Feature, 12.04.2017

The Anti-Museum
An anthology devoted to a radical artistic engagement

book cover and Marcel Broodthaers with camel in front of Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles © Maria Gilissen

book cover and Marcel Broodthaers with camel in front of Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles © Maria Gilissen

“Museums should be invisible. With an imaginary museum you can do whatever you want.” –
Maurizio Cattelan

What does the term anti-art encompass? It’s shaped by an array of concepts that reject prior definitions of art and question the art system and how it functions. “The Anti-Museum“, an extensive anthology by Mathieu Copeland and Balthazar Lovay, addresses the idea of anti-art through numerous contributions by renowned artists and writers. From interviews and historical reprints to manifestos and commissioned essays, the 794-page encyclopaedic tome presents the first comprehensive exploration of the radical and paradoxical concept that is the ‘anti-museum’ – a term so present in art history and yet one that has never been the object of detailed investigation. The museum has always been a target for criticism, whether it comes from artists, thinkers, curators, or even the public. Dedicated to all forms of “anti” such as Anti-Art, Anti-Technology, Anti-Design and Anti-Philosophy, the publication features numerous texts from the 60s until today – including newly commissioned as well as never-before-translated pieces – to define the idea of anti-art in a broad sense, evoking attempts to disrupt rules and customs in artistic disciplines.

Review, 11.04.2017

BUREAU N went south
for documenta 14

After leaving its home in Kassel for a few months, documenta has moved to Athens for the first part of its 14th iteration, and we were there to experience its multifarious program sprawling across museums, cinemas, residential spaces, pavements and even radio stations and kiosks, to name a few of the locations. Four years in the making, under the working title “Learning from Athens”, one of the topics addressed in documenta 14 is the meaning of education and its reconstitution through the works of more than 160 international artists. Following the press conference opening featuring a cacophony of all participating artists and members of the team onstage, the artistic director Adam Szymczyk encapsulated this year’s approach: “Unlearning what we believe we know is the beginning. There are no masters that can tell us how to live or what to do. We are in need to mobilize energies and act through unlearning. As we abandon preconceptions, and some of our hopes too, we immerse in the darkness of now knowing. And only from that state can we then make small steps towards something different.” More than a couple of times we were urged to “get lost” in the city, fully experience the public realm and embrace the peripatetic manners of ancient Greek philosophers. Among numerous spaces and places, the program took us from the impressive building of the Athens Conservatoire built in the ‘50s as a vision of central European rationalism, to the former brewery housing the National Contemporary Art Museum, to the Polytechnion – an emblem of historical resistance, to a pavement inscribed with Samuel Beckett’s poetry, and a kiosk turned into an electronic music station on a picturesque plateia. Sound has indeed a prominent role in the program and is an essential part of its impact. Sonic elements are dispersed throughout, whether as protagonists or as discreet additions permeating the visual spectrum; appearing announced or other times fully conquering your headspace. It often felt like this year’s documenta should be heard more than seen.

As April 9th marked the first day of the 1,850-mile journey on horseback to Kassel starting from the side of the Acropolis, we also anticipate the second part of documenta and the evolution of this ‘continuum’.

 

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Feature, 28.03.2017

The Power of the Arts – Open Call
Fostering social equality through arts and culture

 

Anton Unai for The Power of the Arts © Philip Morris GmbH

Anton Unai for The Power of the Arts © Philip Morris GmbH

As an active response to the social challenges of our times, a new creative initiative advocates for the seamless integration and inclusion of people with a refugee and migration background in Germany through the arts, music, theater, and dance. One in five people in Germany have a migratory history, two-thirds of which belong to the first generation. We don’t always celebrate the same festivities. We don’t always speak the same language. We don’t always believe in the same deity. But it’s undeniable that the world of the arts can act as an equalizing and unifying resource, and that’s the direction we should be moving towards to. With The Power of the Arts initiative, launched by the Philip Morris GmbH, each year an independent jury selects four winning projects, awarded with 50,000 euros each, put forward by non-profit institutions and creative artists. All participants use numerous artistic disciplines to endorse social and cultural equality as well as deeper understanding among individuals. What serves as the main purpose of the initiative is to encourage an open, interculturally shaped society that leaves no room for discrimination and marginalization. Creativity and people’s abilities are invested in coexistence and collaborative progress.
Project submissions and information on the call for applications from 27 March until 9 June 2017.

