Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

In Copenhagen, V1 gallery is currently presenting a large-scale ceramic installation by the Danish artist Rose Eken, entitled Tableau. This work, on view through September 19, is the outcome of an extensive research based on Eken’s correspondence and dialogue conducted with other contemporary artists around the world. Tableau is the artist’s largest installation to date, comprising of hundreds of ceramic objects: brushes, buckets of paint, box cutters, clusters of books and magazines, half-finished cups of coffee, ghetto blasters, laptops, Iphones and other personal objects. Here you can find the imitation of John Copeland’s collection of vintage playboy magazines and old axe, Fryd Frydendahl’s Canon EOS D5 Camera or Wes Lang’s collection of wooden tobacco pipes.

Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard


Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

Miniature ceramic models are dispersed in the exhibition space, suggesting a study on the universal artistic language and clichés. By operating from real live folders in order to create her own fictional story, Eken proposes a generic model of the artist studio. The objects and their symbolism brought together in the exhibition are very different in their forms: simultaneously, whereas wine bottles and cigarette butts unfold highly sentimental ideals regarding artist atelier, a more digitalised and updated version of the artistic figure manifests itself through MacBooks and iPhones. These observations help to understand transforming identities of artist, when the traditional craftsman-like idea of the artist image makes room for more scattered practises and identities.

Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard


Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

With Tableau, Eken succeeds in mimicking a set of preapproved beliefs, while proposing a gaze into artistic banalities. The ceramic compositions in the exhibition are imbued with frivolity; yet their presence in a shared space and strangely precise arrangement place them within purely subjective associations. Eken’s correspondence-based research has not been conducted in order to document, but rather to assume the significance of encounters, at many different levels. This studio “replica” proposed by Eken puts forward the idea of the artist atelier often conceived as something mystical and almost sacred place, but also, referring to the almost religious ritual of studio visits. Artist studios are understood as highly intimate and personal places, yet they’re susceptible of the gaze of the outside world.

Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard


Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

Courtesy of Rose Eken and V1 Gallery. Photo: Jan Soendergaard

Rose Eken was born in Denmark (1976) and graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 2003. She received critical praise for her recent solo exhibition Remain In The Light at The Hole gallery in New York. Her first work from the “Tableau series” was acquired by ARoS museum of art in the summer of 2015. A new publication documenting the process and exhibition will be released to coincide with Tableau. Rose Eken would like to thank the following artists for inspiration and for sharing their studios: Michelle Grabner, Erwin Wurm, Søren Behncke, Joakim Ojanen, Ivan Andersen, Mikael Swaney, Richard Colman, Shane Bradford, Jonathan Meese, Eske Kath, Julie Nord, HuskMitNavn, Hartmut Stockter, Andreas Schulenburg, Kaspar Bonnén, Chloe Piene Studio, Maiken Bendt, Cecily Brown, John Copeland, Graham Dolphin, Alexander Tovborg, Morten Schelde, Michael Kvium, Wes Lang, Fryd Frydendahl, Hesselholdt & Mejlvang, Kristian Devantier, Erik Parker, Fischli & Weiss, Jackson Pollock and Joan Miró.

V1 gallery Rose Eken

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

Designer Barbara I Gongini, is an active participant in the Nordic art discourse, working interdisciplinary in close collaboration with various artists in film, music and photography. In occasion of Copenhagen Fashion Week, together with our partners from REVS magazine, we had the chance to meet her and discover an exquisite take on Danish garments, derived from her conceptual approach towards fashion design, eloquently suitable for both men and women. In turn, her work has been featured by artisans across borders in the spirit of her collaborative nature, in a myriad of different shapes with various purposes.

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Lab, is a studio located among the industrial warehouses of Copenhagen, where The Talk and The Move took place. An exhibition presenting a display of her iconic pieces, a chance to meet Barbara I Gongini and her team, but also an excellent practice of design in motion through a performance by Marcin Kupinski, from Danish Royal Ballet. Marcin Kupinski (born 1983) is the Polish dancer who joined the Royal Danish Ballet in 2002, becoming a soloist in 2010 and a principal dancer in 2011. His roles have included Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, James in La Sylphide, the prince in The Nutcracker, Junker Ove in A Folk Tale and the poet in La Sonnambula.

