Marco Poloni and Dora Garcia

Marco Poloni and Dora Garcia

Kunsthalle Bern

Upper image: Marco Poloni, Black Hole, 2009
C-Print, Super-16mm Film still, 60 x 100 cm
Courtesy Campagne Première Berlin
Lower image: Dora García, Lenny’s paper, 2009
manipulierte Ausgabe der Herald Tribune
Courtesy projecteSD Barcelona

August 13, 2010

Marco Poloni
The Majorana Experiment

Dora García
I Am a Judge

August 21 – October 10, 2010

Helvetiaplatz 1
CH-3005 Bern
Tel.+41(0)31 350 00 40
Fax.+41(0)31 350 00 41
info [​at​]

Kunsthalle Bern is proud to present the solo exhibitions of Marco Poloni and Dora García in late summer 2010. Both artists share an interest in historical characters, which they mobilize in their work in order to challenge entrenched ideas about historical facts. Upon closer inspection their works reveal complex layers of meaning and constitute thought-provoking narratives. Poloni uses the simultaneity of multiple stories, to unmask narratives as arbitrary simplifications of complex realities. Similarly, García opposes her multi-faceted works to the theoretical abstractions of the processes between visitor and work in an art institution.

Swiss artist Marco Poloni’s latest works are concerned with his ongoing research on the story of Ettore Majorana, the brilliant Italian physicist who disappeared at sea in 1938 under mysterious circumstances. Majorana’s story became legendary after the publication of Leonardo Sciascia’s novel The Vanishing of Majorana. The polemic generated by this publication spurred an impressive number of speculative theories, some more plausible than others, about the causes that pushed Majorana to cover up his tracks. One theory gained much currency over the years: Majorana orchestrated his own disappearance because of his anticipation of the deadly outcome of the discovery of nuclear fission.

With the use of films, photographs and historical documents, Poloni elucidates and reflects on the different aspects of Majorana’s speculative and mythically charged story. In this process, the narratives eschew all logical coherence. Optical disturbances underline the narrative pattern of uncertainty and ambiguity: the film Majorana Eigenstates was created with the help of a slighty misaligned split-screen, resulting in a gap between and a doubling of the frames, which makes the viewers believe that they are missing vital information. Majorana’s true story, on which all the works are based, catalyses this effect, along with the original historical documents that are on display. Poloni seeks to approach reality with his works – a reality in which actual events may be inexplicable, devoid of logic or predictability, and therefore so complex that linear narrative patterns are not sufficient to describe them. Yet Poloni’s works are marked by a calm elegance which contrasts the complexity of the stories they tell.

The central motif of renowned Spanish artist Dora García’s work is the analysis of the paradigms and conventions of art. To achieve this, she often uses texts and stories as a basis for scenarios which raise complex ethical and moral questions while remaining entertaining and witty. The work Steal this Book, for example, poses a dilemma to the visitor: does Steal this Book communicate an actual invitation or order to the viewer or is it simply the book’s title? For there is an actual book with this title: Steal this Book is Abbie Hoffmann’s legendary 1970 treatise on resistance against all forms of authority. García, on her part, does not seek to give anybody clear-cut instructions, not on resistance, not on art theft, and apparently not even such instructions that would make the work ‘successful’ if carried out properly. Rather, she creates a situation in which the viewer must negotiate his behavior with him- or herself, according to his or her personality and upbringing. This crossing and blurring of borders is typical of García’s works, which constantly oscillate between their fictionality and the real world of the exhibition’s visitors. In doing so, they challenge the dichotomy of these two worlds that might not be as far removed from each other as we think. Two other works in the exhibition are related to this balancing act between two seemingly separated worlds. The film Just because everything is different, it does not mean that anything has changed from 2008 evokes the story of comedian Lenny Bruce, who was arrested in Australia in 1962 for making indecent statements in public after he had uttered one single sentence at the beginning of his first show in the country. The performance Real Artists Don`t Have Teeth, then, deals with the problems of censorship and the artist’s reliance on public support and acceptance. The difficulty of living up to one’s own high artistic standards and, on the other hand, having to survive, is exemplified in García’s portrayal of New York underground-legend Jack Smith.

Curated by Philippe Pirotte and Julia Strebelow

The exhibition Dora García I Am a Judge was curated in cooperation with Mats Stjernstedt, Index Stockholm.

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 11 am – 6 pm
Saturday/Sunday 10 am – 6 pm

Vernissage: August 20, 2010, 6 pm

Performance Real Artists Don’t Have Teeth by Dora García, performed by Peter Grünenfelder
August 22, 2010, 6 pm at Musikkeller, Dampfzentrale, Marzilistrasse 47, 3005 Bern

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Kunsthalle Bern
August 13, 2010

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