Longitudes

Cover Story – June 2017: "Moth light—Absent Forms"


The June 2017 Monthly Cover Story ""Moth light—Absent Forms"" is now up on www.lttds.org after June it will be archived here

"The Latitudes-curated Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes & des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne opened at Meessen De Clercq, Brussels, in February 2011. More a series of five interlinked solo presentations than a conventional thematic group exhibition, it featured the work of Kasper Akhøj, Martí Anson, Maria Loboda, Charlotte Moth and Sarah Ortmeyer." Continue reading

Cover Stories' are published on a monthly basis on Latitudes' homepage and feature past, present or forthcoming projects, research, writing, artworks, exhibitions, films, objects or field trips related to our curatorial activities. 

RELATED CONTENT:

dOCUMENTA (13) artists and Latitudes

dOCUMENTA (13) continues in Kassel until 16 September 2012. Over the years we've had the pleasure to work with many of the featured artists in various ways, from commissions to symposia, to interviews. Here's a partial view of dOCUMENTA (13) through the projects of Latitudes.

Amy Balkin's work in the Friedericianum documents her attempt to have the world's atmosphere added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Latitudes presented an earlier iteration of this work, Public Smog (2004-ongoing), in Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin in 2008. She also contributed to Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook with her This is the Public Domain Project (2003–ongoing).



Amy Balkin's 'The is the Public Domain', in Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook. Photo: Robert Justamante. Courtesy: Latitudes.


Both Greenwashing and Land, Art also included the work of Maria Thereza Alves (whose work about Lake Chalco in Mexico City is included in the Ottoneum), the latter with the text 'No Brazil Without Us' by Alves, together with another dOCUMENTA (13) artist, Jimmie Durham. Latitudes also presented Alves' work 'The Sun' (2006, 5'03") in the 2008 film programme ‘A Stake in the Mud, A Hole in the Reel. Land Art's Expanded Field 1968–2008', which began at the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City and toured to eight more venues between April and October 2008. The film features the story of Viganella in the Italian Alps, a small village surrounded by a steep valley that does not allow any direct sunlight during the winter months. Viganella's 200 inhabitants decided to place a large computer-operated mirror at a strategic angle on the south-facing slope on the mountainside in order to reflect the sun on the village’s main piazza.

Mariana Castillo Deball – as uqbar, with Irene Kopelman – was one of the four exhibitions in Latitudes' 2009 series Amikejo at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC), León, Spain: "a psychedelic chiral ecosystem, featuring hanging papier-mâché epiphyte sculptures and ... fables among non-humans and drawings of hybrid creatures”. Castillo Deball was also part of our film programme What are we going to do after we’ve done what we’re going to do next?, for The Uncertainty Principle, at MACBA, Barcelona in June 2009, a project which functioned as a 'trailer' for Sequelism Part 3: Possible, Probable, or Preferable Futures, the exhibition we curated with Nav Haq at Arnolfini, Bristol, 18 July–20 September 2009. Both the latter projects featured Castillo Deball's Nowhere was Tomorrow (2007) her film which weaves the stories of a defunct accelerating ageing machine, a sprawling fig tree and the remains of a Roman bath in Serbia. 


Mariana Castillo Deball, 'It rises or falls depending on whether you're coming or going. If you are leaving, it's uphill; but as you arrive it's downhill', 2006. 'Extraordinary Rendition', NoguerasBlanchard, Barcelona, 22 March – 19 May 2007. Photo: Robert Justamante. Courtesy: Latitudes.

Extraordinary Rendition, which took place at NoguerasBlanchard, Barcelona, 22 March–19 May 2007, included Castillo Deball's installation It rises or falls... (2006) in which she revisited a popular legend around the looting and transportation of the colossal stone statue of Tláloc to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City in a series of lithographs. These were presented in parallel with a selection of audio interviews with antique dealers in Amsterdam and Barcelona, who discussed their profession's role in the creation of value, and the uncertainties of the market. Roman Ondák, whose work appears in the Neue Galerie at dOCUMENTA (13) was also part of Extraordinary Rendition with the work Untitled (Traffic), 2001, as was Natascha Sadr Haghighian (whose work in Kassel can be found on a slope of the Karlsaue park), here with the short video Embargo Embargo (2003) and the sound installation Elsewhere 3 (2005/7).

