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57th Venice Biennale 2017

Art Is the Place Where You Can Reinvent the World

Christine Macels 57th Biennale di Venezia

Every second year a new curator try to rediscover the wheel, or art scene, and our expectations are increasing as well from year to year. 2017 Christine Macel, the director of Centre Pompidou in Paris displayed the biennale art show under the motto „Viva Arte Viva“.

What sounds a bit banal at the beginning got an intellectual content over the preparing months and appeared finally as one of the most political Biennales in the last decade. Perhaps nobody was expecting it, the artists and curators had more time for reflection and research of contemporary necessary topics. Christine Macels objective was to offer the proposal of visualizing a better model of our society and world wide situation - to use art as a tool for creating places where the art scene can reinvent another world. Most of the artists took this proposition and transformed it in their own way and point of view, except Austria, which was worshipping itself as usual, without content nor massage. Like Macel mentioned, art in itself helps us to navigate in these times. Its very existence is a resistance in itself. To say it with Deleuze words, art is not about communication, but it is an act of resistance. For Macel art resists emptiness. Another point of view is the degree of individualism that we have reached today and which leads directly towards indifference. In reference to Hannah Arendt what can we do now in common, after „the loss of the common“? Art can move and inspire, but art can not change by itself - this is the initial point of the curatorial intention.

Giardini

„Virgil“ by Tracey Moffat, Australia, i.e. - she edited a movie made of close-up stills of white Hollywood stars taken out of Hitchcock movies which are intercut with news shots of boats crowded with refugees. The women looking aghast and horrified, peering through slatted blinds and homing in with binoculars, the wide-eyed and troubled movie characters seem to survey crowded decks. The images of the refugees are manipulated, cropped,  coloured,  sometimes reduced to almost abstract blurs. Vigil is with its increasing tempo extremely powerful and striking. The more you watch, the worse it gets. 

The „Alto Natives“ by Nathan Mellors and Erkka Nissinen is a multi media installation with video and an animatronic sculpture. Poetical and humorous transformed the artist the Pavillion into an immersive environment, playing with their interest in the capacity of absurdism to critically engage with power structures and the status quo. Mellors and Nissinen focus on various clichés surrounding Finnish History, national identity, morality, power and destruction of communication. The narrative framework allows them to engage in a playful critique of religion and the nature of human existence as well as the systemic flaws at the heart of culture dominated by rationalism and fetishization of progress.

British Pavillion with Phyllidia Barlow

The sculptor Phyllida Barlow, whose towering installations at Tate Britain were described as “mad and madly ambitious” by the Guardian critic Adrian Searle,  represents Britain at the Venice Biennale. Barlow’s colossal sculptures are made of commonplace materials, often recycled timber, plywood, cardboard and plaster. They are impressive in their size and well installed in the different rooms of the Pavillion. Barlow is a master in using space. She cordially invites the audience to look behind the scene or inside the columns, to face the material and construction she used. “Having been that thing called a minor British artist for most of my working life, I’m now getting things beyond my wildest dreams.” Barlow mentioned.

Gal Weinstein´s site specific work in the Israel Pavillion is breathtaking. An artwork that represent „the evolution“ of his recent body work. Weinstein examines the relation between natural and organic phenomena and cultivated, domestic occurrences. The project spreads over the pavilion’s three levels, with an extension in the courtyard, creating a narrative that suggests a melancholic and poetic allegory of the Israeli story – one vacillating between miraculous acts and moments of enlightenment and between neglect and destruction. The divine miracle in the Ayalon Valley is related here to the Zionist project of conquering a seemingly barren wilderness, alongside expressions of technological progress and agriculture. However, it can also be interpreted as a post-apocalyptic vision, revealing the cost of hubris in the human enterprise of civilization.

South Korea´s show “COUNTERBALANCE: THE STONE AND THE MOUNTAIN” was curated by Lee Daehyung, working with the artists  Cody Choi and Wan Lee
The new work by 1990s art star Cody Choi covers the pavilion’s face with mashup of neon sculptures that look as if they’ve been pulled from casinos in Las Vegas and Macao. The garish nature of global capitalism is the subject of this piece, Venetian Rhapsody (2017).  Wan Lee, more than a decade younger than Choi, explores his own relationship to globalism and how traditions and economic systems have transformed in its wake. One series of videos, “Made In” (2013–ongoing), follows Lee’s journey around several Asian countries in order to source the raw materials (wood for chopsticks in China, palm oil in Malaysia, coffee in Vietnam) needed to prepare a typical Korean breakfast. The red thread through this multiple installation is Lee’s sprawling, multi-part installation, Mr. K and the collection of Korean History (2010–17). It joins the personal archive of a deceased journalist named Mr. K (Lee purchased the archive at a flea market for $50) with a vast cache of government records, newspapers, wristwatches from the past that Lee has collected since 2010. For Proper Time (2017), Lee asked hundreds of people how long they need to work in order to afford a meal. Over 600 clocks, set on pace with their answers. Each clock is labeled with a name, birthdate, nationality and job. Lee Daehyung guided a tour of journalists. It was one of the best experiences and funniest art shows I have seen, he is smart, humorous and a real storyteller.

Romanian Pavillion presents Geta Bratescu, the great Romanian artist in a wonderful homage. The presentation combined  works representative of all the stages of her artistic journey, demonstrating the comfort with which she employs a multitude of artistic media. Magda Radu, curator of the Romanian Pavillion, explained “Geta Bratescu’s presence at Biennale Arte 2017 is aimed at communicating art’s capacity to invent narratives that transcend the gloomy climate of the contemporary world, by means of an artistic reflection that highlights the transformative strength of femininity as the consummate embodiment of a ‘nomadic subject’. Her art finds itself in full consonance with the return to materiality, to the power of the artistic imagination, to art’s power to give shape”. In the ensemble of upcoming questions and topics, initialized by several other Pavilions in the Giardinis, the Romanian Pavillion is an island of relaxation combined with terrific art, cause Geta Bratescu had always a critical position and a contemporary influence in her works.  I think Romania can be a bit more courageous next time and not sailing on the save shore, cause there is a huge potential of contemporary art projects and after two well done museum shows the Pavillion should be rocked.

