It’s title is a reference to the idea of soft power, as well as the 80s British New Wave band Soft Cell, while suggesting “a padded cell and by extension the panoptic gaze of the state or the institution.” Also referencing Benjamin H. Bratton‘s reverse panopticon effect as ‘exhibitionism in bad faith,’ where one understands they’re being watched but acts as if they’re not, the show looks at architecture, as it is employed within commercial and museum settings. It thus places emphasis on ‘surface, image and display,’ while rendering us “passive consumers and impotent political agents.”
Clémence de La Tour du Pin is presenting solo exhibition sept préludes at Torino’s Pastiss Underground Fortress, opening October 26 and running to November 29.
Curated by Treti Galaxie in collaboration with Museo Pietro Micca, the work will be displayed underground in the tunnels and combat rooms of the old space. Described by La Tour du Pin as a “labyrinthine network of tunnels as intrauterine architecture, [comparable] to the unconscious side of the city of Torino – with its forgotten souls, desires and hidden phobias,” it will be open to the public for the first time since 1705.
Through a non-linear narrative tour that includes sensory and fictional elements to immerse the audience in a psychogeographical exploration, the artist will explore fetishism and the concept of shadows and impurities through the preservation of the space.
Covering similar themes of power, politics and capitalism that inform her performance, video, sculpture, and textual practice, the piece describes a post-apocalyptic landscape, not dissimilar to the salinity-blighted ecological disaster area, once an aspiring resort town, of California’s Salton Sea:
“Postcards of a resort oasis show blue water, bronzed bodies, white boats and yellow blossomed date palms. Now full of metal and oxygen-eating microbes, the sea’s fish thrown in for sport are suffocating”
There is limited information given with Dunmore Caves, apart from a poster that the gallery have posted in the Facebook event, which outlines a conversation between Darth Vader and a canteen worker -as imagined in Eddie Izzard’s mind.
On February 20 at the opening event, Backes and Timofeev performed in the space and this coming Saturday 27, Hindi and Shanken will perform. It will be interesting to see how these artists, not all of whom necessarily have performance-based practices, will be brought together in live pairings and moments across the event.
Borrowing their title from a snuff movie called 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick, the joint exhibition by artists Clémence de la Tour du Pin and Antoine Renard’s at L’Atelier-ksr , running September 16 to October 24, 2015, explicitly references the “cannibalistic story of pornographic actor Luka Rocco Magnotta, arrested after killing and dismembering his boyfriend.” The press release also includes a newspaper clipping from the event:
“On May 25, 2012, an 11-minute video titled 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick was uploaded to Bestgore.com, depicting a naked male tied to a bed frame being repeatedly stabbed with an ice pick and a kitchen knife, then dismembered, followed by acts of necrophilia.The perpetrator uses a knife and fork to cut off some of the flesh and gets a dog to chew on the body. (…)”
Intentionally placed within the nauseating reality of a violent murder, the show invites the viewer into a space of aftermath. Everything looks like its decaying from hedonism: rusty steel partitions divide the space into small rooms, setting the scene for a stereotypically horrific encounter. Coffee grounds and other unidentifiable detritus and stains are strewn across the space. A work titled ‘If you don’t like the reflection don’t look in the mirror’ is a tree stump wrapped in PVC rubber sheath on top of a fridge. The freezer door is open creating a makeshift plinth for an aluminium cast of a hand. Sexual party snapshots are stuck to the bottom. Half-empty coffee cups sit quietly on the floor in installation, ‘Life is the flower for which Love is the honey’. The accruing moisture included in the materials list begs for attention.
A broken pillow with strewn feathers sits in a corner next to a matrix of aluminium earplugs and wires that vaguely represent the shape of an arm. Another tree stump titled, ‘Could you juice me again? The colours are starting to fade’, sits in uncomfortable proximity to a steel box used to house toxic liquid. In another ‘unit’, a deep fryer-cum-garbage can is filled with steel tubing and a sneaker. Sculptural figures such as ‘Justin Bieber’ hang down above the scene and suggest a ritual that may have taken place. A red stain bleeds out onto the surrounding floor. The title, ‘I am you, Jun. I’m all you’ll ever need’, feels like an appropriated quote aimed towards a murdered lover. This sanitising of a reference steeped in malaise [through the theatrical nature of an art installation] is perhaps what gives the exhibition its disturbing undertone.
An oversized image of a generic sexy avatar girl found in many video games, fills the space of one of the metallic panels. This image immediately brings 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick into the realm of online gaming, darkened by a surrounding narrative that hasn’t seen daylight for months. The aftermath of excess and entertainment remains open-ended in its obscurity, entangled within the fermentation process of ‘going underground’. **
Agatha 18.104.22.168 takes place in two parts. Split across Center, Berlin, and the Berlin Hilton, the project explores the possibilities created by Agatha Valkyrie Ice; a post-gender, digital-only figure, given form in ‘Chapter 1’ through sculptures, digital prints and scents, and in ‘Chapter 2’, the carefully-staged cavorting of a cast of pastel-clad androdgynous nymphs, sharing a room in the Berlin Hilton with themselves and further works.
