KOMPLOT: Architectures of Survival

Curated by Komplot for ART2102 and Outpost

Launch Evening
Tuesday, November 25, 8pm
Mandrake

Featuring performances by NG, Jaro Straub, Jim Skuldt and other video works

Exhibition
December 4 to 14, 2008
Open Gallery

Opening Reception
Thursday, December 4, 6 to 9pm

Featuring works by with Ivan Argote, Pauline Bastard, Aline Bouvy / John Gillis, Francisco Camacho, Matthieu Clainchard, Jean-Philippe Convert, Messieurs Delmotte, Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost, David Evrard, Yona Friedman, Hugues Marechal, NG, Pichler, Frédéric Platéus, Jim Skuldt, The Centre of Attention, Michael Van Den Abeele, Andrea Winkler

Complete Communion Celebration
Saturday, December 13, 6pm to 2am
Gallery 533

An 8-hour video installation by Jaro Straub and Matthew Burbidge

 

Courtesy artist, ng, 2008

The work of Hungarian architect Yona Friedman (*1923, Budapest, lives in Paris) is the starting point for this exhibition with the title itself being a reflexive reference to Friedman's 1975 book 'Architecture Of Survival' (MIT Press, USA). The book looks at the precarious nature of modern society and suggests creative strategies for countering the problems thrown up by hyper-consumption and capitalist modes of spatial and social organisation. Friedman rose to prominence with his manifesto 'Mobile Architecture' (1958) and plan for a utopian city 'The Spatial City' (1959) ; his ideas led him beyond architecture and to engagement with sociology, economics, mathematics, information science, planning, visual art and film-making.

Today, his writings have become influential as architectural ideas which take as their starting point the perspective of those existing in a state of generalised poverty within capitalist economic model. He proposes structures for the unpredictable, providing the means and ways for people to determine, re-appropriate and re-invent their own living environment beyond the normative functional ability of new social forms to shape their own living spaces.

Relative to Friedman's method of re-appropriating architecture as a creative tool -through the creation of "do it yourself" manuals, instructions and recipes- the exhibition will articulate the way in which the actual creative process integrates the notions of survival and mobility. Fundamentally, how the artworks 'survive' their original context. The artist's work will deal with 'traces' and 'remains' of performances and actions, this being an area of investigation privileged in the project, the participative and performative aspects of the works being crucial within this context. One of the common material characteristics of the works exhibited is 'lightness' and economy of means. Whether they are constructed from recuperated material, fabric, objects or paper or are audio-visual, they are designed to be easily transportable – allowing improvisational flexibility of creation and presentation.

"All artists are alike. They dream of doing something that's more social, more collaborative, and more real than art." - Dan Graham. With Architectures Of Survival, there is the creation of a certain 'critical distance' apropos artistic social utopian trains of thought and a desire to revive the exhibition model and its relationship with the spectator.


Launch evening
Mandrake

25th November, 8pm

Videos by Ivan Argote, Fayçal Baghriche, Pauline Bastard, Matthew Burbidge, Jean-Philippe Convert, David Evrard, Michelle Naismith, Kurt Ryslavy, Ivo Provoost & Simona Denicolai and Michael Van Den Abeele

Performances by
NG (no birth-date, no country, lives everywhere) is looking for a new way of living/moving/making art. Two years ago NG began a nomadic life project. Before Los Angeles, she was resident in Air Antwerp (Belgium), Villa Arson Nice (France), Villa du lavoir Paris (France), the bubble house of Antti Lovag Nice (France, Quelle Vienna (Austria), Bad foundation Rotterdam (Netherlands), Flux Factory NY (USA), La Generale Paris (France). NG will perform ‘Break Hotel’, a reading of a text re-writen from her conversations about how to live, work and move from one residency to the next. The reading is accompanied by images from the places she has lived in.

Jaro Straub (*D 1973) will perform with field-recordings from his stay in Mexico, on the way to Los Angeles. This piece will represent a survival record of his travel with soundscapes ranging from remote mountain areas to overflowing city markets. He will serve Mescal as an accompaniment to the listening experience.

Jim Skuldt (*US 1970), over the last several months, has been capturing feral cats from the alleyway surrounding his studio. Those captured have been spayed and neutered and returned to their environment. As strategies of entrapment and evasion have evolved in tandem, Skuldt and the feline population have become acquainted with certain subtleties of mobile architecture in relation to survival on the streets in the urban built environment, arriving at a level of grid-based obfuscation he refers to as Rapid Mobile Architecture (RMA) whereby rapidly shifting walls serve to simultaneously mimic spatial environments and problemitize control asserted amongst its inhabitants.


