Saturday, December 20, 2008

Of birds and the onlookers responsibility:a few words on a video by Koerner Union

I don't remember how I found the video below. It popped up, and I watched, curious, then mesmerized, then disturbed, then - disgusted.
I decided not to post it on New Art. So as not to encourage something I find incorrect, or rather - wrong.
After a while I came back to see it, and watched the whole thing again. And I thought: who am I to judge this? After all, didn't I watch it with curiosity, and watch the whole thing, twice? Why can't I show what's disturbing me, bringing it forward to this public forum, so everyone can make her own mind?
But first, let me warn you: in my opinion, animals were being hurt in the making of this work. If you want to be absolutely sure you don't participate in any way in the popularity of this work, do not see the film below.

I would not resist if I were you. Maybe I would do it for the sake of something (it's a scary skill, thinking up good reasons). But I would be there, peeking in. Maybe not until the end. But then, it doesn't matter, does it? Does it?
The question of the onlooker, his power and his role in the process of creation, might often be used in contemporary art - but very seldom is it addressed in-depth. What is our responsibility? Can shutting our eyes be a good way of "appreciating" and yet disliking the work? Can I refuse something without knowing what it is? What do we know about the work we see above? About the conditions of its creation? Should I even be posting this without that knowledge?
See this strange video, also directed by Körner (Koerner) Union. (Be patient.)

Now, the astonishing part with the hen makes me question my own assumptions. Was my judgement too simplistic, also in the other case? Maybe this is just a short moment, or maybe it's all a trick, maybe the birds are not bumping against the mirror, shocking against it violently, thinking there is space where a solid mirror remains? Maybe it was all digitally manipulated or they were trained, or something? Or maybe I'm being hypersensitive?

Relax, now.

Here are a few untortured animals, in a wonderful picture by Isabella Rozendaal.
No, this is no antidote to these moral dilemmas. But it's an appeasement: the gentle distance. Rozendaal is someone who appreciates " the remarkable and humorous things she encounters in real life". And a way of approaching reality which plays with the idea of "amateur" photography, so we feel like this is almost too easy, and yet, remarkably appealing.

Yet, after all this, let's make a circle, and go back to Korner Union, with a video that somehow makes one think of the pictures above, with simple stories that are just slightly off (and a great song by Don Cavalli)...

But my favorite thing by Korner Union is quite minimalistic I suppose and maybe it's just this mood, tonight, with all the snow melted away, thawed and relaxed and, well, it's a page I found on their soon-to-be-active site. It also takes part in the game of hide-and-seek between the onlookers and the people-who-show-as-things-we-like. And it's simple.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Changing the focus

Halima Bashir meeting with George Bush.
In some cases, getting to a more aesthetic experience means moving away from the knowledge, choosing to forget the information we might have. Here we have a picture that has a very good, rational explanation: an African political activist fears for her life, so in order to remain entirely anonymous, she drapes herself entirely. The cause, peace in Darfur, is very noble, Halima Bashir's story (you have the link above) is shocking.
But this same picture can be seen differently. Here we have the president of the USA in conversation with the Unknown, the absolute Stranger. Here is a confrontation of the American/Western values, aesthetics, mode of functioning (notice the microphones!), attitude (the gesture! the gesture!) with the ghost of another world. It is a beautiful picture, and the most outstanding thing about it is - it's a readymade.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Twisting and turning (with a little help from electricity)

Daito Manabe is a funny guy.

But he also knows his business. This is no accidental work, as Manabe is a serious artist and very serious programmer. While looking through his work, I came across a video fragment of a stunning performance where he was in charge of programming (more specifically, of "sound/oscillation/programming"), a work called true, directed by dumb type's Takayuki Fujimoto. And, as expected from the co-creator of one of the most outstanding multimedia performance groups ever, this is... well, prepare to be amazed.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

From teaching to curating

I have been giving some video/art workshops recently, as part of the Stranger Festival process (produced in Poland by Kultura Miejska).
I am quite astonished by the quality of the work my students made. Below are three examples of work I find particularly interesting. The Stranger Festival might not be the ideal place for them, but after a little post-production, I will be sending them to galleries and festivals. It really makes me think of creating a sort of a production system with workshops and then promotion of selected works, like a curator/producer...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Somewhere Between Here and Nowhere

