‘Schwarz oder weiß, es ist mir gleich. Es gibt keine Farben in diesem blauen Reich’ Joris Van de Moortel @ Künstlerhaus Bethanien, January 17th, 2013
Joris Van de Moortel is concerned with architecture as an important medium of our mental and physical experiences of space. Besides musical performances, he creates assemblages, which often resemble stage sets or the remains of a performance. For his generally large-scale installation works, Van de Moortel uses pedestals, walls and boxes or a number of things that seem to have been found by chance: towels, musical instruments, door leaves, a single window, or an old cooking pot are combined into unpretentious artefacts, which seem to bear their own, expansive dynamics within them. The artist bundles, ties, screws, and then shuts up his work in wooden or acrylic glass cases, or he has them hang from the ceiling in bin-bags. His environments – often in conjunction with musical performances – are inspired by found situations and often they have no clearly defined beginning, middle or end. Thus, the artist often ‘recycles’ the work at the end of an exhibition by destroying it, and constructing a new work with the help of the resultant junk. In this way, the “undoing” in Van de Moortel’s work becomes an important aspect of the “doing”.
Joris Van de Moortel is a grantee of the Flemish Government in Künstlerhaus Bethanien. As the 17th of January were also Open Studios at Bethanien, this last picture is an installation in his studio.
The video below correspond to the last 25 seconds of the performance that accompanied the exhibition-installation… all is blue…
EXHIBITION: 18.01. – 10.02.2013. Tue – Sun: 2 – 7pm. Admission free.
On Thursday August 16th we were able to see Künstlerhaus Bethanien artists studios. The atmosphere in the studios was like a international artists dorm as they become scholars from different countries. Strolling through customized workshops, it was offered the exciting opportunity to see the artwork on the scene and deal directly with the artist.
Among this year’s artists, which are funded through the International Studio Program, include:
Mats Adelman (Guest Artist), Viktoria Binschtok, Mauro Cerqueira, Hadassah Emmerich, Jan Freuchen (Guest Artist), Roey Heifertz, Sharon Houkema, Hyein Lee, Michael Lee, Joris van de Moortel, Daniel Palacios, Linn Petersen, Judy Radul (DAAD ), Constantinos Taliotis, Aiko Tezuka, Mark Themann, Jane Ritchi, Rebecca Wilton, Daniel Young and Marie Zolamian.
FRANÇOIS MARTIG – “The Dawn”
The artist François Martig uses a wide range of media, from sculptural and sound installations to radio documentaries and photography in his pieces. In addition to his visual work, he produces live sound and music performances as well as soundtracks combining soundscapes, field recordings, electro-acoustic music and noise. In 2005 Martig started working on his long-term project Robinsonhotel, where he explores landscape as an evolving socio-economic and political spatial entity and phenomenon. In reference to Robinsonhotel Martig created his exhibition “The Dawn” at Künstlerhaus Bethanien highlighting the human will to manage the landscape. The Zone Rouge (Red Zone) refers to an area of approximately 120.000 acres in what used to be First World War battle-ground in Northern and Eastern France. The war’s impacts on nature were so devastating that there are still measurable chemical residues in the grounds, which are closed to the public, whilst cities like Verdun have become hot spots for military tourism today. As a post-war decree, Germany gave France Black Pine trees to help reforest the land around Verdun. Currently this forest is known for its cheap timber. For his project “Zone Rouge” (2007-2012) Martig bought 1 m3 of pine timber from the area and brought it back to Germany. He combines the wood with postcards, which show an image of the former battleground and inform the viewers about this unknown story. In addition a wasteland occupies the gallery space with soil taken from the sculpture garden in Berlin and a two-channel film projected from a watchtower shows found-footage videos of the worldwide deforestation.
YLVA WESTERLUND – “Evolutionary throwback”
In her drawings, installations, performances, and videos Ylva Westerlund explores various scientific models of knowledge. By assuming alternate roles she switches between the artist-as- researcher to the subject of study itself. Westerlund’s work is influenced by her interests in social studies, post-structuralist feminism, and monsters. In the exhibition “Evolutionary throwback” Ylva Westerlund weaves a visual net, which oscillates between the past, present, and future of human evolution. Inspired by a visit to Berlin’s Natural History Museum – Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity and their displays of casts representing homo sapiens’ ancestor australopithecus anamensis, who has been extinct for four million years. Westerlund developed a complex multi-media installation presented as subjective scientific research. A part of it is her video “Evolutionary throwback” (2012). A plaster cast of the artist’s face as an australopithecus anamensis helps the artist to transform into a fictional creature, a mixture between homo sapiens and australopithecus anamensis, evoking notions of the art activist group Guerrilla Girls.
