Magazine Contemporary Culture


Yvonne Venegas: Construction of Appearance

Yvonne Venegas, From the series El Tiempo Que Pasamos, Inédito, 2006 and Maria Elvia de Hank, 2006-2010

Over the years, Yvonne Venegas has a developed a specific visual language through her photographs which thrive on moments of fleeting imperfection. She captures her subjects in flux, scenes that reveal artifice, and various states of becoming.  Venegas balances beauty and composition with ideas of the absurd.  She finds substance beneath layers of  pretense and turns a critical gaze toward the superficial.  It should be noted that Venegas does not focus on the unsavoriness of her subjects rather she unconvers moments of tangible realness and underscores the human condition.

“Growing up with my father was not simply to be the daughter of a social photographer, it also meant to live with somebody who wanted to belong to the particular social class, that took effort for him to accommodate himself within. In that effort I saw the clients come in and out of the studio and I assisted many weddings, not as a guest, but as a child. My participation in people´s events was not something I enjoyed, but it was almost viewing something foreign with an added feeling that it could never be mine. […] In photography I have found a way to make moments, people and situations my own. So if compared, my dad´s and my reason to photograph were very different: his had to do with a need for money and mine had to do with a need to see things my way.”

The images produced by Yvonne Venegas tend to be betrayals: efforts to snap the shutter a split second before or after the subject’s awareness takes control of the image. This untimeliness is on various occasions a fruit of parasitism: capturing one model while being photographed by another, the eruption of the lens standing in an unresolved parallax against a scene constructed by someone else.

There is nothing more rhetorical than a pose, that decided effort to transcend the contingency of one’s face and posture by means of an eidos, a vehicle whereby the corporeal, the instantaneous, the fungible aspire to the condition of an eternal Platonic idea. In spite of the historical impact of different forms of the anti-portrait (the uncontrollable image of Robert Frank or the zoological passion of Diane Arbus for the singularity of the camera), social habits and professional photographic practice continue to adhere to the pictorial expectation of capturing an idealized “I”: the care lavished on the image and its lighting, the precise coordination of eye and shutter finger, and above all the productive self-censoring of the photographic subject. All these forces conspire to constitute a sublimated emissary that conceals and fabricates, in the face of the camera, a controlled appearance, an artifact of subjectivity. One stops and appears before the camera, one pauses,1 greeting it as a servant approaches his master.

1 The etymology of the word could not be more eloquent. Spanish posar, according to Corominas, derives from Late Latin pausare (‘cease, stop’). In this sense, it shares meaning with the idea of the “presentation” of our ontology. See Joan Corominas, Breve diccionario etimológico de la lengua castellana (Madrid: Gredos, 1990), p. 470.

If a pose has a symbolic and culturally constructed quality, a gesture, on the other hand, is an almost organic aspect of our appearance in the presence of others: a clue, no less revealing than the silver bromide of a vintage photograph, of an atomic fact in the endless chain of events that make up the world.

“I believe that there are many societies in Latin America where the task of keeping up the appearances of our family, friends, and group falls to women.”

The transition from analog and chemical photography to the illusionism of digital photography has only radicalized the most ordinary photographic custom: whereas the destruction of a photograph used to entail a certain magical disquiet (ultimately, the cutting or tearing of a snapshot suggested a furious slaughter), the ease of eliminating files from digital devices has empowered photographic subjects to exercise police-state control over the beauty and fitness of their faces.

”We elaborate an image of ourselves that coincides with certain norms in compliance with what everyone else finds acceptable” (Pierre Bourdieu)

“In The Most Beautiful Brides of Baja California (2000-2004) we studied this phenomenon among upper middle class women of Tijuana. Using my friendship to gain access, I found myself researching what people believe being photogenic is all about, and how they choose to present themselves before a photographic camera. In time, I became more interested in seeking out their fragile moments, perhaps those occasions when the subjects were not ready for the photo and were, therefore, unaware of their own representation. My study of this facet proposes to find the human side, based on the construction of a shell that exists in order to be contemplated by others”

Venegas stays away from clear narratives and statements by instead presenting her conclusions to more than four years of work as fragments of an experience, each one a subtle document of a space whose telling reflects on identity.

In her portrayal of wealth and celebrity, Venegas counters expectations on the part of subjects and viewers alike.

Text: Press release, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Cuauhtémoc Medina for the book Gestus, published by RM editorial in 2015 and Alfonso Morales ‘A factory of dreams’ for the solo exhibition at Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil in México City, ‘You will never be younger than this day’, 2012, found on Yvonne Venegas website
Edit by Magazine Contemporary Culture.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Maison Margiela, Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear

John Galliano for Maison Margiela, Fall 2017 Ready-to-Wear

It would take a very long time indeed to describe some of the outfits John Galliano dreamed up at Maison Margiela for Fall—and even then, the words might not help at all. Put simply: It seemed to be an exercise in cutting out pieces of clothing and layering them on top of whole garments. Sometimes only the tracery of seams remained. Nonsensical, you might say—and that’s quite true because Galliano is working at a level where the matter-of-fact language of clothing fails. To piece together what he might be getting at, you have to start opening your eyes: Literally look into the clothes, scan their every angle and texture, and switch on your emotional antennae. It was good to be pushed. This time, his innovation felt less like experimental doodling and more like a fully realized sketch with deep resonances within it.

That it was about America, there could be no doubt. A belted trenchcoat with a bra-top cut into the front turned out to have a message on the back: The Statue of Liberty’s crown was clearly silhouetted in a cutout across the storm flap. (The back view can be seen on the runway retreating in the second photo, just behind the beige pantsuit.) Galliano has never been a political designer. The wavelength he operates on is associative, poetic, and playful; but here was a symbol—liberty—which seemed to stand as a synonym for the creative freedom to mix up metaphors, materials, and fragments of cultures. He’ll look at things from new angles, always. If a furry bag suddenly looks good to him as a hat, then on it goes!

No one asks Galliano for a straightforward look-by-look narrative, but embedded in this collection were references to Marilyn Monroe, the days of the western frontier, blue-collar workers, corporate suiting, the military, and the multiple ethnicities and religions America (and the world) contains. At the beginning, there was Monroe’s oversize sweater, the remnants of Joe DiMaggio’s baseball jacket, and a shadowy blown-up print of her face on a shift dress. Further along: a knitted dress patterned like an American quilt, layered over a dotted organdy dress, and decorated with peacock feathers.

What might have been an over-cheeky mess—this is sometimes the case with Galliano—was calmed down by the presence of so many exceptional, wearable pieces. Along the way, there was a clear view of a pair of jeans with a fabulously sexy high-waist fit, incredible coats, and a brilliant retake on Margiela’s surrealist footwear: boots with half-detached kitten heels. The message, then? Surely a gentle one: that this is (and must remain) an inclusive world. Just one note to Galliano, though: Of 31 girls, there was only one black model on his runway. That is something he (and all designers) needs to rectify.

Text: Sarah Mower
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Haim Steinbach: Objects, Commodity Products, or Art Have Functions For Us That Are Not Unlike Words



Haim Steinbach, Display #31G — An Offering: Collectibles of Ellen and Michael Ringier, Kunsthalle Zurich, 2014

Producing an extraordinary body of work throughout his impressive forty year career, Haim Steinbach has redefined the status of the object in art through his continued investigation into what constitutes art objects and the ways in which they are displayed.

When I began working with objects in the late 1970s, most objects I employed were used objects that I got from flea markets and yard sales. For instance, all the objects in an installation I did at Fashion Moda in the South Bronx in 1980 came from the neighborhood second-hand stores or were picked off the street. The idea of a desire for a “cultural object-as-commodity,” something which “exists outside,” intrigues me because I believe that what exists outside eventually comes inside. A “commodity object,” once acquired, becomes internalized. 