The Austrian Pavillion on the contrary is telling us nothing,  is neither curated nor filled with political critical context. Brigitte Kowanz new works are presented in an extra space, called the light space, cause her colleague claimed in an archaic male style the whole Pavillion for himself,  for milking the cash cow „One Minute Sculpture“. Kowanz is dealing with binare codes and duality. Issues she transformed the last years and actually connected them with the web space. The light cables describe the code of net data, like the loom of Google, Wikipedia or iphone. In the huge box is a code describing the data of the whole Internet. Kowanz always deals with two levels, her objective for an art piece is: beautiful and content. Her work is alway beautiful by itself, but if the visitor wants to dig deeper, there is a lot of information coupled with substance. Even if the enormous light boxes by Brigitte Kowanz are beautiful and interesting, I think she is a great and important artist and has to be shown at Biennale, but alone. I have not got the curatorial idea of putting these two artists together in one show.It is so obvious how curators in Austria are abused, for financing and assumption of responsibility, but not for intellectual content. But Tu Felix Austria is celebrating and worshipping a second reality like every Biennale and at least nobody cares about it.

Arsenale

„Il Mondo Magico“ by Giorgio Andreotta Caló, Roberto Cuoghi and Adelita Husni-Bey, demonstrates a new faith in the transformative power of the imagination and an interest in magic. There are myriad references to fancy, fantasy, fable, mortgage, Jesus, catholic iconography. The artists turn art into a tool for inhabiting the world in all its richness and multiplicity. „Imitation di Cristo“ by Roberto Cuoghi leaves the visitor in a totally confusion and scaryness. He has transformed the basilica like space of the Arsenale into a church like mortgage of tragic beauty. The Christ like bodies are even smelling, the combination on one hand an ascetic medieval text, on the other hand the appearing images of drowning refugees turns the pacour through the installation into a rite de passage,  a bodily and mental expedition.

Carlos Amorales, Mexican Pavillion, is dealing with identity and typography, with communication and understanding. From his point of view, as a so called guero, a word used in Mexico to refer to people with blond hair and lighter skin, with french roots, he always felt strange in the country where he has been born.  „My identity has always put me in a paradoxical and strange position that in a certain way has forced me to return to Mexico.“ Amorales said. He mentioned that he never understood his country, not even when he was a child, but the country moves him emotionally, and thats why he identifies himself with Mexico. Life in the Folds, the title of his show was taken by a book by the poet Henri Michaux, published 1949, in which a narrator explores various ways of confronting the surrounding suffering. Morales raises the question on how to express the unheard complex causes and consequences of the crisis. He created an installation that unfolds into a work of art combined of different disciplines, visual arts, graphic arts, animation, cinema, music, literature, poetry, performance, intersecting with each other.

In the South African Pavillion Candice Breitz presents a video installation in which Alec Baldwin and Julian Moore recite text written by refugees. The refugees use the stars to spread their stories all over the world, for getting more attention for their issues, to find one´s voice - voices of celebrities. A good idea, which failed merciless, cause the stars, known as good artists, undermined with gesture and mimic the importance of the text, drifting into ridiculousness. The editing was bad, cause Breitz took in frequencies of private coquettish chats, between her and the actors. These scenes turn the whole into a ridiculous story. Good idea, bad done. Mohan Modisakeng displays a beautiful and overwhelming video show, installed with 3 room filling screens. Informed by a coming of age during South Africa´s violent political transition, Modisakeng´s practice grapples with black male identity, body and place within a post-apartheid context. Modisakeng presents critical responses to ideas of nationhood, leadership, inequality and migrant labour that manifest visually as poignant moments of grieving and catharsis central to the current lived experience of contemporary South Africans.

New Zealand´s „Emissaries“ by Lisa Reihana unravels enlightenment, ideals, cartographic and scientific endeavor and the brutal all time present impulses of expansionism, colonialism, abuse of power and colonialist arrogance. The video is a large scale panoramic screen, interrelated photo bed and sculptural work. Referenced to „De la Mer Pacifique / Captain Cook´s Voyages“ from 1804/05, Reihana employed digital technologies to recast and reconsider the wallpaper from a Pacific perspective. Emissaries is presented at Tese dell’Isolotto, one of the oldest structures in the Arsenale di Venezia, and a space imbued with its own history of emissarial action. It is one of the best technically installations as well, the long screen, magically sources of the movie -  the audience is trapped in the environment and it is like a journey in the past.

„The Absence of Path“, Tunisian National Pavillion offered the visitors FREESA, an universal travel document. The aim of this project is to open a dialogue with individuals around the world. To talk about variety of perspectives on migration and to examine the multitude of ways migration can be conceived. „Ultimately we are all migrants: over 70.000 years ago, our ancestors took their first steps out of the African continent, crossing shifting land masses and rushing waterways, slowly populating the globe.“ www.theabsenceofpath.com

Outside

The greatest surprises have been Cuba, Aserbaijan and Irak in beautiful old Palazzi around Campo San Stefano. The open hearted hospitality, particularly in Aserbaijan Pavillion combined with interesting art works and self critical involvement as well as trying to invalidate clichés. 

