LATENT IMAGES, DIARY OF A PHOTOGRAPHER
by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
From May 9th 2015 to November 22nd 2015
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige have been invited by Okwui Enwezor to participate to the 56th international art exhibition, All the World’s Futures, at the 2015 Venice Biennale to present a new activation of their artistic project : Latent images, Diary of a photographer (Ed. Rosascape). From 9th May to 22nd November 2015, a book will be opened every day both in the Arena (International Pavilion) from noon till 2pm and at the Arsenale (all day long).
(From 5th to 7th May, the performance in the Arena will be from 10:30 am to 12 :30 pm).
Latent images is the last part of a project entitled Wonder Beirut, based on an imaginary character, that of a Lebanese photographer, Abdallah Farah. The first two parts of the project, “The story of a pyromaniac photographer” and “Postcards of war” present a series of postcards taken and published by Abdallah in the 60’s, burned by him during the Lebanese civil wars to reproduce the damages which the armed conflicts, bombings and destructions inflicted to the buildings appearing on those images.
Latent Images are the result of a habit which Abdallah acquired during the war years when he was often short on products, fixatives and paper. He stopped developing his films, being content with simply taking pictures. The reels piled up; he felt no need to reveal them. For years, although the situation has improved, he continued to do the same. If he did not develop the rolls, he nevertheless dated and indexed each film, and documented each photograph he took in a small notebook. He described it minutely. His pictures can therefore be read, giving free rein to the imagination of the reader who can navigate freely across this photographic fragments and invent his own occurrences through the story of Abdallah Farah. Displayed as contact sheets, the rolls of latent films form a personal diary and a photographic chronicle into the history of contemporary Lebanon.
A selection of the latent images was present in a limited edition artist book, published by Rosascape: Latent images, Diary of a photographer. The book consists of 1312 pages and includes 38 contact sheets selected among the hundreds of films shot by Abdallah Farah between 1997 and 2006, which he never developed. Each film can be read and seen in the form of a chapter: an original photo of these rolls appears at the beginning of the chapter, recalling the presentation of photos in family albums. The description of the images replaces the photographs, short fragments of text describe invisible images while creating a new imaginary space through sealed notebooks, which prevent the images they contain being read unless the pages are cut.
For the Venice Biennale, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige invite four actors to activate the book Latent images, Diary of a photographer. One person will be entrusted with cutting and separating the pages, while synchronizing with the three other actors who will be reading the images. The reading of the book will somehow be a form of revelation of the latent images and will transfer this work into the field of oral expression. The actors will work in shifts to present, in multiple voices, the whole collections of texts of the book Latent Images. In doing so, they will echo the multiple narratives relating the point of view of Abdallah Farah, his relation to argentic photography, his mixed feelings of enthusiasm and disenchantment, and his lost love– but also the transformations in the city, the important political changes of those years as well as a deep relation to visible and invisible traces, memories and history. Every day, a book will be opened in the Arena, in the Giardini and read from beginning to end by the four actors. 177 books, equivalent to the number of working days of the Biennale, will thus be revealed, read and shared with the audience. But also one book will be open every day by the visitors, by the public of the Biennale who will get to touch and read the book at their rhythm.
This work is within the scope of the curatorial research of Okwui Enwezor, the curator of the Biennale and deals not only with what is at stake in storytelling and narration but also in the live performance and the epic.
More information about the book
Jewels from the Personal Collection of Princess Salimah Aga Khan
September 7th to 22nd 2012
Opening on September 7th, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Like herbarium sheets, the 135 plates featured in Camille Henrot's piece Jewels from the Personal Collection of Princess Salimah Aga Khan present various botanical specimens — plants and flowers — gathered by the artist from the private flower-beds decorating building entrances on the Upper East Side, New York City's wealthiest neighbourhood. Roland Barthes argues(1) that flowers symbolise all things useless and luxurious, yet the purpose of those planted in these ornamental urban sites is to construct a border and figure — in the etymological sense of the word — the image of "paradise on earth". A "paradise for the living", echoing the paradayadâm, an Old Persian term meaning "beyond the wall" and which, when associated with the word djivadi, refers to that which is "lively, living, belonging to the time of life(2)".
The flowers collected in this Upper East Side paradise for the living, located on Manhattan Island, are brought together and displayed here on the facsimiles of a Christie's auction catalogue. The catalogue details the entire jewelry collection belonging to Princess Salimah Aga Khan, auctioned by Christie's at the Hotel Richemond in Geneva on November 13th 1995 — jewels received during her twenty-six-year marriage to the Aga Khan. The sale took place following her divorce, while the Aga Kahn resorted to the courts, that same year, in an unsuccessful bid to prevent the sale.
According to Michel Leiris(3), everything that constitutes luxury, surplus, accumulation and expenditure is connected to ecstasy and, by extension, to excess. The flowers in Jewels might be viewed as a metaphorical representation of this and, correspondingly, the precise description of each jewel as an inventory of the markers of domestic wealth. The excess or overflow present in Jewels is also tied to the symmetry and duplication between Princess Salimah Aga Khan's gesture and that of the artist Camille Henrot: the former is relieving herself of the heritage of several generations of women from one of the most prosperous families in the world — the Aga Khan dynasty — while the latter collects flowers gathered by passing "beyond the wall". Both are overstepping boundaries here (the boundary demarcating the paradise of the living) and transgressing the codes imposed by the dictates of a form of wealth focused on the markers of its own representation: transcendence via use and via the détournement of the codes of an archaic femininity, closed in on itself.