Through juxtaposing paintings, sculptures, artefacts and children’s playthings, Steinbach uncovered alternative meanings inherent in the objects, while subverting traditional notions of display and the value of objects. In presenting these loans and the salt and pepper shakers, Steinbach also unites the day-to-day habits of the home with the seemingly more conventional museum-based act of collection and display.

Up until the mid-1970s, Steinbach explored Minimalist ideas through the calculated placement of coloured bars around monochrome squares. He then abandoned painting to configure works using linoleum based on a range of historical floor designs, responding to both high and low cultural narratives. By the late 1970s, Steinbach began a transition to the three dimensional, collecting and arranging old and new, handmade and mass-produced objects, coming from a spectrum of contexts. These objects were displayed on what Steinbach termed “framing devices”, ranging from simple wedge-shaped shelves, to handmade constructions, to modular building systems.

Steinbach’s preoccupation with the fundamental human practice of acquiring and arranging objects has remained a key focus within his work and brings to the fore the universality of this common ritual.

“People seem to build their own cathedral inside their house. They select the objects that they like to live with, and they make a shell for themselves. They cultivate their little domain. In terms of my own experience with objects, there was a time when I went through a purist period. I didn’t want to have anything in my house — it was simpler just to have very few things around. I went through an evolution in my own work from a minimal, reductive language based on the conceptual activity of the late 1960s and early 1970s, toward a point at which a whole other range of discussions began to emerge. I realized that I had developed an incredible bias toward objects, probably as a result of a resistance to an ideology of “commodity fetishism.”

Steinbach’s interest in display extends to the environments in which objects are placed, and thus photographs, images, models and recreations of interiors are prevalent throughout the exhibition. He often positions his objects within larger architectural installations resembling domestic interiors. Several of these historical installations have been reconceived within the exhibition, where sheets of wallpaper sit on studded walls. These walls serve to guide the viewers’ navigation through the galleries and highlight the architectural qualities of the space.
On show within the installation was a new installation, comprising salt and pepper shakers lent by members of the public. By transporting objects that hold their own stories into the Serpentine Gallery, Steinbach’s participatory gesture reactivates them within this new context and makes the connection between the private and the public sphere.

“Objects, commodity products, or art works have functions for us that are not unlike words, language. We invented them for our own use and we communicate through them, thereby getting onto self-realization.”

Text:Joshua Decter, Journal of Contemporary Art and Press Release, The Serpentine Gallery,
Artist Website: Haim Steinbach,
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Ida Ekblad, Diary of a Madam, Exhibition Kunsthaus Hamburg

Ida Ekblad, Installation view, Diary of a Madam, Kunsthaus Hamburg, 7 Februar – 26. March 2017

The Kunsthaus Hamburg is hosting Ida Ekblad’s first institutional solo-exhibition in Germany. The artist is showing large-format paintings created for the exhibition. New sculptures will be presented in the context of a performance by the singer Nils Bech at the opening reception.

Ida Ekblad’s paintings and sculptures are like vehement acts of liberation. Gestural brushstrokes, dolphins, airbrush technique, aliens, junk, icons of Expressionism, puff effects recalling 3-D prints on sweatshirts of the eighties – Ida Ekblad’s process-oriented art production embodies an anarchic spirit that does not hesitate to appropriate styles, subjects, and materials of western culture that are deemed outdated or tasteless. This non-hierarchical aesthetic approach to the visual repertory of the recent past – often derived from contexts of popular culture and everyday life – may be understood in the sense of an ‘open source’ mentality which is devoid of the intention of consciously seeking to quote or to comment.

Teetering on the edge of good taste, the artist’s works have a strongly affective impact. While, on the one hand, ambivalent materials and aesthetic concepts are obviously being celebrated, on the other hand, a struggle with and between these very materials and concepts also clearly manifests itself. This also applies to Ida Ekblad’s latest large-format paintings, which she has assembled into a wall frieze of 20 meters length at the Kunsthaus Hamburg. Here, pubertal graffiti tags and Murano vases formed by the artist with puff paste are conflated on a two-dimensional surface. Relief-like surface structures as well as Ida Ekblad’s visibly obsessive delight in pure materiality reveal a sculptural spirit that does not call painting itself into question. The artist claims: “Painting to me combines expressions of rhythm, poetry, scent, emotion… It offers ways to articulate the spaces between words, and I cannot be concerned with its death, when working at it makes me feel so alive. Canvas can be attacked, copulated with and played like an instrument. I believe in painting like I believe in music. Gore grind music has been invented and can be reinvented forever, and no two raindrops are alike… no two gobs of paint, etc. etc.“ (Ida Ekblad, Mousse Magazine, Issue 22, 2010)

Ida Ekblad not only often refers to music and poetry, but the latter also concretely play a major role in many of her energetic, rhythmical works. In some of the paintings she has incorporated words or short sentences, while her exhibitions are generally accompanied by entire poems. Among other things, the titles of her works and presentations play with ambiguity: Diary of a Madam, the title of her presentation at the Kunsthaus Hamburg, not only makes reference to a biographical context – which, incidentally, is only pseudo-biographical since the multiply recurring portraits of a small Scandinavian-looking girl only appear to represent the young Ida Ekblad. It also phonetically alludes to ‘madman’ – a further recurring theme in the artist’s work: “Writing poetry becomes part of the struggle to stay sane, or the struggle to stay insane, I forget!”

In cooperation with Ida Ekblad, a performance by the Norwegian singer Nils Bech will take place at the opening reception. The performance will also be presented at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and the ICA Institute for Contemporary Art in London.

Text: Press Release,
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Antoine Catala, Cat, Pizza, Ass and Car, Most Popular Internet Image Searches

Antoine Catala, Image Families, 2013

Antoine Catala’s solo show at Peep-Hole, titled “Heavy Words,” had a playful space-age feel, offering a holographic E.T., inflatable screens and flying drones. However, the work ultimately revealed more about our present—a world invaded by digital images—than any imagined future. The exhibition, produced in conjunction with FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and curated by its director, Florence Derieux, united three projects from 2013 that the French artist has shown separately but considers a trilogy. Each occupied its own room.

Located in the first gallery, Il était une fois (Once Upon a Time), which was presented at last year’s Lyon Biennale, is an installation using various technological devices (such as holograms and fog machines) to construct vignettes whose verbal counterparts form a rebus of the title. In the next gallery, Image Families consists of large prints on latex featuring subjects that fit into one of four categories—“cat,” “pizza,” “ass” and “car”—symbolically representing the most popular Internet image searches. The prints were mounted one per side on four tall, kiosklike structures, which concealed pump systems that made the latex surfaces expand and contract, as if the pictures were breathing. Several computer-controlled toy airplanes, referred to as “drones” by the artist, flew around the room. They would pause in front of various images, seeming to analyze their contents, while electronic voices announced the names of the objects at intervals. In addition, two large holograms—one of a cat, the other a car—inside black aluminum frames were complicated by moving images projected onto them. This installation metaphorically describes a common process in our digitized era of the production and consumption of images: you need only type a word into a search engine to conjure myriad images representing that word. The artist considers technological devices such as computers, smart phones and augmented reality tools as prostheses of the human body, and he has renamed them “machine-images.” Paraphrasing Baudrillard, real objects disappear, to be replaced by simulacra.

