Welcome to Printed Project, the journal published by the Sculptors’ Society of Ireland. Printed Project can be seen as an ongoing collaboration amongst artists, critics and curators, writers and readers devoted to making sense of contemporary art and culture. Printed Project is published two times a year and is edited on a rotating basis by invited curatorial editors. It gathers and presents thought and opinion on issues and arguments that enliven dialogue and debate on art and the wider culture of our present day. With Printed Project the Sculptors’ Society of Ireland sets out to meet the need felt within an expanding art industry for a not-for-entertainment art publication. Simple and modest in design and production the journal brings the best of comprehensive thought to bear on the art practices of the present and on the shared consequences artists and audiences face as our culture backs into the future.
Printed Project is published in Dublin by the Sculptors’ Society of Ireland. Issue 2 published May 2004 Curator/Editor: Editorial Advice: Translator: English editing of letters: Proofing: Administrative Editor: Editorial Panel: Saskia Bos K. Michel Annabel Howland Lisa Holden Sarah Pierce Jason Oakley Toby Dennett, SSI Director Anya von Gösseln Siún Hanrahan Finola Jones Kerry McCall Sarah Pierce Paul O’Reilly Therry Rudin Jason Oakley Valerie Earley Bennis Design, Dublin Graham & Heslip, Belfast
The views expressed in Printed Project are not necessarily those of the Sculptors’ Society of Ireland, the Editors or Editorial Panel. ©2004 Sculptors’ Society of Ireland & the artists and authors. All rights reserved. The Sculptors’ Society of Ireland is a not-for-profit organisation and is core funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Printed Project Sculptors’ Society of Ireland Cnr. Halston Street / Mary’s Lane Dublin 7 T: 00353 (0)1 8722296 F: 00353 (0)1 8722364 email@example.com www.sculptors-society.ie www.printedproject.ie Cover image: Piantatela / Stop with it!, Graffiti on a wall in Trento, North of Italy, January 2004. Photo: Luca Cerizza
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Printed Project ISSUE 2
Letters from Five Continents Curator/Editor Saskia Bos
Saskia Bos Tobias Berger Annie Fletcher Basak Senova Machiko Harada Francesco Bernardelli ˇ ˇ Natasa Petresin Clive Kellner Nina Folkersma Paula Toppila Raimundas Malasauskas Ilina Koralova Nuno Sacramento Edit Molnár Nikola Dietrich Luca Cerizza Montse Badia Dominique Fontaine Sophie O’Brien Sjoukje van der Meulen Yukie Kamiya Florence Derieux Lorenzo Benedetti Anja Dorn Rob Tufnell Phillip Van Den Bossche Contributors
Letters from Five Continents: The Concept Auckland Amsterdam Istanbul Akiyoshi dai Torino Ljubljana Cape Town Amsterdam Espoo Vilnius Leipzig Dundee Budapest Berlin Berlin Madrid Montreal Sydney New York New York Zurich Rome Cologne London Eindhoven
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Letters from Five Continents
When asked to curate the 2nd issue of Printed Project my first thought was to find a relevant theme, like one would choose for a symposium or for an issue of a magazine. It occurred to me, however, that as I had started De Appel’s Curatorial Training Programme in 1994, it might be logical to ask some of my former students (now curators, directors and critics) to write for the issue. I am grateful to my friend, the author K.Michel for brainstorming about different possibilities, which resulted in an invitation to these art professionals from all over the world to write a letter. A letter about what exactly they are now involved in, what they consider important, what impressive or beautiful artworks they have seen, read or heard. A letter that would convey images of the context in which they work and of how they perceive the world around them. This publication contains the responses from 25 of these former De Appel CTP students that are now working in 5 different continents. As an anthology it is the perfect antidote to the kind of book I dread so much: the manual of “how to curate” with an endless list of recipes. To me the curator is not a professional with a fixed set of tools who enters the institution or gallery to select and present works of timely relevance. I believe the curator should be a catalyst, a middleman or woman, a go-between, who translates and interprets given and chosen contexts to artists and audiences. By doing so the curator should be able to create a momentum and the necessary means for the production of art and knowledge. Most of all, he or she is a spiritual guide for both the artist and the visitor, helping to create works and helping to make them appreciated and understood. This role for the curator has become more and more important in a world lost in so many networks of information. Where the gallery, the museum and the critic were once alone to select and judge the art of their times, the curator/producer has now joined their forces and cannot be missed within the overall process. Irritatingly though, some curators nowadays try to prescribe or interpret the way in which the artist should or should not react to the changed conditions for cultural exchange. Within this complex interaction between the world of socio-political events and the arts the curator should articulate the artists’ ethical position by following the ideas, interventions and parallel activities of an artist through to its true end. I am therefore very grateful for these signs of life, which open up the world of international curating and writing in a more modest sense. These letters from 5 continents are – in a nutshell – the ways in which 25 individuals of around 30/35 years of age, responded in the last week of February 2004 to a few basic questions. I thank the authors for answering in such personal ways.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Saskia Bos
Letter from Auckland
Golfing in Middle-Earth
All the best from Auckland, the capital of the South Pacific. What can one write from the place that is probably the furthest away from wonderful Amsterdam and creative Dublin? Maybe that it is not that different at all. To survive the two times 12 hour ﬂights from Europe you normally take a few days’ stopover in a great Asian city like Bangkok, Seoul or Singapore or if you go the other way, in LA. These cool and sometimes real hot cities, exotic wonderful stopovers are the best part of this f****** long trip. Some airlines (especially the German one) should be sued for the little space they leave you to squeeze in your seat – even though we travel to New Zealand we are not hobbits. Arriving in Auckland always feels strange. On the one side you are real far away from home but you actually see a Californian or English environment, with nice little single houses and cared-for yards. Even the language is understandable. New Zealand is a giant country club. Very green, quite bourgeois, well preserved, nice and friendly, there seems to be nothing really bad out here. Containing two million citizens — half the population of New Zealand — Auckland certainly is not Middle-earth but we all can’t wait till Monday, the big Oscar 2004 night. Being up for 11 nominations feels to New Zealand like what receiving Olympic medals must have felt for East Germany when doping was still just another discipline in national sports. It is totally irrational but it’s just so great to win, especially after loosing the Americas Cup to the Swiss and being beaten by the Australians in the Rugby World Cup. Auckland is one of the most multicultural cities I have ever experienced. Officially New Zealand is bicultural, meaning Maori and Pakeha (non-Maori – mostly white people) have the same rights. The unofficial founding document of the country is the Treaty of Waitangi. A contract between the English crown and the Maori tribes, signed in 1840 that gives the Maori certain sovereignty rights under the crown. The fact that there are two versions of the document one in English and one in Maori and that they certainly can be interpreted totally differently makes the Treaty one of the most discussed subjects in New Zealand everyday life. In fact, it is a truly multinational society. There is also a great number of Asians that includes the Indian and a huge number of Pacific Islanders. Last weekend I was at a wedding and it was not unusual that greetings to the couple were spoken in three languages, as the groom was from English and Maori decent and the bride from a Chinese family. Both of the newlywed couple grew up in Auckland but now live in London. Anyway you are probably more interested in the art scene. It is as multicultural as Auckland. The major institutional players are ARTSPACE, the independent non-commercial institution for the cutting edge contemporary art, the Auckland Art Gallery with a great collection of older and some contemporary visual art, a good number of dealer galleries primarily located around ARTSPACE, four quite good art academies and Room 103, the artist run space in town. All this is very lively and well connected. Even though nobody would admit it, art is well-funded either through the government or the private collectors. I am still surprised about the great quality of art. New Zealand’s art is on the one side quite unique, grounded in a strong New Zealand or
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Tobias Berger
Colin McCahon, Here I give thanks to Mondrian (from the Gate series), 1961
Letter from Amsterdam
Well I guess I can’t really exaggerate and make my life sound super exciting because I’ll be caught out by people in Ireland if I write I about things I do in Ireland and by you if I exaggerate about my life in Holland! So I’ll try and explain about my ongoing involvement with both of these places. I realise more and more that the network you make through your work extends across borders and more over it’s really good that it’s all over the place. I think it sustains me as an independent curator. It may be precarious but I like jumping in and out of different situations and trying to link or compare models of practice and experience between different locales. I think that living in another country leaves you doubly sensitised. You note both the changes in your own country and those of where you choose to live and work. Though you can never quite switch it off… I think it’s quite useful and always interesting to think about. I love living in Amsterdam because it’s in the centre of everything. I still get quite excited about the idea that I can travel easily to Paris or Berlin or Cologne. It still seems quite amazing to be able to drive straight through into another country and not fall into the sea… You ask about accommodation. In Dublin it’s crazily expensive — I actually don’t know how artists survive in the city. I went back for a while about two years ago to work with IMMA and I couldn’t believe the cost! Someone said to me once Dublin is a big city that still thinks it’s a small town and I think that’s kind of true in terms of urban planning and the way the city works — it feels more and more strained on that level. And Holland used to be the opposite: integrated transport, rent controlled accommodation, well worked out system of subsidy system for arts, yet sometimes you feel it’s institutionalised to within an inch of its life and that can feel a little stiﬂing too… Mind you, things are shifting to the right here too now. As you know the Dutch parliament just voted to expel 24,000 asylum seekers the other day. Normally I am used to cringing inwardly when I hear of draconian laws introduced by the Irish government — now I am going to feel like that about Holland too — how weird. And even crazier, as of this week Ireland is the only member of the EU to have totally open policy immigration toward the new acceding member states — wonder how long that’ll last — they’ll probably panic and change it before this goes to print. In Ireland immigration has only really occurred relatively recently — and the thing that I love most about it is that it’s pretty irreversible — it’s just the beginning of a long and interesting process — an exchange of cultural capital. A friend who teaches in Dublin said that for the first time one of her students didn’t understand a reference to the 1916 rising — it makes you realise how agreed our understanding of our culture and history is. It might be nice to see that opened up a bit…
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Tobias Berger
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Annie Fletcher
Olive Goldie, A Noble Relic of a Noble Race, Kamariera Te Hau - Takiri Wharepapa, Nga Puhi, 1907 Oil on canvas 77 x 64 cm Courtesy of Auckland Museum
Pacific tradition but can totally play on an international stage as it is quite knowledgeable and informed about the international discourse and art practice. I just made a Pacific Art exhibition, IKI and thanks for all the IKA, which I took to Lithuania and the Cook Islands. Now the exhibition is back here in Auckland combined with some Lithuanian works. At each place it had another context and another history as well as another good reason to show it. It is fascinating how art works in different contexts and societies keeping the basic spirit and appeal. I guess one thing that makes a good artwork is that it can sustain itself in different environments. Having said that, I include pictures of two of the most fascinating New Zealand artists. One is Goldie who started in the late 1800’s to paint Maori people and the other is Colin McCahon. McCahon is the most inﬂuential artist here but is hardly recognized overseas. He is surely one of the most innovative, independent and fascinating artists that never made it into the common western art history. Just see for yourself in this picture of 1961.
Tobias Berger, February 2004
Went to a discussion two nights ago at the University of Amsterdam by Isam al-Khafaji, a social scientist. It was called “Iraq: a report from the field.” He was part of the Iraqi interim council but quit after two months. His talk was really fascinating — he gave an account of how Iraq worked under Saddam — he talked of a highly efficient, organised state machine that was Nazi-like in terms of insistence on a supremacist ideology. But now that state apparatus is completely destroyed and even if it was tyrannical — that’s quite shocking for everybody — there’s absolutely no infrastructure. He dealt very honestly with the complex emotion of trying to go on and contribute and work with the Americans even when nobody wants them to be there — and still knowing they need someone to commit money and create an infrastructure. Right now it’s chaotic and really dangerous — this nice softly spoken man now has a Kalaschnikov under his bed. But there are over 150 newspapers and many small networks and groups voicing their opinions, and doing really interesting things. When there was an attempt to bring in Sharia law for women — not only did women come out onto the streets to protest but they also demanded at least 40% representation in parliament. All kind of assertions of identity are going on and it’s a euphoric time even if it’s complicated. And I started to think about the importance of this kind of chaotic but powerful political force that has to do with micro projects and collective movements within a local setting. Sometimes very specific things can be the most effective things you can do — maybe they are temporary and delicate and when larger structures take over they disappear — but for a moment they maybe are the way to find a voice or hone your ideas. This probably sounds impossibly romantic and I don’t mean it that way but I guess it just struck me as interesting . Within work I am feeling quite stultified by institutional expectations and strategic art speak that serves as critique — that seems to replace most real conversation in the art world. So I have naively set up with an artist friend (Otto Berchem) a kind of very very micro movement — around laughter and passion. We have set up a fanzine called OCD — the idea being that art is an obsessive-compulsive disorder. I like very much thinking about this as a model of working in the arts. I like the idea that passion or love is about the idea of being a little bit inconsequent about what you’re doing. Where is the fine line between responsibility and impulsiveness? Is the fan a legitimate critic? Are we allowed to make conceptual U-turns all for a good argument or to play devil’s advocate in order to work out ideas collectively? Is there space for a more unstable, precarious and even passionate relationship with contemporary art as a curator/mediator?
