“What are the conditions in which we operate?” ask Jupiter Woods co-founders Carolina Ongaro and Hanna Laura Kaljo in their letter. It seems a timely conversation to be having in relation to preservation, integrity, risk and “unlearning” within the presentation and curatorial sides of the art world.
See the FB Event page for more details and to read the letter in full.**
Episode #01 of quarterly podcast Status Effect is now streaming on Soundcloud, as part of a programme commissioning new long form audio pieces by artists, curators, arts writers and arts workers, running from November, 2015 to January, 2016.
Focussing on social structures within the contemporary art world, the podcast aims to explore how these collective environments are composed and navigated, and as such is interested in topics surrounding subjectivity, reprioritising, diplomacy, protocol, social anxiety, the possibility for care and empathy, social mobility and labour.
After recent spate of activity in London, including a solo show at Jupiter Woods and a book launch with Arcadia Missa, this most recent exhibition is introduced with a page-long third-person narrative of the banalities of Pallasvuo’s day: The coffee is pretty bad, and he didn’t get the student discount. Along with the artist’s signature sharing of his fears and insecurities—Jaakko is worried about flying, and worried about being among people there. Will they be mean? He feels slow and vague and NYC seems so vertical and sharp-edged.
Before the splattering of Pallasvuo’s thoughts is this poem by Ted Hughes. Nothing comes after.
“Nobody wanted your dance,
Nobody wanted your strange glitter, your floundering
“How long will it take for you to recognise my brilliance?” asks Jaakko Pallasvuo, on a list numbered fifteen, under a title reading “Works”, in a book called Scorched Earth. Most of these ‘works’ are speculative, conceptual art in the form of performative text that reads in sentences like, “I listen to her talk about her work. I nod. That’s nice, I say”. Some of the immaterial pieces exist merely as a blank space on paper, next to a number that’s the sum of a section, that makes up a novel, published in a limited run of a hundred by Arcadia Missa in August.
The book of sorts –an object –consists of a collection of contemplations, fragments, online posts, chat boxes, that are cobbled together from the Finnish artist’s dawsonscreek.infoTumblr account with a quote on the cover by the blog’s namesake, Dawson Leery (“We can analyze this to death later”). Off-topic and out of context, it’s a pull quote made by a fictional character from a turn-of-the-millennium US teen drama, about an artist he doesn’t know. Because how could he? Dawson Leery doesn’t exist. But he also does. He’s an influence on Scorched Earth,along with other pop cultural constructions, Rihanna, Kanye West, Chloë Sevigny, Eddie Vedder. They all compose a highly allusive maybe-autobiographical text that’s based in the circulated image.
“The text is not the work”, insists one of Scorched Earth’s fifteen “Works”. Neither is the artwork the life that’s led; one made up of fragments filtered through a body that is odd looking, neurotic, fat, fictionalised (“either a man or a woman or then not”). Here, the online and the offline are indistinguishable, the internet is the IRL, the image, the reality. Nominating himself a kind of Saviour come to reclaim poor Post-Internet (“I want what no one else wants”) Pallasvuo disavows any idea of authenticity: “isn’t it more authentic to be inauthentic than authentic if you’re inauthentic at heart?”
Purporting to a rejection of authenticity while finding it by the very act of that rejection is as far as the irony goes, though. There’s no distance in Scorched Earth. It recognises the absurdity of its own position as a book about the art world by a persona who doesn’t feel a part of it, but also actually is. Pallasvuo might not make it into Wolfgang Tilman’s Frieze celebrity after-party, but still the open and anonymous Quaker meeting he’s been to isn’t as desirable. “The usual case is that the Wolfgangs of the world don’t want us to come in but don’t want us to leave either”. It also works the other way. As much as the artist doesn’t want to be a part of the art institution, he also kind of does.
“’Scorched earth’ is a military tactic of utter devastation and a video game, and now it’s a book”, John Beeson opens in an adulatory Afterword at the back of the book. The book in turn is a deeply personal account of the art of war in the war of art –a game that can transform a crippling self-reflexivity into a creative strength. “You take everything you’ve got, your failures and insecurities. You repurpose, repackage, relaunch and repeat until they are categorized as successes.” In the case of Scorched Earth, you write bitter fan fiction about an online troll, fantasise about the “marble and vapour” of a New York City art scene, and lambast an opinion piece on the artistic significance of a Berlin-based “friend group”.
