Martin Kohout

Lock Up International in Tokyo, Sep 26 – Oct 16

28 September 2016

Lock Up International is presenting the next iteration of its nomadic project space in Tokyo, with locations TBA, opening September 26 and running to October 16.

Started by Lewis Teague Wright, the series — which has already appeared in Mexico City, Istanbul, London and Los Angeles — uses storage spaces worldwide as exhibition venues. They usually work as three-weeklong solo show in each location it chooses, with personally guided viewings arranged by appointment. AQNB reviewed a recent exhibition of Nevine Mahmoud’s Three Isolated Effects in LA and Menna Comminetti and Sophie Lee presented Boy, ’12 in London.

The Tokyo series will present work by Yuri Pattison (September 26 – October 2), Martin Kohout (October 3 – 9), and Russell Maurice (October 10 – 16). The first show was initiated by Pattison’s interest in collector marts in the Akihabara and Nakano Broadway stations, small stores in malls that rent out glass lockers.

The project continues to act as a way to bypass the gallery, art dealer, and collector, opting to go directly to the object’s end point, stored safely and hidden from view.

See the Lock Up International website for more details.**

Nevine Mahmoud, Three Isolated Effects (2016). Installation view. Courtesy Lock Up International.
Nevine Mahmoud, Three Isolated Effects (2016). Installation view. Courtesy Lock Up International.

AFA 2 (2) @ Art-O-Rama 2016, Aug 26 – 28

25 August 2016

The AFA 2 (2) group show is a Guest Project on at Marseille’s Art-O-Rama 2016 opening August 26 and running to the 28.

The show, led by nomadic ‘art project staircase’ 63rd-77th STEPS, will feature works by ÅYR,  Jesse DarlingLouisa Gagliardi, Gregory KallicheMartin KohoutHannah Lees, Kareem Lotfy, Daniele Milvio, Yuri Pattison, Fabio SantacroceAnna SolalDiamond Stingily, Philipp TimischlZoe Williams and Bruno Zhu among many others.

AFA is an Italian term for ‘mugginess’ ; a reference to the exhausting weather condition and the title of the first instalment that happened in a deserted bank over three days in Italy’s Bari in 2014, and the second, AFA 2, on a public beach in 2014. The press release for AFA 2 (2) explains its used as “a metaphor of our social, political and artistic scenario, and turned by the artists into black & white artworks, digitally printed on microfiber.”

To support the exhibition program, beach towels designed by the artists will be on sale.

See the FB event page for details.**

Jesse Darling, 'Beachtowel jpg for AFA 2.2' (2016). Courtesy of artist + group show 3rd-77th STEPS, Marseille
Jesse Darling, ‘Beachtowel jpg for AFA 2.2’ (2016). Courtesy of artist + group show 3rd-77th STEPS, Marseille

Survival Guides for Ballroom Dancers… @ Vleeshaal, Jul 2 – Sep 11

1 July 2016

The Survival Guides for Ballroom Dancers, Renovators, Softball Moms, Working Parents and Troubled Folk in General group exhibition is on at Middelberg’s Vleeshaal, opening July 2 and running to September 11.

The exhibition is curated by Roos Gortzak in collaboration with Julia Mullie and Sophie Oxenbridge, and features artists whose work the press release describes as “process-based, sincere, and often amusing”. Those include Moyra Davey, Martin Kohout, Katja Novitskova, Laure Prouvost and Jay Tan, working within the “slippery terrain between truth and fiction, private and public, and intimacy and perversion.”

The exhibition is diaristic and cathartic in nature, and structured according to the five artists’ often absurd internal logic; strategies for survival in an environment of dispersed and networked relationships as a characteristic of a screen-based culture. With that comes a need for “private rituals, secret semiotic systems, and personalised forms of communication.”

See the FB event page for details.**

Martin Kohout, 'Skinsmooth Hover Hand NEG' (2015). Exhibition view. Courtesy Exile, Berlin.
Martin Kohout, ‘Skinsmooth Hover Hand NEG’ (2015). Exhibition view. Courtesy Exile, Berlin.

