05 Nov 2013 2013, castillo/corrales, Centre Pompidou, Chalet Society, FIAC, Kadist Foundation, Paris, Philippe Parreno, Pierre Huyghe, report, research, trip, Versailles, wunderkammer
Latitudes was recently invited to take part in the 2013 Young Curators Invitational programme (YCI) coinciding with FIAC, the Parisian art fair that has been gaining acclaim in recent years, particularly since Jennifer Flay took over as director in 2003 and relocated the fair to the light-filled Grand Palais in 2006. This was its 40th edition and it included more outdoor installations, a new performance series and a film screening series. Held since 2006 as a collaboration between the art fair, Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard and the Institut Français, YCI gathers a group of curators during FIAC week for a programme of visits to Parisian cultural institutions, as well as a series of meetings with art professionals that gather on the occasion of the fair.
The other 2013 participants were Maaike Lauwaert (Curator, Stroom den Haag, The Hague), Christiane Rekade (independent curator based in Berlin), Margit Säde Lehni (Independent curator based in Estonia and Zürich and co-publisher of Rollo Press), Miriam Kathrein (Curator at TBA21, Vienna) and Amira Gad (Managing Curator/Publications at Witte de With, Rotterdam and Managing Curator, Fogo Island Arts, Canada). The YCI is by invitation only, and Latitudes were thankful to be recommended by Zoë Gray (independent curator based in Brussels and vice-president of IKT).
Monday 21 October: After arrival and introductions among the group, we set off to the press view of Philippe Parreno's solo show at Palais de Tokyo. "Anywhere, Anywhere, Out Of The World" took over the whole of the Palais de Tokyo, a vast space of 22,000 square metres that Parreno had orchestrated, according to the venue website "along the lines of a dramatic composition where the spectral presence of objects, music, lights, and films guide and manipulate the visitor’s experience, offering a journey through his works, both old and new, transforming this monologue into a polyphony". Voilà! In a recent interview between the artist and Jennifer Higgie, frieze co-editor, Parreno discussed his ideas for his exhibition at Palais de Tokyo: "I’m going to structure my exhibition around the score of Igor Stravinsky’s 1910 ballet, Petrushka.. (...) At the Palais de Tokyo, all of the pauses and movements will be directed by the piano. Petrushka will be the master of the show, its code. In automation you always ask who is the master and who is the slave. Here the show will be enslaved by a piano. When certain notes are played, something particular will happen: for example, lights will flicker according to the piano movement; and at the moment when the ballet dancer appears, my film Marilyn (2012) will be screened. People will do certain things, like in a Kafka novel where people also follow the programme. I am looking at the Palais de Tokyo itself as if it were an automaton." For a more experiental description of the exhibition, you might read the review by The Guardian contributor Adrian Searle (although somewhat missleadingly it introduces Parreno only as a video artist). Check also Ivo Bonacorsi's on Domus with lots of great photos.
Installation, Petrouchka by Stranvinski, recorded by Mikhail Rudy on a Yamaha "Disklavier" piano, 2013.
Theatrical entrance awnings flashed on and off in synch with another digital piano-roll.
Parreno in collaboration with Douglas Gordon, "Zidane: un portrait du XXIème siècle", 2006.
General view of the exhibition.
Tuesday 22 October: The following day we visited the Château de Versailles (no introduction needed), whose vast gardens hosted works by arte povera éminence grise Giuseppe Penone, including tree-and-rock sculptures such as that recently seen at Kassel's Karlsauer Park during the past Documenta 13. The works where supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès.
View of Nicolas Boulard's "Aéroplane" (2013) and on the right fifteen "Agroglyphes" (2011-12), drawings of crop designs applied in different geographies.
In the afternoon we strolled around the Berges de Seine (checking out the installations along the left bank of the Seine) and the Jardin des Tuileries, sites of FIAC's 'Hors les Murs' programme with interventions and sculptures by artists including Societé Réaliste (pictured below their "UN Camouflage" (2013)).
Visit to the Jardin des plantes followed by a reception at the Grande Galerie de l'Évolution. Victor Costales and Julia Rometti installation "Roca | Azul | Jacinto | Marino | Errante" (2013) (photographed below) was one of the many works displayed around the Jardin. Last year the piece was part of the artists stand which won the illy SustainArt Prize during ARCOmadrid 2012.
