Dissent Without Modification, Grace Ndiritu

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, writing on June 16th, 2021
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Dissent Without Modification (Bergen Kunsthall), written by Grace Ndiritu, is a research book composed of interviews with radical and progressive artists and thinkers, who started their education and careers in the 1990s. Some are well-known, some are not. They are African, European, and American women working as painters, photographers, performers, hackers, activists and educators, among other roles such as Lisha Sterling, Monster Chetwynd and Kathrin Böhm.

What connects these brilliant women together, now in their late thirties, mid forties, early fifties and sixties; is that the decade of the 1990s had a culturally significant impact on their politics, career and personal life choices. The decade represented a creative coming of age for them all and their lives changed forever. The consequences of those changes are still reflected in their distinctive thoughts and practices today.

The long format interviews that comprise Dissent Without Modification are casual, meandering, philosophical conversations with a wide ranging appeal. Each person’s character is slowly revealed within a backdrop of humour, while touching on many serious universal and global subjects. Topics include pedagogy, race relations, neo-paganism, sexual violence, class warfare, interracial marriage, ecological feminism, contemporary slavery, activism, extreme tourism, African politics, terrorist practice in Western democratic states, and much more.

Dissent Without Modification illuminates the 1990s in a new way, and regards it as a pivotal point in the lineage of today’s grass-roots politics and cultural ferment. on show. The book recalls the Seattle Riots against the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement; the recent televisual phenomenon Catfish recalling MTV’s Real World and the spread of the Occupy movement and the birth of Black Lives Matter through the recent Ferguson and Missouri uprisings. Dissent Without Modification offers first-hand perspectives on the 1990s as the decade “when shit went bad and which we never recovered from,” – to quote Hank Moody, the cantankerous main character of Californication, cult TV show.

At last in Dissent Without Modification Grace Ndiritu takes readers on a circular, revealing expedition into the recent past, sharing its impact with a new generation of readers.

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Liban, Yan Morvan

Posted in Artist Book, books, photography on June 14th, 2021
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If you think you have understood the wars in Lebanon, you can certainly say that you have not understood anything. Recalling that the territory is smaller than the Ile-de-France will give a framework, a space wedged between Israel and Syria. Abandoned by the French to the Christians with the injunction to tolerate the Muslim communities, in exchange for which the country will experience an economic golden age. Then comes the geopolitical stratum, the Palestinian camps in Jordan, a real state within a state, which after Black September will cause an influx of 400 000 refugees on Lebanese soil. The support for the cause of the fedayeen by communist and socialist organisations, which saw a mixture of community, clan, religious and ideological conflicts. To this we must add the numerous foreign hands, even countless, the Cold War and decolonization, more than elsewhere the interests are complex. Then, above all, there are the people and the worst kind of war, the fraternal one, which knows no limits, the civil war. Revenge becomes the systematic operating mode, one-upmanship the rule, pride and dignity the basis of a moral code. Whoever claims to be strong enough to propose peace is murdered. By whom? For what? Everything becomes blurred. Everything is subdivided. The factional war. The Lebanon wars.

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The Text, Nora Amin

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, writing on June 13th, 2021
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In her long poem “The Text”, Nora Amin uses a surrealistic form of poetic writing to deconstruct gender roles, sexual trauma and patriarchal authority, while composing a humane story of creation.

This book is the result of a collaboration between Amin, the visual artist Katharina Marszewski, and the graphic design studio Eps51. Marszewski responded to “The Text” by creating cryptic drawings that reveal the movements central to Amin’s choreographic poetry. Bilingual script and artwork interpenetrate in Eps51’s unique design, which allows readers to determine the reading direction of the book, depending on their preferred language (Arabic / English).

“The Text” is accompanied by an afterword by Christian Junge, scholar of Arabic literature.

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Earth Café, Claire Hungerford

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, writing on June 12th, 2021
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Earth Café is an interactive culinary flipbook for all ages. The book invites the reader to scramble and rearrange dishes from around the world, revealing an expansive* glossary of invented culinary creations. It offers a new knowledge of food: its locality, substances, accidents and boundaries are suddenly as fluid as the imagination itself.

