modernism

  • 15.09.2010. - 17.10.2010.

    White, Yellow, Blue, and Black, one Coincidence, and one Object


    Artists: Ryan Barone , Charles Broskoski, Reynald Drouhin, Michael Kargl – aka carlos katastrofsky, Jan Robert Leegte, UBERMORGEN.com

    Curated by Birgit Rinagl, Franz Thalmair; CONT3XT. NET

    — [...] Then even your Abstract Paintings should convey a content? — Yes. —
    They’re not the negation of content, not simply the facticity of painting, not an
    ironic paraphrase of contemporary expressionism? — No. — Not a perversion of
    gestural abstraction? Not ironic? — Never! What sort of things are you asking?
    (Gerhard Richter, interviewed by Benjamin Buchloh)


    A reduction of structure, material, and space; if colour articulates itself,
    independently of interpretation or context—does that make it autonomous?
    Monochromacity has been considered the most essential form of abstraction,
    having provided a source of inspiration for non-figurative and nonrepresentational
    tendencies in contemporary art, these ideas need to be taken
    still further in the age of digital images. The notion of a pure medium proposed
    by twentieth-century modernism with its ideals of autonomy is increasingly being
    pushed aside by mixed media approaches: In this post-medium condition,
    however, the autonomous realms of the world of technical devices and the
    intrinsic characteristics of the world of media retain their relevance. In fact, the
    specificity and autonomy of media is growing ever more differentiated.
    [1] How
    does the media quality of a digital image determine its appearance? If the
    Internet is used as a tool for communicating artistic expression, how does that
    relate to the history of art? Which ways of reading the Internet have users
    developed?
    These questions point to the fact that reflecting on this condition
    is not an end in itself, but at best an intrinsic and obvious undertaking.
    [2]

    The exhibition White, Yellow, Blue, and Black, one Coincidence, and one Object
    presents eight international positions in Internet-based art that embrace
    monochromacity as a formal principle without clinging to the ideological aims
    of earlier artistic avant-gardes. The works on display implicitly address the
    deconstruction of the digital image via text (code) and explicitly ask whether, in
    the face of the present image overload, there are ways of escaping the so-called
    crisis of representation. It is therefore possible to read these abstract works of
    art as art about abstract art. Other than with the presentational medium of
    monochrome painting, their two-dimensionality, [3] which is limited by the
    browser and restricted to the screen, is not accepted as the boundary of the
    work. On the contrary, the exhibition encourages viewers to pursue the art into
    the world outside and to leave the exhibition in order to explore other contexts.
    This reference to the sociocultural context and the viewers’ response defines the
    exhibition’s political dimension. The focus is on the material, which is not solely
    necessary for the existence of these works but forms a complex system of
    implications and references to media and society. Between iconoclasm and
    image overload, autonomy and new forms of representation, the digital image
    needs to find a new position.
    It does so by reflecting upon itself and thus
    pointing to things other than itself.

    The exhibition White, Yellow, Blue, and Black, one Coincidence, and one Object
    addresses the conditions determining both the form and content of monochrome
    art works. The interaction between these closely linked levels is revealed in
    a mutual tension that arises when representing and represented, material and
    meaning come under scrutiny. Form does not become transparent with regard to
    content. On the contrary, when art is viewed it becomes unclear what the
    content is and what the object of representation is.
    [4] In the viewers’
    perception this results in an oscillation between artwork, exhibition display, and
    media references, the political dimensions of which unfold in the etheric realm
    of the space–time continuum. It is this tension arising between art and politics,
    with neither of the two representing or instrumentalizing the other, that it is
    possible for art to become political. For art to develop a political dimension it is
    therefore necessary to approach the sensory world or the arrangement of the
    original material in a way that is different from what traditional political
    categories would appear to suggest.
    [5]—Autonomy could therefore be said to
    arise from the Here and Now when art is viewed.

    In this context, The White Website (2002) and The Black Website (2002) by
    UBERMORGEN.com carry modernist trends into a digital environment: the artist
    duo has set up websites with white and black monochrome surfaces. An
    accompanying essay by Hans Ulrich Obrist puts into words what the art shows
    on the screen: To be able to maintain its significance up against the sciences
    and their picture-producing procedures, art must look for a position beyond the
    crisis of representation and beyond the image wars straight into the blind spaces
    of the black black and the white.


