Ray Johnson. Please Add to & Return
06/11/2009 - 10/01/2010 MACBA
The North American artist Ray Johnson (Detroit, 1927 – New York, 1995) is one of the most unknown yet most influential artists of his generation. This exhibition, the first to be dedicated to the artist in Spain, presents a retrospective of his collages and mailings.
At the end of the 1940s, Ray Johnson studied painting under the tutelage of Josef Albers at Black Mountain College. Here he was to make the acquaintance of Bill de Kooning, Richard Lippold, Merce Cunningham and John Cage. He later moved to New York where, in the mid-1950s, he abandoned painting in search of a new mode of expression. He cut up his abstract canvases and began composing collages, which, in turn, were to become the building blocks for more complex pieces in which the fragments were strewn with images from popular culture. His creations included images of Elvis Presley, James Dean, Shirley Temple and Marilyn Monroe, among others, in a manner that anticipated the imaginary Andy Warhol would use in the 1960s. Noteworthy among his first collages are the “moticos”, irregularly shaped panels that constituted his critique of the abstract rules of the triangle and that he would recycle throughout his career.
It was also during the 1950s that, while continuing with collage, Ray Johnson began exploring the possibilities of Mail Art. He gradually built up a network of contacts with whom he exchanged ideas and artworks. By way of this network, he mailed an enormous quantity of material, including postcards, fragments of his collages, drawings with instructions (“please add to & return…”), found objects and annotated newspaper clippings. In 1968, this correspondence network was consolidated as the “New York Correspondence School”, which was to become the clearing house for a web of artistic communication that would eventually spread across the globe.
Ray Johnson’s paper artworks are based on linking images and ideas to generate new meaning from juxtapositions he created and disseminated. On many occasions, and particularly in the case of collages, a process of overlaying and reworking reinforced these juxtapositions; therefore, most of his collages are signed with multiple dates. He also had great interest in the semiotic systems and codes created by these collages. Therefore, plays on words are frequently encountered in his work, which brought him to create new terms. Institutional criticism and an ambivalent relationship with the world of art are also palpable in his oeuvre throughout his professional trajectory.
In addition to Mail Art and his work in collage, performances constitute an important part of his work. In 1961 he initiated the “Nothings” series, performances conceived in response to the work of Allan Kaprow and Fluxus, and continued to stage them throughout his life.
The exhibitions Ray Johnson. Please Add to & Return and John Cage and Experimental Art. The Anarchy of Silence are simultaneously on view at the MACBA, affording an opportunity to explore the relations between both artists. In the case of Ray Johnson, frequent reference is made to the figure and work of John Cage. His work reflects an in-depth interest in the idea of chance applied to the artistic approach developed by Cage.
Curator: Alex Sainsbury in collaboration with Chus Martínez
Production: Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
Ray Johnson. Please Add to & Return
Truestories.Truesuccess @ FMB
Oct. 31 2009 - Nov. 14 2009
Truestories.Truesuccess explores issues of fiction -domestic, historic, intimate, curatorial, urban, virtual and social. From abstract narration of timelessness to direct quotations of specific moments in history, performance, photography, mixed media on paper, sculpture, and video-art, architectures of moments built mostly on personal experience.
29 August — 8 November 2009
The Kunsthalle Düsseldorf is presenting the first comprehensive, solo exhibition of the installation and video artist Danica Dakić (*1962 in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina), who lives in Düsseldorf. On display will be numerous video installations, photographs, and objects from 1998 to the present, as well as works created especially for the exhibition. The exhibition, curated by Ulrike Groos with the assistance of Jari Ortwig, will then move to the Generali Foundation in Vienna and the Museum for Contemporary Art Zagreb.
Drawing on her experience as a migrant, Danica Dakić addresses the changes in the meaning of the terms “home,” “nationality,” and “identity” provoked and imposed by wars, religious conflicts, societal changes, and globalisation processes. She finds her themes and actors throughout the whole world. Cultural interfaces become the point of departure for experiments with forceful images and super-imposed sounds.
In her works, voices and song become identity-forming factors. The video installation Surround (2003), for example, shows a staged reading ritual with seven people kneeling in a circle, singing and reading extracts of religious texts. The work creates the image of a community that, despite its different languages and beliefs, regularly comes together on a common platform.
