Kongernes Kunst – en materiel historie om Statens Museum for Kunsts samlinger

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Jeg er umådelig stolt over at have spillet en lille rolle i skabelsen af Kongernes Kunst – en lydmontage om SMKs historie. Eller rettere SMKs samlingers historie, for den er længere end museets historie. Tim Hinman har skrevet og produceret montagen. Jeg har hjulpet med researchen.

Den oprindelige ide – og som det også blev – var at fortælle historien om, hvor al kunsten kommer fra. Om kongernes samlinger. Det er en af mine kæpheste: At værkerne på SMKs vægge fremstår relativt historieløse. Givet, de indgår i en kunsthistorie. Men det, der er ofret for at fortælle kunsthistorien er kulturhistorien, provenienshistorien og ja historien i al almindelighed. Hvorfor det er sådan, er en lang historie og hænger sammen med SMKs formidlingshistorie. Den håber jeg at kunne fortælle en dag, men det er nærmere et ph.d.-projekt end en blogpost.
Men nu ville vi altså gerne gøre noget andet. Og det var Tim helt med på.

Vinklen er materiel så at sige. At se på værkerne ikke som kunstværker først, men som objekter. Objekter, der har en historie og som er knyttet til deres tid. Både den tid de er skabt i, men sandelig også den tid, de har set komme og gå. De har fået skader og tilskrivninger og deres materialer har forandret sig. At fortælle historien gennem tingene.

Værkerne som en art vidner eller hovedpersoner i historien.

Jeg er så imponeret over, hvor godt det er lykkedes Tim at realisere den idé. Det blev en fortælling  om forgængelighed. Om slotte, der brænder, sorte huller og sæbebobler. Titaner og guldfisk. Og kunsten er i midten af det hele.

Download lydmontagen her.

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Karel Dujardin, Dreng, der blæser sæbebobler. Allegori på forgængeligheden, 1663. 116×96,5 cm

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Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem (1562-1638), Titanernes fald, 1588-90. 239×307 cm

Naturen findes

Jorden set fra Apollo 17, 1972

Tænk, at det ikke var sønnen for tre Ã¥r siden, men en have, der nær skulle tage livet af min blog. Men det er altsÃ¥ den, der er grunden til at bloggen har ligget stille i et halvt Ã¥r. Men nu er haven godt i gang, drivhuset, havehuset, terrasse – endda et insekthotel er bygget og grøntsagerne er ved at være høstet.

Samtidig med vi gik i gang med haven, prøvede jeg uden held at fÃ¥ den franske sociolog, videnskabshistoriker og filosof Bruno Latour til landet. Jeg havde fÃ¥et grønt lys fra SMK og lavet aftaler med Golden Days, ambassaden, universitet, kunstakademiet, ITU – alle var mere end interesserede i at Latour herop at tale. Det lykkedes bare ikke. Han takkede nej med henvisning til at have for travlt og det er uden tvivl rigtigt. Han har i øjeblikket gang i et massivt og nærmest altfavnende projekt: AIME eller Modes of existence. Den engelske version af bogen, der hører til projektet An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence (pÃ¥ fransk Enquête sur les modes d’existence. Une anthropologie des Modernes er lige udkommet.

I min research fandt jeg Latours seks Gifford lectures, som han holdt i februar i Ã¥r. The University of Edinburgh har lagt de seks foredrag pÃ¥ Youtube. Og Latour har lagt manuskriptet pÃ¥ sin egen hjemmeside. De er stærkt anbefalelsesværdige. Jeg bekender mig uden forbehold til Latours natursyn, og i foredrag nr. tre The puzzling face of a secular Gaia kommer han med en formfuldendt redegørelse for dette. Foredragene virker som en syntese at al hans tidligere arbejde – det jeg kender til i hvert tilfælde, og jeg gætter pÃ¥, at det ogsÃ¥ er det AIME handler om. Jeg venter pÃ¥, at bogen kommer med posten.

Siden vi fik haven, har jeg haft Latours geostory (en af hans neologismer) og hans udlægning af James Lovelocks Gaia-teori i hovedet. Som sagt: Jeg bekender mig Ã¥bent som Gaia-troende – i Latour-version vel at mærke.

Nedenfor et et langt citat fra slutningen af det tredje foredrag, hvor Latour gennemgår Lovelocks argument.

Det korte af det lange er, at Latour ser en parallel i Lovelocks tanker om Gaia til sin egne aktørnetværkteori. Gaia – Jorden – er imidlertid ikke at forstÃ¥ som en stor organisme, det er en senere misforstÃ¥else. Jorden – Gaia er nærmere en osteklokke. Det springende punkt i  Lovelocks argument er, at han tilskriver agency til alle typer livsformer – selv de mindste blip vira. Alle gør, hvad de kan, for at ændre deres omgivelser til at passe dem selv. Dermed er der ikke – og har aldrig været – en ligevægt i naturen. En naturtilstand. Der hersker nærmere en terrorballance, hvor alles forsøg pÃ¥ at gøre deres nærmiljø gavnligt for dem selv resulterer i en kaotisk og uforudsigelig fortløbende situation. “As soon as you extend Darwinism to what every agent does to all the others on which it depends, the calculation of optimization is simply impossible. What you get instead are occasions, chances, noise and, yes, history.” Natur som tilstand, som baggrund, som scene synes dermed at forsvinde. Bogstaveligt talt alt – al materie er en del af denne kæmpeproces, kampplads, kaos: Geostory.

So far nothing is really out of the ordinary. Things get more interesting when this argument is used to extract the notion of cybernetic feedback out of its technological repertoire. Every evolutionist admits that humans have adjusted their environment to suit their needs. It is just that Lovelock extends this technical ingenuity to every single agent, no matter how small. This is not only the case for beavers, birds and termites, but for trees, mushrooms, algae, bacteria and viruses as well. To be sure, this is somewhat anthropomorphic but, as we have seen earlier, what begs for an explanation is not the extension of intentionality to non-humans but rather how it is that some humans have withdrawn intentionality from the living world imagining that they were playing on the planks of an inanimate stage. The enigma is not that there are people still believe in animism, but the persistance of belief in inanimism. Being alive means not only adapting to but also modifying one’s surroundings, or, to use Julius Von Uexküll’s famous expression, there exists no general Umwelt (a term to which we will have to return) that could encompass the Umwelt of each organism.

The point however is not about whether to grant intentionality or not, but about what happens to such an intention once every agent has been endowed with one. Paradoxically, such an extension quickly erases all traces of anthropomorphism and introduces at every scale the possibility of unintentional feedbacks. The reason is that we are not asked to believe in one Providence, but in as many providences as there are organisms on Earth. The sheer result of such a generous distribution of final causes is not the emergence of one overall Final Cause, but a mess, since, by definition, what is true for each actor is also true of all its neighbours. If A modifies B, C, D and X to suit its survival, it is also the case that B, C, D and X modify A in return. It seems that moralists have never looked very seriously at the consequences of the Golden Rule: if ‘everyone does to others what they would like others to do to them,’ the result is neither cooperation nor selfishness, but the chaotic history we are used to, since we live in it. What could be the meaning of a final cause if it is no longer ‘final’ but interrupted at every point by the interposition of other organisms’ intentions? You can follow the ripples of one stone on a pond but not the waves made by hundreds of cormorants diving at once in order to catch fish. By generalizing providence to every agent, Lovelock insures that the providential plans of every actor will be thwarted by many other plans. The more you generalize the notion of intentionality to all actors, the less you will detect intentionality in the whole, even though you might observe more and more negative or positive feedbacks.

(…)

So far, Lovelock’s argument is completely compatible with Darwinian narratives since every agent is working for itself without being asked to stop following its own interest ‘for the sake of some superior good,’ which would be the case if there were any dispatcher. But where it adds something to them is in the definition of what it really means for any agent to be ‘for itself.’ For Lovelock and Margulis, taking things literally, there is no environment any more. Since all living agents follow their intentions all the way by modifying their own neighbours as much as possible, it is quite impossible to tell apart what is the environment to which an organism adapts and what is the point where action starts. As Timothy Lenton writes in one of his review articles:
‘Gaia theory aims to be consistent with evolutionary biology and views the evolution of organisms and their material environment as so closely coupled that they form a single, indivisible, process. Organisms possess environment altering traits because the benefit that these traits confer (to the fitness of the organism) outweigh the cost in energy to the individual.’ P440
Such is the origin of the peculiar beauty of reading Lovelock’s or Lynn Margulis’ prose. The inside and outside of all boundaries are subverted. Not because everything is connected in a ‘great chain of being’; not because there exists somewhere an overall plan ordering the whole concatenation of agents; but because this coupling of one neighbour actively manipulating its neighbours and being manipulated by all the others defines waves of action that do not respect any traditional borderlines and, more importantly, that are not happening at a fixed scale. Those waves — Tarde would call them overlapping ‘monads’ — are the real actors which should be followed all the way, wherever they lead, without sticking to the internal boundary of an isolated agent considered as an individual inside an environment. Those waves are, if I may say so, the real brush strokes with which Lovelock hopes to paint Gaia’s face.