For Abracadabra, the artist used a 3-D printer to create sculptures of emoticons. Two works on the floor depict the symbols of a broken heart ((///)< ). Next to them a large aluminum structure supported a multicolored, silicone rubber butterfly; a 3-D pictogram recalling the shape of a butterfly; and an inflatable latex surface with the image of the butterfly pictogram against a cloudy sky. With this piece, as the title of the show announces, language loses its lightness and acquires material solidity. Any word indeed, thanks to computers and 3-D printers, can be translated into a real object.

As the artist explained to me, the three installations are intended to illustrate, in an allegorical manner, the equivalence between words, images and things that distinguishes our Internet age. The distinction between two and three dimensions—as the holograms in Image Families and the butterfly-shape sculptures in Abracadabra reveal, for instance—becomes malleable, while language takes on the power to mold a brand-new cosmos. Catala, through a bizarre and cryptic visual vocabulary, offers viewers an original semiological adventure.

Source: Contemporary Art Daily.
Text: Federico Florian,
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Reza Aramesh, Restaging the (Objective) Violence of Images

Reza Aramesh, Action 65 – Egyptian prisoners captured by Israeli troops during the Six Day War in the Middle East, 09 Jun 1967, 2009 and Action 140: 12:30 pm Tuesday 20 December 2011, West Bank city of Nablus, 2014

The work of Reza Aramesh, on the face of it, may seem to utilize relatively traditional forms of media; namely, sculpture and photography. However, it is important to note that his work has a performative element to it inasmuch as the images we see in both his photographs and the poses of his sculptures have often been restaged by individuals taking their cue – with the artist’s guidance – from newspaper photographs and other visual material.

Since 2008 Aramesh has used media images of conflict from around the globe as sources for his numbered ‘actions’, re-enactments of scenes extracted from such images and staged, somewhat anachronistically, in slick modern apartments, stately British mansions, and art-filled museums. Documented as black and white photographs, these surreal transpositions serve as cruel reminders that such accumulated wealth is usually the result of war, conflict and oppression elsewhere, both historically and in our contemporary moment.

Aramesh prefers using amateurs in these ‘actions’, which feature a changing all-male cast drawn from Britain’s immigrant communities, who appear dressed in their everyday street wear; additionally, no weapons or other instruments of violence or torture are included in the re-enactments. Lacking such specific references, the ‘actions’ distill episodes of violence and conflict into studied tableau, each a particular configuration of poses, gestures and expressions. Events unfold as compositions and experience is recounted through physical and spatial relationships between individual figures or discreet groups. And while each ‘action’ bears a long subtitle – often the news caption that accompanied the source photograph – this neutral, factual description reveals little, and leaves one unable to fully locate Aramesh’s image in a specific time and place.

These forms of re-staging and re-framing – referred to as ‘actions’ by the artist – are integral to Aramesh’s work and the source material is often drawn from conflict zones worldwide; the very same zones that often crop up in our daily glut of print and televisual media.

As viewers we are bombarded with these images until they lose their sense of context and meaning. How, then, do we reinvest these images with meaning and thereafter a degree of critical purchase? It is at precisely this point that Aramesh’s images come into their own. In the restaging of the original  image, with the help of volunteers, the artist transposes a group of Palestinian prisoners into the environment of Cliveden House, a one-time stately home in England and now a luxury hotel. Aramesh reinvests this image, in sum, with an uncanny immediacy. What was once familiar, if indeed over-exposed in our media-saturated eyes, becomes unfamiliar and thereafter unsettling.

There is also another critical element at work here. In Aramesh’s transposition of these scenes and their restaging in other environments, he often leaves out the source of threat and original violence that existed in the source photographs, be it in the form of prison guards or soldiers; all are largely ‘in absentia’ in the final photographs. Whereas in the source images, the victim and victimizer, prisoner and prison guard, the living and the dead, all appear to be replaying history’s lamentable refrain of the victor and the vanquished, in Aramesh’s finished images such binaries are absent and so too are the certainties we associate with them.

Inspired by an exhibition of religious sculpture from seventeenth-century Spain entitled The Sacred Made Real that Aramesh saw at London’s National Gallery, his sculptures seek to (and accomplish) the reverse, imbuing documentary images of men forced to submit and suffer with the dignified aura of the sacred. Transfiguring experiences of humiliation into exquisite embodiments of heroic self-sacrifice, they are modest monuments to the human capacity to endure.

As viewers of this work, we potentially step into the realm of being a perpetrator in this symmetry of violence and fear. What place, if any, do we have here as we approach these abject figures: are we potentially victims ourselves, potentially subject to the precariousness of what Giorgio Agamben refers to as ‘bare life’, a life beyond recourse to law and justice? Or are we victimizers in waiting, fearful that for all our empathy there is a fine line, in times of conflict and the suspension of law, between being subjected to violence and administering it?

Source: Artforum International.
Text: Murtaza Vali, and Anthony Downey,
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Raf Simons, Fall 2017 Menswear, No Fear in New New York.

Raf Simons, Fall 2017 Menswear

Whether it’s the Statue of Liberty beckoning over the curve in the horizon as your steamer approaches from the east, or a frantic cluster of handwritten “Have you been detained?” posters waiting outside immigration as the automatic doors of JFK whoosh blessedly closed behind you, every outsider’s first arrival in New York is as different as it is meaningful. For Raf Simons, a designer who is no less vaunted in fashion than he is sometimes ambivalent about it as an art form—i.e., deeply—that rule applies.

Simons is a recent immigrant arrived to take the mantle at Calvin Klein: The king is dead, God save the king. But before he Makes American Fashion Great Again in nine days’ time, tonight was about the transposition of his own 22-year-old brand from Europe to the new continent.

What we got was this: Oversize satin-sheen topcoats and almost aggressively mundane boxy check jackets worn atop oversize pants with luxurious breaks at the ankle, bottomed by rope-trimmed chisel-toe shoes. The slightness of the models and the bigness of these pieces contributed to what Simons said he’d aimed to muster, a sense of children adopting their parents’ uniform. Sometimes the boys wore nothing but maître d’s waistcoats with their baggies, or attenuatedly utilitarian long-yoked work shirts. They almost always wore heaped beading at the neck.

Shiningly recognizable was the typographical design of Milton Glaser, transposed into rough-knit I heart N.Y. sashes and sweaters. Less so were the Raf Simons Youth Project tees, the service-industry Thank You (writ thrice) above Have a Nice Day graphics, and the seemingly random insertion of words including blow and forest in double-edged collegiate fonts onto split-neck sweats. Absolutely the standout detail—and gratifyingly cheap and easy to replicate at home—was the duct tape cinching at the waist of outerwear.

Simons’s rationale for all this was tangled but ultimately coherent. As he said: “I wanted to approach it from the combination of a mind-set of someone who comes to New York in the beginning, a kid let’s say. When you are a young kid you end up in the places that are very touristy, that confront you with all these things, the Statue of Liberty, the I Love . . . I wanted to go back to how I experienced New York in the beginning and combine it with how I experience it now. So this fresh young direction to the city and everything it stands for—and what is happening now.” The rise of Donald Trump after his personal move was arranged had changed everything, he added, and moved his process back to the DIY subversion of British punk under Margaret Thatcher.

Had his perception of New York changed since its Trumpification? Simons shook his head: “I can only see this city as a city that has incredible history, incredible inspiration, and incredible people . . . ask me do I think that you should stand up against what is happening in this country, then I say yes. Even in writing, I do not think people should be fearful—we should be more fearless—and not behave like everybody is expecting you to behave.” No fear in new New York.