Still from Under Discussion, a video by Allora & Calzadilla (great interview with them here)

Excerpt from Tine Van Aerschot's first production, I have no thoughts and this is one. The actress is Forced Entertainment's Claire Marshall.
Another excerpt and a short bio here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Art is seeing things from a different perspective"

Diogenes Laertes, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Pythagoras, Bk. VIII, 8:

“When Leon the tyrant of Phlius asked Pythagoras who he was, he said, “a philosopher,” and that he compared life to the Great Games, where some went to compete for the prize and others went with wares to sell, but the best as spectators; for similarly, in life, some grow up with servile natures, greedy for fame and gain, but the philosopher seeks for truth.”

Video by comedian/musician Chris Cohen.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Swingin pullin droppin as if it all never happened

Kamila Szejnoch's work Swing is the winner of this year's Szpilman Award ("awarded to works that exist only for a moment or a short period of time"). The Swing was suspended on one of Warsaw's largest (and scariest) monuments, the monument to the Berling Army Soldier. (for posters in the same vein and for Szejnoch's commentary, see here).

Two other works I particularly like from among the finalists are Sai Hua Kuan's Space Drawing
and Kate Mitchell's I am Not A Joke:

Beautiful Catastrophy - Kristine Moran's painting

What I find fascinating in Kristine Moran's paintings is the sense of discipline. The disasters that keep appearing, the huge messes of messes, the total wreck of a reality she introduces us into, seem like a carefuly planned catastrophy.
No wonder she arrived at theater interiors, with their settings ready for the show, with the wardrobe mirrors reflecting every possible aspect of the mask, with their ridiculously decorative shapes that are bound to disappear when it happens.
This stage is set for failure. A beautiful failure of something that seemed to be going right. Everything was set, every rule was applied and every hope was nurtured.
And yet, the closer to what matters, to the subject (the topic, the I, the eye), the bigger the tension.
Until it all just blows up in pieces.

But not entirely. And call me an optimist, but this structure which reappears even in the most amorphous circumstances sustains not just the painting, but also, whatever is left of me, the empathic viewer.

Moran's pictures have evolved into an astonishing universe where 3D space that contains, well, how do I put it... paint. Color. Texture. Painting is the better word here. It is as if the painting, a 2D picture, moved into a 3D space. And the space accepted it, incorporating it in its realm. If you think this is a metaphor, see this:

Kristine Moran has been compared to Francis Bacon. Yes, sure, the inter-dependence of form and reality, their perverse games of hide-and-seek... But Moran's work seemingly leaves the human body - though certainly not the human - much further behind. And maybe because of that, it appears as not so much a struggle of the artist, as a struggle between the forms themselves. As she watches them, cooly, from a distance.

The titles are, in order of appearance: You Used To Be Alright, What Happened ; The World Is Yours ; Collapse of Will ; Hunter - Gatherer.

...and all this time is so far away...

Okay. This is not an easy moment. All this attention is getting me nervous, and I feel like everything I write is being observed... After all, this has all along been about a private journey into the realm of some contemporary art.
So, just to make sure it is still a blog, let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, I was an addict of skiing. I trained and I raced (without too much of a success) and I even got to spend some time with the Polish Ski Team. My first encounter with them was in a hotel in the French village of Les Deux Alpes. I entered the hotel room, and there they were, Poland's finest skiers. Most of them were concentrated on a Playstation game of Formula 1, with its volume set to maximum level. The rest of the young sportsmen were watching TV - it was a formula 1 race, and its noise was competing with the game. Everyone was completely mesmerized by the two screens. It took me at least a minute to realize there was someone else in the room, though. It was Andrzej Bachleda, by far Poland's best skier, who has lived most of his life in France, and whom I considered a strange guy - not very talkative, some sort of an odd case... In the midst of the overwhelming noise, the man was sitting on the bed, tucked into a corner, and reading Hemingway.
Well, this man has also come a long way since that moment. He has recently put out another album. Here is one song. (Besides the charming music, do appreciate the Polish mountains in the background).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Of Delicate Pride - Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada

The Wooster Collective published an interview with Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada. The answers to the following three questions are a brilliant introduction to his work. (My favorite, of course, is the third answer.)