Wednesday 23 October: Closed-door session "Curatorial research, criticism and publishing practices in the French art scene" at the Auditorium du Grand Palais, FIAC. Photographed below (left to right): Ida Soulard (Art Historian and Research Director of Fieldwork: Marfa); Emilie Villez (Director of Kadist Foundation, Paris) and Marie Cozette (Director of the Synagogue de Delme). Other speakers were Pierre Bal-Blanc (Director of CAC Brétigny); Elisabeth Lebovici (Art Critic and Senior Lecturer at EHESS) and Benjamin Thorel (Art Critic, curator at castillo/corrales, and editor of Paraguay Press). The panel was moderated by curator and writer, Vincent Normand. As time was limited we decide to concentrate and peruse the upper floor of FIAC, stopping at the stands of Galerie Jan Mot (Brussels), gb Agency (Paris), Monitor (Rome), ProjecteSD (Barcelona), Jocelyn Wolff (Paris), Vitamin Creative Space (Guanghzou), LABOR (Mexico City), Ellen de Bruijne Projects (Amsterdam), Meessen de Clercq (Brussels), castillo/corrales (Paris), Parra & Romero (Madrid), RODEO (Istanbul and winner of the Lafayette Prize), Juliette Jongma (Amsterdam), Bugada & Cargnel (Paris), Galerie Jousse Enterprise (Paris) and Motive Gallery (Amsterdam), (participating in their last fair, as they will soon wrap up their gallery programme and transition into an institute).
Towards the first floor level of FIAC, the Salon d’Honneur.
Guillaume Leblon, Asier Mendizabal and Iñaki Bonillas on the photo. ProjecteSD, Barcelona.
Koki Tanaka at Vitamin Creative Space, Guanghzou.
Hans Schabus at Jocelyn Wolff, Paris, where he also had a solo show we later visited. Francesco Arena performance at Monitor, Rome. Wonderful set of prints by Terence Gower of Sert's US Embassy in Bagdad at LABOR from Mexico City.
Early afternoon visit to Kadist Foundation and tour of the exhibition "Room by us" by the artist Nicolás Paris (on view until 8 December).
We ended the day visiting Pierre Huyghe's exhibition at Centre Pompidou and the 2012 Prix Marcel Duchamp at the Espace 315. The latter featured a large tapestry of merino wool, a painting on silk and a bodybuilder sculpture made of oak by Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel (both on view until 6 January 2014).
Huyghe's retrospective exhibition presented fifty works that span over the last twenty years of production. As stated in the exhibition leaflet "The exhibition emphasizes the living and organic dimension of his propositions, which envisage the space as a world in intself, unplanned, living according to its own rhythms: it is not so much the points but rather the flow, the interplay and the intensities arising between the elements that he reveals. Moreover, the exhibition highlights the filiations between the works, sometimes separated by as much as a decade: adolescents wearing the heads of animals for La Toison d'Or (1993) in a park in Dijon hence relate to the protagonists of the procession in Streamside Day (2003) or even to Human, the dog with the pink leg [see Documenta 13 photodocumentation]. Rooted in the walls and remnatns of previous exhibitions, particularly the preceding one of Mike Kelley, the show opens towards the exterior in an outgrowth, where certain organic and climatic works can exist." Untitled (Liegender Frauenakt), 2012. Presented in the recent Documenta 13 last year – see photodocumentation.
Part of the installation in three acts "L'Expedition Scintillante", 2002.
Here: "De Hory Modigliani" (2007) "The Host and the Cloud" (video, 2010) & "RSI, un bout de réel" (2006).Thursday 24 October: Fondation Ricard exhibition "La vie matérielle" curated by Yann Chateigné, Chair of the Department of Visual Arts at the Haute école d’art et de design in Geneva. The show presents works by Stéphane Barbier-Bouvet, Jonathan Binet, Alex Cecchetti, Caroline Mesquita, Chloé Quenum, Lili Reynaud Dewar, Alexandre Singh, Benjamin Valenza (see more photos here), and was organised on the occasion of the 15th Prix Fondation d'entreprise Ricard, an award that consist in the purchase of a work from the winner, which is then donated to the Centre Pompidou and presented in the permanent collections of the institution. The 2013 awardee was Lili Reynaud Dewar.
