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Inspired by Capitalism 3hd Festival / Berlin

“It’s all in the internet,” says Daniela Seitz, one half of Berlin-based party organizers, now festival curators, Creamcake. “It’s like an underground new music scene inspired by pop culture, capitalism, all this crazy excess and image-making.”

Meticulously constructing their own image across parties for the last four years, the duo, which includes co-founder Anja Weigl, have been putting on an impressive and progressive program of Creamcake nights with names like Lil B, DJ Paypal, Kelela, Yen Tech and Hannah Diamond.

Their visual identity is unmistakable, their taste in underground sounds impeccable, and they’re taking it to the next level with their first 3hd Festival, running online and off from October and culminating in an IRL events program in Berlin, December 2 to 5. This year’s theme is “The Labor of Sound in a World of Debt.” Internationalization, hybridization, precarity and constant change — these are the things that come with the internet. “Capitalism opens a bunch of doors,” adds Seitz. “Globalization and technology made this happen, but now we also have to deal with the consequences.”

These concepts you’re working with for 3hd Festival — are they things that you applied as you programmed the Creamcake parties? Or did they reveal themselves in the process?

Daniela Seitz: Because we are so fascinated by these cross-shore styles in underground music culture, which are not so represented in any type of Berlin festival, we really wanted to just do one like the Creamcake parties: with a lot of love and adventurous sounds. We wanted to talk about and reflect on what we think is most important for people in our community. Everyone is a hybrid character — working as artists and composers, and with so many types of different media. That’s something we really would like to debate in a more significant format.

Having seen the program, it’s not exactly what I expected. Because it’s open to more academic ideas and also going beyond what’s fashionable right now in terms of post-internet.

DS: That’s the funny thing — it’s always a mix of everything. It’s between people who have an academic degree, or don’t need or want one, or have just started. We accidentally remixed a piece of a movie soundtrack for Hannah Lippard’s performance at “Fragments of a Scene” back in April. The song was written by one of the composers in the program. It’s very exciting to work with him now. He loves to play around with technology — as much as he loves classical instruments. We are really excited about the different people who are coming together for 3hd.

Anja Weigl: We wanted to organize an ambitious platform: a festival environment with a varied daytime program including discussions and an exhibition to compliment the familiar Creamcake party concept. Our aim with 3hd is to bring people into a different context, introducing them to different surroundings, like HAU Hebbel am Ufer and Vierte Welt.

It’s interesting to think about Creamcake taking mainstream culture as its core inspiration.

DS: Yes. I wouldn’t even say just “inspired.” We reflect it because we are also part of it, you know? You cannot not be influenced by pop culture. But the vibe is aggressive, deconstructive, and really more disturbed in that sense. You will see.

by Steph Kretowicz

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Rachel Rose in conversation with Laura McLean-Ferris at Frieze London’s Reading Room

Rachel Rose, known for her haptic installations and videos that consider the limits of perception and certain qualities of feeling and comprehension, is the subject of a feature by Beau Rutland in Flash Art’s October issue.

Rose, who will have her first major institutional solo shows this fall, and is the winner of the Frieze Artist Award 2015, sits with Laura McLean-Ferris, Flash Art US Editor, to discuss various perceptual universes, and in particular her new video work, Everything and More, which will be premiered at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, on October 30.

October 14, 2015
3:30 pm
Frieze London
Reading Room

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Review /

Lucas Arruda Lulu / Mexico City

Only three small paintings comprise the show “Deserto-Modelo,” a quiet exhibition of works by Lucas Arruda at Lulu in Mexico City. Each is a meticulous exercise in formal technique, and illustrates the complexity of layers behind even the most simple of paintings.  

The three paintings, all Untitled (Deserto-Modelo) and produced in 2015, depict seascapes at differing points of the day. Each has distinct qualities to potentially identify three distinct places, and vary in their choice of color, horizon and atmospheric qualities. The artists visible brush strokes and the manipulation and play of light in the canvases are two central components in each composition. As varied as each of the three paintings are, the light radiates from the center of each of them, around which the remainder of the compositional elements are placed. Without a doubt these are paintings that exemplify a strong formal consideration about painting itself. Each seascape is an exploration of the technique of landscape painting itself and the artist’s obsessive interest with the medium.

The three seascapes are entirely imagined by Arruda. They are illusions of geographies that could be, and moments of ephemerality worth experiencing. In the small space of Lulu, the paintings are contemplative, offering a sense of nostalgia for a place once visited, or a longing for a place yet to be seen. There is an intimacy in the space and in the small moments of the paintings that draw the body closer in order to observe every meticulous detail and envelope the eye in an experience that is at once tangible and metaphysical.

“Deserto-Modelo” is an example of the artist’s breadth and depth in the formal technique of painting, yet still offers personal moments of contemplation that balance the formal execution of the medium and the nuanced geography. The paintings are at once formal explorations and contemplative moments, both technical and existential; together in this exhibition they provide a space of formal consideration in their quiet beauty.

by Leslie Moody Castro

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Arena /

Office Baroque / Brussels

Office Baroque was founded by Marie Denkens and Wim Peeters in Antwerp in 2007.
The gallery moved to Brussels in the fall of 2013, and last September it opened a second exhibition space in the midtown area of the city — a testament to its ongoing commitment to the flourishing local art scene. Flash Art asked Peeters about the ethos and scope of the gallery program.