The notion of tonga (or taonga) discussed by Marcel Mauss in his essay on The Gift(4), published (in the original French) in 1923-1924, might help elucidate this comparison. Indeed, Marcel Mauss observes that in Maori, Tahitian, Tongan and Mangarevan, the notion of tonga connotes "everything that may properly be termed possessions, everything that makes one rich, powerful, and influential and everything that can be exchanged, and used as an object for compensating others: [...] exclusively the precious articles, talismans, emblems, mats and sacred idols, sometimes even the traditions, cults and magic rituals". In this way, the jewelry and archetypal symbols of femininity featured in Jewels could be considered "tonga-native" objects, as 'uterine' gifts — possessions more connected to the soil, the clan, the family and the individual.
Ultimately, the exhibition Jewels from the Personal Collection of Princess Salimah Aga Khan, playing, as it does, on these partial connections, invites us to explore the symbolic notion of the "marker of wealth", i.e., the "status symbol": their inequitable distribution as well as their ability to constitute objects of compensation, namely between the sexes.
(1) See Roland Barthes, Comment vivre ensemble. Cours et séminaires au collège de France, 1976-1977, edited by Éric Marty and Claude Coste, Paris, Seuil, "Traces écrites" series, 2002. Sound recording available on Ubuweb: <http://www.ubu.com/sound/barthes.html>. (How to Live Together, Lectures at the Collège de France, 1976-1977).
(2) Clarisse Herrenschmidt
(3) Michel Leiris, Leiris Michel, L'Homme sans honneur, notes pour le sacré dans la vie quotidienne, Paris, Jean-Michel Place, 1994, p. 93.
(4) Available in the original French on the website "Classiques des sciences sociales": <http://classique.uqac.ca/classiques/mauss_marcel/socio_et_anthropo/2_essai_sur_le_don/essai_sur_le_don.html>. English translation: Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, Routledge, 1990, p.13.
all the s o m e t h i n g i n b e t w e e n (transitory)
From June 15th to July 28th 2012
Opening on June 15th from 6pm to 10pm.
The quest for structure and formal organisation that characterises Adrian Dan's approach is paradoxically opposed to any notion of hierarchy. He disrupts our habits and reflexes by imbricating and placing on the same level real, virtual, public and private spaces, artworks and construction materials, personal productions and pieces "borrowed" from other people, figuration and abstraction, images and objects, transparency and opacity, depth and flatness... Over classification and value systems, the artist thus favours a system of correspondences, dialogues and oppositions. He challenges the notion of functionality and demonstrates the inoperativeness of the myth of photographic transparency in the age of new technologies. The issue of perspective pervades — obsessively — the entire series of works presented at Rosascape.
Photographs taken at Rosascape with a digital camera — one or several shots of the same space taken at different times, tracking the setting up and taking down of exhibitions previously held there — provide the raw material for the artist's compositions. The cropping and rearranging performed afterwards gives rise to a series of large format panoramic images [untitled04, untitled05] as well as to more reduced-scale and seemingly independent pieces [untitled02, untitled.black, échelle]. In both cases, the final image becomes an "object" through the Diasec mounting process and then through its installation — sometimes positioned vertically on the wall, sometimes placed on the floor on some form of construction material or other such as wooden pallets or plasterboard. The works' sculptural dimension and their interdependency erase their original identity to such a degree that any desire to classify them simply as photographs or photomontages is invariably checked.
There appears to be no obvious or specific rule governing the compositions, save for a principle of spatial (de)construction. Through the reflections they generate, the Diasec mounts redouble the play of materials and associations — multiplying the spatial configurations and mirroring in this way the countless possible perspectives on a single reality. A dynamic which opposes a visual show on the one hand, and a form of estrangement on the other, paces the visitor's meander through the exhibition space. The play of colours, forms and structures creates something irresistibly attractive while the works' neutral and silent quality produces a kind of disengagement. The many winks to art and architectural history (from Stephen Willats to Sarah Morris, from Carlo Scarpa to Herzog & de Meuron) foster a personal and contemporary approach. The close cropping of [untitled02] reveals two book covers presenting barely decipherable text. These smooth items are placed on the thick red velvet fabric belonging to a piece of furniture at Rosascape, and a spirit level used for setting up a previous exhibition is positioned above. The fluorescent colour and the liquid substance of the measuring instrument stand out in sharp contrast to the other elements and tones in the image. Despite being firmly grounded in reality, the composition makes no promise of narration, other than abstraction: the dark upper right corner seems to be conversing with another exhibit, a third of which is covered over with a deep shade of black [untitled.black]. Perhaps the latter should be understood as a space constructed in the digital realm, rather? The intrigue remains total, and it introduces an uncertainty as to the boundaries between the tangible and the immaterial. It is also a tribute to the new architectural forms and aesthetic relations afforded by digital creative tools: further along, a large panoramic image combines the different pairs — figuration/abstraction, the real/the digital — but within the same image this time [untitled05]. From left to right, the latter is made up of a narrow, black, perfectly opaque strip, and a white square randomly cut by fine parallel grey lines; it continues to unfold with the assemblage of a photograph presenting the backs of rectangular wooden screens previously used for projecting Ulla von Brandenburg's films during her exhibition at Rosascape. Like a "fold" which opens out, the composition is made up of several panels, organised according to an itinerary going from total abstraction to the concrete representation of a three-dimensional space. Its fragmented form echoes the shake-up of plastic and architectural idioms at work throughout the exhibition.
