Zbynek Baladrán, "Models of the Universe", 2009, Courtesy: the artist
George Brecht, "Void Pebble", 1985, Courtesy: Museum Ostwall at Dortmunder U, Dortmund, © George Brecht, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016, Photo: Jürgen Spiler, Dortmund
Matthew Buckingham, "Muhheakantuck. Everything Has a Name", 2003, Courtesy: the artist, Daniel Marzona, Berlin and Murray Guy, New York
Annalisa Cannito, from "Contesting Europe Corporate Hypocrisy #2", 2015 (historical notebook (“Mare Nostrum”, Our Sea), Courtesy: the artist
Annalisa Cannito, "Life Saver", 2015, Courtesy: the artist
Annalisa Cannito, "Life Saver", 2015 (historical postcard), Courtesy: the artist
Annalisa Cannito, "Intervention in Spaces of Amnesia #2", 2015, Courtesy: the artist
Annalisa Cannito, "In the Belly of Fascism and Colonialim #2", 2015 , Courtesy: the artist
Chen Chieh-jen, "The Route", 2006, Courtesy: the artist
Tacita Dean, "The Green Ray", 2001, Courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery, Frith Street Gallery, London
Barry Flanagan, "A Hole in the Sea", 1969, Courtesy: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
Sven Johne, "Ship Cancellation", 2004, Courtesy: private collection, Berlin, © Sven Johne, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Sven Johne, "Ship Cancellation", 2004, Courtesy: private collection, Berlin, © Sven Johne, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Zoe Leonard, "August 4, frame 9", 2011–12, © the artist, Courtesy: Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
Zoe Leonard, "August 6, frame 7", 2011–12, © the artist, Courtesy: Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
Pia Linz, "Georgium, Fremdenhaus", 2014–15, Courtesy: Galerie Fahnemann, Berlin, © Pia Linz, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Pia Linz, "Schillerpromenade", 2007, Courtesy: Museum Folkwang, Essen, © Pia Linz, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Hew Locke, "Sea Power", 2014, Exhibiiton view Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Photo: Indra Khanna, Courtesy: the artist
László Moholy-Nagy, "Impressions from the Old Marseille Harbor (Vieux Port)", 1929, Courtesy: The Moholy-Nagy Foundation, © László Moholy-Nagy, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Mehreen Murtaza, from the series "The Dubious Birth of Geography", 2012, Courtesy: the artist and Grey Noise, Dubai
Mehreen Murtaza, from the series "The Dubious Birth of Geography", 2012, Courtesy: the artist and Grey Noise, Dubai
Jean Painlevé, "Hyas et sténorinques", 1928, Courtesy: Les Documents Cinématographiques, Paris

A Hole in the Sea

Courtesy (unless otherwise noted): the artists

// Zbynek Baladrán
geb. 1973 in Prag, lebt in Prag

Models of the Universe, 2009
Video essay, color, sound, 2’, loop
Zbynek Baladrán uses organizational systems, such as cards, diagrams, and formulas, which refer to the ideological agendas of all-encompassing models of the world. His video essay Models of the Universe is set up like a sketch from memory, in which he designs an exhibition as a model of the world. He always begins with the same background image, whose logical-looking geometry (midpoint, two-dimensional planes, circular segments, diagonals, et cetera) recalls the basic parameters of Euclidean space. On top of this the artist layers flow charts, organizational charts, architectural layouts, labyrinths, organic contours, the alphabet, a map of an archaeological excavation, et cetera. These, in turn, are assigned to categories, such as society, constitution, neural networks, library, or history. Each new design replaces the one before it. Thus, the video ends with the phrase, “to be continued.” In its interminability, the model of the world no longer appears as a totalitarian concept, but an endless number of variable possibilities. 

// George Brecht
born 1926 in New York City, died 2008 in Cologne

Void Pebble, 1985
Pebble stone with engraved inscription “VOID,” A 31/88, diameter 12–16 cm
Courtesy: Museum Ostwall at Dortmunder U, Dortmund
© George Brecht, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
Photo: Jürgen Spiler, Dortmund
George Brecht—one of the early, major figures in the Fluxus movement—was lastingly influenced by Zen Buddhism, and he considered his work as a research revolving around experimentation, coincidence, and paradox. In Void Pebble, the single word “void,” carved into a pebble, directly contradicts the dense mass of the stone. Density and void, material and intangible, gravity and the ephemeral, signified and signifier create an insoluble conflict in which the contradictions negate each other. Yet, the word “void” has a certain weight and significance that counteracts the stone’s small size.
A larger variation of this object was made for the Sculpture Projects 87 in Münster.

