The exhibition promises to showcase “a polyphony of voices in poetry and visual arts whose common mode of expression is a first-person narrative and a confessional character of statements, while self-representation in language becomes a discursive practice of reflection and questioning and struggle for the artist’s subjectivity.”
The theme this year is ‘Authenticity?’ and ‘How To Stay Cool in the Post-Digital Age’. Bringing together diverse perspectives on these concepts from arts and technology, the event will be host to a long line-up of events, exhibitions, screenings, performances and talks that will respond to the way we present ourselves against the backdrop of a growing desire to remain authentic within a time where authorship is becoming increasingly irrelevant and indefinable.
That’s followed by a list of nine garbled lines of numerical and alphabetical characters that look like a encrypted code or a URL, followed by a “key” that says “confidence”. In this case the appropriate definition of the word is probably less about self assurance and more about secrecy.
Amalia Ulman is presenting solo exhibition Labour Dance at London’s Arcadia Missa, opening September 30 and running to November 5.
The artist, whose work often looks at power structures and their associated aesthetics, confronts her own privilege through a dramatisation of her own position, and one that the press release calls “a position of criticality not accessible to all.”
The new work will expand on previous online and IRL project Privilege(2016) that featured as part of the Berlin Bienniale. The accompanying text also includes a quote by feminist theorist Kristeva, “One does not give birth in pain, one gives birth to pain”. The title is two-fold, nodding to politics as well as women in labour.
Amalia Ulman is taking part in the itinerant residency programme Caribic in Las Vegas, running April 30 to May 1.
Ulman is ‘Resident 60’ of the emergent “(2-day artish residency)” that has also hosted the likes of Puppies Puppies, Georgie Nettell and Luis Miguel Bendaña in various locations including Rome, Lisbon, Berlin and Thessaloniki. According to the website, Caribic “exists in the present moment”, moving from its most recent base in Athens, near Life Sport, to the Nevada United States capital to develop “uncorrupted and intuitive formats together with artists”.
There’s little information on the process and outcomes of the residency itself except that Ulman will be hosted by artist and curator Hans-Christian Dany and the findings following these short residencies are promised online at centerforrealgrowth.com, which you can apply to join via email on the website.
The Performing for the Camera group exhibition is on at London’s Tate Modern, opening February 18 and running to June 12.
Featuring over 500 images, the show purports to explore photography as both performance and utility in a survey of works by artists including Yayoi Kusama, Marcel Duchamp, Cindy Sherman and Yves Klein.
Also included in the survey of “vintage prints, large scale works, marketing posters” is Amalia Ulman‘s ‘Excellences & Perfections’ four-month durational performance on Instagram.
A massive survey of the impact of the internet and computer technologies on art practice is happening at London’s Whitechapel Gallery opening on January 28 and running until May 15.
Electronic Superhighway will bring together over 100 artworks spanning four decades between 1966 and 2016. It will be curated in reverse, so that the viewer will walk progressively towards the most historical experiments in media and sensory technology.
Cookie Gate happened in Dublin’s Ellis King in July 2015 during a period in our making history where all information around an art work or its object is attached so loudly to it – where words around art are as redundant as they are needed. The work by the 32 artists, including Thea Govorchin, boychild and Kari Altmann addressed the moment of communication between art work and audience. By thinking about the structures of desire inherent in looking at adverts (and Facebook art show press releases, for example) the show, which ran 10 July – 15 August, aimed to dissect what the press release referred to as the ‘pre-engagement’ part of expression. Do artists second-guess what to make for an audience? Is this a passive movement between consumption and outwards communication or is it transparent? If it is transparent is this because its ‘about’ giving in to desire and working with this also as a mode of identity making as an artist? What are the materials and material objects that get caught up in all of this? Maybe you just want a cookie, and another, and another.
The press release reads: “Corporations, brand names, and images become rituals, obsessions, and diversions. Consumption is made all but too easy”.
