Bestué-Vives (Barcelona, 1980-1978)
Acciones en el cuerpo, 2006
Video installation, color, sound, 48’, 57 photographies and 57 drawings
Acciones en el Cuerpo is the second part of the Acciones trilogy, preceded by Acciones en casa and followed by Acciones en el Universo. The starting point for the project is a theatre play in which Bestué-Vives, together with a group of actors, presented 57 different actions related to the human body. The project includes a video of the performance and a series of photographs and drawings illustrating and documenting each action.
This work explores the expanded notion of the body that runs through many of the artists’ recurrent references —from Dada to performance, among others— and uses the accumulation of short "actions" to develop the script. Caught between the physical and mental, the body is constantly recontextualized as the space of action shifts to the subject itself and to its limits. They cut across a critical axis, ironically and sarcastically addressing transcendental questions such as death or the idea of god.
Luz Broto (Barcelona 1982)
Right Cube_02, 2007
Installation, various materials, variable dimensions
The series of works titled Right Cube consists of specific interventions in exhibition spaces modified with the purpose of altering their function or interpretation. With this goal, the visible space is interrelated with some element that is completely removed from it, thus transforming it into a container for ephemeral, unexpected events that invite the spectator to a play of perception and subsequently to imagine new narratives on the place.
The intervention in question here posits the creation and development of a puddle in the exhibition space whose nature is to grow and grow without any intention of stopping, as the result of a black substance dripping from one of the openings of an air vent. The venue’s infrastructure is thus co-opted as a working material to create a situation that can be understood as anomalous or invasive. The amount of space taken over by the puddle will depend on the time over which the mechanism is active, thus proposing two variables —time and space— that have to be negotiated with the institution.
Andreas Fogarasi (Viena, 1977)
HD video installation, color, sound, 19’
In the 1880s, King Oscar II of Norway transplanted buildings from all the regions of the country and rebuilt on a plot of land just outside Oslo. This astonishing architectural “collection” forms the heart of the Norsk Folkemuseum.
Andreas Fogarasi’s film Folkemuseum displays a slow pan across the facades and interiors of the open-air museum contrasting the authenticity of genuine buildings with the fiction of their curated staging.
Fogarasi is concerned with staging spaces – to quote one of the text fragments that he has superimposed over the slow stream of images. These texts point further to the artistic modus operandi here: a film about, a documentary film, about, collecting spaces, activating, reenacting. In a sense, one might describe the Norsk Folkemuseum, with its collapsing of spatial and chronological parameters, as a precursor to Disneyland.
Text: Astrid Wege (short version of “Andreas Fogarasi, Ludwig Forum Aachen”, Artforum Summer 2011)
Ryan Gander (Chester, 1976)
As it Presents Itself-Somewhere Vague, 2008
HD video installation, color, sound, 25’
As it Presents Itself - Somewhere Vague is a video installation that exploits the medium of Plasticine animation. The work brings together characters based on the comedian Spike Milligan, curator Matthew Higgs, Mrs Frances Gander (the artist’s mother), the Lumière Brothers, and a generic animator’s armature as the skeleton for the other characters. The characters seem to be auditioning for a piano piece, but they appear nervous and unsure of themselves and their reasons for being on stage.
As viewers, we are put into the position of a spectator within a gallery, within a film and, in turn, within the auditorium of a theatre. There is a tongue-in-cheek contradiction in the action and the narration between the staged, the unstaged, and the upstaged, the directed and the happenstance.
Richard Briers provides a voiceover which acts as the work's narration from the perspective of the characters involved, but in hindsight questioning the intentions of the work.
Melissa Gordon (Boston, MA, 1981)
Double Perspective (Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali), 2010
Installation, various materials, variable dimensions
Double Perspective (Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali) is an installation of a painting, a standing print and a stage that presents both visually and conceptually a moment in history at which two distinct perspectives co-existed. The different elements of the work come together when a viewer steps onto the stage, at which point the printed image in front overlaps the painted image on the wall. In creating such a structure to “see” the work, the installation addresses the inherent concept of perspective, the projection of the eye onto surfaces and ideas.
In the painting “backdrop” articles documenting the rise of the boxing career of Cassius Clay are assembled and re-painted on raw linen and a silver ground. Standing parallel and directly in front of the painting is a screen-print on clear perspex of a single press clipping of Clay after he has re-named himself Muhammad Ali, defiantly refusing to fight in the Vietnam war. Controversy surrounding Clay-turned-Ali divided the American nation, and was emblematic of the split in public opinion over the Vietnam war and civil rights.
