January 16, 2020 - Swiss Institute - Irena Haiduk: REMASTER / Jan Kiefer: Skiing Snowman
January 16, 2020

Swiss Institute

Irena Haiduk, Remaster: Bullitt Working, image for Swiss Institute, 2019. Produced by Yugoexport.

Irena Haiduk: REMASTER
Jan Kiefer: Skiing Snowman
January 17–March 22, 2020

Swiss Institute
38 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
USA

T +1 212 925 2035
info@swissinstitute.net

www.swissinstitute.net
Instagram / Facebook

Irena Haiduk: REMASTER
Jan Kiefer: Skiing Snowman
January 17–March 22, 2020

Swiss Institute
38 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003
USA

T +1 212 925 2035
info@swissinstitute.net

www.swissinstitute.net
Instagram / Facebook

Irena Haiduk: REMASTER
Swiss Institute is delighted to present REMASTER, the first institutional solo exhibition in New York by Irena Haiduk. REMASTER is an iteration of the artist’s ongoing cinematic adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel, The Master and Margarita (written 1928-40). Her project is guided by one of the central principles offered by the novel: the existing infrastructure of this world must be used to create a new one. Since 2008, Haiduk’s exhibitions have doubled as filmmaking studios for REMASTER. Here, the made world becomes a cast of living things, full of agency and the desire to act upon their surroundings. In anticipation of the next phase of this project, two levels of SI have been transformed into scenes from Bulgakov’s novel: the Variety Theater on the ground floor and Apartment 50 on the second floor.  

Mikhail Bulgakov (b. 1891 in Kiev, d. 1940 in Moscow) called The Master and Margarita his “sunset novel,” and it was left unfinished at the time of his death. One of its main protagonists is a majestic and strangely benevolent Satan figure named Woland, who arrives in Soviet Moscow describing himself as “an artiste,” “a professor,” and “a consultant,” and quickly reveals a politically darkening world unto itself. The novel valorizes examples of courage and love, however messily they appear, and is unsparing towards cowardice, seeking to reattach consequences to actions. 

Haiduk’s scenography for REMASTER is infused with her own distinctive aesthetics. Glittering surfaces, velvet furnishings, bright flowers, and shifting light conditions create a seductive environment containing fragments of spells and hidden designs. The sound of a cat’s purr reverberates around the galleries with both comfort and threat. 

The theater space on the ground floor draws on the Balkan cabaret tradition, and in line with the conspiratorial spirit of this underground commons, 500 keys to its locked entrance will be distributed during a ceremony at REMASTER’s opening reception on January 16. Inside the theater, a program renders a film without images. Entitled Lunar Interval VI (2020), it features Woland’s black magic act, which sets the stakes for a life without imagination. 

The second floor conjures the apartment where the heroine, Margarita, and Woland enter into a transaction to save the life of Master, the novel’s archetypal artist. Prior to the conclusion of Haiduk’s exhibition, inside this precisely furnished place, two new scenes will be recorded before a live audience. 

On several evenings, REMASTER plays host to collaborative performances, cabaret nights, musical events and improvisations. In this way, the exhibition can also be considered as a studio where new work is made. 

Events
January 16, 7pm
Opening Event
Key Issue Ceremony with Jovana Stokic and more
 
January 31, 7pm
Conversation
Shadows Cast by Things and PeopleA Candlelit Talk with Irena Haiduk and Laura McLean-Ferris
 
February 6, 7pm
Conversation and Beautification
Models with Amanda Googe, Irena Haiduk, Monika Szewczyk 
 
February 13 & 14, 8pm
Performance
Cabaret Économique with Irena Haiduk, Dean Kissick, Christian Schmitz and more
 
March 20, 7pm
Recording Session
Apartment 50 with Saim Demircan, Darby English, Vladimir Ivkovic, Marija Karan, Thomas Love, Olivia Roper-Caldbeck, Anna Shteynshleyger and more
 
March 21, 8pm
Closing Performance
Cabaret Économique with Saim Demircan, Irena Haiduk, Vladimir Ivkovic, Dean Kissick, and more

Irena Haiduk: REMASTER is made possible in part with generous support from Balkan Projects. Elements from Lunar Interval VI were produced in collaboration with TANK Shanghai, where REMASTER will be presented in March 2020. Irena Haiduk wishes to thank Lidija Delić, Till Wiedeck and Raphael Zollinger. 