Mario Garcia Torres's film Abandoned and Forgotten Land Works That Are Not Necessarily Meant To Be Seen As Art (2004) was – alongside Francis Alÿs – a part of the Latitudes' film programme A Stake in the Mud, A Hole in the Reel. Land Art's Expanded Field 1968–2008, which premiered at the Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico, in April 2008, before a seven-venue tour in Europe. Judith Hopf & Deborah Schamoni's Hospital Bone Dance (2005) was part of X, Y, etc.! a video programme made for Artissima 15 in 2008 which was motivated by the methodological project of Charles Fort, while an article about Emily Jacir by Greg Barton featured in The Last Newspaper (The Last Express).

Renata Lucas's work at dOCUMENTA (13) imagines a fictional monument underneath Kassel. She was one of the four artist tutors who led a week-long workshop during Campus, the unaccredited art school directed by Latitudes for the Espai Cultural Caja Madrid Barcelona in summer 2011.


'Emergencies and Risk' seminar at the Sharjah Biennial 8 symposium. Michael Rakowitz with Susi Platt (Architecture for Humanity's leading post-Tsunami reconstruction designer, Sri Lanka) and Mehdi Sabet (Associate Professor, Architecture & Interior Design, School of Architecture and Design, AUS). Photo: Latitudes.

Michael Rakowitz
led a seminar on 'Emergencies and Risk' as part of the three-day symposium Latitudes organized for the 8th Sharjah Biennial, the United Arab Emirates in April 2007. An interview with Rakowitz by MoMA Ps1 curator Peter Eleey – entitled 'We Sell Iraqi Dates' – featured in UOVO/14 Ecology, Luxury & Degradation, which Latitudes guest edited in summer 2007. (UOVO/14 also includes an article by dOCUMENTA (13) Core Agent Chus Martínez on Arturas Raila).


Lawrence Weiner's work for dOCUMENTA (13) is inscribed on the glass wall in the Rotunda of the Fridericianum "brain". In 2008, Latitudes presented a new project with Weiner in Barcelona's Fundació Suñol entitled THE CREST OF A WAVE. On 9 September 2012, 7pm, Latitudes will be reading Weiner's "008: Lawrence Weiner: IF IN FACT THERE IS A CONTEXT" as part of dOCUMENTA (13) "Readers’ Circle: 100 Notes–100 Thoughts".


  Gustav Metzger's RAF/ Reduce Art Flights. Photo: Latitudes.

Gustav Metzger's RAF/ Reduce Art Flights project was implemented and presented as part of Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin in 2008, and later included in the 2009 exhibition 'Gustav Metzger, Decades 1959–2009' at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Serpentine Gallery curator Sophie O'Brien wrote this feature on Metzger for Latitudes' project The Last Newspaper (The Last Monitor). 

During The Dutch Assembly at ARCOmadrid 2012, Kunstverein Amsterdam's 'KV Auction' event was hosted by Gabriel Lester, whose Music for Department Stores (2012) can be found (or rather listened to) in Kassel's Kaufhaus. Lester has a further work in the vast Karlsaue Park – Transition 2012 (2012) – which also hosts the work of Maria Loboda. Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes & des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, at Meessen De Clercq, Brussels, Belgium, 25 February–16 April 2011 included Loboda as one of its five artists. She presented two works which incorporated printed fabric patterns inspired by the designs of Sonia Delaunay, Lotte Frömmel-Fochler and Mitzi Friedmann-Otten. Furthermore, The Dutch Assembly at ARCOmadrid 2012 also featured Rabih Mroué as the guest of BAK, Utrecht.


Tue Greenfort, Untitled, installation of 3 transparent-sided Eurobins outside the exit ramp of Frieze Art Fair, Regents Park, London, October 2008. Photo: Latitudes

Also in the Karlsaue Park is The Worldly House, a multispecies archive project put together by Tue Greenfort. Latitudes collaborated with Greenfort on several occasions, notably for a public-realm commission in London in conjunction with the Royal Society of Arts, and through contributions to the magazine UOVO/14, the exhibition Greenwashing, and the publication Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook. The latter two projects also included works by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. (And in addition, dOCUMENTA (13) artists Francis Alÿs, Brian Jungen and Natascha Sadr Haghighian also featured in Land, Art.)

