In the Flesh, Part II: Potential Adaptations

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In the Flesh, Part II: Potential Adaptations

Works by Ivana BasicHannah BlackMegan DaalderCécile B. Evans, and Martha Friedman at Gallery Diet

“Gallery Diet is pleased to present In the Flesh, Part II: Potential Adaptations, a group exhibition curated by Courtney Malick, on view from February 6 to March 12, 2016.

In the Flesh Part ll: Potential Adaptations builds upon the exhibition In the Flesh Part I: Subliminal Substances, which featured work by contemporary artists who explore the potentially harmful inorganic materials found in many things that we ingest—be they mass produced food products, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, hygiene and beauty products, or invisible matter from toxic waste and technological devices.

To further these investigations of what goes into the body, In the Flesh, Part ll presents artists whose work envisions the long term effects that the continuous ingestion those “subliminal substances” may have on the way that humans look and function. Their works draw attention to ways that the body, the concept of a body, container and vehicle—or lack of a physical vessel as it may someday be—adapts and shifts over time in the ways that it appears externally and functions internally. While the structure of human DNA itself almost never changes, its epigenome, which aids in gene expression, is easily affected by internal and external, organic and inorganic forces. With this in mind, it is clear that what we ingest, and the ways that we use our bodies in relation to our growing reliance on technological devices, will eventually cause the human epigenome to adapt and morph accordingly.

Undeniably, these transmutations may take place over very long periods of time, and are therefore somewhat imaginary in our current moment. However, experimentation with potential future outcomes continues to gain momentum as a present topic of inquiry. With this in mind, Part ll also responds to subcultural groups and schools of thought gaining traction today that actively seek to reinvent the human body with new, often mechanical or “super-human” abilities. In this way, Part ll incorporates groups such as biohackers, body-modders and transhumanists, into its multifarious and wide-ranging conversation of potentialities.

The artists included in In the Flesh, Part ll, each in unique and unusual ways, reimagine and foreshadow the future of the human body. Through their varied practices that span video, sculpture, installation and new media, they at once call reflect upon the evolutionary changes that have already altered the human body, and point to the plausible causes and effects that will continue to drive this constant shift in collective corporeality.

Through her sculptural work, New York-based Ivana Basic creates forms whose surfaces resemble human skin, connoting raw slabs of meat and twisting into themselves into awkward, alien-like figures. Conversely, her two-dimensional work often begins with images of her own likeness, through which she continues to create complex virtual identities.

Berlin-based Hannah Black investigates ways that the individual body can be used as a foil to reconsider larger cultural issues, such as bodily health, vanity, branding, communism, language, the entropic nature of architecture, and their surprising intersections across various cultural contexts.

Los Angeles-based Megan Daalder works in performance, sculpture and filmmaking to parse a wide range of interests and conceptual focal points through which her projects often reveal ways that technological devices and new forms of communication have changed interpersonal relationships.

There is a palpably futuristic quality to the multi-faceted, often project-based work of Berlin-based Cécile B. Evans, through which she complicates notions of and formats for personal identity as they continue to be more and more mediated by the virtual context in which so many people spend the better portion of their lives.

In both the sculptural and performative work of New York-based Martha Friedman, we see specific parts of the human body magnified and exaggerated – their naturalness questioned through her use of bold, synthetic materials and her severe color palette.”

What a Silencer Sounds Like

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What a Silencer Sounds Like

Work by Sinae Yoo and Adam Cruces at Kunsthaus Langenthal

“Does a silencer really sound like it does in a thriller? Why do drivers in movies always move the steering wheel? Why were only tinned exotic fruit experienced as authentic by Koreans in the past? Productive misinterpretation of situations and things in pop culture and cultural exchange is the departing point for the artistic work of Sinae Yoo (*1985) and Adam Cruces (*1985). Both, the Korean and the American artist, now living in Switzerland, have produced large new work series with videos, installations and ceramics for the exhibition in Langenthal. Each in their way address the question how incongruent imagination and perception are and how virtual and physical realities can be connected.”