It’s been something I have been thinking about for along time and a lot of people like Vaari Claffey (who I stole the fanzine idea off ) and many many others who I moan and bitch to in Ireland and Holland are really helping me to pull these ideas together — it’s based in a way around informal links and how these constitute an important part of the cultural scene. And what’s great is that it’s bringing up so many questions. I am pretty excited by it and most of all it’s lots of fun and we definitely need more of that in the art world… So how’s that? From rent control to immigration via Iraq and a fanzine — well you did ask…
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Annie Fletcher
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Annie Fletcher
Annie Fletcher, February 2004
Letter from Istanbul
After five years of absence, last August I returned to the city where I was born: Istanbul. It is an alienated giant organism which continuously expands, spreads, and inﬂates. Totally chaotic, yet thoroughly addictive. Always nice to the guests by sprinkling a powdering of seductive hospitality all over its layers. Nonetheless, once the city detects its inhabitants, it starts to play the most puzzling survival games with them. When I got back, I was so overloaded that I preferred to locate myself in the Asian (Anatolian) side where there is less distraction and motion. Maybe I was trying to keep my mode as a “nomad” by escaping from the city that I’ve always been accustomed to. My hide and seek game with the city is still on… As I expected, everything had changed immensely during my absence — the pace of the agenda has always been immeasurable. So, my first attempt to catch up with the agenda was to study TV. Television is a real phenomenon in Turkey. In approximately every house there is a TV which can transmit at least 40 channels. It is far beyond how Baudrillard describes hyper-reality; because of the economic crisis and social burdens which the conditions of the city and life standards cause, people live life through television. They do not experience anything, instead they watch TV and this is life! It may be considered a continuation of the Yesilçam (Turkish) Melodrama addiction. Life perceived through dreams of Yesilçam Melodramas with a constant delay of desire, and sometimes almost an action film in which hazy poetic justice has the upper hand. Whenever there is despair, black humour veiled with dreams appears. These are all constructed through simple dreams, obscured secrets and concealed beauties. Dwelling in the present through dreams and recalling the past as the intricate part within the mise-en-scene of a melodrama. Recalling the past through ﬂashbacks and short intrusive imageries…So, I am talking about the repetitive social amnesia, which can be considered a defence mechanism for a nation that constantly experiences trauma – with coup d’état in a loop of each decade… 1960, 1971, 1980…war in the East, earthquakes, bombings, and many other catastrophes. Yet, as I mentioned, this very aspect of amnesia has worked as a gift for Turkey. The whole situation with ruptures has dictated ways of surviving. It is an asset of adaptation for any kind of situation, developed as a defence mechanism, which operates in various layers. For instance, I always link this asset with the uncontrollable increase and spread of Turkish migrants in Europe. My point here is not whether it is good or bad, but to make an observation; their population definitely increases despite of all the accelerating reactions, reﬂected in the tough political pressure on foreigners, especially Turks, in Europe. So, for me, they have this distinctive weapon as an asset for adaptation and it is working through in other systems. Nevertheless, because of the outcome of “bad” affairs of state (with plentiful coalitions) for the last several decades, people have long previously lost their faith in politics in general. This deadliness can also be perceived in the various art scenes in Turkey. Yet, it also explains the sedative inﬂuence of TV and the printed media. For instance, there have been many important agenda issues like Cyprus, EU, the economy, the municipal elections…but nobody cared. The utmost and foremost issue for the last 3 months was the “Pop Star” competition on TV. All the candidates had a melodramatic story. One of them was an ex-belly dancer with secret dangerous affairs, another candidate was disabled and another one was a Russian girl who married a middle aged Turkish man (we have 3 million such cases in the last 5 years) trying to learn Turkish and acting really brave and smart towards nationalist reactions. The favourite to win was a former convict who was jailed for manslaughter. While one of the jury members walked out on the show claiming that a “former inmate” was not the right image for youth to aspire to, Turkey loved him so much that even the Prime Minister made a special speech to support him. At the end, we have the real Yesilçam poetic justice as the only one who comes from a decent family with a decent past and life won.
11 PRINTED PROJECT 02: Basak Senova
Eyal Danon, Walking Istanbul, Notes from the Quarantine, 2003-2004
Now the hot issue is the talented Turkish girl who won the Golden Bear in the recent Berlinale. The Turkish media judges her harshly for her ex-porno films, yet this time it seems that the media could not convince the public. So, the parameters of these media-public relationships in Turkey are more complex than straightforward semiological formulas. Once you are in this country, there is no escape from these layers of augmented realities operated through the consequences of these relationships; the moment you are on the street, you have to face them in various ways. And the art scene. Stemming from its cycle in Unitarian state policy, the representative scenery of Turkish cultural politics has always been cohesive, yet the tendency is to sustain stability by labelling a “contemporary” artistic act as a “highly regarded and enlightening” concession with confirmation of “modern” Western criteria. This consideration has widened, increasing gaps not only between the public and the contemporary art sphere, but it has also addressed a lack of information, interaction, and communication among the actors of this sphere. I must say that for some of the parts of this sphere both governmental support and strategies of commercial galleries have existed and been beneficial. Yet the contemporary art sphere, in which I locate myself, has been ignored for a long time. That said, part of this sphere is the one most acknowledged by the cycle of an international contemporary art scene. Eventually, this was due to individual efforts and successes. The International Istanbul Biennial has a special role in it; it has been an important school for the young generation of actors in contemporary art. The Turkish contemporary art scene or maybe I should rephrase it as “the Istanbul contemporary art scene,” has developed and enriched rapidly over the last 10 years. In its most natural and classical manner, institutions are forming. (Yet, I should mention the case of Diyarbakir; it is a bit distinctive in this scenery as the only Eastern city which has been culturally invested in by international foundations for the last few years. Eventually, very strong and successful international Eastern artists have emerged out of this investment.) However, surprisingly, the communication gap amongst the parts of the contemporary art sphere is insistently increasing. At this very moment, I am very excited and hopeful as alternative “independent” formations have started to come up and who knows, they might be able to challenge the agenda and bridge this gap. Nevertheless, eight big museums on Modern and Contemporary Art will join this scene very soon. I find it to be a massive movement for Turkey.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Basak Senova
Basak Senova, February 2004
Nermin Er, The City, 2003. photo: Basak Senova
Letter from Akiyoshi dai
Letter from Torino
At the End of the Day
As you know, I have been working for an art institution called Akiyoshi dai International Art Village for the last 3 years. This institution is located in a very remote place, far from everywhere in Japan. It is next to the Akiyoshi-do Great Cave and Akiyoshi dai Great Plateau, under the National Park in Yamaguchi prefecture. In fabulous architecture designed by Arata Isozaki surrounded by this beautiful nature, I am working for an Artist in Residence programme, workshop, seminar, and education/communication programme, etc. As for the residency programme, it is always a great pleasure to work with artists, to be involved in their creative process, to realise their idea and make it visible. With research, investigation, excursions, starting communications between people, and making a comfortable working and living environment (in such a remote and isolated place in the middle of nowhere!!). And on top of that, I am trying to give the artists attention, to provide the best support during their stay. So that it is natural that the mission is broad. Meanwhile, it is also great to see their experiences bear fruit. Afterwards in indirect ways, many fortuitous happenings, acquaintances, exchanges follow. And what’s more, those artists who spend time here drop us a line, now and then, and come over to see us again. This makes us very happy. Other activities, such as short intensive workshops we give, usually lasting 1 or 2 weeks, are also interesting creative processes. In Japan, workshops are usually thought of as educational rather than creative projects. Yet, the workshop White Cave we did with Yutaka Sone last September produced so much energy, and beautiful creative moments. The structure of the project is simple. Sone and six associate artists (younger talents) explored these spectacular caves and made drawings in the space of darkness where everything is so vague and ambiguous, searching for a moment of creation which glints like a single light in complete darkness. After every trip, they brought their experiences of the caves to the gallery/studio to create their own “caves” nobody has seen before. It was still a collection of various caves in the artist studio (as space of freedom for creation) until the night before the opening of its presentation. It started all of a sudden. Just like an instant explosion caused by chemical reaction, all of the artists started to work on one big installation together, which represented their understanding of an unknown cave, with the audience as an art explorer. Because of the geographical location (there are 450 caves of all sizes around our neighbourhood) this project could have been done nowhere else. I believe that this project brought many possibilities for development, for both the project and the artists involved. Apart from the institution, I have since been very much involved with artist initiative space/ activities and artists who have such attitudes. I wish to mediate myself so I can create more exchanges and create other networks — not only domestic ones but international ones too.
I had heard of mondomusica only in recent weeks or maybe months, but I wasn’t sure. As usual, a word here, a whisper there, but it wasn’t so easy to remember the name. But I’d known that neighbourhood for years. I had wandered around it many times and on many occasions, between all those abandoned smallish factories and the cemetery. It’s close to the smaller river of town, Dora. The area is so quiet you could, especially in the afternoon, detect a different bird’s call just from its presence. There are also long lines of tall trees, some alongside the winding river, others in parallel lines along two main roads. It used to be a working families’ factories quarter, and not so far from the spot we had in mind are the huge and imposing volumes of the tobacco plant that have been closed for years. I ventured into what looked like a former laboratory, but there was no sign of life. A couple of new art galleries have opened nearby, but at that hour they are already closed. Then my friend Dona suggested checking out the next building — no, not even a building; probably in the past it could have been a 3 or 4 car garage. But now we noticed a thick red curtain behind the glass menagerie: merely an almost unnoticeable ad-sign behind the glass, and the glass door was easy to open. The bleak outdoor sight was completely reversed by the very moment we got in. The lights weren’t very bright, but the atmosphere was remarkably marked by repetitive sounds paired with the heavy background bass lines resonating throughout the big room. A long bar completed by two girls behind it, faced a console hosting a tall, long-haired, thin girl-dj spinning vinyl records and a blonde boy all dressed in black, bent over a laptop. The vj’s dexterity was immediately recognisable; he was enjoying himself so much that you could have guessed by the fact his head seldom lifted up while manipulating a series of abstract geometries and pre-existing shapes and figures, he showed a connective tour-de-force mainly based on faces turning into squares. Bewitched by this impressive combination, Dona and I got closer to the central area of the room (there were some fat, old fashioned soft armchairs filled with young couples sipping from their transparent glasses). We didn’t sit, and preferred to enjoy the ﬂashing audio-visual ﬂow. The sounds were so precisely chosen and cut that we could share comments just in between the on & off streaming spun by Teri-Ann. It was rather difficult to stay still, but the red wine we had ordered at the bar helped to tune-in with the pulsating vibes held together by the thumping sounds.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Machiko Harada
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Francesco Bernardelli
Machiko Harada, February 2004
Not so long ago, being in a lounge bar could have been pretty simplistic: heavy banging rhythms, noise levels so intense you could barely hear the people in front of you and horrible cocktails with unlikely colours. Today (a little later and assisted by the endlessly evolving latest technological wizardry) we can enjoy perfectly relaxing, moody moments. The way video & music is produced, shared and consumed today gives such a refreshing sensation after decades of tiresome litanies of Cassandra-likes able only to claim we were approaching the final moment of music’s death. Digital technologies (and in-full-effect transformations) have gifted us with one of the most treasured fortunes: the possibility of sharing the most diverse, opposed, and innovative visions and have the chance to mix them all together with a true DIY spirit; it’s just a matter of shared visions, common initiatives and small, unassuming places. The new breed of sound & vision producers is already developing and taking its place without making big statements. As with video-installations in the best exhibitions over recent years, the quest for perfectionism here has been paving the path for a new sensitive mind, and when someone is so fast in renovating the entire array of visual equipment, you wonder why others should be so late in understanding or even feeling the new vibes.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Francesco Bernardelli
Francesco Bernardelli, early one evening, February 2004
Antonio la Grotta Cottolengo Torino, 2003
Letter from Ljubljana
Sinking into the various theories of sound and audition, due to my persistent audio obsessions and due to finishing my thesis about discourses of sound at the beginning of the 20th century, and writing down mentally new curatorial concepts linked to aurality and spatiality/ architecture, I came across a philosophical book about the voice by Slovene philosopher and Lacanian psychoanalyst Mladen Dolar, a colleague of the famous Slovene philosopher-star ˇˇ Slavoj Zizek. Tracing the metaphysics, the ethics, the politics and the embodiment of the voice as explained by the author, I now understand the basic reason, the intolerance and immaturity of Slovenes, who, two months prior to the European Union accession, decided to hold a referendum on the construction of a mosque on the outskirts of Ljubljana. It is not the “why here, why us” victim grimacing, rising from the political unconscious and the recent terrorist attacks. It is the voice that it is to be feared, the voice of the one who calls to pray from the height of the minarets that reaches far beyond the mosque’s own territory and into the nonMuslim homes and streets of the respective Ljubljana’s suburbs. That calling voice is invading, pervading and insisting. I believe that the referendum should rather reveal the true paranoia and ask the righteous citizens to decide on building special anechoic chamber-like systems around the mosque to kill the voice and let it vibrate only within the mosque itself. To stop the calling to a God equally shared by all believers? Sharing the same God without geopolitical, mental or religious borders was the ideal that all the mystics experienced, from historical past to current Aquarian-agers. Having recently cocurated two events in Ljubljana about the phenomenon of open source movement and collectivity, and their potentiality to romantically or practically shift, re-structure or change the existing systems, I can’t escape linking the above-mentioned mystical sharing to the nolonger-so-utopian sharing of knowledge and free distribution of information. Some call it a new gift economy structure, but I think we can even go much further by opening a new chapter of a new world order. Open source or the free software movement is about enhancing one’s own and others’ advantages through self-improvement while openly sharing one’s knowledge, information, passion, and beliefs. It started as an activist gesture by computer programmer Torvalds Linus against the Microsoft Empire, allowing a software programme to be improved by users/programmers and sent on for free public use, with the software’s original code plus its enhanced part. From there on it gradually expanded into many disciplines and practices, at the same time building up the idea of the counter-community and its aim. While so much routine is to be found in creativity and idea production, the call for collective responsibility and better-quality content is (also) what the open source movement brings with it.
ˇ ˇ PRINTED PROJECT 02: Natasa Petresin
Antonio la Grotta Porta Susa Torino, 2003
While I visited the exhibition U3 this week, the Triennial of Slovene contemporary art held at Moderna galerija in Ljubljana (this year curated by Christine Van Assche), I wondered where the content of the artworks was, and whether they dissected the present. With the young Slovene art positions presented at this particular exhibition, I missed the politicality; not in an explicit way, but as an interest, a question, in fact as a position. It’s interesting to juxtapose the situation with the many local activist initiatives active within social studies, health care, journalism, the Internet, music… Whereas in visual art, before and after the overwhelming social and political impact of Neue Slowenische Kunst in the 80s, there have only been a few generations that understood the complexity of contemporary art, its reality and its audience, but they were at first strongly opposed by the prevailing taste and conventional critics. However, many changes have already inﬂuenced and occurred within visual art due to interdisciplinary research, the convergence of the new media in the arts, and the (potentially still ongoing) deterioration of the global political situation. As I’ll lecture a group of participants at the curatorial programme of the former SCCA-Ljubljana next week, I believe I’ll describe my current curatorial position as doubting, repeating the questions, discovering the various states of collective consciousness, and sharing my activities and experiences to at least convince myself that it is possible to construct a slightly better world. But, as Hafiz, the 14th century Persian mystic and poet says in his poem “Damn Thirsty”: First The fish needs to say, “Something ain’t right about this Camel ride – And I’m Feeling so damn
Tower Tesla. Nikola Tesla’s unfinished Wardenclyffe plant on Long Island, New York, 1902. From this facility, Tesla hoped to demonstrate wireless transmission of power to France. His visionary plan was to totally interconnect planetary communication networks. Soon after it was put there, between 19011903, the plans for finalising the Tower had to be omitted and the Tower destroyed because of a lack of money for the project. But Tesla was certain that it could have been a start of the unification of the globe by the flux of electrical energy that would traverse the world with the flows of language, images and money. The Linux logo, a plump penguin known as Tux, is an open-source image. Allowing people to add, alter and tinker with Tux has turned the penguin into a widely recognized logo, without the usually high development costs that are invested into corporate design. Tux is not the product of an advertising agency, and no money was invested into his development. Artist Larry Ewing first drew him in 1996 when developers began to feel that one of the things that Linux really needed was a logo.“Tux is an excellent proof of concept of the whole rationale behind open source and free software development,” says Marco Pastore, an open source programmer.“Release your creation to the community, let them do with it as they see fit, and you’ll end up with something wonderful.”