“Competitive social spheres appeal to me”, Jaakko Pallasvuo writes, quoting an imagined art figure called ‘Brad’ who’s blowing a guy called ‘Boris’ while attesting to choosing his field for its cut-throat competition under the guise of thwarted idealism. It could be Simon Denny, Timur Si Qin, Daniel Keller, Tobias Madison, or any number of artists and people Pallasvuo names (he does so selectively) in Scorched Earth. It could even be the artist himself. (“Brad swallows”). **
If you wait for something long enough it’ll come back in style, and dinosaurs are coming back with a vengeance of all things though extinct. Jurassic Paint, the second online show by New Scenario, went live on their website in early June. The group exhibition, shot in the forest of Saurierpark Kleinwelka, a dinosaur park filled with life-size dinosaur models, combines “two prehistoric yet resilient species” for a collection of canvas works from eleven visual artists.
New Scenario, founded by artists Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig in late 2014, is a dynamic platform for conceptual, time-based and performative exhibition formats “that happen outside the real of the white cube”. With Jurassic Paint, Barsch and Hornig invite the participants to combine painting as a “creative act of the imagination” with the construction of the dinosaurs, whose likeness “emerges from fanciful and narrative processes of the human and scientific mind”. The canvas works and the dinosaurs share, as the exhibition’s press release identifies, the same ‘Lebensraum’ or living space, creating a new scenario.
The eleven visual artists have all been asked to create a dinosaur likeness, with Zoe Barcza creating a Plateosaurus titled ‘Shred IV’, Ann Hirsch offering an Anatosaurus titled ‘My Starving Public 1998’, and Tom Davis creating a Campsognathus titled ‘Ovid-Acteaon’. The remaining artists include Scott Gelber with a Diplodocus hallorum titled ‘RothkoNetflix1’, Sayre Gomez with a Antrodemus titled ‘Thief Painting in Violet’, Martin Mannig with a Heterodontosaurus tucki titled ‘Psycho’ and Jaakko Pallasvuo with a Ornitholestes hermanni titled ‘Amusement Park’. There’s also Anselm Ruderisch‘s Polacanthus titled ‘Voyager1’, Joshua Abelow with a Triceratops prorsus titled ‘Untitled (Witch)’, and Iain Ball with a Triceratops horridus titled ‘(res) terbium series 3’. Hornig and Barsch also contributed pieces to the exhibition with, respectively, a Ceratosaurus nasicornis titled ‘Stop Aids redux’ and a Tyrannosaurus rex titled ‘O. K.’s Time Travels (Back to the Future)’, accompanied by written contributions from Johannes Thumfart and Hendrik Niefeld. **
For its sixth edition, How to Sleep Faster asks: “How can we fuck in a way that doesn’t support a patriarchal prism and standard for sex to reflect capitalist relations? Can sex be a site for identity politics, after we are imbued with the lore and failure of the sexual ‘revolution’?” Amongst the dozens of participating artists are Amalia Ulman, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Hannah Quinlan Anderson & Rosie Hastings, and Cristine Brache.
Routine, habits, and domesticity, repeated actions connected to ordinary everyday life. Exo, a project, curatorial program, and exhibition space in Paris run by Antoine Donzeaud and Elisa Rigoulet, presented Zombie Routine (exhibition photos, top right) at New Galerie, running March 12 to 26, with a selection of works that seem functional, decorative and familiar.
Zombie Routine features works by Bending Binding, Skye Chamberlain, Hadrien Gérenton, Beatrice Marchi, Jaakko Pallasvuo, and Jana Schröder. There’s a mixed media painting by Gérenton entitled, ‘Appetizer Painting (salted peanut)’ (2015) that elevates bottles from function to fine art as they gently protrude from canvases. Conversely, the artist aims to reduce the art object to the everyday in the installation ‘Object from the hand (glass bottles)’ (2015) as said containers sit on a small table like they would in one’s home. Meanwhile, Marchi unusually abstracts a chair and removes its utility by covering it with fabric and placing an oversized pillow on it, making it impossible to sit on in ‘Tiky, Budy, Aby Furnitures (Aby)’ (2014).
Other everyday objects lose their function such as the drawn-on air cooling systems made by Bending Binding entitled, ‘Kooling Systems (VNR TOC)’ (2015) and ‘Kooling Systems (Spiralz)’ (2015). A video about cats on social media networks and a tutorial on how to learn to mold ceramics loop in the gallery next to amateur paintings, travel bags, and forgotten packs of cigarettes. They’re the “ghosts of our obsessions, our daily routine zombies”.**
The project comes as part residency, part research, and part public programme, bringing in international artists to form “emotional alliances and collective strategies” to counter the compromising social and economic pressures of the modern art world and create a shared space for exchange and support.
Pallasvuo will be hosting a workshop teaching participants to handle clay while viewing a video, accompanied by a discussion about art, about hobbies, and about “what’s fun, what’s unprofessional and what’s worth doing”. Joining him to participate in the project are a handful of other artists, including Erica Scourti and Marleen Boschen.
New Scenario brings a new exhibition to their conceptual platform, titled Jurassic Paint and launching on June 11.