Jeremy Deprez

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Jeremy Deprez

Work from Common Nouns at Feuer/Mesler

Common Nouns is a collection of paintings developed through attempts to momentarily experience and analyze articles culled from DePrez’s immediate environment.  DePrez imposes humor, self-described awkwardness, and a variety of painterly strategies to build up a visual and material history within each painting.  These impositions encourage the formation of irregularly shaped paintings that overlap and inform one another in a way that transcends their sources objectivity and propels them into a more allegorical space.”

Liam Gillick

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Liam Gillick

Work from Phantom Structures at Casey Kaplan

“This exhibition consists of two bodies of work in which Gillick demonstrates the disparities and harmonies between the abstract and conceptual investigations at the core of his practice.

The first is a series of wall texts executed in pale, shimmering vinyl, which act as the framework for the exhibition. Since the 1990s Gillick’s development of reappearing narratives concerning notions of functional and aesthetic exchange has become central to his practice, often forming the engine for a body of work. Varying from early statements of intent and written equations regarding the rationalization of production versus consumption to the suggestion of various mise-en-scènes, with references to late 19th century utopian writing, the works are a process of continuous reinterpretation. Gillick merges histories with an ever-shifting present, revealing a renewed outlook on his own work and the exhibition as form. Providing varying degrees of insight, the phantom texts gently guide the viewer through the parallel structures in the exhibition that exist as manifestations of a single thought or idea.

The text work Afragmentoffuturehistory (2002) comes from Gillick’s rewriting of Gabriel Tarde’s “Underground Man” (1905), which updated Tarde’s provocative vision of a post-apocalyptic underground world focused entirely on philosophy and art. The work was also used as the title for his Turner Prize exhibition in 2002. A piano and black snow… (2010) refers directly to the artist’s contribution to the performance-based exhibition, Il Tempo del Postino, in 2006. A Yamaha digital grand player piano performed the artist’s attempt to play the Portuguese folk song “Grândola, Vila Morena” from memory – the song that played on the radio to signal the beginning of the Portuguese revolution in 1974. Black snow fell silently onto the piano while the sound only activated when there was an unexpected pause in the flow of the event.

The second component of the exhibition is a new series of abstract structures. Powder-coated aluminum and transparent Plexiglas platforms, screens, corrals and barriers are rooted in a questioning of the aesthetic of contemporary control systems. The works highlight a tension between the ideological norms of our built environment and how this quietly guides human behavior. The most iconic structures in the exhibition, a new series of Discussion Platforms, have remained essential to the artist’s practice for 20 years. Beginning in 1996, these works designate zones to face up to the visual language of renovation, strategy, and development. Initially taking form as panels of Plexiglas in aluminum frameworks fixed to the wall or propped up by poles, in documenta X (1997) a large platform was suspended directly from the ceiling and became a transitional structure in one of the main exhibition spaces. In 2010, a large site-specific Discussion Platform was constructed as a link between a workplace, Centene Plaza, and its neighboring parking garage in Clayton, MO. Tinted glass panels swathe passersby with wide bands of color. Most recently in 2014, a large-scale multi-colored platform was installed at The Contemporary Austin’s Laguna Park. Standing on the banks of Lake Austin it exists as a structure isolated from the language of post-industrial service economies.

Phantom Structures explores the ongoing relationships in Gillick’s work between contemplation and theory in tension with the foundational logic established by his physical structures. By developing a language of abstraction rooted in continual renovation, Gillick’s work endeavors to expose both the disparities and ties between modernist ideals of a refined aesthetic and the behavioral realities that result from endless development. Within this, the larger aesthetic structural framework of today, Gillick seeks to revisit the dysfunctional aspects of Modernism and provide a renewed approach to abstraction.

