Saturday, June 27, 2009

Beat my whiteness

Beat my whiteness with the red wedge (After Lissitzky’s drawing, 1920)
138 x 190 x 72
wood, acrylic, mdf, plywood, felt, brick

Andre Breton's collection of Benitiers

Andre Breton's collection of Benitiers(fonts) in his apartment 42 rue Fontaine

Dang Me

Memories don’t even need language to be false. Luna park astro density — a deflatulent neighborly cranial busride, an abridged jitney, a swerve shocks skeezier sublunar underkill dose wobble gato muttonskin chrysalis monks on acid: vocational turtle-like dissonance. True-to-life means: let somebody else deal with it. Windowless cubicle silencing the spoiled & soft — pompano, glamour fish? — dizzier medfly tutus for trogs, penny diapers, sunset divas, intimate afterburners — fractal but late. Hypnosis victims impersonating our police — archeo-eerie calm lagniappe podunk saltlick mambo daikon gee-gaw slod — who loves the crude puffed-up ephemera.
Prehabiliation. Stereopticon valuepak, merrier & merrier demerits. Eventually it stains little boyblue with smack-sights, a real bowwow browser semi-human rocks on victorian lava flow atop the steak, diving for gravy. Partygoers at trough axis lava plug itinerary mudpies’ acumen fragrance despondent per flower bot — replace little smudge with big smudge. The dismantling species, a groove makes it stick an endless flow of kid stuff; zero oomph, zero charisma, swallow it. A variorum skyscape missing telemetry, gooier & stuck on decalomanic hornet, dervish belief in ceilings.
POV shit syringe immaculata, genetic halftrack matter doubles back oldies’ shiner run-off; whirligig axis tussle ogling purses naughty rubdown puckering the solstice — exo-perp iconage, a hydraheaded vishnu of unfocus teledeportation losing my semblance gazebo, you silly goose. Exhale astrophysically, overfund a secondary eruption. What’s fucking of its opaque dazzle me on & off again, impetuous as whiplash divinity with a driver’s license.

Bruce Andrews

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tea House

A tea house made out of paper and cardboard,
designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, 2008

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Revolution Holding the Head of Error and Striding over the Cadaver of Monarchy

Alexandre Falguiere. The Revolution Holding the Head of Error and Striding
over the Cadaver of Monarchy. c.1893.Bronze

The Story of O-Tei

A long time ago, in the town of Niigata, in the province of Echizen, there
lived a man called Nagao Chosei.

Nagao was the son of a physician, and was educated for his father's
profession. At an early age he had been betrothed to a girl called O-Tei,
the daughter of one of his father's friends; and both families had agreed
that the wedding should take place as soon as Nagao had finished his
studies. But the health of O-Tei proved to be weak; and in her fifteenth
year she was attacked by a fatal consumption. When she became aware that
she must die, she sent for Nagao to bid him farewell.

As he knelt at her bedside, she said to him:--

"Nagao-Sama, (1) my betrothed, we were promised to each other from the
time of our childhood; and we were to have been married at the end of this
year. But now I am goingto die; -- the gods know what is best for us. If I
were able to live for some years longer, I could only continue to be a
cause of trouble and grief for others. With this frail body, I could not be
a good wife; and therefore even to wish to live, for your sake, would be a
very selfish wish. I am quite resigned to die; and I want you to promise
that you will not grieve... Besides, I want to tell you that I think we
shall meet again."...

"Indeed we shall meet again," Nagao answered earnestly. "And in that Pure
Land (2) there will be no pain of separation."
"Nay, nay!" she responded softly, "I meant not the Pure Land. I believe
that we are destined to meet again in this world,-- although I shall be
buried to-morrow."

Nagao looked at her wonderingly, and saw her smile at his wonder. She
continued, in her gentle, dreamy voice,--

"Yes, I mean in this world,-- in your own present life, Nagao-Sama...
Providing, indeed, that you wish it. Only, for this thing to happen, I must
again be born a girl, and grow up to womanhood. So you would have to wait.
Fifteen -- sixteen years: that is a long time... But, my promised husband,
you are now only nineteen years old."...