Wooster: What other artists do you most admire?

I admire artists from different periods because of how they have impacted me at different times in my life. Leonardo da Vinci, Jean Giraud, Marcel Duchamp, John Heartfield, Ana Mendieta, Chris Burden, Barbara Kruger, Mark Pauline, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer are each a little part of me as an artist. With my contemporaries I would have to say that Swoon, Blu, and Marc Jenkins have impressed me not only with what they say with what they create, but also because of who they are as people.

Wooster: How would you describe your art to someone who could not see it?

My art is usually found within the urban landscape. City textures are my favorite background for my work. I like to work with ephemeral materials. One of my directions is to create large charcoal portraits of anonymous people on inner city walls that fade away with the wind and rain.

Wooster: What other talent would most like to have?

If I had another lifetime to devote to something else I would probably be an archeologist.

There is one thing about these portraits from the Identity Series I find awe-inspiring. They are modest. They bring forward the anonymous faces in a way that inspires both empathy and awe. They put them forward, fighting the war with commercial works as well as any. And yet, they are not shining at us with attractive colors. Their truthfulness is more than honest. It is humble. And yet - proud. And one more crucial thing: these faces, they fade away with time. This rare combination of grandiosity and modesty is something truly impressive.

Which brings us to Rodriguez-Gerada's latest project, the one most of us came to know him for.
He is the author of a huge portrait of Barack Obama (although actually the work is still not finished). But I think this has received enough publicity already. Appropriately enough, the work will be called Expectations, and is yesterday's news even before it inaugurated. Which tells us as much about the reception of directly political art as about the work itself. (On the other hand, this expectation is also about preparing the desinchantment, isn't it?)

Two documentaries about Rodriguez-Gerada's work in Spain:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I am proud to inform you that this site has been named one of the Top 8 Art Blogs of 2008 by the great Murmurart! It has also been listed as one of 100 Blogs That Will Make You Smarter at Online!
This demands celebration...
After the hangover, expect new posts.
Also a selection of the posts will hopefuly soon be featured at the website of the classy Art World Magazine.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Where is MySpace? Filippo Minelli's "Contraddictions"

Filippo Minelli, Contraddictions series (ongoing)
The ones I really like are the ones playing with the double meaning: DOUBLE LIFE, MYSPACE. But if they were left by themselves, I supposed I would have found them annoying. Too simple, too propagandesque.
Here, however, the artist creates a context, creating a whole network of worlds we know very well - from somewhere else.
And among those, the ones I really appreciate are the virtual worlds. YouTube written on an old wall in Phnom-Penh is great, because one of the things it says is: this is not virtual. This is here, it is a real place... And of course, as it is doing it, the contrast appears.
I only wish there were less photos, less brands. Otherwise, the entire set might seem a bit too vast, fleeing into the vagueness of the global companies.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Finishing off the Flesh Series

Found at Rebel:art among other (excellent) participants of the International Sticker Awards (to be announced on October 3) is this wonderful example of product sabotage, by Thomas Judisch. The sticker simply says "free sample". You can agree with the ideaology or not, but you have to admit it's ingenious to say the least.
This can also be a vengeance of the vegetarians after all the flesh-fuss that has been appearing on New Art.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Body of Flesh: Pinar Yolacan's portraits

Age is violence. It is violence as in: power, and it is violence as the inevitable overpowering.
The women on the pictures from the Perishables series (2004) by Pinar Yolacan wear this age in a way that brings about strong feelings. Disgust? Humiliation? But why? Why is wearing meat so shocking? We do get it - the meat is just a continuation of what we are, it is as sacred or as profane as we wish to see it. So why does it seem so intensly profane? Why is it revolting?
The women on the pictures don't seem embarrassed. To the contrary - they know who they are. And they know how deep is skin-deep. And possibly because of their incredibly stoic stance, we reach another point - of acceptance, of peace.

