Sunday, May 29, 2011

KW69 # 5 “Nach Abschluss der Reise” by Eva-Maria Wild, with works by: Romane Holderried Kæsdorf, Tamayo Misawa, Henriette Grahnert, Anna Fasshauer, Ulrike Kuschel, Eva Seufert, Haaegue Yang, Corinne Wasmuht, annette hollywood, Suse Weber, Habima Fuch

KW69 # 5 "Nach Abschluss der Reise" by Eva-Maria Wild, with works by: Romane Holderried Kæsdorf, Tamayo Misawa, Henriette Grahnert, Anna Fasshauer, Ulrike Kuschel, Eva Seufert, Haaegue Yang, Corinne Wasmuht, annette hollywood, Suse Weber, Habima Fuchs April 14 –May 15, 2011, August Straße 69 D-10117 Berlin, by craniv boyd.


A collage behind glass on an A4 sheet, appears the most convenient point of departure when attempting to describe a group exhibition in a smallish sun filled cramped room, curated by an Frankfurt Am Main art dealer, Eva-Maria Wild, for the annex, or project space of Kunst Werke institute for Contemporary Art. A collection of artists whom with disparate small to mid scaled works on paper, the occasional sculpture or two, point, self referentially back to the collage character of curating that is un-seamless. Strange enough that in such a small room the individual artistic propositions develop an uncanny similarity or monotony of treatment. Yet refreshing in that the authorship of the art works exhibited is exclusively female.


Lets begin with the collage, titled Ohne title(Reisen), 1988-98, by German painter Corinne Wasmuht, it like her more United. Stateside known co-patriot, A. Oehlen, is a painter who makes collage from magazine clippings, with Wasmuht we have press photography of natural disasters set with other things in a kind of casual binary that is so matter of fact as to err towards true banality, Oehlen has more of a bad German boy approach to the ephemera that he sets together, Wasmuht to her credit has a tough heavy handed approach that, engenders more understanding for her large format abstract paintings, (regrettably, not on view in this edition of KW69 # 5 "Nach Abschluss der Reise" ) the temporary confusion induced by the date of this simple sketch like collage work, that in many ways looks like it could be created in ten seconds rather than ten years, points or gives a clue to a possible larger process driven imagery generative method, where the collage is a portable sketch on the way.


Auto I, 2010, by Tamayo Misawa, Japanese born artist, overwhelms the space partially obstructing the viewing area, and in its lightweight and biomorphic smooth oblong form, it is structurally oxymoronic, big shape perched on a narrow iron pole, freestanding like a large flattened flamingo. The cement and the Styrofoam give the work with its implied floating word connotations the portable capacity to standing alone, on its own with out toppling over, the cement or is it the plaster at the bottom is matter of fact, and at the same time, sketch like, inconvenienced and un-ideal, T. Misawa, we should hope would themselves hope for a more elegant solution for presenting ærodynamic looking non representational sculpture. Or one could think that it is all perfect as the artist wanted exactly, and that the visibility of what keeps the work from falling over is a way of underscoring its incompleteness flaws or study feeling.


Habima Fuchs, Czech born artist, with materials though times honored in the arts of humanity appear bizarrely exotic in the realm of current art, glazed ceramic, in the work titled Entwurf der Welt nach Habima Fuchs (Fragment), 2009, speaks to that occasional megalomaniac desire that creative people at times commonly posses, like in Where the Wild things Are, 2009 Spike Jonze's film adaptation of M. Sendak's illustrated children's book, Max, enlists the wild things large imaginary forces to build a city. In the tame and æsthetic if not innocuous fragment or module on pedestal, we have a model castle a small fortress with frosting colored walls, the word as a piece of cake, this small moment of visionary creative act is not threatening because of its scale, yet like many of the works in the group exhibition, we a public of sorts cull the impression that these are sketches, proposals for artworks, rushed out of the studio in an attempt to secure more funding for larger more difficult, inaccessible, and complete works with sublime, if not threatening statements.  Seeing Habima Fuchs's fragment of a proposal for the world according to the author, I rather, am left impatiently waiting, asking my self where is that world?


Romane Holderried Kæsdorf, (1922-2007) with drawings that are examples from a long term activity as an artist, evinced by the dates of the drawings, 1969-2002, are all naïve, touch upon the outsider art, however are thoroughly expressionistic, perhaps a kind of cultivated edginess, her drawings are collected, one out of the six works is in a museum the remainder are in a Private collection. Her work has a sealed off quality, completeness and one wonders if there is not a student teacher bond between Kæsdorf, and the artists who are in the other brighter room. The title "after the termination of the giant" is in homage to a late woman German artist, who some hold, bears connexion to more internationally celebrated and represented G. Grosz, or later generation G. Baselitz. One sees oddly enough even with sketchy drawings the difference between the seriousness deliberation and maturity of an artistic hand. by craniv boyd.

Nairy Baghramian, “Formage de tête”, 29. April- 25. June 2011. Gallerie Daniel Buchholz, Fasanen Straße 30- 10719 Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.

Nairy Baghramian, "Formage de tête", 29. April- 25. June 2011. Gallerie Daniel Buchholz, Fasanen Straße 30- 10719 Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.


A micro essay respite with footnotes accompanies in printed words the physical and present sculpture of Iranian born and in Berlin active artist, Nairy Baghramian, on view in the spacious fist floor Gallerie Daniel Buchholz, mid scaled three dimensional works in metal and rubber, that populate the exhibition space that with its worn and creaky Parquet floor contributes an endearing and accessible impression, further contradictions between the abstract process driven theoretical sculpture, and the cautious linguistic theoretical laden press release.


Nairy Baghramian, is able to create sculpture that looks curious, and for all its material attributes and rubber brushed metal, is graphic and flat, monochrome dyed rubber in colors that look at home on a prophylactic nude or beige, mauve or off white yellow side of the spectrum.


The metal objects are hard to identify, willfully or playfully mysterious, sealed off and hung up hanging on two and a half meters tall poles from a large S shaped hook, in their hanging the metal convex shaped "covers" "industrial sized cooking Lids" we can read what ever we like into them, appear like meet carcasses hanging in a butchers freezer depot, cold from the looks of the material, and dead too in a way from the painful hook that holds the metal object on the free standing pool.


Other works are table like, rectangular, framed in metal, with four metal legs and a slab of cast rubber laying on top, angular recessed forms push and pull in the frozen rubber surface, a relieve that at just above waist level, is a palimpsest of half forgotten objects. To set a real item atop the rubber surface draped over the metal legs and frame would run the risk of collapsing the work, that despite its stature as mid sided free standing sculpture, is oddly delicate coy in its play with presence and absence, via the processes of its creation, cast from something, available to see, yet fragmentary in its appearance. Sheet of rubber to what end, G. Deleuze, F. Guattari, H. Michaux, or D. Hubermans, might know, in addition to Neiry Baghramian himself, for all are cited in the end notes section of the press release.


Does it serve the work of Nairy Baghramian, and his art work well to have an essay with the project of binding the current instance of his oeuvre to French post structuralist thinking? Or is it an order of excessive intellectual fashionableness to draw a line between 60's vintage European postmodern critique and post millennial installation art that is driving back home over the speed limit to autonomous substantial three-dimensional art? Somehow there is a kind of hermetic abstraction transpire ring when encountering Baghramian's work for the first time in the real, I hoped for more of a transparent explanatory, and thereby conventional press text, but in the slightly opaque, text where you have to hunt down the materials and process that created the work and the artists name is mentioned, once, at the top, together with the title of his exhibition, you are in a way provided with a round about impersonal place from which to view his work. By craniv boyd., week 27, April 30 – May 7, Linienstraße 160,berlin DE by craniv boyd., week 27, April 30 – May 7, Linienstraße 160,berlin DE by craniv boyd.