Such dissolution of the environment has several important consequences: first it purges Darwinism of its remnant of Providence; but more importantly, it modifies the scale at which evolution occurs; and finally, it redefines deeply what we could mean by natural history. Let me end this lecture with a brief look at those three features.
In the early days of Gaia theory — before the introduction of the Daisy model — , evolutionists complained that it could not be Darwinian because there is no population of planets competing for survival. But such a criticism revealed a telling limit in the way these biologists understood adaptation — a limit deriving from the economic theory they employed to model their biology. In this theory, you have to choose either the self-interested individual or the integrated system — a quandary biologists borrowed from the social sciences. But what is totally implausible in the idea of ‘selfish gene’ is not that genes are selfish — every actor pursues its interest all the way to the bitter end — , but that you could calculate its ‘fit’ by externalizing all the other actors into what would constitute, for a given actor, its ‘environment.’ This does not mean that you have to wheel in a super-organism to which the actors will be requested to sacrifice their goals. It simply means that life is much messier than economists and neo-darwinians want it to be, and that any selfish goal will be swamped by the selfish goals of all the others, making the calculation of an optimum simply impossible. The reason why Darwin’s secular intuition has been so often degraded in a barely disguised version of Providence, is because neo-Darwinians had forgotten that if such a calculation works in human economics it is because of the continuous imposition of calculating devices in order to operate, to enforce, the technical term is to perform the distinction between what a given agent should count and what he should decide not to count. Without those devices, profit would be impossible to calculate and even more to extract from the so-called ‘environment.’ As soon as you extend Darwinism to what every agent does to all the others on which it depends, the calculation of optimization is simply impossible. What you get instead are occasions, chances, noise and, yes, history. What uses to be the environment of an individual actor vanishes.

But the main mistake of evolutionists in their critique of Gaia theory was the wrong idea of how it was supposed to act ‘as’ a whole. We recognize here the same alternation between actors and system that renders human as well as biological societies impossible to grasp. As soon as you abandon the boundaries between the inside and the outside of an agent, you begin to modify the scale of the phenomena you consider. It is not that you shift levels and suddenly move from the individual to ‘the system,’ it is that you abandon both points of view as being equally implausible. This is what happens, as Lovelock and Margulis have shown, when you follow waves of action beyond the boundaries of the cell walls.
One example of such a wave has taken an iconic character in Lovelock’s saga: the sudden appearance of oxygen at the end of the Archean. In this opera, oxygen is a relative newcomer, an event that has destroyed masses of earlier living forms feeding on methane, a massive case of pollution that has been seized by new forms of life as a golden opportunity.
‘Oxygen is poisonous, it is mutagenic and probably carcinogenic, and it thus sets a limit to lifespan. But its presence also opens abundant new opportunities for organisms. At the end of the Archean, the appearance of a little free oxygen would have worked wonders for those early ecosystems. (…) Oxygen would have changed the environmental chemistry. The oxidation of atmospheric nitrogen to nitrates would have increased, as would the weathering of many rocks, particularly on land surfaces. This would have made available nutrients that were previously scarce, and so allowed an increase in the abundance of life’. p. 114
If we now live in an oxygen-dominated atmosphere, it is not because there is a preordained feedback loop. It is because organisms that have turned this deadly poison into a formidable accelerator of their metabolisms have spread. Oxygen is not there simply as part of the environment but as the extended consequence of an event continued to this day by the proliferation of organisms. In the same way, it is only since the invention of photosynthesis that the Sun has been brought to bear on the development of life. Both are consequences of historical events that will last no longer than the creatures sustaining them. And as the citation shows, each event creates for other creatures, later on, novel opportunities.
The crucial point here, it seems to me, is that scale does not intervene because we would have suddenly shifted to a higher point of view. If oxygen had not spread, it would have remained a dangerous pollutant in the vicinity of archeo-bacteria. Scale is what has been generated by the success of living forms. If there is a climate for life, it’s not because there exists a res extensa inside which all creatures would passively reside. Climate is the historical result of reciprocal, mutually interfering connections among all growing creatures. It expands, it diminishes or it dies with them. The Nature of old en days had levels, layers and a well ordered zoom; Gaia subverts levels. There is nothing inert, nothing benevolent, nothing external in it. If climate and life have evolved together, space is not a frame, nor even a context: space is time’s child. This is what makes Lovelock’s Gaia so totally secular: all effects of scale are the result of the expansion of one particular opportunist agent seizing occasions to develop on the fly. If it is an opera, it is one that is constantly improvised and has no end, no rehearsal and no score. This is the polar opposite of James Hutton’s view when he famously said at the end of his Theory of the Earth:
‘We have the satisfaction to find that in nature there is wisdom, system and consistency. (…) The result, therefore, of our present inquiry is, that we find no vestige of a beginning, — no prospect of an end.’
No prospect of an end, really? For the rocky Earth maybe, for Gaia this is doubtful, for some of its participants, it is far from sure.

If there is no frame, no goal, no direction, we have to take Gaia as the name of the process by which varying contingent occasions have been offered a chance to render later events more probable. Gaia is neither a creature of chance nor of necessity. Which means that it looks a lot like what we have come to take as history itself. Such is the last trait I wish to emphasize.
When we say that Gaia is a ‘historical figure’ we offer the same ambiguity as when we say, for instance, that the Act of Union or Pasteur’s discoveries of microbes are ‘historical.’ The adjective designates simultaneously the event and the narrative of the event. It is well known that historians have a complex relation with the objectivity of their findings that the word ‘narrative’ could either weaken — ‘We are just telling stories’ — or strengthen — ‘We are branching narratives onto what is in itself also a narrative.’ I use the word ‘narrative’ to designate the specific ontology of events that might have unfolded otherwise, events that had no plan, that are not lead by any Providence, journeys that succeed or fail depending on constant retelling and continual  re-evaluation that modifies, once again, their contingent meaning. With this definition, we see how we could move from a narrative of Pasteur’s discovery of microbes — he has a history, they don’t — , to the history of microbes — they have a history too. This is why, when Stephen Jay Gould took such pains to tell the story of the Burgess Shale fossils so as to avoid any teleology — even the one coming from their neo – Darwinist version — , he alluded to Frank Capra’s film with his book title Wonderful Life to suggest how things could have been different for so many lives along the way. You need fiction to tell a somewhat realistic story of what live forms have to pass through. Similarly, if Gaia is to be told through narratives, it is because it is also, in its very fabric, a narrative.
In a piece of work that, by its sheer size, bursts the limit of a scholarly book, Martin Rudwick has shown that when geohistory began to ‘Burst the limits of time’ it was not to escape from the narrow prison of the Church’s teachings. It was, on the contrary, because it began to merge the tools of exegesis and hermeneutics, with the newly developed disciplines of archaeology, digs, historiographical archives and expeditions.
“This book has traced how this novel geohistorical approach has derived from transposition from the human world into the natural both from the profoundly historical perspective of Judeo – Christian religion and from its secular counterpart in erudite human history an antiquarian research. The former, far from being an obstacle to the perception of the immense timescale of geohistory, facilitated the extension of historicity back into the vastness of deep time. And the latter provided the new practice of geohistory with its crucial conceptual metaphors of nature”
As Rudwick shows beautifully, the revolution — and it was a revolution — came once geologists convinced themselves that the planet was notthe result of the eternal laws of nature (their i deal vision of Newton’s achievements) but of highly specific places and dates — something that they could begin to realize by digging, for instance, through the older layers of Mount Vesuvius’s eruption, but that they could also read about in the gospel. To be able to read cosmic events out of minuscule disruptions in the orderly layers of life was something common to the emerging science of geohistory as well as to the deciphering of Incarnation and its complex web of textual emendations. Once intentionality and interpretation are granted to all living creatures, we may understand in a very different manner how ‘the lily could sing the Glory of God’ in more ways than one.‘Nature Two and Religion Two might not be that far apart. ‘Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ (Jn-1-46).
Is it possible at last to imagine a secularized science talking about secularized phenomena? How to name this new form of narration? Of course, we could use ‘natural history’ and ‘natural philosophy’ in their old 19th century meaning, but it is hard to extract from the adjective ‘natural’ the poison that Nature — capital N — has injected in it. Feminists have punned on the venerable term of history to create ‘herstory,’ so as to insist on the hitherto unrecognized presence of women’s role in male history. If it is very true that the distribution of agency by male historians about male historical figures ignored most of the feminine actors, it is also true that there has been a great inequality in the distribution of active forces when having human — males and females — strutting on a stage made of what had no history. If we don’t want to use ‘Gaiastory,’ we could use the word ‘geostory’ — better than geohistory — to capture what ‘geostorians’ such as Lovelock are talking about, that is, a form of narration inside which all the former props and passive agents have become active without, for that, being part of a giant plot written by some overseeing entity.