Nici Jost (Banff, 1984)
Allusion – The Little Pink Slipper, 2010
Audiovisual installation, various materials, 20 x 24 x 115 cm
Do we see reality as it actually is, or is it hiding behind a veil of perception? Allusion - The Little Pink Slipper awakens memories for the viewer who, depending on his/her individual interpretation of symbols and colours, can understand and explore the work on different emotional levels. Allusion - The Little Pink Slipper is an invitation to view things from many different very personal angles, perhaps allowing one to relive almost forgotten memories of one’s own childhood.
The work consists of a pink sequined shoe sitting on a white pedestal. On the inner sole of the shoe, the viewer discovers a photograph of a clearing taken from a worm‘s eye view coupled with a video image of a tiny figure gently swinging in the sky. A quiet melody embedded in a collage of sounds taken from nature is heard coming from the shoe.
Adrià Julià (Barcelona, 1974)
Formas de matar el tiempo, 2007
Installation with 16mm film, b/w, sound, 6’ in loop, wall with window and shelf with unlimited DIN A4 copies of text
Formas de matar el tiempo is based on the interactive theatre Murder Mystery Series performed by USO entertainers in the 90s in US Army bases around the world. The result is a collaborative project with Mark Gowers, former Murder Mystery actor and theatre scholar. The film borrows the structure of mumming —a brand of home entertainment originated in England in the 18th century, where neighbours visit each other unexpectedly and perform in living rooms around town— to question the discursive strategy that carves our moral values, shared geographies and local references. Julià threads around the idiosyncrasies of film language and translates an original improvised and unscripted interactive play into an obscure and at times absurd scripted film-play subjected to extreme gestures and silences; where the actor, spectator and spectacle work together to winnow out an inconclusive drama.
Sonja Kretz (Aarau, 1980)
Wild im Schnee, 2010
Installation, 22 iarchival images, 3 digital drawingss, 3 newspaper cut-outs, 3 models 3D, 1 photograph of a 3D model, variable dimensions
Sonja Kretz’s current artistic practice revolves around the construction of the “natural landscape”. Her personal view of this topic focuses on animals, people and architecture, carefully analysing animal forms and different covers for the body and architectural skeletons. All these forms which contribute to the shapes of the natural landscape are then reassembled into new constructions. This process leads to hybrid and highly artificial representations, yet which still evoke something of the real world. Far removed from the Romantic ideal, these installations shift our image of nature to a different dimension.
Mickry 3 (Zurich. Christina Pfander, 1980, Dominique Vigne, 1981, Nina von Meiss, 1978)
Die Waldlichtung, 2009
Cardboard, fiberglass and acrilic sculpture, 185 x 275 x 125 cm
Mickry 3 works with something that already exists, in this case nature, and uses it to build sculptures of forests, or rather, to design three-dimensional pictures of forest moods.
The sculpture of a three-dimensional forest, in which a path gradually narrows as it recedes into the distance, is stable enough for a child or a small person to actually walk into. Leaves, fauna, and branches are painted on with great precision. From the front however, the sculpture looks like a picture, put together and painted in perspective to give the impression of great depth.
The back of the sculpture is another, second picture but here the trees seem abstract and unreal.
Melvin Moti (Rotterdam, 1977)
The Black Room, 2005
16mm film transferred to DVD, color, sound, 25’
The Black Room’s points of reference are the life of French surrealist Robert Desnos (1800-1945) and images of The Black Room in the tiny Roman villa of Agrippa at Boscotrecase, not far from Pompeii. Most panels of this fresco are preserved in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The Black Room brings these two stories together. Essentially both histories deal with the appearance and experience of spaces. The black walls of Villa Agrippa leave only a boundless architectural or physical space whereas Robert Desnos deals with his boundless mental space. In both cases the expansion and reduction of these spaces are critical. Villa Agrippa replaces the illusionary walls with black ones essentially inducing another sense of volume, whereas Robert Desnos, in those founding months for surrealism, tried to expand his mental space infinitely.
Taking its cue from an imaginary interview with Desnos, the camera explores the elegant frescos of the walls of the black room. The interview is based not on historic sources, but mostly on gossip spread by several members of the surrealist group.
