Archive for October, 2007

Rundgang SPINNEREI Set.2007

This September´s edition of the Rundgang at the SPINNEREI was spiced up by three new openings, namely, Fred Gallery´s new exhibiting space, Kavi Gupta Gallery from Chicago as the new gallery-in-residence and, Laden für Nichts, whose concept implies constantly moving around and now has the Spinnerei for its latest location.

Angelina Gualdoni´s paintings at Dogenhaus exploring space and fusion, were very appealing in its dimensions, colors, spatial depictions and how acrylic gave the impression of watercolor sometimes.
I specially enjoyed Grit Hachmeister´s exhibition “Du alter Sack, was nun” where spontaneous drawings, rehearsed snapshots and collage with experimental and poor materials were to be found. Grit Hachmeister´s work uses the body as subject to address desire, violence and pornography as the most direct way to deal with how we use and exploit each other and ourselves in the most urgent and ruthless way. Furthermore, ASPN showed one of Hachmeister´s sculptures and in my view one of the best works at the Rundgang.

Another high point was Lutz-Rainer Müller & Jan Freuchen`s “Object Perdu” at Pierogi. Following “Object Trouvé” (2006). This 1:1 wooden replica of the Eagle (the lunar module that landed on the moon in 1969) with a wooden piano attached to its body, was originally chopped into small pieces by the artists and then thrown into a swamp. “Object Perdu” is born out of the recovery of the former broken sculpture from the swamp, in an attempt to re-create and re-built the initial project. Its constructed but sober look is specially attractive.

Also at Pierogi, William Lamson “SUBLUNAR“, a series of photographic and video works as well as an installation on the theme of human inability to fly without technical external help, caught my attention. Though small in its dimensions, “Jump” is a brilliant video animation were the naive wish to fly with no technical means goes hand to hand with its technique resulting in a dreamy atmosphere.

Melanie Manchot´s Film “Shave” in exhibition at Fred Gallery, shows – in a cold and distanced way despite the intimacy of the scene – a man having his head, breast and arms completely shaved by a barber and the small unavoidable wounds that open and bleed during the process.

Finally I would stress, Joachim Blank´s hybrid works, as not only they can be thought of as wall sculptures but also challenge both material and pictorial elements thus crossing borders. “He mixes digital production processes like laser cuts and Photoshop filters with industrially manufactured materials like acrylic glass, industrial wood, lacquer and adhesive (…) By using specific construction materials, he consciously cites the context of these materials and endows them with pictorial motifs”. (Filipprosbach press release)
Blank´s works are a knot where all aesthetic tensions under discussion nowadays converge and are mirrored. In particular, the use of industrial materials, in this way quoting the 70s But his works also join in a Formalist research and self-reflexive tendency that has shaped and been present throughout all XX century art.

Kavi Gupta´s ground floor installation by Danielle Gustafson-Sundell, depicting colorful humorous sentences on the walls, such as: “You are on my “to-do” list!” introduced the humorous tone that was sort of missing to the whole event.

October 16, 2007 at 10:53 pm Leave a comment



I am on
Switched on
A sudden clearness, a clarity
Hidden away, in every locked toilet
I’ve been waiting for you in the Joiners Arms
I know your name
I know your name
I’ve danced with you
We’re all friends here
Silver slugs lined up like bullets
Rolled up twenties, they disappear

You make my tongue loose
You make my tongue loose
I am hopeful and stutter-free
You make my tongue loose
You make my tongue loose
I am hopeful

Friday night I do all the talking
A pint and a fight, the dance floor is mine
Truth serum and limbs that won’t listen
Drunken “I love yous”, on top of the world

And when it runs out
We’re chasing something we’ll never catch
And when it runs out
We buy more
A flatness so bleak, I’ve been bitten by a vampire
A flatness bleaker than the one it replaced

You make my tongue loose
You make my tongue loose
I am hopeful and stutter-free
You make my tongue loose
You make my tongue loose
I am hopeful
I can charm
I can charm them all

(Bloc Party, On, A Weekend in the City, 2007)

October 8, 2007 at 8:14 pm Leave a comment

Dokumenta KASSEL 2007

To Dora and Volker

For 100 days Dokumenta 12, spread across several venues in Kassel, namely the Museum Fridericianum, the Aue-Pavillon, the documenta-Halle, the Neue Galerie, the Schloss Wilhelmshöhe and Gloria Kino. According to its curators (Roger M. Bürgel and Ruth Noack), each of these buildings were meant to symbolize a specific century, a notion of the public and a concept of viewing art. And this was closely linked to this year´s program for the event. Reflecting on the concepts of modern, existence and education, Dokumenta 12 took on the challenge of answering the problem it choose to investigate: Is modernity our antiquity? What is bare life? And, what is to be done?

