Artist: Keren Cytter
Venue: Museion, Bolzano
Exhibition Title: Mature content
Curated By: Letizia Ragaglia
Date: January 26 – April 28, 2019
Keren Cytter, The Coming, 2018.
Full gallery of images, videos, press release, and link available after the jump.
Keren Cytter, Der Spiegel, 2007.
Keren Cytter, The Coat, 2010.
Keren Cytter, Four Seasons, 2009.
Keren Cytter, Des Trous, 2018.
Keren Cytter, The Coming, 2018.
Images and video courtesy of the artist and Museion, Bolzano
Museion opens its 2019 exhibition season with Mature Content, the largest ever exhibition presented in an Italian museum of Keren Cytter (b. Tel Aviv, *1977, lives and works in New York). An attentive observer of present-day life, which she compulsively records and reprocesses in videos, films, drawings, installations and novels, Keren Cytter recounts the media-permeated, and especially social media-permeated contemporary world.
In her works, the artist subverts linguistic conventions and traditional mechanisms of interpretation with a hybrid spirit that is influenced by the French Nouvelle Vague, Dogma film movements and soap operas.
Her montages of impressions, memories, fantasies and family characters move in domestic scenarios that are only superficially reassuring, and using narrative strategies like estrangement and obsessive repetition, she creates scenes that are both intense and artificial.
In the words of Marlene Dumas, “she deconstructs, overlaps, omits, skips, mixes and subtitles in videos, which are like television, like films, like soap operas, like theatre…, as if multi-dimensionality were her middle name.”
The project designed for Museion reflects the artist’s obsessive interest in the passage of time with a combination of existing, new and site-specific works. The title, Mature Content, is an ironic reference to the warnings for “adult-only” films, even if the exhibition really focuses on the different phases in life, from infancy through adolescence and onto adulthood.
The three phases of life are reflected in the exhibition experience, which progresses through three areas, specifically designed and constructed to represent the different ages. In the infancy area, for example, a new series of drawings on paper, entitled Animal Farm: The Hamster’s Dream (2018) is hung at child height. This highlights Cytter’s work as an author of children’s books.
The area also includes a child-size opening to a closed space. Here, Cytter’s very first animated film, The Coming, 2018, will be shown for the first time ever. The main character in the film is a hamster that bleats like a sheep and eventually becomes famous, but remains sad and despondent. As always, Keren Cytter children’s stories are also for adults and make us confront ourselves, which is something we rarely do.
The new drawings in coloured felt-tip pen done directly on the surface of the Museion’s East-facing glass facade seek to create a sense of displacement in the viewer. The artist was inspired by the landscape
outside and her own reflection in the glass.
A number of the artist’s previous films also feature in the exhibition, such as Der Spiegel (2007), which explores the theme of vanitas, mortality and the transient nature of existence. The leading character is a woman of over forty who looks at herself in the mirror. Being rejected by the person she is infatuated with inevitably leads to a focus on her unhappiness and restlessness at the thought of becoming old.
Four Seasons (2009) tells a story with an absurd plot that combines the noir, thriller, documentary, soap opera and melodrama genres. The video, shown in the adolescent area, contains references to various art films, ranging from A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams to Blow-Up by Antonioni (1966).
Love relationships are at the centre of her 2010 work, The Coat. Here the artist stages a dramatic ménage à trois with two brothers obsessed by the game of Sudoku and a young woman from East Germany. The relationship between the three seems to correspond to the complex logic of the game. Once again Cytter seeks to disorientate the viewer by juxtaposing the dramatic nature of the film’s content and the monotone soundtrack of the characters’ voices.
The more recent Des Trous (2018), located in the adult age area is a film about memory. The holes the title refers to are, in fact, memories. As an instrument of metamorphosis, transformation and appropriation, memory becomes a highly functional element in Cytter’s art. In the film the artist revisits her life in Israel, presenting her family and friends in intimate environments and simultaneously narrating parallel stories, like the local rock singer Corinne Allal, whose French songs are the soundtrack to the video. Cytter uses a detached, external perspective, while woodworm bore into the paintings of a friend, creating real and metaphorical holes.
The exhibition is completed by a number of works that focus on Keren Cytter’s activities as a curator of literary and poetic projects and her role in A.P.E (Art Projects Era), which she founded along with curators Maaike Gouwenberg and Kathy Noble. A.P.E seeks to sustain artistic, performance and publishing projects that cannot be created in traditional and institutional formats.
Lastly, the exhibition includes a Film programme that shows on alternate Thursdays, the video Object (2016) and a compilation of Experimental Film (2002), Game (2015) and Untitled (2009).
In collaboration with the Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) Tel Aviv
Keren Cytter, born in 1977 in Tel Aviv, Israel, creates films, video installations, and drawings that represent social realities through experimental modes of storytelling. Selected solo exhibitions include: Keren Cytter, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2015), Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2014), Show Real Drama, Tate Modern Oil Tanks, London (2012); Avalanche, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; München Kunstverein; Project Series: Keren Cytter, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; X Initiative, New York; CCA Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu; and MUMOK, Vienna. Selected Group exhibitions include: Fare Mondi: 53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia; Manifesta 7, Trentino/Alto Adige-Südtirol; and Yokohama Triennial, Yokahama
Link: Keren Cytter at Museion