The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto will present Liam Gillick: Campaign, an exhibition that takes the form of an evolving presentation over one year between January 28, 2016 and January 3, 2017. With a solo exhibition at The Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery in April of 2016, the artist will also participate in EVA International in Limerick (April 2016). Group exhibitions include Kunstverein Hamburg (January 2016); Contemporary Art from the Centre Pompidou at Haus der Kunst, Munich (March 2016); and Kunsthalle Wien (June 2016). Gillick has previously participated in notable exhibitions including dOCUMENTA and the Venice, Berlin, Moscow and Istanbul Biennales, representing Germany in 2009 at the Venice Biennale. The artist has presented solo exhibitions at institutions such as Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Tate, London. His work can be found in public collections such as Centre Pompidou, Paris; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and Bilbao; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; and Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto. A prolific writer and critic of contemporary art over the last twenty-five years, Gillick has contributed to publications including Artforum, October, Frieze and e-flux Journal. Public commissions include the British Government Home Office (Interior Ministry) building in London and the Lufthansa Headquarters in Frankfurt. Gillick has extended his practice into experimental venues and collaborative projects with artists including Philippe Parreno, Lawrence Weiner, and Louise Lawler. His book, Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820 will be published by Columbia University Press this March.”

Clemens von Wedemeyer

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Clemens von Wedemeyer

Works from Cast Behind You The Bones Of Your Mother at KOW

“If works of art carried as little social and political significance as some skeptics claim, would they be as hotly contested as they are, again and again? We can draw a mental timeline of iconoclasm from the statues and temples ISIS is currently smashing to pieces in Syria back to countless military campaigns, revolts, and regime changes in which the conquest of people went hand in hand with the plunder and destruction of their artistic treasures. Two exhibitions by Clemens von Wedemeyer and Dierk Schmidt highlight the political contentiousness of sculpture. The appropriation and exhibition of aesthetic objects is an inherent part of the struggle over dividing up the world. Schmidt examines the history of German colonialism, with a particular view to the politics of restitution and Berlin’s Humboldt Forum. But first, Clemens von Wedemeyer explores the cinema as a social scene and battleground that unfolds upon—but also behind, in front of, and around—the silver screen; a project he has pursued since 2002 in an oeuvre that has increasingly expanded into the genres of documentary environment, architectural installation, and sculpture.

Wedemeyer’s show is the eighth and final chapter in our yearlong program titled ONE YEAR OF FILMMAKERS. In the twentieth century, the moving image has dominated our field of vision and helped reshape how we see others and ourselves. The five-channel film installation THE BEGINNING. LIVING FIGURES DYING(2013) draws on the arsenal of scenes of conjuration and destruction in which the cinema has taken possession of the material images of man (and his gods and demons) by putting them on the screen. In a collage of historic footage, Wedemeyer traces how film staged the aura of bodily presence, animating objects and investing the human likeness with outsize magical power while also shattering it. A brief cultural history of sculpture in the movies in which Greek and Roman antiquity is the foil upon which the creation of a human figure as well as its demonization are projected, the video installation is also a historical catalogue of the implements of suggestion, the props, mockups, and effects, in which the cinema fabricated phantasms of the alien and menacing Other.

Wedemeyer’s exhibition builds on and extends the ensemble he produced for MAXXI in Rome. For the video installation AFTERIMAGE (2013), he created a detailed digital record of the interiors at CineArs, where props for Cinecittà, the hub of Italian filmmaking, have been manufactured since 1932—Cinecittà Holding is currently threatening to close the studio. Two statues that he scanned now resurface in the gallery’s basement showroom as 3D sand prints (2015). Resurrected by algorithms, the two sculptures embody a scene from Greek myth: after Zeus sent a deluge to destroy humankind for its depravity, Deucalion and Pyrrha were the only human beings left on the deserted earth. They consulted the oracle of Themis, who instructed them to cast the bones of their mother behind them. Initially baffled, Deucalion and Pyrrha eventually understood that they were children of the earth—so their mother’s bones must be the rocks at their feet. They threw them over their shoulders, and a young generation sprang up from the stones. A new humanity, born from dead matter.

