Tag Archives: Fiction

Fulton Ryder

27 May

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Enigmatic New York publisher and private bookshop Fulton Ryder — founded by artist Richard Prince — has been captivating us with their Tumblr snapshots of rare and fascinating cultural fragments. We wanted to take a closer look at their collection of books, manuscripts, and counterculture collectibles, and they were kind enough to allow us a peek. More

Laurie Simmons

25 Jan

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Interview with Laurie Simmons in Dirty Magazine

The Book Lovers

24 Jan

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The Book Lovers is a long term project about novels written by visual artists. It is divided into the following installments: a collection of novels, a parallel online database, a series of exhibitions, a performance program, and a symposium. The collection includes a total of around 140 titles, and it has been acquired by m hka, Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, Belgium.

The show at EFA Project Space New York

January 25 – March 9, 2013

Mouse Museum

2 Dec

Claes Oldenburg put together an odd collection of kitsch, found objects, souvenirs, trivial everyday pieces and toys plus material and prototyps for his art works. The Mouse Museum was first shown in 1972 at the documenta 5 in Kassel.

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Claes Oldenburg was born in 1929, in Stockholm. His father was a diplomat, and the family lived in the United States and Norway before settling in Chicago in 1936. Oldenburg studied literature and art history at Yale University, New Haven, from 1946 to 1950. He subsequently studied art under Paul Wieghardt at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1950 to 1954. During the first two years of art school, he also worked as an apprentice reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago, and afterward opened a studio, where he made magazine illustrations and easel paintings. Oldenburg became an American citizen in December 1953. In 1956 he moved to New York and met several artists making early Performance work, including George Brecht, Allan Kaprow, George Segal, and Robert Whitman. Oldenburg soon became a prominent figure in Happenings and Performance art during the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1959 the Judson Gallery exhibited a series of Oldenburg’s enigmatic images, ranging from monstrous human figures to everyday objects, made from a mix of drawings, collages, and papier-mâché. In 1961, he opened The Store in his studio, where he recreated the environment of neighborhood shops. He displayed familiar objects made out of plaster, reflecting American society’s celebration of consumption, and was soon heralded as a Pop artist with the emergence of the movement in 1962. Read more…

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See video

Museum as an Art Practise

3 Nov

Seminar: The Museum as an Art Practice

16 November 2012, Krakow, Poland, 2pm – 7pm
National Museum in Krakow
The Main Building, no. 1, 3 Maja Avenue – Audiovisual Room
Organised by: Cricoteka and the National Museum in Krakow

Actors: Agency, The Archive of Tadeusz Kantor – Cricoteka, MoAA (Museum of American Art), MOLAF (Museum of Longing and Failure) and Antje Majewski & Alejandro Jodorowsky (screening).

The seminar aims to map out Kantor’s vision of a museum, as well as any reflections and actions in any way related to the exhibiting and collecting practices, in the context of the new mission of Cricoteka as an institution where the spectator, the artist, the creative process and the very work of art all become part of activities which straddle theatre, archive and museum. The tool used to achieve this goal will be a conceptual drawing derived from the intersection of different working methodologies within a museum treated as art practice, rather than merely as a space used to archive, secure or negotiate the shape of the canon within art history.

 (curators: Ewa Tatar and Joanna Zielińska)

The Hand that Gives. A conversation between Alejandro Jodorowsky and Antje Majewski, Paris 2010

Join us in in Krakow

See previous posts: AgencyLewis & TaggartMoAA

The McKittrick Hotel

21 May

Sleep No More takes place at the fictional McKittrick Hotel, a reference to the film Vertigo. The hotel was completed in 1939 and “intended to be New York City’s finest and most decadent luxury hotel”. Six weeks before opening, and two days after the outbreak of World War II, the legendary hotel was condemned and left locked, permanently sealed from the public until it was restored and reinvented by Punchdrunk and Emursive. The McKittrick Hotel is actually three adjoining warehouses in Chelsea’s gallery district at 530, West 27th Street. The address is the former home of megaclubs Twilo, Spirit, Guesthouse, Home, Bed and more. The 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) space has been transformed by Punchdrunk into “some 100 rooms and environments, including a spooky hospital, mossy garden and bloody bedroom.”