Feature, 17.03.2017

As you said
Paul Elliman at KW
Mar 18 – May 14, 2017

Paul Elliman Autumn/Winter 2016/17, (2017) Poster campagne, Courtesy the artist

Paul Elliman, Autumn/Winter 2016/17, (2017) Poster campaign, Courtesy the artist

British artist Paul Elliman has consistently engaged with the production and performance of language as a material component of the socially constructed environment. In a world where objects and people are equally subject to the force fields of mass production, Elliman explores the range of human expression as a kind of typography. His exhibition As you said includes various works, both existing and new, that test the boundaries of our communication through letter-like objects, language- like vocal sounds, actions, shapes, silences, and movements of the body. Whether concealed by clothing or techniques of mimicry, our gestures and the desire for language are always within easy reach of the violently communicative raw material of the city. As you said is structured around a set of vitrines devised by the artist Ian Wilson —which Elliman considers as sculptures, objects of display, and sites for discourse—and a pair of billboards. Elliman employs the vitrines as a framing device for a selection of his work from over the last 25 years, while the billboards extend the exhibition out into the streets of Berlin.

Project, 24.02.2017

Adam Pendleton
at KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Feb 24 – May 14, 2017

A woman on the train asks angela davis for an autograph, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Pace Gallery, New York / Adam Pendleton IF THE FUNCTION OF WRITING, 2017, detail, Courtesy the artist and Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon

Adam Pendleton: A woman on the train asks angela davis for an autograph, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Pace Gallery, New York /  IF THE FUNCTION OF WRITING, 2017, detail. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon

 

Adam Pendleton‘s multi-disciplinary practice engages with language and the reframing of history, and he follows Hanne Lippard as the second of three artists to present exhibitions reflecting on the work of Ian Wilson. Beginning his practice as a painter, Wilson increasingly took on communication, abstraction, and the nature of knowledge as subjects, and used dialogue as a form. As a response, Pendleton stages an intervention to the entire third floor of KW. Cutting across the exhibition space is a diagonal wall, across which is printed the first sentence of Ron Sillman’s poem “Albany” – “If the function of writing is to ‘express the world.’” This statement, or question, is met with an arrangement of posters, collages, and other archival materials from Pendleton’s practice, pasted in successive layers and constrained to a black-and-white palette. And Wilson’s voice is present in the midst: shot him in the face includes one of his monochromatic paintings, with which the artist aimed for producing an object devoid of referential content and touching true abstraction. As part of KW’s The Weekends agenda, three of Pendleton’s film works will also be showing at the Babylon cinema. All showcase Pendleton’s focus on the themes of portraiture, artistic exchange, and methods of representation – filmic and otherwise.

 

WE (we are not successive), 2015 Siebdrucktinte auf spiegelpoliertem Edelstahl / Silkscreen ink on mirror polished stainless steel Courtesy der Ku?nstler / the artist, und / and Pace Gallery, New York (US)

WE (we are not successive), 2015. Courtesy the artist and Pace Gallery, New York

Project, 13.02.2017

Hello, Robot
Design between Human and Machine
at Vitra Design Museum
Feb 10 – May 14, 2017

 

Yonezawa, »Directional Robot«, 1957. Private collection. Photo: Andreas Sütterlin

Yonezawa, »Directional Robot«, 1957. Private collection. Photo: Andreas Sütterlin

 

When science fiction scenarios are applied to reality: How is robotics changing our lives and what is design’s role within that spectrum? As these technological advancements have found their way into our everyday environs, design has a central responsibility in this process, for it is designers who shape the interfaces between humans and machines. The exhibition Hello, Robot at the Vitra Design Museum examines the current robotics boom from the scope of various disciplines in extensive detail for the first time. Comprising more than 200 exhibits, the exhibition includes robots used in the home, in nursing care, and in industry as well as computer games, media installations, and relevant examples in films and literature. Through this sweeping analysis, the show broadens our awareness of the associated ethical, social, and political issues that arise. As our environment is becoming ever smarter and more autonomous, Hello Robot initiates a necessary discussion on how design cultivates the relationship between human and machine. Accompanying the exhibition, an extensive programme of talks, films, performances, and workshops further illuminates the topic in question from a number of different perspectives.