Grace Ndiritu (Birmingham, 1976)
The Nightingale, 2003
Video installation, 1 monitor, color, sound, 7’ 01”
The Nightingale is originally based on a story of unrequited love —the title making reference to the bird famous for its beautiful, sad song— it has become more fixated on the disconnection between the East and West, global separation and cultural stereotyping. Poetically, this is conveyed by a sentence superimposed on the opening sequence: “He stood East of my childhood and West of my future.”
The beginning of The Nightingale is peaceful and serene, showing Ndiritu slowly moving a cloth that covers her head and shoulders, to reveal her face, with eyes closed. The quiet African music suddenly changes as the artist becomes animated, with eyes wide open, focused on the viewer. She twists, wraps and folds the fabric in a sequence of simple movements to transform her appearance. Each action reveals another identity, the fabric being exploited for its versatility, playing the role of blindfold, hajib, headscarf, burka, veil, bandanna, purdah, gag and turban. Its reference to an assortment of cultures is both joyful and unsettling, developing with the rhythm of the music, pausing into moments of playful seduction and sculptural beauty.
Wilfredo Prieto (Sancti-Spíritus, 1978)
El tiempo es oro, 2007
Watch and gold chain
El tiempo es oro consists of a gold pocket watch dangling from the ceiling. Underpinned by a basic simplicity, in this piece the artist leans towards tautology, an issue he has consciously explored in many works, revealing his classical conceptual spirit. Equally present here in Prieto’s work is an indirectly linguistic drive. His interest in language is not rendered in texts, but rather in a kind of attempt to shift from language to “reality”, as if he were rendering in the latter fragments of the very opacity of language, this density that prevents us from grasping the world in the moment, without having to pass through the mediation of language itself.
Jorge Satorre (México DF, 1979)
La part maudite illustrée, 2009-2010
Installation, 90 paintings on wood, 33 offset plates, wooden box and table, variable dimensions
The French city of Saint-Nazaire was famous for its major shipbuilding facilities for the construction of transatlantic ships. It was heavily bombed during the Second World War with 90 per cent of the town being destroyed, In 1949 George Bataille published La part maudite, in which he defended the importance of non-productive expenditure in an economic system based on production-consumption. Satorre used this book to establish a series of connections with the history of Saint-Nazaire. Mainly with an incredible deployment of energy, organisation of work and raw materials required for shipbuilding, paradoxically confronting it with an account of catastrophes associated with the vulnerability of ships.
This work proposes an illustrated re-edition of La part maudite. The images are all of boats built in Saint-Nazaire which the artist managed to find proof of their disappearance. The paintings were made by a scientific illustrator, based on the details found in documents from the city’s archives. The production of the book was deliberately detained just before going to print, preserving only the offset plates with the layout of the publication, thus making it a book in potential.
Liang Shuo (Ji County, Tianjin Province, 1976)
Letter to my Wife and Letter to my Lover, 2005
Video installation, 2 channel video, color, sound, 78’ 45’’ and 41’ 51’’
This work was created while the artist was in Netherland participating in the Royal Academy of Art’s artist-in-residence programme. Caught between his relationships with his wife and with his lover, he was suffering the pangs of guilt, with the contradiction and excitement pushing him to a limit that could not be resolved. Therefore, he put his personal emotions on paper and let each one know how he really felt. His intention was to express his inherent contradictions by torturing himself both physically and mentally. The elements of the unpredictable physicality and duration of the whole process, the heavy outboard motors, sensitive brushes, fragile Chinese paper and texts with no drafts, all put him in the situation of being at once under control and out-of-control.
Sophie Springer (Berlin, 1983)
Traversals (with Ladder), 2011
Installation, 102 drawings A4, 5 interviews and ladder
The artist has always had a longstanding interest in the relationships between art and writing, theory and fiction. For Traversals she spoke with Dora García, Chris Kraus, Mark von Schlegell, Charles Stankievech and Jacob Wren about influences, concerns and strategies pivotal to their practices. Each thinker has found a unique way to explore the hybrid spaces between genres and art forms. The project investigates the connections between theory, art and life from a personal angle open to idiosyncratic trajectories.
The process was split into two parts: one set of five identical questions posed to each person in the first round and then five individual questions asked in a second round in response to the first five answers. The interviews are displayed as an installation in the form of a grid with a sliding ladder allowing for an embodied reading experience. The spatialised format reveals the parallels in the conversations as well as the differences—particularly as the interviews evolve.