‘Chapter 1’ was exhibited at Center, from the April 2 to 23; uncompromisingly synthetic materials providing the canvas for similarly un-artisanal modes of production, with PVC as a canvas for digital prints, lasercut cabling casing above careful messes of odour – patchouli and Red Bull, dead flowers and bathwater.
Each chapter carefully references the other; the Hilton logo appearing in wall-based prints, spoiled bath-towels coiled in the patches of disorder that seem to illustrate the prints and sculptures they lie beside. They’re the outcome of a collaboration between Berlin-based artists Clémence de la Tour du Pin,Dorota Gawedaand Egle Kulbokaite. A shared preoccupation with the reshuffling of conventional exhibition spaces sees them co-opting the styled, gauche anonymity of a semi-luxury hotel room in ‘Chapter 2’, for a performance/exhibition that exists only in its online documentation.
Skinny boys and girls in turtle-necks preen and sniff one another – the specially made smells (contributed by International Flavors & Fragrances) that constitute part of the controlled messes in ‘Chapter 1’ clearly at play here – in an environment totally and consciously removed from sensory physical experience. The other artworks blend in with the stainless steel and marble effect well enough that the ubiquitous uncanny of the hotel room is thrown into starker-than normal relief, through the screen. **
Blue Majik, running at L’Atelier-KSR until June 27, “intends to sense the confusion and the ongoing dissolution of the synthetic and organic.” The group show is named after an extract of Arthrospira platensis. Marketed as a Nutrient Dense Aqua Botanical™, Blue Majik is described as a “pigment” with superfood qualities and is as much a biological substance as it is the bottle in which it is sold. Through each individual contribution, this invocation of a hyped, factitious nature shimmers. Across an impressive spectrum of mediums and materials, it sticks to each work and holds them thick together, revelling in the aesthetics of rust, destruction, decay, design and juxtaposition.
It is probably the clean, black rubber tyre jutting perpendicular to the wall that makes me think “car showroom” as I first arrive at the hidden two-floor gallery space. Anthony Salvador’s ZWEI JUNGS IM BENZ (2015) features a wall-length PVC print, a photograph of the front corner of a banged-up car. Its boot, popped and skewed, arches over a headlight like a raised brow, an indistinguishable appendage pokes out where a nostril might fit, a gash where the bumper was seems to fall open like a slack sneer. The tyre pops from the wall like an ear or a barnacle. I wonder if I am wrong to see a face. I also see something oily and slick, like the essence of hype winking at me.
Nearby on the ground Tore Wallert’s Sponsored by Destiny (2015) stretches like the prostrate body of a barely discovered deep-sea creature, the kind that live in darkness and feed on oil. From this scrunchy package of toxic usables—plastic, epoxy, resin, fibreglass, permanent ink, polyester fabrics—ratchet straps snake out like the treacherous stinging tentacles of a Blue Bottle jellyfish, its nose points towards the wall where Clemence de La Tour du Pin’s two prints hang. Worked and layered, these textured prints bare leaf impressions like tattoos on skin, wearing their tread marks like bruises. One of the prints, Tean_Crimson Blood (2015), sheds its rusty crust onto the floor below, toxic like body fluids and powdery like uranium-enriched pollen.
By the door, a text contribution by Dorota Gaweda and Egle Kulbokaite of The Young Girl Reading Group tells of a “hypersea” (“a postmordial sea of countless and interconnected conduits”) and leads to Antoine Renard’s Untitled_1, 2, 3, 4 (Vase of Flower) (2015), which stretches out in foamy shale piles, like a queer rubbery mountain range. It brings me into viewing the next few pieces as landscapes, artificial and reminiscent of cheap market wares. Santiago Taccetti’s sculptural installation The Secret Life of Our Protheses (2015) clings to the ground in mimicry of nature overcoming a drain grid. Built of metal, wood, water and soylent green, it has all the magic of grass growing through a crack in the pavement under a magnifying glass. Three squat humidifiers, dressed like foam rocks, flaunt their cuteness; their skeuomorphism drives the scene into fantasy and they puff off into associations between fairy tale, science fiction, and the mundane. Similar but different, Adrien Missika’s Here is shot through with there (2015) hangs on the wall above, two flat, pink tiles made of red Turkish travertine stone gouged out and filled in with Berlin algae and Spirulina. Evocative and fragile, the works are beautiful but not especially subtle.