Eager to soothe her dying moments, he answered tenderly:--

"To wait for you, my betrothed, were no less a joy than a duty. We are
pledged to each other for the time of seven existences."

"But you doubt?" she questioned, watching his face.

"My dear one," he answered, "I doubt whether I should be able to know you
in another body, under another name,-- unless you can tell me of a sign or

"That I cannot do," she said. "Only the Gods and the Buddhas know how and
where we shall meet. But I am sure -- very, very sure -- that, if you be
not unwilling to receive me, I shall be able to come back to you...
Remember these words of mine."...

She ceased to speak; and her eyes closed. She was dead.

* * *

Nagao had been sincerely attached to O-Tei; and his grief was deep. He had
a mortuary tablet made, inscribed with her zokumyo; [1] and he placed the
tablet in his butsudan, [2] and every day set offerings before it. He
thought a great deal about the strange things that O-Tei had said to him
just before her death; and, in the hope of pleasing her spirit, he wrote a
solemn promise to wed her if she could ever return to him in another body.
This written promise he sealed with his seal, and placed in the butsudan
beside the mortuary tablet of O-Tei.

Nevertheless, as Nagao was an only son, it was necessary that he should
marry. He soon found himself obliged to yield to the wishes of his family,
and to accept a wife of his father's choosing. After his marriage he
continued to set offerings before the tablet of O-Tei; and he never failed
to remember her with affection. But by degrees her image became dim in his
memory,-- like a dream that is hard to recall. And the years went by.

During those years many misfortunes came upon him. He lost his parents by
death,-- then his wife and his only child. So that he found himself alone
in the world. He abandoned his desolate home, and set out upon a long
journey in the hope of forgetting his sorrows.

One day, in the course of his travels, he arrived at Ikao,-- a
mountain-village still famed for its thermal springs, and for the beautiful
scenery of its neighborhood. In the village-inn at which he stopped, a
young girl came to wait upon him; and, at the first sight of her face, he
felt his heart leap as it had never leaped before. So strangely did she
resemble O-Tei that he pinched himself to make sure that he was not
dreaming. As she went and came,-- bringing fire and food, or arranging the
chamber of the guest,-- her every attitude and motion revived in him some
gracious memory of the girl to whom he had been pledged in his youth. He
spoke to her; and she responded in a soft, clear voice of which the
sweetness saddened him with a sadness of other days.

Then, in great wonder, he questioned her, saying:--

"Elder Sister (3), so much do you look like a person whom I knew long ago,
that I was startled when you first entered this room. Pardon me, therefore,
for asking what is your native place, and what is your name?"

Immediately,-- and in the unforgotten voice of the dead,-- she thus made

"My name is O-Tei; and you are Nagao Chosei of Echigo, my promised
husband. Seventeen years ago, I died in Niigata: then you made in writing a
promise to marry me if ever I could come back to this world in the body of
a woman; -- and you sealed that written promise with your seal, and put it
in the butsudan, beside the tablet inscribed with my name. And therefore I
came back."...
As she uttered these last words, she fell unconscious.

Nagao married her; and the marriage was a happy one. But at no time
afterwards could she remember what she had told him in answer to his
question at Ikao: neither could she remember anything of her previous
existence. The recollection of the former birth,-- mysteriously kindled in
the moment of that meeting,-- had again become obscured, and so thereafter

By Lafcadio Hearn
From Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things