Occasionally when viewing current art you can have the distinctive impression that you have come to the party late missed the best band that played, missed the inaugural speech or funny antic, for week 27 of, a storefront for web-based art project by Stefanie Seidl, that has a real location on Linien street in central Berlin, the raision d-étre if you will of virtual existence, the case is such, when happening upon the trashed out diorama, with prominent names of two German Women artists on a locked glass door framed in brushed aluminum or steel.


The virtual existence of the on off line gallery, can serve to remedy our understanding of what looks like another wild contemporary weekend in the Hauptstaat. There are minimalist generalist promotional fliers giving written explanation and web directions, hanging for one to take from the real wall. Understanding of the project can happen once you use the World Wide Web to find more minimal explanations in the form of a digital postcard archive, so to speak.


  "On the occasion of the gallery-weekend berlin-weekly hosts the Berlin art magazine TEXTE ZUR KUNST April 30 – May 7, Texte zur Kunst is showing their exclusive artists editions and also for the first time originals: new works by Jutta Koether and Rosemarie Trockel."


There in a way we have it, this project, berlin-weekly, which draws on the late Wrong Gallery of New York Chelsea district a kind of hip commentary by Anarchic cynic the Italian M. Cattalan, hosts a heavy-weight local based journal for art, that has the Parkett model down pat, complete with current artist editions to augment subscription sales. In all likely hood R. Trockel, and J. Koether, participated in some kind of an intervention in the deliberately fake tromp l'oeil gallery that was a door front rather than store front, a chick looking glass door that if opened would lead into a brick wall. The strategic "hosting" of a current art journal on a succession of evenings where there would be high foot traffic of art worlders, makes odd logic in light of the previous and subsequent weeks, the younger generation of Berlin based artists, with there modest, singular and installed proposals and gestures, bracket the gallery weekend week, week 27, with more known names, two Women and a magazine, where the magazine name is decisively absent from the glass storefront panel, the online edition of the weekly update calls to mind for those minds familiar with social networking web addresses, and the virtual gallery of the paparazzi photos of ones own friends staged, and or casual, that you find on them. is a gallery that needs three things to foster some kind of comprehensive understanding of its venture, primarily the physical location mysterious outpost in rapidly changing center city Berlin, secondly the card, printed to reiterate the virtual address and explanation, the card itself is halfway there to an explanation providing a triad of addresses one urban and two virtual, and ultimately but not least of all the web site, which solves the riddle, for week 27 we have an archive of party photos, something absent from the other weekly editions, you can see that perhaps, from the mess left behind that on Linien Street 61, in all likely hood you missed a good time. By craniv boyd. 

Stella & Calatrava The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain, Neue Nationalgalerie Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.

Stella & Calatrava The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain, Neue Nationalgalerie Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.


Working together, the Spanish architect and sculptor Santiago Calatrava, and the Amercian Painter, Sculptor who grips towards architecture, Frank Stella, have installed and presented in the glass chamber of the Mies van der Rohe, austerely designed New National gallery in the culture forum area, an urbanely planned remedy to allied sector's apparent loss of the "museum island" in the pre unification days of Germany. The cultural implant of H. Sharoun's Philharmonic, Library, a M.v.d. Rohe's museum statement, could possibly be interpreted as architecture as prophetic statement, or catalyst of hope, in that the whole complex, was built near the wastelands of Postdammer Platz, close to where the wall of Berlin bisected the capital city, turned metropolitan fragment.


I happen to be of the opinion that the stoic super large glass pavilion, with green granite floors and large black slab as roofing, that serves as a kind of pre institutional critique, in that the city viewed from within the transparent structure becomes the object for consideration, clear cube versus white cube or black box, looks better empty or rather as close as to empty as possible. This seems to be that tactic employed by Stella & Calatrava, and curators J. Jäger & M. Felix, one work one floor could be the less is more adage implemented. Calatrava, has developed a ring, a novel support system to display 360° of double sided painting, a banner byzantine or baroque in the personal geometric iconography that mature F. Stella has developed since his departure from shaped canvasses that were further meditations on the super flat in the 1970's, this is the work that is further along the lines of that which the New York based Artist has created since, the 1980's, large format polychromatic Stainless steel relieves, mid scale to large scale sculptures from intuitively arc-welded scrap metal, or collage in the form of print making.


When descending to the lower level of the museum where the permanent collection is hung, the public can see prints, a portfolio from the Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, authored by Frank Stella of 1980's vintage, that corresponds to series of El Lissitzky's "Had Gadya", Lissitzy who to many is known primarily for his Utopian architectonic non representational work, is represented here in a cycle of 20, M. Chagall like multi color etched illustrations for a Jewish folk tale with the moral that there is always somebody bigger out there.  Stella's interpretation of Had Gadya larger and defiantly more squarish than Lissitzky's surround the work, in a way they work served to reinforce the understanding of the The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain installed above in that it gives another example F. Stella's abstract iconography in the service of literary illustration.


Stella is an artist who has taken or revisited the writings of the German romantic author Hienrich von Kleist (1777-1811), this banner thirty meters long, is more of an extensive portrayal of the narrative of one of Kliest's longer works, Michael Kohlhaas, Stella in previous works would approach Kleist, in a more fragmentary way by making process driven sculpted work like ach! Reif Toni…, a steel object that draws on a fraction of one of Kliest's notoriously lengthy sentences taken from a short story, a treatment of a slave revolt in the west indies. The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain, pretends towards embodying the flowery and flourishing prose of, arguably one of the acme of the Romantic era, Stella and Calatrava lay their claim with respectively, fluorescent paint applied in several ways cut out and affixed in a deep collision of dense forms, and wispy brown hula hoped playful structure in the round that spans the mural taught. To have one entire fiction synthesized into a visual moment, requires both renowned painter, star architect, and iconic metropolis situated institution. By craniv boyd. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nina Beier, AFRIKA, 29.04.2011- 11.06.2011, Croy Nielsen, Weyding Straße 10, D-10178, by craniv boyd.

Nina Beier, AFRIKA, 29.04.2011- 11.06.2011, Croy Nielsen, Weyding Straße 10, D-10178, by craniv boyd.


Distilled and concentrated hipster posturing on recycling and green movements are what could be culled from Nina Beier exhibition titled AFRIKA, for the reason behind the titling of the exhibition thus look to the solitary unattributed footnote triplet of paragraphs at the foot of the press handout Croy Nielsen, of Weyding Straße, has prepared as component to the public understanding of this moment of Beiers oeuvre. "The first symbols of abstract thinking in humans can be traced to fossils dating between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago in Africa. However, language itself, whether spoken or written of, involves abstract thinking," This footnote or text fragment rather brackets the simple information of the dimensions, title and materials of the work, at the top of the necessary information pertaining to this rather portable and there by bourgeoisie friendly framed behind glass or acrylic, found materials work, the top bracket is a short recount of a post modern how random can random be anecdote, describing the  "set life" of the production of Stephen Spielberg's film "Close encounters of the  third kind" (1977), the anecdote ends with an observation about the casual wardrobe attire of the union Hollywood professional an unnamed stunt coordinator, whom allegedly wore a tee shirt one day that read "Zay bee-long ere Mozambique."  Frustrated isolated information that is distributed cryptically over the exhibition title, a Nation's name in the context of popular fashion item, and foot note, add to an atmosphere of unclaimed irony and a short of tentative and shy cynics. 