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

Entering the stage unpretentiously undressed, Kupinski opened the show in a vigorous manner. During the performance Kupinski continued taking garments from the circular textile sculpture installed on the ground, swinging clothes in the air, dancing with them, and slowly wearing them, being in the end, completely dressed in Barbara I Gongini’s mood. A cinematic and mysterious performance, a dramatic act recalling the darkness of Faroe Islands, and the designer’s obsessive and hectic world. A dark performance from which emerged a dramatic representation of life without light, a phantasmagoric dance of shapes and lines, and the omnipresent use of black color.

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

Kupinski also won various awards including the Special Jury Prize at the 2002 Varna International Ballet Competition and the Grand Prix at the Eurovision Young Dancers contest in 2001. As a guest performer, he has danced in the international company Cross Connection as well as in Rome, Lithuania and Japan. The performance in Copenhagen, took place on a concert by The Magnetic Eagle, the band that in the last two years has gained the status of being a leading impro-pop group. Since their debut in 2013, they have received overwhelming recognition for their live gigs, mixing up epic and psychedelic universe, and for creating sounds with a radical and adventurous musical approach that once again matches with Barbara I Gongini’s tones.

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

The Talk and The Move, Marcin Kupinski © The Art Markets

An Olympus Pen camera and a Ws voice recorder have been used to document this review

Barbara I Gongini

REVS Magazine

Royal Danish Theatre

 

 

Courtesy of the artist and 63rd-77th STEPS.

Courtesy of the artist and 63rd-77th STEPS.

63rd-77th Steps – Art Project Staircase – is a project space founded and run by artist Fabio Santacroce. The name refers to the final part of a multi-floor staircase (the area between the 63rd and the 77th steps) inside a building dating from the beginning of the XX century in “Quartiere Libertà”, a popular and multicultural district in Bari, Italy. The first site-specific exhibition hosted at the beginning of 2014 was by Amalia Ulman, followed by Ilja Karilampi, Renaud Jerez, Daniel Keller, Lucia Leuci, Airbnb Pavilion and the group show Always Brian (ti amo). The project space curates also online projects including the ones by Riccardo Benassi, Sol Calero, Massimo Grimaldi and Daniele Milvio.

Courtesy of the artist and 63rd-77th STEPS.

Courtesy of the artist and 63rd-77th STEPS.

63rd-77th Steps – Art Project Staircase – organizes off-site projects such as the group shows Afa and the current one Afa 2, with Michael Assiff, Rosa Ciano, Liz Craft, Maja Cule, Ditte Gantriis, Uffe Isolotto, Bradford Kessler, Spencer Longo, Lucia Leuci, Pentti Monkkonen, Rolf Nowotny, Fabio Santacroce and Ilya Smirnov. Afa 2 is on view until August 12, in the evenings between 7 and 9pm at Pane & Pomodoro Beach of Corso Trieste, Bari (Italy). The artists involved produced images to be printed on microfiber towels which were installed on the beach, under the reference of a little story about the breadcrumbs’ conquest by an ant in an apartment. The story reflects a local’s neo-realistic overlook on common, graceless summer life at the seaside.

Courtesy of the artist and 63rd-77th STEPS.

Courtesy of the artist and 63rd-77th STEPS.

“Bari, 20 July 2015 – Only one survived. It was not the usual lucky one but the most voracious and yet the most timid. It seemed dazed, rusty but fair. It advanced jerkily, up and down. The silence, diluted with boiling air, thundered in its dry stomach and inflated the few breadcrumbs torn away from the recently disinfected earthenware floor.
The air also bumped against the high mosquito nets, seeping painfully through the thick metallic meshes while the fat children, dressed of love and deception, were not able to catch, silently, down in the courtyard. Probably there had been no time, effort and intuition to educate them at the essentiality of the warm summer silence.

Courtesy of the artist and 63rd-77th STEPS.

Courtesy of the artist and 63rd-77th STEPS.