Daniel Steegmann (Barcelona, 1977)
16mm film transferred to DVD, color, sound, 4’ 54’’. Steel cable and modified camera
A reel of 16 mm film measuring 200 ft (60.96 m) lasts approximately 5’33’’, which means that 1 metre of film is used up every 5.46 seconds, the equivalent of 18.3 cm per second.
Starting out from this relationship between time and distance, proper to the cinematographic medium, Steegmann modified a camera in such a way that a single motor drives the camera and moves it along a tracking cable at the same speed as the film itself.
To make the film he lay a cable in the jungle and set the camera in motion. The result is a single shot, a straight line cutting through the sinuous undergrowth, a tracking shot at a constant speed entering into the dense forest for the duration and length of a whole reel of film.
This structural analysis of the medium was carried out in the tropical forest because it is one of the last remaining depths to be explored; and it is the impact of entering into it that gave rise to the idea. The impact is not just physical or psychological: ever since the time of the discovery right up until the “post”-colonial moment of today, a whole series of economic, ecological, scientific, cultural and territorial conflicts have taken place there, creating a mesh of relationships as complex as the geometry of vines, lianas, branches and trunks which are as difficult to balance as to penetrate into their thick natural overgrowth.
Lucy Stein (Oxford, 1979)
Pheromones and Methane Trails, 2011
3 oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm and 4 drawings
Pheromones and Methane Trails is made up of small oil on panel paintings and a vitrine containing works on paper. These are descriptions of an hermetic inner-world where personally honed, imaginative symbols are viscerally rendered.
The images can be read as pastoral vignettes which developed during time spent living in the Burren, on the west coast of Ireland; "Here I felt myself unable to exist in the present: I was either mired in the past or dreamy about the future, and this hinterland became a site for an extraordinary communion with all that cannot be seen."
The title refers to those base, intangible strands of delicious and disgusting information that all humans emit, glorified in the sympathetic medium of paint. The work seeks to make flesh this lyrical, sensual struggle against a real world made up of straight lines.
The hang demands an intimacy that runs in counterpoint to the museum setting.
Ana Strika (Zurich, 1981)
Collage, 210 x 300 cm
The work of Ana Strika is inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’ short story Del rigor en la ciencia, a story about two cartographers who are mapping a land 1:1.
Untitled, 2011 is an oversized map, a patchwork of different sources that is composed of collages. These collages show fragments of copied photographs, words, drawings and different types of papers. The viewer looks at ruins of cities, discontinuous ways and abstract forms which grow out of incomplete constructions.
The piece is about time, space and its subsequent human traces. Some traces are visible, some are almost or completely vanished. It is an abstract form of showing human lives in different perspectives, close-ups as well as views from far away. Therefore the viewer has to continuously switch his focus and reflect on his own story.
Esmé Valk (Wijhe, 1977)
Showcasing Today’s Essentials, 2010
Installation, various materials, variable dimensions
Asymmetry is Dynamic, 2010
HD Video, color, sound, 9’ 40”
Showcasing Today’s Essentials is a sculptural installation with moveable parts that can be set in motion by the visitor. The installation contains the short film Asymmetry is Dynamic. A long-term observation of a home furnishing shop was the starting point for the works. Valk’s re-interpretation of the display in the shop window explores the specific relation between the body, space and the geometry of (constructivist) theatre.
Asymmetry is Dynamic is a short film focusing on the relationship between the shop window, theatre and avant-garde artists through which the artist questions contemporary meaning and use of modernist visual language in the commercial realm. Frederick Kiesler’s book Contemporary Art Applied to the Store and Its Display (1930), silk shawls and shop window décor are the ingredients for a personal reflection on the relationship between modernism and commerce.
Sara van der Heide (Busan, 1977)
Museum/24 Ethnographic European Museums, 2010
24 ink on paper drawings, 26 x 36 cm
With the series Museum van der Heide questions the construction and identity of the ethnographic museum today. By recording the names of these institutions in the drawings, the project becomes a collection of artefacts in and of itself.
Van der Heide confronts the viewer with the dilemma: Who is authorized to decide what is an artefact, and what should be collected and for what reason? In the 19th century museums openly referred to their colonial past but today museums bear more euphemistic names such as “Museum der Kulturen” or “World Museum”. However, they still place the West at the self-acclaimed centre of the world. The existence of the ethnographic museum, which is intertwined with the complicated and loaded colonial past, has been subject to contemporary criticism. While some European ethnographic institutions have attempted to come to terms with the past of their collections and their heritage, van der Heide focuses on how language continues to reflect the political present of the institutions.