ˇ ˇ PRINTED PROJECT 02: Natasa Petresin
ˇ ˇ Natasa Petresin, February 2004
Letter from Cape Town
It is not difficult to conjure up images when speaking of South Africa. Nelson Mandela, the Springboks, racial hatred, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, forgiveness, human pathos and the will to triumph over evil. We are this year celebrating ten years of democracy: Presidential elections are due on April 14. We have really come a long way! Jozi, E Goli, City of Gold, Johannesburg or as we prefer to say, Joburg — a fast city that is the economic hub of South Africa. Culturally there is a proliferation of urban regeneration projects in the inner city of Johannesburg orientated around the cultural arc that links various museums, heritage sites and tertiary institutions throughout the city. Highlights of the development include the new Constitutional Court and the Old Fort, a prison that housed Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela amongst others. Another initiative is the new Mandela Bridge, similar to the bridge in Rotterdam. Johannesburg is one of the few major cities in the world that doesn’t have a river, harbour or sea within its landscape. But we do have mine dumps. As the city transforms itself from a modernist topography to a more African city, architects and urban planners are engaged in discussions of how to cater for informal structures (taxi buses, street vendors) that in turn create a new vernacular for the city. A lot has to do with the past, but even more with how we imagine ourselves and how we relate to each other. Heritage is a vital issue in addressing society at large with vast amounts of money now going to regeneration projects that are related to key political and historical sites such as the Hecter Pietersen June 16th Museum in Soweto and Freedom Square in Kliptown where the Freedom Charter was signed. The re-inscribing of political and social narrative as a key construct to issues of identity are central concerns for artists. Gender, race, body, tradition vs. innovation, ethnic vs. Western modernity and issues of representation & power are all constructs that inform art making processes. The arts scene is competitive and inﬂuenced by Western trends. Some new galleries have sprung up in recent months in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Young artists are under a lot of pressure to have careers and perform. At the same time the art world is like a family. Situated across the globe, whether the buzz is the Venice Biennale, the atmosphere in Havana or the regional issues of Dakar, being able to “hook-up” and network remains central to art making. Having a gallery represent you overseas is critical to international exposure and success. From such exposure come invitations to important group shows, art fairs, contacts with established curators and on to big museum or biennale shows. Do we have a culture of artists’ squats, artists’ collectives and artist-run spaces? Not really; there are some emerging crossover-type creative initiatives happening where old industrial buildings are being redeveloped into media centres incorporating a film school with apartments, restaurants, funky shops and galleries. The most interesting architecture comes from a small firm called Mashabane & Rose who designed the Apartheid Museum and the Hecter Pietersen June 16th Museum in Soweto amongst others.
The youth scene here is large, energetic and highly visible. With issues like AIDS awareness, sexuality and a new emerging black middle class, new constructions around youth culture and identity are happening with a keen sense of materialism being the core. Very popular are radio stations such as YFM who have their own magazine and clothing range supporting Kwaito music that is original to the SA scene from the townships. Fashion and design are also growing with a lot of local support extending into more creative architecture particularly in Cape Town, home to the wealthy, film production companies, wine farms and ultra cool set. The most beautiful thing I have seen recently, was the birth of my daughter, who is now 5 months old. The birth of a child, although clichéd, remains one of the most profound experiences we as humans share.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Clive Kellner
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Clive Kellner
Clive Kellner, February 2004
Letter from Amsterdam
As a child, the world was my parents’ house. And this house was a world in itself. Every room another country, every corner another city for me to explore. As an adult my world is defined by fantasies about travelling, about places very far from here. I want to see exhibitions in Tokyo, go on studio visits in Stockholm, spend a month wandering through Mexico City. The reality is that I live and work in Amsterdam. That I carry out most of my work from home. Last week I finally had the time to tidy up my living room (slash semi-professional office). I emptied all the cupboards, drawers, boxes and files and everything allowed to stay is now neatly regimented in my bookcase. Chronologically and thematically. Even the collection of newspaper clippings I amassed during the last ten years has been arranged according to this system. And during my reorganisation, a number of interesting contours emerged, not just mapping the changes in my personal fascinations, but shifts in society. An entire world ﬂashed before my eyes — a world that seems to have become ever larger and more boundless. What struck me the most out of all this archive material was the realisation that our idea of “home” has drastically changed over the last few decades. The notion of “home” is no longer tied to a geographic location, is no longer a stable given, but something that has become fully mobile. For most people — ﬂeeing from civil war or other life-threatening situations — this means that they seldom feel a sense of home. For others — the privileged, like us, who can dream about travel — it means that we will be able to feel that, more than ever, the world is our home. Many of my peers (friends, artists, fellow curators) are now on the verge of international careers.1 It’s what we all aspire to. We want to transcend the local, make the leap to world platforms, feel part of a larger, cosmopolitan community. These days we’d rather go by plane than bike. Last week, we all went to the opening at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, or the Biennial in Berlin, but we often don’t go to exhibitions in our country, let alone in our own town. Back to my archive of newspaper clippings and the contours of an expanding universe. The first clippings, dating from the mid 80s, mainly concern personal topics, themes relating to the self.2 Later, the themes become broader and more international.3 A development that makes perfect sense, but it’s strange to see that halfway through the 90s the Dutch artworld gradually disappears. Interesting exhibitions, artists, curators, thinkers, philosophers… this is where my Dutch clippings peter out. No wonder we seek refuge abroad, you might say. If there’s nothing much going on in your own back yard, what choice do you have? Maybe, ironically enough, this development is inﬂuenced by our international policy.
Over the last few years, the Mondriaan Foundation in particular has heavily invested in promoting Dutch artists abroad. Which is great, but could mean that the Dutch artworld ends up trailing behind international developments. It’s a problem that Amsterdam especially suffers from, partly due to the Stedelijk Museum’s lack of international policy for many years.4 Young, talented, foreign artists do show here, but they miss feedback and a solid foundation. The broader context and positioning which is so essential, is missing — and they’re too often left high and dry. This said, hopeful signs have recently appeared on Amsterdam’s horizon: the Stedelijk Museum looks set for more experimentation in its new, temporary location in the TPG building; headed up by Ann Demeester, W139 is offering an increasingly international programme; the coming activities in De Appel promise to give a powerful boost to international orientation in the arts, to which I will contribute with the Quarantine Series. I’m optimistic about the future. Who knows, perhaps Amsterdam will become a real “home” again. A home with different rooms, each a world of its own, just waiting to be discovered.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Nina Folkersma
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Nina Folkersma
Nina Folkersma, February 2004
1 Nathalie Bruys, just back from Copenhagen, leaves for Vilnius next week for a project in the CAC; Lucas Lenglet also has a show there at the end of the year and this summer several projects have, I believe, been planned in Germany; Jennifer Tee will be ﬂying to Brazil several times at least, scheduled to take part in the Sao Paolo Biennale; and I haven’t even mentioned the travel programmes of Gabriel Lester, Germaine Kruip, De Rijke/De Rooij… 2 Gender, female identity, Inez van Lamsweerde, the Amsterdam scene, emotion TV, plastic surgery, Rob Scholte, Seymour Likely… 3 Johannesburg Biennale 1997, Fukuyama, globalism, fashion, brands, the “multicultural drama,” anti-globalism, Naomi Klein, the contemporary art scene in Israel, Charles Esche… 4 Where were the huge museum presentations of Philippe Parreno, Ugo Rondinone, Surasi Kusolwong and Santiago Sierra? And where are Julie Mehretu, Oliver Payne & Nick Relph, Haluk Akakce and Mircea Cantor now… (I’ve just heard that the latter will be in the next CTP show in De Appel… great!)
Letter from Espoo
The other day I was reading some old newspaper clippings I had put aside for further thought and I found the following headline in the biggest national newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, published a couple of years ago:“Fear Makes Finland Fly.” According to Manuel Castells and Pekka Himanen Finland has two assets: it is an advanced information society and possesses an excellent welfare system. This article was published along with the release of a book by Spanish sociologist Castells and Finnish philosopher Himanen entitled The Finnish Model, (2001). Castells tells the journalist:“People in Finland don’t yet seem to believe that they can live in peace, prosperity and safety. Nope, they still feel a bit restless. They are fighting for their survival. You are afraid, still afraid. You are not on safe ground. And that is healthy these days — if you look outside and think you are safe, you are stupid.” He refers to the history of Finland: a small nation, first under Swedish rule then Russian, that became independent in 1917. A young nation, but stubborn, now in the age of globalism Finland continues to stick to its strong national identity, maintains the idea and praxis of a welfare society (even if it is no longer what it was), and builds a wide and well-functioning information society where practically everyone can have access to the Internet, has an e-mail address, mobile phones, etc. Himanen adds:“Finland’s example gives hope to other countries because here globalisation has not given rise to such strong resistance as in most countries. Finland shows how a strong identity can be a powerful positive force in globalism, not just a counterforce.” Once again Finns were happy and their self-esteem was much encouraged by this book and event — their nation was presented as the model to the world by a foreign authority. One stereotypical Finnish characteristic is low self-confidence and in fact, the authors of The Finnish Model claim that it is indeed the national feeling of inferiority that affects the Finnish culture. Recognition from and acceptance by the world are important because the Finns are a minority that had to fight long for their independence. This is also perhaps why Finns are known as hard-working, honest and obedient (the statistics say that Finland has the lowest level of corruption in the world); they are seriously committed to playing by the rules — they are constantly fighting for their “place in the sun” — and this keeps them alert. With these thoughts in mind I’m watching “the most beautiful thing” play on the ﬂoor — my own son. In November 2002 I was given two unique options — I was invited to become one of the three curators for Manifesta 5, and found out that I was pregnant. I was extremely happy about both, but as a very pragmatic and devoted type of person I felt I couldn’t take on both responsibilities during the very same year. I was asked to carry on with both, but I felt if I did, I would at the same time lose the best sides of both “projects.” So here I am enjoying the fruits of the Finnish welfare system, embracing the possibility of spending the first year of my child’s life with him at home, in constant wonder.
29 PRINTED PROJECT 02: Paula Toppila
Paula Toppila, February 2004
This and preceding pages: Jari Silomäki, My Weather Diary, series of colour photographs, ongoing since 2001
Letter from Vilnius
Letter from Leipzig
“What’s that coffee with cinnamon called?” — an SMS arrives from Darius Miksys, a good friend and an artist, whose project Club Miksys is going to present 8 DJs mixing the same three tracks for half an hour next week at Elektrodienos. Sebastian Ramirez might be one of the DJs — he is arriving from London on Thursday to look for some local graffiti artists for his project at IBID:projects, and in whose apartment with the “Don’t spit” plate on the front door in Bethnal Green I stayed last December. He will probably stay at the CAC hotel where I have played a night porter since last Christmas. I guess the two-storey austere and historic building used to be a monastery; even the rooms feel like cells not to mention having a strong, yet comfortable sense of lush isolation. There’s also Broadway, a popular night club, downstairs, which is one of the key spots of the city’s night-life. It looks like a pub Hemingway would have preferred if there were no others. The owners don’t hire DJs, but play pre-programmed music files every night, which allows one to follow the time-track according to the play-list. For example, Outkast always start on the dot of midnight (I am actually glad they made it to the charts). In order to avoid memorising all the repertoire of Broadway when I’m sleeping, I sleep with ear-plugs, which reminds me of a few months spent in front of Marcel Duchamp’s studio on 14th Street in NYC in 2002. No, Marcel was quiet, but the street noise wouldn’t stop.“Coffee con leche!” — a busy waitress would exclaim at Succelt, a tiny Colombian café-restaurant across the street on the corner of 14th Street and 7th Avenue every morning, and this is the message that Darius receives on his cell phone: coffee with milk in Spanish. Sebastian is also Colombian and he is afraid that the weather in Vilnius will be too cold for him. I am more afraid that he will have to sift through local kindergartens in order to find those graffiti artists. I saw two of them today through the window; they were spraying three capital letters on the wall, but haven’t finished though. Nevertheless I’d rather tell him about the rest of the adult company in the CAC hotel: Buyngjun from Seoul, Jonas Ohlsson and Nathalie aka KODI from Amsterdam, Solvej from Copenhagen, Mouse on Mars from Cologne. An eccentric mix of people. Somehow we agree that mix becomes a key category of this week together with “new entry points.” “Mix is a tool of experiment, experience and interpretation, involving established artefacts and not yet announced experiences into a self-deconstructing ﬂow. Rhythm A mixes with a rhythm B, inventing a new rhythm X while performer A becomes B by playing the laptop of performer X,” I read in the introductory text of Elektrodienos. What does it have to do with “new entry points?” Let’s consider mix as a way of finding a new entry point to anything (be it art, film or sound composition or your day). Both keywords meet in the following image: think of at least 15 different entrances to one’s living room. Not as much in a mechanical practical sense as in a certain nano-technological vision of a nomadic chic-ambient.“And don’t forget to add ground nutmeg,” I end my reply SMS to Darius.
I am writing you on this sunny day of 1st of March from Leipzig. The window of my office looks out over a really huge park and although the little romantic lake is still covered with thin ice, one can already see and feel that spring is coming soon. And that’s one of the most beautiful moments of the year! And if I think about a recent experience worth telling about, that’s exactly the one. Or, may be, in a very selfish way, I should add the nice letters I got from the participating artists after the opening of my last exhibition in February. I don’t think here in Leipzig the artists live much differently than their colleagues in Sofia, Amsterdam or Zagreb. While studying in art school young people tend to spend more time together, share common ideas, dreams, ideals. They like the same meals, films, music, go to the same parties and clubs. Later, the competition and the pressure of the art-market often sever friendships and create new constellations based on different interests. I don’t want to generalise but still I think, nowadays, it is much more difficult for artists to live as a community or in a community. And I don’t see why it should be different for Leipzig. If we talk about context — that’s another thing. And actually, Leipzig’s context is quite specific — the city represents Germany as a candidate for the Olympic Games 2012 to start with. And the whole fuss and enthusiasm around it. And also the mix between a glorious historical past, the grey and dreadful years of totalitarianism and a great desire for a glorious future. All these things can make one suspicious but also proud, depending on your viewpoint. And I don’t think I’ve heard lately of any interesting local political initiative. But this might be my personal lack of information. But somehow one can feel a positive spirit around. Maybe because spring is coming. As for the food, I’ve been always very picky and I avoid eating just anything. I somehow will never get used to the bratwurst and some other German specialities, which I find too fatty. That’s why I stick to good wine, fish, rice, pasta, cheese, fruits and vegetables. The latter are actually disastrous. Nothing can compare with Bulgarian tomatoes! From the point of view of housing, Leipzig is a good place to live. There are lots of empty apartments — in stately late 19th century buildings with high ceilings, in socialist concrete tower-blocks, or in modern houses. And the prices are relatively low. But this fact reveals also another aspect of the local context, namely that many people have left Leipzig and not many move to the city.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Raimundas Malasauskas
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Ilina Koralova
Raimundas Malasauskas, February 2004
Ilina Koralova, March 2004
Letter from Dundee
4 Years in Prison
What? My life? Do you really want to know about my present life? The food I eat? The artists I know and the way they behave? There is no way I am going to tell about it. It is too embarrassing… When I first moved up here I heard some rumours but thought:“It can’t really be that bad!”
