Feedback #1, Marshall McLuhan and the arts; West, The Hague

Mogens Jacobsen

The present exhibition at West, spread over both locations at Lange Voorhout and Groenewegje, looks like a first presentation of a new gallery or a new artists’ platform.

Mogens Jacobsen

Mogens Jacobsen

It doesn’t lack ambition at all and works by 15 artists and artists groups are on show.

Harun Farocki

Harun Farocki

It must have been quite an effort to give every work the space and attention it needs, even more so as most works need technology to make them work.

Angela Washko

Angela Washko

It also means there are 15 different ways of seeing, 15 different worlds for the viewer to swallow.

Disnovation

Reynold Reynolds

Reynold Reynolds

That is hardly possible on a rainy November afternoon as every feature needs attention, let alone the excess of information about Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), the inspirer of the show.

Reynold Reynolds

Thomas Bégin

Thomas Bégin

It is clear an institute like West needs another way of seeing from the viewer than an average modern art museum.

Mediengruppe Bitnik

Mediengruppe Bitnik

Wolfgang Spahn

That is all right, very good even, but a show like this awakens high expectations for the next exhibitions.

Wolfgang Spahn

Wolfgang Spahn

Wolfgang Spahn

All fifteen works bare a promise to give more, to show more, to linger more on the subject and on the world of the specific artist or artists group.

MRZB

MRZB

MRZB

All works have to do, in one way or another, with Marshall McLuhan’s ideas about media (‘the medium is the message’, remember that one?), technology and the role of the artist.

MRZB

Darsha Hewitt, Stephanie Syjuco

Darsha Hewitt, Stephanie Syjuco

Although very coherent, problem is that the show doesn’t really evoke dialogue between the works.

Darsha Hewitt

Darsha Hewit

Stephanie Syjuco

It is as if dialogue is saved for the following exhibitions.

Hito Steyerl

Hito Steyerl

Christof Migone

If that is so, expectations can’t be anything but very high.

Willy Lemaitre

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

©Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all photographs courtesy to the artists and to West, Den Haag

 

Bertus Pieters

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Skulptur Projekte, Münster (North Rhine-Westphalia); Day 2

Click here to read the review of Skulptur Projekte 2017 on Villa La Repubblica (in Dutch). Click here to see pictures of the first day of our visit to Münster on Villa Next Door.

The next morning we took a fresh look at what we still wanted to see.

As the Cherry Column by Thomas Schütte (1954) of the 1987 edition of Skulptur Projekte was round the corner we went to see that one. In the small square where Schütte’s cherries are, there is a sandpit at the moment, where children are playing in the sunshine.

En route we visited St. Lambert’s Church, originally built late 14th century and first half of the 15th century with a late 19th century neo-gothic spire.

During WWII the spire, roof and choir were damaged, but the church was reconstructed after the war in the 1950s.

From gothic and neo-gothic to a disco to celebrate German super kitsch, well, what is the difference?

Brazilian duo Bárbara Wagner (1980) and Benjamin de Búrca (1975) made a film about the German Schlager phenomenon and show it in the Elephant Lounge disco.

Empty by daytime the disco has a strangely artificial atmosphere, the kitschy atmosphere where visitors celebrate kitsch both to forget and in recognition of daily hardships.

And then, passing the originally 13th century Apostelkirche (Apostle Church) to the Theater Münster, one of the first modern theatres built in Germany after WWII, to see Matrix by Studio CAMP, about which i commented in the review at VLR.

Passing along the cathedral we had a closer look at the bronze crucifix group by Bert Gerresheim (1935) we saw the evening before.

It was erected in 2004 and has to do with the catholic history of the city, presenting historical figures of Münster.

Clearly the hanging Christ was inspired by the Isenheim Altar by Matthias Grünewald of 1515 (Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar).

Near the museum you may find a work by Richard Tuttle (1941), Art and Music I and II of the 1987 edition.

They look like apostrophes or like F-clefs and are positioned on either side of a wall.

They are in a more or less anonymous alley in the city centre.

They look very unobtrusive.

On the wall somebody tells you that pornography is violence.

On the floor there happened to be more objects that reminded me of works by Tuttle (an artist i highly esteem, by the way).

Not far away from there, on a lawn alongside the late 16th century (and partly very late gothic) Petrikirche (St. Peter’s Church), is Cut Dolomite by Ulrich Rückriem (1938) from the very first edition of Skulptur Projekte in 1977.

As usual Rückriem’s method of simply cutting and rearranging a rock never seems to fail in its monumentality.

The work easily becomes one with its environment and gives it strength.

Very near along the River Aa is a very small but wonderful work by Giovanni Anselmo (1934):

Shortened Heavens of the 1987 edition.

Verkürzter Himmel (Shortened Heavens) is engraved on top, almost defying everything over it, and bringing Heaven back to Earth, so to say.

From the same edition is The Meadow Smiles or The Face in the Wall by Harald Klingelhöller (1954) in the courtyard of the law faculty of the city’s university.

It exists of mirrors and yew trees behind it.

You may or may not think it is in the shape of a smile, but it brings a smile to anyone’s face anyway, without being explicitly humorous or hilarious.

The many-sidedness of Klingelhöller’s work may also signify a difference between the law faculty and the theology faculty where Anselmo’s work is.

Here some tourist is trying to fix me into his holiday album.

Not all art of the present edition is convincing, like this cartoon-like work by Sany (Samuel Nyholm, 1973), which seems to be funny.

Back to the museum there is a new encounter with the fine building and Rückriem’s Granite (Normandy) (1985), here in combination with Moore’s sculpture, Bonin’s and Burr’s installation and over it Gerdes’ Angst (see the report of day 1).

At the car park (we decided to take the car to see the rest) there is a fresco on a façade called 500 Jahre Kolonialisierung und Widerstand (500 Years of Colonisation and Resistance) made in the Columbus year 1992 by an untraceable Colombian artist called Saúl Gutiérrez.

I wrote in my review on VLR about this work by Schütte, which is one of my favourites.

This is not art but the air conditioning of the LBS building, but even so it’s quite impressive.

In the building Hito Steyerl (1966) presents her HellYeahWeFuckDie.

I like her essays but i haven’t been a fan of her visual art and i’m afraid this work didn’t change my mind.

Maybe it would be interesting as an illustration of an essay.

In the park nearby is the 2007 edition’s We are still and reflective by Martin Boyce (1967). Its straight lines may remind you of a jigsaw puzzle, but also of the abstracted shapes of trees.

It’s a wonderful work somewhere in between a drawing and a sculpture and it works well with the shades of trees over it.

Again, not an official work of art but under the circumstances anything may become a sculpture in Münster.

The winter sports hall with the magnificent installation (installation doesn’t seem to be the right word for this living diorama)  After ALife Ahead by Pierre Huyghe (1962) was our last stop in Münster.

I wrote extensively about it in the VLR review.

I hope to live to see the next edition of Skulptur Projekte in 2027!

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

© Villa Next Door 2017

Content of all pictures courtesy top the artists

Many thanks to Jean van Wijk and Marion de Korte.

Bertus Pieters