Carte Blanche to Claudia Löffelholz
SEPTEMBER 2017: FRIDAYS at 09:00pm
Berlin / NY / Shanghai Time
Jani Ruscica & Sini Pelkki, Maria Jose Arjona, Niklas Goldbach, Francesca Grilli, Luigi Presicce, William Lamson, Virginia Zanetti, Filippo Berta, Vlatka Horvat, Francesco Cardarelli
It might be commonplace today that the phenomenon of acceleration rules daily modern life, but the fact is that time and self-optimization, digital happiness and virtual permanence are the new commandments. Always on and never off. The other fact is that every now and then, and increasingly often, we are eager to break out of this cycle of running communication and information flow and ever shorter attention spans. Installing apps to shutdown our smartphone for a detox seems to be just one more paradoxical side effect of our digital destiny.
Looking for a timeout, but how, where and when? How can we explore what might be lost? What strategies and possibilities generate impulses, spaces and experiences to ground us, can we find, explore and apply? There is no general formula of the new mindfulness, but the works displayed in this Carte Blanche have the potential to create spaces of deceleration and (re)connection with our senses and analog experiences in order to reverse the feeling of alienation and the loss of ourselves.
“Screen Test for a Living Sculpture” by Jani Ruscica & Sini Pelkki, is a perceptive study on the creation of sculpture, the shifting forms and the duration of the performative act which depicts a living sculpture in which, with a minimum action, the state of aggregation passes from solid to the liquid. In the interactive long durational performance “Espiritu”, Maria Jose Arjona is moving slowly in a desecrated church. Due to temporary blindness she is set back in a state of pure and direct encounter and dialogue with the audience perceiving her environment only through the four remaining senses. "The World" by Niklas Goldbach was filmed on an artificial man-made archipelago of various small islands, constructed in the rough map of the globe called "The World Islands" in Dubai. A man, contemplatively looking towards the infinite horizon and vast landscape, is filmed with long shots recalls the German Romanticism dealing with the significance of nature versus the insignificance of man.
The falcon, the bird of the king and highly connoted with freedom and victory, but also with the salvation of those who are in bondage, is in the centre of Francesca Grilli's metaphoric work. “Oro” (Gold) refers to alchemy where the birds language is considered the secret language spoken by alchemists. A falcon is flying freely inside the library of the Benedictine monastery of San Giovanni in Parma, one of the last alchemical places in Italy, while an inhabitant of La Gomera island is whistling the whole king Mida's story from Ovidio’s Metamorphoses. A further iconic work, Luigi Presicce's "La benedizione dei pavoni” (The blessing of the peacocks), is a spiritual performance carried out in the celebration of St. Anthony the Abbot in Novoli in Southern Italy, the first hermit who renounced his worldly possessions to follow Jesus and performed miracles throughout his life. For this intimate performance, the artist locked himself inside a large compound, staging his mystical appearance in front of two silent children and a group of peacocks, creating a sort of tableau vivant of enlightened contemplation.
William Lamson's enigmatic “Action for the Paiva”, a study on the discovery of slowness and miracles, shows the striking landscape of the homonymous Portuguese river. Accompanied by the sound of flowing water and singing birds, from the mist in the middle of the Paiva emerges the shape of a man in the (im)possible balance of the walk on water recalling the pastoral paintings of the Hudson River School of the nineteenth century where nature and humans coexist in peace. The first study of a series of works by Virginia Zanetti is focused on the attempt to delve into the concept of non-duality. Through the ritualizing performance in a landscape setting, the artist is seeking to fuse her own body with the earth.
Filippo Berta's performance “Allumettes #2” deals with the fragility of an ephemeral perfection. A group of people light matches creating a perfect illuminated square together in a sacred space. The magic of collective action falls apart when the first matches extinguishes and one person after the other leaves the scene. In Vlatka Horvat's “This Here and That There (Berlin)” the artist continuously rearranges 50 chairs over a period of eight hours. Each chair arrangement implies a set of possible relations between their imagined occupants, evoking a range of possibilities related to human interaction. The generation of balance as well as temporary energy and power is explored by Francesco Cardarelli's “Reverb” where marbles are jointly circling in a drum thanks to the rhythmic movement of two hands. The spellbinding soundtrack and cycle bursts when the man stops and the marbles fly off - a collapse back to nonentity? Or a liberation and chance for a reset?
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Claudia Löffelholz is an independent curator. Her curatorial research focuses on time based art as performance and moving image as well as on new artistic strategies, especially participatory projects and public art. In 2004 she founded together with Julia Draganović the curatorial collective LaRete Art Projects which is dedicated to the research and support of social practices, art in public spaces and in the relationship with communities, the multidisciplinary crossover, the engagement of new audiences and the introduction of contemporary art in heterogeneous contexts. One of LaRete's long-term projects is Click or Clash? Strategies of Collaboration realized in cooperation with different artists, partners and institutions dealing with questions regarding the effects of collaboration and conflicts (2011-ongoing). She has published a number of essays and curated various exhibitions, performances, screenings and projects worldwide and since 2013 she is a lecturer in history of the moving image and curatorial practices at Fondazione Fotografia Modena (Italy).
© William Lamson, Action for the Paiva, video, 25:11min, 2010