Artists: Stanley Brouwn, Francois Curtlet, Jef Geys, Guy Mees, Michael Smith, Ann Veronica Janssens, Bernard Frize, Heimo Zobernig, Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Marthe Wery
Venue: Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp
Date: June 2 – June 30, 2010
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp
François Curlet proposes a new gallery within the gallery: “Intuitive Galerie Légitime”. He uses the “Galerie Légitime” by Robert Filiou in which works of art by different artists are covered by a Plexiglas hat and uses a plaster brain by Katarina Fritsch for his own “Intuitive Gallery”. In the exhibition also 2 posters are shown: One published in 1968 by “Mayer Editions” for the exhibition of Robert Filiou that shows the 6 versions in different colors of “Galerie Légitime”. A second published by M/M (Paris) in 2010 that goes with François Curlet’s “Galerie Intuitive”.
François Curlet is interested in Filiou’s principle of liberty, who wanted his “Galerie Légitime” to be usable gallery. François Curlet decided to replay this principle by creating an “Intuitive Gallery”. The choice of the plaster brain by Katarina Fritsch is a play on Robert Filiou’s idea of wearing a hat that contains works of art on his head/brain where after all everything is anyway. Robert Filiou shows a notion of the network and François Curlet’s interventions create shifts that continuously produce new meanings.
The works of Guy Mees (Antwerp, 1935-2003) are also related to silhouettes: colourful strips of paper arranged in lines and stapled to the bare wall. Although they are heavily reduced and structured two-dimensionally, through the various green and blue tones they in some way evoke light and shadow. They thus acquire a spatial dimension. Guy Mees entitled this series Verloren Ruimte or “lost space”. In actual fact it concerns two very different groups of work that examine the theme of “lost space” in modern art. The works in the first group were made between 1960 and 1967 and those in the second between the middle of the ’80s and the early ’90s. The works made in the ’60s consist of lace fabric and frequently of pink, blue or white neon light as well, all materials that suggest a sensuous, erotically charged world full of romantic moments. In contrast the later wall works communicate access to another imaginary space and are therefore comparable to classical paintings. At the same time they can be interpreted as neutral works that draw attention exclusively to themselves.
Produced by the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Smith’s short video parodies the sort of cultural and educational programming interlude that one might see on European or American public television. Famous Quotes From Art History presents the bon mots of Henri Matisse as drolly recited, in French, by Smith, who then executes Matisse’s suggestions with hilarious literalism. In French with English subtitles.
The sculptures that Ann Veronica Janssens makes refuse to yield to the pressure of objectification. As a result, they not only deploy time as medium; they are time, ontologically. No experience can be reiterated, no point of view can be selected for privilege. Janssens’ brilliant work Aquarium makes this point abundantly clear. In a glass cube filled with a mixture of water and alcohol, a perfect sphere floats. It never stays in exactly the same place, for it floats freely; yet it doesn’t change, it never loses its perfect shape. The sphere consists of silicone oil, and all it does is float. The tiny movements suggest it is the viewer’s eyes that make it move, as if it responded to the viewer. You hold your breath, hoping or fearing that the effect of your gaze will become visible.
Unlike the Venice mist installation, here you can stand outside the aquarium. But that is only one way of being with this work. Through the clear liquid, the clear glass, the clear silicone oil, the world around you is visible, as if in a photograph. But you can also catch a glimpse, in the sphere, of a reversed, upside-down reflection of your own mirror image surrounded by the space you are standing in. Once this has happened, the dizziness commences. Where you are, who you are, has lost its innocence. You are (in) the photograph.
Janssens’ pieces with glass and mirrors invoke transparency, not as a self-evident illusion but, on the contrary, as what makes perception not self-evident. All these works make the body feel the need to perceive in order to be, act, perform. In 1987 she lined the Altenloh room of the Museum of Modern Art in Brussels with a plinth of mirrors. The mirrors were placed obliquely, but the angle was small, barely visible in itself. The viewer walking on the floor of the room saw her feet separate from her body. Immediately, walking became something to be learned anew; an effort, not “natural” movement. Again, then, the body was affected by perception. Perception was no longer an aid but a performance that took all your energy and concentration. The time it took to adjust and walk again was part of the work.
At the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave – Detroit, Belgian artist Jef Geys (b. 1934) will present a new body of work specifically based on Detroit entitled Woodward Avenue. Geys rarely exhibits in the United States, making this project a remarkable and unique opportunity for visitors to engage with the artist’s extraordinary work, which encompasses conceptual approaches, educational activities, experiments and cooperative formats. Woodward Avenue is both an expansion and a departure from his Quadra Medicinale project, an interdisciplinary exhibition presented at the Belgian Pavillion at the 53rd Venice Biennale. For the Detroit project, Geys asked Dr. Ina Vandebroek, an ethnomedical research specialist, to collect weeds at twelve intersections along Woodward Avenue beginning at Cadillac Square, in the heart of the city of Detroit, and ending at Saginaw Street, nearly 30 miles north in the neighboring city of Pontiac. Woodward Avenue’s installation includes the collected and dried plant specimens with their corresponding scientific descriptions, photographs and specific maps. The exhibition also features two new films that record an ethnobotany workshop with traditional health practitioners run by Dr. Vandebroek in Bolivia. A special edition of the “Kempens Informatieblad” (Kempens Information Journal) will accompany the exhibition, as well as public programs and workshops that are an integral part of this art project.
At Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Jef Geys presents the 12 Google Maps printouts of his project.