Have we finally drawn the face of Gaia? No, obviously not. At least, I hope I have said enough to convince you that finding the ‘place of Man in Nature’ — to use an old expression — is not at all the same thing as to narrate the geostory of the planet. By bringing into the foreground everything that used to remain in the background, we don’t expect to live at last in ‘harmony with nature.’ There is no harmony in this contingent cascade of unforeseen events and there is no nature either — at least not in this sublunary realm of ours. But to learn how to situate human action into this geostory is not — such is the crucial lesson — to ‘naturalise’ humans either. No unity, no universality, no indisputability, no indefeasibility is to be invoked when humans are thrown in the turmoil of geostory. You could say, of course, that this rendering is much too anthropomorphic. I hope it is and fortunately so, but not in the old sense of imputing human values to an inert world of mute objects, but, on the contrary in the sense of giving humans — yes morphing them into — a more realistic shape. Anyway, what a strange thing it would be to complain about the pitfalls of anthropomorphism at the time of the anthropocene!

Der er ikke noget naturligt over naturen. Alle agenter omskaber deres ‘miljø’ til deres egen fordel. Der er ikke noget miljø – kun andre agenters forsøg pÃ¥ at ændre deres omgivelser til deres fordel – det er miljøet. Det er naturen. Økologien og historien pÃ¥ en gang.

NÃ¥r jeg har det i baghovedet,  forekommer det mig faktisk meget centralt for det unægtelig komplicerede eller oxymorone i at dyrke en af Amager Fælleds Økohaver pÃ¥ Lossepladsvej (det hedder det bare desværre ikke mere – nu hedder det bare Artillerivej, selv om det grænser til historieforfalskning). Det er ét stor projekt om at omskabe et nærmiljø til vores egne fordele – pÃ¥ mange niveauer. Lige fra lugning og drivhuse – til landskabsarbejdet med at forsegle en losseplads og gøre den til dyrkbar jord – til valget af økologi frem for ‘konventionelle’ dyrkningsmetoder og helt til symbolbetingede livsstilsvalg. Det virker ekstremt kunstigt – men det er mÃ¥ske netop det, der er det naturlige.

Selv helt banale småting, som når jeg står og fylder vandkander og vandtrykket pludseligt falder fordi en af de andre haveejere åbner for en anden vandhane, får hele kæden af miljømodifikationer til at ringe i hovedet på mig. Som et emblem på osteklokke Gaia, hvor vi alle hypper vores egne kartofler og skaber vores natur.

Danh Vo, Chung ga opla

Danh Vo Chung ga opla @ Académie de France à Rome - Villa Medici

Académie de France à Rome – Villa Medici
Chung ga opla | Danh Vo
When: From 11 January to 10 february 2013
Where: Exhibition | Grandes galeries

Press Release

Time – He flexes like a whore
Time
, David Bowie

I would not end here without once again warning you against the enthusiasm or the jealousy my “luck” inspires in you, specifically the opportunity to loll in a city whose memory doubtless haunts you, despite your roots in our evaporated country. This city, which I would exchange for no other in the world, is for that very reason the source of my misfortunes. All that is not Paris being equal in my eyes, I often regret that wars have spared it, that it has not perished like so many others. Destroyed, it would have rid me of the happiness of living here, I could have spent my days elsewhere, at the ends of the earth. I shall never forgive Paris for having bound me to space, for making me from somewhere. Mind you, I am not forgetting for a moment that four-fifths of its inhabitants, as Chamfort has already noted, “die of grief.” I should add further, for your edification, that the remaining fifth, the privileged few of whom I am one, are no different in their feelings, and that they even envy that majority its advantage of knowing of what to die.
Letter to a Faraway Friend, in History and Utopia,
Emil Cioran

…born out of a uterus I had nothing to do with…
Antonin Artaud interpretato da Nancy Spero

The solo exhibition of Danh Vo – Chung ga opla at Villa Medici from 11 January to 10 February 2013 – is the second in a series of exhibitions focusing on the theme of Academia curated by Alessandro Rabottini.

Born in 1975 in Saigon, Danh Vo has affirmed himself in only a few years as one of the most original voices in the International artistic panorama, thanks to the variety of idioms with which he treats the great themes of history – colonialism, economic and cultural imperialism, the relations between East and West and war – from a personal point of view.

His work combines autobiography with the narration of great events, thus disintegrating the great division between History and personal history, between the dimension of individual experience and the horizon of world events.
At the age of four, Danh Vo and his family escaped from Vietnam to find refuge in Denmark, following the historical events involving his native country as well as his own family. War, the subdivision of ex-Indochina, the French conquest and conversion to Catholicism… these and other collective traumas are omnipresent in Danh Vo’s work: a constant fusion between past and present, violence and poetry, destruction and transformation.
In his installations of objets trouvés and manipulated objects, the artist develops a formal idiom with references to post-minimalist art and Arte Povera, ethnographic and archaeological museology, commercial display and theatrical space.

On the occasion of his exhibition at Villa Medici, Danh Vo created a series of installations in collaboration with members of his family.

The first hall is organized in a layering of images and texts that create a temporal short- circuit. In this exhibition space, the artist has left to his own nephews and nieces, a group of eight children and teenagers, the freedom of drawing pictures on the walls. This extremely liberal gesture is counterpointed by the insertion of certain quotations which design a mental horizon where language spans space, time and generations: a passage from Letter to a Faraway Friend, the introduction to History and Utopia, published in French in 1960 by Rumanian writer Emile Cioran (1911-1995), who abandoned his native country to live most of his life in Paris; a line from David Bowie’s Time (1972) and a quotation from Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) taken up, in turn, by the American artist Nancy Spero (1926-2009) in one of her works. In all of these sources we can recognize a sense of distance and detachment, of not belonging, refusal and nostalgia. Although a significant part of Danh Vo’s work has to do with the lives of members of his family belonging to past generations, this is the first time that the artist includes the existence of future generations in his work, thus enhancing his reflections on time and history, in their inner and individual as well as their collective dimensions.
This action on space – where freedom and violence, innocence and a sense of the end coexist – serves as a background for a series of works expressing the themes of language and translation, movement in time and space, journey and desertion.
One of these works is 2.2.1861, a version realized in Rome in an unlimited edition: the artist had asked his father to copy by hand the last letter that catholic missionary Théophane Vénard – later canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1968 – had written to his father from prison shortly before being sentenced to death in Vietnam in 1861. At the time, proselytism was outlawed. This letter – a farewell from a son to his father in the form a floral metaphor of human existence – was written in French and copied by Danh Vo’s father who did not understand the words. This oscillation between language and sense is further strengthened by the fact that Vietnam was the only Asian country during the French colonial period to convert its lexicon to the Latin alphabet. Both in this work as well as in the murals, the handwriting becomes a visual space within which lie the history and time of the individual lives, regardless of their comprehension or participation. The letter is accompanied by the work byebye, an appropriate photo of Théophane Vénard together with four other missionaries about to leave for Asia. The themes of travel, separation, leaving home and extraneousness echo throughout the hall: in the words of Emil Cioran and Antonin Artaud, in the image of the missionaries and the reproduction of the artist’s first passport photo. These are the same themes evoked in the great new work dominating the wall: on a series of busts from the Museum Store of the Statue of Liberty in New York laminated in gold leaf, the father of the artist drew the words Sweet Oblivion, title of a work by artist Marin Wong (1946-1999), whose paintings are a vibrant representation of life on the Lower East Side. The entire hall is conceived as a bizarre crowded family self-portrait, in which the stories and existence of the artist’s relatives cohabit with the artistic and intellectual experiences that have inspired him over the years.