Header image: Laure Prouvost, ‘Stong Sory (Cake)’ (2005). Video still. Courtesy the artist + MOT International, London + Brussels.

Пикник на обочине (Piknik na obochine) @ Exo, May 12 – 19

9 May 2016

The Пикник на обочине (Piknik na obochine) group show is on at Paris’ Exo, opening May 12 through May 19.

The exhibition —the title of which translates to ‘Roadside Picnic’ in English —includes work by the likes of Viktor Timofeev, Jason Benson, Martin Kohout, and Hannah Lees, each of whom have contributed a lot to the art world’s conversation on human self-comprehension and the related speculation around the existence of the ‘natural’ world during “The Time of The Anthropocene”, to quote philosopher Bruno Latour, who’s words are echoed in the press release.

The show borrows its title from 1970s Russian science fiction novel of the same name about an extraterrestrial occurrence called ‘The Visitation’, that happened for two days across six sites simultaneously, unbeknownst to the local people. The book compares the event to a picnic, while the exhibition’s press release also includes a paragraph from Annihilation (2014) by Jeff Vandermeer that describes a picture of the discovery of left-over rusted equipment and tents that were “little more than husks” in an aftermath of an expedition made by humans gone long before.

Other artists in Пикник на обочине (Piknik na obochine) are Eric Veit, Mia Goyette and frequent collaborators, Anne De Boer and Eloise Bonneviot, whose solo show of performances O Super (hu/wo-) man is currently on at London’s Green Ray, running May 16.

See the FB event for more details.**

General Fine Arts + Asta Meldal Lynge publication launch, March 8

8 March 2016

General Fine Arts and artist Asta Meldal Lynge are having a joint publication launch at London’s All Hallows Church’s a.m. London on March 8.

e-publication General Fine Arts introduces the first issue of their second volume, ‘Values’, which is guest-edited by Tom Clark, while Asta Meldal Lynge will introduce ‘Real state’.

There will be a video reading by manuel arturo abreu and a presentation by Anna Zett at 8pm.

‘Values’ contributors include audio, text and image-based work by the above, as well as William Kherbek, Imran Perretta, Marina Vishmidt, Martin Kohout and Eleanor Ivory Weber whose text will also feature in visual essay ‘Real state’.

See the FB event for further information on the two publications.**

manuel arturo abreu, untitled 2015). Courtesy the artist.
manuel arturo abreu, ‘untitled’ (2015). Courtesy the artist.


Martin Kohout @ Kunst Raum Riehen, Jan 21 – Feb 28

21 January 2016

Martin Kohout‘s Jokes About Machines Make Humans: 2nd infusion solo exhibition is on at Riehen, Switzerland’s Kunst Raum Riehen, opening January 21 and running to February 28.

There is little information available on the show itself but the Berlin-based artist’s practice has long been concerned with humans, labour and machines under capitalism and their mutual exploitation within the complex and often opaque economic, social and, importantly, corporate systems that compel them.

As a publisher, producer and visual artist working primarily with video, sculpture and installation, Kohout’s extensive catalogue is built on what he once called in an interview with aqnb and Video in Common his fascination with “the object that [that object] represents”.

See the Kunst Raum Reihen website for (limited) details.**

Jenna Sutela + Martin Kohout @ Landsarkivet, Dec 1

1 December 2015

A lecture by Jenna Sutela and a video screening by Martin Kohout is taking place at Gothenburg’s Landsarkivet in Sweden on December 1.

As part of the Communicating the Archive: Inscription lecture series, curated by Gluey-c,  Sutela’s Skype talk ‘The Hum of Machines, Chumma, Chumma, Chumma’, explores similarities between biological viruses and the human language; as ones that alter or mutate by themselves (or by other).

A screening of Kohout’s ‘Sjezd‘ (2014) video will follow, featuring the violent sound of friction between technology and nature.

See the FB event page for details.**

Return of the Object + The Disorder of Things @ Kvalitar, Sep 10 – Nov 6

10 September 2015

Prague’s Kvalitar gallery is opening two new exhibitions curated by Václav Janoščík this month, with Marisa Olson‘s Return of the Object and the group exhibition The Disorder of Things, both opening September 10 and running until November 6.

