December 9 2013
Meet Pegy Zali, Petros Moris and Theodoros Giannakis, collectively known as KERNEL. The trio, who split their time between Athens and London, stage installations and screenings, acting as researchers, curators and innovators of open fabrication sources and creative collaborations. Through conceptual presentations and technological manipulation they comment on the artistic process of knowledge production and distribution within a socio-economic context. After developing a curatorial project during the last Athens Biennale, KERNEL returns to Athens this year as artists to participate in the group exhibition “Afresh” at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST). The trio presents their most recent project Inputs, Loops and Anchors, which was produced in collaboration with Athens-based metal formulation company CNC Solutions. KERNEL have compiled a report that highlights the structure and texture of the information based on open source data, spatial production and social construction. Following instructions from the collective to produce three “elemental” forms: prototypes of a link, a hook and a screw, CNC Solutions responded to the report by delivering a functional product through rapid prototype production. Input, Loops, and Anchors challenges the boundaries between researching, developing and displaying the artwork, as well as visualizing complex information in a conceptual form. Balancing subversion with curatorial and artistic renewal, the collective explores structures of creative production through the use of cross-disciplinary collaborations and new technologies. (Tatevik Sargsyan)
“Afresh” at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), Athens, runs through December 31.
December 9 2013
KALEIDOSCOPE is pleased to present The Asia Conversations, a new series of specially-commissioned online interviews with Asian-based artists and cultural producers, coordinated by online editor Bianca Stoppani.
Part of an ongoing investigation, evidencing KALEIDOSCOPE’s commitment towards establishing a presence in Asia, these special features run parallel to our newest print issue entirely dedicated to contemporary art and culture from the region. As of today, we have already published Simone Krug’s interview with Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi; Nick Warner’s interview with Thai artist Pratchaya Phinthong; Matt Packer’s interview with Chinese artist Xu Zhen; and Francesco Tenaglia’s interview with Shibuya-kei expert W. David Marx.
Check them out on KALEIDOSCOPE’s website and stay tuned for upcoming conversations with Hong Kong artist Kwan Sheung Chi, the recent winner of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award; and Ute Meta Bauer, the newly-appointed director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art in Singapore.
December 5 2013
In New York-born artist Jordan Wolfson’s 2011 video work, Animation Masks, an animated Jewish man pulls a series of repetitive poses whilst mouthing along to a sound track that combines written prose read by a multitude of voices with an intimate conversation between lovers. The rift between the real and the contrived widens with each repeated gesture. The animated subject comprises only an upper body, floating against a changing background of photographs depicting various interiors and exteriors. The exact thematic of the images remains withheld whilst Wolfson emphasizes the disconnect between the caricature of the animated protagonist and his surroundings. Animation Masks offers an accurate summation of Wolfson’s style. A multitude of instantly recognizable images, logos, products and advertisements are appropriated in a manner reminiscent of classic hand-drawn animation, whether it be Fantasia-esque walking bottles of Diet Coke (Con Leche, 2009) or round-nosed, large featured characters speaking to camera (Animation Masks, 2011; Raspberry Poser, 2012). Intense psychological narratives lie beneath the animations— surreality and oafish reverberation disguising something more sinister. Projected large against pristine screens, Wolfson’s films are at once humorous, repulsive and somehow deeply familiar. The complex and labyrinthine nature of the themes in these works is exacerbated by a rigourously involved installation at S.M.A.K., where the works are split across multiple rooms and dissected by material works. The S.M.A.K. exhibition crosses over with a secondary solo show at Chisenhale Gallery, London; a huge achievement for an artist of Wolfson’s status, but one worthy of his calibre. (Nick Warner)
Jordan Wolfson’s solo exhibition at S.M.A.K., Gent, runs through January 5; and at Chisenhale Gallery, London, runs through February 2.
