December 5, 2014 - art-agenda - Winter Round-up
December 5, 2014

Winter Round-up

Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Studies on the Ecology of Drama 1, 2014. Still from four-channel video installation, 27:40 minutes. Courtesy of Galleri Charlotte Lund, Stockholm.

art agenda winter Round-up

art-agenda is pleased to announce the expansion of our editorial team, and to welcome Alan Gilbert, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Andrew Berardini, Aoife Rosenmeyer, Chris Sharp, Morgan Quaintance, and Stephen Squibb as Contributing Editors. This step is a natural evolution of our collaboration with a group of frequent contributors, whose ideas and sensibilities helped to shape much of art-agenda’s voice. Together with more than 40 writers worldwide, the Contributing Editors will support art-agenda’s mission to promote rigorous writing on art, which speaks to artistic and social concerns in exhibitions and beyond.
Conjunctions of the artistic and the social are clear in various moments of art-agenda’s recent reviews, such as in Kevin McGarry‘s take on “Social Factory,” the 10th Shanghai Biennale, which, departing from the common root of fact and factory, observes how the works that constitute the exhibition address the fabrication of facts, and propose possible configurations of a “social factory.” Carles Guerra‘s text on “4 films from 1967–1997. An homage curated by Antje Ehmann” at àngels barcelona, Barcelona, was more than a review. It was our own modest tribute to Harun Farocki, the man and the artist who, like few others, developed such powerful ways of commenting on our present. Claudia Arozqueta‘s focus on Torolab’s project “La Granja,” presented at Galería OMR in Mexico City, showed signs of optimism amid the dark state of things in Mexico, while in her report on Prospect.3 “Notes for Now” in New Orleans, Eva Díaz regretted that organizers missed the opportunity to address urgent matters on major racial and class issues in the region and beyond. Our next round-up will be in January 2015. In the meantime, don’t miss art-agenda’s report on Art Basel Miami Beach coming out today; a special focus on Yvon Lambert‘s almost 50 years of activity, published on the occasion of Adel Abdessemed’s “Solo,” the gallery’s closing exhibition; and our coverage of the upcoming Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Recently on art-agenda:

“Social Factory,” 10th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai 
November 23, 2014–March 31, 2015
Sited inside one of Earth’s most colossal art containers, the 10th Shanghai Biennale makes reference to the Ting Dynasty maxim “seek truth from facts.” The exhibition is “committed to seeking historically conscious truth from the subjective facts artists offer the world through their work,” observes Kevin McGarry.

Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s “Studies on the Ecology of Drama 1″ at Galleri Charlotte Lund, Stockholm 
October 4–December 6, 2014
Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s new film instalation “confronts us with some of the critical insufficiencies that also haunt the credulous environmentalism of the ‘non-anthropocentric’ contingent.” Despite this, “who cares about the human-centered perspective of the traditional cinematic apparatus?” asks Kim West about a work that nonetheless “is replete with memorable scenes.”

Harun Farocki’s “4 films from 1967–1997. An homage curated by Antje Ehmann” at àngels barcelona, Barcelona
October 9–December 5, 2014
Carles Guerra discusses this tribute exhibition to the recently deceased Harun Farocki in order to observe how the artist and filmmaker “envisioned his work as part of an encyclopedic endeavor: for him, cinema production was a hoarding of knowledge awaiting to be unveiled and institutionalized. What he did not realize was that he himself would become an institution that we would continue to praise for its unflinching criticality.”

Torolab’s “La Granja” at Galería OMR, Mexico City
September 19–December 19, 2014
Observing how present-day Mexico is a “country already shocked and affected by corruption, violence, and poverty,” Claudia Arozqueta analyzes Torolab’s recent exhibition of their project “La Granja” to remark how “some initiatives seeking to restructure the country’s broken social fabric have simultaneously flourished across Mexico.”

