Rirkrit Tiravanijas "Less oil more courage" is presented as a large wall piece in the rotunda of the Fridericianum, the title was a very inspired thought, not just for a painter but also perhaps for all artists. For his exhibition "Pruitt-Igoe Falls" Cyprien Gaillard extends his series Geographical Analogies, in which he sets 900 polaroids, picturing sites from all over the world into a visual correspondence with each other. The young artist Klara Liden has created an enterable spatial sculptur combined with two new videos that touches on, influences, and deludes physical and psychical perceptions. Under the title "The simple complexity of it all" Marc Bijl will show large sized sculptures that are a tribute to three artists of the recent art history.
The simple complexity of it all
LESS OIL MORE COURAGE
On Friday, 16 January 2009, 7 p.m., Kunsthalle Fridericianum opens the exhibitions of Cyprien Gaillard, Klara Lidén and Marc Bijl. Furthermore the newly designed foyer and rotunda Roboter as well as the work LESS OIL MORE COURAGE by Rirkrit Tiravanija will be presented to the public.
'LESS OIL MORE COURAGE' reflects the curatorial credo of the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in a few clear words. Under the direction of Rein Wolfs, art and artistic attitudes are detected that are characterised by strong communicative abilities, that are bold, proud, and confident and do not shy away from provocation.
Rirkrit Tiravanijas LESS OIL MORE COURAGE is presented as a large wall piece in the rotunda of the Fridericianum.
“Some years ago I received an invitation card in the mail from a gallery in New York, (Matthew Marks); it was an invitation to an exhibition by a young artist by the name of Peter Cain. Peter was a painter known for his anamorphic splicing of cars; they were coolly painted with the brushes of oil paint thickly applied to canvas. They were the marks of a realist (almost graphic) with the narrative of a surreal world; it was the world of surfaces and the surfaces of the metallic baked enamel of cars. But if cars were his fascination, the anamorphic world of biotechnological mutation was in the shadow of these cars – a world where Dolly the sheep was being cloned and Adobe Photoshop computer software was about to be introduced to the world, offering a new landscape of photographic rendering beyond our imagination. But Peter’s life was cut short and he did not see beyond the age of 37, and the invitation I received was for an exhibition five years after his death.
On the front of the invitation card was a reproduction from a page of Peter’s artist’s notebook: a text that read “More courage less oil”. Taken in context, that message was clearly a note to himself about the dilemma of being a painter and the moral choices one faces in executing a painting. I kept the card on my wall all these years for what I thought was a very inspired thought, not just for a painter but also perhaps for all artists.
Today, in the present context, we face a different dilemma altogether. The question of courage and the thoughts facing our present condition come ironically from the turn of Peter Cain’s inspired message.
LESS OIL MORE COURAGE asks us to face our own desires in the making, and to confront and question them, even as we try to achieve them. How do we, as a society and a community, face our weakness with courage and find the place in our consciousness to redirect the course and path we have been traveling? We will travel to our moral end, but while we are on this road, perhaps a small detour off course can bring us closer, to face the facts and be inspired enough to change.”
Chiang Mai, Thailand 2007
17 January till 15 March and 4 April till 21 June 2009
Cyprien Gaillards artistic subject focuses on the relation between architecture and nature and the disparity in recognition and handling of historical and modern architecture.
For his exhibition PRUITT-IGOE FALLS Cyprien Gaillard extends his “global” series Geographical Analogies, in which he sets a series of 900 polaroids, picturing sites from all over the world into a visual correspondence with each other. Furthermore a new video and his sculpture Le canard de Beaugrenelle will be shown.
Huge clouds of white smoke, which explode out of tunnels or grow exuberantly in the afforested background of a French Château or a stony lighthouse; morbid housing complexes from the 60ies and 80ies with their crumbling facades or the ruins of high apartment buildings in the precarious outskirts, left for the demolition squad, originally built for social Utopia and now mutating to hot spots of violence. These are the places and motifs Cyprien Gaillard deals with in his artwork.
Gaillard is interested in the relationship between architecture and nature, which shows particularly remarkable in his series Geographical Analogies from 2006. Very carefully he places nine polaroids into a visual correspondence with each other. In a wooden box these photos are arranged as a group and show Mexican nature sites as well as construction projects in the Bronx. But with this conflict between architecture and nature Gaillard also relates to the statements and effects of the Land Art. With Number VI from the film- and photo series Real Remnants of Fictive Wars Gaillard even lets the icon of Land Art, Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty from 1970 end up in smoke. Minimal aesthetic, a discreet romantic touch, but also vandalism and a young anarchistic spirit are the fundamental pillars of his works, which support him in implementing the reversion from vandalism into a high culture.