Lit-cage et son paravent

Max Ernst Lit-cage et son paravent, 1974

Rooms of recovery

Newly arrived in Hackney in the late 60s, I worked through a bitter winter of improvised fires made in oil drums with broken palette boards, out by the railway yards in Stratford East, a site known as Chobham Farm. Loading and unloading containers of sheep casings and other noxious cargoes, I was tempted indoors. I hammered out applications and soon found myself in the Courtauld Institute, near Manchester Square, being interviewed by Alan Bowness, a well-connected art politician. It was a civilised conversation - high-ceilinged office, leafy views - followed by the production, more of a social gambit than a challenge, of a series of picture postcards. The kind of ephemera Bowness might well have brought back as souvenirs of a European culture tour.
I managed the Giotto, the Mantegna, the Poussin. Then I was shown an elegant scoop of doorway. A strangely familiar arts and crafts entrance to some public building. Was it Berlin? Vienna? I didn't know. "Sorry." Bowness smiled. He wouldn't hold it against me that I couldn't identify the Whitechapel Gallery on Whitechapel High Street. That marvel of inspired patronage, by Canon Barnett and his wife Henrietta, was designed by Charles Harrison Townsend and built in 1901. Barnett believed that exposure to fine art would help to eradicate the local viruses of poverty and ignorance. Coming off the seething street, into this challenging space, would inculcate a sense of civic responsibility and inspire the adoption of values of the other world. With an obvious but unspoken subtext: move on, move out.
The formal balance, the managed volume, that understated decorative band, holds such promise. Vegetative detail is a subtle link with the adjacent library. The Passmore Edwards Library was designed in 1892 by Potts, Sulman and Hennings. The entrance hall featured a panelled remembrance of the hay market, wagons trundling into town by way of Whitechapel High Street. Pastoral emblems invoked a romantic notion of place, the passage of hops to thriving breweries.
Angela Carter has described the disturbing strangeness of finding herself on the north side of the Thames, as she stepped out from Aldgate East station, with its memories of blitz-era sleepers. "Everything was different ... sharp, hard-nosed, far more urban ... People spoke differently, an accent with clatter and spikes to it ... The streets were different - wide, handsome boulevards, juxtaposed against bleak, mean, treacherous lanes and alleys ... I was scared shitless the first time I went to the East End."
The Whitechapel Gallery has always drawn culture speculators into territory where they are tempted, in a fashion as blinkered as my own failure to recognise a much-loved landmark, to patronise the aspirations of the place to which they have ventured. Michael Holroyd, writing about Mark Gertler - one of the artists featured in The Whitechapel Boys, a launch exhibition for the renovated gallery, which has expanded into the old library - restates the established Bloomsbury position when faced with unmapped eastern parts (anywhere on the wrong side of Grays Inn Road). "Gertler spent a miserable childhood in the slums of Whitechapel." The now demolished Spital Square was no slum, and properties in Elder Street where Gertler also lived and worked are, even now, worth a million or more. Gertler's mother proudly pinned to the wall of her kitchen the letter of encouragement sent to her precocious son by Sir William Rothenstein. The child artist had the support of his family; the bite of poverty didn't devour him until he came into contact, after the Slade School of Art, with comfortable Bloomsbury bohemia, its effortless malice and reflex snobbery.

