Tag Archives: Contemporary Art

Absalon bei Kunst-Werke Berlin


In his interview with the Ecole Nationale Superierure des Beaux-arts (Paris Academy of the Fine Arts) the artist Absalon refers to himself as an architect aspiring to “close the gap between his thoughts and his life”. The embodiment of these aspirations are his houses, or Cells, which are indeed the center pieces of the exhibition presented by the Kunst Werke Institution of Contemporary Art in Berlin. The exhibition is the most thorough presentation of Absalon’s art to date, and covers nearly his entire body of work.

Before his untimely death in Oct. 1993 due to AIDS, Absalon was realizing his most ambitious project in which six Cells of his design were to be installed in six different cities (Paris, Zürich, Frankfurt, New York, Tel Aviv, Tokyo) where the artist would then live in them for an extended period of time.

 

At first glance Absalon’s white Cells look as if they are an ultra-modern housing development from Apple Computers, but are built with the wisdom of antiquity by using measurements taken from the artists own body. Absalon painstakingly took measurements of his height, arm span, and shoulder width to serve a minimalist form and function. In addition, the houses are built for specific sties in each city, yet emphasize a complete cultural disconnect with their surroundings.

Absalon’s houses are “in no way utopian”, and are minimal to the point of playful discomfort. Once inside, one does not always have the ability to stand up straight. The rooms afford only enough room to serve basic single functions, and are intended to demonstrate how we can learn to live with discomfort through custom or routine. The Cells were originally intended to be left unkempt after fulfilling their use, making their preservation an otherworldly monument to life.

 

After viewing the entire exhibition one can see the close attention Absalon pays to process, in how he brings his Cells to life from sketch, to scale model, and finally full scale construction. The installation of sculptures on the second and third floors bear resemblance to his scale models, as if he always had something larger and more prolific in mind.

Here is a great link to a video of the exhibition and interview (Deutsch) with the director of Kunst-Werke Berlin, Susanne Pfeffer.

http://www.art-in-berlin.de/incbmeldvideo.php?id=2022

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Knight Performance

As Times get tough here in Berlin one has to take whatever job comes their way. Last weekend, as a part of Gallery Weekend Berlin, I was asked to play a part in a performance by the Italian artist Pietro Roccasalva at Johnen Gallery.

When I asked if the gallery still needed people for the performance (at which point I had no idea what I would have to do) they said, “Yeah, it involves painting using a spray gun.”  Sounded simple enough, “How tall are you?” There was a follow up call to double check my height. When I got there I was taken to the room where the performance was going to be, and looked down on the floor to see full sized plastic knight armor laid out. “What’s that for?”, I asked. I looked back at the gallery director to see a finger pointing at me.

Laugh track.

So I tried the suit on. Felt good, felt real good. Then I had to try it out with the spray gun. “You’re really good with that! Could you go a little slower?” Little did they know that I had experience with a spray gun. The last detail was that I had to spray another knight while he was spray painting me.

Roll the tape.

Notice how there is no armor covering the butt.

If I were to then do paintings of these photos, would that be considered self-referential? I’m the one on the left, by the way.

There were two performances. One on Friday night, and the other on the following Saturday afternoon. The performance took, from head to toe, one hour to complete. These photos were taken, as always, by Nick Simpson on the Saturday performance. Hopefully I can get some photos from the opening. That was only the first gallery I went to that night.

Buda

I finally got some decent pictures from the exhibition in Budapest. The cars look great, and Hajnal will have them on display at the Kiscelli Museum until the and of May. All in all, it was a great trip and I really love the city.

The room where the full size car is installed is HUGE. It used to be a cathedral and the sound is amazing. It was great to finally see the car I was modelling in real life! I think I did okay working just from photos, but mine turned out to be a little more sporty than the real life version.

It snowed on the day of the exhibition, but we spent most of the day at the outdoor thermal baths with little snow flakes falling on our heads and creating a massive fog cloud over the pool. That was a great day. The picture really doesn’t do a justice, but here’s one.

Just imagine looking for your girlfriend in the fog, and getting a big handful of fat hairy Hungarian man instead… “Hellllooo you…OH GOD! I mean, excuse me!”

The End

Giessen, Schleifen, Sprühen

The finishing touches.

DONE.

The exhibition is tomorrow night at the Kiscelli Museum in the Buda side of town. The space is huge, and I will have photos of the final installation soon.

Many thanks to Hajnal Nemeth for giving me the opportunity to collaborate on this project, and organizing such a great show!

Mold Makin’

Now that the silicone is done, and the plaster has been divided into workable parts (Mother-Mold = Schutzform), it’s time to get casting (cast = Abguss)! This thing is turning out to be a beast. I will need another set of hands to make the cast.

Photos by Nick

Done, Finished, Finito.

I think I told myself that the model was done three times. The third time was after these photos were taken, so it looks even a little different still. At this point in the process I am making the silicone mold, and it is covered in silicone. Unfortunately, my main man Nicky Luv is off partying in Portugal, so I have no photos of one of the mold crucial parts of this whole thing. I’ll get a shot of the mold, but for now, here what done–and then finished looks like.

Excellent Photography by Nick Simpson <—check out his new Photos of the canals in Berlin frozen over!