Katarina Burin’s “Pre-arranged Comfort” at Ratio 3, San Francisco
November 7–December 20, 2014
Katarina Burin transforms the gallery into a “1:1 model” of a proposed exhibition of the work of designer and activist Fran Hosken. “In reviving the legacy of Hosken through the modeling of a new reality,” writes Mariah Nielson, “the artist sustains the designer.”

Alexandra Navratil’s “Plunge / Soar” at BolteLang, Zürich
October 25–November 29, 2014
Reflecting on “early sources of film materials and processes,” Alexandra Navratil’s exhibition delves into the complex histories of “colonial wealth creation, illustrating, too, how film was instrumentalized to further imperial aims.” Aoife Rosenmeyer finds the artist suggesting “useful parallels to consider in the current day,” and praises her attempts to “drive home the contemporary legacy of these historic images.” 

Independent Projects, New York
Art fair, November 7–November 9, 2014; Exhibition, November 10–November 15, 2014
Despite “respects paid to historic, or reanimated works by radical elders” and “strong sculptural statements” from younger galleries, Laura McLean-Ferris finds Independent Projects—once “proof of life and experimentation in the fair game”—now “alarmed to find itself a little bit dead.”

Sayre Gomez’s “I’m Different” at François Ghebaly Gallery and JPW3′s “32 Leaves, I Don’t The Face of Smoke” at Night Gallery, Los Angeles
October 10–November 22, 2014 / October 10–November 15, 2014
Though these two exhibitions in next-door galleries are distinct, their parallels, writes Jonathan Griffin, are numerous: for both artists, “who could primarily be described as painters,” “the market is not only a fact of life but a connecting node in their conceptual frameworks.”

Daiga Grantina’s “Legal Beast Language” at Galerie Joseph Tang, Paris
October 23–December 20, 2014
“The display stands as an organic annexation of the space, where its politics mate with the materials via language,” writes Barbara Sirieix of Daiga Grantina’s dynamic systems that “simultaneously generate and devour objects.” As the artist’s first turn towards sculpture “unfold[s] in the room as a spill of mucus,” the work “unleashes,” for Sirieix, “a pack of semiotic dogs.”

Jean-Luc Mylayne’s “Chaos” at Gladstone Gallery, New York
October 17–November 8, 2014
If our “contemporary ontology is one of acceleration and mania,” Jean-Luc Mylayne’s “Zen-like” patience and “distended moments of reflective memory” offer an impressive and compelling “call for awareness,” writes Thyrza Nichols-Goodeve. For “Chaos” is “an operatic encounter”—”a whisper in our ear to be sensitive to […] the winged blink that constitutes this blur we call life.”

Keren Cytter at Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan
September 24–November 13, 2014
Barbara Casavecchia compares the hypnotic viewing experience of one of Keren Cytter’s new video works in the artist’s most recent solo exhibition to “the setting of a therapy session, or one of our daily intercourses with communication devices and operating systems, where subjectivity, consciousness, alienation, and loss of control regularly come into play.”

Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s “Footnotes to Beauty and the Right to the Ugly” at Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam
October 4–November 15, 2014
An artist and filmmaker “best known for her incisive critiques of unspoken tensions—Dutch colonial legacies and the flaws in the nation’s armature of ‘tolerance,’ for example,” van Oldenborgh presents materials pursuing the artist’s “research into Dutch social infrastructures.” Vivian Ziherl considers the show “a renewed investment in form.” 

Prospect.3: “Notes for Now,” New Orleans
October 25, 2014–January 25, 2015
The strongest moments of this year’s edition of the biennial, notes Eva Díaz, “offer powerful and often harrowing reflections about racial and class inequity in New Orleans and the nation,” which were unfortunately “buried in the underwhelming sprawl of the show.”

FIAC, Paris
October 23–October 26, 2014
Sexual innuendo abounds in Sabrina Tarasoff’s reading of FIAC, Paris, echoing the sentiments of Cady Noland in Art: A Sex Book where the he observes that “artists can have ‘performance anxiety’, because art, like sex, can be on demand.” Although FIAC’s “ever increasing” participation serves to successfully show off “the libidinal intensity (qua power potential) of the French art scene,” Sabrina Tarasoff finds that it “feels far from being progressively emancipated outside the fair was as it perhaps intended.”