Choosing a media for his work Gaillard also stays very multifaceted ranging from painting, graphics to photography, film and video works. But especially in the media film his keen sense for sublime landscapes, places and architecture is realized. The reason why his 30 minutes video Desniansky Raion (2007) advanced to one of his important works.
Conceived as a triptych and accompanied by the spherical music of Koudlam, the concentrated entering view focuses on the monumental, but already scruffy 35 levels high West gate of Belgrade, the Genex-Tower. Then the narrative parts follow, beginning with a street battle of Hooligans in a suburb of St. Petersburg; the spectacular detonation of a Parisian apartment complex accompanied by a lightshow, fireworks and music and finally the Bird’s-eye-view on a desolate paltry housing complex in the district called Desniansky Raion in winterly Kiev, reminding of the English Stonehenge due to its ring like structure.
Cyprien Gaillard’s new video work Crazy Horse (2008), enacted as a live performance together with Koudlam, was introduced within the night program of this year’s Berlin Biennial for contemporary art.
Looking at an immense projection onto a wall in the sculpture park in Berlin Mitte one saw the detonation proceedings at the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills in South Dakota, which will be one of the largest sculptures in the world once it will be finished in approximately eighty years. Already in 1948 the sculptor Korczak Ziólkowski was invited by the former sachem of the Sioux to build this memorial and Gaillard’s video is again conceived as a tribute to this fantastic project.
With generous support by
Collezione Giuliani, Roma
Friday, 16 January 2009, 9 p.m. Desniansky Raion by Cyprien Gaillard with live performance by Koudlam
In her works Klara Lidén displays a profound feeling for time and material as well as for other people. No matter whether her works consist of performances, actions, spatial constructions, installations, or videos, she includes the recipients both physically and mentally.
At the Fridericianum, the young Swedish artist has created an enterable spatial sculptur combined with two new videos that touches on, influences, and deludes physical and psychical perceptions.
The artistic work of Klara Lidén can be described as a strong and cheeky conglomerate of energy, activism, liveliness, instinct, but also of acrimony, disappointment and worry – constantly in search of breaking with the social conventions. No matter if she is performing or working actionistically with room structures, installations or video, she always knows how to involve the recipient physically and mentally in a very clever but gentle way. Physically when the visitor is requested to climb up filigree and waggle room constructions made out of cardboard and corrugated metal sheets in order to reach the integrated hidden video - mentally when she is confronting the viewer with images and topics which can even be quite awkward. Very fast it becomes clear, that civil disobedience plays a major role in all her works, though it is sometimes subtle, just slightly indicated.
For the artistic implementation Klara Lidén often uses multi-media based installations created out of simple everyday objects, which she either finds in her living area or close to the exhibition space. This way she designs accessible, often narrowed room constructions out of cardboard, corrugated metal sheet, foils and pipes in which she integrates video- or sound works. Especially the videos in which she takes over the acting part herself gained famousness. In Paralyzed (2003) for instance she dances, jumps and brachiates completely uninhibited and uncoerced in a commuting train right in front of the other passengers. Her focus not necessarily lays on the reaction of these passengers, but much more on leaving her body the free will and to express her accumulated anger and resentment.
Also the video 550 Jamaica Avenue (2004) is a proof for a strong social criticism and the rejection of the established social codes of discipline, when the camera is leading the recipient into an apartment completely stuffed with furniture, books, pictures, notes and all other kinds of junk. Very early one can hear a disharmonic mix of speaking and singing, coming from the artist who either sits at a piano or pedals on her home trainer. Her upper body is naked, but by only presenting her back to the audience the gender keeps a secret. In the video Ohyra (2007) the artist appears as an extremely vulnerable person in a kitchen. This time she is turning her naked upper body towards the viewer, she seems to be confused, displeased and angry. Detached from the everyday functioning and understanding she acts eccentric, impetuous and auto aggressive, while she is hitting herself in the face.
Another form of revolt, which captivates through sensibility and a discrete charm, is Klara Lidén’s photo series Self Portrait from 2004. You see the artist resting against a balustrade in a very relaxed manner; her wide open coat reminds a bit of the illicit trade with watches and jewellery, but now it reveals a series of tools usually applied in burglary and theft crimes.
The entirety of Klara Lidén’s work is not only characterized by a profound sense for the combination of time and the events of the day, artistic expression and material, but also by an extreme passionate and focused energy, which testifies a light heartedness though the topics are often rather depressing. Klara Lidén is and stays a rebel.