The introduction of the two simultaneous exhibitions is Janoščík’s response to the “renewed interest in the object” brought about by the advent of the internet and its various modes of interaction. New York-based German artist Olson opens her solo show, addressing the shift of the virtual from novel or “unreal” to intimate and very real with her notion of post-internet.

The second exhibition, The Disorder of Things, brings together 16 different artists, working independently to create diverse and distinctive perspectives on the being of an object. Among the participating artists are Iain Ball, Constant Dullaart, Martin Kohout, and Nik Timková.

See the joint exhibition page for details. **


Unthinkable w J.G. Biberkopf September 4 mix

9 September 2015

Lithuanian producer J.G. Biberkopf’s Unthinkable segment, which airs at midnight on a Friday of every month on London’s NTS Radio, represents the work of both sound and visual art with pure sonics. It’s an approach to public broadcast that goes beyond just an hour of listening to deeper contemplation of ideas and theories that merit closer examination across platforms.

For that reason, aqnb has partnered with Biberkopf to accompany each show with a short text. This month’s mix features contributions from T⚾LE and Malibu, alongside additions from Biberkopf himself. T⚾LE is the aural fruition of Berlin-based artist Martin Kohout’s work, concerned with a move away from a “symbolic” idea of artefacts. At the same time, London-based Malibu reconstructs elements of dancehall, breaking down familiarity with a blissful representation of her own understanding.

On the whole, the show resonates with interrelated concern for perspective (T⚾LE’s ‘Thirst’ is informed by the sounds captured by action cameras and, in particular, how such soundscapes differ from typical field recordings in as much as they’re contained in action) and intimacy (not only as an affectionate personal relationship with another, but as a detailed understanding of place, subject, etcetera) and also includes tracks from Colin Stetson, EVOL, and Why Be.

Listen to the mix and read the text below:

Unthinkable – 4th September 2015 by Nts Radio on Mixcloud


Beyond the intuitive recognition of its properties, supplying an object’s psychological or aesthetic attributes with power or energy initiates greater areas of the brain than those required for recognition. Without thinking, the “first person perspective” on our imaged environment is held up by the human anatomy, enabling us to frame the flow of stimuli while isolating and making sense of events. This capacity is a property of the subject — as opposed to the object — of the encounter and, as people, we possess an awareness of this capacity and are able to access and utilise it.

Objective characteristics are recognised by the brain, where impressionable areas acknowledge encounters with light, movement, and so on. Still, to afford a personal understanding, to react to stimuli deeply — as affected by emotion — involves other systems, bodies, and processes. In such a way, lights and cameras are arbitrary, while action is essential. To step on stable land, for example, in place of an escalator or a ship tossed by waves, disturbs the perspective with a trembling agitation. At this moment, without cognition, indicators from within the ear form cognisant senses.

In the cinema of the mind, actors reveal themselves to those in attendance. Particular audience members perceive the piece in a particular manner. All the while, behind the camera, a hidden, unconscious dramatist exerts command over the actors and the public eye. While contextualising the setting of the performance or event, they put into context more abstruse features, such as the social and emotional. The dramatist can be thought of in an interactive sense, represented by the extensive parts played in daily life by the inner voice and outward speech. **


T⚾LE – ‘Thirst’ mix
(0:00 – 9:59)

Colin Stetson – From No Part Of Me Could I Summon A Voice
Robert Ashley – The Jaguar
Nils Frahm – Says
EVOL – Hyperobject 1
Quinton Tarver – Everybody’s Free
Belbury Poly – The Willows
Blanck Mass – Sifted Gold
Why Be – Blasting Voice Thing (Han River Special)

Malibu – ‘Te Deseo’ mix
(30:22 – 59:44)