// Matthew Buckingham
geb. 1963 in Nevada, lebt in New York City

Muhheakantuck: Everything Has a Name, 2003

16mm film, sound, color, 40’, loop
Courtesy: the artist, Daniel Marzona, Berlin, and Murray Guy, New York
Two real-time aerial views of the Hudson River, one shot while flying north and the other while flying south, are continuously projected one after the other onto a low, floating screen in the exhibition space. The original color in the film is replaced by a strong magenta hue, denaturalizing the image. A voice recounts the brief but disastrous forty-year period when the Lenni-Lenape, the indigenous inhabitants of the lower Hudson River Valley, came into contact with the corporate entity of the Dutch West India Company. The Lenape called the river Muhheakantuck, translatable as “the river that flows in two directions.” Are the practices of history and cartography adequate to describe such a river and its valley, and to describe it as space and place? Muhheakantuck: Everything Has a Name juxtaposes these two related modes of representation—historical narrative and geographic mapping—and problematizes both. (Matthew Buckingham)

// Annalisa Cannito
born 1984 in Acqui Terme

Contesting Europe Corporate Hypocrisy #2, 2015
Video collage, historical notebook (“Mare Nostrum”, Our Sea")
Contesting Europe Corporate Hypocrisy #2 is a video collage of TV news gathered on the Internet. It makes clear how racist patterns of behavior and oppression in political speeches and acts are spread with the aid of the mass media, and motivates behavior to oppose this tendency. The original document belonging to this work—a notebook from the fascist era—illustrates a situation that could date from the present time: on the back of the cover we read “Mare Nostrum” (also the title of an operation by the Italian coast guard service in 2013–14), while a dramatic sea battle is depicted on the front. (Annalisa Cannito)

Life Saver, 2015
Photo documentation of a concrete sculpture with gold paint and rope; historical postcard (“L’oro alla Patria”, Gold for the Fatherland, 1935)
Life Saver consists in a gilded life-preserver made from concrete, which hangs on the wall (here presented as a photo documentation). It highlights two references, one historical and one to the present day. The historical significance is made clear by an original postcard dating from the year 1935, mounted alongside the life-preserver: “L'oro alla patria”—Gold for the Fatherland—was a slogan of Mussolini's fascist regime, introduced after the League of Nations (the predecessor organization to the UNO) had imposed economic sanctions on Italy because of its open aggression towards Ethiopia. As a high point of the campaign, on December 18, 1935 Mussolini declared the “Giornata della fede” (which has a double meaning in Italian: Day of Hope / Day of the Wedding Ring), a highly emotional, public ceremony in which gold and valuables were donated to the regime. With respect to the present, the life-preserver points to the problems of European migration policy, to serve which the defense agency Frontex carries out military operations under the guise of humanitarian interventions in the Mediterranean. (Annalisa Cannito)

Intervention in Spaces of Amnesia #2, 2015

Video projection  (The Lion of the Desert, director: Moustapha Akkad, 1981, 206’) on photograph
Intervention in Spaces of Amnesia #2 questions forms of idolizing the memory of fascist colonial criminals in today's Italy. In August 2012, in the small village of Affile near Rome, a mausoleum was built in honor of its former citizen Rodolfo Graziani, a fascist war criminal responsible for atrocities against the anti-colonial resistance in Libya and Ethiopia. Repeated protests and action have failed to bring about the closure of this mausoleum even to the present day. This work is the outcome of a double projection where the image of the mausoleum is overlaid with the projection of the film The Lion of the Desert (1981) that was censored for almost thirty years in Italy. The film realized by the Syrian-American director Moustapha Akkad visualizes not only the violence and crimes of the Italian army in Libya under Graziani's leadership from 1929–1931 but also the anti-colonial resistance, which was led for several decades by resistance fighter Omar el-Muktar. Screening of the film in Italy was banned in 1982, one year after its release: Giulio Andreotti, the prime minister at the time, justified this ban by arguing that the film constituted an insult to the Italian army. (Annalisa Cannito)

In the Belly of Fascism and Colonialism #2, 2015

Fanzine, DIN A5, 12 pages, black-and-white photocopies
Cannito’s works in this exhibition are part of an ongoing project entitled In the Belly of Fascism and Colonialism. The text published in this fanzine, which can be taken freely by the visitors, gives an insight on this research project. “My interest” as the artist writes, “is to analyze historical colonialism and fascism, with a particular reference to the Italian context, and their intersection with contemporary forms of coloniality and modes of fascistation …”.

