In 2011 Andrea Büttner was invited by Amgueddfa Cymru—National Museum Wales to explore its collections. Hidden Marriages is the culmination of this project which draws together a selection of objects from two disparate bodies of knowledge: the museum’s collection of drawings by Gwen John (1876–1939) and the extensive collection of mosses preserved in its herbarium. The findings of Büttner’s research were first presented as an exhibition at National Museum Cardiff in spring 2014, and culminate with this artist’s book.
Within the museum’s collection of almost 1,000 drawings by Gwen John, Büttner focuses on images of church congregations and portraits of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a carmelite saint. St. Thérèse’s writings on ‘The Little Way’ played an important role in Gwen John’s life and work.
The concept of ‘littleness’ has also been of longstanding interest to Büttner. Much of her work makes connections between art history and social or ethical issues, with a particular interest in notions of poverty, shame, vulnerability and sexuality, and the belief systems that underpin them. Although working a hundred years apart, John and Büttner share an interest in the spiritual, social and aesthetic notions of ‘littleness.’
Büttner has discerned similar characteristics in the classification and description of mosses—plants that fall under the term cryptogam (meaning hidden sexuality). Moss is also described as a ‘lower plant’—incorrectly implying a lesser, or more primitive, evolutionary development than flowering or ‘higher plants.’ Hidden Marriages: Gwen John and Moss draws these two seemingly unconnected collection areas together, making links between the reproductive processes of ‘lower plants’ and the contested sexuality of Gwen John; between littleness as an aesthetic, biological, and social discourse; between the scientific ordering of the Museum and the harmony and beauty that John sought in her work; and, ultimately, the way institutions ascribe relative importance to objects, ideas and people.
This book includes over 60 drawings by John, most published for the first time, and essays about Gwen John and moss by art historian Lily Foster and biologist Ray Tangney, Principal Curator of Cryptogams at Amgueddfa Cymru—National Museum Wales.
Edited by Ben Borthwick
Published by Koenig Books, London
05.09.2014 – 15.04.2015
2 – the title is the agenda. The largest room in the museum is divided into two parts, one light and the other dark. In the dark space Andrea Büttner is showing her latest video installation, Piano Destructions* 2014. Featured here is historical footage of performances in which artists — almost exlusively men — destroy pianos; as well as a performance of her own, in which nine female pianists play pieces by Schumann and Chopin in chorus.
Two forms of interacting with the piano are juxtaposed. This confrontation allows for renewed reflection on gender issues, on the function of the piano as an instrument in the upbringing of young, bourgeois girls, on performance art and the piano as its classical prop — manipulated and maltreated in every way imaginable. For a woodcut, Büttner herself disassembled a piano, using its parts as printing blocks. This generated an abstract image made up of monochrome color fields that now merely hints at the destruction of the piano to which it owes its existence.
But 2 can also stand for judging in general, which oscillates between two poles—beautiful and ugly, cool and embarrassing, important and insignificant. Displayed in the center of the illuminated section of the exhibition is Kant’s Critique of Judgment, which aims at linking “two aspects of philosophy,” namely, theory and practice, “into a totality.” Here, Büttner has chosen an unusual approach. She considers the ways in which specific images correspond to Kant’s abstract text: the images he may have had in mind while writing, and those that are envisaged while reading. Through dozens of images — both historical and contemporary — she makes it possible to perceive Kant’s concepts through the senses. In large offset-prints, Büttner assembles “Kant’s pictures” and confronts them with her woodcuts and glas works in the exhibition.
The manifold entanglements of African and Western culture are a central motif in the oeuvre of the Algerian-French artist Kader Attia. The influence of traditional African architecture on European modernism forms the background for his voluminous spatial installations, videos and photographs, as much as the re-appropriation of North and South American black music within African Jazz and Pop of the 1960s up to the 1980s. His work manifests the productivity of dissonance: Where African masks, stuffed animals, scientific instruments, and historical artifacts seemingly have nothing in common, the artist unearths connections between Europe’s handling of its own colonial history, current migration politics, and the urbanistic realities of its metropolises of today. Based on Kader Attia’s solo show “Repair. 5 Acts” at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, this publication focuses on works from the years 2008–2013 and places them in a broader art historical concept.