The intimacy of this situation contrasts with the monumentality of the context that plays host to the exhibition: a fusion of everyday life with the official character amplified by the title. Chung ga opla, is the phonetic translation of the Vietnamese expression indicating « sunny side up» eggs (in French « œufs au plat »). It evokes the image of morning food- sharing as a ritual celebrating unity.

In the Grand Salon on the first floor, Danh Vo has installed a series of works which, once again associate Villa Medici with the themes of movement and transformation of things: at the foot of the sumptuous tapestries which decorate the Salon we find a series of cardboard boxes for the transportation of Evian water which the artist had gathered in the streets and subsequently modified through gold-leaf lamination. These consumer waste products – which preserve a profound recollection of Robert Rauschenberg’s Cardboards realized at the beginning of the 1970s – have thus become precious while still maintaining their fragility and a shabby aspect in strong contrast with the monumentality of the host context. The tapestries realized in Eighteen century upon drawings by Albert Eckhout illustrate the exploration and discovery of exotic lands and an image of nature seen as a realm of struggle among different species, governed by the law of implacable force. The magnificence of these representations contrasts the scanty bouquets realized by Danh Vo with branches taken from the various trees present in the gardens of the Villa.

The exhibition Danh Vo – Chung ga opla is part of a cycle of three personal exhibitions that constitute an extension of the Teatro delle Esposizioni #3, which took place at Villa Medici in June and October of 2012. This cycle investigates the concept of Academy as a symbolic space where the idea of the presumed neutrality of art is superimposed on the concept of National identity and within which the dimensions of history, tradition, politics and culture come together.

The three artists involved in the project – each with his personal idiom – investigate the History of Art conceived as an area crossed by multiple forces: political ideologies, economic events, dominant historical narrations repressed by collective consciousness.

The exhibition Danh Vo – Chung ga opla follows Patrizio Di Massimo’s project THE LUSTFUL TURK (23 November – 16 December) and anticipates the solo show of Victor Man planned for the end of June 2013. This cycle of exhibitions explores the concept of Accademia in its multiple meanings interlacing historical, aesthetical and political reflections.

Indeed, in recent years the international artistic debate has concentrated on a series of themes related to the processes of education and transmission of knowledge, the survival of ideologies of the past in the world of today and the possibility that visual art can work as an area where progress and anachronism can melt together. Thus the concept of Accademia becomes a prism in which it is possible to manifest the opportunities and contradictions of our times in relation to tradition. The figure of the Academy can, therefore, be explored as a physical, cultural and metaphoric site where the transmission of specific artistic knowledge bears a more complex history, consisting of a world vision which evokes, more or less explicitly, the traumas of history and the repression of ideology.

Danh Võ: 2004-2012

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KUNSTHAUS BREGENZ

Danh Võ: 2004-2012
Edited and with introduction by Yilmaz Dziewior. Text by Julie Ault, Doryun Chong, Oscar Faria.

In the installations of Danh Vo, comprising arrangements of objects, photographs, documents, craft objects, and souvenirs, the private meets the public, his own biography meets political history, and the original meets the copy. This two-volume publication encompasses Danh Vo’s compelling work in all its entirety for the first time.

The first volume provides a carefully compiled résumé based on the chronology of his projects and exhibitions will be complemented by numerous installations views as well as texts by Julie Ault, Yilmaz Dziewior, Doryun Chong, and Oscar Faria, who will be engaging with Vo’s work by considering issues of biography and history, readymades and appropriation, poetry and politics, while placing it within an art historical context.

The second volume pays homage to Danh Vo’s father Phung Vo and his contribution to his son’s projects as an independent work complex. Numerous reproductions duplicated by hand by Phung Vo of a letter originating from 19th Century France, which Théophane Vénard, who was later canonized by the Catholic Church as a martyr, wrote shortly before his decapitation to his father, are shown.

Title
Danh Võ: 2004-2012

Authors and contributors
Edited by Yilmaz Dziewior, Text by Doryun Chong, Text by Julie Ault, Illustrated by Danh Vo

Physical properties
Format: Hardback, 18 x 23 cm
Number of pages: 224, illustrated throughout.

Audience
General/trade

Language
English

ISBN
ISBN 13: 9783863351656
ISBN 10: 3863351657

Classifications
BISAC category code: ART019000
LC classification: N
BISAC category code: ART016030
Nielsen BookScan Product Class: T1.2
BICMainSubject: ACBP

Publisher
Kunsthaus Bregenz

Imprint name
Kunsthaus Bregenz

Publication date
31 March 2013

Danh Vo catalogue
11. jan. 2013 15.37

Dear Magnus Kaslov,

to our regret, we have to announce that we suspended the production of the planned KUB catalogue with works by Danh Vo. The catalogue won’t be published.

Thank you for your understanding,
with kind regards
Claudia Voit

Mag. Claudia Voit
Assistentin Publikationen / publications

Kunsthaus Bregenz
Karl Tizian Platz
A-6900 Bregenz
+43 5574 485 94-416
Fax: +43 5574 485 94-408
c.voit@kunsthaus-bregenz.at
www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at

München redigeret

Nu har jeg haft tid til at billedbehandle mine fotografier fra München taget tidligere i Ã¥r. Et par af dem postede jeg dernedefra i to posts om Haus der Kunst og Entartete Kunst-udstillingen, men der er billederne postet ‘as shot’ so to speake.

München 2

De to centrale bygninger i nazipartiets partiadministration Führerbau og Verwaltungsbau der NSDAP – i dag Hochschule für Musik und Theater München og Haus der Kulturinstitute. De to bygninger er strippet for deres jernørne, som man kan se mærkerne efter over indgangspartierne. Mellem bygningerne kan man stadig ane fundamenterne til de to ærestempler opført for at hylde for de 16 nationalsocialister, der blev slÃ¥et ihjel under partiets første forsøg pÃ¥ magtovertagelse ved kupforsøget i 1923. Templerne og de 16 martyrer var centrale for partiets massive propaganda og mÃ¥l for Ã¥rlige processioner og kransenedlæggelser. Kister og ligrester blev fjernet i 1945. Ærestemplernes øverste struktur blev sprængt i luften i 1947, og soklerne blev beplantet. I dag er der en mindeplade for de 4 politibetjente, der ogsÃ¥ mistede livet ved kupforsøget.

 

München 1

Münchens gamle botaniske have. I haven lÃ¥ Glaspalast – en bygning af stÃ¥l og glas efter forbillede af The Crystal Palace i London – indtil det brændte i 1931. Glaspalast lÃ¥ mellem hvor jeg stod og Justitspaladset i baggrunden. Justitspaladset husede fra 1934 den sÃ¥kaldte Folkeret – “Volksgerichtshof”. Det var arbejdet med at skabe et udstillingsrum til at erstatte det nedbrændte glaspalads, som blev starten pÃ¥ Haus der Deutschen Kunst. Efter sigende skulle nazibevægelsen efter magtovertagelsen i 1933 have udrenset alle ikke endemiske planter og træer fra haven, sÃ¥ den fremstod rent tysk. Det lyder helt vanvittigt, men hvem ved.

 

München 7

Königsplatz, hvor en hav af parader, samlinger, taler og autodafeer blev afholdt. Midt i billedet kan man se konstruktionen af NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, der bygges samme sted som Braunes Haus, der husede nationalsocialisternes første nationale hovedkarter. Braunes Haus blev bombet i flere omgang under krigens afslutning og endelig nedrevet i 1947. Centret skal stÃ¥ klart i forÃ¥ret 2014 og er allerede centrum for en heftig debat om projektets nødvendighed og lødighed. Efter krigen blev der plantet træer foran de to administrationsbygninger – antageligt for at dæmme op for det centralperspektiviske blik fra Königsplatz med bygningerne som fokuspunkt. Det symetrisk, fejende blik forekommer gennemgÃ¥ende at være stærkt problematisk for efterkrigstidens hÃ¥ndtering af arven fra nazismens propaganda i Münchens arkitektur og byplanlægning. Blikket som emblem pÃ¥ den fascinationskraft nazismen havde haft. Det fejende blik mÃ¥ brydes, centralperspektivet ophæves.