// Chen Chieh-jen
born 1960 in Taiwan, lives in Taiwan

The Route, 2006
35mm film on DVD, black and white, silent, 16’ 45”
Commissioned by the Liverpool Biennial
During the regime of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, all British ports became privatized. Private enterprises started to employ non-union workers to replace the original workers from the unions. In September 1995, the Mersey Dock and Harbor Company unexpectedly sacked twenty Liverpool dockers. In response to this, the other 400 dockers launched a strike. This movement triggered resistance to port privatization from dockers all over the world. In September 1997, two years into the strike, scabs in Liverpool loaded cargo onto a ship called the Neptune Jade, which was bound for the Port of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay area. After the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) conveyed the news of the Neptune Jade’s arrival to dock workers in Oakland, they responded in solidarity with the Liverpool dockers, setting up a picket line of their own, and refusing to unload the ship. Afterward, dockers at the ports of Vancouver, Yokohama, and Kobe all mounted pickets to support the Liverpool dockers. Failing to unload from port to port around the world, the Neptune Jade eventually sailed to the Port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on October 17, 1997. Reportedly, the ship and its cargo were auctioned off at the Port of Kaohsiung. The dockers of Kaohsiung had never heard of the Neptune Jade incident. Neither had they had contact with organizations like the ILWU. In early August 2006, after learning of the Neptune Jade incident, the union of the Port of Kaohsiung agreed to take part in a “film action,” setting up a symbolic picket line at the harbor. The workers hope to carry on the pickets mounted by dockers all over the world and be united with them through this symbolic action aiming to confront the problem of port privatization. (Excerpt from the film The Route, 2006)

// Tacita Dean
born 1965 in Canterbury, lives in Los Angels and Berlin

The Green Ray, 2001
16mm film, color, silent, 2’ 30”, loop
Courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery, Frith Street Gallery, London
With The Green Ray Tacita Dean moves toward the limitations of both immediate and media-mediated perception. The starting point is an extremely rare natural phenomenon that can only be observed in a few places on Earth and is technically difficult to record—the so-called green flash, or ray. “Green ray” describes that moment, just before the sun sinks below the ocean’s horizon, when the sun glows green for a few seconds, owing to certain light refractions.
Using a 16-mm camera, the artist tracked this phenomenon along the coast of Madagascar. Day after day, she and a few other people observed the sunset. Finally, Dean thought she had seen the green flash, which, however, proved not to be the case when they saw the video recordings by her colleagues, which captured nothing. It wasn’t until Dean developed the 16-mm film that she realized that she probably had seen the green ray. “So looking for the green ray”, as Dean writes, “became about the act of looking itself, about faith and belief in what you see. This film is a document; it has become about the very fabric, material and manufacture of film itself.“

// Barry Flanagan
born 1941 in Wales, died 2009 in Ibiza

A Hole in the Sea, 1969
Video of a land art action in the context of Gerry Schum’s Fernsehgalerie
(Land Art. Fernsehausstellung I with Richard Long, Barry Flanagan, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Smithson, Marinus Boezem, Jan Dibbets, and Walter de Maria)
Courtesy: Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
In 1969, the British conceptual artist Barry Flanagan made a hole in the sea for Gerry Schum’s Fernsehgalerie (TV Gallery). At low tide, he installed a Plexiglas cylinder in a tidal mud flat, which he then filmed from above as the tide came in. For a brief instant, a hole in the sea emerged—before disappearing again in the swirling torrent of water.

// Sven Johne
born 1976 in Bergen on Rügen Island, lives in Berlin

Ship Cancellation, 2004
Series of five color photographs, 100 x 150 cm each, framed, screenprint on glass
Courtesy: private collection, Berlin
© Sven Johne, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
The series combines different photographs of oceans along with reports of maritime accidents that occurred between 1823 and 2000 in various places around the world. Texts on the glass of the frames provide—parallel to the horizon line—the names of the ships and the exact sites where they met with disaster. Each one also includes at the right part of the photograph some brief information about the type of ship, the probable cause of the accident, and an eyewitness report. On one hand, the texts read like success stories about shipbuilding, ranging from the first steamer to cross the Atlantic, to increasingly bigger container ships with greater capacities and complicated electronics. On the other, these success stories stand in stark contrast to the tales of sinking ships. It seems as if the new technic itself—due to technical failure—always leads to the catastrophe: accelerate steam-engines that overheat; unsecured cranes; containers whose weight causes problems to maneuver the ship, or electronic disturbance of sophisticates navigation system.
Whether the pictures actually depict the sites where the accidents occurred remains an open-ended question, as does the issue of whether they are dealing with real or fictional narratives.