December 3 2013
As a cultural exhibition space in the city of Fribourg, Fri Art has ambitiously exhibited numerous shows for over thirty years. Known in French as the Centre d’art de Fribourg and in German as the Kunsthalle Freiburg, the art center’s mission to promote “mediation between the Swiss and the international scenes, as well as the public” has involved interlocutors like Liam Gillick and Nicolas Bourriaud. Beyond Switzerland they have exhibited in numerous locations in New York City. Since 1990, however, Fri-Art relocated to a 19th-century factory, a gift from the city itself. Their programming is diverse: while this year saw a series of solo exhibitions by Claudia Comte and Jérémie Gindre, Fri Art held a large competition entitled INVENT in 2011 that was devoted to subjects spanning from science, literature, applied arts and more. This year, the institution lost director Corinne Charpentier and hired Swiss artist Balthazar Lovay as their chief curator. Having previously made a huge series of 450 chaotic drawings and a collection of masks, hats and costumes for a fictive Carnaval parade, Lovay recently introduced curating within his practice. After a large group show in September featuring the exhibited artists’ “early” works, Lovay’s current and future programming at Fri Art includes a double-solo show by Hannah Weinberger and Ferdinand Kriweta and a solo exhibition by American artist Jason Loebs in 2014. (James Shaeffer)
December 2 2013
Part one of the double exhibition “The End of the Night”, previously on view at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, was dedicated to the dark cinematographic world of Kenneth Anger. With works by Los Angeles artists Oskar Fischinger, Brian Butler, Karthik Pandian, Stephen G. Rhodes and Jennifer West, the show was saturated with pictorial colors, personal symbolisms and occult references. In return, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions shows part two: an exhibition of works by five French artists prolonging the legacy of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s unfinished film L’Enfer (1963–1964). Experimental cinema, contemporary art and issues of fetishism and mysticism are recurrent preoccupation of the double project’s curator Martha Kirszenbaum. The exhibition at LACE, designed by Marianne Zamecznik according to the purist aesthetic of Clouzot with erudite quotes from op, kinetic and sound art, also presents Julio Le Parc, a French pioneer of sensorial mobile environments and collaborator of Clouzot. Four young artists reload this canonical, theatrical expressivity and particular eroticism in Pulse (2010-2012), a minimal light but high noise generating sculpture by Pierre-Laurent Cassière; The Eighth Sphere (2010), a geometrical double-channel projection by Florian and Michael Quistrebert; and two formal video essays on objects by Isabelle Cornaro, with the specific self-reflexivity of the post-conceptual approach, reminding us of Roland Barthes’s dictum in Camera Lucida: “A photograph is always invisible: it is not it that we see.” (Marta Jecu)
“The End of the Night”at LACE, Los Angeles, runs until December 22.
November 28 2013
Symbol is an independent publication that sheds light on a new generation of young international artists. Edited by Amy Knight, every issue includes interviews and exclusive visual contributions, as well as complex editorials mixing art history, art criticism, philosophy and sociology. Symbol encourages greater involvement with new young artists and the paper is freely available from various galleries and book shops in the UK. David Rudnick produced a minimal and playful design for this smart, aesthetic paper. Printed on recycled newsprint, each issue is color-coded and presented inside a clear plastic cover, on its reverse side you can read literary quotes, lyrics and tweets. Our favorite from the current issue is “The world of the objects of old seems like a theater of cruelty and instinctual drives in comparison with the formal neutrality and prophylactic ‘whiteness’ of our perfect functional objects” from Jean Baudrillard’s The System of the Objects (1968). The fourth issue includes works by Pamela Rosenkranz and Pablo Jones-Soler presented through a collection of images; challenging interviews with Maja Cule, Iain Ball and Lauren Elder; and an essay about Darja Bajagić. Taking media instability as a starting point, these artists investigate objects and their value creation as “art-objects” by attempting to give a cultural map of what their consumption is nowadays. (Tatevik Sargsyan)
November 26 2013
Last year, NoguerasBlanchard opened a new space in Madrid, being one of the first to initiate a generalized dynamic of galleries moving to the capital. But, instead of closing the old Barcelona headquarters, they have conceived it as an autonomous exhibition space where they show artists they don’t usually work with. Since last January, Direlia Lazo’s exhibition series “The Story Behind” has aimed to narrate the interpretive universe that surrounds our direct experience with artworks. According to Lazo, “today much of contemporary art is recreated in the story about itself, stories that mediate between the work and the viewer either to convey the artist’s intention, explain the working process that underlies the images, or reveal deliberate and purposeful interpretations.” “The Story Behind” pays attention the different layers around artistic objects to articulate a program with mid-career international artists, which corresponds in some way to the gallery’s program. Thus far artworks by Lisa Oppenheim, Haris Epaminonda, Tatiana Mesa, Francesco Arena and Christopher Knowles have been shown. Next will be Tris Vonna-Michell, opening November 26, and the program will run throughout the coming year. In a city where the institutional scenario is suffering the consequences of cultural austerity policies, galleries like NoguerasBlanchard are taking the role to dynamize the artistic context through a dialogue with international artists and curators. (Juan Canela)
November 25 2013
It’s been only six years since artist Jay Heikes had his first solo show in New York, and this Fall he returns for “Walkabout,” his third solo exhibition at Marianne Boesky Gallery. Initially appearing to be in stark contrast to “Like a Broken Record,” his first show in 2007, the majority of the new works are composed of soft, bleeding colors on pallid surfaces rather than the black, detrital motifs from years prior. According to the press release, the variety of the works on view “demonstrate Heikes’ eclectic and experimental studio practice” while concomitantly exploring themes of alchemy and pseudosciences. Jay Heikes draws clever parallels between these naïve disciplines and artistic practice by alluding to surrealist dictums on what defines an artwork and by allowing bizarre materials (horse hair, aluminum solphate, bismuth, burlap, taconite, among others) to transform into art through their inclusion into the exhibition. Ideas of mutation and self-reflexivity are consistent in Heikes’ work; in his two previous exhibitions at the gallery he has experimented with the chemical reactions that occur when two unique materials meet. It would appear that while Jay Heikes is the master and commander in the studio, his frequent collaborator is happenstance. Heikes showcases how science can still be wizardry, while illustrating how the artist can be an agent of both. (James Shaeffer)
Jay Heikes’ solo exhibition at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, runs until November 30.