The 35 dishes that make up the book– chimichurri, hamburger, chorizo, spumoni, etc.– are sourced from around the world and defined (using words and images) in very simple terms. Most typically, an adjective or flavor + a predominant ingredient + a category of dish.

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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COCK IN THE WORLD, Javier Lozano

Posted in art, Artist Book, drawing on May 31st, 2021
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170 drawings of the same beautiful cock

What’s wrong with a cock? Nothing at all.
Even less if it is the most beautiful cock in the world,
because a cock doesn’t mean anything but itself:
source of life, source of pleasure.

The life drawings in this book,
made with delight and admiration,
claim to pay tribute to
the most beautiful cock in the world.

December 2020
Edition of 300

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German Balcony, Chen Haishu

Posted in art, Artist Book, photography on May 10th, 2021
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In the summer of 2017, Chen Haishu and his wife moved to Nordstadt District of Karlsruhe, Germany. The building they live, along with the 50 surrounding buildings with almost the same appearance, belonged to Paul Revere Village, the new military base of the U.S. Army in Karlsruhe after the Second World War. Like other U.S. military bases in Germany, Paul Revere Village is well-equipped and self-contained, like a “small American”. The American troops stationed here had influenced the local German society in different aspects. The changes in the international situation also affected the relationship between the U.S. military in Germany and the German natives. After the end of the Cold War, the American troops withdrew from Karlsruhe and handed over the barracks, together with their supporting facilities – the military airport, schools and other infrastructure to Germany. This area was subsequently converted into a new urban district. The buildings of barracks were expanded, added with extra storeys and equipped with balconies, becoming residential buildings for civilians; the airport was set as a nature reserve. Although the U.S. military has completely withdrawn, its influence on German society for 50 years did not dissipate.

As new residents, Chen and his family experienced and practiced the functional transformation of living space and urban space through their own residence. In the project “German Balcony”, Chen documents the daily life of the area while looking for the material about the U.S. military in Karlsruhe from the local archive, and combines them together. Under different historical conditions, the coexistence of different groups and cultures faces similar or divergent difficulties. In this way, the work blurs the boundaries between the past and the present, public and private, and shows how the current daily life can be re-expanded in this historical relic to create new collective memories.

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Echos, Marion Tampon-Lajarriette

Posted in Artist Book, exhibition catalogue on April 20th, 2021
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This book was published on the occasion of the exhibition “Echos” at Fondazione d’Arte Erich Lindenberg, Museo Villa Pia, Porza – 27 October 2019 — 5 April 2020.

Fondazione d’Arte Erich Lindenberg is pleased to present Marion Tampon-Lajarriette, a French artist who explores the borders of memory and imagination, often referring to and using materials coming from the history of cinema, science and art. At Museo Villa Pia, Marion Tampon-Lajarriette has shown a selection of works from the past ten years, dating back to her arrival in Switzerland, in Geneva. Through video works created from 2D images, installations and furtive shots taken from performances, Marion transforms her love for cultural heritage, both old and contemporary, into a vision that verges on the fantastic, creating suspended atmospheres, between real and imaginary dimensions.

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An Elaborate Gesture of Pastness: Three Films by Dani Gal – Motto Books; Blood Mountain Projects

Posted in art, Artist Book, books, Motto Books on April 10th, 2021
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The publication delves into Dani Gal’s trilogy produced between 2011 and 2018. Each film approaches the complexities of historical accounts between ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’ in the context of German, Jewish and Arab histories from a different ‘blind spot’ in historical knowledge. Cinematic tools are applied to illuminate and stage these undocumented aspects of real historical events.

Contributions from Sabeth Buchmann, Burcu Dogramaci, Noit Banai and Sa’ed Atshan are accompanied by visual and literary material and references from Gal’s extensive research practice.

Night and Fog (2011) is a re-enactment of the night of 31 May 1962, based on an interview Gal made with Michael Goldman-Gilad, a Holocaust survivor and Israeli police officer, who had undertaken the secret mission of scattering the ashes of Adolf Eichmann into the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea after he was captured in Argentina and brought to trial and executed in Israel.