TOBIAS ZIELONY – “Zuspiel: Big Sexyland”
In a further edition of the ZUSPIEL-series, Künstlerhaus Bethanien presents the film “Big Sexyland” (2008) by photographer and filmmaker Tobias Zielony. In his works Zielony portrays groups of youths in desolate surroundings: the interchangeable peripheries of cities such as Berlin, Bristol, or Marseille. He works in the style of reportage, however, his images are not limited to simply documenting living conditions. Instead, he raises sociological questions: what types of signs construct these young-adults’ identity? What influence does their environment have on their understanding of self, what impact do they have on their environment? Zielony’s works combine and reflect a young seemingly lost generation’s issues of self-perception and judgement of others in the ghettos, prisons, and suburbia of our society. To produce the film presented in Künstlerhaus Bethanien Zielony followed young rent boys in a Berlin sex cinema and park over a period of several months. The film “Big Sexyland” (2008) is set in a Berlin sex cinema, which is not only a place of work, but serves as a “safe haven” for prostitutes. Zielony’s protagonist, a young man, is shown asleep, lying in one of the shabby upholstered seats of the projection area. The only source of light in the darkness is a porn film in the background. Projections outlining mechanical physical movements, monotonous moans and groans, envelop the sleeping young man. In his dreams, the young sex worker transcends the “Big Sexyland” represented in Western Europe, he seems far far away from his daily physical presence and sexual labour. His body is at the centre of Western capitalist society, fulfilling society’s promises – such as venal sex.
DAVID ARMSTRONG-SIX – “Civil Elegies From The Vacuum State”
For his exhibition at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, David Armstrong-Six reinvestigates notions of materiality and objecthood in relation to sculpture. The ten new sculptures in wood, bronze, plaster and glass which are collected here under the umbrella “Civil Elegies From The Vacuum State” are meant as a series of ruminations which seem to emerge equally from the vestiges of dada, Cubism, Situationism and Minimalism. Indeed, the vacuum state, which is the lowest possible field of sustainable energy in quantum physics, is equated here with a studio-based practice and the cumulative conflation of a studio-based language. David Armstrong-Six is searching for the specific shape of sculpture between noble grace and mere refuse, high cultural pretensions and casual collage, technology and nature, between the minimalist’s material sensitivity and the surrealist’s faith in contingency, between familiar forms and un-forms, i.e. elements that have been deplaced, reworked or destroyed. Using statics that are often scarcely credible, he constructs networks within which things communicate.
Text source: http://www.bethanien.de/
BERLIN.STATUS (1) investigates the big-city phenomenon of art, starting out from the observation that Berlin today is “an art city with no consensus”. Whereas it had been possible to observe an organic weave of sense of reciprocal interplay between tradition and renewal until into the 1980s, young art in Berlin today lives primally from international influences, multi perspective orientations and globally determined lines of production. This development was triggered long before the fall of the Wall by the grant programs of the DAAD and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, the Transmediale after 1990, a growing avantgarde electro and club culture, and by successful intermedia and thematic projects at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the Volksbühne and the HAU. Additional bonds between Berlin and its artists are created by working grants awarded by the State of Berlin, and the provision and mediation of affordable studio spaces by the Bundesverband Bildender Künstler (Federal Association of Fine Arts).
If Berlin is a landing area for young international artists today, it is not only because of continuing favorable opportunities to live and work here -the culture of “interim uses” that passed its high point long ago. Even though the developments of globalization have had a noticeable impact in Berlin, in many cases artists want to work in the city precisely because they as individuals are consciously struggling against the pull of uniformity. And although Berlin is caught in a lasting state of radical change, young artists do not regard the city itself as worthy of capturing in images; we have also registered a reduction in site-specific and situational research projects. After a twenty-year phase of transformation, Berlin is becoming -neighborhood after neighborhood- a “normal” place to work. However, this does not mean that reasons for worry and doubt have turned into delight, and new interest in ornament, design and non-representational formal languages does not indicate that criticism of society and consumerism is drying up, either. Today, aesthetic debate is shifting towards cultural debate, and some artists react to this development in a decidedly formalist manner.
The exhibition presents artists who doubt in the necessity for large-scale mobilisation and are therefore working intellectually and aesthetically to supplement or sharpen their own very personal profile. Although they have definitely moved the focus of their lives to Berlin permanently, it is not “the Berlinesque” here that provides fertile ground for the extraordinary, but the individual ability shown by every outstanding artist. For BERLIN.STATUS (1), therefore, the curators have selected both well- and lesser-known artists: the common characteristic being that they are laboratory practicians – pure and idiosynchratic.