Malibu – Malaconducta
Malibu – Keep On (Organ Tapes)
Malibu – 2Late (Ana Caprix X Jojo) X Heaven
Ssaliva – Oxy
Malibu – Te Deseo
Malibu – Slow Drift (X Organ Tapes)
Malibu – Quiero Ayudarte
Vybz Kartel World Boss – Ignite The World
Malibu – Sudor
Malibu – Ck1
Sky H1 X Uli-K – Itami
Yayoyanoh For Malibu – Bdd (Blu Dmt Dreams)
Malibu – Wining (X Organ Tapes)
Alkaline – Ride On Me

J.G. Biberkopf’s Unthinkable radio show airs at midnight on a Friday each month at London’s NTS Radio. This latest one aired September 4, and featured London-based producer Malibu and Berlin-based producer T⚾LE.

See here for more ‘Unthinkable’ mixes.

Martin Kohout, ‘Sjezd’ (2014) video

4 March 2015

The Czech word, ‘sjezd’ can mean many things. It could describe congress, a conference, perhaps a ride or a trip of some sort, but it’s often political and sometimes going down. Whatever it means it doesn’t quite translate, in all its complexity, to English. It’s a word that Berlin-based artist Martin Kohout chose to name his recent exhibition and video, recently shown at etc. gallery in Prague from December 11 to January 12, where he presented a single-channel video at high volume featuring a phone being dragged across surfaces of tourist spots in Ticino, Switzerland. Its names is inspired by the banal titling of skate videos and it carries through the same scratchy close-ups of metal hitting metal that these videos often show, the silhouette of the film maker only sometimes being seen. Looking, interfering.

‘Sjezd’ (2014) does a similiar thing, only Kohout’s own TOLE project is soundtracking, the urgent, endless, accelerating progress of this six-plus ‘skating’ video, as well as Jahmiga’s swaying track ‘Whiskey Bar‘, while a radio stream intercepts across feeds with “radio global warming”. It’s an expression of an inanimate object that’s animated into a visual-cum-physical experience that Kohout describes as “a continuous scrolling online and watching a movie after a movie, clip after a clip, endlessly”.

To add another dimension to this inter-spatial piece of art that once presented ‘live’ at etc. gallery, Kohout – along with coding help from artist Claire Tolan – presents its online manifestation you can access through the linked images below (watch full-scale, and listen loud), as well as an accompanying text written for its launch on aqnb. It takes words and their meaning beyond being just a symbol of representation and into being a form and subject all its own. **

Click below to watch the video:

play 'Sjezd' by Martin Kohout

[the newsreel excerpt transcript train ride free stuff {try this on computer speech}]

(1 )
Smtms Eye vvache-vp on-D—fleye, fallin. [F]
Hndrts off cumras nrturng meye suft sk?n. [U]
Tralala____daydaa__dyda_seeayaa [C]
( Brdß chrpn, migr8tng ‘whe-ever’. ) [K] 

[ altos, country ]
Dhis khakki gu?. [G]
[ bar, deep doom choir [O] chemistry ]
Mvng inn 25FPS. [G]
Tlkng inn 128kb!p!s. [E]
R-Ee)(dng inn 50M!B!p.l. [L]
Knovving thouse shit and chaos. 

{ [ now, all together now ] } * echo(3,4,6,12, 36, 216 )

– but sudden+ly —

[ bjürk && (clant eastweed / phul elvyrum) duet ! ]
Right into black waters.
A golf car spins over the cliff of ice.
Following a bunch of horses. — Some witty a ribbon. 

(8 )
25F!P!S. AM brthng.
H.264 D pttrn off meye poor_S.
{ NØW! Dt’s wheye! Dt’s wheye! } * 3.45 

—— 1kbps pause —— [N]
—— 3kbps lunch bite —— [O]
—— 0.7kbps smoke or smog —— [S]
—— 3mbps spam and soya sooose —— [E]
—— 1kbps pleause —— 

(4 )
Eye Jst saya IT onse ‘nd fr teyeme: Sht-vp ‘nd ride!
( now. cut to a black billiard ball in a corner of a butcher’s house ) / 0

Martin Kohout’s Sjezd solo exhibition was on at Czech’s etc. gallery, running December 11 to January 12, 2015.