Racehorses (1913) by David Bomberg

Banknotes in the post, or penitential weekends in the country, were another kind of venom, a method for asserting social superiority. Lytton Strachey, the elongated and stork-like object of obsession for Gertler's lover Dora Carrington, was prepared to buy paintings for which he did not care: as a way of asserting the privilege of being able to do it. "You are an artist," he wrote to the handsome East End boy, "and being that is worth more than all the balances at all the banks in London." Wyndham Lewis, unpersuaded by such sophistry, reviewed Gertler's memorial exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in July 1949. He regretted the location, reading this homecoming as an eviction from the hub of metropolitan culture. Was it not a crime to show important work "where few people will see it"? Few of the right people, obviously. Gertler, according to Lewis, "gassed himself, quite simply because no one would buy his pictures, and he had no money".
Bitterness festered among many of the heroically self-regarding, undervalued and slighted Whitechapel painters. They were not a manifesto group, though many of them were friends, fellow walkers who welcomed their neighbourhood gallery as a site in which to promote their own undoubted genius. David Bomberg, an inspiration to Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff, was just 24 when he selected the Jewish section of a substantial Whitechapel Gallery survey called Twentieth Century Art: A Review of Modern Movements in 1914. As the art historian Juliet Steyn has pointed out, making race a category now looks like a device for sanitising a ghetto within the ghetto. The fracture of modernism was foreign to the English temperament; it was hysterical, perverse, psychotic in form and colour. A Jewish conspiracy in which these Whitechapel Jews colluded. If Bomberg's work was "tainted" by abstraction and the kind of ground-breaking attack that drew the attention of Lewis and the vorticists, he repudiated any such alliance.
While the Whitechapel Gallery fulfilled its mission statement, and brought in nervous socialites from elsewhere, the Passmore Edwards Library was celebrated as "the university of the ghetto". A myth that should be treated with caution. As Arnold Wesker, who grew up in neighbouring Fashion Street, said: "It's a trap the East End, to be sentimental and full of cosy longing for 'the good old days' ... hoarding the past as though it were food for a time of famine." The history of longing projected into the dark recesses of the library was too much of a burden for the building to sustain. The secular synagogue where Isaac Rosenberg rubbed shoulders with Gertler, and the poet John Rodker plotted bombshell books alongside Jacob Bronowski and the Yiddish visionary Avram Stencl, is the best kind of fable. It's true where it needs to be. Argument between study partners was an orthodox Jewish tradition, the business of library rooms where poets met and tested passionate alliances and strategic friendships. Image-making for the adjoining gallery was unorthodox, heretical, a passport of difference. Not all the potential writers from the warren were as elevated in their interests. Emanuel Litvinoff recalls, in Journey Through a Small Planet, how, aged 15, he was sacked from his job and spent his days "in the public library reading detective stories".
The body of this building, its dark hallway, the magnificent staircase with decorative iron balustrade, composed its own fictions. The latest of which, The Whitechapel Boys, lays out a coherent and attractive memory map. The "rescued" room in which this happens seems to bask in its recovery from somewhere worse than death: disregard, irrelevance. The heritage treacle of festering nostalgia and bureaucratic neglect. Now, thanks to the £13.5m development package, and the good will and good offices of a team of curators, architects, imaginers and technicians, the light of the real pours in through restored windows. The dimensions of the archival gallery are properly modest. The long Victorian library tables, admired by Rachel Lichtenstein in her fond survey On Brick Lane, have been retained. The walls of "a sickly lime-yellow colour with bits of grey concrete peering through in diseased patches" have been improved and given a contemporary radiance. Research materials sit on unthreatening shelves in a glass-screened area that encourages the student to cast a relieving gaze at the artworks exhibited on the far wall.