The installation also reminds us of the importance of "context" within the activation process of a work by offering a poetic reflection on the system of conception, creation and display: how do artists draw on their surrounding world? How do their perspectives get altered by their encounters with other artists? and different spaces? How might artists communicate their interpretations or, alternatively, leave them open to the visitor? What role does the exhibition space play in the realisation and finishing touches of creation? Which conditions might enable the visitor's gaze to take on an activating capacity, making the work outlive the exhibition timeframe? Rosascape — as an encompassing, plastic element — occupies a crucial position within this exploration of our multiple and shifting perceptions of reality. The installation creates a new physical and mental structure, or an "architecture of thought" , intimately connected to the exhibition context. Like contemplating a shimmering façade, what we have here is an intricate interplay of physical constructions and reflections. The floating quality of our perceptions of reality is suggested by the emergence of exterior and interior images and their projections and transformations. The invitation to enter the exhibition space itself takes on an almost brutally concrete form at times — via a door opening onto one of the rooms of the apartment [échelle], or through the intensity of the dashes of colour of the Diasecs scattered across the space. One can also enter the space more enigmatically — on noticing, for instance, a piece of moulding work, or the "traces" left behind by past exhibitions [untitled04, untitled05, échelle]. The boundary between public and private space is thus constantly questioned: [untitled04] presents a panoramic image in which the reflection of an urban scene is combined with interior shots. Two parallel wooden pallets printed on a large sheet of card formally echo two lecterns, standing to attention — fragments from a recent installation by Raymond Gervais . The formal structure of the latter piece is brought into sharp relief here, and by being thus connected to other spaces and temporalities the work is ultimately given a new aura.
The systems Adrian Dan employs challenge the immutability of the work of art; they contaminate the intimate structure of Rosascape while also intensifying its identity — a place of possibilities.
Performance by Remy HEritier
Facing the sculpture
Wednesday May 23rd 2012 at 7.30 pm at Rosascape
Free entrance, but places are limited so advanced booking is essential: email@example.com
This performance will take place as part of Raymond Gervais's exhibition which will run at Rosascape until May 25th 2012.
Facing the sculpture is a variable performance piece that stages its permeability to another work of art also present in the performance space. Its content and its poetic quality are the fruit of this encounter. How do two discrete works inform one another? How do they mutually document one another? Can one attain a better perspective/understanding of A by observing B, and vice versa?
Facing the sculpture presents itself as a collection of choreographed sequences which endeavours, on the one hand, to show the duration, space and materiality of a dance or of any other body, the space that separates one element from another, the time that separates one element from another material, mental, historical or intangible element — and on the other, to articulate these data like so many possibilities of making oneself present to that which one beholds, perceives, and all the associations generated by this presence-gaze.
Raymond Gervais's exhibition at Rosascape has brought me to examine my own works in terms of what they might contain, invoke or oppose regarding the emergence of a sound, a piece of music, the end of the nineteenth century, Irish literature written in French, Canadian Minimalism, and Parisian salons...
Facing the sculpture is an attempt to bring together, in a given site and moment, the greatest amount of thoughts and acts associated with two works which, on first glance, appear entirely unrelated.
Facing the sculpture was first performed in 2009 with Jeune Fille Orrible — a 'lyrical infamy principle' trio that handles and creates acoustic noise and chaos with no amplification of any kind; it then went on to consider, in 2010, a postindustrial landscape whose built elements where direct references to 1960s Minimalist sculpture. In 2011 the experience was repeated at the invitation of Guillaume Robert and his installation La paupière, le seuil (The eye-lid, the threshold) at the Les Églises art centre in Chelles.
Rémy Héritier was born in France in 1977. He lives in Paris.
Since 2005 he has created successively Arnold versus Pablo (duet), Archives (sextet) domestiqué coyote (solo), Atteindre la fin du western (quintet), Dispositions (solo), Chevreuil (quintet), Facing the sculpture (quartet), une étendue (quartet). His work was shown in France and Europe at Centre Pompidou – Spectacles Vivants – Paris, Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain – Paris, Les Subsistances – Lyon, Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, La Villette – Paris, Le plateau frac idf Paris, Montpellier Danse, Festival ImpulsTanz, TanzQuartier Wien, Çati Dans Istanbul, Pact Zollverein-Essen, Festival Latitudes Contemporaines – Lille, Festival Mettre en Scène-Renne, Kaaistudio Brussels… Since 1999 he has been performing or collaborating with artists such as Philipp Gehmacher, Mathilde Monnier, Jennifer Lacey, Loïc Touzé, Laurent Pichaud, Christophe Fiat, Sylvain Prunnenec, Matthieu Kavyrchine, Guillaume Robert, Laurent Chétouane… He was an associate artist to Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers- France in 2008-2009.
AN APPARTMENT-BASED SEMINAR
A proposition by Simone Frangi
Friday April 6th: Roman Schmidt at 6 pm and Jean Clam at 7.30 pm
Saturday April 7th: Emmanuel Alloa at 4.30 pm and Simone Frangi at 6 pm
Free entrance. Booking required: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Room, Freedom project investigates private and intimate space as both a site of cultural, political and social practice and a displacement territory for the reception of artistic and theoretical forms.
The programme will take shape as a series of apartment-based seminars, with various guest speakers. The seminars will attempt to approach private space 'otherwise', as a truly critical counter-site, like the "localised utopias" that Foucault discussed — i.e., spaces outside the norm, occupied by singular experiences. However, these experiences are in no way cut off from wider society, and can ultimately provide a way of establishing active connections between private and public space, and of exploring the kinds of norms structuring public space in order to consider them 'otherwise'.
The project title, Room, Freedom, is an elliptical rendering of Emily Dickinson's phrase "This is the room of my freedom". The phrase suggests an activity at once protected and vertiginously open to public space. The dual nature of space thus emerges — appearing as both physical reality and a virtual field of action.
Friday April 6th 2012
6pm: Roman Schmidt
Private Space, Dissidence and Internationalism.
In 1942, Marguerite Duras moved into a large apartment at 5, rue Saint-Benoît. For many years this private space was a site for friendship and solidarity — a meeting place for a host of anti-Stalinian and anti-colonial Saint-Germain-des-Près writers. Much later on, Duras described it as being "like an initiatory house" — "Even if only as a type of premonition, it gave us a glimpse of what communism, and the common goal, could look like". Taking Hölderlin's phrase die Psyche unter Freunden ("psyche among friends") as a point of departure, Roman Schmidt attends to the possibility of a 'being-together' — glimpsed at from within the intimacy of the apartment by the rue Saint-Benoît circle, and later explored and experienced, on the outside. Drawing on letters, manifestos, interviews and journals linked to the historical rue Saint-Benoît experience, Roman Schmidt will articulate a conception of private space as a space of "anticipation" of events yet to arise in the public sphere.
