After the previous marathons Extinction (2014) and Transformation (2015), we turn our attention to something more magical. Developed with artist Sophia Al-Maria, this year’s theme looks at ritual and repetition “to consider ways in which the imaginary can not only predict, but also play a part in affecting long-term futures.” The extensive line-up brings together a number of cross-disciplinary practitioners from the fields of art, science, activism, music, literature and theology among many others.
Day 1 will take place in West London at Serpentine Sackler Gallery and will also be live video streamed here.To begin the program, Gilbert & George present ‘FUCKOSOPHY FOR ALL’followed by Al-Maria’s own ‘The Unblinding’.
Just Frustration, an exhibition presented at Copenhagen’s Sixty Eight between August 7 and August 31 explored frustration both as a feeling and an entanglement. According to the press release, it’s an enmeshment where “futures seem to be permanently seen from the perspective of a past of outwardly and inwardly expressed fear”, where Conservative “common sense” and where the “present is permanent(ly)” made up of the continuation of colonial and imperial historical values. Curated by Tom Clark and Iben Elmstrøm, the group show included work by Ester Fleckner, Rachel Maclean, Imran Perretta, Lousie Haugaard, Amel Ibrahimovic, Hanne Lippard and Chloe Seibert, asks how an artwork can be directed towards this entanglement, this frustration, and find nuances, reliefs, magnifications and common denominators, be it via language, material and/or object.
Ester Fleckner‘s ‘I Navigate in Collisions’(2015) are two woodcut prints on paper that are nervous images all bearing their forms (or trying to) out of straight lines, like family trees, as Fleckner’s collisionswebpage describes. London-based Perretta has created a surface that holds white washed marks up to bare scrutiny and that drapes, quite transparently and brightly, like a thing in the way in the space. It’s just behind Seibert’s video of landscapes, high sky scrapers, mountains, which sits in the window, looking out and titled: ‘I Am At A Loss For Words’ (2013). A small text also by Perretta is powerful and straight forward: “She knows about villages, the Modern and the savage, but I can’t listen anymore, because slowly she is taking my history away from me”.
Danish artist, Louise Haugaard Jørgensen‘s installation, ‘Rendezvous. Ascend to the second floor, melt down to the third floor. Bon appétit’ (2015)includes a white plaster 3D print, which resembles an ancient vessel, perched on a metal structure that could be a drawn symbol of a house. With it she has cut up a lecture by anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss and added it to a tape by Danish Musician, Dario Campeotto. Campeotto’s song is about being in love and never leaving: “you could walk in and out the fire… but you would always be mine” and Levi-Strauss’ lecture is descriptions of methods of how to: cannibalism (boiling, melting etc.) The pairing evokes conversations about consumption but also devotion and enmeshment. “Old Hegemonies”, as the press release discusses, are brought into the foreground and distorted. How can art help itself, us and things around us in the present to remain un-distanced? **
Sixty Eight brings in a new group exhibition, titled Just Frustration opening at the Copenhagen art space on August 7.
The show, curated by Sixty Eight founder Iben Bach Elmstrom and curator, writer and Base for Active Knowledge (BAK) editor Tom Clark, takes frustration as the fertile ground for artistic growth, “at the entrenched ideologies, local specificities, and claims for global progress that bind the everyday”.
Happening a while back but one not to be overlooked, Camden’s Rowing in London presented a nine-strong exhibition of artists inspired by the 1988 teen cult-classic and would-be mass murder movie, Heathers, running September 19 to October 25. Curated by New York’s Alex Ross and crossing generations born before and beyond the 80s, the exhibition rides on the inescapable cycle of contemporary art co-option in popular culture via its “impulse to vampirise levity as a cipher for criticality and de-subjectivisation”.
It takes the Michael Lehmann film’s quiet nods to artworks – obtusely referred to in a list of timings appearing on the Rowing exhibition page in lieu of a press release – across 11 pivotal scenes underscored by their appearance in the background. The Heathers exhibition in turn takes this idea of appropriation and depoliticisation of a post-Pop Art space further, by presenting works that reintegrate popular, or more specifically, commodity culture back into the artwork, begging the question, ‘what’s the difference anyway?’ Hence there’s May Hands‘, ‘Endless Euphoria (Calvin Klein)’ (2014) – a minimal white netted canvas dotted with the fashion house’s perfume cards – next to ‘Guilty, (Gucci)’ (2014) and Deanna Havas‘s ‘Regrind (4)’, a papier mâché plaque on foam crudely painted with brands, a browser window and fragments of text including, “Brand Name: Famous”.
Bradford Kessler‘s ‘Mistletoe (3,2,1)’ (2014) hangs from the ceiling at the Rowing entrance – tasteful snow-white head harnesses fitted with crisp new tennis ball gags – while Daniele Milvio’s glazed raw clay scallop bowls are mounted across four walls. That’s where Kait Mooney‘s titanium negative ion necklace for the athlete in ‘third initial’ (2014) lies scattered in a scrawl on the floor. It’s tubing and brass fittings lead away from Erika Ceruzzi‘s tumbling wall hung, ‘Ribbons (Electrobank)’ (2014), across from Rachel Maclean‘s ‘LolCats’ (2012) 15-minute video, on the floor in the corner. The latter artist performs famous cultural moments throughout history – from a Katy Perry interview (“I wanted them to be, like, Britney Spears-white.”) to a scene from The Wizard of Oz (“But, I don’t understand”) – as the ‘LOLCat’ meme personified in a hyper-stylised fantasy landscape.
Where the art and the curatorial concept comes to bear most succinctly, is in Lisa Holzer‘s framed painting of ‘Nude monochrome’s naked dream with Ei passing under spaghetti (blushing orange)’ (2014), where the Tiqqun-inspired framed pigment print behind glass reacts as much as it mediates in an interface between person and projection (“girly-like shy rather than ashamed“). Anime stickers are stuck across from frame to transparent screen in the paler ‘It’s my hair and I can do what I want with it!’ (2014) print, confusing where the image ends and the ‘reality’ begins. The causality dilemma is extended to video game culture, high school shootings and the socialised violence, misogyny and alienation of conventional masculinity in Andrea Crespo‘s empty Playstation 3 game disc boxes. The Complex Cases feature blurbs taken from existing blog posts left behind by soon-to-be teen mass murderers in what’s becoming a growing trend building up on copy-cat actions by the likes of Jeff Weise and Elliot Rodger, with Jokela High School student Eric-Pekka Auvinen insisting, “HUMANITY IS OVERRATED!” **
London’s Rowing Projects is hosting the nine-artist Heathers group exhibition, running at the Camden art space from September 19 to October 25.
Taking its title from the dark 80s teen cult comedy by the same name, Heathers takes a look at pop culture’s (and pop cinema’s) co-option of contemporary art and its “impulse to vampirise levity as a cipher for criticality and de-subjectivisation”.