    Referring to Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square (1913) and his white square
    (Suprematist Composition: White on White, 1918) Michael Kargl applies
    reductionist forms to the phenomenon of obsession with science and technology:
    his webzen (2009) not only points to Nam June Paik, one of the originators of
    media art, but also paraphrases spiritually motivated strategies, which are
    mediated in the programming code on which the work is based. Charles
    Broskoski
    , in turn, uses auto-generation to transform his personal reflections on
    opportunities for collaborating on the Internet into a collective, participatory
    process: Let’s Turn This Fucking Website Yellow.com (2007–2008) is the title of
    his website and also a clear instruction on what is to be done to turn a black
    monochrome surface into a yellow one. The responsibility in this time-based
    process lies entirely within the network.

    For Blue Monochrome .com (2008), Jan Robert Leegte articulates his critique of
    representation by drawing on the abundant freely available images on the World
    Wide Web. A simple zoom on the Pacific Ocean through Google Earth not only
    yields a view of a readymade—the blue, relief-like surface of the water—but also
    permits an insight into the economics of contemporary information hierarchies.
    The colour blue, that is, the colour clearly identified in art history and colour
    technology as International Klein Blue, is also the point of departure for Ryan
    Barone’s International Klein Blue (Google Monochromes)
    (2008). By presenting
    an endless sequence of eleven variants of one and the same—allegedly
    standardized—colour, which he discovered in a simple Google search, the artist
    disproves the assumption that categories like originality and authenticity count
    as parameters for digital art.

    The random appearance of hexadecimal colour codes provides the basis for
    Reynald Drouhin’s playful localization of virtual spaces, too. Deliberately ignoring
    users’ rights to free choice, he has programmed his IP Monochrome (2006) to
    generate colour surfaces on the basis of data about the location of the computer
    that is accessing his site. The resulting surfaces may be read as representations
    of the real context.

    Michael Kargl’s computer object all you can see (2008) also
    gives material form in real space to what is actually virtual. In a linear process
    lasting eight days, the artist displays all of the nearly 17 million colours that any
    computer screen is theoretically able to represent, proceeding from black to
    white, colour by colour, surface by surface, code by code, until perception
    arrives at zero.

    Birgit Rinagl & Franz Thalmair

    [1] Cf. Weibel, Peter: Postmediale Kondition (Exhibition in the context of the art fair Arco, Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid), 2006, online available under:
    <http://vmk.zhdk.ch/flz/postmediale_kondition_weibel.pdf>

    [2] Röbl, Marie: Abstrakte Erb- und Patenschaft. Streiflichter auf Hintergründe,
    Kategorien und Raster, in: Pfaffenbichler, Norbert and Droschl, Sandro (Hg.): Abstraction Now (exhibition catalogue, Künstlerhaus, Vienna) 2004, p. 36, online available under:
    <http://www.abstraction-now.net/catalogue/ABSTRACTION-NOW-DE.pdf>

    [3] Greenberg, Clement: Modernistische Malerei, in: Harrison, Charles and Wood, Paul (eds.): Kunsttheorie im 20. Jahrhundert. Künstlerschriften, Kunstkritik, Kunstphilosophie, Manifeste, Statements, Interviews, Hatje Cantz: Ostfildern - Ruit, vol. II, 2003, p. 931-937

    [4] Rebentisch, Juliane: Zur Aktualität ästhetischer Autonomie. Juliane Rebentisch im
    Gespräch mit Loretta Fahrenholz und Hans - Christian Lotz, in: Huber, Tobias and
    Steinweg, Marcus (eds.): Inästhetik. Theses on Contemporary Art, Diaphanes,
    Zurich/Berlin, 2008, p. 116

    [5] Höller, Christian: Ästhetischer Dissens – Überlegungen zum Politisch - Werden der Kunst, in: Saxenhuber, Hedwig: Kunst + Politik. Aus der Sammlung der Stadt Wien, Springer, Vienna/New York, 2008, p. 190

    -

    Supported by City of Velika Gorica and Ministry of Culture of Republica Croatia. Sponsored by Combis [http://www.combis.hr/]

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  • 31.03.2010. - 25.04.2010.

