The impossible wardrobe

In the storerooms of museums of fashion, garments are waiting in their thousands. On coat-hangers, in serried ranks, or delicately stranded in storage drawers, centuries of silent wardrobes are biding their time. Memories in the shape of those who wore them, they are abandoned by the gestures of daily life. Under the muslin or the crêpe, under the painted or printed pattern, the body has melted away.

It is impossible for the costumes collected by museums to be worn again. The rules of conservation insist on that. Preserving the condition of the textiles which are all fragile is not the only virtue of this restriction. It also rules out the business of dressing up, which is a temptation, for bodies have changed from decade to decade, making the original epidermal base obsolete and ridiculous.

© Katerina Jebb

To handle the sleeping garment, the curator and the restorer go about their work with affectation. Their hands, sheathed in white cotton gloves, barely brush the fabric. With lots of precautions, they take hold of a sleeve or a shoulder-strap, using a subterranean, mannered vocabulary that belongs only to the secret world of the store rooms. However, even shielded from the light, some designs drawn on the fiber slowly continue to disappear. Without the attention and vigilance of the keepers of fashion, the so coveted and mishandled garments would disappear more quickly than the infatuation that draws us to them.

Tilda Swinton has learnt these gestures that turn an ordinary garment into a relic. She has invented others, chaste or romantic. Intended for wearing, but never worn, the clothes of every period she presents with knowing restraint constitute a disturbing parade. In her long arms, the dresses of famous clients, sleeping beauties with petal sleeves, sigh again to promote a parade of past and present centuries.

Palais de Tokyo 

29/09/2012 – 01/10/2012


Christian Henkel’s Amateur Standard

© Christian Henkel

Christian Henkel established his own methodology of artistic practice and gave a name to it. The method  is called Amateur Standard and it is to be regarded as a general term of his proceeding. Amateur Standard is the opposition to conceptualism. Don’t we all want to to prevent formalisms giving value instead to soul and passion in art? Passion goes beyond pure perfection.

© Christian Henkel

Amateur is the reference term for all autodidact people, in this case it means passion and is the engine of this German artist, born in 1976 in Rudolstadt. Amateur is the opposite of professionalism and perfection. It means inadequacy but also to refrain from the pursuit of pure virtuosity, engagement in any activity as a hobby.

© Christian Henkel

The Amateur deals with the consciously deliberate avoidance of perfection and intentional causing of blemishes. The Amateur is symbolized in an ironic way, the passion of a “freelance artist” who would go to work. But without an artistic failure no artistic process!

Standard stands for Christian Henkel‘s self-imposed rules of the game, his status quo: he declare himself amateur and what he is producing is the standard.

© Christian Henkel

Henkel‘s work is formal aesthetic finesse, at the same time a materialistic mish mash. His newer works are more abstract, architectural and made by found objects from design history. He digests cultural artefacts from all areas and creates a new artworks with the leftovers from the past.

Many of his sculptures have an unknown purpose or reason, but an elegant character mocking any function, being at the same time highly attractive and enjoyable. Henkel seems to get pleasure from fooling the viewer’s expectations in art, don’t miss his next exhibition at Tiroler Kuenstlerschaft.

© Christian Henkel

Christian Henkel

Tiroler Kuenstlerschaft

Selected by Ingrid Melano

Getting ready for fiac!

The season of contemporary art fairs opens again in Paris. For its 39th year, both international and French, FIAC has become one of the major events in artistic creation. FIAC 2012 will bring together around 180 galleries from 24 countries at the Grand Palais. France will be represented by 61 galleries (or 34% of the exhibitors), followed by the United-States (30 galleries), Germany (24 galleries), Italy (12 galleries), Belgium (14 galleries), the United Kingdom (9 galleries), and Switzerland (6 galleries). Galleries from Denmark, Poland, Romania and the United Arab Emirates will be present for the first time. Here is the line up.

It is worthy of note that an exceptional number of prestigious international galleries will be present in the main hall, such as Air de Paris, Capitain Petzel, Sadie Coles HQ, Paula Cooper, Massimo De Carlo, Gagosian Gallery, Gladstone Gallery, Marian Goodman, Yvon Lambert, Lelong, Lisson, Kamel Mennour, Metro Pictures, Victoria Miro, Galerie Perrotin, Sprüth Magers, White Cube, Zeno X, David Zwirner, among many others.

© Robert Heinecken

Level 1 galleries may be accessed by the Escalier des Arts this area will host galleries specialising in contemporary art and emerging trends. Leading young galleries will also be present this year for the first time, such as: Mary Mary, T293, Marcelle Alix, Bureau, Neue Alte Brücke et Plan B to name a few. My favorite booth last year was definitely Cherry and Martin gallery, presenting an exhibition of works by American artist Robert Heinecken (1932-2006).