There is a wisdom in these wrinkles that seems unbearably right. And beyond the purity of light, may I add - there is also pain.

The exceptional thing is - this pain is distinguished. And if you think it's because the subjects were WASPs, see Pinar Yolacan's the Maria series (2007).

Here are women from the Bahia region in Brasil, which was colonized by the Portuguese. And here, the flesh changes its value: it is not about age any more, but rather, about distinction and pride, but also submission and humiliation, about the color of skin and the heaviness of the-object-that-thinks. Maria is the most common Portuguese name - and in Brasil nearly every woman has Maria as one of her names. It is also a reference to the Virgin Mary, a reference that here challenges our thinking about holiness. Look at this raw, dark flesh, and see the purity.

It seems to me Yolacan does not really have a statement that guides her work (interview with the artist here). Vanitas. Possibly. But I'd rather see her as a researcher - she investigates what the matter - the flesh - can tell her, where it can lead her. And this very intuitive, "non-rational" way of working is something I cherish. Because if you listen carefuly, your own sensitivity will embrace the matter in such a way that, once it is done, the work might speak the thousand words you never knew you had.

Friday, September 19, 2008

On blogging, the power of images and misbehaving

Here we are, now, entertain us.
In a comment to my last post, Matka wrote: Please, add a new piece soon! My internet explorer opens with your page and this work makes me seek [sick?] for a couple of hours.

Independent on whether this particular request should be executed or not, a serious issue creeps up behind: can we speak of a more or less bloggable material? Should we?
At first, there seems to be no doubt: a blog is personal by definition, right? The author decides what to put on it, and that's it?
Not quite.
1) Any reader of art blogs will notice blogs have formulas and tend to stick to them (this is not just the case of art blogs, obviously). So there is a topic, an approach, a way of writing and really, a "strategy". This can be a personal strategy, but it remains one.
2) In the case of art blogs, strong images work. That is, if you're looking for an audience, don't spend so much time writing: find attractive images. They can be shocking, but they have to be instantly rewarding for the spectator. And that's disgusting, dear Matka.
There's the rub: A blog is like a light version of a magazine. You drop by, take a glance, and in case of picture-filled blogs, if the image is not appealing, you move along. I see it in the stats, I know it (mea culpa) from autopsy. An art blog is, to a great extent, a mini-gallery. To a neophyte observer it might seem like people only take a glance and then leave. But after all, isn't it about those few that stay a while and dwelve deeper?

It's nice to be visited. And appreciated. And the more popular you are, the more, humm, popular you are.
The point is, it influences the choices you make. And all of a sudden, you know what sort of images work on the blog. And those are the ones you choose. Fast art consumption. It's nice, it's clean, we get it. Good, effective art.
Then the next step might be thinking about not offending Matka's tastes. And that's scary if you write a blog, (a personal page). But then, even if you don't go that far, the blog, the site, gains a life of its own. And thenyou start listening in on what it wants.

Come to think of it, it's not necessarily horrible. After all, it's also the wonderful feeling of an object coming to life, gaining an identity. Indeed, in the case of this blog this life has been continuing even during my absences. And that's a beautiful sight.
Yet it is still mine. Heheh...
And hopefuly, the lapse in Matka's text did make sense: beyond making her sick, the image also makes her seek for a couple of hours.
And in case it doesn't, here are a couple of replacement images. If anyone here can handle Japanese, please go here or here and let me know who is the artist, and what is going on, these sites seem creepy as hell...

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!

Oh, that this too, too solid flesh should melt

Not fit. (As if fit actually still meant fit for something). Too much body in the body. Too much flesh in the flesh. Too little shape. Too little containment. The form is amorphic. It isn't even interesting in its lack of shape.
Someone once told me he kept surprizing himself by how profoundly average he was.
What argument against it? Self-awareness? That's pitiful. I say, tie him up with a thin red line. Make him dance like a ham. Make him squeek, make him laugh. Now, cut the line.
And see how the marks fade away.
Ever so slowly.