 

München 3

Haus der Deutschen Kunst – i dag bare Haus der Kunst.

 

München 4

Den central hal i midten af Haus der Kunst. Her har det centrale symetrisk blik også være brudt og skjult indtil for ganske nyligt. Husets infrastruktur har være omlagt og hallen stået ubrugt eller delt op af et forhæng. Det skulle angiveligt først være med Chris Dercons arbejde for at reflektere husets historie, at infrastruktur begyndelsesvist blev genetableret og først med udstillingen Geschichten im Konflikt, at hallen har haft et åbent uhindret blik. Der var i udstillingen endda skåret en sprække i de ellers tillukkede nicher på første sal, så man igen kunne se ned i hallen oppefra. Som om selv blikket var udstillet i den selvreflekterende historiske udstilling. Jeg kom sidst i udstillingsperioden, og allerede da var det åbne blik gennem hallen brudt af et værk, der netop gør brug af persienner!

 

München 5

Fra udstillingen Geschichten im Konflikt.

 

München 6

Surfere bag Haus der Kunst.

 

München 8

Marg Molls Tänzering, der blev beslaglagt og udstillet som del af Entatete Kunst-udstillingen. Værket forsvandt, men blev fundet i 2010 under udgravninger i Berlin. Jeg synes, det er fascinerende, hvordan restaureringsarbejdet har fået så prominent en plads i værkets udtryk, som værket fremstår i dag. Værkerne i den nye Entatete Kunst-udstilling, som dette billede er fra, står som en blanding mellem arkæologiske fund og kunstværker. Mystiske objekter udspændt mellem en stribe forskellige historier.

Lea Porsager, T-F 3

space_junk_geo

Jeg bliver tiltrukket af kunstprojekter, der på en gang er referencetunge samtidig med, at de ikke vil formidle det. Det virker magnetisk på mig, at jeg kan fornemme, at der er oceaner af viden at grave frem, men at jeg ikke får noget som helst af det serveret. Der er den samme fascination, der driver min nysgerrighed overfor Danh Vos værker. Det bliver til gigantisk lange blogposts, som jeg aldrig bliver færdig med. Nu er det Lea Porsager, der har gjort det.

Lea Porsager er udstillingsaktuel på Fotografisk Center med udstillingen How to program and use T-F. Udstillingen opleves som ét sammenhængende værk, der indbefatter skulptur, fotografi, tekst og video.

Det man selv kan se

Næsten alle udstillingens dele ligger på gulvet. Der ligger to gang to brudte rækker af billeder og rundt om dem ligger mindre skulpturdele spredt. En projektor lyser en tekst op på den ene væg og på en anden vises en video i loop. Udstillingen er strippet for formidling på nær en meget overordnet tekst uden for døren og en lille folder, der kan tages i skranken.

Det er rækkerne af billeder, der er det mest markante element i udstillingen. Seks større rektangulære billeder i aluminiumsrammer ligger pÃ¥ aluminiumssveller med en cæsur i midten. Ti mindre billeder og kobberplader pÃ¥ kobbersveller ligger diagonalt i forhold til rækken af de store billeder. Udover billedrækkerne ligger to typer objekter pÃ¥ gulvet – tre blanke projektilformede objekter og syv mørkepatinerede kobberobjekter. Videoen pÃ¥ væggen viser blinkende farverektangler hen over et utydeligt videospor i sort/hvid. Teksten pÃ¥ den anden væg er pÃ¥ engelsk og omhandler udstillingen, objekterne og deres tilblivelse forklaret i et fortættet og indforstÃ¥et sprog.

De store billeder kan genkendes som scannerbilleder af harddiske og computerkabinetter. De mindre billeder er sværere at aflæse, men viser fysiske objekter/skulpturer affotograferet med et andet billede som baggrund.

Det man kan læse sig til

I den lille formidlingspublikation Fotografisk Center har lavet, kan man læse om de vigtigste af de tanker, der ligger til grund for udstillingen. Helt central er bogen Thought Forms af Annie Besant og Charles Leadbeater fra 1901, der er en nøgletekst i forhold til udstillingen. Udstillingen forholder sig meget specifikt til den relativt indflydelsesrige teosofiske tekst. Bogen er til at finde både på engelsk og i dansk oversættelse, hvor de vigtige illustrationer også er med.

Folderen forklarer også at udstillingen viser tre typer tankeformer. Tanketype 1 og 2 er henholdsvis rækken af store billeder og rækken af små. Tanketype 3 er de skulpturelle objekter på gulvet.

Leadbeater og Besant beskriver også tre typer tankeformer, og det er de tre typer, som udstillingen forholder sig specifikt til.

1. Tanker, der iklæder sig tænkerens forestilling

Hvis et menneske forestiller sig, at det befinder sig pÃ¥ et eller andet fjernt sted – eller ønsker, at det var der – skaber det en tankeform i overensstemmelse med forestillingen. …

2. Tanker, der antager form som et fysisk objekt

Hvis et menneske f.eks. tænker pÃ¥ en af sine venner, skaber det et lille billede af vennen i sit mentallegeme. Billedet holder sig som regel svævende i luften lige foran sin skaber. … En kunstmaler, der forestiller sig det billede, der skal males, opbygger det først i mentallegemet, og derefter projiceres det ud i rummet. Det fastholdes for det indre blik og derefter kopieres det. PÃ¥ samme mÃ¥de skaber forfattere billeder i mentalt stof af bogens personer. Ved hjælp af viljen flyttes de mentale personer fra en position til en anden. Forfatteren ser bogstaveligt handlingen udspille sig for øjnene af sig selv.

Med nutidens underlige bagvendte forestilling om virkeligheden er det svært at forstÃ¥, at de mentale billeder faktisk eksisterer, og at de nemt kan ses af clairvoyante – og endda rokeres omkring af andre end deres skaber. Nogle forfattere har en uklar fornemmelse af processerne, og de har bekræftet, at efter at de havde skabt handlingens personer, havde personerne selv udviklet en form for vilje. …

3. Tanker, der antager deres egen specielle form

Det drejer sig om tankeformer, der udtrykker deres iboende egenskaber i det stof, som de samler omkring sig. Det kan kun betale sig at illustrere tankeformer fra den tredje gruppe, for tankeformer fra 1. og 2. underplan resulterer kun i portrætter og landskaber. For de to første gruppers vedkommende er der kun tale om former fra det fysiske plan, der efterlignes i mentalt eller astralt stof. I den tredje gruppe ser man derimod et glimt af de former, der naturligt findes på astral- og mentalplanet. Men det, der gør dem interessante, skaber samtidig en uovervindelig barriere, hvis de skal gengives nøjagtigt.

Vægteksten i How to program and use T-F beskriver i sin indforståede og nærmest bevidst forplumrede stil udstillingens tre tankerformer, der spejler de tre typer i bogen:

T-F 1 Ego hard drives, susceptible to ideological drifts

T-F 2 Endless reproductions of frayed brown ideas and doctrines

T-F 3 The psychometric event of beeing caught between a rock and a hard place had caused the Programmers spasmodic “cool thinking” to materialize.

In a state of rare extremism, odd selfishness and unpleasant depression, the novice T-F Programmer met up with the Cyber Pioneer, one so seemingly connected, so thorougley networked to the extent of beeing downright clairvoyant.

Breezily bouncing off surrounding grids of communication satellites, this vertically challanged, multi-angular and neurally plastic Cyber Pioneer left the Programmer to her own lame devices.

While the Cyber Pioneer spoke in a foreign tongue, the Programmer reached into the astral plane and pulled out a mutated mental entity, a T-F 3. It landed on her lap, on her knees and in her open hands. Shaped like some kind of boomerang, it was heavy and cold despite its dark brown color. On the horizon, right where the earth’s surface began, another one hung blunt and cold. Above it lingered another shape, a silver bullet.

It was as if these cool thought-forms themselves had willed their own matter into beeing. Opaque, inaccessible, heavy, meticulous and anti-plastic, it was as if the T-F 3 refused to become anything more or less than thoughts embodied.

Lets assume for a moment that the Cyber Pioneer’s connectedness equalled panoptic vision. Let us furthermore assume that this vision – however casual and webby – is a potential power-tool for thought control. Let us then assume that these T-F 3 thought-bodies – sovereign in their matter-ness – disdainfully reflect the eye back to its beholder, resistant as they are to flattery, influence, control and judgement in any way, shape or form. And finally, let us assume that connectedness is synonymous with an outlandish state of exhaustion. That only in the very center of the purple and brown fog, an inorganic spark can be found. Thank you, thank you, thank you. T-F 3 the Shield. The Sturdy Mental Explosion. O!