Roman Schmidt is a journalist at Courrier international. He is currently pursuing a PhD (in French -German co-tutelage) on "La Lettre internationale et Liber". His work on Blanchot's Revue internationale was published in German under the title Die unmögliche Germeinschaft (Berlin, Kadmos Kultuverlag, 2009).
7.30 pm: Jean Clam
"Apartmentation" — The Intimisation of Space.
Taking as his point of departure one of the central concepts in his book L'Intime. Genèses, régimes, nouages, Jean Clam will develop a reflection on the spatial conformation of intimacy in the contemporary moment, and its close ties with private space: "What emerges from the spatial enclosures intimacy establishes, is its very trajectory through Western culture. Each of these enclosures is tied to a kind of interiority and relational experience. Exploring spaces of intimacy leads to a reconstruction of the fastasmatic dimension of the intimate as "a being apart", in an apartment — in the literal sense of the term". His inquiry will consider private space as a site of communication, using this perspective to pursue a reflection on the sociological and political import of the movement towards intimisation which characterises the apartment.
Jean Clam is a philosopher, sociologist, psychologist and CNRS researcher (CERSES: "Sens, Éthique, Société" research centre). His French-language publications include: Trajectoires de l'immatériel. Contributions à une théorie de la valeur et de sa dématérialisation, Paris, CNRS Éditions, 2004; L'Intime : genèses, régimes, nouages, Paris, Ganse Arts et Lettres, 2007 ; Aperceptions du présent. Théorie d'un aujourd'hui par-delà la détresse, Paris, Ganse Arts et Lettres, 2010.
Saturday April 7th 2012
4.30 pm: Emmanuel Alloa
Out of the corner of the eye. Aesthetics of the inapparent.
Does public space have a reverse side, a kind of reserve area or storeroom, a private or intimate space into which one may retreat? Emmanuel Alloa will use this interrogation to advance the idea that intimacy is not a question of space, but of gaze: intimacy occurs when one does not feel one is being observed. Yet this does not mean one is not exposed to another kind of gaze, for the intimate and the private surely both create their own kind of visibility. The seminar will explore the hypothesis that what is too close does not become invisible, but inapparent. Can there be an aesthetics of the inapparent which attends to the fringes and margins of objects, to everything which eludes objectification, to everything which remains unseen yet constitutes the tacit backstage or wings from which objects emerge?
Emmanuel Alloa is Assistant Professor in the philosophy department at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) and Eikones Senior Research Fellow / NCCR Iconic Criticism. His publications include: "Le contemporain, l'intempestif et l'imminent", in Pylône Magazine, No. 8 (special issue: Qu'est-ce que le contemporain ?, 2012).
6 pm: Simone Frangi
Topology of private space
Grounding her reflection on the work of Gaston Bachelard, Ernst Bloch, Gilles Deleuze and on art and architectural theory (Brian O'Doherty's critical analysis of the 'White Cube' and Mark Wigley's critical analysis of the 'White Wall'), Simone Frangi explores the "materiality of private space" and its topological structure, in order to grasp the structural changes of forms of representation and communication, in a non-neutral environment marked by a practical and symbolic overload. This analysis of private space as a parallel structure to public space will occasion a novel articulation between our constructions of "outside" and "inside", and the political, cultural and social notions attached to them.
Simone Frangi holds a PhD in Aesthetics and Art Theory and is a researcher in contemporary philosophy and an art critic. In May and June 2012 he will be resident theoretician at Viafarini-DOCVA — Documentation Center for Visual Arts. His recent publications include: "The athlete is the artist, the artist is the athlete. A reading of Matthew Barney's Hypertrophy", Rheinsprung 11, No. 3, Basel, 2012 ; "Phénoménologie de l'espace et théorie de la forme. L'influence de Maurice Merleau-Ponty dans l'esthétique de Robert Morris et Robert Barry", in Maurice Merleau-Ponty et l'esthétique aujourd'hui, Paris: Mimesis, 2012.
ULLA VON BRANDENBURG
The Nonexistent Knight
February 15th to March 31st 2012
Opening on Wednesday, February 15th from 6pm to 10pm
The Nonexistent Knight. A minimal glossary.
Nonexistent Knight, The A fantasy novel parodying the chivalric romance genre, written by Italo Calvino in 1959. It relays the heroic deeds of Agilulf, an imaginary paladin in Charlemagne's army who exists only as an empty suit of armour — a metal puppet held upright by his sense of duty. The coat of arms of this 'nonexistent knight' seems to be a direct product of the imagination of artist Ulla von Brandenburg: an escutcheon depicting open drapery, with another escutcheon embedded at its centre again depicting open drapery, containing yet another inescutcheon depicting yet more open drapery, and so on and so forth, infinitely — thus providing a perfect example of mise en abyme. (see 'Mirror').
Game Chessboard, deck of cards, dice: traditional games are a frequent feature of Ulla von Brandenburg's iconography, present in her films (including The Nonexistent Knight) just as much as her drawings and installations. Certain aspects of the game — the lack of practical purpose, the rules, the entertainment dimension — connect it to one of the artist's main interests: drama. Other aspects — competition, bluffing — connect it to the jousts of social life, of which it is the sublimated form. The link connecting these three worlds — i.e., social life, games and drama — is a 2007 piece titled Karo Sieben ("Seven of Diamonds"). It is a large square platform, a few centimetres high — a kind of floor-level theatre stage covered with a patchwork of brightly coloured fabric, thus creating a singular kind of chessboard. A chessboard ideally big enough to accommodate men and women pawns.