Iraque

The participation of Francis Alys in the Iraque show has on first sight two benefits for Iraque artist included. First the iIraqui artists are lifted to another level in art scene and on art market, second an artist like Alys has much more publicity and attraction for journalists. I did not like the video by Alys so much, many questions about being instrumentalized by a country, trivialization of war front are equally justified as the benefits. Five of the six living artists have been commissioned by Ruya to create new work for the Pavilion. A great number of artists continue working today´s Iraq in an orthodox aesthetic tradition, which has been limited by mid-century education trends and the lack of cultural exchange in Iraq in recent decades.

Aserbaijan

Under one Sun, The Art of Living Together is a touching and dramatic title for the show curated by Prof. Martin Roth and Emin S. Mammadov. The amazing visual performance group HYPNOTICA has set up twenty monitors showing  ethnic minorities speaking their own language at the entrance of the pavilion. Personal interviews are merging. The unity that is created through the text and the language, and which is especially emphasized by an anthropomorphic sculpture, reflects the different ethnic groups living together in one country.The visual performance group HYPNOTICA has set up twenty monitors showing  ethnic minorities speaking their own language at the entrance of the pavilion. Personal interviews are merging. The unity that is created through the text and the language, and which is especially emphasized by an anthropomorphic sculpture, reflects the different ethnic groups living together in one country. 
The artist Elvin Nabizade presents an installation named after the exhibition’s title, filling an entire room on the first floor. Cultural diversity is also his main theme. He shows approximately fifty Saz, traditional instruments that resemble string instruments,in the form of a rainbow. Symbolically, it is not only the act of speaking,but also the common language of music that connects the various minorities.

Cuba at Palazzo Loredan on Campo San Stefano presents a group show with 15 artists, like Abel Barroso, Iván Capote, Roberto Diago, Roberto Fabelo, José Manuel Fors, Aimée García, Reynier Leyva Novo, Meira Marrero & José Ángel Toirac, Carlos Martiel, René Peña, Mabel Poblet,curated by Jorge Fernandez Torres. A really interesting group show, partly in situ projects, but also political statements in a poetic way. The logic of the Pavilion refers to the present of the Cuban environment as well as  of the insular art. „Time of intuition“ is just a sample of vitality. Artists from different promotions entering a dialogue. In the discursive lines of the invited artists, the context and commitment to it are keys in direction of rethinking the reality. The artists do not lose their roots, although in a few cases they overflow it. From their peculiar vision of art, they translate themes and concerns related to the inner world, gender poetics, radicallity, faith and spirituality. Oscillating between past and future ("the time of waiting" according to Carpentier) in the deconstruction of history and the reflexion on everyday life.  

Brazil, Taiwan, China, Russia, France, Canada, Malta, Thailand are also presenting interesting positions of contemporary art and all of them have the intension to deal with actual issues or starting a discourse about art and society. The German Pavillion with Anne Imhoff was too striking and speculative for my point of view and I don´t understand the decision of the jury.

The Venice Biennale brings together not only the presence of artists and national projects in the pavilions of countries that traditionally have filled the historical biennales. Today social and political problems are also present in official or parallel pavilions, as well as in the side Show Biennale Collaterale. The whole city and the islands around are stage for various art projects and artists from all over the world. One of the smaller, but very interesting venues was Fatalitá by Laura Rambelli, a performance and exhibition on Torcello Island, in the marvelous gardens of Museo Casa Andrich. Fatality was a european art project, established by Laura Rambelli, with cooperation partners Naomi Berrill, musician, Ilaria Biggi, Designer, Oscar Sanchez curator and 12-14 contemporary Vienna.

Compared to the 56th Biennale curated by Okwui Enwezor, where I had the impression that the single statement about our political situation was shabby chick, I was touched, scared, sometimes deeply stirred, only view times bored or annoyed this time. After tree intense and wonderful days in La Serenissima, having the possibility to see great art from all over the world, I note that the 57th Biennale was political, discursive, inspiring and for me Christine Marcel has done a quite good job.

Denise Parizek, 2017

Mapping Bucharest / Revista Arta Issue 14-15 / 2015

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Revista Arta Issue 16-17 / 2015
Adrien Ghenie in Paris / Galerie Thaddeus Ropac

One Step BeyondRevista Arta Issue 16-17 / 2015
NOIMA GROUP

Vienna Contemporary / Revista Arta Issue 16-17 / 2015
Romanian Galleries

im7ten.com

 
http://www.im7ten.com/die-stadt-gehoert-wieder-mir/
http://www.im7ten.com/die-finsternis-im-raum-mit-licht/
http://www.im7ten.com/die-win-win-situation/
http://www.im7ten.com/alfons-walde-die-erotische-fotographie-im-westlicht-bis-8-2-2015/

talk12-14 

Die Stadt gehört mir....

Picknick with Bacon

Adrien Ghenie in Paris

For his show at Thaddeus Ropac Gallery, Paris Marais, Adrian Ghenie has selected new paintings.
They appear like a dialogue between disguise and identification. In a dramatic way the faces are more deliquescent, although the characters in the background are easy to identify. The works outline inspirational heroes but are also featuring figures associated with fear and mass suffering (Hitler, Stalin, Josef Mengele and Ceauşescu).

Bruno Latour chooses the word “composition” as an alternative to critique, and “compositionism” as an alternative to modernism. Through his colour-layered paintings, Adrian Ghenie questions the construction of history and the self-image/self-perception in the aftermath of modernism and genocide; perchance reflecting Bruno Latour’s thought : “once the two organizing principles of nature and society are gone, one of the remaining solutions is to ‘compose’ the common world”.