To make his sculptures, Wedemeyer harnesses techniques archaeologists use to reconstruct ancient temples and works of plastic art—and, in the future, to literally reprint objects destroyed in ravages like the one unleashed by ISIS in Palmyra. Iconoclasm is producing a new type of future artifacts from the past, artifacts that are clearly not what they once were and form a distinctive category of aesthetic objects. Another such object is A RECOVERED BONE (2014). In an act of digital theft, Wedemeyer lifted one of movie history’s most famous props from the screen and set it on a pedestal in the gallery. A key scene from Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” tells the story of humankind’s earliest technological moment: a humanoid uses a bone as the first tool—and the first weapon—and then flings it toward the heavens in a gesture of triumph. Wedemeyer excised the object from the famous scene and reconstructed its shape using 3D modeling technology. The heavens are deserted, the bone is tangible, but each is as inauthentic as the other. Or is it?

3D and nanotechnology, AI, and other twenty-first-century developments herald the advent of novel metamorphoses that throw a different light on the animistic worldviews that speak from ancient stories. Images and spaces, information and bodies become mutually convertible; the boundary between animate and inanimate substance looks increasingly implausible, as do the distinctions between real people and their media incarnations, between genuine objects and mere dummies. Linear time is riddled with holes and folded in wrinkles. Artistic methods of reenactment, the theatrical recreation of past events, widen to include processes of material and immaterial transformation whose coordinates in time and space seem ever more mutable and inject historic moments of emancipation and critique into the social struggles of the present. Instants of resistance leap across the time of history.

In the final section of Wedemeyer’s exhibition, the mute bit-players and extras of a distant past rise up in a noisy rebellion against the movie industry, the “most powerful weapon in modern societies” (as Mussolini put it when he founded the fascist studio Cinecittà). Shot in Rome in 2013, PROCESSION: THE CAST, a film about the extras’ riots that rocked the Roman studio in 1958, features members of the Teatro Valle Occupato, a self-organized ensemble that came together in 2011 to prevent the closure of the historic Teatro Valle by taking the venue’s management into its own hands. Today’s cultural activists speak in the voices of yesterday’s insurgents. In 1958, the American film Ben Hur was shot at Cinecittà—also known as the Italian Hollywood—and thousands of unemployed locals sought work on the movie’s now-famous crowd scenes. When they were turned away, they stormed the studios: the political dimension of iconoclasm extends beyond the toppling of works of visual art to the social protest against the conditions under which they are produced.”

Text: Alexander Koch
Translation: Gerrit Jackson
Editing: Kimberly Bradley

Greg Ponchak

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Greg Ponchak

Work from White Lily at Quality Gallery

I. Rift? Event? Rupture?

II. Regardless, a world is torn apart. Seemingly immutable bonds and relations splinter generating unimaginable amounts of energy. Bodies bask in the radiant heat and begin to thaw, escaping their former rigidity and adopting a softer, protean form. Freed from their attachments they begin coalesce and fragment. They collide and fuse only to fragment once more. In the infant world, there are no permanent states of being only ephemeral forms and linkages. Still, the transient nature of these encounters does not render them inert. Each convergence and embrace cuts itself into and inscribes itself onto the engaged bodies; it transfigures them and leaves them different than they previously were. The dance engenders transmutation.

III. This world cannot last forever. As time passes, bodies inevitably begin to lose energy and tend towards equilibrium. With less energy to expend, serendipitous encounters with foreign bodies become increasingly rare. A lethargic feedback loop establishes itself and declares the end of the dance. Without it, the difference engine falls apart. Bodies fall into place and relations stabilize. The world grows rigid. The dust settles.

IV. Relations further crystalize and bonds begin to corrode. Bodies no longer move nor change; they only become more of what they already are; things solidify. A deep freeze sets in and unifies the world under a frigid coat. The dance is long gone. Beneath the icy skin lie the scars of yesteryear.

White Lily, 2016.


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Anne Holtrop & Bas Princen (NL), Ingo Mittelstaedt (DE), Linn Pedersen (NO), Stein Rønning (NO)

Curated by Another Space at Prosjektrom Normanns

“Unflatten presents artists and architects who work with space, sculpture, architecture, object and materiality through photography. The works oscillate between the two- and three-dimensional, between object and image. Spanning from dry to illusionistic presentations, the selective frame of the photograph confuse our sense of scale, materiality and perspective. With various entry points and techniques the artists portray simple objects and “dead” materials in a manner that is matter-of-fact, reduced or open. Our attention is drawn to the image as object simultaneously as they become a projecting surface for our imagination.”

