Pushing the Elastic Cube - mobile by circumstance Video, Installation, Sound, Performance Exhibition: March 12 - April 9, 2010
Artists Exhibited: Sofia Dona, Carly Schmitt, Eriphyli Veneri, Angeliki Makri, Natalia Matta, Rosa van Goudoever, Yvonne Morales, Johannes Abendroth, Xinglang Guo, Zoe Kreye, Carlos Leon-Xjimenez, Catherine Grau, Irene Izquierdo
11 artists from the MFA Program Public Art and New Artistic Strategies at the Bauhaus-Universität, Weimar exhibited work based on the idea of memory and the dissolution of the "white cube". The artists themselves are "in trasit" from Germany, Canada, the US, Greece, Chile and the P.R. China, living temporarily in Weimar, Germany for the duration of their studies. The "white cube" is a significant point of reference within a globalized Eurocentric perspective on contemporary art. As public artists, the participants explored the elasticity of the term's edges, testing for abstract potential, flexibility and mobility.
Do project groups need a project space? What do “public artists” need a gallery space for? What are the advantages of having a space? The disadvantages? Can this be tested? What happens to a process-oriented work that takes place in the public realm, outside the “white cube,” when it is translated into a work that functions in a gallery space? Can any of these questions be addressed in a short-term project in a meaningful way?
The artists worked on both more traditional, gallery-based art objects as well as process-oriented works outside the actual project space. Carly Schmitt’s American Reputation Aid Society used mobile structures to test the US reputation and its discontents. The Process Institute provocatively tested the boundaries of an exhibition at the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin entitled “squatting. errinern, vergessen, besetzen” by “parasiting, squatting” the show with the help of their mobile office and being – as expected – chased away. Eriphyli Veneri performed a gallery space in Kreuzberg by taking on the persona of a “flasher” showing work attached to the inside of a shiny black coat that she periodically opened, flashing passersby with art.
As initiator of the project, I took on a more traditional curatorial position than in previous exhibitions, directing the placement of the work in the gallery space. I made this decision based on the short timeframe (two months to prepare and produce the exhibition) and the diversity of the artistic approaches. I decided not to participate as an artist but instead placed and coordinated the pieces and groups in such a way that an axis would be formed by the work that seemed to be both inside and outside the space, expanding the “cube” of the space visually. (The brilliant white interior of the exhibition room formed a space that perceptually approximates a literal cube. Largely bare except for a white cube containing a minimalist toilet, the room’s floor plan approaches a square, and the ceilings are 4.5 meters high.)
Xinglang Guo’s video shot from a traveling bus, showing movement through Berlin’s urban landscape, was projected onto the frosted storefront window facing Brunnenstrasse. The appearance of the video changed throughout the day, becoming more sharply defined and bright at night and remaining more ephemeral during the day. The immediate environment was palpable as the weather and different light situations of a stormy April changed the perception of the piece and made the connection between time, space and movement poetically clear. Emphasizing the site-specificity of a momentary experience, it alternately glittered, jewel-like, and faded away.
Sofia Dona exhibited a minimalist video of a prefabricated house being transported on a trailer behind a truck. Shot out the front window of a moving car, the video was projected onto a screen in the center of the space, directly opposite Guo’s video, so that the viewer was placed between videos showing movement in opposite directions. Behind the screen, Natalia Matta’s video from the project “Leftovers” was projected onto the rear window[H1] , so that the space was, ideally, impossibly expanded all the way to a location in the Chilean landscape, where an important part of her work had taken place.
In the rear right corner, Rosa Goudoever presented a collage and hung ear phones covered in felt: a bright red spot tying the exhibition together in the form of a red line that travelled through a moveable wall-structure by Johannes Abendroth, all the way to Angeliki Makri’s ribbon network in the front of the space.