The media installation El Dorado (2006/07), which Danica Dakić presented at the documenta 12, is a cross-cultural and transnational work. The conceptual and pictorial point of departure for the work is the panorama wallpaper El Dorado (1848) from the Wallpaper Museum in Kassel. The conceptual and pictorial point of departure for the media installation is the panorama wallpaper El Dorado (1848) from the Wallpaper Museum in Kassel. It serves as a surface onto which young migrants project their dreams and aspirations. They become actors; they run, fight, dance, sing and tell stories about their life.
Danica Dakić's series Isola Bella, which she worked on throughout 2007 and 2008, also uses a wallpaper motif and will be exhibited for the first time at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. The series consists of the video and photographic work Isola Bella and the video First Shot. The scene is the home for the physically and mentally disabled in Pazarić, Bosnia, where, with the aid of masks and musical instruments, the artist and the residents sound out the tension between reality and utopia in a quasi-theatrical staging.
For her media installation, Casa del Lago (2008/09), Danica Dakić collaborates with a family from the Huichol people in Mexico City. In the "tableau vivant" style, photographic and filmic group portraits of members of the family are presented against a background of neo-classical park architecture. The work touches on issues ranging from time and transience, to colonialism and urbanisation, to the coexistence and cooperation between different cultures.
An exhibition catalogue has been prepared by the Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König with a foreword by Ulrike Groos, Sabine Folie, and Tihomir Milovac. It is available in German/English and will be appearing in English/Croatian in 2010. It contains an interview by Ulrike Groos and Tihomir Milovac with the artist and essays by Horst Bredekamp, Sabine Folie, Tom Holert, as well as brief explanatory texts on the works. Size of the catalogue: 152 pages with many colour illustrations. Price: 25,- Euro.
The exhibition is a cooperative project of the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf gGmbH with the Generali Foundation, Vienna, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb.
India Special Exhibition “Failed Plot”
The exhibition titled Failed Plot is inspired by the idea of the incomplete picture. Recent terror events believed to have a locus in West or South Asia and enacted in different parts of the world come to be known in media and academic parlance as the “failed plot.” As investigations get underway, the truth remains elusive, and its quest is abandoned. In a million unrecorded ways, these narratives are completed, abandoned, denied, until they uneasily subside in the residue of public memory. In this exhibition, it rather urges an enquiry into a more personal sphere, of how we receive and make images and imaginary narratives then the actual mechanism of terror in reality. Also it includes other aspirations and life stories, poems,
manuscripts, ideas that may remain incomplete.
There are 14 participating artists whom include Tejal Shah and Chitra Canesh and from their works, the audiences may overlook at the state of Indian contemporary art that attracts global attraction recently.
La Galleria Riccardo Crespi presenta la prima personale dell’artista italiana Eugenia Vanni.
In galleria saranno presentate una ventina di opere, che spaziano dall’installazione, alla grafica, a disegni su tela raffiguranti paesaggi realizzati con cartone nero intagliato, gomma e neon.
Ideale filo conduttore dell’esposizione è il senso di fallimento e approssimazione che accompagna tutti i lavori che appaiono quasi come dei risultati scientifici scaturiti però da processi estetici che l’artista ha volutamente reso tecnicamente indefinibili.
Il disegno, ad esempio, affronta superfici impervie perdendo il suo carattere cancellabile, diventando invece indelebile.
Ed è il disegno stesso a contenere naturalmente un continuo riferimento all'arte del rinascimento, un substrato artistico che fa indissolubilmente parte di Eugenia, proprio per il forte legame dell’artista con il territorio senese e la sua storia dell’arte.
Nella mostra infatti, l’idea stessa di “tecnica”e i media utilizzati da Eugenia, vengono rimessi in discussione e considerati in maniera non convenzionale, diventando nelle sue mani uno strumento quasi scientifico e oggettivo di studio del mondo perché, nell’idea dell’artista, le tecniche sono l’immagine stessa che provocano.
Lo spazio della galleria, data la sua particolare struttura, acquista perciò la funzione di un osservatorio in cui la natura e la società vengono come scoperte per la prima volta, diventando i risultati di esperimenti il cui fine è la conoscenza della realtà.
Eugenia Vanni è nata nel 1980 a Siena, vive e lavora tra Siena e Milano.
Galleria Riccardo Crespi | Milano