Det man skal have fortalt nu også kan læse sig til

Jeg havde fornøjelsen af at høre Porsager fortælle om udstillingen i en artist talk , hvor hun gav en ikke-fortættet og ikke-indforstået udlægning af det vægteksten forklarer. En del af den information er nu også publiceret i den meget flotte kunstnerbog Ablaze with the Fires of Matter udgivet af Officin, som Louise Hold Sidenius fra det just hedengangne Internationalistisk Ideale, så vidt jeg ved, står bag.

Det korte af det lange: Porsager opsøgte en litauisk clairvoyant, der ikke taler andet end litauisk og under den seance, så/mærkede hun de to former, som hun senere fik henholdsvis drejet og støbt til udstillingen.

Porsager omtaler i Ablaze with the Fires of Matter ogsÃ¥ vægteksten, der efter eget udsagn er en fiktionalisering af den faktuelle handling for at forskyde den til et andet betydningsniveau: “I guess, making the doing resistant to individual mythologies and their restrictions on “what happened”. And in doing so, maby even facilitating voices or gestures from other realms, other layers of reality or truth – from space itself.”

Repræsentationsproblemer

Læser man i Leadbeater og Besants bog med kunstbriller er det pÃ¥faldende, at der er en dobbelt repræsentationsproblematik pÃ¥ spil. Bogen starter simpelthen med at forfatterne beklager sig over umuligheden af en fyldestgørende gengivelse af de firedimensionale tankeformer. Gengivelser af tre dimensioner som to er mangelfuld i sig selv og beror pÃ¥ konventioner. Hvis man sÃ¥ endda tillægger “bevidsthedens begrænsning”: “De allerfleste af de, der sÃ¥ billedet, har absolut ingen viden om andet end tre dimensioner og ikke den ringeste forestilling om den indre verden af strÃ¥lende lys og farver, hvor tankeformen hører til.” Bogsidernes to dimensioner er et meget dÃ¥rligt medie til repræsentationen af tankeformerne – især for de uindviede, der ikke engang har den allermest elementære viden om Ã¥ndsvidenskaben. Nemlig at:

Mennesket – tænkeren – har et mentallegeme, som består af utallige kombinationer af mentalplanets subtile stof. Dette indre legeme er mere eller mindre forfinet i sine bestanddele og mere eller mindre godt organiseret i forhold til sine funktioner, afhængig af den grad af intellektuel udvikling, vedkommende har opnået. Mentallegemet er specielt smukt, fordi partiklernes finhed og hurtige bevægelser får det til at se ud som levende, perlemorslignende lys. Denne skønhed bliver endnu mere strålende, efterhånden som intellektet udfolder sig og hovedsageligt bruges til uselviske formål. Enhver tanke aktiverer forbundne vibrationer i mentallegemes fine stof. De er omgivet af et farvespil som det, man kan se i støvregnen fra et vandfald i solskin. Under indflydelse af impulsen afkaster mentallegemet en vibrerende del af sig selv, der er formet af vibrationerne – ligesom de figurer, fint sand danner på en skive, der vibrerer under påvirkning af en lydvibration. Fra den omgivende atmosfære samler tanken stof fra mentalverdenens elementalessens, som svarer til finhedsgraden i dens egen organisme. Tankeformen er et levende og aktivt væsen, der udelukkende er besjælet af den tanke, som har skabt det. Fordi denne tankeform er dannet af stoffets finere grader, har den stor kraft og energi.

Der fra forklarer forfatterne videre om tankens to manifestationer: Vibrationer og de egentlige tankeformer. Og der støder vi på den anden repræsentationsproblematik, der handler om den måde hvorpå tankeformerne forholder sig til tanken.

En af tankens andre funktioner er skabelse af en bestemt form. Alle, der studerer åndsvidenskab, har hørt om elementalessensen – det mærkelige, halvt intelligente liv, der omgiver mennesket overalt og beliver mentalplanets og astralplanets stof. Det belivede stof reagerer på menneskets tanker, og enhver impuls, der udgår fra mental- eller astrallegemet, iklæder sig straks et midlertidigt legeme af det belivede stof. Tanken eller impulsen bliver midlertidigt et levende væsen, hvor sjælen er tankekraften, og legemet er det belivede stof. (min kursivering)

Repræsentationsproblematik er mÃ¥ske sÃ¥ meget sagt, for det fremstilles netop som uproblematisk – en omgÃ¥ende iklædelse af astralt stof, hvor tanken er for tankeformen, hvad sjælen er for legemet. En klassisk opdeling af repræsentationen i form og idé. En opdeling, der dog forplumres lidt af, at der tales om tanker og former som meget konkrete ting.

Det er åbenlyst, at Porsager ikke forholder sig ortodokst til Leadbeater og Besants udlægning af tankeformsfænomenet.

I forhold til den første repræsentationsproblematik begrænser Porsager sig ikke til to dimensioner. Hendes tankerformer er tredimensionale. Men allerede her begynder de to repræsentationsproblematikker at flyde sammen, for er værkerne i udstillingen at betragte som repræsentationer af tankeformer, eller er de i sig selv tankeformer? Tankeformer, der bare er af en lidt anden beskaffenhed end Leadbeater og Besants.

Det var den første problematik. Den anden er, om tankeformerne (som objekterne i udstillingen enten repræsentere eller udgør) forholder sig til en tanke pÃ¥ samme mÃ¥de som sjæl forholder sig til krop hos Leadbeater og Besant. Om tankeformerne i sig selv er repræsentationer af en ren tanke. Afbilleder de tanker, eller manifesterer de tanker? Er de billede pÃ¥ en tanke eller er de – som fysisk specifikt objekt – en tanke i sig selv. Deres egen tanke? Hvis de er repræsentative, hvad er det for tanker de repræsenterer? Hvad er det for tanker, stoffet er klædt om? Hvad er sÃ¥ tankeformernes sjæl?

Konkret abstraktion

Det er den boomerangformede T-F 3, det drejer sig om. Centrum gravitatis, som de andre elementer peger imod. De syv tavse objekter, der forekommer udspændt mellem det mystiske og det konkrete. De ligger pÃ¥ gulvet som Judds objekter, som Morris’ mursten. Rager ud fra hjørnet som Tatlins hjørne-mod-relieffer. Konkrete, ikke-repræsentative specifikke objekter, der insister pÃ¥ en fysisk tingslighed. Med tyngde, form og størrelse som indskriver et løfte om en brugsfunktion – om det sÃ¥ er som slagvÃ¥ben eller sexrekvisit.

Billedkunstens gængse abstraktionsbegreb betegner det ikke-mimetiske, ikke-figurative. Det, der ikke ligner noget fra den synlige virklighed, vi kender. Det abstraktionsbegreb er relateret til det overordnede abstraktionsbegreb, der ligger nærmere ordets etymologiske betydning: At udtrække. At udtrække generelle koncepter fra konkrete realiteter, specifikke objekter, observerede hændelser. Det etablerede abstraktionsbegreb inden for billedkunsten antyder, at det abstrakte i kunsten er abstraheret ud af virkeligheden. Udtrukket af det konkrete, det genkendelige, det specifikke.

Den danske medieteoretiker Ulrik Schmidt har i den korte tekst “Arepræsentationelle formationer: Noter om afbildningen hinsides imitationen”, udgivet af Internationalistisk Ideale 2012, foreslÃ¥et et radikalt andet abstraktionsbegreb, et abstraktionsbegreb, der ikke handler om abstraktion som det modsatte af figuration, men som det, der sker i medialisering. Med en Malcom Le Grice i hÃ¥nden foreslÃ¥r Schmidt et abstraktionbegreb, der i stedet baserer sig pÃ¥ det, jeg før i mangel af bedre kaldte det overordnede abstraktionbegreb, der sigter mod udtrækket af noget generelt fra det partikulære. Ulrik Schmidt:

Men hvordan kan abstraktion tænkes som noget, der operere og kommer til udtryk hinsides spørgsmÃ¥let om figurativitet, reproduktion og repræsentation? Hos Le Grice mere præcist en adskillelse af “qualities, aspects or generalizations from particular instances.” Abstraktionen bliver sÃ¥ledes til gennem afviklingen af det partikulære, det enestÃ¥ende og det selvstændige i repræsentationen, til fordel for en mere ‘almengjort’ billedlighed…

Schmidt etablere overbevisende et abstraktionsbegreb, der ikke er en modsætning til det figurative – tvært i mod kan det abstrakte gnidningsfrit rumme det figurative – men et abstraktionsbegreb, som er en modsætning til det partikulære.