Adrian Ghenie’s work is gestural but unconventional in some way. Adopting quotes of  the history of film and the history of art, he juxtaposes styles and techniques. He combines paintings and collages, moreover parts of photographs are interwoven in the canvas and covered with layers of paint. Blurred faces, fluxionary landscapes, ambiguous images, evince in a scraped off or washed out procedure. Some faces are patchworks of textures,  skin appears as it were sourced from different ages. Even if Ghenie’s paintings come into view in a traditional approach, they are a result of the palette knives and stencils that he uses to carve out staged accidents onto and into his multi-layered painted canvases.
The curator's,
Mihai Pop's decision was to remodel the Romanian Pavillion at the 56th Biennale di Venezia in its initial architecture. By choosing the painter Ghenie he generated the most unexpected surprise at the opening of Darwin's Room.  Between many devastated and wrecked shows in the Giardinis, like ingratiating Okwui Enezor and his critical view of the temporary art market, it was kind of restorative. The abuse of Darwins Theorie by the nazis has inspired Ghenie to create that series. Ghenie is most intrigued by the difference between fact and memory, exploring these ideas through the means of texture in his paintings.
He is navigating between abstract and representational, between story-telling and frozen images of fascistic dictators. His topics handle abuse of power, exile and migration. Adrian Ghenie’s paintings involve the big ideas that transform men into larger-than-life emblems. His work is kind of repetitive, creating variations of images with references on his idols. The imitations are quite obvious, even if the typical Ghenie Style emerges through the layers. In comparison to the „Room“ images, like „Duchamp`s Funeral“, „Dada Room“ or „The collector“ for example, the portraits stay aloof, they don´t grasp me. Watching the rooms, my mind has the possibility of creating a story, following the track Ghenie has placed, evoking my fantasy.

 “No discovery is ever good or bad—it depends on how you use it,” says Ghenie,  although his portraits frequently feel cautionary and almost malicious in their gestural violence. 

Till now he has got ahead quickly and easily, steady climbing the ladder of the contemporary art market. His paintings are valued millions on the secondary market. I find myself questioning the influence such facts have over the process of creating.  Are the demands expanding? Is it still possible to stay independent? Even if I appreciate when artists are payed for their artwork I am skeptical when the value is rising in incredible amounts. I suppose the  crew around the artist Ghenie is taking care, as they helped with philosophical thoughts and smart texts to built up the artists universe and the incredible career.

ADRIAN GHENIE / Short CV

Adrian Ghenie was born in Baia Mare, Romania in 1977. In 2001, he graduated from the University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca, where among others he was taught by Ioan Sbârciu. He splitted his time between Cluj and Berlin. In 2005, Ghenie co-founded Galeria Plan B at Fabriqua del Pensule with Mihai Pop in Cluj Napoca, a production and exhibition space for contemporary art.

Denise Parizek 2015 for Revista Arta Print 

ADRIAN GHENIE NEW PAINTINGS
22 OCTOBER – 21 NOVEMBER 2015
Opening Hours
Thursday 22 October 2015, 6pm-9pm

GALERIE THADDEUS ROPAC
7, rue Debelleyme
75003 PARIS / MARAIS

CREDITS FOR INSTALLATION VIEW
Couretsy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris/Salzburg
Photo Credits : Charles Duprat

THE NOISE OF MIST / LA BRUSIA DE LA NEBULA

NEBULA by Ukiyo-e

ZING ZING ZING this sound will gives the audience the heebie-jeebies, raises hackles. 

ZING ZING ZING goose pimples pop up.

We are all kind of branded or more positive spoken educated by Horror Movies.  

We mostly spot the pictures of the movie after some beats of typical sound. 

By means of this socialisation Ukiyo-e is working with the help of a special kind of sound system.

The visitor of NEBULA at Schleifmühlgasse 12-14, Artist Run Space Vienna, was sitting in front of a mirror, with headset on the ears. 

I tried it out at the opening night and had a kind of strange trip during the show, even if I have been present at the recording.  Ukiyo-e, have done the recording in situ some weeks before.

The tape starts with the noise of opening the gallery door. I immediately turned around, facing the artists and some other audience in my back. But nobody stepped in. Looking back in the mirror, a new noise appeared. 

KLACK; KLACK; KLACK, foot steps coming closer. A female voice draw nearer. She whispered in my ear. I could feel her breath. In a fever of excitement I could not follow the story she was telling, but I distinguished it as  a secret, she whistle-blowed.

KLACK; KLACK; KLACK  the noise got low, the steps departed.

KLACK; KLACK; KLACK they have reached the stairs.

STEP, STEP, STEP, the voice rang out from above, from the balcony of the gallery. 

I looked up, the place was empty.

A tricky invention in recording makes it possible for Ukiyo-e to create narratives.

The artists use  a technology called Binaural. A tool which simulate the sensation of  human listening. This kind of tool appears so real that it is easy to be stagy, but it is useful to tell stories that leave the sensation of an experience in a more subtile way. 

The amplification in fine art to sound art is not new, the experience of the visitor, to learn more about ourselves, about classical conditioning, is an extension on a sensual level. The physical experience doubles the effect and brands the brain.

Ukiyo-e was established 2012 by the photographer Silvia Bigi and the musician Luca Maria Baldini. They experimented with sound in combination with visual tools for several years. They did research, collected ideas and finally eliminated some things progressively. What remains at the end was the importance of sound.

 

Previous Projects of Ukiyo-e

„PrimaverAutunno" a video-sound installation, designed to evoke old memories.

„Take Your Time" a sound installation who creates a collapse between the real place and a virtual place made by sounds

„Empathy", a sound experience who leads the listener in a deep connection with the artist, in an intimate relation 

 "Dépaysement",  a video sound installation, based on the book The invisible cities, by Italo Calvino.