Haris Epaminonda and Daniel Gustav Cramer's work at dOCUMENTA (13) take over two floors and the attic of an office building behind the Hauptbahnhof. 'The Garden of Forking Paths', which Latitudes presented at Maisterravalbuena, Madrid, 28 May–31 July 2009, featured the duo's The Infinite Library (2007–ongoing), a seemingly arbitrary archive of spliced publications. Elsewhere in the Hauptbahnhof 'constellation' Lara Favaretto's Momentary Monument IV (2012) comprised a dramatic mass of scrap metal. Mariana Cánepa Luna's interview with Favaretto was published in UOVO 16, January 2008 (pdf here). Haegue Yang was the subject of an interview by Doryun Chong in UOVO/14, Ecology, Luxury & Degradation.


Haegue Yang on the cover of 'The Last Star-Ledger' as part of 'The Last Newspaper', New Museum, New York, 2010. Photo: Latitudes
Yang was also our cover star for The Last Newspaper's The Last Star-Ledger, as well as presenting a major installation as part of Sequelism Part 3: Possible, Probable, or Preferable Futures, Arnolfini, Bristol. (You can download a pdf of Max Andrews's 2009 essay for 'Towards Haegue Yang’s Blind Rooms', published in Haegue Yang. Symmetric Inequality / Desigualdad Simétrica, Sala Rekalde, in English or Español. Sticking with writings, you can check out Andrews's essay on Dora García for Frieze here).


Ines Schaber, Picture Mining. In The Last Newspaper's The Last Gazette, 2010. Photo: Joel Stillman.

Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri – as eXplo – spoke at the symposium Latitudes put together for 'Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change', Sharjah Biennial 8, United Arab Emirates, in April 2007. Last but not least, Ines Schaber's work at dOCUMENTA (13) explores the history of the former monastery, workhouse, and correctional facility at Breitenau. For The Last Newspaper's The Last Gazette, Schaber presented Picture Mining, her research into Lewis Hine in the context of the Corbis archive, housed in a former mine in Pennsylvania.

Read our report dOCUMENTA (13), with photos and critics' comments. Full photo tour here.



All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (unless credited otherwise in the caption)

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Latitudes' "out of office" photo album 2011–2012

This is the fourth consecutive year (see 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 posts) we say goodbye to the 2011–12 season with an 'out of office' post with some unseen and 'behind the scenes' moments lived in the past 11 months. 

Happy holidays/felices vacaciones readers! More Latitudes' via Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/LTTDS) and Twitter (@LTTDS). 

– Latitudes | www.lttds.org


22 September 2011: Back to the future. transfering the mp3 file of the new anthem commissioned by Fermín Jiménez Landa onto a cassette. Images of their show here.

21 September 2011: Lee Welch and Fermín Jiménez Landa talk about their show to MUSAC's staff.

21 September 2011: Newly framed works by Lee Welch (top left) and photos by Fermín Jiménez Landa (right).

22 September 2011: Watching concrete dry (Lee Welch and Fermín Jiménez Landa's exhibition plinths/bordermarks).

23 September 2011: Final rehearsal of La Cena band in the Laboratorio 987 space. Opening performance of 'Himno Nacional' here.

 Permission to parade through the streets and squares of León's centre on the 24th September.

  24 September 2011: Fermín Jiménez Landa (camera) Lee Welch (video recording) the "Himno Nacional" 'pasacalles' parade around the streets of León.
 12 October 2011: Finding 'The Last Newspaper' displayed at Walter König's bookstore while browsing for nice books during Frieze Art Fair, London.

13 November 2011: Jorge Satorre fixing one of the posters of the show, before we take off to discuss his and Erick Beltráns' project 'Modelling Standard', an interview that was published in the February issue of Atlántica magazine.

January 2012: Testing, testing... 'The Dutch Assembly' programme available for smartphones.

 18 January: "Café con...Latitudes". Informal talk with Hangar artists-in-residence. Photo: Hangar. Latitudes has been part of Hangar's Programming Comitee between 2010–13.

31 January 2012: Premis GAC 2012 award ceremony at MACBA's atrium. Mariana Cánepa of Latitudes' was part of this year's jury.