One item in the exhibition is the edition of ten of the exhibition poster, (rotated daily calling to mind a parable about stepping in rivers) that collide found materials with the favored artistic method of A. Warhola, the screen print, so surrealism and pop artistry meet yet again, this time not in 70's vintage tabloid photographs of S. Dali hanging out with A. Warhola and cultivated du mode entourage at the hypothetical Saint Regis Hotel Lobby, but in the melding of found materials, posters in Beier's case, and ink squeegee through chemically augmented silk. 


The framed works are careful color studies of secondhand lightly worn vintage clothing that, are pressed behind a clear panel to make a cultivated controlled moment or theater of chaos. The clothing in its jumbled and flattened state is not arraigned or over arraigned per se, it the items that add up to the abstract image, emphasis an order of selection, the abstract thinking required to construct this "function" as art idea and object generator: this blue cotton tee shirt and these blue nylon swim trunks together as opposed to two other givens, or is it takens in this context?  We have ostentatiously low cost clothing items (this fact we are told in the materials description) transformed through the Mind much more than the hand of Nina Beier, and of course by virtue of the gallery condition in which we the public choose to encounter it, (close, in proximity to the Volkbuehne building,) the work, a logical further development of pop and surrealist positions of the 20th century, is valuated further by more abstract thinking that a financial advisor or curating guru would possibly be capable of speaking to.


Framed clothing interchangeable exhibition poster and a video eleven minutes and thirty seconds in length of an interview with a French Unidentified Flying Object expert subtitled with dialogue from Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the outtakes from said movie, all this can go under the title of AFRIKA, extra terrestrial and a source of human life abstract thinking and civilization it produces as byproduct. By craniv boyd.


Johannes Rochhausen “5000 Kelvin”, 30. April – 18. Juni 2011, SchlechtriemBrothers Rosa-Luxemboburg-Strasse 27, 10178 Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.

Johannes Rochhausen "5000 Kelvin", 30. April – 18. Juni 2011, SchlechtriemBrothers Rosa-Luxemboburg-Strasse 27, 10178 Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.


4 726,8°c pretty hot out would you say not? Truly cold inside the up and running painting exhibition of Johannes Rochhausen, a gifted exacting technician, whom excels in his focused and determined current painted and drawn emptiness of the site of artistic production, the studio. For those seeking to discover yet one more Young German Painter as if any one person could lay obscene claim towards the efforts and dedication of an artist, look no further than talent, evinced and developed by Johannes Rochhausen, in Leipzig that fabled city of Neo Rauch. 


Kelvin is a scientific and absolute unit of measure developed by a British Lord, useful in the discipline of thermodynamics. The title of the exhibition is stifling to conceive of, human bodies do not bear that kind of heat well, I draw the comparison due to the work Johannes Rochhausen, made and displayed for his show exclusively in meticulous and sensitive drab colors, as a realist, and present portrayal if ever there was one of the hermetic loneliness, at times self imposed, at times self necessary, in the pursuit of achieving great painting. For the consideration of the exhibition and collecting public that happens to chance on the casual and just happen to be here in former Soviet sector Berlin, storefront local of SchlechtriemBrothers, spelt together with a type identity oddly reminiscent of PriceWaterHouseCoopers, are not celestial bodies but unpopulated interiors.


With out people the activity of the creative act of painting becomes the evidence in these still-life static dramas that contribute in their C. Corot pallet and general vibration, the fact that in the depictions of the artists studio, the apparent embrace and celebration of the tools of that trade the Rochhausen is able to give back quietly and effectively, to people who may or may not have visited the Atelier of a currently working painter. In Johannes Rochhausen's work so far as I can tell from my all too brief encounter with it, we have at play not a direct presentation of the painter him or her self, but of that rare and often times besieged sanctuary which the artist seeks to establish and recreate and reaffirm through out their practice, the work space. Rochhausen with his gifts and emotion is able to create a quotidian and confrontational empty space, a deft elegy to not only where art, and his art in particular are made, but to the task of art making in general. The blank and open nature of the paintings that are in dominant hues of grey may strike one as academic and passé, not so, there is a palpable urgency felt in his canvasses, in their insistence of repetition of what happens in the work space when the work has left, gone for an exhibition, or collector or when a series is completed, is an insistence on painting and its continued relevance for current art and its muted celebration. By craniv boyd. 

Alon Levin, End to the Grand Gesture, 29.04. - 18.06.2011 Klemm’s, Brunnenstraße 7, 10119 Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.

Alon Levin, End to the Grand Gesture, 29.04. - 18.06.2011 Klemm's, Brunnenstraße 7, 10119 Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.


Modernism as protest, Robert Ryman and his white on white paintings go to a protest and picket with protest sings that are painted white, of course, In the now running exhibition of Israeli born, yet Den Haague and Berlin, based, artist Alon Levin we have a misc en scene of scatter art, modernist art, platonic forms stacked, and other large heavy geometric objects that are meant we are to believe by the exhibition title, that begins with the word "end", and the press release in the form of a triad structured interview between the artist and those who currently seek to further his endeavor, chiefly his gallerists handlers, that this exhibition is a now one more nail in  the coffin of the already dead horse of a modernist Utopian dream or nightmare depending which side of the bed you woke up from. 


Alon Levin, to his credit has made a grand tour of exhibition spaces dedicated to conceptualist and Biennials track artist, and judging from the information provided by effective gallery staff in the past few years dating from during his time of study, Levin has done a circuit of group exhibitions at Nýlistasafn in Reykjavík, Contemporary Art Center Vilnius, and recently the David Roberts Foundation, in London, and notably CCS Bard in picturesque Hudson valley New York state, some art fairs in Miami and some project type spaces in Zürich, the fount from which this extensive CV stems perhaps a quality group exhibition from way back in 2004, with a catalogue, of course, at a world renowned European museum, the Stedelijk.


This is anti retinal art at its best position, in the installation there is a proliferation of highly crafted objects made from heavy particle board and low cost wood, an overwhelming abundance of clearly purposeless objects that are all painted white, yet when you look again and are attentive to the sawed off edges of the works Alon Levin installs at Klemm's, the individual blank white picket sings individuate them selves further, they are in rainbow hues of industrial processed house paints and lacquers. One with this ironical and deliberate homage to MODERNISM, a viewer could almost half expect to trip over Rietveld's chair dripping in bone white globular paint.


Stimuleringssubsidie, it is great that the low country stimulates the growth of its artists categorically, I am positive that an art stimulation package from national monies for early developing artists can only be a fantastic thing, Levin can develop his exhibition with a strong yet ambivalent perspective on modernism, if nobody collects the difficult and ambitious installation work it can posit no problem his recent receipt of the Dutch Stimuleringssubsidie can generously sponsor his art object book that he blatantly cross promotes over the course of the interview, the book has a common enthrallment with utopia, or it seeming failure. It, Levin's track on the way up to national representation of Israel at international settings for current art, commences with a book, and an award for well crafted book given the same year as the Stedelijk Museum exhibition, viewed in this light the bland although involved installation hearkens back and almost begs to be documented visually, it seems intentionally constructed for that explicit purpose, applicable as elegant photograph in a well design artist made portable book. By craniv boyd.

Ai Weiwei, April 30- June 4, 2011, NEUGERRIEMSCHNEIDER, Berlin, Linienstraße 155, 10115, DE by craniv boyd.

Ai Weiwei, April 30- June 4, 2011, NEUGERRIEMSCHNEIDER, Berlin, Linienstraße 155, 10115, DE by craniv boyd.


Where is Ai Weiwei? Asks the large black and white cloth banner hanging from the wall of a post industrial mixed use yellow brick building in central Berlin City, the answer may still possibly be, at the moment of writing this, regrettably: Wasting in a Chinese Prison.