Pierre Huyghe’s “In. Border. Deep” at Hauser & Wirth, London
September 13–November 1, 2014
What is it to be human? This questions remains open throughout Huyghe’s exhibition, finds artist Jeremy Millar, and “through the gloaming,” he writes, “we glimpse the blackest of eyes, which gaze upon life, and its slow catastrophe.”

“Let The Body Be Electric, Let There Be Whistleblowers” at Dan Gunn, Berlin
September 13–November 8, 2014
Addressing the “problem facing the history of media”—”that time can not be represented independently of the technologies of information”—this group show, curated by Heidi Ballet and Anselm Franke, is a consistent display of a technicality at work, writes Stefan Heidenreich

London Round-up
October 17, 2014
While this year’s edition of Frieze Art Fair abandoned its film section for a “lackluster performance programme,” London’s commercial and public galleries “offered countless illuminated or screen-based spectacles,” transporting Colin Perry “into other worlds: dizzying screen-spaces in which gender, geography, and time blur and fracture.”

Frieze Art Fair, London
October 14–October 18, 2014
What constitutes “fair art” – asks Orit Gat – is it “standardization […] which attracts attention by way of scale of repetition”? Or is it when “galleries attempt to break with the format”? A bit of both, perhaps, as Gat finds “individual works and single-artist exhibitions that allow for more concentrated attention,” while commissions allows the fair to become a “meeting point of production” where “not everything is obvious.”

Helen Mirra’s “Waulked” at Peter Freeman Inc., New York
September 11–October 25, 2014
Wordplay and “what could be called ‘more grounded’ ways of being in the world” are on offer at Helen Mirra’s “Waulked,” writes Media Farzin. “Consistent and dynamic,” the works draw attention to “their materiality and the labor involved in their production” and “quietly but insistently” demanded “acknowledgement of their importance.” 

Chris Marker’s “Koreans” at Peter Blum Gallery, New York
September 4–October 18, 2014
Stephen Squibb sees Chris Marker’s 1957 photos of North Korea as exemplifying a realist school of Brechtian theory, in which “representation seeks to accompany the audience, to address them as comrades and adults,” and celebrates Marker as an artist “who, for all his intellectual power and political commitment, never slipped into facile didacticism or formal austerity.” 

“The Language of Human Consciousness” at Athr, Jeddah
July 10–October 10, 2014
This immense show of 39 artists—”icons of the western canon alongside distinctive works by artists in their 20-somethings”—is an index of “growing curiosity” in the region and “a measure of Jeddah’s diverse collector base.” Sarah Rifky visits, finding “a marked attempt to address an art institutional gap in an otherwise privately affluent art scene.”

Ben Rivers’s “Things” at Kate MacGarry, London 
September 19–October 25, 2014
Ben Rivers has turned the “camera and method on himself,” building a self-selected portrait that raises questions of fiction and reality “or reality and representation”—a theme that runs throughout the works exhibited, testifies Melissa Gronlund. “Things” adds “a strange codicil to Rivers’s stylistically (and materially) coherent body of work,” and “shows the artist working against himself,” switching for the first time to the digital “to see how ‘representation’ there differs.”

Sarah Conaway and Melanie Schiff at Taka Ishii Gallery Modern, Tokyo
September 9–October 4, 2014
Curated by artist Sterling Ruby to coincide with his second solo exhibition in Japan, this exhibition of two Los Angeles-based photographers is “a difficult show” in which, as Taro Nettleton notes, “the obscure nature of Conaway’s and Schiff’s work comes off as stingy.” 

“Slide Slide Slide” at Microscope Gallery, New York
September 5–October 6, 2014
This group show spans 60 years of “slide projection works and related performances.” Despite “the carousel’s nostalgic twinge,” Genevieve Yue remarks that “the slideshow’s obsolescence is only one aspect of the medium the exhibition addresses” and considers projection here as “an act of imagination.”

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