SEWING LINES, GROWING SURFACES, BREATHING ATMOSPHERES: TOWARDS AN ONTOGENY OF THINGS
A workshop organized by Tim Ingold and Bernhard Siegert at the IKKM Weimar
July 2–3, 2014
This workshop intends to start a critical dialog between the Study of Cultural Techniques and the Anthropology of Technologies, Skills, and Materials. Though coming from rather different traditions, both disciplines share a strong interest in an approach to things not as stable end products (i.e. objects) but as temporary convergences wherein open- ended practices produce moments of stability in a basically unstable world. The idea that practices precede the concepts and distinctions that are generated by them, which is crucial to the theory of cultural techniques, questions not only the hierarchical relations between form and matter, subjects and practices, objects and operations, but also the causal relations between subjects and practices, objects and operations. Are we the cause of practices, and practices the cause of objects? Or are we, the things, plus the distinction between us and them, immersed in practices and operations? Are practices of becoming subject and becoming object not embedded in an ontogeny of things?
Moves in Anthropology and the Study of Cultural Techniques towards an ontogeny of things will lead us towards a mode of thinking that questions the distinction between subject and object as a differentiation that is always already settled. This is also to question our knowledge about what skills and techniques are, and about what it means to be immersed in practices that have first to come to terms with distinctions between inside and outside, figure and ground, active and passive, flat and spatial, line, surface and volume.
The workshop will focus especially on transitional states between dimensions which, according to the Platonic tradition, belong to separate realms of being. Thus it will address the interconvertibility of lines and threads and of drawing and sewing, the formation of surfaces from textile patterns and folds, and the relation between the meshwork spaces so constituted and the smooth spaces of atmospheric immersion.
Further information and program outline can be found here.
With “Markierung”, the KW Institute for Contemporary Art and Spector Books are initiating a series of small-format, polymorph publications. The series aims to create a platform within which projects can be documented, continued or re-interpreted.
Within the framework of the exhibition “Relaunch” (2013) the cooperation “Markierung” between Nedko Solakov (artist) and Ellen Blumenstein (curator) inaugurated the new program of the institution Kunst-Werke. The reader of the book accompanies the artist and the curator on their walk through the building in Berlin’s Auguststraße. The comments and markings that Nedko Solakov “tagged” with a black marker on walls, windows, passages and doors allow the past to resurface, they revolve around the building’s present and presence and sketch out ideas for its future. They act as an appropriation of the space and simultaneously as a self-representation of the institution.
The series will be continued with titles by Georgia Sagri and Merlin James.
Thematic Exhibition with works by Chantal Akerman, Ed Atkins and Simon Martin, Sue de Beer, Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn, Loretta Fahrenholz, Christian Jankowski, Jesper Just, Peter Roehr, Roee Rosen, John Smith, Mark Wallinger.
Ever since its inception, film has influenced our thinking about what the world is, and what it can be. As a mass medium that directly addresses human emotions, it affects collective experiences to the extent that films can be regarded not only against the background of reality, but can actually influence our view of it.
REAL EMOTIONS: THINKING IN FILM is devoted to affects and emotions in the moving image. The thematic exhibition explores the question of how films transmit emotions and generate an authenticity at which the individual and collective experiences collide. Above all, it is films that confirm, change or fundamentally question our common experiences and thought patterns, and thus challenge us to think.
Opening on September 17, 2013, 6-9 pm
KW’s contribution to the cooperation, KEILRAHMEN (“stretchers”), is a collection of more than 70 pieces by contemporary painters who work or have worked in Berlin. The exhibition, curated by Ellen Blumenstein, offers insights into questions and topics being addressed in painting today and examines the meaning and significance of the medium of painting for contemporary art along with the potential it harbors.
On the occasion of the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, a book is being co-edited by the Institut français, Manuela Editions and the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP), with the support of the Fundación/Coleción Jumex (Mexico) and of the Coleción Isabel y Agustín Copel (Mexico).