Inside the Hotel

See my previous post

Invisible man

11 May

Recommended by Claire Tancons:

Invisible Man is a  novel written by Ralph Ellison in 1952. It addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans early in the twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marxism, and the reformist racial policies of Booker T. Washington, as well as issues of individuality and personal identity.

The museum that was written down

11 May

Turkey’s most famous living novelist is holding a pair of dentures in a room packed with ephemera reflecting everyday Turkish life of the past three decades. Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2006 and author of My Name is Red (1998) and Snow (2002), is standing among a sea of objects—sewing machines, clocks, soda-bottle tops, buttons, lottery tickets, china dogs, birdcages, cigarette lighters and false teeth—that will soon go on display in The Museum of Innocence, a four-storey building in the Çukurcuma neighbourhood, central Istanbul. This venue, not just a chamber of curiosities, is the real-life incarnation of the museum painstakingly assembled and detailed in his book The Museum of Innocence (2008). The institution, which is due to open “[before] next year” according to Pamuk, will house 83 wooden boxes related to the book’s 83 chapters. Each box will be filled with items—both ready-made pieces and commissioned works of art—that reflect each chapter, thereby covering a 30-year period in the history of modern Istanbul from 1975 when the novel begins.

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Sleep No More

11 May

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 What in Hecate’s name is Sleep No More? A dance-theater horror show? A wordless, nonlinear mash-up of Macbeth and the darker psychosexual corners of Hitchcock? A six-story Jazz Age haunted house for grown-ups and anyone who’s ever entertained sick cineast-y fantasies of living inside a Kubrick movie? ’Tis all these, and more besides: a deed without a name, to quote an infernal authority. (Also: ’tis sold-out, but set to extend, so get your trigger finger ready.) The UK’s Punchdrunk theater collective — famed for these sorts of immersive, site-specific experiments back on their native sod — has finally brought Sleep to the city that never does, and now, most certainly, won’t: The show infects your dreams.

Sleep allows its “guests” great freedom. Presented with a bone-white Venetian beak mask (the kind favored by plague doctors in the Renaissance), you’re invited to gawk, shame-free, at whatever you see, to rifle through drawers, files, Rolodexes, and even coffins. You and your fellow voyeurs, enskulled in your morbid headgear, quickly become part of the creepy scenery. More to the point, you’re a ghost. (N.B.: This doesn’t exempt you from actor contact — in fact, you’re practically guaranteed to be interfered with at some point in the approximately three hours it takes to survey the space and absorb the long arc of the story.) Fending for yourself in the fictional “McKittrick Hotel” (a pointed Vertigo reference that dizzy or claustrophobic types should take to heart before booking), you’re given the run of six misty, intricately detailed floors, with more than 100 rooms full of (and this is a partial list) clues, red herrings, hair samples, teeth scattered like gaming dice, magic spells, animal bones in carefully labeled bins, a mass of old-fashioned desk fans that turn on and off at random, rotary-dial phones that have actual dial tones, grisly private eye photos of corpses, bloodstains that appear and disappear, patchy ad hoc taxidermy posed for maximal menace, and a ballroom stalked by moving trees. And all the while, you’re carried on perfectly modulated aural swells of Bernard Herrmann pastiche, courtesy of sound designer Stephen Dobbie.

 Along the way, you’re guaranteed to stumble on what Punchdrunk’s directors, designers, and choreographers (Felix Barrett, Maxine Doyle, Livi Vaughan, and Beatrice Minns) refer to as “situations”: a man who may or may not be Duncan, right king of Scotland, being murdered in a sheikh’s tent. A gelid blonde who may or may not be Mrs. Danvers from Hitchcock’s Rebecca — here in loyal service to Lady Macbeth — spooning milky poison down the gullet of a soused, super-pregnant woman who very well might be Lady Macduff. The presumed Lady Macbeth herself is poised above her bloody bathtub, or climbing a mountain of antique furniture like a rabid ape. (Maxine Doyle’s wall-crawling choreography — two parts parkour to one part The Fly — helps the actors doff their humanity with ease; their sexuality, however, remains fixatingly intact.) And then there’s Macbeth himself, conjuring the Weird Sisters in a strobe-lit demon disco. “If it’s all too much,” a docent tells you at the beginning, “there’s always the bar.” I made use of it.