Text: Luke Leitch,
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Deana Lawson, Ways That Sexuality, Violence, Family, and Social Status May Be Written Upon the Body

Deana Lawson, Shirley, 2006, Hotel Oloffson Storage Room, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2013 and Thai, 2009

Deana Lawson’s photographs are inspired by the materiality and expression of black culture globally. Her work negotiates a knowledge of selfhood through a profoundly corporeal dimension. “My work negotiates a knowledge of selfhood through a profoundly corporeal dimension; the photographs speaking to the ways that sexuality, violence, family, and social status may be written, sometimes literally, upon the body.”  Lawson utilizes a wide range of photographic languages, including staged imagery, appropriated pictures given to her by subjects, and images she discovers in public media.

“What you see in her work is the photographer as a cultural anthropologist but also as cultural vivisectionist and forensic curator. Her practice subtly contests the suppression of Black visual epistemologies – as much through absence as presence, withheld information as much cultural saturation bombing. Drawing the spectators eye to how people command space within the frame, how they proclaim ownership of selfhood before the camera is a recurring motif. Her work seems always about the desire to represent social intimacies that defy stereotype and pathology while subtly acknowledging the vitality of lives abandoned by the dominant social order.” – Greg Tate.

Deana Lawson’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, PS1, and Studio Museum in Harlem. Her photographs have been published in The New Yorker and Time Magazine, and Lawson was a feature
presenter for the 2013 National Geographic Magazine’s Photography Seminar in Washington, D.C. Recently Lawson
was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, expanding her locations of work to include Jamaica, Haiti, and West Africa. Deana Lawson is currently a Lecturer in Photography at Princeton University. Deana Lawson holds BFA and MFA in Photography from Pennsylvania State University at University Park and RISD respectively.

As a recipient of numerous residencies including a 2007 Visual Studies Workshop residency, a 2008 Light Work residency, and a 2009 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council residency, Lawson’s work has been featured in such exhibitions as New Photography 2011 at the Museum of Modern Art (2011), Prolonged Fragments at the Elizabeth Foundation (2011), Greater New York at PS1 (2010), the Studio Museum in Harlem (2005 & 2010), 50 Photographers Photograph the Future at Higher Pictures (2010), all in NYC; the Silver Eye Center for Photography in Pittsburgh, Milk Contemporary in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Kit Museum in Dusseldorf, Germany; as well as in Converging Margins curated by Leah Oates at CPW (2008). Lawson is announced as a participant in The Whitney Musuem of American Art Biennial (2017).

Her work has been recognized and supported through many fellowships including the 2006 NYFA Artist Fellowship in Photography, a 2009 Aaron Siskind Fellowship, and the 2010 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship. Her images have been featured in such publications as Contact Sheet (issues 12 & 154) published by Light Work, Time Out New York, the Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography Vol. 2 published by the Humble Art Foundation, the 2010 Greater New York exhibition catalog published by PS1 as well as in issue #98 of CPW’s publication PQ.

Text: The Center for Photography at Woodstock and Artslant,
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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James Richards, Requests and Antisongs

James Richards, Rosebud 2013, James Richards and Leslie Thornton, Crossing, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, 2017 and Requests and Antisongs, Book, Sternberg Press, 2016

James Richards talks about his processes of collaging together digital fragments to create immersive audiovisual installations. “I was really into making an exhibition space where there would be nothing to look at”. Combining fragments of film, music, vocals, erotica and medical documentary, James Richards creates site-specific audiovisual installations and morphing exhibitions, which immerse the visitor in a kaleidoscopic and cinematic sensorial experience. Keeping a diaristic digital scrapbook, Richards draws from this to create his collages and assemblages, inspired by Dada. Already having won the Jarman award for film and video in 2012, and the Ars Viva Prize for young artists two years later, Richards was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2014. He spoke to Studio International during the installation of his exhibition Requests and Antisongs, at the ICA, London. Here’s an excerpt of the conversation:

Anna McNay: Can we start by talking about your work here at the ICA? It’s travelled here from Bergen, but you’re changing and adding to it somewhat.

James Richards: The exhibition here at the ICA is the second in a series of three shows. The first, Crumb Mahogany, was staged at the Bergen Kunsthall, Norway. Here at the ICA, the show is titled Requests and Antisongs and, in December, the final show in the series, Crossing, will be presented at the Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover. The idea was to spend 2016 working on these three shows that would be linked by certain works and overlaps of content, but also altered and changed at each stage, allowing the conventional touring exhibition to be something much more open, and allowing for process and evolution. In parallel, there is a publication to accompany the shows with text and images.

The shows are connected in terms of funding, but otherwise they’re very different. Some works appear over and over again, while others are developed on site, in reaction to the very specific conditions of the exhibition spaces themselves. With exhibitions, it’s not just about the work, it’s about responding to the building. Just simple things, like the fact that the two areas here at the ICA are separated by a cafe and stairs, and that they’re architecturally very different rooms, immediately suggests a very different arrangement of works.

AMc: What role does collaging play in your work as a whole? Do you see yourself as following in, or being particularly influenced by, a specific tradition, genre or movement? I’m thinking perhaps of Dadaism, because of the way you layer elements together and pull them apart.

JR: Yes, for me, a certain strand of sculpture has been very important: the assemblage of work starting in Dada and running through the work of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns and then into contemporary work by Isa Genzken and Rachel Harrison. I love this sense of bringing together very disparate materials – images, objects and more conventional artists’ mediums, such as paint, plaster and wood – and making work that plays with the associations and forms, but also somehow allows the parts to stay very much their own, to be separate and just themselves. I like to mix fragments of quite recognisable film footage from cinema and television with much more obscure material from science and documentary, and then I fold in scraps of video that I shoot myself, where I’ve been using the camera in a diaristic way.

I think I see my work as very much collage in its origin, rather than cinema or theatre: gathering things that interest you or stimulate you in some way and keeping a record of what’s around you. It’s very much a daily thing, so not really researching or hiring camera crews, much more just about acquiring what’s accessible and taking fragments of it and keeping it all on file.

AMc: Like a digital scrapbook?  JR: In a sense, yes. But even though it’s digital, as a way of working, it’s much more like having a desk and a folder of newspaper clippings. It’s very much about playing with fragments. The work uses images and the play of associations that become possible when they are repurposed, but it’s also about more abstract things such as image quality, texture and colour, and the way that those properties can be composed. You can often see the edges of the clips. You can feel them as being from very different places from one another. It isn’t seamless. They’re somewhat slick, but it’s very much about rupture and cutting between things.

The publication works with collage and found photography. It was conceived as an extension of the show itself and it works with the same kind of logic. I edited it in collaboration with Mason Leaver-Yap, a writer and editor I work closely with.

It’s also called Requests and Antisongs. I’ve been working on gathering a lot of photography and paper and documentation of existing work and then cutting up and processing and rescanning it all and drawing directly on to it. I worked with this material by hand and then also on Photoshop, and then edited the whole thing into a visual sequence. I can’t really call it a story, but it’s like a sequence that has a sense of build-up and release and tension and certain themes appearing and coming away and reappearing, which is very much the way I work with video and sound, but I tried to do this with print and with a book format.

Text: Anna McNay,
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Talia Chetrit, I Wanted to Expose the Vulnerability in the Private Moments Between Takes




Talia Chetrit, Heat, 2015, Parents/Trees, 2014 and Jeans, 2016

Talia Chetrit’s work focuses on the human body—often her own—as a starting point to examine how images are constructed to support different agendas and interpretations of reality. After beginning her practice with an exploration of the manipulative nature of photography, Chetrit is increasingly interested in the relationship the camera has with the subject matter it documents.

