the body, performing sculpture, ideas of bodily disciplining, the audience, and notions of liveness.

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THE CONSTITUTION OF THE DAMNED at Landings Project Space (Arena), Curated by Fatima Hellberg and Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz at Vestfossen (31.07.-28.08.2011) by Gerd Elise Mørland

Performed (dis)organisation as running force

Using the comprehensive archive of self-organized initiatives and manifestos put together by Tranzit.org for Manifesta 8 in Murcia last year, the two London-based curators Fatima Hellberg and Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz have created an admirably well-curated exhibition that discusses the importance of performativity and irrationality in such initiatives.

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Honza Zamojski Me, Myself and I at Galeria Leto and Bookie at Piktogram Warsaw by Martha Kirszenbaum

Honza Zamojski, Self-Portrait (Human-Magnet,) 2011

 

Honza Zamojski’s solo exhibition Me, Myself and I and his curated book-installation Bookie is constituted by a two-part project presented at Leto Gallery and in the office of Piktogram Magazine. Both institutions share a recently opened space inside a renovated industrial building nicknamed “Soho Factory” and are located in the Warsaw neighborhood of Praga. The Poznań-based artist’s Me, Myself and I appears as a multi-faceted self-portrait, which is nourished by his fascination for popular culture and which playfully questions notions of authorship and self-representation.    Read More »

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