November 22 2013
The Los Angeles-based artist Sam Falls has had a busy year. Besides T293, the gallery that represents this young artist in Rome and Naples, Falls joined three other galleries including Hannah Hoffman in Los Angeles, Eva Presenhuber in Zürich and Balice Hertling in Paris where he has a solo presentation on view through November 23. In his last few projects Falls has exploited the amorphous domains of photography by flirting with various processes in order to show the organic qualities of representation and time. Some works, for instance, echo both the history of the image as well as the ethos of Jacek Tylicki’s Natural Art, a project started by the Polish artist in 1973. Utilizing the landscape of Southern California as a medium, Falls has left sheets of dyed linen and muslin outside for months, subjecting them to the desert’s elements. The culminating results are bleached portraits of the stark terrain. Most recently he has drenched fabric or rope with pigments and exposed the materials to the rare valley rain, producing psychedelic Morris Louis-esque bleeds. For Falls the works behave like photographs “formed over time, rather than captured in an instant,” as exemplified by his recent poster intervention organized by Kaleidoscope for ReMap4 in Athens where, once again, he used his surroundings as the primary instrument. (James Shaeffer)
November 19 2013
Directed by Ted Kotcheff (First Blood) and based on Kenneth Cook’s 1961 novel of the same name, Wake In Fright stars Gary Bond as John Grant, a schoolteacher whose 48-hour stay in a fictional mining town in the Outback quickly descends into a lost weekend of drinking, gambling and casual blood sport. Urged on by the town’s debauched inhabitants, Grant discovers within himself a startling capacity for degeneracy which, over the course of the film, he comes to embrace, actively and willingly. Upon its initial release in 1971, Wake In Fright enjoyed a brief and controversial domestic run, its depiction of rural Australia as a hotbed of depravity and wanton violence (culminating in an infamous, truly unnerving scene depicting a late-night kangaroo hunt) at once shocking and offending most of its native audience. After a similarly cold international reception, the film swiftly faded into obscurity, but has since been lauded as a seminal product of Australian New Wave cinema. Having recently been issued on Blu-ray/DVD by Drafthouse Films, the digitally-restored version of Wake In Fright was screened nationally in selected US cinemas in September, and it will be followed by a UK run in March 2014, thus giving contemporary audiences the opportunity to discover for themselves what Nick Cave once called “The best and most terrifying film about Australia in existence.” (Christopher Schreck)
November 18 2013
Commercial galleries opening education departments, public galleries scaling back their community programs—the boundaries between public and private have become increasingly eroded. As funding cuts have started to take their toll in the UK, privately funded foundations have gained a more prominent role. Over recent years, one can look towards the varied and experimental programming of Raven Row and David Roberts Foundation as exemplary. In April 2013, super-collectors Nicolai Fahm and Frank Cohen opened The Dairy, a new privately funded art center in London. The space in Bloomsbury includes galleries, education facilitates, a shop and an outdoor sculpture garden. The interior has been converted by the architect Jenny Jones, who has maintained much of the original industrial character of the former depot. The Dairy’s first exhibition “Quicksand” was the largest presentation of Swiss artist John M. Armleder in the UK to date and promises to set the tone for future programming. Fahm and Cohen have articulated a desire to see The Dairy become a place for curators to lead an experimental approach, developing solo and group presentations of existing and newly commissioned work from emerging and established names. The exhibition program will be accompanied by an extensive education and public program, including regular screenings, talks and workshops. (George Vasey)
The Dairy currently hosts “Island,” a group show curated by Sarina Basta that runs until December 1.