Text Denise Parizek, 2016

 

CREATING COMMON GOOD

VIENNA ART WEEK 2015 

16–22 November 2015
www.viennaartweek.at

Another dense week in Viennas autumn 2015, the program of the 11th Vienna Art Week has been presented today at Dorotheum. The topic of Vienna Art Week and the title of the current exhibition at Kunst Haus Wien is the same. The exhibition takes a highly topical question – How does art contribute to the common good? – and approaches it from various artistic perspectives. The curatorial team Ursula Maria Probst and Robert Punkenhofer, Artistic Director of VAW, focus on a wide range of topics, from an examination of alternative micro-economic models to gentrification processes and the dismay people feel when confronted with refugee movements, to criticism of reductions in the education and culture budgets. The show is accompanied by a special lecture by Saskia Sassen. She is a leading expert on globalization, immigration and the effects of economic development on cities and their inhabitants. In her new book “Expulsions” she examines the problems facing society due to growing inequality and rising unemployment. Her lecture will be held in English on 20 November at KUNST HAUS WIEN.

Institutions, galleries, off spaces, studios, academies are involved in the ambitious program, which evokes that the organization team takes the objective of reflection, education, change, rethinking serious. Even if it is a quite big balancing act between commercial acting institutions and freelancers, artists and off spaces. 

During the Press Conference the issue of exorbitant values at art market appeared. Gabriele Senn and Martin Böhm immediately felt adressed. Both of them did´t focus the point:  every gallery, curator and artist has to be glad if the income is ensuring a kind of living. Another story is generating enormous and unreal values at art market. Cooperations between gallerists, directors of institutions and well know curators are exploiting events of common good, like Biennales i.e., to proliferate the market value of selected artists. At the same time they pretend to have a special mission like gaining access to art events for everybody. The best example is Vienna Biennale and Mapping Bucharest, kind of flash burn of money without sustainability in case of common good.

The second focus is on the internationality of the Austrian Art Scene. It is truth that part of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs is building up a network of cultural fora (31) and cooperative spaces, like Sebastian Kurz mentioned in the VAW Magazin. But also fact is, that the Austrian Cultural Foren are underfunded, Kultur Kontakt has to shrink in the last years, they do not even have a serious exhibition space for their artist in residency and no money to rent a location. The responsible officials at bmukk mostly refuse exchange projects of artists and curators if they are not suggested by one of themselves. Relations are mostly nontransparent, decisions of jury´s are influenced and officials are intervening.
The giant off scene in vienna, like Hinterland, represented by Gudrun Wallenböck at the press conference, are doing amazing work in case of exchanges, education, integration, understanding, are more than underfinanced.

Now we have the opportunity to check out by ourselves, if the program is as tantalizing, reflective and ambitious as it seems in the well done magazine. Interesting writers are talking about relevant issues and it makes really curious.