2 February 2012: "...y desde el 'backstage'" (leer aquí) de Vanessa Graell en el suplemento 'Tendències', El Mundo.

6 February 2012: Demonstration to pressure politicians to change their minds about stopping the plan for the Canòdrom to be the future Centre of Contemporary Art in Barcelona. The windows were whitewashed as it is done with unused facilities.

Artists whitewashing the Canòdrom windows. 

 12 February 2012: "Mataró Chauffeur Service" mangled at Matadero, Madrid.

13 February 2012, ARCOmadrid: Installing vinyls and posters for each of the The Dutch Assembly hourly talks, readings, artists presentations, performances, book launches, in conversations and screenings throughout the five days of the fair. See list here (and some audiorecordings). Download full programme details here.

'The Dutch Assembly' was well connected.


13 February 2012: The Dutch Assembly 'Superstructure' space by Jasper Niens and Thijs Ewalts. On the picture, the choir performance 'Care' by Rory Pilgrim, presented by De Hallen, Haarlem.


16 February 2012: Latitudes introducing Ann Demeester, Director, and Nathalie Hartjes, coordinator of the Gallerist Programme at De Appel, presented a round table discussion with (left to right): Jeanine Hofland (Jeanine Hofland Contemporary Art, Amsterdam), Rebeca Blanchard (NoguerasBlanchard, Barcelona) and Helga de Alvear (Helga de Alvear, Madrid) around the profession of the gallerist. Photo: Haco de Ridder.

Álvaro Calleja profiles The Dutch Assembly: "Un Puente entre dos naciones'/'a bridge between two nations" en el  ABCDArco, 16 February 2012.


February: At last...Lara Almarcegui's monograph is here! Edited by Latitudes. 

 16 March: Good morning Sharjah! Part one of the March Meeting report here.

Sharjah lunch with curator and 'El Cultural' critic, Javier Hontoria.

17 March: Latitudes' presentation on residencies (for artists and curators) during Sharjah's fifth March Meeting, which focused on 'Working with Artists and Audiences on Commissions and Residencies'. Latitudes' panel titled "Minding the Gap: the Critical Role of Smaller Organisations" had presentations by Hu Fang (Vitamin Creative Space, China) and Daniella Rose King (MASS Alexandria, Egypt), and was chaired by Samar Martha (ArtSchool Palestine, Palestine). More photos here. Photo: Posted during the conference on the Twitter account of @lamyaalsuwaidi

Glitzy souvenirs from Dubai, anyone? See more images of Dubai's trip.

 23 March 2012: Last day in the Emirates. Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, one of the world's largest mosques. Read more on our trip to the Emirates on the blog (part 1, part 2 and part 3). 

 29 March (29M): General Strike in Spain. Many more demonstrations to come...

22 April: One of this year's exhibitions highlights: Xavier Le Roy's "Retrospective" at Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona. On the finissage, children almost stole the show joining performers.


Here, father (performer) and son, performing together in the finissage.

10 April 2012: The happy moment of receiving copies of a Amikejo, a book we have been working on most of the winter. See images of the book here.

31 May: Manifesta 9 curator Cuauhtémoc Medina with artist Jeremy Deller. See Latitudes' photo report of Manifesta 9.

31 May: With Lara Almarcegui while she explains her work included in Manifesta 9, Genk. (see more pictures of Manifesta 9, here).

2 June: Visit to the drielandenpunt for a remote book launch. This is the apex of the triangle-shaped borders of what was Amikejo.

2 June: Friends that come to a booklaunch in a remote place, the drielandenpunt ("Three-Country Point") in Dutch, or Dreiländereck ("Three-Country Corner") in German, or Trois Frontières ("Three Borders") in French." More images here. Photo: Klaas van Gorkum

 6 June 2012: Welcome to Germany! Brussels–Kassel train journey. A little German snack at Köln's Hauptbahnhof.

 6 June: A German, a Dane and and English man meet and greet in a square. (gallerist Johann König, artist Tue Greenfort and Max Andrews' of Latitudes in Friedrichtplatz, Kassel). See Latitudes' documenta (13) photo report here.