Her bryder jeg med Schmidt, for at trække et aspekt af det ikke-partikulære abstraktionsbegreb frem: Nemlig det abstrakte som modsætning til det fysisk. Det abstrakte som det immaterielle.

Abstraktion betød radikalt forskellige ting for de grupperinger af kunstnere, der tog arbejdet med ikke-mimetisk kunst op omkring 1910. Særlig to retninger i den russiske avantgarde er interessante i denne sammenhæng. Suprematismen, som den blev formuleret af Kazimir Malevich og konstruktivismen, som Vladimir Tatlin her kan eksemplificere. Malevich viste sit nulpunkt for maleriet på samme udstilling, som Tatlin viser sine hjørne-mod-relieffer, jeg allerede har nævnt: 0.10: The Last Futurist Exhibition of Painting i Petrograd i 1915.

Både Tatlin og Malevich sigtede mod en ikke-figurativ kunst. Tatlin ville med sin konstruktivisme lade form fremspringe af materiale. En anti-illusionistisk materialisme, der ikke (som de russiske ikoner) ledte videre til en transcendental religiøs oplevelse, men i stedet til materialernes immanente realitet, en materialernes sandhed. Malevich søgte suveræne, egenrådige former befriet fra et figurativt forbillede. Malevich skrev i 1927:

In the year 1913, trying desperately to free art from the dead weight of the real world, I took refuge in the form of the square. … To the Suprematist the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling, as such … Art no longer wants to serve the State and Church, it no longer wishes to illuminate the history of manners, it wants to have nothing further to do with the object, as such and believes that it can exist in and for itself without “things”

Sådan opstillet fremstår de to projekter som hinandens antiteser: En radikal materialisme og en lige så radikal anti-materialisme. Tatlin peger mod den senere minimalismes ambition om at skabe specifikke objekter, ikke-repræsentative kunstværker, der holdt sig fast i tingenes verden og ikke gled over i illusion. Malevich peger mod den abstrakte ekspressionisme, som minimalismen eksplicit formulerede sig imod, og som Clement Greenberg netop brugte, til at etablere det abstraktionsbegreb, som jeg har kaldt, det, der i dag er det gængse.

Hvorfor den diskurs? Fordi Porsagers T-F 3 stÃ¥r med en fod i hver lejer. Objekterne fremstÃ¥r pardoksalt nok som konkret immaterialitet. Som bÃ¥de radikal materialitet og radial immaterialitet pÃ¥ samme tid. Da jeg slap dem højere oppe i teksten, var det med spørgsmÃ¥let om de er tanker eller om de afbildede tanker? I udstillingens tekst beskrives hvordan “It was as if these cool thought-forms themselves had willed their own matter into beeing. Opaque, inaccessible, heavy, meticulous and anti-plastic, it was as if the T-F 3 refused to become anything more or less than thoughts embodied.” Mit læsning (og svar pÃ¥ det jeg omtalte som den anden repræsentationsproblematik i forhold til Besant og Leadbeater) bliver, at tanke og form fremtræder som ét. At tanke og form er det samme. At formen er tanken og tanken formen.

TF-3 er både et konkret objekt i linje med minimalismen og en abstraktion i linje med Suprematismen. Eller endda abstraktion i linje med Kandinsky spirituelle og mystiske version, der på mange måder måske endda er en mere oplagt reference. Kandinsky var direkte inspireret af Leadbeather og Besants bog om tankeformer.

Back to Things! – Ablaze with the Fires of Matter

Hvad er det, T-F 3 kan? Tankeformerne har en tydelig kropslig gestus Рen modsatrette (ogs̴ fysisk konkret) gestus, og Lea Porsager omtalte b̴de i artist talken og i bogen Ablaze with the Fires of Matter, at T-F 3 har et potentiale. At den kan noget, eller m̴ske kan noget.

In How to Program and Use T-F these T-F 3 have mutated and become resistant. They are iron and bronze and they’re here. They are physical manifestations of thoughts and they are impervious to analysis. In How to Program and Use T-F all the physical thought-forms are resistant T-F 3. They are not convertible. They need to be here in physical form. Like this. They are unfit for the constant flow of communication, they defy the grid. And that is why I describe them as a kind of shell – that you can hold and in a way protect yourself. T-F 3 the silent speaker. The thought-forms I went looking for happened to be solid.

og i relation til vægtekstens “sturdy mental explosion”:

In a way, I think it has more to do with potential. That there is some kind of explosion that could happen. The way that these thought-forms are shells and somehow also weapons. There is something uncontrollable about them, because they are immune to judgement.

De er solide, kan ikke omformes, tilpasses eller rummes i ord eller kode. De er stumme ting, der med deres insisterende tingslighed rummer et potentiale af brugsværdi. Ordet ‘objekt’ ringer af passivitet, ‘ting’ ringer af handling. T-F 3 er ting. Det er den samme skelnen mellem objekter og ting som Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev gøre i sit forord til documenta 13 kataloget: “Neither is it the inert object that dOCUMNETA (13) adresses … It is rather the space of relations between people and things…”

Bruno Latour:

As every reader of Heidegger knows, or as every glance at an English dictionary under the heading “Thing” will certify, the old word “Thing” or “Ding” designated originally a certain type of archaic assembly. … The point of reviving this old ethymology is that we don’t assemble because we agree, look alike, feel good, are socially compatible or wish to fuse together but because we are brought by divisive matters of concern into some sort of provisional makeshift (dis)agreement. If the Ding designates both those who assemble because they are concerned as well as what causes their concerns and devisions, it should become the center of our attention: Back to Things! Is this not a more engaging political slogan?

Hvad brugsværdien konkret er, er mere Ã¥bent. Som et skjold mod ord, et anker i den fysiske verden. Et meditationsobjekt mÃ¥ske. Porsager: “I do think there is a need right now for encouragement from something that is resistant and does not submit to all kinds of fluctuations.”

Refrencen og lighederne med Kandinsky burde udvides – der ville ogsÃ¥ være et ekspressionistisk perspektiv pÃ¥, hvad det er, T-F 3 kan. Men jeg stopper her.

I øvrigt: http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/t/thought_forms_how_to_program_and_use.html

Danh Vo og Flora Danica på SNM

Statens Naturhistoriske Museum samarbejder med kobbertrykker Niels Borch Jensens værksted i forbindelse med deres Flora Danica-udstilling, der åbner 20. marts.

Elleve kunstnere (John Kørner, Tal R, Per Kirkeby, Marianne Grønnow, Lise Blomberg Andersen, Danh Vo, Trine Søndergaard og Nicolai Howalt, Morten Schelde, Erik A. Frandsen og Peter Holst Henckel), der alle arbejder med Niels Borch Jensens værksted, har lavet nye værker – et hver, Søndergaard og Howalt sammen – ved hjælp af de originale kobberplader, som Flora Danica-plancherne er trykt fra. SNM har stillet pladerne og ekspertise til rÃ¥dighed.

Jeg skal gerne være den første til at indrømme, at det lige er et projekt efter mit hoved. Alt ved det projekt falder ned i mine (ganske rigtigt mange) interessefelter. Helt overordnet: Naturvidenskab og kunst. Mere specifikt: Flora Danica-projektet med alt dets 1700-tals oplysningsiver, krydsfeltet mellem (samtids)kunst og (natur)videnskab, trykteknik, objekter som fortættede knuder af historie og fortællinger osv. osv. Og ikke mindst kunstneren Danh Vo.

Jeg ville ønske, at jeg havde været involveret i det projekt. Det har jeg på ingen måde, men jeg er heldig nok til at kende Birgitte Rubæk fra SNM, som har stået for Flora Danica-udstillingen og dermed også samarbejdet med værkstedet, så jeg har hørt lidt til det undervejs.

Birgitte har tage en række rigtig flotte procesbilleder fra værkstedet af både kunstnerne, deres arbejde og trykkearbejdet. De er lige nu både at finde på SNMs hjemmeside og på Niels Borch Jensens facebookside. Der har også været en artikel om projektet i Børsen med Tal R og hans tryk, der blander træsnit og kobbertryk fra både nye og gamle plader, som fokus.