How is the new space going to function along with the downtown location?

The midtown space will serve as a continuation of the downtown one. It will allow us to curate exhibitions in a more flexible way and offer the ideal platform and scale for each project we embark on. Thanks to the space’s proximity to the Bozar and Etablissement d’en Face, we will be able to reach a wider audience. So the space is both a particular location in the city we decided to engage with as well as a new horizon we have set in developing the gallery program.

The gallery program is almost a decade old. On the one hand, it highlights a consistent exploration of the legacy of color field and hard edge in contemporary painting — the gallery shows both David Diao, among the first “commentators” on those styles, and younger representatives such as Davis Rhodes, Neil Campbell and Aaron Bobrow. On the other hand, it includes artistic figures renown for the singularity and radicalness of their practices; I think here about Michel Auder, Kirsten Pieroth and B. Wurtz, for example. What is the ethos behind such an eclectic roster of artists?

All of the artists we represent relate to different traditions or genres in a highly idiosyncratic way. We see the gallery as a platform that can communicate across media and disciplines, as well as between different generations. Since our inception we have had an equal interest in minimalism, conceptualism, painting, video and photography. It’s an eclectic take at first inspection, but over the long run a pattern emerges, connecting people apparently working in isolated media but operating them with the logic of other media. I believe that is how we make apparently incompatible positions come together.

Office Baroque was born in the wake of a “renaissance” within the Belgian art industry, and certainly contributed to the emergence of the myth of Brussels as a new mecca for a younger generation of artists. The gallery, however, represents only one Belgian, Brussels-based Jan De Cock, whose first show with Office Baroque was last winter. What are your thoughts regarding local art production?

We have always taken an international stance, even if you look at the institutional work we did at Extra City, before running the gallery and before moving to Brussels. From that history we carry along a strong connection with the Belgian art scene. Jan De Cock is an amazingly exciting artist whom we are happy to represent, once more expanding the scope of the gallery program. I do see more Belgian artists showing at Office Baroque — it’s not a matter of aesthetics. We adore the work of people like Guillaume Bijl or Jan Vercruysse or Ria Pacquée. Looking at the emerging generation, Thomas Gilissen is a tremendous artist.

Liam Everett and Anke Weyer are the last two artists who joined the gallery’s roster. The art of both can be labeled as gestural abstraction, suggesting a shift in the gallery’s program toward more market-oriented art. What is your position regarding the art market’s speculative bubble, which gestural abstract painting specifically seems to fuel?

Weyer and Everett are artists whose work originates in a deep and fundamental studio practice based not on the findings of an analysis of the contemporary art world, but on questioning and revisiting fundamental notions of art. It’s biased to say that gestural abstract art is commercial while figurative art, on the contrary, is critical and anti-commercial. Alliances between genres and markets are contextual and historical, and I believe, in the case of Weyer and Everett, their work has a complexity that reveals itself only over time, which is a quality we have to work hard to preserve in the current market.

Office Baroque represents the estate of American experimental filmmaker Owen Land. Land was also among the first to show at the gallery, in 2008, three years before he died suddenly. Can you tell us more about your encounter with Land and his work? And can you share some insight about the estate’s future projects?

The Estate is a collaboration between the gallery and the Filmmuseum Austria in Vienna. During Owen’s life, we were able to edition all of his work and secure reproduction rights. Land’s seminal Film in Which There Appear Edge Lettering, Dirt Particles, Sprocket Holes, etc. (1965) will be one of the centerpieces in the exhibition “Ordinary Pictures” at the Walker in Minneapolis starting on October 9. As for plans with Land at the gallery, we will be inviting curators to make a selection of Owen Land’s films for screenings in the midtown gallery in early spring 2016. Encountering Land and being able to work with Kunsthalle Bern to complete “Dialogues” in 2009, his first new work in twenty-five years, has left a deep impact on us and is an important milestone in how we run the gallery — an example of the commitments we like to make.

by Michele D’Aurizio

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Flash Art International no. 304 October 2015

We are pleased to announce that the October issue of Flash Art International is out now.

Coinciding with the opening of “UH-OH,” Frances Stark’s midcareer retrospective at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the new issue of Flash Art features a cover designed by the artist. Known from the start of her career for text-based work, Stark has increasingly employed typefaces to innovative and idiosyncratic effect, in pursuit of what has sometimes been identified as writing in space. The font Airsoft, developed together with her longtime collaborator Chris Svensson, appears here in a reworking of Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE image of 1965, which itself made the leap from a MoMA Christmas card to a case of writing in space, rendered as sculpture at sites around the world.