Supported by Iaspis
The simple complexity of it all
Under the title The simple complexity of it all Marc Bijl will show large sized sculptures in the Fridericianum. They shall not only reflect his artistic past and development, but will be at the same time a tribute to three artists of the recent art history: Barnett Newman, Sol LeWitt and Piet Mondrian. In his latest works Bijl develops his own distinctive attitude towards the achievements of the Modernism.
Sculptures, installations and interventions, performative and like graffiti: these are the artistic media Marc Bijl is dealing with. Intelligent, provocative and subversively he interacts social and political issues. His major focus lies on political events, the perception and association of social structures, social systems of rules and the public space and again and again their symbolic occurrence.
The symbol, the logo and the label are his potential targets and his artistic tools. He likes to upset, relocate and re-connote their superficial image and their mythmaking – always aiming at a critical analysis of the social conditions of the society. And here he avails himself of a variety of significant domains of our everyday life like national identity, religion, industry, capital, advertisement and the art world. For instance, when he placed the Nike symbol made out of concrete on exactly that sport field at Berlin Alexanderplatz sponsored by this said company and thus made all playful sportive activity impossible. Or in 2000 during the European Championship Soccer when he produced orange color coated bricks endued with the Nike slogan Just do it for the “potentially violent hooligan”, which he then offered for sale to collectors in his gallery.
Surrounded by a rather depressing aura are the sculptural works of Marc Bijl, which he has covered with tar. With La Revoluzione Siamo Noi (2001) he relates to Lara Croft, the virtual protagonist of the computer game series Tomb Raider which has already become an icon. Lifelike, made out of polyester, but covered with this black dripping compound she had to give up her vivid youthfulness and sex appeal and turned into a scary mutant-like appearance. The four large letters of the sculpture Porn (2002) refer to an icon of the recent art history, namely Love from Robert Indiana and the later adaption Aids from General Idea. With Porn Marc Bijl does not only pick up an apparently rigid taboo subject but is creating a new label, a new tag for the contemporary zeitgeist and the perversity of political and social processes. With Dark Symbolism (2003) he follows the context of national symbols when he tars an eagle made out of plaster and therewith reverses his attributes immortality, courage, vision and power into ridiculousness, like the metamorphosis of a heraldic character.
Most rigorous and powerful, already in the choice of the material, is his new series Fundamentality (2007-2008) where he puts major focus on control and the influence of religion and capital. He constructs crosses from steel and concrete, metallic coated bars and steel rods, so that the recipient truly confronts the heaviness of this topic in these installations. Just recently he installed Fundamentality V (2008) in the Dutch Tilburg, where he placed a gigantic pile of cubes out of construction blocks immersing in a spotlight directly in front of a church, referring to Sol LeWitts minimal constructivism.
More and more Marc Bijl shows his concentration on abstract forms and the involved referral to modern art history in his recent two dimensional works and graffiti in which he also relates to the geometrical language of shapes of Piet Mondrian. When abstraction was supposed to lead Mondrian to the “nature of all things“, Bijl rather sees the actual social wish for structure and orderliness in it.
And all this constantly confronts us with his almost unimposing minimal interventions, his quite simple performances or graffiti interventions, his paroles and protests, which do not differ very much from the wall messages of others but somehow share the same fate, to be of short life. Like it happened during his visit in Kassel in 2002 when he, as a quasi illegal participant in documenta 11 sprayed the word TERROR on each of the six columns of the Fridericianum portal. The very next morning all the letters were gone and the audience – still shocked from September 11th 2001 – could visit the exhibition without worrying.
This is Marc Bijls way of infiltrating and emphasizing the actual conditions and deficiencies of a society. But he doesn’t see himself as an activist, but– and that is self evident – as an artist. Politics is fiction, art is real.
Marc Bijl was also the bassist of the Rotterdam gothic band Götterdämmerung.
Foyer by Richard Hutten
The internationally acknowledged Dutch Designer Richard Hutten was assigned to refurbish the entrance area of the Fridericianum. Especially for this foyer he designed a brand new desk supplemented by 14 seating possibilities consisting each of one letter, which altogether form the term 'entartete Kunst'.
The rotunda Roboter is a space for meeting - with art and with people. Roboter will be used for side events, will give insights into the documenta archive and experiment with new ways of perceiving art. The presence of Wi-Fi and the possibility of going through artmagazines turns the rotunda into a working space. Self-service automates will guarantee good catering.
Image: Cyprien Gaillard, Desniansky Raion, 2007. Video still, courtesy: Cosmic (Bugada & Cargnel), Paris
Christine Messerschmidt Communication
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