© Robert Heinecken

While you’re in town don’t forget Hors les Murs program which includes

Tuileries garden: For the seventh consecutive year, FIAC is presenting a programme of outdoor works in the Tuileries Garden in association with the Domaine National du Louvre.

Jardin des Plantes and Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle: Contemporary artworks will be installed at Jardin des Plantes, but also at La Ménagerie, Les Grandes Serres, and at Grande Galerie de l’Évolution.

Performances, Cinéphémère & Conferences: Louvre and FIAC will present the performance programme “Ouvertures/Openings”. This programme is situated on the crossroads between music, contemporary dance, performance and theatre.

Conferences: FIAC 2012 is organising a cycle of three round table talks based on the theme “Art and Ecology: a question of taste or science?” at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle.


Grand Palais, Paris

18-21 October 2012

Call for artist proposals: Monument to Cold War Victory

© Bertien van Manen

The Committee for Tacit History is issuing a call for proposals for a Monument to Cold War Victory, an open-call competition for a public monument commemorating the outcome of the Cold War. Artists from around the world are encouraged to submit proposals by November 1, 2012.

Monument to Cold War Victory is a conceptual project by the artist Yevgeniy Fiks, taking the form of an open-call, international competition for a public, commemorative work of art. For over two decades, public signifiers of the Cold War, such as the Berlin Wall, have been framed in terms of destruction and kitsch. A monument created at the moment of its own destruction, the Wall encapsulates the continuing geopolitical imagination of the conflict as linear, continuous, binary, and terminal: the culmination of a now-historicized narrative of competing empires. But while the impact of half a century of sustained ideological conflict still reverberates through all forms of public and private experience—from Middle Eastern geographies of containment to the narrative structures of Hollywood—it has yet to be acknowledged through a public and monumental work of art. The Cold War, the longest and most influential conflict of the twentieth century, has no publicly commissioned commemoration in the United States.

This project examines the enduring genre of war monuments, memorials, and institutionally framed and commissioned artworks. How might the legacy of the Cold War, in all its complex material, social, and cultural forms, be visually articulated? In what ways might the notion of “victory,” implicit in all retroactive commemorations of conflict, be interpreted? Can the traditional, formal structure of the monument, and the historical revisionism endemic to that form, be redefined?

Artists are invited to participate in this project by submitting a proposal for a public monument commemorating the outcome of the Cold War by November 1, 2012. All submissions must be made through the website: Submissions should include: a one-page narrative text on your proposed work and its relationship to the legacy of the Cold War, the notion of “victory,” and its reevaluation (if any) of the monument form; a visual schema in the form of three images; and an artist CV. A select number of finalists will be awarded a stipend and the opportunity to further develop their proposal for an institutional exhibition. The submitter of the winning proposal will be awarded a cash prize, and their concept will be implemented and installed in a publicly accessible location, to be determined, in the United States.

Monument to Cold War Victory will be juried by a distinguished panel of cultural and intellectual figures, including Vito AcconciSusan Buck-MorssBoris GroysVitaly KomarViktor Misiano, and Nato Thompson.

This project is initiated by The Committee for Tacit History, an international curatorial collective and research body dedicated to furthering interdisciplinary, practice-based investigations in history and visual culture.

Monument to Cold War Victory

For further information, contact curator Stamatina 


Helsinki, Polaroid Exhibition

The Polaroid Exhibition includes Polaroids by big international names ranging froms Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol, plus a selection of Finnish Polaroid images. Instantaneous mood pictures from a legendary collection: self-portraits, still lifes, conceptual art and collages. Common features are playful snapshot-taking and the thrill of colour.

© Finnish Museum of Photography

The Polaroid company regularly gave artists cameras and film, and from their responses it built up a huge, nostalgic collection of photographs. Vienna’s WestLicht Museum acquired the European section in 2010, some of which can now be seen by the Finnish public. Polaroid’s successor, The Impossible Project, is also represented.

© Finnish Museum of Photography

Chief Curator Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger and Museum Director Elina Heikka from The Finnish Museum of Photography and Chief Curator Rebekka Reuter from WestLicht Museum in Vienna made a selection of The WestLicht collection which contains 4400 works by 800 artists from 1970–90. The Finnish component has been compiled by critic Otso Kantokorpi and photographic artist Martti Jämsä.

© Finnish Museum of Photography

The exhibition, which will go on until December, promises lively activities and fun. In the exhibition’s Studio Corner you can take pictures or get yourself photographed. In workshops run in collaboration with schools a joint, large-scale collage of Polaroids will be created for the rest of the public to see, and in the various workshops Polaroid cameras will be available for use by members of the public of all ages.

© Finnish Museum of Photography

Polaroid is currently undergoing a Renaissance as a retro photographic technique. Its characteristic aesthetic and immediacy still cast their spell, as is demonstrated by smartphone camera apps that imitate the Polaroid image.