 

Shawn Maximo, »Going Green«, Vinylprint 2016 © Shawn Maximo / TRNDlabs, »SKEYE Nano 2 FPV Drone«, 2015 Fernsteuerung und Nano-Drohne © TRNDlabs

Shawn Maximo, »Going Green«, Vinylprint 2016 © Shawn Maximo / TRNDlabs, »SKEYE Nano 2 FPV Drone«, 2015 Fernsteuerung und Nano-Drohne © TRNDlabs

Feature, 28.01.2017

Language and Dialogue as a Form of Art — Ian Wilson and Hanne Lippard at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Jan 20 – Apr 9, 2017

Hanne Lippard, Flesh, 2016, Installationsansicht KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Courtesy die Künstlerin und LambdaLambdaLambda, Prishtina, Foto: Frank Sperling

Hanne Lippard, Flesh, 2016, installation view KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Courtesy the artist and LambdaLambdaLambda, Prishtina, Photo: Frank Sperling

The reopening of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art is marked by a series of exhibitions reflecting on the work of South African artist Ian Wilson, who explores spoken language as an art form and places great emphasis on dialogue. In Wilson’s non-tangible practice, language morphs into the quintessential vehicle for communication and knowledge. To highlight the importance of his objective in relation to the role of language, three selected artists have been invited to concentrate on different aspects of his artistic output and use them as inspiration for the production of new work. First in line to delve into the topic is Norwegian artist Hanne Lippard with the immersive installation Flesh that takes Wilson’s Statements and Circle Works as its point of departure. Lippard’s physical piece—a spiral staircase leading to a platform—incorporates the artist’s voice which completely encompasses the audience and opens up a world in which ourexperience of language as pure voice is further investigated. Maintaining Wilson’s oeuvre as a guiding framework, Lippard’s exhibition will be followed by artists Adam Pendleton and Paul Elliman.

Ian Wilson, Circle on the floor (Chalk Circle), 1968, unlimitierte Auflage, Courtesy der Künstler und Jan Mot; Ian Wilson, The Pure Awareness of the Absolute / A Discussion, 2014, Courtesy der Künstler und Jan Mot, Brüssel, Leihgabe: Jan Mot, Brüssel; Installationsansicht KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2017, Foto: Frank Sperling

Ian Wilson, Circle on the floor (Chalk Circle), 1968, unlimited edition, Courtesy the artist and Jan Mot; Ian Wilson, The Pure Awareness of the Absolute / A Discussion, 2014, Courtesy der Künstler und Jan Mot, Brüssel, Loan: Jan Mot, Brüssel; installation view KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2017, Photo: Frank Sperling

 

Project, 27.01.2017

Das Numen Meatus –
Scientific Data morphs into a Sonic Experience
Jan 27 – Mar 11, 2017

Das Numen Meatus, 2016, courtesy Das Numen and DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM, Berlin

Das Numen Meatus, 2016, courtesy Das Numen and Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Berlin

 

After relocating to a more spacious venue right behind the Volksbühne, the Dittrich & Schlechtriem gallery inaugurates its new home with an installation by the Berlin-based artist collective Das Numen, made up of artists Julian Charrière, Andreas Greiner, Markus Hoffmann, and Felix Kiessling. The collective’s practice is premised on the methodological primacy of experimentation and the significance of engaging with their surroundings and the present moment. Entitled Das Numen Meatus, the exhibition focuses on sonic compositions and the importance of atmosphere for their existence. Something intangible and ephemeral fills the gallery’s rooms: sounds emerge, produced by an array of pipes suspended in the space. Das Numen feed readings—wind velocities and directions—from twenty weather stations into a computer program that converts the data into impulses. The latter in turn control valves that allow compressed air to pass through the pipes, which begin to sound. Scientific data that, due to its enormous quantity, often goes unused is transformed into sensual sounds and a curious aesthetic experience.

