Category: Exhibition Reviews

Nostalgic Artifice – Modus R

Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami, December 04-12, 2006

    We need to place ourselves in an area where politics and art are intertwined, where the resistant force of politics and the creative forces of art mutually affect each other, blurring the frontiers between them.
    –Suely Rolnik, “The Twilight of the Victim: Creating Quits Its Pimp, to Rejoin Resistance.”(S. Rolnik, “The Twilight of the Victim: Creation Quits Its Pimp, to Rejoin Resistance,” Zehar, no.51, (2003):36. www.arteleku.net.)

“Young and energetic” was the description that Alexander Esin gave to a group of Russian artists in his preface to the 2006 … Read more

When the Unavoidable Knocks at the Door…

Lost Highway Expedition was initiated by Azra Akšamija, Katherine Carl, Ana Dzokiæ, Ivan Kucina, Marc Neelen, Kyong Park, Marjetica Potrè and Srdjan Jovanoviæ Weiss, together with partners in participating cities. The expedition started on July 30, 2006 and went from Ljubljana to Zagreb, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Skopje, Pristina, Tirana, and Podgorica. It ended on August 24, 2006 in Sarajevo.

In contrast to the idea and logic that changing places leads from point A to point B, an odyssey within and/or across cultural boundaries started from Ljubljana and ended in Sarajevo with Lost Highway Expedition (LHE).LHE is a project Read more

“Sweet Crude Eternity”: Andrei Molodkin at Kashya Hildebrand

Andrei Molodkin, December 8-January 21 2006, Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, New York

Andrei Molodkin’s most recent exhibition reveals some highly charged works which poignantly unmask the political intrigue that is often not far from the surface of the global oil business. By throwing together so directly the forces of culture and politics, Molodkin’s sculptures draw the viewer to reflect not only on their effect upon humanity and the environment in which we live, but also on their potential for the diminution of culture as a whole.

At the heart of this exhibition is Molodkin’s exploration of the concepts of consumption and … Read more

Songs of Russia

Yevgeniy Fiks: The Song of Russia, 24 December 2005 – 24 January 2006, Gallery ArtStrelka Projects (Moscow)

Yevgeniy Fiks was born in Moscow and now teaches in New York, where he has been living for more than ten years. He presented his work in Moscow for the third time. Previously, he showed his work last year during the first Moscow Biennale at the group exhibition for émigré artists, “Post – Diasporas. Voyages and Missions”.

In December 2005, Fiks had a small solo exhibition that exhibited a work called “The Song of Russia” in a place that is very active … Read more

Bloody Dew and Other Prophesies: On the Art of Bogna Burska

A Peculiar Fluid

“Blut ist ein ganz besonderer Saft” (blood is a very peculiar fluid) says Mephistopheles in Goethe`s Faust. Indeed, blood attracts us and makes us avert our eyes, it fills us with fear and tenderness. What a symbolic potential it has! After all, blood is a symbol of sacrifice, martyrdom and redemption as well as war, murder, and sustenance to the dead. On the one hand, the artist deprives human blood of its magical, ritual power using it in spite of the Biblical curse (“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the … Read more

New Photography from the Caucasus at ifa-Gallery (Stuttgart)


Spot on… 9 September – 23 October 2005, ifa-Galerie, Stuttgart. 

Spot on… is the name for a series of exhibits instituted by the German ifa-galleries that selects pertinent works from previous Biennales and various photography festivals, with a preference for works from more “exotic” countries.(Past examples have been the Sharjah Biennale and Noorderlicht, presenting Arabian photography.)

The last Spot on… exhibition presented recent developments in Caucasian photography from Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. The focus of the exhibition was “to examine the subject of authenticity in photography from the perspective of the ‘documentary’”(See the web-site of the exhibition: Read more

“Russia Redux #1” at Schroeder Romero Gallery

Russia Redux #1, 17 September – 17 October 2005, Schroeder Romero Gallery, New York City

It is a more interesting combination than art and beauty, or art and domestic interiors, but it presents the viewer with a dilemma: how do I evaluate the art without also evaluating the politics? In other words, can I possibly relate to the artworks without also delving into the political point of view, and is my appreciation of the artworks dependent upon my acceptance of the politics?

I would say no. The idea of a completely formal analysis is absolutely vacuous: the notion that … Read more

“RUSSIA!” At Guggenheim in NYC

RUSSIA! 16 September 2005 – 11 January 2006, Guggenheim Museum, New York 

The exhibition RUSSIA!, which opened at the NYC Guggenheim in September 2005, has become the subject of heated debates among cultural commentators both in the West and in Russia. Because of the symbolic value of the venue, the show is catalyzing discourse about the state of affairs with Russian art, the post-Soviet condition, and the representation of Russian art in the West today.