During our free time, we set off to the Musée d'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (MAM) to visit the group show "Decorum. Carpets and tapestries by artists" (on view until 9 February 2014). London-based artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz directed the exhibition scenography together with architect Christine Ilex Beinemeier, and Jean-Philippe Antoine, professor of Aesthetics, selected a playlist of 65 songs (including pieces by John Cage, Béla Bartók, Michael Nyman, David Crosby or Brian Eno) which accompanies the visitor to the exhibition [it can also be listened to here and on the website of the exhibition]. The sprawling exhibition, laid out under five loose thematic sections ("Painterly", "Decorative", "Orientalisms", "Primitivisms" and the "Sculptural") presented over a hundred pieces by modernist artists (Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Alexander Calder, Anni Albers) alongside contemporary artists (including Isabel Cornaro, Leonor Antunes, Albert Oehlen, Mai-Thu Perret, Vincent Vulsma), and started off with two large installations, by Franz West ("Auditorium", 1982), made up of sofas covered with oriental carpets on which the public is invited to sit, and a large weaving loom by Michael Beutler which reflects on mass production and collaborative work. Watch a short video documentary here (in French).
General view of the exhibition.
(Above) Work by Elsi Giauque's "Élément Spatial" (1979). Colection of MUDAC, Lausanne. We also visited Bétonsalon, centre d'art et de recherche which hosted the publication-as-exhibition "They remember only the photographs". It focused on the research undertaken at the Bibliothèque Kandinsky (Centre Pompidou MNAM-CCI) by the research group "Modern and contemporary art photographed" of the Ecole du Louvre and the University Paris Diderot - Paris 7, represented by five students from the association Politik’art. It represented the research undertaken at the by ten students from the Ecole du Louvre Masters degree. More photos here.Reconnecting with our programmed schedule we visited the Cité internationale des arts and made studio visits with artists Benoit Pype, Stéphanie Lagarde and Pieter Van der Schaaf. With over 300 individual studios and living spaces facilities in Marais and Montmatre, the Cité internationale des arts has, since 1965, provided short or long stays (2 months to 1 year) for over 18,000 professional artists who want to develop an artistic work in France. Lagarde is researching the peculiar names of the different varieties of iris (Pink Confetti, Midsummer Night's Dream, Oregon Skies, Dancing Shiva...) in order to compose a series of poems and at a later stage, to plant them following the order of her poem.
To end the day, we had a meeting with artist Farah Atassi (shortlisted for the 2013 Marcel Duchamp prize) at Galerie Xippas. The winner, announced on Saturday 26th, was Latifa Echakhch (born in 1974, represented by kamel mennour, Paris). Other shortlisted artists were Claire Fontaine (collective founded in Paris in 2004 represented by Chantal Crousel and Air de Paris) and Raphaël Zarka (born in 1977, represented by Michel Rein, Paris).
The day ended with several openings around Marais: gb agency with Omer Fast; Galerie Chantal Croussel with Abraham Cruzvillegas; Galerie Jousse Enterprise with Superflex; Campoli Presti with Liz Deschenes, Yvon Lambert with David Claerbout, New Gallery with Daniel Keller; TORRI with a group show with works by Braco Dimitrijevic, Hamish Fulton, Ai Wei Wei and Zhao Zhao... comme ci, comme ça.
Friday 25 October: Visit to the artist-run-space Treize and tour of Belleville galleries: Samy Abraham; Balice Hertling; Antoine Levi; Marcelle Alix; Crèvecoeur; Jocelyn Wolff and castillo/corrales.
The artist-run-space Treize hosted the show "Pavillon Moret" with works by Sophie Lamm, Sarah Tritz, Lucille Uhlrich and Marion Verboom. Antoine Levi hosted the solo show "Problems of Style" by Sean Townley. Jocelyn Wolff presented a solo show of Austrian artist Hans Schabus. We finished our day with a guided tour of the exhibition Europunk at Cité de la musique by its curator David Sanson, and a visit to the recently opened Chalet Society (a new association founded in 2012 by former Palais de Tokyo director, Marc-Olivier Wahler), which hosted "The Hidden World. Jim Shaw / A Didactic Collection" (until 29 December). The show included astonishing materials from the artist collection which accounts as his source of inspiration: "secret societies, far-fetched orders and fraternities, evangelical and fundamentalist movements, New Age spiritualists, Scientologists, Mormons, Freemasons, ultraconservatives and all kinds of conspirators, encyclopaedias for children and even Dr. Netter’s famous medical illustrations". Occuping 1,000m2 on 14 boulevard Raspail, this former school also hosts a "conceptual crêperie" and a shop with books selected by the califormnian artist.