“I’m Selecting”, Talia Chetrit’s second exhibition at Sies and Hoke, comprises two discrete bodies of work. One consists of 13 images shot on the streets of New York and Paris. The other, made using a mirror, is a suite of four photographs which depict the artist in her studio, nude from the waist down. Tightly cropped and grainy, semi-anonymized images of businessmen crossing the street and groups of people buying museum tickets typify the impersonal. While, contrastingly, the artist stares back at her viewer in bottomless, startling self-portraits.

The seeming incongruity between these two series is bridged by the amount of control exercised over both. Chetrit’s focus has long been aimed at the ways in which images are constructed and the manner in which they function in society: their contrivances, their agendas, and their fictions. Often the body serves as a site for this exploration of photography’s tenets, and in I’m Selecting, Chetrit uses the bodies of others as well as her own. These images are a reminder of the degree of self-scrutiny we impose on ourselves when we know our pictures are being taken, and the feeling of panic inspired by being photographed without realizing it.

“After reviewing images I had taken of my parents 20 years ago as a teenager, I returned home again to photograph them. As I was shooting, I discovered a dynamic between them that was unknown to me. The presence of the camera and the resulting power shift created an artificial atmosphere that revealed an uneasy interaction between them and a window into their relationship. Curious to find a way to capture this dynamic I began, unbeknownst to them, to videotape our numerous photo sessions over the following year. I wanted to expose the vulnerability in the private moments I had witnessed between takes — moments that the photographs had failed to represent. Parents is a sequence of clips which attempts to capture this staged reality.” Talia Chetrit, 2015

Talia Chetrit was born in Washington, DC in 1982 and lives in New York. Her recent solo exhibitions include Model, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan (2014); Leslie Fritz, New York (2013); Bodies in Trouble, Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf (2012); Ringer, Michael Benevento, Los Angeles (2011); Marking, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan (2011), Renwick, New York (2011). Recent group shows include, amongst others: MORNING AND EVENING ASYLUM, Tanya Leighton, Berlin & Off Vendome, Düsseldorf (2014); The Black Moon, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); A Disagreeable Object, Sculpture Center, New York (2012); Figure and Form in Contemporary Photography, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2012); Second Nature, deCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA (2012); The Extension, Vilma Gold, London (2011); and The Reach of Realism, Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2009).

Text: Patrick Armstrong, and The Aimia AGO Photography Prize
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Christodoulos Panayiotou, In the Light of the Day the Fireflies Are Like Any Other Insect



Christodoulos Panayiotou, In the Light of the Day the Fireflies Are Like Any Other Insect, 2013

Christodoulos Panayiotou’s wide-ranging research focuses on the identification and uncovering of hidden narratives in the visual records of history and time. In 2013 The Center for Contemporary Art Kitakyushu Project Gallery presented the exhibition In the Light of the Day the Fireflies Are Like Any Other Insect by Christodoulos Panayiotou.

Dear Akiko,

I hope that you are sailing safely in the Venetian canals. As for myself, I have just come back from the tailor’s. He is a very elegant gentleman and he said he was very happy to see me. He mentioned that this is only the second time he’s had a foreigner in his shop and added that the first one was an American soldier, a long time ago. Considering his age and the geographic proximity to Nagasaki, I didn’t dare to ask when this was. The fitting will be this Saturday. We can go there together before we look for the second jacket.

I have already asked my mother to send by courier what were once her bags, and now my shoes. Also, I have a meeting at the printer’s for the photos, which you can find attached. I took them last autumn on a day-trip to Ostia with my friend Patrizio. I will talk to Nobuo about the rest.

Please translate the following sentence back to Japanese as the title of the show: “In the light of the day the fireflies are like any other insect”. It is a haiku maltreated by memory and translation. Please don’t look for the authentic source; simply translate it from the English as it is. I read it somewhere when I was a student and it still fascinates me deeply. It is somehow the elusive subtext of what brings the works in our exhibition together.

It is very windy tonight. I will stay home and watch a few more Candy Candy episodes. Since I’ve arrived in Japan I found the whole series -dubbed in Greek- online. In the episode I watched last, Anthony said to Candy with an innocent smile: “From today, your birthday will be the day I met you”. She looked at him passionately. I still feel sick from listening to this, but I somehow forgive him. He will be dying soon and I can’t stand knowing it while they don’t. I remember watching his death as a child. The horse he was riding got caught in a fox trap. I refused to go to school for several days.

I will wait for your return to Kitakyushu so that we can visit the other side of the mountain. Anthony will be surely dead by then and Candy will have met Terry. I would like to see the Wisterias before they blossom.


Christodoulos Panayiotou stayed at The Center for Contemporary Art Kitakyushu as Professor of Research Program from March 1st to March 30th, 2013. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia, Cyprus; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg; CCA Kitakyushu, Japan; Centre d’Art Contemporain de Brétigny, France; Museum of Contemporary Art, St. Louis, USA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig, Germany; Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland and Cubitt, London, UK (among others).

He has also participated in a number of group exhibitions, including Museion, Bolzano, Italy; Berlin Biennale 8, Berlin, Germany; Migros Museum, Zürich, Switzerland; dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, USA; Joan Miro Foundation, Barcelona, Spain; Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA; Ashkal Alwan Center for Contemporary Arts, Beirut, Lebanon; Artist Space, New York, USA, MoCA Miami, Miami, USA.

Text: The Center for Contemporary Art Kitakyushu,
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Vetements, Fall 2017 Menswear, Paris


Vetements, Fall 2017 Menswear, Paris

If anyone had Demna Gvasalia down as purely a streetwear revolutionary who shot from nowhere to lead a youth cult, then they’d have been taken aback by the sight of the silver-haired madame in dark glasses, fur coat, and a pencil skirt who stepped off the escalator at the Centre Pompidou to open the Fall 2017 Vetements show. “She’s the Milanesa!” Gvasalia chuckled, while he was marshaling his set of characters—a broad-ranging and subversively selected cross section of people-types—upstairs at the museum. “I got tired of just doing hoodies and underground clubs; we’ve done that at Vetements,” he said. “A new stage has to come. What we do here is always a reappropriation of something which already exists. So we took a survey of social uniforms, researched the dress codes of people we see around us, or on the Internet.”

Surprise is crucial in fashion, especially when there is so much pressure on a new designer in an era when constant praise, social media visibility, and global sales have accelerated him from zero to warp speed—fame! followers! hiring at Balenciaga!—in the space of little more than three years. The trouble, in these compacted, constantly connected times, is that backlash, the critics, and the trolls can set in really quickly with who knows what damage to reputation and sales. So, surprise, change Gvasalia did. Fall 2017 was a different kind of reality show, embracing all types of people, from that Milanese lady to a German tourist with a plastic anorak to a European policewoman, the stereotypical bouncer, a United Nations soldier, and a couple of shaven-headed skinheads who may belong to the Gabber club.

Is this creativity as we know it? Yes, on a technical level. The generous, oversize outerwear has been constructed from two garments joined together at the hems and looped up over one another. Hence, the glam Milanesa was actually sporting two fur coats, which, Gvasalia hastened to note, were vintage and upcycled pieces. That’s a one-off, limited-edition item by nature, but the double-layering of more generic garments, like nylon blousons, has genuine cold-weather usefulness about it.

What will keep people talking longer is the satirical symbolism—bleakly realistic, angry, and hilarious by turns—which came embedded within Vetements’s collection. When the Commando in his camouflage turned his back, he had a United Nations peacekeeping symbol printed on his back: “He’s a soldier, but he’s a good boy! It’s not his fault!” The Nerd, wearing a double-layered flannel shirt and Barbour jacket, had a T-shirt printed with a takeaway pizza menu. The down-and-out Vagabond, meanwhile, was sporting possibly the most topical garment of all: a falling-apart sweater printed with the flag of the European Union.