On April third, we are informed that Ai Weiwei, an artist whose personal Blog about art was recently published in book format by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, was detained by Chinese authorities, the banner with the simple query that for the contemporary art uninitiated bears little in clues for frame of reference, hangs in conjunction with the Ai Weiwei's current solo exhibition at his Berlin art dealership, Neu Gerriemschneider. 


The work in the exhibition is of a high production value, big sculpture, the current work on view is the mature culmination of that of a 1990's biennial conceptualist who photographed himself giving the bird to selected monuments and iconic buildings that represent more or less national power for instance the Tour Eiffel or the White House, to name two instances in that photographic series, which is a sophomoric step away from the painting Ai Weiwei made during the 1980's New York, Weiwei's photograph with poet Allen Ginsberg accompanies photographic documentation  of early 80-s painted work of Weiwei, in the numerous catalogues dedicated to promoting the works and exhibitions of post 80's onwards Ai Weiwei.


Trees made from desiccated wooden logs bolted together with industrial strength, rusted nuts, bolts, and washers. These dead tree Frankenstein sculptures tower over people standing tall at the full height of the pitched ceiling of Neu Gerriemschneiders main, white rectangle presentation space, I guess about four to five meters at times seeing as the branches of Weiwei's works are at irregular heights. Contrasted with the texture of splintering logs free standing on a black gallery floor are organic irregularly shaped blue and white ceramic pedestal like objects that inhabiting a space between that of rocks or stacks of plates populate the floor adding a bright and abstract contained landscape architecture vibration to the room.


Ai Weiwei's work seen now feels truly Chinese if I may be so bold as to hazard such an assumption, for his work although fabricated in the Era of the Peoples Republic of China, has common threads with the art made in Han, Sung, Tong, or Quing dynasties. The choice of materials, glazed ceramic for instance although may strike some as decorative, remain tactile and strive resolutely at two opposite tendencies, that of traditionalism, and that of the current, we have the region focus of East Asian art, and Ai Weiwei's celebration and utilization of it, in service of creating a relevant current dignified broad art from a worldly author who hails from China, the republic that somehow now tragically imprisons him. by craniv boyd.     

Cady Noland Santiago Sierra, Curated by Alexander Koch and Nikolaus Oberhuber, in collaboration with the Schürmann Collection, KOW Berlin April 30- July 29, 2011, Brunnen Straße 9 10119 Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.

Cady Noland Santiago Sierra, Curated by Alexander Koch and Nikolaus Oberhuber, in collaboration with the Schürmann Collection, KOW Berlin April 30- July 29, 2011, Brunnen Straße 9 10119 Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.


We enter through a micro passage, a tunnel flanked by glass walls, that starts on the face of Brunnen Straße in Central Berlin we see large windows that provide light to a larger atrium space inside, reading sings about where to enter the gallery space, from the micro passage to the nude concrete basin in a Hinterhof, an elegant narrow postmodern stair well in concrete and zigzagging braided stainless steel cable that make the balustrade guide upwards, one, two, three levels and the back wall of this street facing building is sheathed in glass, thin balconies that conjoin the stair landings with the individual unit entrances add an air of ocean liner or ferry vessel. The first floor above ground level is where we, a public enter KOW gallery space, or rather exhibition space, when we enter there is a bookshelf packed with tomes on contemporary art and architecture, flat raised slabs of white that serve as, a pedestal to assorted art related ephemera you can see in the area, a black rectangular cushioned seat poised near the edge of the landing with a view over the atrium space where the art works are exhibited. Also on the entrance landing is the open and accessible office of the interns or Gallery Registrar, this is delineated by some kind of subtly implied wall that you cannot see with the naked eye. There is a zone behind the "ephemera and information dissemination repository" that zone is a kind of DMZ between the large desk directly adjacent the bright yet shaded window the long empty passage on the landing and the block for holding flyer's. It is a space that in some ways hints even when you (our public) enter you are kilometers apart from our Registrar.  Lets say you as a public want to ask who authored this space under the influence of MAYA or AutoCAD, you would transverse the landing or raise your voice to be heard, the available art space staff might mutter a Teutonic name and then re direct you to the book shelf you find the name Bradelhuber, Arno and see some of his previous plans in glossy magazine type publications. Perhaps you wanted to say thank you for the information, but either the cold awkwardness of the edge Zaha Hadidesque environs or the aloof demeanor of the gallery staff put you the public off it. The space KOW vies like many of the recently built to be gallery as museum, we have Italo- American co-production of Sperone-Westwater on the former Avenue of the Immigrants in lower Manhattan, a kind of sleek attention grabbing built statement that when written about in the gospel according to the New York Times, you can read a moment of oh new neighbor to the New, New Museum, building on the Bowery. Maggie, Stephen Crane's girl of the streets, would not have considered comparing the uber-gentrified of iconic playful yet nevertheless bombastic contemporary museum architecture, versus its close and recent neighbor of gallery space, through not so subtle means of architecture pretending towards the museum.  Arno Bradelhuber's plan for the space that KOW is in could be set, as I have it, against the backdrop of the digression written above, his spatial solution is so novel and overwhelming as to require it, eclipsing the decidedly unavailable contemporary art works that are in the cryptically dubbed exhibition space KOW, one letter more than the since 1990's viable institutional inhabitant of the vicinity.


The public goes down a set of stairs, they are wooden and painted grey, the stair passage requires attention many of its steps are irregular trapezoidal planks that torque as you descend, you are then at the bottom of the large atrium and confronted with the unavailable or distant and aggressive art works of American Cady Noland and Spanish born and Mexico City based Santiago Sierra. In the atrium we have a difficult biennial artist, Sierra exposed in a space where his art works make the most sense, that of the Biennial, or architectonic environs that seek to emulate it at least. A grid of black and white portrait photography, where the subjects a microcosm of central American Indians, a ethnic tribe are portrayed in a way that calls to mind the sobriety of B & H Becher and what they did for the depressed abandoned industrial remnants in the Ruhr Gebiet, but with out the dignity. Sierra, faces his subjects away from the camera and because he has remunerated these Indians in the most minimal way he can, the ethnographic type project is more of a perverted æsthetical one, with emphasis on the developed world hand me downs the central Americans wear which is in-turn collected by the Konsthalles or Kunsthallen of the North. Magazine Tre in Stockholm, recently showed the same if not similar work, the edition of the photographic prints they possessed were scaled smaller, than what is to see at KOW, the filling of the Atrium wall with a grid becomes a kind of ideal way present this work that with its aggressive or totalitarian capitalistic import is best viewed at a distance. In a lower room we have a "bad man" facing away in a corner, I say bad because in some culture to face the wall is punishment for wrongdoing. This man is youngish real and living he is standing at ease in plain clothes. The title of the work is Veteran Standing in the Corner, 2011, the man is cut off from the public and facing away, and paid to do so, Santiago Sierra utilizes a kind of slave trader's consideration of the bottom line in his post minimal depictions that are illustrations of what he as western European can pay people to do.


Equally unavailable are the selections from an "extensive" collection of the works of Cady Noland, American daughter to Kenneth Noland, a painter represented in Public Collections of American Modern art. Noland's work is for many Americana gone awry the tabloids the sensationalism the disregard for the infirm and aged, or latent violence and caffeinated beverages. Her work, bullets a grenade, or a shredded soft drink aluminum can suspended each in their own cube of clear acrylic, appear to be objects from a post modern eclectic cabinet of Alice in Wonderland like horrors. By craniv boyd. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gabriel Abrantes and Benjamin Crotty, Liberdade, 2010, with: Betty Meixue, Wilson Teixeira, Dadi, Dadinho, Gu Hong Zhen, Joel, Joelson Da Silva, Li Ku

Gabriel Abrantes and Benjamin Crotty, Liberdade, 2010, with: Betty Meixue, Wilson Teixeira,  Dadi, Dadinho, Gu Hong Zhen, Joel, Joelson Da Silva, Li Kun Qiong, Márcio Marcelino, Mu Yuan Shuai, Orlando Sérgio, Ricardo Matias, Wang Tian Guo,  Zhou Jian Produced Zé dos Bois, Naxto Checa, Mutual Respect Productions, 17 minutes color, film report by craniv boyd.