Amalia Ulman showed ‘Safety Net’ (2014) out of turquoise thongs attached together and spread across a garage door. The work is a weak safety net and possibly acts a little bit like desire does. Another piece that holds form and shape with tension was Dublin-based Fiona Hallinan’s ‘Pendants’ (2015). These are a group of necklaces made from objects the artist found while walking around and are pinned to the wall beautifully in diamond forms, as though on display in a jewellers with a black matte background and well lit. Gina Folly’s ‘Life’ (2014) and ‘Untitled (2015) are two tiny wax ears resting on the surface of a pillow, half-embedded; half-listening out. One ear was made last year and the other this year. You are slowly hearing and consuming more (everything) -that is all you are doing in Folly’s piece. Kari Altmann presents what looks like a portrait and upright miniature trampoline called ’Stretch, Flex and Extend’ (2015). Attached to the silver frame by bungees is an image of a cream or some pills with the word ‘extend’ on the front and a plant coming out of the top, shrouded in a cloud of mystic visible pink aroma. Altman’s piece is transparent.
There are two works with faces with wide smiles and white teeth with braces. One is ‘Rigged V1’ (2015) by Auto-Italia‘s Kate Cooper and displays all at once an open mouth, a grimacing mouth that can’t talk for its braces and bridges, and an example or perhaps an offering of dental perfection.
boychild’s ‘Patrick’ (unbound)’ and ‘wu (threshold)’ (both 2015) look like x-rays or an image that is trying to come through. They are haunting and minimal and un-clear. They are possibly the works that communicate the most about outwards communication:
“Sometimes we go shopping for bare necessities and sometimes we are looking for something to really really satisfy us”. **
Pioneering the evolution of audiovisual language both on and offline since the 60s, cinema legend Jonas Mekas presents The Internet Saga, a solo exhibition runningfrom May 6 to November 22. It’s located at two sites, the Palazzo Foscari Contarini –a sixteenth century building that is now a Burger King restaurant –and video art space Spazio Ridotto.
Curated by curatorial duo Francesco Urbano Ragazzi in collaboration with Zuecca Projects, the project is dedicated to art on the web and launched on the May 6 and 7 in conjunction with the 56th Venice Biennale. Ragazzi chose the Burger King at the Palazzo Foscari Contarini as an exhibition space to serve “as a metaphor of [the] Internet” representative of the “relationship between eras and materials, history and trade, fake and authenticity which are elements which characterize it”.
The exhibition opened with a Skype performance by Amalia Ulman who phoned in to the Internet Saga press conference at the My Art Guide Meeting Point in Venice on May 7 (you can see an excerpt of the video that screened here). It was organised as a tribute to the influential artist and to launch Ulman’s own )TITRE( web calendar contribution to the project. Meanwhile, Mekas will continue to broadcast a collection of over 500 videos until the exhibition’s November close; personal entries from an online journal he’s been keeping since 2006. The work is undisruptive as it plays on four screens already present in the building, “juxtaposing itself to Palazzo Foscari Contarini, by modifying it without interfering with its reality, without touching it, as it would at a virtual level”.
Mekas is also exhibiting ‘To Petrarca’ (2009), a seventy-minute sound piece comprised of recordings made in the streets of New York that merge with the sounds of Andy Warhol’s funeral. Photographic transparencies are attached, and filter light like stained glass, to thirty-two windows facing the courtyard. They are 768 reproductions of mostly unpublished frames from Mekas’ body of video work.
Spazio Ridotto functions as a cinema, presenting a selection of Mekas’ video work in the second location. The project also has two official websites to compliment the exhibition, www.internetsaga.com, updated daily, and a web calendar created by Ulman located at www.titre.name, which will be updated irregularly “by artists and intellectuals who reflect on time in the Internet era”. **
The Barbara Vanderlinden-curated series takes place the Exhibition Laboratory of the Academy of Fine Arts at Helsinki’s University of the Arts, and invites the US-based artist to join the Prognostics lecture for a discussion of her work.
Most recently, the photography and new media artist made her Instagram feed into an art project titled ‘Excellences and Perfections’. In the lecture, she’ll discuss the future of art and the role of new languages, models and forms in its creation. The series will also bring US artist Adriana Ramić on March 11, UK artist Rachael Allen on March 25, and Saudi artist Sarah Abu Abdallah on April 8.