Does this collection, with its upgraded level of innovation, signal Vetements’s distancing itself from its roots? Not at all. The cult hoodies and T-shirts are being kept in a continuing, more secret category of their own—adding a value-protecting aura to them, and the possibility of distributing them in ways that defy the fashion system’s rules. Meanwhile, Gvasalia notes, pieces in this runway collection which prove commerically popular will be added to the permanently available range.

Moreover, there are bigger plans afoot for the company being laid out for the long term by Demna’s younger brother and CEO Guram Gvasalia. Vetements is reportedly about to move its headquarters and design offices to Zurich in Switzerland. Whatever surprises and sociological quips come from this direction next, these brothers mean to harness the growth their disruptive strategies have generated, and create something the industry is likely to take very seriously indeed.

Text: Sarah Mower,
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Nasan Tur, Political Supporters, 2016




Nasan Tur,  Political Supporters, 2016

Nasan Tur’s works reflect the political and social conditions of our time. In his works the artist thematises symbols of power and affiliation, which are omnipresent both in the cityscape and the media. He investigates the individual options ranging between acting in public space and doing nothing, between distance and affiliation. Nasan Tur succeeds in articulating his close observation of social phenomena and concrete social conditions both incisively and poetically in installations, photographs, objects and participatory projects. At the Garage and the Galerie of Kunst Haus Wien he presents photographs from his latest series as well a new video for the first time.

Works from Nasan Tur’s series “Political Supporters” (2016) are on view for the first time at the Galerie of Kunst Haus Wien. Ten selected photographs show close-ups of human faces. What all the persons portrayed in the photos have in common is their strong, almost exalted facial expression. The photographs show people who support political ideas or campaigning politicians to an almost extreme extent, people who strongly identify with the leading political figure or ideology.

For his portrait series Nasan Tur used found footage from newspapers and magazines. From pictures published with reports on the outcome of elections the artist extracts single faces and focusses on the individual – larger than life. He shows people who feel to belong to a (political) group, who define themselves through their membership to a specific group and distance themselves from others. In his portraits, however, Nasan Tur eliminates the environment, the context, which are of no importance here. The dynamism of the mass, the collective experience of emotion that is generated and activated in political contexts, presents itself at the same time as a both universal and specific phenomenon.

The focus on situations originally captured for press purposes that Nasan Tur chooses, allows to study facial expressions and the physiognomic state of the portrayed persons. They remind of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s “Character Heads”, although Nasan Tur does not offer any artistic interpretations in this “studies”. The pictures present photographically captured moments of a real event, extracts from narratives, fractals of a collective emotion. They show eyes and mouths wide open as well as closed eyelids and tears, furrowed brows, a face covered by hands. We use our cognitive empathy to understand what the person feels and try to grasp the emotional state, the political passion of someone we do not know via his or her exalted facial expression. The size of the portraits and the close-up view eliminate any distance. The unknown strangers are exposed to our inquisitorial view; we can study the emotions they show in public.

Nasan Tur stages ten such portraits at the Galerie of Kunst Haus Wien. The portrayed persons are given much room – they stand alone, they are isolated and are thrown back upon themselves. The black and white faces are framed in cyan, magenta and yellow (CMYK is the standard colour model for four-colour printing) – the artist uses this as a means of abstraction in order to reduce any geographic or temporal references. All emotions portraits are dramatically lighted, which lends them an aura and demonstrates in an almost pushy and unpleasant way the emotional dimension of politics.

Source: Kunstforum International
Text: Art Daily,
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Ivar Kvaal, Dvale


Ivar Kvaal, Dvale, 2016

The series contained within Dvale (hibernation in Norwegian) was created during the lead-up to the opening of the Norwegian hospital Ahus in 2008. Ivar Kvaal has captured the building in a slumbering state, in the weeks and months before it was brought to life. The images in the book encompass a fragile and fleeting stillness, in sharp contrast to the hectic everyday life of hospitals.

In Dvale whitewashed, unornamented rooms are filled with building equipment, stacks of ceiling panels and loose cables. Medical machines stand untouched, still covered by plastic. The geometry of these temporarily misplaced parts serve to create breaks in otherwise linear compositions, inviting sculptural associations that tend towards abstraction. The absence of bodies is striking – Kvaal’s images emphasize the hospital as a technical construct: a mass of individual parts reliant on medical and scientific knowledge.

The book can be placed within the tradition of documentary photography, but avoids dramatic or narrative devices. The hospital is presented as a scenography under development, a backdrop for future events. Dvale can be conceived of as a contemplative space, where the beauty in functional and technical environments can become apparent.

Ivar Kvaal (b.1983) has garnered critical acclaim for his photography in Norway and elsewhere. Images from the Dvale series have been exhibited at numerous institutions and galleries, including The Aperture Foundation in New York, Musée de l’Elysée in Switzerland and The Devos Art Museum in Michigan. The series is also featured in Thames and Hudson’s anthology reGeneration2

Source: Torpedo Bookshop
Text: Teknisk Industri,
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Ports 1961, Pre-Fall 2017


Ports 1961,  Pre-Fall 2017, London, 2017

Ports 1961 is one of those sleeper labels, which, once discovered, women tend to be evangelically enthusiastic—if not, quietly smug—about wearing. Since Natasa Cagalj took over the direction of the womenswear here, she’s been developing a set of strengths—the things she does with shirts, pants, knitwear, and coats, in particular. Here, for instance, is the place to source a statement shirt (for want of a better term) with extra-long cuffs and panels to tie and wrap, and to get ahead on the wide-pant look, which is gaining traction for Fall.

Her fits are accurate, and the quality—of crisp striped shirting and supple, floppy knits—is judged against the reality of what her mostly female team would spend money on. Evidently, they’re a resourceful lot, too: The prints of flowers are their own photos of vases they have around the studio, which is in London’s Clerkenwell. That last fact has been a bit of a well-kept secret, so far—but not for much longer. Ports 1961 is relocating its runway show from Milan to London Fashion Week in February.

Text: Sarah Mower,
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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T. S Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent

“Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1919) is an essay written by poet and literary critic T. S. Eliot. The essay was first published in The Egoist (1919) and later in Eliot’s first book of criticism, “The Sacred Wood” (1920). The essay is also available in Eliot’s “Selected Prose” and “Selected Essays”.

While Eliot is most often known for his poetry, he also contributed to the field of literary criticism. In this dual role, he acted as poet-critic, comparable to Sir Philip Sidney and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. “Tradition and the Individual Talent” is one of the more well known works that Eliot produced in his critic capacity. It formulates Eliot’s influential conception of the relationship between the poet and the literary tradition which precedes them.

This essay is divided into three parts that are:

part one: The Concept of “Tradition”.
part two: The Theory of Impersonal Poetry.
part three: The Conclusion or Summing up.

Eliot presents his conception of tradition and the definition of the poet and poetry in relation to it. He wishes to correct the fact that, as he perceives it, “in English writing we seldom speak of tradition, though we occasionally apply its name in deploring its absence.” Eliot posits that, though the English tradition generally upholds the belief that art progresses through change – a separation from tradition, literary advancements are instead recognised only when they conform to the tradition. Eliot, a classicist, felt that the true incorporation of tradition into literature was unrecognised, that tradition, a word that “seldom… appear[s] except in a phrase of censure,” was actually a thus-far unrealised element of literary criticism.