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Nuno Sacramento
1) There aren’t any palm trees where I live. Isn’t that strange? How can there be no palm trees? It is not that palm trees are very useful trees. They are just nice to look at, or to drive past. Here, bunches of bored kids don’t go to the beach. They spend time in derelict buildings, on construction sites, or hang out near off-licenses. Rich kids stay at home getting fat in front of their Play Stations. It is strange to live in a place with bad weather around the clock. It is almost as if god didn’t like people here so much.“You’ve been bad. Now you will live under rain, sleet and gale force winds.” Accommodation is quite important. Without it people couldn’t survive!
2) The food is pretty low-grade. Most food comes in cans. At times it really looks amazing. No deformed pears or tangerines with hundreds of seeds. Fish doesn’t have bones, and all tastes are corrected with a bit of curry powder. The fruit is too sweet at times. Isn’t that weird? The only thing that grows here are potatoes. An island with a lot of land, farms with cattle and sheep, surrounded by water full of lobsters and other beautiful fish. Where is all the amazing food? I know some is in French and Belgian restaurants. The rest is available at local supermarkets, made unavailable by the excessive pricing. And then doctors and politicians complain: people here have a terrible diet, cholesterol is high and lots of wee guys get drunk every night after work. Healthy food is really good for people, and helps the body to function perfectly.
Nuno Sacramento, 2001/2004 Dundee, Scotland
Letter from Budapest
3) It is all about work. Very little about leisure. Everyone seems to be always busy. If they aren’t busy they feel bad. Therefore they have to be busy… or at least look busy. Some people rebel against this work ethic and become punks and anarchists. These ones go and live in squats (or in the streets) and do literally nothing apart from hanging about on street corners with dogs, playing ﬂutes (the punks, not the dogs). They are looked on as the scum of society, because they don’t want to produce anything. Between the producers and the anarchists, there is a big empty gap. It seems that all this emphasis on producing is related to the idea of owning. The more I produce, the more commodities I can buy, and the more successful I am. This materialistic urge is quickly destroying the environment and the planet. It seems wise to look for ways of stopping this. Without the planet, people will not be able to survive.
Just a story which is quite relevant in this context: Around early February, Amiel Grumberg (currently one of the CTP students) asked me for some information which could be useful for a text he was working on for a French magazine. The current issue wanted to focus on the cultural activity of the new members of the European Union so he asked for a short text in which I would summarise the situation of Hungary’s emerging art scene. I replied; tried to give a brief overview of how I saw the “transitory” period of these former socialist countries on a cultural-political level, how these countries build up their own institutions (from the inner changes of the academy to the new platform: magazines and spaces) within an absolutely new context and situation and also in a short time-span. Transitology is in the air and it will be discussed for years in academic seminars of central European studies. But when Amiel asked me for information a month ago I felt I had the courage to order things and see the current situation as a phase in the whole story; as a scene in which I myself clearly see my own tasks and role and have a clear vision of my goal. It is not like this anymore, I could say with a little exaggeration. Below you just read fragments and basically whining. Naturally this whole transitory period and restructuring process was quite complex and following some existing models would not guarantee a productive structure; but a number of small initiatives appeared and tried to function in a very diversified, quite fragmented art scene. The Studio of Young Artists Association was one of these initiatives dating from the early 90s that focused mainly on the emerging art scene, and generally worked with the younger generation of artists. Artists and young curators — curators who already identified themselves with this new category of art-workers on the scene — have been searching, in the frame of this association, for answers to relevant topical questions in the modernization process of the institutional structure. Most of the time they tried to fill the gaps which occurred in daily practice with projects. The everyday practice of artists and curators who saw their activity in a more international context, and wanted to confront their theoretical convictions and practical experiences within a dialogue. Residency projects on an exchange basis were organised because there are no really internationally recognized scholarships abroad initiated and supported by the Hungarian Cultural Ministry, no real institutional collaborations. In the studio we tried to generate an international discourse though there was and still is no stimulating interest from outside. This region has lost its exotic “value” which can sometimes trigger international recognition of an art climate. It is no longer a hot-spot.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Nuno Sacramento
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Edit Molnár
4) Most artists I know don’t seem to have anything to say. Art doesn’t seem to be much fun. It is more like a job.“What do you do?”“I am a professional artist. This means I travel a lot, go to lots of openings, hang out with the ‘cool’ people and often say the right things. It means as well that I forgot all about breaking the mould. I make stuff that appeals to a tiny number of connoisseurs. These are usually the people that can help me climb onto the walls of the museum.” Where is art’s generosity? Does art have to engage people, physically, visually, emotionally and intellectually? Be a bit more vibrant, prompt a few more smiles, maybe even laughs? Art can have a real impact on everyday life. If it doesn’t, it is bad to get everyone to pay for it. During my 4 years’ imprisonment I saw many interesting things. I have seen the productive side of the planet, participated in many interesting conversations, seen great exhibitions and theatre plays. I read lots of books and learnt languages, tried different tastes and discovered other ways of filling time and having fun. I have now served my time here, and can finally go home. Tomorrow the big door will be thrown open. Any ideas about nice places to go or cool things to do?
Nuno Sacramento, February 2004
Premises of the Studio of Young Artists Association, Budapest
We have been organising curated theme-and-issue based shows (while curating is still not acknowledged as a profession). This aims to encourage young professionals to create a new and livelier, dialogue-based working process with artists. We want to create a small community based on shared interests, and also to work as a think tank. Today, artists should not think about themselves just as lonely suffering magical creatures with no inﬂuence on reality — after the romantic 19th century model — but more as communicative, open, self-reﬂective creators who want to inﬂuence the context in which they will be represented. This shift in attitude is essential within a culture where you have to fulfil all the well-known romantic stereotypes to be considered a serious artist. Actually, the survival of this institution is questionable right now. Without any guarantee for stable institutional functioning how you can offer your services to support a project or initiate one? How can you keep your network alive? How can you get attention for your work when there is no interest for it in a local context? We are about filling gaps, low budget, high enthusiasm, lobbying. In the last few months we have been trying to reach the high level of decision makers through the press. On this level there is no real knowledge and information ﬂow between the professional scene and the state fundraising aims. Right, it is true there is no need for clinging to state money all the time. Still, it’s difficult to find corporate sponsorship. Naturally, there is a long story behind this, based on our cultural history in which visual arts were never considered to have the same traditional power as literature or music to represent national culture. So “multies” do not consider it a field in which it would be interesting to invest as it has no marketing power. Actually, I do not think that the transition period will end as if by magic when Hungary joins the EU. All these institutional problems just will be more visible with the lack of stable and well-managed institutions, institutions which have all the facilities to act as partners and collaborators, and have all the apparatus with remarkable representatives in them. So all this still has to happen.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Edit Molnár
Bik van der Pol, (Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol) Lobby Copy Office Piece for Budapest’ 2002. Installation view. photo: courtesy Studio of Young Artists Association, Budapest
Edit Molnár, March 2004
Letter from Berlin
Spending this weekend in my apartment in Berlin, I will probably finish this letter to you at my official working desk at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel next week. For a year, I have been part of the “curatorial workshop” that was initiated by the director of the Fridericianum, René Block, in order to provide a luxurious exhibition space to young curators and to share with them his 40 years of experience within the field of visual art. Working in Kassel — outside the Documenta period — is very peculiar: the absence of almost any artists’ and experimental initiatives, the few art communities, the biggest segment of the population is aged between 40 and 60; there is big city escapism and the problem of huge unemployment. All these factors are still consequences of being a former borderland area before the wall came down, and make it a place where it is difficult to get people involved in any kind of activity. Working within this context leaves you with a rather insular feeling and with the constant question of how to reach the attention of local residents in order to create a dialogue. Weekly lectures accompanying the different exhibitions, film programmes, symposia, guided tours given by children for children, magazines, etc. seem to rarely attract a different crowd of people. Just recently we were discussing how collaboration with students from the university could take shape and how various projects could be realised together. We are still in the process of planning the first step towards a more interdisciplinary exchange. This working situation is of course not uncommon to those who work in a small city, especially within the cultural field, and could furthermore be accredited to my own inability to fully engage with the town. From the very beginning my work at the Kunsthalle was only meant to be for a limited time; it is a transitory place for the changing curators that were invited to develop or to work together on some exhibitions, and therefore difficult to figure out the deeper complexity, which cannot easily be found with only a glimpse of the surface. For the last eight years my home base has been Berlin where I never fully gave up my living space. It has always been important for me to return to surroundings where I can talk with friends with many different interests. An outstanding and lovable aspect of Berlin is the unusual mixture of people of different ages, occupations, backgrounds and nationalities you come across. Kreuzberg is probably the area where this most applies. A lot of old established bars from the 70s or 80s look back to a past of rich tradition. Worth mentioning is the legendary club S.O. 36, that was one of the first cinemas in Berlin 75 years ago, and was then taken over by a group of performance artists, before Martin Kippenberger transformed it in 1978 (together with Die Neuen Wilden) into an event hall where he organised punk concerts, film festivals and exhibitions. Provocative forms of musical expression emerged from underground, and bands like Die Einstürzenden Neubauten broke with the stagnancy of popular music. Still today the biggest potential lies in the diversity of people and the hall’s progressive
programming, such as queer parties, gay-lesbian evenings, and oriental nights — open to the various cultural and political groups and subcultures beyond the mainstream. While talking with two friends of mine, who moved from Copenhagen to Berlin a year ago, it was interesting to learn that the many coexisting scenes are not reserved for only one specific bunch of people. Rather, the hetero and homo scenes merge and are not as distinctively structured and exclusive as in other places. This reminds me of a bittersweet movie I saw recently in the cinema entitled Talk straight — the world of rural queers, by the German filmmaker Jochen Hick. In big cities, discrimination against homosexuality and a gay way of life is probably not a big issue anymore. Gay mayors are no longer exceptions to the rule, but have become the norm. The movie shows the rural areas of South Germany. It is a documentary about four gay men who grew up and still live in the countryside in the middle of a heterosexual environment. With subtlety and a lot of humour, the film traces prejudices towards homosexuals. Speaking with the local dialect, the protagonists’ comments on their lifestyle are confronted directly with the uproarious abuse from their families, neighbours and “friends.” The interviewed persons are found in local pubs, the church choir, the doctor’s office, at a CSD parade in a small town, in educational programmes initiated by concerned mothers, etc. The film demonstrates how deep the gap is between what is supposedly normal and what diverges from heterosexual normativity. In Berlin I have rarely encountered intellectual or personal isolation. It often happens that you read, hear or see something and soon after bump into it physically or even become part of a social political process. It seems that intimate discussions held in small get-togethers produce thoughts that are probably coming to life at the same time at another end of the city. Besides this, it is a city that offers freedom of thought, and individual working structures can be maintained. This is maybe one of the appealing reasons why artists and free-lance workers feel particularly comfortable here although their source of income is somewhere else.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Nikola Dietrich
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Nikola Dietrich
Nikola Dietrich, February 2004
Letter from Berlin
Letter from Madrid
It was nice seeing you in Berlin, a few days ago: as usual a quick meeting in our schizoinfoglobal art world… Better than nothing, I would say. When I met you I was just back in Berlin, after two months spent in Italy. Xmas with my family, working on a show, starting a new job, playing football and bowling with friends… As you know, I am trying to make Berlin more and more my place, despite the fact I still have more opportunities to work in Italy or within the Italian context. So far, about three years since I moved, Berlin has been more the place for reﬂection, study, contacts and the development of ideas; Italy the one where I have been able to give shape to these reﬂections. Sometimes this condition provokes a kind of schizophrenic feeling in me, as I am constantly displaced, out of place, out of focus. Like someone who never felt they belonged anywhere… But I like always re-placing and re-shaping myself in different contexts and forms. I guess this is our contemporary condition and it will be even more so in the future. But Berlin is a fantastic although problematic city; it is an organism in constant ﬂux and change, where different tensions are operating at the same time, where time and space are constantly negotiated in a two-way connection to past and future. You never finish discovering it; your imaginations of it are never right. It is a fertile ground that stimulates reﬂections on our culture, our history, our mistakes and, possibly, on our hopes. Someone says that Italy is the place where the socio-political future of western, capitalistic countries can be seen. Well, they might be right, but I do not like that future, then. I do not like the present either. I do not like a country where one person owns and controls such a massive share of information, culture, and political power. I do not like the fact that he tramples down every notion of freedom, equity and democracy, keeping a false smile to hide the truth. But most of all I do not like the fact that we, I mean the Italian people, are all responsible for this situation. That we have legitimated it by a democratic and popular vote. That we were too tired too blind too dumb too weak too afraid to stop it. That we saw it growing and taking shape in front of us, and said hardly a word against it. Maybe because we were enjoying mirroring our own weakness and meanness in him too much. Because every sort of civil conscience has been slowly destroyed throughout the years. Because we have been looking for a scapegoat, instead of looking for ourselves. That’s the reason, Saskia, I would rather prefer not to match this system. And keep on feeling displaced until the place has changed. And keep on working to change that place into a slightly better place.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Luca Cerizza
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Montse Badia
Barcelona, March 15th, 2004 photo: Andreas M. Kaufmann
How are you? I hope you are doing well. It’s funny that you ask me about how things are in my surroundings, because at the moment there are several (strange) things going on. As you know, my main base is Barcelona. Although I am also doing projects here and there and spending some time in Berlin, Cologne, New York or Madrid, my “departure point,” let’s say, normally is Barcelona. Recently, and with special intensity since the Iraq war, I am in a perpetual state of perplexity. These are Malos tiempos para la lírica (Bad times for the lyrical), to quote a famous 80s song in Spain. News on TV, radio and newspapers show us day in, day out the cynicism of politicians (did you ever see one of Aznar’s performances on the TV news? Just an example: in a recent visit to Bush, Aznar declared that if in the near future his friend George Bush, Jr. asked him to join him again in another campaign “to make the world a better place to live” he will accept without the slightest doubt (!). We are witness to the lack of scruples required to survive in the world of big finance, of the increasing intolerance to accept what is different, of the greater control and restriction of individual freedom. We are increasingly becoming consumers instead of citizens! And we are programmed to choose from a large variety of food to eat, clothes to wear, cars to drive, books to read, political parties to vote for or NGOs to support. Of course, this is a tough panorama but it can also be a challenging field for artists. I am convinced that art can function as a place of anxiety and discontent and convert itself into a form of interrogation.