Vincenzo Simone

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Works from Wonder (Seven pools)

“Operativa Arte Contemporanea welcomes you to Wonder (Seven pools), the first personal project by Vincenzo Simone conceived for the gallery spaces. Seven inflatable pools hold seven dreamlike landscapes resuming the artist’s latest painting production. A plastic frame with fluorescent and synthetic colours against a painting with a nineteenth-century taste – full of connections with the past landscape tradition – creates a paradoxical and unexpected result. Pools like mirrors seem to reflect the  views that the artist paints in a evanescent and visionary way, creating an unusual dimension where the boundary line between present/reality and past/illusion is basically faint.”

Real Madrid







Real Madrid 

(Bianca Benenti Oriol and Marco Pezzotta)

Work from Beefy @ Placentia Arte

“I was sweaty and tired and ugly when I arrived in the village. I’d lost the habit of such long walks. Nobody recognized me, maybe because it was a long time since I’d left, but I guess it was more to do with the fact that they were so absorbed with what they were doing, they didn’t pay attention at all. It was exactly the same routine as in my childhood, the same manners, gestures, the exact same ritual, only the people were a new generation and apart from a few old faces that seemed reminiscent of something, I didn’t know anyone.

Tables and chairs upside down, people walking and dancing barefoot, naked bodies shinning in the dark, with myriads of little drops of viscous liquid onto their skin, dripping along their shoulders, breast, legs. They were holding hands, touching each other, rubbing each other, talking to one another with such excitement, putting fingers into one another’s body holes. At the center of all this, placed in exactly the same area it was when I was a kid, was the same big transparent jar full of the product. They kept coming back to it, pouring their hands into it, massaging their bodies and the surrounding objects with it, offering it to the sky, the concrete ground, the metal chairs and tables, the table ware.

In my memories, people didn’t look so ferociously happy and exhilarated. It was incredible to see these expressions on people’s faces, distorted by joy. I sat and smoked a cigarette, contemplating the scene as nobody cared about my presence. And I felt the rush.

There was no way I could resist it, although I’d promised myself I would not perform the ritual this time. But in seconds my childhood and teenage years invaded my body’s memory, like a flash. I pictured myself, age twelve, covering myself with the transparent product as if it were liquid gold, shouting at the stars, crying in the night, dancing for hours and hours, until daylight and later.

I stood up, walked to the jar, took off my clothes and covered the sweat of my body with another type of shiny looking one. Chemical. Beautiful. Strong. I decided it would just be for tonight. Tomorrow I would return where I had come from. I would not do it again. Just this one time.”

Text from Lili Reynaud Dewar written for the exhibition

Magnhild Øen Nordahl

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Magnhild Øen Nordahl

Work from Occupational Knots

I understand you’re originally from Norway, and recently completed your Masters studies at Kungliga Konsthögskolan in Stockholm, Sweden. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you were first introduced to making artwork?

As most kids do I enjoyed making things, whether it was drawings or paintings, building tree huts in the forest or dams in the creeks. Growing up in rural Norway I wasn’t exposed to much professional art production, and when I went to preparatory art school it was with the hopes to acquire some creative skills needed to become an architect. It was here that I discovered that making art was fun and challenging in new ways and so I continued to pursue it.

You work often combines conceptual inquiry, scientific theory and methods, and a hands-on material practice – specifically sculpture. What is the attraction to sculpture and how do you think this best embodies the intellectual ideas that are often at play in your work?

