Bettina Pousttchi

Bettina Pousttchi

Kunsthalle Basel

Bettina Pousttchi, “World Time Clock,” 2011.
Installation view, Kunsthalle Basel.*

March 4, 2011

Bettina Pousttchi
World Time Clock

16 January–13 March 2011

Steinenberg 7
CH-4051 Basel
T +41 61 206 99 00
F +41 61 206 99 19
info [​at​]

Kunsthalle Basel proudly presents the first major solo exhibition in Switzerland of works by Berlin-based German-Iranian artist Bettina Pousttchi.

Bettina Pousttchi (b. 1971) has recently received due attention for her large-scale, site-specific photographic work Echo (2009/10). The project involved covering all four elevations of the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin with a digitally manipulated collage of archival images of the glass skin and concrete pilasters of the former Palace of the Republic. The photographic series Sculpture Project Echo (2009) is a portrayal of this black-and-white photo installation’s powerful persistence among the iconic buildings that surrounded it.
In her ongoing World Time series (2008–), from which this exhibition takes its name, Pousttchi photographs clocks on public buildings in different cities of the world, that exist in different time zones. The clocks always show the same hour, thus equating the remote locations through the sameness of the global, unified measure of time.

Two early video works in the exhibition, Ocularis (1999) and Double Empire (2000) expand the notion of parallax—from the phenomenon associated with stereoscopic seeing to the doubling and splitting of the film’s very subject. These two short epics serve as a coda to the entire exhibition, recapitulating the themes encountered in its other works. To that end, Bettina Pousttchi’s “World Time Clock” is an attempt to grasp something of the internal organization of the world today, in which reality has been replaced by a system of exchangeable appearances, ruled by the “universal clock” of a global economy.

Opening and closing Pousttchi’s exhibition are two installations of sculptural works that make use of crowd-control barriers. In this series of Double Monuments for Flavin and Tatlin (2010), the white-painted steel barriers have been twisted around and set atop each other to form structures resembling the Monument to the Third International (1920) by Vladimir Tatlin- designed as architectural clock, with different parts of the structure rotating at different speeds. This monument to the collective forces of revolution was also invoked in Dan Flavin’s series of “Monuments to V. Tatlin” (1964–1990), which featured fluorescent tubes arranged in shapes as various as pyramid and early skyscraper. With a dose of sly humor, Pousttchi’s series pays homage to the champions of, respectively, Constructivism and Minimalism. Another group of works, Blackout (2007–2010), features five sculptures made of black-painted crowd barriers that appear to collapse languorously on white pedestals, as if mocking the modernist, semi-abstract figures of “reclining women” that populate sculpture gardens of museums of modern art around the world.

Also on view is Pousttchi’s Conversations in the Studio 3 (2010), a new video work that serves as a metaphorical bracket for divergent motifs that are brought together in the current show. The video was created in two steps. First, Pousttchi filmed a conversation between herself and French conceptual artist Daniel Buren, who in the late 1960s began to live and work in situ. She realized the second phase in Warsaw, in the atelier-apartment of the late Polish artist Edward Krasinski (1925–2004). With its three protagonists, the artists Buren, Pousttchi, and Krasinski in discussion, Conversations in the Studio 3 transcends the real time and space to address the issue of the art work in public space and the “function of the studio”, as Buren had it in his seminal essay of 1971.

Bettina Pousttchi participated in the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2009. Her work was featured in exhibitions at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2006), the Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires (2007), the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2008), the TENT Rotterdam (2009), the Kunstmuseum Thun (2009), the Kunstverein Hannover (2009), the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (2009 and 2010), the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork, Ireland (2010), the Pori Art Museum in Finland (2010), and the Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem (2008 and 2010). In 2010 Pousttchi realized the project Basel Time on the facade of the fair building in the context of Art Public Projects of Art Basel.

*Image above:
Courtesy the artist and Buchmann Galerie, Berlin
Photo: Serge Hasenböhler.

Bettina Pousttchi
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March 4, 2011

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