And every noise from outside sounded also as a roar in the stomach of the little ant that could contain, at most, only three crumbs of that authoritarian bread. 
This needed, in fact, to be monitored and dragged away frantically before the time when, even the asphalt became crumbly. How heavy is usually a dry breadcrumb that falls mistakenly on the ground? And potentially, in the impact, how many micro crumbs does it fractionate into? 
In any case, no one was in the apartment that afternoon, maybe they were all on the beach to roast their thick skins along with the unpunished lies. Meanwhile the fatty rice salad was earning flavor in the fridge.”

63rd-77th Steps

L'œil ouvert sur la noirceur, 2015, performance, PPP, at Teatro Marinoni, Venice. Courtesy of the artist.

L’œil ouvert sur la noirceur, 2015, performance, PPP, at Teatro Marinoni, Venice. Courtesy of the artist.

L’Homme Face à la Nuit Reconnaît son Incomplétude is the new edition work by artist Cristiana Palandri, presented and launched in preview at The Art Markets; the project combines music, drawing and art printing. Working both as a visual artist and as a musician, behind the alias of Yokokono, in this interview the artist has discussed her multi-disciplinary work, as well as her interests and references. The discussion touches some of her most important older and recent works, revealing the development of her practice during these years.

Let’s begin with your latest performance, which was part of the series of events in the project PPP at Teatro Marinoni in Venice, during the Biennale in May. What was the project and how did it go?

L’œil ouvert sur la noirceur was both a sound and installation performance. It was the first time that I wanted and tried to put together these aspects of my practice, which I have been working on for long, but that had remained in separate sectors. In this case I was inside a structure, shaped like two small sharp summits covered with a dark curtain, from where I played with another musician. The production of the sound was made with the instruments that I usually employ – computer and synthesizers – and in part based on pre-registered and improvised tracks. All the lights in the theatre were off, as if I wanted to annul the space, so there was not a lot that was visible, only the sound. However, after about twenty minutes, I switched on a light from the inside of the structure and given the semi-transparency of the fabric you could see the figures playing against the light, and the articulation of the structure it-self. Obviously, the light influenced the sound.

In respect to other performances that I did in Berlin and Florence in past years, this time it was a bit different, but the parameters of the work remain the same ones: noise, drone and concrete music playing in a nocturnal situation where unexpectedly the space lights up. The sounds are in part natural, truly resembling a natural habitat, and in part are primordial sounds, that give the acoustic impression related to a creation, to a genesis – perhaps is better to say. Also the coordination of the action is more or less the same as what I have always worked on: to try to create an environment in this theatre, being this the primary reason for me to almost “annulling” it switching off all lights. I wanted to modify the structure in the location through the action.

As a performer you use your the alias Yokokono, whereas as visual artist you work with your own name. These two “persons” are obviously both part of you and are getting closer lately. Has something changed in their interaction?

Until very recently, I have always tried to separate these two aspects, although they are integrated in my daily life. Now, with maintaining both names, it is more spontaneous for me to merge sound in my other performances; in the future, maybe even in other works, making hybrid forms that were once going on two separate channels, although only for the public and not in myself.

Reverse, 2010, performance, Fondazione Merz, Turin. Courtesy of the artist.

Reverse, 2010, performance, Fondazione Merz, Turin. Courtesy of the artist.


Ἀνερρίφθω κύβος, 2012, performance, Museo Marino Marini, Firenze. Courtesy of the artist.

Ἀνερρίφθω κύβος, 2012, performance, Museo Marino Marini, Firenze. Courtesy of the artist.

You have spanned very much in your artistic production: drawing, installation, sculpture, photography, performance, script writing, sound. We could say you are an eclectic or – as we say today – an interdisciplinary and multimedia artist. I’d like to say that you work is complete, almost scenic, in the sense that it comprehends a multiplicity of languages that concern the same narration.

I think my work has become more lyric and poetic. It used to be related to something uncanny, but in the last two or three years I have recovered this lyric and dreamlike side, that has always been there, but that I have never revealed so clearly in the work. For example, the idea of Cosmogonie was born, quite banally, in Berlin in a moment when I could not see the sky, which corresponded to a sort of isolation that I have lived in that period in that city. It was a drive to find something more lyrical, I think. I am interested in working on an aspect that has to do with what is nocturnal and the possibility to imagine and represent a constellation or the outer Space, which is to me the most mysterious thing. From this I have made Farmacon firstly and the series Cosmogonie and the rest of the recent works, from the performances to my drawings.