7 June: Launch of Maria Loboda's book at Karlsaue Park with music, smoke and a pyramid of ice with 750 litres of champagne. See Latitudes' documenta (13) photo report here.

9 June: "Spain is dead" sign posted opposite Kassel's Fridericianum the day Spanish Ministry of Economy De Guindos, announced the financial "bail out".
8 June 2012: Chance meeting with Mr Weiner and Mr Weiner's tote bag in Kassel, good memories of our 2008 'The Crest of a Wave'.

15 June: Visiting lecturers, Máster en Arte, Museología y Crítica Contemporáneas, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. The session was preceded by an evening conference at CGAC on "The Curatorial Contract: Analogies and case studies". Photo: Pedro de Llano.

 16 June: Almejas, berberechos and cold beer in Santiago de Compostela. Galicia calidade! 



 19 July: iPad-photodocumenting Haegue Yang's piece produced for "Sense and Sustainability", Urdabai Arte 2012.

 Tangle of 2012 press and work passes.

All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the caption of the photo). 

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Exhibition views: 'Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes & des arts et techniques dans la vie moderne', until 16 April

'Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes & des arts et techniques dans la vie moderne', February 25 – April 16, 2011, Meessen de Clercq, Brussels, Belgium

'EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE DES ARTS DÉCORATIFS ET INDUSTRIELS MODERNES & DES ARTS ET TECHNIQUES DANS LA VIE MODERNE' With works by: Kasper AKHØJ, Martí ANSON, Maria LOBODA, Charlotte MOTH and Sarah ORTMEYER
25 February–16 April 2011
 

Meessen de Clercq, Rue de l’Abbaye 2a
B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes & des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts & Art and Technology in Modern Life) presents projects by five contemporary visual artists which engage with specific instances of modernity as represented through industrial or domestic design. A world-famous tower, a street, a range of furniture, a modular display system, and textile patterns, have been metaphorically taken apart before being reconstituted, sometimes literally, through artistic practices and personal affiliations which incorporate historical research, travel, tribute and scenography, for example.

Running counter to the modernist spirit of rationality, clarity and empiricism, the artists’ often playful engagements deal with anecdotal, subjective, and frequently deliberately imprecise applications. Their projects engage with disciplines traditionally outside of the domain of the visual arts, and in doing so they invite a renegotiation of a design’s intended use, and an interest in the point at which apparent aesthetic surplus or redundancy modifies or reconstructs an object’s meaning or efficacy. The artists’ works furthermore operate with a heightened awareness or awkwardness of their being exhibited (and alongside a synthesized ‘period’ exhibition title taken from conjoining the names of the Paris Worlds’ Fairs from 1925 and 1937). Theatricality and commercial or museological display strategies are the restraints and releases, or the actual subject, of the artists’ articulations. (+ info...)

All photos: Philippe de Gobert

Newsletter #31 - March/Marzo 2011



FORTHCOMING IN APRIL 2011...

'Amikejo: Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum',
Laboratorio 987, 2011 season guest curated by Latitudes, MUSAC, León. 9 April - 12 June 2011. Opening: 9 April

EXHIBITIONS CURRENTLY ON VIEW...


Guest curators of the Laboratorio 987 2011 season, MUSAC, León: inaugural exhibition 'Amikejo: Pennacchio Argentato', on view until 27 March 2011 – see installation views here.

'Christina Hemauer & Roman Keller: United Alternative Energies', Aarhus Art Building, Århus, Denmark, on view until 3 April 2011
– see installation views here.

'Exposition Internationale des Art Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes & des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne' showing works by Kasper Akhøj; Martí Anson; Maria Loboda; Charlotte Moth and Sarah Ortmeyer. Meessen De Clercq, Brussels, Belgium, on view until 16 April 2011 - see installation views here


Latitudes' web www.lttds.org
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Previous newsletters here

Installing 'Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes & des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne' at Meessen De Clercq


Opening: Thursday 24 February 2011, 6–9pm.
With works by Kasper Akhøj (1976, Copenhagen, Denmark. Lives in New York, US); Martí Anson (1967, Mataró, Spain. Lives there); Maria Loboda (1979, Kraków, Poland. Lives in London, UK); Charlotte Moth (1975, Carshalton, UK. Lives in Paris, France) and Sarah Ortmeyer (1980, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Lives there).