The book, which has been conceived by Anri Sala and Christine Macel, is first and foremost intended to be a research tool, and to provide the reader with an entry point to the issues that the artist was exploring in the process of creating Ravel Ravel Unravel.
A range of different texts offer a variety of perspectives, which complement and enter into dialogue with each other in order to convey the complexity of reality: on the one hand, we have the historic statements of Maurice Ravel, Paul Wittgenstein and Marguerite Long (a famous pianist and friend of Ravel’s), texts taken from the novels of Alexander Waugh (a Wittgenstein specialist) and of Jean Échenoz (extracts of his novel Ravel), texts about John Cage and the anechoic chambers by Dana Samuel or about the musical technique of the left hand by Hans Brofeldt, and finally essays by Laurent Pfister (on copyright, and more particularly on the case of the composer of the Boléro), by Peter Szendy (a musicologist and philosopher) and by Christine Macel (commissioner of the French Pavilion).
Similarly, the illustrations provide vibrant visual and temporal concertinas: archive images and illustration, preparatory drawings by the artist and images from his films.
The design for the book conveys this sense of movement, of a discrepancy between the musical tempi: the pages are given a sense of rhythm by areas of vertical black vibrations; the inner fold of the book is transferred to a horizontal position inside it, the fore edge slides from the back to the front cover.
This book is just as much an informative work as an artist’s book, and offers both an immersion into the eventful story of a piece of music and into Anri Sala’s mind as he conceives a piece of work and develops its main themes and principles.
In close collaboration with the new chief curator Ellen Blumenstein and her team we have re-designed the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, including all printed matter, online services, signage and publications. Typedesign by Laurenz Brunner. Please join us for the opening on Saturday, 27.4.2013 from 5pm. Visit the new website here. More soon…
Saâdane Afif/Mount Moon:
‘L’s Bells — The Busker of the Gray Line’
MMK Frankfurt, Milton Keynes, König Books
Edi Rama: edited by Anri Sala
Published by JRP Ringier
Edited by Clara Meister
Texts by Andrew Berardini, Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, Isobel Harbison, Lucy Ives, Graham Parker, Barry Schwabsky, Helena Sidiropoulos, Antje Stahl, Paul Stephens; interviews with Bo Christian Larsson, some of the members of A Dog Republic, Maria Loboda
The publication gives an overview of the 2012 curatorial year at MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38. Curatorial resident Clara Meister’s program focused on different concepts of translation, bringing together an interdisciplinary exhibition program based on the assumption that artistic ideas can be translated into disparate forms and therefore can take varying modes of expression. Four solo exhibitions with Natalie Czech, Bo Christian Larsson, Saâdane Afif, and Maria Loboda, as well as a collaborative project with A Dog Republic (Jean-Baptiste Decavèle, Nico Dockx, Yona Friedman, Helena Sidiropoulos, Krist Torfs) were accompanied by small poster publications, which constitute the individual chapters of the book. Writers, artists, and thinkers were invited to contribute playful essays that were either a source of inspiration for the exhibition or linked to its ideas.
We have moved.
Please note the new studio address:
Studio Quentin Walesch
Görlitzer Ufer 1
Photography by Oliver Helbig
Text by Julia Voss
The Breathing Line (2012), a collaboration between Anri Sala and Ari Benjamin Meyers, is inspired by the reliance between the breathing and the music in the film 1395 Days without Red. The work creates a poetic dialogue between the exhibition space and the subject matter. We see the musical score installed on the aluminum shelves that take up the length of the wall. By physically walking around the installation, so we enter into the filmic space; the time and movement of our reading of this installation create a play of special perception and displacement of sound.
Dear friends of Ludlow 38,
We would like to invite you to the opening of L’S BELLS—The Busker of the Gray Line, a new installation by Berlin-based French artist Saâdane Afif. In his work, Afif appropriates strategies of art and music, in order to critique notions of interpretation and repetition. His installations combine lyrics and music, for instance from popular culture, with prefabricated or ready-made objects.