Text & Photocredits Denise Parizek 2015

esel.at 

Post View „Mapping Bucharest“ bei der ersten Vienna Biennale

Carmen Anutza Pils

Eine Vervollständigung der Erforschung der Kulturszene Rumäniens nach der Wende kommt spät zum Zuge, obwohl die Situation der ehemaligen sozialistischen Länder in vielerlei Hinsicht untersucht wurde. In der Tat könnte man die Situation über der Positionierung der Kulturmitwirkenden in zwei Teilen untersuchen, weil bezüglich dieser Epoche nicht nur die rumänische inländische Szene recherchiert, sondern zugleich eine Interpretation des Diasporas, als ein wesentliches Muster der gegenwärtigen Kultur Europas, durchgeführt wird. 
Die Kulturstiftung des Bundes förderte das Forschungsprojekt The Post-Communist Condition, um die Situation der KünstlerInnen und ihrer Kultur in Mittel- und Osteuropa nach dem Zerfall des Ostblocks im Westen bekannt zu machen. Eine Gruppe WissenschaftlerInnen und KünstlerInnen aus Ost- und West-Europa haben sich zum Ziel gesetzt, mit dem Projekt einen Modernisierungsprozess des Kommunismus und Postkommunismus in der Transformation der Länder zu untersuchen. Das Projekt The Post-Communist Condition besteht aus drei Teilen: ein Forschungsprogramm mit 15 StipendiantInnen, ein Übersetzungs- und Publikationsprogramm und eine Ausstellung "Privatisierungen" in Berlin.
In der Ausgabe (2005) von Zurück aus der Zukunft. Osteuropäische Kulturen im Zeitalter des Postkommunismus, Suhrkamp Verlag Frankfurt am Main, erfassen die drei HerausgeberInnen und KulturwissenschaftlerInnen Boris Groys, Anne von der Heiden und Peter Weibel die kulturellen Erfahrungen der ehemaligen Länder des Ostblocks. So schreibt Boris Groys etwa, in Die postkommunistische Situation, Seite 36, dass die Osterweiterung der NATO und der EU häufig als definitives Ende des Kalten Kriegs interpretiert werde. „Und oft wird dabei so getan, als ob der verschwundene Kommunismus bloß eine Unterbrechung, eine Pause, eine Verzögerung in der ›normalen‹ Entwicklung in der osteuropäischen Länder darstellte – eine Verzögerung, nach deren Ende nichts bleibt als ein gewisser ›Nachholbedarf‹. Der Kommunismus erscheint aus dieser Perspektive wieder einmal als Gespenst – als verkörpertes Nichts, das sich nach seinem Verschwinden in Nichts ausgelöscht hat. Über die postkommunistische Situation zu sprechen bedeutet dagegen, das historische Ereignis des Kommunismus ernst zu nehmen und sich ernsthaft zu fragen, welche Spuren von Kommunismus geblieben sind, inwieweit die Erfahrung des Kommunismus unsere eigene Gegenwart immer noch prägt – aber auch, warum sich der Kommunismus als eine bloße Unterbrechung der Geschichte denken lässt. Diese Fragen betreffen übrigens nicht allein die vormals kommunistischen Länder, sondern die ganze Welt, die sich gegenwärtig in einer Situation befindet, die man als postkommunistische bezeichnen kann.“
Zusammengefasst lässt sich sagen: Kommunismus und Kapitalismus erscheinen als zwei politische Ideen, die in die ganze Welt exportiert wurden. Kommunismus als politisches Regime entstand in Russland, jedoch ist das kommunistische Manifest auch in anderen Ländern zu finden, wie Südamerika und Ostasien. Ebenso der Kapitalismus – er ist nicht nur in Europa zu finden. Jedes Land, das den Kapitalismus adoptiert hat, überführte den Kommunismus. Auf diese Weise ist eine Gegenpositionierung entstanden – die Anti-Utopie (die Utopie ist in diesem Fall der Kommunismus). Der Kommunismus wiederum hat sich gegenüber dem Kapitalismus positioniert; in diesem Fall kann man über eine erschaffende Utopie sprechen, erschaffend daher, da der Prozess noch andauert. Kommunismus jedoch bleibt doch nur eine Utopie, sie ist nicht realisierbar. Im Gegenteil hat sich der Westen der Möglichkeit ausgesetzt, dass „[…]seine realisierte Anti-Utopie vollständig abgelehnt wird“, wie es eine Seite weiter der Kulturwissenschaftler betont. Die Anti-Utopie war als eine antitotalitäre Rhetorik im Westen gedacht.
Die nationale Kultur spielt in der Zeit des Kommunismus keine Rolle mehr. Es zählt das „Wir“ anstatt des „Ichs“. Die KünstlerInnen sind zwar von den Modellen beherrscht, im Kontext des internationalen Kommunismus. Er war „programmatisch anti-national mit dem Ziel, die überkommenen nationalen Unterschiede zu überwinden, existierende national-kulturelle Identitäten zu beseitigen und stattdessen eine neue, globale, kommunistische Menschheit als Protagonistin einer neuen Geschichte zu schaffen. Diese neue postnationale Menschheit kam allerdings nicht zustande oder löste sich vielmehr gleichzeitig mit dem Kommunismus auf. So hat das Ereignis des Kommunismus das geschichtliche Subjekt, den geschichtlichen Träger verloren, zu dessen Geschichte es gehören könnte“, wie auf Seite 41 in demselben Buch zu lesen ist. Man kann das anti-nationale Ziel auch mit dem „organlosen Körper“-Begriff von Gilles Deleuze und Félix Guattari in der Ausgabe (1977) Anti-Ödipus. Kapitalismus und Schizophrenie I, Frankfurt am Main, vergleichen, weiterhin die kommunistische Macht mit der gesellschaftlichen Maschine – „Wunschmaschine“, ein Begriff desselben Werkes.
Die unglückliche Unterbrechung der nationalen Entwicklung war eines der postnationalen politischen Programme im Kommunismus des 20. Jahrhunderts. „Man kehrt zurück zur kommunistischen Zeit, zur Zeit der Nationalismen vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, oder gar ins 19. Jahrhundert.“, deshalb bleibt, im Gegenteil, nur der Weg der Demokratisierung offen, wie es auf der Seite 44 des Bandes Zurück aus der Zukunft - Osteuropäische Kulturen im Zeitalter des Postkommunismus der Autoren: Boris Groys, Anne von der Heiden, Peter Weibel, erläutert wird.