Always Brian (TI AMO) owes its title to street art. The only evidence of an underground language exposed in the light of day, the words could mean a range of things, their semantics depending on any number of factors that are too many to quantify. It doesn’t stop people and their programmes from trying though, with linguistic inquiry and word count text analysis software (LIWC) being one of them. It’s this purported window into the “emotional and cognitive worlds” of any given social media user that provides an interesting launching point for this group exhibition. Organised by 63rd-77th STEPS and running January 16 to 18, the show becomes an obtuse inquiry into the implications of the monitoring and manipulation of peoples’ very moods and the way we read them via the text they choose to share.
The three day exhibition marked a year since Fabio Santacroce founded the aforementioned “art staircase”, that often exhibits off-site, by taking up residence across the three rooms where the spray-paint tag of ‘Brian’ and his love were discovered at the train station of Bari, Italy. It acts as a nucleus in a synaptic network of information shared between nine artists that include Rosa Ciano, Benjamin Asam Kellogg, Lucia Leuci and Yuri Pattison; their self-contained clusters of personalised information presenting images and objects as codes and signifiers that can be read any number of ways.
Jasper Spicero‘s wall-hung iPad featuring a generic looking bedroom is tangled up inside a web of taut and tied-together shoelaces. Cecile B. Evans‘ dancing animated scissors are singing Sade’s ‘No Ordinary Love’ through the stilted tonal blocks of a Vocaloid application in a projection of ‘How happy a Thing can be‘ (2014). Matthew Landry‘s ‘Whisper’ collection of personalised image-board posts tacked to a couple planks of wood announce “MY BEST FRIEND MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE” and “Ummm”. Amalia Ulman‘s slide show presentation ‘The Future Ahead’ (2014) video – also shown at the artist’s The Destruction Of Experience solo exhibition in London last year – takes Justin Bieber as a starting point to exploring femininity in terms of masculinity and teen girl fandom: “he’s still monetizing on their prepubescent love-business”.
Before you read into the following riddle that is the Always Brian (TI AMO) presentation text – assembled from a harvest of status updates, mail and conversations – spare a thought for the fact that Santacroce himself describes it as “fragments from conversation mixed with personal considerations and turned into a “fractured”, hyper-textual poetry without any specific revealing intent”.
“Always Brian (TI AMO), Corso Italia and a burnt kebab. I like how you fall in sleep on trains, you feel fastened to Earth. Leaves are lying about their agony and we have all been gifted with a YEAR IN REVIEW. It tastes iron. Entertaining revolution, performed poverty, wealthy orgasm. Kamut year. DID YOU UPGRADE YOUR REVERENCE? Happiness is not a cinematographic effect and you have been approving only “first class” tags. LINGUISTIC INQUIRY AND WORD COUNT.”
Each sentence bares a semantic logic all it’s own like the exhibition of artworks it introduces. Its artists’ ability to communicate relies heavily on their association with last year’s 63rd – 77th STEPS programme, as well as their nebulous interrelation between one another, almost entirely by virtue of using text as material, and fragments as form. Understanding that might get you closer to the artists’ intentions, but it also might not. **
To write an account of FIAC is to attempt to speak of parts within a necessarily unknowable whole. Were the whole visible from one’s perspective on street level, no doubt it would be truly terrifying. Thankfully, we’re not obliged to be all-seeing, in fact perhaps even the organisers would advise against it. La Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain in Paris designates a four-day event whose object is art, galleries and exhibitions of a sort. Yet when someone says ‘FIAC’ (fyak!), they tend to mean something much more englobing even than the majestic Grand Palais that houses the main stands.
This year, FIAC introduced (OFF)ICIELLE, the ‘official satellite’ fair, whose purported purpose is to “showcase new territories: young galleries and newcomers to the international art scene; emerging artists and those whose historic contribution has been overlooked”. It was noted by more than once that, in actuality, the (OFF) – held in the less grandiose, more utilitarian venue Les Docks – Cité de la Mode et du Design – was a veritable salon des refusés. Which is to say it housed those galleries which applied for the main event but, for whatever reason, didn’t make the cut, suggesting that FIAC had cleverly maneuvered a cash cow on the back of younger, less established clients. That cynicism aside, (OFF) hosted some great galleries and artists, and its energy was slightly more welcoming, less high-maintenance than its older sister.