In a featured essay Flash Art US Editor Eli Diner highlights the depictive qualities, the cleverness and invention of Stark’s processes of self-figuring and self-portrait:“She has set an ongoing narration of the process and the travails of making art and living as an artist and making a living as an artist in a perpetual present tense: depictions of what’s going on right now — personally, professionally and in the world as glimpsed from her studio or home.”
— Eli Diner

In this issue:

Beau Rutland describes the skillful facture, playful wit and unassuming topicality of Rachel Rose’s videos.
“Rose creates spaces that look so much like our everyday lives, yet have been slightly augmented, perhaps with an unexpected jump cut to seemingly unrelated found footage.”
— Beau Rutland

Two recent exhibitions have invited a reconsideration of the institutional narratives associated with the scientific discipline of archaeology: Christodoulos Panayiotou’s “Two Days after Forever,” hosted by the Cyprus Pavilion at the 56th Biennale di Venezia; and the “twin” exhibitions “Serial Classic” and “Portable Classic,” co-curated by Salvatore Settis and held at the Milan and Venice venues of the Fondazione Prada. In conversation, Panayiotou and Settis contemplate the authority of ancient art and the many challenges that a political understanding of archaeology can pose.

Carlos Fonseca digs into the spectral echoes of the avant-gardes that populates Valeria Luiselli’s novels.
“Luiselli is a writer who has undertaken the project of rewriting the Latin American literary tradition purged of the ambitions — or pretensions — of representing the histories, moods and pathologies of an entire continent.”
— Carlos Fonseca

Ruba Katrib surveys the art of Heman Chong who questions the conventions of contemporary art reception, combining them with popular narrative forms like film and novels.
“Chong carefully dissects and aggregates information, letting associations run wild. He presents partial threads of communication, disperses authorship and creates situations.”
— Ruba Katrib

Veeranganakumari Solanki introduces the Indian emerging artists Nandan Ghiya, Sahej Rahal, Prabhakar Pachpute, Tanmoy Samanta, Rathin Barman, Prajakta Potnis, Hemali Bhuta, and Shreyas Karle.

Kari Rittenbach discusses the authorial non-production in the work of Cameron Rowland.
“Rowland’s examination of received standards stresses the deeply rooted injustice of American exceptionalism, drawing attention to the structural artifice of the white cube and the system of white-supremacist patriarchy in which the whole of high cultural production is circumscribed.”
— Kari Rittenbach

In Arena:

Sadie Coles, London; Eugene Tan on the National Gallery, Singapore; Robert Walser’s Looking at Pictures by New Directions; Charles Esche on the 2015 Jakarta Biennale; Angel Haze; Wim Peeters on Office Baroque, Brussels; Melanie Bühler on Lunch Bytes; Elysia Crampton.

In Reviews:

Sarah Charlesworth at the New Museum, New York; Sarah Ortmeyer at Bodega, New York; Karen Cytter at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; “Theories on Forgetting” at Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles; A.L. Steiner at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; Teresa Burga at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano, Buenos Aires; Eloise Hawser at the ICA, London; “The Boys, the Girls and the Political” at Lisson Gallery, London; “After Babel” at Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Mathieu Malouf at Lars Friedrich, Berlin; Bill Lynch at Tanya Leighton, Berlin; Lawrence Abu Hamdan at the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen; Tony Oursler at Luma Foundation, Arles; Fausto Melotti at the NMNM, Monaco; “La Grande Madre” at Palazzo Reale, Milan; “Bartered Collection” at Mumbai Art Room; Ming Wong the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Dinh Q. Lê at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.

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Spotlight /

Jon Rafman Erysichthon

An obvious circularity is at the center of Jon Rafman’s Erysichthon (2015), presented at the 13th Biennale de Lyon, the final element in a trilogy of videos including Still Life (Betamale) (2013) and Mainsqueeze (2014).

Each takes as its base an exploration of subcultures through internet-user-created content and a literally mediated eye. Whereas Still Life (Betamale) begins exploring the erotica of the deeper internet and Mainsqueeze is anchored by the seeming aggression within this, Erysichthon cuts a broader path. The “Scream” films taught us that “true trilogies are all about going back to the beginning and discovering something that wasn’t true from the get go,” and here this happens as well.

Named for the mythological Greek king cursed with insatiable hunger, the video approaches subjects with both critique and reverence. The snake eating its own tail, appearing early and often in the film, is as mesmerizing as it is banal, referencing the film’s namesake’s demise and Rafman’s view of cultural intake. This symbolism is repeated with the likes of a drone circling its creator and someone on a swing set making a continuous loop. Different voices, once again, tie it together. A video of a child upset with other fans of the videogame character Sonic the Hedgehog becomes a universal indictment when pulled from its original source: “Your fantasies can never be quenched,” and “When will you learn that your actions have consequences.” Other times it sounds identical to Rosamund Pike’s slow voiceover in the film Gone Girl.

Rafman’s skill is taking the bizarre and normalizing it, meanwhile forcing the mundane to become mystical. In the finale of his trilogy he levels subcultures and forces the viewer to reassess the difference between the general and the specific. On the internet, any culture we mass consume becomes our own.

by Mitchell Anderson

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