The organizers of RUSSIA! rightfully claimed that this exhibition was “…the most comprehensive and spectacular showing of Russian art ever sent to the United … Read more

Anna Sokolina on the “RUSSIA!” Panels at the Guggenheim

RUSSIA! 16 September 2005 – 11 January 2006, Guggenheim Museum, New York

The magnificent RUSSIA! exhibition at the Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum in New York(<http://www.guggenheim.org/russia>), introduced to the public as “the most comprehensive exhibition of Russian art ever shown in the United States,” features over 270 “of the greatest masterworks of Russian art, from the thirteenth century to the present, many traveling for the first time outside Russia.”(<http://www.guggenheim.org/press_office.cgi?which=/press_releases/release_116.html>)

As indicated on the wall preceding the display, it is “realized under the patronage of Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation” and “organized … Read more

Kristina Leko’s “Amerika”

Amerika, May-June 2005, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb

In her project entitled Amerika, Kristina Leko employs the tools of ethnology to explore the Croatian émigré community in America. The artist’s method is analogous to anthropological research, which takes culture as its object, is concerned with the contextual and involves fieldwork in the everyday.

While anthropology “deals in the present with the question of the other,”(Marc Augé, Non-Places, Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity (Verso: London and New York, 1995), 18.) Kristina Leko evokes the intertwining of self and other, past and present, “Amerika” and the “old … Read more

Transcending Clichés with Julita Wojcik

    “I will paint every rule I or others have invisibly placed. Oh how they penetrate though and all over.” – Eva Hesse(Entry in diary from 28 October 1960, quoted in Eva Hesse, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.)

“Help me to peel this mountain of potatoes! Help me to swipe the floors! Knit with me! Help me to paint this landscape! Help me to be myself…and help yourself to be yourself too!” – Julita Wojcik

The essence here is trans-individual, made up of bonds that link individuals together in social forms which are historical and cultural, friendly ‘networks’ … Read more

“Contemporary Art in the Time of Late Christianity”

Deisis, October 2004, State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow 

The project Deisis/Forthcoming exhibited at the State Tretyakov gallery in October 2004 shocked Moscow’s art community like no other exhibition before. Under their irony, critics barely disguised their rage and even alarm. According to them, the project only pretended to be an example of advanced art, being in reality a threat against it.

One can imagine that the computerized version entitled Deisis/Anthropology (shown at the Moscow Biennale as part of the “Art Digital” project in Mars gallery) will give rise to a similar reaction. It seems that the artists succeeded in seriously … Read more

The Logics of the “Neglected” Center

1 Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, January 28 – February 28, 2005, Various Locations, Moscow

“Our project, which happened to be the first of this kind in Moscow, presents the first alternative to the current formation of the Russia’s capital, which has been overlooked for a long time: this “neglected” center has never been integrated with the others. The logic of changes can form here recognition and glory of a new kind. This does not mean “again to conquer a central place,” but it refers to the assumption of “being in the center.”

Curators’ Foreword to the catalogue … Read more

Anri Sala, “Now I see”, Art Institute of Chicago

Anri Sala, Now I see, 12 October 2004 – 30 January 2005, Art Institute, Chicago

Upon entering the installation of Anri Sala’s Now I see (2004), his first 35-mm film, the viewer is enveloped in total darkness. The effect is, at first, purposefully disorienting; then a flicker of light flashes upon a 10 x 12 foot screen. A second or two later, the face of a young man emerges from the pitch-black along with the pulse of an electric guitar.

What follows seems to adhere to fairly standard conventions of rock video, with its guitar antics and male posturing, … Read more

Amateur Enthusiam

Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cummings, Enthusiasts from Amateur Film Clubs 25 June – 29 August 2004, Centrum Sztuki Wspolczesnej, Warsaw

Walter Benjamin produced his most unambiguously Marxist statement about art in his 1934 lecture “Der Autor als Produzent.” Stepping back from inflamed Weimar debates about the politically correct form of progressive art, he maintained that to argue the case for one artistic language over another was to miss the point.

Whether socialist realism was more legible than abstraction was not the issue; the key challenge for Marxist culture, he maintained, was to wrest the technologies of reproduction from the bourgeoisie.… Read more

MICROPOL

MICROPOL, 1-13 November 2004, SKC Gallery, Belgrade

The system of art stands for a network of diverse instances taking constitutive part in the definition, formation, and production of meaning and knowledge in contemporary art. All these instances represent and relate to different institutions and institutional parameters as much as to the institutionalized roles and responsibilities in the professional field of contemporary art.

It should be made clear at the very beginning that the reference towards Contemporary Art in general is here principally bound by the idea of the System of Art, conceived of the Institution of Art, its broadest … Read more

The Moscow State Biennial

The first Moscow Biennial opens on January 28th, 2005. The issues that this exhibition tackles are characteristic of any major international exhibition of such grand scale, and include breaking with the isolation of the local art scene, reconnecting it to a larger art world, promoting discussions, inspiring dialogues, and educating the public.