The Exposition International des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes & des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts & Art and Technology in Modern Life) presents projects by five contemporary visual artists which engage with specific instances of modernity as represented through industrial or domestic design. A world-famous tower, a street, a range of furniture, a modular display system, and textile patterns, have been metaphorically taken apart before being reconstituted, sometimes literally, through artistic practices and personal affiliations which incorporate historical research, travel, tribute and scenography, for example. (+ info...)


Meessen De Clerq
Abdijstraat 2a Rue de l'Abbaye
1000 Brussels, BELGIUM
Tuesday to Saturday 11am – 6pm
T: +32 (0) 2 644 34 54
E: [email protected]
W: www.meessendeclercq.be


Installation pictures: Latitudes | www.lttds.org

'THE LAST EVENING SUN' AVAILABLE NOW! #7 issue of the 10 Latitudes-edited newspapers for 'The Last Newspaper' exhibition, New Museum

Issue 7: 'The Last Evening Sun'
(READ IT ON ISSUU)

Table of contents:

Cover:
'Without Rain Partial Nights Aerial Days', a special cover by Julia Rometti & Victor Costales (continues page 12)
Feature: Artist and writer Kathleen Ritter misreads the incomprehensible newspapers of Mark Manders
Focus: Simone Menegoi on Pavimento, Tautologia (1967) by Luciano Fabro; plus notes on 'Fabricating Fabro' by the New Museum Chief Preparator, Shannon Bowser
Special pull-out poster: Installation pictures and a checklist of 'The Last Newspaper' and New Museum's Facebook fans and Twitter followers reporting a sentence of personal news
Feature: 'Thomas Hirschhorn ♥ Queens' Charity Scribner on Thomas Hirschhorn
Feature: 'Red and black all over, again' Irina Chernyakova follows the design and production of 'The Last Evening Sun'
Focus: Inaba/C-Lab's 'Cloudy with a chance of Certainty'
Media Habits: Michael Rakowitz
The Next Newspaper (Profiling the organizations, projects, initiatives and individuals redefining ink-and-paper news):
WikiLeaks
Dirt Sheet column:
Janine Armin at the Taipei and the Gwangju Biennials
Picture Agent-Our singular picture agency: Maria Loboda 

100 years Ago…: 'Palestine Daily Herald' (Palestine, Texas) 1902-1949, November 17, 1910
Cartoon:
'The Woods: Flavor of the month' by Francesc Ruiz
'Advertising Department':
Ester Partegàs







EXCLUSIVE CONTENT!



Joshua Edwards, Exhibitions Manager at the New Museum, mops the floor and lays the previous day’s New York Times
to create Fabro’s Pavimento, Tautologia (1967). Photos: Latitudes


FLOOR TAUTOLOGY 
Curator and writer Simone Menegoi on Luciano Fabro’s ‘Pavimento–Tautologia’, the earliest work in ‘The Last Newspaper’

My grandfather had a sports car, a Lancia Fulvia coupé. He always kept it polished and would only use it on certain occasions. He was so afraid of getting it dirty that he never took off the plastic wrapping that covered the seats when he bought it, even after years of use. His zeal was not particularly unusual in Italy those years (the 1970s), as many people left on the protective plastic film that brand new sofas or chairs would have when purchased. This habit came from two decades earlier, when memories of war and poverty were still lurking. The first consumer goods purchases were the result of laborious saving, so things had to last for as long as possible.

Pavimento–Tautologia (Floor–Tautology) by Luciano Fabro is based on the same logic that drove people like my grandfather to keep the car seats wrapped: a logic that gave up the pleasure of being able to touch the leather or the fabric of the seat in exchange for the satisfaction of knowing that, beneath the protective plastic, the surface was kept intact. In Fabro’s work, a portion of the floor (sometimes an entire surface) is cleaned, polished with wax and then covered with newspapers. Beyond the ephemeral protection of paper – “a cheap and lightweight Carl Andre” as Jörg Heiser has written – the floor disappears, we cannot appreciate its lustre, but we know it’s being kept immaculate, and we know this will be preserved, even if we walk on the papers.