Having visited Kassel three weekends ago, I would say the major problem with Dokumenta 12 is exactly how the concept of “juxtaposition” was put into practice. It is a promising concept that allows art work confrontation, opening new readings and engaging a perspective that – we all expected – would answer the problem on the table.
But, throughout Dokumenta 12, such juxtaposition was mostly based on formal choices, sometimes to a point of complete obviousness, often remaining on a pure illustrative and pedagogical level. Works of the same artist were to be found in different points of the Dokumenta, in most situations without a real meaningful aim except for its formal resemblance to other works done prior or in another geographic context. And this was specially problematic at Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, were the interaction between Dokumenta´s works and the Museum´s permanent collection was very narrow.
It is not enough to insert two video installations within the museum collection, hang Kerry James Marshall´s “Lost Boys” (1993) depicting Afro-American people next to Karel van Mander´s “Hydaspes and Persina before the Painting of Andromeda” (1640) where colored people are to be seen, to proclaim this as pushing real dialogue between works of different time periods and engaging the public with it. Charlotte Posenenske´s wonderful works for example, were shoved into a corner and totally misplaced. Nor was she lucky at the Museum Fridericianum, where “Vierkantrohre Serie DW” (1967) – placed in the same room with Trisha Brown´s installation piece and performance “Floor of the Forest“ -, went completely unnoticed.
Charlotte Posenenske, Vierkantrohre Serie DW, 1967

What seems specially true is the incorporation of new artistic territories, speeches, voices – though not really new problems – into the exhibition space. Many artists from Arabe and African countries were present. Amar Kanwar´s remarkable video installation “The Lightning Testemonies” (2007) for instance, tried to answer how can sound, image and photography document in a creative way a true and sad event.

For me, the real theme of Dokumenta 12 was “conflict” – be it political, racial, economical, religious, social, you name it. Every thinkable form of conflict was present, even the conflict with one´s self. Imogen Stidworthy´s installation “I Hate” (2007), depicting the photographer Edward Woodman (who lost his power of speech in consequence of an accident) trying to pronounce correctly “eight” and not “hate”, highlighted just that. But so did many other works, showing the different forms conflict can assume nowadays. Imogen Stidworthy, I Hate, 2007

Churchill Madikida, Virus I - V, 2005, Video installation

Churchill Madikida´s video Installation “Virus” (2005) for instance, focuses on personal and social conflict and disease, whereas Kerry James Marshall´s paintings approach social and racial issues. Dias & Riedweg´s film “Veracidad Máxima” (2003) and Ines Doujak´s “Siegesgärten” (2007) handle sexuality, economical conditions under globalisation and gender, in a very different and interesting way.

Dias & Riedweg, Veracidad Máxima, 2003Ines Doujak, Siegesgärten, 2007

Meanwhile Bill Kouélany´s massiv papiermaché wall, a metaphor for all the walls of shame, with news cut out from international newspapers addressed the conflictive relation between politics and the media.
On its turn,in “The Exploitation of the Dead” Mladen Stilinovic collects war memorabilia together with a photo of Kasimir Malevich on his deadbed. And Guy Tillim´s photographs of democratic Congo document the first free presidential and parliamentary elections in forty years in that country.
Guy Tillim, Congo Democratic, Photography, 2006

Parallel to this manifold exploration of conflict and also battling but, in the field of aesthetics, self-reflexive art works were to be found. Gonzalo Díaz´s pieces “Al calor del pensamiento I” (1999) and the ironical “Eclipsis” (2007) mirrored just that. In this last, the viewer had to queue to view the installation only to read in the end: “To come to the heart of Germany, only to read the word “art” under ones own shadow”. Brilliant.