Wie weiter zu den Seiten 45 und 46 in der Ausgabe Zurück aus der Zukunft - Osteuropäische Kulturen im Zeitalter des Postkommunismus zu lesen ist, hat eine Diskussion der Heterogenität und der Differenz eine bestimmte ästhetische Voraussetzung: „[…] eine rein ästhetische Vorliebe für das Verschiedenartige, für den Mix, für das Crossover. Dieser ästhetische Geschmack ist in der Tat durch und durch charakteristisch für die postmoderne Kunst der späten siebziger und achtziger Jahre. Er ist angeblich sehr offen, sehr inklusiv und in diesem Sinne auch genuin demokratisch. Wie wir allerdings wissen, ist der postmoderne Geschmack keineswegs so tolerant, wie er auf den ersten Blick zu sein scheint. Die postmoderne ästhetische Sensibilität verwirft nämlich alles Universale, Uniforme, Repetitive, Geometrische, Minimalistische, Asketische, Monotone, Langweilige – alles Graue, Homogene und Reduktionistische. Sie mag kein Bauhaus, keine geometrische Abstraktion, nichts Bürokratisches oder Technisches: Die klassische Avantgarde wird unter den Bedingungen akzeptiert, dass ihre universalistischen Forderungen zurückgewiesen werden und sie zum Teil eines allgemeinen heterogenen Bildes wird. Sicherlich hat die postmoderne Sensibilität eine große Abneigung – und muss sie haben – gegen das graue, monotone, uninspirierende Aussehen des Kommunismus. Das ist der Grund, warum die postkommunistische Welt heutzutage ein blinder Fleck bleibt.“
Es ist die Epoche, gleich wie die ehemalige Zeit der Vorherrschaft der Kirche, in welcher der Kommunismus keinen Bildersturm erlaubte; die Künstler selbst blieben unter der ideologischen Folter der limitierenden Einbildungskraft, unter dem Zwang einer verblendeten Beobachtung.
Peter Weibel schreibt in dem Buch Zurück aus der Zukunft - Osteuropäische Kulturen im Zeitalter des Postkommunismus, in seinem eigenen Ansatz - Der Kalte Krieg und die Kunst, Seite 49: „Der Kalte Krieg, der seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg bis 1989 die Beziehungen zwischen Ost und West beherrschte, hatte in der Tat eine Mauer errichtet, die auch die Kunstbetrachtung verblendete und blind machte.“ Es ist eine Grenzsetzung zwischen der Freiheit der künstlerischen Sprache, Kreativität und ›Diversifizierung‹, und dem totalitären System im Osten.
Rumänien konfrontierte sich jahrzehntelang mehr oder weniger bewusst mit seinem eigenem Leidensweg im Sinne der Unfreiheit; nach dem Fall des Kommunismus ist die Erforschung und die Deutung der Entwickungen und Tendenzen dieser kontradiktorischen Zeit notwendig geworden. Der Kalte Krieg teilte Rumänien in zwei Körper, einerseits in den unterdrückten Kulturteil des Ostblocks und andererseits in die wirkende Kultur des Diasporas. Von Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts an, lebten viele KünstlerInnen aus Rumänien im großen Raum Europas. Die rumänischen KulturprotagonistInnen beeinflussten in dieser Zeit die gesamte Kultur Europas: Künstler wie Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco, Victor Brauner oder André Cadere schufen eine europäische Avantgarde; Constantin Brâncuși ebnete einen neuen Weg in der Bildhauerei, vor allem im Umgang mit der Skulptur; Constantin Noica und Emil Cioran bildeten einen europäisch-philosophischen Raum neu ab; Mircea Eliade begründete die Religionswissenschaft wie die Religionsphänomenologie, und Eugène Ionesco prägte das absurde Theater.
Die Vienna Biennale, die im Jahr 2015 das Thema Ideas for Change verfolgt, zieht eine Kultur, die den Ostblock mit dem Sozialismus konfrontierte, vor. Wie es in der Beschreibung des Katalogs Vienna Biennale - Ideas for Change 11.06.-4.10.2015, Mapping Bucharest genannt wurde: „Die Ausstellung über die Kunstszene Rumäniens beleuchtet das Potenzial eines kulturellen Raumes, von dem wichtige Impulse für die Entwicklung von Avantgarde und Moderne in Europa ausgingen. Für fast alle wichtigen Kunstbewegungen Europas zählen rumänische KünstlerInnen entweder zu den GründerInnenfiguren oder zu zentralen ProtagonistInnen."
Als Teil des Projektes The Post-Communist Condition in Deutschland, ist Peter Weibel, der Kurator der rumänischen Ausstellung Mapping Bucharest / Art, Memory, and Revolution 1916-2016, auf der Vienna Biennale 2015 vertreten. Er untersucht die Verbindungen zwischen der nationalen Kultur Rumäniens in der Zeit des Kalten Krieges und der vielfältigen Positionierungen der rumänischen KünstlerInnen außerhalb des Ostblocks, deren kreativen Kunstwerken und Theorien, die die Kulturszene Europas veränderten. Mapping Bucharest ist nur die Art einer entbehrlichen Kultur des Ostens, die es bekannt zu machen gilt.
Die Frage die sich stellt ist, ob eine gesunde Kulturgesellschaft in Osteuropa entsteht; diese kann man nur beantworten, indem man die aus Rumänien stammenden KulturprotagonistInnen untersucht. Eine selbstbewusste Orientierung an die Individualität einerseits und die neue Sozialebene andererseits, entsprechen nur einem Weg der Modernisierung innerhalb Rumäniens und damit der integrierenden Art des Landes.
Die Vergangenheit gab weltweit eine prägnante kulturelle Ebene vor. Die rumänischen Ansätze sind heutzutage nämlich in jeder spezifischen Entwicklung wiederzufinden, von wissenschaftlichen Kunstbeiträgen Victor Ieronim Stoichițăs, bis hin zu den weltweit bekannten und geschätzten Künstlern wie Dan Perjovschi, Adrian Ghenie und Plan B. 
Die Trennung Europas nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg in zwei ideologisch abgesonderten Blocks, mit Folgen auf allen Ebenen des Lebens – von der Ideologie, Wirtschaft bis hin zur Kunst – bildet bis heute die grundlegende Zäsur Europas, die noch immer zu überwinden ist. Der ehemalige „Ostblock“ holt hingegen mit einem komplexen Angebot in der Künstlerszene auf, mit speziellen Betrachtungsweisen der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft. Der Umschwung von der utopistischen Idee des Kommunismus zum Kapitalismus setzt viele Energien frei, welche sich sowohl fortgeschrittenen als auch historisierender Klischeen bedienen. In diesem Umfeld, in welchem noch viele alte Darstellungen überlebt haben und sich neue, kontroverse Trends entwickeln, ist es umso wichtiger, eine Diskussion um die zeitgenössische rumänische Kunst zu führen, mit allen ihren Aspekten und Implikationen. 