Complete Communion Celebration
An eight-hour video installation by Jaro Straub & Matthew
Gallery 533
13 December, 6pm to 2am

Jaro Straub (*Germany 1973) & Matthew Burbidge (* GB 1970) made the video installation Complete Communion Celebration based on an eight-hour performance during which the artists juxtaposed improvised guitar sounds and voices with passages from Guy Debord’s autobiographical book ‘Panegyric’ for an absent public, under a river-side bridge in Berlin. The performance is presented as two distinctly filmed parts, which are projected simultaneously: in one part the artists are performing in a seemingly interior space; in the other the sun is setting over a landscape, which rapidly becomes obscured in darkness.

 

Gallery Exhibition
Open Gallery, 4-14 December, 2008

Opening Reception, 4th December at 6pm

Featuring works by Ivan Argote, Pauline Bastard, Aline Bouvy / John Gillis, Francisco Camacho, Matthieu Clainchard, Jean-Philippe Convert, Messieurs Delmotte, Simona Denicolai & Ivo Provoost, David Evrard, Yona Friedman, Hugues Marechal, NG, Pichler, Frédéric Platéus, Jim Skuldt, The Centre of Attention, Michael Van Den Abeele, Andrea Winkler

Ivan Argote (Columbia) presents a video which documents his efforts to give money to passengers on the metro and two photographs of his street actions. Most of his work originates from everyday (ab)normalities, slightly modifying what is supposed to be accepted by all as either a belief or a reality. Using photographs and video to document his in-situ actions, he highlights the absurd or non-sensical aspects of things that are often unconscious to us.

The French collective Bad Beuys Entertainment (France) presents the video Champion (2003), an animated gif file that is a series of logos of products, brands, companies and organisations called CHAMPION collected on the web.

Pauline Bastard (France) works on the detournement of functional objects, transforming their use value in moments of contemplation. Her work Fresh associates a plastic bag and a ventilation fan in a very literal visual pun. Movement and playfulness are also characteristic of the fountains she creates out of domestic wrapping paper.

Aline Bouvy (*L 1974) / John Gillis (*B 1972) use 'street cred' reality from the suburbs of Liège to Berlin, London, Brussels…, fashion systems, sexy music, graffitti and lifestyle magazines as the source material for their work to speak about seduction, misunderstandings, primitivist and futurist icons. Representing the hypnotic gaze on the other as well as the division of labour in the creation of the artwork, the duo thumb their nose at ‘straightness’ probing the limits of bad taste, formalism, luxury, deviance and pop culture.

Francisco Camacho (*Columbia 1979, resident at Rijksacademie, Amsterdam) proposes this project : “One year ago, X was caught by the police trying to smuggle 2 kilos of heroin from the airport Al Dorado in Bogota to Texas. Description of the jail where X is now imprisoned. Using this description and after recording conversations with X's family, I will reconstruct the image of the space where X is now jailed. The tales will be linked only by the conception of the jail's space built up in the memory of X's family; many aspects will be practical but others will be more sensitive.”
For more info, http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=bLUCqo7Je7M

Jean-Philippe Convert (*France 1972) made a piece by associating the Flemish flag with the cover album The Wall by Michael Jackson. Like in his video Iraki People, he put together different sources to question poetically what seems to be accepted in the general media.

Simona Denicolai (*Italy 1972) & Ivo Provoost (*Belgium 1974) will show an announcement that was published in the local magazine Zitty, in Berlin, for the previous ‘Architectures of Survival’ exhibition, describing a mental image, repeated until this image attains more street credibility than its actualization. This project is also the occasion to show the video To Be Here (Happy) in which the artists traveled with both a fake and real cactus from Brussels to the Californian desert.

David Evrard (Belgium) proposes new Rorcha test patterns made with euro cents change pasted on found objects. The architectural object and its urban context are at the centre of his drawings, texts, photographs, songs and sculptures that often speak about the relation between Europe and America. Fascinated by the imagery of the West from cinema and music, he recreates situations that function like fragments of that mythology.

Yona Friedman (*Hungary/France 1923) will be in Los Angeles, in January 2009. Before his visit, we wish to introduce his work by distributing manuals for building and creating spaces and structures that he puts together like recipes for public and private environments, sculptures and shelters.

Hugues Marechal (*France 1974) will stage a re-enactment of a performance where he stood at the entrance of an exhibition opening, demanding cigarettes from the visitors, whilst sporting a tattoo of the crocodile logo of Lacoste reversed on his chest in place of a shirt. A photograph of the original will act as a teaser for the visitor. Operating on the margins of the art world, Hugues Marechal tackles the question of survival facing artists in society & nature, with idiom based works on T-shirts (images from military survival manuals), plastic bags (Y€$) or graffiti tags which point to social phenomenon's, sex, community.

Messieurs Delmotte (*B 1967) will premiere his new video The Mental Reason and perform in his most unfamous “infra-mince” style. The deadpan, Buster Keaton like mystery artist poses as a dandy. His actions are so blatantly topical, so banally urgent they can’t be postponed. They have to take place, here and now. Coarse and crude, his videos make a mockery of just about everything. They stand aloof from smooth perfection and are realised with the simplest of audio-visual means and a unity of time, place and action. Mimicking the world of animals and objects, Delmotte is a great pretender whose whimsical feats need no explanation--they're just absurdly cheerfully and dogged.