The curator, Nayia Yiakoumaki, offers a group of drawings with a narrow tonal range - old tobacco, dead-photograph sepia, foxed paper - to invoke the spirit of the lost library. A ghostly response to an overwhelming density of cloth and leather and dust: the dispersed language hoard. These images float, unshelved, a history of words and ideas that have decided not to congeal into books. The processional robed figures in Jacob Kramer's Day of Atonement (1919) appear, from the distance of the research room, to be wrapped books, spectral volumes stacked together like the reversed library of Rachel Whiteread's Judenplatz memorial. Kramer has moved the realism of Rothenstein's paintings of the Spitalfields Synagogue, such as Kissing the Law (1906), towards hieratic abstraction. Rothenstein's son, John, was to accuse another Whitechapel Boy, Gertler, of betraying his Jewish roots and inspiration and thereby succumbing to "tortured self-doubt and ultimate suicide".
The Gertler chosen by Yiakoumaki fits the muted colour scheme of the frieze of drawings that represent the "people of the book". Rabbi and the Ribbintzin (1914) is sombre, sculptural in its modelling, domestic: on the edge of modernism, but still within a kitchen consciousness, human shapes echoing teapots and loaves of bread. Gertler gestured towards his inheritance in a way that his Bloomsbury patrons could still approve. There was enough of the mediated primitivism, but none of the savage, gypsy abandon over which they would later tut in their teacups. They required him to look like a curly-headed, impetuous pirate, but not to paint like one. Even DH Lawrence, excited by Gertler's Merry-Go-Round (1916), called it "terrifying" and "obscene".
Yiakoumaki's fastidious hang catches a significant moment, as her Whitechapel Boys (joined on this occasion by Clare Winsten, née Clara Birnberg) evolve from traditional to modernist, from representation to abstraction. The artists are all Jewish; a number of them featured in Bomberg's selection at the Twentieth Century Art show. There are unemphatic correspondences and collisions: the theatrical groupings of Winsten's Attack (1910) carrying through to the weightless "flow of form" in Bomberg's Racehorses (1913). A tangled geometry of rearing beasts who seem to have been startled by the noise of Jacob Epstein's vorticist Study for The Rock Drill. (Epstein was included in the Twentieth Century Art exhibition, but was not placed in the Jewish section.)
Linking word and image, library and gallery, Yiakoumaki uses a limited number of display cases to present treasures to make any book dealer go weak at the knees: manuscripts, letters, drawings casually stored by surviving relatives of the artists. Here is a copy of Rosenberg's self-published booklet of poems from 1915, Youth, with a pencilled dedication to Gertler. Here is the much-amended typescript of Winsten's unreliable memoir, in which the Whitechapel Boys circle around her in hypnotised fascination.
It all began on the wide pavements, with the famous Saturday-night "monkey parade", when buffed and polished gaggles of youths and young women sauntered and gossiped, flirted and disputed. The drift was west towards the City and the Bank of England, down to the river, to Tower Bridge, and back like newly arrived "greeners" to Whitechapel. There were darker expeditions, too: Wilfred Owen came like a sleepwalker, shortly before leaving for France for the last time, to find Rosenberg on his own turf. The smell of the bodies, the coffee stalls, the open-doored public houses, alarmed and aroused him.
When Angela Carter travelled across the river, it was to visit the Freedom Bookshop in Angel Alley, a beacon of anarchism. I remember one night in the late 60s bringing a Dutch Provo here and discovering, on the other side of the yard, where the new Whitechapel Gallery has its smart café, a warehouse space in which packed bodies, lit by lamps and candles, slept on mattresses. The performance artist Brian Catling staged his first shamanic manifestation in the same space, a "Miltonic Ghost Dance" in which wax dripped from treated light bulbs on to open books.
The reimagined gallery and library shame the monolithic and self-serving developments that are currently invading east London in advance of the 2012 Olympics. There is a respect for memory, for the skein of historic narrative that is unbroken, as well as a necessary opening out of space, new windows on the surrounding panorama of corporate greed and reefs of threatened ghetto. It is astonishing, but true, that a pair of forcibly conjoined buildings can live up to all their PR boasts. "The century-old institution is the artists' gallery for everyone," claims Iwona Blazwick, the gallery's director. In the early 70s, I worked with Catling in the ullage cellars of Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. We strolled in off the street and asked if we could have a room in which to show our work, as local poets, painters, myth-makers. "Why not?" they said. The small gallery where Albion Island Vortex was exhibited no longer exists. It was the space given to Bomberg's Jewish section for the Twentieth Century Art survey in 1914.