There is a concrete iconic quality to the recent short film, Liberdade, 2010 co-directed by Luso-American Gabriel Abrantes and American Benjamin Crotty. It is set and filmed in Luanda the capital of Angola, and in the 17 short minutes which consist of the film, filmed on super 16 Kodak film stock, Liberdade takes you somewhere at once too real, and totally vague at once.


Shall we begin at the end?


Liberdade starts with an African woman inside what appears to be a run down store of some kind, a young man dressed in white draws a gun and points it at her stout face, she throws up her hands and indicates her willingness to cooperate with the young armed villain, she asks what he wants and he screams rather hurriedly "Viagra!"  "What?" he has no time for an explanation of what it is but now we know that the run down store we are in is a pharmacy, there is a sound track of poly-rhythmic Reggae esque music with a refrain that is repeating words "não passé nada," the armed robber flees from the store and the shop attendant though still terrified shudders a sigh that may be a mix of relief and grief. From a great distance we see the young man in white running in a chaotic urban street with a red dirt road. It is dreamlike the telephoto lens indicated that his fast movements are some how stuck in his framing. We see him turn a corner, rush into a dark portal there are people just standing about, a young boy on a balcony waves and points indicating the vector and trajectory of the young man in white, for whom is quickly made certain Luanda's police force, they rush into a the portal. The young man in white runs up a brutalist concrete stair well decorated with years of graffiti and wall scrawl in a building clearly condemned and clearly populated by babies, children that he rushes past shrieking toddlers and pre-adolescents who get out of the way for the two officers of Angolan Law in hot pursuit up, he reaches the destination of the wall-less top floor of the dilapidated high rise apartment house, his great escape is the young Chinese maiden in white tunic black leggings and red belt, he approaches her and a cool intimacy is formed by their behavior towards one another, they have a quiet wordless moment together, then the law arrives interrupting their innocent date they tell the "boy" to drop the weapon that he is surrounded to let the girl go, the tension of the "hostage situation" mounts with the sound of a near by helicopter  the young man in white holding the young Chinese maiden close tells her looking off into the distance in English "every thing is going to be O.K."  We see the bright late afternoon sun through a filter of haze then from a choreographed ærial long take we see the lovers their enthrallment and the police intent on both diffusing the situation and making an apprehension spiraling out and away from the dead end drama locating it for those who know Luanda in a ruin of Modernism and then in what one could imagine as a pre 1974 pristine postcard sky line view updated to the view from 2010.


The consultation of the Scouting boy


We are back on a street corner and a crowd of people with nothing to do sit stunned and together, they are just there, shown to us innumerable extras, the boy in white is in the uniform of the Angolan Boy Scouts, the patches that adorn his khaki shirt are code for a patient disciplined disposition, he has collected these patches and wears them with a kind of stooped nonchalant pride, a gangly youth ambling into a courtyard where more people are seated, these people passively active listening to who we assume is an African leader speaking of how, I paraphrase; "we (Angola) are entering a new era of internationalism and cooperation with foreign States" the words are there just like the reality of the seated people listening to the radio. The boy scout moves out of frame and we are inside a medical or doctors office, and a middle aged man with sterilized green surgeons cap, face guard and white lab coat is seated looking dispassionately downward. We expect that there will be a turn of conversation focused on a prognosis about the health or sickness of the boy Scout, not so the doctor here is asking the boy scout if he has met her family yet, when the Boy Scout answers in the negative, but that the initial meeting of the girl-s parents is pending his advice is not medical, "dress like an angel".


Junked out Trashy Space


The Boy Scout enters back into the dark portal and ascends the stairs now familiar to us because of what we have seen in the opening montage, walking languidly up member of a procession it would seem of Angolan men and women carrying plastic Tupperware Type bowls on their heads. There is no rush this time, no pressure, he crosses at a landing and transverses a floor that is covered in a sea of garbage, at a suggestive snails pace. The Boy Scout whistles and looks up to the floor above, another youth emerges dressed in tee-shirt and surfboard swim trunks he says "Liberdade" with a smile and claps, the Boy Scout smiles back and with his thumbs up in recognition we realize this is the first time we hear his name, poignantly his name is given by a friend or relation, the purpose of Liberdade s visit is made clear the need of borrowing some nice clothing. His buddy tells him to wait and remain clam reemerging on the balcony he holds a black nylon backpack saying this is all that he has, Liberdade nods and receives the parcel thrown gently downward.


We are back in the mass of trash a resting youth luxuriating on raised slab of concrete with an empty glass liter bottle of coca cola Liberdade joins him and like a hermetic he volunteers, "you are looking like Denzel Washington right now" he pauses looking at Liberdade "Pelican Brief" and states further that: " (he) would really like to be filming that right now." Strange commentary or cryptic compliment on a friends dress that seems almost ironic and at the same time mysteriously North American in its near obsession with a comparison to the Hollywood thriller film, but then again not just any Hollywood film but one of suspense 90's vintage that touches on climate change and environmental issues.


The View from China Town


There are some people eating spinning a lazy Susan taking from small dishes with chop sticks, where are we now the view out the window over the table as the Chinese men eat, informs us that we are now in the other side of Luanda, we see the high rise from a distance in recognition of that architectural landmark we are still in Angola, we see the girl and she is being passively aggressively questioned about her friend Liberdade, her mother thinks that he seems stupid, she wants to know if he is in school. We have a meet the parent-s situation but some how no real meeting is taking place, seated next to her, Liberdade compliments the karaoke voice of the young Chinese maiden-s father. She in formal black has a severe case of ennui pleading for an escape barely audible under the parental karaoke duet in Mandarin.


Say it in broken English


The lovers talk to one another in English and we have a Rashoman type moment when the both members of the love affair recount in almost the same words in different languages what they have been doing for the past three weeks. The man speaking of a spiritual and physical beauty the light he feels emanates from both her body and soul, before he mentions his potency issue in his voiced-over aside, the woman speaks of her own actions of stuffing folded napkins in her shoes to reduce the physical pain that she feels in her feet, she goes on to praise the consideration and doting that her lover bestows on her, all this is a preface to the mentioning of her lovers potency issue that is both mysterious and haunting. The description relationship becomes a plastic object, their language for it a silent partner that charges the film with both tragic and maudlin overtones that delicately veer towards a kind of sentimentality.


They sit in the shade doing nothing, she says that she wants to swim, and Liberdade responds "its a deal" slowly uttered simple dialogue of non native speakers taking in a kind of cliché quotidian North American pop culture export patios.