    Beyond Image and Action


    Tihomir Matijević, Sofija Popović, Livio Rajh, Sandra Sterle, Iva Supić Janković

    There are two dominant ideas which bring together the works presented at the group exhibition Beyond Image and Action. One of them can be read through the stress on the institutional critique which resonates as a distant echo of the destructive avant-garde rebellion of the 20th century. It seems that the presence of the immeasurable burden of the 20th century, under which, as Badiou claims, every aspect of our contemporariness is being bent, is responsible for the fact that the works still appeal to the spirit of Duchamp, either through directly referring to the “Nude Descending a Staircase” in Sandra Sterle’s performance, or through the Dadaistic sarcasm of Sofija Popović or, from a broader point of view, through the omnipresent hovering question of the sustainability and the meaning of the art practice itself, which is most directly addressed in the performance of Iva Supić Janković. This first idea is connected with the thesis that the heritage of both avant-garde and neo-avant-garde prevailed as the only distinguished rebel which still fights the absurdity of anti-art within something which continues to carry the title of art gallery.

    The other idea is connected with the fact that Livio Rajh’s “ready re-made” and Tihomir Matijević’s public sculpture, despite their avant-garde rhetoric, have not grown out of the same protest-like context of the 20th century. Namely, the artists presented at this exhibition do not take a destructive and nihilistic stance towards their institutional opposition – they embrace it as an objective context of one’s activity within which criticality and rebellion, as in the representational democracy of the West, have become a legitimate artistic expression. Such concurrent managing in the field of until recently opposing self-referential art on the one hand and socially engaged art practice on the other, can indicate the possibility of a new modus operandi which offers the reconciliation of tensions and an eventual synthesis. An interesting analogy can be found in the logics of the alien and intuitively incomprehensible logic of quantum mechanics: “I will go this way or that way” is replaced with “I can go both this and that way at the same time”, as one electron does when simultaneously passing through numerous gaps, thus existing at multiple places at the same time. (S.Horvatinčić)

    Artists’ talk – which we hereby kindly invite you to attend – will be held at the gallery on the day of the exhibition, March 31, starting at 5 pm. The talk will be recorded and shorlty available in audio form at http://galzenica.posterous.com.

    Tihomir Matijević was born in Našice. In 2000 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb from the department of sculpture. As a part of the student exchange programme, he attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also participated in the Summer School of Sculpture in Brač. He exhibited in Zagreb and Osijek and participated in a number of group exhibitions (Budapest, Indiana, Vukovar, Osijek, Vinkovci). He lives and works in Osijek as an assistant at the Art Academy.
    <tihomir_matijevic@yahoo.com>  

    Sofija Popović was born in Belgrade. She graduated from the department of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 2005, and at the same year enrolled into postgraduate studies at the same Academy. She won the award for personal creative innovation from the fund "Miloš Bajić, painter and professor" in 2004. She exhibited in several solo and numerous group exhibitions in Serbia and abroad.
    http://www.myartspace.com/artistInfo.do?populatinglist=home&subscriberid=y3s9ltc489rwto11, http://www.wooloo.org/sofija

    Livio Rajh was born in Zagreb. He graduated at the department for animated film and new media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2009. He won the Rector’s Award of the University of Zagreb in 2008 and the ESSL award for young artists in 2009. He participated in a number of student competitions, projects, workshops and exhibitions.
    http://www.essl-award.org/award09/nomineeview.php?user=120

    Sandra Sterle was born in Zadar. She graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1989 and continued her education at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. She lived and worked in Holland, the USA and Croatia. She has been participating in international exhibitions, residencies and festivals since 1995. At the moment, she is living and working in Split, where she is a lecturer of New Media at the Art Academy of the University of Split.
    <sterle@myself.com>

    Iva Supić Janković was born in Zagreb. She graduated in visual arts at the Gerit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2007. She participated in solo and group exhibitions in Croatia and abroad (Holland, China, the Czech Republic, South Korea). She lives and works in Belgrade.
    http://www.arte.rs/sr/umetnici/iva_supic_jankovic-5248/ukratko/



    Curators: Sanja Horvatinčić, Nina Pisk, Klaudio Štefančić

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