Text by Iain Sinclair for the "Whitechapel Boys" exhibition at Whitechapel gallery,
Curated by Nayia Yiakoumaki
The Guardian, Saturday 18 April 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kunsthalle Athena

Mirror Vodka
alcohol is deeper connection to the I
My Earthly twin Ylva Ogland
am I real now
My Armour Bearer Johan Hjerpe
where is the entrance
My Questioner Marina Fokidis
where is the art
My Keeper Rodrigo Mallea Lira
where is the Acropolis Stone
My Oracle
the stone is for connecting to all times
My Money Bearer Angelo
future past and present and beyond that to the other side
My Copper Distillery
mirror reality
My world is the other side of the mirror
welcome to enter through this liquid
Kunsthalle Athena

YLVA OGLAND shows Snöfrid under the shadow of Athena
the Oracle said: the body is the shelter
In collaboration with the Keeper/Rodrigo Mallea Lira & Snöfrid's Armor bearer Johan Hjerpe, featuring artist ANGELO PLESSAS

Curator Marina Fokidis,
assistant curator Sofia Mavroudis

Drink Snöfrid's own acropolitic mirror Vodka and reveal a secret in an open Celebration until last person leaves.

Open Air Screening Room,
8 Iassonos Street Metaxourgio, Athens
Wed 17- Thu 18 June 2009

The Rival

Ceramic figure from a Danish captain's household in Seeland


Scene from the Magnanimous Cuckold's play, produced by meierkhold, Moscow, 1922. the actors are wearing costumes designed by Popova and utilizing the actus apparatus she designed.

Monday, June 8, 2009


The 2nd Athens Biennale 2009 HEAVEN is conceived as a multifaceted contemporary art festival that extends along the coastline of Athens, in the central areas of Palaio Faliro and Kallithea. XYZ, the founders and artistic directors of the Athens Biennale have invited a select group of curators to contemplate Heaven, in a time that arguably is one of disappointment and conflict. The six exhibitions of the 2nd Athens Biennale 2009, designed by architect Andreas Angelidakis, take the form of autonomous approaches to this broad subject, that nevertheless communicate creatively and claim a degree of narrative cohesion. These six exhibitions are complemented by a series of performative events lasting all through the summer.

curated by Dimitris Papaioannou & Ζafos Xagoraris

Temporary installations form successive theatrical scenes, screens and floating stages, while the spectators and the spectacle interchange, as residents and users of the aquatic limit are invited to attend actively in the configuration of communal spaces. New uses of the spaces are triggered, under the surface of the sea, in the street or in the roofs of neighboring buildings, without impeding the ones already existing.

Artists: An Architektur, Νikos Arvanitis, Barking Dogs, Broadcast Group, Eloisa Cartonera, Centre for Research Architecture - Goldsmiths College, Cesare Pietroiusti & Matteo Fraterno, Collective Actions, Coti K. , The Errands , Filopappou Group, Tadeusz Kantor, Reijo Kela, Antti Laitinen, Tea Mäkipää, Jennifer Nelson & Dimitris Kotsaras, NSK, Lucy & Jorge Orta, Anna Ostoya, Palaio Faliro artists group, Superflex, Water Girls, Water Boys [Jili Traganou & Eleni Tzirtzilaki], Krzysztof Wodiczko, Ykon.

"World Question Center"
curated by Chus Martinez

The departure point of Chus Martínez's exhibition is to expand the limits of know through the development of working hypothesis; it will be entirely dedicated to the radical importance of questions. Heaven could be understood as a space for mere speculation. It seems easy but is not. Nothing is more difficult nowadays than to escape the logic of the 'what for'. The logic of the show is simple: every one of the artists is requested to submit a work, a question, a thinking hypothesis in their own terms. Nonetheless, the show should be here conceived not from the artistic response to a topic, but as an assemblage of very different thinking logics. Logics that hopefully will help the viewer, but also the artists to develop further different interpretations of the near future.

Artists: Alexis Akrithakis, Michel Auder, Thomas Bayrle, Erick Beltran, The Callas, Jef Cornelis, Roberto Cuoghi, Marianna Castillo Deball, Luke Fowler, Dora García, Andrea Geyer, André Guedes, Dorothy Iannone, Ferdinand Kriwet, Maria Loboda, Babette Mangolte, Rosalind Nashashibi & Lucy Skaer, Maria Pask, Lisi Raskin, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Lasse Schmidt Hansen, Sue Tompkins, Kostis Velonis.

Dorothy Iannone, The next great moment in History is ours, 1971

"For the Straight Way is Lost"
curated by Diana Baldon

Diana Baldon's exhibition is arranged around a framing device represented by the eight circles of the anti-chamber of heaven: the purgatory. According to Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, a mountain brings souls to heaven through a series of tests visualised in "gironi". Beyond being a geographically situated place, purgatory is a human condition, a process of purification or temporary punishment where souls of those who die depend on self-achievement, compassion and imagination to be prepared for redemption. However, her concept distances itself from Dante's epic poem simply using its structure as a tool to organise works inside what we could imagine is a horizontal representation Mount Purgatory, that is a vessel, or Nautilus shell that gets smaller and smaller as it grows to end up in a rabbit hole, which could stand for the Pearly Gate.