Luca Cerizza, February 2004
Letter from Montreal
This probably doesn’t say much about my geographical context, where I am living right now, but these are the consequences of globalisation! The good part is that my surroundings are more and more international. One of the first times I was abroad, when I was a teenager, I was surprised (and delighted) by the variety of people I saw in the subway in London. Barcelona is not as big and multicultural as London, but at the moment, has quite a big variety of people and colours. Of course, you come across the same kind of people: the “foreigners” who decide to invest in this nice Mediterranean town and transform it into a terribly expensive place to live, and the “immigrants” who come in search of better living and working opportunities. The city where I live is, by tradition, very international, but also terribly provincial. It believes more in big events (Forum of the Cultures 2004) for talking about tolerance than in constructing a better basis for daily co-existence. I live in an autonomous region, Catalonia, which has a new autonomous government (left oriented party), considered by the central conservative government as radical and close to terrorism. I live in a city/autonomous region where the language you use (Catalan or Spanish) can be considered a statement. Of course, there are things that make life more relaxed and bearable: the beautiful sea, delicious food, good wine, good weather, friends; all the things that the more I travel, the more I appreciate. And, that’s all for the moment. I realize now that I didn’t write much about the art scene, which is quite active, in terms of artists, curators, institutions. Next time! I hope to see you soon. (Berlin? San Sebastián?) Until then,
42 PRINTED PROJECT 02: Montse Badia
For my short contribution in the Printed Project, I would have loved to write more about art, but my biggest preoccupation right now is the situation in Haiti. It’s a sad situation and I am really affected by it. After many years living in Canada, I thought that my link with Haiti would have been weaker. On the contrary, I still react when Haiti makes the headlines. It seems that all we ever hear about this country is bad news. I still have family over there, one aunt and my godfather. A few weeks ago, my old father who normally spends the winter in Haiti had to come back to Canada. I think about my father seeing his country, ruined, troubled and I become melancholic. Deep inside, I am concerned for my native country. Even though, I have, from my last trip in 1999, realised that Haiti only represents my place of birth. I also realise that I could not define myself from one cultural perspective. I could not continue to call Haiti my country. But, living in Montreal with a community of more than 70,000 Haitians, I could not escape the culture. Haiti is not only this Caribbean island, it is also a part of Montreal and I had to accept the complexity of my life. My reality embraces Haiti, where I was born and Montreal, where I live. Montreal is also for me the convergence of Europe, Canada, North America, South America, the Caribbean and Haiti. My reality is multiple. How to objectively address social, political, ecological and cultural issues related to where I am now, the place I call home? Thinking and evolving within a global context makes it difficult sometimes to reﬂect on the local context. Two events have occupied my mind lately: the socio-political turmoil in Haiti and the politico-cultural situation in Montreal. Even though I’ve been living here for more than 20 years, I can’t help being affected by the current events in my native country. In Haiti a civil war is about to happen. It seems that this country is doomed to experience political chaos forever. Although Haiti was the first Black Republic in the world and is celebrating 200 years of independence this year, the Haitians are experiencing an ongoing struggle. People around me ask: When will Haiti find a solution? Will chaos end? When? Aristide, the President, must give up power! Aristide — once a symbol of hope for Haitians — has failed the people and deepened their misery. Well, what can I say about my local environment. I live in a vibrant city: Montreal. A unique place! This metropolis has a distinct position in North America — a French-speaking population with an English-speaking community living along with people from all over the world. Among the many communities is the Haitian community. While the people in Haiti are protesting, suffering and dying, the artistic community in Montreal is engaged in a different kind of struggle. At first sight, Montreal’s cultural position may seem enviable. Yet, Montreal will have its very first cultural policy plan this year, in 2004.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Dominique Fontaine
Montse Badia, February 2004
Postscript: Unfortunately reality is much tougher and sensitive at the moment. Only two weeks ago, I (and many others) was worried and complaining about the cynicism of politicians (with the couple BushAznar at the top of the list), of the lack of scruples required to survive in the world of corporate finance or the progressive restriction of our individual freedom and expression. But five days ago a terrible terrorist attack, which broke many lives and deeply wounded our hearts, showed the endless lack of morals and ethics of a government eager to manipulate people and information for their own benefit far beyond the limits of human compassion and understanding. But also something else happened, people simply said NO and showed (in the most overwhelming way you can do in democracy, that is, by voting) their rejection of cynicism, intolerance, lies, hypocrisy and lack of solidarity. To take part in these elections of March 14th was, as never before, an act of protest, democratic participation, civil responsibility and, above all, respect for the victims. Madrid, Spain and Europe are no longer safe places. Terror is now much more concrete than the TV news about far-away countries. I hope fear doesn’t take hold of our societies. Instead I hope it brings out the best values of our societies and of all of us as individuals. There is a lot to do and if art can help us to understand the world and ourselves in relation to it, then the work is hard. M.B. March 2004
Letter from Sydney
Moreover, following the election of a new, provincial government, funding for art and culture is being cut as part of an overall strategy to reduce the size and role of the government. In the face of this threat, artists and arts organizations such as “Le Mouvement pour les arts et les lettre” (MAL) are lobbying for increasing the provincial cultural budget. In order to put pressure on the Financial Minister, the MAL has adopted a threat barometer similar to that of the Bush administration. The cultural community has issued an “orange alert.” Here, artists and art organisations are among the first to suffer from cuts in public funding. Although the art scene in Montreal may seem alive and healthy, a closer look at the situation reveals a context of struggle with no clear commitment to cultural development by either the municipal or provincial government. A large proportion of the population is excluded from the artistic and cultural life of Montreal, a cosmopolitan city. The social, economic and political barriers that prevent all concerned citizens from fully participating in the city’s cultural life have yet to be identified, vigorously addressed and rectified. I believe, for instance, that members of the Haitian community can offer and share their experience with the larger community on both the cultural and political fields.
Over the summer holidays, we were away from the city, driving up the coast to the tropical forest. We spent our days swimming, keeping two metre long goannas away from the food and listening to the cicadas — certainly louder than any city noise. Back in Sydney it’s been very hot and humid, exhausting everyone and sending them straight to the beach on the weekends, but it’s starting to cool down now. In Sydney there’s a big gap between artist-run spaces and larger institutions, with no organisation really filling the gap in between. Property is as expensive here as it is in London, so public and personal space is highly territorialized. This, as always, opens up smaller unusual spaces for projects and actions to blossom in the public domain. Artists have very little space for studios, and this means that projects often find their form only in exhibitions, or become mobile or functional projects by necessity. The Biennale offices are located in Woolloomooloo, an area of Sydney bringing together the two ends of socio-economic scale. Opposite us on the bay is a large hotel for the wealthy, while behind us stretches a poorer neighbourhood with many homeless people. It’s a little surreal to see the two come together; a tall thin man who walks continually around the suburb, seeming to have no home or work, has the most fantastic wardrobe of feather boas and sequined dresses — he’s better dressed than most of the wealthier visitors. There has recently been a riot in Redfern, the area of inner Sydney that is historically a place where indigenous Australians live. Building up for some time, the tensions split open when a boy chased by police was killed. Some say the riot was a response to the inherently racist situation in Australia, others that it is a political move by leaders within the community to keep control of the suburb. It is probable that it was both. Uninvolved residents of the suburb apparently got chairs out on the pavement and drank beers as they watched cars burning. Sydney remains unchanged by it, and as always, just sits back and watches it happen — a truly Australian response. This is both small-minded apathy and tolerant acceptance; one of the great things about a manycultured and comparatively young city like Sydney is the conﬂuence of languages. On a city train one can hear Polish, Vietnamese, Chinese and French being spoken, and often no English. Young as we are though, we have not yet focused ourselves towards what this might mean for our artworld. Distance from Europe and America plays a part in our self-image, but this is more a psychological block than a real one — we are close to so many other artworlds in this part of the globe that it is ungrateful (and pointless) to complain that we aren’t more like Berlin or New York. The upcoming Biennale of Sydney, then, is both an opportunity to see recent international work, but also a chance for the local community to respond, discuss and critique what we see in the exhibition and how we make our own way forward.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Dominique Fontaine
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Sophie O’Brien
Dominique Fontaine, February 2004
Sophie O’Brien, March 2004
Letter from New York
Columbia University, February 2004
Thank you for inviting me to contribute to Printed Project. It will be nice to read how other exCTP students have continued their (professional) lives, and learn about the places where they live and work today. For me, this place is New York, and has been for almost seven years now. Therefore, it is not exactly easy to satisfy your request. There is, obviously, lots to say about this energetic and cosmopolitan city, but how can I write something, preferably related to art, that neither immediately adds to, or confirms, the circulating clichés? Since the commercially driven artworld of New York has never interested me much since my arrival in 1997 (perhaps notable in itself?), let me write about artists living in New York, with many of whom I maintain friendly relationships. Although their work is the backbone of the whole New York art business, the artists themselves don’t seem to get the respect they deserve, but struggle with its highly competitive and commercial system. As far I can observe, from my outsider’s position as a PhD candidate at Columbia University, there is a considerable gap between the daily life of New York-based artists, and the rather snobbish art world around them of openings, dinners, art
fairs, parties, etc. — this might be true for many places, but it is just tougher in New York. Although artists compete with each other as soon as they enter the “system,” there is a great sense of solidarity between them in their daily life. Besides art, the binding factor is New York, and the hardships of visas, housing, money, competition, health, et cetera, that it constantly exerts on countless artists (and others) living in New York. This mundane side of New York often seems more “real” to me for artists than the art world itself, which is its glamorous but superficial “other” (there you go: the cliché!) that keeps the whole system in place. But it also holds up the idea of New York as “the” centre of the world of art, thereby hiding the fact that the “real” breeding ground of contemporary art moved to Europe (Berlin? London?) or other places around the globe (Johannesburg? Istanbul? Shanghai?) in the 1990s (or earlier?), however provisionally. New York, however, might still be the commercial centre of art: it shows, buys, and sells art from around the globe (Chinese art, Young British art, etc.) du moment it has become commercially lucrative, but long after its moment of artistic innovation — Vanessa Beecrofts’ performance in the Guggenheim (1997), Damien Hirst’s show in the Gagosian (2000), or Okwui Enwezor’s show The Short Century (2002) in PS1, are just some examples of this symptomatic belated response. Meanwhile, the artists living in New York suffer from this commercially healthy, but artistically boring system. They discuss methods of survival with each other, while escaping to “global” exhibitions and Biennales whenever they can. Of course, I am not thinking of those artists who come here as some sort of an “extended tourist” with a grant from whatever government (who usually think they know New York within a couple of months or years), nor about those very few who are singled out by one of the major galleries to be turned into their “star” or “model” artist (I usually hope this does not happen to artists whose work I like, because it often marks the end of their artistic career), but about the common artist in New York, whether he or she operates more or less successfully within the art system, or is trying to get into it. Perhaps all of this is common knowledge of New York — cliché indeed? — but for me it marks one of those long-term “culture shock” experiences: How can art matter so little, and money and status so much? Yet the level of art theory is excellent at Columbia University, and with artists I do have a good time.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Sjoukje van der Meulen
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Sjoukje van der Meulen
Sjoukje van der Meulen, February 2004
Letter from New York
My subway station in Brooklyn with my morning coffee photo: Yukie Kamiya
My new place to work photo: Yukie Kamiya
Letter from Zurich on Paris
I had been based in my home country, Japan, since I left Amsterdam after my De Appel days. But as you already knew, I moved again and settled in New York in the midst of the brutal coldness of last December to start work at a museum in SoHo. Now, my morning rhythm is shifting to a typical one in NY. I walk at a quick pace to the station grabbing a paper cup of weak American coffee on the street and a doughnut (I cannot resist sweet temptation), and take a subway which crosses over the Brooklyn Bridge with the view of the little Statue of Liberty and gigantic buildings in Manhattan. I wish I could use a bicycle like I did in Amsterdam. How healthy! After the unbearable tragedy struck this city, US politics turned conservative especially for aliens’ entry. However, I appreciate the fact that art keeps seeking the global inquiry and wants to have me here from Asia. For the past three years, I have participated in an ongoing exhibition project with artists and curators from seven Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines and Thailand. It became my first chance to really get to know my neighbouring countries. The project was an eye-opener for me after the opportunities in Europe and the US. Needless to say, the food of each country was absolutely fantastic! Freshly spicy Thai cuisine, varieties of Indian curry, strikingly hot Korean and dynamic Chinese, etc. Food could be one example; Asia contains various different cultures, languages and religions. Although some consider Asia a whole, we explored what Asia is today and felt the need to create a network inside of it. Having roundtable discussions, research trips led by local curators, organising exhibitions as well as symposiums and workshops, we communicated in English. Today, due to its widespread use in cyberspace, English enables people in Asia to communicate on an equal basis, though Japan had used its position as ruling power to force other Asian countries to communicate in Japanese in the past. We enjoyed using English as a communication tool to be able to work in a new framework for our dialogue, despite the fact that the local language is being endangered by its pervasiveness. Then, I left Asia and dove into the freezing winter of America’s East coast. Literally, the coldest winter on record. From the first weekend I moved in, the city was completely covered by snow after a whole day’s blizzard. I could see the whitely covered Greenwood Cemetery from my colleague’s apartment window, where J.M. Basquiat, Brooks Brothers and others sleep. It was so quiet and so beautiful. The temperature was around 15 degrees. 