During the weekend we had time to visit a museum that came highly recommended by those that knew our taste for obscure collections and wunderkammer exhibits, the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (picture below). We also returned to the Centre Pompidou to pay a visit to their 'Plural Modernities 1905–1970' exhibition. This re-reading of the collection showcased a series of interrelated micro-exhibitions and is well worth a visit. Rarely seen works populated the fourth floor galleries in an effort to present to what until recently were considered 'minor' modernities. There was a special focus on the Maghreb, Latin America and Asia, the latter represented by a selection of works by Asian artists living in Paris at the height of Impressionism, whose work followed the same aesthetic principles. There were some delightful inclusions such as the wealth of art journal covers that filled the walls as wallpaper, allowing the visitor to cross-relate the graphics and texts to the paintings and sculptures produced concurrently. Gallery guide here.
Façade of the Pompidou.
04 Nov 2013 2013, Athens, biennale, crisis, Deste Foundation, Fernando García-Dory, report, Vangelis Vlahos
The former stock exchange displayed nine digital price boards, a work by George Harvalias.
The tumultuous events of the last years in Greece have seen hundreds of thousands of people rallying, striking and rioting to protest the waves of austerity measures imposed on the debt-stricken country. Protestors have repeatedly clashed with police, lives have been lost, unemployment has skyrocketed, and the government warned in 2010 that the nation was "on the brink of the abyss". This year's Athens Biennale set itself the courageous task of asking, "Now what?". Taking its cue from the notion of the agora as a place of gathering and collaborative reconciliation, the Biennale transposed an ancient discursive framework onto the holy mess of the present. Its bitingly resonant main venue was the former Athens stock exchange, not quite a ruin, but a scarred shell of a building in the centre of the city.
The main hall of the former Athens stock exchange building on Sofocleous Street. This neo-Classical building opened in 1876 and was the trading floor for shares listed on the ATHEX exchange until it moved to another venue in July 2007. The nine digital price boards (the actual boards of the former exchange) was a work by George Harvalias, perhaps the touchstone of the biennial. It reproduced the share prices from the last day's trading in the building in 26 June 2007 when prices were near their peak value, with no sign of the subsequent catastrophic market crash to come. The text work on the balcony of the stock exchange hall was part of series entitled "New Behavioral Notes" (2012) by Dimitris Dokatzis, an Athenian artist of the same generation as Harvalias born in the 1950s. The words read "Money – Money! That is always the danger with you", a fragment taken from an Agatha Christie novel.
Among the younger generation of Greek artists and the more veiled comments on the financial crises, Constantinos Hadzinikolaou showed "Peacock" (2003–13), a Super 8 loop of a male Peafowl's extravagant courtship display.
One of at least three Spanish artists in the Biennial (besides Catalans Núria Güell and Ester Partegàs), Fernando García-Dory focused "on Pacific, Caribbean and Mediterranean islands as semi-enclosed ecosystems that stage the classic neo-liberal drama in which local economies succumb to the promissory spectacle of worldly paradise."
The guts of the Biennale were a series of discussions, workshops and roundtables, and on 12 October 2013 the main venue hosted a fascinating, sobering and graph-filled economics conference, featuring blue-chip economists from around the world including Heiner Flassbeck, Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Poka-Yio, Biennale co-founder and co-director introduced the conference (photographed above).
Paolo Manasse, Professor of Macroeconomics and International Economic Policy at the University of Bologna.
This year's biennale is fully online and can be followed on twitter #AB4AGORA, facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vimeo and YouTube platforms. Alternatively, for an overview of what's coming up, check out the biennale calendar.
AB4 was put together by a large group of contributing curators and collaborating correspondents as well as through an open call for projects. One of the features of the exhibition was the presence of a number of artists from Chicago, reflecting the engagement of Stephanie Smith, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. (Stephanie was a contributor to the Latitudes-edited "Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook"). Among them, Geof Oppenheimer stood out with his "Reversals" (2013) new work which grew out of the sifting of archival advertising and press images to comprise ambiguous montages of economic affluence and political intrigue (photographed above).