It’s worth mentioning, though there’s no space to go into detail, that besides these ‘official’ fairs there was also the fourth annual Young International Artists (YIA) art fair, held at the Carreau du Temple in the Marais. Which, thanks to the appearance of FIAC’s (OFF), became a sort of off-off. Here, works by USA-based Jon Bernad and French artists Loup Sarion and Eva Barto at La GAD (Marseille) were a highlight, as was Barcelona’s The Green Parrot. Each of the three fairs had outdoor or hors les murs projects, as well. There were many, many openings at galleries in Paris during FIAC week, including a great solo show by Latvian artist Daiga Grantina at Galerie Joseph Tang (she also appeared in Tang’s (OFF) booth, accompanied by Adam Cruces, Jo-ey Tang and others). And the ‘Gallery Night’ on Thursday 23 October saw spaces throughout the city opening until 10pm. Everyone makes an attempt to get a piece of FIAC pie, it seems, for you never know when a collector might just swan past and fall madly deeply for one of your stable.
Even the day of rest, Sunday, saw the Belleville Galleries’ Brunch, where the array of young-ish spaces based in Paris’ Belleville quarter opened their doors. For someone who went expecting sweet patisseries and Nutella, the brunch itself was disappointedly meagre, however. Seemingly, everyone was hungover and would rather have been in bed. The Friday had seen the Ricard Foundation’s announcement of their annual art prize at the infamous bal jaune (yellow ball, named after the family’s eponymous pastis, one can only assume). More occasion for what became somewhat of a constant for many people from Tuesday’s (OFF) vernissage onward: drunkenness. Curatorial collective castillo/corrales curated the Prix Ricard show this year, with a fine selection of French artists including Mélanie Matranga, Audrey Cottin and Jean-Alain Corre. The winner was Camille Blatrix.
In addition to all this folly, FIAC had organised substantial parallel programs of films, performances and conversations. The latter were conceived and orchestrated by Paris-based artist Alex Cecchetti under the title ‘Voices of Urgency’, with the final conversation event consisting of New York-based poet Ariana Reines, Paris-based sociolinguist Luca Greco and Slovenian poet Peter Semolič, reading around the topic of ‘desire and revolution’. Earlier that day, Laure Prouvost had given the performance titled ‘Bread, Tunnel, Vegetable’ (2014), which involved a group of children offering tea, bum-shaped cakes, and crisps to the audience sat on the floor, while the London-based French artist dramatically recounted stories associated with her imaginary lost granddad. The performance falls within the expansive Turner Prize-winning project, ‘Wantee’ (2013), the video of which was shown on a laptop monitor during the performance.
Berlin-based artists Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz showed two videos within the films program, ‘To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of their Desperation’ (2013) and ‘Opaque’ (2014), a film so recently finished that Boudry and Lorenz had not yet seen it projected. A discussion between the artists and French art historian Élisabeth Lebovici followed each film, with some of the primary concerns being non-hierarchical production (in film, and in Pauline Oliveros’ music), the camera as active participant in a performance that couldn’t exist without it, and opacity as resistance against the aggressive act of understanding. The veil is a recurring motif; the artists suggest we don’t need to see everything and it is misguided to think the camera reveals all.
If only one didn’t feel the pressure to see it all! At the main event, expensively-dressed people shuffle around with glazed eyes, darting between 750,000€ Isa Genzkens, 9€ sandwiches resembling plastic, and Ruinart champagne. The most interesting booths were ones that pretended to be anything else but a luxury goods stall. Particularly successful were those who allowed one single artist to create a total installation, not only because it gave a more generous insight into the practice, but also because it was such a relief after the endless white. Perhaps unsurprisingly, two Berlin galleries were among the most adept at this technique. Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie’s Wu Tsang installation came directly from the artist’s solo show, A day in the life of bliss, held at the gallery this summer. One of the highlights of the season, they cleverly re-contextualised the work for an FIAC audience, turning the stand into a mirror-like infinity lounge and inviting people to sit and observe reflections of themselves and others – and of course the colourful flashing light sculpture which took prime position in the centre, hanging from above and almost touching the floor.