The charming picture is by Alison Brady.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008



Lace Fence is a product developed by the Dutch designer house Demakersvan. (And when one is not using it as a political statement, it is adorable)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fly Me to the Moon

drawings by Vasco Morao.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dream Away. Andrea Galvani

Andrea Galvani, La Morte di Un'Immagine #9 (2006)

Have you ever witnessed something so beautiful it makes you angry? Something that makes you angry because it blows your entire scale, because it makes your delicate struggles for harmony ridiculous, petty, insignificant? This beauty that should elevate you, that should lift you up and carry you through the night, the beauty that is the inspiration and the core, is its exact opposite: smashing, unbearable, hard and cruel. It is a sunset that is just too magical, stars that shine too bright, or an event that seemed like the best of all performances. But what I mean is not perfection, it is beauty. It is not unnerving because it doesn't allow you to access it, like the perfection of the stone. It is unnerving because it takes away your ability to judge it, or what's worse, it's a type of beauty that takes away your ability to include it into your appreciation of beauty. It makes it silly to think of art, to create, to go to galleries and museums, to scan art blogs and dwelve into poetry. It leaves you lonely, ridiculously hanging on to an outdated scale or desperately trying to adapt it to something that corresponds more to what Kant calls the sublime - although the problem is, it is not sublime, it is exactly what beauty could have been, had you not already developed a different scale altogether.
I'm lucky: I forget. The taste fades quite quickly from my mouth, the text evaporates from my head, and so does the view of the sea after the storm. It all starts again for me, and what is left is like a bookmark, a sign that says "this was good" and maybe, maybe manages to reproduce some sort of a sensation of a sensation I had when it happened.
And then, sometimes, if one focuses on this memory, the memory starts growing a new head, one that is nothing like the previous one. One that does not compete in these subjective beauty contests, one that is at once much more raw and more constructed, that uses your imagination but somehow fits it together with whatever surrounds you, adapting the memory into an idea, transforming it into this weird creature that still has the body of a horse, but instead of the head has grown a thick, black cloud. Of balloons.
Thank you Andrea Galvani.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Marek Cecuła. The sense of matter.

I must admit I had no idea Polish design (well, design-related sculpture would be the more correct term I suppose) can be anything like this.
While I'm at it, I must also admit that the moment of becoming a little less ignorant, this moment of moving from a state of nothingness to the sudden illumination by something of this caliber is something delightful.

Last Supper (2003)

Porcelain Carpet (2002)

from the Hygiene series (1995)

from the Hygiene series (1995)

from the Eroticism series (2005)

from the Scatology series (1993)

It does not necessarily make sense. It does not necessarily say something, as in, a thing, as in, a message. It prefers to wink at us, like someone sitting in a waiting room winks at us, right after we finally managed to get our eyes of a gorgeous neighbor. Is that the "I know how you feel" wink? Or is it showing you he knows something both of you know he shouldn't and yet both of you know he certainly does? Is this something you share? A common interest? A common feeling of guilt? A feeling of risk, maybe? This winking, the one I feel when seeing Cecuła's works (not touching them, unfortunately, although that seems a perverse desire), is one of recognition, but also one of daring sensitivity, if not always sensuality. Touching is key? No, come to think of it, the not-touching, here, is what drives the senses right to the matter.
More on Marek Cecuła at his site.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

The big Fuss: Who Killed Barack Obama?

Once again, Peter Fuss (remember his "For the Laugh of God"?) manages to poke the finger in the right spot.
His most recent work, exhibited at the Out Of Sth exhibition in Wrocław (Poland) (which also has blu's animation on display) plays on our sense of reality.
What I like most about this work is something I didn't notice at first. The first reading, to me, was simple: knowing the fate of the liberal Americans who came to positions of power, it is difficult not to think of the risk Obama is facing. This also might be seen as a cool and lucid way of looking at politics. Can any ideal manage to survive? Isn't Obama, the Obama we know as fighting for "change", somewhat dead, already? Who killed him?
But what I really like about this work is not this seemingly political message. It is the way it portraits us and our own patterns of looking at reality.