The New Scenario project was launched by Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig as a time-based platform for performative exhibition formats taking place “outside the realm of the white cube”, and the two founders team up to for the concept and curation of Jurassic Paint, described as having works on canvas and “live size (sic) dinos”.
Sorbus Gallery will be hosting a five-day video and film screening series called Sorbus Video Week at their Helsinki space from May 20 to May 24.
The program is compiled by curator Attilia Fattori Franchini, artist Jaakko Pallasvuo and the Sorbus working group, and is divided into five evenings of screenings, many of which will have their Finnish premiere.
The line-up brings video and film work by around 20 different artists and artist groups, including Pallasvuo, who has programmed the opening night on May 20, with ‘Self-Accusation’ (2015) and Keren Cytter with ‘The Victim’ (2006), both screening on May 20, as well as Ben Russell with ‘Atlantis’ (2014) on May 22, and Dominic Watson with ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ (2014), Jala Wahid, with ‘I’ve got a burning desire (come on, tell me boy)’ (2014) and Johann Arens with ‘Marte e Venere – A Hand Held Monument’ (2013) on May 23.
The architect and artist joins forces for an interior design project exploring the relationship between “housing, debt, liquidity and “disruptive” technological innovation”. The open studio is transformed into an all-encompassing project with contributions Kalliala and Sutela themselves, as well as Jaakko Pallasvuo and Tuomas Toivonen and Nene Tsuboi of NOW OFFICE.
The Finnish artist presents a multi-media exhibition that, judging from the abstract press release, spans everything from: his video work ‘EU‘ (a meditation on the internet and collective consciousness in which everyone but the Finnish performance group Vibes is infected with a cyber plague taking over the world); a live-action roleplaying game involving flour and a group of terminally ill cancer patients à la Nordic Larp; Pallasvuo’s ceramic “energy” work with Vibes; his meditation on Wojciech Kosma’s communal performance art practice; and, finally, his self-interview as a “way out of endless self-reflection”.
‘Round the back of Jupiter Woods there are mushrooms growing. Or at least there was one, smaller than a pinky nail and indistinguishable from the other rubble in the multi-shelf structures stacked high with chipboard, in the yard of the Bermondsey gallery where the ceiling’s falling in and there’s toxic waste nearby. Having seen the space in a week where extinction was on the brain, this productive generative artwork was a most welcome relief from all the end-is-nigh narratives with their “we’re all fucked” messages during Frieze week.
As part of a survey of all the good stuff on the periphery of October’s art-as-liquid-asset week (more on that here) a visit to The Mycological Twist permanent installation, opening along with Genuine Articles on October 2 and running indefinitely, meant a chat with artists and initiators of the project, Eloïse Bonneviot and Anne de Boer, who point out the tiny white thimble of a fungus, from the stacks of hay, soil and plastic-covered shelving surrounding us, explaining that the rest of the mushrooms could spring up overnight.
I don’t know what’s happened since but in light of energy-sucking artists critiquing energy-sucking enterprise through energy-sucking art, it’s nice to see an effort to transform all the toxins into something a little more constructive. Particularly when positioned beside what I can only describe as the most beautiful toilet I’ve ever seen; a maybe disused outhouse with yellow, green, red, blue and brown paint peeling from its inner walls and a perfectly round cistern beneath a TV rack screening ‘Respawn’ (2014). It’s a collection of video featuring contributions from 17 artists, Juliette Bonneviot, Sam Kenswil, Lars TCF Holdhus, Anna Mikkola, Emily Jones and Jaakko Pallasvuo among them.
Launched with a mushroom brunch and dinner and a ‘Shroom Music & Myco_educational_VJ-set’, where Bonnevoit and de Boer occupied the first floor roof top of Jupiter Woods to play their evolving playlist, The Mycological Twist is an experiment in the regenerative powers of the fleshy, spore-bearing bodies. That’s all while offsetting some of the the energy needed to keep the digital image going and the ‘Respawn’ video rolling. **
Curated by Jennifer Chan and expressing her concerns with gendered online environments as an artist -as well as a part of a ‘Gendered Cultures on the Internet’ issue –the Crazy, Sexy, Cool gif exhibition over at French-Canadian feminist art and culture journal dpi. is up now.
Featuring contributions by the likes of Lorna Mills, Emilie Gervais and Jaakko Pallasvuo, each artist is assigned a folder and a cute girl anime avatar to file their contributions. Those include the obvious in Faith Holland‘s ‘boobs.gif’ and an illustration of gender stereotypes in Anthony Antonellis‘ ‘alphachannels.gif’.
In reference to the 1994 TLC album CrazySexyCool, that many an internet artist like Chan would have grown up with, it’s a reminder that, online or offline, nothing much has changed.