I simply think that working with sculpture is a lot of fun. There are so many new things to learn, and being physically active makes me think in a different way. The physical world – the space I am in, the tools I use, my crafting skills and the materials – become decisive parameters in the work. However, I never felt like a material and spatial exploration was enough in itself, I’ve always had other interests that merges with these concerns. For instance I was working with load bearing structures as a motif for a long time, and I was looking into the connection between technological development, the shape of the structures and the work of the builders/designers involved in the making of these. This conceptual enquiry came about through my own work with the sculptures which consisted of cutting wood in many different angles and learning to use a drop saw in a precise way. The meaning of my own practical work is something I have been interrogating; Does it even matter if I make things myself, or could I have arrived at the same point through digital plans and outsourcing? What role does the body play in learning and understanding things in the world? These questions relate to more general topics of phenomenology and epistemology that I have been concerned with from the beginning of my practice, whether I was working with architecture, science or other subjects as a point of departure.

For the upcoming exhibition x4 at Kunsthall Stavanger, I understand you will be showing a selection of works from your series Occupational Knots (2014). In one respect, the works seem very straight forward in that they are based on Clifford W. Ashley’s 1944 book “The Ashley Book of Knots” which describes and illustrates in detail different useful knots for various professions. However, the works also easily lend themselves to metaphorical interpretations, as knots are often representational of anxiety and difficulty, or used as tools for theoretical analysis in physics and science (as in Knot Theory). Can you describe how you came to work with this book and your thinking behind the project?

I started working with knots first for practical reasons, and then I discovered the world of knots through the wonderful Ashley Book of Knots. One of its chapters is as you say dedicated to different professional groups, and it became a reminder to me of how so many jobs had many more practical elements in them before. I’m interested in how we work and how this influences the work being done, how global economy delegates manual labor to the lower economic class and how the contemporary artist fits into this picture of material production.I was also intrigued by this book as a particular example of the encyclopaedic format. Clifford W. Ashley, who funnily enough made art to support his rope-interest, made all these different categories and qualifications of knots and systematized this knowledge in a very subjective way. I soon discovered that there was also another type of systematized knowledge about knots, Mathematical Knot Theory. This theory was created in the late 1800s as an attempt to classify all substances in the world according to a comprehensive tabulation of knots. It was soon discarded for the more well functioning periodic table, and only regained its practical relevance in the 1980s when knotting was discovered in DNA-molecules and synthetic molecules. What I find interesting about science is that it tells us things that contradict our experiences and we still believe it. When this knot tabulation was created there was no tool powerful enough to show us an image of the smallest substances in the world, the scientists were left to hypothesise. And that is actually the case also today, we don´t know what the particles in the standard model look like, and some scientists even want to discard this model all together. But even if we still can’t get an image of the smallest particles, science has long since advanced past our senses when it comes to this type of observation. We are taught to find truth and reality in abstract information and to consider our senses as inaccurate. The titles of the works in the exhibition are found in a textbook on Knot Theory, and some of them demonstrate this demand on us to accept concepts that are removed from our experience of the world. “We imagine the string as having no thickness” and “The knot is infinitely far away” are in a way ridiculous statements, but make sense in the logical framework of this textbook.

All explanations aside, there is a strong physical presence to the sculptures inOccupational Knots that cannot be ignored. Is it important to you that audiences understand the full implications behind these works?

The strong physical presence is an important part of the work. I think it is a result of my joy in working with objects, materials and tools and a desire to share this experience with the audience. This is a work that has taken shape gradually, therefor not all formal decisions are accounted for in a literal way, and there isn´t a list of things people need to know to “get it”. However I think it can be more rewarding for many if they have the option to know a bit more, so I aim to be generous with providing information. The way I have solved it in this case is to assemble a selection of the research in the fanzine Pb?Ni?He? that we plan to have available at the Kunsthall´s bookshop.

Is there anything that you can tell us about the specific iteration of this project at Kunsthall Stavanger? Will it differ from past presentations?

The architecture of the space will definitely have a large impact on the installation. I am curious myself to see how it will work out.

And finally, can you share any information about future projects and exhibitions that you are working towards?

At the moment I am preparing a work that I have made in collaboration with musician Omar Johnsen for the sculpture biennial Art belongs to those who see it at Vigelandsmuseet this fall. After that I will start on new works for an upcoming solo show at Hordaland Kunstsenter next summer.”

interview via Kunsthall Stavanger