The problem is not that Obama may get killed. The problem is our thinking of it as a fact. It is not Fuss's work that is cynical. We are.
Seeing the work on a billboard makes it even more obvious: we take it for granted that things are the way they are, and even if they aren't, too bad for the facts. The billboard is there, so Obama is dead. Who killed him? Guess who.

update/ps: A couple of months ago an Israeli designer created a shirt with a similar text. I think the differences between the two projects prove my point. Having/seeing this on a T-shirt and seeing it on a billboard are two completely different experiences. (Not to mention the completely different level of design). And that's what sets apart a good artpiece from a, well, another one. (Also notice the context - one is set in NY, the other- in Wrocław). Suffice it to say that already a few days after the opening of the exhibition two French tourists entered the gallery (you can see the entrance to the right on the second picture) saying they haven't had the chance to follow the news and they were quite terrified. Now, just to add another level of artsy-fartsy commenting, the person attending them answered they weren't to worry because it was "just an art installation". Ouch, now that's not what I would call effective art guidance. Or what she being ironic?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


...there is enough machine within our eyes
to fill a thousand junkyards full
to make the stone break into plastic clouds
of colored dust
and happy play

...there are enough straight lines that bound a shape
to make us speak right to the point
to get us thinking we are right or wrong
beneath the clouds

See more of Jan Vormann's Dispatchwork here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Less art

At times it seems the smaller the intervention, the better.
No, I do not mean to follow a minimalistic path, at least not now.
Minimalism, to me, has a lot to do with purity, that is, starting from a point of nothingness and adding just the right touch.
What I'm thinking is more along the lines of accepting the impurity - starting from a point of overwhelming reality and accepting it. Then, the right touch is really just a point of focus, a frame. Was it Oiticica who walked around with his admirers and made art by simply pointing at objects, thus giving them their artness? Still, even this gesture seems like too aggressive, too intrusive. Is it the art-element that makes all tools (all ways of dealing with what appears to us) seem bulky and outdated? Or is it the over-confidence we have when pointing? Isn't this the pleasure of all the YouTubes and darling amateurs? The certainty of some basic form of humbleness?

At times it seems the smaller the intervention, the better.
Yet, I often wonder where does this leave me as an artist. Once I admit a view of some apparently insignificant piece of reality can be a more enriching experience than any work of art, how can I claim anything about my own work, other than the "need" to do it? Doesn't that reveal the horribly narcissistic character of art? But what if I do not want that? If I actually wish to be in harmony with my own tastes? Where does that leave me?
All the above pictures are by Will Simpson at Loshadka, and are part of the You Are Healed series.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Beirut Melancholy

Of course, of course, no art is ever new. Of course, of course, there is more beauty behind us than we will ever see. Of course, nothing can ever compete with harmony. Yet of course, harmony seems never enough.
Of course, there is a time for mourning, and yet of course, the harmony in the mourning chant outcries the cry.

found here

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sticking to it until you get stuck

I suppose the following is a fair comment to this and to that:

More about The Leave Me Alone Box here.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hendrik Kerstens: The distant view of the other

Hendrik Kerstens is one of those artists who have managed to develop a career seemingly concentrating on one subject throughout the years. In his case, the model has been his daughter Paula. How different is she as a subject because of being his daughter? Not very. Which is as powerful a revelation as any. After all, one would expect some closeness, some special insight. Nothing of the sort. What we get is a serious young lady, as serious now as she was on the pictures being only a few years old. A gaze that refuses to talk. Our only partner in dialogue seems to be the light that paints the face gently, yet at least on surface, without the love one would expect. We see all the Vermeers and other 17th-century Flemish painters participate in this creation, yet this, here, is darker, less inviting. It doesn't pretend that something can come out of this encounter. Nothing more than a picture, a gaze, a world that is forever there, for us to admire, but not to discover.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


I found this at Happy Famous Artists. It was dated February 14. How come this seems fine on Valentine's Day, but has something offensive about it today?
Maybe it's because VD is for the individual, while today is for the group. And so, today it implies that this is the value I find important in a woman. While on February 14, it is about this one individual being gorgeous. Yet, isn't there something disturbing even about this appearing on Valentine's? The fact that what we celebrate is beauty?
Beauty. Can't live with it, but would have a hard time ignoring it either.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