Gonzalo D�az, Eclipsis, 2007

Accounting for minimalism tendencies, John McCracken ´s “Orchid” (1991) and Poul Gernes´ “Stripe series paintings” were specially worth noticing. And Lili Dujourie´s structuralist collage “Roman” (1978) was a great discovery for me. Dealing with fragmentation, disruption and meaning this work is extremely poetical and sensual.

John McCracken, Orchid, 1991

Lili Dujourie, Roman, 1976

Poul Gernes, Stripe series paintings, 1965
Finally, Trisha Brown´s “Floor of the Forest” (1970), an installation and performance carrying the same name, stood up for interdisciplinary work. “Movers” (and not dancers) make their way through an undulating sea of wafting fabric exploring gravity, tension and its contrary.

In the end, I would dare to say, that the best works present at the Dokumenta, with few exceptions, were films or installation using film. The major example being, James Coleman´s “Retake with Evidence” (2007), performed by Harvey Keitel, and for me the best work in Kassel.
James Coleman, Retake with Evidence, 2007

The Dokumenta did state and testify to a point of excess the ongoing forms of conflict but, failed to answer if there can “be a common planetary horizon for all the living and the dead”, thus, not really answering nor taking a stand to the question itself raised.

Trisha Brown, Floor of the Forest, 1970, Installation and performance_16

October 6, 2007 at 7:10 pm Leave a comment

Wasting time hanging around with you!

Baby Liliana
To my grandmother Vírginia.
And also to those who truly love me and
with whom I learn and grow every day.

I am sitting alone at home. In exactly 8 minutes I´ll be 28 years old. I do not feel alone though. Quite on the contrary.

I am overwhelmed by all the beautiful people I´ve met throughout my life. Some have saved me, I´ve saved a few back, others meant so much to me without even realizing it, others helped me without even knowing me. A friend says I´ve got this talent: „You attract „special“ people because „normal“ people just bore you”, she says.
The people I´ve met through many different cities are truly „walking poems“. And so we sat, sometimes in silence, we drank and ate and smoked together. Sometimes I don´t know what to do with all these „miracles“, it gets too much, in a pain/wonderful sort of way.
Often they don´t know how very special and beautiful they are. The ones who are not afraid, I tell them how much a privilege it is to share moments with them, how much I love them.
These texts are my most profound way to thank and love them all. Just for existing. And for sharing their stories with me. Here is the first part of it, devoted to my crew and core.

Me and Virginia.
We drove together. Every single weekend, we went to the groceries, to get her medicine, we ate cake and drank coffees together, her in her best Sunday suit and me imagining, if I would look like her in my eighties. Her empty seat in my car is still too painful.
My grandma was the only one who could have told me not to go. But she never did. She always told me to go and do what´s best for me. And when I think that her body fought and waited for me to take a plane home in order to die, that she awoke from the coma and we could tell words to each other and then she died it´s just…

J. was the first person in my life in many ways. He was the first to see dreams in me and how they would take me somewhere, and so he pushed me to do better. He was also the first to tell me how proud he was of me. J. made me believe in people.
J. is very temperamental, when he argues he stamps his left foot on the floor. He loves women; we call it the „fireman complex“, he just can´t hold himself, he has to save them!
He is my best friend and a part of me. I will take care of him in sickness and I will bury him.

C. hated me in Secondary School. We are best friends for 12 years. We shop and go to the beach together and make up theories about relationships and love. I watched her grow and turn into an amazing woman. C. was the first person to bake me a cake for my birthday. She always comes to fetch me and takes me to the airport. We hardly ever hug but, she is always there for me. Like a rock.

For her 24th birthday I wrote her: „Beautiful and soft as a poem/ Strong and unbreakable as water/ You are shaping the world around you!“ And she is, she truly is.
K. is an angel in my life. She is extremely professional at her job and then she comes home and we drink tee and talk in the kitchen until 4pm. Sometimes she holds her teddy bear and we watch romantic comedies, discuss boys and eat pizza together. She can build shelves and bake cakes.
K. held me when I got the news. And she drove me to Berlin in the middle of the night so I could return home to my grandmother and say my last goodbye, though she had the biggest interview of her career early next morning…

These people are my country.

October 5, 2007 at 9:50 am 2 comments