Lozenge Out of the various motifs Ulla von Brandenburg uses, the lozenge is the artist's preferred one and the most recurrent in her work. This is perhaps due to its ambivalent character: it is a notable heraldic motif (one finds it, for instance, in the coats of arms of the princes of Monaco) yet also commonly associated with the Harlequin's costume, the valet in the Commedia dell'Arte. This character is, in turn, marked by duality: he is ingenuous yet cunning, a humble servant on the stage and a formidable demon in the old popular legends (his black, bird of prey mask is a survival of these legends). The lozenge is the servant of two masters.
Mirror Although absent from Ulla von Brandenburg's installation pieces, mirrors are quite a frequent feature of her films. They help to create their metaphysical atmosphere by creating a scene within the scene — a site from which the silent duplicates of the characters and objects behold the viewer. In The Nonexistent Knight the two male characters look at themselves in the mirror while they apply dramatic make-up to their faces. Their duplication points to the duplication of the film itself: The Nonexistent Knight is made up of two projections, seemingly identical, if not for the fact that each element that appears on the left in one projection, finds itself located on the right in the other, and vice versa. (The specular play is repeated in the chromatic motifs of the pair of draperies which complete the installation). What is fascinating is that the effect was not produced by printing a reverse copy of the film, but by shooting the action twice, the second time meticulously reversing all the actors' movements and the position of the objects in the scene. This reflection could logically give rise to a recursive principle: just as the image of the actors reflected in the mirror is amplified in the duplicated film, one might imagine an installation reflecting the two films (and the pair of draperies), duplicating them to produce four films, and yet another reflecting the latter and thus producing eight films, and so on, ad infinitum, according to the rule of mise en abyme (see Nonexistent Knight, The).
Black and White All Ulla von Brandenburg's films are shot in black and white. The artist explains this choice as a desire to give her images a timeless quality, not easily located in any particular period. But there is possibly also a reference to photography here, and to surrealist cinema where the black and white medium is used in an unsettling fashion to blur the contours of what is animate and what is not, of the living body and simulacra. (This is what Roxana Marcoci termed "the Pygmalion Complex"). And in many of her films, in juxtaposition to the animate characters, Ulla von Brandenburg stages corpses on their death bed, and ghosts.
In The Nonexistent Knight, the constitutive ambiguity of the black and white medium is brought into sharp relief via a little metalinguistic game: the female character shows her gloved hands and asks: "What colour are they?"; one of the male character answers: "It looks like dark turquoise", while the other simply answers "I cannot see, the film is in black and white".
Singspiel Until her 2009 filmic piece Singspiel, Ulla von Brandenburg's films had no soundtrack. In this film, and those which follow, sound makes an entry not as noise or dialogue but as music and singing. The characters who, judging by their stance, are most probably conversing, take turns singing stanzas of a song. The film is a reference (made explicit by the title itself) to "singspiel", a popular music drama genre where spoken dialogue alternates with song which was very widespread in German-speaking countries in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, in Ulla von Brandenburg's soundtracks, the voice (whether that of the artist herself, or someone else) is often identical even when different characters are singing, making no distinction between age or sex. Before using this expedient in her films, Ulla von Brandenburg had already been experimenting with it for several years in her playback performances. The effect it produces is to reveal each actor as "a medium temporarily possessed by the same lyrical spirit" (Chris Sharp).
Drapery The mobile fabric panel is perhaps the most emblematic and well-known feature of Ulla von Brandenburg's work. Over time it has taken on different forms which nonetheless derive from two main models: the fabric exhibition display stand and the theatre curtain. Invariably, drapery is the element which signals and delimits a space different from the space of everyday life, reserved for performance and fiction.
In the nature of things, the simulation is not limited to this space alone. In the artist's 2008 Five Folded Curtains installation piece, the visitor journeys through red theatre curtains, only to discover a space identical to the first, thus presenting both sides of the curtain as a stage. Indeed, 'the world is a stage'.
Translated from the French by Anna Preger
From December 9th to February 3rd 2012
Opening on December 9th from 4 pm to 11 pm
Performance by Christian Jendreiko at 7.30 pm
Katinka Bock frequently presents memories as impressions in the form of rubbings, foldings or even as a puddle of water on the floor of an exhibition. As relics, her works reveal the temporality of the process itself and are akin to contemporary witnesses to a kind of stasis, or perhaps, the internalisation of actions. The visitor to the exhibition Les mots de demain (Tomorrow's words) encounters a host of traces of this sort, which is not unlike wading through sedimentary deposits: the observer is privy to the material traces of a night in the form of impressions on a clay mattress (Le Lit (une nuit), 2011). The artist spent a night on the soft, raw clay prior to firing and so preserved forever the traces of her body and movements during this particular night.
One can also see traces of blue paint, applied by the artist on the windows of Rosascape's corner room (Blaue Stunde Raum, 2011).
Further traces from her native Paris also come into play: for a whole year, she collected scraps of twine, string and ribbon (United for Paris, 2011).
Katinka Bock uses these discarded leftovers to trace a line through the rooms of the exhibition by knotting them together and suspending them across the space. The focus of the work is less on a transference of traces relating to our civilisation than on a transference into something psychological and physical.
(Extracts from the text written by Kathleen Rahn)
Read the text by Kathleen Rahn.
See the Libelle made by Katinka Bock.
Du Mort Qui Saisit Le Vif (la maison du dehors)
From November 28th to December 3rd 2011.
Opening on November 28th from 4pm to 11pm.
Discussion between Quentin Meillassoux and Fabien Giraud on November 29 at 7pm.
Discussion between Ida Soulard, Sam Basu and Tom Trevatt on December 1st at 7pm.
Closing on December 3rd from 6pm to11pm.
Reservation : email@example.com
More informations about the discussions here.