Although I believe I understand what you mean, I do not completely approve the term “scenic.” I can intend it not with reference to something theatrical, but I share the term only as a metaphor of what I do: creating an atmosphere, creating a world, with its landscapes, its particularities and its branches, from sound to drawing, never anyhow with a theatrical presentation, yet as enactment of visibility, of positioning oneself in first person.

In one of your last series of drawings, you were inspired by a passage of Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo, integrating words into the drawings. The making of these pieces is similar to that of the series Cosmogonie, yet here there is also a written part, how did this need come about?

In this case it was a fortuitous encounter, thanks to the discovery of this writing, that I found particularly interesting as a mirror not on my work but on certain aspects of what I try to include into my work. Taking certain quoting that I considered more significant, I thought about making some drawings on and from some extracts of this text – it really was a natural step. I am accustomed to treat writing as drawing; since my first series Untitled I have used words, although in a different way. Not as in this case, the words reflected what I was thinking in the act of drawing and were treated as drawing, whereas in the new series the words are not mine but are borrowed from another author. In part, the words are drawn and in part simply copied, so they do not go with the flow of the drawing. This is the biggest difference in respect to how I used words in my work before.

Oversight, 2008, performance, MLAC, Rome. Courtesy of the artist.

Oversight, 2008, performance, MLAC, Rome. Courtesy of the artist.

In some of your performances your physical presence is very strong and guides the performative act (I am thinking about U.O. and Oversight, for example) and in other more recent ones instead you disappear and hide yourself!

I believe they are all very consequential steps. In the oldest performance Oversight the idea was to reveal my sculptural practice, although not literally. For this piece, I have built a sculpture with the body of another person, enacting the whole thing, although the idea at the base was still to reveal myself, to lay bare the my way of working with sculpture. The step after was U.O. (i.e. Unidentified Object), because I went from showing my sculptural act to gradually become a sculture myself. In the performance, starting from my feet, I bound and annexed some objects to my body, some of which I found around in the city of Bangkok (where I was doing the performance) and some other objects that I used commonly in my work. After I had tied up my body with enough objects, I disappeared underneath them; but in addition to this I was also interested in the fact that it was the sculpture itself that was determining the end of the performance, i.e. when I was not able to continue to fasten more objects, because it became impossible to move. It was a way to say that sculpture had its own autonomy in the construction, reflecting certain processes that I try to put in action and develop in my artistic research. This idea persists also in drawing when the drawing starts to draw itself, not as an automatism, but according to a kind of “controlled out-of-control,” where I do not decide the shape and I don’t want to make planned relation between one line and the other.

And at the end, from my point of view, it goes directly to the autonomy of the performance itself, where I am not there anymore: I perform, but only from within the sculture. More or less, all my performance work has to do with sculpture and the research of its limits and its possibilities. From that on, I have started to understand how a sculpture could be changed by an action and become an extension of the space, coming to be then environment.

U.O., 2009, performance, BACC, Bangkok. Courtesy of the artist.

U.O., 2009, performance, BACC, Bangkok. Courtesy of the artist.


U.O., 2009, performance, BACC, Bangkok. Courtesy of the artist.

U.O., 2009, performance, BACC, Bangkok. Courtesy of the artist.

Is this project of the edition – which you are presenting at The Art Markets Book Store – another effort of trespassing between music and drawing?

It is a very small edition project of 50 pieces, that I titled L’Homme Face à la Nuit Reconnaît son Incomplétude, where I wanted to combine a soundtrack of mine recorded on CD, with a monotype xylography, which has this kind of abstract zoomorphic shape made with silver enamel and ink on dark paper. The point of the project is to parallel minimal music with printing and art graphics. In fact, I find there is a relation between these two languages: in minimal music, the repetition significantly changes with respect to the development of the bar, and in art prints the monotype maintains a constant, but it slightly differs it-self from one print to the other. As I have worked in both directions, I thought about putting them on the same level in one project which includes both, with no intent of being descriptive – although it may happen anyways. I wanted to make them coexist as one work.

What other projects are you working on at the moment?

