Try to Hold Your Gaze Steady
February 22 – April 19, 2019
Opening reception: February 22nd 6-9 pm
With participating artists: Thomas Dexter, Harm van den Dorpel,
Zsuzsanna Szegedi-Varga, Lan Xu
Curator: Viola Lukács
Try to Hold Your Gaze Steady is a group exhibition where the digital image undergoes irregular fluctuations in physical motion. Such an encounter negates the disembodied nature of digital technology and initiates an important rupture within the established fields of visual perception and representation.
The logic of the digital photograph is one of historical continuity and discontinuity. The digital image tears apart the net of semiotic codes, modes of display, and patterns of spectatorship in modern visual culture–and, at the same time, weaves this net even stronger. The digital image annihilates photography while solidifying, glorifying and immortalizing the photographic – claims Lev Manovich in his early writing Photography after Photography.
The exhibition examines this conflict in recent and remastered works by Thomas Dexter, Harm van den Dorpel, Zsuzsanna Szegedi and Lan Xu. The artists in this investigatory show treat the digital image as material, and its qualities and properties as one, extant question that may be concerned with perception, representation and the conservation of the digital image. Each artist has a radically different mode of interaction with the medium.
Artist and performer Thomas Dexter’s work has been featured at the Guggenheim and PS1/MOMA. This time he creates a series of videos with a miniature “POV” action-sports camera attached to the end of a consumer cordless power drill. The gradual acceleration of the camera movement turns landscapes into contemplative mandalas that unveil the often invisible transmission between figuration and abstraction. As viewers struggle and fail to maintain spatial hierarchies, the process reveals the limitations of human perception.
Berlin based artist Harm van den Dorpel is known for his “left gallery” project that uses blockchain to open new possibilities for the production and distribution of digital art. The present video work Three Sleepwalkers applies his typical blend of manipulated and reconfigured visual elements taken from a number of sources to critically explore quotidien life and meme culture.
Zsuzsanna Szegedi-Varga imagines new subjectivities and post-human bodies in a series of photographic works where the Iphone’s camera becomes an expanded brush. Through gesturally outpacing the camera’s panoramic “image-stitching” algorithm, these works playfully collapse distinctions between subject and milieu, drawing attention to the fluidity of identities.
Artist and DJ Lan Xu translates semiotic codes and grids taken from digital culture into a performative installation. Handcrafted objects, textural neon tubes link with New Age “deep image” poetry boosted with dance. This is the celebration of the possibilities to immerse in a collective experience beyond physical space and time.
Try to hold your gaze steady while reality falls apart and comes back together, or maybe not.
Yona Friedman: The Dilution of Architecture
curator with Nader Seraj
Art Center, Ecole Internationale Geneva
Improvised architecture is “space-time” architecture: its configuration in space moves in time. Change in “space-time” architecture is not continuous, in the mathematical sense of the term. You cannot predict, knowing a given state, what will be the next one. There are no “rules,” the process of change is erratic. Improvised architecture is not “functional” in the sense Bauhaus interpreted functionalism. Nor is it aestheticizing, even if it might produce aesthetic effects. It is simply “living” architecture, not subjected to any theory. Yona Friedman: The Dilution of Architecture presents the development of Yona Friedman’s creative pursuits, the Hungarian architect, artist, and author of “Utopies Réalisables”. His avant-garde ideas explored new conceptions of the city and ways of life existing on the fringes of “mainstream” architecture, from the second half of the 20th century to nowadays. The exhibition is based on a programme created by Yona Friedman and covers its emblematic themes such as: mobile architecture, the spatial city, urban agriculture, network cities, auto planification, and the role of the architect. It is showcased in conjunction with the book “The Dilution of Architecture” by Yona Friedman and Manuel Orazi, edited by Nader Seraj, and published by Park Books – Zurich and Éditions Archizoom – EPFL in 2015. Through his prioritisation of the process over the object, Friedman lays out an architectural design that accentuates communication prior to the creation of the shape itself. For users to entirely take in his ideas, he puts forth architectural programmes that are reduced to what is essential, comparable to guidelines for a plural society. These are presented within the exhibition through a documenting of his drawings, writings and concepts that are at each and everyone’s scale. More than just a collection of projects, the exhibition attempts to comprehend and communicate the seed of such revolutionary thought, which feels all the more relevant today.