In his solo exhibition at Rosascape, Fabien Giraud shows several pieces for the first time which he brings together under the heading Du Mort Qui Saisit le Vif (la maison du dehors). Under this generic and programmatic title, the works shown at Rosascape are part of a long-term project that is conceived as a kind of technological saga and which might be summed up as follows: technology is not the preserve of man. There is no distinction between man's technological production and the more general production of nature at work.
The piece Le La Mort is one of the elements of the exhibition. This work by Fabien Giraud co-produced by Rosascape and Forde is made up of fifteen books. Each book is divided in the middle by a second book, which contains the script of a conversation between Fabien Giraud and Vincent Normand. Both a commentary and the origin of the works, this dialogue entitled Metaxu is the exhibition's central point, out of which 'la maison du dehors', part one of the technological saga Du Mort Qui Saisit Le Vif, takes shape and arises.
The series of works presented at Rosascape is determined by this book project and its initial physical movement. A drawing (La Maison du dehors. Plan) was made with the carbonized remains of the pieces of wood used for the sculptures of La Maison du dehors which were shown at Forde: successive layers of material were applied onto a sheet of paper until it could stand unsupported in the exhibition space. The artist melted the lead printing blocks used for the books, via the Lynotype printing technique, into a new shape on the floor at Rosascape (Metaxu — Saturne). Metaxu's dialogues are the subject of a film in which the elements of the set are rearranged in space for the film's screening. Lastly, Un caillou posé sur une pierre, une pierre posée sur une roche, une roche posée sur le minéral announces the second part of the project Du Mort Qui Saisit Le Vif, which will be presented in the next few months.
Fabien Giraud here lays the grounds of his own thinking methods, which aim at a reflection that not only borrows philosophy's discursive mode and unfolding logic, but arises out of the radical contingency of its conditioning materials and forces.
THE MATTER OF CONTRADICTION
On art without aesthetic
Discussions held on the occasion of Fabien Giraud's exhibition at Rosascape :
Discussion between Quentin Meillassoux and Fabien Giraud on November 29 at 7pm.
Discussion between Ida Soulard, Sam Basu and Tom Trevatt on December 1st at 7pm.
Booking : firstname.lastname@example.org
« Thought has long put objects under pressure, it may now be time for objects, in turn, to put thought under pressure. »
The matter of contradiction is a speculative proposition towards a future art theory.
The matter of contradiction a symposium, aims to account for recent philosophical movements in post-continental thought and site them in relation to contemporary art practices. In the last five or so years new ideas have emerged from French, British and American philosophers that question our assumed reliance on a post-Kantian tradition. These philosophies have been collected under the heading Speculative Realism, and have as their common thread a rejection of philosophies of access, or as Quentin Meillassoux terms it, "correlationism", that claim to only be able to speak of the world through the human perspective. We find it increasingly important to understand how these ideas relate to art and curatorial discourse.
If worldly things no longer exist solely in the way they present themselves to us, how might we operate the reversal that is necessary for thinking artistic objects?
Tuesday, November 29 at 7pm
Discussion between Quentin Meillassoux and Fabien Giraud
Thursday, December 1st at 7pm
Artist Fabien Giraud chairs a discussion with artist and director of Treignac Projet, Sam Basu, art historian Ida Soulard and curator Tom Trevatt where each present their own research into these areas. This symposium is accompanied by a roundtable discussion held in London in December. These two symposia are starting points on a journey towards a large conference to be held in September 2012 in Treignac Projet in Limousin (F).
The aesthetics of differends
A talk with Benoît Maire, Corinne Enaudeau and Bruno Bosteels
November 11th at 7:30 pm.
The Aesthetics of Differends (a project started in 2008) is an artist's book which documents Benoît Maire's ongoing research on the "differend", a concept he borrows from philosopher Jean-François Lyotard. The book is both an artwork in itself and a philosophical and artistic exploration of the essential questions of postmodernity and the meaning of the postconceptual work of art. The first installment of texts and images was proposed in January 2011, a series of printed sections articulated around a first sequence entitled "Ontology of the There is".
A second installment is scheduled for February 2012. Between the two editions, Benoît Maire has been pursuing his theoretical and artistic research on the notion of "differend".
This encounter at Rosascape is an opportunity for Benoît Maire to revisit the inquiries conducted in the first sequence of the project. In the company of Corinne Enaudeau and Bruno Bosteels he will be exploring the thought of Jean-François Lyotard, but also that of Lacan and Badiou, in order to open up new paths for reflection.
Click here for more information on The Aesthetics of Differends.
Laurent P. Berger and Cyrille Berger
From October 7th to November 24th 2011.
Opening: October 7th from 4-11 pm.
Encounter with Bertrand Westphal, October 21st at 7pm.
Encounter with Federico Nicolao, Laurent P. Berger and Cyrille Berger, November 15th at 7.30pm.
Laurent and Cyrille Berger have been collaborating since 2006 under the name Berger&Berger producing a body of work located at the crossroads of architecture and visual arts. Altered States stages a series of pieces bound by the phenomena of disappearance and emergence.
It is an exhibition that works in the manner of a transfer, suspending time, disturbing geography. Altered States presents "speculative objects"; objects and sculptures which are real or (and) fictional. Objects of organic or mineral origin which do not fulfill a function but produce their own physiological and psychological constraints. It is a "real" exhibition (with a wooden floor, struts, a map, images...) which produces a "disturbing unreality". These pieces to not constitute a succession of disparate arrangements but a set of entities making up a singular domestic space.
Click here to read about Berger&Berger
Read the text by Federico Nicolao
As a continuation of Dora García's "Mad Marginal / Archives" project — an artist's book produced and published by Rosascape— Michel Rein gallery will be playing host to Dora García, Bertrand Ogilvie and Sandra Alvarez de Toledo for a discussion on French psychologist Fernand Deligny.
