Tuesday, 28 July 2015

after year zero

The book accompanies the two exhibitions After Year Zero organised at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.  The project takes as its starting point the realignment of global relationships after the Second World War—Europe’s “hour zero.” However, After Year Zero does not recount the post-1945 confrontation of the ideological blocs of the Cold War. Rather, the project focuses on the world-historical caesura of decolonization and the associated attempt to fundamentally challenge and transform the framework conditions of the era of colonial modernity. Its central point of reference is the first Afro-African conference, held in 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia, at which some 600 delegates from 29 nations and liberation movements drafted a model for collaboration by the global South under the banner of an anti-colonial modernity. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

view. the return of landscape

The new issue of the fantastic contemporary theory and research journal Widok (View) is out now and ready to be read in its entirity online. The editors introduce the content of the issue, which is titled The Return of Landscape: "Many of the images presented here use distance (and sometimes also a change of vantage point) as a means of recognizing the mechanisms of seeing, as a starting point for reflection and action. Such is the work of Belgian artist Mishka Henner, analyzed by Alicia Guzman – Henner's photographs expose the scale of the American meat and oil industries and their dire effects on the environment, but also offer the viewer an intriguing aesthetic experience, by creating images simultaneously alluring and unnerving. The representation of rapidly changing natural landscapes becomes an especially pertinent topic in the age of the Anthropocene – examined by Sidsel Nelund in her review of Haus der Kulturen der Welt's Anthropocene Project and by Susan Schuppli in the essay Can the Sun Lie? In his essay devoted to representations of war in the works of Sophie Ristelhueber and Werner Herzog, Krzysztof Pijarski asks whether the traditional genre of aerial photography may hold a subversive potential. However, not all of the presented landscapes are as directly political as the work of Henner, Ristelhueber, Herzog, and the creators of the film Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change. Although often naturalized, they often call for political and philosophical questions. And so Łukasz Zaremba writes about the process of radical commercialization of Polish landscapes after 1989 and the recently passed “landscape bill,” constructed with the aim of "cleaning up" and "aestheticizing" contemporary urban and suburban views. In the essays by Max Symuleski and Piotr Schollenberger, the distance necessarily involved in the production of images of the Earth from outer space has a profoundly destabilizing effect on the viewer's subjectivity. We also examine the archive of Polish artist Teresa Murak (with Sebastian Cichocki's commentary); as well as the work and thought of Jan Gwalbert Pawlikowski, the first proponent of landscape preservation in Poland (in an essay by Mateusz Salwa). Lastly, the photographs of Dutch artist Awoiska van der Molen are analyzed by Ernst van Alphen and the diverse art projects of Francis Alÿs is discussed with the artist in conversation with Magda Szcześniak."
(photograph above: Teresa Murak, Sculpture for the Earth, Ubbeboda, 1974)

Sunday, 12 July 2015

art in the shadow of war

This book was published to accompany the small but very important exhibition of the same title, Konsten i skuggan av kriget, curated by Cecilia Widenheim at Malm
ö Konstmuseum. It brings back one of the little known art history chapters, shadows of the XXthe official museum histories. For six months in 1945 the museum in Malmö served as a refugee camp and quarantine centre for the former concentration camp prisoners. It was a decision taken by the museum director Ernst Fisher, who decided to close the museum fo the public and change completely its function, beliving strongly in the crucial role of art institutions might play in civil society. The picture above is an altar, compiled of the the exhibits found by the refugees in the museum, an assamblage serving as a place of worship - an amazing example of a spiritual reciprocal readymade.

Monday, 6 July 2015

god the ape

The sculpture by Honorata Martin, God the Ape (2015), hidden in the Bródnowski Park, Warsaw - the only visible trace of her exhaustive three-week long performance, which ended up yesterday. 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

art vs. history

From the gorgeous Ad Reinhardt’s Art vs. History exhibition at Malmö Konsthall. This highly entartaining and complex show comprises around 300 of his original political cartoons, satirical art comics and collages. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, his cartoons appeared in a wide range of American publications, such as the Marxist periodical New Masses