 The show’s influences spider far beyond the Bard and Hitch: Players of puzzle-horror first person video games like BioShock will find the Sleep experience highly gratifying (and the notion of becoming a camera highly familiar). The amateur cryptographers of Lost will be be similarly pleased, as will the Escherheads who fetishized Inception. “Did I do it right?” I wondered afterward, having realized I’d missed half the plot points my fellow travelers had stumbled upon — and they’d, in turn, missed half the things I’d seen. Upon reflection, though, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way. (If you’re interested in a strong story, though, I’d recommend you follow a specific actor, especially when someone plunges out of a room with purpose.) But this is the nonsense math of nightmares, a perfect Chinese box that invites you to look for solutions that seem designed, never to come fully into focus. I’d recommend a quick skim of Macbeth if you’re really interested in the whodunit aspect; full enjoyment of the atmospherics, though, requires no cramming whatsoever.

I’ve felt theater overwhelm me before, but until last Tuesday, I’ve never felt it pass through me. At the end of my story, a witch-queen in a red dress found me rifling through her study, held out her hand, and whisked me down to the ballroom, just in time for the climactic execution. It was a lovely evening in hell, one I’ll be recovering from for some time.

Text by Scott Brown

Sleep no more / photos

Illusion / David Maroto

26 Feb

A Memory

I am a little boy and I am at home, in the living-room. My parents are talking in the kitchen. I can hear them from here. I can see their silhouettes through the door’s glass. Usually they fight, but today they are speaking in a relaxed tone, which is new for me. For once, I pay attention to what they are saying:

-You know, Maria, when I was young, life seemed like a fire that burns, that never will go out… but then, unnoticed, it starts going out and ends up as a pile of ashes that you cannot rekindle. Sometimes I feel as if I have lived the photocopy of a life.

At that moment I decide that I don’t want to be like my father.

Casa Diógenes (Diogenes House)

llusion’s last chapter begins with the protagonist entering the apartment of his father, who had been found dead in it. He had not spoken to him for years, and he comes to his house only to discover that the old man suffered Diogenes syndrome. The apartment is a jumble of found objects, accumulated in an inextricable chaos that fills the rooms from floor to ceiling. While wandering around, he finds a number of objects, texts and images that trigger some stories within the story, such as Dürer’s Rhinoceros (about second-hand knowledge), Novgorod Codex (example of hyper-palimpsest) and Seven Masks (about a process of unveiling layers of a subject till reaching his empty core).


These stories talk about different aspects of his father’s ill behavior: compulsive appropriation of found items, the creation of a tangle impossible to decipher, and the contradictory attempt to both isolate himself from the others and his dependency on the surrounding environment to define himself. Taking as a departure point the mnemonic technique known as Memory Room, the protagonist traces a parallel between memory, space, accumulation and feeling of self-identity -which renders bizarre results when applied to the case of his father’s apartment. Paradoxically, at the time of his death, he recognizes commonalities shared with his father, whom, during all his life, had been a model to reject. Having left behind a destructive story with Lorraine, the protagonist feels that the beginning of another cycle of desire is coming. After been disappointed by the possession of his desired object, he is willing to start the search for another one that sets even greater difficulties and, with them, greater dangers for his own being. He sees it is time to enter the same neurotic wheel, to imitate again someone’s desire, to long for a new obstacle, to end up in disaster. At that point, in the middle of that messy apartment, he decides to set out himself to escape that recurring cycle that only leads to despair and ignorance.

He devotes himself to a life project that will both situate him out of (borrowed) desires and will serve to spread his findings. He already knows a domain where things alter their value, where subjects give up their daily desires and (mis)conceptions. He decides to apply himself to the creation of a game, a special one, which will render the players aware of its own mechanisms, one that will create knowledge through experience. This experience will be perhaps limited to the boundaries of the game, but will be real, nonetheless. He will begin with this and then, afterwards, perhaps go for wider, more ambitious projects. That will be seen.

About Illusion