Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Spiral and the Square: 24 August - 8 January Bonniers Konsthall Torsgatan 19, Stockholm SE. by craniv boyd.

The Spiral and the Square: Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, Mauricio Dias & Walter Riedweg, Eugenio Dittborn, Öyvind Fahlström, Cao Guimarães, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Fredrik Ehlin, Andjeas Ejiksson & Oscar Mangione, Laura Lima, Arto Lindsay, Dora Longo Bahia, Renata Lucas, Marcos Lutyens & Raimundas Malasauskas, Cinthia Marcelle Rodrigo Matheus, Cildo Meireles, João Modé, Fabio Morais, Rivane Neuenschwander, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Haegue Yang Curated by Daniela Castro & Jochen Volz.  24 August - 8 January Bonniers Konsthall Torsgatan 19,  Stockholm SE. by craniv boyd.

The five year anniversary for a Art hall owned by an influential Swedish publishing house Bonniers, has arrived. This year. For the fall season of the posh looking, state of the art glass walled Konsthall, two curators, Daniela Castro & Jochen Volz, have been invited to make a project, curate an exhibition, for Torsgatan 19, in Stockholm. The starting point is Brazil, the largest Country in South America, and the claim of the curators is that The Spiral and the Square is an exercise in cross cultural translation. Never fear, what is on view in Bonniers Konsthall until 8th, of January 2012, is still art, and quite a lavish, meaty, spectrum as far as the current cannon of international art goes. Live performance, cheek by jowl, with sculpture. Limited edition silkscreens or installation, juxtaposed with air mail paintings, a lone Microscope: that sings a Sting song, softly to your ear, and plasma screen wall mounted videos across pavement stones, the C-print, or the Lambda print, the collage on paper, the colored pencil straight line on the white wall, are all current art objects; arraigned tastefully with poise and counterpoint, making for a heterogeneous anti linear white cube viewing experience, that proffers something for every one.

Nude anonymous Brazilian men, grapple sharing a herring bone patterned hood. As if both men in their artful conflict were conjoined twins with their weld at the head. The flesh of both men from Brazil is sagging, their feet chapped, one of the fighters on the day I went, was fatter and younger, his chubby legs were much the more so hairy than his older rival. This choreographed work is by the Brazilian artist Laura Lima, the title is Marra, 1996. And as an art work from the late nineteen nineties, is predates this choreography boom, in current art. The work is sensational, and perhaps labor intensive, there for costly. The implications, of having two disrobed men who are all bare, except for the common hood that binds them, for the viewing pleasure of the Konsthall public are big. Bonneirs positions itself as a risk taking or controversial institution by their choice of supporting an art work such as Laura Lima's. Clearly, the contemporary  gladiators in the theater of Torsgatan 19, are the highlight of the exhibition, for it adorns not only the newspaper and publication, but all the banners in the public fabric of central Stockholm. The chance to see the controversy surrounding naked performers, is perhaps a large driving factor, I surmise, for attendance to this winter season, at Bonniers Konsthall

Further moments in the sensationalist or fun house type, sensibility, that the curators thinly veil, is the video work, and Large sculpture, by Brazilian artist, Dora Longo Bahia. Her contribution is a self-conscious, set of time based art work. Women and men dressed like characters from Lewis Carroll's, Alice in Wonderland, dark and slow droning amplified guitar music, and a citation of Ulysses, the magnum opus, of Irish novelist James Joyce, are the elements and building blocks for Dora Longo Bahia's, Acordalice/wAkupaLice, 2006. It makes for heady fare, and no doubt, the Brazilian Portuguese mistranslation of an interior monologue of J. Joyce's character, Bloom's spouse, confers some kind of legitimacy to what is essentially, a grown woman, objectifying herself, and playing dress up with her friends, and lobbing it of as relevant art making. That being said the loud dimly lit room, with the floor to ceiling video projection, is in a room where, synthetic grass covers the wall. Staying long enough with the slow droning video, with a repetitive falling of a half naked woman wearing a black tulle cape and a pointed witches cap, failing at her attempted flight on, a visibly un-magical broomstick, one is transported, albeit painfully, to a world of half forgotten make believe. Once in this trance world, the exhibition public can follow a deliberately misleading sign, that states the exhibition continues. Suddenly, one is in a Twin Peaks, type room, with deep crimson velvet drapes that line the entire walls, if you suffer from either claustrophobia, or panic attacks, do not visit Dora Longo Bahia's, Acordalice/wAkupaLice, at Bonneirs Konsthall, the fear with being inside a strange dark room with only deep red curtains may be, perhaps overwhelming for some as experience, as art, decidedly in the circus hall of mirrors vein,  however, is it definitely, under-whelming. 