At the Contemporary Art Meeting Point (CAMP, on 4 Eupolidos & 2 Apellou str.), material related to four decades of socially engaged art in Chicago was presented under the name "Never the Same", the archive led by Daniel Tucker and Rebecca Zorach (photographed above).
Of the artists more familiar from the better-worn paths of contemporary art, Gabriel Kuri presented "Quick Standards" (2005), which comprised four emergency blankets taped on wooden sticks.
We were very grateful to curator and art historian Christoforos Marinos and his partner Xenia Kalpaktsoglou (co-founder and co-director of the force that is the Athens Biennale) for helping us in setting up some impromptu meetings with some impressive artists while we were in Athens. We managed to meet Vangelis Vlahos, Kostis Velonis, Rallou Panagiotou, AlexandrosTzannis, Kernel (an artist/architect curatorial collaboration of Pegy Zali, Petros Moris and Theodoros Giannakis) and Dora Economou.
(Above) Kernel (Pegy Zali, Petros Moris and Theodoros Giannakis) at the café of the Athens Biennial.
Apart from the Biennial, elsewhere in Athens, the Deste Foundation/Dakis Joannou Collection presented "The System of Objects", a show inspired by Jean Baudrillard's 1968 book of the same name. Curated by Andreas Angelidakis with Italian curator Maria Cristina Didero, the show extended over densely-installed rooms which were, as Angelidakis suggested "a little bit like floating down that river of the internet... Cypriot antiquities float alongside major installations by Maurizio Cattelan, paintings by Jeff Koons and worn out red vinyl tights from American Apparel? A seminal Archizoom chair from 1968 floats next to a painting by a Cypriot artist given to Dakis ages ago? Really?".
And of course what visit to Athens could ignore the treasures of the National Archaeological Museum? Of the objects on show, the finds from the Antikythera shipwreck were perhaps the most astonishing. Dated to 60–50 BC, they came from what experts believe was a freighter packed with Greek art headed to Italy. Ancient reminders from the dawn of the art trade, the antiquities – half consumed by the sea – were brought together for the first time in a special exhibition.
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01 Nov 2013 2013, architecture, Carla Filipe, Domènec, Eva Fàbregas, Exhibition, Mataró, modernity, Rafel G. Bianchi, Regina Giménez, report, Terence Gower
'Modernitat Amagada' (3–31 October 2013), organised by ACM (Associació per a la Cultura i l’Art Contemporani de Mataró), was a short-lived group show at Casa Capell in Mataró, the wonderful former home of the Masjuan family ("former" as today there are hardly any traces of its original domestic use as it has been coverted into City Hall offices for its department of sustainability). It was built in 1959 by Jordi Capell (1925–1970), a little-known rationalist architect, mathematician and humanist. The exhibition extended over two floors, presenting works by Alexander Apóstol, Xavier Arenós, Rafel G. Bianchi, Eva Fàbregas, Carla Filipe, Regina Giménez, Terence Gower and Jaume Roure, as well as works by its two organisers, the artists Domènec and Dani Montlleó. The works were mostly produced in 2013, and ranged from sculptural interventions (Eva Fàbregas), responses to the home environment and its particular architecture (Rafel G. Bianchi, Regina Giménez, Jaume Roure), to contributions by artists whose artistic practice usually navigates the field of modern architecture (Terence Gower, Domènec, Xavier Arenós). Carla Filipe, "Ideal City and Current Town" (2013). 10 acrylic stands with collages. Detail of Carla Filipe's "Ideal City and Current Town" (2013). Extending the line of her previous projects, Carla Filipe recuperated lost or forgotten memories, trying to connect unknown fragments of local history. Her modules revived the 'Moderno Escondido' (Hidden Modernity) concept which was developed by Portuguese architects in the 1950s and 60s and which resulted in a series of offices, chuches, domestic spaces and commercial spaces though now these are mostly abandoned, both physically and ideologically. Regina Giménez, "Composició en vermell, groc, blau i blanc" (Composition in red, yellow, blue and white, 2013). Regina Giménez thought of her painting as a wink to Capell, the house's modernist architect who was also a fervent activist for Catalan culture, dovetailing him with two referents of Modernism, the artist Piet Mondrian and the architect Mies van der Rohe. Her work suggested a possible intervention within the dinning room of Casa Capell – the incorporatation of a red carpet, white and blue cushions and a