Having lived in New York for the past six months, Afif takes another step into the city for the exhibition at MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38. In recent years, Afif has asked fellow artists, curators, and critics to write descriptive or metaphorical song texts referring to his work. These lyrics are usually presented as wall texts accompanying his art objects. For L’S BELLS— The Busker of the Gray Line, Afif invited Brooklyn-based street musician Mount Moon to compose and perform nine songs using such texts, in his American singer-songwriter style. While the lyrics will be presented at the gallery, the other part of the exhibition will wander through the city with Mount Moon, who will perform the songs in the Bedford Avenue and Lorimer Street subway stations in Brooklyn at various unannounced times throughout the exhibition period.
Saâdane Afif was born in Vendôme, France, in 1970, and lives and works in Berlin. In early 2012 his solo exhibition Anthologie de l’humour noir [Anthology of black humor], which originated at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in 2010, took place at MMK Zollamt, Frankfurt am Main. Other recent solo exhibitions include The Fairytale Recordings at Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, in 2011. Afif has also shown his work at OPA, Guadalajara; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and Museum Folkwang, Essen, among others. In 2007 he participated in documenta 12. Afif was the recipient of the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2009.
Mount Moon is the musical outlet of Wesley Bryon, resident of Bushwick, Brooklyn. His songs retain a folk- and blues-influenced vibe when played live, but recordings showcase more instrumental experimentation. Bryon also produces comic books, art, and meager amounts of writing, and plays bass in the psychedelic blues experience Sagopalm.
The exhibition is accompanied by an album with all new songs performed by Mount Moon and a publication with texts by Lucy Ives, Clara Meister, and Antje Stahl.
In partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy within the framework of the Carte Blanche program.
For more information on the exhibition and related events visit www.ludlow38.org
Dear friends of Ludlow 38,
We would like to invite you to the opening of a new site-specific installation by Berlin-based Swedish artist Bo Christian Larsson. The Emperor’s New Thoughts will unfold during a happening with live music by Shawn Greenlee, a recording of which will contribute to a subsequent installation in the gallery.
Bo Christian Larsson uses his drawings and paintings as blueprints for his installations, which often are the outcome of happenings. For each happening, many of the spatial elements and references are pre-chosen, while the spontaneous moments are not controlled. This combination of spontaneity and intention is prominent in Larsson’s practice; the artist sees no difference between his finished work and its process. Working with obscure and mysterious symbols, Larsson simultaneously plays with the clichés of symbolism and the common reading of clichés.
The starting point of The Emperor’s New Thoughts is a loose adaption of Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen’s well-known fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes. Larsson had parts of the tale translated through synaesthesia, a neurological condition in which certain experiences, such as color and taste, are combined. The words of Andersen’s story were translated into colors and shapes of familiar symbols, like circles and squares. During the happening, one of Larsson’s Alter Egos will activate the visualization of the synaesthetic interpretation by pulling strings. The strings release pigments in a certain order, creating forms in a brightly lit room, which serves as a stage. This translation of movements into shapes is followed by another translation, into music. Drawing on his longstanding interest in music, Larsson collaborates with Shawn Greenlee, a sound artist who will make the shapes audible with customized instruments, in a direct reaction to the happening.
Bo Christian Larsson (born 1976 in Kristinehamn, Sweden) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at AKI, Academy of Visual Arts in Enschede, Holland. Larsson has had solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Braunschweig; Bregenzer Kunstverein, Austria; and Gallery Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen. His work has been presented in group exhibitions at Kunstverein Munich; Lenbachhaus Munich; Shiryaevo Biennale, Russia; Hayward Gallery, London; and Arario Gallery, Cheonan, Korea. In 2009 Larsson received the Philipp Otto Runge Residency Scholarship and was artist-in-residence at Kunst:Raum Sylt Quelle. During The Emperor’s New Thoughts, a selection of his sculptures, drawings, and paintings will be presented at Vogt Gallery, New York.
Shawn Greenlee is a sound and electronic media artist. In his recent performance and installation work, Greenlee has focused on generating digital audio from graphic patterns. Via computer programs of his own design, he advances new methods for interpreting visual images as sound (graphic synthesis).
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with texts by Paul Stephens and Graham Parker, and the first published interview with all of Bo Christian Larsson’s Alter Egos.
For more information on the exhibition and related events visit www.ludlow38.org