Ari Benjamin Meyers, Songbook, Installation view, 2013
Ari Benjamin Meyers artist, born 1972 in New York, is an American composer and conductor working in the experimental, electronic, new music scene in Germany. He is also active in the field of contemporary art.
While primarily known for his work with the ground breaking dance club-orchestral mash-up, Redux Orchestra, he has also worked with many other artists most notably Einstürzende Neubauten and Anri Sala. Other collaborators include Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Anri Sala, Tino Sehgal, La Fura dels Baus, The Residents, raumlabor.berlin, Ricardo Villalobos, Staatsoper Dresden, Staatskapelle Berlin, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York, Morton Subotnick and The Orb.
Meyers’ catalog includes operas, music for plays, dance, and film as well as music for diverse chamber ensembles. As evidenced by his arrangements for the live performancesRedux Orchestra versus Einstürzende Neubauten, Meyers’ work often takes the form of productive sabotages: he constructs and deconstructs musical situations and deliberately plays on the expectations of a given audience. Although personally distancing himself from the term “Crossover”, his work is often discussed within that context.
Back to the Tennis Club de Paris today to see what Phoebe Philo’s Céline woman has been up to. And, according to the mood book on each brightly colored, blocky seat, she has been looking at graffiti—not just any graffiti, but graffiti through the medium of Brassaï’s photographs, obviously. In the primal black and white images of street art found in the city of Paris there was a distinct clue to the mood of the collection.
As the first vividly hued silhouettes emerged, the models walking at a brisk clip to the underlying beat of George Michael’s “Freedom,” the feeling was bold, bold as Brassaï, if you will. But this wasn’t to be a retread of a famous Versace moment. The overlocking song was that Soul II Soul staple “Back to Life,” put through something of the wringer, with all its lazy, hazy connotations of summer in the late eighties. And the collection, too, had the immediacy of that song—and perhaps a bit of a debt to the band’s former shop in Camden, where leather Africa pendants were sold in large quantities.
The color palette had that late-eighties feel of something primary, urgent, graphic. Giant strokes and squiggles dominated in tailored T-shirt shapes over striped sunray pleats. At first, the Céline woman was like a Tony Viramontes illustration sprung to life. But what gave the clothes a real third dimension was the fabric experimentation; here, woven jacquards and knits dominated over prints and were beautifully done. The Céline woman became more intriguing, though, in her embrace of a certain ragga style in the elongated string vest looks, especially when these were layered with a yellow jumper tied around the waist just so. Then she was out of the dance hall and on. Like we said: brisk clip.
Yet, the last eight looks were the best of the collection. They didn’t feel as if they were in the sway of any history or reference point. Utilizing the large T-shirt silhouette, with a cutout in an abstract, metal-rimmed shape revealing the contrasting tunics layered underneath, then ending in a burst of cheesecloth skirt, these particular looks were outstanding.
Perhaps the undercurrent of sensual perversity of the last two seasons has dissipated from the Céline woman this time. But it seems she will never be that uptight or controlled again; this show was free, easy, and fun. This mood might be familiar, having already been set in motion by Dior’s Couture collection earlier this year (fashion’s tribes are clearly in the ascendant this season), but it also felt like a collection sprung from real life, from real experiences with a teenage immediacy. Philo defined it as being about “power to women. It was inspired by lots and lots of feelings. It felt like the right time to move on. I never really analyze; it is just what is there inside.” And perhaps that’s the real power of the Céline woman now: She comes from the heart, not the head.
Installation view, Manual Labour, 2012 and Oscar Tuazon and Elias Hansen, Untitled (Kodiak Staircase), 2008
Born in 1975, Oscar Tuazon grew up outside Seattle, coming of age watching bands like Mudhoney and Nirvana. Having graduated from the elite Independent Study Program at New York’s Whitney Museum in 2003, he cut his teeth working for renowned extremist Vito Acconci, a performance artist and poet-turned-architect.
After moving to Paris in 2007, Tuazon set up the gallery castillo/corrales with a group of artist and curator friends, and the past three years have seen his constructions of wood and concrete take over exhibition spaces across Europe.
Inspired by what he calls “outlaw architecture”, Tuazon channels the freethinking of hippy survivalists who decide to go off-grid. Comprised of a combination of natural and industrial materials, the sculptures and installations of Oscar Tuazon reference minimalist sensibilities, extreme do-it-yourself aesthetics and vernacular architecture.
His works maintain an improvised, precarious quality that draws upon his long-standing interest in how the built environment is redefined and redesigned by the act of inhabitation.
Tuazon says, “I hope that the effect of my work is mostly physical. That’s what I like; walking through something, having an experience of the weight of things, or an experience of balance… That kind of really basic physical thing makes the work interesting; it makes it disarming and strange.”
Reverse Joy, 2012 and Scenarios for Europe (III), 2012
Slavs and Tatars is an art collective and “a faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia”. Founded in 2006, the group addresses a shared sphere of influence between Slavs, Caucasians and Central Asians. Slavs and Tatars’ work often takes place in the public sphere: via public space, institutions or media. They have repeatedly collaborated with and been featured in 032c, the bi-annual culture publication from Berlin.
Their year long project 79.89.09 looked at two key dates; the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the fall of Communism in 1989, to better understand the historic year of 2009. 79.89.09 was exemplary of the multidisciplinary work of the group: consisting of a lecture series, a print edition, a mirror mosaic Resist Resisting God as well as a feature in two consecutive issues of 032c.
The 79.89.09 lecture series has been presented at the Rietveld Academy’s Studium Generale in Amsterdam, Triumph Gallery, Moscow, the Dutch Art Institute, the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art, the Bruce High Quality Foundation University as part of the Edifying series of performative lectures, and the Nordic Embassies in Berlin as part of Correct Me if I’m Critical. For the 10th Sharjah Biennial, the collective presented “Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi’ite Showbiz”, an elaboration on “79.89.09” which looked at the folklore and crafts accompanying the ideological impulses of the end of Communism and the beginning of revolutionary Islam.