In September I will take part of a show in Turin that comprehends artists that are related with the work of Carol Rama – I think to his figure and character more then anything else. It will be organised into some small double exhibitions in various venues in the city. And then, about in the same period, I will release Adieu, a tape of 5 tacks for the Dutch label Søvn. The most interesting thing of this release is that the label works with a musician and an artist for the packaging. In my case, as I do both, I will develop the whole project myself.

L'homme face à la nuit reconnaît son incomplétude, xylographie , CD, Courtesy of the artist.

L’homme face à la nuit reconnaît son incomplétude, xylographie, CD, Courtesy of the artist.

Cristiana Palandri YokoKono Sovnrecords

Centers in Pain installation view. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

Centers in Pain installation view. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

Brooklyn-based artist Jasper Spicero presents Centers in Pain at New Galerie in Paris. ‘Centers in Pain’ is a project that originally took place in a minimum security jail in Portland, Oregon. Following its completion in 2004, the prison was abandoned and maintenance personnel was reduced due to lack of operational funds. A 10-ton structure that crushed one of the prison corridors and that is gradually destroying the sewage system connected to the nearest water reservoir depicted a ‘center in pain’. Now used on occasions as a film set, Spicero rented the facility for four days although it remained inaccesible to the general public. The project was later translated to a website, a video work, a script and sculptural objects.

Centers in Pain installation view. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

Centers in Pain installation view. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris


Centers in Pain, detail. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

Centers in Pain, detail. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

The tagline to the project “in every patient a center in pain” draws a parallelism between institutional architecture and individuals who are subjected to the power of such institutions. In the three rooms at New Galerie we encounter visible signs of passing, such as distressed clothing and furniture. At times resembling a film set, the objects are arranged to look like detention facilities or mental insitutions with the room upstairs organised as a canteen or a common area of sorts and the two rooms downstairs as sleeping quarters. The sculptural objects made up of daycare furniture, hand sewn fabric, tape recorders and digital prints and their organisation within the space, construct a singular narrative, creating one shared environment that presents institutionality as an entity that exerts the same power in all institutional contexts. Despite the fact that the work can be given a Foucauldian reading, Spicero’s research seems more interested in how one constructs the real by means of various interconnected media and evocation through organisations that function as constructed scenographies.

S.M.A.R.T. Picture frame purple, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

S.M.A.R.T. Picture frame purple, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

The use of different media, namely video, sculpture, scripts and other textual elements create a multi-layered networked environment that bypasses the singularity of the objects, guiding the viewer towards an immersive experience that relies heavily on spatial and temporal variables. The work exists within a doubled dynamic of activity and non-activity that is not triggered by human interaction but rather, is conditioned by other factors such as the institutional character of the space, limited accesibility and the narrative density and organisation of all the elements. Spicero manages to create a tension that one could perhaps define as active staticity, a tension created through moments of non-activity in the space and the static relationship between the sculptural objects. It is primarily a narrative technique derived from survival horror video games and that is built on spatial intervention and temporal longevity. The use of such techniques sheds light on Spicero’s main enquiry, namely, recreating a fictive universe that is dense enough to be experienced as real.

Centers in Pain installation view. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

Centers in Pain installation view. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

Centers In Pain video system. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

Centers In Pain video system. Courtesy of the artist and New Galerie, Paris

The show at New Galerie functions primarily as an archivization of this project. The viewer is presented with a perfectly functioning shell that is reminscent of film set memorabilia. It does not disclose new information, but through a reorganisation of all the elements, it inscribes yet another layer to an already dense and populated narrative.

Spicero was born in 1990 in Yankton, USA. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, USA.

Centers in Pain on view at New Galerie through July 11.

Jasper Spicero Centers in Pain New Galerie

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Photo: Niels Fabaek. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Photo: Niels Fabaek. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Mikkel Carl is a Danish artist based in Copenhagen. He has recently opened We Are All Workers, a solo show at Kunsthal NORD in Aalborg, Denmark. In this interview, I have discussed with Mikkel Carl several works that are included in the show – with the help of the photographic reference – along with other issues regarding his practice and some post-technological aesthetical impressions.

I would like to start our discussion with the installation of the work We Are All Workers, which also gives the title to the exhibition at the Kunsthal NORD. The slogan is taken from a LEVI’S campaign, however, seeing it installed in the entrance hall of Nordkraft, it also recalls the image of some kind of workers union statement from the beginning of the past century.