Header image: Martin Kohout, Sjezd (2014-2015) @ etc. gallery. Exhibition view. Courtesy the artist.


Exile’s Das stille Leben… reviewed

28 May 2014

I wondered at first whether it wasn’t one giant art world joke. The final show of Exile’s Berlin manifestation required that guests RSVP by email, print their confirmation, and face the bouncer at the gates. The idea of a printed RSVP was the first thing that irked me. In these hyper-digital times it seems impertinent to require a hardcopy of anything.

In the courtyard of the unknown Kreuzberg apartment building where we gathered, there were people milling about outside of the pop-up bar. It occurred to me – and not just for a second – that maybe we’d been duped. Maybe the so-called “imaginary” collection of Mr. Kempinski was just that: imaginary. I was already skeptical of a show with 60 participating artists and it all seemed to make perfect sense that they would give such a mysterious aura to the event, only to enhance the spectacle when we all showed up for nothing.

Installation view 'Das stille Leben des Sammlers Kempinski'. Image courtesy Exile.
Das stille Leben des Sammlers Kempinski, installation view. Image courtesy Exile.

Happily, my suspicion was wrong. An elevator took us up to the top floor of the apartment complex where we were ushered into the main ‘gallery’ space.  It was something like a showroom for luxurious condo living – a kitchen, bed, couch, and coffee table were all in place but in an eerily artificial way. More like the set design of what an apartment should look like.

In the entrance hallway, on the balcony, on pretty much every surface, there were works of art. With the exception of a handful of videos, the show was remarkably paper and canvas-heavy.

Not being able to fully absorb all the works was invigorating. It made it easier to take in the whole atmosphere. After feverishly trying to match names with pieces I settled down in a corner and looked at the room as a whole. Paintings, sculptures, and photographs were leaning against walls, some propped on the floor or on windows. The accompanying exhibition write-up, divided the space into 14 sections – kitchen, balcony, living area, south wall, etc. – but the titles of works were omitted. Whether it was an intentional commentary on the cult of the Artist or not, this unease at identifying pieces was a welcome change from the usual format.

Das stille Leben des Sammlers Kempinski, installation view. Image courtesy Exile.
Das stille Leben des Sammlers Kempinski, installation view. Image courtesy Exile.

Further blurring the easy reception of the works, some of the artists who were well-known to me, like Hanne Lippard and Martin Kohout, presented uncharacteristic pieces in the show (alongside some of their more well-known works). Kohout showed ‘hot glue drawings on mesh’ and Lippard a small watercolour drawing of birds. The show also featured one of Lippard’s characteristic voice-driven videos and will later present a one year anniversary celebration by Kohout on the evening of June 13, to commemorate his Gotthard Tunnel Run in Switzerland during LISTE Basel last year. Polish artist Katharina Marszewski exhibited one of her collages under plexi glass, which tied seamlessly with the aesthetic of the show as a whole. Marszewski’s minimalist works reflect the kind of subdued yet dexterous pieces that would make up a private collection (whether fictional or not) on view in a home setting.

Das stille Leben des Sammlers Kempinski. Image courtesy Exile.
Das stille Leben des Sammlers Kempinski. Image courtesy Exile.

There were few loud works in the show, pieces that took all the attention. But the playful sculpture by Aggtelek was eye-catching in this cluttered context. It stood on the floor across the room from a detailed costume by Nadja Abt, the two seeming to respond to each other in their performative stillness.

The ‘collection’ presented in this show is defined as fluctuant and the curators – Exile Berlin’s Christian Siekmeier and New York-based curator Billy Miller – ask viewers to reflect upon the relationship between art and collecting.  Though the exhibition was far-reaching in terms of content, the curators managed to ground the show with a central display table presenting books of published works by many of the artists. The ‘library’ provided a space amidst the works to make sense of their authorship. But ultimately, I found the relative anonymity of the exhibition refreshing. **

Das stille Leben des Sammlers Kempinski [the Quiet Life of the Collector Kempinski] was the final project by Exile gallery in Berlin before the curators re-open in New York’s Lower East Side in September 2014.