The film ends with the sea and broken rusted Vessels beached like whale carcæ. Playground for adolescents, an impotent love affair that is not bombastically Arizonian suburban vampire romance saga, like Twilight this is a cold unconsummated love yet in the indeterminate yearning built around this teen diverse couple Chinese and African pair set in Angola, we have a situation or an atmosphere reflective of both Lusophonic culture and that infamous untranslatable word saudade. That brings it away from the sensationalist approach to Africa that Hungarian Born Artist and Art-director Tibor Kalman, had with his numerous socially committed ad campaigns for the Italian Basics brand of United Colors of Beniton in the 1990's, Abrantes and Crotty's common approach and treatment could be viewed as a deliberate development from ideas and themes in their previous film together Visionary Iraq, 2008, where one character is an adopted orphan girl from Angola, who having issues with sexual climax enlists with the Portuguese army to be in a place that is "soo real". The staged contained scenic quality of Visionary Iraq, contrasts with the realness of on location for Liberdade Filmed in Angola, a picture that though cavalier is subtle fare with multiple readings. By craniv boyd


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cyprian Gaillard the recovery of discovery March 27 – May 22 2011, KW August Straße 69 Berlin 10117, DE by craniv boyd.

Cyprian Gaillard the recovery of discovery March 27 – May 22 2011, KW August Straße 69 Berlin 10117, DE by craniv boyd.


Robert Deniero's Character in Meet the Parents informs Ben Stiller's character that he: "is entering his circle of trust." Trust, personal accountability and the law all come to mind at the reception desk at Kunst Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, responsibility and acceptance are the first steps all visitors who want to see Cyprian Gaillard's unmonumental monument in the institutionalized bohemian run and initiated space. Each individual of the public is required to tolerate the pain of the legal release form, in assent to enter or climb at your own risk. This is an exhibition that obliges you to sing a simple type of contract in order to see it, the law is flat and transportable like the A4 the document that permits your entrance and acknowledges your confidence in KW. Just as small and portable is the rather shoddy wrinkled color computer print out sheathed in a plastic sleeve of the pyramid of "Effes" pilsner, before the opening of the exhibition that the effective receptionists will show you, just so you know what it looked like before.


Let them drink Pilsner


"Equal to a collective amnesia in an active neglect of the sculptural form -lost in hopeless interaction with the monument – the successive destruction becomes an æsthetic of resistance." The press release predicts the future when it states this, by telling the public as it does what the result is of Cyprian Gaillard's contribution to the form of big trans medium biennial destined art discourse, with this, Recovery of Discovery, an instance of heavy handed, big-budget installed artwork sardonicism. What happens when the sentiments of Marie Antoinette "let them eat cake" cater to the fictive specter of Ideal Berlin Art Public Cyprian Gaillard has created in his own mind as a vehicle for this work with ambitions of being provocative site specific installation that is concurrently wry societal commentary and site specific local portrait or inside joke of Global transnational capital in his choice of beer, low cost Turkish migrant pilsner in Berlin. How can we have a monument in a western culture that is ambivalent to monuments to power, at times stating that monuments like that are categorically wrong, are we to believe that our democratic participation exists in our relation inside the slow destruction of the "Effes" tower? That we are good Samaritans when we participate and support what the press release claims is a "æsthetic of resistance"?  More over "the physical hangover is also an architectural one, from which one has to recover" the press release hints of the ideal public one that climbs to the top of Gaillard's Ziggurat of baby blue beer cases drinks the beer in the installation and destroys the work and forgets the geographic origins, destroys their own body as well has a hang over together with the building. How is it that reading and understanding of a work of art depends on how much of that work of art you drink?



I think not, Ziggurat of beer sounds more complicated moniker to remember than pyramid of beer, this unmonumental work has strong attributes of a site specific political campaign, where the creation of a truly crazy opening evening with all the beer you can drink vies for memorable-ness, Gaillard nominated for the 2011 edition of a young Berlin based artist prize earlier in 2010, has something at stake, is most likely a competitive international biennial track artist who wants to be remembered and talked of in Berlin in general, even if it is a kind low quality half recollected moment prior to a black out.  The stunt of "resistance" is not cultivated dumping tea into Boston harbor, or dumping green dye into a river in Stockholm in the middle of the night, it enshrining beer in Contemporary art Institute, an institution with an effective press organ and connexion to MoMA in New York City, the primary fetish object is not the beer itself, it is less of fetish object and enthrallment with the contained atmosphere of the hangover, chaos or destruction. by craniv boyd 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tony Matelli Falkenrot-Preis 2011 exhibition 29th April 22nd May 2011 Künstlerhaus Bethanien GmbH Berlin, DE, by craniv boyd.

Tony Matelli Falkenrot-Preis 2011 exhibition 29th April 22nd May 2011 Künstlerhaus Bethanien GmbH Berlin, DE, by craniv boyd.


Budweiser blasé, or getting comical with the king of beers are jokey off color remarks that would work to address a prevalent feeling of Beer Angst that artist Tony Matelli winner of a mysterious 2011 edition of the Falkenrot Prize, for current art that seems to exhibit its recent laureates in Künstlerhaus Bethanien, "ateliers und projektwerkstatt für Künstlerishe und kuratorishe konzepte". Has installed under the ægis of the prize.


Artists can at times be unreliable commentators on their own work.  To his credit Tony Matelli's own words about his production retain a kind of tough-guy cum intellects cavalier tenor popular on Home Box Office television, like the Sopranos, his words provide an air of irony and when printed out for the press release of the exhibition we read a man talking from what appears to be an expansive mood, one of the guys you would like to grab a beer with hunker down and watch the "game" and by game we definitely mean super bowl and not Fifa.


"Passing the time is not as easy as you think. There's s#*? Scattered all over the world that attest to that. All kinds of retarded monuments. They keep us occupied for a while but at a certain point enough is enough…I've always thought that things should just disappear after a while. I read that in primitive cultures there is no concept of time, no past and future…A constant now." Tony Matelli, the previous words having been re framed in the context of reflections on his exhibition. That monuments would be "retarded" is what I deem an American posing as a kind of laid back buddy to Europeans who have a problematic relation with monumentally, a kind of healthy considered skepticism. "Retarded" is a politically incorrect term if there ever was one, and children in North America are often steered away from using it to describe the irrevocably congenital mentally handicapped. The word "s#*?" and it being scattered all over the world as proof of the retardation that follows clues us in that Matelli, is not a fan of Ozymandias, Nebuchadnezzar, or Kublai Khan, types he would be more keen to join camp with Shelly, or J. Donne in their critique of Xanadu or toppled colossi. That being said, Matelli's oeuvre in its current instance in it's choice of materials and technical perfection and deliberate fooling of the eyes is not quite a home with a grouping of English romantic poets and their thinly veiled critique of the English commonwealth and its territories that at the time knew no sunset. Matelli is more of a mid career artist in the career artist cannon that makes work that although having some similar concerns of a J. Koons, baroque manipulations of post pop art, He is much more "Jeff Dark" with his painted cast stainless steel objects that are finished to appear like simple plebeian Bud, Coors or Miller Light card board cases with eye and mouth holes punched through them.


Fake pizza supported by a house of cards or one should say bronze cast then painted in to look like half eaten pizza, the house of cards towering over visitors but try as they may to topple this delicate structure they cannot because it is one solid piece of cast bronze that has been painted to look like a construction fabricated by a bored baby Mozart some where in suburban America. Globalism is addressed in what could be a cynical yet tender portrait of Matelli's European gallery representation, an improbable tower with a micro keg of Baltica a Russian made beer with a proof spectrum from 2% to 12%, could be interpreted as a nod an ironic distant depiction of Adréhn-Schliptjenko his Stockholm gallery.


