Archive for the Historia & Memoria category
by Suzanne on February 21st, 2012
In my early childhood, when we visited the fairgrounds in late autumn with a bag of Marroni (roasted chestnuts) warming my little hands, my mum would always tell me about how, when she was my age, the Halbstarke (“half-strongs”/”semi-toughs” – a movement both popularised and simplified by the movie Teenage Wolfpack) used to hang out near fairgrounds, looking intimidating, cool and… desirable.
Growing up in the 80s with unsightly skinny kids in stonewashed neon jeans and perms occupying fairgrounds, it always sounded like a completely different world to me and my imagination turned the Halbstarke into some half-men/half-wolves – pillaging and ravaging everything in their way that hasn’t fainted with hysteria yet.
In my teens – after studying the not unsimilar life and career of Swiss photographer genius and car crash fetishist Arnold Odermatt – I came across the photographic work of self-taught photographer and previous factory worker Karlheinz Weinberger (1921 – 2006 – GIVE THE MAN A WIKI PAGE!) and it took another year or two to link the stories my mother had told me to the hauntingly powerful yet disarming Weinberger portraits and to realise that post-WWII Switzerland really wasn’t just all quaint and perfect but riddled with very diverse youth movements creating their very own eclectic aesthetic. An aesthetic that would some decades later inspire and influence the Swiss punk, post-punk and goth movements.
Until mid-March, Galerie Esther Woederhoff in Paris is showing a vast selection of works by Weinberger in an exhibition entitled Rebels. They’re absolutely incredible snapshots of an often forgotten youth movement – shot partially in Weinberger’s own pretty bourgeois living room - putting them in the very same Bildungsbürgertum environment they wanted to liberate themselves from - or in the great outdoors snogging in forests, riding pimped bikes, displaying their DIY gear, and just generally being totally badass, fierce and very un-Swiss.
A motive that’s particularly prevalent throughout Weinberger’s work is the focus on the display of male genitalia. Halbstarke developed their very own style, distressing jeans by taking zips out, replacing them with bolts or string and therefore setting a very deliberate phallic accent to their attire. Having worked for “Der Kreis” (AGAIN, GIVE THEM A WIKI PAGE!), a homoerotic magazine published by a Zurich club of the same name that even dared to publish highly critical material during the Nazi era, Weinberger was well versed in an aesthetic celebrating the sensuous youthful male.
However, he documented the halbstarke females in an equally admiring way and his portraits of girls with outrageously backcombed hair, kohl cat eyes, animal print or boldly striped jumpers, very tight waistlines and a lot of chuzpe show a great amount of empathetic closeness to their cause. He was on their side without being one of them.
Analysing the stylistic elements that made you halbstark, it’s actually very interesting observing how certain elements broke with gender stereotypes while others enforced them with a shitload of testosterone:
For the guys this meant that the Hollywood version of the quiff was often grown longer and softened to look rather effeminate, jeans and leather jackets were often short and revealing but this was then counterbalanced with the masculinity of scary Hell’s Angelesque back patches and of course the infamous horseshoe used as pendant – which was like the heavyweight 50s grandfather of the safety pin/pentagram/ankh.
The girls too walked a dual path both enforcing and breaking visual gender roles being the hourglass femme fatale only to adapt to a very tomboyish look and borrowing their boyfriend’s horseshoes, jackets and bandanas the next day.
It was a fantastic and great experimentation ground for the days to come and a lot of it has survived until today – particularly in the goth, crust punk and biker movements. A political movement or not, a lot of the Halbstarke later joined the youth revolts of the late 60s and they have changed the visual landscape of Switzerland for good. Thankfully.
Exhibition details below.
On show: Feb 11 – Mar 17, 2012
Address: Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, 36, rue Falguière, 75015 Paris, France, tel: +33 (0)9 51 51 24 50, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: Tue – Sat: 2 – 6 PM
by Suzanne on December 26th, 2011
To wrap up 2k11 on the Wurzelblog, I decided to post the 20 articles you guys liked best – according to likes, shares and reactions – and I must say, you’ve got a rather amazing and futureproof taste in the arts, people.
Many thanks for taking the time to submit stories, comment and interact in the past year(s).
(In order of popularity and ordered into rather random categories. Click on images to read stories.)
ART FEATURES & REVIEWS
HISTORY & SCIENCE
by Suzanne on December 25th, 2011
Please excuse the lack of updates in the recent past, gentle reader. It’s due to very bad internet access that pretty much only allows me to update my Facebook with the usual award-winning and highly offensive daily dose of anti-information.