// Zoe Leonard
born 1961 in Liberty, New York, lives in New York City

Photo series
August 4, frame 9, 2011–12
Silver-gelatin print, 60.3 x 23.8 cm, 1/6
August 6, frame 7, 2011–12
Silver-gelatin print, 60.3 x 85.7 cm, 1/6
August 6, frame 19, 2011–12
Silver-gelatin print, 69,5 x 49,2 cm, 1/6
August 6, frame 32, 2011–12
Silver-gelatin print, 50.8 x 72.4 cm, 1/6
December 3, frame 3, 2011–12
Silver-gelatin print, 77 x 62.8 cm, 1/6
January 27, frame 8, 2012
Silver-gelatin print, 92.7 x 75.9 cm, 1/6
February 27, frame 11, 2012
Silver-gelatin print, 34 x 48.2 cm, 1/6
February 27, frame 17, 2012
Silver-gelatin print, 27 x 19 cm, 1/6
February 27, frame 25, 2012
Silver-gelatin print, 35.3 x 24.7 cm, 1/6
All: © the artist, Courtesy: Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
Breaking all rules of photography, Zoe Leonard attempted to photograph the sun for this series. She pushes the limits of what can be done with a camera or can be seen with the naked eye—since it’s common knowledge that it’s not advisable to look directly at the sun. In each of the nearly monochromatic, white photographs, the sun is barely discernable. Some of the white dots seem to come from specks of dust, rather than this particular heavenly body. “I’m interested”, as Leonard writes, “in the abstract possibilities of photography. By choosing a subject which is impossible to depict, I’m exploring a way of depicting sight, experience, and the actual process of perception.“

// Pia Linz
born 1964 in Kronberg, lives in Berlin

Georgium, Fremdenhaus, 2014–15
Pencil on paper, 114 x 81 cm
Courtesy: Galerie Fahnemann, Berlin

Schillerpromenade, 2007
Detailed study, pencil on paper, 59.4 x 42 cm
Courtesy: Dr. Glasser

Schillerpromenade, 2007–10
Pencil on paper, 140.5 x 280 cm
Courtesy: Museum Folkwang, Essen

All: © Pia Linz, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
In a radical manner, Pia Linz’s meticulously produced, multiperspectival environment studies deconstruct the usual order of cartography. Besides drawings that capture space in its multiple views, her works include parameters such as footstep scales or notes related to noises, situations, conversations, and other things that she has observed during the working process. The artist writes about her way of working: “First, I measure the whole territory with footsteps and work out, on large-scale paper with the aid of a developed footstep scale, an exact plan. On transportable fragments of the map, I note my observations with precision directly on the spot . . . Lastly, I transfer the detail studies into the unity of the large-scale drawing, which contains the footstep scale. While the countless pedestrian perspectives melt into a kind of bird’s-eye view, the park landscape is transformed into a floating monad, which is still connected to the footstep scale only by fine lines.”

// Hew Locke
born 1959 in Edinburgh, lives in London

Sea Power, 2014
Wall piece: cord, plastic beads, hot glue, dimensions variable
Commissioned by the Kochi-Muziris Biennale
Sea Power, a multipart work commissioned by the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India, is made from cord and plastic beads glued directly onto the wall. As the artist writes: “The images are frayed and broken as if through age, patched up . . . The mythological look of the piece, like in all my work, is directly inspired by my childhood in Guyana, South America. Here, narrative folk tales are an important part of the culture. I have fused these memories with historical and contemporary references. The imagery draws on many sources, including Roman statuary, European prints of foreign trading posts, and maritime charts . . .  One of the ships depicted is Vasco da Gama’s ship the St. Gabriel. Vasco da Gama was a Portuguese explorer who was the first European to reach India by sea, in 1499. Da Gama’s voyage was significant and opened the way for an age of global imperialism and for the Portuguese to establish a long-lasting colonial empire in Asia.” The pipe smoker that stems from a view of the city of Cochin, Malabar, by Pieter van der Aa “refers to the Dutch East India Company’s opium monopoly. Later, opium was grown in India by the British and traded in China—leading to the Opium Wars of the mid-19th century.” (Hew Locke).