Matelli's mirrors leaning reflecting back our own despair? Apathy? Smug narcissism? Back to us through a filter of dust that has been smeared back in a way that speaks two oddly conflicting messages of ha tricked you again, and please do not touch the artworks delicate surfaces, at the same time. They work on a more cynical minimal cerebral level, than the gross out of the "meat Head" a big hit at the Armory Fair on the piers of New York back in the fast times of 2007, or of the affect weird, given with Matelli's D. Hanson type to real life scaled wax works of man falling back and resting on the back of his head only. All this heavy intricate layered expensive time intensive tromp l'oie "stuff" placed with great care in the exhibition hall deeply contradicts the voluntary statement of: "I've always thought that things should just disappear after a while" in the words of the Chicago born now Brooklyn based Matelli. by craniv boyd.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

James N. Kienitz Wilkens The Big Black Girl 2010, 79 minutes color, with Max Lodge, Brandon D’Augustine, camera / co-direction Mike Crane, film report by craniv boyd.

James N. Kienitz Wilkens The Big Black Girl 2010, 79 minutes color, with Max Lodge, Brandon D'Augustine, camera / co-direction Mike Crane, film report by craniv boyd.


"All you need to make a movie is a gun and a girl" a diary entry from Francophone Swiss film auteur Jean-Luc Goddard, in the case of artist and film maker James N. Kienitz Wilkens latest film, The Big Black Girl, 2010, a knife will do, and as for the girl, well, she can remain a kind of white elephant in a prefabricated summer lakeside cottage somewhere in vacation land.


At the start of the film we have bold face white italic type that announces the titles rapidly and upside-down so quickly that you don't have time to say: "hey this is written upside-down!" illegibility or un readability ear marks this film as subversive. We are in a summer setting and view from a low angle a cottage with a porch up hill, two men crouch low entering the frame with stealth after a pregnant pause one steals quickly uphill entering the abode. We are then inside we see the young man inspect the cabin, he touches the dust on the counter top in the cooking space, blows the residue off his fingers harshly his posture and movements denote a certain hauteur or arrogance, we can know him in this moment by what he does on entering a summer cottage, his spindly legs step and pace about with a confident restlessness the camera lingers then returns down hill abruptly to his accomplice.




We see that both men played by Max Lodge, and Brandon D'Augustine, are youngish, one is balding and the other is organized has a complicated choreographed way of sweeping that through its exaggeration gives definition to his character as abrasive, retentive and controlling. He is the man who entered the place first, he states the motive of the characters: "(to) take it easy" he demonstrates the found goods and tools in the cabin, commands the balding and smaller man to sweep then abruptly after words laconically delivers another contradictory order to "quit that shit lets go look around."   The pair embark on a brief tour of the wooded surroundings, the lake the nature figure weightily they are alone in the woods and impressed by the nature like American transcendentalists R.W. Emerson or H.D. Thoreau, the taller more arrogant character reiterates his leadership role by venturing forth first, having the idea of leaving the interior, his drive to be leader and emphasize his dominance by belittling his companion is incessant to the point of annoyance, one wonders whether the author of Walden would have been such a pain in the ass when walking with a friend in the woods.  




Over the course of the film both characters address their togetherness and companionship that is at first unclear why or how, the reasoning is deliberately left in mystery, and the petty abusive nature of their friendship that culminates in ever increasing minor injustices over the duration of the film brings light to the issue of how their relationship is now rather than giving flashback of how their relationship came to be, the togetherness of both characters is a depiction of definition in action, how people in this instance ostensibly hetero normative white men define themselves through and against other heterosexual white men they associate with. The two characters are their in a strangers vacation cabin they have appropriated for their own use of doing nothing, doing nothing is a common practice both are choosing to engage in, and the inactivity and neutrality of the characters works against a common expectation many cinema viewers have of the fulfillment of the question: what happens? The relationship between these two buddies happens with power dynamics that oscillate between sexual tension and verbal abuse.




Visual linguistic meaning is parodied at times in the film with minimal means that are elegant, there is an inventory of items in the cabin the voice of a character says a word and at first in the sequence we see an object in close up like canned beans that corresponds to the uttered words canned beans, then a sudden divide the displayed object of razors is set together with the uttered word of towel, frustration mounts as we are being told what an object is contradictory to the visual meaning we know it to be from seeing.


Whilst exploring the bald character finds a sand encrusted black bikini on the bank of the lake, it is a plus size cut for a portly lady. The camera arrives at his companion wrapped in his age of discovery phase attentively posing with a pair of binoculars. The other man enters the frame and announces "Hey look what I have found" we don't see what he has in his hand but one would almost await a second introduction to the black bikini, because following logic the audience was privy to his "find", no such luck, for the camera angles in on a close framing showing his "find" hand holding a living fish that after a moment of repose flops out of his grasp and escapes back into the lake. One wonders what happened to the Bikini?




There is a loud noise from the cabin the smaller man is out side and hearing his taller cohort scream goes rushing, abound into the sliding door we see him enter from a stationary angle position high in the room and the screaming commences again a moment after his concerned arrival, queries of how are you? Are answered loudly with "Blaaah!" "Blaaaah!"  Nonsensical statements that are an instance of youthful exuberance, "Blaaah!" accompanies the arm of arrogant man holding a bottle of whisky issuing forth from the darkness of the loft storage space above the cooking area of the cabin. He jumps down and continues screaming and laughing his companion responding back just as loud with "Shhhhhh" we have some moments of "Shhhh" vs. "Blaaaah" arrogant man give smaller man a bottle of whisky for himself and a cock fight of "whisky dick" ensues punctuated by laughter and repeated petitions for quiet and reduced volume.




Darkness falls evening we have both men absorbed in the drink relaxing, with whisky time, the framing provides a profile silhouette of the small man in the right hand corner of the frame, the taller man is now consumed in his role of disc jockey, the discs are vintage vinyl of blues and Jazz music the gramophone is a wind up antique, the record winds down to a halt after its mechanism has come back to a state of rest, the disc jockey explains that it the gramophone "is old" he cranks up the player again sets a new record on and dances like a nervously like funky chicken in a way that is set starkly against the music playing.


The silhouetted figure speaks in a slur repeating monosyllables that indicate his latent sexual desire emerging from the influence, big, black, bikini, girl, big, black. The object he found in the sand described around spoken of or hinted at to his companion whose initial amusement with the thought of a "big black girl" becomes irritation when he stresses the total point of squat is to be with out girls, with out any thing. He abrupt cuts off this speech with the announcement that he must fulfill a call of nature.




In the dark that follows we are closer to the taller man than previously in the film a head-lamp light shines on his stream of urine hitting a tree trunk. Then there is his face the closest that we as viewers are introduced to him we can read the minutiæ of his facial expressions now as he lights a self rolled cigarette, the drawing of his breath and the subtle smile afterwards indicates illicit goods that he is inhaling alone, he continues and enjoyment segues into paranoia or vulnerability, he hears sounds in the darkness, his arrogant mask constructed for the torment or reassurance of his companion cracks when he is alone in the dark. The viewers are close to a character that deliberately sets himself apart by playing it tough or cool, his Christopher Walkin esque demeanor falters in this close view of a man who avoids closeness.


Back in the cabin, with continuation of the same framing in the Nocturne scene paranoia continues and a reaction to forget the fear of the night and its sounds he heard while smoking alone, he picks a fight and assumes the role of inquisitor or interrogation shining the glaring light of his head lamp on his companion demanding that he find more to drink since he found the whiskey for him. The posturing reaches a new nonsensical threatening where the man with the head-lamp gets loud and repeatedly badgers the silhouetted figure who is "rimmed" by cold bluish white Light Emitting Diode, light comical in that the harassment of the rowdy inquisitor is counter acted by "Shhhhhhh" the mere sound seems to propel the interrogator back onto the couch where he falls back for dramatic affect, his aggressive yet childish posturing setting a further rift between himself and his companion, the silhouette he provokes. 