Anyways, because this is an oh-so special time of consumerist rubbishness, I decided that I should really annoy you and your family with some very obnoxious LOLmas videos for absolutely no reason.
Featuring an awesome Jewish kid, a very disappointed non-Jewish kid, Heino, as well as Irish and 3D creepiness. Thanks to PoE for the inspiration and beautiful and very talented Suzanne Walsh for the Moving Crib video from her homeland.
Oh, and if you made it this far without an intracerebral hemorrhage, I suggest you now lock yourself in a pitch-black room with this video projected onto all four walls. Then swallow the key.
Merry Whatever from Wurzeltod. x
by Suzanne on December 1st, 2011
A Teardrop and a Flame by Christopher Conn Askew, watercolour, ink, graphite, nail polish & gouache on paper, 18 x 24 inches, 2011 – click to enlarge
96 Tears is one of the very few exhibitions where I don’t even mind looking at the opening photographs because for once, they’re full of beautiful and inspiring people – amongst them, obviously, the brilliant Askew-san himself.
For me, it has become ever clearer over the years that CC Askew is one of those rare artists who – rather than beginning to focus on the easy recipe of iconography that works and recurring themes that sell – constantly expand their intellectual and occult horizons, artistic heritage and understanding of foreign cultures and thus manage to integrate ever new aspects into their works.
In a way, CC has sometimes almost been a bit of a reverse Suehiro Maruo to me because just like Maruo – who has an obsession for blending motives from the Golden Age of Hollywood into his works – Askew does something similar with oriental cultures. And just like a Vania Zouravliov he does it with the utmost respect, admiration and sensitivity.
But this simple analogy would not do the master justice as he’s an iconosynthesist in his own right who has created his very own visual language and narrative codes.
So YEAH, what am I even writing this all for? It’s all pretty self-evident from the two new works posted here that you should absolutely go see 96 Tears if you’re in L.A. before December 10.
And in the meantime, I’ll be sitting here praying to the Elder Gods that Askew will be asked to design Shin Megami Tensei: Persona characters some fine day in the future.
No Golden Years by Christopher Conn Askew, watercolour, ink, graphite, nail polish, gouache & gold leaf on paper, 12 x 27 inches, 2011 – click to enlarge
On show: Nov 12 – Dec 10, 2011
Hours: Tue – Sat: 12 – 6 PM
by Suzanne on November 19th, 2011
La poupée by Hans Bellmer, painted wood, papier-mâché, mixed media, 1935/36, 61×170×51 cm, courtesy Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, photo © Collection Centre Pompidou/Vertrieb RMN/Georges Meguerditchian/ProLitteris – click to enlarge
I dislike the way big art metropoleis *cough* London *cough* always label their sell-out shows *cough* Leonardo da Vinci *cough* as “Shows of the Century” when - IF you can afford the outrageous admission prices at all - these shows are normally so totally overrun you really can’t appreciate the art or are even given a specific time slot and need to get the hell out after 30 minutes. Trust me, I know. I actually went to the last “big da Vinci thing” in London a couple of years back but I can’t even recall whether it was at the V&A, the Royal Academy or the British Museum. All I remember is that I COULDN’T SEE SHIT and people had the NERVE to bring their Dan Browns along. Jesus Christ.
Anyways, so thankfully, there’s always the smaller, quieter places that put on masterpieces of curating in the middle of nowhere – pretty much overlooked by the international media.
Well, one such tremendous art historical chef-d’oeuvre of a show is currently taking place at the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen near Basel.
Amongst the usual suspects that I won’t even bother mentioning here because the Beyeler is pretty notorious for its huge collection of surrealist art, you will meet the conjoined limbs of Hans Bellmer, the giant eyes of Paul Delvaux, the apocalyptic dreamscapes of Max Ernst and the sculptural synaesthesia of Méret Oppenheim.
Yes, I know right?! o_O
The exhibition looks also very stunning from an interior design point of view and a lot of effort, time.. and obviously money.. has been spent to contextualise and document the pieces. Definitely one to check out if you’re in Switzerland.
Surrealismus in Paris runs until the end of January 2012. Details below.
Der Gegenpapst by Max Ernst, oil on canvas, 1941/42, 161×127 cm, courtesy Peggy Guggenheim Collection, photo © David Heald/The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation/ProLitteris – click to enlarge
On show: Oct 2, 2011 – Jan 29, 2012
Hours: Mon – Sun: 10 AM – 6 PM
Admission: CHF 25.– (but special deals with public transport!)
by Suzanne on November 16th, 2011
Pest from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 – click to enlarge
“I cook doom in the air and what breathes has to die.”