yellow wall – based on the principles of Neoplasticism, a movement which often used these primary colours in modern architecture, colours which are coincidentally also that of the Estelada, the Catalan independence flag. Jaume Roure, "RE: Projecte Casa Capell" (2013). Upon visiting the house and realising that little trace was visible of its original domestic use, Jaume Roure decided to recuperate the family presence by trying to locate photographs and personal memories of the original inhabitants. He couldn't find any photographs and only knew they were a couple with four children. He therefore tried to put faces to them by reconstructing a series of fictional images of what he thought they would look like, and framed them as if these memories were finally coming back to their original setting. Eva Fàbregas, "Collapsible Sculptures" (2013). The series "Collapsible Sculptures" reflected on the progressive 'containerisation' of our culture which since the 1950s has triggered a revolution in the production and transportation of merchandising. Our daily lives have also been highly affected by this shift: our food is able to be stored and transported and so are our domestic environments with modular, foldable, extensible or stackable items. Fàbregas sculptures (located in three spaces throughout the house), revealed the correspondences between mass-production and the aesthetics of Modernity. (From the artist's website): "New Utopias is a lecture about pop culture utopias filmed in the style of a 1950s Walt Disney documentary. The set, costuming, lighting and camera work are based on 1950s television production standards. But where the original Disney documentaries celebrated rockets and nuclear technology, this updated version promotes aesthetic frivolity, sexual perversion and UFO abduction fantasies. Among the new utopias under analysis are an afrofuturist extraterrestrial society, a dreary French seaside town transformed into an aesthetic paradise, and a retelling of the Frankenstein myth set in a sexual utopia ruled by the uninhibited libido. This video is shown accompanied by the Mothership Blueprints." Rafel G. Bianchi, Album (2013). 6x7 slides on lightbox. Rafel Bianchi's slides portrayed the cacti he had been documenting in his own garden in Barcelona. Upon visiting Casa Capell, he felt the need to bring some of the domesticity back to a space which was heavily restored in 2009–10 for it new adminstrative use. Cacti are a recurring motif used in the photographic documentation of architectural spaces, plants that often appear in photographs of works by the Catalan architect and city planner Josep Lluís Sert. Upon finishing a commission, Sert would arrange furniture and plants, with the aim of trying to give an appearance of domesticity and commodity as well as of Mediterraneity and modenity.
Lower gallery with works by Domènec (left) and Dani Montlleó (right).
Alexander Apóstol's photographic series "Le Corbusier quemado en Bogotá" (2005), documented the interior of the burnt Centro Nariño, a residencial campus of 23 buildings built in Bogotá, developed by Colombian architects following the doctrines of Le Corbusier, who earlier proposed a modern city that was finally never built. Amindst student revolts in the 60s, the buildings were set on fire, destroying most of its interiors, which are still intact amongst the ashes and electric wiring revealing some of the important traces that the Modern thinking left in Latin American cities. Domènec, "Conversation Piece: Narkomfin" (2013). Maquette and formica chairs.
"Conversation Piece: Narkomfin" (2013) was supported on two formica chairs, typically used in 1950s and 60s homes, and a maquette of the social housing Narkomfin, a building that fascinated Le Corbusier in his 1930s trip to the Soviet Union and that later inspired his Unité Habitation in Marseille.
Maquette of Jean Prouvé's ’Maison Bulldog’ (2011) by Dani Montlleó. This little half-bunker, half-trench-looking house of Dani Montlleó's work was also planned in 1959 (as was Can Masjuan house) for the writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline, although he died shortly after in 1961. The house was a replica of the Villa Arpel, designed by Jacques Lagrange for Jacques Tati's film "Mon Oncle" (1958). Arenós' video, suitably projected in the lower floor storage room, recreated an excavation in which a Proun – a projection of an imaginary space, a term coined by El Lissitsky in the 1920s – is seemingly unearthed, like an anachronic residue of a remote civilisation, a transitional object. The accompanying futuristic soundtrack enhanced its science-fiction atmosphere.