In 1853 Levi Strauss launched denim as tough work wear for miners, farmers and, well, cowboys I suppose (in Denmark we still call jeans ‘cowboy pants’) marking the transition from an agrarian to an industrial age. And now having leaped into the era of (digitalized) information, people still wear them, as much as they ever did. Stripping the statement WE ARE ALL WORKERS off its elaborate “worn out” typeface used in the advertisements, and placing it on the facade of Kedelhallen (the room used to house enormous kettles when the building was a power plant) I aim at several issues, that are (re)surfacing as a consequence of the transformation from an industrial town to an information and education culture, which the town of Aalborg – along with so many other places in the Western World – is undergoing these years; something, which the 30,000 m2 cultural centre, where Kunsthal NORD is located, is itself a significant expression of.

This includes a radical alteration of the notion of ‘work’. “8 hours of work, 8 hours of leisure, and 8 hours of rest” was a legendary slogan launched by the Danish Social Democratic Party in 1904. A battle won long ago and once and for all, or so we thought. Do you know anyone who works only 8 hours a day, including posting latest achievements on a variety of social media?

A thing is a hole in the thing it is not, 2015 (2012), Kunsthal NORD. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

A thing is a hole in the thing it is not, 2015 (2012), Kunsthal NORD. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.


You are right! Maybe, it is because this ‘radical alteration’ of the notion of work has kind of blurred its limits. In this exhibition, you have literally broken through the separation between the exhibition space and other working spaces of the museum with A thing is a hole in the thing it is not.

No I haven’t! If you look at the caption of the work it lists a number of building materials along with “doorway in partition wall”. So what I have done is blinding the existing walls where there were already – due to the space’s previous function as a power plant or made as part of its transformation into an art institution – large passages leading onto the next room. Only then did I punch some big holes breaking through to “the other side”: the exhibition space furnished in a director’s office. Something similar goes for the “storage.” Between the two exhibition spaces there was a strange half wall just asking for me to put in a large window and a door. And you know what, the greatest moment of installing this show was when we were putting all the tools, bubble wrap, and left-over materials “back” in “storage”, not only tiding up the place but actually making a new work while we were at it. As you can see it’s not a matter of exposing something hidden nor is it pure theatrics; a simulacrum. The director and his assistant might have to look very much like they’re writing emails and working on the catalogue, but in fact they are writing those emails and that text for the catalogue – right there in front of the audience.

If not a simulacrum, is it still a kind of conceptual performative act?

I know this word has long since been buried alongside postmodernism, and perhaps I didn’t make myself quite clear. Simulation is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time whereas simulacra are copies that depict things that either had no original to begin with, or that no longer have an original. Or to use the words of Baudrillard himself: “The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth— it is the truth, which conceals that there is none.”

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.


Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

What about the other installations? Factory Windows are Always Broken seems less “performative”.

It may sound odd, but it was only once the show was up that I realized that a lot of the works fall within what we might call the simulation–simulacrum continuum, using but also staging the use of illusion on several levels: an endlessly rotating power drill stuck in the wall – (Made in China), 2009-2015; a fluorescent light tube has “fallen down” turning into a circular one – Halo, 2015 (2012); folded (an unfolded) pieces of A4 paper (actually they are spray-painted sheets of aluminium) tossed here and there – Good Ideas are Bad Ideas, 2015; smoke coming out of what appears to be the building’s ventilation system, but is in fact a huge galvanized pipe that I put up connecting it to a smoke machine set on a timer – The sea is not cruel, the clouds do not choke the sky, information does not want to be free, 2015; ten ”abstract paintings” consisting of stretched 2nd hand moving blankets collected from various commercial galleries, public art institutions and artist run spaces, where they have been wrapped around now absent art objects – Impression, 2015; cracked windows, and also what appears to be a bullet hole(!) made by using transparent adhesive stickers.

I have perhaps a silly question on this last work you mentioned: why not just actually break the windows of the museum in Factory Windows are Always Broken, 2015?