But legitimization is perhaps the most critical issue any new biennial faces, and it is interesting to analyze it with regard to the upcoming Moscow exhibition: What is being legitimized there and what is the process through which this legitimization occurs?

Although the Moscow Biennial has not yet … Read more

Hidden Holocaust

Elhallgatott Holocaust/Hidden Holocaust, March 18 – May 30, 2004, Mucsarnok, Budapest

The Mucsarnok (or Kunsthalle) is a major exhibition space for contemporary art in Budapest and its region. This March 18 through May 30, it was also the site of the Elhallgatott Holocaust/Hidden Holocaust exhibition. To mark the sixtieth anniversary of the deportations from Hungary to Auschwitz, no fewer than two other Holocaust related exhibitions also appeared. At the Galeria Centralis, Auschwitz: Reconstruction, Representation, Remembrance, and at The House of Terror, Iniquity.(Galleria Centralis is supported by the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation and Read more

Mediterraneans

MEDITERRANEANS, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome at Mattatoio, Rome. 4 June – 19 September 2004.(Participating artists: Anri Sala (Albania), Adel Abdessemed (Algeria), Melik Ohanian (Armenia. Lives in France), Damir Niksic (Bosnia), Andreja Kuluncic (Croatia), Tomo Savic-Gecan (Croatia), Slaven Tolj (Croatia), Iman Issa (Egypt), Hassan Khan (Egypt), Mahmoud Rifaat (Egypt), Wael Schawky (Egypt), Panos Kokkinias (Greece), Deanna Maganias (Greece), Dimitris Tsoublekas (Greece), Yael Bartana (Israel. Lives in the Netherlands), Valery Bolotin (Israel), Amit Goren (Israel), Raffie Lavie (Israel), Michal Na’aman (Israel), Gill Shani (Israel), Nahum Tevet (Israel), Roberto Cuoghi (Italy), Avish Khebrehzadeh (Iran. Lives in USA), Raffaella Read more

The Title is Programmatic

Privatisierungen, 16 May – 26 June 2004, Kunst-Werke, Berlin

In the course of the scientific project “The Post-Communist Condition,” which deals with cultural reactions to the political and social situation in Eastern Europe after the collapse of communism, the art and media theoretician Boris Groys launched an exhibition on contemporary art.

The exhibition, called “Privatisierungen. Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Osteuropa” (“Privatizations. Contemporary art from Eastern Europe”), was shown in the Berliner exhibition hall Kunst-Werke from 16th May until 26th June.

“Privatisierungen“ concentrates on projects, mostly photographs and video art, that present what Groys calls a kind of “private appropriation” of … Read more

I Menstruate, So Should I Stay at Home?

This Month I Menstruate, Gallery Art Factory, Wenceslas Square, Prague, March 3 – March 19, 2004

Exhibiting artists: Barbora Baronova – Pavlina Binkova – Veronika Bromova – Stanislav Divis – Roman Franta – Lenka Fritschova – Adela Havelkova – Milova Havrankova – Tereza Hendlova – Veronika Hubkova – Tereza Janeckova – Peter Javorik – Lenka Klodova – Gabriela Kontra – Iveta Kratochvilova – Katerina Mala – Rita Marhaug – Stepanka Matuskova – Eva Meisnerrova – Osamu Okamura – Pipi Modra Puncocha – Jiri Pliestik – Jana Stepanova – Petra Valentova – Jirina Zachova – Jitka Zabkova

In 1972, a … Read more

“The Critic’s Choice 2004” – Jovan Despotovic: “Old Now”

The Critic’s Choice, Gallery of the Culture Center, Belgrade, January 8-24, 2004

The traditional annual exhibition The Critic’s Choice this year features the selection entitled Old Now by the assistant minister of culture and curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Mr. Jovan Despotovic.

The author has decided to deviate from the usual practice of basing his selection on the artists who have exhibited during the previous year.

Instead, he chose to present the current work of the group of authors who were gathered at the exhibition entitled New Now more than twenty years ago: Darja Kacic, Milovan Destil … Read more

2003 Chalupecky Prize Shortlist: The Jindrich Chalupecky Award Finalists 2003

Futura, Prague, 11 November – 4 January

The exhibition of shortlisted works for the 2003 Chalupecky Prize at Prague’s FUTURA contemporary art space, can best be summed up with two words: Kristof Kintera.

Among this year’s finalists—a list which also includes Ján Manzuka, Michaela Thelenová, Jan Lerych, Michal Pechounek—only Kristof Kintera has presented anything like a credible claim to the Czech Repulic’s premier award for contemporary art—an award which has gained increasingly in notoriety in recent years due more to the quality of the successive scandals surrounding it than to the quality of the competition.