NG presents the video Limits of Paradise: Free Solo, which resembles a survival dream : The artist wandering in differing landscapes (snowy mountains, post-industrial, river side, wild nature), gathering, naming, eating herbs, bays, plants. The video is accompanied by her drawing and text Statement, a manifesto for a utopian way of life plus the sound piece Give Me A Break, a series of ‘detourned’ songs about the artists position in society.
For more info (in french), http://www.radiophonic.org/grille/sam-sat/

Michalis Pichler (Germany) shows works made mostly in New York. WAR Diary (2005) is an edition made of collages, using front page headlines from the Daily News and merging them with images from the New York Times. In line with Dada tradition, the random mix of visual references and sensational lines from the two rival papers produces startling results. The book Hearts gathers images of discarded commodities, which carried depictions of hearts, found in public space in Berlin, Greece and New York City. For the book New York garbage flag profile, Pichler collected and documented discarded paper cups and other mass-produced materials emblazoned with the American Flag.

Frédéric Platéus (*B 1976) makes graffiti ‘tags’ and sculptures inspired by spray paintings. The two dimensional ‘tags’ are transposed into 3D objects such as his light-boxes and Twisted Puzzles, relocating street culture to the living room, the sculptures look like thick tags, abstract labels for branding. When he works with Aline Bouvy / John Gillis, they tackle the relation between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, creating trash decors for the white cube. In a similar collaboration, he worked with Matthew Burbidge & Jaro Straub for the project Complete Communion Celebration in Komplot, Brussels.
For more info, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNoHqSweDTQ

Jim Skuldt (*US 1970), over the last several months, has been capturing feral cats from the alleyway surrounding his studio. Those captured have been spayed and neutered and returned to their environment. As strategies of entrapment and evasion have evolved in tandem, Skuldt and the feline population have become acquainted with certain subtleties of mobile architecture in relation to survival on the streets in the urban built environment, arriving at a level of grid-based obfuscation he refers to as Rapid Mobile Architecture (RMA) whereby rapidly shifting walls serve to simultaneously mimic spatial environments and problemitize control asserted amongst its inhabitants.

Jaro Straub (*Germany 1973) has picked up a packaging for a childrens miniature piano from the streets of Los Angeles outside an artist studio complex. He rebuilt the missing musical instrument which was originally made in China out of the cardboard remnants as a nonfunctional sculptural object. The keyboards of the piano are made of Crayola wallpaint samples, thus creating a color range which substitutes the black and white keyboards for a chromatic scale.

The Centre of Attention are a duo based in London. They propose a piece linking to Yona's architecture mobile where "inhabitants are enabled to flexibly shape their spatial and social worlds" which is to do their "Gemeinschaft und gesellschaft" piece. In the previous 2 versions, this has started with an installation by them. But in Los Angeles, the work of the other artists will have provided that installation already. Their work is that « visitors can make changes to the exhibition by adding, moving, editing and recombining elements, etc.

Jason Wallace Triefenbach (*US 1978) « I am inspired by human interaction, and our seemingly natural ability to misunderstand one another correctly. The city as hive only works as a metaphor so far as we can ignore the great lack of compassionate coordination birthing tragi-comic transgressions of human dignity and the wasting of potential inherent in any system-run-amok. I look for the details of accidental architecture: the accumulating ambiance of angles, curbs, pipes, electrical boxes, signage, graffiti, litter, scuff marks, erosion, bike racks, trees, cracks in the sidewalk, construction barricades, surveillance equipment, flowerbeds gone to weed, etc. Beauty is the chance meeting of Donald Judd and Robert Rauschenberg in a McDonald’s parking lot. How then to abstract these urges? (…)» The combined use of music, costuming, sculptures and props, physical actions, and the presentation of written texts constructs a complex formal terrain upon which autobiography, fantasy and politics mingle, morph, and grow beyond this author’s original intentions..

Michael Van Den Abeele (Belgium) presents the animation video and poster Smoking (2005) evoking the attraction and repulsion aspects of the cigarette, eros and tanathos in the object of desire and destruction. The work of the artist is concerned with the relation to death, childhood’s imagination, haunted by cruelty and erotism and political geography.

Andrea Winkler (Germany) creates works of intense sensuality and minimalist elegance. Her delicate reliefs and often frilling objects are made from everyday-materials like paper, foil, tape or glossy magazine pages. Located between an object trouvé and a site-specific installation the pieces are sparingly dispersed in the space attached to the walls, spread out on the floor, fixed to architectural protrusions and hanging from the ceiling. Carefree, playful and seemingly existing there only temporarily, things appear light and mobile like transit passengers. But the picture is well composed and catches the passer-by with powerful seducement.
For more info, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83YE2NZghV4

 

With the support of the Commissariat général aux relations internationales, the Ministry of Culture of French Community of Belgium, the French and Belgian Consulates in Los Angeles

 

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