It’s this time of year again – a time of such enormous transformation and transmutation in nature – when I find myself doing strange and silly things like obsessively reading the Nibelungen or losing myself in Skyrim because of some ominous melancholy and a deep longing for being reunited and rot away with the earth, the elements, of sinking, of dissolving, of dreamless thankful sleep.
And I really miss how this time of year feels like in my homeland. I miss the magic of how the mist and will-o’-the-wisps rise magnificently over the frosty fields and graveyards, how the forests creak with the cold like old bones, how the crows complain over the lack of grains, how the dormice hurriedly prepare their beds of leaves for a harsh winter.
Jungfrau from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 – click to enlarge
“Youth, so fiery, with cheeks so red. So blissful is love – so hideous is death.”
I miss the lake steaming in the morning, I miss still gasping at that fierce, majestic and omnipotent ancient natural fortification wall, the Alps, putting on its snowy white coat under the absolutely colourless and closed heavens even though I have seen its sight a million times. I miss the smell of bonfires and the sound of whips cracking in the clear glassy evening air. I miss hearing cowbells and spotting lanterns dancing like fireflies in the distant dark.
But mostly, I miss hiding in the medieval section of libraries hugging the radiator and a cup of really shitty instant coffee, completely immersed in studying Totentänze only to be thrown out at closing time and walking home aimlessly and hurt and finding myself in front of the Spreuer Bridge – that illustrated passage over the river Reuss talking to me so vividly from 1630 via the playful and treacherous skeletons of Caspar Meglinger.
Deliquent from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 – click to enlarge
“One death as retribution for the other. So does both justice and crime serve me.”
Growing up in Catholic Switzerland meant I’ve seen A LOT of danse macabres in my early childhood and by the time I moved to Protestant Basel to study, I was ready for their more scientific, demystified and bürgerliche understanding of the dance of death. I can’t say I understood it at first – I felt it was sorely lacking in the flamboyant Baroque accusatory celebration of decadence and the deadly sins. Protestant Totentänze are never about a sexy death. What I saw was a way more silent and depressing death. Anonymous diseases finishing people off from within instead of inebriated tomfoolery until the very end and very dull modest existences just being blown out rather than the grotesque fights for life and death seen in Catholic cycles.
It took a short train journey in 2002 from Basel to the university library of Freiburg im Breisgau (it’s a fucking Goth uni – the art department was literally in the catacombs) to rekindle my love for the Totentanz. It was there where I found a copy of the Leipzig Todtentanz für alle Stände (Dance of Death for all Classes) – excerpts of which you can see here.
Handwerker from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 – click to enlarge
“This house that you have built for yourself – let me see whether it fits you.”
Todtentanz für alle Stände was conceived by Carl Merkel and the woodcuts are by the absolutely fantastic Johann Gottfried Flegel. It was published in Leipzig in 1850. You can read the entire book here. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried when I first saw these – the carefully selected botanic symbolism of each and every scene relating to the trade or rank of the portrayed person, the way scenes turn into ornament, ornament into filigree and finally filigree into calligraphy. A whole world opened itself up to me when I first saw these and I hope you will appreciate getting lost in them too. I’m sorry I couldn’t make the English translation rhyme like the German original – it would take me ages to do it gracefully.
I would like to thank my dear friend Peacay from BibliOdyssey for making me remember this very special Totentanz. You have no idea how much finding this on your blog means to me, PK.
How lucky we are to walk amongst the proud dead.
Künstler from Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände by Carl Merkel & Johann Gottfried Flegel, Leipzig, 1850 – click to enlarge
“All your hopes and aspirations were in vain – but now death is fairer than life.”
by Suzanne on November 4th, 2011
There’s those types of collectors who simply got it all: The Dürer, Schongauer and Goya engravings, the Chapman Bros and Berlinde de Bruyckere sculptures, the cabinet de curiosités, basically, the most drool-worthy art from the 16th century to dato.
Such a person is Thomas Olbricht – a medical doctor and totally compulsive art collector from Essen.
His modern art segment alone includes artists such as Glenn Brown, Maurizio Cattelan, Mat Collishaw, John Currin, Nathalie Djurberg, Marlène Dumas, Katharina Fritsch, Julie Heffernan, Ron Mueck, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Patricia Piccinini, Pierre et Gilles, Floria Sigismondi, Kiki Smith and Sam Taylor-Wood.