14 Oct 2013 2013, Frieze, interview, Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum, Max Andrews, MUSAC
'Work in Progress', 2013, production still. All images courtesy: the artists
The image of ‘work’ and the relation between art and labour Max Andrews: I’d like to talk about your current project, provisionally titled Work in Progress, set in the Lea-Artibai district of the Basque Country where Iratxe grew up. It began with your curiosity about the informal factories in the area where women trim moulded rubber parts destined for the car industry. What drew you to this subject?
Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum: When we encountered these groups of women sitting in a circle in their makeshift workspaces, surrounded by crates and boxes, performing tedious repetitive tasks together, it struck us as an incredibly complex and layered image. Although it echoed a traditional and communal way of life in what is still a mainly rural area, instead of spinning wool or mending fishing nets these women were working with abstract industrial forms which had no direct use-value to them. A closer inspection of the pieces revealed the brand names of multinational corporations such as Renault, Mercedes and Volkswagen. The women are from countries like Moldova, Peru or Senegal, yet it’s a scene that is at once domestic, local and Basque, while being replete with the contradictions of global capitalism.
MA: You are dealing with a representation of working, while also interweaving your own labour by making a film.
IJ & KvG: We have a long-standing interest in the image of ‘work’, and in the relation between art and labour. So we took this scene as the starting point for a cinematic analysis of production processes, both in these semi-clandestine workshops as well as in the main factory itself. Our approach has been strictly dispassionate, free from any superficial attempt to give the workers a voice. Instead, we focused our camera on the disciplinary conditions and rationalization of these processes, reproducing them in the montage by breaking up complex scenes into smaller units and stitching them back together again.
MA: How has Jorge Oteiza’s Laboratorio de Tizas (Chalk Laboratory, c.1972–4) – thousands of small sculpture-studies made by the late Basque sculptor, yet never conceived as art works per se – come to play a key role in the project?
IJ & KvG: To extend the analogy between editing a movie and working on an assembly line, we wanted to ‘splice’ ourselves into the relations of production at the factory by inventing an artistic task that resembled the one already being performed by the workers. So we hired the factory workers to make synthetic resin casts of Oteiza’s ‘Tizas’. Turning Oteiza’s experimental sculpture laboratory into a mass-production line, and recording it on camera is, in essence, a formal exercise that juxtaposes the production of Modernist sculpture with industrial manufacturing. It also allowed us to stage an image of the artist at work, and to superimpose it onto that of the wage-worker, ultimately presenting both as ideologically loaded social constructions.
Producing time in between other things, 2011, installation view at MUSAC, León.
MA: Is this project also a way for you to obliquely address the idea of Basque sculpture, from Oteiza and Eduardo Chillida through to Ibon Aranberri or Asier Mendizabal, for example?
IJ & KvG: The legacy of Basque Modernism loomed over this project long before we decided explicitly to include a reference to the work of Oteiza – although, in hindsight, it seems inevitable. But to speak of ‘Basque sculpture’ is to turn it into a closed-off category. We prefer to consider how the political function and significance that was once attributed to the language of abstract sculpture in Basque society holds up under contemporary conditions.
MA: In combining a study of the serial production of art with a social investigation into industrial manufacturing, you’re also reflecting on yourselves as cultural labourers. This was an important motif in your 2011 work Producing time in between other things (a project I co-curated with Mariana Cánepa Luna). Do you find it hard to be artists who make objects?
IJ & KvG: Oteiza once said that it wasn’t he who made the sculptures, but that the sculptures made him a sculptor. And now that he is a sculptor, why should he create more? In a way, we have been travelling in the opposite direction. We’ve always referred to ourselves as artists who do not make objects, and we only started making things to be able to address the notion of practice itself. In Producing time in between other things, for example, the 50 ornamental wooden legs we manufactured were simply a by-product of the task we had set ourselves: to learn how to use the woodturning lathe left by Klaas’s late grandfather, a retired factory worker. We took his place behind the machine, and recorded our activities on camera, not just as a ‘measurement’ of the passage of time required to gain a certain skill, but also as a reflection on how the disciplinary conditions of the wage-worker’s spare time inform our notion of artistic freedom and vice versa. Yet we’re also very much indebted to those thousands of ‘How to ...’ videos on YouTube, from cooking a steak to casting polyurethane action figures. Considering the generosity of all that is being shared between the producers and the viewers of these videos, is it any wonder that actually eating the steak doesn’t even enter into the picture? Max Andrews–Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum live in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and have been working together since 2001. They recently completed a residency at LIPAC, Buenos Aires, Argentina. They will present a solo exhibition at FRAC Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France, opening on 4 October.
