April 3, 2008 - A Prior Magazine - On Paper. A Prior #17 out now
April 3, 2008

On Paper. A Prior #17 out now

Scene for New Heritage, 2004, Collage, David Maljkovic
Over and Over, (graph n. 50), 2008, Katerina Sedá

On Paper,
a special collaborative project by A Prior Magazine and the 5th berlin biennial for contemporary art

J. Kluyskensstraat 6
9000 Ghent
T. +32 (0)9 267 01 69
info [​at​] aprior.org


On Paper, a special collaborative project by A Prior Magazine and 5th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art

A Prior, Ready to Hand

In collaboration with the 5th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, A Prior Magazine has developed a two-fold project entitled On Paper.

‘Zuhandenheit’ [ready-to-hand] – a Heideggerian term used to explore the meaning and functionality of objects in relation to man / human beings – is activated throughout On Paper by making readable objects available to the visitors of the biennale; and by creating a tangible echo of the biennale works on paper. This ‘Zuhandenheit’ is not only grounded in the form of the project, but also in the content of the first part of On Paper: A Prior #17.

The 17th issue of A Prior brings together four participants in the 5th Berlin Biennial, who all hail from what were often deemed ‘problem’ zones within the European geopolitical sphere of Eastern Europe – Croatia, Estonia, Romania. The research-based artistic practices of Zagreb-based Croatian artist David Maljkovic, Kristina Norman from Estonia, and the Berlin-based Romanian artist Daniel Knorr, share a number of interesting characteristics (needless to say that they are also, thankfully, wildly divergent), but foremost among them is perhaps a shared readiness to attend to the fragmented testimony of history’s material traces in their respective old or newly adopted home countries. As such, their work shares a distinct enthusiasm for things, be they minute scraps of paper or giant monuments left to rust in the wilderness of the post-political. These things are understood as active repositories of historical memory – an essentially optimistic, yet elegiac brand of dialectical materialism pervades these artists’ practice, one that thrives particularly well in a self-consciously nostalgic metropolis such as Berlin.

The authors and artists who have assembled in A Prior’s Visions section, though doubtlessly sympathetic – or even indebted – to this Benjaminian view of history, appear to be more sceptical; they more or less unanimously call for a more apprehensive and balanced reading of the world of matter and ‘stuff’, while also warning of the dangers of the particular brand of retro-materialism that has long been called Ostalgie. This is certainly the case in the work of Alexander Vaindorf (not a participant of the Berlin Biennial), as well as in that of the Czech artist Katerina Sedá (a participant in bb5) who takes a surprisingly novel view of the social implications of state socialism’s dramatic demise, revealing how the despairing dream, shared by so many in the former ‘East’, of a return to discredited or otherwise abandoned forms of communal experience really speaks of a desire for another future – one in which the tremendous potential of human interaction can be thought and mined anew.

The second part of On Paper consists of six separate publications and limited editions, each conceived by artists participating in the 5th Berlin Biennial: Ahmet Ögüt , Kristina Norman, Manon de Boer, Susanne Kriemann, Cezary Bodzianowski and Paulina Olowska. Each of these editions forms a unique ‘object’ that, as paper, is tied to the dematerialized realm of conceptual art, but that also cannot be thought of outside its object status. As such they may be the quintessential ‘things that cast no shadow’, thus sounding a tangible echo of certain works at the biennial.

On Paper will be presented at PRO-QM, Almstadtstrasse 48-50, 10119 Berlin, on Friday, April 4th, between 3 and 5 pm.

On Paper will further be on display and available at KW, Institut for Contemporary Art, Auguststrasse 69, 10117 Berlin and through the usual distribution network

A Prior Magazine is a series of publications on contemporary artistic practice, assembling and commissioning critical text and artists’ projects. A Prior Magazine is published twice a year in English and is supported by The Ministry of the Flemish Community and the royal academy for Fine Arts (KASK) of the University College Ghent, Belgium.

A prior Magazine has offices in Ghent, Milan and Berlin: www.aprior.org

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