Do Not Trust the Mirror–Curating in Conversation with Klára Kuchta
Master Research and Graduation Project 2013-2016
New HEADs–Fondation BNP Paribas Art Awards, nominee
In Kuchta’s work we can trace a persistent deconstruction of the archetypal image of feminine desirability by using human hair for more than a decade starting in the mid-seventies. The artist conceptualizes hair as a social metaphor, as a medium and a mediator of meaning can communicate a sense of self and otherness, either to advocate or to agitate conventional distinctions between divisions of gender, race, class, and substantiate an embodied, yet entirely external discourse focused on social and personal significance in a form of making images, performance and video. Her pioneering activity in new media and her original socio-economic approach are barely holding the stage due to obstructive conditions she faces as a migrant female artist in Geneva since the 1970s.
My research maps patterns of objectives based on series of conversations with Klára Kuchta between September 2014 and April 2016, aiming to go beyond an art-historical portrait by illuminating aspects that are connecting her work and her story to the very contemporary reality I am living. This notorious intergenerational exchange favors the reconstruction of history as a form of subjective knowledge production in which narration is a tool to shape history, and to catch a truth in storytelling, such as the truth that has emerged from a shared path of two people. Thus, the process is a living experiment, which overlaps academic conventions of research. With this in mind I intend to challenge, develop, reflect, and strive for robust interpretations and warrantable knowledge concerning conceptual and performative art that are ethically grounded with respect and care for the experience of the self and others. This is configured through; intergenerational exchange, representation, vestige of violence, intersectional understandings, strong subjectivity and feminist empiricism.
credit: Raphaelle Mueller, HEAD photo
credit: Art Market Budapest
The Hungarian public has already become acquainted with Bernar Venet´s work through two notable exhibitions at the Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle Budapest firrst in the context of a group exhibition, Fémjelzések/ Metal Signals (1999), and subsequently through a retrospective exhibition, New York – Versailles – Budapest (2012). The latter provided a comprehensive overview of Bernar Venet`s oeuvre, from his early Minimalist tar paintings, through his conceptual period, up to and including his sculptures and wall reliefs that ushered in today’s experimental epoch of seeing steel as an artistic medium. Bernar Venet’s extensive oeuvre is a culmination of intellectual rigor, artistic dexterity, and creative exploration. His signature Arcs, Straight Lines, Angles and Indeterminate Lines spring forth from an intensive use of mathematics and hard science, which first found form in his conceptual drawings from the 1960s. The MetaMetria exhibition intended to elucidate these artistic periods by featuring a selection of sculptures, maquettes and works on paper. I recommend reading the volume with the concepts of sublimity, chance and renewal, which have been mainstays of Venet’s career, in mind.
Otto Piene: Zero Has Never Stopped
Plutschow Gallery, Zürich, 2014
In retrospect, we must call epochal when two young Düsseldorf artists invited the public into their studio and proclaimed there the zero hour of post-war art in 11 April 1957. It was birth of ZERO. A series of evening exhibitions by Otto Piene, Heinz Mack and a little later Günther Uecker marked the beginning of a new avant-garde. The movement traveled elsewhere and was taken up by artists like Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely and Yayoi Kusama, each with a mission to reinvent and redefine art in the aftermath of World War II.
The Plutschow gallery is proud to present Otto Piene, one of the great artistic figures of the 20th century. The exhibition offers a great overview of his decades-long investigation of technology and light phenomena embodied into an art that was focused on life. The delicate selection of recent works are appearing in various medium such as ceramics, gouaches and steel work by showing its strong roots in the Grid Pictures (1957)–a type of stencilled painting made from halftone screens with regularly arranged points in single colors– and the never ceased faith to the essential idea of ZERO.
Sinae Yoo: TIDYMESS
Oishi Gallery, Zurich, 2014
In her video practice, Sinae Yoo focuses on the subject of hygiene implanted into a digital moving image. The artist’s homeland South Korea has striking cold streetlights and an immaculate public sphere in a highly technocratic society. Moreover, the modernization has drawn a sharp line between nature and artificial environment; After awhile she got a strong urge to start doing a research about the function of hygiene that is controlled with moral goodness as well as a contemporary notion of order and disorder that is diffused throughout the technology-laced con- temporary life; On this stage of the human evolu- tion, hygiene appears as a fundamental component of the global order, it’s a crucial that keeps society secure and controlled at the same time. In historical perspective, hygiene shows a close relation to progress such as a development, perfec- tion, and transition from a lower to higher stage.