 

Mapping Bucharest

MAK Vienna
Curated by Bärbel Vischer and Peter Weibl

The show Mapping Bucharest attempt to give a general conspectus about Romanian Art. Opening a wide range of potential of cultural realm and development form avant-garde over modernism to contemporary art. From Constantin Brancusi´s sculptures to Tristan Tzara´s Dadaism, Gellu Naum´s Surrealism, Eugene Ionescos new absurd form of theater or Mircea Eliazades compendium about religion, Sigma Group and Kinema Ikon to Adrian Ghenie on Biennale di Venezia – Romanian art was strong and still is.

The selected artists all made significant contributions to the development of western modernism; one need only think of dadasim or constructivism. The passion for cultural activism and artistic manifestation has a long tradition and is based in the multicultural society of Romania and in the need of emigration in fascistic periods.
The Romanian art panorama tries to offer a perspective into Europe’s future: the end of the “auto-amputation”. Some of the works of the display at MAK were created especially for that show. Artists of various generations are playing with diverse issues, materials and points of views as a basic for discursive debate.

One example for international collaboration is the cooperation between Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici which made history: they created an icon of modern architecture with their residency Cote d´Azur. Gray found a counterpart in Badovici, who mirrored her conceptual design language into contemporary architecture.

Stefan Sava investigates ephemal testimonals of history. Keeping the tradition of Jewish mysticism, the Kabala, he collected used books of Jewish libraries in Bucharest in a box, called Geniza, a depot or storage. That was kind of archiving in Jewish society and so many important artefacts and books survived.Very strong was the presentation of Eugenia Pop. She adhered to archetypal forms, which are interior forms of the soul for her. Anchored in the humanity theme, the humans, she changes to natural medias and objet trouves, like pieces of wood, stones, bones. 

The ten award-winning entries in the Create Your Bucharest competition of ideas are presented as well as part of the exhibition. The winners of the first price, Ovidiu Anton and Alexandru Balasescu are planning a video out of the view of a Romanian street dog and a domesticated house dog. These two positions shall point out what happened in the past, about the consequences of the historical development. A quite nice project, but in comparision with the other ideas, most sustainable changes of the infrastructure of the city, kind of frustrating, cause the inspiration of artists stops in front of a screen and doesn´t go out in real world/ real display for changes. In fact I have not seen one realized project when I have been in Bucharest at the beginning of october. There was not even a rumor about Mapping Bucharest. The only person who talked about the abuse of Romanian Art on different events has been Cristina Bogdan at Revista Arta. It is a reminiscent of the catholic confession and absolution system used by neo colonialism system. Kind of reparations to sedate the bad conscience.

Winners: Anca Benera (* 1977) & Arnold Estefan (* 1978), Larisa Crunțeanu (* 1984) & Xandra Popescu (* 1984), Carmen Secăreanu (* 1970), Rareș Tudor Pop (* 1980)
Răzvan Delcea (* 1990) & Andrei Voica (* 1989), Maria Daria Oancea (* 1987) & George Octavian Marinescu (* 1989), Dragoș Olea (* 1979), Andra Răcășan (* 1991) & Elena Rucsandra Maior (* 1991) Gina Ster (* 1981)






 



Text & Photocredits  Denise Parizek 2015
Revista Arta Print October 2015

The Red Line of Intergenerational Contract

Romanians Galleries at Vienna Contemporary

Even before 10:00 am on 24th of September, the opening date of the press conference, anonymous artists have tagged the walls and outside furnitures of the new location. Later invited guests gathered at Marx Halle in Vienna's third district, the new venue of Vienna Contemporary 2015. The 19th century wrought iron construction offered an impressive and relaxed atmosphere for the 99 galleries although it is located in no name land.

The focus on eastern Europe was still important, howbeit the main supporters like Erste Bank and OMV vanished from the sponsors list. But I have seen the strongest positions in eastern european galleries, like Galerija Vartai with Julijonas Urbonas and the new discovered Vytautas Viržbickas or the following Romanian galleries.

The best stall of the whole fair was BARIL from Cluj. Their booth was a closed installation made by Sasha Auerbakh, Mihai Lepure-Gorski and Kinema Ikon. Kinema Ikon is the oldest active experimental art group in Romania. The stylistic mark of Kinema Ikon occurs from the interdisciplinary approach of a certain medium with the specific tools of the different fields its members are active in. „Untitled Ai Wei Wei“ by Sasha Auerbackh remembered in a humoristic way on the shroud of Turin, the sign of worshipping relics. Her „Revolution Lamp“ was the only allusion to the flow of refugees.

The quote cubes made of wood by Mihai Lepure-Gorski showed the absurdity of art market and art business. The whole presentation of BARIL curated by Sorin Neamtu and Sasha Auerbackh was a statement and a gorgeous exhibition. Ivan Gallery in Bucharest was also operating with the red line of generation crossing. The classic display showed works made by Greta Bratescu and Paul Neagu encountering Stefan Sava.

Jecza Gallery from Timisoara was also following the path of linking quite young artists with established groups.
Liviu Stoicoviciu, member of Sigma 1 Group, was confronted with Amelie Grözingers, born 1982, shiny artefacts, and Ildiko Csapos, born 1954, taped patterns. If you don´t know the dates of birth, the appearance of the art works would not evoke such a big different in generations. That doesn´t mean that the young artists are old fashioned, it is more about the visions and imaginations of artist groups like Sigma or Kinema Ikon. They were playing with ideas of the future, with a far-sightedness and are able to continue working with upcoming artists for developing their objectives, combining their visions with contemporary inputs.
Plan b, Cluj, presented two drawings by Achraf Touloub, in which the visitors got lost after a while staring at them. A incredible universe is opening in the deepness of the lines and new shapes emerge. One of the melancholic paintings by Serban Savu, a Cluj School artist, was installed in the middle of the booth, as an offsetting item. Savu, who grew up during the overturn of Communism, depicts a newly democratic society among the drab modernist housing and abandoned factories, using a subdued palette and impressionistic figures. His nature seems fossilized, covered with concrete, cold and lonesome.
Anca Poterasu, successful in 2014 with Daniel Djamo, was kind of disappointing, like 418 Contemporary Art Gallery. Considering the whole presentation of Romanian Art I have to confess that Romanian   artists from different periods are special and more interesting as some of the saturated western colleagues.




BARIL Cluj


JECZA Gallery Timisoara


plan b Cluj

Text Denise Parizek 2015
Photocredits Franz Wassermann 
Revista Arta Print November 2015

http://www.kulturherbstneubau.at/

ONE STEP BEYOND

Curating a 3 day show gives consideration to all the NOIMA Group's facets and achievements, including the solo artists, is challenging, but thrilling. What I spotted first, was a transformation of styles, the trespassing of borders, the groups urge to fathom art theory in practical environment, the one step beyond. For there are several strings leading to NOIMA's universe, I suggested to connect them to diverse forms of presentation and communication. The main display is located in the exhibition space Schleifmühlgasse 12-14: a permanently lighted window. Inside we will establish a narrative space, presenting the history of NOIMA group and their development.  At the set up I real