As from Afar (2013) is a fictionalised account of a meeting between Simon Wiesenthal, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to bring Nazi criminals to justice, and Albert Speer, the chief architect of the Third Reich, using the letters they exchanged throughout the 1970s as a basis for the dialogue.

White City (2018) revolves around the complex character of Arthur Ruppin, a German Jew and one of the founders of the Zionist Settlement who promoted co-existence with the Palestinians before the establishment of the State of Israel; the film traces his visit to the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart, and his 1933 meeting with Hans F. K. Günther, the leading German eugenicist of the time who became a major influence on National Socialist race theory.

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Dancing in Connewitz, Peter Woelck

Posted in art, Artist Book, books on March 30th, 2021
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After studying photography at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig, Peter Woelck worked as a professional photographer in the GDR for various companies and magazines. Moreover, he independently created a vast amount of artistic works, especially in the field of portrait and architectural photography. Photographs of the construction of the Berlin Television Tower, cityscapes of Leipzig, and intense portraits from the 60s through the 80s document how life used to be in a country that no longer exists. On the other hand, there are photographs from the post-reunification period, during which Woelck repeatedly tried to establish himself as a freelance advertising photographer. Thus, the pictures also tell of a break in the photographer’s biography, the kind of experience that affected many people of his generation.
The book documents the attempt to bring the eclectic diversity of the archive into a sequence of images that does not strive for a photo-historical classification but rather allows a specific and subjective narration to emerge from today’s perspective.

The book includes texts by Wilhelm Klotzek, Woelck’s son, who not only co-manages the estate in collaboration with the Laura Mars Gallery but also artistically deals with the legacy, by writer and publicist Peter Richter, and by curator Bettina Klein.

“Dancing in Connewitz” was published in 2014 on the occasion of a second exhibition of Peter Woelck’s photographs, “PeWo’s Bericht zur Lage der Jugend” (Laura Mars Gallery, Berlin), and was supported by the Stiftung Kunstfonds with funds from VG Bild-Kunst.

 

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Theodora Allen: Saturnine, Stephanie Cristello (Ed.)

Posted in Artist Book, books, Motto Books on March 19th, 2021
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Published by Motto Books

Catalogue of Theodora Allen’s solo exhibition Saturnine
Kunsthal Aarhus
14.05–18.07.2021

On a summer evening in July 1610, under the humid Padua sky, Galileo peered through his crude telescope to discover the rings of Saturn, the furthest planet then known. While Galileo set his sight on Saturn, it came into view slowly. Ancient Greek and Roman theory, and later medieval psychology, had correlated four planets with each of the elements and temporal ‘humours’; Jupiter’s persuasion prevailed in the blood and affected a sanguine nature; Mars ruled aggression; the moon was cause for an apathetic disposition. The fourth and final humour, inspired by ringed Saturn, was responsible for melancholy. It is for this reason we have the term ‘saturnine’ to describe sadness. The sight of Saturn is one of sorrow.

Kunsthal Aarhus presents Saturnine, the first institutional solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Theodora Allen. Interweaving the artist’s emblematic use of symbols, the exhibition engages with a history of Saturn, the celestial body said to have been the cause of a melancholic disposition – from ancient myth and the Middle Ages through to the present. At times appearing as itself, a large ringed orb, and at others as affect, the figure of the planet joins Allen’s representations of recurrent motifs that are informed by cultural and emotional influence.

Alongside Saturn, depictions of markers such as serpents, wildfires, moths, hourglasses and hallucinogenic plants present a language that is seen rather than uttered. Within the emblematic tradition – a form positioned squarely between visual arts and literature, grappling equally with both image and text – Allen’s compositions exist as propositions of impossibilities. As concepts, they transport the viewer elsewhere: into different times, different narratives. Steeped in mythmaking and iconography, the paintings are resonant with the visionary work of poets and painters in early Symbolist graphic arts, as well as resurgences of this aesthetic in the zeitgeist of 1970s California, addressing cyclical, enduring themes of human versus nature that withstand in our contemporary moment.

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