This exhibition is organized by Laura McLean-Ferris, Chief Curator, with Alison Coplan, Curator. 

Irena Haiduk (b. Belgrade, 1982). For full biographical information, please see here.

Jan Kiefer: Skiing Snowman
Swiss Institute is delighted to present Skiing Snowman, the first institutional solo exhibition in the United States by Jan Kiefer. Born in Germany and living in Basel, Switzerland, Kiefer makes artworks that often survey particularities of European culture. Varied painting techniques, traditional craft and readymade sculpture are deployed by Kiefer to wryly examine the transmission of inherited ideals regarding art, labor and recreation. At SI, Kiefer turns his attention to Alpine tourism and the figure of the snowman, a recurring character he has depicted on skis both in painting and sculpture since 2016.
 
While considered a vicious folkloric monster prior to advances in domestic heating made during the First Industrial Revolution, the snowman has since been widely recognized as a friendly symbol of wintertime joy. Kiefer draws from both histories in the creation of his ambivalent protagonist. In the center of the gallery sits a towering, 15-foot-tall inflatable snowman perched on orange skis. Pitched forward and buckled under the gallery’s ceiling, the snowman casts a blank stare downward and bears a crooked, toothy grin. The smile is echoed in the paintings that hang in the gallery. On each canvas, a snowman careens down the slopes of the Matterhorn, a colossal, iconic mountain peak that straddles the border of Italy and Switzerland, staring outward toward the viewer. 
 
In these serial, fantastical vistas, Kiefer draws upon tales of distraction and obliviousness, paying particular attention to the whimsical, disciplinary stories and illustrations of 19th century German children’s author Heinrich Hoffmann’s Der Struwwelpeter, as well as Swiss writer Robert Walser’s 1917 picturebook Einer, der nichts merkte (The man who noticed nothing). With the scene set as a kitsch landscape reminiscent of the Alps found in advertisements and postcards, Kiefer presents his snowmen as unwitting fools hurtling through an idealized version of a now disappearing landscape. 

Jan Kiefer wishes to thank his friends, family, Union Pacific London, Kai Matsumiya and Swiss Institute.

This exhibition is organized by Daniel Merritt, Associate Curator.  
 
Jan Kiefer (b. Trier, Germany, 1979) lives and works in Basel, Switzerland. He received his master’s degree in Fine Arts at the Academy of Arts and Design in Basel in 2012. Solo exhibitions include Honeybaked, Kunstverein SALTS, Basel (2017); Them! (with Yoan Mudry), Lokal Int, Biel (2017); Zermatt Groove, Zabriskie Point, Geneva (2016); Guaud, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel (2013). His work has been featured in group exhibitions in Switzerland and internationally, including Köln Skulptur #9, Sculpture Park Cologne (2017); Le charme indescret, Kunstraum Riehen, Basel (2017); Kunstkredit, Kunsthalle Basel (2015); Afterimage, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna (2012). From September to December 2019, Kiefer was Swiss Institute’s Artist-in-Residence. His work will be included in Môtiers 2020: Art en plein air in Môtiers, Switzerland. 

SI Programming is made possible in part with public funds from Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council; the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Main sponsors include LUMA Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Friends of SI. SI gratefully acknowledges Swiss Re as SI ONSITE Partner, Vitra as Design Partner, Crozier Fine Arts as Preferred Shipping Art Logistics Partner, Sister City as Hotel Sponsor and SWISS as Travel Partner.

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