Dora García is currently presenting the performance project "the Inadequate" in the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The project will stretch over the whole period of the Biennale, taking shape in the form of monologues, dialogues, talks, silences and drama performances. The performance stages and quotes a vast range of objects and documents and a key element in the project is a facsimile of a drawing by the "réseau Deligny", "Le Serret, juin 1976" (the original was graciously lent by Sandra Alvarez de Toledo for reproduction). For this encounter, Dora García proposes a conversation which uses this drawing as a way into exploring the themes of the body, language, topography and will in Fernand Deligny's work.
More information about « Mad Marginal / Archives »
Listen to an interview with Dora García
Read the text by Theodora Domenech.
AN EXHIBITION BY VITTORIO SANTORO AT ROSASCAPE
Everybody lives as if no one "knew": some script works
From June 10th to July 29th 2011.
Rosascape is showcasing a series of "script works" by Vittorio Santoro — works "activated by other people" according to a rule fixed by the artist, thus making the various individuals co-authors of an artwork. It is important to state that however many elements a piece may comprise, each piece constitutes a single artwork rather than several. Unity arises less from the script itself than from the notion of action and participation in a shared process.
The work is never reducible to the object that constitutes it, but neither is the object ever a mere pretext for illustrating theoretical or conceptual reflections, etc. Firstly, VS's works are seldom made up of a single object. Instead, the artist deals mainly with mises-en-scène, stagings, or with composite arrangements. And as for the single-object pieces, they always convey the trace of past interventions. The objects provide a basis, but the purpose is not to expose a self-sufficient idea but, rather, to enable a reactivation of the piece.
The work can thus be viewed as a totality which, while taking into account the sphere of thought as much as work on the spatialisation of objects, places action and the notion of script activation at its core. The participant-spectator is invited to reflect on the nature of this act, and on how unity is achieved despite the extremely diverse nature of the participations.
Read the text by Theodora Domenech
Read the text about the exhibition written by Jacinto Lageira
Listen the interview with Vittorio Santoro
MAD MARGINAL / ARCHIVES
An artist's book by Dora García.
Available May 2011.
This edition is limited to 10 French-language, 10 Spanish-language, 10 Italian-language and 10 English-language copies. Each edition is numbered from 1 to 10 and signed by Dora García.
The artist's book MAD MARGINAL developed in parallel with the eponymous project Dora García has been working on since 2009. In the form of an archival box file, this artist's book compiles 37 documents (texts, photos, a DVD, a CD, emails, interviews and conversations, leaflets, etc.) which have fueled Dora García's research these past two years. These documents are identical facsimile reproductions of the originals. Dealing with marginality as an artistic and political position, Dora García attends to the different meanings involved in such a position, considering both the contradictory character and the beauty of the artist as marginal figure. Her research first developed out of her reading of texts by the Italian psychiatrist and essayist Franco Basaglia (in the 1960s, among other things, the latter established and ran the 'therapeutic communities' in Trieste and Gorizia that campained for the rights of 'psychiatrised' people. In Italy his struggle lead to Law 180 (1978) which aimed at abolishing the psychiatric hospital). The Mad Marginal project is essentially inscribed within the Trieste context, where the "Basaglian revolution" gained momentum between 1971 and 1978. Dora García's research for Mad Marginal also includes texts by thinkers such as Fernand Deligny, Michel Foucault, David Cooper, R.D. Laing, as well as writers and artists such as Jack Smith, Antonin Artaud, Lenny Bruce, James Joyce, Italo Svevo, Robert Walser, etc.
In resonance with this project, the artist's book reproduces a large number of the archives Dora García has been putting together since 2009. From the very outset Mad Marginal — the artist's book and the material it contains, that is — were conceived of as a whole that would bring together, document and fuel the research process and the artistic project. The rendering of the various topographies attached to the various documents (texts exerpted from websites, a tract, educational leaflets, emails, etc.), to their original context (documents both from the 1970s-80s and the present) and printing format and method (digital photographs, DVD, CD, photocopies, books, digital prints, etc.) affords a deep immersion into the complex network of documents grounding Dora García's work.
The book will be part of the show Dora García will be curating for the Spanish Pavillion in the 2011 Venice Biennale (June 4th - November 27th 2011).
Read the text by Theodora Domenech.
Listen the interview with Dora García.
The aesthetics of differends
A project by Benoît Maire
A limited edition of twenty five French-language and twenty five English-language copies, signed and numbered.
Released January 15th 2011.
Benoît Maire has been working on an “aesthetics of differends” since 2009. Notes, drawings, rough sculptures, photomontages, collages and paintings are brought together in order to gauge the unstable equilibrium between the image and its concept. Benoît Maire hopes in this way to locate the mental and visual site where an aesthetics can come into being. The “differend”, a concept borrowed from Jean-François Lyotard and his eponymous book, provides a way of approaching two underlying paradigms in post-conceptual art: relativism and linguistic form.
“The aesthetics of differends” is a multi-staged project. The book is structured around various sections, placed in a box that archives the project. The work, thus released on January 15th 2011, will be presented in an unfinished form. The artist will gradually add other sections to this set, over an open-ended period of time. The individuals and institutions who will have purchased this work will regularly go on to receive supplementary sections, until Benoît Maire decides to draw the project to a close.
“Ilse van Rijn: And going back to this issue of analytic and synthetic artists, do we, as onlookers , need those tools to read your works as well?
Benoît Maire: For that, I really don’t know, because I’m in the work, I’m doing the work and so I really don’t know about the reception of the work. I’m trying to do what I am doing and so I don’t know, I’m not outside, I can’t say... I mean, I think it’s important to read - the written text is part of the work, but you know the duration of the work is not defined either, so you don’t know, you have to choose how much time you spend looking at a painting. Perhaps, for example, a painter could say “the duration of my painting is two hours, and if you don’t see my painting over a two-hour period then you don’t see my painting but something else”. I can say the same with my work: if you don’t read the text you miss something, if you read it you have something but...that’s the question of perception...”