But yeah, you guessed it, I could go on forever and ever. DAYUM.
Anyways, for the first time ever, a fantastic chunk of some 150 works of his collection is traveling to France to go on show at the phenomenal Maison Rouge in Paris that I reported about back in March when they had the tasty Tous Cannibales exhibition there.
Olbricht’s Memories of the Future opened in late October and will remain on show until mid-January of 2012. All details below.
On show: Oct 22, 2011 – Jan 15, 2012
Hours: Wed – Sun: 11 AM – 7 PM, late-night Thu until 9 PM
Catalogue: Published in French and English with colour illustrations, €25.
by Suzanne on October 31st, 2011
Installation view of Imaginifragus by Nicola Samori at Christian Ehrentraut, 2011 – click to enlarge
I normally don’t post installation views of shows but in the case of Italian-born Nicola Samori‘s new exhibition Imaginifragus, I’ll make an exception to this rule as the hanging and contextualisation really does do his oeuvre absolute justice (needless to say, it’s worth enlarging these two pictures).
Deconstructive nihilism and auto-aggressive existentialism never looked so technically impeccable and aesthetically pleasing.
The show opened last weekend and will remain on view until December 17. An etching in an edition of twelve (hurry!) has been released especially for this show. Contact Anne Kathrin Wegener at the gallery for further details.
Installation view of Imaginifragus by Nicola Samori at Christian Ehrentraut, 2011 – click to enlarge
On show: Oct 28 – Dec 17, 2011
Hours: Tue – Sat: 11 AM – 6 PM
by Suzanne on October 20th, 2011
Nagi Noda, 1973 – 2008
Nagi Noda – the incredibly talented multi-genre artist, director, designer, fashion and hair visionary who died in the prime of her creative career three years ago is finally being honoured with a retrospective of her astonishingly diverse work in Tokyo, where she lived and worked.
Creation Gallery will be showing lots of previously unseen works and certainly some of her well-known animal haircuts/hats, superb photographs and some of her fantastically imaginative videos like Mariko Takahashi’s Poodle Fitness Video which beyond doubt influenced such
annoying obnoxious OKAY OKAY kinda cute things as this.
So if you’re in Tokyo, do go down to Creation Gallery to celebrate the short sweet life and jubliant work of this stellar woman.
On show: Oct 18 – Nov 18, 2011
Hours: Mon – Sat: 11 AM – 7 PM
Thanks for the reminder, Gestalten!
by Suzanne on October 5th, 2011
Redwood Cabinet, 2008 by Madeline von Foerster, giclée print on Hahnemühle 310gsm, cotton rag paper, 28″ x 20″, ed. of 50, $240 – click to enlarge
Fantastic news for the lovers of symbiotic Wunderkammer art as Brooklyn based Skink Ink have just released beautifully lush and vibrant giclee prints of eight of Madeline von Foerster‘s most iconic works.
If you’re local, you can go check out the prints in person at The Gallery at Skink Ink until October 23, for the worldwide audience:
This is a fantastic opportunity to get your filthy hands on Madeline‘s work for a very fair price and generously low edition size. The paper is Hahnemühle cotton rag and I know from my time working with prints that this gives a very haptic finish and A LOT of depth.
The details are as follows:
“Skink Ink is publishing an edition entitled ‘Cabinet’ which will comprise of a collection of six images, each 20” x 28”, which will be sold individually, each in an edition of 50. Ten copies of the complete Cabinet collection will be presented in a handmade portfolio case with printed interleaves offering additional information about each work. In addition there will be two further prints outside of the collection; a larger version of ‘Amazon Cabinet’ 24” x 36” in a an edition of 50 and a smaller print ‘Invasive Species’ (13” x 17”) in an edition of 100. All works are signed and numbered.”
So that’s 8 prints altogether, 6 of which are an edition of 50 that can be purchased individually or in a collected set and 2 hors-série prints – just to repeat everything and be generally annoying and patronising.
If you’ve still got questions about pricing and ordering, contact Philip Riley at 917 536 8347 or email him here.
Details about the exhibition are below.
Invasive Species II, 2008 by Madeline von Foerster, giclée print on Hahnemühle 310gsm, cotton rag paper, 13″ x 17″, ed. of 100, $125 – click to enlarge
On show: Sep 22- Oct 23, 2011
Address: Skink Ink Editions, 177 North 10th Street, Room G, Brooklyn NY 11211, USA, email: email@example.com, tel: 917 536 8347
Hours: Tue – Sun: 11 AM – 6 PM