Xia Xing (Shihezi, Xinjiang Province, 1974)
12 oil on canvas, 35 x 50 cm
For the last eight years, Xia Xing’s work has mainly consisted of about 60 oil paintings per year. Each annual sequence constitutes a visual diary of events through a selection of images originally appearing in the Xing Jing Bao (“The Beijing News”). Until 2006, each canvas reproduced a single image exclusively published on the front page of the newspaper while, since 2007, some of the source images are also from an inner page. In 2008 he adopted a monochrome treatment with multiple coatings, painting a yellow layer, and then superimposing a red layer, followed by a blue one, in a manner reminiscent of the colour separation of early colour TV images. This is a method of “programming” the colours and monitoring their application. Xia Xing’s canvases create an imaginary reversal of time, they turn the standard dogmas of press photography into their opposite, for the principle of such photos is to reach the reader with the most possible up-to-dateness, i.e. with little or no temporal distance from the events shown in the images. Xia Xing’s picture chronicle is an intervention into this stream of oblivion.
Wang Xingwei (Shenyang, Liaoning Province, 1969)
Side Park Football Field, 2009
Oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm
Side Park Football Field is a painting that reveals a multilayered interweaving of symbolic cross-references to the artist’s entire body of work.
The scene is set in a park (from the title, Side Park in Beijing), where two men —one of them we might guess to be the artist himself— are playing an improbable soccer match.
The accurate chromatic choice, the almost total absence of volumes and the stylized representation of both the characters and the background, recall to some extent the Japanese cartoonist genre of the mid-Sixties.
The dull repetition of the windows on the hive-looking massive façade of the building towering in the back, as well as the reiteration of the shapes in the whole composition —the two human figures, the two shadows, the two similar structures of the goal and of the edifice— create an unreal and increasingly estranging atmosphere, in which the match becomes a metaphor for the pursuit of success in an overpopulated country where fierce competition is the order of the day.
Text: Nataline Colonnello
Li Zhanyang (Changchun, Jilin Province, 1969)
Silent Lamb, 2010
Bronze on cushion sculpture, 153 x 100 x 75 cm
Li Zhanyang is a storyteller. His fibreglass or bronze sculptures capture themes of social reality. Li Zhanyang has the ability to capture decisive moments in everyday occurrences.
Being an artist is about representing and sharing with others your own discoveries and with this philosophy, art must stay true to the world in the artist’s eyes. Driving his car, Li Zhanyang saw a silent lamb laying dead in the middle of the road, evidently run over by a motor vehicle.
Creating something technically good is a matter of ability, but being able to create something honest, something real, is a matter of integrity. Whether an artist’s work stays true to this integrity is something only the artist really knows. We find ourselves in the role of the voyeur: observing how a crowd of people try to grab seats in an overcrowded bus, witnessing an accident or simply reliving the artist’s own stories and memories. Perhaps we are not really voyeurs at all, but are, in fact, expressly invited to participate in the scenes created.
Zhao Zhao (Xinjiang, 1982)
On Tianshan, 2007
4 photographies, 100 x 150 cm
The artist created a wooden statue of a deceased friend Rehemaiti, carried it on his back and hiked for four days and three nights to place the statue on a 4200-metre high peak in the East Tianshan mountains, Xinjiang.
Anna-Sabina Zürrer (Zurich, 1980)
HD Video installation, color, no sound, 3' 18”
A work about themes like death and transience, losing someone or something, and letting go.
Today we want to capture and preserve everything and in consequence we lose access to the most natural of the world: death. The artist wishes to show that death and release can be a beautiful moment.
She chooses the white swan as a symbol of beauty, courage, pride and purity because the legend goes that the swan sings a beautiful song just before it dies.
She repeatedly photographed swans over many days, swimming quietly or beating their wings. At that time a friend of the artist was trying to prepare to die after a long illness but it wasn’t easy as she clung on to life. This was the moment when she decided to choose the form and work with the photograph of the swan, which quietly swims away without looking back.
She poured a chemical liquid over the photo which slowly dissolved the colours until the image was erased. She documented this process with a video camera so that it does not fade, but can be watched again and again.
Bestué-Vives (Barcelona, 1980-1978)