Jeg ringede til værkstedet for at spørge til Danh Vo’s værk til projektet og fik Niels selv i røret. Han fortalte, at de lige var ved at lave prøvetryk til Vos værk, og at jeg var velkommen til at kigge forbi. SÃ¥ jeg smed, hvad jeg havde i hænderne og cyklede til Prags Boulevard.

Vos værk bestÃ¥r i et enkelt appropriationsbegreb: Første og sidste plade fra Flora Danica genoptrykt. To forskellige, tilfældige planter adskilt af 122 Ã¥r – første bind kom i 1761 og sidste bind i 1883. Projektet blev foreslÃ¥et af G. C. Oeder, kongelig professor i botanik, i 1753 (sÃ¥ arbejdet med Flora Danica varede noget længere end de 123 Ã¥r, der tit bliver omtalt).

Det stod ikke helt klart, da jeg besøgte værkstedet, om Vo værk bliver pÃ¥ et eller to stykker papir – i en eller to rammer. Indledende ville Vo have lave et komplet genoptryk, men den ide mÃ¥tte droppes pga. af omfang og omkostninger.

Grebet er så typisk Vo, at man næsten skulle kunne have gættet det, men jeg synes så afgjort, at det fungerer. Det skyder fokus tilbage på Flora Danica. På det maniske kortlægningsarbejde, der var et projekt, der både rimer på videnskabelig/kulturel imperialisme, et mystisk objektivitetsbegreb båret af kunstnerisk syntesearbejde og samtidig konsolideringen af en dansk nationalstat og -identitet. Og som samtidig bestod af disse smukke smukke billeder. Videnskab, kunst og politik i et.

Jeg hørte vist engang Vo siger – eller læste ham sige – at man ikke behøvede at lede længere end i sin egen baghave for at finde de kulturelle perversiteter, der optager ham. Det bliver nærmest bogstaveligt talt sandt i det her værk.

Jeg chancede den og tog kamera med – og fik ok til at bruge det. Jeg kom midt i processen og var lidt tid om at spørge om lov til at fotografere. SÃ¥ jeg har ikke billeder af farven, der bliver lagt pÃ¥.

Jeg kan desværre ikke huske navnet på den trykker, som udførte prøvetrykket. Jeg kom lige til andet prøvetryk af den anden plade. Dette andettryk fik lov at beholde lidt mere farve på pladen, som altså ikke blev pudset helt så blank som ved første tryk. Forskellen var markant. Langt flere ridser og mærker blev synlige i trykket. Ujævnheder, som pladen har fra den manuelle produktion; skader, som pladen har fået gennem tiden og slibemærker, der kunne stamme fra en reparation, der har søgt at udbedre skader på et tidspunkt. Slibemærkerne kan svagt anes på et af billederne.

Beslutning blev at holde fast i det mørkere andettryk, der viste flere af de skrammer og mærker pladen har pÃ¥draget sig. Det havde jeg ogsÃ¥ holdt fast i – især til Vos værk.

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Prøvetryk af Danh Vos værk / genoptryk af første og sidste plade i Flore Danica
Nu, når jeg lægger billederne op vender tanken om, hvad det er, jeg har billeder af. Principielt er det ikke et færdigt kunstværk, inden det er godkendt og signeret af Danh Vo selv. Fra da af, ville trykkene falde ind under hans copyright, og jeg ville skulle have hans tilladelse eller købe lov gennem Copydan Billedkunst for at måtte vise billeder af dem. Men siden prøvetrykkene ikke kan regnes for værker, er der tale om genoptryk. Genoptryk af kunstværker, der er et sted mellem 250 og 130 år gamle. Om der egentlig overhoved kan tales om copyright og immaterielle rettigheder på Flora Danica-plancherne, ved jeg ikke. De er statsligt bestilt videnskab. Måske gælder der andre love, når de er klassificeret som videnskabelige illustrationer og produceret under de omstændigheder, de er. Men der er samtidig ikke tvivl om, at det er Vos konceptuelle greb, som har skubbet mig til at fotografere.

Det er Danh Vos koncept, hans autoritet som kunstner og hans vilje, der har ledt til produktionen af de nye tryk. Det er hans kunstneriske handling. Meget parallelt til de politiske beslutninger, autoriteter og viljer, der satte produktionen af Flora Danica i gang for 250 ̴r siden. Det konceptuelle greb spejler det politiske. Objektet Рblomsterne Рst̴r uforandret Рog s̴ alligevel ikke. Kontekstuelt forandret er de.

Lea Porsager, How to Program and Use T-F

Lea Porsager har lige åbnet udstillingen How to Program and Use T-F på Fotografisk Center. Teksten allernederst efter citatet fra pressemeddelelsen er en afskrift af den tekst, der er projiceret på en væg i udstillingen. Porsager har layoutet udstillingsplakaten, og der er lavet en lille folder til udstillingen som Porsager også har layoutet, men ikke skrevet. Den kan læses i et mystisk onlinereader format.

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— Pressemeddelelse —

26. JANUAR – 1. APRIL 2013

HOW TO PROGRAM AND USE T-F
LEA PORSAGER

Hvordan ser tanker ud? Kan de antage fysisk form? Det er nogle af de spørgsmål billedkunstneren Lea Porsager undersøger på sin udstilling How to Program and Use T-F i Fotografisk Center.

Fotografisk Center er meget stolte over at kunne byde velkommen til denne soloudstilling med helt nye værker af Lea Porsager lavet specielt til Fotografisk Centers lokaler.

Med udgangspunkt i en historisk teori om tanke-former, der blev præsenteret af to teosoffer Annie Besant og C. W. Leadbeater i 1901, arbejder Lea Porsager med tanker som fysiske fænomener. På udstillingen har tankerne dels form af to såkaldte satellitter, der ligger på gulvet, af skulpturelle objekter i bronze og jern, og projektioner på væggen. De to satellitter på gulvet repræsenterer henholdsvis kunsthistorisk og teknologisk lagring af tanker, mens objekterne fremstiller tankerne i deres direkte, fysiske udtryk.

Lea Porsager arbejder gerne med temaer som spiritualisme, okkultisme og åndsvidenskab. Hun undersøger konkrete teorier eller eksperimenter som i How to Program and Use T-F eller projektet til dOCUMENTA (13), Anatta Experiment.

I forbindelse med How to Program and Use T-F udgiver Fotografisk Center en lille formidlingspublikation, der ligesom udstillingsplakaten er designet af Lea Porsager selv. Samtidig laver Porsager et bogprojekt i samarbejde med Internationalistisk Ideale.

T-F 1 Ego hard drives, susceptible to ideological drifts

T-F 2 Endless reproductions of frayed brown ideas and doctrines

T-F 3 The psychometric event of beeing caught between a rock and a hard place had caused the Programmers spasmodic “cool thinking” to materialize.

In a state of rare extremism, odd selfishness and unpleasant depression, the novice T-F Programmer met up with the Cyber Pioneer, one so seemingly connected, so thorougley networked to the extent of beeing downright clairvoyant.

Breezily bouncing off surrounding grids of communication satellites, this vertically challanged, multi-angular and neurally plastic Cyber Pioneer left the Programmer to her own lame devices.

While the Cyber Pioneer spoke in a foreign tongue, the Programmer reached into the astral plane and pulled out a mutated mental entity, a T-F 3. It landed on her lap, on her knees and in her open hands. Shaped like some kind of boomerang, it was heavy and cold despite its dark brown color. On the horizon, right where the earth’s surface began, another one hung blunt and cold. Above it lingered another shape, a silver bullet.

It was as if these cool thought-forms themselves had willed their own matter into beeing. Opaque, inaccessible, heavy, meticulous and anti-plastic, it was as if the T-F 3 refused to become anything more or less than thoughts embodied.

Lets assume for a moment that the Cyber Pioneer’s connectedness equalled panoptic vision. Let us furthermore assume that this vision – however casual and webby – is a potential power-tool for thought control. Let us then assume that these T-F 3 thought-bodies – sovereign in their matter-ness – disdainfully reflect the eye back to its beholder, resistant as they are to flattery, influence, control and judgement in any way, shape or form. And finally, let us assume that connectedness is synonymous with an outlandish state of exhaustion. That only in the very center of the purple and brown fog, an inorganic spark can be found. Thank you, thank you, thank you. T-F 3 the Shield. The Sturdy Mental Explosion. O!