Excerpt from “The aesthetics of differends”, Questions and Answers (2010), transcription of the talk given at the Gerrit Rieveld Academy in Amsterdam.
December at Rosascape
Come to Rosascape to meet us, give an artwork* as a Christmas gift, discover our limited editions...
All works are signed and numbered: works by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Yona Friedman Rodney Graham, Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, Berger&Berger, Tatiana Trouvé, Raphaël Siboni and Fabian Giraud, Dora Garcia, Benoît Maire, Simon Starling, Latifa Echakhch.
By appointment on +33 1 75 50 05 80
The Fondation d’entreprise Ricard invites Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige and Rosascape for a reading-performance of the book “Latent Images / Diary of a photographer”.
On Thursday 25th November, 7pm, Fondation d’entreprise Ricard / Paris.
Guest readers: Etel Adnan, Geoffrey Carey, Frédéric Fisbach, Mireille Kassar, Françoise Lebrun, Franck Leibovici, Mathieu Montagnier, Walid Raad.
The book “Latent Images / Diary of a photographer” - third part of the WONDER BEIRUT project by Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas - contains thirty-eight photographic plates selected among the hundreds of reels of film used yet never developed by the Lebanese photographer Abdallah Farah between 1997 and 2006.
This 1312-page long, limited edition book - two limited editions of seventy-five signed and numbered copies, one in French and one in English - invites you to delve deep into these latent images.
The image descriptions replace the photographs; short fragments of text describe the invisible images while creating a new imaginary space. This “Diary of a photographer” echoes the “Latnet images” series (1998-2006), the second part of the WONDER BEIRUT project constructed around the fictitious photographer character Abdallah Farah, created by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. This character bears witness to post-war Beirut, relaying political, social as well as personal and everyday events, over a period spanning almost a decade (1997-2006).
For this reading-performance, Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige and Rosascape invite various people - artists, performers, actors, a director, an art theoretician and a poet - to read the chapters of the book. The readers relay one another to present, through a multiplicity of voices, the entire collection of the texts of “Latent Images”. The diverse group of individuals invited to appropriate these texts thus echo the Abdallah Farah character, his story, his photographic research, Lebanon’s contemporary landscape and History, and the real and fictitious dimension underpinning the Diary of a photographer project.
The point is thus to communicate a narrative orally and displace the notion of latent image explored by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, onto the performative gesture, by affording it another kind of visibility: that of the emergence of the image through the body and orality. Reiteration also operates through the very singularity of each of the readers. The book and its pages, turning in pace with the reading, are shot close up by a camera. The film is projected above the performers thus putting into play the relationship between the plastic object (the book), the moving image (the video) and the performance (the reading).
“Latent Images / Diary of a photographer” is produced and published by Rosascape.
Histoire de la géométrie (History of Geometry)
A show by Benoît Maire.
22 September - 26 November 2010.
The Histoire de la géométrie exhibition invites you on an itinerary through the eponymous series created by Benoît Maire. An itinerary whose unifying thread would be both the way these works echo one another and the surrounding environment, and the relationship of these Histoires de la géométrie to publishing, the book, the page, the quotation and language. Through different modes of representation, this passage from one work to another offers forms of indexation and analogies between the geometrical form of the artwork, thus constantly putting into play the physical and affective dimension of the works. In a Romantic paradigm, inherited from Kantian philosophy, the artwork testifies to that which exceeds measure (the affect of the sublime being the reaction to this vacancy of judgement). Benoît Maire’s Histoire de la géométrie attempts to calculate this breach, this groove between the artwork and the objective, mathematical measure of that which exceeds measure. Between two possible measures, a History takes place.
Dora Garcia / Real Artists Don’t have Teeth
Launched by Libelle 7
Castillo Corrales invites Dora Garcia and Rosascape for a listening session of the performance Real Artists Don’t have Teeth, edited on vinyl as a supplement to Libelle 7.
Copies of the works and vinyls will be available for purchase.
On Friday 8th October 2010, from 6 to 9pm at Castillo Corrales: 65 rue Rébeval, 75019 Paris / France.
Dora Garcia presented her Real Artists Don’t have Teeth performance at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm on March 9th 2010. On stage, facing the audience, an actor (Jakob Tamm) relates the narrative written by Dora Garcia, based on the American underground filmmaker Jack Smith. The story interweaves fiction, real figures of the 1940s-1960s art scene (Jack Smith, Maria Montez, Antonin Artaud, Lenny Bruce, Jonas Mekas, Susan Sontag) and theoretical (and humorous) reflections on the supposed linked between being a real artist and the fact that the latter has no teeth - links that re-enact the norms of sexuality, social engagement and criticism of the institution. Thus, Jack Smith is shown as having harbored a life-long fascination for the Hollywood actress Maria Montez, as much for her hardcore and desperate persona as for her being the anti-heroine par excellence in the filmmaker’s eyes. Jack Smith saw himself as a loser, in life as in art, and perceived Maria Montez as a decomposed body capable of embodying and reflecting his own degradation. Dora Garcia says as much: “Toothless heroes have no friends”. They advance therefore in the dark, right to the limit, at the margins of all artistic and social systems. She concludes “real artists don’t have teeth, which means they can’t bite.” In this apparent innocence, they nonetheless prepare the ground for an irregular territory in which excess as lifestyle and ‘way of doing’ constructs bodies that are unnamable, free and outside standardised representations.
Dora Garcia’s work Real Artists Don’t have Teeth, created for Libelle, is a visual and sound extension of the performance given in Stokholm. In this piece the artist restages a frontal arrangement connecting the actor to the audience, making the audience an integral part of the work and the performance. The sound installation restages in another time and space this confrontation between the actor (the performance) and the audience, and the latter can see in the photograph taken of the audience the day of the Stokholm performance the reflection of its own image.