March 15, 2012 - Afterall - Issue 29 out now
March 15, 2012

Issue 29 out now

Afterall issue 29 out now
Moyra Davey

Eugenio Dittborn
Exhibition Histories: ‘Useful Life’
Liam Gillick on R. Kelly
Wendelien van Oldenborgh
Dierk Schmidt

Afterall is pleased to present issue 29, Spring 2012, which uses the question of circulation to understand economic, artistic, and historical processes. Focusing on the work of artists Moyra Davey, Eugenio Dittborn, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, and Dierk Schmidt; on economic and distribution processes—from networks made by computer goods to that of printed imagery—and on the exhibition ‘Useful Life’, this issue considers the limitations and possibilities for the dissemination of images, ideas, and things.

The work of Dierk Schmidt is perhaps exemplary in this respect, as an investigation of how images circulate within and from media to art (and, possibly, back to media). In one of the essays published in this issue, Lars Bang Larsen untangles Schmidt’s investigations of the ‘screens on which public life is played out’—the layers of event, spin and reaction that comprise history in the making—while, in the other, Christian Höller shows how Schmidt’s history paintings provide a plane where truth claims become negotiable.

Circulation is the essence of Eugenio Dittborn‘s airmail paintings, whose multiple journeys are charted by Ana María Risco, while Willy Thayer investigates the implications of these global itineraries. It is also central, if in a more quiet manner, to Moyra Davey‘s photographs and videos. Marcus Verhagen finds in her depictions a challenge to instrumentalised modes of being, while Isla Leaver-Yap focuses on her video Les Goddesses to look at modes of auto-critique.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh‘s part-theatrical, part-filmic practice reworks not images but, rather, historical narratives. Sven Lütticken explores her work by sketching a history of the twentieth century’s attempts to create a total work of art that could be social as well aesthetic, and Emily Pethick analyses the merging of past and present in van Oldenborgh’s re-stagings of history.

For Liam Gillick, social circulation as portrayed in R. Kelly‘s hip-hopera Trapped in the Closet clarifies the mechanism behind the continual updating of Apple and music industry devices, and its consequences: a networking of the dividual consumer. In contrast, circulation is somehow interrupted in Maija Timonen‘s essay, which uses Hito Steyerl‘s figure of suspension to show how the pre-2008 economic boom and ensuing age of austerity have changed the reality principle of deferred gains.

Finally, two essays address, in very different manners, the relationships between artworks and audiences. Continuing our ‘Exhibition Histories’ series, Philippe Pirotte reflects on ‘Useful Life’, a show organised by Yang Fudong, Xu Zhen and Yang Zhenzhong in Shanghai in 2000 that constitutes a pivotal moment in Chinese contemporary art’s shift towards consumerism and its critiques. And Maeve Connolly, looking at the work of Phil Collins, Apolonija Šušteršič, Bik van der Pol, Clemens von Wedemeyer and others, identifies artists’ cinemas as a new form of contemporary public art, analysing their relationship to the public sphere.

Afterall Books are also proud to present the second book in the Exhibition Histories series: Making Art Global (Part 1) discusses the third Havana Biennial in 1989. And two new One Work titles will appear this spring Kodwo Eshun’s Dan Graham: Rock My Religion and Steve Edward’s Martha Rosler: The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems.

Afterall journal is published by Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, in editorial partnership with M HKA, Antwerp and UNIA arteypensamiento, Seville, and in association with the University of Chicago Press.

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