Minor insults and conflicts of direction bring the bald man to define himself as separate and equal with his companion who leads by leads inconsiderately, his separateness is made know by the double secret that he keeps of the hidden black bikini that he carefully wraps around a doubly pilfered bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee special hid in his Knapsack.


Their conflict abruptly comes to a head when the seated arrogant man says with the expectation that his companion will follow him because that's just what he does, the statement "lets go look around", "no, I'm good" his companions rejoinder is mutinous in its import yet arrogant guy takes it in stride rising from his chair and leaving, we see the brand of the maker of the cloth chair sewn on the white cotton duck it reads "Hej" Scandinavian for both hello and goodbye. The film ends later with heightened drama a close up of the bald man wearing a straw hat and swim trunks whose wardrobe changes more than three times over the course of the film, his companions remains largely consistent short pants white tee shirt with optional hooded gore-tex jacket. There is a passage in the film where the arrogant man rows a boat in a fog filled lake that is blank so minimal that it reminds one of the work of Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto who photographs bodies of water in conditions where sky and water are difficult to differentiate we are offered action conflict and then darkness, accompanied by a resolution in the form of the spoken word. By craniv boyd.  

Jannicke Låker Når du leser Dette(as you read this)2010, 35 minutes, color, with Lo Kauppi, Matthias Matz, Henrik der Minassian, Norbert Stöß, Roman

Jannicke Låker Når du leser Dette (as you read this) 2010, 35 minutes, color, with Lo Kauppi, Matthias Matz, Henrik der Minassian, Norbert Stöß, Roman Kanonik, produced by Helga Fjordholm, film report by craniv boyd.


Depression strikes in Jannicke Låker´s recent short film Når du leser Dette, (as you read this) fear of the outside world is taken on and force fed towards the audience as a dish served slowly, like cold Chinese take out food, home delivered to a Berliner Zimmer that oddly enough retains a order of fish tank experience.


The film is for 30 out of 35 minutes taken from a stationary camera angle that follows the action of one woman that transpires on screen. The player, Lo Kauppi, creating inhabiting the character of E. Nordal, Eva, with dark hair and tattoos she is alone in her apartment and agonizing over something. She moves in her room that is in fact a set, built for a sound stage in Norway. The viewers are captive and at the start of the film there are German men knocking on the door, complaining about how she is flooding the whole HAUS, requesting in stern voices that she open up.


The camera goes back in time, or rather we the viewers see the same information from the same angle of presentation, rather the lighting is most subdued, glaring white walls and harsh day light are replaces by dim blue hues that surround a pair of lovers man woman crouching on the floor, speaking in German, the man it appears is taking his belongings and going on a trip, he pleads with the woman weakly who replies in mono syllables, he stands after uttering pet names in Norwegian, and mentions that she can change her mind and take the train with him, she gets up and hands him a shirt underscoring the finality of her choice, don't forget to take this, he stuffs the article of clothing into a blue Ikea bag and leaves. She sinks to the floor.


The film progresses episodically in stations metered with fades to black, micro scenes that are ever increasing in their emotional intensity, yet in and of them selves are lucid moments of little action. Eva sleeps on a wool blanket laid on the lacquered parquet floor the camera shows us that there is a bed in a bedroom with the door ajar; does her decision to sleep on the floor have something to do with the German boyfriend that left in the previous scene?


The details, attention and care paid to the set design, objects in the room, how objects like bottles and aluminum take out trays progress and journey from tabletop to floor top to chair and vanish all in a consistent frame brings us a subtle meaning emphasized in the continuity of the narrative. Because the frame and camera angle are unshakable and inescapable we are trapped and captive, thinking that we are seeing the same image over and over, the scene fades to black and the same stage or setting reappears the memory of the last frame before black readjusts to the current frame after black the mind becomes aware of the periphery and the things or the light or where the character Eva is in this setting.


Little Bird


The yellow canary is an excellent supporting actor in this film. I see the bird as a foil towards the possible thinking of Eva's character, the bird seems to reflect at times the behavior of its keeper, when Eva is still and drinking wine seated on a chaise the bird is still, as she with great agitation switches from song to song on I-Tunes on her Macintosh computer drinking wine whisky and beer alternately the little bird mirrors her movement and contributes tension by just flapping and hopping around its cage, as its owner flails around her larger metaphoric cage of her apartment.


Prince Norway


Eva does not answer her phone we hear a telephone message watching her receive the message and ignore it, a work or travel opportunity to cover a news story and research for her book, in sub equatorial Africa, Angola of all places and Prince Håkon of Norway being the reason because of a publicity stunt or charity event showing the Angolans how to put on a condom. This moment, the attention to detail, is not central to development of the film yet it serves to locate Eva's character the message is given in Norwegian, the speaker provides all sorts of clues about the who mute protagonist on the floor is, by speaking of what she does what kind of work she is being offered. This message loosely based on an actual event locates the year the action transpired, Norwegian Prince traveling to Africa to show that condoms are not evil by being seen in public informing Africans how to use them in the fight against AIDS, it draws attention or an invisible line between two oil rich nations Angola and Norway that are often not spoken in the same sentence. To accent Eva's neglect and refusal to answer her home phone, as soon as the message ends vibrating of a mobile telephone starts Eva is willfully unresponsive on the floor, and the micro scene ends without movement.


Reluctant Voyeur


I find the viewer ship most uncomfortable when the character in the film is singing along to music barely audible on her large studio quality earphones. It is one of the moments when the awkwardness of my viewer ship is most apparent, a woman mid thirties lying on the floor in a green tee shirt with orange piping and underwear tapping her leg to the rhythm of punk rock music, thinking that this is not made for viewing, the player is so convincing in her bubble on her stage that she is able to seal her self off, from the film shoot, and from the audience, yet the singing voice implies an audience yet her singing is for no person at all, it could be a kind of participatory urge some feel when hearing popular music. 


Wardrobe Paralysis


One actor who wears the same thing for the majority of the film a kind of uniform for the interior, the changes in wardrobe become indicative of emotional states of the character, depression under wear shirt socks, elation make up and a skirt, despair a soaking wet grey button-down shirt barely buttoned down.


Past Present


Relating this work to previous works of the same author, recurrent themes emerge populating the film with short cameos of tropes, which reënforce a kind of well-developed artwork consistency that reflects personal interests of Jannicke Låker. The Delivery man scenario where a palpable sexual tension is made available with the female customer desperately searching for paper currency without pants on and the delivery man entering reluctantly and steering his gaze embarrassed downwards corresponds to an work from 2003, Sketch for a Rape Scene where Jannicke Låker builds tension yet subverts presumptions human viewer can and most likely do form from the title of the work. The blocking of Lo Kauppi prone at times on the floor could bear some tangential resemblance to Playing Dead of 2006, a man helplessly minimally moving in a pool of his own blood as the radio blares a static saturated German Polka. Sunday Mornings of 2007, dedicated to all single women in Berlin is eerily close to Når du leser Dette, in that the space and camera angles at times the apartments themselves where the action transpires appear as doppelgänger, what is at first comical in Marika Enstad's tour du force performance in Sunday Mornings turns brutal in its self generated senselessness, helpless figure trapped in a dress suffering through a hang over like a post modern sculptural tower. Viewed from the tricky distance of generalization the oeuvre of Jannicke Låker up to this point as I am familiar with it seems to be one where solitary figures are pitted against a scenario of existential purport, their activity ¾of either fighting invisible assailants at night as in the Dell, 2002, or of running away from assailants and trauma as in Running Woman, 2006, or walking up that hill with the aid of a walker wheels stuck in the mud during a horrifying storm of Woman in Mud, 2007 ¾ defines them in the momentary preoccupation we view them in,  set against their realities actual or self realized or imagined. By craniv boyd