November 15 2013
When we think of psychedelia, one starts to think about drugged up hippies, flowery posters and retina punishing abstractions. “Reflections from Damaged Life. An exhibition on psychedelia” is a group exhibition curated by Lars Bang Larsen at Raven Row that approaches the topic from a more sober perspective. Thoroughly researched, it is no surprise to learn that the exhibition is, in part, a culmination of Larsen’s PHD thesis. Presenting historical pieces from the Sixties and Seventies alongside a number of contemporary work, the exhibition brings together eighteen artists and artist groups that explore a ‘fluidly conceptual’ approach to the social and political effects of counter culture. The exhibition attempts to reframe psychedelia via a presentation of ‘non-canonical’ practices from artists such as Henriette Heise, Jes Brinch, and Willoughby Sharp amongst others from a geographic spread that includes Latin America, Japan, and Scandinavia. Work presented includes, The Otolith Group’s Anathema (2011). The video shows us a world where the psychedelic experience has become embedded within the flow of liquid capital, as computers become increasingly sentient and human beings are conjoined with technology via touch screen technologies. Similar aesthetic tropes can be found in Robert Horvitz’s dense lattice like drawings. There is an immersive quality to much of this work that articulates a certain holism. This conceptual inter-connectedness seems central to Larsen’s thesis, and this show brings much needed new discourse to a hackneyed genre such as psychedelia. (George Vasey)
“Reflections from Damaged Life. An exhibition on psychedelia” at Raven Row, London, runs until December 15.
November 13 2013
For the most part, our expectations of artistic activity tend to reflect a model in which mechanisms of production and presentation reaffirm traditional hierarchies of authorship, originality and physicality. With the rise of digital culture, however, we find such hierarchies to be increasingly at odds with the online viewing experience, which is defined instead by notions of user anonymity, content replication and immateriality. It is this apparent incongruity that serves as the driving force behind “Speculations on Anonymous Materials,” a group show at the Fridericianum, Kassel, featuring Ed Atkins, Alisa Baremboym, Simon Denny, Aleksandra Domanović, Yngve Holen, Josh Kline, Oliver Laric, Katja Novitskova, Jon Rafman, Pamela Rosenkranz, Timur Si-Qin, Ryan Trecartin, among others. The show’s central conceit holds that as work is digitally disseminated, artistic practice and content alike are decentralized, decontextualized and rendered ordinary, indistinguishable from the output of broader visual culture. As such, it becomes the task of art to reflect and reinforce this cultural shift, drawing on (and, in turn, contributing to) the existing stream of imagery and information that surrounds us. By embracing the destabilizing tendencies of digital circulation, “Speculations” aims to challenge some of the most enduring presumptions surrounding artistic creation and, in the process, raise some vital questions as to the status and usefulness of the long-presumed line between art and culture at large. (Christopher Schreck)
“Speculations on Anonymous Materials” at Fridericianum, Kassel, runs through January 26.
November 12 2013
MTV’s Video Music Awards last August illustrated how pop can be frustrating. Beyond Miley Cyrus’ highly mediated hipstero-racist performance, I was particularly disappointed that the duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis clinched the “Best Social Message” award with their song “Same Love” about legalizing same-sex marriage. Indeed, why should greedy heterosexual rappers win such price when it’s clear that they only rode the wave that openly gay artists such as Mykki Blanco, House of Ladosha, Zebra Katz launched before them. These artists manage not only to convey a strong message, but also to gain respect from their peers and even rewrite the rules of contemporary hip hop and this deserves more than an award. Influenced by butoh, voguing and Fluxus-era performance art, Le1F—my personal favorite among these “queer rappers”— broke onto the scene with his booty-bumpin single “Wut.” It’s however his second tape Fly Zone that literally punched me in the face upon first listen. With each of his release, his husky tempo-hopping ripples seemed to adapt to his signature complexe trap, footwork, and juke-tinted beats better. On “Damn Son”—preview track of his latest mixtape Tree House (droped on September 10th)—he is at his most crisp, promising us a hip shaking, brilliant tape. Let’s hope the rest of the world will now wake up and see Le1f as the pop star he truly is! (Natalie Esteve)
November 11 2013
Video Girl Ai is a manga series published in 1989 about a nerdy teenager who rents a video from what he thinks is an adult store, before discovering that the girl from the video can step out of the screen in the flesh and ultimately falling in love with her. Technology has come a long way since, but it appears that the solace of artificial love hasn’t yet become obsolete, as acclaimed auteur Spike Jonze has chosen it as the subject matter of his new feature, due to hit theatres in November. Her follows heartbroken Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) as he starts using a new operating system that creates virtual entities based on individual taste preferences: Samantha’s insightful female voice, lent by Scarlett Johansson, offers him the delusion of true romance and happiness. Self-described as aimed to “explore the evolving nature—and the risks—of intimacy in the modern world,” Her is just as much a cautionary tale of how technology sneaks into our emotional sphere in the digital age as it is a parodic addition to the category of the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” the female movie character cliché described as “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life.” In the recent movie Ruby Sparks (2012), the only things required of the protagonist to bring his dream girl to life was his bright writer’s imagination and his typewriter—it ended badly. Here, without even the slightest haptic comfort, we are curious to find out if Jonze’s eccentric creativity will deliver a happy ending. (Cristina Travaglini)