Robert Lippok, Song-Ming Ang & Xavier Mary @ Künstlerhaus Bethanien, March 1st, 2012

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ZUSPIEL series presents an installation by Robert Lippok in cooperation with the eLand Workshop. Robert Lippok was invited by Italian architect Matteo Ferroni to develop an audio work for the project Foroba Yelen run by the eLand Workshop in the Segou region in Mali, and to this purpose visited some of the villages there. Foroba Yelen – meaning something like “Community Lights” – comprises mobile LED lamps that were made from partially recycled material by local craftsmen and take light into villages that have no electricity network. The lighting is therefore not a fixed installation but can be transported to suitable venues for social activities and interactions.

As in other works, Robert Lippok has focused on special aspects reflecting local conditions. For example, he noticed the heterogeneous refuse that gathers on the fields all around the mud-built villages, consisting mainly of plastic bags but also of a whole range of civilisation’s refuse. All these objects are, like Foroba Yelen, collective in a certain sense, although they do not “belong” to anyone. In the installation “by the Niger river” in Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Robert Lippok combines two of the Foroba Yelen lamps from Segou with sound recordings made on the spot of conversations with villagers, sequences from musical compositions, texts and found objects, thus creating a fragmentary picture of everyday life in a rural region of Mali.

Cover Versions shows new works by Song-Ming Ang,  The key subject of his works and performances is music; he investigates its influences on society and the individual. Ang uses materials such as songs, musical instruments or fan articles, which he reshapes following his own logic and self-imposed restrictions, or puts into new contexts that often astonish the viewer.

The works include a photo poster of the teenie idol Justin Bieber which signature on the poster was produced by Ang. A folder included with the poster documents the time-consuming writing practice, reminiscent of mantras, which Song-Ming Ang undertook to approach the “perfect” signature.

A wall installation that combines several record covers of the indie-band Belle & Sebastian with the same number of monochrome circles of colour, and the video work “The Robots” (2009) in which an amateur women’s choir performs an a cappella version of the well-known Kraftwerk song, without any prior rehearsals or choreographic arrangement. This situation enables improvisation and negotiation processes which create a stimulating contrast to the perfectly staged original by Kraftwerk.

For the piano project “Parts and Labour” Ang has also positioned a piano in the exhibition space – as can be seen on the HD video belonging to the work, the artist dismantled this piano in its very parts and subsequently reassembled it during a complicated, step-by-step learning process in a piano workshop.

Xavier Mary‘s sculptures and installations are as minimalist as they are frequently overwhelming in dimension. Their own dramatic tension enables them to skilfully evade a purely formal reading and to fascinate the viewer merely by employing a truly endless number of technical refinements. For “Eat The Magic Lions” Mary has realised three huge lion’s head sculptures, starting out from a 3-D model of a lion’s head from the Internet. The 732 polygons of the first model in his sculpture were realised using cardboard packages of the breakfast cereal brand “Lions”. Other sculptures were made with the aid of software developed for the computer game “Minecraft”, which creates a landscape in the game using brick-shaped elements.

The second component of the exhibition is a sculptural installation inspired by the architecture of the Khmer temples, “DVD Temple”. Its sculptures are made of common polystyrene blocks and join together to form a kind of “altar”, the central element of which is the looping DVD menu of the film “Apocalypse Now Redux”. Other films available on blue ray are also ironically cited by Mary, including classics like “Terminator” or “Transformers”. His installation accentuates the current multimedia formats such as Internet, 3-D, video games, DVD or blue ray in a kind of self-aggrandising pose somewhere between radicalism, illusion and redundancy. Mary’s installations create a parody of the beacons of popular culture and centre on themes such as “appropriation” and “imitation”, which are and will remain extremely relevant in face of our unlimited networks.

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