In 1978, a decade after presenting the work for the first time in Turin, Fabro wrote "in my town... the floor is cleaned and then covered, at least for the first day, with papers, newspapers or rags to avoid getting it dirty... on that first day, in those two or three days that it was covered with paper, no one saw the floor clean. This particular way of accounting for the labour and its preservation, not for ostentation but as a private affair, seeks to ensure that the effort made doesn’t end up in anything too quick.”


Newspaper placed on top of the mopped floor. Photo: Latitudes

The comparison between the newspapers on the floor and plastic on the new car seats, however, applies only within certain constraints. There is a fundamental difference between the work required for you to buy a car and the work involved in cleaning the floor. In Italy, in those years, the second had a clear gender dimension: it was a domestic job regarded as part of the housewife’s duties. Fabro was fully aware of this and it is no accident that he presented Pavimento for the first time in a gallery inside a private apartment, a space that preserved a domestic environment. Fabro was also aware of the position he was adopting as a male artist presenting it as a piece. The sculptor sided with the housewife, with her modest and under appreciated task that was repeated daily. "We experience seeing our work destroyed daily" Carla Lonzi, a friend and admirer of Fabro, wrote in 1970 in the Manifesto di rivolta femminile (Manifesto of feminist revolt), a key text of Italian feminism.

Forty years onwards, what is the effect of Pavimento in the context of an American museum, one so different from when the work was presented for the first time? Is it still effective? The vernacular appearance of the work, its provincial and quotidian dimension is probably hard to grasp today, particularly outside Italy. The political aspect – gender politics – is certainly less visible now than it was in the late 1960s, although its historical importance cannot be questioned. Pavimento remains current with the idea of "care", caring as an essential dimension of the relationship with a work. Pavimento consists only of this: in taking care. "Every experience related to this handmade piece is linked to maintenance," Fabro wrote in 1967. A piece that is not to be contemplated, but to be done. Its only legitimate spectator is the one who realised it and looked after it. In short, perhaps it is its only spectator. (Since to the rest of us, the polished floor remains invisible.) Fabro referred to caring in a material sense, as a symbol of all the other ‘cures’ that a piece would require: of a critical or political kind, for instance. In this sense, Pavimento was for him a sort of manifesto, as he stated that a work can never be taken for granted, but must be constantly redefined, reiterated, and defended. In its ‘infrathin’ layer of paper and floor wax, Pavimento–Tautologia guards a surprising depth of meaning.

– Translated from Italian by Mariana Cánepa Luna


(sidebar) FABRICATING FABRO


Installation view of Luciano Fabro's Pavimento-Tautologia (1967) on the 4th floor of the New Museum.
Courtesy of the Luciano Fabro Estate. Photo courtesy: Katie Sokolor / Gothamist.

Shannon Bowser: "I've been installing the piece every weekday since the exhibition opened in October. The layout uses all the pages of an issue yet the arrangement can be a little haphazard. We can lay the pages facing different directions and it doesn't need to be too precise or follow a set dimension, even though the barriers that surround the piece help as a guide to square it up to the wall. I throw down extra sheets here and there but it usually works out to be the same size each day overall no matter how many pages there were in the previous day's issue.

We have a specific subscription for the New York Times for this piece. Every morning I pick up a copy to keep it for the following day and I have with me the one from yesterday ready to go. I find myself reading the news while installing the work and so sometimes I have to pause to read properly, and I end up finding out about stuff that I would normally wouldn't. I wish I had time to read the New York Times every day, because there are so many good articles. Sometimes I flip through pages when I'm laying them down, so if there's an annoying full page with glaring women facing upwards I can choose to turn it around. It's really interesting to see yesterday's newspaper all laid out on the floor and realize the actual physical size of it, because you cannot really read the New York Times on the subway for example, because it's so big – it's so impractical!

Doing it definitely adds time to my morning routine so I've been coming in early every morning to be able to install the Fabro and then get everything else sorted as all these shows require a lot of maintenance. But it has been really interesting, I definitely feel like I'm participating in an artwork."

Watch a 'making of' video of the piece here.

Shannon Bowser (Chief Preparator) installs Pavimento–Tautologia on Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays.
Victoria Manning (Registrar) takes charge on Saturdays and Joshua Edwards (Exhibition Manager) on Sundays.

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Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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2005—2019