Feature, 14.12.2016

KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin

Philippe Van Snick, Dag/Nacht, 1984 – fortlaufend / ongoing Installationsansicht Eingangstor/ Installation view entrance gate, KW Institute for Contemporary Art Foto/Photo: Frank Sperling Courtesy Tatjana Pieters

Philippe Van Snick, Dag/Nacht, 1984 – ongoing. Installation view entrance gate, KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Photo: Frank Sperling, Courtesy Tatjana Pieters

Founded in the early ’90s, in a derelict margarine factory, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the KW Institute for Contemporary Art has come to be seen as a symbol of Berlin’s artistic development. After 25 years, it continues operating as a lively platform for progressive art practices, and a meeting place specialised in experimental discursive programming. As part of a larger institutional restructuring process under the new directorship of Krist Gruijthuijsen, every part of KW’s 2017 program of exhibitions and events is filtered through the lens of artistic vision. The new program emphasizes dialogue and experimental uses of language, fostering visible exchange between artists and audiences in Berlin, and beyond. Ongoing investigations into singular art practices or thematics form the basis for corresponding commissions and exhibitions. The open-endedness and collaborative nature that lies at the core of the establishment’s mission creates a profoundly inclusionary place that invites numerous voices, and narratives to unfold through its program and the conversations it inspires in its audience. Thus, KW continues to push beyond the confines of the physical building through artistic commissions and events. Inviting artists to interfere with its physical space is an inextricable element of the institute’s approach. One of the most recent site-specific artworks, Philippe Van Snick’s intervention on the entrance gate, complements already existing pieces like Dan Graham’s glass pavilion housing Café Bravo, Renata Lucas’ pavement restructuring outside the main building, as well as the iconic garden by atelier le balto that has returned to the courtyard.

Feature, 18.11.2016

Engaging with current states of emergency
‘Uncertain States’ at Akademie der Künste
Oct 15, 2016 – Jan 15, 2017

Taysir Batniji, Watchtowers, West Bank (2008) Courtesy the artist & Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg/Beirut, Sammlung Zimmermann, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016 / Akam Shex Hadi, Untitled, Courtesy the artist & Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq / Richard Mosse Come Out (1966) XXXI (Triple Beam Dreams) (2012), Privatsammlung SVLP © Richard Mosse

Taysir Batniji, Watchtowers, West Bank (2008) Courtesy the artist & Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg/Beirut, Sammlung Zimmermann, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016 / Akam Shex Hadi, Untitled, Courtesy the artist & Ruya Foundation for Contemporary Culture in Iraq / Richard Mosse Come Out (1966) XXXI (Triple Beam Dreams) (2012), Privatsammlung SVLP © Richard Mosse

 

“A man who wants to lose his self, discovers indeed, the possibilities of human existence, which are infinite, as infinite as is creation. But the recovering of a new personality is as difficult – and as hopeless – as a new creation of the world.” – Hannah Arendt, We Refugees, 1943

Akademie der Künste in Berlin presents Uncertain States, a major group exhibition and multimedia programme of events running until January 15, 2017. Current and historic states of oppression, human migration and cultural dislocation are addressed within a dynamic framework, which has already drawn widespread critical acclaim in Germany. The extensive exhibition programme is a timely exploration of the significance of memory and narrative, within eras of political, social and cultural transformation. Across art, archival ephemera, film, music, performance, talks, pop-up events and practical workshops, the show engages with migrants, thinkers, politicians, writers, artists and activists from across the world, as they confront today’s realities of forced displacement, cultural loss and mass emigration. A historical element of Uncertain States features objects sourced from the Akademie der Künste’s archives of artist émigrés, including cultural icons such as Walter Benjamin, Valeska Gert, Heinrich Mann and Kurt Tucholsky. Their artifacts, rich in memory and cultural identity, form a vibrant narrative when paired with artworks by modern-day artists. In addition to the group exhibition, a rich programme of events seeks to contextualize global political perspectives on migration and identity, within an artistic framework. Talks and panels will debate the topics of migration from the Middle East in particular, addressing themes such as reactionary xenophobia and Islamophobia. Under the banner of “Thinking Space” (Denkraum) a programme of concerts, readings, theatrical performances and symposia, tackle numerous questions surrounding these topics with original and challenging approaches.