Breaking all the windows in an art institution is really not a bad idea; it’s just a different work entirely. What I’m interested in is not so much the (violent) act itself, but rather the space between either/or and neither/nor. Like in the case of the aluminium blobs on the staircase, which instead of minimalist grandstanding/post-minimal territorial pissing is perhaps more of a Richard Serra 2.0. The confrontational battle between artist and institution (the historical avant-garde and to some extent the neo avant-garde) shifted the ground in favour of the latter. And the Pyrrhic victory of relational aesthetics in the 90s eventually turned museums into blockbuster centres of infotainment and beacons of the so-called experience economy. To me, an artistic strategy plotting these two approaches, which led to the current fait accompli, against each other seems one viable option. I call it ‘negative affirmation’ as opposed to ‘affirmative negation’.

Factory Windows are Always Broken, 2015 (detail), Kunsthall NORD. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Factory Windows are Always Broken, 2015 (detail), Kunsthall NORD. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Then, what about the titles of your works?

The caption is one place for concept and materiality to come together. The title itself helps the viewers understand in what direction the artist has intended his associative flight of thought to go, both clarifying and further staging the physical objects. This has been the case since Duchamp (I always get really frustrated when a student claims: “The work has no title” and I have to explain that this is simply not an option and that Untitled is the most heavily invested in title there is.).

Every time I come across a word or a small combination of these that somehow seem interesting to me, I write it down. And it’s only when I manage to combine the physical object I’m producing with such words, that the work becomes a work. As a logical consequence the listing of materials has also become an essential tool in this narration. In a work called Glorious Bastard, 2013, I made a glory hole in a double bed that has the most peculiar design. A partition wall makes it into a horizontal bunk, not saving any room, but perhaps producing some arousing alienation from whoever you share the bed with. In this case I believe it to be essential that the checklist says “Donald Judd double bed” rather than “bed” or “wood and foam” even. Sometimes – it could be years later – I realize that a work has been given a title that isn’t quite right, so I try to rename it.

Lacan is ”not”, 2015 (2013) (detail), We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Photo: Niels Fabaek. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Lacan is ”not”, 2015 (2013) (detail), We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Photo: Niels Fabaek. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.


It seems to me that in a lot of the works from the exhibition We Are All Workers, as well as in some previous works, there is a post-technological – perhaps post-informational – sense of decline or even ruin, yet at the same time a strong aestheticization of these objects. I was wondering how you feel these two (apparently) opposite aspects can be associated?

When referring to a break not just from the virtues of the industrial revolution – primarily the teleological understanding of history called ‘progress’ – but even going beyond our society of information (where this strictly linearly sense of time still lingers on), I take it you are referring mainly to my anodized Apple PowerBook G4 Titanium laptops; state of the art technological hardware used to fuel almost every aspect of the experience economy and now only a decade later they are back in a show room hovering on glass pedestals – customized ad absurdum and utterly useless. Even though my reason for picking this exact model had to do with the anodizing process (the 2004 PowerBook is the only one built in titanium) and even though our look upon these objects will of course soon change, I really like that the computers are not brand new (because even if they were, it wouldn’t be for long) yet they are not vintage either. They are just a little too old.

It’s a great misunderstanding that information society (as we used to call it before the Internet kicked in) is a post-industrial one. It’s not all clouds and swipes. All the stuff we purchase online is just being produced and shipped from places we have never heard of. Apple has been among the first to acknowledge this fact by (ironically?) labelling their products: Designed in California. Actually, I’ve had a bit of a hard time connecting the anodized titanium paintings – the readymade aspect of the computers did help – to my general practice, at least beyond the obvious fact that I’m interested in paintings as installational and discursive objects, and therefore tend to produce them without the use of paint. So, I’m rather grateful that you have pointed out this dimension of Ruinenwert (ruin value).

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Photo: Niels Fabaek. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Photo: Niels Fabaek. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Finally, I would like to know what other projects you are working on and exhibitions you have coming up?