It reinforces various strategies to clean up society, starting from the enlightenment through colonization and the Modern time. Behind public health science hygiene served as the basis for marginalizing and discriminating minorities based on gender, race or social class. In the subversive ow of the 3d-designed sanitary elements indicates that the immaculate aspect of cleanness overlaps materiality. e cyberspace gives a new dimension to the preceding territorialisation and yet a nourishing platform for contra-production.
Sinae Yoo deliberately washes the line between natural and arti cial, when creates synthesized images of primer elements such as re, water and air and turns the sensual experience into a synesthetic visual and audio transformation. Her voice is an echo breaking the barriers of this dualistic reality. She takes a critical position by incorporating and aestheticizing accelerationist capitalist strategies of hygiene standards on a daily base and in the cyberspace. Her statement is clearly laid out in the antagonistic title of the video work TIDYMESS.
The text was published in the Christmas exhibition of the Bern Kunsthalle in 2014.
X-ray Texture Pack group exhibition
Vienna, Austria, 2013
The exhibition titled X-Ray ‘Texture Pack’ was brought to life by Invention Arts in Budapest and Ulrike Hrobsky Gallery in Vienna. The exhibition inhabits a former X-ray medical office’s spaces where it reveals the aesthetic and critical projection of the concept of visibility and transparency upon our present information-driven society’s real and virtual correlations. According to Johan Huizinga playing generally founds and affects the world, and inside it is a factor of culture creating. Playing is a free act, where, however, all participants are governed by the agreed rules of the play. Obligation as an invariant and freedom as a variant coexist in the functioning of a society also. Supervision and transparency’s role has been valued higher in the regulated order. The examination of the former phenomenon, and also the understanding of the observer and the observed provide the focus of the exhibition. The question arises: how deeply does the control, which spreads on life in a wide spectrum, limit the individual’s playfield and how well does it serve said individual’s equal opportunities in the game of life.
Under Reconstruction, Ujlak csoport 1988-1995
co-curator, Florian Mozi, Budapest 2012
I HAVE NEVER HAPPENED
I’VE NEVER HAPPENED
–in search of disappearing affections
curator: Viola Lukács
topic | espace d’art independent, Avenue Ernest-Pictet 28-30, 1203 Genève
“You know, you kept me thinking all day. I haven’t spoken to anyone for months and I barely know you and I already need to talk to you … And there’s something the more I think about the less I understand: why the hell did you tell me you liked me? Answer me, because I didn’t like you saying that at all. You can’t just walk up to a woman you barely know and tell her you like her. Y-o-u-c-a-n’t. You don’t know what she’s going through, what she’s feeling. I’m not married, you know. I’m not anything in this world. I’m just not anything.” – Guillermo Arriaga, 21 Grams, London: Faber and Faber 2003
Violuk Contemporary is pleased to present an immersive exhibition of new works by Judit Kis, concerning her ongoing research on human relations, such as love and other crimpy issues. This will be Kis’ first solo show in Geneva.
Kis presents painting, sculpture, and video, continuing her exploration and exploitation of personal relations. I HAVE NEVER HAPPENED addresses the community-forming rituals and codes around love affairs and their transgressions, working through the underbelly of desire as expressed through the patterns of cheating and envy.
How long does it take to get rid of all the illusions cumulated during a relationship? Do we really leave traces in each other`s life?
Kis is one of the generations 2.0 “camgirl” artists, who is claiming awareness to women net artists to a boarder public. Her self-revealing videos embody the circle of love relations despite gender and social premises, while also intimacy and poetry are woven into the floating text along the videos, she describes; “All my works are honest reflections on the temporary impressions that are often repeated in my life. Where do these memories come from, are they all just my illusions? I became interested in what effects I have had on Others’ lives while they often become the source of my artworks as being an inspiration for a piece.”
The open-cube-space of Topic will function as the artist`s transparent black box, storing memories, images, objects, overscrolled conversations, never answered e-mails, delightful contentment of unity and struggles of neglect. The installation is going to be in perpetual flux between the state of illusion and disillusion, thus it depicts the nature of love and its consequences.
During the exhibition this gloomy box will open for participation via daily collective absolution and forgiveness practices. We invite the audience to take part in various activities, such as Illusion cleaning yoga, clay workshop, postcard sending session and book-banding brunch. As part of Kis` artistic practice, she calls for the voice of Others not only on the spot but also on Instagram that provides anonymity for the contributors.
The resulting works straddle the complex relationships between meaning, complexity, representation, and materiality of love and other crimpy issues.