Artists: Heike-Karin Föll, Ken Okiishi, Robin Bruch
Venue: Peep-Hole, Milan
Exhibition Title: “During the Second World War, a British sergeant piloting a Kittyhawk fighter plane disappeared in the Sahara Desert. Now employees of an oil company have come upon the plane’s remains within the shifting Egyptian sands. To the joy of historians, the aircraft is astonishingly well-preserved and reveals a great deal about its pilot’s fight for survival.”
Date: June 1 – July 14, 2012
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Peep-Hole, Milan
As the last exhibition of the season, Peep-Hole presents “During the Second World War, a British sergeant piloting a Kittyhawk fighter plane disappeared in the Sahara Desert. Now employees of an oil company have come upon the plane’s remains within the shifting Egyptian sands. To the joy of historians, the aircraft is astonishingly well-preserved and reveals a great deal about its pilot’s fight for survival.”, a three artists exhibition, Heike-Karin Föll, Ken Okiishi and Robin Bruch, based on a discussion with David Lieske and set on intentional limitations and boundaries of short-time exhibition making.
Art and its criticism seem to have switched to a temporal facture of perpetual mini-crises, as if production (of shows, artwork, and texts) has shifted to a mode of permanent ad hoc’s that exert their soft, but nagging pressure. It’s not easy to tell if this is just pervasive bad organization, or the set up of a system that structurally demands such 11th hour-mentality from its members by providing last minute occasions only.
In some parts institutional conditions have become so fragile that the possibility of sudden discontinuation permanently factors into everybody’s work. An opportunity opens up, like a hole, and needs a fast filling.
It should be noted that Heike-Karin Föll’s works shown here only exist out of wilful disregard for such swift output and display. Her books are the product of prolonged, in certain cases very long term processes of making and selecting in which she collects image-material; draws sketches; protocols her dreams; makes lists of authors, artists, or friends; clips passages from favourite novels and poems; mixes her own shades of glittery blue color by adding nail-polish to ink; photocopies; or just keeps her diary. The results are series of fragile visual events (pages) that are bound into the solid context of a book, hovering between a state ‘for her eyes-only’, and the will to be exhibited. Even if not entirely intended for the contemplation of others, they do hold up to their gaze. In a mode of insistent delicacy, they are also, quite frankly and ambitiously, about taste and erudition.
Ken Okiishi’s piece consists of reproductions of pictures posted on the real estate website streeteasy.com that show an apartment in Manhattan which once functioned as Marcel Duchamp’s studio (the place now being on the market, or at least it was until recently). These photos are set against a wall painted in chroma green, optimized for being digitally removed from a filmic or photographic reproduction of the entire piece. The work treads a fine line between a maneuver that might have originated in institutional critique, the exploration of art’s entanglement with the economy of money (Duchamp apparently was given the right to use the studio in return for the Large Glass, or so myth has it), and a quite overt exploitation of the critical fame that has accumulated around the name ‘Duchamp’. Through offering itself in the form of optimized segmentability for the purposes of visual reproduction this piece openly embraces and thematizes the decontextualizing forms of intellectual appropriation that fatally prevail in vast sectors of current criticism and art reception. Here, opportunism and criticality have becoming siblings.
About Robin Bruch’s work I have nothing better to say than Megan Sullivan, whose text in Levana Magazine was recommended to me by Mathew: “Knowing she came out of Bennington College, where Clement Greenberg and Kenneth Noland were formalizing Formalism, Bruch’s attitude seems pubescent, capricious, proto-feminist. Robin’s is like a psychological mutant-form of color field painting, where doubt, self-irony and insecurity find their form. Still, they are bold and foxy. Now, forty years from the start, we look at images of canvases that freshly coincide with artists like Mary Heilmann in their gestured transgression of a modernist attitude, and which reveal a weird, even biomorphic geometry that might remind of Philip Guston in a troubling humor. Bruch’s work has a contradiction of being stubbornly non-committal, even as it is masterly in its easy gesture, color, and sensibility.”
Philipp Ekardt is an art critic and theorist based in Berlin.