For (Visual) Art's Sake

Danielle Van Ark's photos often seem unreal, directed. Yet reality seems to provide her with events so rich they seem definitely out of this world. Out of mine, for sure.
See also her great Taxidermy series...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

EXITO=success / EXIT=exit

I am delighted to inform you that I have been invited by the TR Warszawa theater (Warsaw, Poland) to create and direct a video department/workshop/center/section/thing. There is great enthusiasm concerning the project on both sides.
Thus, I am thrilled to be going back to Poland (at least for some time).
Thus, I am extremely sad to be leaving Portugal (at least for some time).

I hope to have more on this initiative in a few weeks.

For now, all my friends and friends of this blog are invited to a farewell party on February 2, at a place that will be disclosed any moment.

UPDATE>> we will be partying at the Lounge bar (, although I have no idea how knowing the virtual address can help), at rua da Moeda n.1, in the Cais do Sodre area (by the post office, near the ETIC school). We'll be starting around 11pm. See you there!

Find New Jersey now and win!

Is it possible to take a picture of New Jersey regardless of where you are in the world?

If you think you can answer this question with an image of your creation, accept the challenge of iheartphotograph and participate in the contest.

Two great Josephs

"To be hopeful in an artistic sense it is not necessary to think that the world is good. It is enough to believe that there is no impossibility of it being made so."
- Joseph Conrad

quote taken from the lengthy and uneasy, but interesting Guardian article about Conrad.
(found here)
I should look better and find material that would do justice both to Joseph Beuys and to Joseph Conrad. However, the video above, although somewhat naive, does present Beuys at least in some respect, and has excellent footage from his I Like America and America Likes Me. For more resources go here, and a great overview of Beuys and his influence on today's art can be found on this Tate page.
As for the article about Conrad, its style does actually do justice to the Polish writer. And it is certainly enlightening. However, other suggestions are welcome.

What links those two? What impresses me? Beyond a difficult, though creative, dealing with one's identity - which that doesn't really make them stand out among artists... A sense of a profound and paradoxically bitter optimism. And amazing self-discipline.


The Fat is on the Table
Maurizio Cattelan on Joseph Beuys

beuys is dead
beuys is also uniting love and knowledge
beuys is more present in a desert freak
beuys is sponsored by museum für moderne kunst
beuys is appointed professor of sculpture at the düsseldorf academy of art
beuys extends ulysses by two chapters at the request of james joyce
beuys is surely not a sartre follower, but of course there are many parallels
beuys is mentioned next to steiner
beuys is back in town
beuys is back in belgium, in berlin, US, active in germany
beuys is the contemporary artist responsible for the popular notion that politics is an aesthetic activity that anyone can engage in
beuys is inspired by steiner
beuys is not so reactionary as to deny the existence of the entire art history repertoire
beuys is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential post-war german artists
beuys is the identification with everything from mythological 9gures and historical personages to writers and artists
beuys is a mythical figure in the art world, however
beuys is particularly significant in the light of his introspective research on the possible reuni9cation of human and natural life
beuys is in the creation of the social sculpture
beuys is either loved or hated
beuys is considered one of the most
beuys is widely regarded as one of the most important german artists since world war II
beuys is demanding sun instead of rain/reagan
beuys is more like an evangelist
beuys is famous for an extraordinary body of drawings
beuys is such an obvious candidate; he started making art following a breakdown that was a result of his experiences in world war II
beuys is represented in depth in dia's permanent collection
beuys is
beuys is among the most famous of today's artists
beuys is one of the most famous performance artists
beuys is valid because wolfgang laib shares his belief in the transcendent power of art
beuys is another sculptor that
beuys is one of the major figures in post-war german art
beuys is known for his shamanistic artist's persona
beuys is among the world's most comprehensive
beuys is in these digital photographs represented not by him directly
beuys is a real people's artist understood by a professor
beuys is megjelent a kövek mellett és hamarosan heves vita bontakozott ki közte és a közönség között
beuys is a 1972 lithograph in which the essential feature is that of beuys as everyman
beuys is elvesztette
beuys is átvett és ami interszubjektiv jellege miatt nem volt
beuys is called to account by his presumptive offspring
beuys is veel materiaal verdwenen
beuys is questioned by the activities of maclennan
beuys is instructive
beuys is very important in mail art
beuys is understandable
beuys is known to
beuys is not completed by his death
beuys is i was never secure and happy in the world of galleries from the very beginning
beuys is and how it is pronounced
beuys is cleverly recontextualised in
beuys is of course enormously interesting
beuys is l'eminence grise of community building as an art form
beuys is interested in the proportions between crystal and amorphous states
beuys is able to evoke the experience of the past
beuys is a magnificent
beuys is based on three stages
beuys is a special case because of the build-up of a curious sense of obligation to respond positively
beuys is the generation of my father
beuys is talking about the much wider concept of creative potential
beuys is regarded as one of the most significant personalities of the past
beuys is steeped in the struggle of world war II
beuys is a big influence right now
beuys is unavoidable
beuys is purely a decorative artist
beuys is hype
beuys is cited as the great collaborator of the twentieth century because
beuys believed everybody was a potential artist
beuys is on e-bay
beuys is a mythical figure in
beuys is one artist i wanted to ask you about
beuys is one of the biggest art world phonies of recent years
beuys is probably unique in the history of art
beuys is supposed
beuys is a very controversial sculptor
beuys is grounded in a tradition of narrative sources that is often absent in american art of the same period
beuys is hardly a household name in the history of twentieth-century art
beuys is the great shaman of twentieth-century art
beuys is represented with his monumental work created shortly before his death, lightning with stag in its glare
beuys is best known for declaring "everyone an artist"; koons seems to declare that everyone is a consumer

