Tag Archives: Quotes

Jim SHAW

25 Sep

XXXL Painting brings together new and existing works. In the months leading up to the opening, the artists have been busy at work in the building, creating the exhibition on site. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen wishes to demonstrate the resilience and energy of the art of painting with a true ‘battle of the Titans’ between the three artists.MUSEUM

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BOIJMANS VAN BEUNINGEN (Rotterdam) 8 June – 29 September 2013

Hanne Darboven at Dia (1997)

13 Mar

In Kulturgeschichte 1880-1983, Darboven’s numerical indices punctuate a stream of ready-made imagery appropriated from books, magazines, postcards and elsewhere. The piece’s 1590 pages of visual montage and text sit in frames of exactly the same size, hung in a floor to ceiling grid that covers the walls of the exhibition site with a quasi-taxonomic chart of visual culture. Nineteen objects tied to everyday life, art and to German history complete the installation. This tapestry of pictorial, print, and handwritten information is subdivided into groups of like images pertaining to historical, cultural and political themes.

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Sleep No More

11 May

Sleep no moreSleep no more

 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

Thomas Hirschhorn, Laundrette, 2001 / HVCCA

2 May

The Bough That Falls with All its Trophies Hung, 2009 / by Bryan Zanisnik

28 Apr

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

Walerian Borowczyk

21 Jan

Flowers of our lives, 2008, curated by Joanna Zielinska

An Exceptional Collection, made in 1973, is one of the short films shot by Walerian Borowczyk. The film presents an extraordinary collection of erotic gadgets, drawings and photographs, which belonged to the artist. The background for the story is a stylish interior which remains a curio cabinet. The film is a story about fetishism in the spirit of psychoanalysis presented in a funny way, typical of Borowczyk.

Walerian Borowczyk, An Exceptional Collection, 1973

Walerian Borowczyk (Jesper Alvaer, audio giude, 2008)