15 degrees!? Yes, it’s not Celsius, but Fahrenheit, about minus 10 degrees. Not only the temperature but all basic measurement units are different in the US, including length, and weight. I lost all sense of the size of art works and of space. My documents from Japan did not fit into US files. I wanted to make pie, but I couldn’t figure out the weight of ﬂour… I repeatedly became “lost in translation” in my daily life. In Sofia Coppola’s movie, the characters are not willing to communicate with local people, and keep getting lost in translation. Please be communicative! How can I develop a way of translating amid the cultural differences; it’ll be a trial to me here. Today the temperature is almost 40 degrees (in Fahrenheit). Spring will be coming soon to NY. You probably know it already but I left the museum in Antibes at the end of December, had a close look at what I experienced after De Appel and decided to move on, leave Antibes and work free-lance. I found a job which allows me to support myself financially and allows me to travel a bit as well; I started working as a consultant for a gallery in Portugal. Since the beginning of January, I have been a bit here and there between Geneva, Paris and Zurich and travelled to Lisbon and Oporto, went to Madrid for the art fair (and saw Montse “l’épanouie” and even visited her show at Telefonica), and I even spent a few days in London. Finally, I have now moved to Zurich, Switzerland. Probably the only country I never thought about in the slightest! But the city seems very nice and booming and the art scene very dynamic. The Kunsthalle and the Migros museum both have very good programmes and there are so many good galleries here. Tonight, the Kunsthalle inaugurates its new project room with Carol Bove’s show. Also, a Parisian just moved here as well: Olivier Belot, who was working for Yvon Lambert, has become the partner of Jorg Yudin and has now a gallery here. I actually think that I will settle in very well here, I already feel quite comfortable here. It is so comfortable here anyhow, so different from Paris. Talking of Paris I could make it short and go on and on about a tale of one city and the first words would be “it was the worst of times, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Darkness, it was the winter of despair, we had nothing before us…” Paris is indeed a very depressing city right now. It is not a personal thought, it is the way everybody seems to feel about it there. For instance, even Hans Ulrich Obrist — who in my opinion is the most optimistic, active and generous person working in France — was telling a few people about it when I saw him in Madrid last week:“everybody in Paris is so depressed right now, there is a big crisis, the situation is dramatic, etc.” In fact, I think that the political and financial situation is terrible in many countries right now so why should people in France be more sensitive to it? How can a whole population actually be depressed? I have no answer for that but the fact is: France is a very depressed country right now. It is so obvious that the magazines, the newspapers and TV channels were endlessly discussing the subject right after summer… At the moment, the media are only raising topics about a unique issue obviously linked to the lack of hope: religion. But I don’t really believe that people care so much about veils and beards right now. People care about not being able to find a job, losing their job, being cut off from unemployment benefit, changing status, etc. And that is happening to many people living in France right now. And of course it concerns the artworld too. With the reforms of the “intermittent’s” status, a lot of people became aware that their situation was going to be even more precarious than before and both their life and vision have changed. I was recently reading an interview with Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Chris Cunningham — not the most intellectual thing to read, but Cunningham was saying something quite
50 PRINTED PROJECT 02: Yukie Kamiya
51 PRINTED PROJECT 02: Florence Derieux
Yukie Kamiya, February 2004
interesting about the fact that for him the only people truly politically incorrect today are children, because they never analyse their acts or behaviour:“The only incorrectness left in our societies which are more and more formatted, able to digest everything, to justify everything, is innocence.” The absence of innocence is what best describes the situation in France right now. I really can’t explain it, but instead I can try to describe a few things happening there. To mention the artists’ situation, Sophie Calle has finally got a big retrospective in the Pompidou Centre, which just launched a project room for contemporary art with Matthieu Mercier; the next show will be Urs Fisher and Koo Jeong-A… What else can I say? It seems that life is not so easy for young artists in France especially because of the lack of trust they are experiencing. There are of course a few exceptions: Melik Ohanian — I curated his first solo exhibition in Paris only two years ago — has been selected to represent France at the Sao Paulo Biennial; Anri Sala has a solo exhibition at the Couvent des Cordeliers — the exhibition space used by the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris during its closure for refurbishment — opening in two weeks. But that is all I have in mind right now. Yvon Lambert has been showing a large number of young artists’ work during the past year but has just decided to stop and is reconsidering his programme. In January 2002, two contemporary art institutions opened in Paris, the Palais de Tokyo and Le Plateau. The first project was widely publicised so expectations were very high. In the end, they didn’t match the reality of the institution which didn’t add anything new to the art world. It was indeed a bit of a deception, but nothing serious as it is nevertheless working anyway. Le Plateau remained a local art centre somehow “married” to a Frac with a quite average artistic programme. Nothing too exciting, but things were set to change. Both institutions were going to have new directors. Stéphanie Moisdon-Tremblay and Eric Troncy, for instance, had made no mystery about their ambitions to take over from Nicolas Bourriaud and Jérôme Sans as codirectors of the Palais de Tokyo. It seemed like a promising team and somehow it would have been logical given both their experience and achievement. But before anyone could apply, the Minister of Culture himself appointed Bernard Blistène for three years, from January 2005. If I would find this decision difficult to criticise, I also think that it is as if a loud and clear “no future” had suddenly been shouted in the face of this generation of curators, and the one to follow. A month ago, while everybody was expecting Xavier Veilhan to be nominated to represent France at the next Venice Biennale, Annette Messager was finally selected… My concern in that matter is not about age, but about the kind of options left to a younger generation of artists and curators, the generation before us; so what is left to us? The number of curators who recently applied for the position of co-director of the art centre Le Plateau — four hundred I was told today — is pretty indicative of the current lack of professional opportunities in France. This might explain why, although they always made clear that they would leave at the
end of their three-year contract, Bourriaud and Sans are currently trying hard to keep their position at the Palais de Tokyo. Surely, the announcement made a few days ago that Caroline Bourgeois was appointed co-director of Le Plateau is not going to change this situation. Caroline Bourgeois has no knowledge of art history or any institutional experience, but she has very strong connections with the private sector — for a few years, she bought video works for Pinault’s collection, and until recently worked for MK2, an important group involved in the cinema industry which is trying hard to penetrate the art world for some reason. This might be the key to understanding such a decision. Indeed, this intervention comes while the government is being attacked from all sides for its cultural politics. A week ago, the magazine Les Inrockuptibles released a “petition against the war on intelligence” which has now been signed by over 30,000 people from the cultural world. The reaction of the Minister of Culture, and of the Prime Minister, was very violent and succeeded in creating a broad coalition. What the government is now trying to do is to discredit the protest by reducing it to a partisan opposition and by opposing it to “France’s world of companies” as it is called by the media, which is supposed to be the only one generating wealth in the country. A lot of demonstrations are planned for March. In a way, it is good to know that people are getting together in order to protest — and survive! — but I wonder how we could end up there and can’t help but think that when they see people act, they don’t have to react. There is no real scene in France and there has never been; it is a cultural fact that people don’t really accept being more than an individual with two or three friends. It is particularly true in Paris, and even truer in the art world. People have always been fighting between themselves with no awareness of being part of something and having equal interests, with no other desire but to compete. Things never happen overnight; a situation takes years to settle and evolve. The complete lack of collective consciousness which characterises the Paris art world has now reached its limits. Fortunately — to be a bit cynical — we have a right-wing government to blame and fight against. Again.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Florence Derieux
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Florence Derieux
Florence Derieux, February 2004
Letter from Rome
It sounds like a nice project. And I like one of your suggestions to write a letter about shelter. Lately I’ve been working on the relation between art and architecture, realising site-specific interventions in several interesting urban locations in Rome. Working in such places gives me the chance to understand special situations which took place in the last decades, and the different perspective that we have today. Pasolini movies are often located in several suburban areas of the city of Rome, the most typical are the shelters built under old Roman aqueducts. During the 60s and 70s huge new social housing projects developed quickly all around the city trying to erase these kinds of places. The shelters built under the aqueducts were destroyed and now it is still possible to see the interior of the houses, the tiles and the different colours of the walls, showing the taste of the former inhabitants. The most massive building built during the 70s to resolve the lack of housing is Corviale. Almost one kilometre long, thirty metres high, fifty metres wide, with dwellings for more than 6,000 people, it is probably the biggest social housing building in Europe. Corviale is an XXL building, an abstract, unreal volume in the geography of the new peripheries, a building that differs completely from the rest of the city. A new element in the urban context, with a new aesthetic, a new approach and, last but not least, a new livability. To make this model viable, the architecture of Corviale, built during the 70s with the architect Mario Fiorentino as project architect, had been designed to provide a range of socially useful and productive spaces. A multitude of different spaces for a multitude of different functions were to be laid out along the entire length of one kilometre on the 4th ﬂoor. Other public spaces were to be located on the ground ﬂoor. But the 80s were not the best period to carry out experiments based on the idea of sociability, and so, instead of being used for the purposes assigned to it in the project, the whole middle ﬂoor was immediately taken over and transformed into home-made apartments. The change rapidly led to the creation of a multicoloured strip, realised in widely differing materials, running right through the building and effectively dividing the geometric design of the monolith in two. The monochrome and minimal aspects of the original project were overwhelmed by chaos and chance, generating a paradoxical situation. Caught as it is between perennial decay and a desire for release, Corviale has undoubtedly failed to meet the challenge of the social space defined by the utopian project, but it has acquired another important value, that of the active participation of the occupant in the construction of the building. In this way the monolithic dinosaur of concrete has been dismantled to make room for a random set of aesthetics that is open to serendipity and to a
more natural structure. Despite all its negative aspects, the unauthorized work carried out inside Corviale acts as a palliative, sustaining an unexpected form of fantasy and imagination within the architecture. The building with its fascinating history and features formed a perfect location for the first edition of Sonicity, Architects of Sound — Composers of Place. Together with a sociologist, a music critic and an architect I’ve started the initiative Moorroom; a foundation that develops a direct link between an exhibition and an interesting urban area through the realisation of video installations and sounds having a dialogue with the surrounding architecture. We invited sound artists, video artists and electronic groups to meet for one day to realise a project especially for Corviale. The project turned out to be a very nice experience for both the inhabitants as well as the public. Describing the shape of Corviale, the architect Fiorentino stated that it looked like a contemporary aqueduct. But not only is its monolithic shape a reference to the Roman aqueduct; after the realisation of the building the project also turned out to host a kind of contemporary shelter, a problem that Corciale meant to solve.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Lorenzo Benedetti
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Lorenzo Benedetti
Lorenzo Benedetti, March 2004
Letter from Cologne
Speaking about Cologne means stating what people predicted ten years ago. Now it’s undeniable: provincialism has got hold of Cologne; its position as a metropolis of international art is lost. Art Cologne, once one of the most important international art fairs, still did not learn to become more selective and lost the international art fairs race in 2003. But worse still is Cologne’s cultural politics. Due to the city’s financial crisis our cultural budget was cut by twice as much as that of any other section. The municipal exhibition hall which once hosted the Kunstverein and where the first exhibitions of Beuys, Vostell, Baselitz, etc. took place, was torn down, without the city being able to guarantee money for a new building. The reconstruction has still not started and a huge hole is yawning in the city’s centre. Before she even came, the promising, newly engaged Austrian director of the boring Cologne opera was fired by the mayor for entirely incomprehensible reasons. And after that the municipal council decided to apply for the Cultural Capital of Europe and the mayor promotes this plan by participating in the Carnival’s parade! Of course young artists nowadays go to Berlin after the academy. Why should they come to Cologne? Over the last ten years people have been saying that artists go to Berlin because life is cheap there. But one should face reality. Life in Cologne is not much more expensive. People go to Berlin because Berlin is a metropolis, Berlin is big, and it offers anonymity, places like Alexanderplatz, Karl-Marx-Allee and wonderful old cinemas. You can find the most fantastic bookshops, for example pro qm. One rarely sees exciting contemporary art exhibitions in the hundreds of galleries and the contemporary institutions, Kunstwerke and Hamburger Bahnhof, do the dullest of international mainstream shows, but you find excellent theatre at Volksbuehne, Prater and the Hebbel Theater. So for the first time in history Berlin has become a town for international cultural immigrants. From France, Britain and Scandinavia artists, writers, gallerists and curators come for economic reasons; from Italy they come for political reasons and from Eastern Europe because they want to be in the West. Only slowly one begins to feel the first convincing results of this amount of international cultural producers, but for Cologne the effect is most evident: The sediment is gone. Facing the situation one is wondering how to react to it, how to establish something special, something exclusive, that you would not find in other places. For example special exhibition programs, interesting lectures or seminars to further certain discourses. There are little glimmers of hope like the gallery BQ or two young women, Heike Sperling and Manu Burghardt, who work on the Extreme Theory Congress, a cross-cultural event to bring together daring and courageous theoretical positions based on Giorgio Agambens writings, or Kölnischer Kunstverein which after a long battle with the town finally found a wonderful new home in the old building of the British council. The Kunstverein did not only start an interesting studio program for emerging young artists selected by an international jury, but is also working on a huge project on migration. But one also has to say that with a mayor and a
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Anja Dorn
Bernard Becher, Das Loch,2003, 50 x 60 cm, C-print courtesy of the artist
Letter from London
municipal council who bank on big cultural events like festivals and parties, it gets increasingly difficult for institutions like Kunstverein and Museum Ludwig to develop a programme which is pursued through differentiated discourses and through presenting new and difficult positions. It seems that there is a wave of conservatism going through Germany. One can feel that also in the press which prefers to cover redundant international Biennales and Julian Schnabel painting shows instead of more progressive projects. Of course people justify this by saying we are in an economic and political crisis. But it is astonishing how people facing this crisis — be it in art or in politics — stick to questions raised at the beginning of the last century, such as how to handle modernity or how to reduce unemployment, instead of dealing with the fact of a remaining “Sockelarbeitslosigkeit” (which roughly translates as the stable number of unemployed), which would mean discussing a new definition of work and different models of a social order.