The only artist to approach … Read more

Ondrej Tucek & the Art of Redemption

Namesti Jana Palacha, Prague, June-October 2004

Recently there have been a number of interesting exhibitions mounted at the Philosophy Faculty building on Námesti Jana Palacha, curated by Ondrej Hrab.

One of these in particular stands out and deserves mention: Ondrej Tucek’s series of found objects, previously on show at Klub v Jelení, the Catholic House in Telc, Sazavou castle, and Muncipal Theatre, Cesky Krumlov.

Using plastic bottles, steel wires, torn wrappers, bricks, cardboard tubes, half-eaten biscuits, stiboglyphics, and other ephemeral tracings of industrial and urban activity, Tucek’s work charts what could be called the “inventions” of mimesis in objects which … Read more

How a Genre Exhibits Itself by Discussing the Exhibition

Berlin – Moscow/Moscow – Berlin 1950-2000, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin, 27 September 2003 – 1 May 2004 

The exhibition review is one of the most unmerciful genres created by literal cultures. In this context the critic’s iconoclasm takes subtle revenge for the disregard of the written word after the so-called “pictorial turn” in Western societies.

Trying a shaky balance between ekphrasis, elevating the review to the status of pictorial art, and textual criticism of pictures demonstrating the domination of verbal over visual discourse, the reviewer shifts from the position of a viewer to that of a reader, often playing off … Read more

Malevich’s Transparency

Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 13 May ­ 14 September 2003

Kasimir Malewitsch: Suprematism, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, 18 January – 27 April 2003

Malevich’s pieces of art exhibited this year at the Guggenheim Museum in Berlin and New York are labeled as “Suprematism.”

There are proper reasons for the title: all works exposed in this canonical collection are related to the doctrine formulated in 1915 (sketches already in 1913) and later developed by Malevich and his followers and disciples into one of the most powerful concepts and stimuli of contemporary art.

The canonical element of the … Read more

Irwin: Retroprincip 1983-2003

“Irwin: Retroprincip 1983-2003” at Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, September 26-October 26, 2003 

“Irwin: Retroprincip 1983-2003,” curated by Inke Arns (Berlin), presents an extensive survey in the work of Irwin, as well as a collective of Slovenian painters (Dušan Mandic, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek, and Borut Vogelnik), including some of the most influential artists from the former Yugoslavia.

Their artistic practice, as well as their theoretical writings and research projects, concern the following diverse subjects: the relationship between art and totalitarianism; modernist iconography and ideology; the geo-political impact of the revolutions of 1989-1991; and the historicising of modern and contemporary … Read more

Pierre Daguin: The Frank’s Wild Years

Home Gallery, Prague, 17 December – January 30 

To correspond with its first anniversary, HOME Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of recent works on paper by Pierre Daguin.

This show, Daguin’s first in Prague for several years, represents part of a larger series of recent works including a selection of photographs (“Philip Morris,” “Kuchen und Lugger” and “Psychosex”), several “antipersonnel bombs,” an installation entitled the “Children of Marcos” (weapon-toys) and the White Book (a book of collage about terrorism).

For the installation of “drawings” at HOME Gallery this December-January, Daguin will be exhibiting a series of faux-naif renderings of … Read more

Neue Slowenische Kunst

Inke Arns, Neue Slowenische Kunst – NSK: Laibach, Irwin, Gledališce sester Scipion Nasice, Kozmokineticno gledališce rdeci pilot, Kozmokineticni kabinet Noordung, Novi kolektivizem. Eine Analyse ihrer künstlerischen Strategien im Kontext der 1980er Jahre in Jugoslawien (An analysis of their artistic strategies in the context of the 80s in Yugoslavia), Museum Ostdeutsche Galerie (MOG), Regensburg 2002. 

The German name Neue Slowenische Kunst, New Slovene Art, is maybe a less known name for the Slovene artists’ collective that consists of more well-known sub-collectives such as the ideologically provocative and often controversial percept music group Laibach, the five-person painters’ collective Irwin, the performance group … Read more

Roma Sculptors’ International Project

The first Roma art exhibition in Romania was opened during August 5th-19th 2003 at the Simeza Gallery in Bucharest (downtown, Magheru Boulevard, no 20). The featured artists were two professional sculptors: Marian Petre and Mircea Lacatus.

They were both born and educated in Romania. Petre is currently still living in Romania, but Lacatus left the country in 1990 after his graduation. Lacatus is currently living in Austria, the place where his artistic destiny has been fulfilled.

The exhibition, entitled Roma art, is the first stage of a larger project, initiated by Artisrroma Cultural Association, a Romanian non-governmental organization, founded by … Read more