For Eliot, the term “tradition” is imbued with a special and complex character. It represents a “simultaneous order,” by which Eliot means a historical timelessness – a fusion of past and present – and, at the same time, a sense of present temporality. A poet must embody “the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer,” while, simultaneously, expressing their contemporary environment. Eliot challenges the common perception that a poet’s greatness and individuality lie in their departure from their predecessors; he argues that “the most individual parts of his [the poet’s] work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously.” Eliot claims that this “historical sense” is not only a resemblance to traditional works but an awareness and understanding of their relation to his poetry.

T. S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent, 1919.


IN English writing we seldom speak of tradition, though we occasionally apply its name in deploring its absence. We cannot refer to “the tradition” or to “a tradition”; at most, we employ the adjective in saying that the poetry of So-and-so is “traditional” or even “too traditional.” Seldom, perhaps, does the word appear except in a phrase of censure. If otherwise, it is vaguely approbative, with the implication, as to the work approved, of some pleasing archæological reconstruction. You can hardly make the word agreeable to English ears without this comfortable reference to the reassuring science of archæology. 1

Certainly the word is not likely to appear in our appreciations of living or dead writers. Every nation, every race, has not only its own creative, but its own critical turn of mind; and is even more oblivious of the shortcomings and limitations of its critical habits than of those of its creative genius. We know, or think we know, from the enormous mass of critical writing that has appeared in the French language the critical method or habit of the French; we only conclude (we are such unconscious people) that the French are “more critical” than we, and sometimes even plume ourselves a little with the fact, as if the French were the less spontaneous. Perhaps they are; but we might remind ourselves that criticism is as inevitable as breathing, and that we should be none the worse for articulating what passes in our minds when we read a book and feel an emotion about it, for criticizing our own minds in their work of criticism. One of the facts that might come to light in this process is our tendency to insist, when we praise a poet, upon those aspects of his work in which he least resembles anyone else. In these aspects or parts of his work we pretend to find what is individual, what is the peculiar essence of the man. We dwell with satisfaction upon the poet’s difference from his predecessors, especially his immediate predecessors; we endeavour to find something that can be isolated in order to be enjoyed. Whereas if we approach a poet without this prejudice we shall often find that not only the best, but the most individual parts of his work may be those in which the dead poets, his ancestors, assert their immortality most vigorously. And I do not mean the impressionable period of adolescence, but the period of full maturity. 2

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Source: National Academy of the Arts, Oslo.
Text: Wikipedia article,
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Florian Hecker, Dimensions of Sound

Florian Hecker

Florian Hecker

Florian Hecker, Chimerization, 2013, Event, Stream, Object, 2010 and Installation view at Chisenhale Gallery, 2010

The subjective dimensions of sound underpin Hecker’s investigations. His installations shift and vary depending on the listener, both in terms of each individual’s physical location and his or her personal biases and points of reference. Hecker takes as a starting point the fact that listening is often driven by a desire for understanding—it is an attempt to make associations, to recognize sounds as familiar, to slot what we hear into known categories. In Affordance, the variations between the three channels of the work protract and complicate this listening experience. Hecker has composed a three-channel piece in part to interrupt what he has called “bifurcated listening.” With a two-channel work, a viewer would be able to stand centrally and listen to the entire piece at once; with three speakers, movement and memory are necessary for understanding the piece as a whole.

It may be impossible to create a rational presentation of hyperchaos because hyperchaos may not be experienceable. While any composition has a finite duration, “hyperchaos is a theory of time, a theory to show that time is not becoming,” as Meillassoux puts it, which we understand as a sort of continuity or reference to the infinite nature of the universe. And, achieving real disorder is impossible anyway, “because disorder is just another form of order than the one you expect,” where fast-moving sound is a cliché of randomness and merely another form of organization. Florian Hecker’s performances delivers a perfect combination of theoretical underpinning and drop-dead digital disorientation.

Florian Hecker was born in 1975 in Augsburg, Germany. In his sound installations and live performances, he deals with specific compositional developments of post-war modernity, electro-acoustic music, and other, non-musical disciplines. He dramatizes space, time and self-perception in his sonic works by isolating specific auditory events in their singularity, thus stretching the boundaries of their materialization. Their objectual autonomy is exposed while simultaneously evoking sensations, memories, and associations in an immersive intensity. Hecker studied Computational Lingusitics and Psycholinguistics at Ludwig Maximilian Universität, Munich and Fine Arts at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, where he received his diploma.

Solo exhibitions include: Sadie Coles HQ, London, MD72, Berlin, Lumiar Cité, Lisbon, all in 2012; MMK, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; IKON Gallery, Birmingham; and Chisenhale Gallery, London, all in 2010, and Bawag Contemporary, Vienna, 2009. Some of the group exhibitions and projects Hecker has participated in include dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany; Push and Pull, MUMOK, Vienna, 2010; Evento, Bordeaux; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary; The Kaleidoscopic Eye, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; UBS Openings: Saturday Live: Characters, Figures and Signs, Tate Modern, London. His most recent collaboration with Cerith Wyn Evans, No night No day, was premiered at the Teatro Goldoni as part of Fare Mondi, the 53rd Venice Bienniale, in 2009. Other group exhibitions appeared at Manifesta 7, Trentino – South Tyrol, Italy; Art unlimited, Art Basel; Experiment Marathon Reykjavik, Reykjavík Art Museum (2008); and with Cerith Wyn Evans, Lenbachhaus, Munich in 2006. His work has also appeared at Off the Record, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; 3. berlin biennale für zeitgenössische kunst, Berlin, (2004); the 2nd International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Gothenburg, 2003; and Mutations, TN Probe Gallery, Tokyo and Ausgeträumt…, Secession, Vienna both in 2001.

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Carola Dertnig, Performance Art and Documentation



Carola Dertnig, Sans titres, 2009 – 2015

Carola Dertnig is an Artist who is interested in upturning and overwriting aspects of performance art history through strategies of feminist historical revisionism, including imaginative reconceptualization and performative interventions with existing documentation.

Carola Dertnig’s drawings, video works and installations are concerned with the performative content of language—text, images, gestures—and document these as a process within which roles arise and are articulated. Ways of seeing shaped by feminism as well as the explicit interest in politicising gender are among the central aspects of her work. Parallel to her artistic activity, Carola Dertnig has curated numerous exhibitions on performance art and initiated the feminist network a room of one’s own.

Dertnig lives and works currently in Vienna. Since 2006 she is a Professor for Performative Art at the University of Fine Arts in Vienna. She was a participant in the 1997 Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York.and has been teaching as a Guestprofessor at Cal ARTS in Los Angeles. Dertnig’s work has appeared in several exhibitions atP.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Artists Space, New York, Museum of Modern Art New York and the Secession and the MUMOK in Vienna. 2006 Dertnig published the Let’s twist again If You Can’t Think It, Dance it. Performance in Vienna from 1960 until today (coedited with Stefanie Seibold). 2009 / 2011 Dertnig was part of the Research project “Performing Knowledge in the Arts”. In 2014 the Publication, “Performing the Sentence. Views on Research and Teaching in Performance Art”, coedited with Felicitas Thun, was published.

Source: The Academy of Art, Oslo.
Text: Press Release
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Artist: Yngve Holen



Yngve Holen, Extended Operations, 2013, Sensitive to Detergent, Tired, 2011 and Hater Headlight, 2015

Emerging from the 3D-printed rubble of Berlin’s “post-Internet” art scene, the Norwegian artist Yngve Holen is a cold empiricist and a slapstick comedian. With sculptural test-subjects ranging from minor appliances (tea kettles and washing machines) to high-industrial behemoths (commercial airliners and CT scanners), his works map the anatomical features of a new human-machine eco-system.