01 Oct 2013 2009, Amsterdam, Film programme, Jan Dibbets, Marjolijn Dijkman, Port of Rotterdam Authority, Portscapes, SKOR, SMBA
Courtesy of the artist and SKOR | Foundation for Art in Public Space.
Two of the films produced for 'Portscapes', the year-long programme of public art projects in the Port of Rotterdam curated by Latitudes back in 2009, are currently screened as part of the exhibition 'Scenographies'. The show, curated by Clare Butcher for SMBA Amsterdam, is "a dynamic exhibition programme based around the archive of SKOR | Foundation for Art in Public Space." On view until 16 November 2013, artists and artists' collectives will approach the legacy of SKOR, the former institution that realized more than a thousand projects in public space in the Netherlands over the past three decades.
Photos of Jan Dibbets' film here. Photos of Marjolijn Dijkman film here. Production of '6 Hours of Tide Object with Correction of Perspective' (2009) by Jan Dibbets. Photo: Paloma Polo / SKOR. 26 Sep 2013 2013, A-desk, art map, artist-run space, Barcelona, CASM, Centre d'Art Barcelona, galleries, Halfhouse, non-profit, Sala d'Art Jove
Asociación de Galerías
de Arte Contemporáneo
Art Barcelona - See more at: http://www.artbarcelona.es/es/directorios.html#sthash.iopEshqs.dpuf
Asociación de Galerías
de Arte Contemporáneo
Art Barcelona - See more at: http://www.artbarcelona.es/es/directorios.html#sthash.iopEshqs.dpu
Map with suggested route available on the Circuit de l'Art Contemporani website
Habemus gallery listings!
Barcelona inaugurates the 2013–14 season with new signage and gallery map. The itinerary, presented yesterday to the media, suggests a route from west to east of the city, from Montjuïc's Fundació Miró to Sant Andreu's Fabra & Coats - Centre d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, via most of the contemporary art galleries that concentrate in the city centre. Besides the online and physical map, visitors will find two-metre high poles crowned with a pill (galleries marked in pink; museums, foundations and art centers in blue) placed at the entrances of each venue offering additional information (via QR codes and contactless device) about the adjunct venue (exact address, opening hours, website).
Promoted by Art Barcelona (Gallery Association of Contemporary Art) the 240,000 Euro initiative maps out 26 galleries and 11 art centre locations as well as a calendar of events and openings, both in English (30,000 copies have been printed) and Catalan (20,000 copies) updated quarterly. On a second phase there will be a mobile app with additional information on the artists and programming.
Detail of the information given in one of the poles marking a gallery location.
Although the map is quite comprehensive, it is a shame that after years of waiting for an initiative of this kind that matches that of cities such London, Berlin, New York, Amsterdam or Glasgow, to only mention a few, other Barcelona galleries such as etHALL, production and studio facilities like Hangar, artist-run and independent spaces such as Halfhouse, Homesession or A*Desk amongst others, are not represented in the listings. Neither are city or government funded spaces such as Sala d'Art Jove, Can Felipa or Sant Andreu Contemporani. Adding them to the 'official' map (which is part funded by the city and the Catalan regional government) would not only help in offering a more textured panorama of the city locating private and public spaces, but would also instigate a much-needed generosity from top-down and show the city willingness to share its promotional tools.
On a final note, it is perhaps curious that Arts Santa Mònica [formerly the Centre d'Art Santa Mònica (CASM)] is missing. Yet as the new General Director of Creativity and Cultural Companies Jordi Sellas, recently announced the reorientation of its programming to become "a centre of activity more than an exhibition space" (...) "a radar for new cultural tendencies", it is perhaps a final confirmation that what used to be Barcelona's kunstverein is not longer recognisable as a venue of contemporary art (see this blog post).
Downloadable map with suggested routes here.
Programming here. Includes addresses, listings and forthcoming openings and events.
This is the blog of the independent curatorial office Latitudes. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. All photos: Latitudes (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)