Seven years after leaving London I’ve found myself back, working in very different circumstances. I used to live in Hackney in the east from where I commuted west. I’m now staying west and working east. I’m now employed, for the first time, by a commercial gallery, Modern Art, which was founded in Hackney and has grown there, increasing in profile in step with its artists. Modern Art was founded in 1998 following the geographical example of Maureen Paley’s Interim Art (which was established in Beck Road, a neighbouring residential street in the mid 1980s). In recent years there has been a well documented exodus by established galleries moving from central London, east. This movement recalls in many ways the shift of galleries in New York from SoHo to Chelsea. The artists who populated the borough of Hackney, in what was, a decade ago, famously said to be the largest concentration of artists in the world, have been followed by coffee shops and “loft living.” One of the most impoverished communities in Europe has finally seen an inﬂux of wealth. Sadly, with this, many of the independent, artist-run exhibition spaces that were so instrumental to the high international profile of British art in the 1990s have lost their leases and the in-kind support of property developers (who only let their empty buildings to escape paying local business taxes). Such galleries have been replaced by open-plan accommodation (predominantly for people who work in the financial industries in the City of London), bars, designer furniture shops and estate agencies. Rents have increased accordingly and the industrial buildings that once provided vast studio complexes have been filled to capacity or converted leading to a serious shortage of studios and experimental exhibition space. However artists somehow remain on the fringes and their numbers have appeared, if anything, to have increased, swelled by an inﬂux of artists from abroad — German, Dutch, Italian… Despite the transformation something of the old Hackney remains. The local authority, for reasons too dull to explain here, remains bankrupt, or on the verge of it. Large high-rise social housing estates to the north of the area guarantee that it remains multi ethnic — reﬂected in the food outlets and supermarket shelves. It is still a ghetto for migrant workers, as it has always been. Modern Art finds itself amidst warehouses, old industrial buildings converted into artists’ studios and ﬂats, a joiners and a Turkish Cypriot owned garage that refurbishes black cabs. In terms of what art’s interesting me right now… in my confusion I’ve been looking to the past to make sense of the present. Looking back to when artists where more interested in what they were making than perhaps in who was looking at it or paying for it — be they pandering to the market or self-consciously rejecting it. The best exhibitions I’ve seen in recent weeks therefore have been in museums. The best of these being not Brancusi or Judd at the
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Anja Dorn
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Rob Tufnell
Anja Dorn, February 2004
Tate nor Guston at the Royal Academy (good as they are) but David Brown’s bequest to the British Museum currently on temporary display there. Brown, who died recently aged 76, was a leading veterinary surgeon in East Africa, from where he began to collect contemporary British painting. In 1967 he moved to Nigeria to head a research institute with a staff of 400. There Brown was joined by his lover, Liza Wilcox, who was tragically killed in a traffic accident ten days after her arrival. Suicidal, he returned to Britain and to the University of East Anglia to study art history. Before graduating he was appointed Assistant Curator at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. Just a few years later, aged 49 he was then employed as a Curator at the Tate Gallery. Brown’s collection is dedicated to his fianceé Liza “Brown” and includes, amongst work by Gilbert and George and Sol le Witt some extraordinary paintings by the, often overlooked, artist Roger Hilton. Produced on his deathbed, with his left hand, after his alcoholism had paralysed his right, they seem strangely positive despite being largely concerned with his sexual impotency and general incapacity. Alongside other, relatively recent, public developments in the city (such as the establishment of Tate Modern and the refurbishment of other existing galleries and museums) London’s creative hub in the east is more readily able to take a serious look at the past in relation to the present. Forthcoming shows at Modern Art reﬂect this: new paintings by Clare Woods and sculptural works by Tim Noble and Sue Webster sit within a programme alongside well known but rarely seen films and photographs by Bas Jan Ader from the early 1970s and a new print edition by Kenneth Anger created from his 1969 classic of experimental film Invocation of My Demon Brother.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Rob Tufnell
Rob Tufnell, February 2004
Opposite page: Clare Woods, Untitled (Angel Cap 2) Household gloss on aluminium 2004 photo: Courtesy Modern Art
Roger Hilton (1911-1975), Untitled, 1973 Gouache, 365 x 560mm The British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings bequeathed by David Brown in memory of Liza Brown. © Estate of Roger Hilton 2004. All rights reserved, DACS
Claire Woods, Broken Back Household gloss on aluminium, 2004 photo: Courtesy Modern Art
Letter from Eindhoven
The protagonists in the following narrative are Art&Language, Daniel Buren, André Cadere, Liam Gillick and Joe Scanlan. They all have a relation or exhibition history with the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. It’s the place where I work and live, but both the museum and I play a secondary role in this narrative horizon of fragments. The latter could sound like false modesty, a strange contradiction or youthful wishful thinking. I rather confess from the very beginning: the museum (as an institution) and the curator (his or her role) are probably the real ones dreaming between the following lines of an oracle night. I’m convinced we’re going through a deep and fascinating crisis, but nevertheless with an urgent question to be answered by the artist as well as the curator: How do we take on a project of realism today? In the summer of 1973 a strange and controversial exhibition opened in Museum DhondtDhaenens in Deurle (B). The space was almost empty except for some files from an international group of artists. The exhibition Deurle 11/7/73 was organised by Fernand Spillemaeckers of Galerie MTL in Brussels, and it represented only one element of a three-step project consisting of a forum discussion, an exhibition and a publication. Fernand Spillemaeckers originally initiated the project together with gallery owners Anny De Decker and Paul Maenz, and Marc Poirier dit Caulier. Shortly after the forum discussion they fell out, withdrew their participation, and published a statement. They dissociated themselves from the publication and declared that the exhibition never took place. Flash Art was one of the arena’s to publish the conﬂict between Spillemaeckers and the other initial organisers in 1973. Unfortunately, the origin of the conﬂict remained unclear, but by now this could be the less interesting element in what is otherwise a fascinating history. The statement and declarations from both sides are unique documents: ideological in taking position; personal in being engaged. The names of two artists constantly crop up in their writings: André Cadere (1934–1978), who participated in both the exhibition and the publication and who publicly chose the side of Spillemaeckers; and Daniel Buren, who withdrew his work from both the exhibition and the publication without, as far as I know, (published) argumentation. Am I idealising a certain historical engagement? In 2003 the curator Jens Hoffmann sent out a single sentence to a group of artists:“The next Documenta should be curated by an artist.” He invited them to reply. Their contributions are published on the e-ﬂux website, or written in full in Electronic Flux Corporation. Among the participants we find again Daniel Buren. He writes, in what must be the longest and most interesting contribution, with among others an introduction written by himself in 1972 against Harald Szeemann’s Documenta: “…at the end of the sixties and at the beginning of the seventies, no exhibition organiser concerned with his or her career would have dared claim out loud that they were the authors of whatever exhibition they were in charge of, and they would be even less inclined to claim they were the artists! Even if it had been the case, to say so would have denigrated the invited artists, who would have not hesitated to let them know in no uncertain terms, and who would have
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Phillip Van Den Bossche
André Cadere, B12000030+25+ + 16 x 17 Noir Blanc Blue, 1975 Collection Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. photo: Peter Cox
undoubtedly rebelled. But times have changed!” His text is entitled Where are the artists? and he fulminates in short against the position and power of the author-curator and the suspicious, because too silent but also never solicited, contemporary artist.“We want to personalise everything, spectacularise everything, and individualise everything to the extreme,” he writes further, “We no longer accept that the organiser remains in the shadow of the invited artists.” Liam Gillick also contributed a short and untitled text for Hoffman’s project. It contains an indirect reply to Buren:“The curator’s role should be and is posed as a conceit or statement or question alongside that of the artist, and this process should not be stopped through excess projection around the historical construction of the idea of what an artist may or may not represent. There is an assumed separation of roles here that does not exist in the most productive projects now and has not done for many years.” Is Gillick idealising the art world in his last sentence? I asked a similar question of Joe Scanlan when I sent him another quote of Liam Gillick’s some time ago:“…art as a self-referential activity produces particular relationships within the society that are suppressed when art remains only responsive to structures and critical theory.” He agreed with this.“Each generation feels that they are the first to break away from art being only about itself…,” Scanlan replied, “I think the next step is not to repeat the same desire with different elements, but to change the desire. Not to try to escape art (history shows that this is impossible) but to just keep moving — away from art, towards art, parallel to art, over art, under art, through art.” How is life in Eindhoven, in the so-called periphery? I wouldn’t know. The nights are maybe darker, but the light coming from the computer screen is the same as in the so-called centre. Art&Language’s web index has been online for some time now and contains mind-blowing material, good for several oracle nights. The question in the introduction is deduced from their text Smugness from 2000, a letter to the editor of Art Monthly and a reaction to a book review written by Liam Gillick. I would have loved to have been one of André Cadere sticks, just for a day.
Montse Badia was born in Barcelona in 1965. She is an art historian, critic and curator, and is a member of AICA (Association Internationale de Critiques d’Art) and IKT (International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art). Badia is a contributor to the magazines Transversal and arts.zin, and correspondent in Barcelona for Nu: The Nordic Art Review (Stockholm) and Tema Celeste (Milan). She was co-curator of the exhibition Plan B (Curatorial Training Programme, De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam) and curator of Boarding Time (Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona 2001), Revolving Doors (Apex Art, New York 2001 and Fundación Telefónica, Madrid 2004) and Projectes 7.2 (Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona, 2002). Current projects include: Depicting Love (Philip Morris International Curatorial Stipend at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid and Centro Párraga, Murcia, 2004) and Mediascapes (Fundació ‘la Caixa’, Lleida, Tarragona i Girona, 2004-2005). She is curator of the programme of exhibitions of Espai 13 (project room) of the Fundació Miró in Barcelona (2003-2005). She is always happy to develop projects, which involve travelling and the confrontation with different contexts and situations. Lorenzo Benedetti was born in 1972. He is a freelance curator and art critic who lives and works between Rome and Amsterdam. Director of the non-profit art space Volume! in Rome, Benedetti is also founder of the cultural foundation moorroom, and a member of the jury for the Italian selection at the PS 1 in New York. He curated, among others, the exhibitions: Anarchitecture (De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam, 1999); Post-tragiKoMik (Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena, 1999); Tribù dell’arte Situationism section (Macro, Rome); Moving Landscapes (Sala 1 Rome, 2002); A’dam & Eve (De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam 2002); Three more stars: Floria Sigismondi, Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningam. (Enzimi Festival, Rome 2002); Urban Interference (Bruxelles, 2003), and Sonìcity
a series of interdisciplinary events in art, music and architecture in Corviale (Rome 2002) and Ostiense (Rome 2003). Art installations and music were made for each context where the project took place, giving a new point of view of monumental sixties and seventies architecture. Tobias Berger was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1969. He studied art history and economics in Bochum and completed the Curatorial Training Programme (CTP) at De Appel in 1998. Berger worked for four years as curator at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel and curated the 8th Baltic Triennial of International Art in Vilnius in 2002. Currently, he is director of ARTSPACE in Auckland and is the New Zealand commissioner for the Sao Paulo Bienal in 2004. Francesco Bernardelli has a degree in Art History and Cinema Studies, and has written about the relation between filmic media, visual arts and experimental music. Since the late 90s he has arranged specific projects related to audiovisual programmes, performance events, public meetings and discussions. Since 1999, he has organised film & video programmes devoted to the visual arts and moving images for the Castello di Rivoli Contemporary Art Museum, usually as a joint project with the Cinema National Museum, Torino. Recently, he has published essays on the historical connections between early performance, video art and experimental dance. He has curated shows and performance events for the City of Torino and the Piedmont Region. He is currently cataloguing the video collections of the Castello di Rivoli.
PRINTED PROJECT 02: Phillip Van Den Bossche
Phillip Van Den Bossche, February 2004
Saskia Bos studied art history and media theory. She is director of De Appel Foundation in Amsterdam and founded its Curatorial Training Programme. She curated numerous solo shows for De Appel (from Thomas Schütte and Franz West (1990), to Rirkrit Tiravanija (1996), Mona Hatoum (1998) and Anri Sala (2000). Noteworthy group shows were The Spine (1994), Hybrids (1996) and Life is a Bitch (1998). She also curated larger international exhibitions as Sonsbeek ’86 in Arnhem and co-curated Aperto in Venice 1988 and contributed to the Sao Paulo Biennal in 1998. In 2001 she was curator of the 2nd Berlin Biënnale and in 2003of the 3rd Skulpturen Biënnale Münsterland. From 1999 through 2002 Saskia Bos was president of IKT, the international association of curators of contemporary art (see: www.iktsite.org). A good overview of De Appel’s projects and exhibitions since its origins in 1975 can be found at: www.deappel.nl/archive. Luca Cerizza was born in Milan in 1969. He is a free lance curator and writer, currently based in Berlin and Milan. He graduated from Univesità Statale of Milan in History of Art Criticism. He attended the De Appel CTP in 1997-98. So far he has focused his research on the latest generations of Italian artists and on the politics and poetics of space, through texts and shows that he curated in very different contexts and venues. He is author of several essays on Italian and international artists for art magazines, catalogues and monographs. He is a regular contributor to Tema Celeste. Florence Derieux was born in France in 1973, and studied Art History in Montpellier and Milan. After three years working in galleries in London she participated in De Appel’s Curatorial Training Programme in Amsterdam. She was then appointed curator at Palais de Tokyo in Paris and, later, became Deputy Director of the Picasso museum in Antibes. She recently moved to Zurich where she now works as an independent curator and art critic.
Her most recent projects include: Process, Maison Grégoire, Brussels, Dialogues, Centre régional d’art contemporain, Sète; Anna Ådahl, Laetitia Benat, Philippe Terrier-Herman, Made in Paris, London ; and Martin Boyce, Art:Concept, Paris. Nikola Dietrich was born in Germany in 1972, and lives and works in Berlin. After finishing the Curatorial Training Programme at De Appel in 2003, she began working at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, first curating a retrospective exhibition of the performance and sound artist Terry Fox. Last year Dietrich mainly focused on the exhibition In the Gorges of the Balkans developed by three other young curators and René Block. 88 artists from 12 regions were presented at the Fridericianum, embedded in a series of lectures, a film programme and a symposium. She is currently working on the solo exhibition of the Slovenian artist Marjetica Potric that will open end of May at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum. Together with the retrospective of the Croatian artist Mangelos and a video presentation of the young Bosnian artist Jasmila Zbanik, this show will be the third and final part of the Balkans trilogy In the Gorges of the Balkans that started last summer. Anja Dorn was born 1971. She is an art critic and curator. She lives and works in Cologne. She is writing for magazines such as Metropolis M and Texte zur Kunst. She is cofounder of the label and project-room April in Cologne and is working as gallery-director of Galerie Christian Nagel Cologne. Her latest projects comprise exhibitions and screenings with Mark Bain, Lee Taylor, Judith Hopf, The Atlas Group, Mark Lombardi, Martha Rosler, Gabriel Lester, Heimo Zobernig, Deimantas Narkevicius, a.o. In 2003 she was active for the initiative Das Loch e.V. dealing with the deplorable developments in the actual cultural politics in Cologne.