Artists: Mark Aerial Waller, Athanasios Argianas, Athanasios Argianas & Nick Laessing, Adam Chodzko, The Errorists, Anja Kirschner, Domenico Mangano, Tom McCarthy, Christoph Schlingensief, Carolee Schneemann, Michael Stevenson.

"Splendid Isolation, Athens"
curated by Cay Sophie Rabinowitz

As one of the curators invited to contemplate the subject of Heaven, Cay Sophie Rabinowitz oriented her approach to this immeasurably broad topic by naming her exhibition Splendid Isolation, Athens. Guided by an immersive approach rather than a topical or thematic one, her selection and presentation let the viewer ponder if and how creative activity, social practices, and aesthetic experience may be directed. Splendid Isolation, Athens includes a number of art works that employ some formal or structural principle, whether it be as rigid as scaffolding, as symbolic as a monetary exchange, as modular as blocks, or as flexible as narrative. For many artists in the show, some existent form—be it physical or immaterial, biographical or contrived, religious or scientific—offers a means by which to re-consider, re-form, re-imagine or even re-structure a momentary or lifelong place of inspiration.

Artists: Lara Almarcegui, Anastasia Douka, Michael Gibson, Benita-Immanuel Grosser, Hsuan Hsuan Wu, Em Kei, Kalup Linzy, Miltos Manetas, Ryan McNamara, Malcolm McLaren, Martin Oppel, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Mai-Thu Perret, Angelo Plessas, Ry Rocklen, Willem de Rooij, Ettore Sottsass, Adrian Williams.

"Hotel Paradies"
curated by Nadja Argyropoulou

Between the only common certainty that is death and the endless possibility that is after-life, there is a kind of terrible tension, the very spark of everything that is: Desire. In this light, Paradise can be understood as "Desire unleashed". Not as an idyllic place (island, garden, Arcadia) of bliss and innocence regained. As a monument constantly rising towards its ruination, as something equally rooted in and free of the land, as a paradox that punctures time, the Hotel Paradies is such a lair of Desire. The name derives from a rather common language corruption; one which serves as a starting and end point for the conceptual references of this exhibition. Paradies: This which lies next to and beyond death. It is therefore a name that invokes an era when no names existed.

Artists: Kenneth Anger, Apophenia, Daniel Arsham, Zoe Beloff, Manfredi Beninati, Paul Chan, Savvas Christodoulides, EVP, Zoi Gaitanidou, Yiannoulis Halepas, Infinite Library (Harris Epaminonda & Daniel Gustav Cramer), International Necronautical Society (INS), Vassilis Karouk, Dionisis Kavallieratos, Joachim Koester, Sandra Kranich, Robert Kuśmirowski, Cristina Lei Rodriguez, Paul Noble, Saskia Olde Wolbers, Nikos Gavriil Pentzikis, Saprophytes, Markus Selg, Robert Smithson, Christiana Soulou, Jan Švankmajer, Alexandros Tzannis, Unknown Artist, Marie Wilson Valaoritis & Nanos Valaoritis
Jakub Julian Ziolkowski.

"How many Angels can Dance on the Head of a Pin?
curated by Christopher Marinos

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? is one of the six curatorial projects of the 2nd Athens Biennial. The exhibition traces the spiritual meaning of paradise more as a 'possibility' or 'promise' within the daily spectre of life and less as a redemptive phenomenon located in an afterlife. Divided into three sections, the exhibition features works which together explore the idea of a domesticated heaven: The first section is equivalent to reality enforcement and the way one remembers Paradise through a glass darkly; in stark contrast, the second section corresponds to psychedelic journeys, decadent dreams, theatrical gestures and utopian constellations; while the last one is symbolized by an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, a sense of foreboding melancholy as well as an irrepressible impulse of repetition.

