Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Real Thing: Contemporary Art from China until 10.06 Tate Liverpool

The Real Thing: Contemporary Art from China reflects the varied and complex nature of contemporary art in China, and presents a comprehensive overview of some of the most interesting and important art to be made since 2000. Working in close collaboration with the Beijing-based writer and curator Karen Smith, and the Shanghai-based artist, critic and curator Xu Zhen, Simon Groom, Head of Exhibitions at Tate Liverpool, has spent several years researching the artists and works for the exhibition. The exhibition features work by eighteen artists, in a variety media, and includes several large-scale installations, and several new commissions.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mischa Kuball. ReMix/Broca II (Letters/Numbers) until 13.05 ZKM, Karlsruhe (D)

The multimedia installation ReMix/Broca II (Letters/Numbers) will open the international exhibition tour of the work of Mischa Kuball (*1959), a light and media artist from Düsseldorf, Germany, at the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art. Kuball has worked conceptually with light for more than twenty years, and in a unique way has linked light, which is otherwise largely considered an aesthetic medium, with social and political statements. Within his complex and multifarious work, the pieces that confront human communication form a specific concentration. "I am interested in language as a function of a code—that is, in the sense of coding and de-coding," says Kuball. Presented for the first time is the new, extensive multimedia installation ReMix/Broca II (Letters/Numbers), which is a further development of his earlier work, broca'sche areal. With both of these works, Kuball refers to the eponymous brain region, which forms language capability, and thereby the basic conditions for human communication. Taking six different rotating projectors as a point of departure, in ReMix/Broca II (Letters/Numbers), letters and numbers are cast on the walls of a room. This leads to the chance overlapping of a multitude of connections of meaning from various semantic areas, which generates the need to construct meaning. In addition, sculptural elements in the room reflect the light of the projectors; these sculptural elements are the artist's digitized brain waves transferred to three dimensions. In this way, grasping, expressing, and representing thoughts are all connected on different levels as the preliminary stage of communication. "When language and light come together, the basic elements of knowledge are present" (Kuball).

ReMix/Broca II (Letters/Numbers) is a collaborative project by the Ruhr-Universität/Neuropsychologie, Bochum, the HfG Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, and ZKM.

Curators Andreas Beitin, Gregor Jansen

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Anton Henning until 06.05 S.M.A.K, Gent

Anton Henning (Berlin, 1964) works in many fields. Although he is best known as a painter, sculpture and installation art are also significant elements in his oeuvre. By always trying to combine every art form in one all-embracing whole, his work seems like a contemporary version of the gesamtkunstwerk, where all the various disciplines come together and enter into dialogue with one another. The exhibition is a mixture of old and new work. In addition, Henning designed a number of pieces specially for the rooms at the S.M.A.K. The largest piece he has ever made, Oktogon – a huge installation that merges painting, sculpture and interior design – will also be displayed.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

BREAKING STEP / U RASKORAKU 24.03- 10.06. Museum of Contemporary Art - Belgrade

Breaking Step / U raskoraku brings together new work by fifteen major figures of the British art scene. The exhibition is the culmination of a four-year collaboration between the British Council and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade. Breaking Step / U raskoraku is neither a survey nor an attempt to construct a historical narrative, but rather a critical consideration of some of the most pronounced tendencies in contemporary British art. In recent years, one such tendency has been an effort to break away from ideas and interests prevalent in the early to mid 90s, with which contemporary British art is still widely identified. In relation to the art system and its institutional structures, artists today seem to occupy an uncertain position, participating in the process of distribution and promotion, yet constantly problematising and renegotiating their own role within it. The artists in the exhibition demonstrate an involvement with a broader range of interests and a personal and dynamic engagement with a wider social reality, as well as with new collaborative and participatory models and alternative artistic interventions. An important aspect of Breaking Step / U raskoraku is the inclusion of a series of new projects commissioned in response to the specific local situation in Belgrade. While they work within traditional representational modes, in a general sense, the artists in Breaking Step / U raskoraku consistently seek to undermine the ideological function of these modes. To this end, they employ a number of strategies – displacement, re–enactment, decontextualisation, repetition or an amalgamation of disparate references and media – inherited from Conceptual Art, but often used in an uncharacteristic manner. It is this close connection with the politics, ethics and aesthetics of Conceptualism that forms one of the strong thematic threads running through the exhibition. Another unifying factor is the selected artists’ use of humour in their work. Whether pointed and unswerving or subtle and understated, it is of a kind far removed from the postmodern irony of the 90s. It is a humour with sympathy, evincing a capacity simultaneously to show affection for something and to think critically about it; a form of playful teasing by those close to, and concerned for, the target of their wit. Most importantly, what connects all the practices in Breaking Step / U raskoraku is their systematic defiance of our expectations, evading attempts at an easy classification. In other words, works selected for this exhibition share the sense of being at odds with whichever framework we might apply to interpret them: they are site–specific while questioning the idea of site–specificity, marketable but not market–driven, compassionate but not sentimental, and intimate yet far from comforting.