Annie Fletcher is an independent critic and curator who lives and works in Amsterdam. She completed her BA at Trinity College Dublin in Art History and earned an MA in Historical and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, London. She is editor of the book Becoming Oneself (March 2003) published by BAK Basis voor Actuele Kunst, Utrecht and of the Berlin Biennale 2 catalogue, 2001. She has co-curated several exhibitions including: Now What? Dreaming a better world in six parts, October 2003 with Maria Hlavajova at BAK, Basis voor Actuele Kunst in Utrecht; The International Language in Belfast, 2001; and A’dam and Eve, sex, tolerance and other dependencies at Stichting De Appel, Amsterdam, 2002. Published essays include catalogue texts on Gerard Byrne, Matthew Barney, Paddy Jolley, Susan Philipsz, Phil Collins, Otto Bercheim, L.A. Raeven and Apolonija Sustersic, and interviews with Liam Gillick, Sarat Maharaj and Nathan Coley. She returned to Ireland to work as acting head of exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art between August 2001 and March 2002 where she curated a review of young Irish Artists called How Things Turn Out. In August 2002, she curated Simulation Café with Apolonija Sustersic as part of the Visualise programme in Carlow, Ireland, and a solo exhibition, Herald or Press, of Gerard Byrne at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, October 2002. Nina Folkersma was born in 1969. She studied Art History at the University of Amsterdam where she graduated in 1995. She was a participant of the Curatorial Training Programme of De Appel in 1995-96 and cocurated the exhibition Crap Shoot. Since then she has worked as a freelance curator and art critic, and has organised several exhibitions and film/video screenings, including at De Appel, Amsterdam (After Dark, 1996), Begane Grond, Utrecht (Individual Religious Acts, 1997), and Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (Air de P-P-Paradis, 2001). She was production assistant at the Johannesburg Biennale 1997, under the artistic direction of
Okwui Enwezor. In 1998 she organised a seminar with Enwezor for the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden. From 19972003, she was an editor of the Dutch magazine of contemporary art Metropolis M, for which she wrote several articles. Last year she started an international exhibition programme in a new space in Amsterdam: Quarantine Series (www.quarantine.nl). Apart from being curator of Quarantine Series, she is also advisor to the board of Foundation Kunstwerk Loods 6. Dominique Fontaine was born in Haiti in 1967, and is currently Program Officer at the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology. As an independent curator, she is developing a solo exhibition and publication project on Moshekwa Langa for the M-A-I, Montréal, arts interculturels to be opened in the spring 2005. She graduated in Visual Arts and Arts Administration from the University of Ottawa (Canada). She is also trained in special events management. She has served as board member on numerous arts organisations, including CAN:BAIACanadian Artists Networks Black Artists in Action, and Saw Gallery Video Co-op. From 1992-1998, she worked as Production Coordinator in the Exhibition and Program Division of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. In 1997, she was appointed Curator for the Caribbean and Latin America, and International Selection Committee and Jury member for the Dakar Biennial of Contemporary African Art (DAK‚ART 1998), where she curated a solo exhibition of the Cuban artist KCHO. From 1998 to February 2000, she worked for the Festival international de nouvelle danse in Montreal to produce the 9th edition entitled Africa In and Out. In 1998, she co-founded the Foundation AfricAmerica to promote artistic and cultural exchange between artists and arts professionals from the African and American continents. As cofounder and Vice-President for North America, she curated and organized the North American component of the first Forum
AfricAmerica, an exhibition/conference that was held under the theme Identity and Cultural diversity in the threshold of the 21st century in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 2000. Machiko Harada is a curator for Akiyoshidai International Art Village Yamaguchi, Japan. Clive Kellner has curated several international exhibitions, including the Foto Biennale Rotterdam (2000); Five Continents and One City, Mexico (1999); and Videobrasil, Sao Paulo (2000). Conference papers include Transafrica, Brussels; Havana Bienal; Museum of Modern Art, Sao Paulo. Kellner was a member of the senior staff of the Johannesburg Biennale, assistant to Okwui Enwezor, and coordinator for Ubuntu 2000, initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation. He was founding director of Camouflage, a non-profit gallery and magazine in 1999. He was recently coordinator to the National Arts Council of South Africa and the British Council on Connecting Flights, New Cultures of the Diaspora. Yukie Kamiya is Associate Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Born in Japan, she participated in the 1997-98 De Appel Curatorial Training Programme. Kamiya had been working as independent curator and organised exhibitions such as Luminous Mischief (Yokohama Portside Gallery, 1999), Freeze: images of Japanese by Sharon Lockhart and Miwa Yanagi’ (Espaço Cultural Sergio Port, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2000), Territory: Contemporary art from the Netherlands (Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 2000), Spacejack! (Yokohama Museum of Art, Art Gallery, Japan, 2001), Fantasia (Space ima, Seoul, Korea, 2001/East Modern Art Center, Beijing, China, 2002), Under Construction: New Dimension of Asian Art (Japan Foundation Forum + Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 2002-2003). She has also contributed catalogues and magazines internationally including Dark Mirrors from Japan (De Appel, 2000), Curator's egg (Shiseido, Japan, 2003), Art Asia Pacific, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shinbun and others.
Ilina Koralova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1974. She lives and works in Leipzig, Germany. She attended the National Academy of Arts, Department of History of Arts and graduated with an MA in 1998. In 2000-2001 she attended the Curatorial Training Programme of the De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam. Since 2003 she has been curator at the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig (Germany). In 2002-2003 she won a scholarship at the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig. Until August 2002 she was freelance curator and art-critic in Sofia. In 2001 she was assistant of Ami Barak at FRAC LanguedocRoussillon, Montpellier, France. Curated exhibitions include: Is There Anything Else You Would Like? Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, 2004; Introducing Sites Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, 2003; Side Effects – alternative space in Sofia, 2002; and in the meantime… De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam, 2001 (co-curator). Raimundas Malasauskas is a freelance journalist and a curator at the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius www.cac.lt, currently based in Vilnius. He works with The File Room www.thefileroom.org and The So-Called Records www.socalledrecords.com; is guest advisor at Jan Van Eyck Academy, Maastricht; member of curatorial board of Museo de Arte, Sacramento; and researches issues of copyright, remixology and media. His recent projects include psychic interview with George Maciunas (1934 – 1978), Bi-Fi series of events (New York City), 24/7: Wilno – Nueva York (CAC Vilnius), and Elektrodienos: unidentified audio object (CAC Vilnius). K. Michel (1958) is a writer based in Amsterdam. He studied philosophy and published 3 collections of poetry and a collection of short stories. He received several awards for his poetry. Michel is editor of the literary magazine Raster. His work has been translated in several languages and was included in the anthology 'In a different light' (edited by Rob Schouten and Robert Minhinnick, Seren, 2002).
Edit Molnár was born in Miskolc, Hungary in 1973. She has worked as a curator, art historian, critic and lecturer. She is currently the Director of the Studio of Young Artists Association Gallery in Budapest, which is an exhibition space and organisation focusing on establishing and fostering connections with foreign partner institutions. Edit is a member of AICA (Association Internationale de Critiques d’Art) and has a BA in Art History from Eötvös Lóránd University. In 2002 she participated in De Appel’s curatorial training programme. In 2003 she was awarded a Kállai Erno grant for critics from the Hungarian ministry of culture. She has been a contributor to the contemporary art magazine Balkon. Recent curatorial projects include Do not mind the Gap, a series of events, lectures and discussion held at the Studio Gallery, Budapest in 2003. In 2002 she collaborated with Bik van der Pol on their project Tent in Rotterdam and co-curated Haunted by Detail, an international group show at De Appel and Shortcut a project by Sancho Silva. She co-curated an interlinked series of exhibitions in 2001 entitled Surprise 1, Surprise 2 and Surprise 3, which took place at Studio Gallery, Budapest; Institution for Contemporary Art, Dunaújváros and the Ludwig Museum, Budapest. Sophie O’Brien was born in Perth in 1972. She is exhibition Manager at the Biennale of Sydney (4 June-15 August 2004 in spaces throughout the city www.biennaleofsydney.com.au). Curatorial projects include Slipstream: Visual Art Festival 2002 (26 January-15 February 2002) which included Multiplicity, Multiplicity; The Moores Building, Around now: Grace Weir, Kitsune: Joao Penalva, Apparitions: Matthieu Laurette; John Curtin Gallery, Elvis has just left the building: Roland Boden, Rodney Glick, Christian Hoischen, Danius Kesminus, Mattthieu Laurette, Louise Paramour, Marjetica Potrc, Antoine Prum, Jim Shaw, Ann-Sofi Siden, Ronnie van Hout; Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (co-curator ), Minus Monsters: Thea Costantino & Simon Pericich;
Mandurah Art Gallery, Juvenate & Halfeti (only fish shall visit); FUEL Café & Bar at PICA. Visual Art Festival 2001 (26 January-18 February 2001), including: Stan Douglas / Bill Viola; John Curtin Gallery (co-curator) do it; Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery (with Hans-Ulrich Obrist) Dwelling place / Mia mia: Valerie Takao Binder; Western Australian Museum (co-curator) Promised Land: Nien Schwarz; The Church Gallery (project manager), Plan B, 2000 De Appel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (cocurator): Alicia Framis, Asier Perez Gonzales, Daniel Garcia Andujar, Jens Haaning, Matthieu Laurette, Orgacom, Plamen Dejanov & Swetlana Heger, Superflex. 1999 25 songs on 25 lines of words on art statement for seven voices and dance: Joe Felber, Elliott Gyger & Lucy Guerin, Art Gallery of WA Torn Apar’t, Art Gallery of WA (assistant curator). ˇ ˇ Natasa Petresin was born in Ljubljana in 1976. She is an independent curator and critic. She graduated in Art History and Comparative Literature from the University of Ljubljana. She has published articles on contemporary and new media art in catalogues and in NU: The Nordic Art Review, Stockholm, Springerin, Vienna, Arco Magazine, Madrid, Acoustic Lab Reader, Riga, Frakcija, Zagreb, Framework, Helsinki and Artelier, Bucharest. She is a contributing editor of ARTMargins.com. In 2003 she worked as assistant curator for the exhibition In the Gorges of the Balkans at the Museum Fridericianum, Kassel, curated by René Block. In 2002 she participated in the Curatorial Training Programme at De Appel Foundation in Amsterdam, where she cocurated Haunted by Detail. In 2001 she was assistant curator of the Slovene pavilion at 49th Venice Biennial. She has curated the exhibitions Open Beats (2003, Bezigrad Gallery, Ljubljana), Our House Is A House That Moves (2003, Pavelhaus, Laafeld, Austria; 2004, Skuc Gallery, Ljubljana), You Are Not Alone (2002, Pavelhaus, Laafeld, Austria), Sound in Art (2001, Gallery Priestor, Bratislava) and a series of electronic sound art events RE-LAX (20012002, Ljubljana, together with new media
artist Marko Peljhan). Within the frame of Peljhan’s art organisation Projekt Atol, she cofounded the label for experimental electronic music, rx:tx. Since 2002 she has been a member of the jury for intermedia arts at the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia, and since 2000 a member of the Slovene Society of Aesthetics. Currently she is organising, together with Gregor Podnar, a conference about cultural policies and the art market in Central and South Eastern Europe (Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana), and is the coordinator of the Skuc Gallery’s commercial activity. Nuno Sacramento was born in Maputo, Mozambique in 1973. In 1999 he graduated in Fine Arts Sculpture from the Fine Arts School of Lisbon University. In the following year he did the Advanced Course of Contemporary Art at Maumaus School and worked as curatorial assistant for António Cerveira Pinto at Galeria Quadrum in Lisbon. In 2000-2001 he did the Curatorial Training Programme at the DeAppel Foundation with a bursary from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Since 2001 he has been doing a PhD by practice in curation at the University of Dundee, where he lectures the module Professional Practice/Exposition. He is presently based between Dundee, Utrecht and Faro, and works as free-lance curator and writer. Amongst other projects he is working on Art Cup (Lisbon), A-Tipis (Ghent) and The Sculpture Show (Dundee). Basak Senova was born in Istanbul in 1970. She works in Projects and Coordination at NOMAD and is Vice Chair and Lecturer in the Department of Art Management, T.C. at Yeditepe University, Istanbul. She has an MFA in Graphic Design and PhD in Art, Design and Architecture from Bilkent University. She attended the 7th CTP of Stichting De Appel, Amsterdam. In 2002, she was the editor of artist 6, co-curated Haunted by Detail at De Appel CTP and founded NOMAD. In 2003, she developed ctrl-alt-del (joint project with Netherlands organisations) as the first sound-
art project in Turkey, worked for the Istanbul Biennial, curated Contemporary Plastic with ROR, Marres, Maastricht, and Istanbul exhibitions, performances and film programmes in Graz and Holon and developed projects for The Apartment Project, Istanbul. In 2004, Senova will coordinate NOMAD section for ZKM|Karlsruhe Call Me Istanbul exhibition and collaborate on TransEuropean Picnic: The Art and Media of Accession in Novi Sad hosted by kuda.org and V2 Institute for the Unstable Media. Paula Toppila was born in 1967. She graduated from Turku University in 1993 where she studied Art History, Cultural History, Russian language and culture, and Media Science. She participated in the Curatorial Training Programme of De Appel Foundation in 1996-97. She has curated the following exhibitions, Proper (blind date) at Titanik, Turku and Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Flucht Ohne e solo show of Job Koelewijn at Studio K, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Entropy in the Living Room, Stadtgalerie Kiel, Introducing Bayamón, Mirroring Helsinki, Puerto Rico, Finnish participation in Bienal de Sao Paulo in 2002, Brazil, films by Seppo Renvall for Biennial in Buenos Aires 2002. She co-curated the main exhibition of Momentum The Nordic Biennial for Contmporary Art in 2000, Moss, Norway and Social Hackers, Muu Gallery, Helsinki, Forde and Centre d´editions contemporain, Geneva. She is a free-lance art critic and has contributed among others to Taide, Siksi and several exhibition catalogues. Since 1998, she is the curator of FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange, Helsinki, Finland.
Rob Tufnell is the Director of Exhibitions at Modern Art, London and also works as a consultant to the Scottish Arts Council and as a freelance writer contributing to exhibition catalogues. He was previously employed as the Exhibition Organiser at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge University, the Assistant Curator of Dundee Contemporary Arts and as an Assistant at the Modern Institute, Glasgow. Phillip Van Den Bossche was born in Brussels in 1969. He is an art historian. He studied at the University of Ghent, followed by the Curatorial Training Programme at De Appel in Amsterdam (1996-97). At De Appel, he organised film/video evenings, and oversaw production of several publications. From 1998 until 2001, he was director of Exedra, Centre for contemporary art, architecture and design in Hilversum (NL). He has coupled this from 2000 till end of 2001 with a visiting lectureship at the Academy of Art and Design in ‘s Hertogenbosch, and was a member of the editorial team of Archis, magazine for architecture, city and visual culture. Since January 2002 he has worked as a curator at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and curated among others, exhibitions with Matthijs de Bruijne, Douglas Gordon, Joe Scanlan, Jennifer Tee, Erik Wesselo and the project No Ghost Just A Shell. Sjoukje van der Meulen is an art critic and theorist and is currently a PhD Candidate in Architecture Columbia University New York.
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