The main conceptual interest of the exhibition curators is in the doubt inherent in almost all current tendencies: “Somewhere, there is always ‘one small village in Gaul’. We search for that and reveal nuances of change by distancing, i.e. the signals prior to radical change, not trends. We ignore the opposition of ‘newcomers’ and ‘established artists’ because the market is greedy; in the end it will turn everything into mincemeat, but now and then we ought to consider a more innovative dish.” (Curators: Sven Drühl & ChristophTannert).
The exhibition will show works by:
Gabriel Acevedo Velarde, Silva Agostini, Angelika Arendt, Dafni Barbageorgopoulou, Madeleine Boschan, Jessica Buhlmann, Hannah Dougherty, Zhivago Duncan, Wiebke Elzel / Jana Müller, Hadassah Emmerich, Lu Feng, Shannon Finley, Wolfgang Flad, Torben Giehler, Andrew Gilbert, Ane Graff, Stella Hamberg, Secundino Hernández, Gregor Hildebrandt, Nico Huch, Klaus Jörres, Sven Johne, Jan Koch, Astrid Köppe, Alicja Kwade, Alon Levin, Eoin Llewellyn, Alexej Meschtschanow, Daniel Mohr, Jan Muche, Regine Müller-Waldeck, Xuan Huy Nguyen, Catalina Pabón, Katinka Pilscheur, Bernd Ribbeck, Tanja Rochelmeyer, Egill Sæbjörnsson, Michael Sailstorfer, Adam Saks, Ariel Schlesinger, Judith Schwinn, Martin Skauen, Emmy Skensved, Kei Takemura, Alex Tennigkeit, Philip Topolovac, Luca Trevisani, Nasan Tur, Elmar Vestner, Ulrich Vogl, Jorinde Voigt and Ralf Ziervogel.
Text source: http://www.bethanien.de/kb/index/trans/en
With the roots of video art intertwined with that of cinema, SUPER 8 derives its title from the mid-century motion picture film format of the same name. An artist-curated, video art exhibition organized by Christopher Grimes Gallery (based in Los Angeles). This ambitious video exhibition features the works of forty international contemporary artists. Each week of SUPER 8 focuses on a different city: Berlin, Dublin, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, and Tokyo, eight artists will curate a week’s worth of programming with fellow artists from their respective cities. Within that week, a day is dedicated to the work of one artist. In addition SUPER 8 contextualizes artist work within a global community of artists working in the same media. Through various approaches, from a variety of generations, SUPER 8 presents a cross section of this often misunderstood and underestimated form of art. During the opening, short excerpts were exhibited.
The excerpt correspond to “Dust defying gravity”, 2003 by Grace Weir, shown on Tuesday, 6th of March
Mysterema, by Gabrielle de Vietri is showing two new works: “Captcha” is an audiovisual projection for which the artist has combed the Internet painstakingly in search of so-called captchas – those obviously meaningless sequences of letters that we must type in to assure no machine-generated spam is sent out.
Vietri’s works are multimedia, using performance, video, photography and text. They often take the shape of small experiments, and illuminate the evolution of identity and patterns of human behaviour before the background of socio-cultural and philosophical issues. In the exhibition De Vietri has written down and categorised a large number of captchas and, on the basis of these word-creations, has written a narrative plot in the style of a fairy-tale or a fantasy novel. The story, spoken by a professional actor, can now be heard in the exhibition space; at the same time, more and more new, large-format captchas are projected onto the wall. Thus, plenty of space develops for the visitor’s own imagination and individual interpretations of de Vietri’s imagined story.
A second piece comprises two components: “Anonymous Lovers Discuss the Work of Cyprien Gaillard” is an audio work, for which the artist has recorded the conversations of a couple as they pass through a Cyprien Gaillard exhibition in Paris. In the Künstlerhaus she has supplemented this sound recording with “Karstadt Courting Chair”, a seat suitable for intimate conversation, set into an island of quiet in the room: visitors are invited to sit down and listen to the two unknown lovers’ conversation – not only about art but also about personal matters, feelings, shared memories etc., offering the viewer both a challenge and a chance to develop his own interpretations of those many suggested, fragmentary stories.
Text source: http://www.bethanien.de/kb/index/trans/en
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.
Text source http://www.bethanien.de/kb/index/trans/en