// László Moholy-Nagy
born 1895 in Bácsborsód, Hungary, died 1945 in Chicago

Impressions from the Old Marseille Harbor (Vieux Port), 1929
35mm film on DVD, black and white, silent, 9’
Courtesy: The Moholy-Nagy Foundation
© László Moholy-Nagy, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
In the summer of 1929 the Hungarian painter, photographer, typographer, and theatrical set designer László Moholy-Nagy made his first film, documenting the old harbor of Marseille. The short film begins with a hole cut into a map of Marseille exactly where the city district surrounding the old harbor would otherwise be located. The montage suggests that the reality of the film replaces the spot on the abstract map. The camera observes the urban bustle: traffic, trade, work, and leisure. As early as 1900, Marseille, a place that signifies the yearning for the south, had become a setting favored by early filmmakers. Moholy-Nagy’s film stands out, because it doesn’t aim to portray exotic clichés, but instead links the signs and symbols of modern urban characteristics with the miseries of industrialization. One of the major emblems of Modernism, aside from automobiles and streetcars, is the cantilevered transporter bridge, the Pont Transbordeur, a monumental steel structure with a gondola, erected in 1905 and destroyed by German soldiers in the 1940s. In contrast to the images of technological progress are photographs that focus on the filth of the poverty-stricken district and its lack of infrastructure.

// Mehreen Murtaza
born 1986 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, lives in Lahore, Pakistan

The Dubious Birth of Geography, 2012
Series of fifteen montages based on historical photographs
Courtesy: the artist and Grey Noise, Dubai
The Dubious Birth of Geography is a series of fifteen digital prints based on historical photographs that the artist found on the Internet and digitally processed. The motifs refer to geopolitical shifts, along with ethnic and religious conflicts in the Middle East and Africa— especially those that occurred in the wake of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire between 1917 and 1922—as well as the consequences of European colonialism and fascism.
The artist added foreign objects, most of which resemble fragments of landscapes, to the photographs; this lends a surreal quality to the documentary photographs. An aerial photograph from 1930 of Lake Chad—which borders the African nations of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, and today represents a series of ecological problems and geo-political conflicts—has been edited so that it now features a paradoxical hole.
Another photograph, taken during the second Zionist Congress in 1898, was given an early map of the world dominated by the Arabian region, which opposes today’s cartographic arrangement. The globe conceals the congress’s protagonist: the speaker and founder of modern Zionism Theodor Herzl.
The historical contexts behind these montages range from the late nineteenth century to the 1930s. They refer to contested territories, such as the Suez Canal, the Gaza Strip, or Jerusalem, or to events such as the massacre of Adana, where the Turkish government murdered around twenty thousand Armenians in 1909, during the period preceding the huge Armenian genocide.
Figures such as Orson Welles appear, whose 1938 radio play based on H. G. Wells’ famous book, War of the Worlds (an allusion to the colonialism of the British Empire), caused a great uproar; another figure is the Swiss paleontologist Amanz Gressly, who, in the late nineteenth century, invented modern stratigraphy, a method for dating sedimentary rock that contains fossils.
Another montage refers to the creation of Tel Aviv in 1909, during the second Aliyah (the immigration of Jews to the Land of Palestine, resp. Israel), when it first emerged as a suburb of the harbor city of Jaffa, named after a piece of writing by Theodor Herzl. It’s based on a photograph from 1911, featuring ships waiting to land people in the harbor at Jaffa.
Another picture from the series refers to the battles over who would have hegemony over the Sinai peninsula; these were fought between British and Ottoman armed forces on the so-called Palestine Front, one of the regions of conflict during World War I. The picture is of Turkish photographers who are documenting the so-called Affair of Huj, a battle for Gaza in November 1917. The British emerged as the victors, and shortly afterward they took both Jaffa and Jerusalem.
Yet another photograph dating from 1917 alludes to the Ottoman Empire’s loss of Jerusalem. As the visual commentary suggests, it proves how the Turks hoisted their flag for the last time during the religious ceremonies in Nabi Musa—one of the most important Islamic pilgrimage sites, where the grave of Moses is said to be located.
Another picture documents the 1936 arrival of the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, as he enters into exile in Jerusalem (a British Mandated territory) after Mussolini annexed Ethiopia as an Italian province. There is also another picture of the Ethiopian ruler, under his royal name, Lij-a Ras Tafari Makonnen, from whence the Rastafarian movement also derived its name.