René Descartes (1596–1650) had a problem with animals. Or, rather, he had an animal problem. In the Meditations, the “father of modern philosophy” used skepticism to arrive at a radical theory of mind-body dualism. Bodies were machines. Minds were souls. But since the theological doctrines of the time stated that humans were the only animal that could have a soul, it was imperative for Descartes to prove that animals did not have minds either. The French philosopher thus responded by cutting animals open in private and writing about it in public. He penned a number of letters and texts that described animals as deceivingly complicated machines. What appeared to us as signs of their consciousness – their human-like qualities, or their screams under the knife of live dissection – were in fact spring-loaded responses to external stimuli. In the 21st century context, Descartes’s “animals are robots” writings have become the most unpopular of his theories. Perhaps it is because society as a whole has grown to have more empathy towards animals. Or perhaps it is because we know more about machines. Cutting something open to check for its soul seems like lunatic behavior now. At the very least, those of us in this century would use an ultrasound machine first.

In 2011, the artist Yngve Holen (1982–) ran over a chicken with a Toyota RAV4 and 3D-printed its remains. Unlike Descartes’s test subjects, Holen’s chicken was already dead, plucked, and de-clawed. Yet, when he crushed it open, a soul appeared:

Initially, I wanted to scan road kill. But it was difficult to find, and you can’t laser-scan fur. So I got the idea that I’d go to the supermarket and buy a chicken, so I could run it over and scan it. The meat we see in stores is almost a type of design object. For example, a chicken at a supermarket is so far from being a chicken. It’s had its feathers taken out. It’s cut into thighs and wings and drumsticks with lasers at some factory. It undergoes all these sculptural changes in order to transform from chicken to “poultry.” It’s a scary industry. If you don’t buy bio, chicken is cheap as hell. For an artist, it’s cheaper than buying clay. Then, when you drive over it and crush those bones – when you turn it into road kill – it’s suddenly this individual thing again. You give the chicken a soul by running it over. And then you extract that soul by scanning it.

With the artist-publication ETOPS, Holen formed an editorial extension to his sculptural practice. Comprised of long-form interviews with specialists from a variety of occupations, the magazine performs verbal dissection on the routines of otherwise opaque industries. It proffers details that simultaneously augment and drain the fear surrounding professions that operate in the intersections of body and machine. Aptly, the first ETOPS investigated the experience of air travel. In addition to an interview with a commercial pilot, the publication featured camera phone pictures of cruising-altitude sunsets and rows filled with cramped legs.

ETOPS is regulation system in aviation that says how many minutes you can fly a twin-engine aircraft without being in a certain radius of an airport. So a plane will be certified for, say, 120 minutes. Or now some are certified for 720 minutes, so you can basically fly wherever you want. But there’s this pilot joke that ETOPS stands for “Engines Turn, or Passengers Swim.” It’s funny. Metaphorically, it’s a question about how long we can stretch an idea before we crash it. How long are you allowed to spin off certain ideas before it doesn’t fly? The materials can only go for a certain amount of time. After that, the idea can go further, but the materials then won’t allow for it. We tend to think that these thresholds don’t exist, because they keep getting pushed further and further. Like, how far can the body swim before it drowns? We want to know that limit.

With ETOPS, Holen turns his line of inquiry away from the insides of machines and towards the invisible limits of how far the body can be stretched into something foreign from itself. For the second edition of ETOPS, designed by Per Törnberg, Holen and his editorial partner Matthew Evans travelled to Los Angeles and Monte Carlo to interview members of the pornography and plastic surgery industries. The resulting collection of anonymous interviews provides a look into two fields of practice that blur the distinctions between the natural and the artificial. By discussing the minutia of these occupations, ETOPS provides a textured account of everyday life in a futuristic present. During a dinner conversation, a pornstar gives advice on what to eat before sex scenes. In another interview, a plastic surgeon discusses how the placement of scars has been effected by trend cycles; The aesthetic has changed through the years. What is good-looking now may not have been 10 years ago.

For his solo exhibition “World of Hope” (2015) at Galerie Neu in Berlin, Holen released the second edition of ETOPS alongside a series of works make from the faces of CT scanners, which the artist dressed in custom-fitted fishnet fabric. Unlike the dissected water vessels of Parasaggital Brain, the sculptures allude to the possibility of seeing inside without incision. They present a technology designed to see through skin that is encased inside a fabric designed to see through clothing. Mounted on the wall as a type of relief, the works masquerade as paintings, winking at the Renaissance ideal that a picture should be a “window” into another world. They allude to the limits of the two-dimensional – the blurry and flattened organs that appear in radiology. Their shape suggests a type of industrially-designed orifice, although it is unsure whether it is designed for entrance or exit.

Source: Kunstkritikk.
Text: Thom Bettridge, 032c.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Artist: Hans Christian Lotz

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Hans Christian Lotz, Untitled, 2016, Die Ölmühle aus Bickelsberg im Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof Gutach, 2015 and Untitled, 2015

In one famous scene in Jacques Tati’s 1958 film Mon Oncle, Tati’s character Monsieur Hulot tries to open the kitchen cabinet in his brother-in-law’s hyper modern suburban home. He pulls repeatedly on the cabinet’s handle, but cannot open it. He accidentally tricks some switch and the doors fly open without warning, comically spilling their contents onto the floor. All throughout the house the doors are automatic; the garage door operates with a mind of its own, the doors to the veranda slide open and closed randomly, and Tati even manages to break the gate to the house as he attempts to use it like the “manual” doors of his apartment in the city.

In the main room of Hans-Christian Lotz’s untitled exhibition at David Lewis Gallery, three sets of glass automatic doors, the kinds characteristic of convenience stores or supermarkets, are mounted to the walls, opening and closing as you walk around the room. The doors, in parts smashed and with their operating mechanisms visible to the eye, at first appear like debris removed from the aftermath of a vicious riot in some European suburb—a much more extreme reaction to the superfluous upper-middle-class posturing that was the subject of Mon Oncle’s satire. But upon closer inspection, the mechanical objects betray that they too are in on the joke. Titled with absurdly long untranslated names of German water-powered mills like “Die Ölmühle aus Bickelsberg im Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof Gutach” (2014), the pieces are acutely aware of the anxieties of Monsieur Hulot’s trip to suburbia—except, of course, in the past 60 years the automatic door has shifted from a middle-brow extravagance to an immanent, and banal, symbol of commerce. Furthermore, Lotz’s version of Hulot’s trip from the city is not straight to suburbia, but also adds a stop in the bucolic German countryside.

Underscoring this, one set of doors has a folksy flute embedded in its mechanism, while another has a cast facsimile of the flute. These objects, their copies, and the titles of the sculptures (names of mills) all refer to a history of industrial production set between two poles of city and country, and harken back to the pastoral ideals of the German Romantics, where technological advance stood in profane contrast to the ageless magnificence of the countryside. In Lotz’s hands, the sliding automatic doors augur a philosophical collapse of property enabled by technology; emblems of the city, country, and suburb collide into a vague and threatening territory guided purely by economics, existing everywhere and nowhere. His Germanic references fit the works’ intellectual prescriptions.
Walking around the space, your movements triggering the sensors that open and close the pieces, is a disconcerting experience with a lingering air of menace that Tati would have appreciated. It doesn’t feel quite like a gallery, and as the movement of the doors traces your path through the space, you can’t help but be aware of the fact that the work is staring back at you. Of course, for the moment, there is an important difference between a surveillance camera and an electric eye—only one keeps a record.

Source: Artforum.
Text: Alexander Shulan, The Brooklyn Rail.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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