Meanwhile upstairs, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler’s GCC installation included the HD video ‘Co-Op’ (2014), which ironically promotes a society based on luxury. The flat screen is installed within ‘Royal Mirage’ (2014), where wallpaper depicting the luxurious interior of a multi-billion dollar hotel in the Gulf serves as the background to eight painted portraits, hung in an even line. GCC commissioned a Thai painter in Kuwait to create oil paintings of members of the collective in the same style he paints sheikhs. Depicted in thawb and in a typical soft-focus manner, signs of age or gender become indiscernible, and all eight artists fall under the category of ‘Arab’. Simultaneously a witty comment on the kinds of portraiture Western collectors might hang on their walls, the rising power of the Middle East, and the role of the artist as self-promoting brand, GCC really made the mirage work.
Other galleries went for the classic mixed-bag group show model, which inevitably meant the works on display ranged from the merely eye-catching to the quietly stunning, with little way of discerning the two, unless you mustered up enough energy to speak to one of the exhausted looking gallerists. Some gems among the Kapoors included French artist Lili Reynaud-Dewar’s dancing pyjamas encased in glass sheets, ‘Live Through That ?!’ (2014), at Kamel Mennour, London-based Eloise Hawser’s two pieces at Balice Hertling, young Romanian Mihuț Boșcu Kafchin at Gaudel de Stampa, Praz-Delavallade’s swathe of LA artists including Amanda Ross-Ho and photographer Matthew Brandt, and Galerie Antoine Levi’s display of Italian artist Francesco Gennari’s spiderweb photographs and US-American Sean Townley’s sculptures.
In addition to all these Paris galleries, highlights from abroad included Mexico D.F.’s House of Gaga, whose pairing of New York-based Sam Pulitzer’s drawings and Mexican illustrator Julio Ruelas, who died of tuberculosis in Paris in 1907, made a link that gave a touch of much-appreciated sentimentality. Unexpectedly seductive, German artist Martin Eder’s painting at Leipzig/Berlin Galerie EIGEN + ART also spoke to the romantics amongst us, while New York’s On Stellar Rays had a wild display of Debo Eilers’ and Rochelle Feinstein’s colourful painting and sculptural works. Austrian-born artist Josef Strau’s tacky fence piece was a highlight at London’s Vilma Gold, and the Latin American stars Adrián Villar Rojas, Abraham Cruzvillegas and Gabriel Kuri at kurimanzutto, Mexico City, were predictably impressive. Meanwhile, Lisbon’s Vera Cortês Art Agency presented artists Joana Escoval and Daniel Gustav Cramer, whose understated pieces provided relief from the bombastic, ostentatious norm.
That’s a tiny, we’ll say refined, taste of FIAC before one even begins to rattle off some of the things to be seen at (OFF)ICIELLE. There, it’s worth mentioning Cynthia Daignault’s photographic and painterly meditation on images of the Matterhorn for New York gallery Lisa Cooley; British artist Merlin James’ solo show of his expanded landscape painting practice at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin; London-based Italian artist Salvatore Arancio at Rome’s Federica Schiavo Gallery alongside Jay Heikes; and Jacqueline Mesmaeker’s beautiful photo-sculptural installations at Nadja Vilenne, Liège.
At Galerie Tatjana Pieters, Belgian artist Philippe Van Snick’s ten-colour palette and associated aesthetic limitations proved in reality to allow an ongoing multiplicity of forms and encounters. Andreas Angelidakis’s series of ‘bibelots’, 3D-prints resting atop internally decorated vitrines, at The Breeder (Athens) were a highlight. As was French artist Sarah Tritz at Paris Galerie Anne Barrault, whose work included a trashy fake-hair and bead sculpture and large collage of a seductively angled naked arse.
Last but not least, who could forget the darling, not just of ‘post-internet’, but of contemporary art in general. Amalia Ulman’s solo show at the booth of ltd los angeles was a total hit, making one wonder how the artist could put a foot wrong. One of the large digitally printed tapestries Ulman had produced for the fair seems a good note to finish on. Depicting two African children in school uniform, a girl whispering to a boy, the serif embroidered text reads:
‘What Have You Heard About MONEY?’
‘What Does It Mean?’ ‘How Does It Harm Us?’ ‘Who Can Get It?’ ‘What Causes It?’ ‘How Can We Stop It?’ What Can We Do For People Who Have It?’ ‘Can It Be Cured?’ ‘What Does It Look Like?’ ‘Which Of Us Has It?’
‘Don’t GUESS the Answers! LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT MONEY!’ **