// Jean Painlevé
born 1902 in Paris, died 1989 in Paris

Hyas et sténorinques (Spider Crabs and Macropodia), 1928
35mm film on DVD, black and white, sound, 9’, music: Frédéric Chopin
Courtesy: Les Documents Cinématographiques, Paris

Les Amours de la pieuvre (The Love Life of the Octopus), 1965
35mm film on DVD, color, sound, 13’
Direction: Jean Painlevé, Geneviève Hamon; music: Pierre Henry
Courtesy: Les Documents Cinématographiques, Paris
The French marine biologist and documentary filmmaker Jean Painlevé, who developed a technique for filming underwater in the 1920s, combined scientific and aesthetic methods in special ways. He translated his motto, la science est fiction (“science is fiction”), into around two hundred films, most of which were distributed as educational films, but were nonetheless strongly influenced by avant-garde art experiments and the aesthetic vocabulary of Surrealism. His precise underwater photography is underscored by suggestive music by composers ranging from Frédéric Chopin to Louis Armstrong. Despite their pedagogical function, also time-lapse photography and voiceovers serve to dramatize and fictionalize the documentation. The bizarre creatures of the undersea world seem less like dangerous monsters than sublime creatures engaged in mysterious underwater choreography. Often, the animals are also anthropomorphized. 

// Lisa Rave
born 1979 in Guildford, lives in Berlin

Europium, 2014

Video, HD, 30’, director: Lisa Rave, script: Lisa Rave, Erik Blinderman
© Lisa Rave, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016
What does the magical spiritualism of indigenous peoples have to do with the profane, everydayness of digital flat screens? And what connects Tabu shell money with European currency? Using various levels of imagery, the essay film Europium draws connections between Papua New Guinea’s colonial past and the planned excavation of raw materials from the Bismarck Sea. The film weaves a narrative around the rare earth element europium. Named after the European continent, the material is culled from the ocean floor to ensure brilliant color images on smartphone displays and other flat screens. Of course it is also sought for its fluorescent property, which is used to guarantee the authenticity of euro banknotes. The film describes this seemingly mundane fact as a return and repetition of history, not only pointing to the complexity of human culture, its economies and systems of exchange, but also exposing the invisible ghosts of the past as they appear in the modern objects of our lives. (Philipp Kleinmichel)

// Julia Rometti & Victor Costales
J.R.: born 1975 in Nice; V.C.: born 1974 in Minsk, live in Mexico City; working together since 2007

The Savagery of the Inconstant Stones, 2013
Double slide projection, 162 slides
Courtesy: the artists and galerie Jousse Entreprise, Paris
The slide projections are portraits of crystallized volcanic rock from the province of Cotopaxi in Ecuador. The two projections are not synchronized, resulting in continuously new and different constellations of rocks. Rometti and Costales, who study the discourses of anthropology, natural science, and cultural theory, are interested in multi-perspectival approaches and “controlled ambiguity,” as the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro called it.

// Quinn Latimer
born 1978 in the USA, lives in Basel and Athens

A Stone for Victor and Julia (and Its Shadow), 2013
Digital Print
A poetically designed text on the work The Savagery of the Inconstant by Julia Rometti and Victor Costales.

// Cristian Rusu
born 1972 in Cluj, lives in Cluj

The Alpine Project, 2007–2015
Model, series of six collages
Courtesy: Plan B, Cluj and Berlin
Cristian Rusu’s The Alpine Project devises an open utopian urban space that connects totalitarian, imaginary, and subversive spatial concepts. “One could imagine a route through my proposed spatial design, encountering monumental gates, squares, columns, and a triumphal arch, to reach, finally the mountain’s arena. The final goal is the collective admiration of the mountain (one of the the symbols of sublime), which means offering the experience of the sublime for everyone. In The Alpine Project, I question my cultural references and research on modernism—which still acts like a global utopian project that already generated by default its projects and aesthetics, like new experimental artistic languages, political systems, visual propaganda of any kind, et cetera. The idea of utopian monumentality as such, containing zero ideology and taken out of the zeitgeist, still works as a method of reshaping both culture and nature. But reinforced with a suggestion that could spring from totalitarian aesthetics, it turns to be a more powerful way to experience the (collective) sublime.” (Cristian Rusu)

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