Plenty of Berlin galleries find refuge in apartment buildings; many echo a dilapidated pre-war opulence, and this one has a spiral staircase. From the mezzanine above I see Julie Grosche’s Zen out (2015) as a cheesy hipster-relic galaxy, something to dive into. At the bottom of the stairs is Sanctuary I-IV (2013), four digital prints on metallic paper by Hanne Lippard. Aesthetically they land somewhere between a periodic table and an eye chart. A poem of disjointed words and phrases, spaces inserted between the syllables, make me giddy. I feel her poetry as a gentle kind of beautified nausea.
I nearly missed Neïl Beloufa’s La deomination du monde (2012) a 27-minute video hiding out on a monitor behind a black curtain in the corner. I may have passed up something significant, a comment, some hidden meaning, I rarely have the patience to watch things to their end in a gallery, and here I am standing upright in a makeshift closet, I don’t last the distance.
On June 17, you’ll get a chance to experience Hanne Lippard and Caique Tizzi perform live as one of the event elements tied into this show. A week later, on June 24, there’ll be an artist talk in the same space.
Berlin’s Center is bringing in a new project called Agatha 22.214.171.124, running at their Kurfürstenstraße location from April 2 to April 23.
The project takes on the construction of an ‘open source’ post-gender character named Agatha, the Latinized form of the Greek name Agathe, meaning “good”, and the main character of a Cornelius Cardew story with the same name.
‘Agatha’ exists through a ‘performative film script’, kept alive in multiple hands and existing virtually through online networks, and the exhibition itself consists of two scenes from this script. Joining Kulbokaite and Gaweda in the project is Clémence de La Tour du Pin, who will be appropriating the character for approximately one year, and who recently worked with Adrien Figeac of Coty Inc. as well as five perfumers from IFF NYC to develop a smell for the avatar.
Since its inception in 2011, Hotel Palenque has commissioned a series of artists according to a simple but unique set of production rules: each work must be produced in an A0 format (0.8 x 1.2m) and all digital remnants or files must be destroyed prior to the work being shown. The presentation becomes that of one work, existing solely in its present physical form, for one night only.
With their latest commission, Hotel Palenque brings Berlin-based artist artist Clemence De La Tour Du Pin, who, together with Antoine Renard, runs a Berlin project space called Center. Some of Clemence’s recent projects include Center’s off-site project Stoneroses, the EDENunlimited/tbc.tbc collaborative project with Renard, and the recent C R A S H group exhibition.
Installed in a Hummer limo but exhibited on the internet, the C R A S H group exhibition is the image of rupture. Or make that several images, as the show – curated by artists and New Scenario founders Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig, along with Burkhard Beschow – presents a body horror of cybernetic objects and synthetic organisms sharing a place in fragments at a point of temporal rift.
Launched on January 17 and featuring the work of 11 artists, each image comes from the one luxury car interior but its object is viewed only in isolation at any given time. The empty space becomes animated as you select an artist’s name, like a point-and-click adventure game of grotesque hidden artefacts, from Hornig’s nylon-limbs stretched out across a leather couch to Barsch’s disembodied hairpiece, dreadlocked and dangling from the sunroof.
Inspired by David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and Chris Cunningham’s ‘Windowlicker‘ video for Aphex Twin there’s something chilling about Adam Cruces‘ baguette arm that wears three watches in the speaker compartment and Thomas Payne’s plastic pack of oversized synthetic slaters. It’s place in the driver’s cupholder implying it’s there to be eaten.
This is a backdrop of obscene wealth and mediated overstimulation, where the Hummer limousine comes already loaded with a contextual meaning that a white cube – whether online or off – consciously, but possibly even more artificially attempts to avoid. Thus these actors and their stage in the total cinematic experience of C R A S H, where the drama of Zack Davis‘ motionless glass barnacle stuck to the screen of a simulated fireplace plays out in a different dimension of the same space as Anne Fellner‘s painting of a white swan lying limply on its side.
An accompanying text by Joseph Hernandez called ‘Observations From the Bucket‘ presents a first-person account of a “coming change” ignored by the family but offering ideas and concepts that are “constant and shattered and reveled within”. The anatomical imagery that mostly travels through the protagonist’s digestive tract is slightly less confronting than d3signbur3au‘s troublingly feminised personification of a capitalism that’s eating itself in ‘for a future IV: but what if we are not alive?‘:
“Blue shit burning in her ass like melting solder… the smell of blue fever fills the air, a rotten metal meat smell that steams off her as she shits a soldering blue phosphorescent excrement”.
A bulbous pink blob, ice cubes expanding into polygonal shapes, a napkin spattered with what looks like blood and a toilet brush encrusted with grime and cigarette butts. All of these individual pieces add up to a production that evokes that same sensuous feeling of ‘venereal horror’ that made Cronenberg famous, J. G. Ballard an icon and our collective view to the future one that’s equal parts frightening and fascinating. **