© Finnish Museum of Photography

Your Rainbow Panorama, Olafur Eliasson’s latest project inspired by Divine Comedy

© Studio Olafur Eliasson

Olafur Eliasson describes the project Your rainbow panorama in the following words: “Your rainbow panorama enters into a dialogue with the existing architecture and reinforces what is assured beforehand, that is to say the view of the city. I have created a space which virtually erases the boundaries between inside and outside – where people become a little uncertain as to whether they have stepped into a work or into part of the museum. This uncertainty is important to me, as it encourages people to think and sense beyond the limits within which they are accustomed to moving”.

© Studio Olafur Eliasson

The realization of this unique rooftop project has been made possible through a partnership between ARoS, the Municipality of Aarhus and Realdania, in that Realdania are financing the establishment of Your rainbow panorama. Olafur Eliasson has created this permanent work of art in the form of a circular walkway 150 metres in extent and three metres wide made in glass in all the colours of the spectrum. The spectacular work of art has a diameter of 52 metres and is mounted on slender columns 3.5 metres above the roof surface of the museum. Visitors to the museum will have access to this great work of art via stairs and lifts. They can take a stroll such as will delight the senses round this circular pathway, which will provide them with panoramic views of the surrounding city and Århus Bay.

© Studio Olafur Eliasson

Beneath the “floating” work of art, the actual roof area and its c. 1500 square metres has been covered with wood, so the surface constitutes a unique recreational area and viewing platform for visitors to the museum fifty metres above street level. Your rainbow panorama will be visible from a great distance, and as you will see different colours according to where you are in the city, the work acts as a compass. At night, Your rainbow panorama is lit up from inside by spotlights embedded in the floor.

© Studio Olafur Eliasson

The ARoS building is built on the concept of Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, and with the realization of the rooftop project the connection between heaven and the underworld will be complete – the latter in the form of the exhibition concept “The 9 Spaces” in the basement level of the museum, with works by Bill Viola, James Turrell, Tony Oursler, and Pipilotti Rist, amongst others; the former with Your rainbow panorama. The building of this extensive art project commenced in 2009, and summer 2010 saw the start of the installation of the now completed walkway. The work has cost 60 million kroner and has been financed by Realdania, while the cost of the roof terrace has been borne by Købmand Herman Sallings Fond. Aarhus Municipality is the authority responsible for the project.

© Studio Olafur Eliasson

Amongst the panel of judges behind the rooftop project for ARoS there was no doubt as to the winner, once Olafur Eliasson’s project in 2007 was selected for the competition from the five proposals. In the panel’s deliberation this was stated, amongst other things, about the winning proposal: “The project complies in a brilliant way with the competition’s aim to convert ARoS‘ rooftop surface to a unique artistic and architectural sight of international stature. The proposal creates an extremely beautiful and poetic place, which unifies the panoramic view from the roof with an exceptional artistic-architectural dimension, contributing to the development of a new understanding of the visual art interface of architecture. It also establishes a strong identity-creating landmark for ARoS and Aarhus city.”


Pipilotti Rist – Spear to Heaven

The Leeum Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul has invited Pipilotti Rist for its Black Box media art series. For the second time, the museum has invited an internationally-renowned artist for its Black Box media art project series. The guest is none other than Swiss video-maker Pipilotti Rist, whose intense and colour-charged audio-visual pieces are marking the exhibition space in a subtler way than we might have expected.

Titled Spear to Heaven, the installation comprises a four-channel video projection over a series of translucent drapes, arranged across the dark room. The usually psychedelic imagery of the artist thus becomes even more layered and complex, bringing the usual overlapping – a staple in Rist’s aesthetic – outside into the physical space of the museum. The artwork will stay on show until 16 September.

Pipilotti Rist was born in 1962 in GrabsSankt Gallen, in Switzerland.Since her childhood she has been nicknamed Pipilotti. The name refers to the novel Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. She studied at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in Vienna, through 1986. She later studied video at the School of Design (Schule für Gestaltung) in Basel, Switzerland. In 1997, her work was first featured in the Venice Biennial, where she was awarded the Premio 2000 Prize. From 1988 through 1994, she was member of the music band and performance group Les Reines Prochaines. From 2002 to 2003, she was invited by Professor Paul McCarthy to teach at UCLA as a visiting faculty member.

During her studies Pipilotti Rist began making super 8 films. Her works generally last only a few minutes, and contained alterations in their colors, speed, and sound. Her works generally treat issues related to gendersexuality, and the human body. In contrast to those of many other conceptual artists, her colorful and musical works transmit a sense of happiness and simplicity. Rist’s work is regarded as feminist by some art critics. Her works are held by many important art collections worldwide.

 Leeum Samsung Museum of Art

Selected by Ingrid Melano