Artists: Bruce Baillie, Mieke Bal, Lydia Dampassina, Dora Economou, Angus Fairhurst, Harun Farocki, Leon Frantzis, Lothar Hempel, Andreas Kassapis, Panayiotis Loukas, Ursula Mayer, Kris Martin, Marc Nagtzaam, OMIO, Adrian Paci, Nina Papaconstantinou, Angelos Papadimitriou, Société Réaliste, Kostas Roussakis, Yannis Skourletis, Christian Tomaszewski, Mark Wallinger.

Popova's dream is Klucis' Nightmare

2nd Athens Biennale 2009
15 June - 4 October 2009

Trinity Lutheran Church

In Iowa, we follow the remarkable cross-country trek of Trinity Lutheran Church.
Over years, the church’s congregation had shrunk from 250 to just 13.
The parishioners decided to disband the church but save the building.
Topped with a 100ft steeple, we follow Ron Holland haul the pristine structure twelve miles across rolling hills to the town of Manning.

Ningbo Historic Museum

Architect : Wang Shu
Office : Amateur Architecture Studio
Location : Ningbo, China 09

A kitchen cat speaks

Wie würden Sie sich verhalten?
Eine Küchenkatze spricht

For more than a year Gillick has been travelling, researching and developing his project in continuous dialogue with curator Nicolaus Schafhausen. Making extensive use of computer modeling of the existing German Pavilion and following a long period of work on site in Venice the final questions for Gillick circle around models of social behaviour and the problem of how to create new forms of address within loaded ideological sites.

Crucial components of the exhibition were determined during the final installation days. However, the first step of the process was the fabrication of an edition in the form of a model of Arnold Bode’s 1957 proposal for a new German Pavilion.

For the final work, the pavilion is not obscured or hidden. Both the inside and outside of the building can be seen and examined. It has recently been painted white, as part of the general maintenance of the building and Gillick has left it this way. A simple table and bench designed by the artist are sited outside for use by the pavilion team. Every room of the building is open. No part of the pavilion has been closed off or used for storage.

Strips of plastic, like the blinds used to keep flies out of a room, mark the entrance and two emergency exits of the pavilion. Inside, a kitchen-like structure has been constructed from simple pine wood. Lacking in appliances the “kitchen” exists as a diagram of aspiration, function and an echo of applied modernism that resonates in opposition to the corrupted grandeur of the pavilion, which was designed without lavatories, kitchen or any area to rest. The cabinets puncture the doorways leading to the side rooms. The kitchen is in tension with the logic of the building. You could even say it is a legacy of functional modernism that exists to work against the ideology of the pavilion architecture.

Gillick has transferred his own daily working environment – his kitchen used as an improvised studio – to the German Pavilion. Sitting for months in his kitchen with his son’s cat he considered the question “Who speaks? To whom and with what authority?” while the cat tried to disrupt his work. After re-visiting the replica of Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky’s Frankfurt Kitchen at the Museum of Applied Art in Vienna – which has long been an important marker of applied modernism within Gillick’s practice – he looked for a solution as to who should occupy his Venice kitchen.

For the final work Gillick – with his studio team in Berlin led by Thomas Huesmann – has created an animatronic cat that sits on top of one of the kitchen cabinets. The cat fights against the echo in the building and tells us a circular story of misrepresentation, misunderstanding and desire.

With this in mind the pavilion becomes a site for a self-conscious circling story that never ends. The cat is in the kitchen, the children are in the kitchen.

“I don’t like it,” the boy will say.

“I don’t like it,” the girl will say.

“I don’t like you,” the cat will think.

Venice Biennial, Deutscher Pavillon 2009

Land of Promise
Curated by iLiana Fokianaki
Artists : Keren Cytter, Doug Fishbone, Alla Georgieva, Pravdoljub Ivanov, Dan Perjovschi, Angelo Plessas, Kostis Velonis
Leonidou 38, Hotel Galini