I have sort of a solo exhibition opening in a couple of weeks and since I last answered this question its title has changed from Hard Candy to This ain’t no abstract painting, I just wanted to fuck you. The paintings are made squeezing acrylic paint and water through the type of carpet you normally cover the floor with to protect it when painting the walls. It’s a kind of felt made from old yarn covered with transparent plastic on the backside preventing the absorbed paint from seeping through. Applied to odd sized custom made stretchers it looks like leftover pieces of marble (think Sam Moyer paintings gone wrong). I’ve conceived these paintings to fit various positions within our house – primarily the dining room and living room – much like when a gallery presents works in an office/showroom setting, arranging them alongside nice furniture to make it easier for the potential buyer to picture the work @home.

I also have a solo show at Formic, which is a small exhibition space in Copenhagen run by Danish artist David Stjernholm. Since, it’s mainly for ants (a 25x15x15 cm glass cube placed between an actual ant farm and the arena where they pick up water and food), I’m going to treat them to the cut off and slightly decomposed ear from Blue Velvet – recreated in marzipan.

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Installation view, We Are All Workers, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.


Copenhagen Eats Shit, 2014, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

Copenhagen Eats Shit, 2014, Kunsthal NORD, 2015. Courtesy of the artist & LAST RESORT.

We Are All Workers on view at Kunsthal NORD through June 21.

Mikkel Carl Kunsthal NORD

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

Scanned from the outermost reaches of the gallery space, Jocelyn Villemont’s solo exhibition Material Dreams at Chez Valentin, seems to blur the boundaries between a private cosmology and universal imagery, studied through the appropriation of domestic gadgets and antiseptic aesthetics. In the sterile brightness of the room I find myself confronted with familiar, banal objects: the commodities on display and their texture seem simultaneously highly artificial, yet I recognise their shapes and symbols, and my dependence vis-à-vis to them.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

With a closer look, the works on display reveal to delve into the proliferation of scattered images and the exhaustion with visual stimuli, their constant renaissance and recycling. This approach is closely linked to Villemont’s method: in his creative practice he uses quick execution processes, such as transfer, sticking, flocking, printing and sketching. In the gallery space, I can hear the steady hum of a washing machine, occupying the center of the floor: this work, entitled Nightstand (2015) suggests an ongoing, definite movement in the otherwise still atmosphere, proposing a study on the (re)cycle of images. The machine is surrounded by transparent, thus accessible surfaces, yet their horizontal stretches and positioning leaves a plastic, distant feeling.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

This installation is surrounded by a continuum of limpid forms and objects, allowing to get deeper in my quest for re-establishing the original experience and connection with images. On the left side of Nightstand, a series of detergent bottles, entitled Self-branded detergent (2015), can be found. I recognise their forms and subsequently their meaning: however, they are deprived of all-encompassing branding, when their white plastic surface is decorated with something reminiscent of DIY badges.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

The gallery space is enclosed by a series entitled Sleeping disorder dating from 2015: these pillows with fresh shades form a composition that rhythms the white gallery walls. Sleeping disorder proposes flat vortex images and symbols of common care, which I’m able to decode thanks to the mental guide in my mind. While these whirlpool images stand for a movement, stretch and twist, their linearity, energy and mass are flattened on fabrics, whose texture seems somehow to absorb the images. Next to these printed vertical flows, I can find rectangular shapes with images on detergents and linguistic symbols. When I continue to move my gaze on the gallery walls, I end up observing my distorted profile: this series entitled Masticated reality (2015), made of film mirror and chewing gum on dibond, unfolds the mood of distrust related to our cognitive sight, when facing the never-ending flow of images.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

Villemont’s exhibition reveals to be a study on spatial and visual encoding, where personal zone and time interweaves with black holes. The established boundaries cease to exist within the white confines of the space: what to make of all the images and their constant production? Do they fade away gradually, or rather, do they form symbolic charts in our minds, thus ending up lingering in the imaginary beyond? Plain forms and colours seem to be sufficient for us to contextualise, yet we get confused, when all of a sudden the familiar 360 degree branding is missing. Material Dreams is about discerning the symbols we think as our narrative, both in public and private consciousness.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

Photo : Sylvie Chan-Liat. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Chez Valentin, Paris.

Jocelyn Villemont is a French artist and curator, born in 1986. He lives and works in Thorigny sur Marne, and is part of the artist duo It’s Our Playground together with Camille Le Houezec.

Material Dreams on view at Chez Valentin through June 20.

Joey Villemont It’s Our Playground Chez Valentin

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