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Guerrillas looking for Budapest museum director

The site claims:

Position Summary

Museum Director

Director I, Full Time

Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 6:00pm

Hiring Range & Group: 2-4.000 EUR / Month

Closing Date: Open Until Closed

The Ludwig Museum Budapest (LUMÚ) is one of the major Hungarian Museums and exhibition spaces, and holds the most important collection of modern art in Hungary. (...)

Our aim is to create an alternative platform for applicants in order to emphasize the opportunities which lie in this position in order to put LUMÚ on the global map with an internationally recognizable program.

If you wish to apply please send your application (concept) as told below. We do not evaluate but only post all applications on this website.
We hope all decision makers will consider all information collected on this page and will be influenced by your ideas and concepts. We hope they might consider the applicants for the official call. There have been precedents in Hungary where the highest positions have been hijacked by public initiatives in the midst of political status quo. We believe that if you are a sound applicant, you can become the director through public support.

Basically, here is a beautiful case: a group of people really passionate about contemporary art want to have a good museum. So they try to be active. They see that the formal way of solving the issue seems impossible. So they take matters in their own hands, and they announce a pseudo-contest. You can send your candidature, but - and this is the brilliant part - they will not judge it. They will limit themselves to showing those in charge that you exist. And, hopefully, those in charge will take you into consideration when looking for the right person.

Sounds impressive. Guerrillas fighting for justice. Guerrillas who don't want to take over, only think out-of-the-box to try and open minds. After all, if there are competent, interesting candidates out there, why not present them?
A few things worry me slightly: 1) As of today, there is still no candidature online. People don't take it seriously? Possibly. Or maybe, they are not ready to take the risk of becoming associated to something that seems quite a rebellious initiative (after all, it does suggest the Museum has a good chance of receiving the director the politicians will nominate, no questions asked)? 2) What can the real force of such an initiative be? Doesn't it remind you of the rallies that have been so popular these days, say, against the invasion of Iraq? The guerrilla tactics seem more like an interesting phenomenon than an actual force.
Now, the real question might be, what is the strength of this particular utopia?
I hope it does raise the issue of a fair selection. And even if a director is nominated from among the friends and relatives of the Right People, they will have to stand up to the challenge of being compared to the other candidates. The unofficial ones.
What better place to start this sort of initiative than a museum of modern art?
Now, this only works if competent people do send in their proposals. And impress the heck out of everyone.



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