Two of the most rewarding moments, in the company of art occur when with the works of artists: Eugenio Dittborn, Öyvind Fahlström, both are installed in the same larger room, and both artists, have in common that they are represented in the collection of the prestigious, Moderna Museet, in Stockholm. Observing the works of both artists it is plain to see why their art is in Moderna's Collection. Eugenio Dittborn, is, represented in the Spiral and the Square with two moments from a series of Air Mail Paintings, a series which the artist began in Chile, sent per post, of a then totalitarian regime. Paintings that fold and fit into a standard cardboard postage box, work that is eclectic and generous in its collage and Smorgåsbord method, Dittborn, includes images of indigenous peoples of South America, seen from the lens of Euro-centric scientists. Mr Dittborn, makes formally tight visually appealing art that speaks to, and is an active outcry, against social injustice and inequalities.  Öyvind Fahlström, like wise has made highly wrought comic book illustrations, as screen prints, but of highly fraught subject matter, that of the Vietnam War and interrogation methods. The work of the Brazilian born Swedish artist, Öyvind Fahlström, who was in the scene of the 1960's New York Art world, is politically committed, and a strange amalgamation of: subtle choice in hue, with popular culture, in small scale, and density of, information that makes viewing Fahlström's screen prints, both an involved and exhausting experience. 

Terrible type, Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, are represented by an art work that, is so "meta" that it can induce you to text messaging yourself WTF?? The work is a text piece in its most classic, conceptualized form, and it is no wonder that a Publishing house with a standing commitment to collecting contemporary, would be hot to have, an artwork that is celebratory of the overlooked foundation of what books are made of, letter-forms. New Roman Times reads a broad side poster hung outside Torsgatan 19, and it is new roman times, the font, if you will on display. Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, have made a work that both is and is not what it purports to be. A advertisement with self reflexive content that is it's-self. Cryptic black words on white paper that are in-fact descriptive not of surrounding conditions, but of a style classification of the shapes that convey their meaning. New Roman Times, a bare bones poster with words only, placed simply, dovetails patly with the do it your own selves gift shop friendly Rirkrit Tiravanija, relational æsthetics work, across from the gift shop and ticket stand. Or more appropriately, the zone, blends into a com-modified space where, Fashion sensitive Stockholmers who are art enthusiasts, can screen print a text message length, saying, or status, in black, san-serif font, on a white cotton tee shirt. Visitors who can afford both the time and money to just do, a screen print and wait for it to dry and take it home, will have a blurred participatory experience via the work of Rirkrit Tiravanija, sayings such as fear eats the soul, are all artful and oh so well chosen, as if the phrases are byproduct, of focus grouping that occurred in Tiravanija's Office in Berlin, or Manhattan, on his land, the Land, in Thailand, or with his Ivy League Masters of Fine Arts students. Each of the hip and plucked statements exudes such a stayed, minimal cool, and therefore conceptual hipness, that: I have almost been converted to the brethren of an artist in residence. As a result I might have faith  that sporting one of Rirkrit Tiravanija shirts is the next must have accessory, to be hip and spoken with whilst attending the hypothetical choreographed project, taking place in some such warehouse in Redhook. A must for those desperately seeking to start an contemporary art centered conversation.  However, as art: it is super empty and flattened out, because it looks like so much other barely designed- design. The painter, Christopher Wool, should really sue Rirkrit Tiravanija, right now if he has not already commenced legal action, because this format dances so dangerously close to the territory of Wool's intellectual property(his early stencil paintings, such as, sell the car, sell the house, sell the kids, I'm not coming home). I digress, what the make them your selves T-shirts, do offer is some measure of conceptual art hipster-ism that you can wear over your torso, at a moderate price point, if you go in for that sort of a thing, showing your friends what exhibition you went to last month and all. by craniv boyd.

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